Devouring Ugly Delicious Seafood Endorsed by Jonathan Gold in Pomona, CA

Mexican food and Socal are synonymous with one another, and some of the best are found in dingy hole-in-the-wall restaurants. During my Anime Los Angeles Trip (ALA Cosplay Post, ALA Ribbon Trading, ALA My Hero Academia Panel), I had the opportunity to try a variety of restaurants including amazing Indian food at Ashirwad the Blessings and one of the best burgers at Daddy O’s Rockin Cafe, but my favorite restaurant on that trip was Mariscos Jalisco in Pomona, CA. If you love seafood you’re in for a real treat!

Botana ($21) and Taco ($2.25)

With a 5 star review average on Yelp and listed on Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurant, I wanted to see if it’s as amazing as the reviews. With a shabby exterior, you would most certainly drive by and not think twice about going in; however, my motto in “Never Judge a Book By it’s Cover” is one that I always stand by. So, My friend and I shared the Botana ($21) a box of ceviche that included abalone, squid, fish, shrimp, and avocado with chips on the side as well as their famous deep fried tacos. The ceviche ingredients were very simple, but tasted very fresh and I devoured that taco instantly.

Tostado Menu

The Botana has the most variety of seafood, but if you’re dining here alone they offer personal size tostada’s with different combinations of seafood. This hole-in-the-wall restaurant truly is a gem and with 2 trucks and 2 brick and mortar stores.

  1. Mariscos Jalisco  – 3040 E Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023 (Boyle Heights)
  2. Mariscos Jalisco  – 753 E Holt Ave, Pomona, 91767
  3. Mariscos Jalisco (truck) – E 10th St and Towne Ave, Los Angeles CA 90021
  4. Mariscos Jalisco (truck ) – S Figueroa St and 140th Street, Los Angeles CA

I’d totally make this my go-to taco shop if I lived closer, where do you go to curb your Mexican cravings?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

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Chowing Down on one of the Best All American Classics in Upland, CA

I love trying new exotic restaurant when I travel and on my recent trip to Pomona I visited Ashiwad The Blessing (post here) and had an amazing experience. Yet, some of my friends aren’t nearly as adventurous so finding a familiar alternative without compromising flavor and taste ranked on top of my list. I found Daddy O’s Rockin Cafe with a perfect 5 star Yelp rating and thought I’d see if this classic diner was going to be a home-run.

Cheeseburger

The menu was simple and focused on few items as they pride themselves in making their burgers fresh and hand picking their produce daily! Naturally, my friend and I ordered a classic cheeseburger and a side of crinkle cut french fries. The burger was delicious, my friend demolished his and soon after I as well. The cheese was melted perfectly and the patty is cooked medium rare keeping it juicy, but the real star was the bread. Oh lord! That bun was a little denser and chewier which really heightened my eating experience. The owner later informed me that they use a potato bun, which differentiates them from other burger joints.

The diner evoked American charm coupled with the rockin’ burger I definitely get this restaurant two thumbs up!

Where would you go to feed a picky eater?

 

XOXO,

 

Rockstar

Vegetarian Convert?! Feasting on an Explosion of Flavors for Cheap in Upland, CA

When I was researching restaurants in the Inland Empire, I read rave reviews about Ashiwad The Blessing. This vegetarian restaurant had a 4.5 star rating on yelp and with a “eating healthy” new years resolution I was curious to see what it was all about. Additionally, it had dinner hours that extended in the late evening (9pm), which also contributed to my trip plans.

Khamni – Appetizer

Located in an unassuming strip mall, my friend and I wandered in to the simple, but clean restaurant. We were seated prompted and our waiter educated us about the diverse menu option. After thoughtful consideration we started the evening with the Sev Khamni ($4.99), a steamed chick pea. This gluten-free appetizer came with a sweet and spicy sauce accompaniment and was beautifully presented.  The portion was very generous as a starter and served as a great introduction for our enormous entree.

Thali – entree

To share my friend and I ordered the Thali ($14.99) – A complete meal with your choice of vegetables (we opted for a seasonal eggplants and sweet potatoe mix), soup, rotis, rice, raita, snack, and dessert (fried donut). This picture doesn’t do it justice in the size of the offering, and the taste was just was full and robust. There were so many complex flavors that I couldn’t help myself but mixing and matching the items. Everything tasted so earthy and there was no meat! Our total for two came out to about $20ish dollars which is so inexpensive considering the portion and taste. I loved it!

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Dining area

I love meat as much as the next person, but after eating this meal I didn’t miss it. I’m not likely to go full blown vegetarian, but I wouldn’t mind incorporating a meal like this into my routine.

