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hotpot/BBQ place next to empress harbor in MP

That place is super gross and dirty. Don't go. If you want ayce hot pot, go to imperial city by San Gabriel Hilton or place in Rowland heights off gale by Home Depot.

Jan 02, 2014
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Awesome Chinese food in LA Area next week - Help me choose

Din Tai Fung, the original one in Arcadia!

Dec 21, 2013
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Turkey Day in Vegas....

As someone who has gone to Vegas for Turkey Day for at least the past 3 years, I have one word of advice: STAY CLEAR FROM ALL BUFFETS. I remember standing in line for over 2 1/2 hours at the Wynn Buffet, and I got in line around 4:30 or 5:00 p.m.

Make a reservation at some place. I recommend SW Steakhouse. If you stay away from alcohol, I think you can make your $100/pp limit.

Sep 11, 2012
WHills in Las Vegas

Vegas Steakhouse Reviews

I love my steaks! Over the years, I have read such great reviews about various Vegas steakhouses. Here are the ones I have visited recently. If anyone has good suggestions on others to try, please recommend.

SW Steakhouse (Wynn):
This is my favorite out of all the steakhouses I have tried. I have been twice and was not disappointed each time. The steaks and sides were perfectly cooked, and the steaks came with three sauces. Also, the ambiance (although Vegas-like and cheesy for some) is really nice. You can sit outdoors by the lake with music and shows every half hour or so. Service was excellent. I put a note on open table that we were celebrating a birthday and they came with birthday dessert at end without prompting. I will be back!

Mastro's Ocean Club (Crystals City Center):
I love Mastro's in Los Angeles, so I thought I would try the one in Vegas due to high reviews. I was not disappointed. The steak was perfectly cooked and not too salty. The service was excellent. The ambiance was also nice with neat architecture and decor instead Crystals. The standout items are definitely the seafood appetizers. It comes on a bed of dry ice and is really fresh, even though we are in the dead middle of the dessert.

Craftsteak (MGM Grand):
I'm a sucker. I love Top Chef, and this is Tom's restaurant. I read raving reviews about this place. I came one year during Thanksgiving and was very, very disappointed. The steak came lukewarm to cold, like it had been sitting out too long before the waiter brought it to the table. Everything was super salty. I am a true believer in the natural taste of a good steak, without all the sauces and salt. The service was okay, but I don't think I will ever return.

Cut (Venetian):
I was so excited to finally get to visit Cut. I read such raving reviews about this place, and I have never been to Cut, even though I live in L.A. When the chance arose for me to go to the one in Vegas, I was super excited. However, everything fell flat. The service was pretty decent, but the food was not good. The steak was super salty, almost to the point where all I tasted was the salt and not the actual meat, even we had specifically requested low sodium. The waygu steak was similarly blah. It was a huge disappointment, and I will definitely not be back. For the price point, I expected to be blown away.

So, in conclusion, I highly recommend both SW and Mastro's Ocean Club. Both have excellent steaks, sides, and seafood. SW gets a slight edge for the neat ambiance that you probably can't get anywhere else, outside of Vegas.

Sep 11, 2012
WHills in Las Vegas

OC Mastro's: Oceanclub in Newport or Steakhouse

I've been to Mastro's in Beverly Hills and have heard great things about the Costa Mesa location. Between Mastro's Oceanclub in Newport Beach or Steakhouse in Costa Mesa, which would you recommend? Also, are the prices pretty similar?

Mastros Restaurant
2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

Nov 06, 2011
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Downtown (Near 7th/Fig) Lunch Deals

Okay, after working here for almost 3 years, here's an updated list:

WITHIN $10 TO $15:
Octopus on 7th: decent Japanese food combos, stick with the combos as sashimi and sushi not the best grade

Ralphs Market: good salad bar, good lunch combo, good sandwiches

Pam's Deli: Macy's plaza, go for the bimbimbap

Maria's Italian Express: so-so pasta, small portions

Georges Greek Grill: (across from Bonadventure, next to Border Grill) very good Greek food

Bonadventure Food Court: Korean place is good as is Captain Fish

Fernando's: good, cheap Mexican food by the car wash across from LA Live and Staples Center

Lawry's Carvery: LA Live

Yardhouse: LA Live, lunch specials

Kachi's Sandwich by the freeway on Wilshire: great salads, sandwiches and quiche

Mandarin West: decent Chinese food in Bonadventure hotel (not super authentic) but decent lunch specials

Food court under where Paul Hastings and Weiland Underground is at: Lemonade, great Indian place and cheap and yummy Italian place

