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california keitt mangoes

Saw them at the Whole Foods in Tustin. 3 for $10. Don't know if that is a good price or not.

Good eats near Sea World with 20-month-old toddler?

Iron pig ale house was excellent. Thanks for reco. Across the street from me frostie.

Brisket was juicy and moist. Nice smoke and good amount of fat. My kid loved the rib tips but I wish they weren't sauced so much. Wings were delicious smoky, crunchy and salty in good way. Greens had nice vinegar kick. Small but good beer selection. Lots of kids but they only allow Kids until 10am.

Aug 22, 2015
js76wisco in San Diego

Any word on Taco Maria dessert?

I went for lunch the other day and we asked if they are starting to do dessert. They did not have it on either menu but we didn't elaborate or ask for timing.

Lunch was amazing though. The aguachile is unmatched. Love the ceasar salad with those crunchy croutons, mounds of cheese and anchovy dressing. The cod and carnitas taco are just absolutely perfect if a bit on the pricey side for tacos.

Aug 20, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Good eats near Sea World with 20-month-old toddler?

Thanks these look like solid choices and very close.

Aug 17, 2015
js76wisco in San Diego

Good eats near Sea World with 20-month-old toddler?

Is there anywhere good to eat dinner near Mr Frostie? Its the best soft serve we've ever had and are planning our dinner based on having some soft serve for dessert.

We've done Pizza Port but it can get busy getting back and forth with all the traffic from Sea World and the highway.

Aug 13, 2015
js76wisco in San Diego

Fresh duck eggs for sale in Orange County, CA?

Yes they were.

Aug 12, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Fresh duck eggs for sale in Orange County, CA?

There is at least one vendor at the Saturday Irvine farmers market that I've seen with duck eggs for sale. They also had quail eggs last week and odd green colored chicken eggs (from unfertilized chickens?).

Aug 11, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Most underrated restaurant in OC?

Fuoco Pizzeria

Aug 09, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Your favorite grocery store ice cream

Interesting - FYI I bought the McConnells at Ralphs. I'll try it again if I'm by Gelson's because I really liked McConnells when I had it at their stores in SB and GCM.

Aug 02, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Finally Great BBQ in Orange County!!!!!!

Finally had a chance to eat at Smokey Fred. Good as advertised. It's great BBQ no matter where you live. Rib tips plate with baken beans and extra helping of pulled pork for $17. Could feed a family of 3.

Rib tips - great smoke and bark. Still moist and love the cartilage pieces. Excellent bbq.

Pulled pork - very nice. Again moist and juicy with some nice crunchy bits from the outside. Well smoked meat.

The hot bbq sauce and vinegar sauce were nice. They were not overly sweet and enhanced the flavor of the meat rather than overpowering. Nice balance of sweet, vinegar and spice.

I'll definitely be back. The guys manning the que were very hospitable.

Jul 31, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Naugles

I moved here in the late 90s and not familiar with the food although I've read the story. Eater said lines were very long today for the reopening.

Is the food worth the wait or people just going back bc of the nostalgia?

Jul 29, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Your favorite grocery store ice cream

Straus Creamery chocolate and vanilla. The best and ceamiest I've had from a supermarket.

+1 on McConnells - texture is terrible and icey. Very poor ice cream compared to what you get at the actual store either in SB or GCM.

Jul 29, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Doesn't anyone make Steak Fries Anymore?

A little more north but Pita Hot in Fullerton has very good steak fries. Crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside as you're looking for.

Jul 26, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Raku coming to LA

For sure. Omotosando had the scoop well before anybody else.

My wife says the foie gras chawanmushi is the best dish she has ever eaten anywhere.

I hope its not a mad house getting reservations.

Jul 23, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Raku coming to LA

Can't wait. Hopefully they maintain the quality. The Yabu space isn't big and the last time my friend went there ~5 years ago a mouse scattered across the dining room (no joke). But I'll be waiting in line.

http://la.eater.com/2015/7/21/9011927...

Jul 23, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Felafel in OC?

I think you'll have to go to Anaheim to find the best falafel. I like Zait and Zataar green version.

