Sunday, July 29, 2007

Oh my - What a pie!

Last night I hit a big hand at video poker and decided to take the money and run. I then concluded the best use of some of the casino's dough would be to stop by Metro Pizza (previous blog 7/12/07) and pick up some fresh dough and go home and make a pizza for dinner. On the way from Metro to home we pass a MARIE CALLENDER'S. Mother of Food suggested we have some pie for dessert. Mother is a great sales person and i am an easy sale (mooch)-so we stopped. I then said surprise me. There are no bad pies at MARIE CALLENDER'S. After the pizza MoF brought in the pie.It was a srawberrrrry pie.The reason so many rs is to start to describe the enormous size of the strawberries. These were the largest strawberries I have ever seen. Piled high in a very fresh flaky crust, then covered with a sweet glaze. Oh my - what a pie! I hope you have a MARIE CALLENDER'S near you. We have several in Las Vegas.

I usually stop at : MARIE CALLENDER'S
4800 S. Eastern Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89119
702-458-2127 FAX 702-458-0795

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Oh, Fred.

Last night I landed in the arms of one of my favorite Freds, Fred's 62 that is. I try to tell people about the lesser known of the good restaurants in the LA area, but the secret has been out on Fred’s for a while. At most times of the day or night, Fred's 62 is busy if not packed with a line out the door. The reasons why it is so popular are many; an extensive and unusual menu, the best pancakes in the city (or maybe anywhere), and a friendly wait staff with the pithiest of t-shirt slogans. Where else in town can you get a bowl of spicy mac and cheese, a chili and onion omelet, and a bowl of udon (a Japanese noodle soup) all at four in the morning? The biggest problem I have going To Fred's 62 is deciding on what to order.

Last night I had an old favorite, Pancake Tatin – imagine the best pancake you've ever had, wrapped around an apple pie… only somehow, not heavy. I just can’t say enough about the pancakes. A couple of years ago I ended up at Fred’s on my birthday and I ventured into scary territory with the Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love Pancake: peanut butter, chocolate chips, banana, caramel sauce, and powdered sugar. Sounds too sweet, right? No Sir, it was incredible. To top it off, Husband of Food had The Super Rico (a crabcake-like sandwich made with tuna), which was so delicious, I may have to skip the pancakes next time.

Fred's 62
1850 N. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Thursday, July 26, 2007


OK, in the interest of fair disclosure, one of the Family of Foodies worked on this most food related of video games. She cooked up spicy virtual soup, tempting 3D petit fours, and decadent digital whipped cream. OK, that she was me, Daughter of Food. So in my own self interest, to celebrate the shipping of our delicious Video Game, I have added a link to the Ratatouille Video Game’s website and The Ratatouille Movie’s website on this blog’s Food as Art sidebar. Bon Appétit, to all you hungry gamers.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Special Hint

A great way to experience special (pricey) restaurants is to find out if they serve lunch. The ambiance will be the same, the service just as good and the quality of the food can be tested and tasted. The lunch menu will normally be lighter both in fare and price. This summer one of our local favorites for over 20 years opened for lunch. The TILLERMAN located about 5 minutes east of the strip on Flamingo is probably the best lunch value in town. Some of the starters available are baby back ribs Asian style (father's fave) and jumbo coconut crunchy shrimp (mother's #1).

There is a nice selection of salads and sandwiches priced from ($7.50 to $12.00)
Sandwiches are served with a huge order of hand cut, freshly fried steak fries-so good! Other entrees range from ($9,50 - three egg cheese omelet to $22.00 - 180z. bone in New York steak).In between you will find pasta and seafood dishes. Now get this - during this summer lunch entrees are 2 for 1.

The TILLERMAN in the evening is known as one of the premier fresh fish and steak houses in Las Vegas. It is a very attractive and comfortable restaurant made up of several rooms plus a mezzanine area. We sat in the garden room, soaring ceilings, live trees and high backed chairs. I definitely felt I was going back to a more civilized and elegant time in dining. No rush-rush here.

The TILLERMAN is located:
2245 East Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV. 89119

Nothing to Report

Nothing to see here. The only thing that inspired me food wise this weekend was a fine Mexican meal made by Cousin of Food and Girlfriend of Cousin of Food. They whipped up 3 Salsas, Guacamole, excellent marinaded meats, warm tortillas, Spanish rice, and more. So unless Cousin of Food posts the place where the meat marinades were from, there is really nothing to see here. Thanks for the meal.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Two Alternatives to Versailles

Although it is far from Cuba, Los Angeles still has a number of good Cuban restaurants. If you are tired of waiting in line at the popular Los Angeles restaurant chain Versailles , you may want to try a couple of good alternatives.

