Saturday, January 30, 2010

Elite Restaurant

Elite Restaurant Signage

Elite. What a peculiar name. What is Elite? Elite is the name of a SAT prep school. It is also the name of a popular restaurant. Elite Restaurant is not like Full House or Hop Li. Instead, it follows the paths of places like Mission 261 and Sea Harbour- which are "high end" dim sum places. No dim sum carts are apparent, just like how most restaurants are in Hong Kong are. Instead, you order via a sheet.

Why am I even talking about dim sum when the post will not be about dim sum? Well, at these types of places, the dim sum and how they are priced pretty much speaks for the quality and the pricing for other meal times- like dinner. We visited for dinner after deciding not to eat at Embassy Kitchen again (we did the next day though), as we wanted to change it up and plus, our dining companion had a pretty good dinner there with friends. After driving for around 30 minutes, we were hoping for some good food. The parking lot was not filled, but it was filled with a pattern of similar cars: luxury cars, to be more exact. In particular: Lexus RX series (at least 3), Mercedes-Benz (at least 6), and BMW X5 (2).

Entry

After taking some pictures of the exterior, with and without flash (end picture was without), we walked into the entry, a small green and gold area filled with their advertisements as well as some expensive bamboo plants (about 60 dollars each...) and a jade boat. With the restaurant being practically empty, we were whisked away to a tiny table quite quickly. Why a tiny table? I do not know. Other families of four got larger tables we did.

Interior
Table Setting

Sitting down at the restaurant, it was quite evident why long waits were usual here. The dining room was quite small. Only about 15 to 20 tables, with banquet rooms on the other side. With that said, I was expecting plenty from this place. The details were quite apparent already. A restaurant's logo in Chinese on each chopstick? Rare appearance. But, the servers did not care at all. At Singapore Airlines, if the logo on the glass does not face you, there is a problem.

Paintings

Aside the fault that already happened, we enjoyed the paintings located all over the restaurant. The horses were a gift, I assume, which were given three years ago approximately. The cherry blossoms were tucked away in a side dining room.

Roasted Salted Peanuts

While we glanced over the menu, a plate of complimentary roasted salted peanuts arrived, which were quite dry and salty. The plate was wiped clean and taken away by our servers as we were about to finish it. Bye bye, plate.

And since the plate went away, it was time to look more into the menu. Of course, the prices were expensive compared to Full House and Hop Li. But, there were also some notices which were nice to hear about. No added MSG on purpose (assuming that excludes things like oyster sauce which could be added in). As our courses arrived, it was evident how the tastes were different compared to other restaurants that may use MSG.

Fish Maw and Corn Soup

Our Sweet Corn with Fish Maw Soup (9.80) arrived a few minutes after we ordered, so it was time to turn the camera on, take some pictures quickly, and enjoy! Our server placed about a ladle and a half into each soup bowl and served our dishes. In addition,...

Red Vinegar

In addition, a dish of red vinegar was given as well. We requested more, and then another dish came. And we requested again, and then came a tiny glass bottle. We finished half of the bottle. Why so? The vinegar was very light, maybe even watered down. It did not have that big of a sour punch that other red vinegars did. Different supplier? Maybe...

Fish Maw and Corn Soup Bowl

Slurping the soup, we all noticed that the soup was very light in flavor in comparison to most other places. There was very little corn flavor in the soup, and the meat stock for the base was very subtle and lightly flavored, probably due to the lack of MSG or a long simmering process. Luckily, the fish maw was excellent, with no off flavors- puffy and slightly chewy. There was very little/no cornstarch slurry added to the soup, which we appreciated. See, the benefits of paying more for your meal includes the fact that there are less unnecessary ingredients added. Just like how expensive potato chips have less ingredients than thrifty potato chips.

