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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Gracie’s Pizza

Gracie’s Pizza
4330 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029

Gracie’s Pizza, is the owner a fan of Gracie Allen?  Anyways, Gracie’s Pizza is about a year old and has been getting good reviews, but I think it's been under the radar in LA's pizza scene.  I haven't found anything written about Gracie's on any foodie blogs or websites.  I found it on yelp, while searching for another restaurant.

A small corner building, Gracie has a few tables as you walk in, a counter along the wall, and the bar and kitchen at the back.  It's a dimly lit room, you wonder if this is a bar or a pizza place. 

Spinach and jalapeno pizza.  $21 plus $3 for first regular topping, $1 each additional topping.  Premium toppings are $6 for the first, $3 for each additional.  Mushrooms are considered premium toppings!? Total $27.45

This was a very good pizza, one that deserves to be on any must try list of pizza in LA!  It's a huge pie about 18 inches or so.  Very good, firm, New York pizza like crust.  Folds over well, holds up to the toppings, and good flavor.  The cheese and veggies are fresh.  But, for $4 total, I expected a bit more toppings on the pizza.  There weren't that much spinach at all.

Service is good. As I mentioned earlier, I found Gracie's through Yelp.  When I read the reviews, I take all reviews with a grain of salt, I saw one idiot yelper, isn't that an oxymoron, give Gracie's one star because of the high prices.  He wrote he bought a couple slices, and a couple beers and the total was $80!!  Well, a couple slices and a couple beers at most would be about $30.  While he could have made a mistake, it could have been a couple whole pies and a couple beers for $80, his review distorts the facts!  Nobody with the IQ above a lug nut would believe a couple slices of pizza and a couple beers would cost $80!

Anyways, I would go back to Gracie's Pizza anytime!  A damn good pizza!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Maki & Sushi Japanese

Maki & Sushi Japanese
302 E Huntington Dr
Arcadia, CA 91006

Maki & Sushi is in a strip mall next to a well known coffee shop, an Indian restaurant, a French restaurant, and along Arcadia's restaurant row.

It's a small restaurant where the kitchen and sushi bar take up most of the space.  It was packed in a Saturday night after Thanksgiving!

Mountain Hand Roll, $8.95-Shrimp tempura, crab, scallops, avocado.  This was an ok hand roll.  I thought the scallops weren't that fresh.  But, everything else was fresh.  A

Halibut sushi, Tuna sushi both $4.95.  Both nigri sushi were fresh and a decent portion of fish. 

Service is good.  The sushi came out very quickly and the servers were nice.

I wouldn't go back to Maki & Sushi Japanese.  It was fine, but nothing outstanding.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Pot Pizza Joint

Pot Pizza Joint
3515 Wilshire Blvd Fl 1
Los Angeles, CA 90010

So Roy Choi- who brought the food truck craze to LA, with his Kogi food truck, has opened a couple restaurants in LA.  He recently decided to open up a pizza place to serve hungry customers at his Pot Lobby Bar.  There was a lot of fan fare about the opening.  The pizza is a square like Detroit, pan, but not deep dish and thin like New York.  Kinda of weird combo. 

The name and the website, with a black and white picture of somebody smoke some pot is stupid.  I get he is trying to cater to the drunk idiots who got the bar, and then smoke some pot before or after partying.  But, give me a break. 

It's inside the Line Hotel on Wilshire.  It's really a small display case with what looks like toaster ovens reheating the pizza, which are already made.  I don't know where the pizzas are made.  Maybe in the kitchen of one of the restaurants he has at the hotel.

Cheese slice- $4.  They sell only slices and only three options-cheese, pepperoni, and a Koreatown Special with kimchi and some salad on top.  I got two cheese slices.  They were below average.  The crust is too crispy for my tastes, like a damn cracker.  They may have to turn down the temps on the ovens, since my slices were too well done.  The sauce is just there, no real flavor.  The cheese is plentiful.  Little Caesars is better pizza than this, and I'm not kidding!  On a side note-The person in front of me ordered some type of juice and that juice cost $10!!  What a rip off!  Hell, I would just buy a drink from the bar for that price!!

