The Ivy – Los Angeles

The Ivy Shrimp SaladIvy
Neighborhood: Mid-City West
113 N Robertson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Rated: ♣♣♣

I actually didn’t think the Ivy was as bad as everyone says it is. Maybe it’s because we ate salads and you really can’t screw up a salad.

The scene:

Upon making reservations, I requested a table on the patio. We were lucky enough to sit right by the fence next to the front entrance. There were 4 of us, but the table only had enough room for 2 people. As expected, the servers were pretentious. I don’t think anyone checked on us during the meal and the busboys didn’t say a word.

We didn’t catch a glimpse of a celebrity until after we left the restaurant. We shopped around Robertson and when we were walking back to the car, we saw Nelly at a late business lunch on the patio. Meh, it was only Nelly. Paparazzi weren’t even at the restaurant that day during lunch.

The food:

The 4 of us all had salads and shared a fried calamari as an appetizer. My girlfriends all got the salad nicoise with lump crab meat special which was about $12 each. Daring to be different, I ordered the $28 butter lettuce salad with shrimp, avocado and mangoes. All salads were delish. The dressings were light, ingredients were fresh and portions were huge. I appreciated the generous helpings of shrimp and crab in all our salads.

The Ivy is one of those places you go to just to say you’ve been there. I’m huge on service, so I’d probably not come again.

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Katsuya – Los Angeles

Katsuya Sea Bass

Katsuya
Neighborhood: Hollywood
6300 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Rated: ♣♣♣

A couple months ago, the girls and I went on a celebrity-hunting trip to LA. We decided to hit up Hollywood’s hot spots just to catch a glimpse of C-list celebs. When researching restaurants, I noticed most of the places (Katsuya, Mr. Chow, Ivy, Koi, etc) are all rated pretty poorly on Yelp, which leads me to believe celebs like eating terrible food.

Well with that in mind, we decided to eat at Katsuya anyway. Service was good, but the food was mediocre. The meal was about $30 per person and valet is $10. Here’s my review:

The scene:

When you first walk into the restaurant, you’re led into the bar where you wait for your table. They sat us on the right side of the restaurant, which I believe is the non-celebrity side. The light is dim and the restaurant is loud; typical Hollywood setting. Katsuya is filled with the beautiful type – tall, blonde, skinny. We found one celeb at the end of the night. It was Kat Von D, the famous tattoo artist. Wow, that woman is huge!

The food:

Creamy Rock Shrimp – It was pretty much walnut prawns in a sushi. Nothing too special

Miso Marinated Black Cod – This was a disappointment. The fish was cold, so we sent it back for a new one. The second piece of cod we received was half the size of our original fish.

Yellowtail Jalapeno Roll – Best dish of the night. Super small though. We only had enough for two 1-inch bites per person.

Eggplant Stuffed w/Albacore Miso and Almonds – This one was interesting at first since I’ve never had anything like it before. Then it got pretty sickening after the 3rd bite. It was strangely creamy and salty. There was some identifiable meat mixed in with the cubed eggplant, which striked me as off. It was probably the tuna but the texture was more like ground pork. The eggplant they use is American, not Japanese. So it was firm and crunchy rather than soft and smooth.

Kobe Tobanyaki – There were about 6 pieces of bite sized kobe beef served on a pile of wild mushrooms. As it was my first experience with kobe beef, I thought this dish was great. I just wish there was more meat in the dish. There were so many mushrooms, it almost seemed they were the star of the dish.

I kind of expected the food to be bad just because of it’s recognition in Hollywood. If I wanted real Japanese food, I’d go to someplace less pretentious with high reviews.

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Avoiding The Lines At Disneyland

Disneyland

I LOVE going to Disneyland, but I hate waiting in lines. You could be standing in line for 2 hours for a 2 minute ride.

So for my last trip to Disneyland, I did some research on the theme park. I already knew about Fastpasses, but what else can I do? This is what I found:

  1. Go during the off season
  2. I like going in October. Lines are usually 30 minutes long as opposed to 2 hours during the summer.

  3. Plan your game plan ahead of time.
  4. Check out a map of the theme park and plan what rides you want to hit up first. You can view a map of Disneyland here.

  5. Get there early
  6. Download the MoustWait Disneyland iPhone app
  7. If you have an iPhone, there are a couple apps that tell you how long the wait is at each ride. How this works is it’s updated by fellow MouseWait app users. The app is free and it’s usually pretty accurate. I’m not sure if other phones have this app yet.

  8. Grab a Fastpasses for your favorite rides
  9. Fastpasses are tickets that hold your place in line. You’re able to do what ever you want and come back in line during the time stated on your ticket. They’re free and they’re offered at most of the popular rides. Make sure you grab a pass for your favorite ride (mine is Space Mountain) first thing in the morning because the passes will run out towards the end of the day. When I grabbed my ticket around 9am, I couldn’t be admitted into the ride until 2:30pm. Also, a good thing to know is if you’ve missed your allotted time slot for a ride, cast members are pretty lenient and will let you in.

  10. Grab more Fastpasses throughout the day
  11. Did you know you can grab a new pass every 2 hours even though you haven’t used your previous tickets? Well, you can. Let’s say you get your first pass at 9am that admits you into the ride at 3pm. You are able to grab another pass at 11am and another at 1pm.

    California Adventure’s Fastpass network works the same way and it’s completely independent from Disneyland’s network. So, you are also able to hold passes for both parks at the same time.

    There are other “special” Fastpasses you can randomly receive from Disneyland. Learn more about them here.

Alrighty, I hope you find this information useful!

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Blue Bayou – Disneyland, CA

Blue Bayou Creme BruleeRated: ♣♣♣

In Oct 2009, I was able to get into the 2nd most exclusive restaurant in Disneyland, CA (first being club 33). About a month prior to my trip to Disneyland, I called ahead to make a reservation at the Blue Bayou. It was my 3rd attempt to eat at the restaurant and I finally got in!

The scene:

The restaurant is situated within the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in New Orleans town. The dim lighting, the sound of the crickets, and the white tablecloths makes the Blue Bayou an idea restaurant for a date. I wouldn’t say so much of a family restaurant since the scene is pretty quiet. The main seating area is stationed in a patio-like area with a view of the PotC ride. I requested for a table by the water so we’d have a better view.

The food:

Maybe it’s because everyone talked the restaurant up, but I found Blue Bayou to be subpar. Each main course comes out in the $30-$40 range; a little overpriced for mediocre food. I had the Jambalaya and K got the Five-Pepper Roasted New York steak.

Gumbo – Entrees come with a choice of gumbo or salad. Get the gumbo, it was literally the best part about the meal. It’s thick and creamy and the dirty rice on top is super tasty.

Jambalaya – There were loads of chunky tomatoes and onions in the jambalaya. The onions were a little undercooked so they were still crunchy when I bit into it. I’m not a fan of either, so the dish was almost inedible for me.

5 Pepper Roasted New York Steak – K’s steak which was ordered “medium-rare,” came out medium-well. He had to saw the steak with the knife to cut bite-size pieces. The potatoes au gratin were tasty, but the steak was too tough to eat.

Crème Brulee – For dessert we had the crème brulee. Okay, I take what I said about the gumbo back. The crème brulee was the best part of the meal. It was smooth and creamy, the sugar wasn’t over burnt at all, and it was topped with shaved chocolate and fresh fruit. How can you go wrong with that?

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