Stick Around for the Bakery, Skip the Dining Room at King’s Hawaiian
By Bianca Avelino, Contributing Writer
King's Hawaiian rolls are frequently seen at the grocery store, picnics, and barbecues. Lucky residents of the South Bay area will be pleased to know that in addition to finding these sweet rolls in the usual places, there is also a full bakery and restaurant in Torrance.
Upon arrival, the first sight the guest sees are palm trees and architecture reminiscent of Hawaii. Several patrons exit the restaurant with cake boxes in hand. Several more enter the building and peruse the bakery. With rows of cakes, pies, tarts, chocolate, to name a few. Of course it wouldn't be King's Hawaiian bakery without their signature Hawaiian rolls, where an ample supply was available. It is no surprise to see patrons rushing in and out of the bakery. There is clearly something for everyone.
The host stand is to the left of the bakery. The diner is greeted and seated promptly. It is noon on a weekday and the restaurant is almost to its capacity. The dining area is bright with a tropical feel. The green color scheme, the foliage and the many windows helped with the ambiance.
The server stopped by moments later. Drink orders were taken and some menu suggestions were made. The server returned with drinks and a basket of Hawaiian bread to the delight of the guest. The rolls were moist and sweet. The butter melted right away as the rolls were fairly warm.
The menu consisted of typical Hawaiian fare such as lomi salmon, kalua pork, loco moco, plus some lesser known Hawaiian dishes of noodles,curries, and fried rice. There were plenty of combination platters available for guests who could not decide on just one dish.
The mixed plate with kalua pork and chicken katsu did not take too long for the food to arrive. The pork and chicken were served alongside a scoop of rice and macaroni salad. The presentation was great, the portion size was just right. Unfortunately, the entree itself could have been better. The chicken was somewhat dry, and the pork was a bit on the salty side. The server had come by once to refill drinks. Confusion started once the meal was through.
Requesting dessert turned out to be more complicated than it needed to be. The server informed the diner to go to the bakery and select the desserts, but the table would still be there. After proceeding to the bakery and ordering desserts, the cashier informed the diner that they need to order through the server. Clearly there was lack of communication as the server stated the exact opposite. Finally after settling the bill with the bakery cashier, the diner headed back to the restaurant with dessert in hand.
Contrary to what the server stated, the table had been completely cleared. Drinks had to be reordered, utensils had to be requested once again.
The dessert, a kiwi strawberry cake, was great. The cake was light and moist and the fruits were fresh and delicious. It was a good ending to disorganized service. More trips to the bakery alone may be needed. The dining experience would be skipped on a future trip as the server was nowhere to be found for most of the dining service, including needing to be flagged down at the time of payment. The meal was also sub-par.
King's Hawaiian is located at 2808 Sepulveda Blvd Torrance, CA 90505. It has its own parking lot which fills up quickly during lunch hour. The attire is casual and the average price per entree is $10.
About the Author
Bianca is a Florida State University graduate with a strong passion for writing and a love of food. She hopes to be a successful food critic one day.
La Sirena Grill & Cantina- Fresh Mex
By Bianca Avelino, Contributing Writer
Situated in the fairly new shopping plaza, The Edge in El Segundo is La Sirena Grill & Cantina offering Mexican cuisine. What sets this establishment apart from many other Mexican eateries is its use of local, organic, and fresh ingredients. All menu items are made from scratch for your order. Food sitting under a heat lamp all day does not occur here.
When walking into the dining area, one notices the dark color scheme along with the wooden tables and chairs, which give off an aura of an authentic Tex-Mex restaurant. Immediately upon being seated at one of the grand tables, one is presented with the ever present tortilla chips and slightly spicy salsa verde. The chips are warm, fresh and crispy; the salsa is a perfect accompaniment.
The lunch menu consists of salads, tacos, fajitas, burritos, and enchiladas. The meals come with choices of chicken, beef, grilled vegetables, and on certain menu items carnitas, carne asada, and blackened tuna or salmon. Printed on each section of the menu are the words organic and grass fed. Entrée items are accompanied by organic rice and beans. Clearly, La Sirena is keen on emphasizing what sets them apart from the rest of the pack.
Also noted is La Sirena’s drink menu with its extensive list of tequilas and beers. Weekly events, such as happy hour, tequila tastings, community appreciation night, pitcher night, and weekend brunch are advertised. This establishment is clearly all about taking it easy and enjoying life.
Bussers take drink orders and quickly return with the requested beverage. The server, undistinguishable from the bussers, appeared several minutes afterwards and quickly mentioned that there are mole enchiladas available and vanishes as quickly as he appeared. Upon one final review of the menu, the server’s suggestion of mole enchiladas appeared to be satisfying to any palette and the meal was ordered.
