Pine & Crane leaves you pining for more

I’ve often driven by Pine & Crane and have noticed a long line of people winding out the door. The popular Taiwanese-Chinese restaurant is a fast-casual operation where guests place their order at the counter and then find a table or spot at the wooden communal table. There’s room for 40 diners inside, or you…

Delicious Taiwanese Lunch with Comedian Rob Schneider

Actor, comedian, SNL superstar, screenwriter and director Rob Schneider and I were among the guests invited to attend the “Overseas Quality Restaurant” awards ceremony and cooking demonstration yesterday, Sept. 29 at the Culture Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in El Monte. Awards were given to Taiwanese restaurant owners serving authentic Taiwanese cuisine…

Duck, Duck, Goose Dinner

You can’t help but say “wow” when you walk through the red lacquered door of Chi Lin. Located next to the romantic RivaBella Italian restaurant on Sunset Blvd., the décor inside Chi Lin is dark and sexy with an alluring jet black and red color palette. Hundreds of small lanterns are suspended from the ceiling….

Mo-Chica

The special tasting menu featured on Tuesdays at Mo-Chica encouraged me to gather a group of friends to experience Chef Ricardo Zarate’s Peruvian cuisine. We sat in the back room of the restaurant admiring the vibrant red walls with the words “Mo-Chica” in big letters. A hip-looking llama by famed local graffiti artist Kozem enhances…

The Pleasing Paiche

Chef Ricardo Zarate’s newest restaurant, Paiche in Marina del Rey, opened earlier this month to a standing-room crowd. I was invited to a pre-opening “hard-hat” tasting a few days earlier and saw two young artists with brushes in hand applying gold paint on to floor to ceiling cobalt blue posts. They were replicating the scales…

Wokcano has a Wow Factor

“Want to try Wokcano on Third Street with me?” I asked a fellow restaurant writer. “Sure, I’ve never tried it,” Gerry replied. I told her, “ Wokcano doesn’t only serve sushi and sashimi, they also serve marvelous Chinese food.” The manager Aaron greeted me and led me to a table under a padded white wall….

Sexy Katana Robata and Sushi Bar

As I turned into an underground parking structure and left my keys with a valet, the sexy Katana experience begins at the elevator. Riding up to the restaurant, the door opened, and I was greeted by three attractive hostesses dressed in black.  I made a mental note; one must be beautiful to be hired at…

Mandarette

In 1975, Mandarin restaurant opened in Beverly Hills serving exotic Chinese food in an elegant atmosphere for dining and special occasions. Since it was a huge success, the owner, Cecilia Chaing and her son Philip Chiang opened another restaurant on Beverly Blvd. – Mandarette (little orange), a smaller and more relaxed eatery. Today, Mandarette is still going…

Ikemen: The Dipping Ramen

While dining with another restaurant reviewer last week, she told me about her new favorite restaurant, Ikemen. “It isn’t fancy, but the dip ramen is so delicious, that my boyfriend and I eat there twice a week now,” she said. Wow, that piqued my interest. Since it’s located right on the corner of Hollywood Blvd….

Japanese Food with an American Flair

Gazing out a window facing Third St. near the Beverly Center, I watched various people walking by, while waiting for a friend to join me for lunch. A server inside The Izaka-Ya by Katsu-Ya, welcomed me and handed a packaged pre-moistened terry cotton towelette and two menus. Hungry patrons entered and took seats at the…

Sushi Roku on Third

Walking into Sushi Roku on Third Street, I noticed cords of rope hanging from the ceiling, called “nawa-noren” which are symbols indicating the establishment is a traditional Japanese restaurant. The lighting enhances the Japanese theme and the long sushi bar. “We have the longest sushi bar of all the Sushi Roku restaurants,” said Joe Ando,…

Flying Pig Café

As we walked along Central Ave. towards the Japanese American National Museum and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, we noticed a group of people hovering around a pink food truck parked half a block away. People were drinking glasses of cold beer and gobbling down braised pork belly buns on the outside patio. One of…