Hello Aussie Pie Kitchen!

G’day mate!

Ahh Austrailia! Australia is on my list of places I would love to visit one day. I have heard it is a beautiful country with amazing cuisine. Till that day however, I am happy to have found a little taste of Australia right here in Calidornia.

Aussie Pie Kitchen  first opened it’s doors in Santa Monica in 2014. Offering classic Aussie pies, this place quickly became popular with foodies. Just this November 2015, Aussie Pie Kitchen opened up their second location in Inglewood.

I was so happy when I got the chance to check out this second location. Their menu consists of various made from scratch pies. Among the delicious offerings are classic aussie, ratatouille veggie, chicken tarragon, spicy madras veggie and lamb and rosemary. Customers have the choice of adding sides to their pies. The sides are stacked right on top and underneath the pie.

It was really hard for me to choose which pie I wanted but ended up choosing the Chicken Tarragon!

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The chicken tarragon pie has chicken thighs marinated in Chardonnay, worsted shire and lemon zest. It is caramlized on a skillet and braids with cream mirepoix, herbs and spices.

I chose to get it “Tiger stack” with two sides, one on top and one on bottom. My chciken tarragon tiger stack consisted of roasted garlic mashed potatoes and croissant sausage stuffing.

I loved this pie right from the start. The crust is wonderfully buttery and flaky. The chicken inside is so tender. The mashed potatoes are perfectly creamy. The croissant sausage stuffing is unlike no other stuffing! It has sausage and kale. The whole pie is deliciously rich and very fulfilling.

Alongside this pie, I got a flat white.

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Aussie Pie Kitchen offers coffee made from Vittoria Coffee, a well known Australian  manufacturer. I chose to get a flat white since that is a coffee beverage that originated in Australia. I was going for the full up taste of Australia in this visit! 😉

I enjohed the flat white very much. With a ristretto shot of espresso and steamed whole milk, this drink was the perfect pick me up drink for the day! It wasn’t too strong but just the right combination of milk and espresso.

I may not make it to Australia anytime soon but with their yummy Aussie pies and flat white, I get to have a little tatse of Australia right near home.

For more smiles  please see my recent Yelp review on Aussie Pie Kitchen.

 

Hello dineLA @ Sausal!

Downtown El Segundo is slowly starting to become a favorite place of mine to hang out and dine. From the hip and happening Rock and Brews to the healthy and organic Farmstand, I have come to love all the good eats that downtown El Segundo has to offer.

Last year during my birthday, downtown El Segundo opened up Sausal, a restaurant featuring nuevo rancho cuisine with Mexican and Spanish influences. Their inspiration is the wood-fire, smoke and slow roasting technique popularized by the rancheros who once were housed in the land there. Sausal is named after Rancho Sausal Redondo (Round Willow Ranch), which is the farmstead that once was in South Bay and in El Segundo. This restaurant is also the brain child of Chef Anne Conness, of Tin Roof Bistro and Simmzy’s fame.

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I’ve had my eye on Sausal since it opened last Fall. It seemed like a sign for me to dine here especially since they opened the same day as my birthday. I finally got the chance to dine here during dineLA! I am always such a big fan of dineLA because they always have some amazing deals where one can try out some of the most delicious eats around town. When I saw Sausal was participating in dineLA, there was no question that I had to come here.

My dineLA experience started with an appetizer of my choice. I chose to get their oxtail picadillo empanada.

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Three empanadas were presented to me with an accompanying sauce of tomatillo verde salsa. At first bite, I was quite impressed with the buttery, flaky crust. Divulging deeper, my palate was pleased with the tender oxtail that was inside the empanadas. Sausal does oxtail right. The oxtail inside the empanadas was so meaty and rich. Perfection.

My main entree of choice is one of Sausal’s specialty’s their duck tamale with black mole.

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The plating alone made me fall in love with the duck tamale right away. The duck tamales are encased in corn husk, topped with crumbled cotija and surrounded by mole rich sauce and squares of butternut squash. The tamale itself is filled with tender shreds of duck confit. The duck is amazing and flavorful and the mole sauce enhances the taste even more. I loved the cotija cheese and the butternut squash that added a soft texture and taste to this dish.

Overall Sausal just impressed me with their unique menu and offerings. Both the empanadas and tamale were superb. Who would of thought of oxtail empanadas and duck confit inside a tamale? It’s different and just pleasing overall. I am loving this new spot in El Segundo and it is a definite place, that I hope to visit in the future. There are plenty of smiles to be had at Sausal.