Steamed Red Cod

After finishing the soup, our entrees arrived, and the main star was a plate of steamed California red cod (2 pounds, 19.80USD a pound). We were hoping the fish to be excellent, but unfortunately the fish was not fresh and was also overcooked, with the outer part of the fish exposed to the steam being hard and rough compared to a smooth and silky perfectly cooked red cod. The scallions were very thinly cut, and the lightly salty soy sauce was delicious with sweet notes. However, the red cod was not well prepared and steamed. Very disappointing, as the restaurant was not even full with customers, which should have allowed the chefs to be more vigilant on how long the red cod should have been cooking. Steamed fish is one of the things that tells you how good a Chinese seafood restaurant is, just like how Beef noodle soup is the dish that tells you how good a beef noodle soup restaurant is. Elite did not do too well in this category. Embassy Kitchen is still the winner for a perfectly cooked and well prepared red cod. Unfortunately, they seem to rarely have red cod these days. :(

Ginger-Scallion-Lobster

We were hoping the Marine Lobster (Ginger and Scallion Preparation, buy one get one free for 5 dollars) to be better, and it was an excellent deal also! But the lobster was overcooked a tad, just like the fish. Again, this should not have happened as there were only about five tables being served. The lobster was however beautifully presented, and the coating for the lobster was cornstarch, giving the outer crust a smooth texture. The ginger and scallion sauce could have been a bit more flavorful in my opinion but maybe I am just accustomed to other restaurants where MSG is added, and thus the sauces are more flavorful. Elite does not add MSG (by itself), as I told you earlier.

Mustard Greens in Supreme Sauce

Luckily, the Poached Mustard Greens with Superior Sauce (10.80) were better. The mustard greens were cooked nicely, retaining their shape while still still having a nice bite. Better was the superior sauce, which was spectacular with hints of braised abalone sauce. It had a nice depth of flavor in comparison to other restaurant's versions of "superior sauce". Ultra delicious with rice! Unfortunately, right after one dining companion took away the last mustard green and I was holding the spoon to take more of the sauce, the pool of scrumptious superior sauce was taken away immediately by a server. NO! NO! NO! Why are you going to waste that sauce and dump it to the trash? (obviously, this was in my mind...) For those who like sauce, take it before you finish the dish. Elite's waiters are ultra vigilant and take away each plate right when you are finished. Good for some people, bad for others.

Pigeon 1
(Take 2)

We also ordered a baby pigeon (14.80) to share , but we were not expecting it to be this small! I tried some other ways to take the picture of the pigeon. None were very good.

Pigeon 2
(Take 3: The best in my opinion)

Pigeon 3
(Take 4: A cut out pigeon)

Pigeon 4
(Take 5: Can you tell this is a pigeon? I see tons of bone)

We were not expecting it to be this small, but I guess we should have noticed how small it would be when the waiter was saying they would split it into four pieces instead of the usual two for them. The pigeon was flavored with some five spice powder. In size comparison, this was much smaller compared to Full House's version- even smaller than the Pelican Hill quail pieces, with less meat too.

As for taste, I'm finding pretty much all the Chinese restaurants make pigeon/quail in the same preparation: fried/roasted to a golden crisp. Elite's version was just not as oily, but it wasn't particularly juicy either. So, kind of disappointing as it was smaller and pretty much the same or worse as other places that cost less. Plus, the pigeon was roasted to a very dark color on the outside, almost close to black, which doesn't really please us. It may please you though. :)

And for your information, steamed rice was 1.20 for a regular rice bowl. No big tub, no refills.

Mung Bean Dessert Soup

To end the meal, everyone got a complimentary bowl of mung bean dessert soup, which was accented with dried orange peels. Sweet and tasty, it was a happy ending to what was an expensive but only average meal. But, some other people got this instead:

Gelatin Dessert

What is this? A variety of delicious gelatins? I wanted this instead of the dessert soup. But, they never asked us what we wanted. And maybe, the table paid for those squares of gelatin. That will be a mystery.

