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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Barro's Pizza- Arizona

Barro's Pizza
8940 E Indian Bend
Scottsdale, AZ 85256

What a surprise to see a Barro's Pizza in Scottsdale, Arizona!!  From the Barro's Pizza in Arizona website, the family opened pizza restaurants, with her sons, in California in 1968, then moved to Arizona in 1980!  They now have 38 locations in the Metro Phoenix area!

Barro's Pizza used to be a very popular chain in the Los Angeles area!  I've been to the Diamond Bar Barro's, their official name is Barro Brothers Pizza, (maybe the brothers broke away from the family and opened their own restaurant?) and the Whittier Barro's.

This Barro's is huge, with one dining room filled with long tables and bench seating, another smaller room with about ten tables, a front room with even more tables, and tables outside.  The day I went a youth baseball team came in and basically took over the place!

Large mushrooms and jalapenos, $14.75.  This was a good pizza, reminded me of the old Barro's, but they were just off.  The pizza was a bit well done, if they had taken out the pizza 3-4 minutes earlier, it would have been a just right.  But, towards the outer crust, the crust was break apart, like the dough was stretched too thin in that area.  The ratio of mushroom to jalapeno was off.  The pizza was covered with about 60% mushrooms and 40% jalapenos.  Some slices had all or mostly mushrooms. The sauce was flavorful, with a good mixture of herbs and spices.

Service was very good.  The young lady who helped me was nice and friendly.  Luckily, I came in about 5 minutes before the youth baseball team and my order came out quickly.

When I go back to Scottsdale, I will give Barro's another chance. 

Sakana Sushi & Grill

Sakana Sushi & Grill
6989 N Hayden Rd Ste A12
Scottsdale, AZ 85250

Monday, December 5, 2016

Pita Jungle

Pita Jungle
4340 E Indian School Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Pita Jungle is a chain in the Phoenix area that was started by three Arizona St. students.  There is a Pita Jungle in Newport Beach, CA.  They are planning to expand to other California cities.

This Pita Jungle location is huge, with about 30 tables in the restaurant.  The shopping center is a busy center with a Pei Wei, Starbucks, and other eateries.

Black bean burger, $8.69-homemade black bean patty formed with chipotle, jalapeno and bell peppers, carrots, corn, oats, garlic, onions, cilantro, cranberries, on a bun with chipotle hummus, baby arugula, hothouse tomatoes, red onions, sunflower sprouts with a side of lemon-cilantro mixed beans.

This was a very good burger.  The first thing I noticed was this burger fell apart.  Now some people may think that is a bad thing, but making a black bean burger it is a good thing.  Why?  Because you know it is made fresh and not a pre-made frozen burger.  While the burger patty fell apart, it was very flavorful, bold flavors from the chipotle hummus.   I did think the burger needed some ketchup or even a thousand island dressing, but overall a very good burger.

Service was very good, despite being very busy that night.  The server was very nice and prompt.

I would go back to Pita Jungle anytime!  Hopefully they will open more locations in California!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

CaCao Mexicatessen

CaCao Mexicatessen
1576 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041

CaCao Mexicatessen has been on my bucketlist of places to try for about three years.  Even though I frequently go by the area, I still haven't stopped in.  That changed on a raining day in Los Angeles!  CaCao is a casual restaurant, with counter service.  It's fairly small with limited seating on one side of the restaurant, with a large bar and booth seating on the other side of the restaurant.  There is very limited parking, street parking that is usually taken by shoppers of the Trader's Joe next door. It's not far from the now closed Larkin's, an overpriced soul food restaurant!

Fish taco- fried and pan seared red snapper, crema, red cabbage, pico de gallo, and salsa on a corn tortilla! $3.95 each.

The fried version has a Alesmith Nut Brown beer-batter.  This was very crispy and flaky!  Everything was fresh and full of flavor.

The pan seared is also very fresh and full of flavor.

Service- you order at the counter and they bring the food to your table.  Nice, friendly and helpful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fidel’s Pizza

Fidel’s Pizza
307 N Ave 50
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Fidel's Pizza has been serving pizza in Highland Park since 1977.  So, they must be doing something right or there isn't much competition in the area.  Much like Italiano's Pizza, Fidel's is a restaurant built into a house.  There are a few tables in front, but mostly a take out restaurant.

