Saturday, April 30, 2011

Musha, Torrance, CA

So I am really behind on my updates for this blog. I know I know, really shouldn't make excuses for this but I've been really swamped with work from work and even my extra work on the side. I will however write this entry because it is special. Dinner was at Musha Izakaya in Torrance, CA with my special foodie friend Angel. She wanted to try this place and I had been a few times so of course I gave her my recommendations for this place. Schedule was set and we called up the homies John and Casey to join us as well.

Aburi Shimesaba

Seared Mackerel

Judgment: Fish is definitely fresh and the saltiness it is cured in is enhanced by the quick cooking done tableside. The waiter came with a blowtorch and literally seared the fish in front of us. The flavor is delicate and with a squeeze of lemon it is delicious.

Tuna Poke

Traditional Hawaiian Poke

Judgment: This dish was not too memorable other than it was not that good. The fish was plain and the flavors just really weren't there. All in all, you'd enjoy the Ahi Tuna Poke from Yardhouse Happy Hour more than this one.


Grilled Beef Tongue. Seasoned with Salt and Pepper.

Judgment: This was DELICIOUS. Angel commented that this was heaven. I definitely agree. The beef tongue was fresh and when cooked to a nice light pinkish color (you definitely don't want to over-cook it) it has a juicy and wonderful taste. The sauces weren't even necessary if you're a real lover of beef tongue.

Buta Kakuni

Braised Pork Belly with Potato and Hard Boiled Egg, a touch of ginger and parsley

Judgment: This is one of those dishes that I definitely have to order when I come here. The braised pork is so tender that you can break it with your chopsticks. Don't even bother with the knife and fork because everything in the bowl literally melts in your mouth as well. The sauce has a slightly sweet taste to accompany the saltiness of the sauce.

Gyu Hire Ponzu

Beef Tenderloin seasoned with Salt and Pepper, with Scallions and Ponzu Dipping Sauce

Judgment: making the most use of our grill, we ordered the steak as well. This was definitely something to get here as well. The charcoal smokiness from the grill really adds character and flavor to the meet we grill on it. Especially with traces of the beef tongue we cooked before, the steak was definitely a hit with our group.

Cheese and Mochi Eggroll

Traditional Eggroll wrapper with Cherry Leaf, Mochi and Cheese filling

Judgment: We totally overlooked this during the initial scan of the menu. I know Angel loves her Mochi and she approves of this one. The Mochi itself is pretty tasteless but with the hint of sweetness from the Cherry Leaf inside and some mystery sauce, it was pretty good.

Cheese Risotto

Traditional Cheese Risotto Served tableside out of a block of Parmesan Cheese

Judgment: The Risotto was one of those dishes that had a really traditional taste to it. It's something like if you know how to prepare risotto properly with broth and cheese and whatever other ingredients you'd like to add, it will taste pretty standard. The presentation is definitely impressive though. It was finished table side and scooped out of a block of cheese so there's some extra cheesy flavor in it.

Maple Syrup Créme Brulée

Maple Syrup Creme Brulee where the sugar was toasted table side

Judgment: Very delicious creme brulée. The custard portion of it had a rich sweet flavor to it and the sugar crust was a little too burnt so it had a hint of bitterness to it tonight. I thought the combination was pretty good.

Conclusion: All in all, Musha is a restaurant I definitely see myself returning to. Especially with a good group of friends to enjoy the evening of sharing a family style dinner. There are plenty of other people that go and get drunk regularly so reservations are definitely recommended.

The Restaurant gets an A-Rank.

Bonus Material:

Angel and John

John, Angel and Casey

Me and Angel

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Phil's BBQ, San Diego, CA

So one weekend, my friends and I decide to do a daytrip down to San Diego to visit one of our friends from Junior High. It was quite an adventure. I was basically walking around San Diego like a tourist with my camera going everywhere. The place we ate first was the famous Phil's BBQ. Everyone I know in the San Diego area tells me I need to eat there and now I know why. Onto the food!

