Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz, Foodie Reviews

The Yard House

The Location

We are lucky to have some good restaurants in Northridge and most of them are near or at the Northridge Fashion Center.  This week marks the opening of a wonderful chain restaurant at the mall.  It is located where the Cost Plus World Market has been for the past several years.  I was saddened by the closing of that store and many others in the “new” section of the mall which is adjacent to the movie theaters.  I am now hopeful that having the Yard House there will bring more new stores and restaurants to that part of town.

The Yard House is on the Plummer Street side of the mall and the closest parking is near the movie theaters.  Parking is free, but they do provide valet parking.

YARD HOUSE NORTHRIDGE

9301 Tampa Avenue
Northridge, CA 91324
818-721-0085

HOURS OF OPERATION
Open 11:00 am daily

Food Last Call
Sun-Thu 12:30am
Fri-Sat 1am

Alcohol Last Call
Sun-Thu 1am
Fri-Sat 1:20am

The Yard House

The Restaurant

The Yard House has a Facebook Page that has pictures and events posted.  It seems like a great place to work and the staff appear to enjoy being part of a community.  Their online presence makes you feel like a part of something and I liked that.

The service is very good.  I have eaten at the one in Lancaster, CA and I enjoyed it.  I went there for a late dinner with my nephew after a photo shoot.  We drove out of our way to eat there and I was so hungry.  I thought it might be out of my price range that evening and they had a huge menu.  I just wanted a quick bite!  I was pleasantly surprised that they had a late night happy hour!  We ordered and appetizer and sliders.  We also did a sampler of their brews.  Everything was terrific and very affordable!

The Food

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a VIP party at the Yard House in Northridge which preceded a “Soft Opening.”  What does all that mean?  It means free food and drinks!  I had the unique opportunity to try samples of many of the menu items as well as awesome full size cocktails from the bar.  I want to thank the Yard House and their marketing team for having this event.  I was so pleased to be able to share with my online community by Tweeting and posting pictures to Instagram about the event.  This is why bloggers are invited and a friend from my So Cal Lady Bloggers group on Facebook was nice enough to include me.

As soon as I walked in the door, servers were offering me samples of food which were served in bite sized portions on small plates.  Here is what I got to try:

  • FIRECRACKER WINGS boneless chicken, tossed in a spicy sesame garlic plum glaze garnished with green onions, the
  • BLUE CRAB CAKES with mango papaya chutney, passion fruit beurre blanc and tomato oil
  • SHIITAKE GARLIC NOODLES tossed with butter, garlic & shiitake mushrooms, topped with parmesan & chives
  • GINGER CRUSTED NORWEGIAN SALMON wasabi mashed potatoes, snow peas, carrots and spicy peanut vinaigrette topped with fried carrot strings
  • MINI CREME BRULEE with vanilla bean custard and chocolate topped with caramelized bananas

My son (who was graciously my “plus one”) and I made our way through the very large restaurant and found an open table outside on the spacious patio.  It was drizzling but there were large umbrellas over all the tables and powerful heaters so we were very comfortable outside.  Our server, Sean, came by and asked if he could bring us anything and took our drink orders.  He answered our questions and made us feel right at home.  He brought me my first of the two free drinks that were included for the VIP event.

Here are the drinks that I tried from the Specialty Drink Menu:

  • ESCALADE MARGARITA 1800 silver tequila, cointreau, hpnotiq, sweet & sour, fresh lime & orange, sugar rim
  • SOUTHERN BELLE jeremiah weed sweet tea vodka, lemonade, fresh strawberries and pineapple
  • MOJITO cruzan citrus rum or traditional |  mango • pomegranate • strawberry

I give the Yard House in Northridge an A+!  Everything was wonderful!  I really liked the Margarita.  I didn’t finish the Southern Belle because it was too fruity and sweet for me.  Sean offered me something else to try and I asked for the Mojito.  Also a bit sweet, I added some water and ice and it was perfect.

The music they played was fantastic, I loved it because it was mostly 80’s music and I thought I must fit the demographic for this place perfectly!  My teenage son enjoyed the TV screens all around (yes, even on the patio.)  When the event was over and we had finished our second serving of the Banana Creme Brulee, Sean told us that we could stay and were welcome to order off the menu if we wanted to pay for a meal or any more drinks.  We decided to take a look at the menu.

The Confession(s)

Confession #1, I ate too much!  I tried all of those samples and because they were mini versions I felt like I had eaten a small amount.  I realized that I was full just about the time our entrees arrived!

Confession #2, I drank too much!  I didn’t drink all three drinks, but they were full size drinks with a lot of alcohol and fruit.  Too sweet for me being a Diabetic.  My bad!  Slap my hand, please!  I should have had a glass of wine.  The Yard House has a great big menu with lots of choices, an extensive wine list and a beer menu.  They also have a FRESH & SKINNY drink menu!  The next time I go there, I will be sure to try a cocktail from that menu.  The Yard House caters to an eclectic crowd and has specialty menues to serve any taste.  In addition to the “skinny” drink choices, there are full menues for the vegan, the gluten sensitive, the health conscious, the gourmet and even kids!

