Monthly Archives: September 2012


Sometimes you’re driving around and take a wrong turn and you’re lost.  And sometimes you take a wrong turn and are found.  The Monster took a wrong turn right into Mariscos Maria’s Restaurant.

It’s kitschy ugly on West Adams, with a menu of mariscos and traditional Mexican specialties.  It’s The Monster, Televisa and one very stubborn fly on this day.  That gives him time to admire the mural on the wall.  It’s a mermaid holding what looks like a Michelada, a dolphin wearing a sailing hat and an octopus drinking Corona.  It’s awesome in its horribleness.  Or maybe it’s just horrible.  You decide.

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There’s an old school jukebox, there’s a painting of Jesus, there’s two televisions blaring different channels simultaneously, and there is a giant marlin hanging on the wall.  This is Jesse’s Camarones Restaurant.  It is awesome.

A cash only joint on West Adams, this is an old school seafood haven with a limited but fantastic menu of delights.

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Last meal for The Monster on the Lima one day eating express is Central.  This hip bar and sophisticated restaurant hidden behind a door with no sign attracts the crème de la crème of Lima and an international clientele.  An argument can be made it is the number one restaurant in the city at the moment.

It’s a beautiful room filled with even more beautiful people. Glancing at the menu this may be an all-time classic, it’s both accessible and innovative and filled with Monster favorites.  As Nina Simone croons, the last (okay, there may be one or two more) Peruvian cocktails is happily coiffed.

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Filed under Central (Lima Peru), Reviews


On a ten hour, three meal crash course through gastronomic hot-spot Lima, The Monster must stop at Astrid Y Gaston, checking in as the world’s thirty-fifth best restaurant according to San Pellegrino’s list of fifty best.

In the burgeoning Miraflores section of Lima, this is a pescatorian’s delight. The room is both contemporary and classic, the service polished, the menu a stunning dream of creativity.

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1) Famed Los Angeles Chefs Kris Tominaga and Brian Dunsmoor of white-hot Abbot Kinney pop-up restaurant, Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, join October 3 Snyder Diamond Farmer of the Year Awards celebration at Santa Monica Farmers Market.

Tominaga and Dunsmoor will be partnering with the three winning farmers to prepare unique recipes inspired by the vendors’ locally-grown food stuffs, which will be available for sale.

Kris Tominaga and Brian Dunsmoor, known for offering locally sourced rustic country-style food in the heart of Venice, will be debuting their next culinary endeavor, The Hart and the Hunter Restaurant at the Palihotel Melrose in WeHo. The menu, like the dishes they prepare on Wednesday October 3 with the farmers, will offer a hearty and fresh-produce-centric menu emphasizing artisanal products, small growers and farmers, and seasonality.

When: Wednesday October 3

Where: At the tent at 3rd Street Promenade and Arizona Ave

Schedule of events:

10 to 10:30am – Farmer of the Year Awards Presentation

10:30am to 1pm – Live cooking demo with delicious lunch items available using produce by winning farmers

Find out more about the Farmer of the Year Awards:

2) In honor of the Chuck Jones Centennial, Five Crowns, a member of the Lawry’s family of restaurants, and Executive Chef Greg Harrison will offer restaurant guests a special dessert featuring champagne and carrot cake for $15, plus tax and tip.  Jones is the legendary artist who brought to life such famous cartoon characters as Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Marvin the Martian, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, Pepé le Pew, Marc Anthony, Dr. Suess’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, and many others. Jones was a long time patron of Five Crowns and even befriended the restaurant’s guest Ambassador, Tommy Martin. 100% of all proceeds from the dessert, which will be offered until October 21, will be donated to the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity in Costa Mesa and its mission to reignite the creative spirit through art classes, exhibition, lectures, film festivals and more.

Jones, whose credits include four Academy Award-winning short films, directed over 300 films in his lifetime, including “Rabbit Seasoning?”, “Robin Hood Daffy”, and “Feed the Kitty”. In 1992, his “What’s Opera, Doc?” was the first short animated film to be inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. The centennial of the artist’s birth will feature the Chuck Jones Centennial Celebration Film Festival, which will run from Friday, September 21, 2012 at 8:00pm to Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 1:30am at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA.

3) It all started when a professional Austrian tennis player, Spin Mlynarik, met a beautiful American woman, Robin, at a tennis tournament. They soon fell in love, Spin left his tennis career, and moved to Los Angeles from Vienna to marry the love of his life. Spin soon learned that his wife has an insatiable sweet tooth for a well-known American ice cream chain. Upon learning this, Spin vowed to take his wife to Europe and introduce her to authentic gelato, a trip that would change both of their lives forever.

Robin completely fell in love with gelato during their trip (at one point they stopped into a gelateria 4 times in one day). Robin said, “We HAVE to have this in the United States. They don’t know what they’re missing!” Spin took this statement to heart and walked right into the most prestigious, award-winning gelato shop and said, “I need to learn this. I want to bring this gelato to America. Will you train me?” From then on, Spin went back and forth from LA to Europe to learn everything there is to know about making gelato from Gelato Master & Chef, Danielle Gabutto.

He brought back secret recipes, top of the line machines, and European techniques that you won’t find anywhere in the United States, and opened My Vienna in Beverly Hills. Now My Vienna serves up some of the most innovative and unique gelato flavors in the country, including their signature Nocciolone.

Now that Spin has successfully satiated his sweetheart’s craving for quality frozen dessert, he is eager to share his unique sweet treats with the City of Angels.

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You want a great meal?

One to dream about again.

La Mar, ceviche!

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Filed under La Mar (Lima Peru), Reviews


Kitschy, cozy, warm.

Long day at Machu Picchu…

Time to have a drink!

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Filed under Indio Feliz (Agua Calientes Peru), Reviews


Huayoccari Hacienda at Casa Oriheula gives off the beaten path new meaning.  Off the main road, off a secondary road, onto a dirt and rock strewn path wending between tall trees and a gurgling stream is this completely hidden gem.  It is beauty where one last expects it.

And it is breath-taking.  It is splendor and opulence but never at the expense of the valley’s natural beauty.  It is truly one of the more unique and stunning restaurant locations The Monster has ever had the pleasure of dining at.

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Filed under Huayoccari Hacienda at Casa Oriheula (Urubamba Peru), Reviews


The last of The Monster’s meals in Cusco, Cicciolina is a second story (the balconies of Peru, indeed) Peruvian tapas restaurant in a beautiful red hued setting.  The rich woods, candlelight, and upscale crowd make this a spot that would be equally at home in Los Angeles.

The Monster is bone tired.  May in fact nap at the table.  In lieu of witticisms and verbose prose, herewith is the damage done…

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Tucked away in a sun drenched courtyard (when the sun shines 11,000 feet up) is Pacha Papa, a neighborly spot of picnic benches, snappy music and Peruvian specialties found no where else.

Four hours of hiking and The Monster believes he still has feet, just can’t feel them.  A stiff drink and a little food will most certainly help.

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Filed under Pacha Papa (Cusco Peru), Reviews