Michael's on Naples

On Friday night I went over to Michaels to check it out for the first time. I felt like running  through the whole menu so I chose on of the Chef tastings which gave me a chance to really check out what kind of food this place can crank out. I grabbed a seat upstairs in the corner and I started off with a 1948 menabrea birra. It was a nice light beer and it went well with everything. I had 2 of those over the course of the night.


 

Michael’s on Naples Chef’s Tasting
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Appetizer: Fig with goat cheese mouse stuzzicchino.

First Course: Heirloom tomatoes with burrata, basil, olive tapendade and crostini.

Second Course: Smoked Liberty Farm duck neck ravioli with brown butter, sage, Fontina and breadcrumbs.

Third Course: Grilled Mediterranean sea bass with artichokes, potatoes and Taggiasche olives.

Fourth Course: Speck Wrapped Devil’s Gulch rabbit saddle stuffed with sausage, roasted potatoes and summer squash.

Fifth Course: Gala apple bread pudding with homemade marshmallows and candy pecan


 

In my opinion, the best place to park is right across the street is a little neighborhood over there and plenty of parking is available if you don’t want to go the valet route. Martin took care of me and Kevin helped me along with Martin explaining the different dishes. This was my first time here and I wanted to go in with a blank slate. Kevin suggested the Chef’s tasting and after scanning what that entailed I was in. I have only at duck a few times and I have never tried rabbit before. It has also been along time since I at Sea Bass. I started with the appetizer and that was really tasty. So was the beer!! I was then brought the first course. The tomatoes where amazing and and I liked to eat the basil with some burrata cheese underneat. Kevin told me that they Basil was from their rooftop garden and I took a peak out there to check that out.

The second course was the ravioli. I got a few pieces of it and it was amazing. I am not sure if I have actually ever sampled duck neck before and this one was probably my favorite dish because I am a sucker for ravioli. The third course was the sea bass. It was served with the whole fish which is different than I normally eat it. It was all deboned and all that and it had artichokes and potatoes under neath it. Wow the fish was so amazing! I was taking bites of fish and artichoke and that was divine! The fourth course was the rabbit saddle. Rabbit is white meat and since I have nothing to compare it to, the closest thing I can think of is chicken. A really yummy chicken:) For desert I had the apple pudding with homemade marshmallows and pecon. This is probably the best bread pudding I have ever had. I was pretty full after this 5 course meal and it really hit the spot. Michael Dene owns the Michael’s Restaurant Group and I have heard that he can be found roaming around this place and he stopped by and checked in on me which was a nice touch. Super cool guy and he runs some first class restaurants!


Written by Louie Baur

El Dorado Bar & Grill

So I came in the El Dorado Grill in part because of the owner ship change about a year ago. The menu has some good South African items on it and that is where Abigail is from so we headed on down. It has been awhile since we went to a South African Restaurant in Long Beach. The last one was the Springbok Bar over in Shoreline Village and that closed down about 3 years ago or so.
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The parking lot is big and can hold plenty of cars. The spaces seemed a little skinny but hey this restaurant has its own lot so that is huge. As you approach the front door you will see a patio on the right. It is enclosed and I would say it sits at least 30 people there. When you walk in, you will see the bar off to the left and then main seating area is off to the right. Farther to the right is a stage that bands play on. Its a small stage but stage nonetheless. There is a huge high def tv project thing on this wall. The biggest most hi def screen that I have ever seen in real life. They have a huge one in Hooters but the resolution sucks.
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After surveying things we got down to the food. I went with the Eggs Benedict breakfast which came with hash browns and Abigail went for the boerewors Roll. It was Sunday and football was going and this place was jumping. We got our food and the moment of truth came. Ab liked the boerewors Roll. I guess some times they are to dry or something like that but she gave me the thumbs up and I was stoked on the Eggs Benedict. This place has been open for awhile and I am looking forward to coming back another day to meet with the owner Trevor so I can find out more about this awesome restaurant!


Written by Louie Baur

Michael's Pizzeria Promenade

I have heard about Michael’s Pizzeria a few times now and today I decided to shoot down there and try it for Sunday Brunch. I parked across the street in the 2 hour free parking lot but I later found out that Michael’s also has a lot connected to their building which is also 2 hours for free with validation.

