Mambo International Kitchen Brings the World’s Cuisine to Southern California

Mambo International Kitchen Brings the World’s Cuisine to Southern California

Contributions by Anthony Stafford

It’s rare to find a restaurant that has the courage to take on the challenge of offering a variety of international dishes, and even rarer to find one that does so flawlessly. And we’re not talking about a buffet-style restaurant, either!

We present to you, Mambo International Kitchen, where you can truly “savor the world on your table.” Located in Northridge on the Northeast corner of Roscoe Blvd. and Tampa Ave., the family owned business is a bit of a hidden treasure — at least until they get their new sign up to let the world know they exist! Upon entering the restaurant, it felt as if we were immediately whisked away, stepping through a portal into some other part of the world. Mambo’s interior looks and feels like a high-end, industrially repurposed dreamscape. Complete with branded wooden planks accentuating the concrete walls, and creatively reimagined colorful seating, tables, and decor, Mambo feels wildly alive — even when there aren’t many guests dining. Interestingly, Mambo’s design comes full circle, once you learn the backstory from one of the owners, Raymond Magsaysay, below.

Words From The Owner

Naturally, when you encounter a restaurant as ambitious and amazing as Mambo International Kitchen, you may feel inclined to know just how they pulled it off, along with some interesting tidbits. Luckily, Raymond was more than happy to answer a few questions from us.

Q: What inspired you to open the restaurant, and ultimately settle on an international menu that highlights flavors from all over the world?
A: Originally, it was supposed to be a modern Filipino kitchen, but then we decided that it [would] limit our clientele, wherein we have so much more to offer than just Filipino fusion. Since, as a family of 6, we love eating various cuisines and normally have a hard time deciding where to eat because each one has their preference, we thought of combining the cuisines we love to eat.

Q:  What was the hardest part of getting started and opening Mambo International Kitchen?
A: Our biggest challenge was having the restaurant open because of permits and construction issues. The landlord hired an incompetent contractor to do all the rough construction and he cut corners. I had to intervene and get it all corrected and passed. It helped that construction is my primary business. Good thing [we] also, protected ourselves when we signed the lease, so those expenses were paid for by the landlord and we didn’t start paying rent until the restaurant was ready to open.

Q: What is your ultimate vision of what you want Mambo to become in 5 to 10 years?
A: Our vision is to franchise and expand Mambo, providing both brick and mortar, and mobile restaurants.

Q: How did you choose which international dishes made the cut to be served at Mambo?
A: This is the hardest part, because there is so much more we have to offer. As it is, the menu is huge! That’s why in the future we plan on highlighting a cuisine weekly and offer specials for that week. We started with what we love to eat at home, and what can be efficiently prepared since we don’t have a big kitchen.

Q: Will you feature more international dishes on the menu someday?
A: Yes, definitely.

Q: What is your favorite menu item and why? Or is that item not on the menu at all?!
A: My personal favorite is really steak and sushi. I’m still trying to figure out how to incorporate it in the menu. (Laughs.) What stands out for me in the menu is the pita wrap, Hawaiian bowl, sisig, truffle fries and under s’mores.

A Tour for The Tongue

Raymond, and his wife and co-owner Donna, were kind enough to welcome us into their restaurant to try a variety of menu offerings, and if we had to use one word to describe our experience, it would be “authenticity.” Anyone who has traveled abroad would find that Mambo’s dishes taste exactly like they should. There is a very limited “fusion” aspect to Mambo’s dishes. A great example of this would be the extended variety of tacos they offer. We feasted on their Filipino, Korean, Indian, Vegan, Irish, Vietnamese, and English tacos, and taste after taste was an immediate gateway into a new culture. Each taco brought its own unique flavor and traits altogether in a corn tortilla — and the only taco that rang close to the traditional Mexican taste was the Vegan version — filled with truffled infused mushrooms, roasted corn, pico, black beans, and Korean barbecue sauce.

