Mil Jugos' arepas makes me wanna go Arriba! Arriba!
I finally found time to venture out to downtown Santa Ana during the weekday and check out what MJ is really all about. They close at 5pm everyday except on Sundays when they're closed all day. Parking is available at a parking structure across the street.
My friends and I walked in to a surprisingly big establishment with citrus-colored walls, contrasting dark furniture, and a comfy lounge area with a swinging hammock, which altogether adds a sense of home and character to this place. I like it!
While studying the menu, the owner swings by asking if it was our first time and because it was, she explained to us their house specialties and what they're really known for. Cachapas, arepas, and fresh fruit juices are the popular ones she says. So what do I order? Exactly just that!
I went with a large glass of their fresh CANTALOUPE jugo AKA juice ($4.25) which was nothing but sweet and refreshing on that scorching hot day. You can get this without dairy if you wish but I like mine creamy so yes, with milk please. Delicious stuff but this we can simply make at home. They have lots of other fruit flavors to choose from so see what rocks your boat. Apparently, the passion fruit got the approval of my friends.
The main show arrived and what a beautiful sight it was...ASADO AREPAS with avocado for an extra $! ($5.75) It's their version of a sandwich using grilled corn bread that is filled with your choice of meat, beans, or veggies. I could not have picked a better choice of filling...stewed round eye cut meat in wine and brown sugar which is seasoned with garlic and other spices. It's seriously amaaazing. Add their magic GREEN SAUCE on top of that and WOW! One of the best sauces ever made. The owner did a special demo on how to eat an Arepas. It was pretty fun to watch as she almost hand-fed our friend after adding the sauces (both spicy and green--it's the way to go!). Lunch and a show? Can't complain!
For dessert, I got the CACHAPAS with QUESO ($7) and good thing I split this with a friend as it was really filling. It's a Venezuelan pancake made out of sweet corn so if you like corn bread, imagine this to be similar to that, only sweeter, very much moist, denser in flavor, and simply delightful. I can't quite figure out what cheese was used here but it paired rather well with the flavor entirety of the Cachapas. If you want to turn this into something savory, you can opt to get a different filling such as ham, beans, chicken, etc.
The entire restaurant was buzzing with a lunch crowd and regardless, service was really fast and efficient. I'm really digging this place!! I only wish they were open late and on Sundays.
East LA is a far drive from OC but if it's good food we're talking about, I will drive to the ends of the earth if needed. With that said, every gas mileage spent to get here was well worth it.
Here's what I tried:
**TACO SAMPLER---You get to pick any 6 tacos on the menu: Steak Picado, Bistek en Salsa Roja, Mole Poblano, Chicharron, Chorizo, and Cochinita Pibil. You can double up if you wish. My faves? Chorizo and bistek en salsa roja! The chorizo has a nice marinade with a kick to it. Moi delisyoso! The bistek en salsa roja is like beef stew with tomato sauce. Tasty and rich in flavor. I can imagine eating this with rice..MmmmHhmmm. These are mini tacos we're talking about so the sampler is good for one person. $6.99 yelp.com/biz_photos/guis…
**CARNITAS---This was a special for the day. Regular sized taco for $3. The whole fam loved this. Topped with some guac, expect an explosion of flavors in your mouth.
**CAMARONES (shrimp)---My least favorite out of everything I tried. Covered in creamy pink sauce and some spices...it's spicy. I wish it was breaded and fried, but I guess everything here is made the guisado way. 3/5 stars. $2.75
**PESCADO (fish)---Another good one! Loved it! Not breaded and fried either. 5 stars. $2.75
Specializing in tacos, the corn tortilla itself is made fresh daily. The texture and taste is spot on. It's really something!
Their Aguas are not to be missed either. They have quite a few selections: Horchata, Jamaica, Melon, Limon, Armando Palmero (Jamaica and Limon mixed together). If you don't know which one to get, ask for samples. The Limon was a perfect thirst quencher for me on that hot day.