I apologize for the not very upbeat tone in this post, but it is really disappointing to see such a restaurant overcook their food when customers pay at least 10 percent more than they do at other restaurants of the same level. The taste was good, but overcooking food weighs more in my book. Again, comes the point in my review policy: why pay more when something that is less expensive is better? But this post gives you a warning: go for dim sum (as Wandering Chopsticks and many others have enjoyed it. We thought it was okay but too far from where we are.), not dinner.

I guess Elite is the same as how I wrote off Full House about a year ago. (That will change after I edit my photos for a large Full House post) It kind of explains why the crowds will wait for an hour for a seat during dim sum time, but do not need to wait during dinner. Maybe next year they will be better. Full House has gotten much better in the course of a year from the NYE post!

A better suggestion? Embassy Kitchen. Also am planning to write a big post on this place with a giant photo queue. Same echelon as Elite (no dim sum though), but much better service and food. Or, Capital Seafood and Empress Harbor in Monterey Park- both are at a slightly lower price range than Elite, but the food preparation is just as meticulous and better.


Elite Restaurant
700 S. Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Tel: (626) 282-9998

Elite Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Elite Restaurant in Los Angeles

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gourmet Vegetarian- San Gabriel

Exterior of Gourmet Vegetarian

After a brisk walk around at the Arboretum with the Nikon, which was on its first adventure outside of home, we decided to eat lunch at Gourmet Vegetarian due to Weezermonkey's review as well as prior knowledge that there was a new restaurant. Finding a parking spot was not easy as usual in this large shopping plaza, but we were lucky as a car right ahead was just leaving as we arrived the carpark.

Interior

Inside, we were greeted and were ushered to a small alcove which had two tables. The other table was filled quickly, but then, without ordering anything, they left after about five minutes. I guess it may have been the camera (putting it on the table only attracts attention, as I just found out at an expensive dim sum lunch at Sea Harbour), or it could have been that the servers never took care of them.

Free Hot Tea

Right when we sat down to browse the menu, a hot glass pot of tea arrived. It was light on the palate with a pleasant fragrance. Gulp. Unfortunately, the glass reflected like at Pelican Hill and I got into the picture frame.

Cold Plate

Our dishes arrived very quickly in succession after we ordered, but to start off the lunch, we had a cold marinated plate of bean curd, hard boiled eggs, peanuts, and seaweed strips topped with cilantro. Everything was marinated in a sweetened soy sauce mixture which was not too strong; the tofu had some additional chili oil added. Other than that, everything tasted like how it would be originally plus the marinade flavors. The eggs were accented but not heavily. The tofu tasted much like itself and the marinade with a hint of heat. Peanuts easily went into our mouths. And the seaweed crunched and had a slight hint of the marinade flavor. Simple but pleasing dish.


Vegetarian Lions Head

Another dish we ordered was the Bean Curd with Spinach, which in Chinese translates to Vegetarian Lions Head (the meat version is a Shanghai dish consisting of large softball sized meatballs and brown sauce). This actually was more like three orders of a dim sum order of vegetarian braised bean curd rolls with the addition of a bed of spinach, in reality. Inside each of the "lion's head" was a filling of wood ear, carrots, and bamboo which were all tender with a nice bite. The outside bean curd sheet skin was still lightly crispy from its frying. Spinach was spinach, seasoned with the savory brown sauce.

Napa Cabbage and Bean Curd Sheets

The last dish we ordered was a plate of Napa Cabbage with Bean Curd Skin. It was pretty much that, just seasoned with salt. Nothing much to it! Nice light dish to go counter the fried veggie lion heads.

Free Hot and Sour Soup

Along with each dish ordered for lunch, we also got a choice of rice and hot and sour soup or pumpkin porridge with mantou. The hot and sour soup was hot, but not very sour to me. I did wish there was more filling, which included ingredients like wood ear, bamboo, and tofu, than soup though.

Fried Mantou

We enjoyed the fried mantou which came with a bowl of porridge. Unlike regular steamed mantou, the fried mantou had a fragrant outer crust while the inside was just like a regular steamed mantou- this one had pieces of dough made into thin slices inside which you could remove to enjoy.

