I have been a huge fan of Togo’s ever since I discovered them while at San Jose State University (Togo’s started at SJSU). The quality of the meats, cheeses and bread has always been top notch . I had a craving today and went to the Torrance Togo’s.
I decided to go for the new Bacon Ranch Wrap to eat something “lighter .” The first clue that it was gonna suck was when the employee out the pre bagged chicken into the microwave . I had them use a spinach tortilla , which was not heated at all and raw, tough and right out of the package .
The flavor or lack of it resonated it’s nastiness as it destroyed my dream of a delicious lunch . The microwaved rubbery chicken contrasted w microwaved in the morning , cold single slice of bacon to bring shame to all things bacon . It was so bad, I tried to eat half and just tossed it in the trash and ate my Cheetos.
Next time you go to Togo’s , stick w the good classics, the roast beefs and turkey based subs that Togo’s does so well .
My boy Chef Carlos Vargas has worked hard to make some amazing food as the executive chef of the San Diego Padres! He has raised the bar w some amazing dishes . His fish tacos are in the running for “Best food in the MLB”….if you can , give the tacos and Carlos a vote by clicking the link below !
I love a good wet burrito , I mean hell who doesn’t ! The key factor in a tasty combo of ingredients for the perfect wet burrito is the sauce . If you have a week colorless sauce , it doesn’t matter how good your carnitas or Asada is, the burrito is gonna suck .
Zacateca’s Mexican restaurant in Hawthorne has some of the best red sauce around . It’s bright and full of flavor! Don’t just take my word for it, go try it ! Also the owner is one of the nicest guys around and really knows how to treat a customer . Maybe you will get lucky and they will have some of the amazing Chile Colorado on special , yum .
Zacateca’s : 13737 Inglewood Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250
Just a quick posting to say if you have never been to the Peppermill on the Las Vegas strip, you have not really been to Vegas! It’s pink , blue and purple neon, giant drinks, comfy booths w fire pits and stiff drinks that will knock you on your ass!
If you are not into day drinking , there is an awesome coffee shop on the other side serving gigantic portions of every known breakfast item on the planet . They have giant burgers and tasty sandwiches as well. I reccomend from experience , coming in around 3 am after an epic vegas bender for some pancakes to soak everything up .
Either way, it’s a must eat or drink on your next trip to Vegas…cause you haven’t been to Vegas till you have been to the Peppermill.
I am a “Cabana Guy” , I think it’s the best way to enjoy a day at the pool with friends . The Stratosphere is currently in the middle of transforming the old Level 8 pool deck into the Elation Pool. The Stratosphere pulled out all the stops on this , with new surfacing , hot tubs , bar (still under construction) and 8 new Cabana’s.
There are 5 new cabanas and 3 new VIP cabanas located on the east side of the pool with a great view and lots of sun all day . Inside the cabana is a large couch that seats 4-5 comfortably . A table and 3 chairs , plus 2 lounge chairs, a TV and small refrigerator. 6 of us spent the day in one of these and it was roomy! We used to have to rent 2 cabanas , but these are so big we only needed one ! Of course you get great service as well. These cabanas start at $125 on the weekend but spend the extra $25 and you will get 2 delicious apps , a fruit plate and giant pitcher of frozen drinks. It’s a no brainier and the best cabana value in Vegas !
The VIP cabana’s are insane! They are HUGE, with a large outdoor area w 4 couches, 2 tables and a big screen TV. Inside it is air conditioned w multiple couches , fridge and another TV. These cabanas can easily accommodate 15 people (in fact there was a baby shower in one the day I was there.) the VIP cabanas start at $300 but again, it’s a no brainer for the value you get if you have a medium to large group of friends that want to relax and enjoy a day at the pool.
Look how happy I am with my giant pitcher of “Miami Vice” that came with my cabana , it went really well with the delicious chili lime wings!
Take my advice , if you want a great pool weekend with friends on your next vegas trip , come get a cabana at the Elation pool at the Stratosphere Hotel Casino. Like the pitcher of drinks says it’s gonna be the “best summer ever “
Yea it’s a “cheesy” blog title but the sandwiches are anything but, unless of course you pour the melted blue cheese sauce over your hand carved prime rib!
Located on the 108th floor of the Stratosphere tower in Las Vegas , Carvery 108 is a nice change from the chain sandwich places . Delicious roasted meats are carved to order and served on your choice of several rolls. Once you get your meat and bread , you work down the line and put any number or toppings such as grilled onions, mushrooms , and some great sauces (try the peppercorn sauce) .
Carvery 108 is a great option for a good quality sandwich with a view that can’t be beat !
So we stopped on the way to Vegas at a place called Freddy’s Steakburgers . It’s a Chicago based chain that does burgers and frozen custard . It’s a lot like Culvers or Steak and Shake. The Burgers themselves are simple , thin parties that are cooked on a flat grill . This gives them a “crispy” texture and is pretty tasty . Lots of gooey cheese and toppings , served w really good thin and crispy fries.
It’s worth a stop for sure, it’s a good , simple and delicious American style burger , it’s good and doesn’t try to be what it’s not.
Okay, it’s been a while since I wrote stuff. A lot has changed, yet some things remain the same. I have done a ton of traveling in support of a program called Coffee with a Cop that started from a simple idea , and is now the largest community policing program in the world.
