Born and raised in Garden Grove just on the outskirts of the ever-growing Vietnamese enclave, I never really paid attention to all of the changes in Little Saigon until I left the OC and moved to Westwood for undergrad. Visiting every weekend at best, maybe less than once a month at my busiest, I finally took notice of the constant construction, the rotation of new trendy restaurants replacing older storefronts, the evolution of the city itself as its northern borders encroached on The Korean District, and the influx of traffic from local residents and out-of-town visitors alike. Many of my favorite restaurants I dined at while growing up had either closed up shop, changed owners, or hired new chefs. But not Pho 79. I could always count on Pho 79 to bring to my table a piping hot bowl of pho just the way I remembered it when I was a little girl earnestly chowing down on the tô nhỏ (literally translated as “small bowl”) with extra gân (beef tendon) while my parents withheld the toy that would accompany the kids meal until I first finished my food. (That’s right – we were eating offal before offal was cool.)
March 20, 2013
November 5, 2012
Campanile, a long established restaurant housed in a building formerly owned by Charlie Chaplin, closed its doors at the end of October after 23 years under famed Executive Chef Mark Peel. Having read the tragic news on EaterLA a month prior and not wanting to miss the opportunity to check them out, I knew where I wanted to celebrate my birthday.
When we arrived, it seemed we were not the only ones trying to squeeze in a visit before the month ended. We were seated by the cute little Spanish tiled fountain and were surprised to see a handful of koi swimming around. Being a real estate nerd, I couldn’t help but admire the high vaulted ceilings, the beautiful glass skylights, and the all-around industrial “look” — it was like sitting in a piece of history.
September 14, 2012
The evening of Day 3 – dinner at Maurizio’s, or as we affectionately nicknamed it, Italian Take #2.
After an exhausting drive in traffic crossing the Bay Bridge, we finally arrived in Morgan Hill where we planned to stay over before continuing our journey down the coast. We used our trusty Yelp app to figure out where to go for dinner and decided to check out Maurizio’s. Located just off the quaint little downtown area, Maurizio’s features an enticing menu of authentic Italian dishes with warm, rustic decor and a hole-in-the-wall vibe.
July 21, 2012
This year, DineLA Restaurant Week moved up from fall to the very first summer DineLA, weekends inclusive! While I’m a little bummed that there won’t be a DineLA during my birthday in October anymore, I still love checking out new restaurants at discounted rates any time of the year. Cassandra and I took this opportunity to try Wilshire Restaurant, not one mile away from the office. The food was fantastic, the price (rated $$$ – $25/person) was great, the service was friendly, and the ambiance was relaxing (albeit a little too leisurely for weekday lunch break).
June 1, 2012
During our meal at Melisse’s Norcal vs. Socal Foie Battle we had the fortune of meeting Angie Weber, one of the owners of Cowboy Star in San Diego. So this past weekend we decided to take a trek down to the Gaslamp District for Memorial Day Weekend and paid a visit to her restaurant and butcher shop. Angie invited us to sit at the Chef’s Counter that evening and we delightedly accepted. So follows is a recollection of our taste buds’ adventure to the wild west!