Rice-and-Porridge

Both the rice and porridge were served in larger bowls and were cooked nicely. The porridge didn't have that much of a pumpkin flavor but nevertheless was okay.

Overall, Gourmet Vegetarian is a nice place to go for lunch. Nice interior and reasonably priced meals. For me, I'd stay with Bean Sprouts since it is just closer, but for larger portions or if I lived in San Gabriel, I would come here.


Gourmet Vegetarian
140 W Valley Blvd #222
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Tel: (626) 280-5998

Fourmet Vegetarian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Gourmet Vegetarian in Los Angeles

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bean Sprouts Vegetarian Restaurant

Bean Sprouts

One of the lacking departments in Arcadia are Chinese Vegetarian restaurants. One of the few is Bean Sprouts, located on the busy Huntington Drive which also houses delicious restaurants like Sesame Grill, and the only car dealership in town, Mercedes Benz Rusnak-Arcadia, which is a fantastic place to go to if you are looking for a Mercedes Benz (or a pre-owned car). No dark, old showroom like Downtown LA Motors and Penske West Covina, as the dealership was built from scratch eight years ago. And pricing, if you can haggle or find a friend that has brought from there more than once, is a great deal. (plug added without pay from them)

Bean Sprouts is more of a upscale type of place, with a modern but comfortable, sunny atmosphere as well as higher prices. Gone are the cheap special deals or special sets that you find at other larger, family style Chinese Vegetarian restaurants in the SGV.

However, lunch for the matter, is a different case. For the first time visitor, might as well you come during the lunch hours. Why? Well, with every special lunch item you order, you get plenty of items to try along, like their famous rainbow rolls which usually cost the same as a lunch plate (8 of them cost $6.25). And while a number of items are left out from the menu, like my personal favorite, veggie fish, it is still a nice small menu with good deals.

Interior

Seated inside, there is a row of bench seating and then tables with chairs. In reality, the restaurant is quite small- large parties would pretty much fill out quite a bit of space. For this visit, we were seated in the bench area. During the day time, it is one of the areas where you are covered from the sun. This brought to the photos I took later to be quite dark. For some reason, Nikon's Auto modes like to make the photos underexposed in my feelings- and since I was not using Manual mode or exposure compensation (didn't know how then...), the photos were a bit dark. You'll see the results below. Sometimes the photos are underexposed, sometimes they are how I saw them during lunch. How weird! The same thing happened last night when I had dinner at another restaurant.

Complimentary Veggie Soup

After we ordered from the lunch menu, a free soup arrived for every one of us, consisting of crunchy and robust soybean sprouts, tomato, seaweed, and firm tofu. It was quite light in flavor, but the vegetables shone out with pops of texture.

Marinated Bean Sprouts

Another free item we received was a small, banchan sized plate of marinated soybean sprouts, which were basically tossed in some sesame oil, soy sauce, and the like. Like the soup, the vegetable stood out the most, and the sesame oil just provided a slight extra note to the bean sprout.

Turnip Cake

For an appetizer, we ordered a plate of Turnip Cakes, which were quite different from turnip cakes you would see at a dim sum place. These were a bit lighter in flavor, with the dried shrimp being absent in the mix. The batter was a bit more chewy, and there was less turnip in comparison to Full House's version. I do not remember how the sauce tasted like but if I remember correctly it was slightly salty and sour. In any way, it matched the crispy exterior of the turnip cakes well. Crunchy pieces of cabbage provided a nice bed for the turnip cake.

Marinated Seaweed

In addition, we also ordered a plate of Marinated Seaweed, which had a nice bite to it and was slightly sweet and salty. Simple rendition, but quite tasty. You can find this type of seaweed at Arcadia's 99 Ranch Supermarket or any other Asian supermarket in the area, usually salted and placed in a plastic package for sale.

