Review:Chef Z Austin BBQ Tour

When you think of Austin and Texas, the first thought that comes to mind is where do I get the best BBQ and maybe queso/tacos (😉). It’s a big conundrum — where to get the best BBQ? Well, we know someone who can help. Actually, we know someone who can take you on a BBQ TOUR. Yes, I said it, a real life “BBQ Tour”. If you want to try some of the best BBQ in Austin, look no further and take a tour with Chef Z Austin.

Chef Z Austin BBQ Tours will take you to three or four of the best BBQ spots in Austin ranging from a top five well known Austin BBQ spot to a hole in the wall secret gem. Not only will you try some of the best BBQ we have ever tasted, but you get to have a wonderful tour guide, who was a chef for over 20 years, who knows his Texas BBQ inside and out. His name is Ric, and he’s an amazing host, tour guide, and storyteller.

Now that  I’ve told you about this amazing BBQ tour which is a one of a kind experience. Let me tell you about some of the places we visited. 

 

First Stop: Leroy and Lewis

Not only is this started by a future, James Beard award winning pitmaster, this has a delicious twist to texas BBQ. I highly  recommend you try the smoked beef cheek. Yes, I said it. Beef Cheek. It is absolutely delicious, flavorful and mouth-watering that will make you want to wait in line again for seconds.  

Next, I would try whole hog pulled pork. As a self-proclaimed pulled pork lover, I’ve known some good pulled pork in my day. This takes the cake, and it’s so flavorful, and crunchy in an amazing way. Highly recommend!

The beans here are nice, but the grits are where it’s at. The perfect accompaniment to this meal, and something we’re craving right this minute. 

 

Second Stop:Brown’s Bar-B-Que

The brisket here was the best of the day (by far!). Perfectly cooked, beautifully presented, and the best we’ve ever had.

The turkey here is a great twist, as it was our only light meat of the day. :)=

The macaroni and cheese was HEAVENLY. Truly delicious, and in our opinion the best side dish to any BBQ feast.

Now, let’s talk Banana Pudding. This is so good, we got one to go. A lone vanilla wafer sits atop the pile of pudding, and we can’t describe how delicious it is. Craving this now, too!

Brisket, Turkey, Pork Ribs, Mac N Cheese, Banana Pudding, Potato Salad

 

Third Stop: Black’s BBQ

The best macaroni of the day, and a true Austin classic. The sausage stole the show meatwise, and the atmosphere was comfortable, inviting, and slightly touristy. This is Black’s BBQ, and this is Austin afterall! There’s a lot of out of towners, and this is a must see.

Fourth and Final Stop: Lula Mae’s

Angel, the owner here, is our new best friend. Full of joy and cooking skills, she delivers the best assortment of casual BBQ out there. Located in the back of a small market, Angel cooks up Turkey Legs, all of the usual Texas BBQ meats, and so many side dishes. Standouts were the ribs, green beans, and peach cobbler. Oh the peach cobbler! Freaking perfect. 

 

Lula Maes Brisket

P.S. The banana pudding was sensational too and worth a mention. 🙂

Banana Pudding

Best Restaurants in Westlake Village

Made in Italy

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This restaurant is Made for a trek out to Westlake. It’s worth it. I’ll put this on record: I’ll drive over an hour (and I’ll face traffic) for this pizza and pasta. The food is extraordinary, but the set up and feeling that you’ll get while eating here is why this restaurant tops this list. A communal watering hole, with shared tables, the most friendly owners, and a visibile kitchen. Get a simple Marg pizza and taste the freshness, delicate hand, and amazing crust. We’ll be back again and again, and we are in love with this concept and this food. 

The Landing

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Let the good times roll!

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Lakeview and oh so yummy. The sushi here is the real winner, and we love a lunch time bento box. Grab an iced tea, a bento box, and a few baskets of their amazing rolls to start (The butter is presented cutely with a little design in it- we love adorable butter!!). You’ll come for the view, but you’ll leave having had a super solid meal. 

