252017Feb

Magal BBQ

You should have seen it coming. What makes it a trip to Los Angeles for us was finding a Korean BBQ joint to kick off the night. This time around it was Magal BBQ. A place full of energy that’s powered by its young and sometimes inebriated patrons. What that really means was that this was a place friends come to eat and drink. Because that’s exactly what we did.

There was a modest wait, although we had a seat if every happened to be there. Too bad this happened to be one of those rare cold as hell LA nights. We were really hating our unorganized selves. But within 30 minutes the host came out and let us know our table was ready. Needless to say we rushed in and got our menus.

We opted for two large Beef Combos, priced at $98.99 and meant to serve 3-4 people per combo, that included:

  • Beef Skirtmeat
  • Paper Thin Sliced Brisket End-Point
  • Prime Beef Boneless Rib or Prime Beef Rib Eye (we had one per combo)
  • Marinated Prime Short Rib
  • Assorted Grilled Items (king mushrooms, shrimp, and some vegetables)
  • Boneless Short Rib Sushi
  • Soybean Paste Soup with Beef Brisket

There were 9 of us so of course, we we ordered more a la carte. I did miss a couple things in my photos, such as the pork belly, assorted grilled items, and the sides. Well, there weren’t too many sides to begin with. There was a cold soup which left us scratching our heads, a small plate of pretty good kimchi for the four of us, a couple bowls of salad to share, pickled celery, and some sauces and condiments. That was pretty much our banchan. Yikes. I think that’s why we left a bit hungry. Or maybe it was the fact that we were planning to end the meal with the Volcano Fried Rice only to find out that they ran out. Double yikes. How could they run out of their signature, yet gimmicky, dish? Oh the horrors of an amateur foodie.

Overall though, the meat quality was good. They focus on unadulterated meats, as in, not too much seasoning. We were fine with that. There were a couple of stand out cuts that made us look to one another with that “Oh yeah, that’s the stuff.” And the service, even for a hectic Saturday night, was attentitive. They made sure to come by and check on the grill, which was changed at least six times. Pretty good.

Magal BBQ

3460 W 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90005
+1 (213) 383-1909

Verdict: Although it’s good in terms of quality of meats and service, I’d only go here to change up my Korean BBQ fix. I blame competition.

022014Dec

Nha Hang Hong Hanh 3

This place must be good to have three restaurants named after it, right? Well, I couldn’t disprove that theory. It was pretty darn good. Exactly what I was looking on a desolate cold night. Everything looked closed, that was, if it were open, it had nobody in it. This was the case for Hong Hanh 3 which our hotel recommended.

We were pretty skeptical walking in. They had about five restaurant staff sitting around talking among themselves. Not a good sign. But once they realized we weren’t lost or wanting to use the rest room, they were attentive, our waiter particularly. He catered a meal for us with questions all restaurants should ask. “What kind of meal are you looking for? A meal with rice, a light one so you can drink and eat, or a feast with all the seafood.” I was impressed, even with myself for understanding him. He was really cool and even spoke in English when he knew he went beyond my Vietnamese vocabulary. Now that’s service.

Our meal was great and I should have had more pictures for you, but some of the pictures didn’t turn out so well. Our total bill came out to 460,000VND between the two of us. And trust me, we were stuffed. The taxi ride back to our hotel should have drove us right into our bed.

Nha Hang Hong Hanh
Duong Ha Long
Halong Bay, Vietnam
+84 0333.812345

Verdict: You can’t go wrong with this place. I’m guessing their selection will be larger on busy nights.

272013Dec

First Rides and Izakaya

It was Friday and rather than waiting for my buddy’s friends to get into Niseko, we were off to the mountain to ride. There was no way we were going to pass up the powder that’s been dumping all night long. However, the temperature wasn’t holding up and the powder, dare I say, felt like California powder. Not that it was a bad thing but we came here for Niseko powder. You know the light fluffy kind which can get knee high yet still you plow down the runs like it were nothing. That’s the stuff we were looking for. Not bad though. We spent all of the day on the Annupuri area finding small stashes of powder in the trees. The top was closed so we couldn’t traverse over to the other resorts. Bummer. Day one and our All Mountain Pass was under utilized. Gotta make up for it by the only way I know how, by eating good.

We did a little Googling and found some tips, the best one being from this site Silverspoons & Chopsticks. They had a place called Karabina at the top of the list, which happens to be down the street from our hotel. We took a chance and scored. Thanks fellow bloggers/writers.

This little place was tucked right by the road leading into the Annupuri resort. Looks like a little cabin and its intention on making you feel warm and cozy worked like a charm. First you arrive down stairs in a little shoe area no larger than a big closet. You swap out your snow dredged shoes for some house slippers. Ahh, amazing how good that feels. Then you walk upstairs into the fireplace warmed room. Take a seat in the various make shift tables and be prepared for some great food. Yes, it’s izakaya but no, it’s not all about skewers. Only simple well crafted dishes that compliment this cold climate. What might that be like? Well, check out the pictures. I wanted to cover how local this shop was in relation to the big fancy ones around Hirafu. There’s only a small team running the place. And they care about their customers. Dishes came out one after another with either the waiter/waitress or the chef explaining the dish. We were never left wondering what to do. Yes, some foods do need instructions. And it’s a little worrisome that most of the time they are in the back preparing your food. Something you’ll have to accept being such a local shop. However, the most memorable thing was our ride home. We were less than a mile away from the hotel, but it was storming. We asked to see if they can call us a cab, but they said no need. They can drive us back. How awesome is that?? Now that’s good people.

Karabina
431-4 Niseko
Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, Japan 048-1511
+81 136-50-2850

Verdict: Definitely coming back here even if I’m staying over in Hirafu.

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