Friday, August 29, 2014


We were all invited by Maria and Ryan to this nice restaurant last night; still in Banja Luka in Bosnia.

I knew we were in for a treat when Maria ordered the Delicatessen Wooden Board filled with prosciutto, mortadela, Slovenian prosciutto, panona salami, loin and Kulen sausage.  I wanted to order Octopus on grilled polenta with vegetables to share. It was nice to find someone nearby who was willing to share it with me.  In fact, so willing that he couldn't wait to dig in while I was taking  picture.

Several people ordered the Spicy Chicken with vegetables, rice and soya sauce. I had a bite of that and it was just a  bit spicy and the rice was nice and creamy. One had a Steak, and one had the octopus as her entree. I shared the Homemade Gnocchi with Chicken in Trapist sauce which is made with Trapist cheese that the Trapist monks used to make and this recipe was never shared and is still closely guarded.  The gnocchi was cooked with sweet cherry tomatoes and pumpkin seeds. It was delicious and it felt like there should have been some chanting as I devoured them.

Again, everyone was happy with what they ordered.  It was the consensus that desserts had to be ordered. We did order a few desserts. Panna cotta, chocolate cake and cheesecake. I did have s few bites from each and really enjoyed them.

Cevabdziica Kod Muje

Never mind trying to pronounce this restaurant.  This is in the town of Banja Luka in Bosnia. We visited my nephew and his wife Maria who currently works there.  Maria has  been in Banja Luka for 8 months so she knew the various restaurants and specialties.

It was a nice walk from our Talija Hotel to the restaurant.  Next to it was a pretty river called Vrbas lined with  weeping willow trees. We got to the restaurant which was nice as we sat in an outside covered patio. There was a gentle breeze as we sat and admired the view.

We left the ordering to Maria as she knew what to order; Cevapi which was lamb.   This looked like a giant pita bread with 3 large pieces of what looked like square hamburger meat. How exciting could that be? Well, let me tell you how exciting it didn't taste like hamburger. It had flavors I have never tasted before. None of us could really describe or identify what it was that made it special. It came with onions which you had to eat with it.  We also had to have some fries which complemented the Cevapi very well.

We were all super stuffed with all that meat. Everyone enjoyed the Cevapis.  To Maria and Ryan,  I say HVALA.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Apple Candy

It's not easy to find good apple candy. There used to be a  candy store at the Galleria mall  in Redondo Beach but that has long gone. Supermarkets sell them but that never looked good to me. It always looks like thick gooey sugar and red food coloring.

I accidentally discovered beautiful looking ones at Whole Foods in El Segundo the other day when I was with my friend Yvonne.  My eyes just about popped out seeing all the different kinds and these were not your ordinary supermarket candy apples. They had all sorts of flavors from oreo, coffee, white chocolate and so on. I got one with nuts for my nutty friend Sandi, a white chocolate for my son, chocolate for my husband and a coffee for me. One nice thing about apple candy is that they do last a few days so you don't have to eat the whole thing in one day. You slice a quarter at a time and really enjoy it.

I am confident in saying: An quarter apple (candy) a day can keep the doctor away.

Salt Creek Grille

My friend Yvonne took me to lunch a few days ago at the Salt Creek Grille in El Segundo. I have only been there once but could not remember what I had.  She strongly suggested we order margaritas and so I agreed.

We studied the menu and she mentioned that her son Christian really liked the Kobe burger. That sounded great so that is what I had. It had herbed goat cheese, arugula, tomato and mayonnaise served on King's Hawaiian bread. That was one of the juiciest, delicious burgers I had in a while. She decided to eat healthy though I think she really likes fish. She ordered the Blackened Ahi Tuna Steak with sprouts, tomato, avocado and wasabi mayonnaise which was also served on the Hawaiian bread. We both were very happy with our choices; her tuna came with a salad and my burger came with fries which I shared.

We both finished everything and we were truly stuffed so we couldn't even think of dessert but there is always the next time.

Salt Creek Grille is located at the Plaza El Segundo at 2015 E. Park Place in El Segundo off of Sepulveda just north of Rosecrans.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Qusqo Bistro & Gallery

This quaint Peruvian restaurant  on 1163 Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles was where we ended up after seeing the movie "Five Star Life"; a delightful movie of a luxury hotel critic who travels all over the world and gets to eat good food on the side. Who wouldn't love this job?