Medium mushrooms and jalapeno pizza, $14.  The crust was good, slightly thicker than thin crust, but held up well to the toppings.  But, the toppings were a disappointment.  The mushrooms are canned!  Big no, no!  The jalapenos were fresh, but they were very stingy with the amount of jalapenos and canned mushrooms.  Jalapenos are relatively cheap, maybe $1/lb, and they maybe put one medium sized jalapeno on the pizza?  The sauce is heavy on the oregano and is about average.  Not impressed with the pizza, because you don't use canned mushrooms!

Service was good. 

I won't go back to Fidel's Pizza, again.  There are too many other options in Highland Park, like Town Pizza, even Italiano's Pizza is better!

Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips

Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips
3545 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

I don't care enough about "celebrity chefs" to google them, so I had no idea that Gordon Ramsey owned so many restaurants throughout the world.  I thought he was the yelling host of Kitchen Nightmares.  I went to one restaurant, The Capri, that was featured on the show.   It wasn't good, but I don't blame Ramsey for that.  It's the owner of the restaurant, who are responsible for holding the standards Ramsey sets!  The recurring theme of Kitchen Nightmares is using fresh food, not frozen, pre-made food, well trained staff, and cleanliness of the restaurant.  So, when I heard that Ramsey opened a fish and chips restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip, I dropped in on a recent trip to Vegas.

Located in The Linq Promenade shopping area.  It has a very tacky exterior with a huge fish design, in the colors of the British flag, hanging from the front,.  I get we're in Vegas but the design is over the top.  It's basically a to-go place, with limited seating that is consists of tables and some counter spaces.

It was crowded the night I went, but the line moved quickly.

Fish and Chips combo, $16.21, with tartar sauce and mango curry sauce, with soda.  Fish was fresh cod. This was very good.  There wasn't much batter on the fish, most of the weight of the fish is from the fresh cod!  The fish was fried perfectly, light outside, flaky goodness inside.  You can really tell the difference between fresh fish and frozen!  The fries were on the warm side, but very good. Soft on the inside, crispy on the outside.

My only complaint is that they force you to buy a soda!  The soda is listed at $3.99 on the menu. I only drink water, and that's free!  This could be $3.99 cheaper, but I guess you're paying for the name and being on The Strip!

Service was very good.  Not only are the workers friendly, but fast and know their jobs.  When I asked the cashier what fish they used, he said cod.  Most people at restaurants do not know the menu and that's a reflection of management poorly training the workers.  That's not the case here.  They are properly trained and are friendly, non robotic people!

I would come back if I'm in Vegas again!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Doomie’s Home Cookin’

Doomie’s Home Cookin’
1253 N Vine St Ste 9
Hollywood, CA 90038

Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun! Yes, that is the line to the Big Mac theme song.  I read that Doomie's Home Cookin' serves up a vegan Big Mac that tastes just like the real thing!  Now, it has been over 5 years since I had a Big Mac. I remember always having a headache after eating a Big Mac, maybe for the special sauce.

Anyways I figured I would try Doomie's.  I talked to two vegetarian friends; one liked Doomies and another doesn't like the concept of vegetarian restaurants trying make making vegetarians items taste like meat!  I'm much more to the center when it comes to vegetarian food.  While I loved the chicken wings at Bulan, I don't always seek out or order vegetarian meat items!

Doomie's is in a shopping center that has the address of Vine, but the store front is on Fountain!  The shopping center has an Eastern European restaurant, which are are in LA.  But, the restaurant had a C grade from the health department!  The best part of the shopping center is that they have free parking!  At least, it was free the Monday night I was there.  No valets or paid parking.  But, it is stacked parking, so make sure you don't get pull to the front parking space!  Doomie's is a good sized restaurant with about 15-20 tables.  It was busy the night I was there.

Vegetarian Big Mac, $14.50.  This is not on their regular menu.  Like In N Out Doomie's has a special menu, and you have to ask for it.  The vegetarian Big Mac was huge!  The patties were Quarter Pounder sized patties, not the small patties from McDonald's.  It had everything a regular Big Mac has-special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and a sesame seed bun!  Now the important thing- it tastes exactly like a Big Mac!  This version is filled with MSG, and it hit me right away.  I got a headache too!  This was good, but greasy and very heavy!  I think the $14.50 price tag is high too. 

The fries were frozen, which is disappointing!  I expected home made fries!

Service is OK.  The server wasn't the most friendly and even though they were busy it took them awhile for them to take my order, and bring my water.

I may go back to Doomies, but I won't make a special trip.  Other menu items have a better price, but the vegetarian Big Mac is overpriced.