Tag Archives: dining out

Bar Hayama Restaurant Review (Los Angeles)

On Sawtelle, away from the long lines and commotion of popular spots like Tsujita LA and others, is Bar Hayama. Highlighted by a beautiful outdoor seating area, this bar offers four seating options and multiple menus worth of food. As a result, being seated and served takes far less time than eateries closer to Olympic. Still, as Hungry & Fit, the most important dining aspect is the food, but let’s take about what makes this fiery location worth a visit.

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Simply Pho You Restaurant Review (Los Angeles)

Restaurant? In a sense. It’s not the best word I’d use to describe the atmosphere at Simply Pho You on Vermont (just off Wilshire Center–Fit things it’s a hilarious name) in Koreatown, Los Angeles. Tucked in a strip mall on a crowded corner that gets loads of foot traffic, there isn’t any space for outdoor seating. While the inside also lacks square footage, management has loaded family-style tables with plenty of seating. No over the-top-decorations, no attractive hostess at an over-sized station, no wasted space. They just want to serve you food, and I love it. Efficiency bursts out of the kitchen with one of the hardest working wait staffs I have ever seen. The food is well worth the small price you have to pay. Restaurant? Again, not quite. I’d imagine this is what a Vietnamese block party feels like and I have few complaints.

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Cafe Ugo Review

The sun is down and it’s a cool night in early December. The allure of downtown Culver City draws us in and after parking, we walk Main Street. It’s a hip area for that demographic that loves small plates and craft beers but we LOVE food and we want a meal. After checking out a few menus and feeling the auras emanating from each location, we are seated at Cafe Ugo.

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Service:
It was impeccable. 4/5. We wanted to sit outside and they brought us our own heating tower. It wouldn’t work so they got someone to fix it on the spot. We were slow to decide and our waiter put down the load he was busing in order to take our order when we looked ready. We didn’t even call him over. He had recommendations (and they weren’t based on price), he had patience, he had class, and he had a personality. My water was almost always filled, and if it wasn’t for a lapse near the end of the meal I would have given a perfect 5. When our heater went out, they immediately swapped out the propane tank for a new one. Just excellent.

Atmosphere:
A large restaurant with indoor and outdoor options, busy bar fronts and quiet back rooms. 3/5. The tables were just not a comfortable size. It was awkward but everything was clean and orderly. I didn’t love the makeshift walls for the patio but recognize their convenience for weather changes. While I had no major issues, there was nothing to set this place apart from a normal restaurant, dare I say, even a Cheesecake Factory.

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Food:
There are always faults when you aren’t at a Michelin restaurant but they aren’t significant here. 3/5. The ravioli needed more sauce. They were dry and the spinach filling did not compensate for the somewhat dry pasta. Still, they had flavor. The pizza was a true delight to eat. It hit every flavor profile. Salty cheeses with acidic tones from balsamic that were tied together nicely on a well made crust. The structural integrity was questionable, but this is pizza from Naples and not New York so that can’t be taken into consideration. The fried calamari was well cooked but the sauces were a necessity because the breading was not seasoned.

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Pricing:
Let’s just say they could have easily charged us more and while the portions were not massive, the food quality made it a good value. 4/5. It’s downtown Culver City, it’s a prime location, and it’s a specialty. Authentic Naples style pizza is not a common dish around here, especially with an 1000 degree oven and serving it uncut. We were more than happy to pay the price on the bill and tip accordingly.

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We were glad that we stopped by Cafe Ugo that night. It was enjoyable, we were relaxed, well fed, and left happy. We recommend it to groups of 2, 4, or 6 that are passing by or in the area. It might even be worth a little drive in non-peak hours. We’ll be back if we’re in the area and we’ll bring some family next time. And as always, stay hungry and fit!

Cafe Korobokgur — Koreatown, LA

Although Los Angeles brings its hardships in living and finding our way, Koreatown is certainly not lacking in its culinary scene. Get ready for a ton of reviews on Koreatown restaurants. We love to walk around our neighborhood and find hidden gems to feast our faces on. We almost always come out smiling. Especially from places like today’s review– Cafe Korobokgur. Sound like a mouthful? We think so, thus we call it “that little gnome place.” And we mean it in the best way possible. 

