BlaqHaus (North Hollywood, CA)

American, burger


Upon entering, found the concept/decor to be trendy/hip but lacked in potential due to the location of this eatery. Just wouldn’t picture a place like this in the area that its located in… would’ve been more fitting in the NoHo Arts District. 

As soon as we stepped in, we immediately noticed the layer of oil that covered the floor–similar to what one would find in the restaurant kitchen after hours of busy activity cooking up a storm. We assumed the same water was used to mop the dining area floor AFTER mopping the kitchen πŸ˜– While we were eating, we witnessed a patron slip but, fortunately, she didn’t fall. 

For the food… we were pleasantly surprised! Both of us got burgers–The Venus (vegetarian) and The Hangover (had fried egg and bacon, yum!). And both was accompanied by a side of fries and three different dipping sauces (uh, yes, please!). 

I loved how crispy the fries were, Eli thought they were slightly over cooked… choose your preference πŸ˜‹

I had gotten a Groupon voucher which made the experience okay. But don’t think I would go back to pay full price since our total came out to be almost $30 for just these two burgers that tasted good… just not THAT good. I would go back for the fries 🍟 though! Hehe πŸ˜‹

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Crispy Pork Gang (Hollywood, CA)

asian, Dessert / Sweets, noodles, Thai

I have a special, SPECIAL place in my heart for NOODLES 🍜 This is definitely a good item that I can eat every day for the rest of my life and I don’t know if I could ever be tired of it 😜 As of now, I’d say I doubt it! 

My noodles of choice? Any Thai noodle soup and ramen/udon. 

On our way home from a Japanese whiskey tasting event, and Eli was craving some Thai. Since we were passing by the area, took advantage and stopped by Thai Town (Los Angeles). 

Crispy Pork Gang (may have been bought recently because the menu had a different name on it than before) was the first place that I thought of that night. Was craving noodles πŸ˜† (of course!!) and remembered the last visit was DELISH! 

Interior isn’t anything really special–they just threw some tables and chairs together and called it a day. I think what makes them profitable is their food and they’re open 24 hours… yes, 24! So, being in Hollywood and the clubs not being too far, I’m sure there are a good amount of party goers stopping by. But it’s not unusual for Thai restaurants to be open till late (typically 2 or 4 AM). Though the inside isn’t my cup of tea, the food makes up for it–I got my priorities πŸ˜‚

When I sit down at a restaurant, I usually have an immediate craving for something particular. I’ve come to learn that I have to follow that gut feeling, otherwise I end up not being fully satisfied w/ my meal. 

On this visit, first thought was Duck Noodle Soup…


Oh, man…………! It was SO GOOD!!!!! Looking at this pic makes me hungry πŸ˜³πŸ˜‚  

I knew to trust my gut! I was completely satisfied w/ this dish! Don’t you just love those kind of meals–full and satisfied? 😁 It was nice that it wasn’t too sweet, which can happen w/ this dish occasionally. 

Eli went for the Vegetable Noodle Soup w/ a side of white rice 😳 yes, the guy ❀️s his carbs πŸ˜‘ lol! 


Tasted his broth, it was a typical Thai vegetable soup flavor–better than most πŸ™‚ 

While going through the menu, I came upon one of their desserts that I’ve been craving… Bua Loy. 


Unlike the noodle dishes, I was highly unsatisfied w/ this 😣 I had ordered this to eat at home. To my surprise, when I opened the container (very little amount for $4, as compared to other places I’ve ordered from), it was NOT what I ordered!! I HATE that!! 

For those that are familiar w/ Bua Loy, the tapioca is made w/ taro (I believe) tapioca balls, not w/ the ones pictured above!! The tapioca balls above are for a different dessert!! Ugh! Do they think a person that is ordering a specific Thai dessert wouldn’t know better??? πŸ˜’  Next time, I’m most likely going to say something–let them know that patrons are t stupid πŸ˜‘

In the end, I’d go there for noodles for sure; as for their entrees and rice dishes, I can’t vouch for those. If you go, let me know how it was! 

Lucky Noodle King (San Gabriel, CA)

asian, Chinese

Came with a group of friends – love eating family style… means I get to eat more dishes and not limited to just one dish, haha!