 For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Sausal.

Hello The Edison!

I remember in high school reading the book, The Great Gatsby and being fascinated with what F. Scott Fitzgerald idea of “something new- something extraordinary beautiful and simple and intriquetly patterned.” Those words from F. Scott Fitzgerald literally came to life when I walked into The Edison downtown LA.

Located on the corner of 2nd street and Harlem place alley in downtown LA, this place can be hard to find. Honestly if it wasn’t for previous insight that this was located in the middle of an alley or if it wasn’t for seeing other guests dressed to the nines, I may have missed this place myself.

From alley to the inside of The Edison, is a big, giant transition. You are literally stepping into a whole new world. This place was once the location of a LA based power plant which was then transformed to a 1920s speakeasy. It definitely has a Great Gastby feel. Guests descend down a flight of stairs to a basement that leads to The Edison, composed of various lounges and two bars. There’s giant screens showcasing old clips from the 1920s. There’s various vintage decor from an old classic organ to generators from the power plant. Towards the end of the night there is an acrobatic performance and a absinthe fairy makes her way around offering colorful absinthe potions. Every corner, every inch of space of the place has some hint of uniqueness.

The food and drinks menu respectively have some extraordinary flair as well. One can feast on patented snacks such as “The Ember Parlor,” (Yukon potato chips, red caramelized onions, pancetta, red pepper relish, whiskey shallot jus, with aged cheddar sauce.) From the drinks menu they have hand crafted cocktails with names like no other such as the “Happy Herbie” (rye whiskey, jasmine liqueur, lemon, Apple bitter and orange zest.) I personally was fascinated  with their “Sobering Spirits” menu. This place was once named “Best bar to drink if you don’t drink” by LA weekly. The Natasha, a virgin drink with raspberry, lemon and pineapple” is proof that The Edison really is one of the best bars to drink if you don’t drink.

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Similar to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s words, The Edison from the overall feel and menu is “something new-extraordinary beautiful…” It’s like stepping into a historic era filled with sophistication and era. Simple yet classic, beautiful and extraordinary. The Edison is an experience like no other.

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Thaipanese!

I’ve always been a fan of Thai food and Japanese food. A lot of blog entrees have been dedicated to visiting Japanese and Thai restaurants so just imagine this blogger’s delight when I discovered a restaurant offering both types of cuisine! The newly opened Thaipanese restaurant in Lomita, California specializes in both Japanese and Thai food.

The menu of this place is amazing. They’ve got Japanese specialities such as sushi, teriyaki and ramen and they have Thai dishes such as pad thai and curry. I found their lunch special to be really great because you can get a good mix of Japanese and Thai food. Their lunch specials come with rice, miso soup, house salad and your choice of sushi roll.

Whenever I go to a Thai restaurant, pad thai is a staple dish I must try. For Japanese restaurants, my favorite sushi is the California roll. It was a given that one of the first lunch special combos I would try here at Thaipanese would have both .

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I liked the pad thai with the slight sweet peanut sauce here. The California rolls were fresh and tasty with a creamy filling of imitation crab.

My other favorite Thai dish is curry! I’m also a big fan of veggie rolls. Here at Thaipanese, they have both.

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The yellow curry with chicken is spicy and had lots of sauce that was perfect over the white rice. The spicy curry was a good match for the veggie rolls. I liked the crispy veggies and avocado inside the veggie rolls.

I love that Thaipanese offers the best of both the worlds in terms of Thai food and Japanese food. It makes me smile that I can get dishes with both types. If you’re a fan of either Thai food or Japanese food, this is a place that will surely make you smile as well.

Hello Nouilles of 3rds!

There’s a newly opened up restaurant in Lomita, California with a very interesting  and intriguing name, Nouilles of 3rds. Nouilles means noodles in French and 3rds is a reference to the rules of thirds or rule of thumb for composition in photography. 

  

Upon entering the restaurant and seeing their offerings, once can understand a little bit more of the name of the restaurant. The menu consists of various pho or Vietnamese noodle soup dishes and hence the “Nouilles” in the name. 

For the reasoning behind the “rules of thirds”,  one will fully appreciate the meaning until one sees this restaurants offerings. The “rules of thirds”for photography aims to bring photos that are better balanced and more pleasing. Similarly Nouilles of 3rds noodle dish are well balanced and very pleasing to any foodie.

