Mizumi Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas…. what a crazy, interesting, evocative, and mischievous place to visit. It’s one of my favorite places to people watch and remember why I am where I am now and not where I used to be. Brandon’s grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin live in Summerlin, just outside of Vegas, and we were finally able to take a weekend trip out there to spend time together and with them. We had so much fun with everyone and it was truly the trip we needed to just get away and not work for a few days — both of us are complete workaholics. Spending time away gave me a really great appreciation for everything I do and reminds me that I need to keep my life outside of work a priority as well. Life is too short not to live it fully and enjoy and embrace the present moment.

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Brandon and I had a really amazing evening out together and we shared a delicious meal at Mizumi in The Wynn hotel. It is a beautiful Japanese restaurant with a waterside view and an absolutely amazing ambiance. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten at or written about a restaurant of this caliber. It was truly a refreshing breath of air to see this type of service and particular care and attention to detail that Mizumi takes with each plate.
We started with drinks. I had a The Dream (champagne, elderflower liqueur and preserved edible hibiscus) and a Mizumi Cloud (lemongrass, yuzu, gin and ginger liqueur). Both drinks were delicate and flavorful. The slight sweetness of the elderflower liqueur gave the champagne a refreshing flavor. The Mizumi Cloud was sweet, but tart, and gave the gin an enlivening elegance.

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We decided to get a selection of hot and cold items instead of ordering sushi rolls.

 

Shiromi Usuzukuri, thinly sliced white fish (snapper), ponzu, miso flakes, momiji oroshi, scallion oil

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Yellowtail Sashimi and Jalapeño Gelée, crispy onion, cilantro oil, ponzu

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Robata Platter, sea bass, organic Jidori Chicken, beef tenderloin, shishito peppers, shiitake mushrooms

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Crispy Brussels Sprouts, toasted almonds, green onion, balsamic soy reduction

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Hokkaido snow beef 5 Pieces 2oz Hot Stone

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Seared Foie Gras with Kabocha Puree, Micro Green and Pomegranate Salad, Chestnut Foam Pomegranate-Balsamic Reduction

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Kurobuta Katsu Panko Breading, Apple Slaw, Curry Sauce and Tonkatsu sauce

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Liquid Lemon-Yuzu Cheesecake, Graham Walnut Streusel, Sour Cherry Compote, Sugared Walnuts, Morello Cherry Sorbet

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Mizumi Chocolate Mask, White Chocolate, Hazelnut Dacquiose, Chocolate Mousse, Praline Puffed Rice, Vanilla Ice Cream

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Coffee and Espresso

 

Everything was delicious and presented so well with the descriptions given on each plate. My favorites were the Shiromi Usuzukuri and the Kurobuta Katsu, but everything was really fresh, executed with extreme attention to detail, and the service was impeccable. It was an evening to remember.

 

Another highlight of the meal was the Hokkaido Snow Beef. This beef is literally melt-in-your-mouth tender. You cook the snow beef table-side on a hot stone, so even when Brandon isn’t working, he’s still cooking on his night off.

 

This meal was everything that the decadence, details, and drama of Las Vegas could serve up and we were completely satisfied with our whole meal experience. It was truly a memorable dining event and I am so glad I could spend it with such a special person. We were also fortunate to go to see Le Rev at The Wynn after dinner, which was such a wonderful Vegas experience and our first Vegas show.  I am so grateful to have these memories to share.

 

Cheers,

 

Unrivaledkitch

Nobu LA

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Brandon and I have been to Nobu Malibu, Matsuhisa and just recently Nobu LA. Needless to say, we are big fans of these amazing restaurants and since our first trip, back in 2007, Brandon’s mom, Lyz, has wanted to go to one of Nobu’s restaurants. Well, seven years later and we finally took her. Better late than never! Hopefully the next time she has something on her list we won’t have to wait so long, but I’d definitely say Nobu is a special occasion restaurant for us and you need about seven years to save up for the kind of meal we enjoyed, but it was well worth every penny.

Nobu LA

Nobu LA is on North La Cienga Blvd in the heart of Hollywood and many amazing restaurants, so what makes it stand out? A very reputable and proven menu as well as detailed and sophisticated service keeps us coming back. We had an extremely rich, luxurious and multifaceted meal that proved to be one of the best meals we’ve had in a very long time. There are always the traditional Nobu dishes that we order, but we tried a good sampling of new items as well, and everything was masterfully executed.

