Author Archives: Mikey

About Mikey

The 70's brought us many wonderful things. Star Wars, shag carpet, the Bee Gee's, the Brady Bunch, and most important his royal largeness Mikey. Delivered to us in the middle of the night on a bed of twinkies from the gods of cakes and pies. Mikey has been a Ventura County resident for close to 16 years now. He took an oath to bring down the establishment, fight the power, and deliver man-kind from evil. He of course put that all on hold for awhile in order to bring you the best in food reviews from all around California and especially from Ventura County. So food establishments beware, he is coming to your restaurant with his face of fury, you better serve it hot and there better be some gravy on it!

Mikey Eats Authentic Lebanese

So, with a wounded back, I laid on the couch watching Deadliest Warrior re-runs and pondering if a Ninja really could beat a Spartan.  After seeing the evidence, it was clear and I was damn hungry and unable to go anywhere.  Long ago, I hurt myself stopping a greyhound bus from blowing up.  See, if the bus went over 50mph it would explode and if it went under 50mph it would explode.  So I had to get to work, jump some freeway gaps, do a few tricks with the camera and then get all the people off the bus. Anyway, I hurt my back while doing a double take at how Keanu Reeves became a popular actor.  So I’m laying here and since I had a friend coming over I begged and pleaded for her to bring me something to eat.  I actually didn’t have to beg all that much.  She’s really nice.  So she brought me food from…..wait for it……wait for it….. Jabal Lebnan.

Jabal Lebnan – On Sunland Blvd in Sun Valley

So this was my first taste of Lebanese food.   I was excited.   My friend brought me Beef Shawarma, rice, the house salad, garlic sauce, and hummus.  I also got to try the falafel, fresh pita bread, and some of their chicken.  I love throwing everything in a pita and eating it like a taco.  You can easily do it with this stuff and it’s really good.  I loved the flavor in the beef.  Though it was a little drier than I normally like it, it was still very good.  I know almost nothing about middle eastern cuisine so it was a real education for me.  I was trying to pick things out and garlic was very prevalent along with lemon juice and maybe some allspice.  There was a sauce to try and it tasted like it was yogurt-based.  It was also very good.  I loved the long rice and the veggies too.

Sorry just a menu this time

The falafel was not for me.  I’ve heard that they are very popular and I say have fun.  I’d rather get in a falafel ball fight with them.  I’d love to get a gun that could shoot them. I guess I’m just not into hard crunchy fava beans and chickpeas.

I’ve had hummus before at a couple Greek places and theirs was pretty good.  It seemed to have all the basics: garbanzo beans, parsley, lemon juice, tahini.  It was good. But just like mashed potatoes here, I imagine if you can’t make hummus over there then you need to move to New York and live with Zohan.  So Lets Go!

Just a side note: tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds.  The seeds are hulled and roasted.  This stuff is big apparently (not Oprah final episode big, but at least American Idol Big).

From the look of the menu they have plenty of dishes, a wide range of prices, and they even do the Hookah thing.  I’m a cigar man myself, but if you people enjoy it, Hookah yourself crazy.

For those of you who are really into Mediterranean, middle eastern, and cuisine from that part of the world, hopefully you can give some more insight.  The only thing I can do is tell you I liked it.  I’d go there for sure, and I would love to try some other dishes minus the falafel.  I think they buy their pita bread rather than make it, so maybe someone else who has been there can confirm that for me.

If you’re in the area and want to experiment give Jabal Lebnan a try.  Maybe my friend Bernadette can give you some more insight on the customer service, because this was simply delivery for me.  It was brought right to me with a smile and it allowed me to contemplate why Keanu Reeves is still getting work.

Thanks again to Bernadette for bringing me dinner (and great customer service).  I’m hopin’ she becomes our sideline reporter for EMC so we can really start widening our turf.

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Kitchen Nightmares – Oceana in New Orleans

Here we are at the season finale of Kitchen Nightmares which of course for me is a bummer because I love this show and EMC are huge fans of Gordon Ramsey. Luckily though we go from Kitchen Nightmares right into Master Chef. We did not get a chance to review the first season of Master Chef last year so I’m looking forward to it this year. In addition I have a few more episodes of Kitchen Nightmares to throw on here as my dvr had mono for a couple weeks and did not record some of my shows. Grab a beer and your favorite crawdad and lets head to New Orleans to Oceana.

Oceana – New Orleans

Last week was twins, this week we got just plain brothers. Don’t worry folks these brothers are not only brining back the George Michael stubble look but they are also crazier than our main man Charlie Sheen. Sorry Charlie we had to throw you in the mix at some point. We also have a red cheeked angry head chef thrown into the mix creating a wonderful red cheeked, gold chained, stubbly, greasy haired anger tornado. Good luck Gordon!

