Category Archives: Marina del Rey

The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2021

What can I say about 2021? In many respects, it was a little better than 2020. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s to not take anything for granted and to not forget to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. And on the subject of simple pleasure, here is my annual list of the ten best things I consumed and posted about this year. I hope you enjoy. Happy New Year!

Crispy Ramen Egg from Afuri Ramen

10. Crispy Ramen Egg from Afuri Ramen. This is egg-ceptional.

“The Danny Boy” Porkstrami Sandwich from The Bad Jew stall at Smorgasburg

9. “The Danny Boy” Porkstrami Sandwich from The Bad Jew (at Smorgasburg). Some may say “oy vey” but I say “hooray” to this delicious pork pastrami that is certainly not kosher.

Chocolate Chess Pie from Goldburger

8. Chocolate Chess Pie from Goldburger. Checkmate!

Parmesan Crusted Halibut with Grilled Asparagus and Beurre Blanc from Porta Via

7. Parmesan Crusted Halibut from Porta Via. The math doesn’t always work, but in this case fish plus cheese equals awesome.

“The William Mae” Fried Chicken Tender Sandwich with HiHo Pickles, Organic Honey & Slaw Sauce and Purple Cabbage from HiHo Cheeseburger

6. “The Willie Mae” Fried Chicken Tender Sandwich from HiHo Cheeseburger. Who knew a chicken sandwich at one of LA’s top burger joints would be this amazing. HiHo is certainly no one trick pony.

Sticky Glazed Pork Shank with Shitake, Honeynut Squash, Hoison Mayo, Hot Mustard, Naan and Lettuce Cups from Girl & the Goat

5. Sticky Glazed Pork Shank from Girl & the Goat. Girl & the Goat is the best Chicago import since Cracker Jack, and this delectable take on on a Korean Ssam is my favorite dish on the menu.

Bacon-wrapped Dates stuffed with Parmesan from AOC

4. Bacon-wrapped Dates stuffed with Parmesan from AOC. Chef Suzanne Goin has been serving these incredibly addictive, salty and sweet morsels for almost two decades and I have been consuming them for just as long.

Zucchini Chips with Herbed Yogurt from Greekman’s

3. Zucchini Chips with Herbed Yogurt from Greekman’s. Q: What is a zucchini’s favorite sport? A: Squash. The Zucchini Chips at Greekman’s are significantly better than that joke. In fact, they’re pretty f-ing amazing! Easily the best vegetable dish I consumed this year.

Trout Almondine from Petit Trois

2. Trout Almondine from Petit Trois.  I’m nuts about this dish!

Strawberry Donut from The Donut Man

1. Strawberry Donut from The Donut Man. These are slightly tart, wonderfully sweet and perfectly glazed. And the good news is you don’t have to drive all the way to Glendora anymore as they are now also made and sold downtown in Grand Central Market. It’s my favorite thing that I consumed and posted about this year.

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Downtown, Glendora, Highland Park, Hollywood, Los Feliz, Marina del Rey, Mid-City, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City

14 Best Peanut Butter Treats in LA for 2018


I am a peanut butter fanatic, a peanut butter fiend, a peanut butter junkie. I am nuts about peanut butter and I love it more than almost anything else. If a restaurant or bakery has a peanut butter dessert on the menu, I automatically order it. And I always keep a jar at home in the fridge for snacking or adding to other desserts. After years of dedicated research, I share with you my 14 current favorite peanut butter treats in Los Angeles (in no particular order).

Peanut Butter Meringue Pie from Pie 'n Burger

1. Peanut Butter Meringue Pie from Pie ‘n Burger (913 E. California in Pasadena) This is one awesome pie. Creamy and delicious peanut butter pudding in a delcious butter crust topped with meringue. They serve it every other day, alternating with Butterscotch Meringue Pie.

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream from Mashti Malone's

2. Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream from Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream (1525 N. La Brea Ave. in Hollywood) This frozen treat is rich and creamy with chunks of peanut butter and chocolate. It’s surprising that a store famous for their Persian rosewater ice creams and sorbets would make the best peanut butter ice cream in the city, but they do!

“Old School” Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich from PBJ.LA

3. “Old School” Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich from PBJ.LA (317 S. Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles) The hippest new stall in Grand Central Market is a purveyor of old school goodness, including this round sandwich of house-made peanut butter and house-made jam on two slices of soft crustless white bread which have been pressed together around the edges to form a pocket.