The entrée arrives shortly after ordering and is presented by a busser who does not warn about the plate’s hot temperature nor does he ask if anything else is needed. The enchiladas, drenched in the sweet black mole sauce consisting of peppers and spices, taste fresh. The tortillas encasing the meat are warm and fall apart easily. The chicken is moist and savory. The accompaniments of rice and beans are equally as impressive as their main course counterpart. Dryness and blandness are nowhere to be found on the plate.
The server makes one visit to the table to ensure that the meal has met expectations. Not only are expectations met, but slightly exceeded. The bussers make several more trips to the table, refilling drinks as needed and clearing the plate away once the meal is through. The server drops off the check and returns to settle it promptly.
Despite the food being fresh and delicious, the dining experience was slow at times, the server was not quite personable. Menu knowledge on the server’s part was questionable as well. The bussers appeared to be more attentive and courteous, greeting the patrons as they entered and exited.
La Sirena is best suited for lunches in which one is not in a hurry. The happy hour, daily from 4:00 – 6:30 is worth checking out as well as daily tequila tasting from 5:30 – 6:30, Monday’s community appreciation night from 5pm to close with live entertainment with friends or coworkers, as well as weekend brunch from 11- 3 with the family.
La Sirena Grill & Cantina is located at 700 S Sepulveda Blvd El Segundo, CA 90245. It shares parking with fellow restaurants and shops which tend to get full at lunch hours and weekends. Please allow ample time prior to arrival.
About the Author
Bianca is a Florida State University graduate with a strong passion for writing and a love of food. She hopes to be a successful food critic one day.
Economy Dating: Sambi of Tokyo
By Carlos Espinoza, Contributing Writer
Unfortunately, we are in a recession where gas prices are soaring, vacations are becoming a thing of the past and a day at the movies will cost you an arm and a leg. Without a doubt, going on a date can hurt your wallet and if your date is tired of eating at McDonalds, then here’s a budget-friendly restaurant that will benefit your stomach without breaking the bank– we’re talking about Sambi of Tokyo.
Located in the city of Downey, this eatery offers a great selection of steak, chicken, fish, and sushi. The ambiance is very serene and relaxing. There is a waterfall in the center of the restaurant which creates an intimate setting. They have live music every night, which entails a pianist who takes requests. So, if you really want to impress your date make a request that will wow her.
Sambi knows all too well about the economy so they offer an early bird special if you go Mon-Thur between the hours of 5:30 and 6:30pm. You can get a New York steak teriyaki, shrimp and vegetable tempura for under $14. Plus, the meal comes with soup, rice, and your choice of ice cream. Or you can order an assorted Sushi platter for the same price.
This restaurant provides the food and atmosphere of a 5 star restaurant at a price fit for the average Joe. Close to the restaurant is a movie theater about a block away. If you’re a traditionalist then dinner and a movie is a great option. If dinner and a movie is too cliché for you, then walk a block in the opposite direction where you’ll find a coffee shop where you can get to know each other better. As an added tip don’t forget the flowers which street vendors usually sell for $5.
Pros: Great food, great atmosphere, great service
Cons: Gets crowded might have to wait a while but if you make a reservation you’re set.
Sambi of Tokyo is located at:
8649 Firestone Blvd
Downey, CA 90241
Phone (562) 869-1171
Walk ins are accepted and dress is casual.
The Broiler Steakhouse Review
By Erin Kilgour, Contributing Writer
Sacramento is known for nights out on the town and features many fine restaurants and neighborhood grills, and Main Street downtown is no exception.
Among those restaurants is The Broiler Steakhouse. Conveniently located in the heart of Downtown, Sacramento, The Broiler Steakhouse sits neatly between the Hyatt Regency and the Sheraton Grand, one block from the Convention center and the State Capitol. The atmosphere is of the colorful past that Sacramento has so nicely preserved. The elegant restaurant is restored to an era before “corporate” dining, when class and elegance where combined.
One can relax in a high-back booth or dine at a table draped with first class linens, overlooking the K St Mall while they are graciously catered to at their own pace enjoying traditional dishes such as Sacramento’s widest selection of hand cut Steak choices of the best beef available, fresh fish, Lobster, duck, chicken specialties and Prawns.
The dining style is casual elegant and the price per person is reasonable at $30 and under. Walk ins are accepted, as well as, reservations.
Parking downtown normally creates a problem but, with dinner reservation, self parking is complimentary in The Broiler Steakhouse private garage. For lunch, validation is offered in the city lot parking, one block for the restaurant at 10th street and L.
The restaurant features banquet facilities on the 15th floor seating 50 to 125 persons with a beautiful floor to ceiling glass which provides a panoramic view of the State Capitol and surrounding area. The facility is stunning.
Private party facilities are provided in an elegant private room of seating 10 to 16 guests. Rental of the room does not incur a cost but there is a minimum of $150 at lunch and $500 at dinner that must be accumulated among the guests.
