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

Music to Your Ears: Nick Waterhouse Plans A Special Pop Up Performance

Music to Your Ears: Nick Waterhouse Plans A Special Pop Up Performance

It’s warming up, convertibles have their tops down, and birds are singing. Wouldn’t you be glad to know that they’re not the only ones cooing tunes in the Spring breeze? To kick off the world tour celebrating his new self-titled album, Waterhouse, Nick Waterhouse will be performing a live DJ set poolside at Viceroy Santa Monica as part of the hotel brand’s A Canvas For Discovery artist series.
Waterhouse, a Santa Ana native, is known for his classic rhythm and blues, jazz and soul. He’s been praised for his ability to connect late 1950s rock ability, 1960s R&B and contemporary garage rock.
Waterhouse will be putting on the intimate show at Viceroy Santa Monica, one of LA’s premier coastal hotel properties, next Wednesday, April 24th from 7:00-10:00 p.m. As if it couldn’t get any better, the event is free to the public!

About Viceroy Santa Monica

Located on iconic Ocean Avenue, Viceroy Santa Monica embodies luxury California living at its finest. The property boasts 162 meticulously appointed guestrooms originally designed by internationally acclaimed designer Kelly Wearstler. Expansive executive suites updated by Dawson Design Associates offer sweeping ocean views. Enhanced by unique décor elements that blend hints of British colonial and lavish Regency style with modern materials and a bold color palette, as well as first-class amenities and unparalleled guest service, Viceroy Santa Monica, part of Viceroy Hotel Group’s Lifestyle Series, provides visitors with a refined beachside experience unlike any other. On-site amenities include access to two plunge pools surrounded by chic cabanas offering privacy in style; CAST Lounge, an upscale and stylish nightlife destination with curated specialty cocktails in the hotel lobby; and a one-of-a-kind dining experience at CAST Restaurant, an acclaimed restaurant with a locally influenced menu utilizing seasonal and authentic flavors with distinct Los Angeles flare.
Viceroy Santa Monica is located at:
1819 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401
For more information and to make a reservation, please visit
@viceroysm
Viceroy Readies for Guests and a Luxury Easter Brunch

Viceroy Readies for Guests and a Luxury Easter Brunch

Easter is right around the corner, and if you’re in need of plans, we’ve got you covered. Perhaps breakfast is boring, and lunch is too late, but in L.A., brunch is everyone’s favorite meal of the day. Read on for two amazing options to consider for a luxury Easter brunch with your family — kids included!

VICEROY L’ERMITAGE

Celebrate Easter in style at the Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills’ restaurant, Avec Nous, by indulging in an elegant, holiday brunch menu. On Sunday, April 21st from 9am – 3pm, Avec Nous will offer an impressive buffet in the historic pavilion room alongside luxe a la carte additions.

Priced at $75 per adult and $58 for children under 12, the lavish brunch spread includes seasonal salads like dandelion greens with blueberries, mint leaves and toasted hazelnuts, an heirloom tomato salad with burrata and balsamic pearls as well as smoked salmon crostini with chive cream cheese, red onions and capers and an impressive selection of charcuterie and cheeses.  For a decadent finish, guests can enjoy a variety of hand-crafted French delicacies including assorted petits fours, macarons, lemon meringue tartlets and more.

To complement the buffet, a la carte specials, each priced at $28, include market-driven  dishes such as an antelope chop with yellow sweet corn, charred pearl onion and sweet pea as well as a sweet pea and black truffle risotto.

The full menu can be viewed here.  

Reservations are recommended and can be made online here or by calling 310-860-8660.

Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills is located at: 9291 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.

VICEROY SANTA MONICA

Celebrate Easter in coastal sophistication at Viceroy Santa Monica’s Cast Restaurant with a special buffet brunch this Sunday from 11am – 3pm. Priced at $65 per person, the impressive spread will include cinnamon cardamom brioche french toast, seared barramundi with saffron ratatouille and Alaskan king crab Benedict along with three carving stations serving herb-crusted Colorado leg of lamb, Maldon salt crusted beef tenderloin and cold poached salmon. A generous custom-order omelet station will accompany the selection of assorted pastries, seasonal fresh fruit, applewood smoked bacon and chicken apple sausage. Children can also enjoy all of the buffet offerings for $28 per child (aged 5-12) and children under five years old are complimentary, exclusive of tax and gratuity.  

The full menu can be viewed here and guests can reserve their table here.

Viceroy Santa Monica is located at: 1819 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401.

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
OWYN Gives Coffee a Healthy Boost: Vegan, Gluten Free, Non-GMO, and Nutritious!

OWYN Gives Coffee a Healthy Boost: Vegan, Gluten Free, Non-GMO, and Nutritious!

OWYN — a 100% plant-based nutrition and protein brand that stands for ‘Only What You Need‘ — and is the fastest selling RTD at Erewhon markets — has reinvented your morning coffee! OWYN’s expectation-defying beverage is dairy free and vegan, gluten free, non-GMO, nutrient and superfood dense, plus tested for the top 8 allergens. As if that weren’t enough, the catch you’re waiting for is nonexistent —  this coffee is absolutely delicious! The Cold Brew is so delicious you’ll actually want to start swapping your normal coffee for it!
With OWYN you’re getting a complete profile of all 9 essential amino acids which help in maintenance and development of muscle, hair, skin, and nails. The drink features 20 grams of plant-based protein — the perfect amount to fuel you on-the-go while traveling, and without compromising on taste… And the added caffeine is a nice bonus, too.
OWYN’s Cold Brew features all of the below:
  • Provides Only What You Need: good source of fiber, high source of vegan omega 3, and a superfoods greens blend of kale, spinach, and broccoli
  • NO Stevia, Sugar Alcohols, or Artificial Anything
  • Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Gluten-Free, Certified Vegan
  • Free from the Top 8 Food Allergens (Dairy Free, Soy Free, Wheat Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Egg Free, Shellfish Free, Fish Free)
  • Free of all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives

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