Everybody raves about Kareem's but I've never been.

Jul 10, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Korean bbq in OC?

+1 on Kang Ho Dong. I think this is the best Korean BBQ in OC.

Shik Do Rak is AYCE now?

Gen is a good option for AYCE

8 Korean BBQ is also very good but focus on pork belly.

Have to try out Da Rae - its the closest one to us but we still have never been. Kinda scared based on the location out of the heavily populated Korean areas in the OC.

Jul 09, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Chianina or Michael's on Naples Long Beach?

Agreed. If just going for the best meat CUT is the best game in town. You'll pay a pretty penny but its worth it.

Mastro's would be my 2nd choice by a slight margin over Wolfgangs.

I'm going to Florence/Rome next year and hope we can make a trip to Officina della Bistecca. I already have a day trip booked for Modena to Osteria Francescana so it might be tough to fit everything in.

Jul 08, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Dragon Beard Candy Maker Sets Up Shop In Front of Hawaii Market in San Gabriel

Does anybody know of a place where we can purchase dragon's beard candy in the OC? I heard there is a cart at the Spectrum that is pretty good but wondering if anybody has tried this vendor.

Jul 08, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Chianina or Michael's on Naples Long Beach?

I've eaten at both Lugers, Wolfgangs in both NY and Bev Hills and Mark Joseph (another former Luger employee knock off).

I think Lugers is still better. The other former employee restaurants are close. The menu is almost identical down to the sauce, bacon, german potatoes, creamed spinach, etc... but the steak is still what puts Lugers over the top. The Lugers atmosphere and waiters also add to the enjoyment but the steak is what brings me back. The burger at lunch is off the charts good.

Jul 08, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

North OC Farmer's Markets

Drive the 20-25 minutes to Irvine FM on Saturday at Mariners church of the 73. You'll find everything you need. The best FM in OF hands down and compared to Hollywood and Santa Monica. They have one fish vendor but most of the fish is frozen.

The places in OC that have good fresh fish are probably Bristol farms in Tustin, Santa Monica fish in Costa mesa, dry dock fish in Fullerton and hmart or ranch 99.

Jun 30, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

La Scala Sucks

Poor form. The salad being over priced, over rated and generally sucking is one thing but not being able to politely address the situation with manager must be frustrating.

I have no idea how this place still stays in business with Wolfgangs + many better Italian options literally within blocks.

Jun 30, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Long Trip Report 6/22/15 to 6/25/15

Haha I feel the pain. We order a dozen raw oysters and my wife and I are lucky if we get 2 each.

For our anniversary I got a small tin of caviar from Petrossian and these darn kids ate up a small fortune of eggs.

It's all my fault but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Jun 29, 2015
js76wisco in Las Vegas

Does LA have anything equivalent to Raku in Vegas?

I just came back from Vegas and Raku was one of the most memorable meals I've ever had. I hope you're ears are telling the truth.

Jun 27, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Long Trip Report 6/22/15 to 6/25/15

Every meal listed below is for family of 4 including 4.5 year old boy and 2.5 year old girl. We usually order for 3 people total.

Day 1 Dinner - Yardbird
Amazing fried chicken. Excellent brine, very juicy, loved the crust and flavor. Probably be the best fried chicken we've ever had - better than Bouchon, Honey's Kettle, the place in NY with the ice tea brine and Roscoe's.
The bone marrow was fantastic. They provided 3 bones with a good amount of marrow highlighted only with salt. Spread on the crispy bread was a great simple but delicious bite. My 2.5 year old had her own bone.
Fries and waffles were very good and would order again. The bourbon maple syrup that was good but I preferred mixing bites with the chicken, waffle, honey hot sauce and regular maple syrup. Spicy, sweet, crunchy and juicy.
Biscuits were flaky and a great bite with the butter but a tad dry side alone. Watermelon was interesting and good palate cleanser but mostly unnecessary.
They have a great local tap beer list that we enjoyed.
Expensive for fried chicken but well in line with restaurants on the strip. 4 pieces of fried chicken were $27.
Dinner including 4 beers was $120 with tip. Would highly recommend.

