I had a total, “oh crap,” mea culpa moment the other morning at Urth Caffe. Just take a look at the receipt and please weep with (or for) me. I just spent a whopping $26 on breakfast. Twenty six dollars! Seriously, who spends that much on breakfast FOR ONE, right? I’m convinced that an Alien came down and temporarily took over my body when I was making my order.
Well, an Alien or not, the mistake was made. And while the Nicoise Salad with smoked salmon nestled in lightly dressed bib lettuce was satisfying, it wasn’t worth as nearly as much in my opinion and I’m still regretting that I splurged so much on something I thought was mediocre, at best.
As I was walking away from the cash register feeling defeated, and with a significantly lighter wallet, I told myself that I will not be returning to Urth Caffe for a while. I still love this place but it was time for me to reevaluate my spending. As I was saying this to myself, a barista brought over my Moroccan Tea Latte with this foam art …
OMG, this is unreal. This has to be the cutest foam art I’ve ever seen. I’m convinced that Urth has some sort of technology where it detects customers that’s thinking about parting and lure them back with this cute-as-a-button puppy drink.
Darn you, Urth, darn youuuuuu!
Yes, I will be back next week.
This place needs no introduction.
Moscow Mule, quite a departure from our usual wine.
Oysters, of course, and Pâté de Campagne.
Steak Frites (for me) and I think this was Sole Meuniere (for Maya).
Flan and Beignets.
Then we were off to watch Britney like a pair of teenagers!
At the Venetian
You know you’re in Vegas when Mario Batali is more powerful than Caesar himself. Seriously, look at this! You turn a corner and there he is, waiting for you, with a pair of his orange Crocs!
Good thing that all his restaurants are pretty legit; otherwise Maya and I would be picking up an overpriced Chinese food at a food court at some sorry mall. And this place lived up to the reputation of Babbo of the West.
Appetizers: Complimentary chickpeas on toast, Warm Lamb’s Tongue, and Grilled Octopus.
Main Course: Seafood pasta and roasted Brussel sprouts
Dessert: Spiced Almond “Tronchetto”and I forgot the name of the other one 😛
At the Venetian
When I was organizing my photo album, I came across a bunch of photos from BFF Maya and my Las Vegas adventure, which took place … wait for it … wait for it … in October 2015!
It’s been more than five months since our trip to the Sin City, but I decided to post them here anyway!
These are the food photos from Chef Daniel Boulud‘s db Brasserie at the Venetian, where we stayed. We ate here the night before during the Happy Hour, and we had such a wonderful experience that we decided to come back for brunch the following day.
Unfortunately, the dining experience the next day was night and day compared to the one we received the night before. 😦 Let’s just say that we wished we went somewhere else for brunch that day so we could have remembered this place fondly in our hearts.
Here’s what we ate: Charcuterie Board; Provencal Caesar Salad; Moulees Mariniere (for me); and Crispy Duck Confit Hash (for Maya).
A lesson learned: A variety is the key to life.
db Brasserie by Daniel Boulud
At the Venetian
What happens in Vegas doesn’t really stay in Vegas.
I usually don’t have any remorse over things that happen in Vegas. Even if I lose a few bucks gambling, or went a little overboard shopping, I’m over it by the end of the trip. But I can’t get over when I overpay for a meal … and Giada De Laurenttis’ signature restaurant, Giada, inside The Cromwell is one hand I totally regret.
I must admit that the food was pretty decent. I won’t say it’s a four star restaurant but the plate of Gnocchi with tomato sauce was simple but flavorful, and the Eggplant Lasagna had the wonderful combination of rich and cheesy flavors. The Spinach and Ricotta pizza was mediocre, at best, but what doesn’t taste good if it’s washed down with a glass of fruity Sangaria?
I think the restaurant perfectly represents Giada herself, or the way I feel about her: It’s gorgeous and there’s no denying that this place has an impeccable taste, but it’s not interesting enough for me to return, especially with the outrageous price tag that’s attached to it. Yes, you’re good but you’re no Mario Batali or even Bobby Flay.