Green Hut Cafe on 7th: healthy sandwiches and salads

Mendocino Farms: great sandwiches next to U.S. Bank tower, across from Patina

Roy's Restaurant: Japanese/Hawaiian fusion

Sugarfish: yummy sushi, best sushi in the area without going to J-town

Border Grill
1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

Mandarin West
404 S Figueroa St Ste 605, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Lawry's Carvery
3333 Bristol St Ste 2601, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Georges Greek Cafes
735 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Pam's Deli
700 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Staples Center
1111 S Figueroa St Ste 3100, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Aug 28, 2011
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Vegas Review: Craftsteak, Aria Buffet, & Paris Brunch Buffet

I have been looking forward to going to Craftsteak forever. So, I finally got the chance to go, and I was disappointed. For two people, we had the grilled ribeye, the sea scallops, and a side of roasted cauliflower. This was plenty of food. The ribeye came out lukewarm to cold. For a place like this, I expected more. We sent it back and it came back a tad warmer, lukewarm again. The scallops and the veggies also were not piping hot, as I would expect from a restaurant of this caliber. The scallops were also a tad overcooked. Overall, disappointing. I went to the SW steakhouse at the Wynn a few years ago, and I must say I was blown away. I will go back there next time.

I wanted to check out Aria, and I went to try out their dinner buffet. Cost was around $35 per person. It came with free lobster for every two people and unlimited wine. The food quality was pretty good. The crab legs were fresh and big as were the pre-peeled shrimps. Variety-wise, they definitely don't have the variety of either Bellagio, Wynn, or even Cravings at the Mirage, but what they did had was good quality stuff. They also had a pasta station and lamb. I only wished they had more variety. There was a fruit salad, and that was the only fruit available. But, over all, I would go back.

For my final stop, I went to the Paris brunch, often raved by many. The champagne brunch was $30, which included all you can drink champagne. The line was crazy at around noon, easily a 1 1/2 to 2 hour wait. We, however, opted for the express line, which cost an extra $15 per person (well, worth it!). We bought the line pass and in we went. There was crab legs and shrimp (not peeled), not as good quality as Aria. They also had prime rib and roast duck. The french onion soup was okay. Overall, the quality was so-so. I'm wondering if Vegas buffets are going downhill. For $30, it was not a bad deal. The highlight was the freshly made crepes. I also enjoyed the breakfast items (hash brown and corn beef hash).

Overall, can't say I was blown away with Vegas eating this time around.

3600 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV

Nov 29, 2010
WHills in Las Vegas

HOng Kong restaurants---price not a problem

If you are staying at International in Tsim Tsa Tsui by the harbour and like buffets, you might want to try Harbourside for their buffet. Great view at night, relaxing, pretty good seafood and other items.

Mar 04, 2010
WHills in China & Southeast Asia

Cima Buffet Review (Compared to Universal Hilton)

I haven't been to Cima in years, but I have been to Universal Hilton at least twice in the last few months. I have noticed that the shark's fin soup at the Hilton is too gooey (too much cornstarch) and the lobster is overcooked. So, for Chinese New Year, I decided to try out Cima's buffet. I also noticed there were not many recent reviews on Cima, so here goes. I attended the East Meet West Chinese New Year buffet the day before Chinese New Year/Valentine's Day for dinner.

Cima has a smaller selection of food than the Hilton, but they still have quite a variety. No salad bar other than some Chinese cold plates like jellyfish, etc. There was a smoothie station where there is boba tea, fresh smooties and coconut drink. There was a bbq station where there is freshly bbqed Korean beef ribs, pork, and lamb chops. There was sushi station with no sashimi. There was lobster station with lobster cooked in scallion and ginger Chinese style. There was dim sum station with freshly cooked dim sum. There was hot pot station with items you can have them make for you. They also had sea cucumber, Chinese New Year's dishes, whole suckling pig, salt and pepper shrimp, prime rib raw oysters, cocktail shrimp, and crab legs. They had two Chinese soups but no shark's fin and dessert table with chocolate fountain. Cost for that day was $52 per person.

The service and atmosphere at Cima are much nicer than at the Hilton. People are constantly clearing your plate. The view and decor are nice. The wait staff also folds your napkin each time you get up, which is quite a bit.

More variety, ginger and scallion crab, clams, smoked salmon, sashimi, more seafood variety (mussels, etc.), and more dessert (Haigen Daas ice cream), a few bucks cheaper

Lobster, lamb chops, bbq items fresh off grill, smoothies, suckling pig, the quality of the cooking and food were overall better than Hilton

I would have given Cima raving reviews but for one thing. They decided to add on 20% gratuity to our bill (probably on top of the tax) for all tables for that day even though we were a party of two. 20% for a buffet is a little steep even if they have good service. The worse part was they never warned you. Nothing was written on the website or on posting outside Cima restaurant. When I called to reserve, no one mentioned anything. When they called to confirm reservation, no one mentioned this. This showed up on the bill when we asked for it. This was VERY SHADY. So, for that, I'm a little hesitant to go back. I'd recommend if you do go, when you call to make reservations, you might want to ask about this beforehand so you know.