Service is good.  The line moves pretty fast and the people are nice.

This was a complete waste of time and money!  If you're a drunk, stoned idiot you may enjoy the pizza.  But, this is a terrible example of pizza!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Secret of Kitchen

 Secret of Kitchen
1247 N Grand Ave
Walnut, CA 91789

 Secret of Kitchen is suppose to be about eight months old.  You can see this space used to be QQ Teabar, since their sign is still up and  Secret of Kitchen, just has vinyl signs.

A small restaurant with a few tables inside, I guess they must do a good take business or students from Mt. Sac, which is across the way.

Shrimp fried rice, $7.99, shrimp, carrots, eggs, green onions. A very small portion and only about six small sized shrimp.  Rice was well cooked, but this needs more flavor.  Simply more seasoning would be great! 

Service was good. 

I wouldn't go back to Secret of Kitchen.  I don't think the food is that good. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Siam Palace Thai Cuisine

Siam Palace Thai Cuisine
992 E Alosta Ave
Azusa, CA 91702

Siam Palace is located behind what used to be Country Chiken & Ribs, which is not only closed but the building has been torn down! It will be interesting to see what will be built on that property!

Siam Palace is a big restaurant, taking up two spaces in this strip mall.  One side is the front of the house and kitchen, while the other side is the dining room.

Shrimp fried rice-$9.95. Shrimp, eggs, tomatoes.  This was an ok dish.  It was a bit too greasy for my tastes.  There were about six shrimp for this dish.  The rice stuck together, which shouldn't happen with fried rice.  Portion size was a little small for the price.

Pad-Gar-prow- scallops, $9.95-small size scallops with chili, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and garlic.  This was an ok dish.  Not that many scallops, which were pretty well cooked.  I didn't get any basil flavor, mostly I got some chili, onions and bell pepper flavors. 

Service was good.  I was surprised we were the only people in the restaurant for most of our time.  There was another table but they left within 10 minutes of us sitting down.

I won't go back to Siam Palace.  I don't think the food is that good.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ezze Sushi

Ezze Sushi
650 S Grand Ave
Glendora, CA 91740

Ezze Sushi is just north of European Deli, and has been opened for a little over a year.  The area is redeveloping as a long time Ralph's store has been replaced by Sprouts Market and a Ross store!  Across Grand Ave is Ezze, a new complex with a cell phone store and a few other businesses.

Ezze has three rolls on special everyday for $7.95.  They also have a happy hour from 3-7pm.  And then an After Hour Happy Hour from 7-close, where all hand rolls are $2.95 and one piece of sushi-tuna, salmon, albacore, and yellowtail are $1.85.

My overall impressions of the sushi was they were pretty fresh, but on the small size.

Halibut sushi, $4.95 and Tuna sushi, $4.95- After happy hour special $1.85 for one piece.  In effect from 7pm until close.
 Cucumber roll, $3.95
Shrimp Tempura hand roll-$4.95 regular price. After happy hour special-$2.95,  In effect from 7pm until close.  I'm betting this hand roll at regular price has a bigger piece of shrimp tempura.  But, this was good.
Five- O Roll- Regular price $11.95.  Thursday special price, $7.95. Shrimp tempura, spicy crab, topped with mango.  This was too sweet for me.  The sweet sauce and the thinly cut mango just overpowered the spicy crab.  There was no spiciness in this roll.

Service was below average.  They were nice.  I sat at the sushi bar.  I never got a menu when I got seated.  A stack of menus were in front of me, so I grabbed one.  It took forever them to take my order.  The sushi did come out quickly.  But, I saw the sushi chefs drink beer and that I unprofessional!  I don't care if a customer bought you the beer.  You're there to work, not drink with customers.

