A lot of restaurants are all bark and no bite. They are full of too much hype and not enough flavor. From food trucks to hole in the walls to 5 star establishments, I'm here to answer the question on everyone's mind, "Is it really that good!" I am not an Iron Chef let alone a line cook. I'm just an ordinary girl who loves to eat extraordinary food.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oahu Shave Ice- Fullerton, CA

Oahu Shave ice is located in Fullerton, CA. I was excited to know that I no longer had to chase trucks or save a wad load of cash to take a trip to Hawaii to get "authentic" shave ice.  We visited Oahu Shave Ice to taste if it measured up to my favorite shave ice truck or to my wonderful experience in Maui.

I got my usual order: large shave ice with strawberry and vanilla syrup, mochi, condensed milk and vanilla ice cream. Let me just make this short and sweet.  It didn't measure up, nor was it even up to par. Parts of the shave ice were still chunky that you can hear the breaking of ice in your mouth. The bottom half of the ice didn't even have syrup. I'm not sure what brand of ice cream was used but it didn't taste like homemade, quality ice cream and the mochi either hardened in the ice or was already hard. Everything about it was definitely not authentic. 

I usually share a large with Ed and together we always finish it. This time we didn't even make a dent. Let me make this short and not so sweet. I would not recommend this place at all. Besides the service, nothing else was great. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


A friend of mine requested that I do a review on a restaurant in Fullerton, CA called Pie-ology, and she referred to it as "the Chipotle of pizza." I didn’t know  what to think about that statement since I’ve only been to Chipotle 3 times in my life and couldn’t quite correlate Chipotle with Pizza. However, once I walked into the restaurant it hit me. Pie-ology uses the concept of the "conveyour belt manufacturing process" that Chipotle does. I also didn’t think it was going to be a “fast food” style establishment, I was expecting a sit down and order from a menu with waiters type place. The décor also seemed “Chipotle-ish” with the same type furniture and metallic (as in material not music) feel to it. When you walk into Pie-ology, you wait in line to order. As we were in line, we perused the menu that was hanging on the wall.

They roll out the dough made to order. They have an array of toppings to choose from. You have your basics like pepperoni, sausage, vegetables as well as your non- traditional toppings such as bacon or chicken. Just like Chipotle they construct your pizza as you choose your ingredients.  We tried not to go too crazy since it was our first time trying the please so we ordered a pepperoni, mushroom, and fresh tomatoes ($7.50) , a #1 (cheese) pizza ($6)   and a #4 (mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, fresh basil, cracked black pepper and olive oil)  pizza ($7.50) and a pepperoni, sausage and bacon pizza ($7.50) along with their cinnamon sugar pizza.

There is  no option to have the crust thicker, which doesn’t bother me because I prefer thin crust.  But  when we ate our pizza there wasn’t enough crust to soak in or withstand the oil from some of our toppings. But besides being a little on the oily side, the crust had a good crisp and was nicely seasoned. The pizza obviously tasted fresh since it is made to order.

Their cinnamon sugar pizza was amazing! It would’ve been more amazing if I had eaten it while it was still warm. It was buttery and wasn’t overpowered by too much cinnamon. The frosting that was drizzled over the top was sinful. I could’ve eaten the entire thing by myself.

The pizzas only come in one size, not sure of the actual dimension but I would describe it as not enough to share unless you aren’t too hungry.  $7.50 for a custom pizza, with as many toppings as you like, is a really good deal.  Overall, Pie-ology was good. It wasn’t the best pizza I’ve had and I don’t think I would rave over it but it’s definitely a place I would recommend if you are looking to go wild and construct a pizza like you've never had before. With all the different ingredients to choose from and the endless possible combinations I would definitely go back, but only if I were in the area.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Merengue Cafe and Bakery- Monrovia,CA

One night, I was craving Cuban food for dinner. Since my favorite little Cuban restaurant spot is quite a ways from where I live, I needed to find something closer. Porto’s was also closed, so that wasn’t an option either. I did remember that Merengue Café and Bakery was somewhat close by so we decided we would try it out. It is located in Monrovia, CA.

 Our order consisted of meat and cheese potato balls, cheese rolls, a medianoche sandwich, a Cuban sandwich combo, and a pan con lechon sandwich combo.