One Industry Hills Pkwy., City of Industry, CA 91744

Feb 28, 2010
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Downtown (Near 7th/Fig) Lunch Deals

Here's the task: Need lunch deals in downtown L.A. near 7th/Fig. Anything under $10 would be awesome. Recs under $15 (including tip) doable also. Walking distance is wonderful, but anything reasonably accessible by public transportation okay too.

Oct 18, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Hong Kong Peking Duck - But not the whole duck?

No luck. Peking duck is almost always served as the whole duck. An alternative might be visiting a buffet at a hotel that serves Peking duck. I went to the Intercontinental dinner buffet, and they served Peking duck. They carved the duck and served two pieces each time. So, that may be an alternative option.

Oct 10, 2008
WHills in China & Southeast Asia

Hong Kong without a sportcoat??

I also come from CA, and here is my recs for things that you cannot get in the U.S. or where there is a significant quality different.

HK Buffet: you should try to hit at least one of these (i.e. Shanghi-La, Intercontinental). The Universal Hilton in Los Angeles comes close, but you really should check out these extravagent buffets.

Congee & Fried Donuts: you have to go to a local dingy place for this, but you really can't get the same quality, especially for the fried donuts anywhere else

Street Food in Mongkok: fish ball skewers and stinky tofu; again, this cannot be replicated in the U.S.

Tai Ping Koon for roasted pigeon: this is subject to much controversy, but I still feel that the quality of the roasted pigeon from here cannot be replicated in the U.S.

Hot pot at a local place: very good, and very fresh meats and interesting bases

Tea at the Peninsula hotel

Other than that, especially if you are from Los Angeles, the dim sum and Cantonese cuisine is of high enough quality that HK is not necessarily superior.

Oct 10, 2008
WHills in China & Southeast Asia

Great Beijing Sunday Brunch--Westin Financial District

I just came back from a visit to Beijing, and I was thoroughly impressed by the Sunday brunch at the Westin hotel, financial district. This buffet matched most of the Hong Kong buffets. For just under 300 RMB, the brunch had everything you can imagine: fresh fruit juice, cavier, foie gras, dumplings, seafood, sashimi, sushi, Peking duck, Indian station, waffles, pancakes, desserts, and much more. I thought it was better than most of the Hong Kong buffets I went to. However, note that this is the Westin hotel in the financial district and not the newer Westin.

Oct 07, 2008
WHills in China & Southeast Asia

Great cupcakes near Woodland Hills?

Leda's in Sherman Oaks next to Senor Fred

Sep 08, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Katsuya, CUT, and Ivy Recs


Spicy tuna rice cake
Scallop with kiwi
Miso cod
Try their tempura ice cream dessert

Sep 04, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Advice with chinese/western wedding cuisine please

Here is my take on "fusion" weddings...I haven't been to one that works. I would just go American or go Chinese. The problem is with the fusion, you can't have the authentic Chinese stuff (shark's fin, roast piglet, live seafood), and it ends up not satisfying the Chinese guests. The American cuisine then doesn't really satisfy the American guests either. So, food wise, I would stick with one or the other. I had a friend who did a fusion food wedding at the Doubletree, and the food was the worse I had for a "Chinese-style"/fusion wedding, and I'm sure the Chinese guests felt the same way.

I have been to a wedding where it was all American food, but they had a Chinese tea ceremony after the wedding part. That turned out to be pretty neat, and the food was good.

Chinese people are okay with steak and chicken. They are generally not okay with semi-authentic/fusion Chinese food.

Aug 23, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Schweppes cream soda

I know exactly which shop you are talking about. I haven't seen it in L.A. aside from that market.

Aug 18, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Gastronomy tour of HK in four days, please advice!!

For authentic street food, head to Mong Kok. There are streets full of vendors with local food.

I'd also recommend trying some fresh seafood in Aberdeen or Lamma Island.

If you are very adventureous and don't mind dirty/questionable sanitary places, I would try dai pai dong. They are generally located on the top floor of wet markets. There is one in Central, Mong Kok, Lok Fu, and other cities. Try the porridge and fried donuts and other dishes. However, you will need someone who can read and speak Chinese because there will not be a Chinese menu although you could point.

