Sam Woo (Van Nuys, CA)

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Been coming to this place for YEARS! It’s one of those places when you want to eat out and not have to worry if it’s going to be good. 

Any dish that I’ve tried here have always been “okay” to “delish.” Nothing’s ever been “bad” to us. 

Of course, when Eli and I both come together, we usually order the same thing–he’s not usually that adventurous. There’s been times that I’ve come here on my own and I’ll try something COMPLETELY outside of our usual. And, again, never been dissatisfied with anything. The only thing that I wish that was slightly different is the table chili oil/sauce. It needs a bit of flavoring to it–like a saltier taste but I’m not saying they should add salt to it (I know, confusing). 

Though, we have our usual dishes, I only remembered to take pictures of 2 of them 😑

   
String Beans: better eaten at the restaurant rather to have it sitting in a styrofoam box while you’re driving home. It’s wilted and no longer looks this green by the time I get home 15 minutes later. I ❤️ the minced pork–gives it flavor and a bit of a salty taste to it, good balance. While the string beans are ALWAYS stir-fried to the perfect crispness! 

 BBQ Pork: a dish that can be enjoyed at the restaurant or at home! Can be ordered from their to-go section. Can never go wrong w/ this dish! Definite staple! Though there’s sometimes fattier parts to it, there’s plenty of meaty portions. Just looking at this pic is making me hungry again, haha! 

In the future, I’ll do more posts of other dishes that we have–since I know we’ll continue to always go to Sam Woo for great Chinese food in the Valley. 

OVERALL

Sam Woo is a MUST!! Especially in the Valley where good Chinese food is hard to come by–have tried other Chinese restaurants in the Valley and have been disappointed more than not. As I mentioned earlier, you can’t really go wrong–nothing’s ever been bad to us, only variations of good 😁 Yay, I heart you Sam Woo! 

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Mambo’s Cafe (Glendale, CA)

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This past weekend, Eli and I were finally made it to Mambo’s Cafe. Eli saw it on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” with Guy Fieri–who doesn’t LOVE this guy?? ;p (Eli always has his eyes out for a new Cuban/Puerto Rican place to try.)

What we ordered…


Doesn’t it look so YUMMY????

Hate to burst your bubble, but it was just okay… summed up in one word, “eh.” When I first saw the dishes as it was set in front of us, I got so excited because I was so hungry and it looked so DELICIOUS! Unfortunately, it just wasn’t love at first taste :/

The roast pork didn’t have much flavor as one would expect, though the rice was good. And I’m not a fan of black beans, so I didn’t touch those and Eli only had a little bit of it (a sign that it was no bueno for him as well). The maduros were delish, though! At least we had that 🙂

As for the Cuban sandwich… the meat had flavor–saltiness–and that’s about all. But the overall texture of the bread and fixings and the size was ideal 🙂 Even though the fries probably came from a mass produced facility, those were pretty good.

Glad that we enjoyed some aspect of each dish, but don’t think we’ll be heading over there anytime soon. Also, the cafe is a bit of a distance from us so the chances are even slimmer.

Other than the food, the service was great! Very friendly and attentive for the most part 🙂 At least there’s that.

 

Lulu California Bistro (Palm Springs, CA)

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Wasn’t planning on eating here but saw how popular it seemed and just the decor itself is so inviting and chic.

Very nice patio seating area but we opted to sit indoors since it was too warm outside.

Was not disappointed by the overall decor of the place–LOVED it!!

Our good-looking server, Michael, was very friendly and had a great smile to go with it.

Bread was VERY good!! Good thing they didn’t leave us the whole basket, otherwise we would have gobbled it up in no time. I ordered ceviche, it was okay, nothing exciting–would definitely order something else next time. The bf got a veggie burger–didn’t look very good (felt a little bad for him, haha) but it turned out tasting AWESOME! Basically, his burger looked how my ceviche tasted; and my ceviche tasted how his burger looked… Hahaha!!

You DEFINITELY have to finish your meal with their bread pudding!!! Ohmigoodness!!! That’s all I have to say! JUST. ORDER. IT. You will thank me later! And (!!) get your own portions!! With a scoop of ice cream!

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California Roll & Sushi Eatery Review

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This review is based off of two trips… unfortunately, I never got a record (pictures) of our initial visit to California Roll & Sushi (located in Woodland Hills, CA).

On this particular night, Eli and I had gone to the gym for a spin class (which, btw, kicked Eli’s butt like it did me the week prior, haha). We didn’t want anything too heavy or too filling since it was getting towards the later side of the evening. I had actually wanted to go to Bistro Ka for happy hour, but after looking it up online, their happy hour was already over… boo (thumbs down)!

So, we settled on California Roll & Sushi since it was reasonably priced and it was pretty good. When we got there… lo and behold (!!), they had happy hour that evening till close, YAY!!!

We sat, I ordered four rolls off their happy hour menu and we also decided to indulge in some adult alcoholic beverages–Sapporo for him and hot sake for me =D

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Rainbow Roll – eh, it was okay… nothing exciting or special compared to other sushi eateries.

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Spicy Tuna Tempura Roll – to me, this one was more on the bland side and was just okay as well (Rainbow Roll rakes above this one); but this was one of Eli’s favorite this trip around.

 

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Caterpillar Roll – this one was not bad… I would rank this above the Rainbow Roll. Eli really enjoyed this one–he loves avocado and the sauce (sorry, don’t know what it is–shame on me!).

