Gracias Madre


If you were able to catch my last post, I talked about completing a fast which basically boiled down to eating only fruits and veggies for 3 weeks.  Since I’m a foodie at heart, I love looking for new restaurants to try so I just had to incorporate finding vegan/vegetarian options during this time.  I learned that this community is huge and LA offers a ton of restaurants catered to both vegans and vegetarians.  I often opted for places that had dishes like a Tex-mex bowl with rice, beans, sautéed vegetables, pico de gallo and guac. Anything with guacamole and I’m sold 😊.  This was the simplest route to take food wise and easy to find everywhere.  However, I did venture out a few times and stumbled upon some wonderful places.  One being Gracias Madre, offering 100% organic, plant based Mexican cuisine.


Gracias Madre is tucked away in West Hollywood on Melrose Ave.  I’ve probably passed this place a million times and never noticed it before.  It kind of resembles a nice house from the street view but when you walk in you are totally taken aback.  The décor and ambiance is just so chic.   There was a lounge area with comfy chairs and couches adjacent from the bar area.  The outside dining area had communal tables with the heated lamps for those cooler days/nights in LA along with cute little tables for smaller parties.  From the outside, the space looked so quaint but once inside it was a huge space and very accommodating for the large crowd in attendance that day.


To stick with my go to bowls that I’d been consuming, I went with Bowl Tres as my entrée.  This bowl has quinoa, kale, roasted squash, white beans, peppers, onions and pesto cashew crème.  Okay let’s start by saying the roasted squash was the best!!! The kale was also very seasoned and added a nice taste to the overall dish. Before I ordered this, the waiter did let me try the pesto cashew crème and I went for it and decided to order this bowl.  I will say I did not know the bowl was heavily dressed with that sauce.  I think sometimes dishes are overly compensated with a sauce to make sure we get a good amount of flavor and I probably should of asked for it on the side to be safe.  That being said, the sauce did compliment the dish well and I was pleased with this entrée.  I heard the drinks are pretty good too so I will definitely be back to give those a try as well.




imageWhen restaurant week is upon us, it’a only right to take part in at least one of the restaurants offering a nice lunch or 3-course dinner for $29 or $42, respectively.  I decided to try Kristalbelli.  Perfect for yet another catch up dinner.  Kristalbelli is located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan and serves very authentic Korean dishes. I love the prix fixe menu because you do normally get some pretty good options for a 3-course meal.

My friend and I decided to order different things for the appetizer, entree and dessert so we could essentially try various things.  For the appetizers, we went with the crispy salmon and japchae.  The crispy salmon was the favorite for the table which is salmon sashimi with crispy sushi rice.  The japchae consisted of stir fried glass noodles with beef and seasonal vegetables.  For the entree, I decided to try the wagyu marinated short ribs, a recommendation and highly praised dish from the waiter.  To actually experience the grilling at the table, my friend went with the black tiger shrimp.  You cannot come to this Korean spot and not have an entree cooked right before your eyes on the crystal Buddha belly.  The entrees were complimented with a handful of sides including a fresh salad, Korean potato salad and a boiled egg to name a few.  My favorite was the salad because it was so refreshing and added a nice touch to my short ribs.  I was highly impressed with the short ribs.  Talk about amazing!  That was definitely a great recommendation.

For the dessert, we had the popcorn ice cream and apple rose.  OMG both were delicious!  I never even thought of having caramelized popcorn over vanilla ice cream.  To balance the sweetness, there was salt sprinkled on the top as well.  The apple rose was a nice pastry filled with caramelized apples and cinnamon, served with mascarpone ice cream.  I am so glad I finally made it here.  The food was great and you really get to enjoy traditional Korean dishes served right here in New York.  I’ve always loved the diversity in cuisine in New York.  To top it off, there’s  a nice lounge right upstairs called Juga.  I highly recommend stopping by this little hidden gem for a drink and some nice tunes.  Check out pictures below from my Kristalbelli experience.

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A touch of Italy


It was my dear friend’s last day with me at our job and we decided to do a celebratory lunch for her new opportunity and success within her future endeavors.  Midtown can cause quite a headache sometimes when looking for different  lunch options.  On this particular day, we decided to take a stroll down 6th ave and see in fact what we could find.  Our lucky winner would be this cute little restaurant, L’Amico, located inside the Eventi Hotel.  The menu is a mix of both American and Italian and offers a number of great dishes.

