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.

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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!

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.

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Mambo’s Cafe (Glendale, CA)

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

What we ordered…


Doesn’t it look so YUMMY????

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lastly… DESSERT!!

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

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

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