Castle II Korean BBQ AYCE

they say that if you ever visit los angeles, you shouldn't miss stopping by at any korean bbq all you can eat resto. not only is it cheap but the quality and variety of meat is impressive. the resto we picked didn't have a very decent sign from outside. a very loud music was also booming from outside that will make anyone deaf. i guess it's the restaurant's way to advertise itself through loud and distracting music. we waited around fifteen minutes before we got a table considering it was lunch time on a work day. we chose set c which had 16 options of meat, the most options of meat they had for $15.99. the bad thing i didn't like about this place is customers are limited to 4 meats per order. we probably ordered almost all in their menu except for three items. 

1. Beef Brisket 
2. Sliced Pork 
3. Chicken with marinate
4. Pork Chop with marinate
5. Sliced Beef with marinate
6. Squid with marinate 
7. Beef Intestine 
8. Sliced Beef 
9. Pork Steak 
10. Spicy Sliced Pork 
11. Beef Tongue 
12. Skewer Fresh Steak 
13. Boneless Ribs 
14. LA Short Ribs 
15. Shrimp with marinate
16. Boneless Ribs with marinate

the beef brisket was like bacon. i like it the most maybe because it was so easy to eat. i enjoyed the squid and shrimp too. the sliced pork, boneless ribs and steak were good too. after our last order, i felt i had too much already that it was difficult for me to finish the food even though i barely touched my rice.

Castle II Korean BBQ
3600 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Verdict: 4/5 (-1 for limiting customers to order 4 meats per batch) 


our generous manager treated us for lunch at this expensive greek restaurant. it was a thanksgiving event. the ambiance of the place is nice too, the ceiling was high, the decor was elegant, and the place is spacious to accommodate big parties. i was observing vegetarian diet that time so i had their vegetable moussaka, "a casserole of eggplant, potato, zucchini, onion, red pepper, and tomato sauce". it was delicious! we ordered a couple of items from their dessert menu. we got bougatsa "phyllo wrapped semolina custard, caramel with vanilla gelato", sokolatina "rich chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and cream", and baklava "flakey layers of phyllo with mixed nuts, honey, and yogurt sauce". they were so tasty i wanted more. 

3090 Olsen Drive
San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 260-1444

Verdict: 5/5

Mountain Mike's Pizza

out of the blue, i finally tried mountain mike's lunch pizza and salad buffet for $6.99 which is offered everyday from 11AM to 2PM. this is conveniently located to almaden cinelux which offers $5.50 for all movies before 5PM. i got in the restaurant by 11:20AM and no pizzas were served yet. their salad bar has a considerable variety of options: greens, croutons, cheese, fruit slices, macaroni salad, potato salad, and waldorf salad. it took sometime for them to serve the pizza but when they came, the number of different pizzas didn't disappoint. they served eight of their twelve pizzas in their menu. seven out of eight pizzas were with meat and the 8th was cheese pizza. i made a mistake taking one slice from each flavor in my first batch since they were too much for me. the pizzas were bland too. they lacked salt and flavor. the other pizza buffet i tried was cici's and it was better. the flavor doesn't even come close to pizza hut, pizza my heart, papa john's, and round table.

Mountain Mike's Pizza
2306 Almaden Rd
San Jose CA 95125

Verdict: 1/5 (flavors were bland.)


we ordered their fried oysters for appetizers considering that we went there for dinner. it was good. the sauce complemented with the fried oysters. given the restaurant's name, we stayed away from ordering steamed crabs or shrimps. we ordered one pound of steamed crawfish in cajun garlic sauce. the waiter asked us how hot we wanted it: mild, hot, or fire. we made a mistake in picking hot since it was burning our tongues. i only managed to eat around 4 pieces of crawfish since it was too much and getting the meat from the crawfish is such a challenge. this is probably we noticed many customers there were having shrimps. they're easier to descale. as for the cajun sauce, it was good but i like the take from boiling crab better. in addition to the crawfish, we requested corn and sausage. i wanted more of the sausage. it was probably just around two inches long! the portion was so little.