The Onion Rings (Large Order)

Golden Brown Onion Rings

These things were awesome. With a light onion taste and the sweet taste that comes from it being mixed with the batter makes this a winning starter. There was a couple different sauces at the table to try these with like Ketchup, Malt Vinegar, Tapatio and as such. I actually prefer them straight up with a pinch of salt.

BBQ Beef Ribs (Small Order)

BBQ Beef Ribs with Macaroni Salad and Potato Salad

These things were so good I had to take 2 pictures of them. The meat comes clean off the bone. I wish I had taken an after photo. Although I was told my friend's Large order wasn't as tender as mine. Mine were freaking delicious. It was at 2nd rib I realized I was getting full and I should probably stop but I just kept going. The tangy sweet flavor of the bbq sauce mixed with the natural beef flavors especially with the meat around the bone, it was definitely satisfying.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Slow cooked Pulled Pork Sandwich

I didn't order this one, but my my friends did and I sampled a bit of it. It is definitely worth a try. The pork is so tender, and there is a good amount of fat in the meat. Apparently one of my friends brought one back home with us and said it was still good the following day. I should try that next time.

Baby Back Ribs

Half-Rack of Baby Back Ribs

The baby back ribs weren't as good as I had hoped they would be. All in all, they were pretty good, and I was expecting them to be fall-off-the-bone like the beef ribs were, but they weren't quite there. It was a little bit on the dry side that day so I didn't enjoy them as much. I didn't have the drive to finish them so I actually brought half of the half-rack home with me.

Conclusion: All in all, this place was definitely good. Although it wasn't as perfect as I was hoping it would be, i was still very satisfied with the beef ribs that I got. Once again though, because it IS slow cooked bbq, the quality does vary a bit by the batch you get. Just a fair warning for people that go and tell me theirs didn't fall off the bone or they did. Definitely worth a visit when you're down in San Diego, but you might wanna pick a off-peak time to go since it DOES get crowded there.

This restaurant gets an A-Rank.

The Lime Truck, Southern California

So I've been falling behind on my food blogging for a while simply because there's just WAY too much stuff going on lately! Working for another blog is awesome but I think I should really focus on just food stuffs for this blog instead of trying to merge the two together. I'll still do a few posts on there once in a while to keep things rolling but Food will definitely be #1 here.

On that note, I've been going to the food trucks pretty regularly so I should feature a couple of them on this blog. This will be the first of many posts because I'm so behind...

The Lime Truck! What can I say, they provide fresh wholesome food with a menu that changes on a daily basis. The concept of the truck was interesting and I was having some second thoughts about eating from there because you know, "Healthy" and "Organic" are not the first things I look for in food.

The Lime Truck folks.

Their Menu that changes on a regular basis.

Crispy Pork Belly

Deep Fried Pork Belly with scallions, sesame seeds, mint and kimchi

Oh man, when I saw this thing on the menu, I KNEW I needed to order it. Even though there are so many other delicious things on there, I can't pass up Pork Belly. The flavors were excellent and reminded me of Lechon Kiwali a little bit but not as crispy as that. The fat content in the pork is excellent and super tender to the point where it just melts in your mouth. The mint is very subtle and doesn't distract from the other flavors in the bowl at all, along with the apple pieces that kind of leave you with a sweet flavor at the end. It's kinda how some people have Apple sauce or Cinnamon Apples when they eat Baby Back Ribs. All in all, I would definitely order this again when I see it on their menu.

Price: 5/5
Wait Time: 4/5 (The wait is about average and depends on the amount of people that want their food)
Presentation: 4/5
Taste: 5/5

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

OC Food Truck Meet, Garden Grove, CA


Bacon Ball Trio & Piggy Back

The Bacon Ball Trio - 3 Bacon balls -- 1 filled with Mac and Cheese, 1 filled with Filet Mignon and Bleu Cheese and 1 filled with Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Among the 3 different flavors, the Peanut Butter and Jelly one stands out the most as the most delicious. It is similar to a Monte Cristo Sandwich where you get Savory flavors combined with Sweet flavors. Personally I would've preferred to just have 3 of those than the other varieties. The Mac and Cheese filled one would come in second in terms of flavors and taste. Unfortunately the Filet Mignon wrapped in bacon does not go well with Bleu Cheese, unless you are one of those people who loves bleu cheese, you may not enjoy this one as much.

