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DineLA: Enoteca Drago

6 Feb

Brushetta Love @Enoteca Drago

Hi guys!

Sorry for the somewhat long hiatus! Since getting accepted to my Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) program here at USC I’ve been working on a lot (and trust me, I mean A LOT) of scholarship applications to help offset the obnoxious tuition/living costs I’m going to have to take care of for the next few years.

But I’m back for a bit! I’m taking a break from writing a personal statement to bring you my only post on DineLA‘s restaurant week! For those of you who don’t know what restaurant week is, it’s basically two weeks when diners can choose from a prix fixe three-course (appetizer, entrée, and dessert) menu for a special discounted price.

I went to Little Dom’s (here’s their yelp.com page) the first week, but the lighting was so bad I couldn’t get good shots of the food. Everything tasted pretty good, but it definitely wasn’t one of those “omg wow!” dinners. My friend and I got the: fried shrimp and artichoke (with lemon, mint, and caper sauce) and Grilled mortadella (with arugala and aged balsamic vinegar) for the appetizers; the ricotta gnocchi (with wild boar ragu) for the entree, and the tangelo creamsicle milkshake (with shortbread cookies) and bomboloni al cioccolato (chocolate creme filled donut) for dessert. We both loved the grilled mortadella and the creamsicle milkshake! The gnocchi was not bad but the Chef Boyardee tasting ragu killed it for us.

But enough with the mediocre! Let’s talk about the GOOD stuff. Enoteca Drago (yelp.com page). Good thing we (my boyfriend and I) couldn’t make reservations at our first choice restaurant (Meet French Bistro)! Otherwise we would’ve missed out on a truly romantic lunch date in Beverly Hills.

First off, you have to love outdoor seating right in the middle of Beverly Hills. Plus one right off the bat! And! The waitress was very nice (great service in terms of timing the dishes and making sure we were comfortable). Plus FIVE POINTS. I’m a sucker for good service.

Now onto the food.

1. The BREAD

Bread was pretty good! The baguette was crusty but soft and fluffy in the middle and the pretzel sticks were delish! The only eyebrow raising part of the bread was the mystery condiment they gave us (you can see it in the picture). I have no idea what it was. We stuck to the butter. ^o^

Bread and Mystery Condiment!

2. The APPETIZERS

Okay, let me start off by saying that usually the appetizers are the third best part of the meal. The entrée usually comes first (surprising for a girl, right?) and the dessert usually takes second. But this was an exception. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the appetizers!

First, my choice. Vitello Tonnato. The description on the menu was the following: Caper Berries and Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette. I always like to go with something acidic or very fresh and crisp for an appetizer since I feel like it wakes up my palate. I also think it helps me to taste the nuances of the typical heartier dishes ordered for the entrée.

ZOMG SOOO GOOD!

The boyfriend’s appetizer was also AMAZING. When I first saw “Brushetta” on the menu I cringed a bit. So simple and, well, expected for an Italian restaurant. But damn, did this exceed my expectations. Maybe it was the low expectations I had going into the first bite, but the cherry tomatoes and the Burrata cheese (mmm!) were AMAZING together. And the celery pesto added a nice touch.

The cheese was AMAZING!

3. The ENTRÉES

I got the Rotisserie Chicken with Paremesan Fries and Red Wine Reduction. At first I was a little hesitant to order this since some reviews mentioned the meat being slightly overcooked and dry. No problem with that here! The chicken was super moist and might I add that the skins were SUPER crispy? The fries were also super good–although, I wish the parmesan taste had been more pronounced; I totally forgot it was there. And the sauce was great, but I would’ve liked more of it (typical me, always wanted nomtastic things in large quantities).

I could totally eat this again...*drool*

The boyfriend ordered the Boneless Braised Short Ribs with Cabbage Package, Baby Carrots, and Carrot and Brown Butter Puree (as was to be expected) and damn, those things were GOOD! As we would say back home, BROKE DA MOUTH GOOD! I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it. I was a little scared of the cabbage at first–it looked a little, well, burnt–but it actually complemented the puree and helped to bring everything together.

