I was born in the Philippines and came to live in Los Angeles with my family when I was 3 years old. I grew up mostly eating Filipino Food, Asian Cuisines, and some American comfort foods. I remember us hosting so many parties when I was kid because my Mom was a well known cook amongst our family and friends. Plus, she is from a province in the Philippines called Tarlac and they are known to be great cooks.
I started learning how to cook Filipino food in my 20’s, and creating my own versions of adobo, pancit, lumpia, turon, and pineapple chicken. Then I started to create dishes in my mind and cook from there.
It wasn’t until my teens that I developed a palate for Italian cuisine, which is my favorite. I began to taste any Italian restaurant that was recommended to me. In the last few years, I have developed a love of going out to dine, and trying new places. It keeps it interesting. I met fellow foodies in the last year who have helped me to develop my palate. I would have never tried Octopus on my own, but there is this one restaurant that turned me on to Grilled Spanish Octopus, Citizen Kitchen by Chef Zach Geerson. I think by attending his wine pairing dinners that I have gone to, it has helped me to enjoy wonderful flavors that I may not have thought would go together.
It’s those types of dining experiences that made me hunger for more. It has created this passion inside me to be more bold and daring to accept what is not the norm. With that said I am looking forward to future encounters with Chefs that will blow my mind with their work of art and vision.
Habana, a beloved restaurant among locals to Costa Mesa for over 20 years, just opened a new location in Irvine. This lavish new spot opened its doors to the public a couple months ago and after scoping out the images of the design on Google, I couldn’t turn down an invite to taste their brunch.
Executive Chef Alex Moreno tells me that this has been a 3-year long project to get the second location running, but good things come to those who wait!
Do you ever wonder where the word burger derived? I decided to look it up and sure enough Hamburg, Germany is the home of the first hamburger, made from a Hamburg steak (this blend consists of three muscles: chest, shoulder, and back). German immigrants in New York brought the steak into restaurants, then it naturally took a turn during the Industrial Revolution and became more Americanized. It was served first to industrial workers as a “steak” from a food cart. Workers found it hard to eat while standing so this unknown innovator decided to put the meat between two slices of bread. How ingenious, right?
Growing up burgers have always been revered as America’s favorite food. I grew up first with Mc Donald’s, In-N-Out, Carl’s Junior, Jack In The Box, Burger King and Fat Burger. I thought those were the best back then. Then over the years Umami, Fuddruckers, Five Guys, Smashburger, Steak N’ Shake and Shake Shack emerged and elevated the burger game.
Now there’s a new player in Southern California that has been around for seven years, Burger City Grill. I went to their newest location in Torrance, which has been open since January 2017. What’s great about this fast food restaurant is that you have the choice to build your own Hamburger or to choose from the preset menu. Always good to keep options open.
Although the Westside of LA has plenty of restaurants to choose from, there is a lack in restaurants not owned by corporate chains. I was craving some serious comfort food with that “made from scratch” taste. When I read about Doma Kitchen, I knew it be a great spot to check out, cause “doma” translates into “home” in Slavic. I decided to drop by and taste their take on Eastern European and Central Asian inspired dishes.
What I love about the space is that it has a duality in character, it has a rustic and a modern feel. The main room gives off a casual vibe with small tables and one raised communal table. In the second room, you feel like you’re in someone’s home.
I am so glad to have met the owner Angelika Corrente because you get to understand the reason and creation of how and why Doma came to be. Chef Kristina Miksyte is a Lithuanian native who supplies Doma Kitchen with all their fantastic dishes.
I was there at lunchtime and you can choose from either the brunch menu or the regular menu during that time. If you want to try the best dumpling soup (that I now crave constantly!) order the Chicken Pelmont Soup. These ground chicken dumplings are in a delightful, savory broth topped with fresh dill. It’s the type of soup that makes you just want to drink the soup from the bowl and forget the spoon!
When I hear the word “tavern”, my mind takes me back to a bar scene from the TV Show, Cheers. Picture a dimly-lit, confined space with bar stools that make you slouch and not much else to look at. While there’s certainly a time and a place for divey spots like this, there’s also a time and a place to step it up a notch.
Case in point: recently opened Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, a modern neighborhood restaurant. The spacious, extended patio overlooks the Loews Hotel, JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot and Santa Monica Pier. I checked out JFAT on Ocean Avenue’s Day at the Races earlier in May and tasted the Southwestern Dip and Mint Julep. This time around I tasted a lot more.
Poke is a personal favorite of mine. I have flashbacks of being in Oahu and walking along the beach. The addition of papaya to this Spicy Ahi Poke added more island flair to this appetizer. After one bite I found myself compulsively searching airfare prices to Hawaii.