The Huell from Stan's Doughnuts

4. The Huell from Stan’s Doughnuts (10948 Weyburn Ave. in Westwood) Stan’s actually makes three amazing peanut butter doughnuts: a Peanut Butter & Banana Doughnut, a PB&J Doughnut and “The Huell,” with chocolate chips and peanut butter, named after local TV celebrity Huell Howser.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake with McConnell’s Double Peanut Butter Chip Ice Cream from Charcoal Venice

5. Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake with McConnell’s Double Peanut Butter Chip Ice Cream from Charcoal Venice (425 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey) If this rich, moist layer cake made with chocolate and peanut butter wasn’t decadent enough, it’s served with a generous scoop of McConnell’s incredible Double Peanut Butter Chip Ice Cream.

Peanut Butter Popcorn from California Frozen Poppers

6. Peanut Butter Popcorn from California Frozen Poppers (7138 Shoup Ave, West Hills) If you’ve never had frozen popcorn, this is a good place to start. The Peanut Butter flavor at this awesome store is crunchy, salty and perfectly sweet.

Peanut Brittle Cookie from M Street Kitchen in Santa Monica

Peanut Butter Cookie from M Street Kitchen

7. Peanut Butter Cookie from M Street Kitchen (2000 Main St, Santa Monica) This is my favorite peanut butter cookie in town. It pairs well with a nice glass of milk.

Peanut Butter Chip Cupcake from Sprinkles Cupcakes

8. Peanut Butter Chip Cupcake from Sprinkles Cupcakes (9635 S. Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills) This is my all-time favorite cupcake. Chocolate chip-studded peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting covered in chocolate sprinkles. They only have them on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Cakewich from Cake Monkey

9. Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Cakewich from Cake Monkey Bakery (7807 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles) Happiness is a yummy yellow cake sandwich filled with peanut buttercream, housemade marshmallow and coated with bittersweet chocolate.

Peanut Butter Icebox Pie from Magnolia Bakery

10. Susie’s Nutty (Whoppie Pie) from SusieCakes (Locations in Los Angeles, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, Studio City, Brentwood, Manhattan Beach and Marina del Rey) Who wouldn’t love two chewy peanut butter cookies sandwiched with peanut butter buttercream?

Susie’s Nutty (Whoopie Pie) from SusieCakes

11. Peanut Butter Icebox Pie from Magnolia Bakery (8389 W. 3rd Street in Mid-City) This is one of several peanut butter offerings from one of my favorite bakeries in the city. It has a super light, creamy and delicious filling which sits atop a denser crust. I can devour a slice in about five seconds flat.

Peanut Butter Stuffed Mochi from Fugetsu-Do

12. Peanut Butter Stuffed Mochi from Fugetsu-Do (315 E. 1st St. in Little Tokyo/Downtown) This sweet shop has some of the best mochi in town and my favorites are these soft and chewy mochi disks stuffed with peanut butter. It’s the Japanese equivalent of an Abba Zabba bar!

Deep Fried Fluffer Nutter with Fresh Bananas from Black Market Liquor Bar

13. Deep Fried Fluffer Nutter with Fresh Bananas from Black Market Liquor Bar (11915 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City) Top Chef’s Antonia Lofaso has created this dessert sandwich of peanut butter, marshmallow and bananas on sweet brioche, which is covered with panko bread crumbs and deep fried until golden. It’s wicked good!

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich from Diddy Riese

14: Diddy Riese Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich (926 Broxton Ave. in Westwood) There always seems to be a line outside Diddy Riese, which bakes up delicious cookies. I love their ice cream sandwich made with Dreyer’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream and peanut butter cookies. At $2.50, the price can’t be beat!

