Saturday, November 24, 2018


I had to go back to this relatively new burger joint in Lomita. I knew my vegetarian friend Sujata would find something other than beef burgers. She ordered the Salmon for her pretend burger. She chose the classic style which had American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, and a house sauce. I suggested she order the onion rings for us to share and I would order the Burgerim fries. Sujata loved her salmon!

I had the duo: My #1 choice was a Lamb patty which s a blend of the succulent beef and tender lamb; and the #2 choice was the Wagyu Beef, their ultra-premium beef. I loved both. I was pleasantly surprised at how the lamb was so juicy and tasty. We both enjoyed the wonderful fries and onion rings.

I previously met the owner Rashid, and this time I got to meet his wife Ayesha who is very sweet.  I appreciate the idea of the owners being present at any establishment which is a sign of caring about how the business is being run. Ayesha also explained to me the system they have when ordering multiple burgers. The receipt is taped on the top of the box. It shows #1 and #2 accordingly. The #1 would be the burger on your left and next to it #2.

I know I will have many more visits at Burgerim in the future. Watch for one opening near you. This Burgerim is located at 24218 Crenshaw Blvd. in Torrance.

Lunch at Bettolino Kitchen

Yvonne has been to Bettolino a few years ago but couldn't remember how she liked the food. I suggested that we meet there for lunch. We were greeted by Andreanna, the owner whom I haven't seen in a long time. Yvonne is one of my friends that eats octopus so I was excited to have her try the  Polipo; Spanish octopus served with cannellini beans, cherry tomatoes in a lemon garlic sauce. It never ceases to amaze me how tender they are; not at all chewy as most people have had them elsewhere. Andreanna wanted us to taste a new Fall item; Meatballs on top of Polenta with a Parmesan fonduta (sauce made with cheese, eggs, milk or crème fraîche, and butter) basil oil. Yvonne enjoyed both polipo and the meatballs and so did I.

For our entrée, we split an order of Tagliatelle Bolognese; ground beef, Berkshire ground pork, pureed tomatoes, white wine, parmesan fonduta and an order of Parmigiana di Melanzane; layers of eggplant, homemade tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella, parmesan with a pesto drizzle on top. Both entrées were just delicious and perfectly cooked.

Though we were pleasantly full, we did leave room for dessert. Yvonne wanted to try the Crostata di Pera; caramelized pears in a pastry crust with vanilla sauce. We managed to inhale that. Our server Tess asked how we liked it and all we had to do was show her the clean plate!

Bettolino Kitchen has not disappointed the last couple of years I have dined there. They have upped their game and they are just getting better. Yvonne was excited to rediscover Bettolino and can't wait to take her husband there in the near future. They are located at  211 Palos Verdes Blvd. in Redondo Beach, California.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Panera's New Baby

Yes, the new kid in town is Brittany.  It is a pastry made with croissant dough and is filled with cream cheese. For the non-purist, there is one with cherries on top. I tried them both and thought it was quite edible. I myself preferred the plain one. It is not too sweet and it does make a great breakfast with a strong cup of coffee.

I would call this the poor man's cronut. It isn't nearly as flaky as a cronut but it will do! Now available at your nearby Panera.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Birthday Feast

I was privileged to be invited to a friend's birthday party. When I asked her how many people she was having, her response was: " Just a little dinner party of 15 people". I got to their house at 5:30 p.m. A beautiful table of assorted hors d' oeuvres immediately caught my eye. Everything on the table went well with my glass of champagne which was refilled promptly before my glass went empty.

It was nice to see my fellow gym friends, some whom I haven't seen in a long time. Zohreh's family was present which included 2 darling little girls and a toddler boy. It almost felt like Christmas because of the celebration and family milling around.

Zohreh cooked several dishes. She made a dish called Fesenjoon, chicken made with walnuts and pomegranate sauce. It was reminiscent of a chicken mole only this was more delicious. She also made a green salad. The other item she made was Baghali polo which is rice with dill and fava beans. The crusty part of the rice is called Tahdig. We have something like it in the Philippines, which we call tutong. This was better since it carried the flavor of the dill and fava beans.

There was a dish of square items which looked like brownies. It was Kookoo Sabzi which was made with herbs, parsley, cilantro green onions, eggs, salt & pepper. I have never had any of these and what a great introduction to "new" cuisine. Since it was her birthday, her family did not want her to slave away in the kitchen so they ordered some food which was delivered.

I have never seen so much food for 15 people. These would easily have fed 25! We had Beef and Chicken Koobideh, Kebabs, Salmon, a Creamy Eggplant dish which was so good. At the table, she had a bowl of Sumac which is a Middle Eastern spice. I never knew what it was for. It is supposed to enhance the meat and it balances everything according to Zohreh. I didn't want to leave her house limping all imbalanced so I sprinkled that baby all over my meat.

There was an abundance of berries and gigantic grapes and an assortment of sweets decorating the table; it was as beautiful as it was delicious. Of course, I sampled everything. Then a birthday cake made an appearance. It was a Tiramisu from Assal Pastry. Zohreh was once again 29! The tiramisu was nice and light and not at all too sweet. Even her granddaughters loved it

After 4-1/2 hours, it was time to go. Parting was such sweet sorrow. I wasn't sure if I would be able to go to sleep as I felt like a pregnant hippopotamus! I had to relax for a few hours before I went to bed. That was some birthday party. Happy Birthday again to Zohreh.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Little Sister, Redondo Beach

I have been to Little Sister in Los Angeles with my friend Yvonne and I loved the food. They have locations in Manhattan Beach and I just recently discovered that they opened one in Redondo Beach in the former Superba Restaurant. Travelzoo had a $39 deal for lunch which was good for $70 worth of food. What a deal!