Day 2 Lunch - Shake Shack
I've been to the NY locations several times but its been a while. We've been eating In N Out more often so wanted to compare.
Shake Shack wins hands down. Shake Shack is about 70% more expensive based on similar orders.
The cheeseburgers are awesome. Great beefy flavor.
Cheese fries are in a class by themselves compared to any other fast casual or fast food. They toss on a bechamel sauce that is killer. Not too salty and the fatter crinkle fries have more surface area to scoop up sauce. The sauce isn't too salty or overwhelming and stay in liquid form for a much longer time.
Black n white shake. My favorite shake anywhere in the world. The thick custardy vanilla vs chocolate fight in an all timer.
Vegas is lucky to have In N Out, Shake Shack and White Castle (grew up on WC).

Day 2 Dinner - B&B Ristorante
Good but a bit of a let down only because we both love Italian and pasta so much. B&B is not one of Batali's better restaurants. I'd put it behind both Mozza, Lupa, Babbo and Del Posto. Also behind Casa Mono but not Italian.
The calamari appetizer was very nice. Lightly dusted in tempura like batter and accompanied by butter sauce. Cauliflower was great in here as well.
Ordered 3 pastas to try a few different types. All of the pasta were home made and well cooked al denta. The clear winner was the mint strichetti with peas and pancetta. A classic flavor combination with delicious pasta. The pappardelle ragu was good but on the salty side. That made the sauce ever richer and overall a disappointment bc I've had great ragu in many a Batali restaurant. The bucatini was better and loved the spicy red sauce. Guanciale and spicy red sauce always a good choice.
$220 with a $65 bottle of red wine. The sommerlier picked a nice mid priced bottle. We certainly enjoyed our meal but would try something different the next time like Portofino.

Day 3 Lunch - China Poblano
Fun place with an eclectic menu. Some great dishes here and not cheap for the type of food but certainly with better ingredients and great execution.
Mexican
The chips are amazing. Crispy but not greasy with nice corn flavor.
The best tacos I've had here are the carnitas with the chicarrones and guacamole. Well balanced and the meat itself is delicious.
The pastor taco is one big hunk of pork belly. The pastor sauce is very good but I wish the meat was either cut up or crisped. There was something that was supposed to provide crunch but it ended up being a bit mushy.
Chinese
Steamed pork buns were ok. Wasn't a huge fan of the filling and sauce inside. The buns themselves were steamed well and righteously bouncy. The sauce was a little overpowering and didn't love them.
The hand pulled noodles were amazing. The sauce was similar to black jean jjajianmein. I have to assume any of the noodle dishes are amazing with these noodles.
$85 for lunch with one michelada

Day 3 Dinner - Raku
WOW. The highlight of our trip and one of the best meals we've ever had in any city. One great dish after another and basically the same price as B&B.
Yellowtail sashimi - sublime, melt in your mouth
Kurobuta pork belly - mostly for my kids but tender and delicious
Raku tofu - 2nd best to the tofu at Ikko in Costa Mesa
Chawanmushi - my wife said its one of the best things she ever ate and she doesn't even really love foie gras
Miso soup - for my kids, best I've ever had, so rich, well balanced and umami
Special aji half fried and half grilled - both preparations were excellent. The broth on the fried part was fantastic. Grilled part was so simple but amazing. Why can't we just make grilled fish with salt this at home?

Skewers
Beef tendon - had 3 orders, you have to love this texture but man that was great
Chicken teba wing - simply presented with salt but an amazing piece of chicken. My son hates chicken (almost never eats it unless its from Chik Fil A) but he ate one all by himself.
Pork ear - I ate most of these with the hot sauce. I loved the mixture between the crunchy cartilage and fatty bits.
Okra - sick. Who knew a piece of okra could be that good? Crazy.
Scallop - butter sauce was incredible and scallop was tender. Could eat this combination all the time.
Total was $248 with a $60 bottle of sake. Raku takes the place as a must visit restaurant when we go to Vegas. I'd go out of my way to eat there on night 1 so you could theoretically eat there twice on a trip. Simple presentation with the perfect amount of seasoning/flavor is always the hardest to pull off but the most enjoyable when the ingredients shine like they do at Raku.