I won't go back to Ezze Sushi.  While they have some good specials, the sushi is small and it's not the best quality sushi I've had!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Lamill Coffee

Lamill Coffee
1636 Silver Lake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

A snotty, douchy coffee shop in Silver Lake?  That's Lamill Coffee!! A very pretentious, over priced coffee shop.  Lamill is a big place with two areas of tables, separated by a wall, and their counter.  It's counter service for a price!  What do I mean?  I saw their Service Charge Policy, on the counter, which states a 11.5% service charge will be implemented on all orders.  The fairy tale is that it will help the workers make a living wage.  In reality it boosts the profits of the company.  Also, it is more like a 21% service charge as it's taxes at the roughly 9% rate in LA county!

Breakfast sandwich- scrambled eggs, white cheddar cheese and chives.  $9 menu price when you add their service charge and tax, it is $10.99!! 

This is a good sandwich with well cooked scrambled eggs, a good portion of white cheddar and some chives in the eggs.  The bun was well toasted.  It was worth the price tag since it was a good sized portion and it tasted good.

Service was OK.  The cashier was friendly but had his mind on something else!  He kept going from one tablet to another.  He rang up my order on one tablet and while I was getting money from my wallet, he went to another tablet and tried to do something, then finally noticed I was ready to pay.  What I think happened, was he was ready to clock out when I walked in.  Instead of quickly taking my order, he would have been done within 2 mins, he kept trying to get the tablet to work, so he can clock out.  I know this because within a few minutes after I sitting down, he walked out the door to go home!  The runner who delivered my food to my table, was very nice and friendly.  And my food came quickly, and it was hot and right off the grill! 

I won't go back to Lamill Coffee!  While my breakfast sandwich was good and worth the price, other menu items are too expensive and when you add their service charge, it's just too expensive for the quality of the food!

Monday, November 13, 2017

O Sushi & Grill

 O Sushi & Grill
1126 Via Verde
San Dimas, CA 91773

The only sushi restaurant I have been to in San Dimas is Show Sushi, which is an all you can eat sushi restaurant.  I wanted to try a regular sushi restaurant and found O Sushi & Grill.

It's in the Vons shopping center, which must have a 60% vacancy rate, and is in a residential neighborhood.  
Tuna and crab sushi.  Imitation crab but fresh and well done.  The tuna was a huge piece of tuna, fresh and good flavor.  The sushi rice is excellent!

Tiger roll-$11.50-shrimp tempura,crab meat, avocado, and steamed shrimp.  The shrimp tempura stood out and was very good.  Huge pieces of steam shrimp and good imitation crab meat.
Lettuce wrap-$9.50-crab meat, spicy tuna, avocado, shrimp tempura.  I like unique twists to sushi.  I love the Moonlight roll at Banzai, a salmon, shrimp, crab, avocado, and asparagus inside a cucumber roll!  So I was looking forward to this lettuce wrap. The soy paper was a bit unusual, but I guess it held the roll together.  But, with was a very light, refreshing roll!

Service is good.  I didn't lack for anything and the sushi came quickly!

I would go back to O Sushi & Grill.  I think this is a hidden gem in San Dimas!


3619 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

When it comes to Chicago pizza you have Lou Malnati's-my personal favorite, Geno's East, Pizzeria Uno, and Giordanos.  Giordanos, opened a location in Las Vegas about a year ago.  There is a Lou Malnati's in Phoenix.

Giordanos is located near Bally's hotel in an area with other restaurants and bars, this is a huge Giordanos.  They have a patio area in the main level and upstairs is there bar and dining room. 

Medium with mushrooms and spinach, $23.45 plus $2.25 per topping.  The crust is light, buttery, flake and very good!  It's not doughy like many LA area deep dish restaurants.  The cheese was ok, but nothing to make a great cheese pull picture.  But the sauce was lacking, both in terms of quality and amount!  It was just too bland and just seemed like an after thought.

Service at the bar was good.  The bartenders were nice and helpful.  But, the hostess was terrible!  She was rude, unfriendly and not helpful.  They were busy but there were plenty of open seats and very few people in the lobby.  I prefer to sit at a table and not the bar, especially when I am not drinking alcohol.  The bar looked as though it was full, so I said I would wait for a table.  Then I saw a group leave, and took the bar.  The hostess was making it seem as though sitting at a table alone would be the worst thing.  No, honey, the worst thing is a hostess who is rude and unfriendly!

