Hello Sage Bistro: Culver City!

Hello Sage Bistro: Culver City!

Often times I get asked where my favorite spots are around the city. Just recently, I got to try a place that will surely hit the list as a new favorite.

Sage Bistro is a plant-based bistro specializing in vegan and vegetarian cuisine. They have a farm to table concept. Working with local farmers, Sage offers seasonal, organic and local food. There’s three locations for Sage; Echo Park, Pasadena and Culver City.

I recently got to check out the Culver City location; the biggest of all the three Sage branches. This location has a wood fire pizza oven and a full organic bar that offers 25 beers and wines on tap.

Sage’s menu is full of healthy and delicious eats. They have small plates, salads, tacos, tostadas, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, pizza, pretzels, bowls and more.  I got to try two of their items and was instantly impressed with the quality and how they were able to bring out the best of locally sustained and produced food.

The first item I got to try that night was Sage’s Bollywood Bowl.

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The Bollywood Bowl has yellow lentil daal, eggplant, tomato, potato, onion, corn, edamame, steamed kale that was topped with spicy pickled cabbage, tamarind sauce and mint chutney. It was served with flat bread. Being a big fan of Indian food, I instantly loved this bowl. It had the right spicy kick to it and the flavors mixed together perfectly. Healthy and fulfilling; it was a great start to dinner!

The next item I got to try was the Eggplant Artichoke Parmesan Pizza.

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I love all dishes with eggplant along with artichoke and thus I was thrilled to see this on the menu! The pizza crust is made out of organic heirloom white flour crust. The crispy crust was topped with marinara, pesto sauce, mozzarella breaded organic eggplant and artichoke hearts and was then drizzled with cashew alfredo. The cashew alfredo was a wonderful touch bringing a unique creaminess to the pizza. It’s a pizza unlike any I’ve ever tried and definitely a winner.

Sage Bistro definitely hits the list of places I am a fan of. Each dish I tried during my visit was phenomenal and I love their concept. It is truly amazing to have food with ingredients from local farmers who are committed to organic pesticide free farming and regenerative agriculture. This farm to table at it’s best and is my new favorite.

For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on Sage Bistro: Culver City!

Hello Samosa House El Segundo!

Hello Samosa House El Segundo!

Stepping into the newly opened Samosa House in Plaza El Segundo, I was already quite mesmerized. The floor is adorned with colorful Indian designs and the place was popping with upbeat Bollywood music. There’s a wonderful aroma of spices from the array of hot Indian food on display.  I knew that I was in for a treat at this newly opened place.

Samosa House in El Segundo is the newest branch of a family owned and operated Indian restaurant specializing in Vegetarian and Vegan dishes. Their first restaurant was Bharat Bazaar in Culver City and they’ve since branched out to restaurants in LA, Santa Monica and now El Segundo.

It was hard to choose from their various savory dishes but there was one dish I knew for sure I didn’t want to miss and that was their famous samosas.

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Samosa House’s samosas were once featured on Food Network’s  “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and it is not surprising. This was a great start of a meal here. It was crispy pastry filled with mashed potatoes and peas. It was served with tamarind and mint sauces. I loved the crispy edges and the savory ingredients.

After the savory samosa starter, it was time for my main entree! I got a three item combo with charcoal smoked cauliflower, matar paneer and veggie chicken.

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The charcoal smoked cauliflower had crispy cauliflower in a creamy sauce. I loved the flavor of the cauliflower. The cauliflower  is really distinct because of how it is prepped. It is first marinated and afterwards smoked with a charcoal pot.

The veggie chicken was wonderful as well. The gluten nuggets were so tender. I also was such a fan of the butter sauce in this dish.

The matar paneer was my favorite. This dish was packed with flavors! It had big chunks of paneer in a tomato based sauce. I loved it over the white rice.

Aside from the white rice, the combo plate comes naan and raita or vegan soup.

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I chose to get garlic naan and had the pleasant surprise of receiving a very large piece of fresh-baked naan. Piping hot and fresh out of the oven, it was wonderful. The garlic flavor simply oozed out of the fresh bread.

Last but not least, I tried Samosa House’s ginger chai.

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The Indian tea flavored with ginger and spices was so comforting on this somewhat overcast day. It’s slight hint of ginger was just right.

I truly enjoyed every single item I tried here at Samosa House El Segundo.

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From start to finish, I was a fan. From their famous samosas to their savory dishes and their comforting ginger chai tea; this Hello Kitty Foodie was full of smiles.

For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Samosa House El Segundo.

Hello American Tandoor!

Hello American Tandoor!

Whenever I’m traveling, I’m always on the look out for some of the best cuisine that each city I visit has to offer. Just recently, I had the pleasure at dining at one of the best Indian restaurants in Tysons Corner, Virginia when I found American Tandoor.