Day 4 Lunch - 800 Degrees
Stayed in the hotel for lunch bc kids were tired. This is clearly the best of the new quick service make your own pizza. Much better crust and flavor of the pie than Pieology or Blaze. The pie is more reminiscent of neopolitan pizza like Fuoco in Fullerton or Una Pizza Napoleana in SF (formerly in NYC). Doesn't have all the spots and not VPN certified but its the closest you'll find for this fast casual version. $7 for a margherita pizza is an insane deal. The salads here are all very good and a good deal at $7 for half portion.

Day 4 Dinner - Lotus of Siam
The best Thai food we've ever had but a teeny bit of a let down probably due to the accolades and hype. Hard to live up to the hype LoS gets. But again the best Thai food ever (significantly better than many meals at Jitlada, Ruen Pair, Sanamluang and Raku Nakorn).
Garlic prawns WOW. Everybody just order them. They are well recommended by everybody for a reason.
Khai Soi was as good or better than our current favorite version at Noodle Tramp. Great noodles and so well balanced between heat, curry and little hint of sweet with coconut milk. Drink the broth or bathe rice in it.
Spicy wings were great. Kicks the ass of any wings out here in OC. Sweet and spicy. Sticky. Crunchy. Lick off the sauce.
A little more elegant, well seasoned, less greasy and delicious versions of pad see ewe and papaya salad. The pad see ewe was for the kids but we always grab some. Much less greasy than any other version. The papaya salad was the best but we were ultimately unhappy because it wasn't spicy enough. We should have asked them for more spice but though medium would be ok.
The food was great but I guess we were expecting to be knocked off our socks like Raku. If LoS was anywhere within 20-30 miles of our house in the OC we'd be eating here several times per month.
Total was around $80

Vegas is a kick ass food town with a ton of options. There are lots of high end options and the local off the strip recommendations are spot on. Raku would be world class in any city. Thanks for all the help and recommendations Vegas hounds. Sorry no pictures - nothing can stop me from eating food when its laid down in front of me.

Places on our list for next time
Portofino
Bazaar Meat
Twist
Chada
Bardot Bistro
Raku Sweets

Jun 26, 2015
js76wisco in Las Vegas

Congratulations to Chef Carlos Salgado and his Taco Maria!

I can see where you're coming from. Maybe we're all paying for the $49 prix fixe that we all took advantage of for the first year or so.

Jun 19, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Congratulations to Chef Carlos Salgado and his Taco Maria!

Well deserved. One of the best restaurants in LA or OC and the best value for any prix fixe.

It would be great if he added dessert but understand why its hard with the small kitchen. Getting some sugary slices of cake and cookies from Susiecakes is ok but would be better to finish off the meal with a proper dessert.

Jun 19, 2015
js76wisco in Los Angeles Area

Must Order at Raku

Thanks for the tip on the half portion tofu two ways. This is a good way to sample both preparations.

Jun 18, 2015
js76wisco in Las Vegas

Portofino - Superlative Pastas and Osso Buco as well as Chicken Parm worth "Strip Pricing"

I would tend to go with your original assessment based on seeing your posts on the LV and LA board. You seem to know your stuff and I agree with a lot of your opinions.

I'd never heard of the chef or restaurant until you posted about it but I'm not very knowledgable about LV. I changed my reservation from B&B which I've been a few times and enjoyed to Portofino. I'll reply back after my vacation next week.

Jun 17, 2015
js76wisco in Las Vegas

Must Order at Raku

Read through about 20 threads on Raku. Here is my current list of must order items for 2 adults and 2 kids
- stuff off the specials menu
- sashimi (which ones?)
- agedashi tofu
- asparagus (although seeing conflicting reports)
- grilled sanma
- chicken teba wing
- Kobe beef tendon
- blackened pig ear
- chawan mushi

Any thing else I must order?

Jun 17, 2015
js76wisco in Las Vegas