Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Congratulations to Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar for winning the Best California Wine List Competition. I was able to join for one of the "Opening Nights", albeit a little late. Be sure to get there earlier so that you will have enough time to enjoy the wine. Fleming’s 100™ has a huge selection of some of the finest wines around.
Head to the back room where all the wine is showcased and tasted. The price is great for the amount of wine you get to sample and enjoy. They have handouts to guide you as you journey through the various types of wine and a pen for you to take any notes.

In the center was a table with a few snacks. What wine pairing would be perfect without some cheese? There are a few other appetizers to nibble on and cleanse the palette as you enjoy the fine wines. Ms. Lin and I were able to find some new favorites. Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Valley Indian Wells, 2007/2008 was the standout for the night. This Cabernet is rated 90 points and goes down smoothly. For the whites, we thought the Merryvale, Napa Valley Starmont, 2008 Chardonnay was buttery and pleasant to drink. They showcase different wines at each "Opening Night". If you missed any of these special events, don't worry they offer almost all of their great wines by the glass. Kudos to them for having so many wines by the glass. Customers can easily find a favorite wine and not worry about having to finish a bottle.

The staff here are super friendly and tons of fun. As I was walking by taking photos of their open kitchen they decided to take a group photo. I didn't flash so the photo isn't as clear, but they clearly were having a lot of fun. They said, "Keep the photo it will be famous one day." =) Great vibe and attitude.
Operating Partner Russ Bendel, Jr. and Chef Partner Christopher Hutten were both a delight and great hosts. Chef Hutten had previously been part of the Fleming's team but left a while back in other culinary pursuits, but his heart always belonged with Fleming's. He came around full circle when they called him to be a Chef Partner and he gladly accepted. Once you've worked for Fleming's, you will never want to leave.
They brought out fresh bread with a Chardonnay Feta and Rosemary Tomato Spread. I enjoy that they don't give the typical butter to add some pizazz to the bread.
To start off the evening, Ms. Lin got a Syrah and I opted for a Virgin Piña Colada. Yes, you read right... Virgin. O=) I was surprised they offered Piña Colada, but they have quite a few virgin blended drinks for anyone who does not feel like wine for the night.

I couldn't resist the temptations of French Onion Soup baked with Swiss and Parmesan Cheeses. How can one resist the fragrant aroma from the broth and the crisp melted cheese?! I asked for extra cheese and enjoyed every stringy bite. Mmm. Ms. Lin was not too happy that I just ate the cheese and drank a little soup because she had to finish everything else. O=)

Do I dare? Heck yah I do! Bring on the Chilled Seafood Tower for 2 baby! There were so many appetizing starters that I wanted to try but I felt bad if I ordered a bunch plus the tower. For the sake of my love for seafood, I forgoed the rest of the appetizers. Lobster, shrimp, and crab.. oh my! =D They really should be afraid of me, the seafood monster! Nom Nom Nom NOM! The accompaniments were Paprika Mayo and Horseradish Cocktail Sauce. On the platter was a lobster tail, 6 shrimps, white fish ceviche, lump dungeness crab, 2 king crab legs, and 4 snow crab claws!
Everything was fresh and tasty. I was astonished that the snow crab claws were so sweet and tasty when I normally detest claws. Now I will be looking for some snow crab the next time I get a seafood craving.
Minimal peeling with all the rewards, that's the way to live. Everything was cracked and sliced so that it would be readily available. After we finished they brought hot towels and lemon to clean up. A very nice way to begin the meal. I ♥ Seafood! =)
Luckily I kept the wine menu at the table. I was curious to see if they had some wines that I like since that list is very small... I found out that they actually carry my favorite Riesling from Dr. Loosen. Immediately I asked for a glass. Love the fact that they have a vast menu of wines by the glass, which allow customers to enjoy many different types of wine.

If you are at a steakhouse you must order what they specialize in. "Fleming's serves the finest USDA Prime beef: corn-fed, aged up to four weeks for flavor and texture, then broiled at 1600 degrees to seal in all the juices and flavor. All our steaks are seasoned with kosher salt and black pepper; finished with a touch of butter and freshly chopped parsley." Since I was unable to get the Prime Bone-In Ribeye from Carnevino, I had to get it here. The steak was nicely grilled and tender. Their meat was nicely marbleized to capture the natural flavor of the beef.