The English Taco comes with melt-in-your-mouth fried fish and pico de Gallo, while one of our favorites, the  Korean Taco with its bulgogi, tastes exactly like a traditional bulgogi meal, but shrunken down into a fun-sized package. The Indian Taco with its potent chicken tikka masala and cilantro didn’t come anywhere close to being short on flavor, while the Filipino Taco delivered an all-around complex of spicy, saucy, salty pork adobo topped with salted egg salsa. Our favorites, the Vietnamese (inspired by banh mi) and Irish Tacos came with sweet pork, hoisin sauce, chicharron; and corned beef, lettuce, and a delightful mix of spices, respectfully. In a true whirlwind of flavor, a taco tour may be all you need to experience some of the best dishes from around the world.

Donna’s Crab Cakes, named after co-owner, Donna, feature a lemon horseradish aioli. If you grew up on the coast and have ever had crab cakes, you’ll know that Donna knows what she’s doing! Crispy, flavorful bites with a spicy kick will accompany you through each crab cake. Vito’s Pita Wrap is a mediterranean refreshment that awakens the taste buds. Complete with beef kabob, tomato, onion, garlic, lettuce, and tzatziki sauce, this gut filler comes with a side of fries to seal the deal. Our sides were Truffle Fries and 4 Cheese Mac and Cheese, both of which could be their own individual meals with a drink. The Mac and cheese was a perfect, creamy, smooth (small) pot of gold, subtly different from your usual. And if you love truffle, get the fries!

We saved some of our bests for last. While everything was amazing, and we recommend it all, Mambo offers so much within their menu that it’s almost impossible to figure out what you’d like to try first. From rice bowls to Specialties, Sides, Starters, and Desserts, it’s jarring to see the options. For that reason, we’re providing you with the first thing you should try upon your visit. As recommended to us by Juliano, Raymond and Donna’s son, the Wintermelon Tea with Boba, and the Hong Kong Bowl are absolute must haves. Wintermelon Tea is like drinking a dessert, and tastes nothing like a fruit. In fact, this refreshing milk tea tastes like a creamy, sweet graham cracker and caramel blend. Think s’mores in a cup. Incredible!

On the other hand, the Hong Kong Rice Bowl is a mandatory must-have. This isn’t your regular old sticky rice. Garlicky and  buttery undertones penetrate the cores of each grain of rice, making for a truly dimensional experience, while the fried pork spareribs greet the palate with the sweetness of cinnamon and the savor of deep fried meat. The spareribs seemingly melt away with each bite, and paired with the rice, it’s a perfect match.

The conclusion of our meal meant it was only right to close things out with a sweet treat that would be none other than Mambo’s banana Nutella egg roll with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We were stuffed, but how could one pass this up? Sweet, fried crispy, hot, and the perfect end to our tour.

Amazingly, it doesn’t feel like this restaurant is doing too much when you see their menu. Instead, it feels like you’ve got some catching up to do. Mambo has proven that a focus on International Cuisine can be done successfully. Raymond and Donna have mastered the art of bringing the world under one roof, and offering the best of it to the colorfully diverse Southern California. If you crave some Indian flair, or even Korean sophistication, you don’t need a passport to get it. Mambo International Kitchen took our mouths on an international tour, and we never even had to leave our seats.

Mambo’s Story

The owners of Mambo are very passionate about good food and equal to that is their delight in hosting and serving people. For many years they’ve dreamed of opening a restaurant that people will love and finally that dream is now a reality.

Our company is established with a passion and desire to serve high quality and cost effective gourmet food with excellent customer service; quickly and consistently. By combining homestyle comfort food with creative and fun dishes, and a family friendly atmosphere with old industrial decor, we know Mambo is soon to be a community favorite.

Address:
8300 Tampa Ave
Northridge, CA 91324
Delivery: Yes

5 Best Westside Spas for Mother’s Day

5 Best Westside Spas for Mother’s Day

What do Mothers want for Mother’s Day? Short answer: Relaxation and me time… Or, as we like to call it, a spa day. If you’ve been scrolling through Yelp wondering which is the best Westside spa for Mother’s Day, or if you’re simply scratching your scalp trying to find the perfect gift for your Mom, then you are in the right place.

This year we got together a group of Moms and asked them “which are the 5 best Westside spas for Mother’s Day?”. Below we’ve listed them.

Burke Williams

Mom will feel: Serene, peaceful
Perfect if she loves: Quiet, nurturing, European style spas
Price Range: $$$
Treatment time: All day

Burke Williams Spa is the classic Day-Spa choice for many women in the Westside. This European, dimly-lit space has various baths (both silent and social), private massage rooms, and a reading nook with coffee and fruit too. You can enjoy just a massage, or indulge in the the all-day Spa facilities too. Though this place is on the more expensive end of the Spa spectrum, it is absolutely worth it for the many hours of luxury and relaxation that is on offer here.

