Memorable to-die-for last meals (grouped by locale)…[updated 1.17.11]
(see my reviews on Yelp! for many of the restaurants below under chefkelly.yelp.com)
Boiling Crab – get ready to get messy and get your bib on. It’s Cajun chow time!
Bottega Louie – perfectly poached eggs benedict & fresh salads and a great atmosphere (tho little echo-y). Did I mention their chocolate souffle? to.die.for.
Chan Dara – thai – seafood feast & more. Can you say thai spicy you’re crying but want more?
CPK (we go there often enough!) – field greens, mediterranean spring rolls, margherita pizza on super thin crust and tiramisu which is really good~
Fatburger – turkey on the char, skinny fries please~
Hakata ramen – so simple to order, medium-lite-lite (medium noodle softness, lite broth, lite oil)
Ham Hung – best Korean cold noodle place with the most savory hot broth that’s served with your cold noodles.
Han Bat korean soup. This hole-in-the-wall joint’s been here at least since I was in HS. Order it one way – brisket with lots of radish kimchee please.
Happy Veggie – totally addicting and always make-you-feel-better PHO much betta especially when you learn that it’s vegetarian!
Hide Sushi – old institution with every-consistent tempura, teriyaki, dynamite and sushi (albacore here rocks!)
Hugo’s – fresh healthy options available…try their tofu patties with sauteed kale. So crunchy and good! Why? Because it’s fried…
Il Pastaio – classic italian place that will not disappoint. Fresh pasta, fork-tender proteins, umami sauces for when you have that craving to eat italian and see some beautiful & fake BH peeps. Order the osso buco!
Jin Patisserie – exquisitely made cakes, cookies and chocolate in unimaginable but artfully created combinations (yuzu, ginger, sea salt anyone?). simply. decadent.
Joe’s Restaurant (Venice) – wonderful place for a nice brunch with menus that change. You really can’t go wrong but I could die and go to heaven with their pork confit with tomato jam.
Johnny’s Pastrami – once in a while, you want something greasy and “bad for you”, served wet with french bread and lots of pickles and don’t forget the strawberry shake.
Kae Sung Market– for the best non-MSG Korean kimchi available in LA.
K-Zo Sushi – chef K-Zo’s creations are quite beautiful to look at and mange. With his french influences fusing Japanese, if you want perfect sushi, ask for K-Zo’s omakase.
Lawry’s Prime Ribs – ok, maybe twice a year, you want something red and bad for you. Usually during Christmas time, their spinning salad and all the fixins’ with the California cut is simply divine.
Lucques – a little fancy smancy place for a special occasion with good protein executed to perfection. Fried zucchini blossoms, suckling pig, it’s all good.
Palos Verdes: The Appetizer pizza – brick-oven pizza with the perfect crust, a pure comfort food.
Pinkberry – hooked on the original/pom swirl. Now on the tropical swirl of coconut & passionfruit – I swear it tastes like cheesecake – and so refreshing.
Pizzeria Mozza – (I may piss some people off but…) I think it’s even better than Osteria Mozza, the fancy place next door. Caprese salad with softer-than-cloud burrata cheese & fennel sausage pizza with blistery crisp crust are to die for.
Sakae Sushi – an old institution and no seats here, folks. Order your california roll and inari by the pieces – you can’t get fresher than this.
Shabu Hachi – shabu shabu anyone? great appetizers (enoki beef) too!
Shabu House – we’ve always, always waited at least 40 min, usually an hour for a table here. Funny how big parties sit together but then don’t talk at all during their meal after the 1+ hr wait…
Soot Bull Jeep korean bbq – be prepared to burn or throw away your clothes afterwards but the best Korean BBQ I’ve had. Usually save it for the “one beef a month” meal:)
Sushi Roku – sushi at its best with nostalgia of Mike and Kelly’s first date here, hehee…have the volcano cake, worth the wait.
Sushi Nozawa– the best most fresh sushi EVER! But pricey too. Order omakase “Trust Me” and be sure to try their famous blue crab roll.