The restaurant is truly one of Sacramento’s finest and most enjoyable atmospheres, where you are the guest.
Be prepared to be graciously lavished as you enjoy a meal fabulously presented to your table by the most enchanting servers and prepared by highly reputable chefs. Whether it be a lunch visit or dinner visit, the restaurant is definitely one of Sacramento’s finer picks, as the value of quality is immense and the atmosphere is casual elegance.
Royal Thai: Brown Bag Lunch Break
By Bianca Avelino, Contributing Writer
The Torrance Crossroads shopping center is filled with many shops and eateries. There’s one section of the shopping center that is a strip of many Asian cuisines including Japanese and Thai to name a few. I learned that Royal Thai had a lunch special so I decided to check it out.
Upon first glance, the color scheme of the restaurant created a mellow atmosphere. I was greeted and seated right away. The host, who doubled as the server brought me my menu a few moments later along with a glass of water. She did not introduce herself or ask me if I would like anything else to drink.
As she walked away, I perused the menu. There were over 10 dishes on the lunch special that started at $5.99 with your choice of Chicken, Tofu, Shrimp, and Beef. From your usual staple of Pad Thai and other noodle dishes, to rice & curry dishes, the menu covered them all. Included in the price was a soup, and if your dish did not consist of noodles, a side of noodles as well.
I ordered the Noodle Supreme: Stir fried flat noodles with egg, bean sprouts, and scallions, with a small salad. As I waited for my food, I noticed that a lot of carry out orders were being placed and picked up as well. Furthermore, the server, the sole one on the floor, sometimes could not keep up with the mere four tables in the dining area.
Shortly after I placed my order, the server brought a small broth consisting on cabbage and celery. Tasty and light, it hit the spot as I waited for my entrée.
My entree arrived within ten minutes of ordering. My first impression was for the price I was paying, it certainly was a good portion that encompassed almost the entire plate. The taste was nice, a bit peppery but not too overwhelming. The noodles were al dente and not greasy either. The salad was a bit small to be considered one but it was alright, I could have done without it.
I cleared the entire plate in one sitting; it was truly a tasty dish. I was ready for the check but the server had headed into the kitchen for a little while. When she returned to the floor, I told her I was ready. She brought me the check and settled the payment shortly after.
All in all the meal was very tasty. It was a great portion for a great price. It does not get any better than that. There are many choices on the lunch menu to choose from. If it’s your first time or fiftieth time eating Thai food, rest assured you will find something to satisfy your hunger. However, I would order carryout as the service was a bit on the slow side at times.
Royal Thai accepts cash and credit cards as payment. It is also located in a large strip mall with plenty of parking. However, it is close to a number of businesses and tends to get crowded between the hours of 12-2pm. Royal Thai is located at 24631 Crenshaw Blvd #J Torrance, CA 90505.
About the Author
Bianca is a Florida State University graduate with a strong passion for writing and a love of food. She hopes to be a successful food critic one day.
L.A. Food Truck Scene
By Kimberly Fisher, Contributing Writer
We would like to think that we started it all here in the “City of Angels,” with the original “Roach Coach”. Taco trucks have long been a staple in L.A., but mostly for day workers at a construction site or wasted club kids at 2am. In recent months, L.A. has been home to gourmet trucks wandering the streets featuring anything from delectable deserts to international delights. Check out our guide to these fine on-the-go feasts here:
Kogi BBQ came on the scene with a bang and started the run-around-L.A.-for-your-food trend. With a creative menu consisting of Korean short rib tacos, Kim-Chi Quesadillas and Kogi Sliders, Koji gave L.A. just what they were looking for. Chef Roy is constantly coming up with daily specials, which keep Angelinos coming back for more. Their three trucks roam L.A., with updates posted to Twitter and their website.
Let’s face it, as Pinkberry inspired frozen yogurt, The Kogi BBQ truck inspired Calbi BBQ. Calbi has two trucks to cover L.A. This truck frequently shows up on the Westside and boasts an assortment of tacos, burritos and quesadillas.
Bool BBQ mixes Korean-Brazilian flavors with the popular menu items of Korean BBQ tacos and Pastels (a Brazilian, fried turnover).
Marked 5 is a new face on the streets featuring Japanese-style burgers. Exotic concoctions of beef/pork/salmon or tofu on a rice bun with special sauces and fresh veggies are the main attraction, brought to you by five friends to enchant your five senses. Japanese specialty snacks and drinks are also available.
Don Chow Tacos adds another spin on tacos, this time with a Chinese flair. The menu has traditional Mexican cuisine, along with fusion Kung Pao Chicken, Soy-Ginger shrimp and Chinese BBQ Pork Tacos.
