Thursday, September 10, 2009

M Cafe de Chaya - Can vegan food be good??? (West Hollywood)

Entrance (Picture courtesy of

Upon leaving The Liquid Muse's cocktail event at BOA Steakhouse, H.C. of LA and OC Foodventures, Maya of Shopeatsleep, Esther of e*starLA, and yours truly decided we needed a post cocktail snack. What's better than some "healthy" food to finish off the night? At the experts' suggestion, we decided to get some grub at M Cafe de Chaya.

Tasty Kale with peanut sauce

kale with peanut dressing

H.C. went with a salad platter that included an order of kale with peanut dressing. As a fan of kale, I knew it's something that I'd enjoy. With the sweetness from the peanut based dressing topping the fresh kale, it is something that I'll definitely come back for again. Delicious, especially on a hot summer day.

Bi Bim Bap

Bi Bim Bap

The two lovely ladies decided on two items: A tasty lotus root and corn soup (not pictured) and the bi bim bap (shown above). Although I'm more familiar with corn soup being in a chowder form, the lotus root and corn soup was quite delicious, although it was slightly too sweet for my tastes. The bi bim bap however, I was not a fan of. I'm used to the dol sul (stone pot) bi bim bap served in various restaurants in Koreatown, the version at M Cafe was again too sweet for my taste buds. In the end, it was more of a vegetable rice with a sweet korean chili paste. I don't think I'd order this in the future.

Soy Mac 'N Cheese

Mac 'N Cheese

Finally, the dish I went with was my trusted Mac 'N Cheese, a dish even a 5 year old can make. The mac 'n cheese was the daily dinner special offered and was made with soy cheese, asparagus, and a faux bacon substance. Unlike the usual macaroni, a corkscrew pasta was used, and used fairly efficiently. Although I enjoyed my pasta dinner, there's just something "off" about it. It was more of a corkscrew pasta dish with asparagus than something that could be called Mac N Cheese. I'm used to something rich, creamy, with bread crumbs on top. Although I was satisfied with this version, it didn't totally hit the spot.

Overall, I'm glad I tried M Cafe de Chaya. Although there were some misses, I did enjoy a few of the dishes and I'm intrigued to try the bento box that H.C. mentioned to us that night. There are many restaurants in the West Hollywood area, and M Cafe is one of which I'll make a return visit to, but probably not drive specifically for. A great night and a great ending!

M Cafe de Chaya
7119 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 525-0588

M Cafe de Chaya in Los Angeles

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Liquid Muse Cocktail event @ BOA Steakhouse (Los Angeles)

Outside BOA

Recently, I was lucky enough attend a cocktail club event hosted by Natalie of The Liquid Muse at the BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood.

The Liquid Muse

After some initial introductions amongst the guests of the event, we were given some passed hor d'oeuvres courtesy of BOA Steakhouse

Cream Cheese AppetizerShrimp on a toastSliderBleu Cheese Sliders

From Top Left Clockwise: (Cream Cheese Puff, Shrimp Tart, Bleu Cheese Sliders (2 pics))

Along with the snacks, we were presented with 2 types of cocktails special for the evening. One was a gin based drink with rhubarb and strawberries, while the second cocktail for the evening was a Manhattan (whiskey based) with cherry liqueur and dark tea.

Manhattan with cherry liqueor and teaStrawberry rhubarb cocktail with Gin

Left: Manhattan with Cherry Liqueur, Right: Gin with Strawberry and Rhubarb

Personally, I preferred the gin based drink as I'm more familiar with this type of cocktail compared to the Manhattan. I have to admit, it was the first time I've tried the Manhattan, and even though I'm not a huge fan of whiskey based drinks usually, I actually enjoyed this concoction. The tea flavor was noticeable and the cherry liqueor was a nice touch to finish it off. The Gin drink was a great drink on a summer day. It was quite refreshing, and definitely a great drink to finish the night off. I could have easily drank 2-3 of the cocktail. Delicious!

Natalie of The Liquid Muse

Natalie of The Liquid Muse

All in all, it was a great event. I was able to meet some new faces and mingle with the people I knew previously. Again, a special thanks to Natalie of The Liquid Muse for hosting such a fun event, and I look forward to your upcoming events!

To those that are interested in events hosted by The Liquid Muse, please join the Cocktail Club for all up to date news and future events. Hope to see you there!

P.S. Thanks to H.C. of LA and OC Foodventures for inviting me to be his +1!

BOA Steakhouse
9200 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tres Generaciones Tequila Tasting @ The W Hotel (Los Angeles)

Recently I was invited to a tequila tasting event at The W Hotel in Brentwood hosted by Tres Generaciones Tequila. Although tequila isn't a favorite liquor of mine, probably due to some low quality tequila consumed over my lifetime (*ahem* Jose Cuervo? *ahem*), I was ready to change my perception of tequila.

We were given a series of 3 cocktails for the night:

Cocktails (Picture courtesy of Gourmet Pigs)

1) L.A. Love: Tres Generaciones Reposado, Basil, Granny Smith Apple, Fig, Orange Marmalade & Vanilla
2) Obama-Rita: Tres Generaciones Plata, Brandy, Lime, Fresh Lemon Sour & Triple Sec
3) Bells Will Be Ringing: Tres Generaciones Anejo, Ginger, Fig, Fresh OJ & Vanilla

The cocktails were made from a series of 3 different Tres Generaciones tequila. The Plata (unaged), the Reposado (aged ~4months), and the Anejo (aged 3 years).

My 2 favorites of the night were Obama-Rita (influenced by President Obama), for it's "citrus" and sourness flavor, much similar to a margarita. Another favorite of mine was the L.A. Love, the sweetness of the orange marmalade matched perfectly with the sourness of the apple, and of course, the tequila brings it all home. Both are very well made drinks that I'd love to drink over and over again, especially the L.A. Love.

The cocktails as well as the passed hors d'oeuvres was just the start of the night as Eddie Perales, the tequila ambassador showed us various drinks made with the Tres Generaciones tequila. I was able to get a taste of a cocktail made with habanero peppers (damn spicy, yet interesting), as well one made with berries and chocolate (delicious!)

Eddie Perales (picture courtesy of Gourmet Pigs)

Overall, I really enjoyed the event. The setting at the W Hotel was beautiful, and the cocktails and the crowd were great! I'm looking forward to try more drinks made with tequila in the future, and I'm thoroughly impressed with the Tres Generaciones brand. Thank you for hosting the event Tres Generaciones, and a special thanks to Eddie for an awesome experience. I hope to see you at a future tequila event!

Oh, and an extra special thanks for Gourmet Pigs for being my photographer for the night, as this Panda left his 2 cameras in his car.......