The Lake House – LA- Is Not Just Par for the Course Dining

Evchef-geore-and-chef-pauler had a meal so good you had to meet the chefs, I just did. The Lake House – LA – Nice to meet you Chefs George and Chef Paul.   This is not an obvious choice for dining as it is situated at Woodley Lakes Golf course but if you are golf,  work up an appetite  then crave a meal, you won’t be disappointed with this restaurant.   Check their schedule of Facebook for hours and events because even if you don’t golf, this restaurant is worth the trip.   Eat indoors or outdoors.   I dined outdoors and found it soothing to look out over the golf course as I sat at the nicely shellacked and rustic picnic table.

pulled-pork-sandwich

This was an inadvertent dining selection.  After walking four miles on the golf course, we were famished.  I wasn’t expecting much more than to extinguish my hunger.  Yet, quite the contrary happened.  I  took two bites of an incredible pulled pork sandwich brimming smoked flavor, my taste-buds totally impressed.  I offered a bite to my dining companion.  I could tell by his facial expression which spoke before he did that he had just eaten something more than ordinary.  He instantly mentioned how good it was.   I once review a bbq place where the made a simple statement, “If it is good you will not need sauce.”   If you ask for the sauce, it’s a crutch or habit because the flavor of this sandwich stands on its own.  You don’t need sauce.  Chef Paul knows a thing or two about BBQ.  It is a passion of his.  If you come to visit his restaurant, he confidently suggests that you try the tri-tip.   Now, I learned this after having no more room in my stomach to eat but I did devour the delicious pulled pork sandwich.

Van Nuys, CA: Colombian Cuisine at Meson Criollo Grill Restaurant

On a Sunday afternoon, I walked into joy my friends at Meson Criollo Grill Restaurant.  The husband is from El Salvador and his wife a Colombiana.  She would order for me and plate could have been three dinners for me.   We started with these piping hot crisp empanadas.   I would go back for those alone.   Then my hearty meal of steak, egg, rice, beans and plantains were the feast.   When in pseudo Colombia you drink as they do so I order a Colombian soda.

As for the decor, it seem casual.   I was so into my food and company that I barely noticed.  The restaurant is located in a strip mall.

– Crystal Johnson, MCCN Editor

Meson Criollo Food

Northridge,CA: Szechuan Place

Spicy wonton soup

Spicy Wonton Soup- Photo by Crystal A. Johnson

While going to do my laundry at a strip mall, a vibrant place caught my attention called the Szechuan.  Something about it even from afar screamed authentic.  The crowd mostly, if not all Asians except me tends to validate my authenticity suspicion.

The restaurant has an extensive menu.  Things caught my attention like Szechuan pork, a couple nearby sharing tofu stew,  and corn chowder soup.  However, I settled on something that I don’t see everyday which is spicy wonton soup.   This is not you standard American Chinese won ton soup.   Instead it is a mixture of chili oil, broth, green onions and garlic and my wontons were filled with pork.  Though, I enjoyed the flavor,  I did think it was too oily.  I would like to maybe had more broth based.  It was very rich.  The garlic and green onion tasted very fresh.   I also order some crispy spring roll that were perfectly crispy and the vegetables inside tasted fresh and were crunchy.

I believe this restaurant is relatively new.  The service was extremely slow but the staff was very nice.

The decor is beautiful.  It make you kind of forget you are in s strip mall by a laundry mat and cleaners.  I definitely would like to explore some of the other dishes.

Szechuan Place

The restaurant is located by California State Northridge University.  It should do well and better than previous establishments in that location.

Where: 9250 RESEDA BLVD UNIT #7-8 NORTHRIDGE 91324

Los Angeles, CA: Joe’s Cafe

Joe's Cafe

Joe’s Cafe- Photo by Crystal A. Johnson

Located in the Granada Hills section of the San Fernando Valley is Joe’s Cafe.  Despite the ordinary name, it is not an ordinary restaurant.  Breakfast and Lunch are two meals of the day specialized at Joe’s Cafe.  If you know anything anything about this area then you know that Food Trucks meet on this business strip every Friday night.  Joe’s Cafe could be easily missed if it were not for the crowds waiting and the rare outdoor dining that you see happening during the weekdays especially.

Pretzel burger

The restaurant has heightened popularity with a Chopped Champion chef.  And let me tell you, the food does not disappoint.  I went with two men who ordered sandwiches that are accompanied with pretty green salads.  One dining partner kept talking about his menu item called The Beef , describing it as the best burger he every had.  Now, he had been to the establishment for breakfast and wasn’t originally that impressed but this time, he was.  His burger was sandwiched between a pretzel bun and the burger was topped with cheddar cheese, drunken onions and roasted jalepeño aioli.