Now that's a nomshot right there!

4. The DESSERT

Dessert No. 1: Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch Bar, Orange & Black Pepper Sorbet & Marmalade. Once the boyfriend saw this he didn’t care much about what was in store pre-dessert. He just wanted this. And he had good reason to. It was DELICIOUS. The sorbet helped to cut through the crunch bar, which was rich yet not overpowering, and the candied orange was a cute decorative touch. It’s going on my “To Try” list.

Now that's a good lookin' dessert!

I botched the dessert. I really wanted something fruity after eating my french fries so I chose the semifreddo. For some reason I didn’t realize it was going to have Grapefruit sorbet and it was a very unpleasant surprise for me. I typically don’t handle sour foods very well (grapefruit usually has to be dipped in sugar in order for me to eat it) so it was hard to get it all down. The pistachio nut semifreddo was delicious though. I could eat bowls and bowls of that stuff.

Ahhh the grapefruit!

5. In SUMMARY

This was a double-thumbs up meal for me! I would definitely go again. Maybe next time I’ll go at night to see how the ambiance is then.

Now for a tangent! I have a TON of pictures from some foodie adventures in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo that I am dying to share! So stay tuned for that post. In the meantime, I’m going to keep writing personal statements…)

Until then, may your bellies be FULL and your plates EMPTY!

Full Bellies, Empty Plates!

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I’m back!

10 Jan

Hey guys! It’s been awhile since I last updated…sorry about that! I was having fun relaxing during my Winter Break (which was TOO SHORT, by the way). But school’s back in session and that means I need an outlet for me to be productive while procrastinating on important stuff, AKA homework.

For the next couple of weeks, the update will be sporadic since I’ll be getting a feel for how this semester is going to fare in terms of schoolworks and extracurricular activities. But hopefully everything will be back up to speed by the end of February! I’m also thinking about making some changes to the format of the blog as well as the content. We’ll see how things pan out!

In the meantime, check out some of the nomshots I’ve added to the Hawaii section! I made sure to document my food adventures during my time back home for YOUR ENJOYMENT!

Impromptu crepe nomming!

2 Dec

Two new nomshots up in the Los Angeles, CA section! Check it out! ^o^

So I failed again…

2 Dec

I know, I know. I said I’d have pictures posted from my Vegas trip two days ago. I failed again, sorry guys. But! They’re FINALLY here! I’ve included a few here (along with descriptions of the restaurants) but for all of the pictures visit the nomshots page!

1. Hash House A Go Go

Andy's Sage Fried Chicken & Bacon Waffle Tower--Hash House A Go Go, Las Vegas, NV

If you’re looking for big portions (and I mean BIG) look no further than Hash House! People rave about their breakfast (one order of pancakes can feed 3-4 people, easily) but their dinner choices are also pretty good. I would recommend staying away from their Pork Tenderloin though unless you like really sweet sauces on your chops.

The fried chicken (pictured to the left) is supposedly a New York Times favorite. Did I mention that the waffles also contain bacon? Mmmm!

And their steak is also pretty decent for the price. Ours was a little overcooked (medium-well done instead of medium) but still pretty tender and juicy.

Final verdict? Go if you’re hungry.

 

2. Mirage Buffet

Cravings Buffet--Mirage Hotel, Las Vegas, NV

Day 2 in Vegas started off with a buffet, and it was pretty affordable at only $20/person–a steal considering most will set you back about $50.

I’m not that big on buffets–I tend to nibble on small portions of food throughout the day–but I had to try one since I was in Vegas. The food was pretty standard. As you can see, they had a pretty wide assortment of Asian food (including some dim sum items I didn’t pick up) as well as South American, American, and Italian cuisine.

Stay away from the sushi though–that stuff was pretty nasty. On the plus side, the Chinese food was pretty good.

The stuff to get at this buffet: the dessert. Everything from the dessert section was delicious–especially the raspberry bar. And if you’re a fan of unbaked cheesecake, check their mocha cheesecake out; it’s super rich and creamy with a punch of coffee right at the end.