Giordanos was disappointing and would rank last in the Top 4 of Chicago deep dish pizza.

China a Go Go

China a Go Go
505 E Windmill Ln Ste D
Las Vegas, NV 89123

Across the street from Fish King Grill is China a Go Go, in the Vons shopping center. A medium sized restaurant with tables and booths as you walk in, and the counter and kitchen in the back of the room.  It was surprisingly busy at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon.

Shrimp chow mein-$8.17. snow peas, carrots, and broccoli.  This was a good dish, but I hate ginger and they put too much for my tastes.  I bit into piece after piece of ginger!  But, the noodles were cooked perfectly, the shrimp-small sized shrimp were well cooked and the small amount of veggies added some color to the dish.

Service is good. 

China a Go Go is a good option for Chinese food if you're in the area.

Fish King Grill

Fish King Grill
500 East Windmill Ln Ste 145
Las Vegas, NV 89123

Fish King Grill is across the street from China A Go Go, and has been open for about 7 months. It's a good sized restaurant with about 20 tables as you walk in, and the kitchen and counter straight in front of you.  It's a nice clean restaurant.

Shrimp po boy, $10.99, fully dressed, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, tartar sauce, and cocktail sauce.  The shrimp was butterflied and the covered with a cornmeal batter.  I think it was frozen, but it was good and they it's a big portion of shrimp.  The bread had a nice texture and held up well for the sandwich.  Nothing worst than getting bread that just falls apart after one bite.  The fries were great, frozen, but crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside.  The hush puppies were great too!  Maybe on the best I've had.  Guessing it was frozen, but light, airy, bold flavor!

Service was good.  Nice friendly people working there.

Whenever I go to a land lock state, I wonder how the seafood will be.  But, King Fish Grill was great.  I would go back any time!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Pick Up Stix

Pick Up Stix
1249 S Lone Hill Ave
Glendora, CA 91740

I figured if I did a review of P.F. Chang's and Pei Wei, I should do a review of Pick Up Stix, another very Americanized version of Chinese food. This Glendora location opened about eight months ago in the Home Depot shopping center.  There are a ton of other fast food chain restaurants.

This Pick Up Stix is a good sized restaurant with lots of tables and booths in a very clean restaurant.

Shrimp and vegetables-$9.99, Shrimp, carrots, broccoli, snap peas, mushrooms, and zucchini.  Small sized shrimp well cooked and seasoned.  All the veggies were well cooked except for the snap peas.  They were too chewy and stringy.  Overall a good dish, nothing outstanding and you can find many other Chinese restaurants with better quality food and prices. 

Service was good.  The lady who helped me was nice and friendly.

If you take Pick Up Stix for what it is, Americanized Chinese food, it is fine. 

Chango Coffee

Chango Coffee
1559 Echo Park Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90026

A hipster coffee shop in the ever changing Echo Park area of Los Angeles is my review today.  I was there around dinner time and instead of going somewhere nearby for dinner, I figured why not just have a meal at Chango!  They have sandwiches, including a number of vegan options.  Of course there are a ton of coffee options!

A galley style coffee shop with tables along the right side as you enter and the counter area on the left.  It's a nice stylish coffee shop.  That neon sign you see was recently restored.  The sign has not be lit up in the five or so years that I have been coming to the area.  The sign used to say delicatessen but now only uses part of the sign to say Del Mor the name of the building, which is a mixed use building.  If you know the name of the delicatessen or the market, please email me!

Breakfast burrito-$6.50, scrambled eggs, black beans, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, sebre sauce.  The breakfast burrito sounded good, because some of the vegan sandwiches did not sound appetizing.  The breakfast burritos are heated in the microwave and then put on the panni press to warm them up.  It says the burritos are made fresh, but I don't see where they would make the burritos in house.  There isn't a flat top stove inside Chango.  I'm betting they have another company make their burritos.

Anyways, this was a filling, good burrito.  Lots of scrambled eggs and black beans.  Not as much cheddar cheese, but overall a good burrito. 

