After a few glasses of wine at The Lincoln, in Venice CA, I was craving a cheat meal. Luckily for me, there’s an IHOP in walking distance from the bar. I bet IHOP makes a killing every Friday & Saturday with the 2am intoxicated crowds.
As an advertising professional, I always appreciate a good marketing campaign, so when I saw the uproar and madness that IHOP was changing their iconic name to IHOB, I had to check out their burgers for myself and compare it to their pancakes. Despite the importance of fitness in my life, I am a cheeseburger connoisseur. I probably have a cheeseburger 1-2 times per month and I truly savor those moments.
We ordered their Vanilla Spice pancakes (a brand new addition to the menu), even though my waiter strongly recommended the Mexican Tres Leches pancakes. As to be expected, these vanilla-infused pancakes were absolutely delicious. However, because I cover my pancakes in syrup, sometimes I can’t tell if it’s the pancake I like or the syrup. Yolo. For those who don’t know, I’m allergic to chocolate but fortunately for me I’ve always preferred vanilla. Definitely recommend these pancakes for any pancake and/or vanilla lover.
Because I like my burgers like I like my women (spicy), we ordered the Jalapeño Kick. Wow was it spicy! Their jalapeños had a nice bite to them. I especially loved the addition of crispy bacon (which I shared with my kids). Just to feel less guilty about eating a cheeseburger at 1am, I split half with my friend. The burger had a little too much sauce but it was still a delicious cheat-meal.
Bottom line is that IHOP’s marketing campaign worked. I probably wouldn’t have gone into IHOP if it wasn’t for the temporary IHOB rebrand. Their burgers are definitely good enough for a burger lover and they had about 6-7 different burger entrees. However, I would say that IHOP does pancakes slightly better than they do burgers (which is to be expected).
According to Wikipedia : “Hot pot is a Chinese cooking method, prepared with a simmering pot of soup stock at the dining table, containing a variety of East Asian foodstuffs and ingredients.”
I define hot pot as “THE MOST DELICIOUS WAY TO GET YOUR LEAN GAINS ON.” Seriously. Hot Pot is basically broth, with thinly-sliced meats (proteins) & veggies (super healthy). Of course you can add in noodles and other carbs if you wanted, but if you leave those out, you have a really healthy meal. I like to add spinach, baby bok choy, lotus root & broccoli. I always pick the spicier broths. Yo soy Mexicano!
Now I’ve been to many hot pot restaurants from Taiwan, to Hong Kong, to Cambodia, to New York City to Los Angeles & many more, and I was surprised that my favorite hot pot restaurant is a global chain! Ironically (based on my blog name), the restaurant is called Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot. The first time I tried this restaurant was completely by happenstance.
Early 2017 I was staying in NYC for a work trip and the only pet-friendly, affordable and convenient hotel I could find on Hotel Tonight was in Chinatown, NYC (Best Western Bowery Hanbee Hotel). At 10pm I went searching for food when I stumbled across an “All-You-Can-Eat” hot pot sign. Sold. Being that I was in LEAN GAINS mode (building muscle while losing fat), I made sure to only order meat & veggies. Here’s a wonderful picture of my flexing at the excitement of this clean meal.
Back in LA, I was absolutely thrilled when I found out there were multiple Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pots in the Los Angeles area! The one closest to me is in Torrance, CA, a city of LA that’s known for their authentic Asian cuisines. Torrance has the 8th largest Asian population in America at almost 40%. It’s no wonder this is a go-to area for delicious Asian cuisines. Source. I’ll review some more restaurants from this area in the future!
In mid-2017, Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot stopped offering an All-You-Can-Eat menu but it didn’t matter. I was hooked. I was happy to pay almost double the price for the same amount of food because I enjoyed the flavors and the experience that much. I love their strategy – get the people hooked on their food at an affordable price, and then increase it after we’re addicted because we’ll pay anything!
In late-2017, I spent a few weeks in Cambodia (Phnom Penh). I was riding in the back of a Tuk Tuk when I looked up and saw the legendary logo of the Little Sheep!!! I made my Tuk Tuk driver pull over immediately so I could try Cambodia’s version. I assumed it would be significantly cheaper than their US counterparts but I was wrong – it was more expensive! This restaurant is one of the higher-end establishments catering towards tourists & rich Cambodians. With the average monthly income in Phnom Penh (Cambodia’s most expensive city) being $340, this is a meal that is unfortunately out of most locals budget (which is why I thought it would be priced to the market). Source. If you haven’t been to Cambodia, I highly recommend Siem Reap (for the stunning Angkor Wat) & Phnom Penh (for the nightlife & history). Your dollar will go very far here so it’s a cost-efficient place to travel to. Beautiful country. E-mail me if you have any questions or want some travel advice. firstname.lastname@example.org
And some good news everyone! Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot recently brought back their All-You-Can-Eat menu!!! #winning. I’m not sure what the prices are across the country but the Torrance location was $23.95. If you haven’t been here yet, check it out!
