Mon Ramen (Woodland Hills, CA)

japanese, noodles, ramen, sushi

Hmm… I was hoping for at least a minimum from interior and food 😔

Went on a warm day and upon stepping in, it was already stuffy due to the cooking–needs better ventilation. And it’s kind of plain and blah inside. Missing decor to personalize the place 😑 More effort would be good.


As for the food, got their Spicy Tan Tan Men combo’ed w/ Spicy Tuna Roll. The BF got the Miso Chashu Ramen. 

Spicy Tuna Roll – um, they weren’t shaped as rolls; think they might have been training somebody or were having technical difficulties…? Had a couple friends who mentioned they could’ve done a better job at home (not pro chefs). And a few gave those glances as to say “Huh?? Hmm… Okay, then…” 😐


Spicy Tan Tan Men – the broth was not as thick as I prefer but that’s my own preference. Broth flavoring could be more flavorful. Had to add soy sauce to it. The presentation wasn’t that nice, unfortunately 😕


Miso Chashu Ramen – the BF said it was good. It had more flavor than the Tan Tan Men but looked less appetizing than my ramen 😳

Overall, I won’t be coming back here anytime soon (if at all). I always hope for tasty dishes w/ nice interior decor (adds to the experience); and this place did not match either criteria 😞 With the availability of other ramen houses that are more pleasant to sit in, and where the dishes are enjoyable and tasty; this place isn’t worth the price–prices are in the same range as the better ones. 

Advertisements

Sushi Planet (Woodland Hills/Calabasas, CA)

sushi

  
Oh, boy… 

This was such a big disappointment 😔

I saw this place advertising on FB, promoting their happy hour 😒 Got there and learned real quick their HH is (to put it kindly) uninteresting. 

  
Immediately, food items on the HH menu were “eh.” I figured, at least I might get a decent drink, one of their sake martinis… My hope was short-lived–they were out of ALL the flavors! Really?? 😑 Server, then, recommended a whole bottle of sake… Um, I just wanted 1 drink 😳 On top of that, he stood there… Waiting… Till Eli decided on beer and me on plain ol’ water. 

  
At this point, I’m just looking for something even just ‘okay.’ Got it with the gyoza! Yes! Score!! Mind you, it was typical–nothing to ‘ooh’ or ‘ahh’ about, just glad to get something that wasn’t a let-down. I think I even have the same ones at home, that I bought from Trader Joe’s. 

  

Baked Salmon Roll… I don’t even know what to say anymore… Small, nothing like the menu picture, and not that tasty… At this point, I really wished we had picked some place else to go. But (!) still had an inkling of hope left that the other roll we ordered would make-up for this one! 

  
And… It just got worse 😫😖😤 This Tropicana Roll costed $13!!! Can’t really tell from the picture here; but it was tiny, falling apart, and was limp (if that makes sense).

Keep in mind that this is obviously MY opinion and is because I’ve experienced much better sushi at the same price point. If I’ve never had good sushi before, this might have been okay; but I would’ve grown up and learned real soon considering there’s a plethora of sushi joints. 

When the bill came…

  
We were no longer disheartened by the experience, we were now frustrated-though the whole bill wasn’t that much, it is too much for what we received in terms of quality! 

We will definitely not be returning! These are one of the few experiences that makes me hesitate to try new places; but, in the end, at least we can appreciate more of the other awesome places we’ve been. 

PS… We should’ve been suspicious when I heard most of the staff speaking Thai 😕 

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!

It’s Boba Time Cafe (Canoga Park, CA)

Cafe

It’s Boba Time Cafe is located in the Westfield Topanga Mall–I’ve passed it numerous times since they opened (less than a year, if I’m not mistaken) and have always wanted to go in. The interior set-up and color scheme is inviting! (Their designer/decorator accomplished the job!)

Lately, I haven’t been having much boba drinks even though I love it–last few times weren’t all that great and I suppose that just kind of turned me off… until now!

This place is DELISH!!!!

I was so excited to taste it, and then after tasting the awesomeness of it, I forgot to take a picture before I inhaled it, haha!