This is my first encounter with the crawfish, are they really this small? Had I known that they were going to be tiny, I would have opted for shrimps or prawns instead, less hassle and more meat. Anyways, it was an experience trying to wrestle with this crustacean. Good thing there were fried oysters to keep my hunger at bay, I would definitely order them again if I make the same mistake of revisiting this restaurant. One good thing they have going for them though is the sauce, which was truly HOT in every sense of the word, I was crying buckets when I took a spoonful to taste it, I haven't been overwhelmed by hot sauce before this.

Crawdaddy at San Jose
779 Story Rd
San Jose, CA 95122


S: 4.5/5 (-0.5 for the small portion of sausage)

N: 3/5 with enough cooking skills and acess to fresh seafood, I could make this at home. I'm not impressed by the tiny crawfish, why would you eat these cute little things?

Smoking Pig BBQ

in search for a bbq and ribs place, we found this place. it has a decent amount of parking space but it was full when we came. the good thing is it has more parking space in the adjoining lot. as appetizers, we tried their "wolf turds - this jalapeno is stuffed with cheese and smoked sausage, wrapped in bacon and smoked for two hours". i enjoyed this appetizer! we paired this with their three sauces: hot, sweet, and the one with mustard. be careful with their hot sauce, it will burn your tongue. i like the mustard and sweet sauces. for our entrees, we ordered their one meat meal half rack ribs, which came with 6 big pieces of ribs, and another one meat meal of one pound of fat beef brisket. the half rack was too much for us. we were only able to taste one rib each. it wasn't that easy to take out the meat from the bone. maybe their ribs are meant to be eaten by hands. the taste was just alright. we both love the beef brisket. it was so tender and the taste was awesome. i could even eat it without dipping it in their sauces. all meals include one side dish and cornbread. my friend chose coleslaw while i wanted baked potato instead of mashed potato. the baked potato they have was called potato grenade which unusually had mac & cheese inside and the potato was wrapped with bacon. we didn't enjoy the potato grenade. the mac & cheese didn't impress my asian taste buds. the bacon wasn't able to save the baked potato too. i prefer a plain baked potato with cheese or butter over this.

bbq and meat-lovers must try this place especially their beef brisket.

Smoking Pig BBQ Company
1144 N 4th St
San Jose, CA 95112

Verdict: 4/5 (-1 for their ribs and potato grenade)


family and friends close to me would know how much of a pizza lover i am! patxi's (pronounce pa-cheese) is my favorite pizza restaurant in south bay. i've tried its two branches in san jose and palo alto. both produced the same quality of taste. in terms of ambiance, i prefer san jose's branch for its cozy size but for bigger parties, palo alto can accommodate more guests. we ordered two 10-inch (the smallest size) chicago deep dish: greek and special. greek comes with "marinated artichoke hearts, aged feta, red bell pepper, sliced green olives" and special comes with "garlic-fennel sausage, fresh sliced mushrooms, green peppers, yellow onions". i like the greek deep dish over the special deep dish since i like the taste of the sour artichoke hearts. for those who are not into sour food, they might not like the greek deep dish. we were unanimously a little bit disappointed that the sausage in the special deep dish is ground that i cannot identify the sausage in the pizza however, the taste was still good.

Patxi's San Jose
Crescent Village
3350 Zanker Rd.
San Jose, CA 95134

Patxi's Palo Alto
441 Emerson St.
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Verdict: 4.5/5 (-0.5 for the ground sausage in special chicago deep dish)

Bill's Cafe at Willow Glen

the long line outside this restaurant has always made me curious to try this place. it has great reviews too so me and my friend ventured out to have a very early breakfast at this cafe. its menu has a wide selection of american breakfast items. i chose the fresh lox and bagel which came with eggs and pancake for additional cost. it also came with some veggies, not so salty capers and cream cheese. i enjoyed the lox and bagel but was only able to finish half of the bagel since i had the pancake for dessert. my friend ordered bill's steak and eggs. the steak wasn't that remarkable to me but it was tender and juicy.