Learn more about Burke Williams here.

Hideko Spa

Mom will feel: elegant, pampered
Perfect if she loves: Japanese hospitality, luxury, grace, Japanese tea
Price Range: $$
Treatment time: Typically 1.5 hours

A Japanese luxury spa, Hideko is a modest yet elegant space that offers unparalleled hospitality and grace. With a deluxe Japanese massage experience, the spa uses only organic products and materials, including oils, woods, scrubs, wraps, and refreshments. After your massage you can enjoy your own private bath in a luxury tub adjacent to your massage room, as well as warm cup of herbal tea and a selection of Japanese cakes.

Learn more about Hideko Spa here.

Cryo Healthcare

Mom will feel: Energized
Perfect if she loves: Fitness, Biohacking, a less traditional wellness experience
Price: $
Treatment time: Typically 1 hour

Notoriously loved by Mom of three, Demi Moore and Mom of five, Tori Spelling, the Cryo Healthcare facility provides a uniquely elegant Cryotherapy experience on the Westside. Originating from Japan, Cryotherapy has quickly gained popularity with the ever-expanding biohacking community. Known for its immediate energizing effects Cryotherapy is the perfect gift for any Mom who likes keeping up with trends, and trying new things.

Before booking make sure you check out the list of medical conditions that determine your Mom’s suitability to the treatment.

Find out more about Cryo Healthcare here.

Raven Spa

Mom will feel: Healed and opened up
Perfect if she loves: Thai Massage, acupuncture
Price Range: $$
Treatment time: 1.5 hours

The Raven Spa is a sweet oceanside spa that is nestled in the side streets of Santa Monica. It specializes in Thai massage yet also offers an impressive menu of alternative treatments like acupuncture, infrared saunas, and Reiki. If your Mom prefers deep tissue massages with a focus on relieving tension and muscle soreness then this is the place for her!

Learn more about The Raven Spa here.

Willow Spa

Mom will feel: Grounded
Perfect if she loves: Soft touch, energy healing, Asian-inspired spaces
Price Range: $$
Treatment time: Typically 2 hours

Willow Spa offers a tropical Spa experience for any Mom who wants to indulge in soft healing. Nestled in a renovated home, WIllow Spa is the perfect haven-away-from-home for any Mom who wants to experience massage with a spiritual focus. There are a number of specialized treatments at Willow Spa–from their Blooming Lotus Massage (a treatment specifically designed for pregnant women), to their Reiki practice (an ancient healing technique used by the Tibetans to enhance the flow of life-energy), to Shiatsu (a Japanese method of unlocking energy in your body by using the meridians of your body).

Learn more about Willow Spa here.

MLB FoodFest Presented By Budweiser Comes To Los Angeles

MLB FoodFest Presented By Budweiser Comes To Los Angeles

Premier Stadium Standouts Offered From All 30 MLB Franchises  

 

WHO:
Major League Baseball (MLB) – the professional baseball organization overseeing and marketing 30 U.S. based franchised teams.  

WHAT:
The 2019 MLB FoodFest presented by Budweiser hosts its first Los Angeles based food festival highlighting the best concession items of each of the 30 MLB Stadiums. The selection ranges from ballpark classics to stadium-exclusive fan favorites and new items debuting this season at a number of ballparks.

Each MLB stadium will be represented with fan favorites like the World Series-winning Boston Red Sox’s Hot Lobster Roll, Los Angeles Dodgers’ Sisig Fries, the Diamond-Backs’ Churro Dogs as well as the Mariners’ Toasted Grasshoppers. International favorites will include: Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas from London, the Sultanes de Monterrey “Monster Dog” from Monterrey, Mexico and Japanese Curry from Tokyo.  To review all offerings, click on to the MLB FoodFest full menu.

WHEN:
Friday, April 26 through Sunday, April 28
Friday: 4pm-11pm
Saturday: 11am – 11pm
Sunday: 11am – 8:30pm

WHERE:
Magic Box at The Reef
1933 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90007       

MORE INFO:
Various ticket packages are available including 21 and over packages – offering beer samplings and beer pairings. This is a community wide, all ages event bringing the culture of the MLB franchises to life through an extraordinary food experience.