You can’t miss the bright red truck of Let’s be Frank regularly posted around Silver Lake and Culver City. Offering gourmet grass fed beef hot dogs, sausages and brats, the company works with local artisans and producers, and their food is free of hormones, antibiotics and nitrates.
For those wanting a healthier meal, look for the Green Truck On the Go. This truck only serves local, organic foods such as their signature organic vegan burger, Falafel wrap and fresh melon fresca. Committed to the environment all around, they use solar power, biodegradable packaging, environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies and the trucks run off of recycled vegetable oil.
The famous Barbie’s Q has been serving finger-licking good ole BBQ receipts in Santa Monica for years. They took it mobile to better distribute their mouth-watering BBQ ribs, brisket, pork-pulled sandwiches and sliders.
The Border Grill Truck from famed “Too Hot Tamales” Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, comes a mobile menu of gourmet tacos, quesadillas and ceviches.
Putting a spot on the map for Indian food is the Dosa Truck. Dubbed “Slumdog Street Food with a California Twist,” the Dosa truck serves up made to order homemade chutneys, dosa, mango lassis and homemade ginger limeade.
Fish Lips Sushi specializes in yummy rolls from everything to the special fish lips roll (Soy sheet, Avocado, Cucumber, Asparagus, Crab meat, Tuna, White Tuna, White fish, Salmon, Tamari-Sauce, Hot-Sauce, Mayonnaise) to the standard California Roll (Avocado, Cucumber, Crab meat, Mayonnaise, Sesame).
Fresh on the scene is the Vietnamese food truck Nom Nom Truck that specializes in Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches. Traditionally served with charcuterie and pickled vegetables on French bread, this meal also can come with a side of spring rolls or lemongrass tacos.
The Sprinkles Cupcake Van took the Beverly Hills hot spot mobile with their brown van to spread the love of sweet butter cream and bittersweet Belgium chocolate.
More sweet stuff comes your way with the Coolhaus Truck. Freya and Natasha are two female architects that came up with the idea for the perfectly constructed organic ice cream sandwiches in tasty “prefab” flavors like oatmeal cinnamoneo and Richard Meyer Lemon Ginger.
For more information:
About the Author
Kimberly Fisher is a freelance writer based in Manhattan Beach, CA and Las Vegas, NV. She specializes in travel, lifestyle and fashion. Born with restless feet, she enjoys traveling and is always on the lookout for a new experience. So far she has traveled to over 37 countries and almost every US state. Her work has appeared in various English print and online media. Please direct inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
L.A. Lobster Festival Offers Family Fun
By Christy Buena
The Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival in San Pedro offered hungry festival goers music, carnival rides, funnel cakes, beer and most importantly – lobster platters. Setting a new Guinness World Record for The Most Seafood Prepared at an Outdoor Event, the Lobster Fest surpassed its old record of 3,835 lbs with its new record of 12,527.4 lbs of seafood prepared on Saturday.
Despite the summer heat, hundreds of lobster lovers stood in line for hours waiting to purchase their lobster meals consisting of coleslaw, watermelon, seasoned potatoes and bread. No matter where you looked, long lines were formed and to my surprise, the crowd patiently waited while enjoying live music. Whether it was to purchase meal tickets, beer, funnel cakes, kettle corn or even to buy lemonade, attendees were not fazed by the long lines.
If you plan on attending the Lobster Fest next year, I strongly suggest you purchase VIP/First Class tickets for $39.00, which provide you with VIP access to lobster meals and beverages without having to wait in line for hours on end. Within 30 minutes or less, you get to bypass the long lines, grab your lobster plate, have it chopped for you and then enjoy it right away.
While eating the delicious lobster meal, the Love Grenades took the stage. At first, the singer sounded nervous and her vocals exemplified it. However, after a few minutes, the band performed electro-rock songs that sounded similar to bands like Ladytron and Electrocute. Fans eating on the grassy area showed interest, while drunk onlookers boo-ed the band. Regardless, front-woman Elizabeth Wight danced around onstage creating a fun atmosphere, but it seemed like people were more focused on cracking lobster tails open to devour the deliciousness.
After finishing our meals, we decided to check out what else the festival had to offer. During our stroll, we noticed a long wall of festival foods which included the typical festival fair: funnel cake, kettle corn, yard-long smoothies, fried calamari, waffle cones and various seafood dishes. What stood out the most at this event was the scuba diving lessons that took place in a large pool. Another notable attraction at the fair was the one man band that played the piano, guitar, harmonica and drums simultaneously.
Here's a snapshot of the devoured lobster platter.
Near the entrance, children enjoyed gigantic slides, ferris wheel rides, and carnival games for a chance to win oversized stuffed animals. Next to the rides were booths that offered everything from a chance to win a Napa Valley wine vacation to a place to purchase rollerblade-running shoes called Kangoo Jump Boots.