For the side, I chose the Lobster Mashed Potatoes where they use an 8 oz. Australian Lobster Tail with lobster cream sauce top of the mashed potatoes. The lobster was naturally sweet. I guess you can call this my own version of surf and turf. Got to have my steak and lobster. Always a perfect combo.
Ms. Lin chose a Fleming's New Classics, Porcini Rubbed Filet Mignon. It's a center cut served with grilled asparagus spears and a gorgonzola cream sauce. The sauce was smooth and added a nice kick to the natural flavor of the meat.
The side she chose was Chipotle Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese. Who doesn't like mac & cheese? It was creamy but not cheesy enough and I couldn't really taste the chipotle flavor. They give a healthy portion that can definitely feed the table.
Everyone recommended the Chocolate Lava Cake, which takes about 15 minutes to prepare. It is a rich chocolate cake with a molten chocolate center served with vanilla ice cream and a pistachio cookie. I love how the chocolate oozes out as you cut into it. The warm soft center just melts in your mouth. I actually really enjoy eating the cookie boat that the ice cream sits in.
All in all it was a wonderful evening full of great wines and great food. A great big thanks to Lee for inviting and hosting the evening. Loved the fresh crabs in the seafood tower. We thoroughly enjoyed our conversation with Chef Hutten and the rest of the staff. While I was there eating, I looked at their Summer Prix Fixe menu and already starting to plan a return trip. I only wish I had enough room for the Key Lime Pie... mmmm. =)
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
455 Newport Center Drive in Fashion Island
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse (Fashion Island) on Urbanspoon

To be honest ever since I met Chef Todd English in person, I have been a huge fan! He is sweet, gentlemanly, and a great chef all around. As fate would have it, when I met him at the BubbleQ at the South Beach Food and Wine Festival, he was serving up crisp lobster rolls! How could I not love him? When I heard that he opened a new "P.U.B" in Vegas, I was eager to try it. Todd English's P.U.B. is located inside the Crystal Towers/City Center. Parking is a bit far away but there are trams that will take you from Aria into the Crystal Towers/City Center.
The place is super clean but doesn't really resemble a "gastropub". It's a huge restaurant with plenty of tables and in the center is the bar along with the seafood bar. Everything on the counter looked super fresh and delicious.
Serving up a little snack, they brought us a bowl of popcorn to start.
There were quite a few things on the menu that I wanted to try but none more than the Brown Butter Lobster Rolls, $24. I refused to share with Burumun so she was forced to order her own, which meant we weren't going to try more menu items. Alas, I don't share lobster if I have to and beware of my fork stabbing you if you try to deprive me of my lobster. O=) The rolls contain freshly shucked Maine Lobster, Warm Brown Butter Aioli, House Made Slaw, and Kettle Chips. There were 3 rolls, which is a pretty healthy portion. I noticed that they only inserted claw meat inside and a decent amount. My only qualm was the lack of flavor. A little too light in my opinion. The one at Thermidor in SF is a million times better, but of course more expensive.
As many of you know, I am greedy! Too greedy this time. I chose to order off "The Carvery" where they supposedly offer the highest quality meats cooked over their rotisserie and you assemble the sandwich at the table. You can choose your bread and two sauces. I chose the Todd English Brisket, $16. For my bread I couldn't pass up the chance to savor some Challah bread. Even the sauces looked very promising so I chose Blue Cheese Fondue and Black Truffle Mayo. When the meat came to table it looked DRY! Brisket is usually a fattier cut of meat and should be tender or melt in your mouth. This did not look appetizing at all! I should have sent it back but I figured I would take back to So Cal and feed the folks. In my picture I compensated the color of the meat when in reality it looked much more pale and dry, but like I have said before... I never want to present a bad photo so I edit but I speak the truth in my review. Pass this up! It was a waste of money! For $16 I got 1/2 lb of super super DRY meat and boring bread. Ick!
All in all the lobster sammy was fine but nothing I would ever crave or recommend to other people. Service was fine because the guy was nice but the manager would often walk around stare! Maybe because we were taking tons of pictures but staring makes me feel a little uncomfortable. Needless to say I still love Chef Todd English and have many photos with him. O=) I will stick with Olives for now thanks.

