Pizza Nova

It’s a CA chain, but it’s convenience (across the street from our hotel) won out over going somewhere I knew would be better. Plus, it’s kid-friendly and on the water with a good view. All good points to bring your kid here as opposed to some other place that would be fancier and superior. This… Continue reading Pizza Nova

Okavango Outpost

Okavango Outpost is one of the quickie/cafeteria style eateries in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It’s stereotypical amusement park fare — meaning it’s bad and way overpriced. The gluten free chicken tenders had a weird neon orange color to it and were anything but tender. The soft pretzel was dry. The meatball sandwich was… Continue reading Okavango Outpost

Ironside Fish & Oyster

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better looking casual restaurant than Ironside. Located in Little Italy on a street packed with restaurants, the nautical theme that fills every nook and cranny of their space is beautiful. The most visually stunning piece is the wall made up of piranha heads. You’ll want your camera handy when… Continue reading Ironside Fish & Oyster

Ototo Sushi Co.

After a long and tiring day of sightseeing we opted to stay close to our hotel for dinner. A quick search pointed us towards Ototo and it was a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting much from a sushi spot far from the usual dining hot beds in town, but the modern and elegant feel of the… Continue reading Ototo Sushi Co.

Farmer’s Bottega

Farmer’s Bottega is a beautiful space with its vintage feel, exposed pipes, brick walls, and edison bulbs. As appealing as that may be, the menu is even more enticing. I had trouble deciding if I should come here for brunch or dinner. Brunch won out. Every good brunch needs some good cocktails and the bacon… Continue reading Farmer’s Bottega


Originally known as more of a pizza place, Wildcraft has broadened their menu to offer other Italian-inspired fare along with an enticing brunch. Even with their expanded menu, their pizzas are still quite good. Their crust is almost like a sourdough crust, crisp and firm in all the right places. The carnage pizza ($18), in… Continue reading Wildcraft

Truxton’s American Bistro

They’ve got two locations with this one in Westchester having been around for ten years. They tout themselves as an American bistro that reinvents/reinterprets classics and that’s pretty much what you’ll find on their menu. Plenty of familiar small plates, burgers, salads, and entrees take on ethnic twists to form a menu with a little… Continue reading Truxton’s American Bistro

Tart Bites

I tried 2 things from this bakery — cake pops and a wedding cake. It was for my brother’s wedding. The cake was absolutely gorgeous — a small, single tiered cake covered in icing that looked like white and purple roses. It was a stunning beauty with equally great flavors. Moist and thick, there were… Continue reading Tart Bites

Lakeside Restaurant & Lounge

Located in Encino, this restaurant isn’t noticeable off the main drag. It’s off a side street and set back from the entrance as their valet-only parking lot is the first thing you see. Walking through the lot and into the building you’ll be transported a world away. The interior is open and fairly dark. There’s… Continue reading Lakeside Restaurant & Lounge

Cedar Creek Inn

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… Continue reading Cedar Creek Inn

Urban Plates

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… Continue reading Urban Plates

Ha’Penny Pub

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,… Continue reading Ha’Penny Pub

Cletus Chicken Shack

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… Continue reading Cletus Chicken Shack

Ping Pong Chinese Cuisine

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… Continue reading Ping Pong Chinese Cuisine

Leo & Lily

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… Continue reading Leo & Lily

Peppercorn Grille

Located right in the Big Bear Lake Village, it’s a location that’s sure to attract tourists and maybe some locals too. It’s a free standing tudor style building with it’s own parking lot. We stopped by for a late lunch so it wasn’t tough getting a spot. The interior is fairly small, but intimate and… Continue reading Peppercorn Grille

Sugar Pine Bake Shop

Another review that’s long overdue, my wife purchased some cupcakes from this shop for my birthday last year during our weekend trip to Big Bear. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of any of the cupcakes except the vanilla with chocolate — easily the most pedestrian of the bunch. The rest were surprisingly good. The snickerdoodle… Continue reading Sugar Pine Bake Shop