Welcome to Bite & Switch, a food blog reviewing everything from food trucks to fine dining restaurants.

New York steak - charbroiled angus beef with a coffee crust and a whiskey sauce served with garlic mashed potatoes and vegetablesr @ Cedar Creek Inn

Cedar Creek Inn

By | 3 Stars, Brea | No Comments

My recent trip to California included a stop at Cedar Creek Inn, a family owned and operated business with two locations. Arriving in the early evening for a private party, I was pleasantly surprised by the well executed food, stellar service, and cozy atmosphere. Their private covered patio is spacious and airy, perfect for cool weather nights. If the weather turns to cold there’s a large gas fireplace to warm things up.

Our group’s prix-fixe menu was full of traditional American fare like a house salad with apples, spiced walnuts, blue cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette. Entrees consisted of a tender, honey-herb chicken with silky smooth mashed potatoes and vegetables and a bold coffee crusted charbroiled New York strip with a whiskey sauce, also with potatoes and vegetables. A creamy white chocolate raspberry cheesecake ended the meal.

This isn’t cutting edge food, but for what it is, it’s done right.

3 Stars

20 Pointe Dr
Brea, CA 92821

Cedar Creek Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Grilled steak salad ($10.50) - lettuce blend, grilled steak, pineapple-mango salsa, jicama, mint, coconut roasted cashews, mild jalapeno lime dressing

Urban Plates

By | 3.5 Stars, Irvine | No Comments

This California-based fast casual chain is similar to Panera, but with a wider variety and higher price point. The layout is cafeteria style where you grab a tray and walk down the line to the various food stations to order and wait for your food.

Salads here are as good as you’ll find at a quick serve place. The portion size of the grilled steak salad ($10.50) could have fed two. The quality was excellent with plenty of medium rare strips of steak topping the greens. The mango salsa provided a good mix of sweetness and spice. Another good option is the arugula, beet and fennel salad ($10.50) topped with feta, toasted almonds, and a blood orange white balsamic vinaigrette.

Options for kids are plentiful, but not always good. The kids grilled cheese ($6.50) was nothing special, but satisfied just the same. More disappointing was the kids chicken meal ($8.50). Heavy on broccoli and light on chicken, my kid wasn’t crazy about the dryness, seasoning or anything else about his meal.

Right before you hit the registers, you’ll pass display cases full of desserts. The chocolate pudding ($3.50) proved to be the perfect size for an after meal treat. Served in a small glass jar the thick, creamy pudding had just the right amount of sweetness. Even better was the moist chocolate layer cake ($5.50) with vanilla cream between layers of dense cake.

This place isn’t cheap, but it’s a better alternative to similar spots if you’re looking for a quick meal. Healthy options can be found throughout their menu but if you’re weak-willed like me you’ll succumb to temptations before checking out.

3.5 Stars

3972 Barranca Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92606

Urban Plates Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Street tacos ($10) - three traditional street tacos, 4” gluten free corn tortillas, grilled chicken or beef

Ha’Penny Pub

By | 2.5 Stars, Irvine | No Comments

Located inside the Embassy Suites in Irvine, this is the lone restaurant in the hotel. While it’s styled as an Irish pub the place takes a “jack of all trades” approach to dining with a menu featuring Mexican, Italian, and American dishes to please the masses. I typically don’t like dining at places like this, but my late arrival and desire to not drive anywhere forced me here. The beef tacos were surprisingly good. The three street tacos were small in size but big in flavor. Add to that a crispy edged texture to the beef on top of delicate corn tortillas and it was a winner all around.

They’ve got a kids menu with lots of typical stuff. My kid opted for chicken tenders, which were the usual premade frozen variety found at any grocery store for a fraction of the cost.

Service was slow and spotty. We didn’t see our guy after he dropped off the food and we had to flag someone else down to get our check. I’d only recommend this place if you’re staying at the hotel and are too lazy to leave. Otherwise, get out and explore!