I came up and was greeted by Lindsay. She was very nice and found me a good spot to sit inside. A few minutes laterI was greeted by Allison who was my server for this round. I told her that I wanted to sample a few things and she started coming up with some great suggestions for me. After about 10 minutes and just after the Artichokes arrived, the General Manager Chris came up to check on me. We chatted about the restaurant a bit and I asked him some questions about some of the food which is always fun.

So here is what I ate:

Artichokes and Burrata: Confit baby artichokes with house-made burrata and extra virgin olive oil. Wow what a great mix! I have never had these two ingredients together. There were 6 artichokes surrounding burrata cheese. You grab an artichoke and then put some cheese on it and down the hatch. I made quick work of these.
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Squash Blossoms: Beer battered squash blossoms served with a pesto sauce and an organic honey drizzle over the top. The squash are stuffed and fried and the stuffing has some paprika and cayenne pepper which ads color and flavor.
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Prosciutto and Melone Salad: Parma hame, cantaloupe, balsamic, and arugula. This one looked really good because the melon part really sounded interesting. So it came with cantaloupe and honeydew slices then on top of that was a healthy amount of Parma hame and that was topped with fresh Arugula. There was a bead of balsamic around the side
and this one just made it up into my favorite salads list.
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Carbonara Pizza: Provolone, house-made mozzarella, pancetta, asparagus, and two eggs. This was very tasty and it was my first time sampling a breakfast pizza. There were two eggs in the middle and when you cut into them, the yolk blends in with all the other ingredients. I was getting pretty full at this point so I mainly sampled the middle and
I did not get a chance to try the crust.
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Caprino E Carciofi which is a Wood Cast Iron Frittata. It has Pesto, baby artichokes, fingerling potatoes, mozzarella, and goat cheese. This dish is served with Brioche toast and strawberry jam. I usually don’t hit the dipping sauces to hard but the strawberry jam really mixed well with this dish.

This is a really cool spot on the Promenade and it is located right across from Dave Schneider Jewelry and next to Beachwood BBQ. Above the restaurant are loft apartments and it is all very new looking. This restaurant sits about 90 people. 45 people can sit outside and there is this really cool big firepit table that can probably sit 10 people. Inside can seat another 45 people and you can also sit at the bar which will put you up close to the cooking. The open kitchen concept is really cool and I love to see how things are created so I am totally on board with Michael’s. There are two more locations, one in Rancho Mirage and the other in Naples.
Written by Louie Baur

Big Bite Bacon Fest

I have never been to a bacon fest before and I have to say I was pretty excited. I went with the VIP option and I am glad that I went that route. The Vip ticket allowed you to enter at 11am which gave you one hour with other Vip’ers before the General Admission folks came in at 12pm.

I buzzed through and tried a bunch of different stuff and when the flood gates where opened at 12pm the place got really busy. With a belly full of bacon, I started to roam around and take a bunch of pictures and enjoy some craft beer. They split this event into two events and both of them were sold out. They had a lunch session from 12pm to 2:30pm and a dinner session from 4pm-7:30pm.

Here are some of the dishes that stood out for me:

B’B’B’ Bacon Burgers from Slaters 50-50: I have been to Slaters a few times and I have been impressed both times. This was no exception. They made huge 50/50 burgers and cut them into quarters. They were very filling vs some of the other things that I sampled. Eggs and Bacon on a burger, it doesn’t get any better than that!

Pork Chicharon In Bacon Fat: This was an amazing dish and this booth was slammed from the get go. They cooked their dishes along the side of the booth so you could check it out as you were standing in line which was a nice touch. A lot of vendors chose to cook behind their booths.

BLT Cup from Beachwood Brewing: This one was pretty interesting. They took regular salad and put that on top of tomatoe jello and bacon jello. When you mixed it all up it was the perfect BLT blend.

Chocolate Covered Bacon from Meat Inc: Meat Inc had 3 different dishes but I think I might of liked this one the best. The chocolate was cooked into the bacon grease which saturated it nicely. I did not expect to like it as much as I did.

Maple Bacon Dirty Ice: This was served at the Whole Food booth and was kind of like a dessert. This was one of the last things I tried and it was good way to end a day of bacon sampling.

Vermont Bacon Maple Bars: These were maple bars topped with bacon. It was a nice mixture and also fell into the dessert section.

