Mar 26

Nickel Diner (Downtown LA)

Nickel Diner is a food joint with a trendy, retro atmosphere populated with some hipsters and others who found their way to Skid Row and are afraid to go outside.  One of these is not true… or not.  I came here with a friend late one night, and didn’t realize how close it really was to Skid Row (btw, VERY close).  As I walked from the parking meter to this spot. I realize that this place must be really good to garner so many positive reviews in such a sketchy part of town.

LOCATION:  This place is on Main and Fifth Street, just south of Fifth.  There is no parking, after all it’s Downtown LA.  You’ll have to circle around and find a meter.  I think they are free after 8pm, and luckily, Nickel Diner is open later than that.

FOOD:  I ordered the Sloppy Veggie Jo, and my friend ordered the Soup of the Day.  We noticed their awesome selection of non-standard bottled sodas, so we indulged ourselves with Mr. Q Cumber and Red Ribbon’s Almond Cream Soda.  DUUUUDE, these drinks are INSANELY ADDICTING!  The cucumber drink was very refreshing, and the almond cream explodes with an unexpected strong almond flavor, not just a hint.


The Sloppy Veggie Jo seemed like it was made of diced up portabello mushrooms.  The sauce was slathered on top of what seemed like two sets of onion roll buns, and then topped with a side of onion rings.  I had to eat the beast with a fork and knife!  Messy, but worth it!  I only had a taste of the soup, and I really don’t remember what was all in it, but it was good, just not memorable.


SERVICE:  There were two waitresses at the time, and both of them were switching back and forth helping our table.  Both of them had tats everywhere and reminded me of rockabilly girls for some reason.  One had short hair, and seemed like she had an attitude but wasn’t rude.  Never smiled or looked up at us.  The other longer haired one was total opposite.  She smile always greeted us, and was very attentive.  It was like a good-cop-bad-cop thing.  Although there was a huge contrast between the two wait staff, they both still provided satisfactory service.


OVERALL:  Food was great, soft drinks were addicting.  neighborhood was sketchy, and parking can be a pain.  However I would make another journey to the area just to try more of their menu.

Jan 21

Dog Haus (Alhambra)

The missy and I came here to use up a Groupon that I had.  “Gourmet hot dogs”?  Psh… what an oxymoron.  Quite pleasantly surprised, I was not disappointed.

Dog Haus Sign

Dog Haus Sign

The location is off of Chapel and Main Street in Alhambra, very easy to see.  The parking was not bad the day I went, but I think I saw only about maybe 10 to 15 parking spots.  So on a busy night, carpooling with your buds might be a smarter option.  Just be careful, the lot is pretty small and only one-way.  On a busy night, I wouldn’t put it pass me to see people driving in both directions yelling profane words at each other.

The Groupon was good for two sausages and two beers.  Which, the cashier knew about the deal without even checking my phone.  I ordered the Big Lebowski with a Hefeweisen to wash it down and my girlfriend went with the Frickin’ Chicken with a ginger ale.  After running the bill, we still had to pay for tax on the food before the cashier would click the redeem option on my phone.  The Big Lebowski comes with a garlic herb kielbasa, haus cheese sauce, pickled jalapenos, and crispy onions.  The Frickin’ Chicken includes a chicken sausage, “hausmade” marinara, melted mozzarella, and crispy basil leaf.  Both sausages are housed in a hawaiian sweet roll bun to sweeten the palate.  The combinations of savory and sweet was just perfect!  And even if I needed more flavor, there is a condiments bar at the back in case I wanted drench it in curry ketchup, but why would you?  The hefeweizen was good, but I wished they’d have a bigger selection of beers.  The ginger ale was made with real sugar, so there’s none of that corn syrupy aftertaste on the back of your throat.  Delicious!

Frickin' Chicken (left) and Big Lebowski (right)

Frickin’ Chicken (left) and Big Lebowski (right)

The restaurant tries a little hard to simulate the vibe of a bar, but without a happy hour menu and a bar, it’s still just a restaurant in the end.  However, I would still want to come on Fridays and weekends just to drink beer, eat these dressed up hot dogs and bask in the company of others.

Dog Haus is located at:
410 E Main St
Alhambra, CA 91801

Sun-Sat: 11 am – 10 pm

Sep 05

Sura Korean BBQ

I wanted one of my friends to try something that he hasn’t had before, so I decided to bring him to a place that I’ve been to a long time ago.  Now back when I came here, it was over two years ago.  I have to admit, the food quality has improved greatly since then.

Bulgolgi Tacos!

Bulgolgi Tacos!

Sura is located between 6th and 7th street on Atlantic.  The place is a little small, but never too busy.  Parking is really bad and confusing.  They have a sign that parking is in the back, but when you pull to the back, there’s another sign that says “tenant parking only”.  I rather not risk it, so I usually park on the street just a block south of here.

The menu is typical.  Most of the entrees are for Korean BBQ or Korean tofu.  At the front of the menu, there is a list of the different types of tacos available, beef, pork, chicken, veggie, and tofu.  All of them are good.  If you come here on a Tuesday or Thursday, they’re only $1 each.

