Thursday, January 31, 2008

Young and Lazy - Long Beach

Young and Lazy
6200 E Pacific Coast Hwy
Long Beach, CA 90803
(562) 961-8588
Type: Japanese food / sushi
Get directions

We hit this place up a couple hours right after Sushi On Fire. It's another sushi joint. I've been here before and I ordered a custom salmon teriyaki bowl because they didn't have it on the menu, and I didn't like it. It was way too small. The taste was forgetful.

For some reason, I felt like more salmon sushi, so we went here. They have a mix sushi combo. I asked for 6 pieces salmon and two pieces tuna for $8.50. You definitely get what you pay for. I'm no sushi critic, but I noticed that this wasn't quality sushi. It was okay for me, but my girl didn't like it. I didn't like the tuna though. The salmon was really lacking in color.

8 piece sushi deal

This place has other sushi and a few other rolls. My two experiences here haven't been great, so I'm not gonna be going back here. You can test your luck with the rolls if you want, but you better hurry. I think this place might go out of business already and I think it's only about a year old. Every time I come here, there's no other customers. The place is super quiet inside. I feel bad for them. The lady at the counter was nice. I hope they do something to turn the business around. They should start with the taste of their food first in my opinion.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sushi On Fire - Huntington Beach

Sushi On Fire
301 Main St # 103
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 374-8885
Type: Japanese food / sushi restaurant
Get directions

I've been to Sushi On Fire twice already. Both times were during their afternoon sushi Happy Hour. You'll get 20% off sushi and rolls if you come here between 3pm and 5pm. It's not a super bargain but I think it's worth it. If you're a baked/special roll kind of person like me, this is a great spot for you. They have so many rolls to choose from that it might take long to decide which one you want. The regular prices are a little bit higher than many places, but Happy Hour evens things out a bit.

The prices I state here are before the 20% discount.

To start off, we got the spicy scallop hand roll ($5.50). It's just a regular hand roll with raw scallops. I don't usually like scallops that much, but this roll wasn't bad at all.

spicy scallop hand roll

I'm always ordering some sushi nowadays. For me, it helps neutralize all the different tastes from the baked rolls. It's a tasty way to reset your palette. We ordered just the basics: salmon suushi, albacore sushi, and yellowtail sushi--all $4.95. I had no complaints about the sushi.

salmon, albacore, and yellowtail sushi

Luckily we knew one of the waiters there. He told us try some sauce which really went well with the sushis. It's some green sauce that's a little spicy and sour. I don't know what it's called.

The Green Sauce

I ordered the Main St. roll ($12.75). I forgot what was in it, but I remember it was just okay. It wasn't bad, but I wouldn't get that again with all the other options Sushi On Fire offers.

Main St. Roll

The White Roll on the other hand was really good. The name makes it sound pretty plain, but I assure you, you won't regret trying this. The rolls are baked with a batter on the outside, and there's two different sauces on top. In the middle there's a pile of spicy tuna that you can eat with it. To top everything off it the whole dish comes with 10 individual rolls.

Like I said before... If you like specialty rolls, you'll love Sushi On Fire. I can't really vouch for the sushi even though I thought it was good, but I don't think you'll be disappointed either way.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I just found out about this place while searching for some info about a restaurant. The name should be self-explanatory. You'll find the menus from many restaurants in Southern California, as well as cities around the U.S.

Secret Spot - Huntington Beach

Secret Spot

3801 Warner Ave Unit B
Huntington Beach, California 92649
562 592 4494
Type: Vegetarian / Sandwich / restaurant

The Secret Spot is properly named. I don't think they wanna keep the place a secret, but it's just kind of hidden in a small shopping plaza behind a gas station. It's so small that there's only 3 or 4 tables inside.

picture taken from one end of the restaurant. There's a mirror right behind the baby chair to make the place seem bigger.

This place is frequented by a lot of vegetarians/vegans. Since it's located right off PCH, it's a perfect spot to go to after a good surf session at Bolsa Chica or Sunset Beach-- although I prefer the north side of the HB pier as my usual break. I believe they have a deal if you get food before 11am, you get a dollar off your meal. They have other little deals which I should've taken a picture of. Sorry.

So anyways, this place has a lot of sandwiches and Mexican style food. So we ordered the Dynomite sandwich ($7.50) and the shrimp burrito ($7.99). Both come with chips and salsa. The Dynomite is a regular sandwich with tofu and barbecue sauce. It was good, but you get tired of it after a while.


The shrimp burrito was aight. I also got tired of this one after a while. The chips and salsa helped though.

