CHEF SAMBRANO Food Articles Video Recipes



Friday, June 30, 2017

The California Noodle House California Hotel & Casino

Located on the casino floor inside the CALIFORNIA HOTEL & CASINO is a noodle house simply called California Noodle House. If you travel with Boyd Gaming from Hawaii, you get a meal coupon book, and certain items on their menu works with those coupons.

I waited three days to try this place out because they open on Fridays and the weekend, but not Monday to Thursdays. I kept passing by this restaurant on the way to the elevators, it's wide open, lots of lighting, and very clean, looks alive even when no one is inside. Well today I got a chance to have a bite, I looked at the menu and the prices are very affordable even without the meal coupons, I could afford this place even if I paid for two others. The menu isn't too confusing, there's noodle dishes, fried rice, and stir fries.

When I opened the door there was a local Hawaii couple taking what looked like their doggy bags, that's a good sign, when locals from Hawaii are smiling after they eat, that's a good indicator that the food is good enough, if they come out and see the first person, which in this case would have been me and said, "Screw this place brah!" Then I would not even enter. I looked inside and noticed a few booths were taken, I'd say maybe a third of the restaurant was taken.

The hostess asked me if I wanted a table, and I said yes. She sat me against the wall, a whole table for myself, there was this other dude three tables down and inhaling his ramen soup, good I thought, he's whacking it. Ah maybe whacking it isn't a good terminology. Ooops. You get the picture, he's mopping his food how's that? Yeah forget the whacking part! Good the food is good he ain't spitting it out.

The bus person comes over, "What can I get you to drink sir?" I told him, "Ah I'll take a Coke." Then he says, "Pepsi OK?" Then I said, "Yeah man that will do, thanks."

Then the waitress Christine comes over hands me a menu, "Hi sir here you go." I look at the menu, hmmm. What should I get?
The hand held menu, look at the prices it's good

I saw the Chap Chae Dumplings, Korean dumplings, I can eat that, Chap Chae. Made with Korean glass noodles, stir fried in sesame oil with veggies. And it came with a sweet flavored soy sauce, totally Korean style.  And when it came, there were 6 hot rectangular deep fried dumplings, nice plating, and steaming hot! That's what you want, hot! You know when the place is crappy it's when the food comes to the table in a minute and it's luke warm. Not here, it was fresh hot, and the aroma was nice. No this is good stuff.
6 dumplings piping hot! With the sweet soy sauce
I put 3 on my plate, and spooned the sauce over each one

The flavors were just right, I could taste the sesames, and there was beef and pork inside, this would be great with beer. However I went for the cold Pepsi, it was too hot outside, 105 degrees F, the beer would have made me sick. I would suggest these dumplings, very freshly made and tasty. If you love Korean food, this will work for sure, and for this blog, they did not invite me like some places, so I'm not blowing smoke, these are really good!

Then the other dish I ordered was the Miso Ramen. Made with shiro miso, fresh beef broth, a whole boiled egg sliced in half, and 4 pieces of thinly sliced charsiu pork. And of course the noodles, it was very filling. In fact I was stuffed I couldn't finish the last slice of egg. But the ramen was totally miso, just look at it. Look at the shiro miso in the broth. I had good ramen before, and I gotta say this, it was very very tasty. And your coupon book works for this dish, no payment necessary, it is covered under the lunch ticket. Gamblers make out I'm telling you. The broth was hot and fresh, I can tell, as a matter of fact, the chef brought it out, a guy in a red chef's coat. Now this place rocks, the chef coming out to hand me the dish? Rock and Roll baby!

The Miso Ramen, the presentation was perfect 
before I took the picture, when I moved the bowl
the pork charsiu sunk deeper into the broth

I'm all happy because the food is hot and fresh
Before my food came to table
Asian ambiance
Yeah man my game face on, all done baby! Full stomach!
The window from the casino side
The sign on a framed stand on the casino side

So here we go, it's the Yay :) or Nay :( scale.

Cleanliness: Yay :)
Service: Yay :)
Promptness: Yay :)
Food quality: Yay :)
Price: Yay :)
Overhead music: Nay :(   

 Yays :) 5    Nays :( 1

The Yays :) have it, go there and have a Yay Yay time!

© 2017


Today as I sit in the THE CALIFORNIA HOTEL & CASINO cooling off in my room. I just wanted to share some thoughts on the food service industry, and (the chef), why? I'll tell you why, how many times have you gone out to eat at a restaurant that markets (the chef), he may have been on a food show, or hailed by an airline magazine, and your social media friends are all over this (chef). OK let's go to (whatever name the restaurant is), and have a go at it shall we?

