Category Archives: Restaurant Review

My Final California Weekend: Whole Foods and Pelly’s Fish Market

SATURDAY

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After I finished my hot yoga class on Saturday, I checked my phone, only to be greeted by a text from Dad that read, “WFM for lunch?”

He’s a genius. When your Dad tells you he knows everything, believe him.

Or at least nod, smile, and agree. Because love knows no bounds.

Then, go to lunch at Whole Foods. Geek out and talk about the business model of Whole Foods. Institute a “no samples left behind policy.” Take lunch to the patio.

Because food just tastes better in the outdoors. Take pictures. Lots of pictures.

a) A hot plate, a cold plate, and a GT Trilogy kombucha. Is there a better combination? I think not.

b) Dad’s barbeque chicken sandwich on a pretzel roll from the WFM Specialty Meat Department. At $5.99, he scored a tasty deal. Whole Paycheck, no more.

c) The cold plate, including: tabbouleh, southwest quinoa salad, red lentil salad (THE BEST!), wild rice salad

d) The hot platter o’ goodies: two types of chickpea curry, stewed zucchini, crispy tofu triangles, chickpea fritters, curry pumpkin wheatberry salad.

I was stuffed after the combination of hot bar + kombucha + samples but quite content. Whole Foods is my weakness.

But love knows no bounds, right?

SUNDAY

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We met my grandma and grandpa (Dad’s side!) down in Carlsbad for an early Sunday supper at Pelly’s Fish Market. I hadn’t seen either of them in forever, so it was great to catch up. It was also great to see that my grandpa has taken interest in getting a little bit healthier; he’s now walking four miles per day, every day! He’s lost a noticeable amount of weight and is definitely eating more carefully now. I was so happy to see him looking happy and healthy. Smile

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[Mom and her oyster shooter. Now I know where I get my photogenic faces from while eating…hehehe!]

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Pelly’s Fish Market

I ordered the Pelly’s Special Salad (romaine lettuce; assorted veggies; and fresh bay shrimp, snow crab meat, and smoked albacore). It was awesome! I wasn’t in the mood for heavy dressing, so I asked for the salad without and wasn’t disappointed. The smoked albacore was my favorite of the trio—salty with a hint of sweet without being at all fishy. Yummers.

Mom ordered the charbroiled halibut platter and an oyster shooter; Dad ordered Manhattan clam chowder + a crab sandwich with avocado; Blake ordered the crab sandwich  with avocado; Grandpa K ordered two fish tacos + Boston clam chowder; and Grandma S ordered the steamed clam and mussel combo. The table also split a couple pieces of house-made key lime pie for dessert.

The Big, Fat Bottom Line: Pelly’s Fish Market

Food: A

Service: A

Ambience: B

As far as seafood goes, Pelly’s was great—super fresh and tasty. The menu was definitely straightforward: entirely seafood but in a good way. (I don’t think there were either poultry or vegetarian options?). Everyone seemed to enjoy their respective orders, and all agreed that the key lime pie was pretty darn good.

Counter service was efficient, and the food was delivered quickly.

My only complaint about Pelly’s was the state of the bathroom. The seat was up, when I walked into the bathroom (it was male/female), and there was no toilet paper. It didn’t exactly smell like spring flowers either, if ya catch mah drift. Winking smile

There isn’t a whole lot of ambiance, but then again, the restaurant certainly doesn’t claim to be fancy. It’s a good, neighborhood fish joint that is clearly a local fave. We all agreed that we’d go again for the delish seafood fare, even if it wasn’t a five-star restaurant.

After we said our goodbyes and headed home, I spent the rest of the night watching “Forks Over Knives” off of Netflix.

Whoa, loved this movie! Ironically, it touched on The China Study, which I’m also currently reading. I don’t know that I’m going to cut out all animal products (including dairy) anytime soon, but the movie definitely made me think about food in a different light.

To me, it wasn’t preachy or moralistic. In fact, in my opinion, the documentary simply laid out the facts for the viewer, showing the supposed relationship between diet and the world’s major diseases. Call me a dork, but I love that stuff. I love food at face value, but even moreso, I love learning about the greater impact it has on our world and health.

I don’t think I ever could have or would have majored in Biology or even Human Science in college, but I do wish there was some way to take non-major classes at Georgetown. I’d love to take some sort of nutrition class!  Unfortunately, the business school and the nursing school don’t have much crossover. Sad smile I don’t think that’s a Georgetown thing though; other than Cornell, few schools offer anything close to that. Oh well, for now, personal research will have to suffice!