Rustico

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North Ranch’s pride and joy. The menu is intimidating, but the staff is so friendly. If you’re a chicken parm and vodka sauce pasta kinda girl or guy (us), great. They’ll make it (and no it’s not on the menu). Anything you’re craving, can be done. And most importantly, done really well. Also, shoutout to the garlic knots- we love you. ❤

Lamppost Pizza

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Let’s talk old-school. Having grown up in the WLV, I can’t think of a soccer party, pizza party, or month that didn’t involve this amazing pizza. No frills, but somehow the best pizza I’ve ever ordered for delivery. This is NOT the artisanal LA pizza that we’ve come to know and love (@Roberta’s bee-sting). This is thick crust, parmesan that comes in packets, and stuffed animal games inside the restaurant dining. And to be honest, that’s why Lamppost is the best: comfort food, standing up on it’s own and hanging with the best of em. 

Cici’s

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Despite some funny encounters with the staff (@ the waitress that eye-rolled at my mom), we’re big fans of CiCi’s. This is gluttony with a capital G. Gluttony. Cookies and Cream ice cream pancakes, dessert covered waffles, and fucked up french toast. There’s a time and a place for CiCi’s, and the time for this is when you’re wearing your stretchiest pants. 

Brent’s Deli

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As tribe-members, we know deli. While this doesn’t hold a candle to our one true love, Agoura’s Famous Deli (located in Agoura so not allowed on this list), we are Brent’s regulars. The steak fries are the best in the business, everything feels authentic, it’s always PACKED, and the menu is as long as can be. We come here for comforting anything, and we come back because well… everyone else does! Kudos to Brent’s. 

Stonehaus

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The single most sceney place in Westlake. Prepare to run into at least 10 people you know, and prepare to not find a place to sit. Stonehaus as a concept makes sense, but Stonehaus in execution is extraordinary. The crows keep coming, and keep getting bigger. So, what does Stonehaus do? Expand expand expand! Valet to fix the parking lot issue, no wine flights on the weekends to fix the lines, and yet the lines will always be there. This is an institution, and we can’t come into town without a stop. The cheese plate will rock you. 

Onyx – Four Season Westlake

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When the Four Seasons remodeled (beautifully done we might add!), we were happy and sad. Happy for an update (#modern), but sad for Onyx. There is no better sushi in Westlake, or in this part of the world really. Every roll is excellent, the atmosphere is sexy and secluded, and you’re at the Four Seasons. That’s where we want to be, so this is convenient. We love you Onyx, like so so much. 

Mediterraneo

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The perfect casual, no-frills but still quite nice brunch. Adjacent to Stonehaus (Convenient), and packing a punch with the menu. All the egg dishes here are great, and nothing feels greasy or too contrived. That perfect balance that we so crave. 

Lakeview Garden

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If you know… you know. Lakeview Garden is the best chinese food I’ve ever had. There, I said it. I can’t describe the flavors. Think of your favorite dish, and then think of the best version you’ve had of it. Then, think of if all of the versions all lived under one roof. Enter, Lakeview freaking Garden, the hero of this list. Family owned, always crowded, and right in the heart of town. I’m drooling as I type this. 

 

Top 4 LQBTQ+ Owned Restaurants in Los Angeles, according to Opentable

The Derby

Arcadia

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Cooked to perfection🤤 Happy Hour from 3-7PM today ‼️

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Four words for you: Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon. Let that sync in. BACON WRAPPED FILET MIGNON! The Derby perfected entrees are the real stand out here, and we love the side dishes as well. Who doesn’t want Ahi Wontons or Crisp Calamari? In love with this menu.

 

Border Grill – Downtown LA

Downtown Los Angeles

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This restaurant (made famous from it’s Top Chef affilication) has the best tortillas I’ve ever had. Every dish here is innovative, healthish, and made with the best ingredients. The tacos are something special, and the drinks pair perfectly with every type of dish. We can’t get enough!

Tortilla Republic WeHo

West Hollywood

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A great sceney restaurant, located on one of the most prime WeHo blocks. We recommend a generous serving of the guacamole to start, and the enchiladas to follow. Seafood is best here, so shrimp everything please and thank you.