MY VANILLA SHAKE W/ BOBA (EMPTY) :/

Vanilla Shake with Boba (Empty)

Lately, I’ve been on this kick with shakes… mmm… the creaminess sweetness. Now, having boba added to it… pffffft(!!), no friggin brainer! I saw on their menu that they also offer kale smoothies, got to try that next visit! Hopefully it’s as good, if not better, than the shake I had today. On top of getting a healthier smoothie, I can get boba added to it?? That will be my go-to drink! I’ll even drive out of my way (slightly, haha) and search for parking JUST to get that! 

I realized something right now… I’m publicly fantasizing about a green smoothie with boba, hahaha! 

As I was trying to say… yes, the vanilla shake boba is a must! Made with real ice cream! Not that “healthy” junk 😛

ELI’S CHOICE OF BEVERAGE, TARO SLUSH W/ BOBA…

Taro Slush with Boba

As you can see, I was close to taking another empty cup pic, haha. 

Rating from Eli–“it’s okay.” He still prefers another boba place we go to in Van Nuys (review will be coming soon). Even though his drink was smooth–no chunky ice pieces–and started off tasty; half-way through, the taste got bland. Um… that’s not cool and kind of sucks :/ That’s too bad. It looked like it was good. I guess that’s why it took him as long as it did for him to finish… I was wondering about that while we were there. But I just thought it was because he was playing with his new Samsung Note 4…

Eli Playing with His New Samsung Note 4

Adults and our toys 🙂

CONCLUSION

I’ll definitely be going back to try other flavors (kale smoothie!!) and avoiding the taro slush. Will also see how their taro milk tea tastes–I’m assuming it’ll be good… based off of my vanilla shake experience, even though the two are completely unrelated to one another, haha.

Subscribe to Crystal & Eli Eats by Email

Zanos Pizza Kitchen (Woodland Hills, CA)

Italian

Zanos is a locally owned eatery that we’ve already visited a good number of times… enough for the owner (sweet lady whom I forgot her name) to deem us as one of her “regulars” and we kind of have a “usual table”… yeah, we’re cool like that 😛

We visited last week and got…

MY DISH…

Greek Salad

I’ve gained a slight amount of fat over the holidays and have made a conscious effort to eat healthier and in human size proportions, haha. I love salad, but ONLY when it’s chopped and tossed. I dislike salads that are just piled with various ingredients and I’m supposed to mix it on the same dish/bowl that I’m to eat out of? No, thanks… I can always foresee a mess and parts of my lunch/dinner on the table. 

I digress.

As soon as I took my first bite of this salad, two thoughts came to mind–first, I instantly recalled how I had one of their salads once before and wondered why I haven’t ordered another salad since; and second, this salad is practically perfect (if there were such a thing). A very good balance of romaine, feta, some kind of bean (haha, red, I think), onions, olives, and Balsamic dressing… oh, and the requested peperonicinis 😀 I LOVE me some peperonicinis, I can eat those out of the jar! 

ELI’S DISH…

Pepperoni Pizza

Okay, so, this one is pretty self-explanatory 🙂 One of America’s household food staples, pepperoni pizza! 

Eli’s report on it–he thinks it’s just okay. He says he’s had better; not a fan of the crust. This is thee only place I’ve seen him NOT finish the crust–very unusual… pizza is one of his top three food choices. 

I, on the other hand, really enjoyed this pizza… more than 95% of others I have tasted… enough to think that I don’t like pizza. After having a slice of this (minus the pepperoni, I don’t eat beef), I’m thinking that I DO like pizza, just haven’t had much of the good ones… apparently. What did it for me was that it wasn’t bland–there was flavor other than just tomato sauce and throwing cheese on there. And yes, it does taste as good as that picture depicts!

CONCLUSION

Zanos is a no-brainer for us! Definitely a place we’ll go over and over again! Not only is the food good, but the service is phenomenally friendly and warm–and not that fake kind. Sometimes, it feels like we’ve been transported to a locally-owned eatery in a quaint, neighborly town where everybody knows one another–the likes of the Andy Griffith Show.

If you enjoy our little outings around Los Angeles, please comment and subscribe! 🙂

Subscribe to Crystal & Eli Eats by Email

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! 😀

Subscribe to Crystal & Eli Eats by Email

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

Uncategorized

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

IMG_0580_Fotor

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

IMG_0581_Fotor

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.

 

IMG_0583_Fotor

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…

Image

 

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…

Image

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… 

Image

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!!

Image

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!!