Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Black Angus Steakhouse

I have been receiving coupons from Black Angus lately. The restaurant in Torrance has been in operation since 1979, it is hard to believe it has been there for 40 years. I have been there many years ago but forgot about it. My thought was how could Black Angus compare with expensive steakhouses such as Ruth's Chris or Mortons, etc. Our party of three, coupons in hand decided we would put the steak to the test and take advantage of the specials.  Dinner for Two for $47.00 which is normally $62. The other person ordered from the regular menu.

The Campfire Feast Dinner For Two includes their sweet molasses bread, 1 steakhouse starter, 2 entrees, 4 classic sidekicks and 1 dessert to share. The entree choices are 8 oz. Tri-Tip, 8 oz. Top Sirloin, 6 oz. Filet Mignon (+$3.00) and 12 oz Rib-Eye (+$3.00) or a 12 oz. N.Y. Steak.

The Molasses bread was warm and sweet and was wonderful with the soft butter. We shared the Crispy Cauliflower tossed in sweet and spicy dynamite sauce. This had an appearance of sweet and sour chicken. We were delighted at how crispy and tasty it was. We both agreed that it would be worth coming back for at Happy Hour. Lee ordered the Filet Mignon and I had the Ribeye. Both steaks were wonderful. I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious the steak was and that was without any Bearnaise sauce! They both were cooked to perfection. The baked potato was a perfect side for the steak and the Coleslaw was a bit sweet and very creamy. Lee opted for the Onion Rings that were crispy and delicious as well.

Aaron had a Filet Mignon with baked potato and Prawns. I did have a bite of shrimp which was tender and juicy which was served over rice.

We had a few choices for dessert so we ordered the Carrot Cake to take home since we were all to full to have anything more. Our server, Gieselle was charming and professional. Again, this impressed me because some restaurants hire people with no personality and they just serve the food because it's their job.

Before we left, Gieselle introduced me to Louis, one of the managers. I had to tell him how happy we all were with our food and experience. Our hats off to him and Chef Fidel. Black Angus Steakhouse is located at 3405 W Carson St. in Torrance, California. There are multiple locations for this steakhouse but most of them are on the west coast.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Back to Sidecar Doughnuts

Zohroeh, Sandi and I just had lunch in Santa Monica and Sandi made the suggestion to stop by Sidecar Doughnuts to get a few of the Huckleberry ones plus whatever the "flavor of the month" was.

They had 3 flavors for the month.  Valentine Cake, Red Wine Chocolate and Butterscotch Crunch. We have been very disappointed with anything chocolate which we have previously tried. They had a gummy texture and a weird aftertaste. The Butterscotch just came out of the oven and it did look good.  I decided to get a few of those along with the Raspberry, Butter, and Salt (which is always good) and of course, the favorite Huckleberry Doughnut.

As soon as I got home I opened the box and most of them were stuck together. The huckleberry was OK but it was already getting to be heavy since it was no longer fresh. I did freeze them and am happy to report that after microwaving it with a cup of water in the microwave (so it doesn't get dry), it tasted fresh. The raspberry was nice and light and didn't have the cake-like texture.

The Butterscotch Crunch with brown butter, brown sugar cake doughnut topped with butterscotch glaze and finished with caramelized rice puffs and white chocolate chip was the biggest disappointment. It was so sickly sweet.  I gave Amy a couple of them to try and she thought the same thing. I can't imagine anyone liking it.

It was unanimous that we don't think we will be craving or going back to Sidecar for a long time. It just left a sickly sweet taste in our mouths.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Birthday at Tin Roof

Once again it's Mary's birthday; it seems to come sooner and sooner as time goes by. Instead of us going somewhere in Los Angeles or Santa Monica, she decided we should go locally which means the beach area.  I gave her some choices and after I mentioned to her that I was recently at Tin Roof and had their amazing Brussels Sprouts, she decided we should go there.

I had just previously blogged about my last visit and had sent it to the manager Zachary Blackmar. To my amazement,  he responded to thank me and let him know the next time I visit the restaurant so we can introduce ourselves. That was 2 weeks ago.

Shortly after Mary and I were seated, Mr. Blackmar came to our table to introduce himself and brought us 2 glasses of Prosecco to celebrate Mary's birthday. We both thought it was a lovely gesture. While we looked at the menu, a server came to deliver a plate of calamari, Mary and I looked at each other and told her we didn't order that. Shortly after her departure, she came back with the bowl of calamari and said it was compliments of Zachary, the manager. The calamari was nice and crisp and before our third bite, another server came with our favorite amazing Brussels Sprouts. After all that food we thought we should split an entree. We decided on the Steak Frites with Bearnaise sauce. The steak was already split for us, something, not all restaurants do since it is more work for them. Our very competent server, Scott took the initiative to have the kitchen split it for us. The steak was cooked to perfection and went well with the Bearnaise sauce. The fries also tasted wonderful with the sauce.

Mary and I could hardly move, especially since we cleaned out our plates. Scott brought the birthday girl a special treat which Mary gladly shared. Zachary came back to make sure everything was good. It was more than good. I had nothing but praise for this manager especially because of his age. He is a young man. I have dealt with numerous managers, some better than others. Mary told him of her experience recently at a local well-known restaurant where the service was terrible and when she complained, the manager that looked like he was in his twenties didn't bother to come to the table, he just told the server to not charge for the dessert. Bad managers don't have the insight that a dissatisfied customer will spread the word of their experience; which is commonly known as "word of mouth" and we all know how that goes. Sometimes this can make or break a restaurant.

Needless to say, we both enjoyed the evening. Mary felt very special and will not forget this birthday. I thank our server Scott and special thanks to Mr. Zachary Blackmar. If you ever need a recommendation, I will always be here for you. You are truly an asset to Tin Roof.

