Bite by Bite

eating my way through life, one bite at a time...

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Restaurant Review : A-Won $$ ***6.5 out of 10***

A-Won is a Korean Japanese restaurant in Ktown that is popular with the lunch crowd.  This is the place to come when you’re craving “Hwe Dup Bap”.  ”HDB” consists of sashimi pieces on a bed of white rice which is then topped with a huge amount of lettuce and then smothered at your own discretion with “go-chu jang” (red chili paste).   A-Won serves this dish in a HUGE intimidating plastic bowel but don’t be too alarmed, it is consumable by one person.  I’ve tested it.

I also like their “al-bap” which translates to fish egg rice.  Their version of this dish consists of various fish roe with other goodies such as seaweed, tamago, pickled radish, sprouts and sesame oil (key ingredient being the sesame oil)…I always ask for extra.  

A-Won Japanese Restaurant
Categories: Korean Japanese Sushi
913 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Neighborhood: Koreatown
(213) 389-6764

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Shin Sen Gumi Yakitori (Japanese, Yakitori) Torrance $$ ***9 out of 10*** 

My favorite place for yakitori!  Shinsengumi is a small place that gets jam packed every night with happy patrons stuffing their faces with small pieces of skewered chicken parts. 

When you walk into the restaurant expect the entire staff to greet you loudly in Japanese.  Have a drink and the entire staff will cheers you.  Of course the same exclamations are extended when you leave.  It’s a fun lively atmosphere that seems to get louder and livelier every year. 

My absolute favorite thing to get is their chicken liver followed closely by their chicken skin and chicken cartilage.  Other must-tries are the chicken hearts, chicken gizzards, bacon-wrapped cherry tomatoes and chicken meatballs. 

You have the regular accompaniments to your yakitori like “Shichimi" and "sansho pepper" but their "yuzu Kosho" accompanied by a never-ending supply of roughly chopped fresh cabbage salad is what makes the Shinsengumi yakitori experience…well…better. 

What I also love about Shinsengumi is the fact that not only are their skewers spectacular; their cooked food is amazing as well.   From my experience, you can’t really go wrong with anything on the menu but personally, I love their crab cream croquette and the grilled Atka mackerel.  To end, I like to finish off the meal with some nice, warm, soupy Chazuke.

Shin Sen Gumi Yakitori
18517 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90247
Neighborhoods: Torrance, Harbor Gateway
(310) 715-1588
http://www.shinsengumigroup.com

Filed under yakitori shinsengumi Japanese food Japanese restaurant Torrance Shin Sen Gumi chicken liver skewers chicken skewers restaurant restaurant review

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Himalayan Cafe , Pasadena (Himalayan/Nepalese/Indian) $$ ***7 out of 10***

Himalayan café is definitely not a mind-blowing dining experience nor is it likely to give you an unforgettable perception-changing meal.  However, it is quite capable of giving you a satisfied tummy with its decent portions, tasty food, and great service in a clean and bright environment for a fair price.  Located in Old Town Pasadena, it’ an easy stop-in if you’re looking for something Himalayan/Nepalese/Indian with a lot of spices and flavor.  Their chicken mo-mo seems to be their most popular dish.  It’s a classic Asian-style chicken dumpling that comes with a tasty dipping sauce.

Their lunch buffet is a fair deal too. If you’re not familiar with the food, it’s a good way to try a few different things without committing to an entire dish.  It’s basically standard Indian fare consisting of Naan, a couple of curries, some salad, Tandoori Chicken and a little something sweet for dessert all for $9.99/person everyday from 11:30AM to 2:30PM.

Himalayan Cafe
36 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
Neighborhood: Old-Town Pasadena
(626) 564-1560
http://www.himalayancafe.net

Filed under Himalayan Nepalese Indian Indian food lunch buffet Pasadena Old Town Pasadena Basmati Himalayan Cafe restaurant review chicken mo-mo naan garlic naan poppadom chutney yeti beer

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Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar  @ LA Live (Steakhouse) $$$ ***4 out of 10***

Flemings at LA Live is the worst Flemings location that I’ve been to.  The service and décor is just fine but the food has disappointed me on every occasion that I’ve been there!

The bread and the bread spread = mediocre.  The shrimp cocktail = terribly disappointing in taste and presentation; 3 small, pathetic, tasteless shrimp for $15.95!  The oysters = pretty decent but absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.   The sautéed mushrooms = a bit too salty but it was okay.

My bone-in filet “seared black and blue” came out blackened but cooked to a hard medium-well!  Of course I had to send it back.  The second round came back to me raw and cold in the middle with a bit of warmth on the outside.   I ate it anyway.   

The cheesecake for dessert was just as disappointing as the rest of the meal.

If it weren’t for the convenient location in DTLA, walking distance from my house, I would have absolutely no reason to step foot into this place.   Absolutely none!


Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
800 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Neighborhood: Downtown
(213) 745-9911
http://www.flemingssteakhouse.com

Filed under LA Live Staples Center DTLA downtown LA Downtown Los Angeles steak steakhouse bone-in filet wine bar restaurant review

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Maison Akira is having a pre-set course menu as a farewell tribute for our beloved Foie Gras!!!  As most of you know the ban on Foie Gras goes into effect starting July 1st 2012…less than 2 weeks from now!  So kiss the delectable livers good-bye and have a toast to the health of the ducks.  Your livers will be sorely missed. 

