Wednesday, July 30, 2008

BJ's - West Covina

BJ's Restaurant & Brewery
2917 E Eastland Ctr Dr
West Covina, CA 91791
(626) 858-0054
Type: Californian / restaurant / bar / pizza

Another chain restaurant. Yes. Indeed. BJ's in West Covina in the Eastland Center mall is one of many BJ's restaurants nationwide. This is the one my girlfriend and I went to. I would compare this place to a Yard House or TGI Friday's. I've been here many times before and I know I'll end up going here in the future.

BJ's has a little special place in my heart though. I was maybe about 22 or something. Ironically, I actually started drinking alcohol after it was legal for me, unlike 98 percent of my friends who started in high school. But in the beginning, I only liked the hard liquor shots, and--promise not to laugh.... Smirnoff Ice. Everybody clowned on me for drinking the "girly" stuff. I didn't care. I was kind of laughing to myself thinking you guys are the ones drinking that nasty ass beer. How can you like that stuff? I had my first sip of beer when I was probably in 1st grade. Stuff was nasty. And I thought so for about a decade and a half. I tried taking sips many times to see if it would grow on me, and I was still sticking to the Mike's Hard Lemonade. Then, I went to BJ's with some friends. They were all drinking their beers. I think I wanted to get buzzed that night, so I forced myself to drink it. I got their famous hefeweizen. Damn. It was all over from there. Their hef was just so light and smooth and tasty that it just pulled me to the dark side never to look back. I've probably tasted maybe 30 or so different types of beers since then, and I still try new ones whenever possible.

So getting back to the present, we ordered the BJ's beer tasters. We each got the 7 tasters for $8.95 each. It's just 7 of BJ's own beers in thin glasses. I don't remember what they had, but I know by the 2nd glass, we were a little tipsy. I'd get that again cuz I like the variety.

party line

When you drink, you gotta get something to snack on. In Tagalog, we call that pulutan. It's just a must. Onion strings were great. It's just a little too much just for two people who still ordered a pizza!

onion strings

We ordered the Great White Pizza for about $20 for a medium. Bad move. Not the pizza itself. That was good. It was deep dish. Fluffy but crispy on the outside. Had alfredo sauce and it's good with ranch (what isn't?). But we just let our buzzed hunger order for us. We only got like 1 or 2 slices each. Oh well. Leftovers.

I pretty much said what I needed to say about this place. Nothing really wrong with it in my opinion. Good place to go for an occasion. Loudish. Oh, it can get crowded during peak hours. And, uh... that's it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Toi On Sunset - Hollywood (Los Angeles)

Toi On Sunset
7505 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 874-8062
Type: Thai food

My girl and I were in Hollywood on a late weekday night. We went to a bar/lounge to watch her friends' band perform in remembrance of their friend that passed away recently (R.I.P. Mike). It was late when the show ended, so I had to go on my other blog (Club N' Grub-- which I haven't been updating lately) to find out what was open nearby. There's a lot of things to choose from, but we decided on a trendy Thai place called Toi (on Sunset) on Sunset Blvd.

It was maybe around 1am or 2am when we got there, so there wasn't much people. There isn't a parking lot that we saw, so we had to park at a nearby street. That's Hollywood for you. Inside, the place has a music theme, with rock memorabilia on the walls, loud rock music playing, a psychadelic wall on one side, and a lounge on the side. You know, your typical Thai joint.

Their menu wasn't extensive, but there was a good amount of deciding to do. They have a decent amount of vegetarian items because again, that's Hollywood for you. And good for me! I ordered the tofu, pumpkin, and eggplant dish ($10.95). I don't remember if you had to order rice separately, but I know you can choose from white rice or brown rice. We got half and half. My girl got the shrimp pad see ew ($11.95). Yeah, this place isn't cheap.

My tofu, pumpkin, and eggplant was good. The sauce or sautee was good. It came with bell peppers and mushrooms too. Everything was good except the pumpkins. Ironically, that's what attracted me to ordering it cuz it sounded interesting. We both agreed it was the wackest part of the dish. Not sure if I'd order it again.

my camera phone says this is the tofu, pumpkin, eggplant dish

The pad see ew was pretty hefty, although it only had 5 shrimps on the whole thing. Well, atleast they were good-sized suckers. It had a lot of garlic in it which we liked. We ended up taking some home cuz it was more than enough.

no, I'm not gonna use a real camera next time

Toi is surely a good go-to place on a late Hollywood night. Even though it was good, I would just go here at night cuz there's so many other places to try. I'd take out-of-town guests here if we went to a club before. It'll make it seem like I'm cool cuz I know "the spots."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Taps Fish House & Brewery - Brea

Taps Fish House & Brewery
101 E Imperial Hwy
Brea, CA 92821
(714) 257-0101
Type: seafood / bar / steakhouse / dining

We went here in late March (I got a lot of reviews to catch up on still) for my friend's and his girlfriend's birthdays. I was told this place was good but pricey. My girl and her best friend-- which is my friend's girlfriend with the birthdays usually go here to eat. I never been here so I was excited to hear what all the hype was about. Taps is located in the city of Brea near the Brea mall. More specifically, it's near the shopping area away from the mall where you'll find Eddie Bauer and Fatburger and Old Navy and stuff. When you walk in the place it looks like it's a huge sports bar kind of place, but when you go off to the left into the formal dining area, the scene changes. Everything got classy all of a sudden.