All in all, the event was fun-filled and the lobster meal was delicious enough for fans to stand in line for more than 1 hour. If you want to bypass the lines, purchase VIP First Class tickets!
If you don't know how to eat lobster, here's a video guide courtesy of VideoJug:
HEAVENLY EATS IN HELL’S KITCHEN: SAY CHEESE!
By Christopher Vespoli, Contributing Writer
When a restaurant claims to serve the best grilled cheese sandwich in New York City, it better deliver the goods. Sure enough, like the new Melrose Place, Say Cheese! provides a fun update on an old classic.
Inside a small storefront on 9th Avenue, a faithful line of cooks whip up dishes that are likely to give grandma’s old grilled cheese a run for its money. Sure, you can play it safe with the plain “Back to Basics” sandwich, but diving face first into one of Say Cheese!’s greasy combinations of meat, cheddar and greens is a lot more fun.
Take the Presto Pesto: chicken, red onions and cheddar cheese basted with a garlic pesto sauce on toasted olive sourdough bread. It’s truly a Grade A sandwich. The chicken is grilled and tender, and they don’t skimp on the pesto, as many other establishments might with an expensive ingredient. The real star of the sandwich, though, is the olive bread, which ensures a rustic flavor with each and every bite.
Other notables on the menu include an artichoke-tuna melt and a grilled Portobello melt, as well as takes on the classic BLT and Cubano sandwiches. When all else fails, patrons have the option of building their own tasty concoctions, choosing from ingredients like Gouda, prosciutto, goat cheese and avocado.
Say Cheese! also offers a wide array of health smoothies and juices, soups and salads of the day and even flan and chocolate pudding for desert. They don’t serve beer or wine but, as their website invites, “you are more than welcome to bring you own.”
Heads up: While there’s nothing on the menu over $8, you’ll have to shell out $1.50 for a glass of bottled water (tap water apparently isn’t available). As far as ambiance goes, the restaurant’s wooden chairs and narrow brick walls achieve a cozy, hole-in-the-wall feeling that’s a staple of its Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, but it might not be for everyone.
The bottom line, a five-star establishment it’s not, but if you’re looking for a fun, casual meal on the cheap, Say Cheese! is definitely worth checking out.
649 9th Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets in Manhattan
Open 7 days a week, Noon-9PM
Get Generous Portions at Palms Thai Restaurant
By Kyle Batenburg, Contributing Writer
Situated only a few blocks east of Vine Station, near the corner of Hollywood & Bronson, is Palms Thai Restaurant. The eatery offers guests generous proportions, great service, very affordable prices and a relaxing atmosphere. A stroll by at nearly any hour will give an idea of the rising popularity of Thai cuisine that is sweeping across the globe.
In any restaurant, the dining room layout is an important aspect of both guest interaction and worker mobility. At Palms Thai Restaurant, guests are aligned in long rows of tables that stretch from wall to wall. The arrangement provides ample seating for families and large parties and also allows servers to easily whisk around the dining area. Dim lighting sets an easily relaxing atmosphere that helps you prepare for the menu, which boasts one of the largest selections around. With six pages of very affordable dishes to choose from (over one hundred items), you are sure to find something to whet the appetite without burning a hole in your wallet. And if you are not familiar with Thai cuisine, the servers are very courteous, attentive and ready to provide information about the menu items.
The order-to-kitchen-to-table time is relatively quick. However, as certain items take longer than others to cook, you may receive two meals that were ordered at the same time - at two different times. This can cause a semi-awkward situation of either having to watch someone eat (as I had to do) or letting food cool until the other’s meal arrives. This unfortunate outcome is redeemed by the generously sizeable portions that almost certainly will make you say, “Wow!”
A veritable rarity in restaurants, Palms uses a wireless communication system that allows managers to easily advise servers and servers to contact one another regarding guests around the dining room and also orders in the kitchen area. This makes the whole flow of things extremely fluid.
In times of conservation, restaurants are encouraged not to give water unless requested by guests. Other than that the whole experience was very interesting and highly recommended for anyone looking to try something new.
The Pros: Relaxing atmosphere, generous proportions, great service and very affordable prices. The average menu item costs between $7 and $9. Not too bad if you are trying to save money but fill up with some good authentic eats. Valet parking is available for a very reasonable (by Hollywood standards) $2.50 during the weekdays. Karaoke—Need I say more?
The Cons: The chairs have very stiff, straight backs that can make you either slouch or sit like you have a board strapped to your spine. Also, you may find yourself debating on what to order. With so many items it could take you a meals worth of time to figure out what you want.
I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone in the Hollywood area. It is merely a five minute walk from Vine and you are sure to walk out feeling great and wishing that it was a new day so that you can come back and eat again.
