Thursday, March 5, 2015

Locanda del Lago (Santa Monica, CA)


Locanda del Lago (Santa Monica, CA) on The Episodic Eater


I was recently invited to a special dinner at Locanda del Lago celebrating the wines of Italy!  In honor of Cantine Provenza of Lombardia, Italy, Michelin-starred Chef Gianfranco Minuz prepared a four-course Lombardian dinner perfectly paired with wines by Provenza.

We were warmly greeted by one of the winemakers, who introduced each wine with the start of every course.


Locanda del Lago (Santa Monica, CA) on The Episodic Eater


It was a lovely dinner in one of the mainstays of the Third Street Promenade for over 20 years, Locanda del Lago.  That's a feat in L.A., considering how often wonderful restaurants turn over.

The restaurant itself prides itself on being a window on Lake Como.  Having visited the region several years ago, the ambiance, the food, and the people certainly reflect the hospitality and charm that I remember well.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Philly's Best (Southern California)


Philly's Best (Southern California) on The Episodic Eater


Are you hungry?  Well, if you aren't now, then you will be by the end of this post!  I visited the first location of Philly's Best in Fountain Valley, which was opened in 1992 by native Philadelphian Bob Levey.  I ate so much and loved it all.  I'll tell you about it soon, but first, let's get the backstory behind Philly's Best!

First of all, the entire team (pictured below) at the store feels like a family.  It is such a cozy neighborhood shop, which has since expanded to over 20 locations.


Philly's Best (Southern California) on The Episodic Eater


In fact, while I was there, one customer showed up who has eaten at Philly's Best since the very beginning.  A lot of reminiscing goes on over a good sandwich, am I right?

Also, a first-time customer came in to try some steak sandwiches to go.  Bob insisted that he tried a hoagie, and packed up one to try along with his order.  This is the friendly atmosphere that I noticed during the entire lunch time that I was there.


Philly's Best (Southern California) on The Episodic Eater


Are you ready to get to the food?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Juice It Up! (California)



Juice It Up! (California) on The Episodic Eater


It's mid-way through February already!  Do you know what that means?  It is American Heart Month, and Juice It Up! locations everywhere are celebrating by promoting some extra heart-healthy juices, smoothies, and açaí bowls.  Seriously yummy stuff!  I met with one of the scientists who makes sure that the menu is not only nutritious but delicious, and it was really eye-opening.  They really put a lot of time into researching health benefits and flavor combinations to make sure the best of the best ends up on the menu!

Let me show you through some of the favorites I tried, plus one secret off-menu item that I absolutely loved!


Juice It Up! (California) on The Episodic Eater


This was my first trip to the newest Huntington Beach location because it officially opens in a couple weeks!  In fact, if you are available for the grand opening on March 1st, make sure to join the festivities and show up early (first 50 customers) to enjoy a free juice or smoothie!


Juice It Up! (California) on The Episodic Eater


Now, to the sweet stuff!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Umami Burger (California & More)


Umami Burger (California & more) on The Episodic Eater


As you might remember from my last Umami Burger post, this is a small chain that knows how to do burgers (and everything else) right!  Last time, I went to the opening of the Irvine location, but after seeing this Umami Burger across from the Anaheim Packing District, I was itching to check this spot out!


Umami Burger (California & more) on The Episodic Eater


One shot of the interior before we get to the food!  This location was converted from the old Packard Building, which was established in 1925.  A bit of history, which they weaved into the surroundings and atmosphere.  I loved it!


Umami Burger (California & more) on The Episodic Eater


I was invited to try the newest offering here, the Pumpkin Spice Latte Burger (ohmyohmyohmy!), but I couldn't help but sample a few more treats as well.  :)  For one thing, the Welsh Rabbit Burger, exclusive to the Anaheim location was calling my name...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Vital Farms at Jimmy's Famous American Tavern (Dana Point, CA)

Vital Farms at Jimmy's Famous American Tavern (Dana Point, CA) on The Episodic Eater


I was recently invited to a dinner to welcome Vital Farms to Southern California, held at Jimmy's Famous American Tavern.  In addition to learning tidbits about the Austin-based egg-producers, we enjoyed a fantastic dinner with dishes especially created by the chef to feature Vital Farms' eggs!

Also, because Vital Farms wants to roll out the welcome to its newest customers (you and me!), they're offering a coupon for you try them out!  Click here to print it out and find out the closest retailer near you.


Vital Farms at Jimmy's Famous American Tavern (Dana Point, CA) on The Episodic Eater


Before we get to the food, is this not the cutest box ever?  It's reason enough to have the package jump off the grocery shelf and into my shopping cart!


Vital Farms at Jimmy's Famous American Tavern (Dana Point, CA) on The Episodic Eater


Now to the food!



Chive Bedeviled Egg
with Applewood Smoked Bacon
served with ‘Southern Fizz’

Vital Farms at Jimmy's Famous American Tavern (Dana Point, CA) on The Episodic Eater


What a lovely dish, yes?  Definitely a lovely way to show off the yellow yolks, plus the jalapeño on top was simply devilish!  Also, almost dish was served with an accompanying cocktail or wine.  Check out the Southern Fizz in the picture below.  Yum!



Drinks: from L to R
‘Southern Fizz’ – Bulleit Bourbon, Ginger Syrup, Lemon, Egg White
Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc, Sonoma
Hahn Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Zov's (Anaheim, CA)

I have a very long history with Zov's, so when I found out that a new location was opening in Anaheim, I was happy to be invited to a sneak peek before the grand opening!


Zov's (Anaheim, CA) on The Episodic Eater


In 1987, the same year that Zov's opened, my family was new to the Tustin area when I began going to kindergarten nearby.  Well, I ended up going to elementary school in another city the following year, but luckily my dad had already stumbled upon Zov's Bakery and Cafe.  We have been loyal customers ever since!

Since then, the restaurant has expanded to Newport Coast, Irvine, and Santa Ana.  The newest location in Anaheim is absolutely beautiful and Chef Zov Karamardian was there on hand with Chef Louie Jocson to welcome us!


Zov's (Anaheim, CA) on The Episodic Eater


The magnificent interior, designed by Charles Ramm, was absolutely stunning.  Personally, I couldn't wait to make my way to the gorgeous bar and order a drink!


Zov's (Anaheim, CA) on The Episodic Eater



Melon Mule
Grey Goose melon vodka, fresh lime juice, ginger beer, simple syrup