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Sunday, July 29, 2012

House of Pies Restaurant & Bakery

House of Pies Restaurant & Bakery
1869 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 666-9961

I recently read a story about the Top 10 pies in LA. Two restaurants that I have reviewed were included in the Top 10, but I did order pie at Pie N Burger or Philippe The Original.

While House of Pies wasn't in their Top 10, the writer did mention them as a place they tried while doing research for the story. I have passed by House of Pies often, but never stopped in. But, I looked at their menu, which has a wide variety of items, and decided to stop in.

Broasted chicken, three pieces including breast, thigh and leg, with steamed vegetables, and two sides- salad, clam chowder, $12.95.

The two side options were potatoes or bread and I didn't want either them. So I was glad to hear they offered a salad and soup as the two sides. The salad was standard issue salad with iceberg lettuce, crutons, tomatoes. Fresh, chilled, nothing great or bad about it.

But, the clam chowder!! WOW, was it great!! The chowder was full of flavor, a rich hearty broth and filled with lots of clams, finely cut pieces of potatoes and just wonderful. I would order this again and I would put this clam chowder up against other seafood restaurant's clam chowder!!

I was excited to see that there was broasted chicken on the menu and I knew that's what I was going to order. But, this wasn't a good example of broasted chicken. The main thing was the chicken was very salty. They must put in a ton of salt. I couldn't get over the saltiness. The other thing I couldn't get over was the greasiness. This was very greasy, the skin was dripping in grease. The skin was fairly crispy but the more bites I took, I kept thinking I was eating Banquet frozen fried chicken. This chicken tasted exactly like it!! The breast portion was fairly juicy. I would not order this again!!

The steamed vegetables had been sitting on the steam table too long. They were dry and mushy and just bad.

The only thing I loved about my broasted chicken dinner was the clam chowder and the salad was fine. Otherwise, I would not order this broasted chicken again.

Since I was at House of Pies, I figured I would see how their pies are. I got the Dutch Apple Pie, $3.95. This wasn't good at all and I see why they didn't make the Top 10. The crust was too doughy and mushy, not flaky. The topping was too bland, not sweetness like other Dutch apple pies I've had. The apples were fine and there was a good amount of nut meg and sweetness in the filling. But, the doughy crust and lack of sweetness of the topping just ruined this pie for me.

Service was below average. The lady was all business, not friendly or warm. I felt like a number. I didn't really lack for anything, but I also didn't feel like she wanted to be there.

I was disappointed with House of Pies. The broasted chicken and pie were bad. If not for the great clam chowder, I would never go back to House of Pies. But, the clams chowder is great and I'll return soon.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Soleto Trattoria and Pizza Bar

Soleto Trattoria and Pizza Bar
801 S Figueroa
Los Angeles

If the address looks familiar it should, this used to be the terrible Zucca Ristorante, which is now closed!! Shocking!! Zucca was part of the Patina restaurant group; where the restaurants are overrated, overpriced, and serve average food !!

I came here with a friend who recently moved to LA and she picked this Soleto for Dine LA Restaurant Week. Dine LA offers three course meals for $26, $35, and $45 during restaurant week.

Salad first-tomato, cucumber, carrot, red onion, mushroom, and soleto vinaigrette. This was a light salad, with lots of fresh veggies, but the dressing was flavorless and didn't add much to the salad. Most vinaigrette dressings have a tangy flavor but this was bland and flavorless.

Grilled Salmon Scallopini-grilled mushrooms, arugula, confit potatoes, red pepper dill vinaigrette.

The was very good. The salmon was cooked perfectly!! Moist, flaky, tender fish. The red pepper dill vinaigrette added a nice flavor to the salmon but didn't overpower the salmon. The confit potatoes were cooked perfectly and just melted in your mouth.

I got the tiramisu for dessert, which was pretty good. Sorry but I forgot to take a picture of the tiramisu.

Service was average. The server was nice but a bit slow. It took forever for our drinks to arrive, it took forever to get refills on drinks, but it didn't take long for our bill to arrive. Though it did take long for him to come back and take the money.

Soleto has been open for about a month and I was surprised it was a bit slow on a Saturday night. Maybe things will get busier in the fall when events at Staples Center start happening on a regular basis. I liked how Soleto completely gutted and renovated the space, no signs it was the terrible Zucca. They will need to improve service a bit. But, I was impressed with the salmon entree and would order it again.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Boiler

The Boiler
4665 Chino Hills Pkwy
Unit I
Chino Hills

I've heard a lot of good things about The Boiler and their steam kettle cooking and decided to go try it. Located in the less crowded half of a huge strip mall, not far from Pei Wei, which is located in the busier half of the strip mall, The Boiler is a unique restaurant in the land of chain restaurants!

For an appetizer I got the Cajun Calamari, $7.95.

This was nothing more than frozen calamari fried up and served. It was pretty good, thick pieces of calamari and a heavy batter that didn't taste Cajun at all. The batter has more of a fried chicken batter than something for calamari.

Fisherman's Chowder, $12.95. New England style chowder with calamari, clams, white fish, crab, shrimp and mussels, with lots of potatoes. This was a very heavy and thick chowder. They could make this a bit thinner and use a lighter roux, because it was more brown than white and I'm expecting chowder to be more white.

The amount of seafood is a joke. I got one mussel, one clam, a very small piece of crab that was still in the shell, two medium sized shrimp, a couple pieces of calamari, and a couple small pieces of white fish. The seafood was fine, nothing great or bad about them. But, come on, for that price this bowl should have been filled with seafood.

Service was pretty good overall. But, they took awhile to get our drinks, after we placed our order. There were only two servers and one was training to cover the 10-12 customers in the entire store. But, that's not excuse for us having to wait so long for water. Otherwise the servers were nice and friendly and they knew the menu. I asked if the Fisherman's Chowder had potatoes and she knew right away that they did. Many servers would have had to go ask.

But, the weird thing is the owner of the restaurant was more concerned about his family and/or friends who were sitting at the counter than paying customers. I rarely saw the owner leave the counter area where his group was sitting. If he really cared about his business he would have been greeting and talking to paying customers who were walking into his restaurant.

I wasn't impressed at all with The Boiler. For the portion size and quality of the food, it is overpriced. I would not come back here again.