El Criollo is a small Cuban oasis in the midst of the Van Nuys - North Hollywood borderland. The personal attention from the owner and staff are refreshing in this sunny but cold city. The plantains are delicious and the garlic chicken has more than enough garlic for even the most garlic loving of the family of food. My only complaint is that the bread is not good, but I have been told it is pretty traditional.

El Rincon Criollo is another solid Cuban restaurant. This restaurant is on Sepulveda in Culver City. The food here is very good and I gladly take lunch here when I get the chance.

Both places are casual and low priced.

El Criollo
13245 Victory BlvdVan Nuys, CA91401
(818) 508-0865

El Rincon Criollo
4361 Sepulveda BlvdCulver City, CA90230
(310) 391-4478

Monday, July 16, 2007

Dining Sicilian Style

We were driving, trying to figure out where to go for dinner when we passed THE SICILIAN CAFFE. It had opened about eight months earlier and mother of food and I had been meaning to try it out but hadn't made it yet. The sign outside read good Italian food with a Sicilian Flair. It should have read great not good. As we walked in Peter (Pietro) the owner greeted us. We walked by a table of antipasti . The welcome couldn't be warmer and the dishes looked very appetising. As we were seated hot bread was brought to our table. We started with an appetizer of Italian rice balls (arancini) served with a very special meat sauce. Then an order of fried mozzarella dipped in egg and bread crumbs served with marinara sauce. Nothing frozen or from a bottle here. The arancini were almost as big as a soft ball. We could have stopped here as these dishes were not only delish but also very satisfying. We decided to order more food with plans to take some home. Mother ordered the chicken francese (chicken breast dipped in egg and sauteed in a garlic, lemon white wine butter sauce.) I decided to try the personal pizza (enough for two). The dough was very good and the cheeses melted perfectly topped with pepperoni and sauteed mushrooms. With the dinner entrees you have a choice of soup or salad and either a vegetable or a side of pasta. Mother of Food chose salad (served nice and chilled with a house creamy Italian dressing) and the pasta.

We thought we were finished , when the table next to us sent us a platter of lobster parmigiana, veal milanese and batter fried veggies. We said we couldn't eat any more but they said taste a little and take the rest home. We already had two boxes of leftovers for later in the week. However not wanting to insult our new friends, mother and I accepted graciously and loved the few bites we had and look forward to the rest. Las Vegas has some very good Italian restaurants and I feel THE SICILIAN CAFFE is right up there with the best.

Thank you Peter for making us feel like family.

THE SICILIAN CAFFE is located at: 3520 Tropicana Ave. Ste#A
Las Vegas, Nv 89121

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hidden Treasure

There are excellent restaurants in Las Vegas one would never know about unless someone told you.

LOTUS OF SIAM is one of these. Johnathon Gold food critic for Gourmet magazine called it the best Thai restaurant in North America. That got my attention! This little gem of a restaurant is located in the Commercial Center about a mile East of the strip. I have never seen an ad for the restaurant and I am not sure if they are even listed in the phone book, but the word of mouth goodwill and advertising couldn't be any louder or stronger.

LOTUS OF SIAM is open for lunch and dinner. At lunch they have a small buffet but I would definitely recommend ordering a la carte from the menu to really enjoy the variety of dishes offered. At dinner ask about specials, the dishes are well described and the servers are very knowledgeable.

Some of my favorite dishes are the Mee Krob, Prawns in a blanket. fresh ginger dishes and a shrimp dish I had the last time I was there where the shrimp are served with the shells on the side deep fried. This was recommended by a couple from Los Angeles, there for the first time and couldn't stop raving about the food. For dessert fried banana , coconut ice cream and mango sticky rice. Yummmmy!

For dinner call to make a reservation.

953 E. Sahara Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89104 (3/4 East of Sahara Hotel) Tel. (702)735-3033

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Give Me Some Soul

A few posts ago, a reader asked for Pizza recommendations in the South Bay. I haven't heard any yet, but I thought I might pass on a Soul Food reference not too far from the area. M&M Soul Food on Centinella Ave. may not look like much, but looks are not what this blog is about. Taste is the sense you want to bring with you to M&M’s. They specialize in Fried Chicken and Gravy, Mac and Cheese, Corn Bread, and all the sorts of things that can comfort food you into a coma. It’s not the healthiest meal, even their green beans could add a few pounds, but it’s well worth an extra jog around the track. I believe the M&M stands for mmmmm&mmmmmm.

