Posts Tagged ‘culver city’

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m cafe de chaya (culver city)

April 17, 2009

m cafe de chaya
9343 culver boulevard
culver city, ca 90232
(310) 838-4300
sun-thurs 9am – 9pm
friday & sat 9am – 10pm
www.mcafedechaya.com

i’ve been a fan of chaya brasserie ever since the first time my friend took me there back in college, and is probably one of my top favorite restaurants in LA. i’ve been to chaya venice as well, but the chaya on robertson boulevard is still my favorite. :) so anyway, we’ve driven by m cafe on culver many times, but it was only after finding out that it was owned/operated by the chaya family, that we made it a point to check it out. the photos on this post were taken back in nov 2008 on our first visit to m cafe.

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it is located at ‘downtown culver city’ where all the little cool shops are, and right across the trader joe’s building.  there are outdoor seating, but indoor is as comfy and cozy.  inside, at one end is a whole row of counter display of salads, sandwich ingredients and desserts.  you place your order and pay at the counter,  get a table, and they will serve your food to your table when it’s ready.  m cafe practices macrobiotics method of making food using only natural and organic ingredients with no refined sugar, eggs, red meat, poultry, or dairy products.
m cafe de chaya

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we arrived pretty late in the morning before heading to the gallery, so we decided to share a light brekkie.

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the $2 ice coffee was refreshing. :)

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the $3.95 small bowl of mushroom barley soup has carrots, mushroom, barley, potato, and celery.  it’s a little too oily, but otherwise, very flavorful.

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the breakfast panini costs $11.45, but it is grilled crispy hot.  it has scrambled tofu, soy mozzarella, and is delish.  :)

i really love this place… friendly staff, nice, relaxed, unpretentious ambient, with good choices of vegan/macrobiotic/healthy/vegetarian menu.  however, at one point, the chef came out of the kitchen and saw me snapping shots of the interior, and she asked a staff to politely tell me that they’re okay with taking photos, but not with the interior which would concern them.  most of the time, it is usually asian (particularly chinese) restaurants that do not like photos taken of their restaurants interior and/or food, so this is my first such encounter in a non-asian establishment.  it’s understandable, i guess, but in my experience, usually the more upscale a restaurant is, the less concern they are with customers taking photos. anyway, love m cafe nonetheless!  i’ve never been to their melrose location, but i love this culver city location lots.  it’s closeby and a really nice and relaxing place to hang out with friends, or you can simply enjoy a quiet meal on your own finishing some readings/writings. :)  oh, and don’t forget to try out their desserts as well!  ;)

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pho show (culver city)

January 16, 2009

pho show
4349 sepulveda boulevard
culver city, ca 90230
(310) 398-5200
(310) 398-5205 (delivery)
12pm-12 am
7-11am for breakfast (starting in february)

(sorry for all the blurry shots on this post. all photos taken with my iphone)
my friend picked me up after work to check out the culver city aaron brother’s “buy one get second for one cent” promotion event, where i got pretty good deals for canvases, and scored a few nice 75% off photo frames. :) he had passed by pho show once recently and suggested we should check it out. throughout all these years living in marina del rey, i was surprised that there hasn’t been any pho place in the area (the closest one i’ve had was at national/sawtelle alley, which i should blog about it some time later), so this is quite exciting (though i just found out that they have been here since last summer!) :)

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it wasn’t hard to spot them on sepulveda with the huge neon “pho show” sign hanging vertically at the ‘store front’. at 6:50pm, we easily found a street parking spot couple store units away from them. they have an outdoor seating area, but since it’s so close to the street, we preferred to enjoy our dinner indoor. there were only two other tables of customers when we arrived (not a good sign, but it was still early, so i was hopeful ;) ), and we were seated with our menus almost immediately with water served shortly after.

looking through the menu, they have quite a good variety of dishes compared to the usual pho places. nice selection of cha gio (egg rolls), cha cuon (spring rolls), salads, pho (rice noodle soup) dishes, bun (vermicelli) dishes, com (steamed rice) dishes, com chien (fried rice) dishes, “indochine” dishes, and pan fried noodles dishes. we went for #1 “cha gio” (pork egg rolls with fish sauce), priced at $4.50, and #101 “pho show dac biet” (rice noodles with rare steak, brisket, tendon, tripe, beef balls), priced at $7.95. the bean sprouts came without the usual sliced jalapeno chili pepper, so i asked for it (it’s a must have for me for pho! :p) which the friendly server fetched some from the ktichen right away. :)

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when the egg rolls arrived, we were surprised by the portion of the order. the three pieces of egg rolls were alot smaller than what we are used to. these look more like the egg rolls you get from dim sum restaurants. i was told that authentic vietnamese egg rolls would use rice paper, but pho show uses regular chinese style egg rolls wrappers. the fish sauce is abit blended. it was alright for me, but my friend wasn’t impressed at all.