SweetFlower Blooms in LA All Week Long

SweetFlower Blooms in LA All Week Long

SweetFlower, a luxury cannabis lifestyle brand committed to modernizing the retail customer experience, opened its first retail concept on April 8th, on Melrose — directly across from LA landmarks “The Improv” comedy club and Fred Segal. Headquartered in Culver City, CA, SweetFlower’s second location opens on April 15th in Studio City, in a space formerly occupied by famed cannabis retailer, Perennial.

The hallmarks of the SweetFlower experience are unparalleled customer service, the highest quality, locally-sourced products, and retail environments distinguished by their design and inviting ambiance. Founded in 2018, the company is headquartered in Culver City, Calif. and has filed an application for a Cannabis Business Permit in Culver City. SweetFlower is committed to being an inclusive and diverse employer and to addressing the needs of the communities it serves. In a warm Spring welcome, SweetFlower has created four fun in-store activations to celebrate their official brand launch. For more details on how you can take part in the fun, read the full breakdown of each themed moment below.

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 at the Melrose Store:

  • Who: Sunday Goods, Original Pot Cookie, and Cool Haus
  • What: Join us for an evening of Creativity with Sunday Goods brand ambassadors educating guests on key products and use. Cool Haus serving their famous non-cannabis ice-cream cookie sandwiches, and Original Pot Cookie will hand out non-medicated cookies
  • When: 4 pm to 8 pm
  • Where: 8163 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA
  • Instagrammable Moment: Large mural of wildflowers with artist painting in store.

Tuesday, April 16th at the Studio City Store:

  • Who: Lowell Smokes and Think BIG by CJ Wallace
  • What: Join us for an evening of Connection with Lowell Smokes and CJ Wallace’s Think BIG brand. Son of Notorious BIG and Faith Evans, CJ Wallace created the Think BIG limited edition pre-rolled pack being sold exclusively on April 16th and 17th at SweetFlower stores and at Think BIG’s website on April 20th.
  • When: 4 pm to 8 pm
  • Where: 11705 Ventura Blvd. – Studio City, CA
  • Instagrammable Moment: “Get Lit” lounge and “Your Royal High-Ness” Photo opportunity.

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 at the Melrose Store:

  • Who: Lowell Smokes and Think BIG by CJ Wallace
  • What: Join us for an event of Connection with Lowell Smokes and CJ Wallace’s Think BIG brand. Son of Notorious BIG and Faith Evans, CJ Wallace created the Think BIG limited edition pre-rolled pack being sold exclusively on April 16th and 17th at SweetFlower stores and at Think BIG’s website on April 20th.
  • When: 4 pm to 8 pm
  • Where: 8163 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA
  • Instagrammable Moment: “Get Lit” lounge and “Your Royal High-Ness” Photo opportunity

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 at the Studio City Store:

  • Who: Sunday Goods, Original Pot Cookie, and Cool Haus
  • What: Join us for an evening of Creativity with Sunday Goods brand ambassadors educating guests on key products and use. Cool Haus serving their famous non-cannabis ice-cream cookie sandwiches, and Original Pot Cookie will hand out non-medicated cookies.
  • When: 4 pm to 8 pm
  • Where: 11705 Ventura Blvd. – Studio City, CA
  • Instagrammable Moment: Large mural of wildflowers with artist painting in store.

Thursday, April 18th, 2019 at the Melrose Store:

  • Who: Beboe, Mary’s Medicinals, and Dosist
  • What: Join us for an evening of Wellness, Dosist founder, Jeremy, will speak on the science of proper dosage for wellness and sleep use at 6 pm, Mary’s Medicinals to demonstrate use of and benefits of creams for beauty and health purposes. Beboe brand ambassador will discuss the use of their products. Enjoy hand and neck massages using non-cannabis products.
  • When: 4 pm to 8 pm
  • Where: 8163 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA
  • Instagrammable Moment: Stop & Smell the Flowers photo wall

Thursday, April 18th, 2019 at the Studio City Store:

  • Who: Hot Nife, Quim Rock, and Dosist
  • What: Join us for a night of Adventure with Hot Nife and Quim Rock. Brand ambassador and pro snowboarder Circe Wallace will be on site to discuss key products and vision behind Hot Nife. Dosist founder, Jeremy, will speak on the science of proper dosage for wellness and sleep use at 6 pm
  • When: 4 pm to 8 pm
  • Where: 11705 Ventura Blvd. – Studio City, CA
  • Instagrammable Moment: “Ride the High” photo op with a 3D wave and Hot Nife branded surfboard.