Their potato balls ($1.15)  are big. We tried the meat potato balls first. It’s is a mashed potato ball stuffed with seasoned ground beef. There wasn’t enough meat inside. The meat also had that sloppy joe taste. This was just OK for me. The cheese potato ball is a mashed potato ball with  melted, gooey, cheddar cheese inside.  I liked this. The cheese was still hot and melted. Although, I think the mashed potatoes in both potato balls needed a tad more salt. Both also needed to be fried a little more so the breadcrumbs on the outside could be a little more crispy.

The pan con lechon and Cuban sandwich combos ($6.95) came with a choice of salad or soup. For both, we chose the soup, which was clam chowder. I’m not sure if that is their regular soup option or if it changes daily. I didn’t have high expectations for the soup. It’s a Cuban café not a seafood restaurant, so I didn’t expect much. It wasn’t bad. There were a lot of clams, it was thick, and had good flavor. The sandwiches on the other hand, I wasn’t too fond of. The Pan con Lechon sandwich is Cuban bread filled with roasted pork marinated in a garlic oil sauce.  The bread was a little too toasted. The pork was tender but didn’t have much flavor. It needed to either be dipped in the garlic oil sauce, or have the sauce poured over it.

The Cuban sandwich was also disappointing. A Cuban sandwich is Cuban bread filled with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese and pickles. As with the other sandwich, the bread was too toasted. There wasn’t enough pork and too much ham. It didn’t have enough mustard or cheese. Basically, it tasted like a ham and pickle sandwich. A medianoche is a Cuban sandwich with sweet  bread. Their medianoche ($7.45)  had a same problem as the Cuban. There wasn’t enough pork, mustard or cheese. All three sandwiches were just too dry.

On to the cheese rolls ($1.15).. I knew from first sight that I shouldn’t order them. Against my first instinct, I did anyway. My instinct was on the money. They tasted a little stale. The sugar coating on the outside didn’t caramelize the outside of the pastry, it was as if the baker waited until last minute to sprinkle sugar on top. There wasn’t enough of the cheese filling and way too much puff pastry.

Overall, it was a bust. I left craving Porto’s. It just didn’t compare at all! Merengue is a little pricier and  quality of food wasn’t great. If you still want to eat here, Fridays are a little tough to find parking because of the Monrovia Fair/Farmers Market.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

It's Not Your Ordinary Cookie, It's a Kelley's Kookie!

Please read to the very bottom for a SPECIAL OFFER to all my readers and fellow twitter-ers!

Sung Park, one of the partners of Kelley's Kookies contacted me and asked if they could send me one of their gift boxes for review. Since Kelley's Kookies was already on my list of placed to try, I accepted. Even though I was given the gift box  for free I told Sung that I will still give my readers an honest review, GOOD or BAD.  Instead of having  the gift box shipped to me, I picked it up at their Arcadia, Ca location which is located inside the Santa Anita Mall so I can give my readers the full experience.

The store, just like their gift boxes, is crisp and clean. No frills, no gimmicks. It just looks simple, clean and elegant. The gift box that was given to me included chocolate dipped macadamia shortbread, meltaways, sugar cookies and macadamia chocolate chip. With so many flavors to choose from I also purchased their regular shortbread cookies, lemon shortbread cookies and raspberry dream cookies.

Shortbread - My thoughts on this cookie would pretty much determine how my experience with Kelley's Kookies was going to go. If they got this wrong then I was sure that it would be downhill from here.  The first thing I had to do when I picked up the shortbread cookie was smell it. Wow! Just the smell alone was enough to get my mouth salivating. I loved that it smelled like.......sweet browned butter.  When I bit into the cookie, it was crisp, yet crumbly and after I bit off a piece it just melted in my mouth. I honestly could’ve eaten the entire pack in one sitting.  I was already off to a great start.

Lemon Shortbread -  I’m not keen on any kind of lemon desserts so I wasn’t even going to try this, but Ed really wanted them. When I noticed that they weren't too big of a cookie I decided to give it try. These weren’t bad at all. One became two, then three.  The cookie wasn’t overwhelmed with lemon flavor, just a hint. It was as though the cookie itself was the shortbread cookie but the powdered sugar that it was tossed in had the lemon flavor.

Raspberry Dream - Their raspberry-fig filling is sandwich in between buttery shortbread cookies. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to taste the fig because the flavor of raspberries is really tart. It really worked though. The figs really mellowed the tartness of the raspberry flavor so it didn’t taste overly sweet but more of a smokey sweet taste.