What’s your favorite meatless meal?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

 

Indulging in a truly Sublime treat in Atlanta, GA

If I had a choice between sweet and savory, I would always opt for the later. However Sublime Doughnut was a recipient of the Bake Magazine’s America’s Best Bakery of 2012 and earned multiple endorsements from Food Network and The Cooking Channel, so naturally I had to see for myself if I do or do-nut agree with the critics.  :p

Box of doughnuts!

There are two locations in Georgia and one in Thailand, so I went to the original brick and mortar store near Georgia Tech (535 10th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318). On the outside it looked like any other donut shop in a strip mall; however, one inside you can’t help but feel kawaii and in need of something sweet.

Selection!

After looking at the selection my friend I decided to share three: Chocolate Banana Fritter, Orange Creamsicle, and Fresh Strawberry n Cream. All three were really airy and light, unlike many doughnut shops and before I knew it the box was empty. Although I do think I have a slight preference towards chocolate banana fritter – yum!

Do you have a sweet tooth? Where do you go to curb your sweet craving?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Earthy Cheap Beer and Affordable Hangover Food That’s Great Eaten Sober in Las Vegas, NV

I visit Las Vegas annually with my family and while I’ve heard of Ellis Island Hotel, Casino and Brewery I’ve never actually visited The Village Pub. Friends have often posted photos of the cheap eats there so this year I decided to check it out as it was walking distance from my hotel.

Posing in front of the Ellis Island Tree

Upon entering the building, the casino has an old school charm to it, the restaurant had multiple plaques indicating awards it’s won in the past including: Best Microbrewery and Best Cheap Eats. My friend and I decided to share the Steak and Eggs ($11.99 – I’m sure cheaper if we played with the Players Card), a pint of rootbeer ($2.50) and a pint of their seasonal beer ($2.50).

Steak and Eggs

I wasn’t expecting much, but to my surprise out came a what appeared to be a filet cut chunk with my two over-easy eggs. The steak was cooked perfectly medium rare and tasted as if it was from a fine-dinning restaurant – you could have fooled me! The sourdough toast was a nice touch and while the potatoes were forgettable, the overall meal was a hearty-one. The beer was surprisingly very VERY good. I even liked it more than the housemade root-beer that my friend ordered for me. lol I thoroughly enjoyed my experience here and for less than $20 this establishment is a great place to catch up with friends and enjoy a warm meal for cheap.

What do you eat for a late night snack?

XOXO,

Rockstar

Savoring Soul Food on Mary Macs in Atlanta, Georgia

Comfort food is a category I know all to well. It’s when food makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and preps you for long cat nap, yet I’ve only had soul food a handful of times. Based on rave reviews I’ve visited both Fox Bros BBQ and Sweet Auburn BBQ and both were good, but it left me craving for more. On my visit to Mary Mac’s I was stuffed to the brim and extremely satisfied with experience from beginning to end.

Complimentary bread and Pot Likker with cornbread.

Just down the street from the Fox Theater in the heart of Midtown this historic destination has been serving locals and celebrities alike for over 70 years. While parking can be a challenge it’s definitely an experience you wouldn’t want to miss when visiting. There are multiple dinning rooms in the building and guests are all presented with a sheet to write in our order. Since it was my first time my friend and I were given a sample of complimentary Pot Likker (a soup of boiled turnips). It was soothing, perfect for the chilly weather and the mini cinnamon rolls were so warm and fluffy. I had to stop myself from eating them all.

Two entrees: Fried Chicken Legs and Shrimp & Grits

Mary Mac’s is known for their Fried Chicken and have won countless awards for it. Guests can order different quantities, but my friend and I opted for three legs since we both love dark meat. Each dish is accompanied by two sides. We ordered tomato pie, broccoli souffle, collard greens, and baked sweet potato – the former two were absolutely delicious.

Mary Mac’s Dinning

The fried chicken legs were very moist and tender, but the skin could have been more crisp. However, the generous portions and affordable price-point, and southern hospitality makes me feel like I’m at a family gathering. There’s ample space and would be perfect to host large parties. In a lot of ways this reminds me of Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner, but with more Southern charm.

What part of fried chicken do you grab? Legs? Thighs? Breast? Wings?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Reviewing Alton Browns “Best Thing I Ever Ate – Messy” Pick at the Red Eyed Mule in Marietta, Georgia

Alton Brown is one of my favorite celebrity chef’s so when he listed The Red Eyed Mule as one of favorite messy meals I wanted to check it out for myself. My friend and I visited several hot spots in Atlanta and Snack Boxe Bistro (blog post) was our #1 restaurant. Would Alton Brown’s pick knock-down our current champion? Would it even make the top 3?