But anyways, in the beginning we waited for everybody cuz everybody has to lag and make an entrance. So we waited at the bar area on the right and ordered some beers and watched Golden State vs. the Lakers. I think the Lakers lost that game. But atleast L.A. got Baron Davis now! Taps serves their own beer as well as the known brands. I ended up getting their hefeweizen beer. It was good. Smooth. It had a good after-taste, especially when you burped. Kind of like a berry after-taste. After all that though, BJ's hef might be better still.

makes your burps taste good

So after the Lakers lost, everybody arrived and we got seated. Time to order and eat dammit. People have been waiting a minute or 60. My girl ordered some raw oysters ($12) she split with her friend. No thanks. They liked it. I liked it cuz she was a little touchy later on........ Nooo.

oohh baby I like it raw!!!

i forgot to mention free bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

I ordered the Chilean sea bass ($31). Good lord it better be good. I liked it. It was light and flaky. The rice was good. There were some sweet peppers on the side that were good. For 30 bucks was it worth it? Hmmm. It was cool. better than anything I've gotten for half that price.

Chilean (kick his ass!) Sea Bass

my friend got some pasta thing or something. It was good.

We also got the Hawaiian style ahi tuna tartar ($13). I think it was cool, but by the looks of it, the price was in the design.

After everything was put away, there were mixed reviews about the place. I liked it and I wouldn't mind going back for another occasion. I just gotta make sure not to eat out for about a week before-hand. Some of my friends said it was okay. Some even said Yardhouse is better. They might be in the same category for me. Although Yardhouse does have a lot more beers and maybe a bigger menu. I'll still go back here though.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Inka Grill - Lake Forest

Inka Grill
23600 Rockfield Blvd Ste 2K
Lake Forest, CA 92630
(949) 587-9008
Type: Peruvian cuisine / dining

Finally. Some Peruvian food! I tried making a post here a while back asking about any spots anybody could recommend, but I got nothing. Thanks a-holes. Just kidding. But not really. No, just kidding. I was down in Irvine with my girlfriend, and we were both fiending for some Peruvian. The trusty internet led to a somewhat far spot down the 405 and 5 freeways in Lake Forest. The place was Inka Grill. I think it's a chain with a few stores open here and there. It was a Sunday afternoon when we got there, and the whole plaza where Inka Grill was located was dead. I mean there's a Panera Bread place off the side, but I don't even think there were that many cars parked in front of it. Inka Grill was no exception. We were the only paying souls in the joint. Not a good sign.

Oh well, I still wanted me some encebollados fish ($11.95-- and I know that's not how you say it) and some fried plantains. Gotta love that salty and sweet combination. So that's what I ordered. Before that arrived we got some free bread. Always a good thing. I love the free breads at the Peruvian spots. They give you butter and their secret weapon-- the green chile sauce. I looked it up just right now and I believe it's called "aji" (pronounced like ahi tuna). It's pretty much good with anything: meats, veggies, bread, maybe soups, seafood, chocolate, ice cream......... so. If I'm smart, I'll eat a bunch of it til I get a little tired of it, then move on to my main dish, and I'll surely have leftovers. Money in the bank!

a meal in and of itself

So my fish dish came. It's served with a grip of caramelized onions, some veggies, rice, and fried fish. Simple. Nothing fancy. If made correctly, good seasoning. I think it's cooked in some kind of sauce or something cuz it ain't dry. This particular dish was great. Some places season the hell out of everything on the plate and it's a little too salty-- even for me. Inka Grill's was just right. Thinking about it makes me speechless. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


My girlfriend ordered the jalea ($16.95). I think it was the half plate or something. It was still a huge portion though. All the seafood in it was deep fried. We both thought it was good. I can't remember who's dish was better, but it was probably mine. Sorry. I can't help that I got good ordering skills.

this is what they consider a half plate. thanks guys.

For me, probably 95% of the bites I took had the green sauce. The bottle was full when we started eating, and it was just squeezed dry by the end. Luckily for us, there were leftovers. We asked if we could get some green sauce to go and the lady said they have to charge us $5 for a bottle. Damn. Here's five bucks. I needed it to finish my meal properly.

It ain't a Peruvian meal for me unless I got my fried plantains

Lake Forest is pretty damn far from West Covina. I can't say I'll be back for sure. If I'm in the area, it's very possible. I gotta find out other Peruvian spots near me. I know there's one in Brea so I'll check that out one of these days. Hopefully more people patronize Inka Grill cuz it wasn't looking so good. Tell them the guy behind sent you. They might hook you up a little somethin somethin. Nah, they won't.