Monday, September 28, 2015


Hermosa Beach Fish Shop
719 Pier Ave
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
Tel: 310.372.3480
$$ ($15-$30)
Cuisine: Seafood
Fri, 09/18/2015, 7:30pm reservation


I love seafood, especially when it comes to fish tacos. When I heard that we were invited to try out a fish shop in Hermosa Beach, boy, was I on it! 

Opened in 2014, Hermosa Beach Fish Shop is an extension from their very popular sister shop in San Diego. The shop uses fresh fish and hand make their own seasonings and sauces. The place is casual, perfect for dining indoors or al fresco. The best part about this place (other than the food of course!)? They don't have a corkage fee so feel free to bring a wine bottle of your choice! 

The interior
Sitting al fresco for the night…
The ordering is pretty simple. You pick your fish (and trust me, they have a variety of them). You pick your marinade. Finally, you choose your style which can range from a taco, a salad, a sandwich or a plate. They also have other fish dishes as well. And if you’re having trouble deciding, don’t worry! They offer some complimentary chips and salsa while you contemplate on your decision. And let me tell you, their salsa is amaze-balls!
Since it was a long day and I was famished, I opted to order with my eyes rather than what my actual stomach could handle (and trust me, I can eat). As a result, this time, the food beat me on this one…
LOBSTER LUMPIA-fried lobster egg rolls served with jasmine rice and sesame sweet chili dipping sauce. These cute, little Filipino egg rolls were fried super crisp on the outside with a moist lobster filling on the inside. The dipping sauce wasn’t overly spicy and definitely complemented the lobster lumpia.
FISH SHOP SHRIMP-shrimp seasoned in Fish Shop seasoning, sauteed and served with a chipotle aioli dipping sauce. This was probably one of my favorite dishes of the night. The shrimp were succulent, with a slightly spicy, smokey flavor to it. The aioli was cooling to the taste. Together, it was a match made in heaven.
FISH SHOP STEW-chunks of fresh fish in a house made broth. When you want a soup that brings fresh fish as the highlight of the dish, then this is it. The broth is tomato based and the variety of fish in the stew is remarkable.
TKO TACO-fresh Mahi Mahi grilled, your choice of flour or corn tortilla, marinated with our Fish Shop seasoning, shredded cabbage, mixed cheese, house white sauce topped with a tropical salsa with an added avocado. This was in contention for the best dish of the night. I thoroughly enjoyed this taco as it had a lot of flavor. The Mahi Mahi was flaky and the ingredients meshed well together. If you can’t decide on what to get, you can’t go wrong with this taco.
FISH PLATE (grilled or fried)- Choice of 8oz fresh fish (we chose the Hawaiian Ono since it was their special) seasoned to your liking and grilled to perfection. Your choice of two sides (we chose seaweed salad and house cut onion rings). If you want a complete meal, this is the way to go. The onion rings were crisp and the salad was refreshing. The fish itself was grilled and seasoned with the garlic butter and fish shop seasoning. Delicious.

Hermosa Beach is very lucky to have something like this in their hood for some good, casual dining. The food is fresh and delicious. I appreciate the variety of fish the shop has to offer. The fact that Hermosa Beach Fish Shop is an expansion of their original shop in San Diego means that their doing something right. Just be careful with this place. You could be like me and order outrageously amount of food!
Don’t worry though…I can eat!

Sunday, September 27, 2015


A La Minute Ice Cream
117 N. Glassell St
Orange, CA 92866
Tel: 714.363.3470
$ (under $15)
Cuisine: Ice Cream/Desserts
Sun, 09/13/2015, 3:00pm walk-in
    (4 Piglets)

Fresh ice cream is hard to find. The ones that actually freeze right before your eyes is the new trend these days. A La Minute Ice Cream is an ice cream shop that uses liquid nitrogen to freeze their ice cream base. The best part about it? It's made to order, it's fresh, and it's 100% organic. 

Located in Downtown Orange, A La Minute offers interesting flavors upon your demand. From avocado to strawberry balsamic, you definitely are exposed to some unique flavors at this shop. Unfortunately, you can't sample the flavors since they're made to order, but you can bet that regardless of what you order, you won't be disappointed. 

The interior
The menu that everyone seems to be observing
The sizes
Liquid nitrogen at work
STRAWBERRY BALSAMIC ($5.00): Strawberry compote and balsamic reduction. This was the way a strawberry ice cream should be. It was sweet and the balsamic reduction added a hint of a savory, slightly acidic component without it being overpowering. I enjoyed this flavor very much. 
MY FAVORITE DISH. ESPRESSO CHIP ($5.00): Augies Espresso and Parliament Chocolate Shavings. I love, love, love coffee and espresso. And when they're put into an ice cream form (my favorite food), then I'm in heaven. This was definitely a strong espresso flavor with the chocolate shavings to be the perfect combination to mellow the espresso out. The ice cream was creamy and not overly rich (surprising for an ice cream). It's a must! 

