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Mister O's

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Mister O's

It's been a long time anticipating a new restaurant by Michael Cardenas, but he finally resurfaced with something not just expectedly great, but something so unique, extremely thought out, and a concept that's excitingly fresh to the way we dine out.

disclaimer: I'm getting used to a new camera I just got so please excuse the lack of clarity in some photos.

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1838 Ventura Blvd. Studio City, CA.

Be ready for a surprise as you find the Palm Spring essence on the exterior of the restaurant. 

As you walk in you will be immediately hit with a 1960's Mad Men era. There's an array of beautiful colors plotted all around the restaurant. From different figurines on the shelves to different colored furniture. Each with it's on personality and funk to contribute to this space.

There's also a cozy fire pit outside for you to enjoy during a warm summer night or a chilly winter hibernation that screams for a good ole old fashioned (or two). 

Their cocktails are no joke. Through a lot of crafting and testing before the grand opening, the full menu for Mister O's will not fall short from your expectations. The 2 you see above is Trade Secret and the Maize runner. Not shown is the old fashioned. All great contenders for an evening of debauchery.

Marinated olives are a must order even if you hate olives. John hate olives and almost everything, but he loved these. The olives are not briny or salty so it becomes a great snack without the guilt. When I have a few drinks I tend to feel bloated the next day from all the salty foods I consume so this is delightful to have.

Fierce avocado. This is basically a guac topped with salt cod served with seeded cracker. The salt cod mixed with the avocado gave a feeling of ceviche. It was fresh and a great dish for the season.

Clams with anaheim chili, dill butter, pernod, and bacalao broth. This had so many flavors, but never have I tasted something like this especially with clams. It was really good and wished I had some bread to soak up that delicious broth!

Cauliflower with smoked raisins, mustard frill, sunflower, and seed puree. If you love cauliflower, you will love this. John's normally not a huge fan of cauliflower, but he really liked this as well. Another thing you should know is they are really prized in their vegetable dishes. I like the idea of a restaurant doing more with vegetables. Not just by giving more options on the menu, but making them sexy which a lot of places fail at.

Shigoku oysters with blistered shishito, burnt chili negro, dill dashi mignonette. Citrus, sweet, and a little kick to make this a one bite wonder. Don't forget to squeeze the caramelized onion.

Can Can. This isn't officially on the menu because it's limited. If you've watched my Instagram stories lately you will know that I've been eating pork belly almost every day. This pork can can has the belly connected to the tissue. Imagine that and being cooked slowly until tender... then deep frying it till crispy? topped with a sweet and sour relish with savory beans. I forgot to ask, but this almost felt like a cuban fusion. A must order.

Sea Bass with chanterelles, corn, spigarello, and lemon verbena. A delicate fish with different supporting roles. The chanterelles were meaty and tart mixed with the sweetness of the corns really added flavor to the delicate fish. The skin was crispy all the way through, very impressive.

Tootsie roll. A luxorious fudge bar topped with hazelnuts, figs, and a sea salt cream. 

Panna cotta with guava puree. Ok I don't remember the exact name of this, but it's all of that. That's a cake on top of the guava puree topped with whipped cream. Very delicious! The guava speaks volume and does not lack and flavor. 

Don't worry, John and I pretty much cleaned our plates. Ended the night with 2 hot coffees for the ride back to SGV.

I wished it was closer to me, but I would say it's worth the trip. The food, the service, and the ambiance are definitely worth dressing up for. Now... need to find out if I can smoke a cigar in the patio. You will see me very soon Mister O's!

 

 

 

 

 

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CHAYA Izakaya - Venice

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CHAYA Izakaya - Venice

A concept that has been in the making is now available for you to experience. I hold Izakaya very dear to my heart as I've worked in one for 3.5 years inspiring me to travel to Japan now twice. Izakaya is a very unique experience that is rooted deep in the Japanese culture. Feel free to ask the staff on how to truly experience the Izakaya dining ways. I like to see it as a Japanese tapas bar. You order drinks and a few dishes to accompany the conversations. Repeat this and you're good.

Here are some captures of the night.

Let's talk sake. There are plenty to choose from here. Pick from your Junmais and Daiginjo, they have it all. 

I enjoy sake, but I'm always an old fashion type of gal. I love this cocktail, but I've never had it with Japanese whiskey. They were making this with Toki by Suntory. I am pretty shocked how well balanced this came out to be. There was a nice balance of sweet and smokiness from the Toki which I've never picked up when drinking it neat or on the rocks. This will be my new whiskey of choice for old fashioned.

 

Oysters are life. These are 1/2 shells with a granita on top. Extremely refreshing and a wonderful play on the palate. 

Snapper on "daikon rice". 

Tsukune.

Beef tongue with kimchi.

Wagyu Chazuke - This is luxury at its finest. A dab of brocollini puree, crispy rice and luscious mentaiko butter topped off with a fresh pour of their savory dashi tea. Ochazuke is normally comforting. This is pure guilt on how good it is.

Tequila ramen. Yes there really is tequila in this ramen. Don't worry, you don't taste tequila, but tequila naturally has citrus notes which comes through in the broth. When I was in Japan I had a lot of fresh yuzu ramen. The citrus from the tequila reminded me of that. I hated myself after thinking about how clever this was.