Now before I rant like an old geezer hear me out. Media sensationalism preys on the less informed. CNN rants on Trump's presidency, "He's a bigot!" But Fox News will counter, "He is making America great again!" Well, have you ever met Trump? You get my point. My point is we all have our own opinions, however the social media and mainstream media kind of plugs all this crap into our heads, and if we are not careful we will sound exactly like them without voicing our own opinions.

Take sports, my team is the L. A. Dodgers, but I really don't have much time following every at bat, every foul ball, every strikeout the players rack up. All I'm concerned about is the wins, "Are we heading towards the World Series?" OK let's talk about the chef. Until I taste his stuff, I can't really say he or she is good for me. After all it is I that will be eating the food, and I really don't care what you think of the dish. Let me offer my opinion. But with the standards and brain washing going on these days, if I don't vote yes on a dish like the rest of the Facebook crowd, "Hey there must be something wrong with Ron, what is his trip man!" No, if I don't like the way some chef made the bĂ©arnaise sauce that he smothered over a thick sirloin, I'll be the first to say, "Maybe next time he should really put that sauce in a ramekin because it didn't jive with that steak. I'd be better off just with the salt and pepper to be honest."

Here's the thing I wish chefs would do, be more humble. OK I get it, they are trained, and we have to say, "Oh well we need to give him or her a shot tonight, let's see if it's really that good." So let's say the chef has a five course going on. And the first is an appetizer that's deep fried, like a Filipino lumpia. But the chef goes overboard and claims, "I have a filling that consists of ground pork, ginger, garlic, lemon grass, peanuts, olives, with a mint sauce inside, with some dried shrimp, and it will be topped off with a sauce made of reduced red wine with duck intestines." Sounds interesting, but also sounds like there's too many people at this party don't you think? So when the lumpia comes to table, it looks interesting. You take a bite, and it's not bad, you don't vomit it out, you eat the whole plate, but interesting. It's good, but- you won't order that again. You'll stick to your simple good lumpia your mom makes or the ones you get at your local Filipino market. It was interesting, not bad, but you won't bother paying $25 dollars for that, because at chef's place if you ordered that by itself it would be $25.

And the other four dishes were interesting, again you ate it all but will not bother seeking that out again to pay for it. Don't get me wrong guys, I believe chefs need to be creative, but I'm over it. Call me a grouchy old geezer that's OK. But if I go out, I really hate sitting down and a waiter will go, "The chef traveled to Malaysia, and he has a Malaysian inspired sauce that he tops over the prime rib." I'll be the fist to cut this guy off and tell him no need for that, if he wants just put his art work in a ramekin thank you.

As far as steaks, beef, or even fish or chicken, all of those proteins have a flavor when you cook them, the juices render out, the fats drip, the skin gets crispy, there is flavor, there is an aroma. And really, that's the beautiful side of proteins, it is unique. Salt and pepper can enhance it, maybe wine and butter and a few chopped herbs. But when chef goes overboard with sauces, drizzles and that. Too much sometimes.

Or take for example a good vanilla ice cream is ruined when chef takes a strawberry compote and adds too much stuff to it, you can't taste the strawberries, and then for the love of Jesus, smothers the vanilla ice cream and you can't even taste that!

OK I gotta go now. Have a nice day as this old geezer goes for a walk in 100 plus degrees heat.

© 2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Garden Court Buffet Main Street Station

All you can eat lunch buffet at the Main Street Station's Garden Court Buffet, from 11am-3pm, all you can eat. The THE GARDEN COURT BUFFET located on the casino floor at the Main Street Station Casino Brewery Hotel located right across the street and joined by a walking bridge with the California Hotel and Casino, both properties are sister properties with the Boyd Gaming Corp.

Most buffet foods are mass produced for obvious reasons. Foods sit in steamer pans to keep warm and safe to prevent food poisoning, and for lunch the food items are what most people want. From stir fries, island fare, Asian style, Mexican style, Italian style, American style, a full salad bar with veggies and fruits. Any beverage you want (you may pay extra), and a dessert spread that really does the job. There's a soft serve ice milk machine with vanilla and chocolate as the primary flavors. And yes there is sprinkles for one to put over the ice milk. I was watching people, and most went for desserts, I mean paying about 10 bucks per person, you might as well.

First thing I did was sit down, and a waiter asked me what I wanted to drink, and I ordered Pepsi. Then I went to the brisket station, there a carving master sliced me two slices of BBQ brisket. Then I got a few hot wings and some mashed potatoes.

