Friday, October 28, 2016


Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres
SLS Hotel
2535 S. Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Bazaar Meat
Tel: 702.761.7610
Cuisine: Spanish/Tapas
$$$$ ($50+)
Sat, 10/15/2016, 8:30pm reservation
     (4.5 Piglets)

I've been to the Bazaar here in Los Angeles and the place is actually pretty darn good. So when I heard that there was a Bazaar Meat in Las Vegas, I knew I had to try it. 

Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres is located in the SLS Hotel conjoining a bar/nightclub, which I thought was pretty weird. Upon entering, you are greeted by the hostess and a pretty large bar behind them where you can order from their bar menu or their regular menu. There is an open kitchen with a fairly large dining area with "interesting" decor. A display of meats both fresh and curing are displayed at the restaurant. We ended up getting the prix fixe menu for $100 so we can try a bit of everything...

The bar
The meats
The kitchen
The menu
COURSE ONE: SUPER GIANT PORK SKIN CHICHARRON: Greek Yogurt, Za'atar Spices. I mean, who doesn't love chicharron?! I thought this was delicious but a tad bit over-seasoned. Don't get me wrong, I love salt but too much salt overpowers everything. At least the Greek yogurt helped mellow out the salt. 
COURSE TWO: FERRAN ADRIA OLIVES, MODERN AND TRADITIONAL. Gordal Olives Stuffed with Piquillo Pepper and Anchovy. This was a good olive dish. I thought it was pretty simple, so nothing too special about it. 

COURSE TWO: FERRAN ADRIA OLIVES, MODERN AND TRADITIONAL: Liquid Green Olives. This is molecular gastronomy at its best. Imagine a big popping boba but with olives instead. This is what you get. It was good, complicated and interesting. You can get these at the Los Angeles location. 
COURSE THREE: BAGEL AND LOX CONE: Dill Cream Cheese, Salmon Roe. This was probably my least favorite dish out of all the courses. Don't get me wrong, it was tasty but it was a little too fishy for my liking. The cone itself was deliciously crunchy. 
COURSE FOUR: CROQUETAS DE POLLO: Chicken-Bechamel Fritters. This was one of my favorites. I loved the exterior being super crispy. Inside, it was warm creamy goodness that was perfectly balanced. And who doesn't love the presentation in a glass shoe? 
COURSE FIVE: BEEF AND PARMESAN GRISSINI:  Washagyu Beef, Espuma, Caramelized Onion Puree. I loved this dish as well. It was a crispy breadstick wrapped with some beef carpaccio. I thought it was a little salty but with the sauce, which is similar to the sauce provided with the chicharonne, it mellowed things out. 

A closer look at the beef
MY FAVORITE DISH. COURSE SIX: CHATEAUBRIAND, TENDERLOIN, BRNADT BEEF, CA, HOLSTEIN: Perigord Sauce, Pomme Souffle. How can you not love this beautiful delicate piece of steak?! It's extremely moist and full of flavor. I loved that it was more on the rare side because I feel it packs in more flavor of the meat. It came with a sauce but it was actually good as is. 
COURSE SEVEN: ROBOUCHON POTOATOES: Butter, butter, more butter, Some potatoes. If you love butter and mashed potatoes, this is the dish for you. It is freakin a butter load on a few potatoes. It was rich and creamy and you can probably only have a small amount. I loved it. 
COURSE EIGHT: GRILLED ASPARAGUS: Romesco Sauce. I loved the asparagus. It was nice and tender with a slight crisp to them. The romesco sauce was just ok for me. I prefer if it had more of a tomato sauce to it. 
COURSE NINE: DESSERTS: Cream Puffs, Assorted Tarts, Little Cakes. I thought the desserts were delicious. I didn't think that there were any cakes, which I was disappointed about since it was listed on the menu. The tart was one of my favorites. The only thing is, you have to cut it in half and share it with another person. You don't get your own one, which I thought was kinda hard to do. Seriously, at this point it was a huge deal breaker since I was full by then. 
Overall, I thought Bazaar Meats was pretty darn good. I appreciated that there was a prix fixe menu because the menu was fairly large which can be a bit overwhelming. I was able to try the dishes I wanted to try. The service was pretty good. I didn't like that we had to wait well beyond our reservation and they were about to seat walk-ins who came in after us. Other than that, this is a good option if you want to dine a bit off the strip. 