M & M Soul Food (310) 215-8186
5496 W. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90045

Friday, July 13, 2007

a real cut up

Daughter of Food has become a real cut up.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


When most people move to a new city, they have certain priorities. They locate the nearest hospitals, a twenty-four hour pharmacy, a good supermarket, a dry cleaner, hair salon and so forth. I'm not most people! When I came to Las Vegas seven and half years ago, I asked the people I met "Who has the best pizza in town and where can I find some good barbeque?" This is what is important to me. I got a wide variety of pizza suggestions. Some were OK but none great. After a month or so I decided to get a job so I could keep eating. I went to work in marketing. On my rides to and from work up and down Tropicana Ave, I noticed a parking lot in front of METRO PIZZA was always crowded. This really impressed me since I was usually coming home after nine o'clock in the evening. So I told my lovely wife (Mother of Food) we have to try it out. Bingo - we hit the jackpot. Great pizza, super sandwiches and terrific salads. The wait staff is very friendly. The pizza is New york style but they do deep dish also. I also like to make my own pizzas at home, but I always buy fresh dough ready to spread from Metro.

METRO PIZZA is at the following Locations

Metro Pizza
1395 East Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas, Nevada

Tropicana & Maryland Parkway (702) 736-1955

Metro Pizza
4001South Decatur Blvd. Las Vegas, Nevada

Renaissance Center West (702) 362-7896

Metro Pizza Green Valley
1420 W. Horizon Ridge ParkwayHenderson, Nevada

NW Corner of Stephanie & Horizon Ridge (702)458-4769

Learning to Cut

I acquired a skill last night that just may change my life. I learned to properly hold a chef’s knife. It may not sound like an Earth shaking experience, but as a person who has only once ever had to get stitches, and that for a particularly fierce battle with a particularly hard bagel, it is a giant step forward in my culinary existence. Yesterday evening I took my first cooking class, “Cooking Basics/Knife Skills” at Chez Cherie.

As lovers of good food, the members of our family can cook. Growing up, cooking was something like a competitive sport with Father of Food and Son of Food striving for more interesting and better dishes with little Daughter of Food trying to reach over their shoulders for scraps of food and knowledge. Where was Mom of Food at the time? Making the basics, French toast and grilled cheese, and as she does even today, acting as sous chef to Father of Food. The entire "of Food" Family would be proud of me today. I can slice an onion into the smallest of bits without my hands smelling afterward and easily create a chiffinade from fresh basil. Before yesterday I did not even know what a chiffinade was (a cut that looks like tiny ribbons, to save you the Google search); now I do and for that, I thank Cherie.

Cherie Mercer Twohy is the force behind Chez Cherie. She teaches her courses with several skilled assistants. In this course, she lectured for a bit then the students were split into several smaller groups to practice what she preached. I was in a group with Chris who helped me understand knife basics and hand positioning. We sliced and chopped veggies which were whisked away into a developing stir-fry that we ate as a reward for our work. It was all topped off with a dessert that Cherie made for us, a delicious tequila lime pie complete with much talk of lime zest. I came away from the night with a new knife, a sharpener, and confidence in my slice.

Now, to make your family proud, I will give you one tip of the many Cherie gave this night. After chopping an onion, rinse your hands with water and then rub them on something made of Stainless Steel. The steel makes a chemical reaction with the onion juice, eliminating the smell. This works for garlic and shrimp, too. Learn more for yourself. Chez Cherie is located at 1401 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada, CA 91011.

Take a look at the Family of Food Map link on the Sidebar. We will try and map all of the places we talk about in the blog to make it easy for you to get the good food you’ve been looking for.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Beginning the blog.

Angelenos have two inexhaustible conversations; how travel by car from one part of Los Angeles to another and where this City of Angels hides a decent slice of pizza. This blog is going to focus on the Pizza conversation. Yes, Pizza with a capital P. Food is important in my family. Our highest cell phone bills can be traced back to this simple question, "What did you have for dinner?" We hope to thwart the profits of Verizon and Sprint by posting our answers to that question here.

There will be blogging about the tiny restaurants in the San Fernando Valley, as well as the rest of Los Angeles, from me, the Daughter, but as the Father begins his expression you will read of great fare from Las Vegas. I hope to also lure my New Yorker brother to the blog as he will bring East Coast flavors to life and if you've ever been to New York, you know that these flavors are worth reading about.

Now back to the Pizza conversation, it is sometimes hit and miss, but my best bet for Pizza in LA is Damiano's Mr. Pizza on Fairfax. I had a meatball pizza there about a decade ago, that I still dream about. This place is dark, dark, dark, except for the glare of the beer fridge. While the lack of light robs you of your eyesight and ability to read the menu, it enhanses your other senses and is perhaps why the tastes are so rich. Give it a try. 412 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

From the Valley, take Laurel Canyon over the hill to Fairfax, past Melrose. It's across the street from Canter's Deli. Or, take the 101 to and drive down Highland and cross over to Fairfax on any street before Melrose. Or maybe go over on Coldwater...

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