The Piggy back - Pulled Pork Slider with Bacon and specialty bacon sauce.
All in all, your typical pulled pork slider. I enjoyed this one a bit but was overcome with the feeling I wanted something to wash it all down with a soda or something. Personally, like I mentioned earlier, stick with the peanut butter and jelly sandwich wrapped with bacon. It was the most enjoyable thing I had from this truck.

Price: 4/5
Wait Time: 1/5 (My friend and I nearly waited 90 minutes to get our food from our time of order. I guess it's good that the food is prepared to order, but that took way too long)
Presentation: 4/5
Taste: 4/5


Furikake Dog

Spicy Hot Dog covered with Seaweed, Japanese style Mayonnaise, furikake seasonings, grilled onions on a bed of Hawaiian sweet rolls
This was definitely something amazing. I had heard all the hype about Dogzilla's hot dogs and they definitely do meet your expectations. I actually had recently had the opportunity to finally sample all the hot dogs they provide, but I will focus on this one. The slightly spicy taste of the hot dog combined with the sweetness of the japanese style mayo is a good combination and it is further unified with the savory and salty flavors of the Furikake seasonings and the grilled onions. If I could I would try to eat 3 of them but that wouldn't leave me much stomach room to try anything else at these events. I am definitely a fan of Dogzilla's Hot Dogs.

Price: 5/5
Wait Time: 4/5 (When there's nobody in line, the food comes out really fast, but this was a special event and the line was up to 2 hours long for some people.)
Presentation: 5/5
Taste: 5/5

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Din Din A Go Go, Los Alamitos, CA

So once again, I find myself lining up in the cold, this time near Los Alamitos Racetrack for another edition of Din Din A Go Go. There were fewer trucks this time around but probably because everyone is prepping for the new years, with new recipes, new specials and probably just new ideas in general. I found our friend the Tropical Shaved Ice Truck and also Vizzi Truck that Tony along with a few new ones like Lee's Gogi Truck and Chomp Chomp Nation.

For the first timers, the address is located at 11081 Winners Circle, Los Alamitos CA, 90720.

Lee's Philly Gogi Truck

Their Menu

Gogi Beef and Spicy Chicken Tacos

As with the tradition of the food trucks, they have freshly prepared tacos. Meat, Kimchi, Sauce, Cheese and Tortillas.

Review: The spicy chicken was something I was particularly interested, more-so than the beef, because from what I could tell, the beef is a sweet soy marinated beef that most asian foodies will experience so I wanted to see what the twist on the chicken would be. In actuality, the chicken wasn't too spicy at all. It just has a slight spicy bite that I suspect might have been from the kimchi instead. Although, the plus side to the taco is that they are so massive that you are almost guaranteed to have "taco run-off" where the filling falls in the tray the second you pick it up. All in all, not a bad buy because of the price and how big these tacos actually are. The Gogi Beef taco was what you might expect, a sweet and savory taco that is easy on the mouth. The beef is the thin sliced beef you would typically find in Shabu Shabu or hot pot and full of flavor as well. The cheese in the taco kind of takes the edge off the overpowering meats, so that definitely helps.

Price: 5/5
Wait Time: 3/5 (There was a bit of a wait for me because there was actually a decent sized line ahead of me.)
Presentation: 5/5
Taste: 4/5

Vizzi Truck

Their Menu

Braised Wagyu Beef Sliders (2) and Black Skillet Chicken Slider


Braised Shredded Beef Sliders with Special Creme on a hawaiian roll, Grilled Chicken Thigh with Creme Sauce, Popcorn dusted with white truffle powder, salt, figs, and 2 Chef Inspired Cookies.