Overall, A La Minute Ice Cream is definitely a go-to spot in Downtown Orange. The ice cream is cool, creamy and full of flavor. I appreciate the variety it has to offer and the freshness of the product. All organic? Yes, please! I am fully aware there are multiple shops that offer the same concept, but A La Minute ranks high up there. Go on...check it out! You won't be sorry! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


The Pizza Press
155 N. Glassell St
Orange, CA 92866
Tel: 714.888.5941
$$ ($15-30)
Cuisine: Italian/Pizza
Sun, 09/13/2015, 1:00pm reservation

It's that time of the year again! It's football season and that means there is a whole lot of chowing down on pizza to go with it. You gotta get serious when you're talking about football and good eats while watching the games. And where can you get some amazing pizza on a Sunday afternoon while the Vikings, the 49ers, or the Cowboys are playing in under 5 minutes? You can head over to the Pizza Press in Downtown Orange just like I did!

These days, the concept of the fast baking pizza in under 5 minutes has been taking Southern California by storm. The Pizza Press is one of these restaurants, grasping the concept and making it their own.

Located in Downtown Orange (with two other locations in Anaheim and Fullerton), the Pizza Press tends to be hustling and bustling on a Sunday afternoon (even with football games going on)! The place is quaint with decor inspired by the Roaring Twenties. The ordering system is divided into three separate sections:   First thing's first, you gotta stand in line and watch the man press that pizza dough like he never pressed it before! Secondly, the proofing comes in where you get to pick your sauce and pick your toppings (unless you order one of their specialty designed pizzas like I did cause I was lazy). Lastly, wait for your pizza to come out of that piping hot oven and order drinks or desserts or whatever your hearts desire.

The menu is named after some important newspapers of our time. There are a variety of craft beers on tap which sets this restaurant apart from the other fast baking pizza joints. At the Pizza Press, your pie is sent to a 475 degree oven and in three minutes and forty-five seconds, you've got yourself a delicious pizza.

Since this place does craft beers, I thought it was deemed necessary to try one of them! They have some interesting ones and I decided to choose something a bit exotic:

Ace Pineapple Cider

The Tribune
Red Sauce, Mozzarella, Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Red Onion,Mushroom, Roasted Peppers, Kalamata Olives, Ricotta, Parmesan
Add caption
What is there not to like about this pizza? It has your meat group, your vegetable group, your bread group and your dairy group all rolled into one! See, healthy right? I mean, getting the pizza, I was astounded that it wasn't at all greasy. The crust held up its shape nicely and the flavors were spot on. It was a hearty pizza for a hearty girl like me.

The Cronicle
Olive Oil (base), mozzarella, artichoke hearts, cherry tomato, red onion, mushroom, chevre, roasted peppers, parmesan (finished with fresh basil, pesto sauce)

Can a pizza ever taste healthy? Well, this one did and it actually made me feel good eating it (maybe cause there were was some green in it)! The pie tasted fresh and the chevre cheese offered a unique and satisfying finish to the pizza.

The Press Cheese
Red Sauce, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Parmesan (or up to three cheese options of your choice)

This pizza was one of my favorites. I thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity of this pizza and how you can taste the richness and goodness of the cheese. It was ooey, gooey and downright yummy!

Ice Cream Float
Out ice cream combined of your choice (I chose Virgil's Root Beer)

This was creamy and delicious. The restaurant uses good root beer and custard as their ice cream. It was extremely refreshing and you can have the option of using Stumptown cold press coffee if you so choose.

What's so great about this place are the variety of craft beers on tap, the speedy pizza and the quaintness of the place.  The Pizza Press is definitely something special and they must be doing something right since they're expanding throughout Orange County. They're planning on opening the Pizza Press in our neck of the woods in Pasadena but until gotta venture out to the O.C.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana
625 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
Tel: 626.765.9550
$$ ($15-$30)
Cuisine: Italian/Pizza
Sat, 09/05/2015, 5:00pm walk-in
    (3.5 Piglets)

Pizza is one of my favorite foods on the planet. Why? Delicate bread is layered with a rich, tangy tomato sauce and creamy mozzarella, topped with meat and vegetables to your liking. So when I'm craving a pizza, I can be very particular with its texture and taste.

Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana is one of those pizzerias that is on the food trend these days. The pizza is cooked in a wood burning oven with a cook time of approximately 60 seconds. They strive to create an authentic Napoli pizza with blackened char spots on the crust, a soft dough, and quality ingredients with some imported from Italy (i.e. the flour, the tomatoes, the prosciutto and the parmesan cheese).