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Nobu LA is modern and elegant with an interesting  flow of seating in two separate areas. The Sushi Bar is brightly lit with gold light fixtures hanging above the traditional bar-style seating. The side room has dimly lit ambiance with a mixtures of booths and tables for small groups and medium-sized parties. A sea of servers, busboys and other assisting staff pace the room, waiting for a glass to fall to half and picking up the slightest dirty plate. We had two servers during the evening. Both gave personal details as to which dishes they liked best, had a really great grasp of the menu, and explained everything very well.

 

The food was presented in a very traditional Nobu-style with gorgeous Japanese plates and extreme attention to detail. Each dish was described as it was dropped off and if there were directions on how to best eat the dish, they were thoroughly explained.

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We started off with edamame and drinks. I had Peruvian Caipirinha Pisco, Fresh Lime, Shiso & Ginger Beer. I really like Caipirinha’s and this one was exceptional. They used an ample amount of fresh lime, which was refreshing and the ginger beer was spicy, but not overpowering. Lyz had the Champagne 95, which was really light and refreshing as well.

 

Here’s the list

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We started with Oysters with Nobu Salsa. Kumamoto oysters are on the smaller side, but they were extremely clean and really fresh.

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Toro Tartar, which we’ve had every time we’ve been to Nobu. It’s delicious and extremely decadent. Fresh Yuzu and caviar round out the flavor.

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Truffle Albacore with crispy artichokes and dry miso

One of my favorite dishes of the evening. The artichokes is a little deceiving, but the dish is still really delicious. Truffle sauce is luxurious and deeply flavorful.

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Live Scallop (Hotate) Tiradito

Thinly sliced scallop served in the tiradito-style with peruvian flavors of cilantro, spice and Japanese fusion elements. The abductor is also thinly sliced on the plate, giving contrasting flavor and texture.

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Tuna Tempura Roll

This is a bit of a strange dish. It was explained well, so when we got it, we weren’t completely surprised. The tuna is rolled with nori and inside is asparagus and micro cilantro, then the tuna is lightly fried “tempura”-style with no real tempura on it at all.  Then it’s plated in a deep, rich miso yuzu with tomato. Interesting, in a way that is not really what anyone envisioned, but still, the fish and sauce were a unique balance.

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Wagyu Tacos

These are misleading, unfortunately. Our server said that he really enjoyed them and maybe as a server, getting free mini Wagyu tacos, they are good, but for $7 for a tiny taco, we would pass next time. They weren’t bad at all, it’s just that we could have spent that money on another, more impacting and wowful dish. Skip the wagyu tacos.

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Kurobuta Pork Belly

This was one of my favorite things the whole night. Amazing Kurobuta Pork Belly that was braised to absolutely melt-in-your-mouth perfection, topped with crispy leeks and Shiitake mushrooms. The sauce was really rich in flavor, almost to the point of salty, extremely deep soy flavor.

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Tempura Sweet Potato

I know it’s just tempura, but I just love this sweet potato. It’s so crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside and the Tempura sauce is just the right balance of saltiness. So simple, but so perfect.

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Mushrooms with Wasabi Salsa

This is a huge plate of assorted Japanese mushrooms, really well roasted and topped with Wasabi salsa that was very mild, almost reminiscent of celery with Ponzu. Varying textures and flavor from the mushrooms was a good compliment to the pork.

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King Crab Amasu

King Crab tempura with Japanese sweet and sour sauce. We’ve had this before and for good reason, it’s really good. The crab is crunchy and sweet, while the sauce is spicy, but still mild with the herbaceousness of cilantro and freshness of slivered red onion. Perfect every time.

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Kinme Tiradito

Golden Eye Snapper Tiradito Japanese Snapper is delicate and extremely fresh. Clean, traditional and elegant preparation.

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Rock Shrimp Tempura

Another classic dish that we wanted to share with Lyz. The spring mix on the bottom is dressed in a yuzu dressing and the rock shrimp are super tender inside and really crispy on the outside. The dish is addicting.

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Seabass Jalapeno Salsa

Another extremely delicious preparation. The Seabass was perfectly cooked, flaky and moist, with just the right crust and sauce. Roasted mushrooms and mild jalapeno salsa completed an incredible meal.