We haven’t gotten much aside from the Korean tacos at this place, just because the deal can’t be beat, so that’s all I can really comment about regarding food.  Of the three meats, chicken was definitely the weakest link (and chicken is even my favorite meat normally).  The bulgolgi is by far my favorite of the bunch.  The tofu taco is just as good as the chicken.  Not bad, but I would prefer if the tofu was crispier.  Compared to Kogi Truck, Kogi is marginally better.  However, for less than half the cost of a taco from Kogi, I get something really close without chasing down the truck!

Korean Pork Tacos!

Korean Pork Tacos!

The service was satisfactory, quick and efficient.  My friend and I have been coming here for quite a while, and we always see the same waiter, Jackie.  Although he might seem a little antisocial at first, he’s really cool guy, and gets us our food super fast.  Usually keeps my cup of water filled at all times.  Definitely a friendlier staff than you would get at most Korean BBQ places for sure!

If I could eat this stuff everyday and not get fat, I would!  However, we came every Tuesday and Thursday for a while now, and my friend is a little sick of the stuff.  So we’re taking a break at the moment.  But if you’re ever on the west side of Long Beach, I would recommend trying this spot for sure!

Sura Korean BBQ is located at:
621 Atlantic Ave
Long Beach, CA 90802

Mon-Sat 11 am – 10 pm
Sun 11 am – 8 pm

Sep 04

Kimmie’s Coffee Cup

My friends and I stopped by this place to take a break from the Orange International Street Fair, which was happening directly outside of this little brunch shop.  We didn’t realize that bratwurst was a staple of every single country at the fair, so we were looking for something a little healthier than sausages.

The ordering was quick and painless, and the waitresses were attentive enough for how busy it was.  I wouldn’t go as far as to say their service was great, but it didn’t suck either.  The things I noticed that irked me a little bit was that the table was not set when we sat down.  The waitress plopped all the utensils and napkins in front of one of the members in my party of five.  My friend had to sort and distribute the supplies to all of us.  Not really a big deal to us, but it did seem rather unprofessional to do something like that.  Other than that, the waitress did a good job keeping the cups filled and checking back if everything was okay.

Chicken Salad Sandwich with Fruit

After looking at their menu, I ended up getting the Chicken Salad Sandwich with a side of fruit.  I figured, “hey, I can’t go wrong with a chicken salad sandwich, they’re always good”.  Well, I was wrong.  This was the worst chicken salad sandwich I have ever tasted.  It wasn’t putrid or anything like that.  It was just, bland.  You know when people say “this taste like cardboard”?  I always thought they were talking figuratively, but my sandwich really did taste like cardboard.  Who knew that was a literal statement?

Although the main course was pretty bad, I really liked the side of fruit it came with.  It’s pretty hard to screw up fresh fruit, but I guess it’s possible.  Each bite was juicy and sweet.  It was good, but not good enough to make up for the bad sandwich.

I’m not sure if everything else on the menu was better or not, but based solely on the entree I ordered, I would not make a second trip to this joint.


Kimmie’s Coffee Cup is located at:
190 South Glassell Street
Orange, CA 92866-1478


Sun:  6:30 am – 2 pm
Mon-Sat:  7 am – 2 pm


May 28

Maru Maki

I’ve been to this restaurant three times now.  The first time we went, my roommate and I decided to order online and take it home.  Big mistake.  There are two prices for all their menu items.  They have a full-price takeout menu, so sushi rolls can end up costing up to $13 each.  And they have a sit-down menu where EVERYTHING on their menu is $3 each, except for drinks.  However, this place is a little weird.  It’s the first place I’ve ever been to that charges a sit-down fee.  It’s $5 for lunch, and $8 for dinner per person.  But as long as everyone can eat 3 rolls each, you’ll get your money’s worth compared to the takeout price.  Heck, even one roll beats the takeout price.  So if you come here, expect a fee for each individual at your table.

From left to right: Baked Lobster Roll, Awesome Roll, Double S Roll

The first thing I noticed after I stepped into here is that this place is not owned by Japanese people.  From hearing the employees speak to each other, the K-Pop music pounding away, and some certificate on the wall that has the owner’s name, which was something something “Yang”, I could figure out Koreans were running this joint.  I admit that a little bit of disappointment rose in me as I am a little prejudice to believe that making good sushi is an innate trait that only the Japanese can harness.  Well all that faded away after my first meal from this place.  Their food can keep up with most sushi joints despite having a non-Japanese stigma.  My prejudices have been broken.

As I mentioned, I’ve been here three times.  Needless to say, I really like the quality of their sushi.  Every time I’ve eaten here, I’ve always gotten their Double S Roll,  It’s nice balance of sweet and salty for tempura battered lobster on top of sushi.  Yeah, sorry, I forgot what was in the actual sushi, but definitely get it if you come.  Their Awesome Roll is topped with cooked salmon on a California Roll with teriyaki sauce drizzled on top.  It’s a little fishy, but still lives up to its name, which is quite Awesome!  There are many other rolls that are worth trying, and I could probably bore you with more ramblings of the description of rolls, but you’ll just have to check out the place yourself to really get the full menu and flavors of this little gem in Long Beach.


Maru Maki is located at:
745 E Broadway
Long Beach, CA 90802

Mon-Thu 11:30 am – 10 pm
Fri 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sat 12:30 pm – 11 pm
Sun 3 pm – 9:30 pm

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