I lived in Washington DC part time , found some great chefs and restaurants there, watched some great baseball games at Nationals Stadium (Dodgers are still #1) and my world expanded on a more global scale. I my oldest son Matthew is now starting his second year of College at Indiana University of PA and my youngest is playing lot’s of ice hockey. Still married to my lovely wife of 21 years.
I am pushing 50…..I don’t know how the hell that happened, it feels like 1995 still in my mind, but my body tells me otherwise. Still to eat, love to drink a great cocktail and love to cook and travel. I still know my shit when it comes to chef’s, food and dining….I stopped blogging, I didn’t stop living! I feel like a total “foodie OG” because when I started this stuff, blogs didn’t exist, I wrote for a newspaper and the only people talking about food on the internet where a few geeks like me with HTML web pages (Jason Perlow, Doc Sconz, Michael Gerbert). Now everyone is a food critic on Yelp but do they even know the right questions to ask?
So, maybe I will start writing again, it was a lot of fun at times, then ….it was not. Let’s see if I can make it fun again!
(also I am old and can’t figure out the right click spell check on this new windows 10 laptop so don’t get all grammar and spelling police on me)
A few weeks ago I received and e mail invitation from my friend Neal Fraser about Beefsteak 2011. What the fuck is a “beefsteak” I thought to myself, of course my next thought was , “holy shit this is going to be a kick ass event cause its got 2 words I love in the title “Beef”and “Steak”, there was no way I was gonna miss this. I clicked on the link and learned that I was born about 50 yrs too late as a “Beefsteak” was an event in the 1930’s and 40’s where men would get together, eat steak, drink beer and talk politics…all without the nagging affections of wives or girlfriends…Kinda like the “He man woman haters club” of the Little Rascals episodes…but with steak and beer!
Now if you don’t know who Neal Fraser is, let me inform you. He is one of the most kick ass chef’s I know. He is the owner of Grace and BLD in Los Angeles, he was also a competitor on Iron Chef America and handed Cat Cora a serious beat down in Kitchen Stadium..He is also one of the most down to earth, nicest guys around…no “celebrity chef douche bag” ego, the dude just lets his food speak for him. So without a doubt, that was going to be a kick ass event for serious carnivores…like me! Oh yea, and to top it off, the co host of the event was Matt Selman, the Executive Producer of the Simpsons…and I just happen to have a tattoo of Homer Simpson!
My partner John, his wife Angie, my wife Martha and I dressed in our best and headed to Vibiana in downtown L.A. The hall was amazing, with huge tables running down to the stage that a German style om-papa band was playing. We were given white aprons to wear in the grand tradition of a beefsteak since you are not allowed to use plates, napkins or utensils while you eat.
I ran into Neal and Matt just inside the door, now I had never met Matt before, but the dude is way cool and a big time foodie…hell he was one of the 16 people in America that watched my show when it was on the Food Network. I showed Matt my Homer Simpson tattoo and we talked food, and how we need to get some people and go on a foodie adventure. I knew from the look on Neal’s face that he was proud of the food in the back and he told me it was going to be awesome. I was so excited…kinda like “Flounder” in Animal House…”Boy is this gonna be great” I thought to myself.
We hit the bar and had some killer spiced Pyrat Rum punch and “dirty” Martini’s..The crowd was interesting as well, no “Hollywood” douchebags…only the absolute coolest and down to earth “industry” crowd of any event I have ever been too. People were dressed up for the theme of the party, when I saw John C Reilly walk in with a sweet 30’s style top hat and wicked Tux-Vest combo I was pissed that I only wore a regular black tuxedo.
Neal and Matt worked the huge room of about 300 plus people like it was in intimate dinner party for 20. Talking to everyone, taking the time out to thank people for coming to the event and supporting the L.A. Food Bank. The appetizers were amazing, typical of Neal Fraser. My favorite was a blue cheese puff pastry and a short rib dish, but my wife loved the deep fried olives!
It was time to get down to business, we took our place at one of the long tables and were brought platters of slices steak, a bowl of spiced whole fingerling and blue potatoes all to be dipped on giant bowls of “Au Jus” and sour cream w horse radish. There were no “shy boys”, everyone just grabbed slices of the delectable, perfectly cooked, tender beef. Since there were no plates, napkins or knives and forks, it got a bit messy, but hey that’s what the Apron is for…and in my case, the table cloth! There was a “meat troll” (guy in a strange meat themed old time wrestling suit and top hat) running around to all the tables getting folks to eat…everyone at my table was having a blast except the dude across from my who (I shit you not) was a vegetarian…He had a few potatoes and said he was going out for Sushi afterwards (more meat for me)! There was another plate of shredded meat and bread that I must have eaten 3 lbs of…I was in a full on food coma!
Aziz Ansari (from Parks and Recreation TV show) and his crew were destroying meat next to us having a blast..they definitely made the most of the event, eventually firing up some at cigar’s that were given out to those who wanted. David Koechner (from Anchorman and a ton of other movies) planted a huge kiss on John’s cheek while they were were out drinking…he ended up being one of the nicest, most down to earth guys, just super nice.
We all had a fantastic night, thanks to Neal, Matt, Cort and Eric’s vision of bringing a long lost tradition back to L.A.. These guys know how to throw a party for sure. They are both class act’s..If you get a chance to eat at Grace or BLD, go for it, and tell Neal that I sent you! Matt Selman, you sir, are the lord, it was a pleasure meeting you and can’t wait to hit some foodie adventures soon! I can’t wait till Beefsteak 2012 and this time, I am not going to let John C Reilly out dress me!