Aug 14, 2008
WHills in China & Southeast Asia

Gorikee: Lunch menu during dinner

Yes, both the lunch and dinner menu are available during dinner. The soft shell crab was done tempura style with a yummy and pretty sauce on top. The daily fish special was only $9.95!

Aug 09, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Gorikee: Lunch menu during dinner

I just went to Gorikee in Woodland Hills, and they are having this amazing deal. They are serving their lunch menu during dinner. So, you can get a super dinner for under $10 that comes with soup and salad!

Today, their fish special was soft shell crab!

Dinner for two people cost us $25 before tip! That included one salmon + steak and one chicken + soft shell crab plate, soup, salad, and one order of garlic fries.

This is one of the best hidden gems in the valley. It's located on Ventura Blvd. in Woodland Hills where Jerry's Famous Deli and Ralph are. The restaurant is located in the corner next to a foot massage place closer to the old closed-down Vons.

Aug 08, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Vegas Recs: Buffet, Lunch, Breakfast

We are going to Vegas from Sunday to Tuesday with 2 kids, 3 adults, and 2 seniors who love buffets.

For dinner buffet, I was thinking about hitting Cravings at Mirage the first night and then Bellagio the second. Is Bellagio buffet good during the weekday? Do they have a lot of seafood on weekdays? I have been going to the Wynn buffet the last few times, so I'm looking for something different. I've heard great things about Cravings but have never tried. Other choices?

I'm thinking about stopping by the Country Club for lunch. The lunch price is reasonable, and it looks like it has a nice view. My other thought was Bouchon, but it looks like they are only open for breakfast and dinner during the weekday. Anyone been lately?

I'm debating between Bouchon or Grand Lux. I've read that Bouchon is probably better, but Grand Lux has a bigger menu. Other option if we are not buffeted out is the Le Village Buffet at Paris. Thoughts?

Jul 16, 2008
WHills in Southwest

Seafood and Steak in Las Vegas

SW is very good, one of the best steaks I've had. I generally like Ruth's Chris's, but SW is a notch above RC and has wonderful ambience.

You might want to stop by MGM because almost all of their high end restaurants have summer specials for $60 per person. Craftsteak is having it. It's not on the menu, so you have to ask them about it before you order.

Jul 15, 2008
WHills in Southwest

Good Steak in Pasadena and something for the Pescatarians?

Arroyo Chophouse or Parkway Grill

Jul 05, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Fun group dinner spot pre-Dodger game

Ciudad in downtown
McCormick's in downtown for a good happy hour
My personal favorite is Sushi Gen. Have some good sushi, but you are not too stuffed to eat a few snacks at the game.

Jun 23, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area

what is your rec for a good hk diner dish?

Hainan chicken or curry beef at Savoy
Baked spaghetti w/ meat sauce or any kind of porridge at Sunday Bistro

Jun 21, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area

King Hua for Dim Sum: The new Sea Harbour

Pretty similar...they have a special menu with King Hua items. Their dim sum menu might be slightly smaller than Sea Harbour.

Jun 17, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Universal Studios Hilton Buffet; THE HORROR!

I believe it is closer to $40 on a non-holiday.

Jun 16, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area

Universal Studios Hilton Buffet; THE HORROR!

I went to the Hilton buffet for Father's Day dinner, and I'd have to disagree. The buffet is still the best in L.A. However, there are a few caveats. One, it is very crowded (maybe it is because it's Father's Day). People were everywhere, and the tables were packed pretty closely to each other. Two, you have to be somewhat into Asian food to appreciate this place (it is about 70% Asian).

Abalone (small whole abalones) with mushrooms
Ginger crab
Crab Legs
Seafood station (crab, lobster claws, oysters, mussels)
BBQ lamb chops
Shark's fin soup (yum!)
Lobster thermidor
Chocolate fountain with fruit

Sashimi & sushi (very mediocre)
Dim sum

At $45, it is still a great deal. Get a few bowls of shark's fin soups, a lobster or two, a few scoops of abalone, seafood. It would have cost you more than $45 at a restaurant.

Jun 15, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area

King Hua for Dim Sum: The new Sea Harbour

Yes, no carts-off the menu dim sum.

Their shrimp dumpling (har gow) and siu mei were very good.

Jun 15, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area

SGV chinese restaurants open late (after 9)

I've tried the stir fry dishes, garlic chicken wings, chow mein, curry fish balls, rice noodle in soup, hainan chicken etc. It's not bad, just okay, but not something I would go to Phoenix for because Tasty Garden and Mei Mei do a much better job. It's more of a dessert place or I place I go to when Din Tai Fung's line is too long. Nothing stellar.

Jun 15, 2008
WHills in Los Angeles Area