I have less than three days left at home in Southern California, so I’m off to make the most of it. But in the next few days, I’m hoping to have finished the following posts:

See ya then :)

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Filed under Eating Out, Recaps, Restaurant Review

Two Days in LA–Part 2

Ahh, the LA adventures. Even after a few days, the memories are still making me laugh out loud. Upon returning home from LA on Thursday, I was pretty darn tired and not too excited about the prospect of spending all day Friday driving.

When I woke up the next morning, I called C and asked if she’d be okay with leaving in the early afternoon instead of the morning. C was fine with it, so I decided to tackle a few errands.

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Breakfast (cereal+yogurt+berries+iced coffee) was had. Lunch (power wrap + sliced cukes & berries) was prepped; and rooms were cleaned.

I also sent a foodie package to the lovely B in Rhode Island, with a . I would call it a lovely wrapped package, but who I am kidding. Crafts are not my forte. Instead, I’ll just call it wrapped with love. Winking smile

B sent me a package that arrived on Friday, but the contents of that magical box are a story for another day! Instead, let’s talk LA.

FRIDAY

I intended to pick up C from her house at around 1:15ish, but by the time I dealt with the mysteries of the post office, it was 2 ‘o clock. In other words….

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^ Hahah why yes, yes it does. You can thank B for that one. Anywhos, C and I laughed and joked up to LA, making good time until Venice Blvd.

Sadly, by 3 pm, the fantastic wonder of LA traffic began…Chaos like clockwork.

Without air conditioning (it was broken in the car I share with my brother), we were both rather delirious. That, of course, resulted in singing just about every Top 40 hit on the radio loudly, and obnoxiously off-key in my case.

Yes, this happened.

And plenty of reminiscing about old high school dance moments. Sunburned from sitting in traffic, albeit in high spirits, C and I finally made it to our destination…..UCLA!

That’s the University of California, Los Angeles—for those of you snazzy out-of-staters. Smile

We parked (haha, take note of this) in a two-hour metered spot in Westwood and then made the trek across campus to meet best friend, C.

Wait, another C? Yep! We’ll call her C2 for now.

After plenty of greetings, spontaneous laughing, and bear hugs, the three of us walked around for a bit and then headed back to C2’s room. College stories commenced. We talked for almost two hours, before deciding that it was most definitely time for dinner. C2, being a legit LA pro, picked the place.

800 Degrees Restaurant!

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We were on our way to the restaurant, when I freaked out and saw that my watch read 6:40 pm.

6:40 p.m., as in the time our parking meter expired.

“Holy *&#@! Crap! Effin dangit!”

Something like that ensued, before I bolted like a crazed racehorse and ran to our parking spot two blocks away. When I saw the car still there, I breathed a sigh of relief.

Until I spied a little red-embellished enveloped. And then, there was more of this:

Holy *&#@! Crap! Effin dangit! SHIZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

And finally, “Whatevs, just give me pizza.”

I reparked the car in a different spot and then met C & C2 at the restaurant.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: 800 Degrees Pizza

As soon as I walked up to the restaurant, I realized why C2 had picked the place. The line was around the block, and the wondrous smell of freshly-baked pizza wafted out the door.

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Homemade, gourmet Neapolitan pizza? Oh yes, I needed this.

C & C2 were near the front of the line by the time I arrived, so I hopped in line with them and we tossed around ideas for ordering.

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The Menu & Order

800 Degrees has a shortlist of specialty pizzas but also gave diners the option to create-their-own pizza from lists of veggies + proteins. Both lists were extensive  in nature and artisan in description. The protein list included various authentic Italian meats, both cured and fresh. Pancetta was even sliced to order from a big honkin’ machine. The veggie/cheese list—clearly my main squeeze—included everything from roasted eggplant to caramelized onions and buffalo mozzarella to truffle cheese.

Instantaneously agreeing that we wanted to try both a pizza with mushrooms and a pizza with red sauce, we ordered two pizzas and a side salad to split.

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The decision:

1 Tartufo Pizza
1 Margherita Pizza
1 Gorgonzola Salad

The Food & Experience

Both pizzas were good, but the Tartufo was my favorite. I loved the extra garlicky olive oil and earthy mushrooms. I don’t know that I could taste the truffle oil, but I liked the pizza nonetheless. The salad was pretty standard (fruit+nuts+cheese). It was good, but I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to order it again.