Speaking of samples, you can do the same with the taco choices. I was surprised when the lady asked me if I wanted to try some of the meats when deciding what to get. Very cool! Wouldn't have gotten the Bistek en Salsa Roja if I didn't sample it. Thanks, lady! :)
Place is quite small with a few tables that are always kept clean. Line can get long but luckily for us we came around 2pm on a Saturday just after the lunch rush. Staff here is great. They were helpful in getting us a table especially with our huge stroller. Even came to check on us if we wanted a high chair for the baby so we can eat properly when the food came. Wonderful service! Only thing I wish they did was tell us which one's which when the sampler came. I eventually figured it out so I guess that's okay. Everything else made up for it ;)
Street parking. Credit card or coins accepted in meters.
I have nothing but good things to say about our dining experience here. I'm no paella or tapas expert but I've had quite a few in my lifetime. In this case, I've been swooned by all there is that Socarrat Nolita has to offer.
Walking in, we were enthusiastically greeted by Loreto, the manager and were led to our table in the back. The place was beautiful. Dimly lit with exposed red brick walls and a variety of table seating, I was liking the vibe of the place. We had a stroller in tow and they gladly set it aside for us like a coat check if you will. A few chit chat here and there alongside a pitcher of sangria, alas, we were ready to order.
Here's what I tried:
SANGRIA---The only way to start the evening. It was fruity, subtly sweet, and very refreshing. $34
PULPO GALLEGA---Octopus boiled and seasoned to perfection. I've never had octopus this tender! Drizzled with some salt, paprika, and olive oil, this is one of my favorite tapas. Even the potatoes are beautifully cooked. Delisyoso! $14 yelp.com/biz_photos/soca…
CROQUETAS---Crunchy on the outside and creamy inside, this was oozing with flavor. A hit on the table! $9 yelp.com/biz_photos/soca…
TUNA---A special of the evening. The fish was really fresh. I thought it was nothing spectacular at first but the added twist was a nice surprise. $16 yelp.com/biz_photos/soca…
PAELLA SOCARRAT---More like traditional paella. Served with plenty of chicken, beef, calamari, shrimp, fish, cuttlefish, mussels, clams, and green beans. There's more than enough meat to go with the rice on this platter. Each component is fresh and adds a depth of flavor to this dish. One of the best paellas I've had in a while! $23 per person yelp.com/biz_photos/soca…
PAELLA ARROZ NEGRO---Squid ink paella is my ultimate weakness. I've loved this since growing up back home and have never found a place that serves this dish perfectly up until now. Finally, some good authentic paella negro! I also love how the portions of shrimp, calamari, scallops, and fish are abundant on this platter. The rice is cooked socarrat, meaning a little overdone for that crisp texture. It's truly wonderful! They serve this with a side of some garlic butter which you can add to your rice for more flavor. Moy bueno! $24 per person yelp.com/biz_photos/soca…
NOTE: The Paella has a minimum order of two people and the price is per person. A bit on the pricey side but it's worth it. Indulge yourself!
SERVICE is stellar! We truly felt like VIP while dining here. We never had to call them for anything because they were very attentive. Water was refilled even before we noticed we needed one. Our table was cleared when needed and our food was served promptly.
Another perk while dining here is that La Churreria is just next door and is run by the same owner. We were able to order churros con chocolate from our server and was served on our table for dessert. What better way to end my meal than with my favorite Spanish delicacy. It was fantastic! yelp.com/biz_photos/soca…
Definitely one for the books! It was our last meal in NY and we couldn't have ended it a better way. Gracias, Soccarat Nolita!
Colombian empanadas for the win!!!
Open 24 hours. Be it breakfast, lunch, dinner, or after some late night drinking, this joint is sure to please! I've been here twice and on the 1st occasion was for breakfast when the crowd was more wholesome and the 2nd time was late at night when they're probably the busiest and everyone's drunk and loud--all in good fun!
My favorites? BANANA PLANTAIN CHIPS W/ GUACAMOLE DIP is a must-try when you're here. The chips had a beautiful crisp and the guac was just amazeballs! I've never had it this way before but it works. Brilliant! As for the empanadas, I've tried almost everything but there's three that really stood out for me. Number 1 is the VIAGRA! It's their seafood empanada with shrimps, scallops, and crabmeat cooked in mama's stew. Not sure why it's called that but it was simply sublime. It was bursting with flavors and the crust...oh my! The empanada crust is perfectly made. The texture, taste, smell...everything about it is beautiful! My second favorite will have to go to the CHORIZO corn flour empanada. You'll have to order this to understand how good it is. You must! And lastly, the SPICY CHICKEN takes number 3 on my list.