It’s a cozy restaurant, looks family owned. When it comes to Chinese food, I’m not sure what to expect anymore–sometimes it unexpectedly delish; and other times, it’s unexpectedly terrible and super Americanized o_O

Fortunately, I am glad to say that these are non-Americanized dishes! (If i wanted Asian fusion, I’d go to one specifically advertising as such -_- )

Got their canned herbal tea (pic included, cans are different but it is the same tea inside)–better than I thought. It was slightly sweetened, but not like the commercial bottled teas that can be found in American grocery stores (think Arizona brand).


Started off w/ the chef’s special, Fish in Chili Oil–if you eat the chili, it WILL be spicy and most likely burn your throat (the unpleasant kind of burn, haha). But if you use the slotted serving spoon to get the fish, it’s great! πŸ˜€


Next, the String Beans w/ Minced Pork–I love me some string beans!! We always order this whenever we’re at a Chinese restaurant; so, it was only necessary to do so at this eatery. It was a great complementary dish to our table… but I must admit, I am biased to veggies… LOVE them!! πŸ˜€


Another veggie dish, Garlic Water Spinach–please order this!! I’m accustomed to the Thai version of water spinach but this is still a terrific (and healthy!) side dish!! I think I hogged this… or at least I tried to, haha!!


The BF was there, so, unsurprisingly, he ordered Chicken Fired Rice. It was as bland or bad as I was expecting–expectations have come by means of negative experiences at other Chinese eateries. A few of my friends didn’t much care for this but the BF and I thought it was fine–not the best, but nothing close to some ‘ugh’ ones we have had.


Service was awesome! Very friendly and personable!! If you’re in the area and are in the mood for Chinese, check it out!

Kikis Japanese Casual Dining (Denver, CO)

asian, japanese, noodles

Came here on a recommendation of a fellow foodie. 

I don’t really know what I was expecting since I saw that it didn’t have as great of a review as I would’ve thought, considering it came highly recommended. But I know that sometimes the ratings don’t really match how I ultimately feel about a place – positive or negative. 

It’s a cozy little eatery. Wish there were more images to get an idea of how some dishes are. Coming from a big metro area (LA) w/ a wide variety of noodles (that’s what I was craving), I was slightly concerned that I was going to be disappointed. Fortunately, the BF and I were not! Yay!!

I ordered the TEMPURA UDON. If you like tempura and you like udon, you will definitely enjoy this dish! The broth and noodles were on point; and the shrimp and veggie tempura batter and sauce were terrific! The tempura was much better than many others I’ve had in LA – that’s sad to me :-/


The BF ordered the BEEF CHA-PU-RU. It’s a mix of some veggies, slices of beef, and rice. It’s diff than what he’s used to but said it was okay (as are most dishes w/ him -_-) lol! 


So, w/ this restaurant, don’t let the rating fool ya! And check out their drink menu! 

COD Seafood Restaurant (Beverly Grove, Los Angeles, CA)

asian, seafood

WOW, WOW, WOWZA!!!

Do I know somebody w/ a birthday coming up or is there something I need to celebrate?? I’m just looking for an excuse to return, hehe! This place practically has the perfect integration of DELICIOUS food, chill atmosphere, fantastic service, and yummy drinks!

As I type this, I’m trying to recall the last time I had such a satisfying meal with such flavorful and decadent food… nothing comes to mind immediately. So, as of now, COD Seafood is the winner of… hmm… let’s just say dining, in general, haha!!

When first arriving, headed towards the bar (wines and spirits) to join up w/ ma’ peeps πŸ˜›

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I wasn’t feelin’ the wine this night… well, actually, saw somebody with what looked to be a tasty drink–turned out to be their Jala Pina. As soon asΒ anybody says jalapeno or anything of the like, it’s an immediate “I’ll take one of those, please!” πŸ˜€ If you like drinks w/ a kick to them, this is a definite try–I love how the flavoring was balanced… not too little or too much of any one ingredient! The bartender, Sidney, is friendly and knows how to make them drinks!! And it was just fun watching him mixing the drinks… thumbs up, Sidney!

