Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Location: 1534 S Harbor Blvd, Anaheim, CA

Website: http://www.thepizzapress.com

On our way in to our hotel, we passed this place.  It was, of course, Braeden who suggested we try it out.  After all, it is pizza and what does he love more than that? I didn’t mind since I hadn’t had pizza in a while, but more importantly, I was starving and any food sounded good to me.

We walked in at around 8pm local time and found it to still be quite bustling.  On the door, the hours stated that the place was open until 1am, one hour after the Disney Park closed, a perfect time and place to satiate any late night cravings.  From our vantage point, it was hard to see any details about the pizzas they had on their menu.  Luckily, they had smaller menus on double sided cards for us to peruse.  “The Herald” caught my attention right away.  It was the only pizza on the menu with a white sauce.  It also helped that there were onions and mushrooms on it, two of my favourite pizza toppings; I was sold. Despite not liking tomatoes on my pizza, with the exception of the actual tomato sauce, I decided to go with the pizza as is since that combination was chosen by the chef, I would give it a try first before changing anything because who knew, maybe I would end up liking it.  Braeden stuck to his familiar Hawaiian pizza, only here it was called The Sun and had bacon on it.  Honestly, before I could have cared less for bacon, but recently, after having fried up some pretty good maple bacon, I’m warming up to it.  The great thing about this place is that every pizza is customizable.  It’s clear that the chefs here take a lot of pride and care in what they do.  One in particular, I’m sorry I didn’t catch his name, asked each and every customer about his or her day.  It’s small things like that that make a place special.  Now I’m not saying that it’s not done at other places, but as this had a more fast food feel to it, it seemed different.  Like they actually cared.  He actually asked for details not like many other places where people ask as an automatic opener.

However, what struck me first was the way the place was setup.  Or rather, the theme that the place had.  I suppose the fact that it was called The Pizza PRESS should’ve clued me in.  The place is setup like a newspaper press.  The titles of the pizzas are related to common suffixes added to newspaper titles (ex. The Calgary Herald, The Calgary Sun, The Alberta Gazette, etc.).  Each step we had to take from ordering our pizza to customizing it to paying for it had a different “label” assigned that corresponded with some part of the editing/publishing process.  But what got me the most excited was the fact that there was a typewriter on display right on the counter.  And if I remember correctly, it was right between the two cash registers.

Since it was late, we opted to take the pizzas back tot the hotel to enjoy.  Since it was only a short walk from our hotel, the pizzas didn’t have a chance to get cold.  One bite and I was in love.  I remember thinking and saying to Braeden, “this is how [thin crust] pizza should be.”  The pizza here was vaguely reminiscent of the ones I had in Italy, only that the ones in Italy were more burnt and had less toppings.

Would I recommend coming here? Absolutely.  Would I come back here?  You bet.  The staff were friendly, the food was great, I didn’t have to wait long for my pizza.  They even have beer on tap (not that I drink beer, but it’s still pretty cool since beer and pizza are a classic pairing).  Of the many pizzas I’ve eaten, I have to say this place ranks in the top tiers.  Though it’s not my favourite food, I would still rate this place a 3.75/5.  I can’t say I’d give it a higher rating until I had the chance to dine in.  I guess there is only one bad thing I can say about this place, I can’t stop eating. It’s that good.

You are the company you keep
You are the stories you read
The movies you watch
The songs you sing

You are the sports you play
The teams you cheer on
The stories you tell
And the people you love

You cannot escape from who you’ve become
You are a better person because of it
But also worse

You are the company you keep
And they’re not the kinds of people I would call nice
They’re not the kind of people who I would ever befriend
They are loud, obnoxious
And possess qualities I abhor

I may not be able to describe in detail
That which repels me
But I know to trust my gut
To go with my heart
And these are not people I would dare to befriend

We are very different people
You and I
We have our vices
And our flaws

They have become a part of you
And I can’t take that away from you
Either I learn to live with the anger and hatred that comes with being in their presence
Or I break my own heart
By saying good bye
To the one person who I love more than my own life
Who has become the sun by which my world revolves
Extinguished