The interior

Large bar countertop

Wood burning oven
PIZZA CARBONARA ($14.00): Crushed tomatoes, pacetta, egg, cracked pepper, parmigiano, mozzarella, basil, olio. This was a good pizza. The texture was great and the sauce was sweet with the perfect acidity. My only critique about this pizza was that I wish it had a fried egg instead of random cooked egg pieces on the pizza. There's something decadent about dipping pizza crust into a broken yolk...which I was hoping would happen with this pizza. 
MY FAVORITE DISH. SETTEBELLO ($14.00): Crushed tomatoes, pancetta, sausage, mushrooms, toasted pine nuts, mozzarella, basil, olio. The crust was still as good as the carbonara pizza with some spots of char on it. The pancetta gave a salty taste while the sausage gave a bit of substance. A nice touch were the toasted pine nuts. I never thought the nutty flavor of pine nuts on a pizza would taste so good. 
RUCOLA ($6.00): Arugula, lemon vinaigrette, and sea salt. This was a nice, refreshing salad without a lot of ingredients to hide the arugula. The acidity of the vinaigrette allowed the salad to shine through and cut through the richness of the pizza. This salad is a very good combination with the pizzas.

Overall, Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana is pretty good if you want a fast pizza without all the fuss. The restaurant has various locations throughout Southern California as well as Nevada and Utah. The crust is decent considering that the pizza is done in 60 seconds. I appreciate that they try to use quality ingredients and it can be tasted in each bite. If you're in Pasadena and want a quick bite, then this is a good option. 

Notable Dishes: Settebello Pizza

Sunday, September 6, 2015


2518 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Tel: 310.828.3300
$$ ($15-$30)
Cuisine: French
Sun, 08/30/2015, 11:00am walk-in
    (3.5 Piglets)

It was 11:00 am on a Sunday morning and I was dying for some food. A late night of cooking a French/Italian-themed dinner party had me craving for something delicious and staying within the realms of something French. Cadet is one of those restaurants that seemed to offer what I was looking for. I drove by the restaurant multiple times and always wondered what it was like and here was my opportunity to seize it.

Cadet seems to be a casual, yet trendy restaurant in Santa Monica. Exposed brick acts as a decor on the wall and if you look closely enough, there are remnants of elephant wallpaper acting as crown molding. The back patio is fairly spacious, romantic and can get you sweating on a hot summer day.

Kris Tominaga who had stints at the Hart and the Hunter is hired as chef for the restaurant. The biscuits at the Hart and the Hunter are probably one of the best in town, but essentially the Cadet biscuits fall short of being a 'major.' I guess when you have a taste of something already pretty darn good, it's hard to not compare the two, especially if the chef comes from the same restaurant. 

As I'm sitting and waiting for my food, behind is the loudest group of people on the planet. I had to nearly shout to get my conversation across to my friend. All the way at the end of the bar, I could hear the conversation going on with their party. Either the people who dine at this restaurant are really loud or the place just echoes of voices. 

Another section of the interior
Back patio
The menu and silverware
FOUR BARREL COFFEE ($3.50): A nice, strong coffee to start the morning. 
MY FAVORITE DISH. CREAM BISCUITS ($6.00): These little bad boys were piping hot. The cream complemented the biscuit with the tangy blackberry jam. The biscuit itself was sweet, buttery with a crisp exterior and a soft interior. Although its not nearly as good as the Hart and the Hunter biscuits, I believe its the best item on the menu. 
The interior of the biscuit with all the trimmings
WOOD GRILLED BAVETTE STEAK AND EGGS ($20.00): Watercress, Tomato, Herb Vinaigrette. The steak was ordered to a medium-rare and it was definitely cooked to a medium-well...which was quite unfortunate. The chimichurri sauce that came with the steak was decent, but wasn't my favorite. I enjoyed the watercress salad to give a freshness to the already hearty dish. The eggs were at least cooked perfectly. 
DUTCH PANCAKE ($15.00): Berries, Lemon, Honey, Creme Fraiche. I appreciated this dish, but it wasn't amazing in my opinion. It was sweet and the pancake was cooked perfectly, but I felt the dish was missing something. I liked the creaminess from the creme fraiche and the peaches were a little on the crunchier end. I enjoyed the presentation and the thyme was a nice touch. I think it's still worth a try.
RICOTTA CAKE AND BLACKBERRIES ($8.00): Mint Ice Cream, Cocoa Nib Nougatine. So all the ingredients were pretty good, but together, I wasn't a fan. They used the real mint ice cream that is similar to the Sweet Rose Creamery fresh mint ice cream. The ricotta cake was soft and moist. The blackberries gave an acidic factor and the nougatine a bit of crunch. It just simply wasn't a cohesive dish all together. I think the mint ice cream overpowered the dish. 

Overall, Cadet is a decent place to get some brunch on the Westside if you're looking for a place that isn't overwhelming with brunch options. The menu is simple and pretty straight forward. I wouldn't say the restaurant is French per se, but I would say they at least attempt to do so. Trendy...yes! Decor...pretty darn cute! The'll do. 

Notable dishes: Cream Biscuits