Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cafe Pacific- Trump National Golf Club

I wanted to take my brother and sister in law somewhere special on their last dining experience in Los Angeles before they headed back home to Singapore. I picked Cafe Pacific at the Trump National Golf Club in Palos Verdes. The ambiance, food and the view of the pacific ocean seemed appropriate for the occasion.

We had to start with their famous fried calamari. The ever so light calamari with the aioli sauce was still as good as I remembered. Funny, I used to eat only the round part of the calamari (body) but I seem to enjoy more the dreaded (by many) tentacles. They really do have more flavor!  The bread basket filled with french bread and parmesan crisps were good and we tried not to eat too much of these fillers! Grace ordered a clam chowder which was very nice; lots of clams and very tasty.

For our entrees, Grace had the Spiedino Di Mare; marinated grilled diver scallops & prawn sugar cane skewer with cauliflower and leek puree, lobster ravioli, Swiss chard in blood orange reduction. My brother Dino ordered the Grilled 16oz. Rib Eye with bacon & aged cheddar mashed potatoes, wild mushrooms, jumbo asparagus glazed and cipollini onions in a Bearnaise and sherry wine sauce. I had a bite of the lobster ravioli and the steak and they were both delicious.  I opted for the Beer Marinated Grilled Double Cut Pork Chop 14 oz.  This was served on a creamy gorgonzola polenta, roasted apples, glazed vegetables in cider reduction. I loved my chops which had a lot of flavor, a bit salty which was perfect with the creamy polenta; perfect combination!

At the end of our meal, they presented Dino and Grace a Bon Voyage surprise; a cheesecake which was light and delicious. I ordered the chocolate dessert which ended up in all our tummies!

Cafe Pacific is still a good place to dine and have a good time. The service is just hit and miss. The evening we were there was a bit disorganized at they were also having the "Croatian Night" wherein they had a special going on. Not being familiar with Croatian food, we opted for the regular menu.

Cafe Pacific is located at the beautiful picturesque Trump National Golf Course in Palos Verdes.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Tiffin at the Langham-Sunday Chocolate Tea

I was always curious about the Sunday Chocolate Afternoon Tea at the beautiful Langham Hotel in Pasadena.  Everyone is familiar with Tea in the Afternoon at different hotels wherein they serve a variety of teas with little sandwiches and sometimes champagne is included.

Sandi's big birthday; can't divulge how big, was the reason for the celebration. The ambiance is unbeatable. In my opinion you pay mostly for the ambiance. There were 8 selections of tea; from green tea to pear caramel. Our party of 4 could pick 3 kinds. The pear caramel was likable, although I am not a tea expert, it was o.k. You could taste the pear and a hint of caramel. It would have been better if this was made into a mousse.

The champagne aka sparkling wine was very drinkable. We started with the Chocolate Tea Sandwiches. If you are wondering what kind they served......wonder no more. The first one was White Chocolate & Avocado Mousse with Vanilla Marinated Shrimp. Though good, if you didn't tell me what was in it, I wouldn't have been able to guess (except for the shrimp). It sounded much better than it tasted.
The second was Cucumber, White Chocolate Mint Mousse & Grapefruit. That was light and refreshing. The Smoked Salmon, Roasted Fennel & Cocoa Nib Mousse was very good and so was the Serrano Ham, Burrata Mousse with Chocolate Caviar. The tray also had a Dark Chocolate Mousse Profiterole with Chocolate Dust. That was delicious. There were 2 types of scones; chocolate chip and chocolate marble. Those scones were not worthy of being served let alone calling them scones. The so called scones were cake like in texture which crumbled when I applied the lemon curd.

There was an abundance of all sorts of chocolate including a chocolate fountain.  There were truffles, chocolate raspberry cupcakes, chocolate fruit tarts, white chocolate green tea panna cotta, white chocolate bark, chocolate macarons, chocolate passion gateau, Earl Grey milk chocolate truffle, etc. etc. We had too much chocolate. I really could have had more of the sandwiches, which we could have but we would have had to pay extra for them. This Sunday Chocolate Tea by the way cost $59.

We were all glad we did it but we would not do it again. It is one of those things one has to experience once.  They did present Sandi with a birthday treat. You guessed it.....more chocolate but with an addition of something yellow.

I suspect their regular tea might be more fruitful and I don't mean fruits.  We all had a nice time including the birthday girl and that's all that counts. The Langham Hotel is located at 1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave. in Pasadena, California.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Yet Another Great Dinner at Dominique's Kitchen

My brother and sister in law from Singapore were only going to stay with us for 3 nights. One of the dinners had to be Dominique's Kitchen.

