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Restaurants | Ryan's Blog

Archive for the ‘ Restaurants ’ Category

Geoffrey’s – Malibu, CA

So I had a day off of work and was trying to think of something to do.  I get so few off I didn’t want to waste it.  I was going over several hiking trails, and found Escondido Canyon.  Of course you need to eat before you hike, and luckily I found this amazing place next to the trail called Geoffrey’s.  

While you may feel a bit underdressed in your hiking cloths, jeans and t-shirts are just fine for lunch.   When you pull in, you will need to valet your car (unless you can find parking on PCH).  It’s only $5 and included on your bill.  

When you walk through the entrance to the patio to be seated, breathtaking panoramic views of the Malibu coastline hit you on all sides.  It was a perfectly clear day and you could see all the way to Palos Verdes, Catalina, and the Channel Islands.

Enough on the view – the real reason you go to a restaurant is to eat, right?   You won’t be disappointed.  I ordered the lunch filet with vegetables.  Extremely tender and perfectly seasoned, the filet was accompanied by a exquisite sauce. 

If lunch is any indication of dinner, I would imagine it would be absolutely amazing.  I’d love to come back for a sunset dinner on a full moon to enjoy the view and great food.

Official Website:
http://www.geoffreysmalibu.com/

Contact Info:
27400 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA  90265
(310) 457-1519

Restaurant:
 34° 1’31.06″N
118°46’10.70″W

 

Geoffrey's Malibu on Urbanspoon

Dixie Crossroads – Titusville, FL (Orlando Area)

On our way back from Kennedy Space Center, we stopped at the Dixie Crossroads seafood restaurant off a recommendation from my Aunt.   Even though she gave great directions, there was no trouble finding the place with its huge red neon sign. 

We arrived at around 6:30PM on a Sunday evening and the waitress was quoting us a 40 minute wait.  From the size of the waiting area, 40 minutes seemed to be pretty quick.   They have a beautiful outdoor waiting area set in a lush park-like fashion.  While you’re waiting, you can take a look at the Dixie Crossroads merchandise, or head over to the bar to get a drink.     

The wait was well worth it.  We were actually seated in about 30 minutes, so that was a nice surprise.  The Rock Shrimp was absolutely amazing.  You could tell they were very fresh and were seasoned to perfection.   We will definitely be coming back next year!

Official Website:
http://www.dixiecrossroads.com/

Contact Info:
1475 Garden Street
Titusville FL 32796
(321) 268-5000

Restaurant:
 28°36’54.78″N
 80°49’14.30″W

 

Dixie Crossroads on Urbanspoon

Vineyard Cafe and Wine Bar – Cincinnati, OH

Overall, the Vineyard Cafe and Wine bar is my favorite restaurant in Cincinnati. I’ve been there about four times now and every time has been a memorable experience. From dining on their patio overlooking Hyde Park Square in the summer, to dining in their cozy wine room on a cold fall night; each time the food, service, and hospitality were top notch.

Located in Hyde Park, the restaurant is surrounded by quaint little shops that warrant a visit. Just be sure to shop before dinner as many close around 5.

To start off, I highly recommend the Brushetta Trio. You get to try olive tapenade, boursin hummus, and sun dried tomato basil spread all in one appetizer.

For dinner my favorite is the Tenderloin Medallions. The sauce that comes with them is perfectly paired with the steak. I always worry that the sauce will take away from the high quality of meat, but this truly did accent the flavor instead of masking it.

If you have enough room for dessert, try the Key Lime Tart. The best way to describe it would be an explosion of lime flavor in every bite. The flaky graham cracker crust is rich and buttery.

I make it a point to come back at least once every time I visit.

Official Website:
http://www.vineyardwineroom.com/

Contact Info:
2653 Erie Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45208
(513) 871-6167

Restaurant:
39° 8’22.60″N
84°26’36.90″W

 Vineyard Cafe - Patio

Vineyard Cafe

Vineyard Cafe - Medallions

Vineyard Cafe on Urbanspoon

Number Nine Noodles + Beer – Long Beach, CA

I talked my friend into having dinner (even though we were trying to be good and eat at home). We’ve wanted to go back to this new Vietnamese restaurant called Number Nine Noodles & Beer, located in the recently revitalized 4th street Art Theater area.

The narrow setup of Number Nine is very New York esque. It is very clean, to the point and efficient.