The best thing about this place for me was their smoothies. If you go there between 3pm - 6pm on a weekday, the smoothies cost $4. I think they're like 5 something each at other times. I got the peanut butter and banana one, and my girl got the blueberry/mango smoothie. I'll tell you now that those are one of the best smoothies I've tasted. I'll for surely go back just for those.


This place is a little on the higher side compared to similar places... but actually, a lot of vegetarian places are usually pricier than non-veggie places. So I guess it's about average. The food was decent. I'll go back just for smoothies though. I'll try other flavors as I'm sure they'll be good. So spread the word about the Secret Spot.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kura Sushi - Costa Mesa

Kura Sushi
212 E 17th St
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 631-3200
Type: Japanese food / sushi / restaurant
Get directions

I heard about Kura Sushi while searching for a sushi place in Newport Beach. I always frequent the Monster Munching blog to get ideas and inspiration for new restaurants to try. He pretty much said that it was a good place to peep out. He also gave a breakdown of the different prices of the plates. I liked.

Kura is unique in that it's a revolving sushi restaurant. The whole restaurant doesn't revolve like the one in Sleepless in Seattle. The food is put on plates and the plates are put on a conveyor belt that goes around to all the seats and tables. The plates are different colors so you know how much each one is. See the Monster Munching blog for the breakdown of the prices cuz I forgot.

There's just too many items to list that we got just between two people. I like this place for several reasons. One is that the amounts of sushi/rolls/food is small enough so you can try other things. It's also small enough in price to try other things as well. I like the conveyor belt thing because you can get the food when you feel like it instead of ordering it all at once. One thing to note though: If you want a lot of food available on the assembly line, you should probably go during peak hours. When we went, we had to order most of the good stuff, cuz not much was coming around. You should also ask about things not on the menu they give you. We saw some other people ordering things and were like, "Damn. We shoulda ordered that." So ask.

Edamame, albacore (ponzu sauce too tangy for me), cajun salmon sushi, and regular salmon sushi. I liked the two salmons although not the greatest.

don't remember

Rainbow roll and Crunchy roll. I liked the crunchy roll. I think it was less than $3 per order.

umm... Spider roll?

More rolls with tangy ponzu sauce

Candy roll?

Good ol' California roll ordered just to take up space in my stomach so I don't order too much

I had no complaints about the place. My girlfriend didn't really like it that much. I guess she knows her sushi more, but maybe I'm the lucky one for being ignorant still. I'll go here again, but I'll check out other places in Newport/Costa Mesa first.

A glimpse of what we're capable of...

Monday, January 21, 2008

I Love Sushi - Costa Mesa

I Love Sushi
2340 Harbor Blvd.
Costa Mesa, California 92626
Type: Japanese food / sushi / restaurant

Yup. Another sushi restaurant. And there's more coming....

"I Love Sushi." I really do. Well, mostly the baked rolls, but after Sushi Roku I've been easing into the uncooked territories more often. I found out about this unusually-named sushi restaurant when I was looking for good sushi bars in the O.C. I saw all the great reviews about the place, and I believe it was ranked in the top ten best sushi places by AOL Citysearch. I had to see for myself. Plus, people said the prices were decent. So that was a big decision-helper.

So let's see. Did I love the sushi at "I Love Sushi?" It was okay. The fried oysters ($5.95) were good.

Fried Oysters (I think it came with maybe 6 pieces)

The salmon sashimi was cool.... for the price ($9.95). My girlfriend said it wasn't that great. The crunchy roll ($7.65) was pretty cheap, but I don't recommend it for avid crunchy roll consumers. One word.... wack.

Wack Roll... I mean Crunchy Roll (back) and salmon sashimi (front)

I'd say that the Toyota Cut Roll ($8.95) was the best thing we had. I ordered that cuz some other reviewer said it was good. Thank you reviewer. The fujiyama ($7.95) was ok, but the cooked fish that it came with was not good. I didn't like the salmon sushi ($3.95) only because they put wasabi in between the fish and the rice. I don't get why they have to do that. If you want wasabi, there's some on the side. I heard that's some traditional way of preparing it, but I'm good on that.

From left to right: Toyota Cut Roll, 2 pcs. salmon sushi, and 2 pcs. fujiyama.