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Calabasas, Downtown, Hollywood, Manhattan Beach, Marina del Rey, Mid-City, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Studio City, West Hills, Westwood, Woodland Hills

The 10 Best Burger Joints in Los Angeles

Cassell's Hamburgers
If there’s one food that we excel at in Los Angeles, it’s hamburgers. There are no shortage of excellent eateries in this city at which to celebrate the holy marriage of grilled meat patty and bun, preferably with a thick slice of melted cheese, a whole mess of sautéed onions and a couple strips of bacon in between. It has been a life-long mission of mine to identify the very best of these local burger establishments. Here are my top ten favorites:

"The Burger" from Golden State with Harris Ranch Beef, Fiscalini Farms Cheddar,  Applewood Smoked Bacon, Arugula and Ketchup

“The Burger” from Golden State with Harris Ranch Beef, Fiscalini Farms Cheddar, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Arugula and Ketchup

10. The Golden State (426 N. Fairfax, Los Angeles) This little gem lies in the middle of all the hip hop shops and Jewish bakeries on Fairfax. All ingredients in their awesome burgers and other menu items are locally sourced from California including high-end Harris Ranch beef and award-winning Fiscalini cheddar.

Piku "Fig" Burger from Pono Burger with Housemade Drunken Caramelized Fig Jam, Organic Beef Patty, Fermier Brie Cheese, Niman Ranch Bacon and Crushed Hazelnuts

Piku “Fig” Burger from Pono Burger with Housemade Drunken Caramelized Fig Jam, Organic Beef Patty, Fermier Brie Cheese, Niman Ranch Bacon and Crushed Hazelnuts

9. Pono Burger (829 Broadway, Santa Monica) The funky looking metal structure that houses this joint (it looks like a mini airplane hanger) will draw you in. The Hawaiian-style burgers, sweet potato fries and salted caramel shakes will keep you coming back.

Chef Katsu's Original California Roll Hamburger with Snow Crab Salad, Avocado, Sushi Ginger, Boston Lettuce, Tomato, Nori, and Wasabi-Shoyu-Mayonnaise

Chef Katsu’s Original California Roll Hamburger with Snow Crab Salad, Avocado, Sushi Ginger, Boston Lettuce, Tomato, Nori, and Wasabi-Shoyu-Mayonnaise

8. 26 Beach Restaurant (3100 W. Washington Blvd in Venice) There are several places that have an extensive menu of over-the-top themed burgers such as a Peanut Butter & Jelly Burger. 26 Beach is the best of that lot. They are especially known for their “Sushi Burgers” including a California Roll Burger, and Spicy Tuna Burger and a Mori Eel Burger.

Cheese Burger from Pie 'n Burger with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing, Pickles and Lettuce

Cheese Burger from Pie ‘n Burger with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing, Pickles and Lettuce

7. Pie ‘n Burger (913 E. California Blvd, Pasadena) This old school diner with a long winding counter is a mandatory stop for me when I go to the Rose Bowl or am otherwise in Pasadena. As you can glean from the restaurant’s name, you’re missing out if you don’t order both a hamburger and a slice of one of their amazing pies.

Griddled Cheese Burger from Ledlow with American and Cheddar Cheeses, Red Onion, Dill Pickle, Dijon and Garlic Aioli

Griddled Cheeseburger from Ledlow with American and Cheddar Cheeses, Red Onion, Dill Pickle, Dijon and Garlic Aioli

6. Ledlow (400 S. Main St in Downtown) The newest restaurant of local superstar chef Josef Centeno (Baco Mercat, Bar Ama, Orsa & Winston), Ledlow is more than just a burger joint. However, their Griddled Cheeseburger seems to be the speciality of the house and has quickly drawn much-deserved acclaim from LA foodies.

Double Double from In-N-Out Burger

Double Double from In-N-Out Burger

5. In-N-Out (all over Los Angeles) Yes, it’s a fast food chain, but don’t hold that against it. At $3.60, the Double Double is the best deal in town and is better than most of the pricey burgers at nice restaurants. I like to add toppings from their secret menu, including chilies, grilled onions and pickles.

Hickory Burger from The Apple Pan

Hickory Burger from The Apple Pan

4. The Apple Pan (10801 W. Pico Blvd in Westwood) This 68-year-old diner is an LA landmark. All seating is at a U-shaped counter, where you’re served by uber-efficient grumpy old men. It’s super fun, especially late at night, and their Hickory Burgers are awesome.

Cheeseburger from Belcampo with Dry Aged Grass Fed Beef with Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

Cheeseburger from Belcampo with Dry Aged Grass Fed Beef with Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

3. Belcampo Meat Co (317 S Broadway in Downtown; also 1026 Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica) It’s perhaps more of a gourmet butcher shop than a burger joint, but the cheeseburgers sold at this stall in Grand Central Market are phenomenal. They’re made with a special Wagyu-Angus meat blend and are served on fresh sesame seed buns. Belcampo just opened a fancier restaurant in Santa Monica where you can also get a burger, but I’m partial to the ones served downtown.

