Pink's Hot Dogs, Hollywood

Pink's is surely among the most popular hot dog joints in America and a true legend since 1939. I visited Pink's on behalf of the FoodBall Network to try their polish sausages for a segment we call FoodBall: Street Edition. In this segment, we explore the food of a nation that will be in the world cup, in this case it was Poland. 

Among many things, Pink's is known for their polish sausages. What's unique about Pink's is that there are over 30 different ways that you can get your hot dog dressed with toppings. They even have a menu dedicated to some of your favorite celebrities. 

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Their jaws burger is by far their most epic burger...It consists of a cheeseburger, topped with chili, and an entire polish dog. This is the mother of all burgers!

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It truly was an honor to meet owners Richard and Gloria Pink. Yes, Pink is actually their last name! I love that they always wear pink too. They even gave me some pretty awesome Pink's swag in the form of a beaded Pink's purse. Its not something I would usually go for but in this case I'm actually super excited to rock! Oh, and did you happen to notice the colors of my dress, red and white striped, the same color as Poland's flag :)

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 Poland's Flag

Poland's Flag

How cute are they!? They made a Pink's Loves Foodecall display made from hot dogs. Well, Foodecall loves Pink's too! Thank you guys so much, you are awesome!!

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London's Pub and Grill, Artesia

Get ready!!! Because the World Cup 2018 is soon approaching!  I recently teamed up with The FoodBall Network to host a few of their FoodBall: Street Edition. In these episodes, we explore the food and culture of the countries that made it to the World Cup. England without a doubt made it to the World Cup and is being represented by London's Pub and Grill in Artesia, California.  I was basically able to sample the most popular dishes from England, and even learned a thing or two about how there is a very prominent Indian population. The Indian food and culture is now so interwoven that people recognise Indian food as a main food you will now find in England.

The first dish is one recognizable by just about anyone, and is probably the most common English dish...the fish and chips. What I like about theirs in particular is how large the piece of fish is. Normally, you get a lot of breading and very little fish, but ratio of fish to breading is decent. The second thing I like about their fish and chips is that the flour comes from England! That's important because I truly believe that the wheat in Europe is different. When I go there, I don't gain weight. But if I ate the same amount here, I would have carb face for two days. Oh, and I love a thick French fry too :)

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Next up is such an awesome classic and one of my favorite things to prepare for parties because it feeds so many people, and that is the shepherd's pie...Made with a layer of ground beef, and topped with dollops of mashed potato, and coated with a delicious gravy. MMMM MMM MMMMMMM! Take a look at this beauty. Don't you just wanna smash your face in it!?

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The third common dish you will find in England is the bangers and mash...basically sausages and mashed potatoes. I did a little research, and if you watch the video you know that back in the day during wartime when food rationing was necessary, butchers would cut the meat by loading up the sausages with water. Then when people came to fry the sausages, it would cause the sausage to make and extremely loud sound, like a "bang!"..hence the name bangers ;)

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Next up is my favorite dish of the day......the Keema Pot Pie. Oh my lord, this was one of the most incredible things I have ever eaten. It really tasted like homemade Indian food, which I've been craving because its very different from restaurant food (usually spicier). The bottom layer is a layer of ground beef or lamb mixed with peas and spices. The top was a layer of fluffy pastry and the textures of the two are just a match made in heaven.  As I say in the video, this is a MUST ORDER!!!!

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If you want an authentic English food experience, London's Pub and Grill is a one-stop shop to try everything you need to try. Not to mention, it's a one stop shop to try not only native English food, but also the adopted Indian food. How prevalent is Indian food? Well, let's put it this way, Indian food along with English food can be found on practically every street corner. You can even find Indian food at English pubs! And a big shocker to me was that curry is now the national dish of England!! That is why London's Pub and Grill truly gives you an authentic taste of English cuisine, so much more than just your generic fish and chips. Check them out for yourself and thank you so much to London's Pub and Grill for all the delicious food and for letting us film our experience!