So does this place deserve to be in the top ten in the OC for sushi bars? To me, that's a no. If it does, I feel sorry for Orange County. Maybe I came at the wrong time, cuz most of the people who reviewed the place on Citysearch gave it really good reviews. So maybe you shouldn't take my word for it. After all, I don't consider myself a sushi connoisseur. I just know my taste buds weren't agreeing with everybody else.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sushi Roku - Santa Monica

Sushi Roku
1401 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 458-4771
Type: Japanese food / sushi / restaurant
Get directions

So it was my girl and I's 1 year anniversary on New Years' Day. Thanks for the best year of my life honey ;) We had to figure out what we wanted first, and then find out if it was open. What do the both of us love to eat almost any time of the day? Sushi and sushi rolls of course. So we Googled what was the best sushi place around. Pasadena had a few. L.A. had a few. And Santa Monica had a few. After literally about an hour or more of deciding we came to the conclusion that Sushi Roku in Santa Monica was the one. I think it was rated one of the top ten on AOL's Citysearch so we weren't too worried. The people who own Sushi Roku also own other upscale restaurants as Katana, Boa, and Robota Bar.

We didn't make reservations so we had to wait about 15-20 minutes for a table. The place is dark inside so I'm sorry for the horrible pictures. I don't like turning the flash on at restaurants. The items here are the most expensive I've seen so far, but it was for a special occasion. This place doesn't have many of the special baked rolls that I really like, so I had to force myself to eat more of the raw stuff..... and I'm glad I did.

The Chef's Sashimi Plate ($20.00) was very good. It was a small amount of the basic sashimi, but it came with 4 different sauces for you to dip with. Man that was real tasty.

Chef's Sashimi Plate... the bombest sashimi I've had

We got salmon sushi ($5.50) which was good. I ordered miso soup ($4.00) which sucked for the price. It should've come free with all the money you're spending. The toro and jalapeno roll (about $9?) was cool. I don't remember that too much.

Toro and Jalapeno Roll?

We also got the baked lobster roll ($19.00) which I also don't remember too much about. The katana roll ($17.00) was good though.

Katana or Baked Lobster roll?

I think this might be the Katana Roll

The crab dynamite had to be the most expensive appetizer I've eaten at $24.00. It was good and my girlfriend liked it alot. It had a distinctive taste.

This appetizer costs more than many meals (for two) I've eaten

So we drove all the way to Santa Monica from West Covina just to eat. It was late already by the time we were done and everything was closed. Was it worth the drive? I had no complaints. I really liked the sushi at Sushi Roku. I wouldn't come here expecting to get rolls unless you like the basic stuff mostly. The sashimi is where it's at here. After eating at this place, I've been ordering sushi more often. Too bad nothing has come close to it yet, but I'm not a picky sushi eater. I'd come here again, but not any time soon. The total bill for this place was $123 including tax and tip so for sure I can't come here yet. Gotta work overtime now.

Benihana - Anaheim

2100 E Ball Rd
Anaheim, CA 92806
(714) 774-4940
Get directions

I went to Benihana in Anaheim a couple weeks ago for a friend's birthday. When I found out we were going there, I already knew we were gonna spend some dough.

When we got there at night, there was already a line to get seated. My friends and I lagged as usual, but luckily my other friends were on time and were already seated. My past few experiences with Benihana and other teppan-style places were mediocre. My philosophy for these places are you pay for the show, and not necessarily the food. Was this time gonna prove me wrong? We'll see....

To start off, you get free soup. I don't know what it was, but it was good.

free soup

After ordering our food, we decided to start with some rolls. We got the Alaskan roll ($10.50) which was surprisingly good. The last time I had rolls here, I wasn't very happy.

Alaskan roll (topped with raw salmon)

I got a piece of my friend's tempura or crunchy roll. That was good, but maybe it was cuz I was hungry.

Tempura or Crunchy roll

When the chef arrived, that's when the show starts. They usually do the same tricks with a little variation. I'm not gonna say what they do just in case you haven't been there. It's pretty cool to see it at least once. So after the show, the chef puts your order on your plate and you eat!

I got the hibachi shrimp dinner ($22.00). It's definitely not worth the price, but it was okay. I liked the rice.

Hibachi Shrimp

My friend got the hibachi tuna steak (also $22.00). I definitely wouldn't get that one. It's supposed to be seared tuna, but it was fully cooked and dry. No thanks. I felt sorry for him.

Dry hibachi tuna steak

My other friend got the filet mignon dinner ($23.00). A few of my friends got that and they liked it. I couldn't tell you how it tasted, but I guess it was pretty good.