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We couldn’t finish without dessert, so we decided on Kamameshi Halo Halo and Claudis Carrot Cake. The halo halo was a really interesting and unique dessert of vanilla rice pudding, mochi pearls, puffed soba, sweet red beans, jack fruit, nata de coco, macapuno and purple yam, mango and coconut gelato. All the elements were really tasty, but it has to be eaten quickly or else the fire under will heat everything too much.  We really enjoyed the carrot cake. Caramelized pecans, mascarpone mousse, ginger malaga ice cream, and salted caramel–really delicious and wonderful.

 

Overall, it was a meal of a lifetime. Some definite highs and a couple of lows, but nothing at all that wasn’t delicious. We had a really incredible time and the service and food were simply fantastic. Happy Birthday, Lyz! We hope you had a stupendous birthday and we are so glad we were able to celebrate with you at Nobu!

 

Thank you, to the brilliant staff and wonderful chefs at Nobu LA. We truly enjoyed every bite.

Nobu LA

www.noburestaurants.com

903 North La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90069

 

Cheers!

Unrivaledkitch

Sweets and Drinks in Vegas

Sin City has its alluring qualities and flashy devilish charms, but hidden amongst the countless yards of alcohol and not so flattering clothing choices, are the sweet and deliciously decadent, which my boyfriend and I found on our trip around the strip. Brandon is the first person I went to Vegas with after I turned 21. We were freshly friends on a mission to seek out some delicious inspiration and new restaurant ideas for growing chefs in a new place. Since then, almost five years ago, one of my favorite pastimes in Vegas is restaurant menu searching and eating.

Our adventure to Vegas was filled with fun trips to different casinos to see menus with seasonal inspiration. On our way around, we decided to stop at a really amazing sweet shop at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace called Vosges Haut-Chocolat.  Every time we go here, there’s always some new and interesting combination of flavors that I need to try and also, some that I always go back to. We looked around for a while, and finally decided on a box of truffles, white chocolate lavender hot coco mix, and chocolate toffee.  The truffles were fantastic, the toffee was eaten before I had any and I could pass on the lavender white chocolate because I’m not a fan of lavender, but it was still pretty delicious.

 

Later on in the evening, we met up with some of my friends (Thomas and Joanna) for a couple of drinks and another walk along the strip.  We walked from Excalibur down to the Cosmopolitan, where we had drinks at Bond . The Cosmopolitan is one of my favorite hotels in Vegas. If you’re lucky enough to go there, I’d say it’s something to behold— interesting, chic, modern, and beautiful—and this bar was all those things and more. Bond has an interesting combination of stylish modern cocktails or a standard stiff drink.   As we sipped wonderfully well-made drinks with good company, I couldn’t help but think how awesome my friends are.  I had a Berry Long Island and Brandon had a Lemongrass Ginger Kamikaze; both drinks were strong, but still light and flavorful, with fresh juices and high quality liquors.

The trip was one of the best I’ve ever had and I’m sure we’ll have more great adventures in Las Vegas to come.

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

The Hungry Cat and Santa Barbara Farmers Market

Brandon and I seem to find our way out to Santa Barbara pretty often. It’s far from where I live, but only 30 minutes away from where he lives, so when I visit him, which is often, we have a tendency to head up there to see what’s going on. We knew there was a farmer’s market there on Tuesdays, so we decided to drive up to see what kind of beautiful vegetables we could get and also have a nice dinner.
The season is showing its spring-like colors at the market with beautiful citrus, lots of wonderful radishes, rainbow tomatoes, and strawberries peeking around each stand. The wonderful smell of citrus and fresh picked greens always makes me have a little longing for a garden of my own one day, but I’m not sure that would work, seeing as I can barely keep a plant alive, but one can hope.