Service was good.  The guy was helpful and nice.

I don't drink coffee, so I have no idea how their coffee is.  But, Chango has some nice options for a quick meal. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

P.F. Chang’s

P.F. Chang’s
3445 Grand Ave
Chino Hills, CA 91709

Hard to believe I never did a review of P.F. Chang’s, mostly because I don't like to review chains.  But, hell I did review Pei Wei, why not do P.F. Chang’s!  If you're looking for authentic Chinese food, you won't find it at PF Chang's!  But, they are what they are, Americanized Chinese food.  I've actually only been to Pasadena and this Chino Hills location.

The Chino Hills location is a huge stand alone restaurant.  There are booths along the left side the restaurant, benches and chair seating on the right side, and tables in the middle. It wasn't that busy the night we went.

Salt and pepper prawns-crispy pawns, chili peppers, aromatics, $19.99.  This was good, but too salty.  The prawns were well cooked, but too salty. This is overpriced for the quality of the food.  The shrimp chow mein at Chin Chin was less expensive, and was much better!  I would also bet, if you weighed the shrimp from both places, there were more shrimp by weight at Chin Chin, than here at P. F. Chang's!

Buddha feast-$9.99-broccoli, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, savory sauce. Well cooked, but again too salty.  All the veggies were well cooked, and the sauce would be good, if they put 25% less salt!

Service was good.  Our server was nice and friendly.  But, we got no silverware or the cloth napkins.  Not a big deal since they had chopsticks, and there were paper napkins.  But, P. F. Chang's isn't the type of place I expect to use paper napkins.

P.F. Chang's is fine for what it is.  But, I won't go back.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Tony's Darts Away

Tony's Darts Away
1710 Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA 91506

Tony's Darts Away is owned by the same people as Mohawk Bend, and while it's mostly a bar, they have a great menu, over half their items are vegan or can be made vegan!  No, I am not vegan.

It's a fairly small bar with maybe six tables outside, a huge bar on the right and tables on the left.  A pool table takes up the back room.  It's a dark place and even with the music on low, it is loud because the acoustics are really bad there.  A packed bar and people talking in normal voices, it just echoes and makes it a loud place.

Disco Fries-gravy and cheddar $7.  This is could be vegan if you get the vegan cheddar cheese.  But, since I'm not vegan I got the regular cheddar.  The gravy is a mushroom gravy and full of flavor. If somebody tells you vegetarian or vegan food is flavorless, they just haven't been to the right place.  The fries are cooked perfectly and the cheese is melted.  I prefer getting the gravy on the side and dipping the fries in the gravy, with melted cheese it's awesome.  A good dish and a steal at $7.

Donut-croissant bun, two impossible burger patties, vegan bacon, vegan provolone, BBQ Sauce, and frizzled onions.served w/ chips $17.

I had the Umami Burger version of the Impossible Burger, and thought it was ok.  So, when I saw it on Tony's menu I decided to see how their version tasted.  The major difference is the donut-croissant bun, which was different but good.  It wasn't sweet but held up well to the burger  The vegan provolone was awesome, good flavor and texture.  The vegan bacon, I'm guessing seitan, was always very good.  The BBQ sauce and onions added great flavor and texture to the burger.  I like this version of the Impossible Burger better than Umami's!

Service is pretty good.  You order at the bar.  It says so on the menu.  But, if you're just there for drinks and don't look at the menu, you won't know that.  I was sitting outside waiting for my friend, there were only three tables taken outside, and one of the servers came by to clean off a table that had just finished.  He saw me but didn't say anything!  At least say something to the person sitting down, like you have to order at the bar!  Otherwise, the bartenders who helped me and the runner who brought the food were fine.

I like Tony's Darts Away and I would go back.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Rounds Premium Burgers

Rounds Premium Burgers
46 N Lake Ave
Pasadena, CA 91101

Rounds Premium Burgers came onto the burger scene back in 2013, with locations in Claremont, which I went to but didn't do a review, and West Hollywood.  Soon after Pasadena and Sherman Oaks got a Rounds location.  Fast forward to 2017, and now only the Pasadena location is open.  David Allen made the Claremont Rounds a regular stop, so much so that he did a farwell story when the Claremont location closed back in May, 2017!