Notable Dishes: Chateaubriand Tenderloin and Robouchon Potatoes

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Mesa Grill
Caesars Palace
3570 Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Mesa Grill
Tel: 877.346.4642
Cuisine: Southwestern
$$$ ($30-$45)
Fri, 10/14/2016, 10:00pm reservation
    (4 Piglets)

Growing up, I've always been a huge fan of the food network. From Emeril to Ina, I loved the majority of the food network stars. One of the stars, Bobby Flay actually has a restaurant located at Caesars Palace known as Mesa Grill. It is a restaurant that serves Southwestern cuisine, a style that he learned from Jonathan Waxman. After successfully opening in NYC, Mesa Grill expanded to Las Vegas in 2004. 

Located right next to the Omnia nightclub, Mesa Grill is a fairly large restaurant. A glass window allows diners to peak into the kitchen. The seats are comfortable and the decor resembles something slightly fancy but with bright colors that are representative of the Southwest. 

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WHITE PEACH MARGARITA: This drink was delicious and made from scratch...none of that margarita mix crap. It was a bit strong and after a few sips, I could already feel the alcohol working (although I am bit of a light weight). It was yummy nonetheless. 
Complimentary Bread
TIGER SHRIMP ROASTED GARLIC CORN TAMALE ($19.00): Corn, Cilantro Sauce. This was a delicious dish and apparently, one of Flay's signature dishes. I love corn and it's one of my favorite vegetables. The sauce was creamy and the tamale was awesome. The texture of the shrimp was succulent and perfectly cooked. A really superb dish. 
MY FAVORITE DISH. NEW MEXICAN SPICE RUBBED PORK TENDERLOIN ($37.00): Bourbon, Ancho Chile Sauce, Sweet Potato Tamale with Crushed Pecan Butter. OMG! Can you say tender?! The pork was super moist and juicy which is something hard to find. The tamale was sweet and the ancho chile sauce was a bit smokey. Together, it was a perfectly cohesive dish. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
MANGO + SPICE CRUSTED TUNA STEAK ($38.00): Green Peppercorn, Green Chile Sauce, Toasted Pine Nut Cous Cous. This tuna steak was actually pretty amazing. It was delicate and flaky and the sauce went well with the fish. The cous cous was cooked perfectly and altogether, it was a yummy dish. 
Overall, Mesa Grill is a really good restaurant. I wouldn't say it was one of my favorites in Vegas, but I wouldn't mind going back if I couldn't think of a place to eat. The flavors were pretty strong and if you're not a fan of sauce, this isn't the place for you. Bold flavors and perfectly cooked food is what you get at Mesa Grill. Go Bobby Flay!

Notable Dishes: Tiger Shrimp Roasted Corn Tamale and Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Friday, October 21, 2016


Churned Creamery
2493 Park Avenue
Tustin, CA 92782
Churned Creamery
Tel: 714.203.5226
Cuisine: Ice Cream
$ (under $15)
Sun, 10/09/2016, 1:00pm walk-in
     (4.5 Piglets)

I love ice cream. I'd like to think that i'm an ice cream aficionado. I know what tastes good, what good ice cream texture should be like, and what is needed to satisfy an ice cream lover's cravings. Luckily, there is a place like Churned Creamery that falls in the really good-amazing category. 

Churned Creamery is located in Tustin in what seems to be similar to the Anaheim Packing District. The kiosk is small and churns traditional flavors to interesting ones, hence the name. Everything is fresh, including one of their signature desserts: the croissant ice cream sandwich. 

The interior

The menu

The flavors

SINGLE ICE CREAM WITH TAHITIAN CONE ($4.00 + $1.00 FOR CONE): Nutella. This was absolutely delicious. The ice cream was creamy and not too dense. The nutella flavor was very prominent in the ice cream, which is hard to find. The cone is delicious with a nice and subtle vanilla flavor. It's worth spending the extra $1.00 for it! 