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Cafe Korobokgur is an American-Korean fusion cafe. I keep wanting to call it “little” but it’s actually quite large for a cafe. It’s adorably decorated with cute things here and there (with Miyazaki things too which is a plus). It has an incredibly friendly atmosphere. It is certainly a place I would call “hip” but not overcrowded with people, which is nice. It has its own character and feel to it, which I really appreciate in food establishments. They are them and they aren’t afraid to show it. You’ll find cute quotes, sayings, and pictures all over this place. There’s a little “cafe front” and then we assume the kitchen is in back. This cafe is not just for drinks, but for food too. They also have an adorable restroom. 

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Can you find the Cat Bus?

We came here for dinner one night. There were other Koreans and Korean-Americans here–mostly our age–that brought their study supplies or friends to enjoy. Again, we come in with a smile to a relaxed atmosphere. When we are in good, generous moods, we like to spoil ourselves with food. And that means 3-course meals. After bringing us some fruit-and-cucumber-infused water, our waiter took our order. For appetizer, we got seasoned fries and fried calamari. They served different seasonings for the fries which was fun to try out and it was certainly delicious and cooked well. The fried calamari also pleased us. After appetizer, it was time for our main dishes. I got the kimchi fried rice and Hungry got Don Katsu. We were both satisfied with our entrees, though I couldn’t even finish mine. The kimchi fried rice was nice and spicy, so that I had to take slow. For dessert, we got something original by this place called a “Jarming.” Basically it is a mini mason jar filled with a dessert. We decided on the banana nutella sponge cake Jarming and it was absolutely fantastic. I seriously cannot stress enough how good this little thing was. They also make them in tons of different flavors and make seasonal ones too! 

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Fried calamari

Fried calamari

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Full of YUM

Full of YUM

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The service was a bit slow, so don’t come here in a rush. However, it is part of the relaxed atmosphere, I think. We are definitely going to head back to Cafe Korobokgur again and enjoy its adorable details and its yummy food soon. The drinks were rather expensive, but if nothing else, that Jarming will reel me in for another round for sure. If you’re in Koreatown, be sure to stop at Cafe Korobokgur and don’t leave there without a Jarming! I promise, you won’t regret it. And as always…stay hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

Sajah resting in between a set of reps

Sajah resting in between a set of reps

Gourmet Mexican in Colorado: Comida

Our friend and client in Colorado has been talking about this place, Comida, since I’ve met her. She said the first time she had a taco there, she cried because it was so good. She’s been trying to get us to go and finally on our last day in Colorado, we went with her for some lunch. Comida is located in Longmont, Colorado, but could easily be placed in New York or Los Angeles–it’s trendy!

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Comida is basically gourmet Mexican. I don’t necessarily love gourmet, but I do love me some Mexican. The menu was fairly small, which I like. Most of the options had meat, so I opted for an egg and bean quesadilla. Chris and Crystal got three varieties of tacos and we all split a plate of nachos. Crystal got a watermelon jalapeno margarita and a pomegranate lemonade, I got a Jamaican margarita, and Chris got a Boylan’s soda. It was a wonderful array of food. 

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Presentation is beautiful, no doubts there. They definitely make it look appetizing so that you can’t wait to dig in. The plates are stylish as is the way they lay everything out. Prices are decent. It’s gourmet, so it’s a little more expensive than your typical Mexican joint–about $4 per taco. However, on most dishes, the flavor is worth the slightly expensive price. Hungry really enjoyed the tacos (especially Stella’s Pork Carnitas) and I couldn’t get enough of the Not ‘Yo Nachos. The quesadilla was slightly less in flavor, but luckily I had some salsa to dunk it in. My margarita was also delicious! 

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All in all, I would come back. We got to sit outside, which was very nice and peaceful. The flavors are great and are enough of a reason for us to return if we have the time when we visit Colorado again. All in all, Comida gets a thumbs up from Hungry and Fit

Burgerfuel vs Burger Wisconsin (Kiwi Series)

No contest. Burgerfuel wins. In all honesty, I never got to have a Burger Wisconsin burger but they should not open at 5:00 p.m. at so many locations (they didn’t open until late!). Burgerfuel served me the largest item on their secret menu at 9:00 a.m. That won my heart. With that being said, I will say nothing more about Burger Wisconsin, to be fair. (Editor’s Note: after we left New Zealand, my brother was able to get Burger Wisconsin as it finally opened, and he said it was pretty tasty. Looking forward to trying it next time around)

The first Burgerfuel burger I had was in Taupo, New Zealand. It is a chain based out of NZ that has locations in Australia, Iran, UAE, Dubai, and Sudan. (I could be totally wrong about the last three… I think two are correct.) So was the second, no more than 14 hours later. That was the impression it made on me. And these are not inexpensive burgers… they cost a ton. And I still went back.