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Located at the Tyson Corner Center mall is American Tandoor.  American Tandoor specializes in Indian cuisine with a twist. Their menu has traditional Indian cuisine as well as dishes that have the influences of contemporary American and Asian cuisine.

During my trip here, I started off with a lettuce wrap, an appetizer that is normally found in an Asian restaurant. Here at American Tandoor they give lettuce wraps a whole new look via their offering of Seekh Kebab Lettuce Wraps.

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The Seekh kebab lettuce wraps consist of two romain leaves topped with ground chicken kebabs and mango mayo. On the side is fresh mint yogurt for dipping. I have always loved lettuce wraps at Asian restaurants but American Tandoor’s version, simply blew me away! The large serving of tender ground chicken kebabs that was drizzled with mango mayo was pure perfection. The fresh mint yogurt gave it even more creamy pizazz.

Soon after the Seekh kebab lettuce wraps, I tried another fusion dish here via the Singapore noodles.

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The Singapore noodles have chicken, cabbage, scallions on top of rice vermicelli. It is a mild noodle dish with plenty of ingredients. My favorite was the large pieces of chicken. This Indo-Chinese dish is good for those looking to try American Tandoor’s take on a Asian classic with Indian influences.

My favorite dish of all on my visit here was their butter chicken.

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The word amazing does not even give this dish justice but it truly was amazing. The butter chicken consisted of tender pieces of chicken in mildy spiced creamy curry sauce. Known traditionally as Murgh Makani in Indian cuisine, this dish has now become my favorite Indian dish. Ever single ingredient of this dish from the yogurt and spice marinated chicken to the creamy red sauce made of butter, onions, ginger and tomatoes just came together to make the most pleasing main entree ever.

The butter chicken chicken on top of their basmati rice was awesome.

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I enjoyed the butter chicken with the basmati rice so much, the waiter even gave me basmati rice to go! It was that good.

I am very pleased to have dined at American Tandoor during my trip to Tysons Corner, Virginia. Their take on Indian cuisine with an American influence is simply superb and their butter chicken is the best. This restaurant goes in my book of one of the most memorable dining places I have visited on the East Coast.

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For more smiles, please see my recent Yelp review on American Tandoor.

Hello Bollywood Zaika!

Hello Bollywood Zaika!

One of my favorite Indian restaurants in the South Bay is Addi’s Tandoor. When I discovered Addi’s Tandoor a couple of years ago it quickly became my go to spot for delicious Indian cuisine.  One of my most memorable birthday parties was even held there.  Their saag paneer and chicken tikka masala are tops in my book and a forever favorite.

It was thus with much excitement for me to hear that the owner of Addi’s Tandoor, Addi Decosta along with Urvi Radia have opened up new restaurant again here in the South Bay via Bollywood Zaika.

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Just recently I got to check out Bollywood Zaika. Just like Addi’s Tandoor Bollywood Zaika is truly special.  The name itself is a wonderful and different.  Bollywood is Indian cinema and Zaika is “flavor.” As their website states,  this restaurant is about bringing customers “sizzling Indian food packed with “Zaika” (flavor) straight from the heartland of Indian Cinema “Bollywood” to Hollywood.”

The Bollywood theme can be seen in their simple and classic decor. I loved seeing the movie reels hanging on their restaurant wall.

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The “Zaika” or flavor is all over their different food offerings. They’ve got an amazing line up of Indian cusine that I will be sharing with you in this blog post.

My meal here started off with trying their Samosa-Pav

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The samosa-pav consists of a deep-fried spicy potato and peas filled samosa sandwiched between pav buns and flavored with  sweet and spicy chutneys. I really enjoyed the crisp outer crust of the samosa. The sweet chutney also brought a nice flavor to the pav buns.

The samosa- pav is one of five of their small plate offerings. The other offerings are vada-pav, samosa chaat, spicy chicken wings and calamari pakora.

After the small plate, it was time to try the entrees. Here at Bollywood Zaika, there are four different styles for customers to enjoy their main meal. They can choose to do a bun-eat, a wrap-eat, a bowl eat or a plate-eat. With each style, customers then have the choice of choosing between different entrees, pilaf rice or brown rice and quinoa, various sides and condiments.

There is something for every one here at Bollywood Zaika. They have vegetarian, chicken and seafood entrees.

One of the chicken entrees I enjoyed was their chicken kebabs. Their version consists of grilled chicken breasts marinated with yogurt, garlic, ginger and spices. The chicken kebabs were very tender and went well with the pilaf rice and the raita, cilantro-yogurt condiment.

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As for the vegetarian entrees, I tried their palak paneer. The palak paneer had spinach and cottage cheese cooked with garlic, fenugreek and mild spices. I loved the smooth creaminess of the palak paneer.