3. Otto Enoteca Pizzeria

Rigatoni--Otto Enoteca Pizzeria, Las Vegas, NV

I’ve always been a huge fan of Mario Batali, especially after eating at Pizzeria Mozza, his restaurant in Beverly Hills. So when I heard that he had a restaurant at the Venetian, it sounded like the perfect place to grab a bite to eat after watching The Phantom of the Opera.

We started the night off with prosciutto di parma and butternut squash frittes. The prosciutto was delicious but the butternut squash frittes was pretty mediocre. It lacked a bit in the seasoning and I was disappointed by the lack of crispiness. Had we gotten an antipasti with stronger flavors (like the Salumi) it might have worked better.

I got the Rigatoni prepared with swiss chard, pork belly, and cacio (pictured above) while my boyfriend ordered the sausage and pepper pizza. Both we delicious. Anything with sausage at a Mario Batali restaurant is sure to be good since his father is a sausage maker, and a damned good one at that.

4. Mon Ami Gabi

Beef Bourguignon--Mon Ami Gabi Restaurant, Las Vegas, NV

The best restaurants always seem to be the ones you randomly come across. Mon Ami Gabi is no exception. We had passed the restaurant earlier that day thinking that the food was probably mediocre, but after seeing its 4 star rating on yelp.com, we took a gamble and made a reservation.

Speaking for myself, the atmosphere for a restaurant is a major component of how I assess the food. Once you step into Mon Ami Gabi, you feel like you’re off in Paris–or some fantastic place far-removed from Las Vegas. The dim lighting, dark varnished wood, and the white tablecloths all added to what was to become an amazing experience.

If you ever make your way there, try the filet mignon–our server highly recommended it and everyone raves about it. When I go next time, I’ll set aside some extra cash for that dish (it’s still reasonably priced at $30). The Beef Bourguignon is amazing as are all the steak dishes they offer.

This is definitely on my list of favorite restaurants.

5. Bouchon

Bouchon--The Venetian, Las Vegas, NV

Sadly, I didn’t eat here. But for everyone who has $50-$60 to spare and are in either Yountville, Las Vegas, or Beverly Hills, you should definitely dine here. It’s my dream to eat at French Laundry, the only 3-star Michelin rated restaurant here in the states, and this place is the stepping stone to that dream. Thomas Keller is a culinary genius!

 

 

 

 

 

What happens when you blogsurf hungry…

28 Oct

Never visit food blogs on an empty stomach. You will deeply regret it, especially if the photos are of foods thousands of miles away. Let me tell you, it will leave you with an aching in your belly and a somewhat depressed level of happy hormones (aka endorphins).

Let me retrace my steps for you now so you can suffer with me–we’re in this together.

1. This post on Shao Bing You Tiao on Seriouseats.com:

myinnerfatty/flickr

myinnerfatty/flickr

 

With my interest piqued, I, of course, clicked on the link to this guy’s blog. Bad idea.

2. Oyster Omeletes on myinnerfatty.com:

myinnerfatty/flickr

Now I really want to hop in my car for a quick trip to Monterey Park/good ol’ San Gabriel Valley. And of course, being me, I couldn’t stop at that…

3. I can taste it on my tongue already…thanks myinnerfatty.com:

myinnerfatty/flickr

 

Gosh darn it! Now I REALLY want to go to SGV (San Gabriel Valley)…but dim sum won’t be served again until 11AM tomorrow.

Now at this point, I’m quite hungry and nearing the grouchy threshold so I am going to take a short break from foodblog surfing.

Be back later, La Poubelle.

 

-Chumbawamba (I think this suits my mood quite well right now.)

 

NEW Nomshots!

15 Sep

I’m finally making use of my camera that I got for Christmas last year. Check out the “Nomshots” page to see some scrumptious pictures of my recent eating adventures in L.A.!

Coming up next: Yummy memories of Hawaii, L.A., and maybe even some other places!

Happy eating,

E.Kim