After I was done with my bacon sampling I roamed around the Queen Mary a bit and actually took the World War 2 history tour and then I watched the girls from the Las Vegas Sin have a scrimmage against the Los Angeles Temptation and that was pretty fun to watch. It was out on the grass area right in the middle of it and a lot of people including myself have never seen them play and that was pretty fun.


Written by Louie Baur

Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que

Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que just opened up on the corner of PCH and 2nd street a few weeks ago so I grabbed Abigail and took her down there for date night. The parking lot was full be we were able to score a spot up front. When we walked in, there were a few people in line but we were greated and seated very quickly. My guess is that Lucille’s has been going full throttle since the day they opened and good for them!

After I sat Abigail down, I busted out my Dji Phantom and made the following video below. I have been flying this thing around for a few months now and it just occured to me that this was the first time I took it over PCH. I got some decent footage outside and now I really had an appetite so it was time for me to go inside.

We started things off with a couple of cocktails. I went with the Cucumber Lemonade which is a vodka based drink that has lemonade, mint and cucumber slices. It is one of those perfect for a hot day kind of drinks. Abigail went with the Spiced Berry Rita which is one of their tasty Margaritas. Lucille’s has a full bar and a cocktail menu so I am sure you will find something you like if you are in the mood for a cocktail.

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For starters we ordered the Southern Fried Dill Pickles and the Southern Fried Okra. We went with a half order on both of them because we had full meals right behind the starters. The pickles came in a creole mustard dipping sauce and ranch dressing. I was partial to the mustard dipping sauce my self. The appetizer that I really liked was the Fried Okra. This is not a dish I have very often and it was the bomb. They are little round fried morsels and they cooled down quicker than the pickles did. (I am all about efficiency:) They also came with a Creole mustard sauce and ranch dressing and again the mustard sauce was my sauce of preference for these little guys. They were very tasty and we finished all of them. I am going to need to find more place that serve okra cause it is not a normal California thing or if it is, I always seem to miss it.

For the main course, I had the Lucille’s Marinated Sirloin Steak. I ordered it medium rare and it melted in my mouth. Abigail took a break from the ribs on her plate and came over and grabbed a bit of mine. Boy do they know how to cook a good steak! It also came with vegetables and mashed potatoes but I hit the appetizers a little hard and I had some left over.

Abigail went with the Baby Back Ribs. She also went with the garlic mashed potatoes as her selection for a side dish and I did not hear a whole lot out of her except the sounds of good eating. I grabbed a few of the ribs and they were delicious. I have to admit that I am not much of a rib kind of a guy which is why I ordered the steak. I don’t know a whole lot about the ribs so all I can tell you is that the sauce was the bomb and they tasted great.

Justin was our server and he kept things moving for us. There was never a gap in time where I was sitting there thinking about the whereabouts of my server. The manager Doug Dickson came over and checked on us as well. Customer service is clearly a priority here especially when it is busy. Justin told me that the servers work as a team and different people will be coming out and bringing food and checking on drink refills and that is exactly what happened. What a great experience!


Written by Louie Baur

Big Red Bus Craft Beer Tour

I have not been on an organized beer tour before and I found an online deal to booze and cruise in the Big Red Bus and I snatched it up. The meeting point is the Auld Dubliner in Long Beach. We took off at noon but they want you to show up around 11:40 so we can just move on out of there.
I arrived about an hour early and I caught the tail end of the Netherlands / Costa Rica game so that was kind of cool. I had a few beers, busted out the drone and got some aerial shots and then James Dulac from the Big Red Bus showed up and started getting things ready.
It went very smoothly and we were on the bus and driving at noon. I would say there was probably 20 people with us. We were in an old school bus that had cool bench seating that looked like it came out of church or something. Very comfortable!

 

James gave us a breakdown of what we can expect as we go into the two breweries on the tour and then he offered us a beer that he had in the cool. We all grabbed a beer and we took the 710 freeway to the 405 Freeway because we were headed to the Monkish Brewery in Torrance.

Monkish was a trip and it did not look like a brewery at all from the outside. It was in an office park so it felt like I was making a trip to the doctors office lol. We filed off the bus and into the front area where we exchanged our blue tickets for tokens and we proceeded to taste 4 different beers. Personally I liked 3 out of the 4 that I tired but that is what it is all about right? We were at the brewery for about an hour and everybody had a good buzz. This is what the bus part is all about!
We hopped on the bus and then headed for the San Pedro Brewing Company. We were greated by a guy name James Brown who was very cool and animated and they hooked us up with a chicken taco buffet deal which everybody got into pretty heavily. This brewery did not have a tasting for us so we purchased the flight of beers at a discounted price which I belive was $8.50. After about a half hour or so, James took us downstairs and gave us a tour around of the basement and basically explained how beer is made. After the tour, I took out my Dji Phantom and got some footage of both the front of the brewery and the bus.

