Monthly Archives: February 2015

Via Alloro Beverly Hills: Pistachio Molten Cake

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Via Alloro in Beverly Hills. They are an Italian restaurant owned by a family that owns twelve local restaurants. Most of the restaurants are Italian, and considered the best in town, but two are Japanese. The service is great at all of their restaurants. The menu is a bit limited, especially at the Japanese restaurants. There are many choices for sushi, but not many choices for entrees.

Although, all of their restaurants are excellent, it is Via Alloro that catches my attention the most. The architechture is stunning in this circular building. The staff is very friendly and attentive. I was most impressed by the desserts. Most places just don’t have that many desserts, and the quality is rarely good enough to rave about.

I looked at the dessert menu after having a customized Fusilli Arabiatta with Italian sausage which isn’t on the menu. The sauce is perfect. Nobody else comes even close to having the perfect taste and density of sauce. But, the dessert menu had a pistachio molten cake. I decided to get it because I had never heard of anything like it.

The outside of the cake was made with pistachio flower. The inside had a gooey pistachio molten center. I have had chocolate molten cake several times before, and every time I get it, I have a horrible experience — and I say that as a chocolate lover. But, this pistachio molten cake had the perfect flavor, and wins the prize for the best dessert I have had in a long time since I had the Macadamia Cremeaux at Roy’s downtown a year ago.

I liked this cake so much, that the next time I tried a blackberry cake with ice cream. What impressed me most was that the minute they delivered the cake to me, I could smell the freshness from several feet away. The smell was so amazing I couldn’t believe it. The taste was amazing as well. It was a simple dessert, but I could tell that they put a tremendous effort into making everything they serve absolutely perfect — and I appreciate that.

On a final note, the “feng-shui” is excellent for me at Via Alloro. My business and life tends to prosper when I go to good feng-shui places. But, it is in Beverly Hills where the rich and famous hang out, so maybe we can take the feng-shui for granted there.

Food tasting in the Art District. Earl Grey Pie & Blues Sausage

I enjoy food tasting and try to do it as much as I can. My budget doesn’t allow for me to go to the $120 five star food tasting events, but I do what I can. Los Angeles offers many opportunities for people to go out and taste new dishes. There are always new restaurants opening up, and unusual things to try. The quality in Los Angeles is generally quite good for food.

So, I went to the Wurstkuche restaurant in the arts district. I had ordered their rattlesnake sausage before. It sort of lacked flavor and needed a tender aioli instead of their flavor intensive choice of mustards. But, this time I ordered their Austin Blues Sausage. It was excellent. Filled with smokey rich flavor. Of the twenty sausages they serve there, this one is my favorite. I also tried a pheasant sausage which was very robust and I’m very glad I tried it. Next, I waltzed across the street, dodging the multitude of homeless bums that frequent the neighborhood.

I tried an Earl Gray Pie in the bakery. The crust was perfect, and then there was Earl Gray filling and cream. I have never had anything like this before. It was a fun experience. Earl Gray Pie is not my favorite, but with Earl Gray Ice Cream being popular at gourmet ice cream places, I thought I should try.

Carmela Ice Cream: Sage Brown Sugar Ice Cream

My roommate dragged me to this place. It is walking distance from where we live. It looks like a small ice cream shop in the countryside of France, or wine country in California. Carmela. They have all types of unusual flavors. I tried Cranberry Orange Sorbet. Sage Brown Sugar Ice Cream. My all time favorite is Cardamom Ice Cream and I’m so pleased that is on their menu too. Their cookies are phenominal as well. Lucky for me they are open until 11pm weeknights!

I’m not sure what particularly to recommend there since everything is good. We wrote an article about the best ice cream places in Los Angeles. This place is much better than any of the other ones on the list. It is new, so it didn’t go on our old list. Parking can be an issue unless you go late at night.

I feel that the flavors are masterfully crafted at Carmela. I love the ecclectic gourmet flavors as well. Although some of the other ice cream spots have accentuated gourmet flavors, nobody beats Carmela. Wish I could say more, but it is in the taste, not the written word!

What are the funnest restaurants in Los Angeles?

I love Los Angeles and its culinary scene. To my dismay, three of my all-time favorite restaurants have gone permanently under. On a brighter note, there are new places that are excellent opening up daily.