Sugar and Macadamia Chocolate Chip Cookies - These cookies were just okay for me. They didn't blow my mind, or leave me longing for more. Not that there was anything wrong with the taste of the cookies, it's just these cookies were made crispy. I personally prefer cookies like these to be soft and chewy.

Meltaways - These are walnut shortbread cookies tossed in powdered sugar. This cookie really did melt in my mouth. It’s a delicate cookie so one bite and it crumbled in my mouth. I like how the cookie itself was buttery and not sweet and that all the sweetness came from the powdered sugar.

Chocolate Dipped Macadamia Nut Shortbread - I really liked this cookie. It’s only half dipped so I got to taste the cookie with and without the chocolate. I couldn’t really taste the macadamia nuts, but I could tell that it had a different taste than the regular shortbread. It wasn’t as sweet or buttery. But the texture was still perfect. When you bite the chocolate dipped side, it was heaven! The smooth milk chocolate combined with the cookie was divine. Because the cookie itself wasn’t too sweet, the chocolate gave it that little kick of sweetness.

Overall, I had a great experience with Kelley's Kookies! They definitely took the shortbread cookie to new heights and have raised my expectations on not only shortbread cookies but cookies in general.  It gets a little mundane to eat the same chocolate chip, or white chocolate chip cookie from the mall and with Kelley's Kookies you can break out of that boring routine. Besides their Arcadia location, you can find stores  in Stanton and in Los Angeles in the Westside Pavillion. You can also go on http://www.kelleyskookies.com/ to see stores that carry their products. If those locations are too far of a drive, they do have an online service and their cookie creations can be delivered to your house.

And now for the SPECIAL OFFER.  To all my readers and fellow twitter-ers, if you spend $10 or more and mention that you read my review on their cookies, they will give you a free gift with purchase.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Hot Dog Shoppe, Corona CA

I rarely go to the Inland Empire to eat. But since Ed works out in Corona, I decided to drive up there and have lunch with him. Even with mixed reviews on Yelp, we decided to give The Hot Dog Shoppe a chance.  I had to use the pictures I found on my Iphone. I thought I downloaded them before I deleted them from my camera!

The Hot Dog Shoppe claims to serve gourmet hot dogs and specialty sausages along with  side orders such as sweet potato fries or onion rings.  Names like "The Lasorda" or "Sleeping Alone" adorned their "Customer Suggestions" menu. While on their regular menu it had basic hot dogs, brats and sausages. There were way too many to choose from. I was overwhelmed with all the choices that was offered. Quite honestly, I was too tired to even go through all the options so I quickly perused the items and chose the corn dog, Mac n' Cheese dog and onion rings.

Their onion rings ($6)  tasted as if they were fried in old oil. They also tasted as if they were fried in really hot oil where the batter browned too fast before the onion can really cook nicely. They weren't crispy and the batter was just too thick. 

I love corn dogs. I love when the batter taste like corn bread and it's nicely browned and crispy when you bite into it. Their  corn dog ($3.75-not pictured) was nothing like that. Same frying method as the onion rings. Batter was a little soggy, but the hot dog wasn't hot.

The mac n' cheese dog with chili  ($4.75) wasn't impressive either. The macaroni and cheese tasted watered down and wasn't warm. The noodles were overcooked so the texture was mushy. The hot dog wasn't hot. It was more like room temperature as if it was sitting around for a while.

Everything we ordered was pretty disappointing and definitely not worth the money. This is a place I definitely would not recommend or go back to.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Johnny Rebs- Orange, CA

 I read an article online on the 5 top BBQ restaurants in Southern California and Johnny Rebs  made the list.  I went on their website to check out their menu and decided that we would have dinner there. So after a day at the beach we decided to visit their restaurant in Orange, CA.

For starters, we ordered the Southern Sampler plate ($10.25) and the fried pickles ($3.90 for the half order). The Southern sampler came with Cajun and hotlink sausages, hush puppies, and onion rings. The sausages were ok. They were a little spicy and on the dry side. Hush puppies are basically deep fried cornbread. This was my first time trying a hush puppy. I really love cornbread so I couldn’t wait to try this. I took a bite and it didn’t really taste like cornbread. It was bland sucked the moisture out of your mouth because it was so dry. I was not happy because I did order a side of cornbread with my entrée. The best thing on this platter were the onion rings. Although they were cut way to thick, I thought the batter was good and they were fried nicely. The fried pickles didn’t do it for me either. Although they were fried nicely and the outside was crisp, the texture of the breading was too mealy. It didn’t seem like it was dipped in a smooth batter. It seemed as though it was just dipped in a cornmeal then fried. It was too grainy.