Harissa, Los Angeles

I love trying ethic food, particularly so when it involves dishes that are totally new to me. I recently had the opportunity to try Harissa, a Tunisian restaurant that also happens to be Kosher. Call me stupid, but to be perfectly honest, I had to look up where Tunisia was on the map. Hey, I bet I'm not the only one out there that didn't know that. Did you??

Well, turns out Tunisia is the smallest country in Africa, located in between Algeria and Libya, and across from Italy and France. Tunisia was the crossroads of history because of it's central location and with the help of the Arab spring. Because of that, it has the influence of the many cultures surrounding Tunisia and was once known as the "breadbasket" of Rome. 

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Chef-Owner Alain Cohen, famous for inventing the Pretzel Challah, born in Tunisia and raised in Paris. He worked at his father's Tunisian restaurant, starting at the age of nine. With his innovative flair, he turned that restaurant into a Paris landmark. He now brings that heritage and years of experience to Harissa.

Harissa is actually a hot sauce commonly found in the northern part of Africa and is predominantly made with red chili peppers, garlic, salt, and other seasoning. Each family having their own version, their own recipe, their own level of spiciness. I tried their Harissa and thought it was so good I could buy a bottle of it.

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To start, we ordered the Street Easts sampler which comes with fricassé, mini tunisian sandwhiches in a fried bread roll with fish. Because Tunisia is a peninsula, fish played a very important role in its cuisine. Next to that is the Breik a L'Oeuf au Thon with has egg, tuna, parsley, and capers in what was like a very crispy crépe or a very large wonton. I LOVED THIS. It was different, and so very delicious. A must order.

 Fricass

Fricass

 Breik a L'Oeuf au Thon

Breik a L'Oeuf au Thon

 Avocado Egg Roll

Avocado Egg Roll

As for the Charcuterie, they make most of what you see in-house, and its constantly changing. Great option for sharing, if you really love cured fish, etc.

 Charcuterie Platter

Charcuterie Platter

The Kemia sampler is another one of their specials. It comes with babaghanoush, mechouia, spicy eggplant, tapenade, harissa, and challah. Everything was quite unique if you ask me. Another great option to try something different that a table of 2-4 could share.

 Kemia Sampler

Kemia Sampler

Tajine is a middle eastern stew, and there are a variety of ways to make tajine, and it also varies from country to country. Although Tunisian tajine varies from the Morrocan tajine in that Tunisian tajine is more of a frittata than a stew, it seems that Harissa stuck to the stew version (and thank the heavens above that they did!). We went with the Lamb tajine, made with slow cooked prunes and almonds, next to a fluffy pillow of couscous. 

The lamb was incredibly tender and melt in your mouth good. Not gamey at all. The prunes added a touch of sweetness to the dish. The almonds gave it a nice crunch and texture. And the couscous was a nice change from the usual rice.

 Lamb Tajine

Lamb Tajine

For dessert, we went with Mom's Sweet Arissa Almond Cake. It's so very sweet but also quite Tunisian so I had to try it.

 Mom's Sweet Arissa Almond Cake

Mom's Sweet Arissa Almond Cake

I thoroughly enjoyed my evening at Harissa. I'll definitely be going back because there's so much more to try. If you're looking for a place that is different from your usual burgers and french fries, and kabobs, you will pleasantly surprised I'm sure. As always, I'd love to hear what you think! Leave a message in the comments below and tell me if you've had or want to go out of your way to try Tunisian food. Until next time foodecallers!

Xoxo,

Nellie Christine

Sushi Sazanami, Sherman Oaks

If you're looking for a place for truly fresh sushi with exotic menu items, Sushi Sazanami is the place for that. I had the pleasure of dining there and enjoyed trying food I've never had before. As a foodie, I want to be an adventurous eater and try as many different foods from around the world. So far, the weirdest foods I've eaten is snake (but it was in a sausage so it doesn't totally count), sheeps brain, and beef tongue off the top of my head. And today, I try some more!