After we walked the market, we decided to stop in at The Hungry Cat. This beautiful, small restaurant captures the quaint and simplistic nature of Santa Barbara. We came in for a midday meal around 5:00 p.m. and it was still happy hour, so drinks were half off–a steal for such gourmet cocktails. I ordered the Greyhound Proper, which was Plymouth Gin, fresh grapefruit juice, and candied grapefruit; a deliciously prepared strong and wonderful cocktail.
The kitchen at The Hungry Cat is half-open with a conjoining bar and a long set of seats, set along the back side of the restaurant. Small decorations and open glass windows keep the restaurant open and inviting. We perused the midday menu to see what we would get. Brandon and I have been known to devour large towers of seafood together, so we decided to go with that again. We ordered the medium-sized seafood platter, which came with peel-and-eat shrimp, clams on the half shell, oysters, snow crab legs, a half Maine lobster, marinated mussels, rock crab claws, and caviar. The large tower was a fantastic sight to see, so wonderfully prepared, freshly shucked, flawless seafood done with just the right touches.  We were also served accompaniments to aid in the seafood flavor development: housemade tartar sauce, housemade cocktail sauce, housemade thousand island, and mignonette. All the sauces were delicious and went well with everything. We had fun making small bites of delicious sauce and seafood and we were also given toast points with chives, hardboiled egg yolk and white, crème fraiche, and shallots, which made for some delicious seafood morsels. Everything was so wonderful. I’m still not the biggest fan of raw clams, but everything else was excellent, especially the most delicately poached and tender peel-and-eat shrimp; I could eat those every day.
A beautiful day in Santa Barbara with wonderful food and food adventures along with the best company a girl could ask for. I’m sure we’ll frequent The Hungry Cat again, you should too.
cheers
-Unrivaledkitch

Back to Santa Barbara: Kunin Wine and Santa Barbara Shellfish Company

One of the wonderful tourist attractions,causing people to flock to Santa Barbara is wine tasting. If you’ve never been, it’s definitely something that trains your taste buds to know more about the things you like and maybe things you aren’t so interested in wine tasting. Michelle and I found our way over to Kunin Wines Tasting Room, a lovely little store near the Santa Barbara pier, also known as Stearns Wharf Santa Barbara. It’s definitely a lovely place to watch the glorious sun go down over the beautiful hills and gorgeous beach. We stopped in for a tasting before we went to the pier. We sampled five wines for 10 dollars; you could choose from white or red tastings as well a syrah tasting, which was an additional two dollars. I decided on the red wine tasting and Michelle had the white wine tasting. It was nice to sample the variety and the differences between varietals.

 

After our wine tasting, we headed down to the pier to take in the stunning scenery and find a bite to eat. The waterfront was a bit chilly, but you could hardly complain because of the immense beauty of the sunset. As we walked along the shops and other various restaurants, we found ourselves at Santa Barbara Shellfish Company, just as the sun was going down.  We were seated on the heated patio with the perfect view of the beautiful hills and gorgeous waterfront. We ordered clam chowder in a bread bowl and fried seafood, which consisted of calamari, shrimp, oysters and scallops topped with fried onion rings; a perfectly indulgent and delicious meal to end this gorgeous day. I also ordered an Anchor Steam Christmas Brew, which perfectly complimented the crispy fried flavors and delicate flesh of the seafood and held up well with its dark rich flavor to the creaminess of the chowder. We watched a perfect day go to rest and found ourselves in awe of such an astonishing moment in time, thankful that we could share these awesome times together, with such an life-long friendship.

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Sol Y Luna

On a street corner of Ventura Blvd. in Tarzana, lies a valley find unlike many others. As I approached Sol Y Luna on Saturday night, second thoughts were in order, a crowd of well to do ladies and gentlemen surfaced, even before we were inside, about 20 people deep. As we approached the hostess, we were kindly asked to wait an hour if we’d like to eat there. Inclined to see what the wait was about, Stephanie and I decided we would just hop over to the local bowling alley and have a beer, catch up about over the holiday adventures and take her outfit photos for her blog. As we waited, it was clear that we would be around for a little while, so finally after about 45 minutes, we decided to take a seat at the bar, which opened up two seats just in time for the two of us to snag them. We were greeted kindly by a very sweetly natured bartender named Jessie. You could tell it was getting to the part of the evening to wind down a bit by the time we were seated, which I appreciate because I know the middle of service in a large busy restaurant it hectic for everyone.
We ordered house margaritas, which were poured from the gun; nothing over the top, but not a bad drink for the price. I’d probably order a Cadillac next time, if I were to have margaritas there again. The bar was studded with fancy decorations, mirrors and lots of different types of tequila and draft Mexican beer. Jessie asked us if we’d like to start with guacamole as an appetizer, which we were inclined to do because it looked so good. The avocados were perfect and creamy, and the large bowl was made right aside us for us to put in whatever it was we’d like to make it mild, medium or spicy.  We were also served two types of salsa: a pico de gallo, which is a more chunky tomato, onion, and cilantro sauce, as well as a smokey spicy salsa with flavors of chipotle. Both salsas were delicious, the chips were perfectly crunchy and light, not too hard or too soft for breaking in sauces or thick guacamole.
As we enjoyed our huge bowl of guacamole and chips, along with our margaritas, we perused the menu to see what our main courses would be. By this time we had decided that we’d just continue to sit at the bar. I decided I would order the salpicon tostada with shredded beef and refried beans. Stephanie had a black bean and cheese burrito. My tostadas were huge and very delicious. The refreshing, light dressing of just simple oil and vinegar and not overwhelming presence of cheese, was an important factor in the overall delightful nature of the dish. This was a refined Mexican-style dinner. Everything just seemed to fall into place and after all the food, we hardly realized we had waited so long. It was an amazing meal with a great friend, awesome service and even the mariachis came by to serenade us. A great place for good food, but I’d say to head in around 9:00 p.m. or later if you don’t want to wait, or go on an off day, but even then, I’m sure some wait maybe in order for this very desirable Mexican cuisine.

