Emporium Thai (Westwood/Los Angeles, CA)

asian, Thai

This is a cozy and well-decorated restaurant–felt so classy 😏 Would be perfect to celebrate a promotion, b-day, or the like. Definitely a good date spot! πŸ˜›
What’s also nice are their drinks–they have the typical young coconut and that nature but they also serve adult drinks 🍸🍷 At our table, we had the mango and the Thai Basil drinks… tasty–not too strong, not too sweet 😊

I was fortunate to have been able to sample multiple dishes since I was part of a group–I love those types of dinners… I’m not limited to just one or two dishes, hehe!
One of my fave Thai dishes is the grilled pork slices that come served w/ a spicy dipping sauce 🀀!! That was delish, as I expected! 😍

We had two types of curries, both yellow… one was chicken and the other was tofu. I’m not too much of a fan of yellow curry (I’m a red curry lover), but they were both tasty nonetheless. 

A staple for whenever we go Thai is Pad See Ew 🀀… I’m a noodle lover and my daughter enjoys it even though she can be suspicious of foods outside her comfort box, haha! If you like stir-fried noodle dishes, get this! And if you’re into even more spiciness and enjoy salty, ask for the fish sauce w/ Thai chilis… that definitely completes each bite for me! ❀️🌢

I’m a veggie lover as I am a gym and fitness lover. So, it was great to have a stir-fried veggie dish–tasty veggies??? BRING IT ON!!! There’s not too much I can say about the mixed veggie dish since it’s pretty basic but it was tasty and healthy–can’t beat that! 

Something that I wasn’t expecting to be as FANTASTIC as it was… the 2 desserts we tried!!!! HOLY MOLY!!! 
Though I love me some Thai food, this meal ended AMAZINGLY!!! 
We had the common mango and sticky rice dessert. Don’t know if maybe it’s because I haven’t had it in a while, or it was just w/ love (hehe) but the coconut sauce and the ripeness of the mango and the texture of the sticky rice was in perfect unison!!! I’m drooling right now just thinking of it!! Oh! And I can’t believe I almost left this part out–the sticky rice came in the shape of a heart! I was hesitant to be the one to ruin the heart 😐

Then, there was the Thai Donuts (not sure if that’s the actual listed name on the menu). They looked like donut holes and they came with a dipping sauce (as I wipe my drool haha). I wanted to eat ALL of them but having to be under control, I had 2 (enter sad face). Maybe one of these days I can eat nothing and just eat 10 of those, haha!! 

Finally, there’s the service. As we all know, food can be amazing and delish like no other, but if the service lacks, continuing visits is highly unlikely. 
That is DEFINITELY not the case with this place! We got to meet John, one of the owners… so gracious, friendly, humble, hospitable, and not to mention, handsome 😏😝 (coming from Crystal haha!)… it’s no wonder his staff is! (If you’re reading this, John… Hi! πŸ‘‹ hehe!)
So, all in all, yes, this place is a must visit! πŸ‘πŸ‘

Daglas Drive-in (Winnetka, CA)

American, burger, Fast Food

Been on a fries 🍟 kick lately. And I’m lovin’ it 😝 I don’t do fast-food chain fries though–those scare me 😳

While out at Trader Joe’s the other night, already was set on stopping by Jerry’s Deli for some fries before home; turns out they closed the particular location I had in mind πŸ˜” Heard they shut down after having been there for 40 something years 😧 Goes to show, always have to stay current and competitive. 

Anyhow…

Now that I was set on fries, I needed to find a place in a jiffy! 

When I saw the fry pics from Daglas, it wasn’t a question! 


Added bonus… it wasn’t far from where we were at, YAY!! 

Other than curly and shoestring fries, seasoned fries are my go-to! This was just meant to be! 

I’m glad to say that it was exactly how I hoped it would be–crispy, perfectly seasoned, and delish! LOVE it when food turns out as good as I hoped/imagined or better! 😍

Only thing I would change about it would be the packaging–it came in a paper bag inside of a plastic bag. With it being fresh out of the fryer and steaming, it’d be best if it was in a more flat container to let the steam release so that it wouldn’t get soggy by the time I get home to devour it πŸ˜‹ 

Lastly, the eatery itself is a bit outdated but as long as it’s clean, I’m cool with it. They’re probably able to maintain such an inexpensive menu because they don’t have to pay for the cost of renovation/updating. 

It’s a typical hamburger stand but also have salads and wraps, but mainly burgers. Will definitely go back to try their burgers… w/ a side of fries, of course! πŸ˜‰

If you’re in that area, get your butt over there and grab some grub and TASTY fries!!

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˜‹

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!

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˜„

Firehouse Restaurant (Tarzana, CA)

greek


I can’t believe how long it’s taken us to eat here after driving by it so many times!!πŸ˜‘ All this time, we’ve been missing out!! 😫 Oh, well, better late than never! 😊


The interior is suiting and adds to the experience. I love how the chairs and tables are of quality… They’re heavy and sturdy! πŸ‘ I don’t come across that much these days–most tables and chairs all look the same and/or came from Ikea (nothing wrong w/ that, just nice to see something different ☺️). 

What we ordered: hummus w/ pita, fish gyro, Greek salad, and traditional gyro plate. 

All was delish! You won’t be disappointed! 


Hummus & Pita – I wish I could get this kind of hummus and pita at Trader Joe’s, but it’s never the same. Guess we’ll just have to come back sooner rather than later 😜


Fish Gyro (Sandwich) – my dish… All I can say is “YUM!” It’s probably not the first type of gyro ppl would normally order but it caught my eye. Actually, I didn’t know it was going to be battered fish–I was hesitant when server dropped it off since I don’t usually come across good battered fish. Glad this did not disappoint! The batter was pretty good, so good that I wanted to eat the batter and not picking out the fish 😜 The tahini sauce was tasty, too! I always thought I didn’t like tahini sauce but I think it’s just because I haven’t had good tahini πŸ˜πŸ‘


Greek Salad – Eli’s plate included their salad… Pretty typical. I forgot to ask for peperoncini beforehand. 


Traditional Gyro Plate (mix of beef and lamb) – Eli truly enjoyed his food! Even though it’s just fries, he mentioned how good the fries were (that doesn’t usually happen). Of course, the pita was delish! 😁 Eli liked the meats but said the lamb was a bit fatty. 

Service: server was professional and efficient, just not necessarily friendly–just straight to the point and done! Lol! I’d take this over bad service any day. 

Overall, if you couldn’t already tell, we’re definitely going back!! Writing about it now makes me want to go get some hummus! πŸ˜‹