If you like some heat then this is definitely for you. It has a pretty strong kick to it which I really enjoyed. Moi bueno! Don't forget to eat the empanadas with the salsa. The green one is the best if you ask me.
I wish I had the chance to try their sangria but maybe on my next visit. I did get the chance to try their papaya milkshake which was delightful. Yum!
The place is rather small and narrow but the food is worthy of a visit. The people working here are personable and attentive. All the more reason you should come try it out. I love you, Empanada Mama!!! 'Til we meet again...
Chimichurri anyone?! Food here is good but the real highlight when coming to Lala's is their phenomenal Chimichurri! One dip of it with your bread and you'll be hooked! I'm telling you. I've come here numerous times telling myself to go easy on the bread and dip so as not to spoil my dinner but that hardly ever works out for me. You can buy this to-go if you're interested-- $7 for 9oz and $9 for 12oz.
2nd best thing here is their SANGRIA! Oh yeah baby! I always order a pitcher of this..to share, of course! ;) Perfect accompaniment to your dinner or just the bread and Chimichurri. It's a must!
Their specialty here is mainly their steaks. They have quite a few options but the one I usually get is the Entrana Al Champignon. It's Certified Angus skirt steak topped with mushrooms sauteed in light red wine cream sauce served with a side of mashed potatoes (or fries). If you want a better quality meat, get the Lomo Lala's which is cooked exactly like the Entrana. Now for those who prefer white meat, they also have the chicken version of this and it's called Al Champignon. From salads, seafood dishes, pastas, vegetarian dishes, to kids' menu options, their menu is so extensive that anyone will find something they'll like here. Don't forget to get the PANQUEQUE DE BANANA CON DULCE DE LECHE for dessert! It's warm caramel crepe with bananas...mmhhmm...scrumptious!
With that said, Lala's is a perfect place for a get-together with friends. I've been here to celebrate special occasions with a large party and on a few instances to just hang out with a few girlfriends over a pitcher of sangria and some appetizers. They do take reservations if you're a group of 8 or more. For smaller groups, it's first come first serve only so expect a wait especially on weekends.
Service is decent. It's always busy when I'm here but never had any complaints on that department. Street parking only...it's LA!
On a whim, we decided to hit up West LA for a mid-week GNO. It wasn't hard making a last-minute reservation, nor was it a nuisance for them to hold our table when we called notifying them that we were stuck in traffic.
Greeting us as we were walking to the restaurant was this red facade with dark trimmed windows and the word PICCA stamped right in the middle of it. A bold impression indeed. Factoring in its interior with ambient lighting, wood and glass furnishings, as well as that vivacious energy in the air, we knew this was going to be an evening of sophisticated debauchery.
True to its name, which means "to nibble", expect the dishes here to be served tapas style and to be shared like one big happy family. Our server explained the menu to us while suggesting 3 dishes per person should suffice. Here's what we ordered:
PISCO SOUR ($12) - a Peruvian signature cocktail that will make your lips pucker with its delightful sweet and sour flavor. Glass is too small..uhm size it up please!
SPICY YELLOWTAIL CAUSA ($8) - Their take on a sushi but instead of rice, they use whipped potato. These were 2 minuscule pieces of uniquely delicious palate openers worth trying atleast once.
ANTICUCHO DIVER SCALLOPS ($8) - A definite must! The aji amarillo sauce offered a hint of acidity while the crushed wasabi peas added a pleasant contrast in texture. Super moist and grilled to perfection.
CHORITOS ($12) - Black mussels swimming in very delectable sauce. Citrus is the distinct flavor shining through for me but it married very well with the smokiness from the bacon. I couldn't let go of this bowl until I wiped it clean and dry.
ANTICUCHO DE CORDERO ($30) - 2 pieces of perfectly grilled lamb chops with meat that's uber tender and covered in sweet bbq sauce. This was popular on the table but overpriced IMO.