The kids ordered the St. Louis ribs with a side of Mac ‘n cheese (not pictured) and the grilled cheese with a side of Mac ‘n cheese. I didn’t get to try any of this but by the looks of their plate, they were disappointed. They liked the Mac n’ cheese but the ribs was a disaster. They were overcooked and it didn’t seem like it was basted with bbq sauce while it was cooking. It was as though it was just slapped on after it was placed on the plate. The grilled cheese was half eaten so maybe that was good.

Ed and I shared the “Pork Out” dinner ($22.95). It came with our choice of three meats, a biscuit, cornbread or hush puppies and 2 sides. We chose the baby back ribs, tri-tip and fried chicken. For our sides, we got the sweet potato fries, fried okra, the biscuit and also ordered the cornbread. I wasn’t going to eat any cornbread but thought maybe it was just dry because it was fried. So I tried it. I tried it by itself and drenched with butter and honey, then butter and jam.. nothing worked. It was not good at all. Both the sweet potato fries and okra were cooked well. There was nothing wrong with our sides. So the first meat I tried was the baby back pork ribs. I was expecting falling off the bone soft. I took my fork and cut a piece off. Nothing fell off the bone; noting was soft. DRY, DRY,DRY! I was sensing a pattern. After a bite of that, I was done and went on to the fried chicken. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. It was so overcooked. It was so fried that when I tried taking a piece of skin off it would just shatter into smithereens. I couldn’t even separate the skin from the meat! Well, on the top part anyway. The bottom of the chicken I was able to salvage some skin. The meat was hard and inedible. The tri-tip was the best thing on the platter, not that that is by any means a compliment. At least this was edible. It was soft and wasn’t cut to thick.

I was really contemplating whether or not to get dessert. Ed said “if they can’t make a decent cornbread, what makes you think they’ll be able to make dessert?” Of course I didn’t listen. I asked the waiter for his opinion on what to order. He said the fried apple pie is a favorite and said it comes with ice cream and big enough for all of us to share. So I ordered the fried apple pie ($7.95) and also ordered the banana pudding ($4.99). The portions were huge. The fried apple pie looked like an over sized empanada. It tasted as though it was fried in old oil, or oil where the French fries were fried. The crust had a good texture and crisp, but it just wasn’t tasty. The apple filling also had way too much cinnamon. Even eating it with the ice cream it tasted pretty bad. The banana pudding, was even worse. Their attempt to make homemade pudding was a failure. The pudding had a grainy texture and tasted watery. The flavor tasted more artificial than boxed pudding. I should’ve listened and passed on their desserts.

Needless to say our experience at Johnny Rebs wasn’t up to par. It was actually quite disappointing. I would definitely not return. It was a waste of $95.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Max Brenner- Las Vegas

 We have been to the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas so many times. I don’t know why I’ve never heard or seen this place. On one of my social networks, I did ask if anyone has been here and a few people responded that I must try it and compared it to Serendipity. If you read a previous blog post, you’d know that I am a big fan of Serendipity so I had to try Max Brenner.

Even on a hot summer night in Las Vegas, I had to order their hot white chocolate. It’s description reads “A clean, milky flavor with a light fragrance of roses.” So of course when it was served the first thing I had to do was smell it. It was served in a cute little “hug mug” and not your typical hot chocolate/tea cup. I couldn’t smell roses. However, I did smell the prominent scent of white chocolate. At first I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t topped with whipped cream. But as soon as I took a sip, I really was very impressed with how much white chocolate you can taste. It was like drinking  melted white chocolate, except in a thinner form. I could’ve drank the whole thing. I would’ve actually, if my son hadn’t tasted it and wanted it for himself.

For starters, we ordered the Really Cheesy-Really Crunchy Mac n Cheese. It had fresh tomatoes and bacon and served with a shot of marinara sauce. The really crunchy part of the description was on point. The mac n cheese was topped with a bread crumb mixture and then broiled so it gave the dish a nice crispy texture on top. The really cheesy part, on the other hand wasn’t exactly true. The acidity of the tomatoes cut into the cheesiness of the dish and it’s juices watered down the sauce. This dish wasn’t bad, but it just is not my idea of what a mac n cheese should taste like.