The Hatch Burger from Umami Burger with Roasted Hatch Chilies, House Cali Cheese and Roasted Garlic Aioli

The Hatch Burger from Umami Burger with Roasted Hatch Chilies, House Cali Cheese and Roasted Garlic Aioli

2. Umami Burger (multiple locations) In a short period of time, this revolutionary burger restaurant has expanded into a ubiquitous chain throughout Los Angeles and has been widely emulated. Their burgers are made from specially seasoned meat blends and their Portuguese-style buns are sweetened with milk and honey. It’s a toss up for me as to which of their burgers is the best: the decedent truffle burger or the spicy hatch burger made with four types of green chilies.

Cheese Burger from Cassell's Hamburgers with House Ground Prime Beef Patty and Cheddar Cheese on a Parker House Bun.

Cheeseburger from Cassell’s Hamburgers with House Ground Prime Beef Patty and Cheddar Cheese on a Parker House Bun.

1. Cassell’s Hamburgers (3600 W 6th St in Koreatown) This is my new favorite burger joint in LA. First established in 1948, this restaurant recently reopened in a cool retro space in the historic Hotel Normandie. Now under new ownership, their burgers have some similarities to the ones which made Cassell’s an LA institution, but are significantly improved. They are now the perfect combination of gourmet excellence and classic style.

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Filed under Burbank, Canoga Park, Downtown, Fairfax, Glendale, Hermosa Beach, Hollywood, Inglewood, Koreatown, Los Feliz, Marina del Rey, Mid-City, North Hollywood, Northridge, Panorama City, Pasadena, Porter Ranch, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Toluca Lake, Tujunga, Van Nuys, Venice, West LA, Westlake Village, Westwood, Woodland Hills

Sunny Delight


Roy Choi is my hero. After being laid off from his then-current chef position, classically-trained Choi did the unimaginable: he and a couple friends leased a food truck and began selling tacos filled with Korean BBQ in the streets of Los Angeles. Choi’s Kogi BBQ truck launched the modern food truck movement, which now has thousands of food trucks across the country tweeting their whereabouts and introducing people to all kinds of creative dishes and exotic cuisines. Not one to rest on his laurels, Choi has built a food empire in three short years that consists of five Kogi BBQ trucks and four amazing Los Angeles restaurants: The Alibi Room, Chego, A-Frame and his newest place, Sunny Spot in Venice.

I visited Sunny Spot recently with friends and fellow bloggers Angela and Mark from I Flip For Food and was blown away by Choi’s latest creation. Sunny Spot is a Caribbean-inspired “roadside cookshop.” Think hipster cocktail bar meets kitschy Caribbean beach shack, but with amazing food. It’s a festive atmosphere. The bar serves up rum-based cocktails such as the Dry Harbour (pot still rum, lime, absinthe and habanero pineapple shrub) and the San Juan Sling (white rum, cherry brandy, Angostura, Benedictine and lime), while the kitchen serves up small plates of sweet and savory goodness.

We started our dinner with Pineapple Lollipops, sweet spears of fresh pineapple liberally sprinkled with chili salt; a simple but tasty appetizer that I will no doubt replicate at home. Because of the name alone, I knew we would have to order the Muh-F*K*N Mofongo, a stew made with overripe plantains, bacon, garlic and black pepper. Plantains and bacon are two of my favorite things and not surprisingly, I absolutely loved this dish. Another winning menu item was the Sugar Cane Fried Pigs Feet, which were deliciously crispy, salty and fatty. The Sugar Scotch Bonnet Short Ribs (pictured above) were finger-lickin’ good!

Any respectable Caribbean-themed joint has got to have goat and Choi’s Slow Roasted G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) with Lettuce Wedges and Pickled Mango was pretty tasty. But my absolute favorite dish was the Cuban Torta with Pork Terrine, Prosciutto, Provolone, Pickled Jalapeno and Mustard. It was one of the best sandwiches I have ever had and I’ve craved it often since my visit to Sunny Spot. To end this incredible meal, we had an awesome dessert called “We Be Yammin,” which was a sweet potato tart with a walnut crust and toasted marshmallow ice cream, as well as a plate of decadent and delectable Housemade Caramels sprinkled with Maldon salt and crushed toasted cashews. Good stuff, Mon!