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From this angle, looks like a shot, but this is a usual cocktail sized drink… say ‘hi’ to Sidney in the background there πŸ˜›

The good thing about dining with multiple bodies is that I get to sample a few drinks w/o having to actually order a whole one πŸ˜€

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More of a fruity, sweeter drink; but don’t think it’s overly sweet. Just enough sweet to let you know that it’s there w/o making your teeth hurt, LOL!

The ‘stache (the name alone kind of made me want to order it) was yummy, too; but I’m not so much a fan of sweeter drinks. If I were, though, this would have most likely been my fave! Plus, the presentation is simple but just enough. Oh, and I didn’t catch this till after 3 other people ordered this same drink… the white topping is a softened whipped cream–gotta love their presentation here!

 

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Wha???? Only 86 calories???

I know… it looks like the Jala Pina… but it’s not. This is definitely for the one that loves their basil! Though there’s a sweetener in the drink, it’s not sweet-tasting–always a plus for me πŸ˜€

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Sidney, the great bartender, in action πŸ™‚

Onto the food…

Oh… where to begin…

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Japanese Mackerel SashimiΒ – I don’t think it gets any fresher than this and just the perfect amount of flavor without any one overpowering another. The sliver of ginger on top completes it!

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Santa Barbara Sea Urchin (Uni) –Β I’ve only been introduced to Uni in the past year or so… can’t believe what I’ve been missing. The texture is definitely not for all since it can be described as slimy… but I guess I like slimy…? πŸ˜› This was so buttery and just lovely… I don’t know how else to really describe it, haha!

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Blue Fin Tuna Poke –Β with all the new poke shops popping up all over town, this was the least eventful to me but it was still tasty! And gotta love the simple but sophisticated presentation πŸ˜€

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Oysters –Β Pretty obvious what these are, haha… but just in case πŸ˜› These were superb… but coming from somebody who is involved w/ EMC restaurants (same owner as COD), it’s no surprise these would make an appearance on COD’s menu and would be just as wonderful.

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Kale SaladΒ – not all are a fan of the taste of uncooked kale but I can’t imagine somebody not enjoying this plate. If I didn’t know it was kale, I would’ve never guessed.

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Crab ToastΒ – in all honesty, I wasn’t expecting much at all from this. It looked plain and bland to me for some reason… but (!!) it was not! This is my fave way to eat crab–not having to dig it out, haha!! The toast underneath was just the right amount of crispness… not too crunchy/hard.

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Pork Belly – THIS WAS ONE OF MY MOST FAVE DISHES!! I wasn’t expecting this to be as good as it was (hmm… I’m beginning to see a pattern here… I didn’t have high expectations? Don’t know where that came from…). From the looks of it, I thought it was going to be overpowered by the sauce; but, boy, was I wrong! The pork belly had just the perfect crispness and sauce that made my taste buds beg for more, haha! πŸ˜€ This is a MUST!!!

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Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice –Β I’m not a huge fan of crispy rice; not that I dislike it but it wouldn’t be something I would choose to eat. But, being the true foodie that I am, I had to try this (especially since EVERYTHING else has been nothing short of delicious). I enjoyed this but wouldn’t personally choose this again since there’s so many others that I prefer. For those that enjoy spicy tuna and crispy rice, I can almost guarantee that you will LOVE this! The crispy rice did complement the tuna very well!

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Wild Sea Bream –Β who doesn’t enjoy fried fish?? I can’t imagine it! I’ve been brought up on fried fish and always have room for such tasty protein πŸ˜€

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What’s the next best thing to fried fish?? DE-BONED fried fish, haha!! Obviously our servers are skilled at de-boning if it still looks pretty similar to the before picture :O

