dineLA Birthday sushi at Sugarfish

What’s that number one Birthday month? January! Go Roshell, it’s your Birthday! I exhale song lyrics, occasionally at inappropriate moments. Such is life.

January ended but I am still celebrating my birthday. It is not everyday that a girl crosses the border to thirty.

My foodie friends treated me to dinner at Sugarfish. The Universe knows that I’m a foodie, so it makes sure that dineLA Restaurant Week falls in my birth month.

“Thirty is delicious,” that’s my slogan for the year. I chose to conquer the ambitious dineLA menu (see below) option at Sugarfish. My love of sushi increased as each mouth-watering piece melted in my mouth. Sugarfish serves one dish at time, which builds the anticipation.

Cue the AT&T commercial. We want more! I impatiently awaited each piece of deliciousness. My top 3 plates were:

  • albacore and salmon sushi
  • yellowtail, halibut and scallop sushi
  • crab handroll

I tumbled out the door filled to the brim. Next time I’ll order a slightly smaller portion and not be such a glutton.

Dinner Menu (dineLA Restaurant Week)

Edamame starter

Salmon sashimi

2 pieces of albacore sushi

2 pieces of salmon sushi

2 pieces of yellowtail sushi

2 pieces of halibut sushi

2 pieces of large scallop sushi

1 toro handroll

1 crab handroll

1 lobster handroll

Smancy Burgers Only Use 1/2 The Bun

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Benedict Burger

(Red onion confit, gruyère, sunny egg, watercress, Béarnaise, house brioche, potato chips)

Yummy, but pricey. This half-bunned goodness can be found at Ray’s & Stark Bar. Since it’s semi-fancy (smancy), there are less carbs, enjoy half the bun guilt-free. Eat. The great atmosphere is free. Savor your meal outside and take in the beauty that sounds you.

Ray’s & Stark Bar at LACMA

5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Reservations 323.857.6180

What The Heck is Friendsgiving?

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We all get at least two families, if we’re lucky one is functional. We’re born into and love our first family, but we need the second to take a break from the first. Our second family consists of the friends we choose. When holidays roll around, who gets us?

Thanksgiving should be spent running like a headless turkey taking orders from mom, then sitting at the table passing the baked mac n’ cheese to our little nose-picking cousin, right? This year, I learned that we can make up holidays to celebrate with our friends. Who knew?

Over the weekend, I went to my very first Friendsgiving. You’re probably thinking, “Is she serious?” Yes, I am. My new friends (sorry Drake), that I met through a mutual friend, hosted their seventh annual Friendsgiving dinner. It’s a pre-Thanksgiving celebration where the drinks flow and nose picking isn’t allowed.

Typically, Friendsgiving is a potluck style dinner, but this year’s happened to be a extra fancy. Wolfgang Puck catered the five course feast complete with servers, appetizers and dessert. Yummy to my tummy!

Feast your eyes on more food porn below. This Thanksgiving remember to eat, drink and be thankful!

IMG_5412Short Rib and Seared Filet

IMG_5404 2Seared Scallop

IMG_5400Asian Pear Salad

IMG_5415Pumkin Brûlée IMG_5424More Sweets

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How Much Should I Tip?

Are you confused about how much you should tip? Here’s a quick cheat sheet.

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Easy Homemade Cheesy Turkey & Spinach Enchiladas under $20

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED (makes 5 servings)

IMG_3862– 1 package ground turkey

– 2 cups Mexican Cheddar Jack cheese (shredded)

– 14 White Corn Tortillas

– 1 can of mild enchilada sauce (19oz)

– 1/2  bunch green onions

– baby spinach (about 1.5 cups)

– 1/2  teaspoon seasoned salt

– 1/2  teaspoon black pepper

– 1/4  teaspoon garlic salt (optional)

– canola oil

– sour cream (optional)

– 9X13″ casserole dish or non-stick pan (for baking) and a large frying pan.

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Step 1 – Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Step 2 – In a large frying pan add 3  tablespoons of canola oil.  At low/medium heat cook each tortilla for 5-10 seconds (until flexible, not crispy). Add more oil as needed. Place cooked tortilla on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Repeat until all tortillas cooked.

Step 3 – Place ground turkey in the empty pan. Add seasoned salt, black pepper and garlic salt . Stir occasionally. Once meat is three-fourth’s cooked, add 1 large handful of spinach. Once that spinach cooks down, add a second large handful.

Step 4 – Chop green onions and set aside

Step 5 – Pour a generous layer of enchilada sauce in baking dish, enough to cover the bottom.

Step 6 – Place a single tortilla on a plate, then add a small amount of enchilada sauce to both sides.  Add a large table spoon of turkey and spinach mix to center of tortilla. Sprinkle a small amount of cheese and green onion too.

Step 7 – Roll up, and place the seamed side face down in baking dish. Repeat until pan is filled.

Step 8 – Pour remaining enchilada sauce evenly over top of enchiladas, then cover with cheese, and garnish with remaining green onion.

Step 9 – Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 mins, until sauce is bubbling and cheese is lightly browned at edges.

Step 10 – Serve and eat. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading. Ask any questions and let me know if you try it. xoxo

Easy Peasy Turkey Meatloaf

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Where are the eggs? Oops!

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Dinner is served.

I found this super easy recipe on Pinterest. The pin carried me over to 4 Men 1 Lady‘s blog. The directions seemed simple enough, so I tried it.

I forgot to add the eggs, oops. Luckily, I remembered 2.1 seconds after I closed the oven door, so I had time to add them.

Everyone loved it!  I made it for my niece (age 5), sister (age 21), and friend (age 28), who all asked for second servings. Winning! I paired the meatloaf with a cheesy baked potato and a baby spinach salad drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette (pictured above).

