The Happenings in SoCal

For food lovers and experience seekers

The Capital Grille - Costa Mesa

The Capital Grille is located in South Coast Plaza, a luxurious shopping mall in Costa Mesa. The clam chowder, arugula watermelon salad with feta, and pan-seared scallops with summer corn risotto were delicious. I didn’t really fancy the sirloin steak or the Parmesan truffle fries. The Capital Grille is a fine place to dine if you need a shopping break for lunch or a nice dinner to conclude your day.  

Bourbon Steak - Glendale

Bourbon Steak, a Michael Mina restaurant, is part of the Americana at Brand. It is an upscale restaurant, and I had a pleasurable dining experience. To start, I tried the duck spring rolls and the heirloom tomato salad. Both were fabulous and I would highly recommend them. The Bourbon steak burger and the Bourbon butter sirloin with a serving of wood-roasted cauliflower were good as well. For dessert, I sampled the ricotta pancakes from the brunch menu and the butterscotch toffee pudding. The butterscotch toffee pudding was my favorite dish because of it’s creamy texture and delectable flavor. 

Swami’s Cafe and Swami Beach - Encinitas

Swami’s Cafe has a beachy, relaxed vibe and the most amazing acai berry bowls. The bowl includes frozen berries, banana, coconut shavings, and bee pollen. It isn’t too sweet and it is very refreshing. The Mexican breakfast burrito was vegetarian. I don’t normally like vegetarian burritos, but it exceeded my expectations. Swami’s Cafe is within walking distance from Swami beach, so it is the perfect place to grab brunch or have lunch after a surf session or a walk on the sand. 

Hinoki and the Bird - Century City

Hinoki and the Bird is a hip restaurant in Century City. The crispy kale salad and beef tartare were my favorite dishes. I also tried the lobster roll, chili crab toast, caramel braised kurobuta pork belly, roasted yam, organic grilled brown rice, miso marinated skirt steak, and sambal skate wing. Everything was prepared well, and I enjoyed trying skate wing for the first time. I would definitely come back here.

Harajuku Crepe - Beverly Hills

Harajuku Crepe is the best crepe place I’ve ever been to. It has green tea, earl grey, chocolate, and original batter. Toppings include mochi, green tea ice cream, black sesame ice cream, cheesecake, red beans, and more! You can customize a crepe or you can order one of their creations. Harajuku Crepe is located near Rodeo Drive, so it’s the perfect post shopping snack. 

Blu Jam Cafe - Sherman Oaks

Blu Jam Cafe is a bustline cafe in Sherman Oaks. It is one of the best brunch spots in Los Angeles, so naturally, my mother and I went for brunch before hitting up a farmer’s market in Hollywood. We had the crunchy French toast and the steak hash. Both dishes were excellent, but the crunch French toast was my favorite. It is breaded with corn flakes and served with vanilla sauce and fresh berries. If you’re looking for a nice place to have brunch, Blu Jam Cafe is it! 

Genwa Korean Barbeque - Hancock Park

Genwa Korean Barbeque is one of the best Korean barbeque restaurants I have been to. I love how many side dishes they give you - they are brought to the table regardless of what you order! The spicy Korean stew, the prime galbi (prime short ribs), and the galbi jim (prime beef short ribs braised with vegetables and herbs) were delicious. Moreover, you can choose whether or not you want to cook the meat yourself or if you want the meat prepared in the kitchen, so Genwa has you covered no matter what your preferences are. 

Tar and Roses - Santa Monica

Tar and Roses is a trendy New American restaurant in Santa Monica. We went for my mother’s birthday a few months ago, and the menu has been updated since then. The Whole Fried Snapper is still on the menu though, and it’s fantastic. The chefs use fresh, locally grown produce to prepare spectacular food for customers, and I would highly recommend Tar and Roses. Additionally, it is located near Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica Place, and the beach, so you can enjoy shopping or some time in the sun before or after your meal. 

Commonwealth Restaurant - Burbank 

Commonwealth Restaurant serves New American tapas and small plates. The bruschetta was a complement from the chef. My mom and I proceeded to try the fried chicken, shrimp dumplings, seafood risotto, grilled octopus and brussels, P.E.I. mussels, and the three fruit flambe with ice cream. I loved the grilled octopus and brussels. I would order everything except for the flambe again, but don’t let this deter you from ordering the flambe. My mom loved it! Overall, Commonwealth Restaurant is great - I can’t wait to go back and try the rest of their menu!   

Girasol - Studio City 

Girasol is a New American restaurant in Studio City. Pictured are the House Bread with Lovage Butter (definitely worth getting despite the fact that you have to pay for bread), Marinated and Grilled Pork Satay, PEI Mussels Aguachile, Whole Fried Red Snapper, Octopus Salad, Pan Roasted Mary’s Citrus Chicken, Donut Holes, and Salted Caramel Ice Cream. If you’re in Studio City at night, consider going to Girasol for a tasty dinner. 

Faith and Flower - Downtown LA 

Recently opened and beautifully decorated, Faith and Flower has excellent service and even better food. My family and I went here to celebrate my birthday. All the dishes are small and meant for sharing. We had the Dungeness Crab Toast, Sauteed Monterey Calamari, Duck Liver Mousse Tarts, Oxtail Agnolotti, Hand Rolled Garganelli, English Peas and Gold Beets, Mushroom Stuffed Quail,  Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta, Hazelnut Chocolate, Coffee Creme, and a pistachio dessert. I loved the unique combinations of flavors. My only complaint was that the Oxtail Agnolotti was a bit salty, so I would recommend asking for no extra salt. All in all, Faith and Flower is a must try.  

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.