Asia de Cuba

Along the freshly stale, glam, grunge tourist accommodations of higher proportion on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, California lies Asia de Cuba. A restaurant concept close to my heart and well done at that, with a deep affinity for Asian and Latin cultures. These plates depict the depths of flavor and comforts of familiarity. The décor at Asia de Cuba is a glamorous array of beautiful white pieces melting with the beige and dim candlelight reflections. The looking-glass walls are depicting the whole lot of Los Angeles on a clear evening.  The patio seats the glamorous and fashionably-forward flowing continuum of Hollywood life. White linens, fine silverware and fluted water glasses adorn each table.
As we waited for our seats, a duo of overambitious, idiot, socialites decided they wanted to be more important than us, and try to get a table before we did, but were shot down and we were seated first, which we were grateful for, considering that we had been waiting to be served before they even arrived.  We were then greeted by a very polite and well-informed waiter, Peter. He gave some of the most amazing service I’ve had in a very long time. His fluidity of menu knowledge and ability to speak candidly and with passion, is something every great server need take note of. We started with drinks. I ordered a Havana Mule, which was grapefruit vodka, and grapefruit juice with lime; a very refreshing way to start the evening.

As we perused the menu for seasonal offerings, it came to our attention that they were offering a tasting menu including some of the best items on the menu for $67. Peter explained that the menu was broken down into large amounts of food, for which there need be no more than 2-4 dishes picked between the four of us, which brings selection down a bit. So we opted to take on the tasting menu to try our luck with a larger variety of food.
This is the menu as written on Asia de Cuba’s website.

APPETIZERS

TUNAPICA

TUNA TARTARE PICADILLO STYLE WITH SPANISH OLIVES, BLACK CURRANTS,

ALMONDS AND COCONUT WITH SOY-LIME VINAIGRETTE AND WONTON CRISPS

AND

BRAISED BEEF SPRING ROLL

CUBAN BLACK BEAN PAPAYA SALSA AND PORT WINE REDUCTION

AND

CALAMARI SALAD ‘ASIA DE CUBA’

CRISPY CALAMARI WITH CHAYOTE, HEARTS OF PALM,

BANANA, CASHEWS, CHICORY AND RADICCHIO WITH SESAME ORANGE DRESSING

INTERMEZZO

 

PINEAPPLE SORBET

ENTRÉES

 

CHAR SUI BEEF SHORT RIBS

CONGRE TOSTONES AND CHILI ORANGE MOJO

AND

MISO CURED ALASKAN BUTTERFISH

CUBAN BLACK BEAN & EDAMAME SALAD AND TEMPURA SHISITO PEPPERS

AND

CUBAN BBQ CHICKEN

THAI COCONUT STICKY RICE, AVOCADO CILANTRO FRUIT SALSA AND TAMARIND SAUCE

AND

PLANTAIN FRIED RICE WITH AVOCADO SALAD

DESSERT

BAY OF PIGS

Rich chocolate brownie topped with chocolate ice cream vanilla ice cream bruleed bananas and banana crisps, coconut cake and nuts
ASIAN PEAR BREAD PUDDING
Asian pear bread pudding baked and topped with crème angles and a side of poached Asian pears
My tasting notes and photos:
Braised Beef Spring Roll
This flavor forward bite starts the meal off in the right direction. The presence of the airy, wonderfully fried shell and beef forward flavor with the port wine reduction is delicious and inviting.
Tunapica

