The Dumpling House – Arcadia

First off… this is no Din Tai Fung.  It’s a hole-in-the-wall dumpling house with mediocre dumpling but they do serve the best beef rolls!  It’s a perfectly fried onion pancake filled with thinly sliced five-spice beef and green onions rolled up into a burrito and sliced into rolls.  Mmmmmm.  It’s the one item to come for.  The tomato-beef noodle soup is simply a bowl of comfort food.  The noodles swim in this thick tomato broth with slow-cooked beef that just melts in your mouth.  Anyone hungry yet?

The Dumpling House
921 S Baldwin Ave
Ste A
Arcadia, CA 91007
(626) 445-2755

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Newport Landing – Newport Beach

What can I say… this is one of those places where you stop and rest your feet after a long day on the boardwalk.  It’s got a nice view of the water and offers mediocre food.  Pricey for what it is but you’re on the water so it’s expected.  I don’t think I even finished my food.  The waitresses were really nice and offered us blankets as it got cooler.  I think this place would do really well if it served up more bar-food like fried clam strips and beer than its more upscale menu. 

Newport Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar
503 W Edgewater Ave
Newport Beach, CA 92661
(949) 675-2373

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Sunnin Lebanese Cafe – Westwood

Yum.  This is a good lunch spot… the food and service were pretty good as well.  Keep in mind that I have very little experience with Lebanese cuisine so Ican’t speak to its authenticity.  I got the special which isn’t on the menu nor do they really mention it… but a woman sitting next to us ordered it and it just looked awesome.  Pricey (26 bucks for fish and chips) but it was very filling.  The eggplant appetizer (forgot the name) was delicious.  I could eat that whole plate myself:)

Sunnin Lebanese Cafe

1779 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 477-2358

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El Taco Nazo – La Habra

My brother and the Matador had visited Taco Nazo some time before I eventually did.  They loved it.  They raved about it… and even dreamed about it.  Must be some place, I thought.  Being me and loving variety, we ordered an eyeful from the menu… fish-battered tacos, shrimp-battered tacos, shrimp ceviche, beef taquitos, and other a few other items not pictured here.  If you held a gun to my head and asked which I liked the best, I’d say the shrimp tacos.  I couldn’t get into the fish tacos… I felt they over-drenched the fish with the creamy sauce which made the batter soggy.  Soggy batter with soft-textured fish made it just hard to swallow.  I think the Matador and my brother changed their stars for this place after the second visit. 

El Taco Nazo
121 S Beach Blvd
La Habra, CA 90631
(562) 690-8078

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Ong Go Jib – Rowland Heights

Soot Bull Jeep.  It’s not a car, it’s a Korean BBQ restaurant.  This post is NOT about SBJ, sadly.  It’s about Ong Go Jib, a poor man’s SBJ.  Ong Go Jib happens to be in our neck of the woods, the second K-Town.  This is where we go to get our fill for Korean BBQ.  It’s actually pretty decent and has good service.  The women there are like your Asian friends’ moms who want to get you to eat, eat, and eat.  They come and cook the meat for you and almost slap your wrist if you try to do it yourself.  They pinch your kid’s chubby cheeks and try to converse even though their accents are super thick.  Not bad for an easy-to-neglect, tucked-away restaurant off Colima.  Give it a try… if you can’t have Sool Bull Jeep, or like the Matador likes to call it… Sell My Jeep. 

Ong Go Jib
18891 Colima Rd
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
(626) 913-7764

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Granville Cafe – Burbank

Two words… horrible service.  So what if your food is good?!  There’s more to a restaurant than what’s on its menu.  Don’t get me wrong… I’ll put up with a little bit of attitude from tired and overworked waiters and waitresses, but this place is just plainly rude.  Our waiter huffed and puffed at us, would completely ignore requests and rolled eyes when we’d send friendly reminders that he had in fact had forgotten us.  He was being a complete smartass.  The experience totally overshadowed how good the food was.  I couldn’t even remember except the fact that I didn’t hate the food.  We went for brunch one Sunday with four of our friends and they just couldn’t believe the service.  Sorry Granville, you get a big fat D!

