Saturday, May 30, 2015

Another Great Dinner at Lawry's

This time I took my family to dinner at Lawry's thanks to a gift card I received from the Montoyas for my birthday. My mom is still here so my nephew, his wife and daughter decided to surprise my mom by driving all the way from New Mexico.

We all arrived early so we could take advantage of the meatballs they serve at the parlor. I paced myself so I only had 2 meatballs and a few of their house made potato chips. A member of my family who shall remain nameless had at least 6 of them!

As we settled in our seats, we immediately got served the warm sour dough bread with butter. Shortly after that came the spinning salad which is always delightful with the chilled fork.

We all ordered the California cut, the smallest cut but it really is not that small. A big chunk of the prime rib with the creamed corn, mashed potatoes and Yorkshire pudding made a perfect meal.

We had several desserts to share. I had the Hot Fudge Sundae. Andre ordered the Chocolate Fantasy which was dark and very moist chocolate cake. My mom and Gary shared a Creme Brulee and Erik had the Strawberry Grand Marnier Cream.

Everyone was stuffed and some even had leftovers (not me). Lawry's really can't be beat when it comes to prime rib, creamed corn, Yorkshire pudding, shrimp cocktail and lobster tail. I have had all of them and they have been consistently good.

Nectarine Lavender Danish

This Nectarine Lavender Danish is more like a Tart. I like to call it tart because this looks and taste more like a tart. So, potatoes, potaatos, tomatoes, tomaatos, whatever you decide to call it won't matter when you taste this delicious tart.

It has the distinct taste of lavender which I thought enhanced the fresh nectarines. The tart is flaky and light. It is not sweet; the only sweetness is from the fruit with a very slight hint of tartness. Just when you think you've got the flavor, you have the lavender scent and taste which adds to the beauty of it all.

Hurry up and get your danish/tart today or tomorrow as this is the weekend special at L'Amande Bakery in Torrance and in Beverly Hills.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Dinner at the Nakasato's

Amy and Nako invited us; my husband, my mom, my nephew and his wife and daughter to dinner at their house.

After hors d' oeuvres of various cheeses, meats and crackers, they had a big spread of very good everything. This was a joint effort of husband and wife cooking from scratch. They had fried rice which Nako made with eggs, ham, onions and bacon. He also made Kahlua Pork with cabbage which I enjoyed. Amy made Fried Chicken wings which were marinated in soy sauce. She also made some Korean Barbecue which was delicious. I have never heard of Namasu which is cucumbers sliced very thinly with sugar, rice vinegar, and canned clams with the juice. It was absolutely wonderful. The only thing that I didn't have was the vegetables, only because I wanted to concentrate on the rest of the dishes. I must have had a minimum of 4 servings!

Everything was cooked with tender loving care and that is probably why they all tasted special. This is the way they cook every Sunday for her family. How lucky can these family members be? At the end of the feast, we all felt like retiring; Otto had the right attitude.

Thanks again to Amy and Nako. I just need to know what time is dinner this coming Sunday?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Umami burger is still one of the top burgers in my book; should be called uuuumami as this is the sound you would be making after your first bite of the Umami burger aka the original with a Parmesan disk inside, shiitake mushrooms, roasted tomato, caramelized onion and their house made ketchup.

I decided to order some Truffle Fries, Maple Bacon Fries and the Tempura Onion Rings to share. The truffle fries were good but the maple bacon fries were to die for. These sweet potato fries had maple-braised bacon with rosemary, salt and topped with chives. The bacon was not the thin crispy type; it was cut in small thick chunks and you could really taste the sweetness from the maple syrup yet it was salty cuz it's bacon. The tempura onion rings were the lightest and best onion rings I have ever had. It was like biting into clouds if that's even possible.

What to drink was a dilemma. Several types of beer (I do not enjoy beer at all) but Ela and I were intrigued by the Great Divide Yeti  Imperial Stout; roasted malts, chocolate and caramel flavors with a hint of espresso. The beer was so dark it looked black and it had a burnt taste which we ended up liking. My mom had the Duvel, Belgian strong ale, dry and crisp with hints of citrus and pepper. She loved it. Unlike me, she loves beer and started drinking at the age of 8. My grandmother made her drink dark beer since she was anemic. This is how she came to love beer.

We all had the Umami burger except for my nephew Andre. He ordered the Manly Burger; house beer cheddar cheese,bacon lardons, smoked-salt onion strings, their house ketchup and mustard spread. The burgers were so juicy though not as big as Carl's Jr.; this is definitely quality and not quantity. A bite of the burger, a bite of truffle fries, a sip of the dark beer, another bite of the burger and then the maple bacon fries.....OMG....what else could one ask for? We were all happy overloaded happy campers.