Amazing Chef Wako doing his thing.

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Chef Yukou Kajino putting in last touches before the hungry crowd devours.

CHAYA MODERN IZAKAYA 110 Navy Street Venice, CA 90291 310.396.1179

 

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Pirolo's Panini

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Pirolo's Panini

Pirolo's Panino

7461 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

There's a new spot on Melrose that's bringing East Coast Italian sandwiches with American Italian flavors. Pirolo’s Panino focuses on great signature sandwiches, and also has a selection of Chef favorites including salads, plates, sides and desserts. Signature paninos include the Italian Dip, The Godfather, Meatball Parmand Chicken Parm while signature entrées include Chicken Limone, Chicken Parm, Baked Macaroni and Cannolis for dessert.

CAESAR SALAD - romaine spears with walnut, sun-dried tomatoes, and grilled garlic bread

MEATBALL PARM - chef’s mother’s meatball with their signature parmesan, fontina and house marinara

ITALIAN DIP - house roasted Italian beef topped with salsa verde and caramelized onions, served with au jus

CANNOLI a classic Italian cannoli with chocolate

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Mercado

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Mercado

This post is long overdue. I work in Pasadena and we've all been anticipating Mercado to open. Amazing art work like bullet skulls as you walk in from the commons. By them being here, it's definitely brought a lot of life to lake avenue. I'm not even kidding when I say I've been here multiple times within a week. I can honestly say the food is that good.

Here are some food from my first visit (Full menu here for Pasadena):

Mexican Coke - Cane sugar for the win.

Guacamole - hass avocado, serranos, cilantro, red onions, Yxta salsa brava, spicy pepitas, and fresh chips. There dip duo is also highly recommended. It's basically guac and their choriqueso - melted cotija, parmesan, oaxaca cheese, white wine, house chorizo, poblanos, and mushrooms.

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Enchiladas de pollo en mole oaxaqueno - pulled Mary’s free-range chicken, oaxacan mole, queso fresco, crema fresca, red onions, sesame seeds, mexican rice, and chile piquín black beans. The mole wasn't too sweet, velvety and luxurious. Probably one of the best Oaxacan moles I've had.

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ELOTE - grilled sweet corn, caramelized onions, chile piquín butter, topped with queso cotija.

Tostaditas de ceviche - citrus-marinated white fish and shrimp, mango, corn, cherry tomatoes, serranos, fresno chilies, avocado, chile de árbol aioli. This is probably the best ceviche I've had in a while. Fresh, citrusy with a good balance of sweet and heat from the mango, corn, fresnos and chile de arbol aioli. This is a must order if you're here.

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COLIFLOR AL PASTOR - roasted cauliflower, chile morita marinade, pineapple, cilantro. A great side dish if you're doing low carb and want tons of delicious flavors. GM Justin loves to eat this with tortillas. Man was he right.

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Camarones al ajillo - mexican sweet shrimp, chile de árbol garlic butter, market vegetables. You will never find a dish that's executed like they do it here. I've had this many times and didn't know how it should taste until I had it here. The flavor is to die for. Another highly recommended dish.

 Spicy Cucumber Margarita with Mezcal. Mez always gets me.

Spicy Cucumber Margarita with Mezcal. Mez always gets me.

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FLAN. 

Other items I recommend not shown:

Carnitas. Anything carnitas but I love their tacos. From their happy hour menu, order their jicama shrimp tacos. 

Cucumber salad with skirt steak (trust me it's delicious).

Tamales - I ordered their special tamale of the day. It was carnitas, but I know it changes from time to time.

tres leches - YES

Heard the fried chicken torta is a must. Stay tuned for that!

140 S. Lake Avenue #101, Pasadena, California 91101 626.345.5778 www.cocinasycalaveras.com

 

 

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Crackin Kitchen

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Crackin Kitchen

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New to Pasadena, straight from Hawaii, comes Crackin' Kitchen. This is the first Hawaiian cajun I've come across. They do seafood platters to different varieties of mussel pots. The viet cajun seafood boils we are used to is now fused with Hawaiian flavors for a different twist. Come check them out in Old Town Pasadena when you're in the area.

 House sodas. This is peach and watermelon.

House sodas. This is peach and watermelon.

Seafood platter. Oysters, shrimp cocktail, tuna poke, smoked salmon with taro chips, and snow crabs.

Clam Chowder fries. Mashed potatoes topped with french fries with ladles of clam chowder, cheddar cheese and fried egg. My ultimate carb obsession.

Seafood tortilla pizza - Ahi, shrimp, tomato, avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, red onion, and special sauce served on a crispy tortilla

Thai Mussel Pot - Coconut milk, lemon grass, coriander, kaffir, fish sauce, chili, ginger, garlic

ULTIMATE COMBO - Shrimp, clams, mussels, corn, potatoes, andouille sausage and snow crab. Served with all three signature sauces. 

115 E. Colorado Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91105

Plenty of seating with a full bar. Love that the space feels really open. I would recommend coming with a larger group to try out different items. They have a HUGE selection of different flavored mussel pots.

enjoy!

 

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