Maison Akira

Categories: FrenchJapanese 
713 E Green St
PasadenaCA 91101
Neighborhood: Pasadena
(626) 796-9501

Filed under foie gras duck duck liver california foie gras ban ban on foie gras July 1st Maison Akira

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Beckham Grill  (English Pub, Steak, Seafood) *6.5 out of 10* $$

Old School English Dining in Pasadena with big portions and reasonable prices.  Located just north of Oldtown, Beckham Grill is comfy and away from all the commotion.   The décor is very charming.  In the front of the restaurant sits an antique red phone booth and a restored old car nestled within the flowerbeds.  Inside, you’re encompassed by heavy dark wood and dim mood lighting.   And I can’t forget to mention the personalized metal charger plates with the Beckham logo engraved upon them! 

My friend and I shared everything.  We had the very mediocre Shrimp Cocktail to start, and then we had the Crab Cobb Salad which was a total disappointment.  The crab was not fresh and the salad was so over-dressed that it was soggy.  Thank goodness the cheese-bread was good. 

Our main course was the Crown Cut Prime Rib that came with creamed spinach, creamed corn, and Yorkshire pudding.  The prime rib was a bit dry, the creamed corn was a little too runny and sweet and the Yorkshire pudding is not something I am a fan of.  But the creamed spinach was really tasty, the au jus was spot on, and the fresh and creamed horseradish was excellent!  All in all, I must say that I did enjoy my dining experience comforted by the ambiance of good ‘ole English charm while sitting in a comfy armchair.   

And of course we finished off the meal with some warm raisin bread pudding with a they-don’t-mess-around whiskey sauce.

Beckham Grill Restaurant
77 W Walnut St
Pasadena, CA 91103
Neighborhood: Pasadena
(626) 796-3399
http://www.BeckhamGrill.com

Filed under Beckham grill Pasadena Old town pasadena prime rib English food English pub restaurant review creamed corn

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The Supper Club, Hollywood (Dinner & Show, Club, Bar) *7.5 out of 10* $$$

The Supper Club has a lot going on.  What makes this place stand out is that not only is it a trendy Hollywood club, it is also a great place to have dinner while watching a freak show that they put on for your viewing pleasure.   

Personally, I prefer the dinner +show while lounging on their white sofa bed option versus the club option.   The 4 course meal is quite good; their lamb was amazing and I am VERY picky about my lamb.   The show is edgy, definitely adult rated, but in no way does the talent even come close to Circque du Soleil caliber so keep your expectations low, and you’ll probably enjoy it.  In my opinion, it’s worth checking out.  

Of course the quality of the club depends on the night and the DJ.   It’s usually okay, but it’s not my favorite spot.

Premiere Supper Club
1710 N Las Palmas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Neighborhood: Hollywood
(323) 978-0730
http://www.premieresupperclub.com

Filed under the Supper Club Hollywood club dinner and show

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Restaurant Review : Wonderland Custom Cakes (Bakery, Dessert, Cupcakes) $$ *9 out of 10*

Decadent, moist, delicious, jam packed with taste…  Winner of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network, Wonderland Cupcakes deserves a visit.

They’re little handfuls of sweet goodness for $3.25 each.  Try the salted caramel, you won’t be disappointed.

Wonderland Custom Cakes
107 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
Neighborhood: Pasadena
(626) 486-9977
http://www.wonderlandcustomcakes.com/

Filed under Bakery dessert Pasadena Old Town Pasadena cupcakes restaurant review Food Network Cupcake wars Wonderland Cupcake Wonderland red velvet salted caramel black and white

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Restaurant Review : 8th St Live Fish Cuisine (Korean Sashimi) $$ *7 out of 10* 

When I want Korean sashimi, I come here.  It’s small, homey, and the owner is super friendly and often greets his customers at the tables.  It’s reasonably priced, the fish is fresh, and the cooked food is quite decent.

Like all Korean sashimi places, ordering is easy.  Small is $69.99, Medium is $89.99, Large is $119.99, and Special Large is $149.99.  You pick according to the size of your party and on your hunger level and they will take care of the rest.   If you’re not sure, ask your server.  They will steer you the right way.  For every combo, you get a choice of halibut sashimi (Koreans love halibut) or combo sashimi (I chose combo to break the monotony) along with a spicy fish stew.   Then they will give you loads of side dishes which vary depending on the day…grilled mackerel, onion pancake, steamed egg, mussel soup, and some “banchan" to name a few.  You will also get some extra sashimi that is only common in Korean places…sea squirt, baby octopus, and raw sea worms!  Uni (sea urchin) and live abalone are always a welcome treat. 

Hungry yet?

8th Street Live Fish Cuisine
3100 W 8th St #103
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Neighborhood: Koreatown
(213) 480-8585

Filed under live seafood Korean food Korean sashimi live fish banchan halibut sashimi sashimi spicy fish stew koreatown restaurant review