Filet Mignon

So what did I think after this experience? I still have the same attitude towards these places. You pay for the show, and not really the food. The sushi rolls were decent though. Would I go back? If there's another birthday party to attend.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Las Marias - La Puente

Las Marias
1445 N Hacienda Blvd
La Puente, CA 91744
(626) 918-6861
Type: Mexican food / restaurant


Oh man. Another undiscovered gem... til now. Las Marias is on the northern part of Hacienda Blvd. It's in the same plaza as Auto Zone. I think it's been around for a while cuz the sign looks a little old school-ish. The main thing I like about this place is that it's open 24 hours a day. Another reason why I like it is that it's close by to my house. I don't need to drive to Molca Salsa if I'm craving Mexican food in the middle of the night anymore. The last reason why I like the place is that the food's not bad. I can easily say it's the best 24 hour or late night Mexican food place I've been to. They have breakfast dishes, burritos, tacos, meat, and seafood. I've been here twice already and I'm happy to be finally sharing this place with everybody.

So anyways, like many Mexican restaurants, they give you free chips and salsa while you're ordering.


The first time I went here I got some kind of fish fillet thing (not the garlic). It was okay. I think that cost about $10 - $12. This time, I decided to get the shrimp burrito (around $8.99). As you can see in the picture, it's pretty big-- although I finished it in one sitting. I wouldn't mind getting it again, but I'll try other things over there first.

Shrimp Burrito

The first time we went here, my girl got the fish fillets with garlic sauce. That was bomb. That also was around $10 or $12. This time she decided to get the garlic fish whole. That was also real good, but I prefer the fillets because it's easier to eat, and there's no bones. I also really liked the taste of it better than the whole fish.

Garlic Fish (whole)

If you're ever in the area of La Puente, West Covina, or Baldwin Park, and you're craving some late night quality-Mexican food, Las Marias is the spot... for now. I'm open to suggestions.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hole Mole - Long Beach

Hole Mole
5109E Pacific Coast Hwy
Long Beach, CA 90804
(562) 985-1005
Type: Mexican food / restaurant

I can't believe I haven't posted a review for this place yet. Hole Mole is one of the spots to go to for cheap Mexican food. There's like 2 or 3 in Long Beach alone. The one on PCH is in the same plaza as 7-11.

I love this place mostly cuz of the prices. I guess they're supposed to be known for their fish tacos. They have $0.99 fish tacos on Tuesdays. I usually get the breakfast quesadillas which cost less than 2 or 3 dollars, and that should get you full enough. You might not even finish it.

Last time I went, I got the fish burrito ($3.85) and my girlfriend got the vegi breakfast burrito ($3.65). They were both good.

Burrito (I forgot which one)

I've been here so many times and will go here again if I'm in town. Check this place out.

Cheesecake Factory - Brea

Cheesecake Factory
120 Brea Mall
Brea, CA 92821
(714) 255-0115
Type: Italian food / restaurant / Other
Get directions

Mon - Thurs: 11am - 11:30pm
Fri - Sat: 11am - 12:30am
Sun: 10am - 11pm

Another chain restaurant? So what?! If something's good, then why hate? Although I'm not exactly saying that Cheesecake Factory is good, you shouldn't stay away from chains just cuz they're chains. Many times places become chains because... get this-- they're actually pretty good *gasp*. Nobody is gonna open the same restaurant somewhere else if people think the original place sucks. It just doesn't make business sense

So on that note, back to the review.

I've been to Cheesecake Factory a few times. Maybe like 5-7 times overall. Many times it was for a birthday or special occasion. Other times we just felt like eating there. My last time was because I got a $50 gift certificate from my bosses.

Great thing about this place: free bread. Load up on these if you're trying to save money and just get an appetizer or something.

Free brizzead

Another reason I like this place: the calamari ($8.95). The squid's not too thick, and the tartar sauce or whatever it is is great.


One thing I don't like about some Cheesecake Factorys are there aren't that many booth seats. I like eating and taking my pictures in private. I don't like sitting almost elbow to elbow with strangers when I eat. I know. I should be more social and open. Whatever. This place also can get packed during peak hours, so if you don't have a reservation, expect to wait maybe 15-30 minutes for a seat.

They have a happy hour for the bar menus on weekdays, from maybe 4-6pm.

The crabcake sandwich ($12.95) that I ordered was okay. It was big, but I for surely wouldn't get that again. It tasted better as a leftover when I had nothing else to eat at home.

Crapcake Sandwich... just kidding. It wasn't that bad but not great.

The bistro shrimp pasta ($16.95) was real good the first time I tried it. The two times after that were let-downs. I tried them at different places, and they were not good in their own ways.

Bistro Shrimp Pasta

So, was this chain restaurant worthy of my defense? Maybe for you. I myself wouldn't go back unless I got another GC or it was F-R-E-E. Pricey place. I'll hit up a sushi joint if I feel like spending that much again. Bye bye.