Part of the huge family at Lake Taupo, New Zealand

Part of the huge family at Lake Taupo, New Zealand

First course, The Bastard. This is the largest item on their public menu. Off their website, it contains, “1/3 pound 100% pure NZ grass fed beef, melted cheddar, bacon, beetroot, juicy mango, avocado, salad, relish and fresh natural BF aioli.” It cost about $13. I didn’t get fries or a drink but someone else in our group did. Their spud fries and kumara fries were both delicious. It is supposedly 1200 calories and went down easy. The meat was cooked well and the condiments made it one of the MOST DELICIOUS BURGERS I HAVE EVER HAD. The beetroot, mango and avocado were fresh and top-notch pieces. The trademark aioli and relish caused salivation.

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The Bastard

The Bastard

Second course, The Ultimate Greedy Bastard. Add a second 1/3 pound patty, a piece of their chicken, and an egg. There might have been one more item. This one is not on the menu, it is above The Greedy Bastard on the secret menu revealed by an employee after I complained The Bastard was too small. It was about $24 and was so good for a breakfast sandwich. I had a hard time finishing the last tenth of it. I have no ideas how many calories or grams of protein/carbs/fats it had. The employees had awesome customer service skills. The facility was clean and had an inviting but cool vibe.

EPIC! Ultimate Greedy Bastard

EPIC! Ultimate Greedy Bastard

Trying to get my mouth around it (Aunt Raewyn in the background)

Trying to get my mouth around it (Aunt Raewyn in the background)

Finally, Burgerfuel invented the DOOFER. A picture is below but it is essentially a burger holder so you don’t make a mess! What an amazing idea, plus they are made of 100% recycled material. Everyone else who got a chicken sandwich and fries enjoyed their meal. I would have liked the opportunity to sample more of their menu but so far I am very impressed.

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So if you are in any of the countries listed above try to stop by a Burgerfuel and let me know what you think of it! Five Guys, Smashburger, Bobby’s Burger Palace, and even In-n-Out doesn’t compare.(Alana will kill me for that last one!) This is just based off the quality of a single sandwich at each, not the meal as a whole. In-n-Out wins in that category. More New Zealand/Kiwi posts coming up! And as always…stay hungry and fit!

P.S. – Burger Wisconsin, if you want to compete, open earlier! Burgers should be available for lunch, says I!

If you want to see more of our New Zealand pictures, follow us on instagram! @nanatiger and @hungryandfit!

  • Question of the Day: Where is your favorite burger, whether its made of beef, chicken, tofu, or any vegan option!

BONUS KITTY PIC

Sajah literally fell asleep between my feet last night in about 5 seconds

Sajah literally fell asleep between my feet last night in about 5 seconds

My New Love: Pho

Yes, Pho. Pronounced “fuh.” My boss took me to Saigon Xpress a few weeks ago and I consequently fell in love. You know we love noodle dishes like ramen, and this takes it to a whole ‘nother level. I had heard of Pho before, of course, and knew it had something to do with noodles, but wasn’t sure what all the fuhs was about (sorry, I had to). And then I tasted some and now I’m obsessed.

from Saigon Xpress

from Saigon Xpress

So what is Pho? Pho is a big bowl of broth, rice or egg noodles, vegetables, and whatever protein you have ordered (I get tofu). But wait, the magic isn’t done yet. Along with an absurdly large bowl of this madness, you get a huge plate of fresh bean sprouts, jalapenos,  and thai basil. Restaurants usually serve  hoisin sauce and sriracha as well for you to pour on as you please. So once you get your steaming bowl of deliciousness, you put the bean sprouts and basil in (as well as any sauces) and then stir it around. Then you may feast.

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Why is it so good? The mix of fresh and hot ingredients is absolutely wonderful. And slurping up the noodles is a big favorite of mine too. For me, the real star is the thai basil. It has this minty flavor that totally zests up the entire dish. So far, I have not been able to finish my serving, even though I get a small. It’s a lot of food. I liked it so much when I had lunch with my boss that I ordered one to go for Chris later that night. I cannot wait to go again, Saigon Xpress is definitely a favorite. We tried it at Chez Thuy as well, but it didn’t compare to Saigon.