2.5 Stars

Embassy Suites
17911 Von Karman Ave
Irvine, CA 92614

Ha' Penny Irish Restaurant & Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Smoke out burger ($17.95) - angus beef, BBQ brisket, coleslaw, fried onions, BBQ sauce, pretzel bun

Café 6

By | 3 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

A few months ago I was invited by a PR firm to check out Cafe 6, the new casual spot occupying the late Kerry Simon’s eponymous restaurant at Palms Place. Overlooking their pool, it doesn’t look like much has changed. Aside from them using the former wine rack wall to store beer, the place is the same with it’s lightly colored decor and accents of bamboo over what was the sushi bar.

Their menu skews a bit too casual, with almost all hamburgers and sandwiches on the menu and only two entrees. That might be fine for lunch, but the lack of refined options doesn’t make it a dinner destination.

Based on early online reviews, their pretzel ($9.95) was a must. It didn’t disappoint with it’s butter-brushed, warm and soft blistered exterior making it a wonderful appetizer, if not highly original. The large size is a thing to behold and the cheese and mustard sauces are irresistable.

Burgers may look a tad small, but they’re plenty filling. The smoke out burger ($17.95), with its meaty and densely packed patty were well executed. Paired with a pretzel bun and a tangy BBQ sauce it’s a solid burger that’s only downfall was fatty and tough brisket. It was tough to eat in the metal basket that it arrived in, but that’s a small drawback for a good burger and deliciously crisp waffle fries.

If you’re not enticed by the burgers on the menu you can build your own. My wife opted for a “Build your own selfie” done protein-style. The price can add up, though, as individual ingredients are priced separately.

There’s no kid’s menu (or more importantly, kid-sized portions) but there are options for  them. Chicken tenders are typically a favorite for any kid. Mine, however, was turned off by the abundance of pepper and paprika that proved too much for his young palate.

There’s potential here. The execution was good for the most part, but the menu is too casual for the vibe of Palms Place. It’s in need of higher class fare — at least that would be my perception if I stayed here. At the very least they should consider expanding their menu to have separate breakfast, lunch and dinner options.

3 Stars

Palms Place
4381 West Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89103

Cafe 6 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

2 piece tenders ($9.75) - 2 boneless tenders

Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken

By | 4 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

With a little fine tuning this new spot from the Bromberg brothers could be excellent. The first time I stopped by the tenders were soggy and oily. But on subsequent visits the wings have been crispy and the Blue Bird sandwich has become one of my favorite chicken sandwiches around. I like the seasoning on the tenders and wings, but remember the crust being thicker and crunchier at Brooklyn Bowl, which is also owned by the Bromberg brothers. 

A kid’s meal only comes with one tender. I wish they used a more mild seasoning for the kid’s meals. My guy didn’t care for the spices, heavy on the paprika. While I do like this place, prices are too high for a fast casual spot to make me a frequent visitor. The 2 piece tender meal didn’t fill me up and that was around $12 for the meal plus a drink. I understand the quality is higher than fast food spots, but I can’t spend $15 or more on lunch on a regular basis. If I bring the family the price triples. The best bargain is the lunchbox special (available M-F 11am-4pm) which includes 5 wings, fries, and a drink.

A welcome addition to Downtown Summerlin, Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken brings a refined take on fast casual dining. But, the relatively high prices will make it tough to compete with other fast food spots in their market.

4 Stars

Downtown Summerlin
1770 Festival Plaza Dr
Las Vegas, NV 89135
(702) 329-9300


Albondigas ($11) - tomato sauce, manchego cheese

Tapas by Alex Stratta

By | 2.5 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

When a restaurant’s two biggest issues are price and food, you’re in trouble. I never had the opportunity to dine at Stratta’s Michelin-starred restaurant at Wynn/Encore, but expected much from his new tapas place in Angelo Sosa’s former Poppy Den spot in Tivoli Village. Dinner for two was over $100, a bit much for the minuscule amount of food served. Some food is decent. There were a couple dishes that I would eat again, like the creamy, fondue-like baked monte enebro and the chocolate almond cake. I loved the alternating layers of soft, spongey cake and the layers of almond cream. But, the portion size of that $7 cake is much smaller than any buffet dessert or single serving dessert from a bakery. If you get four bites out of it consider yourself lucky.

As for the other food… I’d pass on the stringy, chewy pancetta-wrapped medal dates. The three meatballs that make up the albondigas dish were dry, but the sauce was pretty good. Sopping up the sauce with the accompanying toast was the best part. The quiche-like tortilla de patata had an almost rubbery egg exterior that was surprisingly difficult to cut through.