DISCLAIMER: Thai cuisine is notorious for being extremely spicy. Unless you plan on having a bonfire in your mouth be very careful not to order something too hot. The server will ask you how spicy you want it so be ready to taste flames if that is your thing.
5900 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Get Carne Asada Fries in Hollywood: Machos Tacos
When it comes to Mexican food, we at Disarray Magazine try to hunt down the most authentic and affordable delicacies. After all, we're still in a recession and now more than ever, people are going back to bargain basics. Fortunately, what we've found is that you get more bang for your buck at Los Angeles taco stands. In this case, we stopped by Machos Tacos off of Vermont Ave. and Hollywood Blvd. You'll notice the bright orange sign located next door to a car wash. Don't let the car wash or the word "taco stand" scare you away - the food is AMAZING!
One of the perks of coming to this eatery is that they offer CARNE ASADA FRIES! For those used to eating fries topped with meat, melted cheese, guacamole and sour cream, you'll be glad to know that you do not have to venture out to the San Gabriel Valley any longer. For $6, you get a heaping platter of deliciousness but beware, the menu calls it, "Cheese Fries." Remember to ask for the carne asada topping.
Besides the amazing carne asada fries, this eatery is known for their tacos. I ordered chicken tacos, which were only $2 each. They come with heaping toppings of lettuce, salsa and cheese. The meat was tender and juicy. Did I mention, it was filling?
Despite having delicious meals, customers can sit in the garden around the corner or under the shaded tent area. Beware, as with any outdoor eating area, pesky uninvited flies will pay you a visit. Make sure to either take the food to go or be ready to swat some flies.
All in all, this place gets 4.5 stars for serving Carne Asada Fries! Minus points for the annoying flies that I had to shoo away.
Hungry? Mexico Restaurante y Barra in WeHo Will Stuff You
If you've driven through WeHo going west down Santa Monica Boulevard, it's hard to miss the two-story bright pink restaurant before La Cienega, called Mexico Restaurante y Barra. Offering outdoor seating, a full bar and freshly made dishes, this eatery attracts a variety of hungry patrons.
Once inside, bright pink walls, striped rainbow seats and a few high tables offer guests a lively atmosphere where they can enjoy margaritas, beer and healthy Mexican cuisine. Dishes here range anywhere from $14 - $16.
If you're in the mood for fresh seafood, try the Halibut Ceviche with avocado, serrano chiles and citrus for $12. If you're a bit thirsty, we suggest two notable margaritas including the Ruby and the Papachulo. The Ruby consists of Corralejo Reposado with ruby grapefruit, basil + honey for $12. The great thing about this drink is that the grapefruit flavor offers a slight kick while the basil and honey soften the bitterness of the drink creating a refreshing marriage on your tongue.
The Papachulo is comprised of Herencia Mexicana with tangerine, Cointreau and pomegranate syrup for $13. This drink is a bit fruity and sweet so ease up on drinking it too fast or you'll find yourself on the floor.
While you wait for your drinks to arrive, waiters bring out crisp tortilla chips and two kinds of salsa, verde and roasted tomato salsa. If you're craving a meat entree, the Classic "Carnitas Style" Pork came highly recommended and was so tender a knife was not needed. The dish includes sautéed verdolaga and tomatillos for $15. Three tortillas are served with the dish, which is reasonably portioned and sure to make you full.
If you're on a diet, you can try the small portioned Grapefruit Avocado Salad for $9. This simple salad can be found on the appetizers side of the menu.
Dining for two people came out to $55.
Parking: Do not park in the lot next to Koo Koo Roo. They will tow your car away! Opt for valet parking for $7 or take your chances with street parking.
Mexico Restaurant y Barra
Where: 8512 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
When: 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Sundays to Thursdays, 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Price: Margaritas, $10 to $15; appetizers $9 to $12; entrees $13 to $16
Contact: (310) 289-0088; www.gogomexico.com
RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK: KAZOKU SUSHI
Kazoku Sushi 5259 Hollywood Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90027
I recently moved to Hollywood and luckily, I moved across the street from this delicious sushi haven. While walking my dog, I noticed a bright sign promoting Kozuku Sushi's daily Happy Hour and thought to myself, "Why not check out what this place has to offer?" So, I decided to check out this eatery with my boyfriend. Located next to the Thailand Plaza, this restaurant is surrounded by countless tasty Thai restaurants including Thai Patio. Inside, the restaurant offers a huge plasma television, attentive waiters and deliciously creative sushi rolls. While the eatery is not huge, the food makes up for it.
Notable rolls include the Rock N' Roll sushi platter consisting of baked scallop, avocado with mayo for $6.95. Another tasty treat is the Red Dragon sushi roll for $9.95, which consists of tuna laid upon a roll filled with shrimp termpura and asparagus, topped with scallion and drilled with spicy ponzu sauce.