Todd English's P.U.B.
3720 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 489-8080
Todd English P.U.B. on Urbanspoon

So here is the current line-up for the upcoming month! =) Indulge your sweet tooth and on the same night you can savor a fine evening to support a great cause. Break the Cycle has teamed up to bring Savor The Seasons : Cooking For Love in October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Come out to support this wonderful cause. Also next month Taste Art on the Avenue is offering wonderful excursions every Tuesday where you get to have some of the finest cuisines in LA as well as be surrounded by beautiful works of art. Check out all the event details below!

Event :
Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon

Date :
October 10th 11 AM - 5 PM

Location :
The Pasadena Center
300 Green Street
Pasadena, CA


Ticket Price :
Adults: $20 Advance Purchase
Adults: $25 at the Door
Children under 6: Free*
Children, 6 to 12: $10
*Applies to 2 children per adult. Each additional child under 6: $10

Description :
Discover, taste and savor the finest in artisan, gourmet and premium chocolates & wine.

The 2010 Third Annual Los Angeles Luxury CHOCOLATE SALON participants include over 35 chocolatiers, confectioners, wineries and other culinary artisans, such as: Divine Chocolate, Choclatique, Amano Artisan Chocolate, Essential Chocolate Desserts, Chubby Chipmunk Hand-Dipped Chocolates, Mignon Chocolate, Ococoa chocolates, Kika's Treats, Happy Chocolates, The Chocolate Traveler, R & R Chocolate Palace, Chocoveda, Marti Chocolatt, Clarine's Florentines, Amella Caramels, Moonstruck Chocolate, Suess Chocolates, Jer's Chocolate, The Toffee Box, Farm Fresh To You, The New York Times, Qure Water, Yelp,, Pasadena Weekly, LA Weekly, TasteTV, Chocolate Television, and more. All this in 16,000 square feet, over twice the delicious tasting space as 2008

Event :
Break the Cycle invites all to Savor the Season : Cooking For Love

Date :
October 10th 6:30-9:00PM
VIP guests enjoy early admission starting at 6:00 PM

Location :
The event is returning this year to
Global Cuisine by Gary Arabia at The Lot Studios
1041 N. Formosa Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90046


Ticket Price :
Tickets start at $100 and can be purchased online through or by calling Break the Cycle at 310.286.3383

Description :
Break the Cycle believes everyone has the right to safe, healthy relationships. As the leading voice for teens on the issue of dating violence, Break the Cycle advocates for policy and legislative changes that will better protect the rights and promote the health of teens nationwide. Engaging, educating and empowering youth through prevention and intervention programs,Break the Cycle helps young people identify and build healthy relationships.

Break the Cycle, the leading national organization working to end teen dating violence, invites the Los Angeles community to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month and support safe, healthy relationships at Savor the Season: Cooking for Love on October 10, 2010.

This premier food and wine gala features top Los Angeles chefs “cooking from the heart,” a live and silent auction, music, wine and spirits -- all benefiting Break the Cycle’s work to foster healthy relationships. “At Break the Cycle, we work every day to prevent abuse” says Marjorie Gilberg, Executive Director of Break the Cycle: “This year’s theme—Cooking for Love—ties the event to our mission in a way that inspires our entire community to celebrate healthy relationships with us.”

Katie Chin of Wok Star says, “I am so proud to be co-hosting Savor the Season: Cooking for Love this year, as I have been a longtime supporter of Break the Cycle's life-saving work.” Serving as Honorary Host Chef along with Gary Arabia of Global Cuisine, Katie says, “We are thrilled to have such incredible chefs and restaurants lined up to support such an important cause.”

Event :
Taste Art on the Avenue

Date :
Each Tuesday throughout October
10/5/10 - Gala Opening Event - Gordon Ramsay at The London / Tasende Gallery
10/12/10, 10/19/10, 10/26/10
Please check the site for the Restaurant and Art Gallery

6:30-7:00 Reception
7:00-9:00 Dinner

Location :
West Hollywood’s “The Avenues”


Ticket Price :
$200 per person for the Gala Opening Event
prices for other dates vary, so please check the website

Description :
TASTE ART is a series of one-of-a-kind cultural dining experiences that bring together fine art and haute cuisine, presented by The Avenues: Art, Fashion and Design District.