ARROZ CON ERIZO ($17) - Peruvian paella with a medley of seafood from scallops, mussels, shrimps, etc. But the most important ingredient this glorious dish has is the sea urchin sauce. Well-loved by everyone on the table except, I think it's a dash of salt short from perfection. The leftover sauce from the choritos did the trick for me. You might think it odd but the pairing was superb! We had two plates of this paella.
BISTEK A LO POBRE ($17) - Wow! The steak was wonderfully grilled medium, plus the rice, OMG! The banana, egg, and garbanzo tacu-tacu mixed into the rice made up a delightfully rich symphony of flavors.
SECO DE PATO ($16) - Crispy braised duck leg with cilantro rice was the last thing we added due to our server's concern that we didn't order enough. False! By the time this was served, we were stuffed. The duck was borderline dry but tasty, however, the cilantro rice for me was the highlight of this dish...delicious!
Service could be better. I didn't like how our server was a bit pushy resulting in us ordering too much. The rice dishes can be heavy so just keep that in mind when placing your order. Since we were on the 2nd floor, we had to wait when someone comes up to ask for something or for our glasses to be refilled.
Overall, I'm a fan of what Chef Zarate brings to the table here and wouldn't mind ordering the scallops, mussels, paella, and bistek all over again. A fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines? Who knew!?
One of my favorite local restos! Been coming here over the years for special occasions, company lunches, and for bringing in guests from out of town. From great meat choices fresh off the grill to the wide array of fresh selections at their salad bar, there's something for everyone here. A few other items on the buffet to choose from are the garlic rice, black beans, mashed potatoes, collard greens, and seafood items such as grilled salmon, mussels, or clams (depending on what's fresh that day). Waiting for you at your table would be a plate of sweet banana seasoned with some cinnamon and a basket of cheese bread. Love, love, love both of these items. It's just a shame they only put 4 breads in there but hey, it's all you can eat so keep asking for refills.
The sirloin cap and lamb chops are my top favorite meats here so I normally skip out on the rest. Nonetheless, I keep my card on GREEN to keep the meat coming just to see if there's something that looks appetizing to me. Just FYI, lamb chops are served only at dinner time.
It's a bit too pricey if you ask me but with good food, great service, and nice ambiance...it's always a wonderful dining experience when you come here.
Still my favorite Cuban place in OC!
It's close to home and serves pretty darn authentic dishes like no other. They take reservations making this place perfect for big groups.
My absolute favorite thing to order here would be their SAUTEED OXTAIL. It's cooked in tomato based creole sauce with Cuban spices served up with rice and plantains on the side. If you're a meat lover and haven't had oxtail meat before, you're missing out. It's nothing weird or exotic-looking. Really looks like regular meat except that it's stuck to the bone, almost like ribs, making it extra tasty and flavorful. If cooked right, it's supposed to be fall-off-the-bone tender. My last visit here was not like that though. I was a bit disappointed with the tough meat. The kitchen may be having a bad day because they've always delivered this dish to perfection time and time again. I'm not losing hope and will still order this next time I'm here though.
Their plantains are a whole different story. They come as a side on most dishes but I always get an extra order of these babies. Very ripe, fried, and covered with a nice caramelized coating, it's too hard not to get addicted to them.
If you're in the mood for some poultry, their ROASTED GARLIC CHICKEN is the winner. One order is half a chicken so it's ginormous! Prepare to get oozed out with its juicy goodness infused with lots and lots of garlic plus a touch of zest. Ahhhhhhh! So good!
Other things worth trying would be their ROPA VIEJA which is shredded meat with green/red bell pepper and the LENGUA which is beef tongue. Both entrees come in classic Cuban tomato sauce and a side of rice, plantains, and beans like most other dishes.
You simply can't skip on dessert because their TRES LECHES, as one of my friends say, "is the best dessert ever made!" He'll eat this everyday if he can, along with their plantains but to bring it down a notch to reality, the white cake is not out of this world sweet and is soaked beautifully with milk. It's one legit wet white cake, I'd say.
Service has always been decent on all my visits except for the most recent one when our check was given to us without them asking if we wanted dessert. And we wanted dessert! For this and the tough oxtail, I'm docking off one star from perfection.
Our go-to for Peruvian food!