He left her there
Crying in the hotel room
To party with his pals

He left her crying
To go drinking
Because he couldn’t deal with her

Even in his embrace
In his kiss goodbye
He didn’t care how hurt and broken her heart had become
He had no love
No affection
No emotion
Left for her

She was a burden
But he had poured in so much time
So much money
That to leave
Was much worse than putting up with her

She lay there while he
Gambled away their future
Drank away their dreams
Becoming more and more hollow
Cold
And distant

When his head cleared
When he realized her words had merit
That behind her tears and vulnerability
Was true love
He didn’t rush up to meet her
He didn’t call or text her

Instead he let her think
He let her wallow in sorrow and self-pity
He let her worry about her insecurities
What was she to him?
Who was she?
Did it matter if she lived or died?

She knew now
That the world would be a better place
That he would be a better man
Without her

No one would miss her
She was sure
She could be replaced

After all
She was just a vessel
To carry a child
What did it matter?
It could be anyone

It had just been fate
Convenience
That threw them together

She loved him
She knew that much
But he didn’t love her
For who could love a nobody
An insecure, bat-shit crazy girl like her?

_______________________

He returned to their room
After drinks and sex
Why couldn’t she be like those easy girls?
Why couldn’t she just give in to his desires?

He glanced at her sleeping form
Shrugging and disappearing into the bathroom

He felt good
And why wouldn’t he?
He hummed to himself
Cleaning up before climbing into bed next to her

But something felt wrong
Something felt strange

He flicked on the lights to find nothing but a bundle of clothes
His heart filled with dread as he called out for her
She didn’t respond
She couldn’t
Not anymore

He found her lying in the bathtub
Still as could be
Pale as the moonlight
Her breath shallow
She lay there drowning in her own blood
Barely aware of his presence

Still
She knew he was there
She knew she had finally proven her courage to do what she had just done
She smiled
One last time
One last breath

Growing up Grown

Someone once asked
If I could live with the ire
Of a father who did not care about my life

A man who did not once raise me
But for the hand to rebuke me
A man who expected return for an investment he never made
A man who left my mother to tend to things
Simply because he couldn’t be bothered

And when he realized
When the inevitability of mortality hit
He tried to make amends too late

In my life
Or not
He made no memorable difference in my life
Only succeeding in instilling fear in me
Of his unpredictability

Parents all have their motives
Their way of doing things
That none of us understand until we are in their shoes
But I know that this was not love
That I will never let my children live

When I look in the mirror
I do not see beauty
I see all the things wrong with me
All the things that make me undesireable

But beauty is only skin deep
A mirror doesn’t just reflect the physical
A mirror shows you the cruelty behind my eyes
The lines of a frown
Permanently etched into my features

Why is it when you stand by my side
The hatred, the cruelty, the ugliness disappears?
What is that you bring that I do not have?
Standing next to you I’m perfect
Standing next to you makes me want to be better
A better version of myself
A better version for you
For our future
For our children

You made me believe
Brought out the best
Of who I could be

When I look at you
I see perfection
Still as can be
And true as true

How did a girl like me end up so lucky
To find someone as darling as you
What did I do to deserve this?

Regardless of it all
I love you
For what you have made me
For what you’ve brought to my life
And most of all
I love that you’ve opened my eyes
And allowed me to love myself

 

 

 

 

Location: 100-638 6 Ave SW
Website: http://www.gyu-kaku.com/

I confess, I am not familiar with Japanese BBQ. When greeted with the phrase “Japanese cuisine,” the first item that jumps into my mind is sushi, not BBQ. For me, BBQ conjures up images of either Korean BBQ or a Southern style one (or the kind using the BBQ lol). I mean, when my sister and I were in Vancouver with friends we went to a Korean and Japanese BBQ and had some similar dishes. To be honest, after today’s experience I’m still confused as to the difference between the two. Sure the seasonings are different, but they largely use the same cuts of meat and they are prepared in much the same way.