Bill's Cafe
1115 Willow St, San Jose CA

Verdict: 4/5 (-1 for the steak)

Thai Spice

Across Walgreens along Bird Avenue corner Willow Street, San Jose, California, is a mysterious looking restaurant that makes me curious because of its darkly tinted glass door and walls. Much as I wanted to have a clue as to what kind of ambiance it has and what kind of customers frequent the place, the seemingly impenetrable facade stares blank at me. It took me more than a couple of trips to Walgreens until I decided to put an end to my curiosity. 
Arm in arm with my daughter, we bravely tried the door which, disappointingly, had a "Do not enter" sign. Not about to give up, but prepared to leave, I turned back to give it another look...and saw a tiny handwritten "Use other door" with an arrow directed to the left. So, what looked like another wall panel is a door, after all.  We pushed it and a creepy black gowned witch from the ceiling greeted us with a creaking door sound background. An early Halloween cheer, I mumbled, it's only the first week of October. A nice lady in white uniform with a white apron to match greeted us in a friendly Asian sing song voice and offered us a table for two. It was 11am, and only s4 tables far apart from each other have been occupied. We studied the menu and decided to order the more familiar fresh spring roll "guo cuon" and pad Thai. My daughter also added pork in red curry sauce. The waitress asked her if she wants it hot, my daughter said "very hot" and the waitress asked, Thai hot? Yes, we chorused. And so, while waiting for our order, we were kind of gazing floor to ceiling, wall to wall, table to table...but cannot find an exact definition for the place. It is inconspicuous, for one, but maybe, it has it's own charm for the incoming guests that are now coming in twos or fours and filling the tables. The theme of the place is like an old English tavern or Irish pub, without the bar, or maybe I didn't look harder. The dark walls and furniture contrasted with the white table lined with white paper. I can imagine a scene in The Godfather happening in one corner table with some characters in clandestine meeting.
My reverie was broken by the arrival of a platter of assorted pickled vegetables for appetizer. 
It  served its purpose as I felt eager to start my main course. My pad Thai had pieces of prawns in it. It tasted fresh and juicy. I cannot decide if my pad Thai was good enough, I just know that my 21 year old son's version back home was a lot better. 

My daughter's guo cuon finally came with peanut sauce. It looked very attractive. It also had prawns in it as ordered. It tasted good with peanut sauce.

The final order, pork in red curry sauce was delicious and, yes, Thai hot, as promised!

We truly enjoyed our meal and still have a large leftover to take home. It was also very reasonably priced at US$24.00 inclusive of tax and tip.  

 By the time we finished, more guests teemed the place. We graciously complimented the food and good service. On our way out, we came face to face with a life-size skeleton planted at the door and as we pulled the handle, we were sent off with the more funny than scary "he eh , he eh , he eh, he eh, he eh "

Lantaw Restaurant - Cordova

As if our previous adventure to sample Lantaw at Busay wasn't enough, the whole family decided to ride all the way from the metropolis to the other island to savor a different cuisine from the same-albeit different restaurant.

Lantaw Floating Restaurant is located at the border of Lapu Lapu City with its shoreline facing the other side of the Cebu islands. Interestingly, the place was once used as a docking port for small fishing boats and eventually over time was transformed into a popular restaurant by the sea.

The set-up was the same: a restaurant situated in the middle of nowhere with a stunning view for their patrons to enjoy. The place's specialty was Bakasi, a sea creature that looks like a moray eel and cooked either crisped or simmered in tomato based soup stock with generous amounts of spices.