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The restaurant itself was wonderfully decorated. We chose to eat-in, which made for a rather noisy experience, but it wasn’t entirely a bad thing. For a medium pizza, it was around $6 for the margherita and $12 for the Tartufo, making the restaurant within reasonable means for a college student.

I preferred 800 Degrees to Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown, both because it was quicker/more convenient and better in terms of food.

The Big, Fat Bottom Line: 800 Degrees

Food: B+

Service: A

Ambience: B

Pretty good! I would definitely come back. I’m a still a homemade pizza girl at heart, but as far as restaurant Neapolitan pizza goes, this was delish

We left the restaurant pretty darn full…but with just enough room for one thing:

Gelato!

C2 had one meal swipe left, so we decided to split a gelato from one of the campus eateries. As in every decision, all three of us said, “I’m okay with anything—you pick!” Typical. I finally (wo)manned up, and ordered.

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Deliciousness in two varieties: “cookies ‘n cream” and “cookie sensations.”

Which basically translated to Oreo and cookie dough. Plus a pirouette cookie and a water (to share of course!).

Yum! I haven’t had gelato in years (maybe since going to Switzerland), so this was fantastic. The eatery also had gourmet personal pizzas, including a vegan option at that! Such a win. If only Georgetown had food that good…

Post-gelato, we entertained the idea of heading to Trader Joe’s with C2’s friends but then decided to hang in the dorm instead. More gossiping, storytelling, and catchup on each other’s lives ensued. I’d like to think of it as necessary chilling. Smile

A little past midnight, C and I said our goodbyes, promising to plan an East Coast reunion for the three of us soon. On our way home, C & I just talked and laughed. Nothing fancy but oh so wonderful, considering we don’t get to do that often.

And thus, the LA adventures came to a finish.

Two days to remember, for sure! Open-mouthed smile

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Tw0 Days in LA – Part 1

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Wowza.

Things have been hip hoppin’ busy around here lately, so I haven’t gotten around to blogging much.

On Thursday, I ended up spontaneously going to LA with S, rather than going to the beach as originally planned. Initially, I was skeptical of the idea. As a Type A organized perfectionnist, I like to have things planned and tend to carefully schedule the hours of my day out to maximize efficiency accordingly. That totally makes me sound like a doofus, but it’s true! Being super organized is a distinct part of my personality but not always the best for simply enjoying life without worry.

But sometimes, you need a little spontaneity in your life. I love my impulsive friends because they manage to bring out my inner craziness, adding an important element of of balance to my life and  reminding me that life goes far beyond a calendar or agenda.

Reminding me that days like Thursday are totally and completely necessary sometimes.

THURSDAY

Filled with road trip-esque memories and Beverly Hills wanderings, the day was fun in a way I don’t often experience. There wasn’t really an end destination—just the promise that we would find a way to make whatever we were doing fun.

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We were on the road to LA by late morning. From South Orange County, it took about 1.5 hours to get to downtown LA. There was traffic. And more traffic. And did I mention traffic? Oh LA… Finally, we picked up S’s friend from the Wilshire Hotel and headed to Beverly Hills. Beautiful, palm-tree lined, perfectly manicured, but not-really-real-life Beverly Hills.

RESTAURANT REVIEW:

By the time we were in the car, all three of us were starving. Lunch had to happen ASAP.

As the foodie, I was kindly asked to pick the restaurant.

My choice: The Honor Bar.

I picked it on a whim, after hearing and reading decent reviews from blogs, friends, and Yelp. From the moment we walked in, I was in love with the atmosphere. There were tons of dark-wood accents and golden streaks of mood lighting in all the right places. A few key centerpieces like a classic motorcycle, glass wine cellar, and gorgeous chandelier pulled the room together perfectly. Even for Beverly Hills, the restuarant was impressively classy. While many of the diners were a little ostentatious (hey, it’s Beverly Hills after all…), the restaurant itself was more understated in its class. Even the bathrooms were gorgeous!