Here's what you should get when you're here:
1. Lomo Saltado--The most popular Peruvian dish where no other place can perfect except here at Casa Inka! Beef strips sauteed with red onions and tomatoes served with white rice and french fries. One of the best I've had...ever! $12.99 yelp.com/biz_photos/casa…
2. Tacu Tacu--Charbroiled steak served on a plate with rice and beans mixed together with some spices and topped with sunny side up egg. Plantains and chimichurri sauce on the side. Great dish! The steak is nicely cooked and has good flavor. The rice seems mushy because of the beans so it took me a while to appreciate it but I guess it all works with everything on the plate. The plantains are simply addicting while the chimichurri sauce is what makes this dish extra special! Yummm... $13.99 yelp.com/biz_photos/casa…
3. Tallarin Saltado--Pasta version of the lomo saltado so no rice and french fries. I used to love this dish but after our last visit, I was really disappointed with the flavor. It just wasn't the same as how they made it the last couple times we've been here. I would still recommend it if you haven't tried it before because it's still good. Not the best but worthy of trying. $12.99 yelp.com/biz_photos/casa…
4. Seafood Paella--Peruvian paella is different from Spanish and Cuban versions so don't compare. Huge serving! Seafood is fresh, rice is cooked perfectly, and the seasoning is flavorful. Try it! $18.99
--Wonderful service! Prompt and attentive.
--Complimentary garlic bread with green and red (spicy) dipping sauce is awesome! yelp.com/biz_photos/casa…
--Kid's meal is pretty hefty. My daughter ordered shrimp pasta for $7.99 and could only finish half of the plate. I ate the rest at home the next day. Not bad at all! yelp.com/biz_photos/casa…
--Spacious restaurant so it's good for kids and large parties
--Parking is ample
--Dishes can be inconsistent. I was a bit disappointed on my last visit but I'm not giving up hope.
Yelp Check-in offer: $2 off every $15 spent. Wowza!
I've never had grilled corn this way before and I must say, it's really something! Covered with lots of cheese, some chili powder, and maybe some crack for all I know but one bite and I was hooked! Don't forget to squeeze some lime on it for a touch of zest.
It's awesome that they have this to-go area separate from the actual cafe because I did come here just for the corn. They have a few tables inside and counter seating by the windows but really small place.
The girl behind the counter who took my order was nothing but pleasant and friendly. I felt right at home. Major plus!
You have to come out and try their corn. I highly recommend it!
Never knew what these were until a friend of mine asked me to bring back some Malasadas to mainland. Looked it up and found out they were Portuguese donuts with no holes on them. Yelped it to see where I can get them and I was so excited to know that they were just around the block from our condotel! Been passing by Leonard's for days and but I never bothered to give it a second glance. Tsk Tsk! Shame on me!
After a good hike to Diamond Head summit and back, I knew I deserved a box of Malasadas! Went in there and got two of each of these flavors: mango (special of the month), chocolate, custard, and the coconut. Got three of the original and cinnamon.
Had no idea what the size was for each of these because they don't have these on display. You order and they box it up for you in the back. Opened up the box and I had enough to feed a dozen people. LOL! We're only a family of 4 by the way and one is an infant :-)
Didn't care much for the filled ones at all. The sugar-coated (original) is good but I LOOOOOVE the cinnamon! Make sure to eat this when it's warm and fresh from the oven to have that perfect Malasadas experience!
What I really like about this location is the location! It's by the beach so it has an awesome view and breeze. The restaurant is beautifully decorated and I like the fact that they have nice couches out front to lounge around for some cocktails. They also have this private dining area that seats about 12 people which I think is perfect for a big group celebrating something.
Their food is good but a bit on the pricey side. You're paying more for the ambience than the food here but nonetheless, I have a few of my favorites:
**Pollo ala chipotle is chicken breast served with arroz, creamy chipotle sauce, a side of avocado slices and refritos. Flavors are rich and creamy so very comforting :)
**Steak picado--tender slices of angus steak sauteed in onions, tomatoes, and cilantro and it's accompanied with refritos and arroz as well. I love cilantro so this one hit home for me.
**I like their sangria better here than the one in Spectrum. It's really fruity and delicious! Not watered down at all!
**Oh how I love their free chips and salsa! I recommend you get their guacamole for a nice non-spicy alternate dip for the chips. Very clean and fresh flavors.