Taste on Melrose

West Hollywood

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What’s great here are the plethora of options. Are you vegan? Fine by them: there’s a menu for that! Are you a brunch lover? Perfect, this is what Taste does best. More of an indulgent dinner type? That’ll work: order Truffle Pizza or Sugar Snap Pasta. Everything at Taste is trendy, delicious, and crave worthy.

 

Best Sushi Spots on the Westside – Los Angeles

Katsuya

Brentwood

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Fact: everyone loves our Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice.

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This is where it’s at. If we have to pick one LA sushi restaurant, we’ll pick Katsuya again and again. The fish is so fresh, but then again so is the vibe. Dark, sexy, and perfect for all occasions. We love it for date night, for out of towners, and for family dinners. Start with the crispy rice, and make sure you take a pic. Beautifully plated, and here it all starts with the fish itself. The richest toro, the crispiest rice, and the best assortment. So, book a table, grab a friend, and pass the soy sauce.

Nobu Malibu

Malibu

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Make a Reservation – Call (310) 317-9140

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The view is why you’ll come, but let’s be honest instagram is why you’ll come back. Probably the most hyped restaurant in Malibu, but let’s not disrespect the food. The food is phenomenal! Everything is perfect for sharing, and don’t forget to get dessert. The mochi is unlike anything we’ve ever tried, and it pairs perfectly with a specialty cocktail or 7. 🙂

En Sushi

West Los Angeles

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Baked, raw, or both? 🍣

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Let’s talk cheap sushi. One of the scariest adjectives to describe my favorite cuisine, but in this instance your stomach is safe with us. We’ve had En Sushi maybe 20 times? And, no issues in that arena ever. This cheap sushi is cheap because this restaurant is packed, always. Not the fanciest, not the most amazing (me love you, Katsuya), but definitely great to have in the sushi rotation. A weekly dinner here is always a good idea, and happy hour doesn’t end until 7.

Noma Sushi

Santa Monica

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Enjoy your sushi at Noma Sushi

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One step up on the fancy scale than En Sushi, and slightly more delicious. When we think Noma we think tempura, and for good reason. Tons of unique options (we’re still talking about tempura), and great riceless rolls. The Hawaiian roll is cucumber wrapped, and though rice is our first love, sometimes one has to choose between rice and tempura. And at Noma, tempura wins every time.

Sugarfish

Marina Del Rey, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills

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Our one and only issue with Sugarfish: no reservations. Aside from that, this is a perfect dining experience. Curated menu options, and the Trust Me is our personal fave. You leave feeling satisfied, but also like you had a meal of high value and high return. You won’t feel stuffed, you won’t feel a dent in your wallet, but you will have indulged in high quality, well designed sushi. The blue crab hand roll is stupid good, and the same goes for the Toro. We love you Sugarfish, and we’ll love you more when you are bookable.

N/Naka

Culver City

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One of the hardest reservations to get in LA. The reservations only open up on Sunday’s at 10am for 3 months in advance for a split second (Make sure your internet connection is fast and your reflexes are on point).The experience is what you’re paying for. Sure there are top notch ingredients like sea urchin and uni, but the service is what’s truly unforgettable. After a dozen courses, you’ll get to know the server well. The chef will stop by at dessert if you’re lucky, and you can thank her yourself. The exterior of the building is unassuming, but the food presentation isn’t. Get ready to feast your eyes on true artwork, one plate at a time.

Sushi Tsujita

Sawtelle

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The alcohol selection is diverse, the sushi is fresh as all heck, and there’s a reason has a cult following. Interesting selections like gizzards might intimidate you (they intimidate me), and beloved toro are top choices here. We’re toro people, but you knew that. Anywho, grab a friend, some chop sticks, a shitton of sake, and make a resy.