We first had to order the popular drink they are known for: Chicha, which is a purple corn juice made from Peruvian blue corn. The recipe calls for apple, pineapple, cinnamon and cloves which are added to water then boiled for 2 hours.  The color was vibrant and it looked very interesting. I had Sandi have the first 2 sips. She warned me that it was a bit strange but the second sip got better. She was right was a peculiar taste only because I have never had anything like it but it grew on me after the 2nd and 3rd sip. The bread was served with a green sauce which was made with onions, garlic and cilantro. This was very edible.

For dinner, we ordered the Qusqo Paella Arroz con Mariscos. Saffron rice tossed with shrimp, mussels, baby scallops, calamari, chilies and vegetables. The mussels came on a separate little plate; I think they forgot to include it in the rice. The other dish we ordered was from the Grill Plate; Parrilla with the chicken. This was served with plantains, rice and beans. We enjoyed both dishes though Sandi had to pick the tentacles off the paella and she happily informed me that I could eat all the mussels as well.  I lucked out!

They had about 5 items on the menu for dessert. What caught my eye was the Alfajor dulce de leche cookie with vanilla ice cream. I figured this Peruvian restaurant will most probably make this native dessert the way it is supposed to be made.  A few minutes later, our server announced to us that they were out of the specialty cookies. We then settled for the Bomba which was described as chocolate ice cream covered in a white chocolate shell. The ice cream arrived. There was no white chocolate, just powdered sugar and cinnamon sprinkled around the plate. It was a regular chocolate ice cream with nuts. Since I do not like nuts in my ice cream, I did not like the dessert. Sandi though was happy as she is a nut lover. So, I got my mussels and she got the nuts. I guess it was just fair.

They had a lot of interesting items on the menu so we will definitely have to go back there and try the Alfajores. We hope we have better luck next time.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Amy's Birthday at Domenique's

My friend Amy had another birthday. It happens to the best of us! This time I decided to take her to Dominique's since she has not been there since my 6oth birthday celebration.

Murray, our resident server was crazy as ever and as he attempted to take our picture, my phone was set for a selfie so he ended up taking his picture; it's o.k.....could have been worse! He did succeed taking ours after instructions from us to go farther so as not to make us look fat.

I was craving for the mussels but I was out of luck; none that evening. I had to order the cheese fondue with some truffle fries. Like I mentioned before, instead of dipping the fries or pieces of bread into the fondue with the long fork, I found it best to just dump them in the fondue so they're well coated and ready for consumption. I never noticed the mayonnaise that came with the truffle fries. We tried it and was pleasantly surprised on how good it was.

Amy had just gone to the dentist that morning so she knew that she did not want meat. She wanted something that did not require too much chewing. I talked her into the Fillet of Sole which she loved. I ordered the Lamb Chops with the creamy polenta which was also very good.

Dessert was again an easy choice. All their desserts are very good but I can't get passed the Floating Island and the Baked Alaska. Amy's birthday dessert was the appropriate Baked Alaska and I had the Floating Island.

It was a lovely evening and it brought back memories of my wonderful birthday party last year. I can't believe it's been a year and a half! Thank you Liza and Dominique!

Happy Birthday again to my dear friend Amy!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sesame Moe's Mediterranean Grill

On our way back from the valley, we decided we couldn't wait to have dinner in our area so we stopped at Sesame Moe's in Manhattan Beach. Sandi has been there once before and she remembered having a chicken sandwich and some fried cauliflower.

We spotted the Fried Cauliflower with onion, tomato, tahini sauce with pine nuts. Those were the best cauliflower I've ever had. They were so delicious that I would have been happy with just that and some champagne!

Of course we could not have just the appetizers so we had to order 2 entrees which we shared. The first one was the Chicken Tawook Pita; marinated cubes of charbroiled chicken breast with tomato, cucumber pickles and a garlic sauce. The other entree was the Beef Kabob Pita; cubes of charbroiled beef rolled in pita, tomato, hummus, parsley,onion and sourberyy (sumac). We had both of them with rice and a salad. The salads were not exciting but both chicken and beef were tender and juicy.

I have to say we had a bit of entertainment next to our table. A short middle aged man walked in with a taller, younger but overweight lady. This lady had the biggest, exposed breasts I have ever seen in my whole life! I called this over exposure and there was nothing left to the imagination; they were just there for everyone to see. Another couple came to meet them and I couldn't help but wonder how the couple could carry on a conversation with a straight face.