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Another huge plus for me is the healthy factor. I do not feel any heaviness, regret, or guilt after I’ve finished my portion. I always feel happy, full, and content. I get my fill of liquids, carbs, vegetables, and protein all wrapped up in one healthy dish. I cannot even express the tastiness that this dish holds. Look up your local Pho eatery and go there ASAP. And if you’re near Longmont, CO, go to Saigon Xpress–you won’t regret it! Eating Pho is one great way to stay hungry and fit!

Some up and close goodness

Some up and close goodness

Efrain’s Magical Mexican Food (Fit’s Restaurant Review)

 I think we may have found one of the best Mexican spots in Boulder. Yes, I’m excited too. It’s a little out of the way, but it’s a scenic drive through the Wild West (it seems like). You pass these old rusted buildings, lots of old mining spots, and such. Anyhow, we get there one night, and it’s packed. And it’s a Wednesday! Obviously, this place was popular. And it had good reason to be. 

The spot is called Efrain’s II as in #2. Yes, weird name, but there are actually 3 of these wonderful restaurants, one in Layfayette and Longmont as well. They obviously saw the good fortune in expanding, and boy are we glad they did! We get there around 7:30-8pm and wait for a table for around 20-30 minutes. I had a margarita while we waited and we watched some baseball. I was surprised how busy it was because it was a Wednesday. Come on, people! But it was a good sign. Chris had gone there with his friend a few weeks earlier and had wanted to take me because he knows my fervent love of good Mexican food (helloooo, I grew up in SoCal).

Great margarita!

Great margarita!

Mr. Muscles over here

Mr. Muscles over here

Chris' meal from a few weeks earlier

Chris’ meal from a few weeks earlier

Once finally seated, they were quick to serve us with some chips and salsa. The bad thing about this is that there were endless refills. So yes, I obviously filled up on chips and could barely eat my meal. No surprises here, folks! As I sipped away on my margarita, Chris got a Mexican Coke (he loooooooves them). He ordered the Steak San Lorenzo (a sizable meal that even he couldn’t finish) and I ordered the fajitas. Vegetarian, of course.

Mexican coke

Mexican coke

I couldn’t believe how big my portion was. For my fajita platter, I received three tortillas, a huge plate of lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, beans, rice, guac, etc. and a huge pot of fajita-styled vegetables. I couldn’t believe it. Everything was cooked well with lots of flavor. Chris thoroughly enjoyed his steak and we left a happy couple. The atmosphere is kinda hectic, but once you get seated, you’re in your own happy bean-and-cheese world. I can’t wait to go there again and again. Good Mexican food with a good price? Don’t mind if I do. Load up on Mexican food to stay hungry and fit!

Chris' steak smothered in veggies

Chris’ steak smothered in veggies

My ENTIRE MEAL

My ENTIRE MEAL

Close-up because it's so pretty

Close-up because it’s so pretty

Hi

Hi

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BONUS KITTY PIC

Nymeria kneading away

Nymeria kneading away

Restaurant Review: Dagabi Cucina

For one of our celebratory dinners, we decided to go to Dagabi Cucina after a little debate about where we wanted to go. We’ve been eyeing this place for a while (and I can’t help but call it Dagobah), so we decided this was the night to go. To celebrate our promotions and hard work, this would be the perfect place. We went around 7:30 Friday night, not sure what to expect. It was a hybrid of Spanish (Spain Spanish) and Italian food.

Preview of what's to come..

Preview of what’s to come..

Right off the bat, we were pleased. The flamboyant host asked us whether we wanted to sit outside or not and we couldn’t decide. He then says, “Well most people fight each other to get outside” (I couldn’t place his accent, Chris thinks Barcelona) so we opted for that. They have a beautiful outside arrangement and we were lucky enough to sit next to a nice flower box. Stringed lights hang around us, making it very romantic and relaxing. There were a few other people around us, but nobody was loud or obnoxious. It was a nice summer night, no need for a jacket.