The tuna was fresh and delightful, obviously highly graded. But the olive and current take a backseat to the crunchy wonton, which tasted flat and unseasoned.
Calamari Salad ‘Asia de Cuba’
Chicory and radicchio were dressed well in a very intensely flavored dressing of sweet sesame orange citrus, with the creaminess of banana that lends well to the crunch of the fried calamari and the presence of hearts of palm and nuts; all making for an intriguing and playful way to eat fried calamari elegantly. Truly a highlight of the evening.
Pineapple Sorbet
This small bite was a simple, acidic and sweet pallet cleanser to go after the luscious fried pieces of calamari and sticky sweet dressing.
Char Sui Beef Short Ribs
The short ribs were tender, developed and rich, full of flavor from slow simmering and then sliced. The rest of the plate didn’t seem as though it was flowing or highlighting the meat. I enjoyed the short ribs on their own and could have done without the rest.
Miso Cured Alaskan Butterfish
The moist butterfish was prepared extremely well. Its flavor was delicious and faint, not overpowering, with a lovely miso gentleness. The edemame accompaniment was a good textural change from the buttery fish. With a little heat from shiso pepper to balance everything out, it was an overall fantastic dish.
Plantain fried rice with avocado salad
An interesting take on fried rice. The avocado was a nice combination with the fish and the meat.
Cuban BBQ Chicken
Lastly, the chicken, which I tend to never order at restaurants–even well done, chicken is still just chicken –was a bit dry and busy. The coconut sticky rice tasted milky, thick and faintly sweet, which was a good contrast to the mango salad, along with a clean and refreshing sauce with dark and heavy flavor.
Bay of Pigs
This is one of the most rich, decadent and wonderful desserts I’ve ever tasted. The amount of flavor and different textures and tastes that happened on this plate is out of control, but in an immense way. I’d come back just to sit and eat that chocolate ice cream and brownie, then relax in my self-induced sugar coma. Truly an amazing dessert and I don’t even like bananas, as I mentioned before.
Asian Pear Bread Pudding
It’s a lovely fresh and soft, delightful and deliciously delicate dessert with a nice flowing crème angles and poached pears for different textures.
Overall, we enjoyed a pleasant meal with a beautiful atmosphere, creating the quintessential experience for celebrating my sister-in-law, Viet-Linh’s, impressive move up the corporate ladder. All the flavors on the plates combine to be familiar, with edgy and interesting appeal. Thank you Peter for your amazing service and Asia de Cuba’s chefs and staff for an appealing and delightful experience.

 

Hollywood’s Magic

I woke up from a morning of face stuck-to-the-pillow exhaustion and opened one eye to wink at my phone, to see who was texting me. Of course, it was a welcomed text from my good friend Joanna, telling me, “It’s a beautiful day. What are we going to do?” I decided quickly that it was time to take a little adventure to the Westside and see what kind of fun we could have in the beautiful reminiscence of the California summer sunshine.

We made our way through Laurel Canyon and decided on the El Capitan Theater to see “Beauty and the Beast” in 3-D as our main adventure, but we’d also have several other ones along the way.  We took a quick walk to Boho, which is a gastro pub located in an outdoor mall on Hollywood and Highland. I would say the atmosphere is very Jumanji study meets lounge; definitely interesting and eclectic. The bar is set up nicely and they have a number of beers on tap and other sections of cocktails and wine. We opted to have a quick afternoon cocktail—at ten bucks a piece we limited ourselves to one. I ordered the Apple St. Germine and Joanna ordered the Fizzy Pink. We ended up swapping drinks because the fizzy pink was too tart for Joanna’s liking, but that was fine by me because the elderflower in the St. Germine was a bit sweet for my taste buds.

We decided that we’d go buy our tickets for the show and then head over for a cheap happy hour at Hooters . Classy I know, we ordered greasy bar food, like loaded tater tots and boneless chicken wings, to go with our drinks. We chatted, watched a bit of football and then made our way over to the movie. I’m a Disney fiend; to say the least. I love everything associated with old-school Disney movies. The singing and animation just remind me of a carefree time in my life that I always wish to go back to. Having my little niece is great, because now I get to share all my Disney love with her as well. The movie was great, but the theater itself was even better; it was so much fun to see the curtains drawn up with all the lights and huge stage.