Tofu Puff Lunch Plate

One of my dining companions ordered the Bean Curd Skin Roll from the menu, which also came with a side of broccoli, mixed vegetables, and 3 of the tasty rainbow rolls. We all chose a base of mixed brown and red rice instead of the typical white steamed rice, and it provided a nutty and fluffy texture with a bite to the dishes we ordered. The bean curd skin roll was quite simple. There were two large pieces of the bean curd skins, which were then fried. Ladled on top was a mixture of carrot, sliced wood ear, and bamboo which was mixed together with a brown sauce. The contrasting textures were quite delightful in the dish, and the lightly seasoned vegetables added crunch.

Curry-Rice-Plate

Another dining companion and I ordered the Curry rice. Again, like my other dining companion's bean curd skin roll dish, our dishes also came with a bed of brown and red rice, the mixed vegetables and the broccoli, and then the three rainbow rolls. The curry was separate, served in a bowl:

Vegetable Curry

This curry was thick and was deep in flavor with plenty of cumin notes. I would call it similar to a Japanese curry, similar to my apple chicken curry which used the House Curry cubes, but made thicker with the disintegrating potatoes and an addition of cumin which made it very hearty. It was quite obvious that this curry had been on the slow cooker for a long time, as the potatoes and carrots were very tender and soft. What was the interesting part of the dish were the pieces of soy cubes, which were soft and pillow-y. There were not many pieces in my bowl of curry, but my dining companion's bowl had plenty of the soy cube pieces.

Rainbow Rolls

You would be correct if you noticed I did not talk about the Rainbow Rolls yet. Well, that is because I took images of them at home with the macro lens back then when I just started using the D90. And yes, these were direct flash shots with the built in flash. I was lazy to get the speedlight and so here are the results :).

The summer rolls were a delightful sensation when eaten. The outside wrapper was a slightly sweetened rice noodle, while another layer inside was seasoned nori, providing saltiness and flavors of the sea. Inside the tightly wrapped roll were matchstick carrots and lettuce, and a crunchy and sweet mixture consisting of crushed peanuts and crispy pieces of ??? which provided the sweet. To combine everything together, a creamy vegan mayonnaise melded the flavors together and the alfalfa sprouts provided a nice decoration and more vegetables. Always tasty, always fun to eat. These just go too quickly. One bite and you are done with one!

Bean Sprouts Vegetarian Restaurant
Tel: (626) 254-8708
103 E. Huntington Dr.
Arcadia, CA 91006

Bean Sprouts on Urbanspoon

Bean Sprouts in Los Angeles

*UPDATE 19 January 2010: What a coincidence that I wrote about this place, and then two days later another person wrote about Bean Sprouts beef noodle soup and [seasoned beef] rice dish for the Apache Pow Wow, calling the place affordable (6-8 dollars a plate, she said) and good for the body and wallet (of course, when compared to school food! 5 dollars for so so food). Read story HERE.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Resort at Pelican Hill: Three Bedroom Villa #805 Kitchen

Pelican Hill Logo

Villa-805

If you did not read my Three Bedroom Villa #805 post yet, you probably do not know that I left out the kitchen in that part of the review. It now has a separate post: this post! I thought it would be a good way to start out the year with a beautiful but functional kitchen. So, here you go.

Kitchen

Behind the dining table is the kitchen, which is quite well equipped. Not only are there high quality and expensive appliances from brands like Miele, Sub-Zero, and Wolf, there are also plenty of goodies hidden in the cabinets, like All Clad pots and pans, a number of Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, and other electronic appliances, and plates. Most hotel kitchens are for show. Nothing is really placed into the cabinets or outside. You just have coffee, ice, and tea, as well as cups, plates, and silverware. At Pelican Hill, you will find more. Come take a look!

Fridge

The Sub Zero Fridge, which although isn't the largest model (who cares anyway), is still quite new. It had the same smell as our fridge did when it was new. Inside are a nice assortment of FREE items. Yes, I said it. FREE!