While the special rolls range between $9 to $13, the restaurant also serves inexpensive but equally delicious rolls including classic favorites such as the California Roll for $4.95, Spicy Tuna Roll for $4.95, and Salmon and Avocado Roll for $4.95.
The Santa Monica Roll is a tangy delight consisting of salmon laid upon a roll filled with shrimp, crab and asparagus; topped with smelt egg, cream cheese and scallion; served with lemon and ponzu sauce all for $11.90.
All I have to say is, this restaurant is clean, hip and offers fresh dishes. If you're lucky enough to live within a three mile radius of this restaurant, enjoy free delivery with a minimum purchase of $15. If you're like me, you crave food from this restaurant on a weekly basis and order-in while enjoying a nice bottle of wine to unwind from a hectic week.
Pros: Delicious, Valet Parking and Freshly made sushi
Cons: Certain dishes can be pricey but it's definitely worth it if you're looking to splurge.
Definitely give this place a try. You'll get hooked, like me.
For questions or ideas, contact: Christybuena@yahoo.com.
For more info: Visit www.kazokusushi.com
5259 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
TASTY MEXICAN TREATS ON THE CHEAP
Despite the fact that stocks are plunging and gas prices keep rising, we can be glad that there is no shortage of deliciously cheap eats around Los Angeles. Just because we're feeling the economic recession pinch in our wallets, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the tasty dishes we’ve grown to love. If you're looking for Mexican eateries on the cheap, these restaurants will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
For tasty tacos and authentic burritos, stop by the 24-hour no-frills eatery, Lucy’s on La Brea and Pico Blvd. Don’t be fooled by the run down yellow-painted exterior, the food inside consists of large portions, flavorful options and prices that are easy on your wallet. Try the Machaca burrito for under $5 and opt for freshly squeezed orange juice.
Another notable Mexican restaurant would be Chabelita on Western and the 10 freeway. If you’re looking for fat tacos, hearty taquitos and spicy ceviche, this 24-hour restaurant is definitely worth a try. Their menu items are also less than $5.
If Mexican food is not your cup of tea, then you’ll have to tune in for the next feature on where to go for inexpensive sushi spots.
CHEAP EATS: CHICKEN AND FRIES FOR UNDER $5
Known for their chicken and fries, Dino’s is a no-frills, hole in the wall located on 2575 W. Pico Blvd in South Los Angeles. Guests not only flock to the food stand for burritos, hamburgers and tacos, but for the large portions.
Don’t let the picnic tables scare you. What the restaurant lacks in appearance and ambience is redeemed by its hearty food, cheap prices and quick turnaround time. I highly suggest ordering half a chicken, fries, cole slaw and corn tortillas for $5. Make sure to opt for their deliciously spicy salsa, which complements the chicken and fries. Additionally, you can't go wrong with ordering a medium sized Orange Bang.
While the restaurant may not be located in the safest of spots, the eatery is certainly a bustling location. However, beware of a few gangstas reminiscent of thug life music videos and homeless individuals who come up to you while you’re dining. Fear not, just try to remember that the delicious food brings all sorts of individuals together for the common goal: Dino's delicious chicken and fries!
The food here is definitely worth trying and did I mention that they offer hearty breakfast platters for dirt cheap prices? Parking is limited at this eatery so you may need to park on the street. Bring a friend with you before you go.
Heads up: Outdoor seating is available on picnic tables and the restaurant is less crowded on weekdays.
For more info: Visit Dino's Chicken and Burgers
Neighborhood: South Los Angeles
2575 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
GET YOUR GRUB ON AT ZANKOU CHICKEN
Combine good, quick and cheap Mediterranean food and you've got Zankou Chicken. With six locations in the Los Angeles area, the fast food eatery offers deliciously roasted chicken, falafel, shawarma and hummus, to name a few.
Oh, how I remember the days when the Hollywood Zankou eatery was crampt with a maximum capacity of 25. The smell of roasting chicken, filled the small eatery as long lines made it out the door. Of course, this was almost 10 years ago.
Since then, the Hollywood restaurant has expanded and has now doubled in size. Thankfully, the same flavors still remain throughout the years and now, more people are able to taste the goodness that is known as Zankou Chicken.
My all time favorite is the 1/4 chicken plate for just about $6.00. The plate comes with hummus, diced tomatoes, pickles, pita bread and a slow roasted juicy rotisserie chicken. Order a side of tabbouleh and don't forget their famous garlic sauce! It's a must! (I can eat this garlic paste by itself!)
FYI, many have tried to concoct their own versions of Zankou's garlic sauce: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/60530
Nevertheless, I've noticed that no matter what time of day, there's always a line of hungry Zankou enthusiasts waiting to appease their appetites. Trust me, their food is worth the wait and you get portions enough to keep you full for a long while.