The first adventurous dish (for me at least) was chicken hearts!! Yes, I was a little scared to try this, but I did it. I liked the texture of it, it wasn't soft like liver, but still not necessarily my cup of tea. But I hear they are good for you so if you can handle it mentally, I say go for it!  

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These are cute, spinach bundles that remind me of mini trees. As a blogger, I enjoyed trying them, I think they make a good option if you need a vegetarian option... but if money is limited, I would save it for actual sushi!

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My favorite appetizer would have to go to the Octopus balls! Even my friends who are timid with trying new things really liked these too. A must order!

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Baked scallops and mushrooms....de-lish!

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Bacon wrapped asparagus, can't go wrong with these assuming you like bacon and asparagus. But it's more decorative and probably for kids who are less adventurous. As an adult, I don't see why you would order it at a sushi restaurant.

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Loved their oysters. They are very particular with the oysters that they select to serve at the restaurant. The oysters are served with a ponzu sauce, scallions, and a spicy radish. 

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Their baked lobster roll is one of their most popular dish that we all enjoyed.

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 Duck with Blueberry Sauce

Duck with Blueberry Sauce

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The yellowtail you see below was one of my favorite dishes. I loved the flavor of the garlic chili, comes with a layer of ponzu sauce, and daikon radish on top for crunch. Sooo good!

 Yellowtail with Garlic Chili

Yellowtail with Garlic Chili

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The next most interesting thing I tried that I feel all sushi lovers would lust after is the thinly slice halibut.  We watched and captured the master chef put his knife skills to work and it was incredibly mesmerizing to watch. I felt like a real sushi veteran eating this.

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I have a new found love of eel. I love that this one was slightly charred and just a really nice dish. Another favorite.

 Eel

Eel

This next dish might surprise you, as it did for me. It is beef tongue stew. And it surprised me because the taste was so not what I was expecting. It just tasted like a really nice home-ey kind of stew, one that your grandmother might make. The flavors were quite delicate and not gamey at all. The beef tongue was tender. My two non-adventurous companions even liked that...that is, of course, before they found out they were eating beef tongue. But hey, their true response to it before knowing it was beef tongue was that they really liked it!

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So this is one of Sushi Sazanami's specialty items...It's called the Inside-Out Egg w/ Tuna Tartar. Not for the faint of heart. I'd say you really have to know what you're doing and truly be a an adventurous sushi lover to enjoy this. But if you are a california roll gal, then this is not for you. But still quite interesting nonetheless.

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Alright! So next up is something that is not on their menu...Jellyfish with what I believe to be a fois gras on top. It is sometimes served as part of their omakase. And I actually tried it!! And surprisingly, it wasn't all that bad either. 

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What a fantastic meal! I'll definitely be going back. Check them out and let me know what you think in the comments section. 

Xoxo,

Nellie Christine

Panini Kabob Grill, Santa Monica

Panini Kabob Grill is a healthy mediterranean restaurant with over 14 locations across SoCal. I went here one day on a whim and LOVED it. I happened to visit the one in Beverly HIlls and loved that I can have an affordable meal, even when everything else around me costs me an arm and a leg.  But I truly enjoyed my meal and have been a fan ever since. And anyone I've introduced this place to has also become a fan.. Read on and you'll know why...

First off, their portions are quite large. Big enough to share or, what I like to do is eat half and the rest later to save me from having to cook. Their kabobs comes with grilled vegetables, rice, and salad. Their dressings are also homemade and quite delicious.

Secondly, at Panini Kabob Grill, their philosophy is to provide the best of the best and strive to take every opportunity to provide fresh, healthy, and high quality ingredients. Their chefs use organic eggs, sustainable seafood, and grass fed hormone free meat.  It's not that hard to taste the quality at Panini Kabob Grill.