**For dessert, try their flan. Not too sweet but creamy and tasty!
Service here is quite an upgrade from the Spectrum branch. They are more attentive to your requests and are friendlier. Valet parking is available but it's located in a large complex where self-parking is ample. All in all, nice place to have lunch or have a few cocktails with friends.
Felix Continental Cafe is the reason why I have come to love Cuban food. It has been 9 years since I've frequent this place and it's about time I tell you my 2 cents.
---authentic, unassuming, little Cuban/Spanish/Caribbean restaurant in Orange Circle
---most of their meals come with delicious plantains, creamed spinach, Spanish rice, side of black or pinto beans, soup or salad, and dessert
---wonderful food especially their Filet Mignon (my favorite here). It's wrapped in bacon, seasoned and cooked to perfection, served with hollandaise sauce, and the rest mentioned above
---the oxtail stew is another go-to dish of mine. Simmered in tomato based sauce and Cuban spices, the meat is tender and the flavors are great
---Paella Valenciana is Spanish paella. Saffron rice cooked with chorizo, shellfish, squid, fish, and some chicken and pork. Don't compare this to other Latin paellas because they're all different. Although I've had better, this one's still good enough that I would order it again if craving
---for dessert, Tres Leches is a must! If they're out, get their bread pudding, you won't be disappointed!
---food comes out fairly quickly here but service is hit or miss depending on how busy they are. It could be hard to flag down your waiter at times especially if you're seated outside
---not a fan of their sangria...steer clear from it if you can
---street parking only
Overall, a nice place to go for dates, girls' out, lunch/dinner, or if you just happen to be in the mood for some Latin flavors.
It seems like Javier's is a hard place not to keep coming back to. I know I've given them 3 stars before but after another visit with my girlfriends and I, I believe they earned another star. Let me tell you why...
1. It's a beautiful and glamorous place. I love the ambiance, the decor, the dim lighting, the fire torches, the patio seating where you can people watch, and the interior seating where you can dine with style.
2. Their endless chips are addicting especially with their fantastic salsa that has a nice heat to it.
3. It's hard to resist not ordering their GUACAMOLE because it's rather spectacular!
4. The POLLO A LA CHIPOTLE and STEAK PICADO remains my two favorites here.
5. I recently tried their OSSO BUCCO which was perfectly seasoned. The meat was falling-off-the-bone-tender! Tasty, tasty! So if you do the math, now I have 3 favorites here.
6. Their RE-FRIED BEANS are undoubtedly bad but sensationally delicious.
7. I love their sangria but I wish I could say my wallet does, too. For $75 a pitcher, it's pretty darn steep!
I think the area they should really work on is SERVICE. It has improved from the last time I was here, I'll give them that...BUT, towards the end of our meal, our server was MIA. All our water glasses were empty and we couldn't find anyone to flag down.
Nonetheless, everything else went well that evening, still giving us a positive dining experience. 4 stars it is. I know I'll be coming back here again. Hopefully then service will be much, much better.
5 things I like about this place:
1. Nice little rustic restaurant in a commercial complex where ample parking is available.
2. Aji sauce for the bread! It's the green sauce you'll see on the table that is cilantro based. A condiment commonly added to many Peruvian dishes. It has a kick to it that makes it so addicting! Make sure you don't overstuff yourself with the bread and this dip to leave room for the main entree. I've learned my lesson the hard way!
3. Arroz con Mariscos..HmmHmm! AKA Peruvian seafood paella. It is cilantro infused rice with assorted seafood such as fish, mussels, squid, and clams. Very rich flavors! Nice touch of acid in there to keep it balanced. It's a wonderful meal on its own and might be best shared if you wish to order other things on the menu. Probably NOT for those who don't like cilantro!
4. Tallarin Verde con Pollo Apandao is such a great comfort food. The basil sauce has a nice creaminess to it and the pasta is cooked al dente.This is topped with delicious chicken that is lightly breaded and fried. Perfection!
5. The place is run by the owners themselves so service here has a touch of home to it.
One thing I'm not a fan of here is the lomo saltado. Meat is not enough and fries are too soggy. Meh.