 

IMG_0584_FotorSalmon Skin Roll – I was really looking forward to this one when I saw it on the menu.I have had salmon skin salads at other sushi eateries and it is so DELICIOUS!! So, to have seen this in roll form, you can say that I was pretty EXCITED… unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my hopes and expectations… (sigh). Eli didn’t care for it at all–it was completely bland to him. If he says it’s bland, that’s pretty bad. As you have probably guessed, this ranked number 4 between all the rolls for this night… and it’s safe to say that we’ll probably never order this roll ever again.

As for the drinks, they did their job and was tasty… I don’t think one can go too wrong and those kind of drinks though–no mixing involved.

Even though this night’s dinner was ultimately “just okay,” we would still go back when we want something light to eat and don’t want to spend too much dollars =) I am definitely interested in trying their other rolls =)

 

Angel City Cafe Initial Review

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Omigoodness!! I dislike it when it happens… I had already written part of this post and, poof, it’s gone!! (Sigh…) Due to my own negligence and lack of understanding of WordPress… oh, well… live and learn…

One night, got home a bit later into the evening after a photo shoot and I was pretty hungry but didn’t want to have anything too filling and heavy. Picked up Eli and headed to Angel City Cafe (literally less than a mile from our place). I used Yelp to help me find this place and decided whatever caught my attention first and had a pretty decent rating, we’ll just go there–usually, I am so indecisive when it comes to making a decision on eating. But that’s because I don’t eat very often (I follow the intermittent fasting regimen); so when I do eat, I want it to be good! Otherwise, I just “wasted” that meal, if you know what I mean. 

And, by the way, I am completely aware that Yelp is somewhat rigged… I’ve heard from business owners that there’s a fee they can pay to get bad ratings hidden or removed, something along those lines. Either way, they’re able to make their ratings look better than what they truly are… smh… 

Anyways, enough chitchat about Yelp… let’s get to the good stuff!

First off… the BREAD!!!!! I haven’t tasted bread THIS DELICIOUS in a LONG time!! Can’t even remember…

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It comes to your table so soft and warm and just the right amount of sweetness!! Next to it, is their homemade balsamic vinaigrette based dipping sauce–it was good but too vinegary for me, but Eli LOVED it! I think, altogether, we ended up getting 3 or 4 additional loaves while we were dining! Just thinking about it now makes me want to make my way over there right now just to have some of this bread! 

I didn’t order anything too exciting since I didn’t want anything heavy and have been making more of a conscious effort to avoid meats as much as possible because, in the last month or so, we’ve just been eating so much meat (chicken, turkey, pork) that I feel like my stomach is being weighed down and feeling more tired (which I attribute to my body having to digest and process all the meat intake). I ended up just getting their White Gumbo and 1/2 order of their chopped salad…

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I know, so not exciting, haha. The salad wasn’t anything too special but it was tasty–the PERFECT combination of ingredients including the dressing. The gumbo was okay… nothing special and didn’t taste bad. Oh, and the little hardened bread that came with the salad was so good!! Usually, I’m not a fan of those cheese crusted things, but these were delish!! Hmmm… now I’m wondering if I was just really hungry, haha! Cause you know how everything just tastes better when you’re hungry?

Eli went in with the intention of not getting anything heavy and filling either (he’s trying to lose some fat that he’s gained, haha), but I guess he couldn’t resist… 

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PASTA PRIMAVERA! So much for light dining, haha!! Actually, in the end, it didn’t turn out too bad for him because he said it wasn’t that big of a portion compared to some other restaurants. That’s another good thing about this place, they don’t serve quantity, they serve quality–I’d rather eat a bit of something delicious rather than a lot of something mediocre. 

Lastly… DESSERT!!

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So, we HAD to get this… White Chocolate Bread Pudding. We just HAD to because bread pudding is one of Eli’s most loved desserts. He can’t resist and I have a hard time passing up anything white chocolate–just the perfect dessert for both of us! =)

I thought it was going to be too sweet when it came with that chocolate sauce on the side since white chocolate is usually very sweet. BUT (!!) it was not overly sweet and just thee PERFECT amount of sweetness and portion size! Going by what I’ve written so far, this place sounds pretty close to perfect, haha! Oh, and the dessert had some blueberries in a blueberry sauce as well–didn’t have that syrupy taste either. 

If you haven’t gathered, we’ll DEFINITELY be heading back to this place in the near future!!

Bistro Ka Initial Review

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Eli and I visited Bistro Ka at the Topanga Mall in Woodland Hills last week. We had just gone to the gym and wanted something not so heavy. Decided to head over to the mall food court since they have a good variety of dining options–keep in mind, they don’t have the staple mall food you might be thinking about (ie McDonald’s, Cinnabon, etc). They have sushi, gourmet salads and sandwiches, Korean BBQ… just to name a few.

But we didn’t even make it over to the food court. We ran into one of the Japanese restaurants there–always passed by it but never tried it before. I saw the sushi happy hour sign, so I was immediately drawn to it–usually, by the time we’re there, happy hour has already passed.

$4, $5, and $6 rolls?? Pfffft!!! Get me a seat!!! Haha!

We ended up ordering 3 rolls and Eli got a salmon teriyaki bento box. Unfortunately, I don’t remember all the names of the sushi I got… I know, lame. But whatever I did get, they were pretty tasty; and so was Eli’s food! So, I think it would be safe to say that you’ll probably end up with tasty food rather than not if you decide to check out this place.

 

Oh, and their ginger was pretty good, too! I mention that because I love getting extra ginger and there has been some BAD ginger… yuck! Fortunately, Bistro Ka passed for ginger, haha!

We’ll definitely be heading back there for more specials and their happy hour! And they have a kid’s combo as well… Sophia (my 7-year-old) isn’t very much into sushi but they have chicken options =) I need to break her into it! Can’t be having a kid who doesn’t like sushi!!