Truffle Uni Pasta –Β I am not usually a fan of restaurant pasta that’s not red (because it’s usually not flavorful, just oily :-/ )… BUT, THIS!!!! HOLY SCHMOLY!!!!! I don’t know if I’ve ever had a better non-red pasta EVER in my life… and if I have, I can’t even remember when that was O_o Mixed the uni in with the pasta so there could be love ALL over, haha! I know that I’ve mentioned that some dishes at COD are a must… but this one is THEE TOP MUST-HAVE once you sit down! So much so that you should just order this BEFORE anything else, even before drinks, even water!!! HAHA!! In all seriousness, though… don’t even just think about it… just order it… NOW!!!! Actually, if you haven’t had dinner today… GO. RIGHT. NOW!!!! I am not ashamed… my love for this dish runs deep, haha! I ❀ you, Truffle Uni Pasta! πŸ˜€ XOXO

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Slow Cooked Beef Cheek w/ Mushroom QuinoaΒ – so…. I don’t eat beef (haven’t since I was 7-years old). I didn’t taste this one but from ALL that did taste it (I’m the only one that didn’t), this was AMAZING!!! All I heard around the table were satisfying “mmmmm’s” – so much that I could hear it melt in their mouths, haha! I suppose this is equivalent to how I feel about the Truffle Uni Pasta πŸ˜€

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Chocolate Bread Pudding w/ homemade whipped cream –Β uhhh… WHA?? YES, PLEASE! I was a bit apprehensive about this only because chocolate is not a go-to for me (rare that I eat it, I know… uncommon… I’m reminded all the time o_O) and bread pudding can be a bit tricky since it usually ends up getting doused in so much sauce. Oh… but not this one, my friend. This dessert, just like ALL the dishes that came before it was nothing less than superb… yes, I just said superb. That’s gotta say something if I would never have ordered this dessert by my choosing.

And that’s it… time to work out, HAHAHAHA!!!

My longest blog post to date πŸ˜€ So grateful to have visited during the soft opening. Thank you to Marcus (owner of COD, Wokcano, and EMC) and Gogobot for having our group! And cannot end this without extending thank you’s to our servers and bartender… THANK YOU!!

Now, get off the internet and head over to COD NOW!!! ;P

Extras…

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ShopHouse Kitchen (Beverly Grove, Los Angeles, CA)

asian, healthy

Wish I had a better experience here. Seemed like a good concept. Unfortunately, the taste didn’t match the inviting concept–the food didn’t taste as good as the place looked :-/

Got their salad bowl w/ all the sauces and even added my own fixings… STILL tasted not good :-/ On top of that, my friend got their mango parfait dessert and that was a couple dollars down the trash–it didn’t have any flavor… What is going on here??

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I hope the other locations are better considering there are multiple locations o_O

On the upside, the staff are friendly and helpful!

With LA exploding w/ plenty of tasty eateries, I won’t be spending my hard earned money here again.

Pot on Fire (Chino, CA)

asian, noodles, soup

Went w/ a group of friends. Upon stepping in, it was obvious it’s a popular place even considering it’s still in its infancy. The shopping center it’s located in is pretty big so it felt like I was searching for a Pokemon 😜 (I don’t even play but have been in a group of hardcore players, I digress 😳 HAHA).
They have an extensive drink menu and they encourage you to customize to you liking (i.e. lessen or increase sweetener, add boba, etc). Customization is always nice πŸ™‚ I got a green tea with boba, unsweetened, thank you! 😁
We ordered some apps–fried chick filet, takoyaki, mini fried tofu, and popcorn chicken (my fave out of the 4). 


As for the main course, I got the Thai inspired hot pot–similar to tom yum soup in Thai cuisine. I’m used to having intense flavors so I asked for additional sauces to intensify the base πŸ˜„ My friend got their kimchi hot pot–HIGHLY RECOMMEND!! It wasn’t too spicy at all! Good for those who aren’t a fan of spicy flavors but enjoy kimchi πŸ‘ 


As a note, each hot pot can be shared by at least 2 ppl–even better! πŸ™ˆπŸ‘―

The PokΓ© Spot (Rowland Heights, CA)

Hawaiian, healthy, poke, seafood

Though this was a bit a way’s from my home, taking a bite out of the pokΓ© burrito made me forget about the distance! πŸ˜‚ I know it’s going to sounddramatic but there was an explosion of flavor and freshness simultaneously partying in my mouth, HAHA!! (Note: not sure if the burrito is on their menu yet.)

