Sunday, January 29, 2017


184 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Tel: 310.402.5885
Cuisine: American
$$$ ($30-$45)
Sat, 01/21/2017, 8:00pm reservation
  (2 Piglets)

So there is this fairly new restaurant in town known as Citizen. Located right next to Wolfgang Puck's Spago, Citizen delivers shared plates focused on a seasonal menu capturing the essence of comfort food. Unfortunately, the restaurant fails to deliver on taste and comfort that I was so hoping to experience. 

The interior is rustic with a touch of that Beverly Hills essence. The bar is lovely with a nice cocktail menu by Josh Goldman. There is an open-air patio/lounge in front of the restaurant where customers can dine with an annoyingly awkward dj playing music that doesn't match the vibe. 
The Bar
The dj
The interior

Upon arrival (we arrived promptly at 8:00pm), we were told they were running 15 minutes late. Ok, sure. No problem. My friends and I could just grab a drink at the bar. As we waited and waited, no one came to inform us of the situation with our table. Thirty minutes later we say something to the hostess where we were told it'll be another 5 more minutes. Forty-five minutes later we say something again to the hostess where it'll be another 5 more minutes. This kept going on and on until I get up and say something. One hour later we were finally seated along with our cold and disarrayed appetizers (yes, they managed to mess up our appetizers as well). 

The woman who seemed to be the manager tried to remedy the situation, but by that point, we were all so hangry that nothing mattered anymore. We wanted food and we wanted it to be good. And well, some were and some were not. 

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS ($10.00): Chipotle Maple Syrup, Pimento Cheese. So this was an appetizer we had ordered at the bar and unfortunately, it was super cold. The chipotle syrup was pretty good with a hint of heat to counteract the denseness of the biscuit. Overall, I was expecting a flaky and warm biscuit and instead, I got a cold and dense biscuit. For $10 for only two biscuits, I expect a little bit more of a pzazz. 
BRUSSELS SPROUTS ($12.00): Sweet and Sour, Almonds, Pomegranate, Pecorino. We actually ordered this dish at the bar, and they had brought out the wrong dish. It took them a good 15 minutes before they could bring the correct dish out to us. Additionally, I thought this dish was ok. The brussels were cooked perfectly, but the dressings that came with it just felt like other brussels sprout dishes I've had at other restaurants. 

MY FAVORITE DISH. MUSSELS ($18.00): Coconut Milk, Red Curry, Lime. Out of all the dishes I tasted, this was my favorite. It was packed with flavor from the red curry and coconut milk making it a Thai-influenced dish. The mussels were cooked well. I just wish there was more broth and served with a piece of grilled bread to soak it in. 
MAINE SCALLOPS ($21.00): Chanterelle Mushrooms, Cauliflower Puree, Red Wine. This dish was just ok for me. I thought the scallops were cooked perfectly and I liked the cauliflower puree, but there was nothing special to it. 
SMOKED SHORT RIB ($19.00): Cider Jus, Celery Root, Swiss Chard. This was my second favorite dish. There was tons of flavor and the short rib just melted in my mouth. It was cooked perfectly and the swiss chard was needed to cut through the fat. 
CRISPY JIDORI CHICKEN ($26.00): Orzo Mac and Cheese, Smoked Gouda, Calabrian Chilis. This dish has potential to be something great, but it just missed the mark. The chicken was crispy but dry. The orzo mac and cheese is definitely different. I initially didn't like it but as I kept giving it time, it grew on me. The texture is like risotto but with a bit more of a bite mixed with a creamy cheese sauce. Interesting but in a good way. 
VALRHONA CHOCOLATE POT DE CREME ($10.00): Espresso Creme, Chocolate Pearls. This dessert was actually rich and creamy. It had a hint of coffee flavor from the cream and I liked the pearls to give it crunch and texture that it needed. If you like chocolate, you'd probably like this dish. 
What makes a good restaurant is not only the food, but the service, the people, and the atmosphere. Citizen has potential, but it definitely needs some work. The restaurant didn't seem like an ideal place to have a live dj, especially with the type of customers that were dining. The staff needs to be better about accommodating those who make reservations and be able to deliver. If they can't, then what's the point of making a reservation? Additionally, the food has to be on point. I don't need to be served cold food or something that lacks creativity. I like food that's tasty and served hot. Would I come back here? Honestly, I wouldn't go out of my way to Beverly Hills to eat at this restaurant when there are so many others to try. 