The ambiance was so cute!  I could not stop talking about.  The table setting, rustic-chic décor and overall atmosphere had us sold already.  We could care less about the food at this point but luckily it matched how we felt about this place thus far.  I went with the scallops over a rosemary-apple puree along with sunchokes and capers.  The blend of flavors that this dish brought was absolutely amazing! OMG!!!  The scallops were seared perfectly and the puree added such a nice touch of flavor!  Definitely a great choice for lunch.  My friend went with the salmon avocado dish which included a charred kale dressed with lemon oil.  Such a fresh dish for fall and also an excellent choice.  Equally as delicious as mine although I think my entrée would have to be my favorite out of the two.

L’Amico did not disappoint to say the least.  In fact, we now wish we’d discovered this place sometime ago.  I believe the menu is seasonal so hopefully you are able to catch this place in time to try the tasty dishes we had.  If not, I’m sure the winter menu would be just as delicious.  Definitely give them a try when in Midtown New York.




Dinner before Broadway

The dining experience at The Capital Grille is like no other. From the time my party was greeted at the door until the flutes filled with champagne were passed, I knew it was going to be a memorable experience.   Some of my family came to visit me in NYC and I decided to give this place a try for dinner before we ventured off to see ‘The Color Purple’.

Luckily it was three of us and we all wanted to have different entrees.  Well, lucky for me so I could do taste tests of the other options.  My aunt went with the lamb chops which was a great choice;  cooked to perfection and the restaurant gives a nice portion.  I went with the filet mignon of course, being a huge steak lover.  The filet practically melted in my mouth; the cut, seasoning and taste could not of been more perfect.  My cousin went with the restaurant’s special that they were offering at the time.  I cannot recall the type of fish but it was seared and topped with a homemade salsa consisting of peppers, fresh cilantro and avocado.  All three were absolutely amazing. As for the sides, sautéed spinach and mashed potatoes were our picks for the evening.  These both complimented everyone’s dish well.  I love restaurants with shareable sides.  This makes it easier for small groups and gives everyone a chance to try different things.

After having an appetizer, bread, salad and a full entree, dessert for me was out of the question.  To my surprise, our waiter had been paying very close attention and overheard I was soon to be married.  After our entrees were cleared from the table, he brought out champagne filled flutes and a cute little dessert.  Not only had the service been impeccable for our dinner reservation, but for the waiter to make it that much more memorable and special meant a lot to me.  We all left very pleased with an unforgettable NYC dining experience.  I cannot say enough about The Capital Grille in terms of the many things I was happy about.  Great choice for dinner with an amazing ambiance and superb staff.  I will definitely be back!






Clover Club


Sometimes you just want to go out and grab a good drink.  Clover Club has been on my list of places to try for quite some time and I finally made it.  Located near Cobble Hill on Smith Street, this is a stellar cocktail bar that must be visited if you’re in the area. The dim setting and overall ambiance is great.  Very relaxing and inviting to have nice conversation over some of their many fancy concoctions.  Although we only came for drinks, I’d been eyeing a few food items I wanted to try as well.  I went with the deviled eggs and the mac and cheese.  With the deviled eggs, you received four all topped with something different.  Toppings included were crispy bacon croutons, smoked paprika and garlic bread crumbs, smoked trout and mushrooms duxelles.  All were delectable and almost made me order another round but I remembered I had the mac and cheese to indulge in as well.   The mac and cheese was cooked with several cheeses and also included bacon.  Anytime there’s bacon involved, I’m overjoyed.   I’ll have to re-visit to try the fried oysters and the bread pudding.  I wish I could of tried everything all at once but this gives me a reason to definitely come back.

As for the drinks, there’s a huge selection categorized perfectly for an indecisive person like myself.  Some of the categories were punches, tiki, beat the heat and brain freeze just to name a few.  Clover Club was definitely a hit for me and it worked even better that it’s right in Brooklyn.  Be sure to check them out if you’re ever on Smith Street and looking for a nice cocktail bar. Check out more pics below.




The Juke


imageAtlanta is the home of a lot of great restaurants. Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint in the heart of downtown happens to be one and I’m so glad I decided to take my family here for an outing on my last visit home. There’s nothing like a good ol’ Southern cooked meal and this place doesn’t disappoint.