Check out the video from my first co-hosting gig with LA’s#1 food blogger DashofTing. We teamed up with Matador Network & the TravelNevada for a road trip down America’s loneliest road.
If you think the word “loneliest” would mean we would be bored, you’d be 100% wrong. This road trip down Highway 50 had some of the best finds a foodie could ask for!
First place we checked out was Frey’s Ranch Estate Distillery. Now I’m normally not a gin drinker, but this distillery created a gin that I could not only bear, but actually enjoyed. Run by an amazing husband and wife team, definitely check these guys out if you’re a gin drinker or are looking for a place to step up your Instagram game.
The next place in Fallon was Middlegate Station which used to operate as a horse changing station for the Pony Express. Now it’s the home of the Monster Burger Challenge, a burger so big that it was larger than my head. If you finish the burger in 2 hours, you get a free t-shirt. Needless to say, I did not finish it.
Kington, Nevada was our next step and we found a bar called Lucky Spur Saloon which is owned and operated by an awesome husband and wife couple! This bar is known for their Bunker Hill Bloody Mary, and it’s spicy, just how I like my women. Wink. An intimate, dog-friendly bar that I strongly recommend on your road trip through the area.
Racks Bar & Grill is an Ely restaurant with video casino built directly into the bar. Typical way of killing time in Nevada. This restaurant has influences from the Basque region. Their chorizo burger was incredible (and this is coming from a burger connoisseur).
If you’re not too full, a great place for dessert is Cell Block. It was an actual prison turned into a restaurant. Our waitress was the granddaughter of the owner. We heard their steaks are delicious but this foodie tour left us too full to try it!
Attached to the Stargazer Inn, Kerouacs is a restaurant named after the famous poet, created by a husband & wife power couple who met in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Nevada to open an upscale restaurant with Brooklyn influences. A delicious cocktail menu and a perfect margarita pizza was a great way to transition from Cowboy Country back to the city life of NYC & LA (I spend half my time in each city).
All my fellow pet owners will understand how much we miss our fur babies when we have to travel and leave them at home, especially if they always sleep in the bed with us. Well good news for those of you traveling to Mexico from the US…it’s very easy to bring your dogs into the country! At the border, I showed them an existing Certificate of Health that I had which also included proof of rabies vaccination.
What’s the best way to get into Mexico? I recommend driving down to the Mexico border from San Diego and parking your car in one of the many 24 hour parking lots they have (only $8/day) and then crossing into Mexico by foot. If you try to drive your car in, the line can sometimes be up to 3 hours long. Why risk that when you can walk across by foot in a process that takes less than 20 minutes?
First stop was Rosarito Beach. We arrived on a Tuesday so this cute, colorful beach town was fairly empty, but this meant quick service at Acua Baja Bar y Mar for their famous pesto marlin fish tacos. By far one of the best tacos I’ve ever had. Who knew you could add pesto to tacos??
La Caja Galeria & MULLME : Museo De La Lucha Libre Mexicana
As an influencer, we sometimes get exclusive access & VIP treatment and both La Caja Galeria & MULLME Museo De La Lucha Libre Mexicana did not disappoint!
Located on a quiet street in a graffiti-covered warehouse, you wouldn’t even notice that behind the walls was the museum La Caja Galeria. A labyrinth of rooms, I could only imagine how much fun playing a game of hide & seek would be. We received a private walking tour of the entire museum (with a few surprises we can’t mention here) and a preview of the massive renovation that will help beautify & revolutionize Tijuana’s downtown cultural scene.
If you’re into comics or collectables, you’ll love MULLME. On the main floor, they have everything from Marvel & DC to local Mexican cartoon collectables. On the second floor is the largest collection of Lucha Libre collectibles in the world! Not knowing much about this iconic Mexican sport, I left YouTubing Lucha Libre fights. This is can’t-miss-museum in Downtown Tijuana. The host Zaurel was incredibly knowledgable and passionate about his job which made the tour fun & interesting.
Downtown Tijuana is quickly being revitalized with a thriving restaurant & cocktail scene. One of the places that I got to check out was Telefonica Gastro Park which is an amazing collection of diverse food trucks from coffee to tacos to this ridiculously amazing bacon sandwich. If I lived in Tijuana, this would be one