Umami Burger are all over. Google them to see if there is one near you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day Barbecue

Aside from honoring the people who have sacrificed for our great country, having a barbecue was just an excuse to use my Margarator; a giant blender designed to make blended margarita. The main entree was the classic Weisswurst, the German sausage that used to be veal but now it is just pork. I also got some German Potato Salad and Sauerkraut (all from Alpine Village).   I made the red cabbage with apples and mushrooms.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and especially the margaritas. We ended up making 2 batches. One full batch serves 16-18 people. (I had 16 adult drinkers).  At one time, the margarator stopped working; it got too hot so we had to let it rest a bit. Thank God it resumed it's blending power soon.

There was an abundance of desserts. Ana made an apple pie which was wonderful and bread pudding made from baguettes. The bread pudding came with salted caramel sauce which was heavenly! John surprised everyone by making a flan from scratch. The real surprise was it turned out to be very good. Not bad at all for someone who has never made flan before. After all that, I served dark raspberry truffle ice cream from Handel's. Needless to say, no one left hungry.

I apologize for not taking a picture of the bread pudding. It looked beautiful but in my excitement, it just slipped my mind.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Breakfast at The Blvd.

I have only had dinners at The Blvd., one of the restaurants at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. My brother invited our mom and myself 2 days ago for breakfast at The Blvd.

I love that restaurant as the food and ambiance has never let me down. My mom and I got there at 10:30 a.m. for our 10:45 reservation. I texted my brother that we were there and he texted back that he would be there at the designated time of 10:45 and he did show up exactly at 10:45 a.m.

I could tell that our server was experienced and has probably worked at the restaurant for a long time. He treated us the way any customer would like to be treated; reminded me of the old fashioned waiters in classy restaurants.

Though there were many interesting dishes in the menu, all 3 of us ordered the Belgian Waffle with orange butter. We all wanted someone else to order something different so we could taste and share but no one wanted to budge. Both my mom and brother ordered extra crispy bacon. I did not like my bacon to be extra crispy though I used to like it that way. I realized that extra crispy lost the taste of the bacon, it just tasted like bacon eating bits of salt. When it isn't too crispy, you get to taste the meat with some fat....yummmm! So I was stuck ordering a side of regular bacon just for me; while my mom and brother shared an order. The waffle was extra light; super delicious especially with the orange butter and the maple syrup.  We all cleaned our plates, even my mom who thought she would not be able to finish them.

Interesting thing about the valet parking. Someone else came to our table to take our parking ticket to validate. Regular parking is $14.00 and with validation it is $12.00. My brother got his ticket out and the lady told him he didn't need it validated, it was free since he had a pink ticket. Mine was blue and it was validated and I had to pay $12.00. My first thought was discrimination; was it perhaps because I drove a Mercedes and not a Porsche. He thought it was funny; I obviously did not see the humor in it. When I went to the parking station to pay my $12, I asked the lady why my brother got a pink ticket and she replied: "That's because he was going to be here a short time". I told her I was in at the same time and that we were there for breakfast. She had nothing to say. She just gave me the look. I did pay the fee. I later found out that Gary did inform them he was having breakfast. So next time I valet my car, I will have to ask them for the PINK ticket!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Jonesing for JuJuya

Took my mom to JuJuya on her first dinner in Los Angeles last week. My brother could not join us then but last night he came over and asked where we could go to dinner. I know he loves sushi so  it was a no-brainer to go back to JuJuya. My son had no complaints as he has been to the restaurant before an loved it.

I had to order the usual dishes I could not do without: The Crispy Oysters with basil sauce and black olive tapenade, Crab Spring Rolls with tarragon aioli sauce and the Miso Chilean Sea Bass with Black Rice only this time they had the brown rice, and the Yellowtail Carpaccio with Jalapeno peppers.

In addition to these, we decided to try the Calamari looked pale and unappetizing BUT it was light and very tasty. It tasted much better than it looked. Gary ordered the Albacore Sushi and the Salmon Collar. We didn't think we had enough so we ordered the Caterpillar (eel) with avocado and the Crispy Shrimp. Everything was delicious. All four of us had an individual bowl of rice of course; so we didn't have room for any dessert.

Chef Mako was there to welcome us and the manager, came by several times to help deliver our numerous dishes. So far, JuJuya has lived up to my expectations. JuJuya is located at 550 Deep Valley Dr. in Rolling Hills Estates, California.