After about an hour here, we headed on back to the Auld Dubliner. A few of us stayed there and played Jenga and had another couple of beers before we parted ways. Overall this is a very fun trip and a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I am excited to see what other kinds of deals the Big Red Bus has to offer!

 

 

Written by Louie Baur

The Federal Bar

I came to the Federal Bar to check out the inside of it and to try one of their Moscow Mules. They are located way down Pine Avenue and typically you have to pay to park down there but I went to the free structure on 3rd and Pine which lets you park for free for 2 hours. I like this option much better!

So lets start off by talking about the building. I am pretty sure that it was a bank in its previous life so this place is huge! It is a great big open space with really cool ceilings and walls. As you walk in there is a bar to the right and then you walk through the dining area and there is another bar that is elevated in the back. You open a door which leads you to a hallway that has bathrooms and that is also how you gain access to the speakeasy that I have yet to check out.

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After I roamed around for about 10 minutes taking pictures with my iphone, I went up to the bar where I met Yonatan who hooked me up with a Moscow Mule. It was probably around 4:30 so I was able to get happy hour pricing which basically means you get $2 off craft cocktails. My mule was served to me in a normal glass and Yonatan explained to me that the copper glasses are reserved for people that go into the speakeasy that is located downstairs. That is how I found out about the speakeasy lol.

There is a cool little patio outside and Pine Avenue is a great place to people watch expecially if you can grab a seat on the sidewalk. I finished my Moscow Mule and headed on down to the next spot.

 

 

Written by Louie Baur

 

Alex's Bar

I was in the mood for a craft cocktail and I decided to settle on a Moscow Mule. It had Stoli Vodka, fresh key lime juice, Fever Tree Ginger Beer & mint. I know that Moscow Mules are entry level drinks when you are talking craft cocktails but I am kind of a noob as of June 2014 and I figured I had to start somewhere:)

Bradley was the bartender on duty and as it turns out, he follows me on twitter which was pretty cool. When I looked I was not following him back so I followed him and so should you. @beewalrus is his twitter name.

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Bradley told me that Alex’s bar was an early adopter of craft cocktails in Long Beach. He also said that they quit serving the mules in the cooper cups because people were ripping them off which is a different kind of problem.

Alex’s bar rocks and I have been here to see a few shows. Now I have a place to enjoy craft cocktails as well. We were watching a killer Bruce Lee movie called The Game Of Death and the locker scene was the bomb!


Written by Louie Baur

Pacific Wellness Center

Today I met Dr. Harold Iseke D.C He takes Aetna insurance and I have not have very good experiences with previous chiropractors so I am looking for somebody that can really fix me.

We started off with a consultation and I went through what’s going on with my surgery and the muscles and all that kind of stuff then he noticed that I have bad posture and explained what happens when you have bad posture. After the consultation he told me what he was going to do and we got to it. He pulled out this electric massager thing that was awesome. It really dug into the muscles and felt like a massage. Then he followed that up with another one that I have felt before. It feels kind of a like a soft belt sander and really loosens you up.

Then we did the adjustment part. I laid on my back, side and stomach and got some adjustments that I am familiar with. After that he took the activator to my neck but this was not that cheap one, this one is powered and I could really feel it. He really stretched my neck out and got that thing in there. I was starting to feel pretty good.

After I was done seeing the doctor they took me over to the electronic muscle stimulator room and put eight of those things on me some on my neck and shoulders and some on my lower back. The gal laid a warm blanket over it all and I think I passed out for a few minutes. Pretty darn comfortable!

After that I went for a ultrasound on my shoulders. They take this stuff that’s like icy hot and rub it on you and then move the ultrasound wand thing around on your for 10 minutes or so. The heat from the ultrasound felt good and the icy hot stuff felt good as well. Overall I am feeling pretty good right now. I hope that Harold Iseke is going to be my guy because I like him and he is introducing me to a different kind of therapy that seems to be working.


Written by Louie Baur