When I needed my fix for Peruvian food, Inka Mama's used to be my go-to place. I worked nearby before that I can easily come here for lunch or after work. Unfortunately, it isn't the case anymore. If you're in the area and craving for some latin flavors, search no more because Inka Mama's is just the place!
I'm not so sure what makes this place Brazilian aside from the cheese bread and plantains but I must say, these two things are pretty bad ass here!
They have quite a selection of pasta dishes which my daughter is a fan of. She ordered the FOUR CHEESES in fettuccine. The noodles were al dente but it tasted really salty. No wonder she only ate a quarter of the plate. I only got to eat some of her leftovers the next day. I would've sent the plate back if I had known. $11.75 yelp.com/biz_photos/boss…
The STROGANOFF is something I like to order each time I'm here. Again, not Brazilian. The pink sauce with mushrooms is probably what makes this dish extra special. It's full of flavor, creamy, and rich. You can get this with beef, chicken, or shrimp, your choice. I've tried them all in different occasions and all are good so it really just depends what you're in the mood for. Served with garlic rice and plantains on the side, this plate is more than just a comfort dish. $15 yelp.com/biz_photos/boss…
CRISTIANE'S FAVORITE TORNEDOR is medallions of grilled tenderloin wrapped in bacon with Madeira sauce served with mushroom risotto and asparagus. I was pleasantly surprised with this dish. The steak was nicely cooked and the bacon is always a plus. Their Madeira sauce is tasty and while I enjoyed the creaminess of the mushroom risotto at first, after a while, it did get overpowering. $17 yelp.com/biz_photos/boss…
It was my daughter's birthday and we informed our server early on that evening. Our plates were cleared and still nothing came. A receptionist came to our table and asked if we wanted dessert or if we were ready for the check. I mentioned the occasion to her after saying we wanted dessert and she left. Still, none came. I finally called for our server again and reminded him about the celebration so he asked us what dessert we wanted. I would've appreciated it if they asked us earlier. Here I was expecting they had a complimentary scoop of ice cream or some dessert for birthday celebrants coming but apparently you need to pick your own dessert. The surprise was gone so I ended up asking my daughter to pick which one she wanted. CHOCOLATE MOUSSE was her choice. It tasted alright. No singing or anything, they just served it and lit it, then left. Worst part was, the dessert was on the bill. I know it's not compulsory for them to comp it but these days, it's becoming the norm. They should really get on with the program. $5 yelp.com/biz_photos/boss…
Overall, food is good but not great and service here really needs a personal touch. Our server never came to check on us, no water refills, and aside from the birthday dessert incident, we felt rushed to get out of there. The added gratuity sucks because he didn't deserve his tip at all.
Peruvian food is one of my favorite cuisines and so when a new place gets in my radar with a 4-star rating on yelp, I jump on it and see if it lives up to the hype.
No doubt the place is well-decorated with beautiful candelabras and colorful artwork drawing on their heritage. It's clean, decently sized, and is in the same complex as Ralph's. Walking in right before the lunch rush has got us a table instantly. Our server whom I assume is the owner was chatty and informative with their menu. No lunch menu available though...boo! Each item was about $15 so with tax and tip, about $20 for lunch is quite high IMO.
Their LOMO SALTADO has the option for premium meat, ribeye to be exact. It's cooked with fries, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, red bell pepper, and green onions then served with rice. I was excited to try this out but was utterly disappointed with this dish. I felt that the seasoning and flavor was lacking, not to mention the small portion of the beef. It was mostly fries and yes, they are quite soggy. My friend tried the beef and thought they used too much cornstarch to soften the meat taking away the real ribeye flavor. I didn't enjoy this dish at all and just ate off my fellow diners' plates instead.
CABRITO NORTENO is a lamb stew with great flavors but the meat was too tough. I don't know about you but eating hard to chew meat is not pleasant at all. Their ARROZ CON MARISCOS or seafood paella if you will, was a good portion with seafood that tasted fresh, however, I thought the rice was overcooked with really mushed texture. Something you can eat when you have a toothache, I'd say. Another friend had the TALLARIN VERDE CON POLLO which is breaded chicken breast atop a bed of pasta with homemade pesto sauce. Other than the spaghetti not cooked al dente, the overall taste profile was pretty good. Is it good enough for a return? Nope, I don't think so!