Tin Roof Bistro is located at 3500 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach, California.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

EMC Seafood & Raw Bar

I have been waiting for this restaurant to open and it finally did. It was Valentine's Day and Sandi and I knew most restaurants would be crowded and overpriced. We decided to go to the Del Amo Mall and see if Din Tai Fung had a short line; after all, it was 4:00 p.m. so most couples would not find anything romantic at that hour. On our way to Din Tai Fung, we passed EMC Seafood and found that it was open. We went in to just check on the menu. I've been dying for fresh raw oysters, something that grossed out my partner in crime. She did find many other items on the menu so she thought we should have dinner there. Since we were early enough, the place was not at all crowded.

I was wondering what EMC stood for and I did not wonder too long when I saw an employees' back t-shirt that read: Eat More Clams. I later found out that EMC stood for the first names of the owners. We were in luck as they had "Happy Hour" going on and you did not have to sit in the bar which was nice. The house wine was $5.00 and the best part was that the Chef's choice oysters were only $1.50 each as opposed to $2.25. That alone is well worth the visit.

We ordered the Crispy Calamari lightly battered and fried with a spicy Aioli sauce. It was good but not up to our standards. The batter was not the best though the sauce was very good. The other item we ordered was the Honey Crisp Shrimp which was lightly battered in honey mayo sauce. It was on the sweet side which we expected but we both felt it needed a bit of spice to get some "oomph".

The third item was Sandi's choice, Garlic Noodles. The couple next to us ordered it and it did look good. It had a lot of garlic, It supposedly had butter and Parmesan cheese. All we could taste was the garlic. (It was a good thing we weren't planning on kissing anyone.) It was nothing special. In fact, we both agreed we would not order it again.

There are a lot of items that looked exciting, like the Soft Shell Crab Sliders, Shrimp Tacos, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Spicy Crab Meat Tempura Roll, Fries with Truffle Mushroom Aioli, Shishito Peppers, Hokkaido Scallop and those are just from the Happy Hour Menu. The regular menu includes Lobster Rolls, Garlic Prawns, Crispy Garlic Whole Maine Lobster, Steamed King Crab Legs, Dungeness Crab, Uni Pasta and for the non-seafood lovers plus there's always Prime Rib and Filet Mignon.

It will take several visits to EMC to get the scope of things. I might order just fresh oysters next time. EMC Seafood has several locations: Arcadia, Rowland Heights, Irvine and in Torrance.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Back to Tin Roof Bistro

Sandi, Sujata and I just came from Santa Monica via the dreadful 405 Freeway. We unanimously thought we deserved a drink so, on the way home, we stopped by the Tin Roof Bistro in Manhattan Beach. Sandi and I  vividly remembered the wonderful Brussels Sprouts. That alone is a reason to go back. I called the restaurant to find out if they have Happy Hour. They said yes; either in the bar or outside at the patio. We got there and there was no way we could have sat at the patio because it was freezing yesterday. Unfortunately, the bar only had 2 seats and since there were 3 of us we opted for a table.

I asked our server Brenda if we could at least get the "Happy Hour" rate for our alcohol consumption. She informed us that she would have to check with her manager. After a few minutes, Brenda happily told us that we could indeed have the Happy Hour rates since not too many people wanted to sit outside.

We ordered the infamous Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with lemon, garlic, capers and anchovies. Sandi hates anchovies but she makes an exception to this dish because you can't see the anchovies,  it just blends well with the rest of the ingredients. The extra lemony flavor and the saltiness from the capers and anchovies make this dish, as my friend Jody describes it as "orgasmic".

We tried the Firecracker Shrimp which is crispy shrimp tossed in a firecracker sauce with napa slaw and avocado puree. It was not really spicy, just a hint of spiciness. It was perfect. We all loved it and would definitely order it again.  The Margarita Pizza was good but could have been crispier since it was thin crust which we all prefer.

We were too stuffed for dessert. We thank Brenda, our server who was very attentive to our needs. Tin Roof Bistro is located at 3500 N. Sepulveda Blvd. in Manhattan Beach, California.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Luxardo Cherry Cronut

Dominique Ansel's February "Flavor of the Month Cronut" is Luxardo Cherry Jam and Caramelia Ganache with Cocoa Nib Sugar.  I was surprised because I was expecting Strawberry with Jasmine Cronut which apparently was New York's flavor, not L.A.

All of Los Angeles is on storm watch. It was raining hard when Sandi and I left for the Grove to make our purchase of cronuts. Last night we asked our friend Amy if she would like to come with us. She said she would let us know. This morning she called to ask if we were still planning to go. When the answer was yes, all she could say was "You gals are crazy." We thought for sure that there wouldn't be too many people going to the Grove at 10:30 in the morning. We got there shortly after they opened at 11:00 a.m. We were both surprised to see customers inside. On our drive back home, it was raining cats and dogs.

We both bought 6 each. One to give away and 5 for us to hoard. We both had no idea what Luxardo cherries were. They are from Luxardo, Italy. They differ from the cherries we know; they are dense and have a sweet/tart flavor. Cocoa Nibs are cocoa bean pieces that are minimally processed. It's like eating dark chocolate which is healthy for you. So eating a cronut is a bit healthy.

I could hardly wait to get home to try the cronut.  As usual, I had nothing bad or even not so good thing to say about the cronut. It was delicious. The tartness of the cherry jam went well with the caramelia ganache.

Was it worth the treacherous drive to and from the Grove? Yes, yes, yes, and with a little prayer to St. Joseph to protect us on our drive to and from, what else could we ask for?