Joe's Cafe Burger

I opted for the popular Belgian waffle which can be filled with chocolate

Belgian waffle

Bacon filled Waffle- Photo by Crystal A. Johnson (Joe’s Cafe)

chips and bacon.  I opted out of the chocolate.  I can say this was one of the better waffles that I have eaten.  It was light in texture and flavors included sweetness plus the right amount of savory imparted from the bacon.

Joe’s Cafe is not open for dinner.

Address: 17815 Chatsworth St, Granada Hills, CA 91344

 

 

 

Northridge, CA(Los Angeles) Review of Señor Sol

Believe it or not this this review of Señor Sol has some divine inspiration.  My pastor loves this place.  He would talk about how I had to try these fish tacos. If he was Catholic I would say,  “Father knows best” but instead I’ll say my pastor selected a a great choice.  The incredible taco  will include two tortillas so it will not fall apart, perfectly grilled whitefish, cheese, cilantro and delicious sauces.  I’ve become a regular now.  I almost always order a fresh made agua fresca like jamaica.

You may be familiar with the sister restaurant Los Fuentes but I enjoy this restaurant better.  It is great looking.  If you are looking for a nice spot to take a date without having to leave a tip, my tip is check out this spot.

Señor Sol on Urbanspoon

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Northridge, CA: Rincome Thai Restaurant

papaya 2

Papaya Salad with Shrimp

Now, this is a restaurant that I have been to many times.  It virtually never fails.  Why do I say virtually?  Occasionally, the service is slow or not attentive but the Thai food served at this establishment is stellar.

I constantly go with a friend of mine.  We split the the Yum Woon Sen from the salad menu, a silver noodle with chicken which boasts of citrus flavor.  The servers always ask you for your spice level of choice.  Although, I love spicy food I would stick with low to medium spice so it doesn’t compete with the great citrus flavor of this dish.  Next, we always order the spicy seafood soup.  It is amazing.  Expect hot and sour flavors coupled with lemongrass.  Now as for entrees, you can’t go wrong with the yellow curry chicken or the Pad Thai.  We have also tried the appetizers including the shrimp toast.  Normally, I don’t like the shrimp toast that I have ordered at Chinese restaurants in Baltimore.  I mention the town because regionally even in the United States dishes may tend to be prepared differently.  I like the shrimp toast at Rincome.  My suggestion is not to let it sit is will taste greasy soon.  I have tried this with two people and I don’t think they were fans.  They cited the greasy taste.

As for the ambiance, it is great for friends or a simple date night.  The dress is casual.

Location17050 Devonshire St, Northridge, CA 91325
Telephone: (818) 366-5805

Website: http://thairincome.com/

Northridge, CA: Review of Musashi

sushi

Musashi is a Japanese restaurant chain in Los Angeles with several locations.  I joined some friends at the tail end of dinner.  I quickly ordered the Bluefin sushi selected by a friend as a good choice.

And a good choice it was while I was eating my dinner from the appetizer menu, the rest of the party’s dessert was served.

I sampled the Banana Flambe.  The vanilla ice cream looked and tasted home-made and that is a good thing. The bananas were perfect, not overcooked maintaining a bit of firmness in the texture. This was truly a flavorful Banana Flambe.

Flambe_small

As for the tempura ice cream it was visually striking.  I appreciated the contrasting textures and flavor.  However, pure taste would dictate that the Banana Flambe as the dessert of the night.

Musashi has teppan yaki (food cooked and served in front of you) tables and traditional sit down tables.  There is also a sushi bar.

Where: 9046 Tampa Avenue, Northridge, CA 91324
Phone:(818) 701-7041
Hours: Saturday hours 5:00 pm–10:00 pm

Food Truck Review of Papa Juan’s Seafood Tacos

Photo by Sam Romero

Photo by Sam Romero

The ambiance of the Grubfest in Granada Hills had a sense of tranquility yet a subtle buzz filled the air. The people present seemed to be enjoying themselves in a laid-back sort-of-way with their plates on one hand, and a taco on another. In fact, I actually noticed that a few people had their mouths full of food and were too busy to talk as they were more focused on their plates than their friends.

As I gently approached this food truck, the aromas and smells of the searing food completely enveloped me. It’s as if I was being welcomed into an evening barbecue at the beach in Baja California Mexico. The smells of corn tortillas, the fried fish and the sizzling sound of the grill invited me to come closer and investigate deeper. An instantaneous smile took over me as I see myself nodding as well…

Ok! Enough about that!

First of all, let me start by saying that Papa Juan’s is not just another “taco food truck” from your friendly neighborhood corner in LA. At first, it can seem as though it actually is.  (Ha! They sure fooled me!)

But it only takes a few moments of observation to see the unique perspective on the dishes they actually serve. You see, there are only a few food trucks that serve seafood tacos in the area. And for a place that claims to have Baja inspired dishes, Papa Juan’s sure knows how to deliver. If you enjoy Mexican-style mariscos, you’re in for a real treat! From shrimp cocktails to fish tacos, to their own twist on the classic quesadilla (a fried shrimp quesadilla!), you’ll be transported to the Baja beach of flavors.

These guys have stepped it up a notch in the sense that they have achieved both the “classical” taste of tacos, while at the same time making it their own. For example, their battered fried fish tacos look like any other fish taco. Yet taste completely original. This is due to their recipe, which consists of (SECRET) and a little bit of (SECRET), which makes the (SECRET)taste like (SECRET), and that’s all there is to it.

Ok in reality, not even I know the “secret” to their dishes; they guard it with their life and swear by it. But they seem very passionate about what they do and they do pride themselves in a recipe passed down from previous generations.

One of the things I tried at Papa Juan’s was the Battered Fried Fish Taco. And, well, I hadn’t tasted the thing yet and I was already putting lime on the taco. I guess I was just accustomed to doing my Latino ritual. I felt guilty afterwards because let me tell you, it did not need lime! The fish actually tasted like it should, like fish. I remember smelling the exact same thing on my way there. The aroma was good I could almost taste it.

Next on the things I tried was the Fried Shrimp Quesadilla. It became an instant favorite on my list. Even though it was fried, it was really cheesy the way they made it (no pun intended), so cheesy that if you twist off a piece, a strand of cheese follows. An absolute classic, with a twist.

The other thing I tried was the Shrimp Tostada. It could’ve used a little less cucumber in my opinion, and I suppose the shrimp was a little tough due to the marinating process, but good flavor overall.

I also tried the Coctél de Camarón/ Shrimp Cocktail. The juice of the cocktail was flavorful and very similar to the tostada. After tasting it, I added Tapatío hot sauce and more lime. I actually expected celery, but maybe this recipe is different. And just like the tostada, it could’ve used less cucumber in my opinion. I’ve actually tasted a few varieties of shrimp cocktails of Mexico and I can say this was somewhat pretty close to the Mexican Coctél de Camarón that I am familiar with. Overall, my experience at Papa Juan’s was a pleasant one.

-Written by Manny Romero

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Get Shaved- Located in Northridge and Torrance, CA

double shave ice

Serving up one of the best frozen treats of summer is the Hawiian style shaved ice experience of Get Shaved.  One of their most popular menu items is the strawberry banana shaved ice with vanilla ice cream on the bottom and condensed milk poured over the ice.  I ordered theShave ice menu smallest size, the UFO.  I did not want my cup to be empty.

Every customer I talked to was a repeat customer.  Jeanine, a regular orders theRoot Beer float shaved ice.

Other items on the menu include milkshakes and various flavors of ice cream.  The shaved ice flavor choices are extensive including red velvet, boysenberry, coconut and many other suggested combos.  Prices are fair starting a $2.25 for the smallest size.

Locations: Northridge at Reseda & Praire.  There is a location in Torrance and a truck roving around Los Angeles.  You can follow them on Twitter.

Website: http://www.getshavedice.com/

shave ice

Review of the The Grilled Cheese Truck

Erika and grilled cheese truck

Text from Erika to MCCN Editor, Crystal J- “Can’t believe I stood in line in what feels like 90 degree weather just to try The Grilled Cheese Truck! It better be good.SmileGrilled_Mac__Cheese_smaller

I tried the ‘Cheesy Mac’ (macaroni and cheese with sharp cheddar……$5.50) & a half bag of tater tots ($1.75). I wasn’t quite sure what to think as I ate it…the jury’s still out. It’s an interesting concoction; basically a plate of mac-n-cheese between two pieces of bread.  The Mac & Cheese is creamy and adequately seasoned.  Not bad, but I felt like I should probably do a cleanse and work out afterwards!

Visit their Website: http://www.thegrilledcheesetruck.com/