Category Archives: BBQ

2011 already???

I have been in and out of so many diets that I may have slowed down quite a bit on my visits and blogs, but never to fade away into non-existence.  This is for the year that was…

– Thank you Castle Korean BBQ…you may not be the best but I have been your staple customer for so long that it is your squid and your brisket have been our saving grace countless times.  I have been hungry, and you have been more than willing to feed to poor and needy (thank you inexpensive Korean BBQ).

– Thank you Senor Fish…because when we have no where else to go, you are but a block away of goodness on a plate.  Loving all the more that we do not have to walk with alcohol in hand, your sangrias make you such a popular cheerleader.

– Thank you Yogurt Haven…I have been hooked with your delightful Taro enticing me to the core that even through the coldest of winter I will never tire of you.

– Thank you Starbuck’s on York…for our many nights of hanging out and playing our card games and providing us with such great service every single time.

– Thank you to the many Happy Hour places offering solace after 10pm: Burbank Bar and Grill, Octopus Glendale, Coffee Table Lounge, Red Lion Tavern, Wokcano Pasadena, and the many Korean cafes within reach.

– Thank you Boiling Shrimp…you may not the same as Boiling Crab, but you have never let us wait more than 5minutes, whether for our seats or our food.  It is a plus that you are sans liquor license and have a store next door. Picture this, ready seats and cheap drinks that we can bring in to your establishment.

I am still thankful for my 2009 findings, add to them are the 2010 gems and hole(s)-in-the-wall that will surely be revisited and never forgotten.  I may find more in 2011, but it is not to say that you will be unnoticed and untouched.  Let’s do this 2011.  Pardon the diets I may have, after all…a foodie will live on food alone.

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Filed under BBQ, Crab, Dessert, Drinks, Happy Hour, Korean Food, Related Article, Seafood, Squid

Viva Las Vegas Day One- Las Vegas Hilton Buffet

Coming to Vegas,  food is always last on the priority list. But not for me. I know the calories will pile up and exercise will be a necessity after but you cannot blame a foodie for trying to enjoy the pleasures in life wherever I may be.

But first we couldn’t leave LA without a stop at Auntie Em’s Kitchen in Eagle Rock for their delicious cupcakes. Not that we weren’t full yet from the brunch I made. But this is Auntie Em’s people! The red velvet is and will always be delicious. The coconut was a little too sweet for my taste, but the shavings on top were good added sprinkles. The carrot and chocolate I had no more room for, but according to reliable sources they were both delicious. But the star of the show was the peanut butter and jelly, a new flavor. The peanut butter must have been incorporated in the batter as the taste is very assertive in a very good way.

Of course when you go to Vegas you think of the buffets. A linear presentation of gluttony at its peak. So it is but natural for us to go to the first buffet we saw after the many hours of traveling the long and winding road. We happened to have complimentary tickets to the Las Vegas Hilton buffet (also where we stayed) so we just dropped off our luggage and skipped merrily down to the buffet line.

I started with soup. I needed something hot going down my throat. The clam chowder was runny, I missed the thick soup and the generous add-ons. I had no clams and barely some potatoes, but it was not lacking of celery which I do not know if an upside or downside.


Any measure of a good buffet is a test of across the board dishes popular at any location. Meat is always a good starting point. So I went and picked my weapons of choice. The ribs were a little dry. The turkey sausage was actually not as bad as I expected, the casing had a good snap but I doubt that this was made from scratch. The bbq chicken was fine, it wasn’t too sweet nor bland. But nothing exciting to brag about. The New York steak was cooked to medium well, a little too much for my liking but very well-seasoned. The dumplings/potstickers were very oily. But star of the plate was my grilled lamb. Seasoned simply with salt and pepper, and cooked to perfection. It was very tender and needed not much effort to devour inside my mouth.

The savory showed little promise of satisfaction. So I got off my seat and moved towards the dessert section. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. The cherry crepe was too sour. I barely made it to my second bite. I went ahead and tried some more. The wafer roll was hard to bite, if you say wafer hard is the last thing to associate it with. The frosted cookie was killing my palate with sweetness. But the bread pudding was my favorite so far. It was so good that I had to get a separate plate just for my much needed happy place.

Now this is how I make my bread pudding. Top it with chocolate ice cream, whipped cream, a little bit of nuts, and drizzle with hot chocolate fudge. And it was finished to the last morsel without me even batting an eyelash. Now this was a good ending.

Maybe it was a little too much to expect in a buffet. But there is more to come and this food lover will have more chances to love Vegas once again. I’ve been to their finest restaurants with award-winning chefs at the helm of the kitchen, now its about time to really go back and explore Vegas once more. Maybe dimsum tomorrow (or is it today already)? Sounds like a plan, we shall see.

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Filed under BBQ, Beef, Buffet, Clams, Cupcakes, Dessert, Lamb, Related Article, Soup

Pampa’s Grill, Farmer’s Market

(I had to put this in my blog. One of my favorite examiner articles so far-maybe because I love me Pampa’s.)

Nothing is more enticing than the smell of grilled meat. It is the ambrosia that turns heads, tilts noses up, and puts people in a complete stand still. Experience the aroma that spells meat at Pampa’s Grill at the Farmer’s Market and leave your taste buds completely tickled fancy.

Beware of the line, it will be your first obstacle. Know your hours, dinner is the worst so come prepared. Bring your most talkative friend or fully charged phones with your Facebook app in place.


What to pick? The dilemma that is choices is the next hurdle to overcome. As you take your to-go “plate” (as it is likely to not finish, better avoid the hassle and be ready to take it home) and move along, the onslaught of picks might overwhelm you as this is paid by poundage ($8.95/lb). You wouldn’t want to go heavy on the sides as the meat weighs much more but you also wouldn’t want to miss out on the entrancing colors and tastes that lay before you. The garlic rice is a must carb pairing for the salty proteins, the collard greens are garlicky, the chicken stroganoff is unremarkable but a popular choice, the eggplant salad is a refreshing side to the savory, and the Pao de Queijo (cheese bread) is a personal favorite and is always stocked to the top of the plate.

But these are only reminiscence compared to what is the ultimate comfort food here, meat-Brazilian style. Spinning all day on a rotisserie grill, their choices rival the best tailgates and backyards anywhere. And so here comes the next predicament, the meat. You may be forced to try them all, but what with the weight limiting you then pick the ones you think you’ll enjoy the most and move on. Out of the many choices of protein the Picanha (sirloin cap) is the most popular, the Carneiro (lamb leg) is highly recommended as it is both flavorful and tender, the garlic chicken and beef are personal favorites and both salty, garlicky addicting, and the Brazilian sausage is slightly spicy, well-seasoned,and a must-try.

As you hit the end, pick either their Goya coconut water or a Guarana drink to complete the experience. But coming here comes with another warning. You may think that you haven’t put enough on your plate to compare to a sit-down restaurant. This can get pricey, even though it is super fast food. And no, it’s not the plate or the container.


With the many halts Pampa’s brings to the dining table, it is hard to give them a perfect score. The crowd that forms at the blink of an eye, the wait made by fellow confused diners, the price that better suits a restaurant, and the impasse at the line of wondrous food make one wonder if it’s worth it to try. But the many upsides make it then all the more difficult to decide to go or not. Taste over lines? Meat over prices? Comfort over choices? If the craving hits then live a little. Go meat and meatlovers unite.

Pampa’s Grill is at the Farmer’s Market at 6333 W 3rd St LA, T: (323)931-1928. They accept major credit cards.

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Filed under BBQ, Beef, Brazilian Food, Bread, Chicken, Drinks, Lamb, Pork, Related Article, Sausages

Kogi, Anywhere in Southern Cali

It started with a mere rumor that became an interest that became a goal then finally a chase. I didn’t really chase the Kogi truck everywhere but I did follow it on twitter, if only to put a notch on my belt and say…”yah foos, I just did kogi”. I was actually more annoyed at the fact that for a proud foodie, I was last in Southern Cali to have one. UGH. Fudge that.

4374 Eagle Rock blvd., YES, it was in my neighborhood. As we pass the “Roja” Kogi truck, all that was running around my tiny brain space was PARKING SPACE!!! But luckily we parked near Rambo’s (another famous late night taco truck), got out, and went in line. Surprisingly it was not as bad as I expected. It was slightly a family affair, even mothers taking pictures of their kids in line and in front of the Roja truck that just parked. We had a conversation going with a former Korean local that has a Mexican restaurant in Vegas (how ironic, huh). We were both in line to try the hype, to test the popularity, and to taste the fad. So here we go.


“Azul” (the truck-in-training) pulls up, parks, and the prep time begins. Roja did start taking orders first and the menu was simple enough. If you have twitter, they do post the specials of the day including dessert. Yum. I was surprised that parking to prep to order and service was not a wait at all, in fact we did wait longer in line than to order and get our food. Short rib tacos, spicy pork tacos, kimchi quesadillas, and tofu burrito. I will come back in line for the Kogi sliders (short rib burgers with a spicy sauce) and the Kogi dog (hotdog, mexi-korean style). Those made my mouth salivate and my tummy rumble a little bit. But I wanted to try their popular and more interesting dishes first.The food comes unpacked, if you want it to-go (as we did) pull a couple of pieces of foil, get a bag, take your utensils, which are all available at the front of the truck and bag the food yourself. I didn’t really mind. They were nice enough to give us extra radish, lime, and orange wedges. So off we went.


The short rib tacos were tender, a little spicy with a little bit of tang. It was a little too much on a tiny piece of tortilla but I didn’t mind. I picked up fallen pieces of short rib on my plate and enjoyed the moment. The spicy pork taco was not spicy at all, given the mexi-korean style I was expecting explosion and an immediate need for a diet coke extinguisher, but was disappointed. The pork was tender and mild at best. Both tacos came with the same veggie slaw and sauce, which were alright. Slightly different from the original Mexican flavor but did work well with the meat. The kimchi quesadilla was a nice surprise. Interesting but in a very, very good, delicious way. The tortilla was perfectly cooked, the kimchi was excellent, the sauce was a little spicy but not to complain about. But my best bite so far was the tofu burrito. Silky tofu, melted cheese, a sweet yet somewhat spicy sauce inside a huge tortilla, definitely worth more than the 5bucks I paid for it. I can’t wait to go to Costco one day to find these in the frozen section, ready for my microwave otherwise I would like to petition for Kogi to follow me everyday just in case the craving hits.

The tacos did under deliver, probably because the hype made me expect so much that the disappointment was very much expected. I would order the short rib again, but only because of the “I waited in line for Kogi so I better get a taste of it anyway”. But the highlights were the quesadilla and the burrito. So next time I wait, I know what my purpose would be. Not for the rumor, the interest, the chase, or the hype but more of the food. I mean, really now, isn’t that what we should be after in the first place?


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Filed under BBQ, Beef, Burrito, Fusion Food, Mexican Food, Pork, Taco, Tofu