Friday, March 13, 2015

review - The Twisted Oak Tavern, formerly The Lab, Has Grand Reopening end of March

30105 Agoura Road
Agoura Hills, California  
(818) 735-0091

As one sits enjoying a burger and homemade beer in the spacious dining room of The Twisted Oak Tavern, there are two things that catch your eye, the humongous cylinders at the end of the aisle where beer is made, still referred to as the Lab Brewing Co., and the twisted oaks outside the large window, whose breathtaking view infuses the establishment with an atmosphere of warmth, homeyness and nature-made fun. Formerly known as the Lab, the Twisted Oak Tavern reopened with its new name in January of this year, but next week commencing March 26 and ending on April 2 The Twisted Oak tavern will celebrate an official grand opening with an entire week of events. We'll talk about these further in, but first, let's talk food and beverage, what makes the Twisted Oak extra special.

I was exceedingly enthusiastic, of course, with the spaciousness of this restaurant and the view of the oak trees, but I had heard from many a source that the beer was incredible and the food was really first-rate. So, it was such a pleasure to meet award-winning brewmaster Roger Bott who was on hand to greet us and make us feel right at home. He suggested that we try an assortment of beer and food, and since I like just about everything, I was more than game. 

Our affable server Matt started us off with candied bacon strips and from the bar, my favorite nonalcoholic drink - ginger beer, made quite differently from what I was accustomed to drinking. It was prepared with fresh ginger… and lemon, which added a real sparkle, and needless to say, when anyone puts smoked bacon in front of me at any time of day, I am in heaven. After some picture taking and pleasant conversation with both Roger and Matt, we were served a small batch brew session, which included a blonde ale called Honey I'm Home, real savory; Belgian Pale; Belgian Breakfast Brown, a mild ale; Take Her Home Tripel - my favorite, and Cold Fusion. The beer samples, plus the delicious ginger beer put me in a terrific mood to appreciate the platter of food which Matt delivered to our table.

We were given a Twisted Oak burger, a chicken diablo sandwich with house fries, and a dinner serving of Lobster Risotto. It was lunch time but the chef was ever so nice to prepare us a dinner entree as well. Let me tell you, my friend and I raved about the risotto, as we are both fans of pasta and seafood. Scrumptious, to say the least! If that were not enough, they prepared us a special smoked salmon salad, consisting of baby kale, shaved Brussels sprouts, lemon dill crouton, red onion, house made ricotta cheese, house smoked salmon, and truffle dressing. There were so many incredibly wonderful flavors to savor that every bite was a true adventure. For dessert, my friend ordered the Dulce De Leche Lava Cake, and I chose the homemade Apple Cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Both were delectable. What impressed me about the kitchen at the Twisted Oak Tavern is that everything is made in house. Not only do they brew their own beer, but grind their own hamburg for the burgers and make the bread for the flatbread pizzas as well. I purchased a sausage pizza to take home and it was de...licious!

Returning to Grand opening week March 26 to April 2, every night of the week will feature something different, the most important being Thursday the 26th which will be ribbon cutting and the release of their barrel aged imperial stout named Boris. Friday the 27th will include a performance by the popular musical group Acoustic Saints. Saturday the 28th is charity night where food proceeds benefit the local animal shelter. Sunday the 29th is collaboration Sunday, where the staff will be brewing on a small pilot system on the patio with Enegren Brewing. The public is invited to hang out and participate. A new beer co-brewed with them a few months ago will be released called Big Dose, a barrel aged Belgian quad. Sounds like fun, so join in and help roll out the barrel for The Twisted Oak Tavern in Agoura Hills.

Those spacious booths! Can fit up to 8 people!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

review - Pizza Cookery for BREAKFAST!!!

The Original Pizza Cookery
6209 Topanga Canyon Blvd (at Erwin Street), Woodland Hills
(818) 887-4770

If you are a fan of The Original Pizza Cookery in Woodland Hills on Topanga Canyon- and who isn't? - they are now open for breakfast 7:00 am to 10: 30 am daily, serving a unique variety of delicious breakfast foods. There are hefty omelettes, pancakes, divine French toast, large breakfast sandwiches including the breakfast burrito and much, much more.

The first item we were served was a breakfast pizza. If you like your breakfast hearty, with indescribable homemade flavor think: eggs, meat, cheese, and potatoes all blended together on a thin cracker crust. You get all the great tastes of these food items you love cooked to scintillating perfection as only a pizza oven can accomplish. When I took my first couple of bites, all I could say was "'s like eating a terrific omelette, potatoes and toast... only much better. Delicious!" And you can't beat Pizza Cookery's low price of $9.95. Each pizza contains eight slices, so there's definitely enough food for two. Besides the original pizza, which contains scrambled eggs, choice of bacon, sausage or ham with home fries, tomato, red onion, mushrooms, cilantro, mozzarella cheese and topped with fresh parmesan cheese, there are also the Greek Pizza, the Veggie or you may create your very own. 

Next our super friendly and consistently conscientious waitress Lynn served us a scrumptious skillet scramble. A skillet scramble consists of scrambled eggs with hash browns layered in a cast iron skillet, topped with mozzarella, cheddar, or provolone cheese and served with your choice of toast or an English muffin for a mere $10.95. We chose the Topanga with spinach, sausage, mushroom and red onion. It was richly satisfying. Also available are the original with your choice of bacon, sausage or ham with tomato, onion, mushroom and cilantro. For vegans, there is also the Veggie with mushrooms, red onion, black olives, tomato and green pepper. You may create your own scramble and substitute egg whites for a mere $1 charge. Amazing tastes all blended into one super awesome concoction that is totally unto itself!

The French toast was truly delightful, served with maple syrup, butter and fruit garnish. Also on the bill are pancakes, a Belgian waffle and specialties like bagel, lox and cream cheese. You may order eggs any style, a lox and onion scramble as well as scrambled eggs and onions. There are also a smoked salmon platter and a whitefish salad platter. For those who prefer cereal, it is offered both cold and... hot oatmeal. Bakery items include freshly baked muffins, cinna-mini for the ultra-sweet palate, croissants, bagels, English muffins and toast all nicely priced under $3.

Side orders include home fries as well as hash browns, bacon, ham steak, sausage links, sliced tomatoes, cream cheese, salsa and pure maple syrup. Beverages offered are apple or orange juice, low fat milk, iced tea or hot tea, coffee, cappuccino, latte and espresso, all under or close to $3. There are plenty of refills on coffee, and each guest gets a homemade cinna-mini with every breakfast order. And they are far better than those  tasteless pull-aparts you get in fast food restaurants.

Everyone loves The Original Pizza Cookery for its fine Italian fare and all I can add is their breakfast selections are the greatest. There is ample food prepared just the way you like it and service with a smile. Stop by 7 days a week from 7:00 am to 10: 30 am and enjoy a lovely breakfast experience!

visit them online at: