Monday, June 22, 2015

Hakata Ikkousha

I think it's safe to say Costa Mesa is up there with Torrance and Little Tokyo as ramen house hotbeds.  Santouka, Kitakata, Ramen Yamadaya are at the top.  I'll throw Shin Sen Gumi in there, but it's technically in Fountain Valley.  Now Hakata Ikkousha can be added to that list. But at a starting price of $9 a bowl, it is sure to be the most expensive bowl in town.  Like any good Japanese restaurant, the place is frickin' small and you can expect to wait for a table.  It's not a horrendous wait (at least for me that night it wasn't), but I've heard there can be a line out the door even before the place opens for lunch.

Hakata like all the other aforementioned joints specialize in tonkotsu ramen.  Like Shin Sen Gumi, you can customize your broth and noodles.  You can also add extra toppings for few bucks here and there.  If you went to town, you could easily end up with a bowl over $30!  Lo-Ma Linda with Big Head TalksAlot's mini me in tow joined me for a first time visit here.

Table side accoutrements.  Can I say that in a Japanese restaurant?  I'm sure there's a better word for it, multiple syllables and probably ends in a vowel.  


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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

MOzen Bistro

Vegas and buffet are almost synonymous words in my book.  You can't go to Vegas, shop till you drop, gamble like money grows on trees, and NOT eat until you explode.  Almost every Vegas trip includes a visit to whatever the hottest buffet is at the moment.  That hot buffet is Bacchanal at Caesar's Palace.  The Bacchanal has an impressive spread, but it comes with a hefty price tag.  I think the buffet itself is $60 or so, but I've never had the patience to wait an hour in line so I'll pay the extra $15 for the express line.  When all is said and done, I've just paid $80 for a pile of vegetables, butter, and sugar (I lean towards the veggies and dessert bar).

Anyways, this isn't a blog entry about Bacchanal.  It's about a nice alternative to that buffet of the masses.  You've probably never heard of MOzen.  Heck, I never had until Decidedly Undecided told me Big Spoon gave it two thumbs up.  Maybe the appeal of this place is rooted in the fact that nobody else is eating here.  You don't have to wait in line to enter the buffet, to just wait in line again for the crab legs or prime rib.  So yeah, the place was a bit empty, but it was peaceful and relaxing.  I wouldn't be quick to judge the place.  MOzen is located at the Mandarin Oriental.  Who goes to the Mandarin Oriental for anything??

The Sunday brunch bistro is unique for its buffet offerings and choice of entree from their a la carte menu for $65.  So as a result, their buffet is not nearly as extensive and international as many other buffets.  There's an Asian slant, which I don't mind one bit since I always gravitate toward the Asian items anyways.  The focus is on quality rather than quantity.

Caprese Salad

Chickpea Salad chat masala, tamarind chutney

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Lotus of Siam

When planning the eats for my Vegas trip, I needed to balance out all the indulgent heaviness from Public House and Yardbird.  A solid Asian meal was my answer.  A cheap meal to boot!  Lotus of Siam is pretty famous as far as Thai food in Vegas goes.  I enjoyed my meal here on my last visit, but I wanted to see if my matured Thai palate would change my opinion of the place.  Can't Hang is Thai, but he was no help here.  Not an ounce of free booze or food crossed our lips.  You can't have it all I guess.  At least we didn't have to wait in this ugly line.  High five to me for being an anal retentive type A planner who made a reservation.  Booyeah!


Fried Fish Cakes
BigHead TalksAlot loves fried fish cakes so he threw this into the order.  Not bad, but the sauce definitely amped things up.


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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Yardbird Southern Table

Yardbird Southern Table might have been the foodie highlight of my Miami trip.  I was super excited to find out they opened a post in Las Vegas.  I was wary though.  Sometimes the quality can falter when places expand to Vegas.  I feel like chains/restaurateurs/chefs just expand to the Sin City for the sake of having a presence in the city.  It doesn't help that Vegas is known more for its gamblers and gluttons, rather than its foodies and Michelin stars.  So, I was pleasantly surprised to find the quality here is spot on and might just outshine the original.  On a revisit, I would normally try to branch out and order some different things, but even Anthony Bourdain ordered all the same things when he visited the Miami location.  So why fix it if it ain't broken, right?


Decidedly Undecided and Rock Dweller both came to the independent observation that the joint looks a lot like a Restoration Hardware.  I remember the Miami spot had a lot more windows and sunglight. The thing with Vegas hotels is that they never want to show you any windows.  They never want you to know that you've just spent the day gambling from sunrise to sunset.  As a result, Yardbird Vegas relies on cool light installations like this mason jar fixture to keep the place bright.


More cute decor!  I wonder if they people who designed/decorated Public House had a hand in the style at Yardbird too?


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