The Ocean located on Bourbon St making it prime stop for tourist and locals. Owned by brothers Moe and Rami who bought it from their father they spend wonderful New Orleans afternoons yelling at each other, the staff, the tourists, the dogs, the Levies, the street lamps, and the food. I seriously can’t understand how they have a staff. There has got to be a better job than this place. I’d rather be a Wall mart greeter. I’d rather be in a Nicolas Cage movie. Hell, I’d rather be the guy who hoses down the streets after Mardi Gras than work for these guys. What’s really great is that the only things that aren’t angry in this place are the cock roaches and the rats that are living off the fact these guys can’t clean to save there angry lives. Continue reading

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Kitchen Nightmares – Capri in Eagle Rock

Gordon visit’s a double nightmare at Capri in Eagle Rock, Ca. Why is it a double nightmare? The owners are twins. Unfortunately for us and Gordon they are identical twins. You know already we are going to be forced to endure twin jokes, trading names, acting like each other, etc, etc.  The best twin humor however will be dealt of course by Gordon.  We will have twin insults, twins yelling and most important in any kitchen nightmare, twins crying.  So on to Capri in Eagle Rock.

Right away Jeff and Jim started us off with the lame twin humor. “You’re Jim.”  “No, I’m Jim.”  Then we, of course, need to speak in chorus.  I already want to beat them with a soggy loaf of bread.  So these guys had been going to Capri and loved it so much they decided to buy it.  Anyone who watches Gordon take on these projects knows these are the worst kind of owners.  They are clueless, lazy, and lazy.  Yeah I know I said it twice.  After all, they are twins and are twice the amount of lazy.  Luckily their staff respects them and showers them with praise.  Just kidding.  They basically say that they are lazy, immature, sloppy, loud, and can’t cook. Other than that they are fantastic.  Continue reading

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Getting my fish on at Lure Fish House

Half of EMC headed out to Camarillo for some seafood and he brought his mom along to get in on some extra food and because that way I don’t look so lonely eating at places by myself so much.  Now I know what you’re thinking. “Mikey you have a mother? You’re telling us you weren’t hatched in some government lab? “

Yep it’s true.  I have a mom and she’s the best mom in the whole entire world.  Now I know you’re saying to yourself, “Yeah she might be great but my mom’s way better.”

I’m sorry to break down your walls of illusion but all mothers pale in comparison to mine.  Not only is she the best mom since the dawn of man, but she is also a great person to bring along for a great fish dinner.  We originally wanted to hit up a new Mexican joint down on Ventura Blvd, but it was closed so she suggested Lures after having been there a few weeks ago.

Lure Fishhouse – Camarillo

Lure is your top of the line modern seafood restaurant.  It’s got that steakhouse Outback, Wood Ranch kinda feel except with fish.  It’s a huge place so it is perfect for your big party get-togethers, but a little more difficult for one on one dinners. Being that it’s large and open, its hard to hear who you are talking to and you pretty much hear everyone around you.  Very clean, very modern, and very open.

The staff are all very nice without being too Disney and our waiter was very customer service oriented. He was ready and willing to answer questions which with my mom is a must ’cause she has more questions than Trivial Pursuit (the deluxe edition that comes with 5 thousand more questions). The menu is simple and has plenty of dishes. There is a great variety of appetizers and entrees. They even list dishes that show which meals use fish that were not farmed or caught in mass fishery nets run by the man.

They also cook with some of our local fish caught right here in Ventura waters. They have a few entrees using our local rock cod which I think I’ll try next time.  Having caught it and cooked it myself, I’d love to see if it’s better than mine. Continue reading

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Kitchen Nightmares: La Frite

Gordon hits Ventura Blvd to take on La Frite, a french restaurant in the Valley.  38 years after La Frite was opened,
the owner is now trying to pass it on to his kids who get along as well as me and big words.  From what we learn
at the beginning, the son feels like he should be sitting in the driver’s seat running the joint and the daughter has no business being there.  It seems pretty much nobody wants the daughter there.

Continue reading

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Back with the Fast Food Round-up!

We are back. After what I think has been almost a year, we are back. At least my half will be. Brian’s half will depend on Brian. He is a busy boy trying to help Obama get his budget approved and working on a cure for Voltronioliosis.  It’s a disease affecting most middle aged guys who were big fan of the 80’s cartoon Voltron.  Every now and then they attempt to call the lions, to form up Voltron, to fight the forces of evil.  Most will contort into the shape of a lion and pretend to leave the volcano and join their brethren, yelling at the top of their lungs, ”And I’ll form the head!”.  It’s never the Voltron that was formed by the cars and planes because that Voltron was just stupid.  You’re either down with lion Voltron, or you may just be a communist.  Anyway enough Voltron, lets get into some food.