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As for food, The Honor Bar is a gourmet burger restaurant with the ambiance of an upscale bar/lounge. With no more than 15 items total, the menu was pretty sandwich-centric, though there was the option of sushi or a kale salad as well. The menu went a little something like this…

T H E   H E N R I   ( A H N – R E E ) 1 1
Cure 81 ham, roasted pork, Swiss, arugula & mustard
D I N G ’ S   C R I S PY   C H I C K E N   SA N DW I C H 1 1
Crispy chicken, sliced tomato & vinaigrette slaw
T H E   S U B U R B A N   T U N A   SA N DW I C H 1 1
Cure 81 ham, Havarti and iceberg lettuce
H O N O R   B U R G E R 1 1
Shredded cabbage, tomato, Cheddar & house-made bun
V E G G I E   B U R G E R 1 1
Brown rice, mushrooms, almonds & melted Jack
KA L  E   SA L AD  W I  T H   P  E ANU T  V I NA I GR E  T  T  E 7
Emerald kale, fresh herbs & roasted peanut vinaigrette

The sides were some pretty classy supporting actors too —

TONI’S MARINATED OLIVES 5
Cracked green & kalamata olives with roasted almonds
S M O K E D   T R O U T   D I P 7
Served with saltine crackers
COLESLAW 3
Shredded cabbage, chives & house-made dressing
TABBOULEH 3
Mediterranean grain salad with lemon vinaigrette
H A N D – C U T   F R E N C H   F R I E S 3
U.S.#1 Kennebec potatoes, served with two dipping sauces

The order:

Me: Veggie Burger (pretty sure it was actually less than $11 for lunch. Like $7?)

S: Honor Burger + Hand-Cut French Fries

F: Ding’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich

We sat outside on the patio and people-watched, while soaking in some California sunshine. Drinks were promptly served, and a short time later, the food arrived!

My take:

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OH. MY. GOODNESS. This was smashingly good. For swanky and slightly snobby Beverly Hills, I wasn’t expecting such cheap deliciousness. But it. was. so. good.

The veggie burger was a great blend of toothsome, savory brown rice and crunchy almonds. Melty jack cheese and a hugeeee hunk of avocado rounded out the flavors. My favorite part of the entire burger though? The bread! The patty was awesome, but the bun put it over-the-top. The restaurant makes its own bread, and this sesame brioche bun was absolutely amazing. Soft, sweet, and slightly buttery.

It may have been the best veggie burger I’ve ever had, actually. For $7, may I add. Holla for the DOLLAAAAAAAAA!

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The waiter accidentally brought two orders of the hand-cut fries too. At this point, the dollaaaa was hollering loud and clear. We weren’t upset in the least. Free fries? Impossible to resist. There was a ketchup (made in house, I believe) and a creamy chipotle for dipping, and  both were great accouterments.

S & F both thoroughly enjoyed their sandwiches as well, from what I understand. The Honor Burger was cooked medium, and the chicken sandwich looked perfectly crispy.

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THE BIG, FAT BOTTOM LINE – The Honor Bar:

The Honor Bar
122 South Beverly Blvd, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles

Food: A+

Service: A

Ambience: A+

Spot on Open-mouthed smile

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We paid the bill, which was extremely reasonable, and then headed out for a little sightseeing. For a little while, we showed S’s friend around Hollywood and a few other major sights; then, we made our way to The Grove for a little shopping and walking around. After a bit, we all started to get a tad tired and soon dropped F back off at his hotel for the day.

Tired but deliriously content, S and I hopped back in the car, stopped to get gas, made a pit stop for iced coffee, and finally, decided to brave traffic back to Orange County.

Andddd it was not pretty. Whatsoever. Let’s just say that they don’t show that part of L.A. on the reality shows. Winking smile

My dad generously offered to pick me up halfway from L.A., to take some of the driving burden off of S and treat us to dinner. We fought through traffic awhile longer but then obliged.

Saved! And sushi it was for dinner.

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We went to Sushi Samurai, which was highly rated on Yelp. I had high hopes for the restaurant, but it was rather lackluster. Both service and food were extremely “meh.” Overrated at best. It took forever to get three rolls of sushi, despite the fact that we were sitting at the sushi bar.

THE BIG, FAT BOTTOM LINE – Sushi Samurai:

Sushi Samurai
11700 South St, Ste 104, Artesia, CA 90701 

Food: B-

Service: D

Ambience: C

At that point though, there was no raining on our parade. S parted for UCLA to meet friends, while Dad and I cruised down the freeway back to the casa.

And a day of much needed and much appreciated spontaneity came to a close Smile

Well, until Friday at least. Part 2 coming soooooooooon!

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