To go out with my sister after classes again was a refreshing change from the mundane routine of school and work. It was a bit of a walk from the station and we were told that there would be a half hour wait since we didn’t have a reservation. I was starved, but we had come all this way and Valerie had spoken so highly of it, I decided to just push through the hunger pangs to try this place. As it turns out, the wait was only 4 minutes.

We were promptly seated, presented menus, and asked for our drink order. After a quick perusal of the menu on the advice of Val and the waitress we decided on two appetizers and two lunch specials. The appetizers we ordered were the fried calamari and takoyaki. We both decided on the three BBQ item lunch special and ordered Harami Miso Skirt Steak, Beef Tongue, Kalbi Short Rib Sweet Soy, Bistro Hanger Steak Miso, Filet Mignon, and Spicy Pork. The lunch special came with rice, soup and salad. Val opted to have the seaweed soup and I, the Miso. The seaweed soup was a nice surprise since I had expected the flowy, hair like seaweed that I’m used to for Chinese seaweed soup. They used the same seaweed as in the Miso and the broth was slightly saltier. The salad was dressed with a tangier, more acidic salad dressing that I’m used to having at Japanese restaurants. It reminded me more of the salads that we got at Korean restaurants. I would’ve have liked to have more salad and I probably should’ve saved some to eat with the meal since the acid would’ve helped cut through the richness of the meat.

The appetizers arrived shortly after the soup and salad. The first piece of takoyaki I dug into had a good octopus to batter ratio. Unfortunately, that cannot be said of the subsequent pieces I had. Flavour wise, the interior was standard, but I felt as though there could have been a little more sauce to give the outside a little more of that characteristic takoyaki flavour. Of course there is a difference between a slight drizzle (or more than that) and dousing it in sauce; a good balance must be found. The calamari I found to be ordinary. Nothing sets it apart from other calamari I’ve had. It certain isn’t one of the best, but it isn’t the worst either.

Besides some of the meat having already been seasoned, each table is set with three sauces: ponzu, spicy, and sweet soy. Although the ponzu sauce isn’t bad, it just isn’t my favourite of the three due to its unique tanginess. My favourite of the three is the spicy one, which wasn’t even spicy, but it was very flavourful. I found that I often didn’t need to dip my meat into the sauces, but when I did it made the meat saltier and had me reaching for my white rice.

Overall, I had no complaints. The food was really good and I would definitely go back. One thing I will say is that while it doesn’t look like all that much, the meal was very filling.

Based on my experience today, I’d give this place a 4.0/5. Our server as well as another one who appeared to be in training were great in helping us out today.

sign

light

Light hanging at entrance

appies

Appetizers: Fried Calamari (back), Takoyaki (front)

miso-and-salad

Miso Soup and Salad

seaweed-soup-and-salad

Seaweed Soup and Salad

better-meat

Meat (in no particular order): Harami Miso Skirt Steak, Beef Tongue, Kalbi Short Rib Sweet Soy, Bistro Hanger Steak Miso, Filet Mignon, and Spicy Pork

 

cooking-meat

Cooking the Meat

Location: 101-104 Country Village Rd NE
Website: http://www.viacibo.com/

Years ago, I went here with my parents and sister after our trip to Italy, but I don’t remember much of it.  The only thing I remember of that trip was getting a macchiato and having my dad say, “That’s even stronger than what I drink.” It made for a good laugh.

This time, I had the fortune of going with my boyfriend, his cousin, and her kids. The best part about this was that we got to share everything family style, allowing us to try out more dishes off their menu. Via Cibo isn’t like your typical sit down restaurant. It’s setup more like Vendome’s is: you order at the counter and are given a number. Once the dishes have been prepared, they are brought out to your table.

Most everyone had a generic drink (soft drink or juice), but I ordered an Italian soda. Since they had cherry, I went for it. Usually it’s my sister who has the Italian soda, but today I felt adventurous. There was a nice balance of syrup to carbonated water making it so that it wasn’t too bland or too sweet.

