Archive for the 'Restaurant Review' Category

Yang Chow Restaurant – Pasadena

Yang Chow - Pasadena

When the family’s in the mood for Chinese food, we head south to San Gabriel, Alhambra, or Monterey Park to feast. But when the family’s in the mood for American Chinese food, we stay close to home and dine at Yang Chow Restaurant (or Panda Express, of course). There’s enough gastro real estate for the best of both woks.

Yang Chow - Pasadena

The Yang Family opened the first Yang Chow upon arriving in Los Angeles from Hong Kong in 1976. Today there are three locations in Pasadena, Chinatown, and Canoga Park.

Yang Chow - Pasadena

Even though there are well over 100 items on the menu, every customer that comes through the doors orders the same thing: Slippery Shrimp ($17.50). An ocean-dwelling cousin of General Tso, Slippery Shrimp is lightly coated in cornstarch and wok’d to perfection before being doused in a sticky sauce made of ginger, garlic, chilies, and plenty of the refined white stuff. It’s sweet as all hell, but also addictively crunchy.

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Here’s Looking at You – Los Angeles (Koreatown)

Here's Looking at You - Los Angeles (Koreatown)

A few days before Here’s Looking at You officially opened to the public, my friend Thien and I attended a sneak peek for friends and family.

Lien Ta, the restaurant’s co-owner and front-of-the-house maven, is our friend and family, and seeing her longtime dream of opening a restaurant come true this evening was, dare I say, quite possibly even better than Chef Jonathan Whitener’s amazing cooking. High-five, L.T.! You did it.

Here's Looking at You - Los Angeles (Koreatown)

Thien and I were seated at the best table in the house—a bad-ass banquette overlooking the entire dining room. We thrived in our throne all evening!

Here's Looking at You - Los Angeles (Koreatown)

We started with two perfectly crafted cocktails. For me: the Seascape Swizzle ($15) with
Mezcal Espadin, summer berries, fresh lime, cassis, Lillet Rouge, rose, and sea salt;
a drink inspired by Sqirl’s seascape berry & rose geranium jam. I’m a total lightweight these days, and this one did me in in the best way.

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Otium – Los Angeles (Downtown)

Otium - Broad Museum - Los Angeles (Downtown)

Every Friday afternoon on his unenviable commute from El Segundo to Pasadena, The Astronomer tunes in to KCRW’s Good Food to hear Jonathan Gold’s restaurant pick of the week. He usually comes home totally pumped to explore whatever hot spot Mr. Gold dished about—from cotton candy in Koreatown to swanky new openings in Downtown.

Otium - Broad Museum - Los Angeles (Downtown)

We were inspired to finally make reservations at Otium following one particularly memorable segment. According to Mr. Gold, Otium is possibly “the most spectacular new restaurant to open in Los Angeles in years.” 

Otium - Broad Museum - Los Angeles (Downtown)

In the glow of The Broad Museum, Timothy Hollingsworth, the former chef de cuisine at the French Laundry, serves an eclectic menu of large and small plates. There are a number of raw seafood preparations, handmade pastas, and larger format proteins. 

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Carbone – Las Vegas (Aria Resort and Casino)

Carbone - Las Vegas

Of all the incredible restaurants on our Las Vegas dining itinerary, I was most excited for Carbone. According the the restaurant’s website, “this celebrated concept from Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick pays homage to the Italian-American restaurants of the mid-20th century – an era of glamour, showmanship and tableside service.” (See also: Parm).

My brother has been raving about Carbone ever since it opened in New York, so I was beyond stoked to experience the Las Vegas iteration for myself. One day I’ll make it to the original outlet.

Carbone - Las Vegas

From the moment we stepped into the restaurant, The Astronomer and I knew that we were in for a special evening. The main dining room boasted a chandelier dripping with crystals, while the waiters were outfitted in sharp crimson tuxes. All around us were carts preparing various provisions—from Caesar salad to bananas Foster—tableside. Dinner and a show is what Carbone is all about.

Carbone - Las Vegas

Just about everything here is larger than life, including the menu. Ironically, the details provided for each dish are minimal, despite the real estate available. Our waiter captain was simply fantastic with filling in any blanks and offering solid recommendations.

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