For my entrée, I ordered the Black Sesame salmon. This was accompanied by a vegetable stir fry with garlic spinach and wasabi aioli. It also came with a little potion glass of soy sauce. The stir fry had really good flavor. The salmon was coated with the black sesames and was cooked well but it definitely needed the soy sauce. The black sesames gave it a little smoky taste but it did need a little salt and some acid.

Ed ordered The Brenner Burger- Pure America Kobe beef patty with “Max’s secret barbeque sauce, lettuce, tomato, cheddar and a Vidalia onion ring on top.” It was served with waffle fries dusted with chili and cocoa powder. I took a bite out of his burger and it was good. The burger was cooked medium. It was a good size burger and was cooked perfectly.

The kids ordered the cheese pizza and the mac 'n cheese.  I didn’t try it. The crust was so thin and the cheese was a little scant. My daughter said she wished she had ordered something else. The mac 'n cheese tasted like the adult version but without the tomatoes. My son normally devours mac 'n cheese, but not this one.

There were so many desserts to choose from and so many that I wanted to try. We ended up ordering  the “Max-Wich” and the Milk Chocolate Apple Caramel Crisp. The “Max-wich” is described as “decadent dark chocolate truffle ice cream and pure chocolate chunks hugged between old fashioned very rich chocolate cookies and drizzled with a boost of pure chocolate served with pure dark chocolate ganache for dipping. The portion was big enough to share. The ice cream was good but there wasn’t enough of it. The cookie was good, but was hard. We only took a couple bites out of this and were done. The Apple Crisp I did enjoy very much. It was topped with oatmeal streusel, served with toffee ice cream and a shot of caramel. I thought this was one of the best apple crisps I’ve had. The surprise in this dish was the melted chocolate at the bottom of the cast iron ramiken. I doused the dish with all the caramel. When you get that perfect bite of streusel, apples, chocolate, caramel  paired with the ice cream, it was divine. Although the ice cream didn’t taste much like toffee, it was still good combined with the crisp. I was a little disappointed that it didn’t come with more ice cream because it was such a small amount that you don’t get to have it with every bite of the apple crisp. I also thought that in comparison to the “Max-Wich” the apple crisp was such a small portion.

Our total with tax and tip was $125. Overall, the savory dishes were just okay. Nothing too different or spectacular about them. It wasn’t Serendipity caliber but I would go back just for dessert.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wazuzu- Las Vegas, NV

Wazuzu is a Pan-Asian restaurant featuring flavors of China, japan, India, Singapore and Thailand. It is located inside the Encore Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.

For starters we ordered the Red Dragon Roll- ($30) I was expecting more from this roll. It tasted like a typical roll you could find at any Japanese restaurant. There was nothing special about it. This was definitely not worth the money. We also ordered the shumai ($9) made with pork and shrimp. I tasted more shrimp than pork. It filling was very moist and the skin was supple. The texture and taste of the shumai were perfect.

My daughter ordered the Teriyaki Beef Bowl ($18). (Not pictured) I don’t know what cut of beef that was used but it was extremely juicy and tender. The teriyaki flavor did not overwhelm the beef. The beef was sliced thin enough where it wasn’t tough to chew or swallow. I can tell by the look on her face she was thoroughly enjoying it so I only had one strip of beef. Believe me, I wanted more.

Our first entrée was the Miso Marinated Black Cod ($25) with a side of white Jasmine rice ($5). All I could say is WOW!  The fish was marinated very well. You could taste the miso and it was cooked where you can taste the caramelization of the marinade. The cod was cooked to perfection. It was firm yet soft; flaky but it didn’t break into little pieces. You didn’t need to put too much pressure on your fork to cut it. When you put it in your mouth, it practically melted. At first I was disappointed that the skin wasn’t crispy. So I took it off and put it to the side. I guess I didn’t take all of it off because ate some of it with the fish. It too melted in your mouth. It wasn’t slimy nor was it tough to eat. To my surprise it was also very good. Typing about it is making my mouth water and can really remember the taste and texture of it. SO GOOD!

The drunken noodles with chicken ($18) was our second entrée. The waitress asked us how hot we wanted it on a scale of 1-5. We chose 2 because of the kids. “Fresh rice noodles with Thai Basil, sweet soy sauce, chilies and onions” is how it is described on their menu. Think chow fun to the 10th power. The flavor was amazing. You could taste the sweet soy which was enhanced by the spice of the chilies. When I first looked at the bowl I was confused about cherry tomatoes mixed in with this dish. But, it worked. They gave it that pop and extra sweetness of flavor when you bit into a tomato with the noodles and chicken. You can choose shrimp, beef or chicken. Even with no protein, this dish would be great. I wish I would’ve gotten it a little more spicy though.