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Each entree was wonderful and to add more to the flavorful meal was the various sides. For the sides, Bollywood Zaika has dal, chana masala and jeera aloo.

The dal side is lentils cooked with ginger, garlic and spices. Flavored with aromatics and spice, this was one very nice side.

Equal in deliciousness was the chana masala. The garbanzo beans cooked with tomatoes and aromatic spices was packed with zesty, pleasing taste.

Perhaps my favorite side of all was the jeera aloo. The potatoes sautéed with cumin seeds and mild spices were so soft and delicious.

Along side with the savory entrees, I enjoyed a refreshing cup of mango lassi.

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This yogurt based mango drink was a great way to beat the heat of this summer day and it was the perfect match for the main dishes.

From savory to sweet, we ended our meal here with a wonderful dessert of kheer or Indian rice pudding.

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The rice pudding was rich, creamy and delightful. This dessert was a perfect way to wrap up meal here at Bollywood Zaika.

Every thing I tried here at Bollywood Zaika was packed with flavor. The “Zaika” in their name is so appropriate. Addi Decosta has been in the restaurant business for over 25 years and has been offering up delicious Indian cuisine in the South Bay for over 13 years. I am sure that his and Urvi’s new venture in Bollywood Zaika will also enjoy much success in Redondo Beach. I was full of smiles at my first visit here and I am sure to come back to try more of their flavorful Indian cuisine.

For more smiles, please check out my recent Yelp review on Bollywood Zaika.

Hello birthday celebration @ Addi’s Tandoor!

Hello birthday celebration @ Addi’s Tandoor!

A couple months ago, thanks to my good friend and coworker, my mom and I got to try Addi’s Tandoor, an amazing Indian restaurant in Redondo Beach. I loved it so much that I shared my experience on South Bay Foodies, the food and travel website that I write for. I also made a note that that I wanted to share this place with my friends in the future.

Fast forward to September and my birthday. Thanks again to my good friend and coworker, I was able to once again have one amazing dining experience at Addi’s Tandoor via a birthday dinner there with my friends.

From my first trip here, I was already impressed with the overall simple yet elegant decor of the restaurant. During my birthday event, the place did not disappoint with it’s lovely atmosphere. Nicely set up tables, clean white table clothes and pretty white and gold polka dot candles made for such a beautiful setting for a birthday dinner.

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The night’s fabulous foodie festivities started with appetizers. We were served fried papadum. They’re thin, circular lentil wafers that were served with two dips, one cilantro based and one jalapeno based. Roasted and crispy, they made for a perfect, light little starter. The dips each had a spicy, fiery kick.

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Along side with our appetizers, we were served our drinks. Many chose to get the mango lassi. It’s a sweet, refreshing and fruity beverage.
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Up next for us was a great salad that turned into a crowd favorite of the night. We were served the chicken tikka salad. It’s a colorful salad filled with mixed organic greens, tomatoes, carrots and chicken tikka. The dressing was a very flavorful mango and garlic based dressing. As a big fan of mango, I loved the slightly sweet and light dressing. I also liked the tender white chicken meat on top of the salad.

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Our next dish was the mixed tandoori platter. It’s a great platter that showcases the restaurant’s Tandoori specialities. In this platter was tandoori shrimp marinated in garlic and spices, tandoori chicken pieces marinated with fresh garlic ginger, yogurt and mild slices, chicken tikka marinated in yogurt, garlic and mild spices and lamb sheek kabab marinated with spices, fresh herbs, onions and cilantro.

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After the appetizer, salad and tandoori platter, the entrees came next. The chicken tikka masala was the first dish. With it’s tender chicken and flavorful tomato and ginger sauce, it was another favorite for many that night.

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The next dish, saag paneer has been my favorite ever since my first trip at Addi’s Tandoori. The creamy spinach base and the soft, homemade cottage cheese cubes always makes for such a melt in your mouth, velvety smooth delicious dish.

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Our third entree was the beef khorma. It was my first time trying this beef dish that was in a cashew nut sauce. There were chunks of beef in a tasty curry base.

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All of the entrees went perfect with the well seasoned basmati rice pilaf. The rice paired with the entrees made for very hearty and tasty combos.

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We also had baskets full of nan, garlic nan and paratha. All of the bread was came out fresh and hot. The garlic nan was so aromatic and pleasing.

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From the appetizers to the salad and to the entrees, it was such a flavorful feast full of tasty treats!

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Last but not least, a little surprise came out at the end when I got a served a beautiful birthday carrot pudding. Unique tasting and so soft, it was a perfect way to end the delicious dinner.

I was so happy to celebrate my birthday here. Everything came together for such a beautiful celebration filled with smiles and memories to last for a lifetime.

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For more smiles, please read my 700th yelp review about this very special place and my wonderful birthday celebration :).