The Happenings in SoCal

amazing food, places, and more in Southern California

The Zodiac and Fashion Valley - San Diego

The Zodiac is an elegant restaurant located inside Fashion Valley’s Neiman Marcus. Complimentary chicken consomme and popovers with strawberry butter are served in place of traditional bread and butter. For our entrees, my friends and I had the Tuscan Chicken Melt, the Basil Shrimp Wrap, and the Bistro Salad. The Zodiac is a great place to unwind after shopping!

Fashion Valley is a gorgeous outdoor shopping center in San Diego. There are over two hundred restaurants and shops, including Anthropology, Pinkberry, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Coach, Juicy Couture, and so much more. Fashion Valley is, without a doubt, a shopper’s paradise. 


Vanoos Grillette - Pacific Beach 

Before I went here, I looked the place up on Yelp and saw that it had five stars - and over a hundred reviews. After I left, I understood why. This place has the best Mediterranean wraps and gyros. My friends and I ordered the gyro, the kabob wrap, and the vanoos grillette wrap. The portions are huge, the food is tasty, and the service is fast and excellent. Vanoos Grillette is a little hard to locate though. My friends and I walked past it a few times before finally realizing it had been right in front of us. Just look for the purple butterflies!    

Harney Sushi - Old Town San Diego 

I went here with my friends and we absolutely loved everything we ordered. I had the Orange Crush Roll, which contains shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, cream cheese, salmon, lemon, and two different types of sauce. One of my friends had the Hope Roll, which consists of shrimp tempura, spicy crab, avocado, seared tuna, micro asian greens, and wasabi aioli. My other friend ordered the plum wine short rib. It came with creamy polenta, roasted root vegetables, and watercress. I loved the polenta. To top everything off, we shared a dark chocolate gyoza, which is a crispy dessert dumpling filled with dark chocolate and served with seasonal fruit spuma. The best part about Harney Sushi is that it uses sustainable seafood in its sushi!   

The Peach Cafe - Monrovia

The Peach Cafe is located in Old Town Monrovia. Dishes off the breakfast and lunch menus are served all day. I went for lunch and tried the chili with cornbread, the turkey sausage panini, and the pesto chicken salad, but I’ve been for breakfast before. Their breakfast menu is amazing. I like the breakfast wrap with sausage. The Peach Cafe also has a great bakery section inside the restaurant. 

Euro Pane Bakery - Pasadena 

There are actually two Euro Pane locations in Pasadena. The newer one is across the street from the Paseo shopping center. Shown are the spicy asian pork sandwich, french dip sandwich, cheese bread, and salted caramel and hazelnut macorons. 

Why Thirsty - San Gabriel

Why Thirsty is a cute Taiwanese tea house. I always get their Jasmine Milk Tea, popcorn chicken (pictured), and the pork chop noodles (pictured). The last time I went, I tried their Taiwanese bamboo and octopus balls. The bamboo was a bit bland in my opinion, but everything else was great. 

Lemonade - Pasadena

Lemonade offers fresh, delicious food for a reasonable price. It is a cafeteria style restaurant, and the food changes with the seasons. The best part is you can sample everything before ordering. Pictured are the blood-orange lemonade, the red miso beef short rib, truffle macaroni and cheese, broccoli ricotta and champagne vinaigrette, Israeli couscous with wild mushrooms, Parmesan, and lemon truffle, and the pineapple chicken with coconut, green beans, and apple jerk dressing. Everything was delicious! 

Cacao Mexicatessen - Eagle Rock

At Cacao, you order and pay for the food at the cash register. The food is brought to your table when it is ready. Cacao has a great variety of tacos and burritos. My favorites are the duck and lamb tacos. The other dishes pictured are the agave nectar latte, chips with salsa and guacamole, trio de taquitos, and blue corn pancake. 

626 Night Market - Santa Anita Park

The 626 Night Market is an Asian night market offered once a month during the summer. The entrance fee is $2 before 6 p.m. and $3 after. In addition to selling a large variety of food, vendors also sell balloon animals, jewelry, clothing, cool gadgets and more. Despite the large size of the night market, lines get super long because so many people go to the night market. Go early to beat the crowd!  

Abricott - Pasadena

Abricott is an asian fusion restaurant. I have been for both breakfast and lunch. The sizzling eggs with toast and the croque-madame are served at breakfast, while the spicy pork belly sandwich and the pho noodle soup are served for lunch.

Kiwami - Studio City

sashimi lunch combination, kiwami tray, grilled yellowtail collar, dragon roll, crab hand roll, creme brulee, yuzu sorbet, lychee sorbet

Ombra Ristorante - Studio City

salad with pomegranete seeds and gorgonzola, cavatelli pasta with dungeness crab, squid ink risotto, pumpkin tortellini, coffee panna cotta

Juliette’s Kitchen & Bar - Newport Beach

braised ox tail gnocchi, p.e.i. mussels, pork cheeks, braised pork shank, fish stew, roasted black cod, Brussels sprouts, french fries

R + D Kitchen - Newport Beach

I went here with my family and we had the french dip sandwich, the Mediterranean seared tuna salad, the Asian chicken & noodle salad, the spaghetti with chicken meatballs, the french fries, the dip duo, and a slice of carrot cake. My favorite dish by far was the french dip sandwich. The bread was soft and smelled delicious, the meat was perfectly cooked and thinly sliced, the dipping sauce was hot and not too salty, and the creamy horseradish was not overly pungent. Everything in that sandwich tasted great together. The carrot cake was pretty good too! It was moist and filled with dried fruit and nuts. Here’s a tip: ask for grilled bread. It’s free, freshly prepared when you ask for it, and comes with a dipping sauce. 

Border Grill - Downtown LA

I love Mexican food, and Border Grill only makes me love it ten times more! I had their lamb tacos and the Yucatan pulled pork. They were both amazing. An additional perk of this restaurant is it has a free shuttle service to the Staples Center, so it’s the perfect place to go before attending a big event.