This place also have their own house sauce–DEFINITE MUST HAVE!! What’s cool w/ this joint versus others is that they have pre-marinated tuna and salmon in a sauce–delish. That’s another plus… Healthy choices of sauces to flavorize your pokΓ© to your desire!

Yes, it gets better! 

Duane (sp?), the owner, is AWESOME, friendly, personable, open to customers’ comments/suggestions (I would think this is commonplace, but it’s not), professional, and I can tell he’s a hustler (hardworking) 😁 With a demeanor/attitude like that for a boss, you know it’ll trickle down and we, the customers, will get awesome service along w/ our yummy food!! πŸ‘

Seriously, what more can you friggin’ ask for??? 😁

Oh… Dessert! Does it end?? Thankfully not! Hehe! πŸ˜† I guess it could also be a “snack” if you weren’t looking to eat a meal of PokΓ©–but that’d be ree-donk-culous! 😜

DO. NOT. LEAVE. THIS. PLACE. WITHOUT. TASTING. THE. ACAI. BOWL!! 

Did I make myself clear? πŸ˜‹
Acai bowl – not too sweet, just perfect! 

That’s it… I swear! Just go and you’ll be glad you did!! πŸ˜„

USA Donuts & Croissants (Panorama City, CA)

Breakfast, Dessert / Sweets

Dropped by in here because a friend was craving something sweet. 

Been to other USA Donuts but don’t recall them serving Hispanic related drinks (i.e. Chamango)… What??? 

I was too full from just have late lunch and couldn’t consume that big of a fruit drink at the time, but I am looking forward to going back for some Chamango!! 

Another awesome thing about this place is that it had a TV and it was set-up in a way where ppl could be there hanging out and catch a game while having their doughnuts and and juice 😜 Reminded me of a bar but instead of alcohol, it’s doughy goodness! πŸ˜‚

We ended up just getting a glazed twist and a couple donut holes… I know, nothing special but it satisfied the craving 😁🍩

On top of everything else, the Latin/Hispanic girl that helped us was SUPER friendly and nice!! What more can one ask for in excellent customer service?? THUMBS UP!! πŸ‘πŸ‘

Kobee Factory (Van Nuys, CA)

mediterranean

Unexpected pleasant surprise!

The BF and I were just looking to grab lunch after he got a hair trim. And, of course, I jumped on Yelp and started searching (having no idea what I was in the mood for). 
When I came across Kobee Factory on the list of nearby eateries, I noticed the high rating, low pricing, and yummy looking pics… So, unsurprisingly, I was now in the mood for Mediterranean/Middle Eastern/Syrian 😜


It’s pretty much a family owned biz. Cozy and clean (bonus for the latter!)! The place is situated in a more industrial area (think, auto repair and such). There’s parking in the very front but it’s kind of snug. Might be better parking on side streets–depending how good of a parker/driver you are πŸ€“
As for the food…

FALAFEL WRAP w/ salad & hummus


FALAFEL WRAP w/ salad & hummus – that’s my meal. It was good and became better after I added more hummus to it and topped w/ chili 😁 I could do without the salad. Hummus was creamy and tasty! 

SHAWARMA BEEF w/ fries & hummus – the BF’s dish. He enjoyed his wrap. Fries weren’t anything special–reminded me of the ones from the grocery store’s frozen section. Hummus was “simple” to him (hmm, not exactly sure what that means, haha). 


BAKLAVA – um… I’ve never seen them shaped like this 😳 Looks weird to me, haha! I know, it’s silly but it doesn’t make it look appetizing. If I were to go by presentation only, I wouldn’t have touched this. But for the sake of this review, I grabbed one… It was okay, not that sweet (which says something since I find most desserts to be too sweet for my taste). I’ve definitely had better–in taste and looks πŸ˜•

As for service… They were friendly and answered our questions w/o an attitude. Came to check on us once (which is fine). 

Btw, this is the kind of place where you order and pay beforehand and they bring the food out to you.
Took a bit longer than I would expect for a couple wraps but I’m assuming that’s due to them making the food as its ordered. Yes, I prefer fresh over speed πŸ™‚
Overall, check out this place for an economically priced meal that’s fresh!!! Can’t beat that combo!!! πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ˜

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