To start, we decided to have the crawfish tails, fried green tomatoes and their rendition of bacon and eggs; which happened to be the delectable deviled eggs topped with candied bacon. Unfortunately we tackled the appetizers pretty quickly and I was only able to snag a picture of the deviled eggs. For my entree, I went with the half rack of ribs which were absolutely amazing. In the south, you have to have a good mac and cheese as a side so of course I ordered that for my vegetable along with fried okra.

What I love about the south is that home feeling you get anywhere you go. Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint gives a great vibe and the live band adds a special touch as well. While eating, we often stopped to chime in on classics that the band played including songs by the legendary Earth, Wind and Fire and the Gap Band. You have to chime in on these right? It was definitely a great experience and to see the smiles on my family members faces made it that much better. Check out more pics below.





Tribeca eats


My little sister decided to come up and celebrate her birthday here in New York.  Of course I created a nice itinerary which included great places to eat, touristy things like visit Times Square and Central Park and picked a handful of nightlife events.  One of the main requests she gave me was to have an awesome dinner, preferably at a steakhouse.  Since I enjoy food so much and live for trying new places to dine, my quest to find the perfect place for dinner started about 2 weeks prior to her visit.  The choice for the evening is none other than American Cut.  This is a modern steakhouse in the Tribeca area serving some of the best steaks I’ve had so far.

You walk in to such a beautiful decor with the dim lighting and such a simple yet elegant table setting.  To start, we went with their rendition of the wedge salad called ‘Black Knife Wedge’ which is your typical iceberg lettuce, blue cheese and bacon. Too fancy it up a bit theirs also had sun-dried tomatoes and croutons which were a nice touch.  For the entree, I decided to have the filet mignon and the dry aged potatoes with bacon and mushrooms.  The filet literally melted in my mouth and the roasted potatoes were simply amazing.  My sister went with the restaurant’s staple steak choice, the New York City cut, which was also very delicious as its cooked with pastrami spices and smoked to perfection.  You can also add different sauces or butter if you like but I stuck with the special made steak sauce that’s made in house.  Delectable is an understatement when trying to describe the dinner here at American Cut.  The restaurant choice was a hit for the birthday celebration and I will definitely be back to dine here again!  Check out pics of some our food choices below.





Dinner date at Nobu

I had the pleasure of dining at Nobu in TriBeCa, NY.  Perfect ambiance, great food and service.  To start, the rock shrimp tempura with the creamy spicy sauce was an amazing appetizer.  To follow up with this, I had to try their sushi.  I mean this is Nobu we’re talking about.  I decided to try the soft shell spider roll and that was a pretty good decision.  For the entree, the filet of salmon with the teriyaki sauce was my choice for the evening.  Overall, the dishes were quite tasty and the vibes of the restaurant made it that much better.  Oh and I can’t forget to mention the pineapple martini.  All in all, Nobu lived up to the hype.  Give them a try and check out my dining choices below.





LA meets NY


East Village, NY has to have some of the best restaurants in New York City.  I stumbled upon this gem in search of a good happy hour in the area.  Unfortunately it ended at 7pm here so I missed the happy hour but boy did they make that up with the delectable dishes they have here.  The guacamole was so fresh along with the chips and the brisket tacos were simply amazing.  Rosie’s gave me an LA vibe when I dined there, especially since it was a 70-degree day in the city so all of the side doors were open to let the fresh air trickle in.  This will definitely be a good spot in the summer.  Check it out if you’re in the area and want tasty Mexican.



The Real Big Mac


On yesterday I ventured off to The Ainsworth and boy was it worth it.  I’ve seen this mac and cheese burger combo on a ton of sites and blogs and figured it was time I gave this a try.  The burger comes with panko crusted mac and cheese and a scoop of mac of cheese to top it all off.  By scoop, I mean practically a side of mac and cheese piled on top of the burger which is perfectly fine by me.  It normally comes with fries but since I was living on the edge enough with the double helping of mac and cheese, I opted to have the salad instead. This combination that they’ve created did not disappoint. To add, the DJ played a slew of great tunes and made the experience that much greater.  Please check this place out if you are ever in Manhattan and want a delicious burger!