The Pasadena Rounds is located just south of the now close Avanti Cafe, which I loved!  It's a large restaurant with the counter to the right, and seating at the left in the front part of the room.  Then a huge back room with two TV's and then outdoor patio seating!

When I went to the Rounds in Claremont, you marked your order on paper slips, just like The Counter.  I guess they don't do that anymore.  Anyways. the basic burger, your choice of beef, turkey or a veggie patty, is $5.95.  They you add toppings including sauces, veggies and cheese.  You used to be able to choose what type of bun, regular, whole wheat, pretzel or lettuce; but other than the lettuce, I don't think you're able to choose your buns.

Or you can order a Premium Rounds burgers, which are burgers with topping combinations picked by Rounds.  The only thing with the premium burgers is they do not allow substitutions but you can take off any toppings you don't like.  Which makes no sense, because you can get the basic burger and add all the topping, except for the toppings you don't like, of the premium burger. For the consumer, ordering al carte would be more expensive. 

 Mucho Mushroom burger, $7.05-mushrooms, swiss cheese, and garlic aioli.  This veggie burger was very good.  A huge patty, with corn, red peppers, some kind of grain and very well seasoned.  The mushrooms were great and the swiss cheese added a creamy flavorful texture to the burger.  The bun is a nice brioche bun.  Using this burger as an example, if I ordered this al carte, it would be $5.95 + $1 for the mushrooms + 75 cents for cheese for a total of $7.70 before tax!

Service was good.  The young lady working was very nice and friendly!  More restaurants could use somebody like this young lady!  She was quick, yet efficient, and very friendly.  I seemed as though she was working with a newbie or somebody who had only been there for a short time, and that cashier was also very nice and friendly.  I didn't have any direct interaction with the other cashier, I just notice how friendly she was.

Rounds is so much better than The Counter.  But, Rounds clearly hasn't had success in the LA area with the other four locations now closed.  I would go back to Rounds and I hope they stay open!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Tokoro Japanese Restaurant

Tokoro Japanese Restaurant
802 Fair Oaks Ave
South Pasadena, CA 91030

Tokoro is near six restaurants that I have reviewed; Nori Sushi Wrap, Modan Artsian Ramen, Gus's BBQ, Mamma's Brick Oven Pizza Nonna Pizzeria, and Fairoaks Pharmacy.  Tokoro is owned by the same owners as Little Tokyo Restaurant in San Dimas, both have the same exact menu!

This is a very busy restaurant!  I arrived about 30 minutes early and there was a steady stream of customers.  Almost every table was taken and when people were finished eating, another group quickly filled the table.  Always a good sign.

Snow crab roll-$7.95.  Soy paper instead of seaweed.  Very good and fresh snow crab and I like the sushi rice. 
Blue fin tuna-$6.95.  First time getting blue fin tuna and WOW, I've been missing out!  This had tremendous flavor and texture.  Much better than even the best tuna sushi I've had!.  I would order this again, and the portion size makes the price a steal!!

Sexy roll, $13.95-spicy crab meat, shrimp, salmon, and sprout wrapped around cucumber.  A very light and refreshing!  Everything was very fresh.  A very good roll!

Shrimp tempura roll-$9.95-shrimp tempura, crab meat, avocado, and cucumber.  This roll is larger than most shrimp tempura rolls I've had.  But, very good, a huge piece of shrimp tempura and other fresh ingredients.

Service was good.  Our drinks were refilled quickly and the sushi came out quickly.  But, my friend ordered the salmon teriyaki, which took a bit longer to prepare than the sushi.  I got all my sushi before she got her salmon teriyaki.  Maybe they thought we were going to split the sushi, but I would have preferred we got everything at roughly the same time.

I would go back to Tokoro anytime.  I may even give Little Tokyo Restaurant a try soon!