Friday, August 3, 2007

California Noodle Factory

The California Noodle Factory is a little place that specializes in (obviously) noodles. Their pasta menu is divided into "The East Coast" and "The West Coast", all East Coast pastas having (ironically) Western influence (mostly Italian) and West Coast pastas having Asian influence (use of udon noodles, hoisin sauce, and tangerine make the pastas Asian, I guess). They also have salads and soups, but none of us ordered any of them (aside from a very standard looking side of Caesar) so I don't have much to say about them.

One coworker ordered the very creatively named "Mac-a-licious" ($5.75) with steak (steak adds $1.25 to the original cost of the dish). I got a taste of his noodles and steak, and YUM. He's a big mac and cheese fan and he's ordered this dish every single time he's gone there so I assume that it's not just me who thinks it's good.

I ordered a dish inexplicably named "The Capital" ($5.75) with chicken (+$1.25). Aside from the chicken that I added, it had pasta, sun dried tomatoes, baby arugla (so good), and pine nuts mixed into the basil and pesto sauce. Very good, would have been better had I actually been hungry. Couldn't finish it but would definitely order it again. The pesto is creamy but not overly so. The arugula is so good when it wilts into the sauce.

My other coworker ordered the Mardi Gras ($5.75) which is penne, sausage, bell peppers, and onions in a "creole" tomato sauce. I'm not sure what makes the sauce Creole (seasonings I assume) and I didn't get to try this dish, but my coworker said it was pretty good.

And yes, that's an awful picture of the interior up there. We were sitting off on the far side of the restaurant and I couldn't get a clear shot of the actual counter where we ordered.

Dress Code: Whatever (legal) getup your little heart desires.

Price: Ranges from $2.99 for a kids meal to $8.95 for a gourmet salad.


California Noodle Factory
18010 Newhope St. Suite A
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Phone: (714) 979 5501

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Abode Restaurant and Lounge

So one day I get an email from DailyCandy telling me that there's a little place called Abode that opened recently (recently as in March or April this year) that has a tasty prix fixe brunch. Apparently, this little prix fixe includes three courses plus a glass of booze. Booze? Sold.

April and I got a reservation for two (completely unnecessary but more on that later) for 11am on a Saturday. It was quite an ordeal trying to find the place, I had driven around the block a few times and we still couldn't see the place, although we had sort of approximated the location. Turns out, I had obtained some silly address that had told me it was on 2nd street when in truth it's on the restaurant is set waaay back from the street, so whether you'd be able to see it whilst driving on Ocean is debatable. It's right in between Il Fornaio and some Japanese place, just in case you were wondering.

When we got there it was completely empty. So much for reservations. April said that it seemed like they had just opened, which is probably true. Anyhow, the two of us ended up with a very romantic circular booth flanked by sheer panels of fabric. The decor is very earthy modern.

We both got the prix fixe brunch with mimosas and April ordered coffee. When you order coffee, they bring you a french press and leave it at your table for you to pour at your leisure.

Before they brought out the first course they started us off with some bread: a croissant, a couple slices of chocolate chip muffin, and two teensy little blueberry scones plus some butter. The croissant was a standard croissant, good but nothing special. The muffin slices and scones were delicious!

For the first course of our brunches we had both chosen the blueberry lemon pancakes. What we got were three little blueberry pancakes with lemon curd (plus the requisite butter and syrup) on the side. These pancakes were fantastic. Instead of being dotted with blueberries, the pancakes were all filled with what tasted like blueberry jam. I used butter and lemon curd on mine and quite sorry when I had finished them.

For the second course I had chosen eggs benedict while April opted for an omelet. My eggs came with piles of what I think was prosciutto and a pile of salad with a tasty vinaigrette, which complemented the eggs and meat nicely. The eggs themselves were average, but the inclusion of the salad saved the whole dish from mediocrity.

The last course was a dessert course. April decided to get fruit since she wanted something lighter and I got the sorbet trio because I'm a pig. What ended up happening was I got three tiny scoops of sorbet while her fresh fruit ended up being a huge portion of blueberries and sliced strawberries that she couldn't really finish.

I had three flavors of sorbet: coconut, chocolate, and I want to say kiwi but in all honesty I kind of forgot (that's what happens when you let too much time pass). I don't care so much for coconut milk, but the fruit sorbet was good (refreshing) and the chocolate was absolutely decadent. Very chocolaty and not overly sweet or creamy. I'm a fan of dark chocolate and this is definitely my idea of a good chocolate sorbet.

In conclusion, I would say this place is worth a revisit and I think I would definitely want to check out its dinner menu one of these days. Has anyone else tried this place? I'd like to know what it's like on, say, a Saturday night.

Dress Code: Kind of a trendy, upscale place. Don't come in your pajamas.

Price: I didn't look at anything aside from the prix fixe menu hence the $20-$40 guesstimate (the prix fixe was $28).


Abode Restaurant and Lounge
1541 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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Thursday, August 2, 2007


Here goes my first "official" post to the food blog! It only took five months...

Anyhow. A few months ago (yes, this it's been quite a while since I'd visited the restaurant hence why some of the details might be a bit fuzzy). Mariposa, being one of those department-store type restaurants, it does not keep what I would consider "normal" restaurant hours (open until 9pm?) and instead closes around the time when I get off of work. When I went, it was a Saturday afternoon. I had no idea what to expect since I couldn't find anything online resembling a menu or a review (not for the Fashion Island location anyway).

Mariposa is located on the third floor of Neiman Marcus. The bar and hostess table is visible from the department store floor but the restaurant itself is tucked away from view down a short corridor.

There was no wait and we were seated next to the large windows which provided a fantastic view of nothing memorable which means we probably weren't facing the ocean. The decor was nice, though. Bright, airy and modern.

The first thing they did was present us with a small cup of what appeared to be chicken broth with a little biscuit-type thing accompanying it. An amuse bouche perhaps? It was good, but it's hard to truly screw up chicken broth.

The next item they presented us with was a large popover with a small dish of strawberry butter. Delicious. The strawberry butter tasted a lot like butter mixed with strawberry jam which I suppose saves us the trouble of having to spread two condiments onto our bread. Whatever the reasoning, I liked it.

Now here is where things get fuzzy...

I ordered some kind of fish dish. April ordered some kind of pasta. I can't remember what they were called. I can't remember how much they cost. (I think both were in the $20ish range). I do remember that the fish was a bit dry, the bed of orange something that the fish was sitting on was quite sweet, the leafy part of the bok choy was tasty and the round fried thing is a breaded onigiri ball (yum!). I also remember that April really enjoyed her entree.

So much for a first review. This one kind of sucked.

Dress Code: This is kind of a nice, upscale casual restaurant. I'd definitely feel underdressed if I was in shorts and a t-shirt, but I'm sure they wouldn't turn you away.

Price: It's a bit expensive for lunch...entrees range from high 'teens to low thirties, if I remember correctly. I think my entree was in the low-mid twenties?


601 Newport Center Dr. (Fashion Island)
Newport Beach, CA
Phone: (949) 467-3350

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Sunday, March 4, 2007

Test post