Tavern – Susan Goin’s new place full of style and importantly, great food. Hearty brisket hash with fried eggs and horseradish creme fraiche, pork, pork, pork burger and salads are all very good:) Great brunch place that’s oh- tres chic~
Veggie Grill – how do they do it? How does it taste like real meat but isn’t? Addictive potato fries w/ chipotle ranch aioli.
Yogurtland – how many flavors can you mix? can you control yourself from getting more than the 3 flavors that pinkberry has? And you pay by the weight so you can try them all:) Found out today (6/26/09) they’re opening one in Redondo Beach, yay!
Zankou Chicken – finger lickin’ good…don’t forget the tabouli.
Irvine – Fukada– Sansei udon noodles with not-a-drop-of-grease savory broth and rice bowls; always consistent and reasonable in price.
Encino – More than Waffles – You never had waffles until you’ve had theirs. And their spinach souffle omelette- to. die. for. Need I say more?
La Jolla/San Diego:
Brockton Villa– coast Toast to die for and where we discovered Pannikin coffee.
The Cottage– french Toast stuffed with all gooey goodness.
George’s at the Cove – request a table at the patio, Ocean Terrace with feel-so-good breeze and beautiful views of the ocean. Their gnocchi still haunts me…
The Slanted Door – served in small dishes to be shared, tapas-style; hang out by the bar & enjoy the Embarcadero.
Boulevard – for that special birthdays, anniversaries etc.
BonChon chicken wings…what is it about these chicken wings that I can only imagine is so bad for you but haunts me now and then with its sweet, salty, crispy and chewiness?
Burger Joint (inside the Le Parker Meridien)
Da Silvano –Probably the best italian place outside of Italy. Try the lobster salad during lunch.
Les Halles – French brasserie at its best and homage to Anthony Bordain:)
Blue Duck Tavern – Ribeye and duck confit mac-n-cheese
Granville Moore’s mussels – let’s keep it a secret, y’all – sshhh!
Matchbox pizza & sliders
INTL (in order of eaten date, current first):
Paris: Les Fous de l’ile in Ile St. Louis (translated the chickens of the island? but no chicken served there – just honorary guests;)) They bring you the menu on a huge picture frame, service is awesome and the best damn foie gras I’ve had in my life. Don’t forget the Berthillion ice cream afterwards.
Beijing & HK: DinTaiFongsoup dumplings (xilong bao)…And there’s one in SoCal in Arcadia!
Beijing: Mosto – their prix fixe lunch menu was really good not to mention easy on your pocket.
HK: Union J (D’Aguilar Street) – Hamachi with wasabi ice, steak tartare with olive tapanade – very imaginative and good! Down with lychee bellinis and you’re set.
Vancouver, Canada: Japadog!! (MK – Oroshi, KK – Miso Mayo)
Vancouver, Canada: Blue Water – seafood at its best.
Vancouver, Canada: Coast– crispy but tender arctic char
Vancouver, Canada: Elbow Room – your hole-in-the-wall breakfast diner with some interesting personalities of the owners.
Victoria, Canada: Mole – organic breakfast at its best.
Whistler, Canada: Element – tapas with great atmosphere.
London: Nobu sushi– all around crowd pleaser minus the miso cod. I don’t get it. really.
Venice, Italy: Avogaria – what can you say, it’s Venice! Drooling over the squid ink pasta with grapes.
Pisa, Italy: Pizzeria Chimenti with brick-oven pizza to die for (56125 Pisa Pl near the university)
Florence, Italy: Bocca Negra (the restaurant on Via Ghibellina) – order the bisteca and any of their dessert. Where we discovered our honey wine:)
Florence, Italy: 4 Leoni – 4 Leoni salad and all else pasta that was just simply amazing. Think it’s in the ingredients. Everything is just so fresh there! I have a recipe for their 4-Leoni salad if anyone wants it?!@
DON’T FORGET THE GELATOS (any stands) in Italy – it’s so heavenly~~~
Honey wine: Brunello Di Montalcino (Florence, Italy)