Each Tuesday evening throughout October, The Avenues will host a series of innovative dining events that pair West Hollywood’s premier art galleries and restaurants. “Art Tastings” will take place at participating restaurants with special prix-fixe menus featuring diverse and inventive collaborations between the city’s hottest chefs and art curators, designed for every style, taste, and budget.

Each tasting will consist of a 3 or 4-course menu and wine pairing inspired by a selection of artworks that will be presented in a gallery-like atmosphere. During each event, the curator, chef and sommelier will each present their unique contributions to the menu, providing insight into their philosophies behind the evening’s art, food, and wine selections.

The inaugural season of the TASTE ART series will continue each Tuesday evening through the month of October. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the West Hollywood Library Fund. Tickets available below.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where would be a good place to go after a nice relaxing time at a Korean Bath House? Well for some odd reason I normally get something heavy like Korean BBQ. Not today, I wanted to try something new and tasty. Vientiane Restaurant (Lao & Thai Food) popped up on my radar and I decided that it was time for something new. They are located in a tiny strip mall that can seem a little iffy/sketchy at night, but don't worry there's plenty of parking spaces! Limited seating inside because they are a tiny Mom & Pop shop.
Since I was a bit dehydrated from the bath house, it was nice to have a refreshing glass of Thai Iced Tea.
Their Grilled Marinated Beef (Sua Rong Hai), $5.99, was what really caught my eye. How can I pass up a dish described as grilled tender marinated beef and served with a hot & sour sauce? The meat was very tender but certain chunks had tendons that made it super chewy. Overall the meat was tasty and soft. You pair it with the delectable sauce and wrap the whole thing in a side of cabbage. Normally I don't condone the usage of veggies but the bitterness of the cabbage mixed with the spicy & sour sauce really makes the sweet and savory flavors pop!
No meal is complete without rice and for me at a Thai restaurant it is the Thai Fried Rice! Mmmm! I got the Pork Thai Fried Rice to munch on the side. The rice was very fragrant and nicely stir-fried. A little on the light side but nothing that a little soy sauce couldn't fix. =)
I debated for a while on whether I should get dessert but I caved in the end. The Loti (Thai Crêpes) with Condensed Milk, $1.50, was too great of a deal to pass up! You get a nicely pan-fried crispy pancake rolled with sweet condensed milk. Yummy! One thing though, man this is one OILY dessert! Be sure to use a napkin to absorb the excess oil so you won't feel as guilty. Don't share! Get one for yourself to enjoy! ^_-
All in all I think this a very nice hole in the wall, local place, to enjoy good eats at a great price. Recently I ordered take out and it was just as good. I will definitely be back in the future and most likely after Korean Bath House... come to think of it... that was when I ordered take out too! lol

Vientiane Restaurant (Lao & Thai Food)
10262 Westminster Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92843
(714) 530-7523
Vientiane Thai Laos on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 27, 2010

Strut down the red carpet and show off your inner Hollywood style! Blogger Prom’s theme for 2010 was Hollywood Confidential at Yamashiro. Every woman came with their classy and elegant dresses whilst the guys had an easier job of looking suave with their fedora on top. It was truly a swanky Hollywood Glam night. Yamashiro’s located high above the city with their own gardens to walk through. Atop you get to see the beauty that is Los Angeles . The air is fresh and the view is breathtaking both in the day time and at night.

Casually stroll up the stairs and into the fabulous Yamashiro pond area for a wondrous evening filled with music, food, drinks, and fun! As you check in you get to meet the wonderful Blogger Prom Committee who worked so hard to organize this amazing event.

