Friday, March 25, 2011

Lupe's Mexican Restaurant


Thousand Oaks, CA. After a rather long hike with a friend, why not go for Mexican? Ha, knowing that this is one of my friend's "MUST-HAVE" childhood favorites, I knew what I was in for: YES! Ah, to have a cheese enchilada that I've heard so much about, done-up family style.

Cheese Enchilada Platter - the warm gooey cheese, the refried beans crusted over by more cheese, the lightly moistened rice to scoop up with the extra (and rather mild) sauce...I must say, what a fun little eatery surprise. Order two cheese enchiladas (no onions) with rice and beans and expect cheesy goodness. Each enchilada is stuffed with cheese with a sauce that compliments the entire dish. The re-fried beans are fatty goodness and the rice, although sometimes dry, has a nice flavor.

French Fries and Chips - At a Mexican Restaurant? YES! Similar to some fast-food chains across Southern California, these crinkle cut favorites are added to the menu. Dip you say? That we did, until these little lard-fried crisps wiped the plates clean. It's fantastic! The Warm chips have a little secret: lard. Make sure you get a fresh batch. They are just as addictive.

The service was not anything of mention. The staff did their jobs, but that was all. Their focus was on taking your order, getting you the food, and refilling those drinks. Satisfactory at best, though it seemed to be the memories this place provided and the unexpected addictive quality of the food that keeps the customer(s).

Was this restaurant recently re-done? The decor seemed fitting for a traditional American eatery in its design, missing the charm of a little local family restaurant, but the Mexican cuisine was an interesting development, and a good surprise. It does appear a bit too bland, but the food is why anyone should come. In leaving, our plates were wiped completely forks, chips, AND french fries.

On the side with Kristopher - I don't know if there is anything special at all to their Iced Tea. All I know is a squeeze of lemon and packet of sweetener has me getting about six refills on each visit. I grew up on Lupe's and this is still my favorite local Mexican restaurant. I am down to go here any time no matter what!

Lupe's Mexican Restaurant
1710 E Thousand Oaks Blvd
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
(805) 495-3573

Monday, March 21, 2011

26 Beach


Venice, CA. This is one of my top recommendations for a solid Westside eatery for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. From beginning to end, the food served here has a tendency to be on the side of great. Portion sizes range per entree, as should be expected, but more than likely, it will be generous. Food quality is noticed and the presentation is well-received.

The restaurant has an eclectic exterior patio, and the interior is more of traditional aesthetic. It reminds me of a French home I saw years ago, with its collection of color, pillows, and planters. Once the food hits the table, eyes gaze up from surrounding patrons and you easily focus on the prize: eating. 

Brunch Burger - Bacon 'n eggs...on a burger? Well of course there are others to choose form, but this is my regular item. Their side salad or fries are equally good, but on the lean of healthy, the vinaigrette on the salad offers a refreshing palette cleanser in between bites. Why not enjoy each bite as if it is the very first? Another great addition to a meal, is their Blueberry Iced Tea (pictured above), strong in scent, mild in flavor, but refreshing all the same.

Pan-Fried Goat Cheese Salad - I order this entree salad of fresh greens tossed in blue cheese dressing and with two medium over-easy eggs layered on top. Leave the berries in or have them put on the side, your call, but this salad is easily a brunch or dinner food done interesting and done right.

Service is moderate, with the same faces having been there since I first started going years ago. With its history in my mind, I don't really notice service as much as I anticipate when my meal will arrive. The salads boast fresh and restaurant-made dressings and the gourmet burger selection is unmatched from competitors in Los Angeles. Each of these two items seem to have their own menu pages of dedication, and there is generally a new tester salad or burger listed on a printed menu provided when you are seated. The items can get a bit pricey, but with the taste of the selections, you are certainly in for a treat.

26 Beach
3100 Washington Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 823-7526
Friday, March 18, 2011

Gluten-Free Banana & Blueberry Almond Muffins

It was a Sunday morning craving for a breakfast goodie that I knew was "bad."  Muffin, oh, how I miss thee...let's get re-acquainted, shall we? After some thinking and with family swinging by, I created this little treat that was a great two-bite blend of fruit and nut butter...

Gluten-Free Banana & Blueberry
Almond Muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
12 Servings

1 Cup Almond Butter
1/4 Cup Honey
2 Eggs
2 Bananas
1 Cup Blueberries
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tbsp Butter, Unsalted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix ingredients well. Spoon batter into a greased muffin tray (small size). Cook Time: 10 minutes at 350 degrees, Remove when edges are brown

Nutrition Info (1 Serving)
Calories: 188, Fat: 12.6g, Sat. Fat: 1.1g, Cholest.: 36mg, Sodium: 63.4mg, Carb.: 16.1g, Fiber 2.8g, Sugars: 9.5g, Protein: 6.7g
Monday, March 14, 2011

R+D Kitchen

Santa Monica, CA. This cool, clean, and simple restaurant in Santa Monica hosts a bar? or a restaurant? With its use heavy woods in the decor, high-top tables, and arrangement of booths, at first you may wonder. Alas, it is a bit of both, with VERY attentive and friendly staff.

The Newporter Salad

The Newporter Salad - combines mixed greens, chicken, bacon, cashews, and egg, filling you with fiber, mostly lean proteins, and good fats for that healthier waistline.

Cheeseburger - classic burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese, on a warm egg bun. Taste this one with your eyes closed and tell me what you think? Remind you of something?

Dip Duo - pairing of dips with warm tortilla chips. Simply good. It is hard not to swipe a few extra scoops when no one is watching (if you're not alone).

The food is a clean example of traditional American favorites. When you close your eyes while eating here, the meal in front of you may just remind you of something you have tried elsewhere. I certainly agree that simple goes a long way, and although a bill can become pricey over your experience, it is a moderate eat, but you leave feeling quite satisfied.

R+D Kitchen
1323 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 395-3314

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