Sunny Spot is located at 822 Washington Blvd. on the Venice/Marina del Rey border.

Muh-F*K*N Mofongo


Sugar Cane Fried Pigs Feet


Slow Roasted G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) with Lettuce Wedges and Pickled Mango


Cuban Torta with Pork Terrine, Prosciutto, Provolone, Pickled Jalapeno & Mustard


Broiled Yellowtail Collar


We Be Yammin (Sweet Potato Tart with Walnut Crust and Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream)


Housemade Caramels with Maldon Salt and Toasted Cashews


Yummy Cocktails



Sunny Spot on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Marina del Rey, Venice

Sayonara Sushi Nazi

If you read this blog regularly, you know how much I love Japanese food. So it’s not a surprise that I’m going to be attending the Japanese Food and Sake Collection this Sunday. Many of the best Japanese restaurants in LA will be serving up some of the city’s finest sushi, ramen, okonomiyaki, tempura, yakisoba and yakitori. Endless amounts of premium sake and beer will be flowing. There will be sushi-eating and sake-tasting competitions, cooking demonstrations from Nobu Matsuhisa (of Nobu and Matsuhisa restaurants) and Katsuya Uechi (of Katsu-ya), and traditional Japanese entertainment. The Festival is being held at the Hilton in Universal City from 11-4. Tickets (which are $60 for adults) and more information can be obtained by clicking here.

Speaking of Japanese food, I hear that legendary sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa is going to retire and close his revered eponymous restaurant, Sushi Nozawa, on February 29th. Lovingly dubbed the “Sushi Nazi” because of his similarities to the “Soup Nazi” character on Seinfeld, the stern Nozawa demands that his patrons follow his rules (no talking on cell phones, no dipping of sushi which has been prepared with sauce, no eating only the fish and leaving over the sushi rice, etc.) and show the proper respect to the master and the sushi he meticulously prepares. On more than one occasion, I have seen Nozawa kick diners out of his small and sparse mini-mall restaurant who blatantly disregard his rules. I was almost evicted once myself when my wife insisted on ordering a Vegetable Roll, even though I warned her ahead of time about that kind of thing. Nozawa is a sushi purist and things like Vegetable Rolls, California Rolls and Spicy Tuna are anathema to him.

However, if you put yourself in Nozawa-san’s hands and follow his advice of “trust me,” which is prominently displayed on a wooden placard behind the sushi bar in reference to the omakase (chef’s choice) special, you will experience incredible life-alerting sushi prepared by a sushi genius. Nozawa’s sushi has pretty much ruined me for almost all other sushi in the city. The rice is warm and delicious and the fish is super fresh and of the highest quality. It literally melts in your mouth. I hear sushi chefs from other restaurants follow Nozawa around the fish market because of his mastery of seafood selection. Everything I’ve ever eaten at Sushi Nozawa (including the Baby Tuna Sashimi in ponzu sauce, the Blue Crab Hand Rolls, the Toro, the Baby Yellowtail and the Uni) has been nothing short of amazing.

But it should be noted that even after Nozawa retires, a bit of the magic will still live on. For the past couple years, Nozawa’s son Tom and a couple partners have been opening locations around Los Angeles of Sugarfish, a somewhat less expensive spin-off of Sushi Nozawa where the decor is modern and the chefs, who are trained by Kazunori Nozawa himself, prepare your sushi in a back kitchen, hidden from view. I hear that Sushi Nozawa will be turned into a Sugarfish. I like Sugarfish quite a bit and the sushi there is very similar to Sushi Nozawa, but nothing beats the mothership and I will be devastated when Nozawa retires. It will truly be the end of an era.

Sushi Nozawa is located at 11288 Ventura Blvd in Studio City. It is not open on weekends. Sugarfish has locations in Marina del Rey, Santa Monica, Brentwood and Downtown.

Baby Tuna Sashimi in Ponzu Sauce


Yellowtail Sushi

Crab Hand Rolls


Toro (Fatty Tuna) Sushi


Uni (Sea Urchin) Sushi


Red Snapper Sushi



Sushi Nozawa on Urbanspoon
SUGARFISH by sushi nozawa on Urbanspoon
SUGARFISH Brentwood on Urbanspoon
SUGARFISH Marina del Rey on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Brentwood, Downtown, Marina del Rey, Santa Monica, Studio City