For dessert we ordered the chocolate cake ($10) and the ice cream trio ($9).  When I asked our waitress if it was any good she said it was absolutely decadent. The only decadent thing about it was the chocolate ganache that was poured over the cake. It wasn't chocolate cake. It was more like thick layers of chocolate mousse and in between were thin layers of chocolate cake. The ice cream trio came with a scoop of coconut, coffee, and chocolate hazelnut. My favorite of the three was the coconut. It wasn’t too sweet and you can really taste the coconut flavor. The coffee tasted like unsweetened frozen creamed coffee. A generic store brand coffee ice cream tastes better. Then the chocolate hazelnut, BLAH. That was probably my fault thinking it was going to taste like Nutella. I probably should’ve gone with my first instinct and got the Thai Crepe. These desserts were disappointing and definitely not worth the money.

The bill came out to $175 with tax and tip. Besides the debacles of their roll and desserts, all the other items were very good. I could see myself wanting to come back here. We went here on a Saturday at 9 and had to wait 45 minutes. Overall, I thought it was worth the wait.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Serendipity 3- Las Vegas

I’ve always wanted to go to Serendipity. The only one I know of is located in New York. When I went to Las Vegas I was very excited to see that there was one there.  I’ve seen it on The FoodNetwork, movies, and read things about their food and desserts in articles. I read an article that they have a $65 hot dog and saw on a show that they have a $1000 sundae entitled “The Opulence.” The hot dog, maybe I’d order, but the sundae, well, I’m not crazy, nor am I rich. That specific hot dog was not on the menu. So our order consisted of wild wings, truffled mac n cheese with bacon, the Las Vegas sandwich, black and white sundae and the frrrozen hot chocolate.

Wild Wings ($12) This was OK. nothing spectacular. They weren’t too crispy, although the description did say they were charred. It tasted more of spices than spicy. It wasn’t as vinegary as most hot wings. These were not the type of wings that when they are served you smell the sauce through your nose and it makes your eyes water. It had a subtle heat.  I’ve had better wings and would pass on ordering this.
Truffled mac n cheese ($15) - we added bacon (+$1) . This was really good. The taste of truffle makes a huge difference. You go from eating mac n cheese to MAC N CHEESE.  It didn’t have a ton of cheese oozing from each scoop you served, but there was enough. Enough to get the flavor and satisfaction. The bacon was still crispy so you get the crunch of the bacon and the velvety texture of the noodles. My daughter even told me "Mommy, no offense, but this might be better than yours."

Las Vegas steak sandwich ($20) - marinated flank steak, cheese, bacon and fried eggs  on a toasted baguette.. OK, first this sandwich can be shared. It’s really huge! I’d have to say this sandwich was really good! The eggs weren’t too runny. The steak was soft enough to bite into. The bacon was thick. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the bread was a little too toasted for me. I like crunch on the outside but it may have been a little too toasted. I would order this again but ask them not to toast it so much.

For dessert we ordered the Black and White Sundae ($14) . It had huge scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, topped with hot fudge, marshmallow cream and white chocolate fudge. Whipped cream and white chocolate shavings covered the top of the entire sundae with a chocolate covered strawberry to garnish. It was good and satisfied my sweet tooth. There’s not much that can go wrong with all those components.
Ahhhh.. now it was time for the frozzzen hot chocolate, their claim to fame. I took a sip and wasn’t too impressed. I took another sip and then another. It was actually pretty good. It had deep chocolate flavor but it wasn’t sweet. I’ve heard people say that it’s watered down, but mine wasn’t watered down at all. Maybe they waited too long to try it. Some sips were different than others though. At times there were crunchy pieces of ice, but not like the Snoopy Snow-cone maker type crunchy. Others, you get that smooth “smoothie” effect. Again, it was big enough for 2, possibly 3 people. I don’t think I would get this again because I do want to try either their white chocolate or oreo cookie chocolate flavors.

Our total bill with all that food plus 3 fountain drinks and a child’s drink came out to $106 with tax and tip. It may seem a little overpriced but their portions are really big. I was pretty satisfied with the things we ate and would absolutely eat her again.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

RM Seafood- Las Vegas, NV

RM Seafood is a Rick Moonen restaurant located inside the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. He was a contestant on Top Chef Masters, Season 2 and his catfish sloppy joe was featured on The Best Thing I Ever ate, Las Vegas episode. Since we were staying at TheHotel we decided this would be the perfect place to grab a quick lunch after laying out by the pool.