Mash, Hot Wings, and BBQ Brisket
The brisket was actually pretty tender and tasty

Next I got myself some pizza, now this was like maybe frozen stuff they buy in bulk and just stick it in a cook and hold until the display needs more pizza.

Not the best but for an all you can eat what should I expect?

Beef Tacos

After the pizzas, I got some beef tacos with no toppings, I didn't feel like toppings. Again for an all you can eat, don't expect gourmet beef tacos. Don't expect spicy stewed beef or pork and filled in a fresh corn tortilla, no sir, expect food service supplied tortillas and filling. It was ok for a buffet.

Now for dessert, and I went for the soft serve vanilla ice milk, look at it, my swirling technique sucks for sure, but I am not working at a DQ. And believe it or not, I loved it. Not Roselani Ice Cream from Maui, or Baskin Robbins but it satisfied.

Vanilla soft serve ice milk, it was good. For what it's worth
The inside is nice and clean
Very clean at the least the way it should be
On the bridge connecting the California to the Main Street
Heading back to the Cal
Looking south from the bridge
Looking north from the bridge

Over all, the Sam Boyd properties are cool, the Hawaiians make out on these trips, free food for gambling, flights, room, and transportation included, makes for a good few nights getaway.

Now for the Yay :) or Nay :( ratings.

Price: Yay ($10.00)
Cleanliness: Yay :)
Service: Yay :)
Food variety: Yay :)
Accessibility: Yay :)
Food Quality: (For a $10.00 buffet) Yay :) * If you are looking for gourmet then it's a Nay :(

There you go, The Garden Court All You Can Eat Lunch Buffet for $10.00 is alright for what you pay for.

© 2017

The Las Vegas Club

Hanging around the Down Town area this week, I had to take notice of an aging tower. The Las Vegas Club. It had some sort of mystery to it, lately I have become fascinated by old buildings, or monuments of old. The sad thing is as time passes us by a lot of people generally don't care about history. I mean how many millions of visitors pass by this tall aging structure and never take notice because they are ultimately concentrating on gambling or seeing other sites that's marketed via the internet, or social media. The Grand Canyon tours, drives to Hoover Dam, golfing, and the forms of entertainment to suit one's palette. 

For the last few days, walking across the street from the California Hotel & Casino to the Fremont St. Experience, I couldn't help but notice the Las Vegas Club as it is barricaded off. Signs surrounding the structure suggest a major overhaul of the exterior and interior, or possibly be imploded? I had no clue, I could have asked someone but I wasn't into asking. Just imagining what went on in this place.

I Googled, and Wikipedia'd this place, and this is what I came up with.

The Las Vegas Club opened in 1930. That's an 87 year old building. Man they better keep this structure, it's got history for sure. They had the first neon sign on a hotel and gaming establishment in 1931.

The Las Vegas Club was previously on the south side of Fremont Street, midway between Main and 1st Street. It was right next to the Northern Club casino, which is now La Bayou casino. In 1949 the Las Vegas Club moved across the street to the site of the Overland Hotel, eventually expanding to its present location at the corner of Fremont and Main.

On December 6, 2002, owner Jackie Gaughan agreed to sell the Las Vegas Club and three other casinos, including the Plaza casino and Gold Spike casino, to Barrick Gaming. Barrick was in partnership with the Tamares Group.
January 2007 saw the opening of a new poker room in the casino. The room has since closed.
In March 2007, Tamares announced that it was considering converting the property into a high-rise condo-hotelThis failed to happen, and in April 2013, the Las Vegas Club closed its hotel tower, leaving the casino open. The possibility of a future renovation of the hotel was hinted at, but never occurred.[7]
In May 2015, the Las Vegas Club announced its intent to open a 13,810-square-foot pharmacy on the eastern side of its casino. This is now unlikely, in light of the August 14, 2015, announcement of the casino's sale to Derek and Greg Stevens, owners of the nearby D and Golden Gate casinos, who plan to close and renovate it.
After the sale, The Las Vegas Club closed at midnight on August 19, 2015.

Here are some photos I took, just imagine what went on in this hotel/casino over the years when it was one of the main attractions in Sin City.
From the corner of Main St. & Ogden
Close up corner of Main St. & Ogden
Same as above from a wider angle
I looked up and imagine what sins took place in here?