My favorite spots in Los Angeles include:

Koi Japanese Fusion
The menu is very unusual here. They have a habit of using different types of peppers in their cooking. I like this very much although I feel they should offer a choice of how hot you want it. I ordered a habanero branzini. It was excellent, but lacked any kick. My favorite dish there is the rock shrimp roll. Other restaurants serve this dish too, but their execution is far inferior to the masters at Koi. They have great sake, innovative desserts and a menu that will make your jaw drop, not to mention how good looking the crowd is there. If you haven’t been to Koi — go there!

The Stinking Rose
This spot has a menu which is Italian and American in nature. The ambiance is one of the best in the entire metro with staff to match. Dine in the grotto (if they let you) or in the decorated dining hall next to the traditional Chianti bottles. The menu is excellent. There are many super choices including rabbit, affordable wines, and amazing pastas. This is the best spot to bring a date if you want to impress them.

Rock Sugar
This is a newer kid on the block with a multi-million dollar decor and very unusual menu. Their dishes are based on dishes throughout Asia and India. Their execution is far from traditional, but the flavors they create are fantastic. Look them up online and pay them a visit. They are in the Century City Mall.

Spagos
Spagos in Beverly Hills is a traditional spot for the entitled classes. Conversations are always good, and the food is cooked by the highest level of professionals. They have a sommelier who can answer your wine questions if he is around. The menus is always different, but I have enjoyed some good Liberty Duck, chicken, and other good dishes. Their wine selection is impressive too. My most memorable night was with my buddy where he splurged and got Russian caviar for the both of us!

The Bazaar
If you are looking for a quintessential Los Angeles experience, look no further. The Bazaar on La Cienega, Beverly Hills is very bizarre for lack of a better word. There are multiple restaurants and bars inside. The ambiance is very night-lifey, and the crowd is hip. Service is really slow, but we had some amazing Ottoman carrot fritters and other great tapas dishes there which I will not forget. The Bazaar is more for the scene and less for the food, but the food and wine are great as well.

Summary
Hope you liked my choices. I would have liked to have written more about each place, but I have to have dinner! Gotta go!

Charro had the best mole in town!

A few months ago during one of my routine trips to Tucson, AZ, I stopped by Charro. Charro is a reknowned Mexican restaurant with some of the best food in town.

What I liked
I ordered their chicken mole, and it was truly the best mole I’ve had in my life. It had just the right amount of richness, spice, and smoothness. The beans were excellent too and were made with a traditional family restaurant. The salad seemed very innovative with dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds.

What I didn’t like
The chips were not that fresh. The salsa was not noteworthy. And the tortillas had been microwaved which is a sin. I told them that I refuse to eat anything that has been nuked.

The ambiance.
I was very intrigued by the interior of the restaurant. It was very 1800’s and even had stained glass windows. There were pictures of Native Americans, Cowboys, Sombreros, and more. There was even an antiquated harp hanging from the ceiling.

Conclusion
I feel that Charro has some of the best food, ambiance, and service around. But, they just killed my experience with the bad chips, nuked tortillas, and mediocre salsa. I expect a place of their reputation to excel in all ways. I have been to tiny Mexican spots in Yuma and other locations that do much better on what I call, “The little things” like handmade tortilla chips, unforgettable salsa, and unique recipes.

123notary

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I run a Notary blog, Outsourcing blog, and Travel blog. But, these topics have a lot of overlap. Many people outsource mortgage work which is related to the Notary profession. And Notaries often travel to their jobs. They don’t get to go to exciting places like Bali, but I know of some who travel to the Mexico border near San Diego. Mobile Notaries get to drive an hour or more to jobs. They get to know their metro inside out and see all the little areas within it. I was a Mobile Notary for years and found it very interesting.

Driving around has been interesting for me. I got to see many different neighborhoods. I got to know the very opulent area of Bel-Air with their $30 million mansions. I saw cool areas like Santa Monica and West Hollywood. I also got to know many ethnic enclaves and their cuisine such as Thai Town, Chinatown, Japan-town, Korea-town, and more. I drove into the desert on many occasions which is like being in a different state completely. I also got to know all of the local jails which is a cultural experience in itself. It is not bad to go as a visitor, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

So, think about becoming a traveling notary. It is a very interesting job with a lively social media community. You can have a flexible schedule and save up to go to Katmandu and then do some real traveling. Just don’t bring your notary seal to Katmandu. You might get in trouble!

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