Think: Overpriced California Pizza Kitchen, with below average service. But it does have a nice view overlooking the Vegas strip.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day … and congratulations to all the Los Angeles Marathon finishers today!
At The Cromwell
3595 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Once in a while, I get hit with an intense craving for some nice, juicy gyoza. I like dim sums too but there’s a special place in my stomach for the Japanese-style dumplings.
Today was one of those days so we drove to Benitora in Sawtelle Japantown to satisfy my raging urges. I was tempted to veer off from the original plan and go with the white sesame dan dan tsuke men (ramen with dipping sauce) when I saw the mouth-watering photo on the menu, but I stayed strong and stuck to my initial instinct and devoured Benitoro Big Gyzoa … I was happy with the decision.
2002 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Amazing pasta! I think you can skip the pizza, but dessert is a must!
15500 South Broadway Street, Gardena, CA 90248
Kevin and I watched Entourage (movie) earlier this summer. We used to be into the HBO show, aka Sex and the City for men, at one point in our lives but we lost interest at around Season 4 and we stopped watching it altogether.
We went to the movie anyway because we had gift certificates to iPic Theatre in Old Town Pasadena and it seemed like this was the kind of movie that we can watch care free, like, if we fall a sleep, we don’t have to kick ourselves afterward. The movie didn’t receive a raving review from the critic but I thought it was fun, and it was a nice way to catch up with our old buddies on the silver screen. It was also nice to see a cameo appearance by the Los Angeles Kings players, although I suspect that noone but Kings fans recognized them.
After we watched the film, Kevin and I decided to catch up on the rest of the TV show, so we purchased the remaining seasons on Amazon Prime and binge watched all the episodes that we had missed (which, by the way, became available for free on Amazon Prime Instant Video only a few weeks after we paid a pretty penny for each missed season. )
One thing I noticed while salivating over Ari’s super hotness was how much those boys loved Urth Café! They frequented this organic coffee and tea house so much that it should have been the fifth character in the show. Well, the product placement totally worked because I’ve made a trip or two (well, four, but who’s counting?) to its Pasadena location in the last few months alone. Here are the pictures from my last outing — Green Tea Latte and Egg Salmone.
And here are some from the other outing:
Darn you boys! This place is amazing but it ain’t cheap!
The surest way to get me out of bed before noon on the weekend is for my husband to yell, “Bea Bea’s!” from the other room. I don’t usually see a day light until well past 10:00 a.m., (Saturday and Sunday are my days off from the toddler) but with those two magical words, I’m up, dressed, and ready to go. Time is crucial since the only way to get a table at this super popular breakfast / lunch joint in Burbank without having to wait five hours is if we get there before 9:00 a.m.
The food there is worth it, especially the yummy smoked salmon plate. And I can always go back to bed. And I did.
Here’s Kevin’s Sicilian Omelet with corned beef, pastrami, mushrooms, basil, tomato, and parmesan cheese.
Hands down the best dining experience of our trip.
We had dinner at Villard Michel Richard at the New York Place, where we stayed. I selected the Frix Fixe menu, reasonably priced at $48. It started with this refreshing Yellow Tomato Gazpacho with Burrata which was to die for. I seriously wanted to order another one because I couldn’t get enough.
And it was followed by perfectly seared Scallops with English peas, radish, carrot-ginger sauce. I seldom order scallops but these were a winner.
Maya had a plate of juicy Filet Mignon.
And ended with Celebration Cake.
I heart you, NYC, and thanks for another amazing visit. I’ll be back again real soon.
Here’s the full list of my top 10 moments:
- Dinner at Villard Michel Richard
- Lunch at Babbo
- Picnic at Central Park
- Serendipity 3
- Lunch at Balthazar
- Grand Central Oyster Bar
- Gahm Mi Oak
- Dominique Ansel Bakery
- La Vie at JFK
- Bryant Park at night