The first pho dish to be presented to our table was the Homestyle Free-range chicken noodles.

  

It was a nice balanced pho dish that consisted of free-range shredded chicken, shrimp, rice noodle, Asian herbs all in warm chicken broth with crispy roasted garlic oil. The long, silky rice noodles balanced well with the tender chicken and Asian herbs and the all flavors came together for a perfect composition. Perfect composition like a perfect photo. 

The second noodle dish that came to our table was the Prime Beef Noodles. 

  

This dish had aged prime beef, egg noodles, Asian herbs in beef stock with crispy roasted garlic oil. Similar to the chicken noodle dish, this was very pleasing to the palate. The savory thin layers of beef in the richly seasoned beef broth was not only delicious be comforting as well for the chilly day.

At first the name of the restaurant Nouilles of 3rds may throw a restaurant customer in for a loop. However upon entering and trying their entrees, one can find full appreciation for the name. Similar to the “rules of thirds” in photography, this place aims to please with their “Nouilles” dishes. In photography one aims for perfect composition via these rules and here the restaurant aims to perfect the modern pho dish.  A combination of technical skill and artistic creativity is an important part of the “rules of thirds” and this is also seen on the pho dishes here. The noodle dishes I got to try were culinary art work that was not only pleasing to the eye but to the palate as well. 
 

Hello Yelp elite gold badge 2015!

 
I recently watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens and was super impressed with the girl heroine, Rey. She totally rocked. She was compassionate with everything she did. After watching that movie, I told myself that I’m claiming this year to be the best yet and that I hope to rock it just like how Rey rocked it in Star Wars.

Today the quest for an awesome year started when I got my eighth Yelp elite badge. Light saber err writing pen in hand, I’m here to make this Yelp year the best yet! 

No Jedi mind trick here, Yelp has truly opened up so many doors for me especially the doors of new friendships. Just like how Rey met Finn and BB-8, I’ve found so many friends through Yelp who became some of my closest friends. Similar to how BB-8 has the map to Luke Skywalker, Yelp is my map to great things as well. Lastly just like Rey, I am compassionate about all my Yelp reviews! 

May the force be with Yelp! Thank you Yelp LA for the honor of being Yelp elite again. This is just as awesome as me getting my own light saber! 😉

Hello Blue Basil Asian Cuisine!

It’s a new year and time for new discoveries and new eats! Just right after the holidays, was the grand opening of a new Asian eatery in the South Bay! Located in Torrance, California is the brand new Blue Basil Asian Cuisine!

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I am a big fan of Asian eats and was intrigued to find this place offers a gigantic smorgasbord of Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and Thai dishes. They also have American and Italian food! Looking at the menu there just seemed to be something for everyone!

I came during lunch time with my mom and we started off our meal with an appetizer via their Vietnamese egg roll.

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Six crunchy pieces of Vietnamese egg rolls packed with meat and veggies was presented to us! I loved the wrapping that they used for the crispiness did not go away during the whole meal. It was fresh tasting all throughout. They were also very generous with the filling.

For our main courses, we chose to do their lunch special which is served with seamed rice and a daily soup. The soup of the day was a nice egg flower soup. It was good for a chilly day like today.

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The first of our lunch entrees was the Fried Chicken with Basil.

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An abundance of flavorful basil leaves was mixed in with tender pieces of chicken and red chiles for a delicious and slightly spicy stir-fry that was perfect on top of white rice.

Our other entree was the Beef with Vermicelli in Satay Sauce.

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Tender pieces of beef along with crunchy bell peppers and sweet pineapples were tossed on top of long, soft, silky vermicelli noodles. This noodle dish made for a light and tasty entree.

The deliciousness of this place does not end with their appetizers and entrees because equally impressive is their drink menu that consists of various milk teas, fresh fruit drinks and ice milk drinks. I chose to get a strawberry, pudding and boba ice milk drink.

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When my drink came out, I was happily surprised with the large concoction in front of me. The large drink consisted of sweet milk and lots of strawberry, pudding and boba inside. It was a perfect pairing to all the savory dishes we had above.

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Blue Basil Asian Cuisine is one nice addition to the South Bay! Offering a variety of Asian dishes, it is one place that every one can enjoy. I know that I will be back here for sure this year.

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Blue Basil Asian Cuisine.