Fenced off for construction
Again imagining what took place here during it's heyday

A rather different perspective, who walked these streets?
Who hung out on these verandas?
Who's limousines drove up here?
First Street side, notice the Plaza Hotel in the distance

I am not a historian so I couldn't give you all kinds of information, however this makes it something I want to look into as years go by, I'll read up what I can when I can about this unique building and this part of town. Vegas started in this district, the railroads still cross from here, the Main Street Station Hotel and Casino is right around the corner, yes lots of history here. I hope that the powers that be will truly preserve this part of Las Vegas, we need to keep historic sights, why? History is the biggest teacher we have, we can learn something new by tapping into the past. Do I love Las Vegas? Yes I do.

© 2017


Lunch time in Down Town Las Vegas, the temperature out was 101 degrees F. Not too bad considering last week it was over 115, I'll take this any day. And I want to thank the engineering crew of the hotel (California Hotel & Casino) for maintaining the air conditioning throughout the building. Got to be cold when I enter.

So I'm thinking of what to eat at the Market Street Cafe located on the casino floor at the THE CALIFORNIA HOTEL & CASINO , because the day I arrived and went to the Market Street to eat, I sat next to this old man, and I say old man out of respect. He was a skinny guy, in his late 80's for sure. Or he was 25 on meth. So I'm looking at the menu because if the item on the menu has a little picture of a palm tree, it's all part of a free meal that comes with your meal coupon book. Well not free, all the money you spend gambling pays for it somehow. Well long story short the man ordered the Island Braised Short Ribs, and it was huge! As I turned not so obviously to watch him eat, I did notice the man did not use his steak knife. He cut the meat with his fork. I'm thinking, "I'll get that... but not today, I'll go for the Prime Rib because it's part of the Specialty ticket, yay!"

So for lunch guess what, I stroll into the Market Street Cafe, locked and loaded! Got my tip money at the ready, got my coupon book at the ready, got Santana's Stormy playing on my iPhone 6s, I am styling baby! Styling! I head for the counter, and take a seat. But shit, it's somebody's seat, I had to find another one. I did. 

"Hello can I get you water or coffee?" asked the lovely lady at the counter.
"Coffee, cream and sugar please."
"OK, do you need a menu?"

LOL, menu? Are you kidding me? I'm Ron the foodie. I been in here the other day, I saw the old gent eating that soft Island Braised Short Ribs, me need a menu? I think not!

"Yeah, I'll take a menu." I had to make sure that that dish had the little picture of the palm tree. I'm a cheap son of a bitch, I don't have a lot of cash. The menu came, and I glanced at the palm tree attached to the words Island Braised Short Ribs. "I know now I'll have the Island Braised Short Ribs mam."

"OK, Island Braised Short Ribs."

I sauce up my coffee, one Splenda, and one cream. I stir. My game face on. Now I'm listening to Black Magic Woman from Santana, I'm ready to rock baby! Ready to devour my Island Braised Short Ribs!

Finally it came. Steamy hot rice, a ramekin of mac salad, and- well frozen veggies no problem all yay yay. And then the flanken cut beef short ribs, thick and then braised Island style. Sweet soy sauce, almost like teriyaki, in fact I think it was watered down Teri sauce but what the hell it was soft, tender, melted in the mouth good! I mopped that sucker up in no time! No time! Bring on more food man! I'll knock em out of the park Yee Ha!

Look at this, a gambler's dream lunch, and it's served all day!
Before my first bite, I gotta show you a slice,
can you smell it? Imagine.
Ahh, yes my friend life is good isn't it?

After the meal, I was stuffed, as a matter of fact I didn't finish the rice or the Mac salad, too full baby! Too full! Ah life is good man, life is good. In a few I'll head down to the new noodle shop and try their noodles. Yay!

So this dish called the Island Braised Short Ribs, on the Yay :) or Nay :( scale, it favored the :) Yay side. Try it out if you're at the THE CALIFORNIA HOTEL & CASINO

© 2017


It's past midnight in Las Vegas, the temperature is 105 degrees F, getting a little hungry. The day before I did the Heart Attack Grill thing. So do I need to eat this time of morning? Yes I do! After all, strolling down Fremont Street and watching those cover rock bands can work up an appetite. So I headed to the Market Street Cafe located on the casino level at the CALIFORNIA HOTEL AND CASINO  to eat a Prime Rib Scramble. it is made with 3 whole soft scrambled eggs, with a few ounces of cube prime rib, and some sliced green onions. It came with a huge piece of hash browns, and two pieces of white toast smothered in real butter. But was it good?