Friday, April 19th, 2019 at the Melrose Store:

  • Who: Hot Nife and Quim Rock
  • What: Join us for a night of Adventure with Hot Nife and Quim Rock. Brand ambassador and pro snowboarder Circe Wallace will be on site to discuss key products and vision behind Hot Nife. Lead educator for Quim Rock will discuss sexual health and product benefits with guests.
  • When: 4 pm to 8 pm
  • Where: 8163 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA
  • Instagrammable Moment: “Ride the High” photo op with a 3D wave and Hot Nife branded surfboard.

Friday, April 19th, 2019 at the Studio City Store:

  • Who: Beboe and Mary’s Medicinals
  • What: Join us for an evening of Wellness. Mary’s Medicinals to demonstrate use of and benefits of creams for beauty and health purposes. Beboe brand ambassador will discuss the use of their products. Enjoy hand and neck massages using non-cannabis products.
  • When: 4 pm to 8 pm
  • Where: 11705 Ventura Blvd. – Studio City, CA
  • Instagrammable Moment: Stop & Smell the Flowers photo wall
A Reintroduction to POPS and a Special Relaunch Event

A Reintroduction to POPS and a Special Relaunch Event

Contributions by Anthony Stafford
POPS Creamery, formerly Helados POPS, is re-launching their concept with new flavors and desserts! If you have yet to learn about the mind-blowing experience you’re missing, check out our in-depth coverage of their famous ice cream and the story behind the incredible people who make POPS Creamery who they are. Located in San Fernando, CA, the popular family-run SoCal ice cream shop isn’t changing their formula despite the rebranding. Guests can continue to look forward to POPS’ famous, wide variety of ice cream flavors in freshly hollowed coconuts, and also an additional array of waffle cones, hollowed pineapples and a new take on creme brûlée.

The owner, Marthin Ken, creates different flavors of ice cream and sorbets daily, using organic and fresh ingredients such as nutmeg, ginger, caramel, and of course coconut. With an exotic assortment of flavors you couldn’t dream of, it’s no wonder people travel from near and far just for a taste of the “frozen gold”. Marthin’s recipes have been in his family for 6 generations and are strongly rooted in his Belizean culture.

To ring in the new name, POPS Creamery is hosting a grand re-launch party on Saturday, April 27th, from noon to 9 pm. As the weather warms up and spring makes way for summer, it’s really the perfect kickoff for everyone. Kids and adults can indulge in their curiosities while enjoying everyone’s favorite cold treat.

POPS Creamery Re-launch Party
Date & Time: Saturday, April 27th from noon to 9 pm.
Address: 450 N Maclay Ave, San Fernando, CA 91340
Viceroy Santa Monica Kicks Off Pre-Coachella Sip & Shop

Viceroy Santa Monica Kicks Off Pre-Coachella Sip & Shop

Viceroy Santa Monica is pulling out all the stops to make it easy for LA locals and visitors to get desert-ready. It’s all part of an increased effort by the property to start a new wave of hotel programming for both guests and visitors alike.

On Sunday, April 7th from noon to 4:00 p.m. they’ll be hosting a pop-up event allowing attendees to browse all the latest trends poolside while sipping champagne from Veuve Clicquot and a variety of other cocktails. In addition, guests will be enjoying bites from the property’s Cast Lounge, with music by Duchess.

Makeup artists from MAC Cosmetics will also be on-hand to provide complimentary festival looks for shoppers, and Beachwaver will be styling hair. Other featured brands include 12th Tribe, Tom’s, Style Firm activewear, and Bijou Indochine jewelry.

Shoppers who RSVP will be automatically considered to win a pre or post Coachella one-night stay at Viceroy Santa Monica in their premium Ocean View King room, with breakfast included, and a selection of prizes from the event’s partners.

Shoppers can RSVP using this link.


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