Late Lunch composed of an assorted array of seafood dishes eventually finished with their carefully hand-made treats like Turon (fried banana fritter with jack fruit) topped with ice cream and drizzles of local dark chocolate sauce. My brother had guinmis, a toned down version of the local halo-halo.

Lantaw Floating Restaurant
Cordova, Cebu

Verdict: 3/5
Getting there takes at 2 hours with moderate traffic. The location of the restaurant is both a boon and a curse for them because heat of the sun during the afternoon is very undesirable.The place's true worth shows itself from sunset to the rest of the evening where light from the city glows bright in the background.

Lantaw Restaurant - Busay

Getting to Busay is no easy task.

One has to endure a semi  topsy turvy ride to the mountains with the risk of taking a wrong turn somewhere along the line and entering a completely different restaurant. Maybe even failing to notice the signboard of the restaurant!

Like all victories, our arrival there was one of the sweetest moment of that day. The view was magnificent and the place was cool despite the still awake sun. We had to climb an inclined plane and a few flights of stairs before we could settle in to our seat, with all the glory of Cebu City before us.

To cool off from our journey, we ordered iced tea and a just grilled plate of calamari for starters. Soon enough, chitchat kept us preoccupied as our dinner comprised of baked scallops, sisig, kinilaw, and steamed oysters arrived by threes.

Lantaw Restaurant
Busay, Cebu CIty

Verdict: A: 4/5
The place and the effort to get there is worth it. The ambiance and the view alone makes it a tourist hotspot. The food is above average. The kinilaw is a special mention here. Not too sour and not too milky either. Plus the fish used for it is splendid.  Very fresh ingredients considering its distance from the market.


I never really understood why a lot of people fuss about February 14, or rather, why people think that love is best displayed on one specific day. Why the flowers, why the chocolates, why the expensive dinners, the sweet flattery words exclusively used over and over by a multitude of individuals all over the world. I mean seriously, out of the 365 days in a year, they just had to pick one day out of the many when they could just cherish their love and passion for one another everyday. What screwed logic is that?
Blah. I’m rambling. But hey, I’m not complaining about discounted meals for two, if you ask me. ;)
Linea in IT Park, one of the less packed establishments on this day, had this Valentines’ day promo available for their patrons.  Each meal is comprised of a salad bowl for appetizers and an extravagant main dish of your choice between beef roulade and grilled salmon with a refreshing glass of red or white wine. To top the evening off, you get a dessert plate of cooled fresh fruits with several mounds of ice cream sprinkled with a generous amount of cinnamon.
The appetizer, Linea salad, had greens with an intricate amount of crisp in them in addition to the load of nuts and sweetness of the vinaigrette generously sprinkled on it. The main dish, the beef roulade was cooked just right in contrast to the (overcooked) grilled salmon.  Interestingly, the main dishes had potatoes with them, one served mashed and the other grilled.
In addition to the packaged deal we ordered, we also got a 12-inch vegetarian pizza, something I really didn’t quite like either.  The menu advertised zucchini added into it as well as shiitake mushrooms but both were non-existent!
Dessert was a good return from a disappointing salmon dish (not to mention the pizza!) It was diabetes heaven, but it was well worth it! Two scoops of strawberry ice cream and a centerpiece scoop of cinnamon ice cream! Yum!

E-bloc, IT Park Lahug

Verdict: 2.5/5
This place is a hit and miss. Sometimes they get the taste while sometimes they don’t. Worth a second visit if you have enough money. This place is pricey,

Chez Sovan


we went to this cambodian restaurant for my friend's belated birthday celebration. i confess i have very little exposure to cambodian cuisine so i was so excited to try this place. it was lunch time on a friday and not many customers were there. we ordered the 6 piece vegetarian egg rolls for starter. their service was reasonably fast. their egg rolls were good, not so oily. we ordered "amok" -- fish mixed with coconut milk, collar green, lemongrass, kefir, galangal and fish sauce, steamed in a banana leaf. the presentation was remarkable and the taste was so unexpected for my palate. i liked it but i couldn't eat a lot of it. i paired brown rice with it. i later realized that white rice was better with it. we also had "sam law curry" -- chicken with potatoes, carrots, coconut milk and curry spices. the curry was sweet and didn't really pair well with the "amok". i guess it would have been better if we ordered something fried. for our drinks, we had coconut juice in its shell. the juice was so refreshing although the coconut meat was not that tender like the ones served in philippines. we had so much of left-over we brought home.