Judgment: The beef is SO TENDER! The sliders literally break apart and melt in your mouth. I'm sure they use a special slow-cooking process to make the beef so soft and the flavors are fused into the meat so robustly. The Hawaiian Sweet Roll is there mainly to give you a break in the midst of the rich flavor of the beef and creme sauce. What was surprising to me was that the Wagyu Beef Sliders were already really good, the Black Skillet Chicken was even better! The skin was crispy, and the chicken was very moist! I would have thought it would have been dry but I felt the chicken slider was better than the beef ones. I think that now when I go eat at Vizzi's on my free time, I'll probably just order 3 of the chicken sliders. The sliders were also pretty massive as you can see, the chicken was twice the size of the sweet rolls in the photo. The Popcorn was a good idea and alternative to french fries, and definitely a bit healthier than a box of fries as well. The white truffle essence is kind of hard to pick up on, but it is definitely there, with the Figs in to provide a hint of sweetness whenever you happen to eat one. The cookies were okay, just your typical run of the mill fresh baked cookies. I was hoping it was as amazing as the sliders but I guess it was a fine way to round out the meal.

Price: 4/5
Wait Time: 4/5 (Even though there is a wait time, I like how this truck had LCD TV's mounted on it to help pass the wait time)
Presentation: 5/5
Taste: 5/5

That's all for now! I think I'll be visiting the Irvine DinDin-A-GoGo tonight. I want to go bowling again!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Din Din A Go Go, Irvine, CA

It was a chilly night but I haven't been to a food truck in a while so I felt like it was time to pay them a visit. As usual, I followed Din Din A Go Go to figure out what I wanted to eat and where to get my food fix. If you didn't know, the whole "Din Din a Go Go" event is basically a weekly meet of food trucks at various locations. The Tuesdays Location is over at Los Alamitos, on Wednesdays, they're in Irvine.

For the first timers, the address is located at 3415 Michelson Drive, Irvine, CA.

As a random sampling, I picked out a couple trucks that I will review individually here:

Rolling Sushi

Their Menu

Baked Salmon Roll

This is your typical California Roll with Baked Salmon on top with Teriyaki Sauce

Judgment: The sushi was very typical of what you would expect to taste. The fish tasted fresh and delicious. The baked salmon was a change of pace from your typical cold sushi because the fish does get baked in a broiler and it is quite tasty when it is fresh out of the oven. The Masago (Smelt Egg) was a nice touch to change it up from the sweet teriyaki and mayo flavors of the salmon.

Price: 3/5
Wait Time: 2/5 (Depending on what you order, if you ordered baked items, it will take at least 8-10 minutes in the broiler alone.)
Presentation: 4/5
Taste: 5/5


The Menu

Pulled Pork Sliders, Chicken Empanada

Chimichurri Fries

Judgment: The menu had so many delicious looking things on it that I couldn't decide what I wanted! I went with the sliders based on the recommendation of the truck owner instead of tacos and it was a great decision. The pork is savory and so tender, they explained that they do a similar process of braising the pork similar to Carnitas. With the Chimichurri and pink sauce, the flavors come together nicely. They also provided me a Chicken Empanada to sample and I felt that it was okay. The empanada probably would've tasted better if it was piping hot, although the flavors to come together well with the basil, mozzarella, and seasonings. The Chimichurri fries are one of the best buys on this truck because you get a massive tray of them for $3 or you can add them to an entreé for just $2.

Price: 5/5
Wait Time: 3/5
Presentation: 4/5
Taste: 5/5


Their Menu

Banana Nana Fo Fana

Judgment: I came by this truck and took a quick glance at the menu. They specialize in Hot Dogs obviously but I was here for dessert. Halfway through the evening, the lights went out on this truck, so they were pretty much working by flash lights, and I definitely commend them on that because it is tough to cook in the dark and still produce some delicious looking foods and desserts. The Banana dessert caught my eye because I always enjoy having the fried bananas/plantains at Brazilian Churrascaria. The combination of a fried tortilla, covered in cinnamon sugar mixture, grilled bananas and other toppings was a little much at first but after eating it, I saw how the dish works out. The grilled bananas have the sweetness accentuated since it carmalizes the natural sugars of the fruit. Similar to grilled pineapples. The tortilla itself was just basic run of the mill deep fried tortilla, but combined with the banana and some whipped topping, it tastes similar to a sweet crépe.