Surfrider Foundation helps protect our beaches and to keep our waters clean. I was fortunate enough to meet and speak with three core volunteers Summer, Josh and Graham from the West Los Angeles Malibu Chapter. My son has participated in beach clean ups before for Dock Weiler (#proudmomma!) so I was happy for him to meet others who are noble in their care for beaches as well.
We were given a card that mapped out all 7 places we needed to visit and had to have checked off on our list. Once you complete the card, you have the opportunity to bring it back to the main booth at Del Frisco’s and be entered in a drawing to win a night stay at The Shore Hotel. Who wouldn’t want to win staying at a cool, chic and hip hotel right on Ocean Avenue?
How can you not get excited for a culinary crawl that celebrates the Kentucky Derby and raises funds for the Surfrider Foundation? I know I am!
Restaurants and hotels along Santa Monica’s premier oceanfront street come togetherforOcean Avenue’s Day at the Races, a culinary walking tour to celebrate the Kentucky Derby and raise funds for the Surfrider Foundation onSaturday, May 6, from 12-5 p.m.
Come out and support by purchasing a ticket for $40 here (a portion on all ticket sales will benefit Surfrider Foundation).
This crawl will begin atDel Frisco’s Grillewith their signatureAhi Tuna Tacosand a complimentary Mint Julep courtesy ofAmerican Born. Then we’ll trot along for food and drink tastings at each of the participating locations and watch the race at 3:34 p.m.
Food offerings include classicSicilian meatballsat O+O Sicilian Kitchen & Bar. Julianne recently checked out this new-ish spot and I’m excited to try all the Sicilian goodness myself! Then we’ll race off to try Corn & Goat Cheese Tamales at Red O,Oysters Rockefellerat Herringbone, Chicken and BeefEmpanadasat Shore Hotel and more.
The Venice Art Crawl, a music fundraiser organized by an all-volunteer non-profit organization that is part of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, took place outside of Venice for the first time. Now in its seventh year, the art crawl has moved to Runway at Playa Vista, not too far from the beach. The 3800 square foot installation space is connected to Hal’s Bar & Grill, which used to be located in Abbott Kinney. Funds raised will go to preserving the arts of Venice and keeping it alive within the community. Over 70 artists had their work displayed, and DJs Arabian Prince and Betty Nguyen spun their jams in the background.
The moment I walked into the Runway at Playa Vista, I naturally gravitated to Neely Shearer, an author and curator who was welcoming to guests. She showed me the ropes around this event. I saw several pieces of art displayed I found interesting. Local and international artists, in addition to street artists, were represented.
The Venice Art Crawl (VAC) is pleased to present its 7th annual Anniversary Fundraiser event, Music Connects Us: Photography & Art Show on Thursday April 20, 2017 at the Runway at Playa Vista, 12746 W. Jefferson Blvd, Playa Vista, 90066 from 6-10PM. The event will take place at the Runway, transforming a 3,800 square foot space into an urban art installation. Over 70 local and international artists will be featured, including Miles Regis, Spaik, Plastic Jesus, Guy Webster, Balloonski, and more!
VIP tickets include a sit down dinner at the new Hal’s Bar & Grill Playa Vista. General admission tickets are also available. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.veniceartcrawl.com for the “VIP Dinner and Art Show” package for $200 and the “Art Show” alone for $40.
Journeyman’s Food + Drink is a restaurant that will be opening up in a few months (alongside Citizen Kitchen) at the Hotel Fullerton in Fullerton, CA. Executive Chef Zach Geerson (of Citizen Kitchen) will be spearheading Journeyman’s and is giving his fans a taste of what’s to come, with his private wine pairing dinners. If you are wondering why it’s going to be called Journeyman’s, Chef Zach explains, “We thought it was embodying how we feel about our craft to say that we are constantly Journeymen.”
Chef Zach has already hosted three precursor wine pairing dinners since November of last year. The first dinner series, “A Trip to Spain” embodied dishes reminiscent of a vacation in Spain such as the Tortilla Española Spanish, Grilled Octopus, Paella en Su Tinta, and Quail in Grape Leaf.
The second series was called “Five” because it consisted of five dishes, using five ingredients, cooked five different ways. The main ingredients that were consistent of the dishes were duck, almond, beet, cocoa, and honey. I thought the most unique dish was the Almond Bisque. One wouldn’t think that the ingredients chosen would go well together, but they did. The Beet Salad was very flavorful. I am not a huge fan of beets, but lately, they’ve been growing on me. Next, there was the Cocoa Agnolotti and the texture of that pasta was incredible. The Duck Breast was outstanding- I could have had that as my main entree and be satisfied. Now to my surprise the Honey Red Velvet Cake also contained the five ingredients, and I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. You could taste just a hint of the smokey duck.