Hamasaku

West Los Angeles

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🍣 🍣 🍣

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Let’s get right to it. Here’s what you need to order: start with the edamame and grilled tofu. Then the toro carpaccio (which is as amazing as it sounds). If you’re hungry, add the albacore crispy onion here too. Get at least one black cod per person, and finish the meal off with pork belly. Gluttonous, sure. Worth every bite and penny? Yes and yes.

KazuNori

Santa Monica, Westwood

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Holy handroll. KazuNori is sugarfish, with a twist. Overordering is key here, as handrolls are easy to inhale. Our favorites are the tuna and the crab, but that’s true of any sushi we try. 🙂 Great as a dine-in experience, a casual lunch or dinner, and as a healthish option.

Review: Michaels Sports Pub and Grill

Review: Michaels Sports Pub and Grill

Price Range: Under $30

Takes Reservations: No

Order Online: DoorDash

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Online Reviews:

Google Reviews: 4.2/5 ⭐’s

Yelp Rating: 3.5/5 ⭐’s

Facebook: 4.1/5 ⭐’s

Reservations Guy Review:

89% (B+)

NFL Sunday, College Gameday, Saturday Night Partying, Karaoke Night, Family Dinner, Birthday Party? Michael’s Sports Bar has got you. We love places that are neighborhood gems, and Michael’s is the perfect example of a beloved restaurant that will have you coming back again and again. Other sports bars don’t hold a candle to the vibe at Michaels, and not to mention the food is the best in the area.

There is a reason Michael’s Sport Bar has been open for over 20 years, it’s not just a place to watch sports, drink, and it’s not just about  the award winning wings . It’s a place where you can feel the passion the owner, Michael, and everyone who works there puts into making sure everyone leaves having had a great time.

Now, let’s talk about the food. Not only do they have award winning wings, their pizza is a real star. So many choices to choose from, and over-ordering is something we encourage. 🙂

Food Overview

Loaded Fries

These are the fries we live for. The sour cream is essential to making this already creamy dish overflow with flavor. The cheese is perfect — just the right amount, and a wonderful consistency that leaves you craving more. The bacon is chopped finely, dispersed generously, and distributed carefully. And the chives add color and veggies. These are a fun meal for one, and a great appetizer for the table.

Wings

Michael's Sports Bar Wings

There is a reason they are award winning wings. The favorite is the buffalo wings, but since my stomach’s weak when it comes to spiciness – I opted in for the Garlic Parmesan and Sweet Chili. The sweet chili were my favorite. The perfect blend of sweet and savory sauces on top of a meat bone. Don’t forget about the ranch. The ranch is something special. If I wasn’t judged . I would drink it.

Pizza

Michael's Sports Bar Pizza

When we think sports bar we don’t think pizza. We’ll we were wrong. Michael’s pizza is essential to every order, and the ranch that accompanies it is drinkable. We can’t get enough of this ranch. We digress, but basically the pizza has the perfect crust, generous toppings, bold flavors, and isn’t greasy. We’re in love.

Must Try Cake Locations in Los Angeles

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Mastro’s 

Multiple Locations – My Favorite: Malibu

One word: butter. Perhaps taboo in LA’s health crazed culture, but not in these parts of the interweb. Butter and cake go together like peas and carrots. It’s like, let’s take two of the most scrumptious, rich, crave-inducing foods and let’s pair that shit up. Hot tip: when getting this takeout (we’ve tried it, you should too) make sure to NUKE it. We plated the cake, it looked like we were seated in the Mastro’s main dining room, took our insta pic, and then dug in… only to find that butter needs to be melted! The more you know #microveavablemastros

R and D Kitchen

Santa Monica

Hear us out on this one. Carrot cake, though controversial, is a gift. A gift to us all. If carrot cake isn’t your favorite type of cake, we understand. If carrot cake isn’t in your cake top 5 list, please click the red circle at the top of this browser. Now that we’ve made sure we’re talking to the carrot cake crew, let us break it down. The raisins! The frosting! The layers. The fact that this isn’t a cinnamon show and that carrots peak through every forkful, and the fact that this is at a restaurant and not a bakery just shocks us. We are in love, we will wait in line, but this is reservationsguy, so we’d rather not have to.

Sweet Lady Jane

Multiple Locations – My Favorite:Santa Monica

Berry cake. Healthy (right?), refreshing, and creamy as all heck. You can’t beat this take on this flavor combo, and the atmosphere is prime for a cakedown. Grab a pot of tea, a friend, at least a slice per person, and prepare for a berry good time.

Hillcrest Country Club

West Los Angeles

The hardest reservation on this blog, but find a way in and thank us after. Let’s talk COCONUT CAKE. We love it, you love it, but it’s so hard to do. Do we want to have cake that tastes like sunscreen? No. Do we want cake that tastes like pineapple? Hard no. Do we want un-pinappley coconut cake that is rich as can be, layered ever so precisely, and positively poppin with flakes, frosting, and moisture (sorry, trigger word). YES.

Susie Cakes

Multiple Locations

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Celebrate with Celebration🤩 | 📸: @saltnsprinkles

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Funfetti oo na na. Party on at Susie Cakes, and embrace the fact that this is a chain. In Marina Del Rey and having dinner alone? Susie Cakes. In Calabasas and on your way to a family get together? Susie Cakes. In Brentwood post Soul Cycle? EarthBar. Oops, we digress. Anywho, Susie cakes is where it’s at for mainstream flavors, cute decoration, and it just feels very LA. Caveat, if you grab a slice instead of a whole cake, dryness may occur. So, cupcakes or whole-cakes only.

Catch

West Hollywood

Hit me with your best cakes! This place is for Instagram. We all have Instagram, so bring your phone and your sweet tooth. Things to mention: it looks too chocolatey, but it’s not. It looks like your average chocolate cake, it’s not. It looks like it could feed four, it won’t. We are all about this, and as non-chocoholics, this ranks high on this list. Like top 3, but this definitely takes the #1 spot for creativity and presentation. Hit me!

Milk Bar

West Hollywood

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Family portrait 2k19

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MY FAVORITE CAKE I’VE TRIED (Period). This cake screams PARTY TIME. It’s called Birthday Cake for a reason aka celebration in your mouth. The perfect mixture of crumbs, cake, and frosting that will leave you in awe. Not only does it taste delicious, it looks like food art. If you love funfetti, sprinkles, surprises, and cake, then look no further. Your birthday could be any day when you have this cake. Happy Birthday to you!

Review: Homestate

Price Range: Under $10

Takes Reservations: No

Order Online: ChowNow

Online Reviews:

Yelp Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐’s

Infatuation Rating: 8.3/10

Google Reviews: 4.6/5 ⭐’s

Reservations Guy Review:

91% (A-)

Homestate is where the heart of Texas is – and breakfast tacos. Homestate hands down has the best Tex-Mex food in LA. Infatuation also agrees. Get the queso, and dunk everything in it. Dunk your chips, your tacos, or hands, whatever. Just get the queso and enjoy every drop.

One thing to note: the Potato taco is HOT. Like sizzling hot. These jalapenos pack a bigger punch than the average, and you need to brace yourself. Good news though- queso acts a nice cooling fessle to balance your taste buds.

The frito pie is fun, though maybe not an every time type of dish. The black bean tacos, however, are a need to get (add avocado!) each and every visit.

Now let’s talk breakfast meats. The brisket is where it’s at. Like don’t get us wrong, we are bacon lovers. But this brisket? Out of this world! It’s so good that when we think Homestate, we think brisket. Actually, we think queso and then brisket but we digress.

Vegetarians will love the queso, carnivores will love the brisket (And bacon), and everyone will love the vibe.

California casual, friendly service, available for online order, and right next to Blue Bottle. Breakfast tacos and an overpriced latte? Welcome to the coolest corner in Playa Vista.

Homestate proves the point that Tacos should be a choice for any meal of the day – especially breakfast or if it’s Sunday, brunch.

If you have ever been to Texas, you know they are known for their TexMex and Breakfast Tacos. If you haven’t been to Texas, you just have to go to Homestate now. More convenient, right?

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