We started off with the Futo-Fireball roll ($19). It is a cut roll of king crab, avocado, cucumber, spicy char, tobiko (fish roe), drizzled with a wasabi citrus aioli.  I thought the presentation was gorgeous. This was basically a California Roll with a spicy sauce. It had a good crunch and really good flavor. Although I couldn’t tell that it was king crab, I still thought this was a good roll.

The kids ordered the plain Mac n cheese ($10) and the RM Burger ($15). (Both not pictured) The Mac N Cheese was perfect. The sauce was the perfect consistency. It tasted really cheesy and the noodles were cooked a little more than al dente. The burger was also good. It was juicy and cooked exactly how she wanted it. According to her it was “one of the better burgers she’s eaten.”

Ed ordered the catfish sloppy joe ($15). After seeing it on The FoodNetwork, it had to be a must try on this trip. It was absolutely sloppy to eat. There was a lot of the filling. Unfortunately it was mostly the peppers and onions that we could taste. Catfish has such a mild and subtle taste that it does need seasoning but can’t be overpowered by so many flavors. This is exactly what happened in this dish. It definitely needed more catfish.. The sauce had good flavor, but we were disappointed that we couldn’t tell that the protein was catfish, other than by its description.

I ordered Rick’s Famous Fish ‘n’ Chips ($22). The fish was beer battered and served with herbed potato wedges. The fish was succulent and moist, very flaky and perfectly cooked. The tartar sauce it came with was good. It could’ve been famous, but my problem with this dish was the top was crispy but the bottom was soggy. It was laid on top of fries so I’m sure the heat from the bottom of the fish on top of hot fries was the reason for the batter being that way. The dish came with 3 little pieces of fish. Although the pieces were thicker than most fish and chip dishes, they were also a lot smaller. The portion was just not enough to fill me up.

For dessert we ordered the white chocolate bread pudding ($9).  I’m not too fond of bread pudding, but I do love white chocolate so I decided to order it. It was accompanied with a blueberry buttermilk ice cream, Jack Daniels sauce and streusel. I had forgotten about the streusel because it was not that prevalent in the dish. It was more of a garnish on the bottom of the ice cream. I’m not even a blueberry fan, but I did enjoy this dessert. It was a very composed dish. I didn’t feel like the chef threw day old bread into a dish with custard and baked it. It tasted more like a soufflé. The blueberry taste didn’t overpower the  taste of the white chocolate in the bread pudding.

I was pretty disappointed that the catfish sloppy joe and fish and chips weren’t up to par. I was also surprised that the best dishes were ones that were not in any way related to seafood. Although I would definitely not come back here for lunch, I do want to try out a few items on their dinner menu. So stay tuned for a post on that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

StripSteak- Las Vegas, NV

Our hotel of choice when we go to Las Vegas is TheHotel, part of Mandalay Bay.  I was searching for best Steakhouses in Las Vegas and StripSteak inside the Mandalay Bay was one of them. I looked it up and found out it was one of acclaimed chef Michael Mina’s restaurant. So naturally, I had to try it.

Instead of the usual bread basket, our complimentary starter was duck fat fries. A trio of fries fried in duck fat. One was just seasoned with plain salt, the other with what tasted like truffle oil and parsley and the third was seasoned with what tasted like old bay. There were also 3 different types of dipping sauces, each were to complement the different fries. One tasted similar to a tartar sauce but not as tangy, the other was ketchup, the other was a truffle aioli. The fries came out nice and hot, very crispy. I couldn’t stop eating them, with or without the dipping sauce, they were very good.

For my appetizer I ordered duck. This dish came with a crispy duck thigh and a duck egg, cooked over easy, sitting on top of a light salad. The egg seemed a lot fluffier and the yolk tasted a little more subtle. I’m not sure if it was the way they cooked it or if that’s really how duck eggs are. The crispy duck thigh was definitely crispy. I’m not a huge fan of dark meat but I do love duck. It wasn’t oily or fatty. You could taste the saltiness of the crisp skin and the smokiness of the duck. The flavor was good, but I don’t like eating duck like fried chicken. I do like the skin of the duck to be crispy, but I like the meat to be soft and tender. Good dish, but would I order it again? Probably not.
My first side order was the  potato puree trio. The 3 flavors of the potato puree were lobster, sour cream and onion, and horseradish. The lobster puree I thought would be my favorite, but it was actually my least favorite. It was a little too sweet for me and tasted more of sweet potato than a regular potato. There were little chunks of lobster mixed into the puree but most of the lobster flavor was in the potato. The horseradish puree wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t overpowered by horseradish but you can definitely taste it. My favorite of the three was the sour cream and onion. It tasted like a pureed baked potato. Nothing was wrong with this dish, but I wasn’t enamored by it.