We made our way back to the valley and as we were passing Sherman Oaks, I drove by The Local Peasant, which I mention I had wanted to go to, and Joanna said, “Well, we’re here. Why don’t we go?” So I turned around and we found a good parking space and stopped in for a drink. The Local Peasant has the staple old-school cocktails, some modern reinvented ones, a large selection of beer on tap, and wine in the bottle, as well as on tap for their house selections. The atmosphere is dark for the most part, as with most of these types of pubs. One side of the restaurant is lined with mirrors and white tiles reflecting the diminishing sunshine from a late evening sunset, there are communal tables as you walk in, a growing trend in the restaurants these days. The Local Peasant has no significant signage except for plain letters on the front door. The bar is large and positioned at the back of the restaurant, seating about 15-20 guests. Joanna had the Cellopeno, which is a mixture of spicy green jalapenos, Ventura County limoncello, vodka, lemon and rosemary. This small cocktail packed a punch of spicy sweetness with a sort of burning warmth as it was sipped. I ordered the Fox Barrel Pear Cider, which was light and refreshing. The clientele is older, but still interesting; a mix of people just getting off of work and having a beer on a Monday night. Our service was wonderful and I look forward to going back for dinner or a cheese plate another night.

After our cocktail we made our way over to Reseda to Pho 999, this Vietnamese restaurant is humble and family style. The restaurant was still pretty busy for a Monday night at 9 p.m. I ordered Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong, which is a cold noodle dish with fresh vegetables and barbecue pork and eggrolls. It’s a delicious option if you don’t want hot soup that day; otherwise, pho is always an excellent choice. The addition of fish sauce makes the whole bowl delightful and refreshing. Joanna ordered a kind of Vietnamese very small grain rice that had barbecue beef on it, a mixture of Vietnamese pressed meat and vegetables and a type of tripe that’s a very strange texture, yet still delicious. The whole plate was so different and interesting. It was a great meal to share and a wonderfully full day of food and drink adventures.

 

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Camping and a Going Away Party

gaviota in

creek to oceanwalking beach and pier

train

gaviota

seal

tent

cooking outside

me and miche

My life seems to have evaporated in front of me this last month, but in a very amazing way. I’m so lucky all my friends and family are so amazing and I’ve had such an amazing August and September already. There’s so much coming up and I’m getting ready for so many big moves in life—it’s scary and exciting. My friend is on the same journey, but hers is educational bound. My best friend from high school got into grad school at University of California, Santa Barbara. I’m so proud of her. Since I won’t be seeing her as often, we decided to take a weekend trip together in the great outdoors about 30 miles from where she’ll be attending school at Gaviota State Park. The beach was beautiful. We spent the days in the sand drinking sangria and eating snacks in the evenings. We had campfire meals and were blown away, literally, by the howling wind. So much for camping, but we tried. I had so much fun. The night sky was just gorgeous and the water crashing on the shore was amazing.

steak skewers

foil grilling

broccoli

propane

grillin

sweet and savory

sangria

rib eyes

zucchini

eat

miche eating

me eating

Menu
Dinner Saturday night: Togarashi and ginger soy sauce marinated steak skewers with red bell peppers, Steamed soy broccoli, and Grilled corn on the cob. A completely utensil-free meal made on the wood burning campfire.
Breakfast Sunday morning: Scrambled garlic and swiss cheese eggs, grilled turkey sausage, mixed fruit, and French bread toast with Cinnamon and vanilla Mexican hot chocolate made on a outdoor propane stove.
Sangria made with Pinot grigio white peaches, granny smith apples, nectarines, raspberry rum and cranberry vodka mixed.
Dinner: Grilled herb marinated Bone-in Rib eye steaks, Roasted Rosemary fire potatoes, Grilled home grown green and yellow zucchini.
Cooking outdoors on a fire that can’t be controlled, not to mention the howling wind, is pretty intense, but I’d say we still ate very well and had lots of fun with it all. Anyone else been beach camping this year? You should go! It’s really fun to get out there, get dirty and cook up some grub under the stars. Beautiful!