Add to that two cocktails that were pretty good and you have our whole dinner. Leaving underwhelmed and hungry, we can only imagine how soon this place will disappear like most other restaurants in Tivoli.

2.5 Stars

Tivoli Village
440 S Rampart Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89145
(702) 483-3555

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Ahi tuna stack ($12) - citrus, avocado, mango, cucumber, crispy wontons


By | 3 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

Occupying the spot previously known as Pizza Lounge, Social joins the ranks of restaurants that try, or have tried, to succeed in Tivoli. Walking in during happy hour one day not too long ago and the place was empty, except for a couple seated in a corner of the dining room. We only tried a few dishes, but left somewhat underwhelmed. First the good… the kale salad was amazing. I typically don’t like kale and refuse to jump on that bandwagon, but the lemon dressing with olives, almonds, goat cheese and avocado made for some dynamic flavors. The ahi tuna stack was quite the opposite. The orange wedges and mango dominated the flavors, drowning out mediocre quality tuna. The cheese plate needed more variety. All three types of cheeses were of the hard variety and accompanied by crackers, almonds, grapes and honey that seemed like an afterthought. 

The service at the bar was good, but then again the place was almost empty. There are some happy hour drink specials and a handful of food specials that are half off — the ahi tuna stack, pork sliders, and flatbreads.

3 Stars

Tivoli Village
4321 W Flamingo Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89103
(702) 942-7777

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Lumpiang ubod ($7.95) - shredded heart of palm, mixed with vegetables, pork, shrimp and crabmeat; wrapped in a fresh crepe and served with peanut or vinegar garlic dip.

Max’s Restaurant

By | 3 Stars, Las Vegas | No Comments

With family in town my parents wanted to take them to a familiar spot from the Philippines — Max’s. This chain restaurant has locations in the Philippines, US, and Canada. I may not be a big fan of the cuisine, despite my Filipino heritage, but I found the food to be better than some of the local spots around town.

Highlights of our meal were the signature fried whole chicken with its crispy, crackly skin; the lechon kawali that could have spent less time in the deep fryer; and the tiny but well seasoned lumpiang Shanghai. The massive ham hock that made up the beer braised pata tim was fork-tender, with subtle hints of sweetness and sour to compliment the gaminess of the meat. It’s a large dish that should be shared. Max’s inasal — grilled chicken — had some decent flavors, particularly the soy sauce with garlic and ginger, but it was another dish that suffered from being too dry. The crabmeat fried rice was heavy on peas and light on crab and the rice was stickier than I prefer in fried rice dishes. 

I wasn’t a fan of the crepe-wrapped lumpiang ubod and although my family loves halo halo I’ve never been a fan of the dessert. I’ve never understood their fondness for a dessert with so many different ingredients thrown together. Although I did pick at the best parts of it, namely the flan and be ice cream.

The prices aren’t bad either. The seven of us ate family style for a reasonable price per person with boxes and boxes of leftovers. With some minor fine tuning they could be producing some of the better Filipino food in town.

3 Stars

1290 E Flamingo Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(702) 433-4554

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Chicken enchiladas de mole ($10.95) - two shredded chicken enchiladas smothered in velvety mole sauce, topped with creme Mexicana

Camacho’s Cantina

By | 3 Stars, Universal City | No Comments

After a long day at Universal Studios, we decided to stay close and have dinner at the touristy City Walk area next to the park. Camacho’s Cantina is exactly what you’d expect from a place like this — chain restaurant quality food, large portions, and decent prices in a casual setting full of latin-inspired flare. Free chips and salsa rarely disappoint and neither do strong margaritas. The chicken mole enchiladas were a touch too sweet, lacking the spices to give it more depth and the accompanying rice and beans were largely forgettable. While this isn’t the best Mexican food, it met expectations in a pinch and serves decent enough food for families not willing to stray too far from Universal Studioes.