Heads up: I typically go to the Hollywood restaurant located on 5065 W. Sunset Blvd. at Normandie. Parking in the lot can get crowded so, opt for street parking if you must.
WOW BENTO & ROLL: CHEAP SUSHI NEVER TASTED SO GOOD
If you're sick of eating expensive sushi that doesn't get you full, then head over to Wow Bento & Roll. Think budget prices, large portions and an assortment of rolls, salads and sides. Despite being located in the Glendale Galleria, the eatery is also located in Downtown L.A. and La Crescenta.
I ordered the spicy tempura tuna roll (Combo #2) for $6, which consisted of teriyaki chicken, tangy zucchini salad and huge chunks of sushi. Surprisingly, two combos came out to less than $20!
Unfortunately, the California rolls that accompanied (Combo #1), contained less rice than the tuna rolls but, for the price of $5, who can complain? More filling is better anyway, right? Fortunately, the tempura vegetables and green salad made up for it.
Beware, the ambiance is not like your typical sushi haven where nice decor, dim lighting and bamboo fill the interior. You will not hear soothing Japanese music and you will not have a waiter or waitress bring your food out. Don't expect a Sake with your meal either. Then again, I'd trade flavor and price over ambiance any day.
Do expect a quick turnaround time, inexpensive sushi rolls, Japanese favorites and a few extra bucks in your wallet. Wow Bento & Roll is a definite try.
Check out Wow Bento & Roll at these locations:
1142 Glendale Galleria
Glendale, CA 91210
3231 Foothill Blvd #201
La Crescenta, CA 91214
710 S Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
GREAT FOR GROUPS: ROSALIND'S ETHIOPIAN CUISINE
Every now and then, I crave Ethiopian cuisine so, I call my two brothers, Sean and Steven, and we head to our favorite little spot on Fairfax Ave. called Rosalinds Ethiopian Restaurant. This restaurant and bar offers combination plates, fresh injera (bread), tasty meat and vegetable dishes that you can easily share with a large group of people for a little over $20.
The best part of eating at this restaurant is the fact that minutes after stepping into the restaurant, you feel like you've been transported across the sea as you're surrounded by huts and cute tables and chairs, not to mention you get to eat with your hands and enjoy large portions at an affordable price. On sunny days, ask to be seated on the patio.
I highly recommend ordering a huge plate with the Vegetarian combination consisting of "A combination of three items from the following items: "Vegetable Alicha", "Collard Greens", "Lentils", "Split-peas Alicha." A great addition would be "Yebeg Siga Alicha," which is a mild lamb stew, delicately spiced with garlic, ginger and other spices and is served with injera. If you want to go all out, order the "Yedoro Wot," which is a tasty spicy chicken stew in red pepper sauce with an assortment of spices.
Don't just take my word for it, gather your friends and enjoy the Ethiopian decor, music and have some African beer!
Heads up: There's metered street parking.
BTW, the injera bread takes some getting used to. Expect a slightly sour pancake.
For more info: Visit www.rosalindsrestaurant.com/index.html
Rosalind's Ethiopian Restaurant - (323) 936-2486 - 1044 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019
DRINK UP AT EL GUAPO MEXICAN CANTINA
If you're looking for a new happy hour spot, check out El Guapo Cantina at 7250 Melrose Ave. (3 blocks west of La Brea) in Hollywood, CA 90046. Featuring more than 40 TV screens, sports fanatics can watch a variety of games at the same time. El Guapo prides itself for its 42", 50" and 63" Hi-Def Tv's, so you can see every game from any seat all at once.
While at the bustling Cantina, enjoy starters, soups and salads, sandwiches and wraps, as well as burgers. El Guapo also offers budget-friendly party platters, "Hollywood Martinis," frozen cocktails, margaritas, "Fun Shots," and specialty drinks. The health conscious can opt for food from El Guapo's"Low Carb Section," which features, "Lettuce Cup Tacos" consisting of one chicken, one steak and one shrimp wrapped in a lettuce cup with shredded cheese and Pico de Gallo for $8.95.
Did you know: El Guapo was the first bar in Los Angeles to have and play Beer Pong? If you're in the area on any given Tuesday, step inside and enjoy $1 tacos, $2 shots and 50% off beer pitchers!
I love the fact that this bar offers a large patio with heaters, two separate bars and a diverse crowd. Despite its Hollywood location, you will not get a pretentious crowd, snobby bouncers and overly priced drinks. Every time my friends and I have stopped by El Guapo, we've always had a fun time and the Beer Pong competitions alone, make it worth the visit!
Pros: There's valet parking for $5, two bars, a large patio and Karaoke!
For more info: visit www.elguapocantina.com
7250 Melrose Ave # 1
Los Angeles, CA 90046