So the next weekend Michelle had asked me if I would be able to cater her going away party for about 20-25 people and of course I told her I would. This is the menu. Everything went over so well and we had so much fun drinking, going in the hot tub and enjoying summer time as it quickly fades away.





Menu
Dry ground Mexican chili compound butter smeared grilled corn; Carne asada tacos with smoked paprika and sweet chili; Marinated lime and lemon ginger roasted chicken tacos; Spanish Rice with scallion and roma tomato; Three grilled chilies serrano, jalapeno and pasilla; Taco toppings: lettuce, queso fresco, sweet white onions, and cilantro; Vegetarian chorizo slow cooked homemade re-fried pinto beans, Pico de gallo, Salsa roja with vinegar marinated jalapeno

Good Luck at school Miche. I love you!

As for it being 9/11, I hope with these friendships and loving memories we remember the people that lost their lives and who still believe in our great country.

In gratitude

Cheers
Unrivaledkitch

Adventures with Stephanie The-loudmouth.com

Sometimes I think to myself I’m so terrible with keeping up with content but  there’s so much to write about when it comes to food, life, and fun. And every day I’m so fortunate to be able to share the things I love and eat with you all. I hope that this is something I can continue to do forever.

Now for some Food and drink adventures with Stephanie, you can view her lovely entries about our outings at her blog the-loudmouth.com.

Over the last couple of months we’ve been hitting the town aka San Fernando Valley and other outer lying cities around us in search of fun, food, and just a great time. We always have amazing conversation and candid acts of photography. I’m so glad to have this beautiful lady in my life. Here’s a recap of fun in the SFV.

A couple months ago we headed out to Boneyard Bistro . I loved the beer selection here and the fact that we could choose to have flights of beer and try different things. We also made it in for happy hour and had a couple of appetizers.

 

We’ve found ourselves at the Blue Dog Tavern  which is a local Sherman oaks gastro pub having burgers and sandwiches with local beer and sunshine on the patio. Eating at this little place is a brilliant way to spend a summer California afternoon, the food is good but the beer is even better. I had an Ahi tuna burger with coleslaw.

Stephanie and I love local eateries so we just recently went to Sweet Butter Café . This adorable little corner of Sherman Oaks has a really lovely country style feel to it. It is set up in the style of a café where you order inside and you get a little card that has a name of a fruit on it and that’s how they know to bring out the food. Sweet Butter is known for its breakfast and lunch style offerings. We came right in between the two and decided to have

 

The Yoga Housemade Ranch Gordo White Bean Spread , Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Dressed Arugula on Toasted Rustic Millstone w/Arugula Salad with avocado

And

Mixed Greens with Fuji Apples, Laura Chenel Chèvre, Dried Cranberries & Sweet Butter’s Candied Pecans with vinaigrette

The food was good. I loved the use of white beans because I use them so much, they are a delicious under rated food. People really do need to eat more beans and legumes. The food is a bit pricy for what it is but normal for Ventura Blvd. It’s an adorable place but I wouldn’t brave it on a Saturday or Sunday when it’s always crowded and crazy. If you’re looking for a chic weekday breakfast or lunch go to Sweet Butter.

We always play in the Sherman oaks Galleria, if I do say so myself, this place has an awesome happy hour selection to choose from. We frequent The Cheesecake Factory for 5 dollar long island ice teas and cheesecake, we seat ourselves with Cadillac margaritas for 5 dollars at El Torito Grill which has happy hour from 2-8 every day and some tasty flour tortillas and salsa for snacking, and we enjoy happy hour dumplings at P.F. Changs with 4 dollar draft beers and cheap specialty cocktails. This is a great cheap place to have a quick drink with a girlfriend then walk around urban home pondering of your dream furnishings.

 

Aside from food you can find us having fun at the beautiful Japanese Gardens, walking Ventura Boulevard, snagging something sweet, taking photos in shops and on escalators or looking over the city tops into the beautiful LA night, we’re just out having a good time.

 

Gastro Pubs, A Café, and Happy Hour all make for amazing adventures. I hope you take your city by storm and have wonderful afternoons/ evenings of food and fun.

Just to clarify we didn’t do this all in one day, it’s over the course of a couple months. But I do like to eat/ drink a lot so don’t put it past me.

Cheers

Unrivaledkitch
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