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 😛

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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 as anybody says jalapeno or anything of the like, it’s an immediate “I’ll take one of those, please!” 😀 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 😛

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 😀

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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 😀

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Sidney, the great bartender, in action 🙂

Onto the food…

Oh… where to begin…

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Japanese Mackerel Sashimi – 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) – 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…? 😛 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 – 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 😀

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Oysters – Pretty obvious what these are, haha… but just in case 😛 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 Salad – 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 Toast – 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! 😀 This is a MUST!!!

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Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice – 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 – 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 😀

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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 – 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! 😀 XOXO

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Slow Cooked Beef Cheek w/ Mushroom Quinoa – 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 😀

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Chocolate Bread Pudding w/ homemade whipped cream – 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 😀 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.

Anejo Cantina & Grill (Sherman Oaks, CA)

happy hour, Mexican

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If one is familiar with the Sherman Oaks area on Ventura, you might have seen this place. Though we don’t live in the area, we drive by this area numerous times and have never seen this place! It’s only been open since October 2015–in all this time, I would think I would have at least noticed it! Maybe because it’s on the 2nd floor of the shopping center? Who knows… oh, well…

Walking up the steps to this place, I was excited. To the left of the entrance is an outdoor patio seating area–looked chill/relaxing. I now had high hopes.

Went to meet some people for happy hour–gotta love that! 😀 When we stepped inside, decor wasn’t disappointing at all! Ambiance was classy and casual. Service was attentive–maybe a little too attentive, haha–food runners and couple servers tried to take my partially eaten tostada away thinking that I might have been done.

As mentioned, we had a tostada, but I forgot to take a pic of it :*( Eli and I had shared the tostada since we weren’t too hungry and didn’t want to go overboard on the eating since we have the tendency to clear our plates (even though we may be full 1/2 way through the dish) 0_O The dish was okay, nothing special or out of the norm from a tostada anywhere else. The price was great though since it was on the happy hour menu. I added a bunch of their salsa and mixed it all up–made it a bit more tasty.

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As with most happy hours, can’t go to one w/ one ordering an alcoholic bev ;P Considering they were only $3 or $4, it wasn’t too bad. We both had 2. The non-happy hour pricing wouldn’t be worth it to us. Found out from our lovely server (from England) that the HH margaritas are pre-made. So, don’t know if it would have tasted any different if it were individually made. One of the people from our table did end up ordering a margarita after HH ended–it looked the same :/

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Before the first bite, I wasn’t expecting the salsa to be that good… and I don’t know why, but with most Mexican places we’re visiting lately, I don’t have much expectation for their salsas 😦 This one tasted better than I thought–only because it was more of a chipotle type of salsa, I’m not too fond of chipotle in salsa. It was definitely good enough for me to pig out on, though–chips and salsa, one of my weaknesses o_O

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We didn’t have this sangria, another person in our party did. I didn’t taste it, the person who ordered it said it tasted okay. The presentation is okay–flower makes it look like they wanted to add something but didn’t really know what, haha!

CONCLUSION – We’d definitely come back here for happy hour and try other items on the menu–I was eyeing the ceviche 😀 Probably wouldn’t order the margarita again. And most likely wouldn’t come here unless it was for happy hour (going by our HH experience). It’s definitely a place to check out but don’t expect anything too phenomenal.

Asha Indian Restaurant (Tarzana, CA)

Indian

For many, many years, I thought that I just didn’t like Indian food. But as it turns out, I’ve just had bad Indian food in the past :/ Fortunately, a friend was very adamant on us eating Indian since he had recently discovered it himself while on a recent trip to Northern California.

I wasn’t expecting it to be much and even thought that I was going to waste a meal–I take meals/eating very seriously and can get annoyed by bad-tasting food since my eating is mainly based off of Intermittent Fasting practices, so my meals are limited.

(Before I go any further, I’d like to mention that this post/review is not on the restaurant that my friend and I went to; but one that Eli and I went to a week later.)

We were at home, so, as usual, I pulled up the Yelp app and searched. We decided on Asha Indian Restaurant in Tarzana, CA, since it has a decent amount of reviews and the overall rating is almost five stars.

WHAT WE ORDERED

Garlic Naan

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to have an Indian meal without any garlic naan! It’s like getting garlic bread at an Italian restaurant–it is a MUST and a necessity! Haha! 

Vegetable Curry, Lamb Coconut, Brown Rice

From my experiences as of late, the Indian dishes I’ve been ordering aren’t that appetizing to the eyes, but, fear not, they are yummy to the tummy 😛 But with that being said, Asha’s Vegetable Curry and Lamb Coconut was on the lower to lower-mid end of the “Just Okay” scale.

There wasn’t anything special to the vegetable curry and the lamb coconut wasn’t much different from the curry–they were both just “eh.” The restaurant’s interior setting is on the nicer side compared to the other Indian restaurants we’ve been to, but that doesn’t amount to anything significant if the food isn’t that great nor is the service that awesome. 