Chez Sovan
2425 S. Bascom Ave, San Jose, CA 95128

3/5 (I would still give this place another chance.)

Marriott Hotel

One stressful bumper to bumper traffic and a few coupons less, we found ourselves seated in one of better tables at Marriott hotel's restaurant. The place. was. stunning. The ambiance set the mood for a night to remember, a pleasant evening for my siblings and myself with carefully prepared buffet dishes ripe for the picking.

Subtle music wafted in the background as we took our places and found each of our respective seats. It was so easy to get comfortable, as if the place was your own private dining house. The waiters were very attentive to our needs and not to mention that they was not an idle moment for them. If they weren't making sure the tables were in perfect order, they busied themselves with attending to their guests and making sure that the food on the buffet table never ran out.

Idle talk inside the restaurant were down to a minimum, as there was very few people dining inside the premises. Food in abundance, we dug in and gorged ourselves in whatever was available; from Japanese sushi and sashimi to local cuisine and even salads and bread with cold cuts on the side. Although the choices paled in comparison to Marco Polo's assortment of foreign dishes, Mariott, in all its crowning glory, strengthened its quality and service to the point of unbelievable levels. Each dish was given utmost attention to detail down to the last ounce of spice. 

Cebu Marriot Hotel
Cardinal Rosales Avenue, Cebu City 6000 

Verdict: 5/5

Very worth every peso you paid for a meal here. Dinner was well spent. You won't regret the service.

Wolfgang Puck

i always have this unexpected appetite for airport dining even after coming from international flights which offer heavy meals. i found myself at Wolfgang Puck after walking around SEA-TAC airport. a football game was playing with a big fan crowd. i ordered four cheese pesto pizza that came with mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, goat cheese and sun-dried and fresh tomatoes. it was a fresh change to the korean meals that i had in the long flights. it was so tasty. the two slices of left-over which i had on the last leg of my trip still tasted good considering it was already cold.

Wolfgang Puck
Seattle Tacoma International Airport

Verdict: 5/5

Seoul Incheon International Airport

i had a long 12 hour layover from Cebu to US. it is not my first time to have this itinerary but the difference from my first time was it was summer season in Seoul. at that time, i did an impromptu city tour. i'll write a separate post for that interesting experience. this second time around, it's winter in Seoul and it's too cold to do sight-seeing outside. right after landing, i was greeted with beautiful photos of Korea along the walkway to transfer to connecting flight. the images showcase Korea and make me want to come back and visit Korea. after killing the time by sleeping, i got bored and started looking for something to do in the airport. i discovered its food court and had the traditional korean dish bibimbap.  it came with kimchi, quail's egg and squid, egg omelet and seaweed soup on the side. after the satisfying lunch, i walked some more and discovered the prayer room and airport's Korea Traditional Cultural Experience Center. i came across 2 of these centers in my long walk around the airport. this center offers a lot of free activities. i tried their phoenix magnet painting. you can choose painting a male or female phoenix and color it any colors you like. i painted both since i had a lot of time to kill. one can also paint a pencil holder or fan. while painting, live traditional korean performances are also showcased. i saw 3 different shows: 1) lady playing a guitar-like instrument while another lady sings, 2) lady playing a flute-like instrument, 3) walk of the royal family. Incheon has really set the bar for an international airport. it is not only clean and elegantly designed, it has these free Korean activities and shows that are educational and fun which make 12 hour layover feel like a breeze.

Verdict: 5/5