Beautiful night

Beautiful night

Our waiter was excellent. She may have been slightly overworked, but she didn’t miss a thing. To start ourselves off, we got a caraffe of Tinto de Verano (summer red wine with sparkling lemonade). It was definitely worth it as we each got at least 3 glasses out of it. It was delicious, light, and refreshing–very glad we got that. Food-wise, we got Ensalada con Melocoton which was beautifully-made, very light and not overdone with flavor. And of course, we had to get the bread. On Yelp, people rave about their balsamic sauce and boy were they right. The bread came fresh out of the oven, actually too hot to touch at first. Once we could get our hands on it, we couldn’t stop. The sauce was absolutely wonderful, full of complex flavors, a true pleasure to eat. I can’t wait to go back during “happy hour” and just get bread. Our last appetizer was Antipasto Dagabi which sampled meats, cheeses, and olives. It was a good choice: all the cheeses had different flavors, there was some fruit too to pair with cheese, and I actually ate some olives! You can tell in our pictures that the night gets progressively darker…

Delicious drink next to a beautiful flower bed

Delicious drink next to a beautiful flower bed

Bread, oh man, I want some more!

Bread, oh man, I want some more!

Wonderful appetizers

Wonderful appetizers

By this point, I am already near full (what a surprise), but we still have our entrees yet. I ordered the special, which was wild boar meatballs with gnocchi (yep–I finally got to have some meat!) and Chris got Filetes Rusos which was kind of Spanish-styled hamburger with mashed potatoes and asparagus. We both agreed that the entrees were good, but they weren’t of the same caliber of the appetizers. I couldn’t finish mine, so I got had it wrapped ate it on Sunday. For dessert, we got a raspberry creme brulee (Chris pressured me into it, I swear!). Usually I like it plain, but it was very tasty. Chris, who normally doesn’t like creme brulee, shared it with me and enjoyed it as well.

Wild boar meatballs with gnocchi

Wild boar meatballs with gnocchi

Spain-styled hamburger

Spain-styled hamburger

Creme brulee!

Creme brulee!

Overall, it was truly a wonderful experience: a beautiful setting, delicious food, and attentive wait staff made the night a success. We will definitely be coming back here at least for the appetizers and the atmosphere. Fit gives Dagabi Cucina a big thumbs up and can’t wait to get some more bread and balsamic–happy hour is every night, right?! This place is definitely a contender for best Spanish food in Boulder. Eat at Dagabi Cucina to stay hungry and fit! 

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BONUS KITTY PIC

Oh hai, Nymeria

Oh hai, Nymeria

Empanadas in Boulder: Rincon Argentina (Hungry’s Food Reviews)

This is going to a short review and although I should have just put it up on Yelp and not on this website, I can’t help myself because I want to talk about empanadas a bit extra because they are awesome. I will start by saying that I do not recommend this location, although I haven’t had empanadas anywhere else in Boulder. Despite the lack of competition, I cannot say that I enjoyed this meal but this is subjective and here is my issue.

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Empanadas are flavorful. They are not typically overly healthy. A pastry filled with vegetables and meat. It’s got some dead carbs in it but the crust is one of my favorite parts. These crusts were not on point for me. I am selective and enjoy it being crispy on the outside and slightly softer on the inside due to the absorption of liquids from the inside where the fillings are hiding. There was nothing memorable about these crusts other than the fact that they were served piping hot to the point that I had to wait ten minutes before I could touch it. Hot food is great… you know its fresh but the highest quality food service locations will serve food the temperature it should be eaten at if they do their job right. But who cares about the outside, right? It’s the inside that matters.

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Well, between a carnivore and a vegetarian, we nearly got every kind of empanada on the menu. Chicken, beef, spinach, cheese, open face, traditional, etc. There were no flavor profiles. The flavors were not developed at all. At first I thought that it was just too hot to taste but once they cooled down there were still no flavor profiles. It was a major miss. The service was good, the restaurant is cute, and it’s a little pricey for the portion sizes, but it’s very pricey for the taste of the food. We got Mexican orange soda, which was a treat, but the empanadas were lacking.

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Now, I have a lot of experience with empanadas and I’ve even had my share of Argentine ones so I think that I am a fair judge of what is a flavorful empanada. This is Boulder, so they might be going for the this is healthy and natural type of thing, but that’s not what I think of for an empanada. It’s a pocketful of flavor, not nature and health. Whether it’s the Stable in Jersey, food trucks in Brooklyn, supermarket in Peru, or anywhere else I’ve had empanadas, they’ve been full of flavor. Now, I’m not trying to be mean and if you want to try this location, I won’t stop you. They’re nice people and they’re authentic people, but they’re not people who gave me tasty empanadas. We’ll keep you updated on our search for empanadas in Boulder and until then, stay hungry and fit!

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(This is a good place to go if you want to watch good futbol matches with a cool Mexican coke or orange soda! Stop in just to check that out!)

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