For an appetizer we decided to start with the vegetarian spring rolls. The waitress made up our minds when she told us the spring rolls weren’t deep fried like the egg rolls (still trying to be good). Don’t be shy with the tasty peanut sauce.

During our last visit, we had the Soda Chan Vietnamese Lemonade. It was VERY delicious. This time I thought I would try something new and had the lychee infused jasmine iced tea. It was okay, but I definitely prefer the lemonade.

Since it was a bit chilly outside, I decided to have the chicken rice noodle soup (pho). It comes with tender chicken, fresh herbs, sprouts, mushrooms, scallions, and an amazing broth. There were also two sauces that came with it for you to add at your discretion – one spicy and one that had a smoky BBQ flavor.

We’ll definitely be back, however we both decided it was too much food for two and instituted a 3 person minimum for appetizers.

Official Website:
http://www.numberninenoodles.com/

Location:
2118 East 4th Street
Long Beach, CA  90814
(562) 434-2009

Restaurant :
33°46’17.92″N
118° 9’57.77″W

 

Number Nine Noodles + Beer

Number Nine Noodles -  Chicken Soup

Number Nine Noodles - Spring Rolls

Number Nine on Urbanspoon

Bai-Plu Thai Food and Aki Sushi Bar – Long Beach, CA

Tonight I recommended that our Thursday night dinner group try Aki Sushi & Bai-Plu Thai restaurant.  While you won’t find a Ferrari in the neighborhood, its not as bad as some reviews make it out to be.   I really like the fact that they have a decent sized parking lot on site so it is easier to find parking.  Don’t park in the back unless you want to enlist the help of a fellow restaurant patron to get you out.

When it came time to order, the waiter asked how spicy I’d like my steak salad.   “Medium?”, he suggested…  Being the only male in the group tonight, it must have been my primal machismo speaking when I nonchalantly agreed with him.  Not to fret, though.   The waiters have a sixth sense that tells them exactly when you are about to run out of water, and are back promptly to refill your glass.

The Spicy Beef Salad is marinated in a lime sauce that gives it an incredible flavor.    Another favorite is the Spicy Chicken Soup (Tom Yum Kai) which has chicken, lemon grass, mushrooms, lime juice and chili.  The ladies also tried a caterpillar roll which they said was very good.  We’ll definitely be going back.

Official Website:
http://www.akibaiplu.net/

Contact Info:
1626 East 7th Street
Long Beach, CA 90813
(562) 436-3123

Restaurant:
33°46’30.91″N
118°10’16.55″W

Aki Sushi Bar

Steak Salad

Spicy Chicken Soup (Tom Yum Kai)

Caterpillar Roll

Aki's Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

La Muse Cafe – Long Beach, CA

It was a perfect day out, so I decided to go to one of my favorite outdoor lunch destinations, La Muse Cafe.    Ideally located on Ocean Ave, it is close to the downtown office high rises, while still allowing you to enjoy the fresh ocean breeze on their outdoor patio.

I had the “Melpomene the Songstress” crepe, consisting of chicken, cheese, spinach, and caramelized mushrooms.  The mushrooms definitely made the crepe.  Now I have a new favorite item on the menu!  Also recommended is the San Pellegrino Limonata (lemonade).   Even though it is Italian, it goes very well with the food.

Official Website:
http://www.lamusecafe.com/

Contact Info:
455 East Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach, CA  90802
(562) 432-1965
LaMuseCafe@verizon.net

Restaurant:
33°46’0.15″N
118°11’12.25″W

La Muse Cafe

La Muse Cafe - Crepe

La Muse East Village Cafe on Urbanspoon

455 East Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach, California
90802

Campanile – La Brea Bakery – Los Angeles, CA

Before our hike today, we though we’d stop by La Brea Bakery for lunch. When we arrived, we found an upscale option that was affiliated with the bakery called Campanile.  We were a little under dressed, however the airy, natural concept of the restaurant drew us in.

The atmosphere was casual, polished, and elegant.   For my main course I had the BLT.  I know what you’re thinking… BLT, how original.  The fact was that this BLT was anything but ordinary.   Thick slices of bacon, perfectly ripe tomatoes, crispy lettuce and an exquisite sauce served open face on fresh La Brea Bakery bread made for the best BLT of my life.