Notable Dishes: Mussels and Short Rib

Sunday, January 22, 2017


6600 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Tel: 323.946.7500
Cuisine: New American/Steakhouse
$$$$ (over $50+)
Sat, 01/14/2017, 8:30pm reservation
   (3 Piglets)

I was a fan of Curtis Stone's first restaurant Maude. The concept of that restaurant was interesting and the food was delicious (although it has been going downhill in my opinion since changing chefs). When I heard he opened a new restaurant, I knew I had to check it out. As painful as it is to say this, his new restaurant fails to deliver on food, service, and attention to detail. 

Gwen is located on the border of Hollywood and the city of Los Angeles. His new restaurant Gwen consists of a butcher shop and serves only a prix fixe menu similar to Maude (with a lot less courses served). When the hostess called to confirm my reservation, she was a bit rude and unfriendly. Ok, so I thought maybe she had a bad day and maybe the reviews about the restaurant as of late have been jaded. Regardless I was still hopeful. 

We arrived promptly at 8:30pm and were greeted by Luke Stone (Curtis' brother). The interior was lovely and classic with a touch of sophistication. The butcher shop is a beauty in itself with gorgeous cuts of meat on display for purchase.

Meat Display

Meat Display

Upon arrival, we were told it would be a few minutes before our table would be ready and we could wait at the bar. After being escorted to our table, we waited 30 minutes for the drink that we had ordered at the bar to be delivered. Apparently, it takes 30 minutes to open and pour a glass of wine. Furthermore, they also threw out our drink thinking we no longer wanted it since we were not actually present at the bar. Then the menu came and we upgraded to a bone-in ribeye for a supplemental fee of $75 in addition to the $95 for the prix fixe menu. Unfortunately, you are not served the meat dish that would've been served in the $95 prix fixe menu which I think is ludicrous. Isn't an additional $75 mean that it should be an additional dish?! And, it took another 30 minutes to actually receive our first course of food. So I guess you should expect to wait an hour to actually eat after being escorted to your table...

FIRST COURSE. The charcuterie plate was actually pretty good. I loved the cured meats and the chorizo tartare spread was the best thing on the plate. It was a bit spicy and smokey, but not overpowering. This was a good start to the meal. 

SECOND COURSE.  The second course was ok. My company actually thought it was pretty disgusting and couldn't even eat it (he has a good palate). I thought it lacked acidity and balance. The dish could be much improved.
 THIRD COURSE: The pasta course consisted of agnolotti.  I actually thought it was pretty interesting but in a good way. I've had way better agnolotti at other restaurants, but I thought the pasta was cooked perfectly. 
MY FAVORITE DISH. FOURTH COURSE: The bone in ribeye was actually really good. It was my favorite dish of the night. It was cooked perfectly to a medium-rare (surprised they didn't ask how we wanted our meat cooked). It had a good amount of flavor and a good balance of meat and fat. This was the highlight and it should very well be since this restaurant does contain a butcher shop. 

The sides that came with the ribeye. The cauliflower was the best one...
Palate cleanser: Cucumber sorbet. Yes, it was weird, but not bad. It was good cause it wasn't as tart as I would've expected. 

FIFTH COURSE: The dessert was actually really good. It was up on being one of the best dishes of the night. It had great texture with crunch and creaminess with just the right amount of chocolate without being overly sweet. The passion fruit was a bit too tart and kinda overwhelmed the dish a bit. 
Overall, Gwen is a disappointment. For a Saturday night, the restaurant wasn't as packed as I thought it would be. The service was pretty horrific. The food lacked the elegance and balance that should be delivered for a prix fixe menu. The only saving grace was the meat having been the best part of the meal as expected. A better idea for the restaurant would've been to remove the prix fixe menu (since most of the dishes were not amazing) and to make the meat the star of the restaurant with the ability to order a la carte. Also, there was confusion with our bill having been overcharged for drinks we didn't order. For over $400, the experience should be stunning, the food should be delicious and the service should be impeccable and unfortunately, Gwen failed to deliver on all three points. 