3 Stars

1000 Universal Ctr Dr
Universal City, CA 91608
(818) 622-3333

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Chicken and waffle sandwich ($11.99) - hand battered chicken breast between two waffles, lettuce, tomato, maple aioli sauce, criss-cut fries and coleslaw

Cletus Chicken Shack

By | 2.5 Stars, Universal City | No Comments

Located in Universal Studios, Cletus’ Chicken Shack will give you a glimpse into life in Springfield. And, apparently Springfield is pricey. Like the rest of Universal, you’ll spend a pretty penny on any meal. With no kid-sized meals the youngin’s have to pay full price for meals they’ll eat a fraction of. A chicken and waffle sandwich sounded amazing but pre-made/frozen waffles were it’s downfall. The large, crispy chicken breast covered in a maple aioli sauce was decent, the fried were surprisingly good, and the cole slaw… I didn’t even touch it. My kid enjoyed his chicken tenders, but the portion size was so big he only ate about a quarter of it. Duff beer is available, but I didn’t partake in any adult beverages.

2.5 Stars

Universal Studios
4426 Main Way Universal
Universal City, CA 91602


Orange chicken ($7.50)

Ping Pong Chinese Cuisine

By | 3.5 Stars, Encino | No Comments

Hanging out at my brother’s house, we wanted a low-key night and ordered delivery from this Chinese spot found after a quick Yelp search. When compared to similar quickie/take-out/delivery Chinese spots, Ping Pong is pretty good. We got a mix of five different dishes and all were solid renditions with ample portion sizes. They didn’t skimp on the proteins, either. The Mongolian beef and orange chicken were the standouts with bold flavors and the shrimp and snow peas weren’t far behind. For any take out needs, I’d be happy to order from them again.

3.5 Stars

17267 Ventura Blvd
Encino, CA 91316
(818) 501-0088


Mediterranean benedict ($12.95) - crispy duck prosciutto, slow roasted tomato bruschette, poached eggs, hollandaise on ciabatta

Leo & Lily

By | 4 Stars, Woodland Hills | No Comments

Looking for a breakfast spot close to our hotel in Woodland Hills, we found this amazing restaurant that serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Parking can be tricky with the limited number of street spots and the small adjacent lot, but the destination is worth it.

The focus on quality ingredients makes up for the relatively small breakfast menu. The dish that instantly caught my eye was the Mediterranean benedict ($12.95) with it’s crispy and salty duck prosciutto resting atop two slices of ciabatta. Perfectly poached eggs with buttery Hollandaise topped it all. Along with a side of roasted potatoes, it was an excellent savory dish to start the day. Equally as good was their omelette special filled  with sausage, mushrooms, onions and gouda with a spicy aioli and crispy spinach covering it.

A kid’s menu is available as well. An order of eggs was accompanied by roasted potatoes and a slice of bread. The kid’s chocolate chip pancakes were the lone disappointment. The chocolate was scarce among the three thin pancakes, although there were a few blueberries surrounding them.

4 Stars

22420 Ventura Blvd
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
(818) 222-6622


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Hamachi crudo ($15) - yuzu juice, Calabrian peppers, hazelnuts, chives, Sicilian olive oil, sea salt


By | 4 Stars, Westlake Village | No Comments

I knew nothing of this restaurant going in, except for the info I read on Yelp from mostly mediocre reviews. We were in California for a short vacation and my family chose Mediterraneo. I hate not choosing the places I eat. Leaving that decision in the hands of others usually leads to my disappointment. Luckily, on this occasion we walked away happy from our experience. 

Located in the affluent area of Westlake Village, it’s close to a golf course and part of a complex with a hotel and Stonehaus Winery. It’s a beautiful area and the restaurant itself is stunning — stone and dark wood give it a Mediterranean villa look. It overlooks a small pond/lake and has a decent sized patio with plenty of heaters between tables to warm chilly nights.

A light and refreshing summer salad of strawberry, burrata, and arugula started our meal. Although, it was oddly plated on a narrow cutting board, causing ingredients to tumble off. They get points for style but zero for functionality. The hamachi crudo that followed had a balanced amount of heat and acidity from the Calabrian peppers and yuzu.

Both the spaghettini con zucchini aglio olio and tagliatelle bolognese were excellent. The savory blend of meats in the latter dish made the bolognese shine.

Their desserts made for a decent ending to the meal, but lacked the refinement of the appetizers and entrees. The buttery crust and creamy chocolate filling of the chocolate pudding pie was plenty to share between my wife and kid, while the butterscotch pudding contained just enough salt to satisfy my palate. The peanuts on top were a nice touch, too.