We will be doing some updates to the bios and such as both of us have undergone a few changes, mostly involving our places of residence or occupation.  I finally found a way to organize the week in order to continue the quest to sort the garbage from the great food and to also watch our favorite TV shows.  It will probably be mostly me for a little while, but B will chime in where he can.

 I’m starting our come back with a new blog I’m gonna call the Fast Food Round-up.  I love trying the new things that these joints come out with.  Always searching to top each other the Carls Jrs, Jack n the box, Taco Bells, and McDonalds of the world are always fighting it out with millions of marketing dollars.  So a couple times a week, or as often as new things come out, I will try them out and maybe save you a trip to the white throne.  As always here at EMC we are willing to take the fast food bullet for you cause well…….we love ya!

FAST FOOD SHRIMP?

Fast food very rarely goes the way of fish. The fillet o’ fish at McDonalds has been probably the one and only regular fish menu item from a straight fast food place.  We are not talking about the fish fast food places that deal with fish. The long John Silvers and Sonics and any fish and chip fast food places aren’t included in what I’m putting together.  I’m talking the big places like the golden arches, Wendy’s, Carls Jr, the Box, Taco Bell and Del Taco.  For this particular round up we are talking shrimp and the recent shrimp tacos at Del Taco and Taco Bell.  I’ve had both now and, as you probably guessed already, they are not great.  The surprise though was that they were better than I thought they’d be.  Would I buy them again? No.  I think I’d rather be in charge of living arrangements for the homeless people in the Ventura river bed. 

Shrimp in itself, at least to me, is an easy ingredient to make fantastic.  But if not done right, is also one of the most bland and flavorless of those that live underneath the depths. The great thing about the tacos at both DT and TB is that you can make them.  Go to your local store, get a bag of those tiny frozen shrimp, thaw them, put them on a tortilla with some cheese cabbage and tomatoes and then stick the whole thing in the microwave.  Fish is not meant to be a fast food.  I know it, you know it, your mom knows it.  Unfortunately nobody is telling the big-wigs or the small-wigs down at the big taco joints.  These bland, limp tacos are being pushed on the public and all we can do is order something different. On a good note, I do really like that Taco Bell is getting crazy with the sauces.  Their verde sauce is actually pretty good.  I always get extra in case I make a quick quesadilla at home.  It’s a great sauce.  The fire roasted sauce is not all that great, but I like that they are trying.  Sauce is everything in food, especially when your product is frozen then re-heated.

Carls Jr Turkey Burger

The fight to make fast food healthy continues at Carls Jr where they introduced their very own Turkey burger.  I understand the desire to make it healthy, but I think everyone needs to really ask what they are pushing.  McDonalds has really been trying to push the healthy stuff too.   Their oatmeal, which if you had it you’d know, might cause the president of McDonalds to be assassinated by the ghost of the Quaker.  Serve apples instead of fries, have juice available, but beyond that you’re just asking for trouble. The turkey burger I had at Carls Jr was dryer than a Maytag.  Maybe you’ve had a better one, but it was actually removing every bit of moisture from my mouth.  The other weird thing was the flavor of the bun.  It was odd.  It was wheat, but not.  It was kinda like it wanted to be wheat, so it dressed in a wheat shirt, but it tasted like wonder bread.  I’m hoping it was just the Carls Jr I went to.  I’m actually gonna try this one again because I wanna like it.  As someone who is dropping weight, but on the run a lot, I want healthy alternatives.  I’m just not sure its going to be from the star.

More to come later this week as we review the start of Deadliest catch, get back into Kitchen Nightmares, and dig into some Man Vs food. Also we’ll have some new places to eat and we will see what B can give us from San Diego.

It’s great to be back boys and girls.  Where have you been eating?  Send us some places you want us to check out!
Mikey

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Kitchen Nightmares – Cho Me Some Respect!

Mojitos

Hey guys and gals, EMC is back on track reviewing the best and worst food in Cali and the best and worst of the food shows on TV.  B and I took a much needed break and are back in action, doing our part to inform, and make you giggle like a little school girl.

We are jumping into Kitchen Nightmares with our pal Gordon Ramsey and are starting off with Gordon trying to help a Cuban restaurant in Brooklyn owned by a couple who are no longer able to tolerate each other’s existence.  They split up years ago but kept ownership of their restaurant as partners. Sort of… Continue reading

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