My friend Dee has never been to Little Sister before so she was game. I ordered 2 items which I had before. Autumn Roll; sweet potato, jicama, egg, Chinese sausage, and coconut peanut sauce. The second item was Imperial Rolls which had shrimp, crab, pork, taro root, glass noodles and roasted peanut with chili lime sauce.

In addition to the 2 Rice paper items, we had the Banh Mi Grilled Lemongrass Chicken with crushed cashews, mint, basil, scallions with chili lime vinegar. We had to have a beef dish so we settled on Saigon Lemongrass Beef with vermicelli noodle herbs, cucumbers, with a chili lime dressing.

Most of the items were spicy but tolerable. Everything was delicious and tasted fresh. We were there at 2:45 p.m. which was a late lunch. Our biggest complaint was the music. It was rap but that's not all, the songs if you could call it that had a lot of the four letter words. Profanity has no place in a restaurant especially when some people take their kids along. I'd say leave those "accepted profanity" music to the adult clubs. That way, if people are offended, they can choose not to return. This is harder to do in a restaurant.

Little Sister is located at 247 Avenida del Norte in Redondo Beach, California.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


This burger joint just opened near my friend Sandi's house. We were both curious what this new joint was all about. After attending mass last Saturday, we decided to check it out. We were lucky to find a parking spot since the location is in a small strip mall with limited parking.

We checked out the menu and we were both confused because of the menu choices of buns, patties sauces, styles, and those were just for the burgers. They also offered fish, chicken, lamb, salads and sides. There's a duo and a trio. There was no single order, so I said I want the duo but with just one hamburger patty. I obviously misunderstood because the duo did not mean 2 patties, it meant 2 sandwiches. The lady then mentioned that the burgers were small.

I ordered one with Wagyu beef (.75 extra) and the other Dry-aged beef. I opted for the California style which had Swiss cheese, mixed greens, tomato, avocado, and chipotle mayonnaise. Sandi, confused as I was just had 2 Wagyu beef with Classic style which had American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, and house sauce. We ordered the burgerim fries and onion rings.

Both my burgers were delicious and tasted fresh. I liked one better than the other but I couldn't tell which was what since they were not labeled. Sandi was very happy with both her Wagyu beef sandwiches. We enjoyed the fries which were tasty disc-like potatoes and the onion rings were the best we've had.

While we were enjoying our dinner, the owner Rashid came by to ask how everything was. He was a nice man and seemed truly concerned. We could see how busy he was in the back with his wife Ayesha. I know I would definitely go back and maybe try the lamb next time.

We were curious about how this Burgerim seemed like it came out of nowhere popping up all over the place like wild mushrooms. I later found out the meaning of Burgerim. It is Hebrew which means "lots of burgers". The founders were from Israel. Here in the U.S., they started in Hollywood but since 2011, they have expanded all over the U.S. and internationally as well.

Burgerim is located at 24218 Crenshaw Blvd. in the city of Torrance, California.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

French Toast Maple Cronut

For those interested, Dominique Ansel's flavor of the month is a French Toast Maple Cronut. I was worried that the flavor of the month would be pumpkin which seems to be traditional for November and Thanksgiving. That flavor is not on my list and never will be.

After attending a memorial service in Gardena, Sandi suggested we drive to The Grove to pick up the new flavor of the month cronut. It seemed logical, after all, we were 5 miles into the 20-mile trip.

So far, we haven't had a bad cronut. By that, I mean a not so good flavor although I don't think Dominique is capable of that. He is a gifted Chef and he knows what flavors go together. He is an excellent matchmaker when it comes to his cronuts.

The French toast maple cronut does indeed taste like French toast. The crunchy croissant-type shell has a creamy French toast ganache and maple ganache inside that oozes out after a couple of bites. The nice thing about these cronuts is that they are never too sweet. There is always a citrus flavor that tones down any sweetness. In this case, it's the orange zest sugar outside the cronut.

You still have time till the end of November to run over Dominique Ansel's Bakery located at the Grove in Los Angeles.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Mouth-Watering Lamb Chops

I was lucky to be invited to one of my favorite restaurants, Dominique's Kitchen. Sandi's cousin Doris and her husband Jerry are in town visiting her and some friends. What better place to go than Dominique's Kitchen. Doris had been there before and she remembered having her favorite dessert, Baked Alaska.

We started with an order of Truffle Fries. We decided that the Cheese Fondue would make us so full that we may not have room for dessert. I brought a bottle of Champagne to toast the new arrivals. Jerry was impressed with the fries and wanted to order another one but we warned him that he might not be able to enjoy his dessert. They served us warm French bread with salted butter which we welcomed. Doris and Jerry ordered a salad prior to their entrées.

I was torn between the Pan Seared Sole Filet with spinach, lemon, capers and the Lamb Chops served with creamy polenta and thyme au jus.  Sandi suggested we share both entrées.  Doris ordered the Slow Braised Grass Fed Short Ribs with Pinot Noir with onions, garlic, and Yukon mashed potatoes. Jerry decided on the Lobster Ravioli with lobster and champagne reduction with organic broccoli florets and pecans. Everyone just LOVED their selection. I had forgotten how tasty and tender the lamb chops are and they went very well with the creamy polenta.

As expected, we were all stuffed but we had to order a Baked Alaska to share. We managed to empty that bowl! As usual, Liza, Dominique's wife came and said hello to us. What hostess would not make her guests welcome?

Dominique's Kitchen recently celebrated their sixth year anniversary and they are still going strong. That can only be due to Dominique's food and Liza's and her staff's hospitality. Special thanks to Jackson who took good care of us.