Red Eyed Mule endorsed by Irene and Alton Brown

The restaurant is located in Marietta a city about 20 miles outside of downtown Atlanta with morning/afternoon hours (6am-2pm daily). The brick exterior and humble interior  resembled more of a local’s diner than a celebrity chef hang-out, and I was excited to try the coveted Jake’s Sloppy Slaw Burger.

Jake’s Sloppy Slaw Burger and Diner

The burger arrived and I was blown away by juicy patty made with a combination of coarse-ground chorizo and beef. The thick Texas toast was buttered and grilled to perfect – soft on the side with a beautiful char on the outside.  The slaw and sauce gave the crunch and it was so saucy. I loved it!

Verdict: This was definitely the BEST thing I ever ate in Georgia and for $6.25, I’d glad re-arrange my plans to include this hidden gem in my plans.

Whats your favorite “Messy” item to eat and where do you get it?

 

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

Roasting and Toasting at the LA Times The Taste Costa Mesa (Sunday)

The Los Angeles Times always puts on a fantastic Tasting Event and the last day in Costa Mesa was no different.  The three day inaugural festival closed out on Sunday and the feel was casual and light-hearted compared to Saturday’s peak attendance (Day 2).

Photos from Sunday’s Taste Event

With the event starting mid-day, I was able to better appreciate the presentation and beauty of all the offerings. I noticed more details of the decor outside of the food tents especially the fruit platter near the OC Fairgrounds Table. There was also a booth that was hand pouring candles and other vendors giving out swag that I missed on Saturday (gardening gloves, t-shirts, hats etc) – so I definitely loaded up! I guess you don’t know what you missed if you didn’t see it! lol

More photos from Sundays Taste Event

One of the highlights of the day was getting to talk to one of the Fashion Editors and discuss current and upcoming trends. Apparently, velvet is really in as is the color ultra violet. He also mentioned that they may do a LA Times Fashion and Food event in the future – how cool would that be?!

What’s your favorite section to read in the news? Food? Fashion? Local? Comment below.

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

Chowing down at Los Angeles Times the Taste Costa Mesa’s Debut Event at The Met

For the past 3 year I’ve been fortunate to attend the Los Angeles Times The Taste at the Paramount Studios. The venue layout is really fun and I always have a blast (Summer 2018, Summer 2017,  Summer 2016). When they announced starting a second location in Orange County I could not be more ecstatic!!

Nom Noms from The Taste Costa Mesa

The three day event was held at The Met, a courtyard just outside of South Coast Plaza. I had other obligations on Friday’s launch date and was eager to see what the Costa Mesa location had to offer. When I first arrived, I saw a roasted pig turning at the center of the plaza along with rows of fresh coconuts. I attended a media event for Habana in the past so I loved that they brought some Cuban flair to this inaugural event.

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More photos from The Taste Costa Mesa

I also loved Hai Di Lao‘s offering as they assembled a mini hot pot bowl for guests to enjoy. There were also freshly shucked oysters from Water Grill and other vendors gave out extremely generous portions of their dishes. I’ve been to quite a few food festivals and as it’s first year festival I was incredibly impressed by the vendors. I loved the care and hospitality and can’t wait to come back next year – especially since it’s so close by!

 

XOXO,

Rockstar

 

 

Living on Cloud 9 at the annual Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival

Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival is a luxury staple in Orange County. This annual event highlights great talents and features world renowned chef celebrities like Chef Nobu Matsuhisa (Nobu Restaurant), Chef Jet Tula (The Charleston) and so many more! It’s one of my favorite regional festivals and I was thankful to cover the event again as one of @foodiejudge‘s plus one.

Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival tastes and sips!

In previous years this festival focused primarily on the edible guilty pleasures and this year moved to highlight other activities. Wine and other libations made up 1/2 of the festival and vendors specializing in pampering experiences such as a braid bar, silly photo booth stations, and luxury furnishings had a large presence. There were also several large art displays for guests to enjoy.

More noms!

My favorite sample at the event had to be the seared-diver scallops with quinoa served by Pelican Grill. The chef continuously laid large plump pieces on the portable grill, seared them perfectly, and served them fresh to the guests. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I had three servings because it was so so good. *Drool*

More Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival photos!

Personally I enjoy eating more so than drinking, but there were so many different libations to choose from. Guests could enjoy a cider from Stella, Macallan a prominent whiskey brand, and so much more.

What would you enjoy first? Noms or sips?

 

XOXO,

Rockstar