Dinner At Luna Modern Mexican Cuisine

After some furniture shopping at Macy’s at Victoria Gardens, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves to dinner at Luna Modern Mexican Cuisine.

We were super tired and hungry so we decided to skip the appetizers and drinks and quickly ordered our main dishes from the menu.

Modern Mexican Food:

I tried the “Pepita crusted tilapia”.
The fish was coated in seeds and fried. It was fresh and flavorful but a little too oily. Part of my fish was also drenched in a red curry mango sauce which made the fish way too sweet. I wish they had served the sauce on the side. My dish also came with vegetables which were cooked perfectly and a small side of white rice that had a couple of tiny pieces of fried plantains. The plantain bits were sooo tasty!!!!

I asked my server for a hot sauce and she brought me their “habanero sauce”. I wanted to take that sauce home, it was that good!

My husband ordered the “Carne asada”.
His steak was served with guacamole, a cheese enchilada, and some beans. His meal looked gorgeous with splashes of chimichurri sauce.

He enjoyed the meat, thought the enchilada was just ok, but absolutely hated the side of beans. He said it was a bowl of watery tasteless mess. My husband is harder to please than I am 😉

Service was amazing from beginning to end. Our server was efficient and attentive and answered all of our questions.

Super casual and laid back atmosphere. Lots of tables were filled with larger groups of friends and families and were conversing over drinks. They do have booths tucked away in a few corners if you are looking to enjoy a quiet or romantic meal.

Overall we enjoyed our dinner here and will be back to try more menu items. Would love to try out their Happy Hour.

Luna Modern Mexican Kitchen
$$ Mexican
7881 Monet Ave
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739


Stopped By Paul Martin’s American Grill

Stopped by around 5:00 pm on a Saturday a couple of weeks ago and realized they have Happy Hour daily between 3:00 to 7:00. It’s only valid if you seat yourself in the bar area though. Luckily we were able to find seating right away.

Happy Hour Menu: They have some appetizers for $6 and $9. They have three entrees for $13. If you choose an entree, then you get a complimentary drink of your choice from the Happy Hour menu that’s $6 if ordered alone. I thought that deal was great!

Here is what we tried:

*Steak Frites, $13: Small steak served with garlic herb butter I think. It really needed some seasoning majorly, but it was cooked perfectly. Served with a generous portion of fries.

*Cheeseburger, $13: This was the star of our meal. Juicy and flavorful burger served with seasoned fries. Definitely order this.

*Beef tacos, $9: I really liked them. Husband thought they were just ok. Shredded flavorful beef in a warm corn tortilla with a few fixings. Two small tacos per serving.

There were a few other appetizers in the Happy Hour menu that sounded really appetizing. Will definitely be back to try them all! Overall the service was great from start to finish.

12594 N Main St
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739


The Junction – Casual Dining

Restaurant: The Junction

Address: 1 N. Indian Hill Blvd. #102-103 Claremont, CA 91711

About the restaurant: A casual restaurant with a trendy vibe. Limited alcohol menu serving only beer and wine. Menu is a mix of tapas style small bites and regular portion options influenced by Spanish and Asian cuisine – mostly Americanized Korean popular dishes.

My Thoughts: I’d never go here on purpose or by choice again – everything was edible (if you’re really hungry) and forgettable.

We ordered a few different menu items – none of them tasted amazing, but they were eatable.
1. Stuffed dates and figs – Tasted really bad, but I don’t like blue cheese. My friend thought they were edible but not good. Presentation looked like sad roaches to me. Yuck.

2. Avocado mango salad – Probably the best tasting thing we ordered. However, it was simply sliced avocados, chopped mangoes, salad leaves, raisins, and a salty/watery dressing. Not something i can’t chop up at home. Better than meh.

3.Korean  BBQ Tacos – bulgogi and kalbi – I couldn’t tell the difference between them – sweet and oily. Meh. I asked for hot sauce on the side- that was good, super spicy and tangy.

4. Korean BBQ burger with fries – Didn’t even ask how I liked my burger cooked… sad overcooked beef slab. Fries were okay with ketchup. Ranch was gross 🙁

Avocado Mango Salad


Aqua by El Gaucho Restaurant

Restaurant: Aqua by El Gaucho

Address: 2801 Alaskan Way, Pier 70 Seattle, WA 98121

About the restaurant: Named Gayot’s Top Ten Seafood Restaurants in America in 2012, and awarded The Washington State Wine Commission’s 2015 Restaurant of the Year, AQUA by El Gaucho sparkles at the tip of Pier 70, offering Seattle’s best waterfront dining experience. Walls of glass showcase Seattle’s finest views of Elliott Bay. The expansive outdoor deck is especially attractive on summer evenings, and indoors, the spacious lounge and lighted serpentine bar is a showstopper in its own right. AQUA by El Gaucho showcases the dinner-as-theatre philosophy and signature hospitality of El Gaucho.

