Friday, October 9, 2009


2.5 Stars

So this was my first visit to Bellavino. I was having dinner with friends and they decided on the location. I arrived on time for dinner reservations at 6:30 on a Thursday evening. The restaurant wasn't very busy, probably about a third full. I was first to arrive and waited at the bar. The ambience is very nice, casual yet sophisticated. There was live music and a full bar.

We were seated on the patio next to the fireplace. One side of the menu consisted of charcuterie and cheese, the other included appetizers, salads and entrees. We started off with a three cheese selection, we selected Purple Haze, Manchego and the Eppoises. Unfortunately the Eppoises was not available and neither was our second selection, the Explorateur. They probably don't get a lot of orders for these cheeses. We settled on the Fromager D' Affinois and creamy Brie. Considering this was a cheese plate, it took awhile for it to arrive. The portions of cheese were a bit small and it was served with sliced baguette and water crackers, there was also some dried fruit.

For our main courses, we had the Filet Mignon, Grilled Ahi and I had the Pasta Provencal with Prawns. My pasta dish was okay, it lacked seasoning and the individual ingredients did not stand out. The Filet looked a bit over cooked, but I was told both of the other dishes were good. The highlight of our meal was the 2006 Morgan Pinor Noir, we had two bottles. Surprisingly enough the vineyard is in Salinas. The service was good.

Overall not a bad place for some wine and cheese. I would like to go back with they are fully stocked with cheese.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sushi Yusho

A last minute decision to go out for sushi in the Conejo Valley and we ended up at Sushi Yusho in Newbury Park.

I had been here a couple of times before and had decent experiences, so we decided to try it again. The first round of items included Spanish Mackerel, Red Snapper, and Albacore, all ordered nigiri style. Also had a spicy scallop hand roll and green mussels. All of the fish was decent, the green mussels were prepared a lot differently then I'd had them before, they weren't very good. I think they were broiled and just has some type of miso sauce ladled over the top.

Our table also had a variety of cut rolls, all of them were decent, but nothing special. The star of the night was the Sho Chiku Bai Junmai Nigori Sake. This sake is unfiltered and has a great sweetness. With a few of those the sushi became the supporting cast.

Santouka Ramen - Torrance, CA Mitsuwa Market Food Court

4 Stars

Finally made it out to the Torrance Mitsuwa market and go to the try Santouka Ramen. There are a lot of options in this food court, but Santouka is definitely one you should try first.

I ordered #31, which is the regular sized Hot Miso Ramen. Their trademark shio ramen was perfectly cooked and the spicy miso broth was delicious. The ramen is served with thick slices or roasted pork belly, green onions and naruto. This was a superior bowl of noodles.

I look forward to visiting the West LA location and trying another version of their delicious ramen.