Complimentary Drinks

4 bottles of water (2 Aqua Panna, 2 Pellegrino), a quart of half and half for coffee, a half gallon of milk, and an assortment of international beers. Looking at this photo is particularly saddening. Why? We only touched the milk but enjoyed it. We forgot to enjoy the bottles of water and then take away the glass bottles home for display and re-use.

Freezer

Below the fridge door is a slide out freezer with two drawers, with one containing ice. And plenty of it! The good thing is, it will not melt, unlike a typical ice bucket.

Appliances

Moving around to the corner is a Cuisinart Grind and Brew Thermal Coffeemaker and a Cuisinart Toaster. We did not use either. I did however try to use the coffeemaker to just boil water (and not have coffee), and that experiment failed. The scents of previously brewed coffee went into the boiled water. Well, what do you expect? It happens at California Pizza Kitchen and other restaurants too with their coffee machines...

Coffee and Tea

In the basket, there are two bags of coffee made by Sapore e Sapore (Pelican Hill's own, I guess?) as well as teabags. In addition, condiments like creamer (in liquid form), sugar, artificial sweeteners, and the like were in the metal tins.

Teas

As for the teas, there were eight teabags with two each of English Breakfast, Darjeeling, Green Tea, and Chamomile. Again, did not try any, but I would expect them to be quite fragrant and enjoyable to drink.

Martini Glasses, Ice

Below in the corner are quite a number of things. The All Clad pots and pans are in one cabinet. In another cabinet, martini glasses and olives are stored. Now, these olives were NOT free. I was not going to open them anyway, so it did not matter. Olives are not my favorite, as you can see in my last year's postings. Virtually none had any mention of olive, with exception of olive oil :).

Vileroy and Boch Dinnerware

Above in the same corner, in a cabinet, are plenty of Villeroy and Boch plates and bowls. They certainly made for good photo taking the second day!

Complimentary Food

Moving a few cabinets to the right, is a cabinet full of complimentary items, ranging from hot sauce to crackers. Since complimentary items are always intriguing, our butler had the knowledge to show us this cabinet first before showing us anything else in the kitchen during our tour. I was certainly quite amazed when he opened the cabinet. Look at how much stuff there is!!!

Condiments

The first shelf had jams, A1 steak sauce, Heinz mayo, dijon mustard, and ketchup, Tabasco hot sauce, McCormick black pepper/sea salt grinders, Sapore e Sapore extra virgin olive oil, and Sparrow Lane Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar. What made it better? Everything was packaged in glass containers. You do not see Heinz products in glass containers that often now, with exception at fancy restaurants (Pelican Grill had them too...).

Vinegar and Olive Oil

If it was not enough already, here are the glass containers of the olive oil and vinegar. I find their shape to be quite elegant. The olive oil looks like a mini trophy! :)

Darbo Jams and Honey

The jams were made by Darbo, with the usual flavors of strawberry, orange, and the like. There was also a container of honey. This made it all so convenient if you wanted a lemon honey drink or the like.

Cereal

On the second shelf were the Kelloggs cereals, which were the perfect match with the container of milk you saw earlier in the fridge. We finished all four containers of these the next day for breakfast. Convenience at its best :).

Herbs

The third shelf housed metal tins filled with herbs, as well as...

Grissini

Fattorie and Pandea Grissini, which were light and crisp breadsticks. There were two of the packages you see to the right in the box. Quite enjoyable with a mix of the olive oil and vinegar :).

Lavosh Crackers

Adriennes Lavosh Crackers were also included, and...

Lavosh Crackers

They were studded with plenty of black and white sesame seeds. These crackers, in comparison to the breadsticks, were thin, but dense, with a heavy sesame flavor. Again, another good cracker to dip with the olive oil and vinegar- it matched perfectly!

Coffee Mugs

Another cabinet houses coffee mugs- 6 of them! There were also plenty of wine glasses, as well as water glasses, in another cabinet that I did not take pictures of.