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The appetizer combo platter is a perfect starter for four. I love that they have an edamame and black bean hummus in addition to the traditional garbanzo bean hummus. 

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Their panini's are worth trying out too! Although I almost always get kabobs, I have gotten their panini before, and to this day, my sister says it was the most memorable meal she's ever had when visiting me in California. 

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The best deal of the house would have to be the family style platter which comes with your choice of rice, 3 skewers of chicken, and two large salads. For the rice, you can choose from white rice, brown rice or bulgar.  I love that they also give nice portions of salad because I hate it when you go to a restaurant and pay like $12 for 2 pieces of lettuce. That's not what you get here. It is such a great bang for your buck and very much recommended. PKG, please don't change!

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If you like tiramisu, then you'll have to try the tiramisu at Panini Kabob Grill. Its so light and fluffy, not too sweet, it's perfect in my opinion. Would love to know what you think.

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So that's my take on Panini Kabob Grill. If you haven't tried them out already, this NEEDS to be your next foodecall. And if you have tried them before, let me know your thoughts! Are you as big of a fan as I am? What is your go-to order? Comment below!

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Oak, Laguna Beach

Sometimes you go to places just for the food. And sometimes you go just for the ambiance. Well, at Oak Laguna, you go for both.  For today's foodecall, I made the trek to Oak in Laguna Beach. Oak is an ocean view restaurant that boasts both an incredible ambiance and food that will leave you wanting more. I can honestly say that everything was delicious and I wholeheartedly recommend this place.

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Executive Chef Chris Tzorin infuses each plate with his flair. I sat down with him to talk about the menu, and it was obvious that what matters most to him is details, details, and more details. Oak features a modern Californian coastal cuisine, ranging from fresh seafood plates to comfort food like Nana's fried chicken. The food and theme of the restaurant are locally inspired. 

The appetizers are just as show stopping as the entreés, if not more. I loved each and every single one of them. 

I'm never really one to order meatballs because it's rare that places do them well, but I have to say I loved the Brooks Street Classic Meatballs which is simply meatballs in marinara sauce, topped with mozzarella, and brioche crostini. There's something about the texture of the meatballs combined with the crostini's that put this dish quickly to the top of my list. 

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Next up and quite interestingly enough was the stuffed portobello mushroom. The mushroom was stuffed with mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, and a pistachio pesto sauce, how incredible does that sound! It's even more incredible eating it. I love vegetarian dishes and will try to order them whenever possible. This is one of those dishes where you can skip the meat and you don't even miss it at all!

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The duck drums is really what excited me even before my visit to Oak. It's basically crispy duck drumsticks coated in this sweet citrus glaze. These are one of those must orders. Its unique and delicious.

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If you're looking for fresh seafood, you have a few options there. You could go with the South-of-the-Border Ceviche, made with shrimp, white fish, pico de gallo, baja seasoning, and lime juice. My husband and I are such big fans of ceviche, we will usually get it if its on a menu, or we will go out of our way to get ceviche. It's our go-to when we want something fresh and light, packed with protein and low on carbs. This ceviche did not disappoint. Loved it and would recommend it. Your other option would be to go with the albacore stack. this one is made with a spicy sriracha marinade, mango, avocado, and wonton chips. I've really come to love fresh mango with my food, and I'm obsessed with fried wontons so this was another winner in my book. Both the stack and the ceviche are two really stellar options.

 Ceviche

Ceviche

 Albacore Stack

Albacore Stack

For an entreé, you could go with the Octopus and Pork belly if you want a taste of both sea and land in one dish. It comes with avocado foam, baby arugula, and a sriracha aioli.  My husband loved this, so if you like octopus, you will not go wrong with this dish. I tried it but I'm not entirely at ease with eating octopus so he finished this plate.