Menu Item Ordered: Seared Sashimi Grade Ahi Tuna 

My Thoughts: Great atmosphere with a beautiful scenic waterfront view. I would love to go back just to watch the sunset. I went with a small group and go to taste a bit of a few different dishes. We had the Wicked Shrimp and the Crispy Calamari for appetizers and they both tasted phenomenal. I also ordered the Spicy Crab Bisque which was delicious. For my main dish, I had the Seared Sashimi Grade Ahi Tuna. The fish was fresh and the dish was pretty to look at – however it was covered in a heavy sauce which was a little too sweet for my taste.

Aqua by el gaucho
Seared Sashimi Grade Ahi Tuna

The wicked shrimp and the spicy crab bisque had a similar spicy kick which made them incredibly tasty. Since I also enjoy cooking at home, I did a little research and found this gem: El Gaucho Seasoning. It comes in a few different sizes; the smallest one is 8 oz and its around $16.00 on Amazon. Here is the official description from the manufacturer’s website: El Gaucho seasoning is brought to you by the renowned El Gaucho restaurants in the pacific northwest. Inspired by the open coal pit cooking techniques used by the rough, rugged and highly regarded cowboys – gauchos – of the vast pampas Argentina grasslands, El Gaucho seasoning adds rich, zesty flavor to any meal. Our robust combination of ingredients is perfect when used as a rub on poultry, meat and fish, or as an all-in-one seasoning for vegetables, sauces, stews and more.

The El Gaucho Seasoning seasoning is garlicky with heat from black pepper and cayenne pepper. It is a little heavy handed on salt in my opinion, so be sure to not add any extra salt to your recipe when trying it for the first time.

Of course my search didn’t end at the el gaucho seasoning – I also found this cookbook which showcases some of Seattle’s best restaurants and a few recipes from each of them. It’s called: Seattle Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From The Emerald City, by James Fraioli.  Here is an excerpt describing this cookbook- Seattle Chef’s Table is the first cookbook to gather Seattle’s best chefs and restaurants under one cover. Profiling signature “at home” recipes from almost fifty legendary dining establishments, the book is also a celebration of the growing sustainable food movement in the Pacific Northwest.

There are recipes for two popular dishes from Aqua by El Gaucho in this cookbook which I can’t wait to try! This book also makes a great coffee table book as it contains beautiful pictures of food, restaurants, and beautiful Seattle.

  • Stuffed prawns with piquillo pepper sauce
  • Dungeness crab macaroni and cheese

Hope you get an opportunity to enjoy this beautiful Seattle restaurant for both its food and great atmosphere.

Photo credit: Aqua by El Gaucho, Seattle



James At The Mill Restaurant

Restaurant: James At The Mill

Address: 3906 Great House Springs Road, Springdale, AR 72762

Website Link: http://www.jamesatthemill.com/

About the restaurant: James at the Mill offers an exciting mix of traditional and contemporary American flavors. Chef Miles James’ groundbreaking restaurant offers Ozark Plateau Cuisine that shares the haute couture of Guy Savoy’s French bistro cooking, as well as drawing from the Manhattan energy and style of David Burke, tailored to the rhythm of Northwest Arkansas. The restaurant constitutes a seminal work of the renowned architect, James Lambeth, with all of the award-winning flair and style of influences from Rome, Paris, London, and Miami — striking contemporary design, with tall ceilings, flowing waters, and calming views. Join us at the bar or table, and experience an evening to remember.

Menu Item Ordered: Peppercorn caesar salad in a potato cage.

My Thoughts: Gorgeous restaurant! I went during the day and it was beautiful. I can’t imagine the views during the evening when its a little dark outside. I could see tea lights decorating the garden area just outside the restaurant hidden amongst the flower beds- I’m sure when lit, they create a romantic atmosphere. The picture below is of a salad I ordered from the appetizer section of the menu. It  was described as follows: James’ Caesar salad in a potato cage with shaved Parmesan, garlic-shallot croutons, cherry tomatoes and pink and black peppercorns $10.

James At The Mill Restaurant
Peppercorn caesar salad in a potato cage

I was on a business trip in Arkansas when I decided to try this restaurant for dinner. I actually read about it when I was browsing through this book: Northwest Arkansas Travel Guide: (Includes Bentonville, Eureka Springs, Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale, Siloam Springs. Here is a short excerpt form Amazon about this read: The Northwest Arkansas Travel Guide captures the area’s best outdoor activities – from fishing and water sports to hiking, camping, and biking – while also showcasing its fabulous art, historical, and cultural scene. It covers its bustling business community as well as its vibrant culinary, microbrew, and entertainment districts.

Northwest Arkansas Travel Guide
Northwest Arkansas Travel Guide

This travel guide is rated 5 stars on Amazon, meaning that it has satisfied all tourists who got their hands on it so far. I picked it up because due to poor flights, I had some extra time on my hands. I’ve been going to Arkansas at least a couple of times a year for several years and I’m usually alone and bored. I took the author Lynn West’s advice and tried James at the mill restaurant and was extremely pleased both by the food and decor. Can’t wait to go back and try all other suggestions which I bookmarked during my first browse.

Arkansas restaurant
Photo credit: James At The Mill