It's always nice to have a group of friends eating out because if all else fails, at least you were with good company. That's pretty much all I can say for my experience here. I certainly have had better Peruvian food elsewhere. 2.5 stars!
Unfortunately, we came at lunch and was only able to sample their specials. It's $8 for a meal with soup or salad and a fruit juice drink.
I ended up getting their CHICKEN with CILANTRO SAUCE served with rice and lots of red onions. I thought it was missing flavor, lots of it! It was nothing special at all. There were two pieces of dark meat chicken, a leg and a thigh but it was not enough to fill me up. The vegetable and rice soup reminded me of cafeteria or hospital food while the juice tasted so artificial and watered down.
The rest ordered the FRIED CATFISH MEAL with rice. The fish was nicely cooked but I don't know what's so Peruvian about it. It's simply fried fish topped with red onions.
Maybe the 4.5 stars rating is for their regular menu items. I wanted to try their seafood paella or their grilled chicken but both takes 20 minutes to cook. For lunch, we just didn't have enough time for that. It's probably best to come here for dinner and try their specialties if you're in the area. On a side note, I noticed most, if not all other diners grubbing on their lomo saltado. Maybe I should've gotten that instead. Lesson learned!
This is EL TORITO GRILL.
We came here for the Sunday brunch for $20 with endless mimosas. Kids are half price, I believe. Reservations for big groups are taken before or after the lunch rush and in our case, it was at 1PM.
It was nice that they had a somewhat private section so it was there that we had two long tables for our group with kids. A couple more tables were present with other parties but it was secluded enough to be away from all the chaos from the main dining room.
The buffet setup was different from the Irvine location. It was more crowded here with a narrow walkway in between the tables. The spread of food didn't look appetizing at all. At 1PM, it's hard to expect fresh dishes so to state the obvious, they all seem to have been sitting out for some time. The ribs were dry, the ceviche station was messy with chips all over the place while the ceviche itself was something I didn't want to risk to try. I got me some tacos from the taco station, omelet from the omelet station, and for dessert, banana fosters from the dessert station. It was a mediocre meal that left me full but not satisfied enough.
I love the made to order eggs benedict from the Irvine branch and was disappointed that they didn't have them here. Good enough the omelet was nicely cooked so I guess that compensates for the lack of the other. The menudo soup smelled foul to me but they say that's exactly how it should be so I went with it and had some but not the full bowl. Hours later I had a bad stomach reaction so apparently, my gut feeling was right.
Service could definitely be improved. Everyone gets a drink but in our case, not all wanted any soda so they stuck with tap water. While others had a soda and then coffee, our server charged us for extra drinks. But to our point, some didn't have any, why not consider the additional to be their drinks that come with the buffet? She grudgingly gave in and adjusted our bill. It's cheap, sure, but it's really the principle. As yelp would say, "Meh. I've experienced better."
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|I love the ocean and eating almost everything from it. Take a gander at my list of where to get some seafood and see if anything rocks your boat.||When you're feeling hot and in dire need of a refresher, check out these places to cool you down.|
|I don't have that big of a sweet tooth but when that craving hits, I just have to get some!||We all have those days where we want to indulge ourselves no matter what the cost...be it a special occasion or for no reason at all! From extravagant dinners and luxurious treats to signature brand names, here's my list.|
"Making the world a better place, one review at a time..."
Irvine, CA, Vereinigte StaatenYelper seit
April 2013Dinge, die ich mag
God, my family, food, travelling, movies, eating out, the beach, reading, writing, parties, the sound of raindrops, going to bed on newly changed sheets, NYC, cruisingWenn ich nicht gerade yelpe, dann ...
I'm working hard but playing harder!Warum du meine Beiträge unbedingt lesen solltest
Why not? I travel, I eat, I write.Was ich zuletzt gelesen habe
The Bible.Mein Lieblingsfilm
Love Actually, The Notebook, and hundreds moreMeine Henkersmahlzeit
Uni and bone marrow followed by grilled Wagyu steak and a side of paella negraErzähl's nicht weiter, aber...
My appetite is as big as a man's.Meine neueste Entdeckung
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