Friday, July 22, 2016

FIG's New Summer Menu is Red Hot.

Fig in Santa Monica has a new menu with its relatively new Chef  Yousef Ghalaini
.Located in downtown Santa Monica minutes from the ocean Fig is inside the beautiful  Fairmont Miramar Hotel right next to the pool.

There are a few must get items on the new Summer menu at Fig.  Chef Ghalaini is from Lebanon and  it's reflected in his cooking. There are a lot of Lebanese and Mediterranean flavors with his dishes.

The lamb pizza is a must get. It's a Instagram ready pie that’s bright red from the seasoned lamb sausage (called Merguez)that Chef tops the pizza along with mint, yogurt, and pickled red onions!. While it's not hot it’s a spice rich pie.

Usually you don't see olives staring in a dish but with FIG's warm olives they are center stage. With olive some spices, herbs, and salt these olives are roasted and served hot. Its hard to eat just one. 

Spicy fries are just fries tossed with a tasty harissa power (a North African chile blend) but the real jewel is Yousef's family recipe for Toum. Its a sauce/paste that's similar to garlic sauce but also has lemon. It's like a fantastic garlic lemon sauce with a citrus bite. I implored him to bottle and sell this and he is looking into it. I would get this sauce to use on almost everything on the menu (hint hint pizza.)

Try to get a table looking out at the pool if you can. 

101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

marinated whole fish 

warm olives

spicy fries

Shishito Peppers 

lamb shank 

lamb pizza 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken Hits LA.

Hot chicken is about to explode in LA. Only a little while ago the words hot chicken would puzzle most Angelenos. Was it chicken that was so hot it would burn your mouth?

Luckily with places like Nickel Dinner and Howlin Ray's bringing hot chicken to the masses people are more informed.

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken has recently come from Nashville to bring their version of hot chicken to So Cal. As one employee put it "there's enough room in LA for a lot of hot chicken love."

It's OK if you don't know what hot chicken is. Legend says a man's girlfriend was so mad about his infidelity that she loaded his fried chicken with all the cayenne she could find. He loved it. Hot chicken is more complex than just heat though. Its a spicy, juicy taste sensation when its prepared right.

Gus's is old school.

You can get your chicken with greens or mac and cheese and a sweet tea.

How does it compare to Howlin Ray's LA's hot chicken darling? Well you don't have to wait in line for 30 minutes. Its a full sit down restaurant.

Unlike Howlin (which can only do one side at a time due to space) Gus's offers several side dishes all the time. With the exception of some seasonal pies the menu at doesn't change very much.

The chicken itself here is good stuff. Not as exotic as Howlin Ray's and there is only one heat level which is really safe (like tabasco level heat) and juicy. Its a place where you should get a large mac and cheese and just spend time chatting with friends.

1262 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019

fried okra 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hello Kitty Pop Up Has Landed at Irvine Spectrum

Like Hello Kitty? No? What about cake? Well if you like either of those you will find something to like at the Hello Kitty Pop Up Cafe at the Irvine Spectrum. n The pop up trailer is hopefully proceeding the first official Hello Kitty Cafe in California. The pop up offers coffee, drinks, and sweets. The pastries are not bad. Just try not to think about biting Hello Kitty's head. 

670 Spectrum Center Dr, Irvine, CA 92618

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Pines is San Bernardino's Newest Fine Dining Destination.

I am going to break a personal rule of mine blogging wise. Saying something is the best. I can pretty much tell you (and I actually lived in SB) San Manuel's newly renovated steakhouse The Pines is the nicest restaurant you are going to find in San Bernardino. 

The Pines is a classic steakhouse with some refined touches.  For the area it's edgy modern. What should you order? Well a steak.....if that's not obvious (get a ribeye or a porterhouse). But what should you get with it?  The tempura fried mushroom and zucchini fries are a must. They are fried perfectly in a light flavorful batter.  The marinated sliced pork belly is not bad itself and its Asian inspired marinade is a step in the right direction for San Bernardino culinary wise. 

Dessert  the candied almond fruit cup is a sight to behold. Its what you would put on Instagram or Facebook after your steak picture. 
Make sure to tell us on social media if you go to the Pines and what you thought! 

777 San Manuel Blvd, Highland, CA 92346

pork belly

Lobster mac and cheese 

Candied almond fruit cup 

fried mushrooms and zucchini 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Angelina's Pizzeria Napoletana Adds Gourmet Italian Flavor to Irvine.

California is in the middle of a pizza revolution. 

More and more people are eating artisan driven pies and leaving oily, fast food fatty pies behind. 

Angelina's Pizzeria Napoletana is doing its part with its new location in Irvine. 

Started by Chef Sandro Angelina's is primarily a Neapolitan style pizzeria although they have other dishes. Sure they have a great fire roasted chicken dish but if you are in a pizza place you want pizza I assume?

Well...a calzone is  like a a inverted pizza..... and Anglina's is one that you may have to split between two people. Stuffed with mushrooms, ham, cheese and sauce its one of the best calzones you will find in the OC period. 

But yes pizza. Most of the staff here will tell you that the Margherita is here done simply and well. If you like minimalist pies you are in luck. That said they do have a pie with pork belly...

                                   8573 Irvine Center Dr, Irvine, CA 92618

The Chef himself 

Pork belly pie 

Meat and cheese plate