121 San Fernando Blvd
Burbank, CA 91502
(818) 848-4726

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Lucky Boy Drive-In Restaurant – Pasadena

So hungry that you can eat a small child?  Well head on over to Lucky Boy Burgers ( or Lucky Boy Drive-In Restaurant if you can say a mouthful).  The Matador and I head out this way just for their breakfast burritos which comes in the size of a toddler.  Maybe just a tad smaller.  If you’re petite like me, and can have leftovers unlike me, you can eat this for lunch, breakfast, and dinner.  It’s a perfect combination of equal ratios of potatoes, eggs, bacon (or meat of choice), and cheese… mmmm.  Their salsa is pretty awesome as well… no need for extra Tapatio;)  Burgers… not too shabby… but definitely come for the breakfast burritos. 

Lucky Boy Drive-In
640 S Arroyo Pkwy
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 793-0120

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Sushi Central – Los Angeles

You can’t really compare Sushi Central to the likes of Hiko or Nozawa.  Sure, it’s in an unassuming strip mall.  Yes, they have a chef’s special (omakase)… but the grade of sushi can never rise up to the greats.  This isn’t to say that Sushi Central doesn’t offer good food for its price.  They offer a fresh selection and innovative presentations.  The chef is very friendly and makes you feel completely comfortable and at home.  They can use some more hired help, however.  The ono is my favorite… that charred taste adds just the perfect amount of smokiness to the firm fish.  I’m not a big scallop fan but their scallop trio is one of their best sellers.  The spicy tuna is said to be their specialty.  The chef evidently defeated Bobby Flay in a ‘Throwdown’ for the best spicy tuna rolls.  I liked it… it wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was pretty good.  I’d come back… though I’d make sure that I had plenty of time to kill since it would be a very long lunch. 

Sushi Central
3500 Overland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 202-6866

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Angus and Julia Stone

It is with honor that I introduce you to my new favorite duo… Angus and Julia Stone.

Angus and Julia are brother and sister and originated from Newport, Australia.  The duo started their musical endeavors together in early 2006.  Before then, they mostly performed as solo artists at open mic nights.  They have very distinctive vocal styles and write their own material which you’ll find are pretty impressive.  Julia’s voice is a bit reminiscent of the likes of Feist or Meiko… soft and airy yet fractured at times.  Angus has this gentle romantic smokey tone… oh and the acoustic compositions… *sigh*

I usually pick a song to feature alongside its respective band on this blog but I just couldn’t with Angus and Julia.  They’re one of those far-and-few in-between groups whose albums are filled with hits.  To name just a handful… Bella, Private Lawns, Just a Boy, Big Jet Plane, Paper Aeroplane….

I drift off in far away daydreams every time I listen to them and am always left in a happy mood. 

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The Matador - I love these guys!

Umami Burger – Los Angeles

Umami!   You’ve totally swept me off my feet and left an everlasting taste in my mouth only to want more of you!  How can any other burger compare?  Your buns are unbelievably soft, fluffy and full of flavors.  Gosh, that was a quasi tongue-twister.  Your patty is so fresh and crumbly and cooked to perfection.  Tell me… what did they put in you?  Don’t worry, it can be our little secret!  That flattened piece of cheese that’s calling out for attention had me eating cheese in a burger with no twist of my arm.  And what was that delicious onion mess in you??  You look so small and simple but have so much to offer!  And your friend… the one they call “Hatch,” he’s got a bit of an attitude carrying around those four green chiles.  That’s alright Hatch… ’spicy’ is my middle name.   

So listen… looks like I’m gonna have to bring down my man so he can see how you guys measure up.  Regardless, I’ll be seeing you soon!  Oh and make sure some of those sweet potato fries are around when we visit… need some of that sweetness to complement your savory tastes. 

Umami Burger
850 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 931-3000

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angela - i looked again, damn it! i think we need to meet up at this place—soon w/ the hubs! looks so freakin’ yummy.

The Matador - All I can say is, “Damn!!!”