The next side order was the truffle mac n cheese.  I love mac n cheese and really can’t get enough of it. This was good. It wasn’t too cheesy or gooey, but it was OK because it was TRUFFLE mac n cheese! The cheesy sauce tasted like white aged cheddar. It was super smooth, ultra silky. Small elbow macaroni was their pasta of choice so some of the sauce creeped into the little holes for more burst of flavor. To top it off (literally) there was a mount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It wasn’t a garnish it was there to add more cheesy goodness to the dish. 

We also ordred the  roasted marrow bones. These were served with crispy thing slices of baguette. It didn’t seem as though the marrow had any olive oil or fat drizzled over it prior to roasting because the top was a little dry. The consistency wasn’t as smooth and didn’t spread over the baguette easily. I was really disappointed with the taste and consistency of this dish.

 Ed’s entrée  was the 18oz Dry-Aged Bone-In Rib Eye and paired it with King crab legs (not pictured). The king crab legs were steamed nicely. They were perfectly plump and juicy. It was sweet and succulent, everything a King crab should be. It's served plain with no butter.  Not that crab absolutely has to be dipped in butter, but butter just makes it that much sweeter.  He ordered the  rib eye medium rare plus, meaning a little more done than medium rare. It’s still pink in the middle but not red.  The steak came out perfectly cooked and seasoned.

“Never again am I ordering a rib eye. I can’t eat that after eating this.” These were Ed’s exact words after he took a bite of my entrée. I ordered the 8oz American Kobe Filet and paired it with grilled foie gras. How can that NOT be good! Foie gras is made from duck liver. It doesn’t look nor does it taste like your typical liver in a liver and onions dish. It doesn’t have that grimy, pasty consistency. It tasted almost like rib eye fat. It is rich, but not heavy. It was creamy, soft and practically melted in your mouth. You can taste the liver flavor but it was subtle and oh so good! Foie gras is not for everyone though. Did you see the episode of Real Housewives of Orange County when Alexis spit it out? That could be you. But for me, it was love at first bite.  Now if that wasn’t good enough, let’s talk about this beef they call Kobe. The phrase “It’s like butter, baby” describes it perfectly. I had a steak knife, but could’ve cut it with a butter knife. It was so soft, so tender, so simply seasoned. When you have a perfect cut of meat and know how to cook it, there’s not much you need to season it with besides salt and pepper. No sauces needed. It was good as is. Again, perfectly cooked. I got that initial crispy char and then bit into soft mouthwatering steak. Up until now, the only Kobe I was in awe over was Kobe Bryant (sorry Jeff)… I’m not as bougie as Ed. I will still eat a regular rib eye, but would definitely order the Kobe cut if my wallet allowed me to.

As if I wasn't full enough, I ordered two desserts The first dessert was the trio of ice cream. My flavors of choice were  chocolate,  vanilla and the brown butter ice cream. I didn’t taste the chocolate or vanilla. I’m assuming it was kid approved because it was gone. The brown butter… it was delicious. It tasted like vanilla with swirls of caramel and butterscotch. It was rich and decadent but not overly sweet. I would’ve been happy with a big bowl of that. The other dessert was the beignets. I had the option of getting it with a crème brulee or butterscotch dipping sauce. I opted for the butterscotch. They came out hot and were dusted with powder sugar. My first bite was without the dipping sauce. It was just like a thick donut. Not as airy or fluffy. It was a little too dense for my liking. However, that butterscotch dipping sauce, I could’ve dipped anything in that all day. It was thick, hot, creamy and you can really taste the caramelization of the sugar. It had really deep flavor. Ed thought there was a little too rum in it. That’s what I loved about it. Dipped in the sauce, the beignet was good. Without it, it was ok. Not the greatest I’ve tasted.

Besides our main courses, I wasn't too impressed with the rest of our dishes.  I could think of a lot more restaurants that would be worthy of the $300 we spent there.