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The next entreé is one that I'm really excited about...Nana's Fried Chicken. Why am I excited, well, because fried chicken. I don't think that needs any explanation. This one is a buttermilk fried chicken breast, with mashed potatoes, thyme gravy, and sauteéd spinach. This would be great for the pickiest eater in the group because you just can't go wrong with fried chicken.

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I love sea bass and have recently decided that it is my favorite fish. So I had to order the Chilean Sea Bass on the menu which is made with whipped potatoes, summer squash, and a blood orange butter. It was delicious.

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They also have a selection of tacos to choose from, including pork belly, octopus, and short rib.

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I would be remiss if I didn't mention their awesome salads. We went with the heirloom beet salad which comes with burrata cheese, watermelon radish, candied pecans, and garlic aioli. Their chopped salad is also pretty epic and big enough to be a meal or to share. 

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More importantly, can we talk about the incredible dessert we had? House-made Doughnuts n' Ice-Cream. The doughnuts were coated in sugar, sprinkled with butterfinger crumbs, and the vanilla ice cream drizzled with bourbon caramel. It was divine. A must order. 

You can't go to oak and not try their unique cocktails. These were fun to drink, especially the 14K gold drink I had, named after the owner. It was sparkly but unfortunately pictures don't do it justice, you'll just have to see it in person.

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Another fantastic foodecall for the books! This was seriously an amazing experience and to all of you reading this, definitely worth checking out. Until next time!

Modo Mio, Pacific Palisades

Ms. Foodecall is back at it again! This time coming from Modo Mio in Pacific Palisades. Modo Mio in Pacific Palisades has that rustic quality that you notice as soon as you step inside. I was greeted by owner, George Zaoui, and we had a conversation about coming to America and putting into action the love of Italian cooking in the form of Modo Mio. Check out my video and read on to get a glimpse of my experience.

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I'm sure you want to know more about the food. Modo Mio features a Northern Italian cuisine, primarily known for lesser use of sauces and lighter, healthier style of cooking.

We started off with appetizers, like the salmon wrapped asparagus. 

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What I like about Modo Mio is the salad options. The one I went with is the insalata tricolore, which means 3 color salad. The insalata tricolore is made with raddichio, arugula, and belgian endive which are all three very different vibrant colors. I love salads so this was a great choice.

 Insalata Tricolore

Insalata Tricolore

Below is my favorite ravioli, Ravioli Del Pollo, filled with smoked chicken and turkey. LOVED IT!!

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If you want a vegetarian option, I would go with the Lasagna Verdure. It's so hearty you'll never miss the meat!

 Lasagna Verdure

Lasagna Verdure

You can't go wrong with the fish of the day. This one was marinated in a delicious sauce, topped with peas and sundried tomatoes for the win, with a side of herbed potatoes and veggies. Very light and perfectly balanced. 

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I don't know a lot about wine but George sure did, and he gave me lessons on what to look for when selecting and drinking wine. Visit the Modo Mio website to get a list of their wines which are also very reasonably priced, IMO.

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I know, I can be really cheesy at times but food like this just instantaneously puts a smile on my face and will have me grinning from ear to ear. I loved my experience at Modo Mio and I'm so very grateful that I get to wake up and do what I love. Thank you Modo Mio!! 

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Habana, Irvine

Can I just say that this was probably one of the most fantabulous dining experiences I've had in a while. I am soo grateful to have been invited to the first buffet brunch at Habana's in the Irvine Spectrum. The attention to detail in the entire place made it feel like I truly was in Cuba sipping on a nice fresh ice cold coconut. To make you truly feel like you've been transported to a different country is no easy feat! 

I would recommend this place for any weekend outing, whether it be with family, friends, date, GNO, GDO, birthday celebrations. You name it. I've heard that their actual menu outside of the brunch buffet is also to die for. I will be going back for sure, you can count on that.

All I can say is this place is a must! Show up in your nicest attire. Have a coconut with rum. Eat everything. Dance to the live music. Have fun and Enjoy!!

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