Speaking of service… (sigh)… where do I begin? 

The service wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t pleasant either–think of awkward and a bit uncomfortable. There was the server, who took our order–middle-aged man, fuller frame–who gave off the impression that he’d definitely rather be doing something else but trying to mask his dissatisfaction by insincere gestures and words. Then, there was the food runner/bus person–younger looking man–who kept on walking up and down the aisle where we were seated and scoping out our table. It wasn’t the typical “Let me see if they need water” type checking up–it was as if the more he walked by, he hoped that we would have something for him to do. Basically, it was like having a third person at our table, but not really. O_o

CONCLUSION

We will not be returning to Asha Indian Restaurant any time in the near future. Goes to show that just because a restaurant has great reviews, it doesn’t always guarantee a positive experience. Oh, well… onto the next!

Lemongrass Thai-Halal Restaurant (Canoga Park, CA)

Thai

This was an unexpected trip to this little Mom and Pop type of eatery. We had originally planned on a different Thai restaurant just around the corner from Lemongrass, but they were closed (for New Year’s, I’m guessing).

And how did we find this little quaint place? Duh… Yelp, of course! 🙂

As usual, I just scanned through the images and it looked decent. So, we made our way over.

What’s neat about Lemongrass is that they not only serve Lunch Specials but they have Dinner Specials, too! And I am totally a sucker for Specials of all sorts! 🙂 Naturally, Eli and I both ordered from that menu–which consisted of the typical Thai Specials dishes (ie curry, pad thai, pad prik king, etc).

Neither of us were that hungry and wanted something light–Specials in this type of environment are usually smaller in portion, so it was practically screaming our names, haha!

As with all Specials (I’ve used this word too many types in a short amount of time, not cool), our dishes came with soup, rice, and an egg roll.

The pre-main course soup…

Dinner Special Soup

Pretty basic–some cabbage, carrots, and… that’s all, haha! Even though it was pretty plain, it tasted decent since the broth was just right (not too salty and not too bland). And thank goodness for that because we had just come in from the chilly weather and I was really looking forward to having me some soup to warm up my insides 🙂

My entree…

Chicken Red Curry

As usual, I asked for it to be made extra spicy but rarely does it ever come out that way… this is where the chilis in fish sauce comes in! 🙂 The curry itself was a tad on the blander side and a bit sweeter than I prefer; so, overall, it was just okay for me. But (!!) the portion was perfect! Both our dishes came with egg rolls… I’ve had better, slightly mushy on the inside.

Eli’s din-din…

Beef Pad Gra Pow

Since I don’t consume beef, I didn’t try the meat, just had some of the dressings that it was stir-fried with–I liked the combination of flavoring… much better than I had expected, especially after having my dish. Eli reports that it was good except it was spicy for him (in case you don’t already know, spicy is no bueno for him)–he still ate about 85% of it, though. He left some of the dressing behind and that’s where I had a taste and decided to eat the remainder since it was so flavorful, hehe!

CONCLUSION

I’d definitely go back again! Prices are a little lower than the average and the food is good and enjoyable. Plus, I like how the portions are smaller because I have a bad habit of eating everything on my plate. So, in this circumstance, I can clear my plate and not feel guilty or too full afterward! 😀

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Little Siam Restaurant (West Hills, CA)

Thai

Eli and I first started going to Little Siam about a year ago. And now that we live way closer, we’ve been going just a tad more often. For some reason, unknown to me exactly, Eli really likes that place. To me, it’s another typical average Thai restaurant–granted, it does have a nicer atmosphere than some “hole-in-the-wall.” It feels pretty welcoming and homey, actually. So, maybe it’s for that reason that Eli enjoys going there 🙂

I do have to say that this Pad Thai was pretty yummy–not overly sweet, with the perfect combination of sweet and savory… mmm… thinking about it now is making my mouth water, haha! So, yes, I would highly recommend this dish when you go–it is definitely a must-have!

This one… WOW! This was so DELISH!!! I love grilled pork (as I’m sure 75% of the people do!), BUT (!!) what I love even more than just this grilled pork is having this grilled pork with the spicy lime sauce that it comes with!!! **Excuse me as I wipe up my drool** This sauce definitely COMPLETES this dish in the Jerry Maguire kind of way! If you’ve never been to this place, let this be one of your first dishes, please! And then let me know how much you love it ;P

At the close of our meal, we got fortune cookies… to me, it’s kind of odd since it’s a Thai restaurant, not Chinese. But I can understand them doing so since it’s such an “Asian” thing to do… even though Chinese and Thailand are completely different. Either way, I’m good with it… I get a little bit of sweetness at the end of a savory meal–that’s how my brain knows it’s the end of a meal.

I have to say, this fortune knows me pretty well, HAHA!! :p

Anywho… please do check out this restaurant because not only is it a comfy atmosphere and the food is pretty good, but the service is terrific! 🙂 Let me know what you think 🙂

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

Uncategorized

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!!