If you have kids around, turn it into a fun kitchen bonding experience. My niece enjoyed mixing the meatloaf ingredients with me. Get the “Easy Turkey Meatloaf” recipe deets from 4 Men 1 Lady.

Follow me on Pinterest for more cool pins. Thanks for reading! xoxo

Suck My Garlic!

Looks familiar? Yes, it’s The Stinking Rose, again.

If you read what happened during the first visit, then you know why we doubled back.

After being seated, the restaurant’s general manager came over to greet us. He is very sweet and super attentive. Guess who popped up next? Our amazing server from the last visit.

Unlike last time, we ordered stinking entrees from the “favorites”. The Stinking Rose can feed me garlic drenched food (not ice cream) anytime.

Stuffed and traumatized from the garlic ice cream experience we decided to skip dessert. Against our will, the server brought out a complimentary dessert. We had to try it right? Hesitantly, we spooned a small taste and we approved this creamy goodness.

If you ever get hungry while running from vampires, tell them to suck your garlic after you stop by The Stinking Rose. Kill to birds with one stone.

IMG_1203Bagna Calda $4.95, Hamil-tan Cucumber Martini $9.95, chardonnay $8.95

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Silence of the Lamb Shank $22.95, Forty Clove Garlic Chicken $19.95

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Chocolate Truffle Mousse Cake $7.95

Farewell, Grand Lux Cafe

Grand Lux Cafe, Los Angeles opened its doors to customers for the last time on March 19.  A couple good peeps and I visited on March 15 to say our final farewell.

My first visit in 2004/2005 with a party of about 20 people is a blur, but I remember tasting three dishes that all seemed very bland. Honestly, the only reason I went on March 15  is because my friend suggested it. This was my second visit. I ordered the Cedar Planked B.B.Q. Salmon, i’m still not sold on the food. On the other hand, I would go back just for the fresh baked box of cookies.

The price of our entrees ranged from $19-$23 and the servings were pretty big. All in all, the experience was favorable and our server was great.

Have you dined at Grand Lux? If so, what is your experience?

Below are pictures of our food and drinks followed by details.

IMG_0577(clockwise) Cajun Shrimp & Chicken Jambalaya, Cedar Planked B.B.Q. Salmon, Chicken Royale

IMG_0579Cedar Planked B.B.Q. Salmon

IMG_0581A Box of Warm Homemade Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Caramel Apple Martini
Ketel One Vodka and Apple Liqueur Shaken and Chilled

Crispy Thai Shrimp & Chicken Spring Rolls (not pictured above)
Served with Thai Sweet-Hot Chili Sauce

Cajun Shrimp & Chicken Jambalaya
Sauteed with Peppers, Onions and Tasso in a Delicious Spicy Sauce.
Served with White Rice

Cedar Planked B.B.Q. Salmon
Roasted on a Cedar Plank and Glazed with Sweet and Spicy B.B.Q. Sauce. Served with Mashed Potatoes, Corn Succatash and Crispy Onion Rings

Chicken Royale
Lightly Breaded Sauteed Chicken Breasts Served Over a White Wine Butter Sauce with Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans and Herbed Carrots

A Box of Warm Homemade Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
A Freshly Baked Dozen. Take the Rest Home!

The Stinking Rose

Do you see the Chicken and Asparagus dish? I ate that this past weekend at The Stinking Rose, it was yummy to my tummy. The other dish pictured is the Shellfish pasta ($24.95).

The ambiance is perfect for date night but it’s also suitable for a chill night with your girls or guy friends. The menu offers reasonable and high priced dishes. Our sever was very attentive, friendly, helpful and unobtrusive. We left a 20 percent tip, so you know it was real.

All went well with the exception of the garlic ice cream. Sometimes, I try really really hard not to judge a book by its cover and this was one of those times. Garlic ice cream is a no-no for my palate.

Check out the pictures below and feel free to ask any questions.

P.s. I forgot to take pics of the Bagna Calda and bread before we dug in. Those servings were not measly, pictured are the remnants.
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IMG_9214Bagna Calda $4.95 (garlic cloves, oven-roasted in extra virgin olive oil & butter with a hint of anchovy)

IMG_9216Chicken & Asparagus (sans pin nuts) $18.95 (chicken, asparagus, fettuccine & roasted tomatoes topped w/ fresh parmasan)

IMG_9219Garlic Ice Cream  $6.95 (garlic ice cream topped with caramel molé sauce)

Natalee Thai, Oh My!

What determines your experience at a restaurant? Typically, I evaluate service, the atmosphere and weigh quality vs. cost.

All things considered, my first experience at Natalee Thai earned a ‘C’ at best.

We received a buzzer after the hostess added our party to the wait list. As we chatted near the bar, about 2-feet away from the hostess, we noticed that people who arrived after us were being seated.

Glancing at the list we realized that she skipped us and seated 3 parties listed under us, strike one! She must have read our minds because she seated us next.

Our servers were pretty friendly but one of them disregarded the deodorant memo. Each time she passed we caught a whiff of bad B.O., stee-rike two!

At this point, we were at an ‘F’ because the atmosphere did not enhance the experience.

On to the food… the fact that it was good and not overpriced saved this Natalee and her Thai. I wonder if the Beverly Hills location is any better.

Check out photos and descriptions of the meal below.

IMG_8705Pad Thai $10.75 (Shrimp, chicken, eggs, green onions, bean curd, sweet radish and bean sprouts are quickly wok fried in Pad Thai Sauce. Served with chopped peanuts, fresh bean sprouts and chili powder on the side)

IMG_8706Fried Banana $4.95 (A fresh whole banana is sliced, dipped in a sweet batter, then deep-fried golden and dusted with powdered sugar. Served with caramel and chocolate sauce)

Natalee Thai (Venice)
10101 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90230
(310) 202-7003