Moe, the owner came by our table to ask us how we liked the food. We told him how pleased we were. He didn't go the table next to us. I guess he thought it wise not to for obvious reasons.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Art's Table

We were invited for lunch by our friend Sue who lives in Santa Monica. The venue was to be at Art's Table on 1002 Montana Avenue. Only Sue has been there and she obviously had high regards for this place.

It was a nice day and Sue already got a table for us outside. I didn't see any birds flying or walking by the sidewalk so I agreed to sit outside. The menu looked interesting. Sue ordered the Charcuterie plate which went with her wine.

Sandi and I ordered 2 different sandwiches to split. The Belly of the Beast; Cuban press sandwich; pulled pork, slow roasted pork belly, grainy jalapeno mustard, pickles, Gruyere fondue served with potato strings. The other sandwich was the Short Rib Press: slow roasted short ribs, onion crisp, truffle cheese, roasted garlic rub with horseradish mayo, thyme jus served also with potato strings. The Short Rib Press was good but the the Belly of the Beast was Very Good!. We both loved that on with the Gruyere fondue!

We shared the dessert: Chocolate Banana Pan with Oreo cookie crust and custard in between. We all had our share and loved it.

Thank you Sue for introducing us to Art's Table.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pasta Dinner at Sandi's

I was invited at Sandi's house for a simple pasta dinner with garlic bread and champagne.  Who could say no.....not me.

This angel hair pasta had corn, bacon, tomatoes, chicken apple sausage with cheese and peas. The sauce consisted of Parmesan, egg and cream.  That was served with garlic bread. It was delicious.

Dessert was from Montmarte Bakery in Torrance. I got 2 kinds: One was a chocolate banana pudding and the other was mango pudding. Both were very good as none of them were too sweet.

A very simple dinner with  not so simple desserts was a nice way to end a Friday evening with a very good friend.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


My brother Gary lives close to this restaurant in Marina Del Rey.  He tells me he's never been there because every time he asks someone if they would like to try it, they decline and they would rather go to the joint next door that serves hamburgers and the old standards.

Paiche is Peruvian mixed with Japanese cuisine.  The name Paiche comes from the prehistoric Amazonian Fish which can grow to up to 600 lbs. Unfortunately, we did not order any fish so we will definitely have to go back to try this specialty.

You have to take the time and study the menu especially if you are not familiar with Peruvian food. Our server spent some time explaining the different plates and specialties. After careful consideration, Gary and I unanimously voted for the same things. We had to have the Chaufa de Langosta; lobster fried rice with mussels, clams and shrimps. The Cangrejo; soft shell crab with kimchi, wasabi and aji amarillo. The third dish had to be meat so we tried the Short Ribs with BBQ sauce and ajiaco de papas (potatoes). Everything was delicious. The short ribs were a bit chewy but the soft shell crab was crunchy, spicy and delicious. The lobster rice had all sorts of wonderful flavors. The shrimps were plump and juicy; we could have had more of them. That was not your everyday fried rice though I will have no trouble eating it everyday!

Dessert had to be Churros with chocolate and Lucuma sauces. This was not at all like the Spanish churros. They were imperfect round balls. We had a bite and Gary and I just gazed at each other. Never had anything like it. It was more like beignets only much better. It was lighter than a feather. When I asked the server what was inside, he replied: "magic".

We saw Chef Ricardo Zarate so I had to convey our excitement. I will definitely go back to explore more dishes on his exciting menu plus I will be needing more of the churros!

Paiche is located at 13488 Maxella Ave. in Marina Del Rey.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pancake House in the Philippines

This is not your typical "pancake house". This restaurant has a variety of not just pancakes and waffles but almost anything you can imagine.

There was one right next to Medical City Hospital where my mom was confined for a few weeks. I had 2 lunches there. On my first visit with my nephew Andre, I ordered the Daing na Bangus which is fried milkfish (boneless of course), served with a fried egg, fried rice and a tomato salad. My mouth is watering as I type and look at the picture. It was so good especially after I drizzled some vinegar with garlic on the fish. This was the best breakfast! Andre on the other hand had the Chocolate Marble Waffle which was also very good.

Towards the end of my very short trip, I tried the Albondigas soup as I was felt a cold coming. It did hit the spot. It was the best albondigas soup I have ever had. I neglected to take a picture as I was not in my right mind....what else is new?

Pancake House in the Philippines is all over. If  you ever get a chance to go, do so as you will be surprised.