Here's my take on this dish, the eggs were good, you could tell that it wasn't sitting around the kitchen, and the cooks just nuked it when an order came in, I mean you can just tell. However, the cubed prime rib had an aged taste, like it was prime rib that sat uncovered in the fridge. To kill that after taste, I had to douse the dish with soy sauce and it remedied the taste problem. The hash brown was good, and instead of coffee I got a Pepsi. I don't have much gripes at restaurants, especially here at the Market Street Cafe, I mean I used my meal coupon for this dish, I spent two bucks for a tip for the counter person, it was okay, no big deal that the cubed prime rib tasted a little older. You know, it's like you had a party and you took your leftover prime rib and put it in your fridge, but somehow the plastic wrapping came off and the meat began to absorb aromas from the other items. You won't chuck it out to trash, you can always use it, maybe put it in a bowl of hot ramen or saimin soup.

So on the yay or nay scale, this had to favor more towards the yay :) side. The only nay was sitting at the counter with two loud mouth fools sitting towards the right of me. I got the feeling those guys wanted to start a convo with me but shit, I was not in the mood for conversation. 

Street Drummer on Fremont St.

The brother in the photo above was drumming on empty 5 gallon plastic buckets, creating some awesome rhythms that had two of his buddies break dancing on either side of him. He did draw a crowd, I had to toss a few dollars in his tip bucket. I mean I can see talent when I see it, this guy and his buddies were hungry, they really worked hard, I got a lot of respect for that stuff. They aren't beggars, they got something and they're saying, "Hey look at us, we got talent. We are here to make you feel happy."

Waking out of the First St. Stage
The Cal in sight

Walking back to the Cal in 105 degree weather at night, you got to be hydrated even when it's dark out.

Main Street Station around the corner

Now that I have blogged this piece of work, now I will get ready to go to sleep! Yeah!

© 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


The HEART ATTACK GRILL located on Fremont Street in Down Town Las Vegas is really a fun place to eat a burger. Most foodies know about this place. I won't get into the history of this dive because all you gotta do is Google it, and you'll have all the info. Nor am I going to tell you who the owner is just Google it.

So I head down Fremont Street hungry for a burger. I enter and the lovely Ashley greets me. She says hello and then informs me that I must wear a hospital gown, and if I take it off they will kick me out! Wow, I want to finish my burger I ain't gonna take that off. So Ashley tells me to sit at the counter, and oh yeah before I forget if I don't finish my burger, I'll get a spanking from one of the cute nurses or make that waitresses dressed in nurses outfits. OK cool. I sit at the counter, and Ryan is the doctor on call, or make that the counter dude dressed as a doctor.

"Hi how's it going?"
"Good sir, what would like like to eat today, the girls at the door did tell you how all this works right?"
"Yes she did."
"OK, so here's all the burgers, choose which one you want, would you like something cold to drink to start off?"
"Yeah dude, I'll take a Coke."
So I look at the menu and I see the Double Bypass, two huge burgers, chili, onions, tomatoes, looks great.
"Here's your Coke. Did you decide?"
"Yeah I'll take the Double Bypass."
"You know you'll get a pound of burger right?"
At this point, I'm thinking maybe not. I'm used to the doubles at Teddy's Bigger Burger on Maui, the 2x 5 oz. which is my double standard, but not a whole pound.
"Maybe I'll get the Single By Pass."

So I wait for my burger, which was going to be topped with chili more beef, that single was huge enough and I can eat a burger or two. Flatline Fries came with that too, so that was a lot of food. Come to find out, Ryan was from Maui as well, interestingly enough I think I played golf with one of his uncles. For personal security, I won't say his last name. But yeah- Ryan is from Maui, lived in Vegas since he was 13.

So the Burger came, my Single Bypass Burger showed up brought to me by a cute nurse, or waitress, and I went to town! The chili was tasty, the burger was juicy, onions were sweet, tomatoes were fresh, and oh yes, bacon too I forgot to tell you there was crispy bacon on this thing and it was huge enough. I heard football players, or heavy training athletes can eat the Quadruple, that's 2 pounds! Yikes!
The Single Bypass, you can't see all the good stuff but it's there!
Look at that, a little blurry but you can see it's huge!
That's it right there at close-up
Ashley ready to fit me with a hospital gown
Ashley said I could take a selfie with her cool
Dr. Ryan from Maui, "The prognosis is not good sir."
Just finished the Single Bypass, maybe the Double Bypass
will be next on the agenda. Thanks Ryan, make that
Dr. Ryan and Nurse Ashley!
The interior is totally branded
Giant pill bottle hanging from the rafters
All blurry again as I exit the Heart Attack Grill


© 2017