They have read my previous blogs on this restaurant so they knew they were in for a treat.  I took the liberty of ordering the appetizers and gave my recommendations for their entrees.  I had to have everyone try their escargot so I figured: one each to get a taste of these wonderful creatures. They all agreed they were very edible including Sandi who had her reservations. Then we were off to their intoxicating cheese fondue which came with pieces of French bread, though it was even better with the side of fries we ordered!

For our entrees, one had their always fresh and light fillet of sole, one had their very tasty lamb chops, two had their braised short ribs, and one had their risotto which is always cooked to perfection. Everyone was happy with what they ordered. Nothing was sent back to the chef!

We shared  a bunch of desserts.  Grace and Dino had to try the Baked Alaska so he ordered one and Grace had the Floating Island which was ever so light. Erik had the Panna Cotta with cherries and Sandi and I had the Baked Alaska.

Thank you Liza and Dominique for welcoming us to your "home." We had a wonderful time. Dominique's Kitchen is located at 522 S. Pacific Coast Hwy. in Redondo Beach, California.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cinco de Mayo at El Torito Grill

Cinco the Mayo calls for Margaritas: that's the rule! Everything else is secondary to most people but for me, food is very important so we ventured over to El Torito Grill in Torrance.  My sister-in-law Grace, was with me along with Sandi and my son Erik.

We started out with Mango and Strawberry margaritas. They served their usual warm and fresh tortillas which we all loved with the honey butter; funny nobody touched the 2 other sauces that came with it. I strongly suggested we all have a cup of their most delicious Fire Roasted Tomato Soup. Both Sandi and Grace normally don't like any tomato soup but I am happy to report they are now converts. It was spicy, creamy and just yummy. Erik had to be different so he ordered the Tortilla soup. It was supposed to have chicken in it but unfortunately, there was not one piece of chicken in his cup! Next time he will just have to listen to mommy.

I ordered the Shrimp Diabla: mesquite grilled shrimps drizzled with orange achiote & jalapeno butter sauce with fresh vegetables and pasilla-cilantro rice and sweet corn cake.  This was cooked to perfection and yes, it was spicy.
Erik had the Filet Mignon Enchiladas and Grilled Shrimps. The filet had mushrooms with a sherry sauce. It came with the same green rice and vegetables. I had a taste of it and gave it my seal of approval.

Grace had the Lobster Quesadilla Platter. Red Chile tortilla and tender lobster, pasilla chiles, jack and cotija cheese, chipotle-basil aioli and a pineapple-mango salsa with rice and Peruvian beans. I had a bite of it; it was very good.

Sandi had the Carnitas Yucatan; orange-lime marinated pork slow roasted in garlic, achiote citrus habanero marinated red onions with Peruvian beans and rice plus the sweet corn cake. I had 2 bites of her dish.....I should have had more!

Though everything was delicious, we all did not like the Peruvian beans. I think it would be wise to substitute it for something else the next time. (hope we remember)

None of the desserts sounded good so I suggested we drive to Handel's Ice Cream. Sandi had the malt ice cream and Grace had the coffee chips and I had the best one....chocolate raspberry truffle.

El Torito has always been consistently good. You can always count on them. We went to the one located in 21321 Hawthorne Blvd. in Torrance California.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mimi's Cafe

I haven't been to Mimi's Cafe in a long time even though it practically is around the corner from where I live.  I got upset with them a couple of years ago as they would not honor a coupon (not expired) and rather than please the customer, they chose to alienate me and a friend.
So they say "Time Heals"......and I guess I was on the road to recovery.

Sandi and I were gallivanting last week and it was getting late in the evening; we had not eaten dinner and tough we were not very hungry, we thought we needed nourishment. We ended up at Mimi's Cafe.
We decided to each have a cup of the Original Corn Chowder Soup. It was nice and creamy though I could not decide if it was better than the corn chowder of Polly's Pies. They also served us some French bread together with their homemade carrot raisin nut bread served with a some very good butter.

We shared an appetizer: Artisan Baked Brie which was a warm and bubbly brie cheese served with French baguette, tart apple slices and apricot chutney. What a perfect combination especially after it was all assembled for our consumption. The tartness of the apples was subdued by the sweet apricot chutney and the brie bound them together nicely.

These all didn't seem much to eat but somehow our tummies were very happy and we had no guilt as we considered our meal as "light". Mimi's Cafe has several locations. We went to the one on 25343 Crenshaw Blvd. in Torrance, California. They are open everyday from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm except on Friday and Saturday wherein they stay open till 11:00 pm.