Price: 5/5
Wait Time: 4/5
Presentation: 4/5
Taste: 5/5

That's all for now! Visit the trucks websites here:

Rolling Sushi -

Piaggio -

Taco Dawg -

Monday, December 20, 2010

Union, Las Vegas, NV

Water Show outside the Aria

This was from my birthday weekend that I spent in Las Vegas. Joe asked me where I wanted to eat, and after reading several menus and restaurant offerings, I decided to pick the Union Restaurant at the beautiful Aria Hotel that was constructed between the Bellagio and the Monte Carlo. It just so happened that same day, there was a huge industry convention going on in the same hotel and there were reps from Adobe there. They had a dinner party of 38 going into the restaurant before my group so the service was a little slow.

After talking it over, we discovered that if I wanted to do the Chef's tasting menu, EVERYBODY at the table has to take part in the tasting menu as well, so that's where we began.

First Course: Beef Carpaccio "Flat Bread"

Beef Carpaccio with Red Onions, Micro Basil, Boursin Cheese on flat bread

Judgment: The beef was exquisite and the micro basil definitely adds character and taste to the dish. The subtle hints of cheese expand the flavors even more and all in all, I kind of wished I had more of this to enjoy but it was just the beginning of the meal.

Second Course: Roasted Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup with Roasted Peppers, Bacon-Tomato Grilled Cheese

Judgment: I wish my photo came out better, I also probably should have taken the time to properly adjust my camera settings but aside from that, this soup was excellent. I'm not a big fan of tomato soups, but this was definitely one that I finished to the last drop. The Bacon Tomato Grilled Cheese has a savory flavor to it, mostly thanks to the bacon. The soup itself you can taste the roasted tomatoes, and the addition of balsamic vinegar brings out the richness of the flavors and adds to the acidity of everything.

Main Course: Stuffed Lobster Tails and Porterhouse Steak

Grilled Lobster tails sitting on a bed of stuffing, Grilled Porterhouse Steak with dipping sauces

Judgment: WOW, where to begin. It was interesting because one of my friends was allergic to shellfish, so he stuck to the steak in the back where it only had lobster one side to avoid contamination. The Lobster was poached to perfection and they included 2 types of butter for dipping. Regular and Vanilla/Coconut butter. The Vanilla definitely takes it as it adds another dimension of sweetness to the lobster meat. The steak was grilled to a beautiful Medium Rare and the filet mignon portion of the porterhouse was quite tender. They included a Bernaise sauce and teriyaki sauce, but I felt that wasn't needed, the steak alone was mouthwatering and delicious. The platter also included a Macaroni and Cheese, as well as a Potato Puree. The entree alone was enough to feed all of us have leftovers for us to take home.

Dessert Course: Dessert Platter

Chef's assortment of Desserts: Apple Pie with Pecan Ice Cream, Churros, Rum Raisin Ice Cream and Ice Cream Pop

Judgment: Surprisingly, after eating the massive amount of food before this plate, none of us really cared for the dessert. Although I will say that the churro was well dusted with cinnamon and sugar, the apple pie should've been served warm, but I guess with the prep time to prepare this platter for individually for everyone at your table, it would've gone cold anyways. The ice cream pop was basically a miniature klondike bar on a stick, I think I would've liked it more if it had been covered in almond pieces. The Rum Raisin Ice Cream was probably the most interesting. The flavor was not what you would expect in something like that, and first impressions were that it didn't taste good -- but after eating a bit, I started to enjoy it a little bit.

Conclusion: This restaurant can get packed with large corporate events. There were other parties going on in the restaurant as well. Also, a reminder, that sodas are not refillable. As it is a bar, they'll charge you for each one.

Judgment: This restaurant gets an S-Rank