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it didn’t take too long for the pho to be served. the soup was a tad bit more salty, peppery, and ‘licorice-y’, but after a few slips, i got used to it and thought it was still okay. there were about four pieces of the meat, couple ‘strand’ of tripe, a small piece of tendon, and half of a meat ball (we couldn’t believe they wouldn’t even include one whole piece of meat ball…it was a fairly small one, too! :p) in the noodle soup.

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we are probably spoiled by those authentic pho places in the south bay and in the east side, that this bowl of pho felt abit ‘ripped off’. i still enjoy it though (i always have mine with all the sliced jalapeno chili peppers and chili sauce in the soup) and am happy that there’s finally a pho place nearby! :) and it sure doesn’t hurt that all the staff there are very friendly and attentive, which is always a plus if you’re in the food&service industry regardless of how big or small a business you are. the interior decor is simple and clean, but we hope they won’t keep playing techno music though. :p

when the check came, i asked for their to-go menu, and asked about delivery. they do charge an additional $1.50 for delivery around culver city and neighborhood areas that only take about 5 min drive to get there, or $3.50 for delivery to santa monica or the like area. that’s pretty good actually, considering they’re practically the only pho in the vicinity, if you’re having one of those days when you don’t feel like going out and really have an urge for some pho or other vietnamese dishes. :) starting in february, they’ll also be opened earlier and serve breakfast from 7-11am! and despite the food quality, they actually get pretty good customer traffic. throughout the time we were there, there were new customers coming in consistently. i will definitely go back to try their other dishes as well. :)

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starbucks’ gingerbread man cookie (culver city)

December 25, 2008

starbucks (jefferson x centinela location)
12313 jefferson blvd
los angeles, ca 90230
(310) 823-3479
www.starbucks.com-jefferson X centinela

so christmas morning, we were heading to the union station homeless services at pasadena to volunteer for their christmas dinner in the park event. with only a few hours of sleep the night before, and having forgotten to brew my own coffee, we stopped by the nearest starbucks on the way to the 10E. i don’t usually crave for gingerbread at all, but since it’s christmas, i just had to grab one to share on the road. :)

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isn’t the gingerbread man cute? whenever i see one, it always reminds me of the gingerbread man from the candyland board game, and it instantly put a big smile on my face. :)   i can still remember vividly that my mom bought me that cute board game from toys”r”us the very first time i visited the u.s. (specifically san francisco)! :) i had loved all the cute graphics and characters of candyland and imagined that i had shrunk to their size and lived in candyland with them for awhile. i was such a silly girl! :) anyway, this starbucks‘ gingerbread man cookie is actually pretty good. it’s not hard crunchy, but easy to bite into and the aroma of the ginger and cinnamon is not overwhelming. i also like that it’s not overly decorated with the icing. what a nice way to start the day! have a merry christmas, everyone! :)

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hotcakes bakes (culver city)

December 9, 2008

hotcakes bakes
4119 centinela avenue
los angeles, ca 90066
(310) 397-2324
mon-sat 9am-7pm
sun 10am-6pm
www.hotcakesbakes.com

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i’ve drove by this place so many times, but never gotten around to drop by until this evening. the first thing that caught my eyes is the beautiful pink and brown colors of their cute “hotcakes bakes” sign. i’m not much of a cupcake fan actually (but i think cupcakes are very cute and pretty and i enjoy looking at them), but once in awhile, i do have an urge to have one. so, after dinner nearby, we decided to check out this little hidden treasure.

once inside, we were both greeted by a friendly lady in a sweet pink “hotcakes bakes” t-shirt. your attention will immediately go to the array of yummy looking cupcakes, macaroons, brownies, freshly baked cookies, canneles, and other sweet desserts on their display counter. behind the counter, it’s an open pastry kitchen, where another lady in the same pink t-shirt was busy working on some yummy desserts. watching her work just even for a minute tempted me to take up some pastry classes. (i hope they will offer some pastry classes, demo, or tasting events in the future. that would be so much fun!) there are only two little cozy half-circle tables if you want to eat in. on each side of the walls, there are newspaper articles about them and celebrity signed photo. along side on the side counters, there are also display of beautiful wedding cakes.

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we finally decided on a cannele ($2), a chocolate mint cupcake ($3), and six macaroons ($2.50 each) in strawberry, chocolate, coconut, pistachio, smores and coffee to go. the cannele is very rich and moist. not only is the chocolate mint cupcake so pretty, but it is as rich and moist on the texture, and the whipped frosting is really smooth and creamy… at first bite, i could immediately enjoy the full fragrant of the mint… mmm :) as for the macaroons, you can never go wrong with those! :) i will definitely drop by again to try the other yummies, especially since it’s so close to my place. they also do catering, so do come by for a treat if you’re in the area! :)