A great big thanks to:

Esther - E*Star LA

Tara - Tara Met Blog

Caroline - Caroline on Crack

Natalie - The Liquid Muse

Marni - Happy Go Marni

H.C. - LA OC Foodie

Maya - Shop Eat Sleep

Lindsay - Squash Blossom

I totally missed out on the great photos taken by Heather Kincaid. Above is a great photo of the committee. As you can see a lot of fun was had by all! =)

My love is for food and there's a special taco provided by Chef Brock. Before everyone else arrived Ms. Lin and I got in line for some delicious tacos. The Featured Blogger Prom Taco was Kleweno Farm's Smoked Sausage with Maple-Black Pepper Aioli. It was tasty and packed full of flavor. The Hoisin Duck Confit with Black Plum Salsa was simply divine with the shredded duck just melting away in your mouth. Loved the delicate taste of the Miso-Sake Black Cod Taco. The Cabernet & Soy Braised Short Rib Taco was flavorful and tender. Soon everyone caught on and the line got really long but it was definitely worth the wait! Delicious from start to finish.

Not only were the tacos superb, the accompaniments were innovative and to die for as well. They offered 3 Salsas : Ginger Pico de Gallo, Wasabi Guacamole, and Sweet Chili Salsa Roja along with 2 Pickles : Bread & Butter Shisitos and Sweet & Spicy Daikon Radish. The real winner for me was the wasabi guacamole! I just might have to start experimenting at home to get that snazzy kick of wasabi amidst the velvety texture of avocados.

Ms. Lin and I were a little worried that we would be underfed and planned on extra food excursions just in case we leave hungry. That definitely was NOT the case here. Yamashiro and Blogger Prom really stood up to the plate! They constantly had very friendly servers bringing fresh trays of snacks. I really enjoyed their Hukilau Poke, which was flavorful and refreshing!

There were trays of Pulled Pork on top of Risotto that was both savory and sweet. Ms. Lin absolutely loved the Fried Chicken covered in Popped Rice. Sure the food was gone in a flash but don't worry they came around rather rapidly and had a wonderful smile on their faces.

Each attendee had 3 drink tickets. Pinky Vodka was one of the sponsors of the night. Serving up a storm of Pinky Confidential:

2 oz. Pinky

1 oz. Chambord

1 oz. fresh lemon juice

1/2 oz. simple syrup

1/2 oz. egg white

Rim a martini glass with powdered sugar. Pour all ingredient into a cocktail shaker. Dry shake for 15 seconds. Add ice, shake again. Gently strain into glass. Provided by The Liquid Muse

There was an amazing selection of cheeses presented by Barrie Lynn - The Cheese Impresario and Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Joe Widmer. I don't know if it was the crowd but I could have sworn they called the softened cheese, cheese "sex". Nonetheless it was orgasmic with the cashew brittles. I loooove cheese! Each type was paired differently to showcase the flavors.

After the savory delights, mosey on over to ChocolateBox Cafe with there huge selection of gourmet chocolates to satisfy the palette.

Coolhaus was only a few steps away with gigantic cookie jars filled to the brim! For Blogger Prom they offered Sea Salt Caramel, Vanilla Bean, Green Tea, Strawberry Jalapeno, Chocolate Orange Cointreau, Chocolate, and a Sorbet. To sandwich the delicious ice cream you can choose from: Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Cookies, Snickerdoodle Cookies, Oatmeal Cookies, and Brioche. I chose Sea Salt Caramel between Chocolate Cookies. They stuffed those ice cream sandwiches! Yum! I couldn't believe my ears when I heard a girl say, "I wish they were smaller." You know that is not a food blogger because you never ask for less! lol =) I planned to have more than one but there was so much delicious food to go around that I never made my way back.

Later on in the evening, Crumb Cupcakes showed up with an assortment of their cupcakes. The ding dong/ho ho cupcake was so adorable! By the end of the evening we were so stuffed that we only took a nibble.

So who were King and Queen of the Prom? Food Marathon and my girl JozJozJoz took the throne for the night!

How could you pass up the chance to support and vote for JozJozJoz? This was her campaigning after the fact she won. O=) Always a Queen!

The party was smashing and there so many things going on! I missed out on the Scotch tasting on the other side. By the time we made our way across the pond, they were done. So many great things to do in one night! Will definitely have to strategize better for next year! Note to self : Grab the food and drinks first before the line starts. =)

Everyone looked gorgeous!

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