For desert, we shared a chocolate cup cake, complete with freshly whipped cream.  Absolutely sinful.     We decided to hike an extra few miles, but it was worth every step.

Official Website:
www.campanilerestaurant.com

Contact Info:
624 South La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 938-1447

Restaurant:
34° 3’50.90″N
118°20’37.90″W

Campanile

Campanile - BLT

Campanile - Cupcake

Campanile on Urbanspoon

Lola’s Mexican Cuisine – Long Beach, CA

Our Thursday night dinner group decided to try a new Mexican restaurant called Lola’s (next door to the Art theater on 4th Street). The entire area has gone through a recent revival. Gone are the closed run down shops, and in their place are wine bars, boutique clothing, and trendy restaurants.

They did a great job on the decor. I really enjoyed the “Dia de los Muerto’s” theme with all of the happy skulls. The color scheme felt very warm and inviting. There is also a great back patio area if you feel like dining outside on a nice day.

We all started out with the nachos, guacamole, and salsa. The green salsa was by far the favorite. It had a good kick to it, but wasn’t unbearably hot.

For dinner I had the chicken fajitas. All of the ingredients were very fresh and the chicken was moist and tender. The mushrooms were a nice touch.

We’ll definitely be back. I should also mention that there is a new 3hr parking lot on the corner of 4th and Cherry which takes the hastle out of trying to find parking!

Official Website
www.lolasmexicancuisine.com

Contact Info
2030 East Fourth Street
Long Beach, CA 90814
(562) 343-5506

Restaurant
33°46’17.93″N
118°10’0.93″W

Lolas

Lolas -  Chicken Fajitas

Lola's Mexican Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Fuego at the Maya – Long Beach, CA

A couple of my friends were on a jog and noticed that the Coast Hotel had been completely remodeled and re-branded the Maya. Near the lobby was a new restaurant named FUEGO. We decided to stop by on a Friday night for happy hour.

The views were absolutely amazing – Long Beach, the Queen Mary, and Port of Long Beach. To top it off, that night there was a nearly full moon, allowing a spectacular lighting effect in the sky which illuminated the clouds in an magical enchanting way.

We only sampled the Guacamole Trio, however it was amazing. Three different versions of guacamole; one with a mango salsa, another with lobster, and third with classic pico de gayo. They also have a great selection of premium tequila. The bar tenders were a lot of fun!

During football season, they have an outdoor viewing on Monday night football on their patio. According to their website they also have other special showings.

I look forward to coming back for a full dinner sometime (Mexican/Latin American themed).

Official Website:
http://fuegolongbeach.com/

Contact Info:
700 Queensway Drive
Long Beach, CA 90802
Tel: (562) 481-3910
Fax: (562) 481-3909
Email: fuego@jdvrestaurants.com

Restaurant:
33°45’25.30″N
118°11’54.14″W

Fuego - Moonlight View of Queen Mary

Fuego

Fuego- Nachos

Fuego at the Hotel Maya on Urbanspoon

George’s Greek Cafe – Long Beach, CA (Pine Ave)

George’s Greek Cafe is by far my favorite “everyday” restaurant in Long Beach.  If you go for dinner, you are likely greeted by George himself at the flagship downtown Pine location.   They have opened several other restaurants in the past few years as well in Belmont Shore and soon to be Lakewood. 

The food is fun, fresh and tasty.  The fact that my good friend who is Greek approves of the food speaks volumes.  The downtown Pine location also boasts plentiful outdoor seating, nightly live Greek music, and Belly Dancers.  It truly is more of an experience that just going out for food.

You must get the flaming cheese (in Brandy) as an appetizer.   The Lamb Chops are one of their signature items – marinated in Greek spices and so tender they melt in your mouth.   Only available on Friday nights, the Kleftico is also highly recommended.  If you’re looking to have a taste of just about everything on the menu, try the Family Style option (however you will need at least 6 people in the group).  My lunch favorite is the chicken Souvlaki (kabos).  All meals come with a fresh Greek salad. 

For the quality of the food, it is one of the best values in Long Beach.

Official Website:
http://georgesgreekcafe.com/

Pine Avenue Location Contact Info:
135 Pine Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 437-1184

Restaurant:
33°46’7.37″N
118°11’32.88″W

 

George's Greek Cafe

Georges Greek Cafe -  Lamb Chops

Georges Greek Cafe - Saganaki

George's Greek Cafe on Urbanspoon