Notable dishes: Bone-in Rib Eye and Dessert

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong
5171 Beach Blvd
Buena Park, CA 90621
Tel: 714.739.9678
Cuisine: Korean BBQ
$$$ ($30-$45)
Sat, 12/31/2016, 11:00am walk-in
     (4.5 Piglets)

Korean BBQ is one of my favorites to eat. Yeah, you smell like it after walking out, but every bite of good Korean BBQ is worth it, especially if the meat is delicious.

Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong is one of those joints that serves high quality meat. It isn't the usual all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ that so many peeps take advantage of; it's an a-la-carte place. The meats range from the usual thin sliced brisket to the more adventurous beef tongue. The marbleization on the meat is seen throughout the delicious cuts of beef. For that reason, this is what makes this place legitimately good!

Banchan and grill
The grill with cheesy corn, vegetables, and egg
MY FAVORITE. PRIME BONELESS SHORT RIB ($37.00). This meat is the shiz of all Korean BBQ meats in my opinion. The meat is beautifully marbleized, creating a juicy and moist melt-in-your-mouth piece of meat. I loved this piece of meat and really, you have to order it! 

The short rib...look at that fat before its cooked! 

And the cooked meat...mmmm. 
PRIME RIB EYE ($36.99): The quality of this meat was really good, but I didn't love it as much as the short rib. Maybe I just like fat more cause this meat didn't have as much marble of fat as the short rib. If you like a good steak that isn't fatty, this is the one to order. 
The cooked rib eye
SEASONED PRIME BONELESS SHORT RIB ($35.99): This was just as good as the original prime boneless short rib. The seasoning was really good, slightly sweet and savory. It's worth ordering. I just preferred the original cause I like to taste the quality of the meat. 

The cooked seasonsed short rib 
BEEF BRISKET SOYBEAN PASTE STEW ($8.99): The beef brisket soybean paste stew was delicious. There was so much of the salty soybean flavor that I love. It had tofu and onions and yummy brisket. It's different than other 
LUNCHBOX ($7.99): This is yummy. I totally needed rice with all the meat we ordered, and this totally did the job. It's basically kimchi fried rice with egg and nori all mixed up into one delicious box. It's worth ordering if you like kimchi fried rice. 
Look at the melted cheese on the cheesy corn. Soooo good!! 
The cooked egg was delicious. It wasn't overcooked, which I love. 
Overall, Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong is pretty darn good. Yes, it is pretty pricey, but you totally get what you pay for. They cook the meat for you and the quality of the meat does not even compare to those from AYCE Korean BBQ spots. I loved the little sides that cook on the grill as you cook on the meat. They don't have the rice paper that I usually use to wrap with the meat to make my little Korean BBQ taco, so it was a bit disappointing. This place can get packed, so arrive early or wait. 

Notable Dishes: Prime Boneless Short Rib and Seasoned Boneless Short Rib

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Ihwamun Ice Cream
333 S. Alameda St. Ste 103
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Tel: 213.537.0380
Cuisine: Dessert/Ice Cream
$ (under $15)
Sun, 12/18/2016, 2:30pm walk-in
     (5 Piglets)

Whenever I come across an ice cream shop, I get really excited. I love eating ice cream and when I see one that is unique, then I know I have to try it. I wasn't sure what Ihwamun Ice Cream was when coming across it, but it didn't matter. I wanted to taste it and see what this shop was made of. 

Ihwamun Ice Cream is a Korean ice cream shop using high quality ingredients made fresh right in the store. The dairy is organic and the flavors range from classic flavors like chocolate to Korean flavors like Choco Pie and Injeolmi. 

The menu
Price and Flavors
DOUBLE ($6.00): Injeolmi and Malted Milk Ball. The injeolmi was actually pretty good. There were pieces of the Korean rice cake in the ice cream. It was creamy and not overly sweet. The ice cream that stole me was the malted milk ball. It's basically Ovaltine ice cream with bits of chocolate in it. It was so freakin delicious that I had to get a pint to take home. It seriously is one of the best ice cream flavors I've ever eaten. 
Overall, Ihwamun Ice Cream is excellent. It has flavors that you're accustomed to and introduces you to Korean flavors that are interpreted into ice cream. I appreciate that they use organic ingredients to conjure up their ice cream as well as making fresh batches of ice cream on site. I just wish there was one closer to the Westside so I could eat it all the time (or maybe it's a good thing that it isn't so year's resolution is to eat 

Notable Flavors: Malted Milk Ball