Our server was ok, but devoid of the personable service to make the experience outstanding. Still, the restaurant was better than expected. Their French/Italian/Greek menu isn’t adventurous or cutting edge, but it’s executed at a high level. I knew the atmosphere would be nice, but the quality of food was a pleasant surprise.

4 Stars

32037 Agoura Rd
Westlake Village, CA 91361
(818) 889-9105

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Brownies on the moon - chocolate ice cream with chunks of brownies

Springdale Candy Company

By | 3.5 Stars, Springdale, Utah | No Comments

On our way out of town after an amazing camping and hiking trip, we needed a quick bit before hitting the road. So, what’s better than hitting up the local candy store for breakfast?

It’s a cute place that looks like the typical tourist/vacation spot full of candy and other sweet treats. Ice cream comes from the Utah based Farr Better Ice Cream company. Most are fairly standard flavors. My kid always gets mint chocolate chip and he wasn’t disappointed. I had “Brownies on the moon” which was a creamy chocolate ice cream with chunks of fudgey, soft brownies. It was an excellent way to cool down from the heat.

3.5 Stars

855A Zion Park Blvd
Springdale, UT 84767
(435) 772-0485


Guiness BBQ ribs, truffle fries ($15) - boneless tender short ribs, spicy Guiness BBQ sauce

The Spotted Dog Cafe

By | 4 Stars, Springdale, Utah | No Comments

Continuing our camping trip in Zion, my son and I decided to go out for dinner on our last night. Looking back, I should have planned better, or at least done more research into places to visit. The Spotted Dog Cafe was a good place to visit, no doubt about that, but the atmosphere turned out to be classier than I thought. 

Dressed in ratty and probably smelly clothes from hiking the Narrows earlier in the day, I felt way underdressed. To my surprise it was a rather upscale spot with white table linens, buttoned up servers and a quiet, elegant atmosphere. 

After hearing good things about this spot, I was too hungry and excited to try the food to turn back. The complimentary flatbread and our entrees didn’t stand a chance. The Guiness BBQ ribs ($15) were tender, boneless short ribs in a tangy sauce with subtle hoppiness. The truffle fries accompanying it were skinny, crispy, and heavy on the truffle flavor. There’s a kid’s menu available with spaghetti, meatloaf, chicken fingers, and hamburgers. Although my son’s buttered spaghetti noodles tasted like boxed pasta as opposed to something made fresh in-house, he still devoured almost all of it. 

Good sized portions and even better prices left us happy and thankful we dined out. Spotted Dog was a surprisingly good spot that was a huge step up from the camping fare we had the previous couple days. With a menu full of modern American dishes, it’s a worthy dining destination for a night out in Springdale.

4 Stars

428 Zion Park Blvd
Springdale, UT 84767
(435) 772-0700

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Traditional breakfast crepe ($8.99) - scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese with choice of ham, bacon or roast turkey topped with hollandaise drizzle

MeMe’s Cafe

By | 4 Stars, Springdale, Utah | No Comments

My son had one wish for when the school year ended — a father-son camping trip to Zion National Park. Never one to let him down, I reserved our camp site months in advance. And, after the two hour drive from Vegas, we were looking for a place to eat before entering the park and setting up camp. A short drive from the entrance to Zion is Meme’s Cafe, positioned just off the main road in a relatively new building. Inside is a modest interior with pics of the Eiffel Tower and other art that reinforces the French motif. A small patio right by the entrance overlooks the road.

With a breakfast menu showcasing a variety of crepes, it only made sense for me to try one. The traditional breakfast crepe ($8.99) was a great choice. The soft, thin crepe was stuffed with an ample amount of scrambled eggs, bacon and cheddar cheese, and topped with a buttery rich Hollandaise. For the kid, he opted for a soft, yet crispy edged Belgian waffle ($6.99) topped with powdered sugar and a mound of whipped cream. 

Both of us were equally stuffed and satisfied and ready to hike off the calories. We didn’t have time for a return visit this trip, but the well executed and refined breakfast fare make Meme’s a go-to spot the next time we’re in town.

4 Stars

975 Zion Park Blvd
Springdale, UT 84767
(435) 772-0114

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