Wolf Range

And lastly, here was the Wolf range. It's always nice to compare the old (ours) to the new, and this range was quite different. The build quality was better in the new model, and there was an touch panel to control functions in the range. Unlike our range, this one did not have pit-pat-pat sounds when one or more of the burners were on. Lastly, this range would be so much more easier to clean. Why? The bottom of the grates had less pieces to handle, meaning less gaps. So, if someone made a mess with liquids pooling over the pot, it would not be such of a big mess.

I want this range! :)

But, some things do not change, and the range hood was just as loud and noisy as ours still is today.

Plants
(top photo is basket in the kitchen, the bottom is in the Queen Bedroom)

In the other corner, there was a a basket filled with beautiful succulents. I want these! Pelican Hill does a wonderful job making these plants look the best they can be. I'd rather buy a basket of their succulents rather than going to Armstrong or some other garden center for these succulents- they just do not look as pretty. (exception to California Cactus Center)

And nearby the corner of the plant is a large stainless steel sink, which is quite nicely designed in fact. In the bottom of the sink is a metal rack so that dishes, silverware, et cetera are elevated from the base of the sink. A new sponge was also included in the sink.

Below the sink, the cabinet had a built in trash bin which opened up when you opened the cabinet door. In the cabinet, there was a glass jar with the two in one dish detergent packs. Dish washing done! After all, to the right was a Miele dishwasher. And further to the right was a wine fridge, already filled with bottles of wine for PURCHASE.

In the cabinets nearby were more appliances, like a Cuisinart SmartPower Duet Blender/Food Processor and a Hamilton Beach percolator which I was shocked to use as the bottom was a light green. It needed some serious cleaning! In addition, another cabinet housed a minibar with usual suspects like (large) bottles of liquor, chocolate, a one time use camera, Pelican Hill playing cards, et cetera.

Villa Conclusion:


At 2,573 sq. ft., and with a private 2-car garage, Pelican Hill's Three Bedroom Villa is basically and effectively a large home that is just missing its own private backyard and pool. There are plenty of hotels that have penthouse suites and the like, but they are not as well equipped or as high quality as Pelican Hill. Pelican Hill has thought out what customers would want or forget in their villas, giving them complimentary items like detergent and toothbrushes, which can prove to be useful especially since there is no store nearby Pelican Hill. The design of the villas are upscale, but feel like a home, and not a typical hotel room. A successful hotel makes a person feel that the hotel is their second home, and Pelican Hill, in my opinion, has certainly done that. Going into the villa, one can only think of relaxing with the comfortable seating, light brown/cream color scheme, and natural woods throughout the villa. Hints of greenery inside and outside are another nice touch.

What makes the villas worth paying for, other than for its size and features, is obviously the view- something great to watch during the day and something great to wake up to. Watching people play golf, zoom around in the ocean, and seeing the water ripple around in the ocean is quite relaxing and fun to watch. Plus, with the hill sloping downward to the ocean, it gives the view a sense of depth not found in other coastal California hotels.

Even better was that the villa was very clean and well kept for. Other than the Hamilton Beach Percolator, and that the blanket was too warm, everything else was basically working great. The villa felt new, not old, and a villa that could be lived in easily. So clean, in fact, that I would probably say it was the cleanest hotel I have been to. The many Shangri-La's, especially in Hong Kong, are dirtier and not as well functioning compared to Pelican Hill.

Overall, a wonderful room. High quality items, great location, great features, well kept for and painstakingly clean. What more could you want? For 1450, a great deal for the luxury seeker with a family.

Read the series in order:
China Garden- Irvine (Lunch Day 1)
The Resort at Pelican Hill: Introduction and Villa Clubhouse
The Resort at Pelican Hill: Three Bedroom Villa #805
The Resort at Pelican Hill: Three Bedroom Villa #805 Kitchen
Pelican Grill- Newport Coast (Thanksgiving Prix-Fixe Dinner)
The Resort at Pelican Hill: Second Day Thoughts
Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza- Costa Mesa (Lunch Day 2)

Enjoy!

The Resort at Pelican Hill
22701 Pelican Hill Road South
Newport Coast, California 92657