Baby-mooning in Vegas: Dining at Raku aka Husband’s new fave Vegas restaurant

Enter and feast...

With the impending birth of our son, Husband and I decided to escape to Vegas back in July for one last relaxing jaunt before we became parents and became home-bound for a while.  It was a nice long weekend spent in the pool (a huge relief on the pressure my hips are suffering) and since we drove out, we got to explore restaurants off the Strip.  We already blogged about our awesome first time experience with Ethiopian cuisine.  Another recommendation from friends was a Japanese charcoal grill called Raku.

I had heard about Raku via friends on Twitter and Kirk over at Mmm-yoso blogged about it.  I was curious and Husband was game since well…the menu touted meat on a stick.  I called on Friday for same-day dinner reservations and when they said the earliest they could seat us was 10pm, Husband was in disbelief.  I told him Raku was that good but he didn’t believe me…till then.

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Baby-mooning in Vegas: Merkato, our first Ethiopian experience

One of our good friends, Dave, lives in Vegas and we used this opportunity to meet up with him and his lady friend for lunch since we don’t get to see him much.  He is a Vegas native so we let him choose the place to lunch at; he picked an Ethiopian off the Strip.  Neither Husband nor I have had Ethiopian but I was curious to try it based on what I knew.  Husband, on the other hand, was a little wary and I was somewhat concerned he would not be able to find something to eat…

Starting off...

Ethiopian food is a bit different; instead of using utensils and plates, a spongy, slightly sour bread called injera is used. Vegetarian and meat dishes are served family style on top of the injera and extra injera is served on the side.  You tear off pieces and use it to scoop up the food.  A goat-like cheese very much like feta called lab and a simple green salad with tomato are served on the main injera.

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Picca, Picca…Picca-chew!

Interior

I can count on one finger the number of times I’ve had Peruvian cuisine. This was years ago in San Diego at some little mom-n-pop place and honestly, the meal was just okay. A couple of weeks ago, buzz started hitting my Twitter feed about Chef Ricardo Zarate’s soon-to-open Picca in the space above Test Kitchen (now Sotto). I was curious since his other restaurant, Mo-Chica, was raved about by fellow food bloggers and I wanted to have another go at Peruvian food. I fortunately snagged an early dinner reservation on one of their $40 prix-fixe sneak-peek nights last Friday and invited Kristen of Rock My Palate and Mark & Angela of I Flip For Food.

Cocktails and food

The space is nicely decorated with mirrors, wood, and features a large bar and lots of ambient lighting. Modern but casual-comfy…. We were quickly seated and started perusing the cocktail and food menu. Since I couldn’t drink (thank you, Baby), our wonderful waitress, Kimberly was quick to suggest a pitcher of Peruvian purple corn juice ($6) for me. Loved it! It tasted a lot like grape juice; now if only I could have had some vodka to mix in. ;) The others at the table indulged in some house signature cocktails – pisco sours, Maracuyo (a sort of passion fruit mimosa) and…Banana Hammock, a banana flavored concoction. The girls had fun teasing Mark about this drink since he was the one that ordered it. ;)

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K-town series: Ssang Kogi Nara

Just look for the lit-up sign that you can't understand...

Oh good, English...

I know I said that we were going to stay away from Korean BBQ joints for this series but after further thought, it didn’t seem right since KBBQ is such a staple of the K-town restaurant industry.  Rather than blog about the well-known joints like Road to Seoul or Genwa, Kristen of Rock My Palate and I decided to check out a restaurant we had never heard of but came recommended by Mattatouille.  The draw?  Not only did this place offer AYCE kbbq, it also offered AYCE sushi/sashimi.

Ssang Kogi Nara is located on the outskirts of Koreatown in what can only be described as a “sketchy” neighborhood.  The restaurant seems out of place here amongst industrial businesses that are closed for the night. The interior isn’t the nicest but hey, it’s the food that matters, right?

The menu is simple – 4 different options based on how much you think you can pack away in your tummy.  We opted to go with Option C since AYCE kbbq, sushi AND sashimi ($25) seemed overkill for 2 people (and a kidlet).  For $20, we got AYCE meat and one plate of sashimi to share.  If I remember correctly, we opted for the short rib (galbi), marinated ribs, bulgogi and pork bulgogi. Continue Reading →

A Return to Taqueria Mexico

As you have heard me complain before, there is very little in the way of delicious hole-in-the-wall Mexican around my home.  However, my work has this great little taqueria I’ve posted about before, Taqueria Mexico, nearby in Westminster.  Guess where we went for lunch today? ;)

$.87 gets you one street-style taco.  These are small, soft flour tortillas but they are packed full of your choice of meat, onion-cilantro mix and a spicy red or green sauce.  I go for the carne asada and the pastor (bbq pork) but you can also get carnitas, lengua (tongue), cabeza (head meat), pollo (chicken) or chorizo.  They do have several different burritos and prices range from around $3-5 for them.  But really, go for the tacos.

taco taco!

I polished off 6 of these babies and am sitting happy in my cubicle now.

I’m upgrading them to 4 NOMs.  For the price and the flavor, can’t go wrong with these bites!

Taqueria Mexico
14022 Springdale St
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 894-5850

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