Fresh croissants

MY FAVORITE DISH. CROCREAM ($5.00). This is so freakin good! Who doesn't like a croissant that is super flaky and buttery that is filled with ice cream of your choice? Seriously, what a great concoction! We got chocolate and it went perfectly with the croissant. 
Overall, this place is pretty darn good. I love the fact that you can see the ice cream being churned right in front of you. The ice cream is super fresh and creamy, without being overly dense and heavy. It's something I definitely appreciate. An abundance of flavors are available at the kiosk and outdoor as well as indoor seating is available. If I'm just chillin' around Tustin, I'd definitely hit up this place. 

Notable Dishes: Crocream and Tahitian Cone

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


North Italia
2957 Michelson Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
North Italia
Tel: 949.629.7060
Cuisine: Italian
$$ ($15-$30)
Sun, 10/09/2016, 11:30am reservation
     (4.5 Piglets)

I remember a time when this place used to be California Pizza Kitchen during my college days in Irvine. In fact, the complex has been totally revamped with new hip and up and coming restaurants(including the soon to be Lady M Boutique). It's a fairly busy place with tons of parking throughout. 

North Italia is actually a reasonably large restaurant. The interior is rustic, with a simple and casual feel to it. There is a sizeable bar area for those who would want to grab a quick bite and a drink. 

Now onto the's all made from scratch with a modern Italian flare. Their pizzas and pastas are delicious and well, see for yourself below...

The bar area

The interior
BOLOGNESE (HOUSE SPECIALTY-$19.00): Traditional meat sauce, Tagliatelle Noodle and Grana Padano Cheese. I actually really loved this dish. I thought it had a lot of flavor put into this meat sauce. It felt like it was cooked for many hours and the flavor was on point: rich, hearty, and filling. I think this is a must order if you like red sauce. 
CHICKEN PESTO ($17.00): Gigli Pasta, Toasted Pine Nut, Crispy Caper. This was delicious. The pesto coated the pasta really well. It didn't taste too heavy and there was a bit of a lemony flavor to the pasta. Good dish overall. 

MY FAVORITE DISH. SQUID INK MAFALDINE ($22.00): White Shrimp, Calamari, Acqua Pazza, Mint, Fennel Pollen, Calabrian Chili. Ok, so when it comes to seafood pasta, I'm extremely picky. I don't like the pasta to be too fishy or "seafoody" if that makes any sense. I loved this pasta. It wasn't fishy at all! It had a bit of spice from the chili and the pasta was perfectly al dente. The sauce was a light tomato sauce and everything was perfect. Definitely order this if you love seafood. 

SHORT RIB RADIATORI ($21.00): Parmesean Cream, Fresh Horseradish, Wilted Arugula, Herbed Breadcrumb. This was actually not as heavy as I thought it would be. The cream sauce was on the lighter end. The short rib was actually nice and tender. If you like cream sauce and meat, you'll love this dish. 
THE PIG ($17.00): Spicy Pepperoni, Soppressata, Italian Sausage. The pizza was actually pretty darn good. The crust was thin but held up well to the toppings. The sausage gave the pizza a little kick. I loved the tomato sauce that went with the pizza: slightly sweet and robust. A pretty good pizza overall. 
SHORT RIB HASH ($16.00): Sweet Onion, Roasted Pepper, Two Fried Eggs, Grilled Bread. This was pretty good. The ash with potatoes were delish and the eggs were perfectly fried. Together, they tasted amazing but apart, they were just good. I thought the bread was a little too dry. 
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed North Italia. The food was on point with balanced flavors throughout each pasta dish. There is a private room at the Irvine location that seems to be a good spot to hold a small gathering. There are multiple locations throughout the US and one other location in El Segundo. It can get pretty busy so reservations are recommended. 

Notable Dishes: Squid Ink Malfadine, Bolognese, and Short Rib Radiatori