That evening we ordered a pepperoni pizza for Braeden and two formaggio (cheese) pizzas off the children’s menu (which is actually a meal combo which comes with a drink and gelato) for Cindy’s kids, Keenah and Taye. The pepperoni pizza isn’t like the chain pizza joints’ style of pepperoni pizza. The crust was thin where the toppings were and airy around the edges.  It was garnished with rosemary which set it apart from most other kinds of pepperoni pizza, giving it an almost more high class, refined taste. And the pepperoni tasted like cured meat usually tastes, unlike pepperoni on store bought or chain pizza restaurants, which tastes just like salt.  Cindy and I ordered the Gnocchi and Steak Italiana to share. The Gnocchi was a no brainer as it had been a recommendation from Cindy/a friend of hers.  The Gnocchi consisted of a Gorgonzola cream sauce, pancetta, and slow roasted tomato, garnished with green onion and Grana Padano. I am typically apprehensive about dishes that contain Gorgonzola or any form of bleu cheese because of its strong taste and smell. However, this was not the case with this dish. For those who don’t know, pancetta is essentially Italian bacon, which of course enhanced the flavour of the dish, potentially masking.  Another reason could be that Gorgonzola is a milder bleu cheese than others I have had. One bite of the gnocchi was all it took to send me to cloud nine. If luxury was a dish, this would be it. The richness of the dish made me feel as though I was dining in a high end, expensive restaurant rather than a place serving Italian street food. My only reservation about this dish is the addition of the tomatoes. They did not serve to enhance the flavour or add anything to the dish. The second thing, I’m not sure if this is a reservation or not, but the balance of gnocchi to pancetta was off. I’m not sure if that was originally how it was or if it was because the gnocchi was so good that we were too focused on eating that and not paying attention to the pancetta. The Steak Italiana was something more reminiscent of Italian street food. It consisted of Grilled Steak, arugula, carmelized onion, slow roasted tomato, Grana Padano, and a Pesto Aioli. The steak was perfectly cooked.  The tomatoes had far more utility in this dish than in the gnocchi. There was a nice balance of sweet (tomatoes and onions), salty (steak and Grana Padano), bitter (arugula), and richness (onion and aioli) in the sandwich. The sandwich came with a small salad that provided the acid the dish needed. However, since we got so much food, I wasn’t able to finish the salad on my own. Lastly we got Tuscan fries to share (regular for the kids). The Tuscan fries were aggressively seasoned with rosemary and salt with a hint of white truffle oil, garnished with Grana Padano and served with a spicy aioli. I found the fries to be a little on the salty side, but they had good flavour and crunch.

For dessert the children consisted of Nutella gelato. Brae got the mango pineapple gelato, and I got a pistachio affogato. Turns out Brae loved it so much that after we left, we actually came back later that evening to get another one and came back again the following day. This was my first time getting an affogato. An affogato is  gelato with a shot of espresso. Although I chose pistachio, I feel like coconut or something creamier (chocolate -which they were out of- or vanilla) would have complemented the espresso better because pistachio has such a light flavour that it got lost. The next day, when Brae came to get his mango pineapple gelato, I got the coconut one. It is more like a sorbetto than a gelato and I’m thinking it probably wouldn’t have worked any better.

If I had another stomach I would’ve tried the mushroom pizza they had on special. If their pizza was anything like the one I had at Scopa, I would have died. That pizza is truly the most amazing, delicious pizza I have had in my life. Maybe next time I go they’ll still have it.

Based on my experience this time, I would rate it 4.5/5 and would definitely return. I love restaurants with an open kitchen so that I can watch them cook, but also because I can see exactly how far along they are along with my dish and watch them walk my food out to me. The wait staff was patient and very helpful and friendly. I can’t wait to come back here again another day.

kitchen

Kitchen

cashier

Cashier

cheese-pizza

Formaggio (Cheese) Pizza

tuscan-fries

Tuscan Fries

steak-italiana

Steak Italiana

pepperoni-pizza

Pepperoni Pizza

gelato

Mango Pineapple Gelato

affogato

Pistachio Affogato

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