My son and I enjoyed the foods we tried.  Here is what we ordered from the menu:

  • (MAC + CHEESE)2 chicken breast, applewood bacon, wild mushrooms, cheddar, parmesan, campanelle pasta and truffle oil
  • CHICKEN ENCHILADA STACK pasilla peppers, garlic cream, jack cheese, corn tortillas, pinto beans, tomatillo, red chili sauce and sour cream

Luckily, Dan (our second awesome server, yes we were there for a long time!) brought us a “doggie bag” to take home our left overs!

My nicely packaged left overs
My nicely packaged left overs
Melissa Reyes Miz Meliz http://mizmeliz.com
Miz Meliz Likes It!
With two yummy sauces "you could drink"
With two yummy sauces “you could drink”
A Juicy Mojito goes well with the Enchilada!
A Juicy Mojito goes well with the Enchilada!
photo by Melissa Reyes copyright 2012 Yard House #MizMeliz http://mizmeliz.com
The food samples were awesome!
Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz, Foodie Reviews

Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas

If you get a chance, you must go the Hofbrauhaus in Las Vegas!  I went there recently and I had a blast!  It was so much fun!

The Location

Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas
4510 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, Nevada 89169

This is what the front page of their website claims. . .

“As an exact replica of the legendary Hofbräuhaus in Munich, Germany, we take great pride in giving you an experience as authentic and unforgettable as the 400-year-old original. From the traditional Beer Hall bursting with nightly live entertainment, to the tree-lined Beer Garden, everything has a bold touch of Bavaria you won’t forget any time soon.”


I know I won’t forget my experience any time soon!  Located across the street from The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the Hofbrauhaus has been rockin’ the house in Vegas since 2004.  This is what I was thinking as I was waiting to get in to this exciting place that had so many unknowns to me. . .  as I was watching people enter the restaurant in full German costume, yes, men were arriving dressed in lederhosen and women dressed in dirndl . . . I noticed that they seemed to be getting in right away.  They didn’t work there.  Maybe they had reservations. Hmmm, what did they know that I did not know?  Do you get a free drink if you dress up?  Was it dress up night on Saturday nights?  What is the catch?  Where are the cameras?  Were they getting punked? I later scoured the website and newsletter and found absolutely no mention of perks for dressing up.  Either these people dressed that way to enhance their dining experience or they were coming there straight from Germany (or a convention, perhaps?) It didn’t matter, because it did enhance my experience!  I loved it!

I found out later that people dress up for OktoberfestOktoberfest is a 16-day festival celebrating beer held annually  in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October. It was well past that time period when I was at the Hofbrauhaus, so I figure, it is always Oktoberfest there!  Why not?

The Restaurant

There was a very long wait but it was well worth it.  During the long wait, I looked at everything they sold at the gift shop.  There were lots of cute things to buy.  I tried on all the funny hats and pointed out all the sexy aprons and other fun things to my hubby.  I found it extremely Vegas style touristy and borderline cooky, but some friends that were waiting with us said it is EXACTLY like the Hofbrauhaus in Germany, including the gift shop.  There is also a bar in the waiting area so folks can start drinking as they wait.  I think the seating system and waiting area should be considered the 8th Wonder of the World because somehow they filter thousands of people through the front doors of the Hofbrauhaus every night.  There is one way in and one way out.  Everyone must go past the gift shop, just like Disneyland.  (Smart people.  We dropped another $35 on our way out and we bought one glass and lots of chocolate.)

I could hardly wait to get in!  Every time the door would swing open, I could hear music and singing.  At one point they were singing the National Anthem and everyone was standing on their seats and singing!  I was standing on my tippy toes to see into the main dining room.  I wanted to be where the action was.  I was also a little nervous that this crowd was going to be too rowdy.  Yes, even too rowdy for me! I was looking forward to trying some authentic German food.  What if I couldn’t see the menu?  What if I couldn’t hear the waiter?  I wanted to be able to ask questions and enjoy my meal.  And, by the way, I was really getting hungry!  Let me in!

The music was pumping throughout the whole building and got louder every time the doors opened.  People were singing along.  They were songs that I knew.  I wanted to be inside with a beer in hand, singing along.  Eventually, our party was called and we were taken inside.  We walked through the entire length of the first room, which was the Beer Hall, passed through a center area where they were roasting nuts and where the kitchen and restrooms were, then we were led to a huge patio area which was the indoor Beer Garden, that had about ten times the dining capacity as the main room.  This place was ginormous.  As we got further and further away from the action, I was saddened and relieved.  I wasn’t going to be standing on my chair singing at the top of my lungs with the rowdiest crowd in Las Vegas, but hey – I wasn’t going to be standing on top of my chair singing at the top of my lungs with the rowdiest crowd in Vegas!  I could eat and enjoy and ask questions.

I still drank a giant beer and sang out loud.  I was able to watch everything that was going on around me (there was a lot going on, more on that in a moment) and see what was happening in the Beer Hall on large screen TVs.  While I was waiting for my meal, I watched a stein holding contest.  Yes, it was a contest to see who could hold the one litre stein of beer the longest with one hand outstretched in front of them.  The winner got a $500 gift certificate to the Hofbrauhaus.  There was some stiff competition and I was amazed at how long some of the non-muscular people stayed in.  It did end up between a few Marine looking guys with big muscular arms whose veins in their necks looked like they were going to pop before they would let one drop of their beer spill much less drop their full stein!  I held a mini-contest at my table, and I was the winner!  (I think I was near the bottom of my stein by that point!)

The Food

For starters, I shared a Jumbo Complete– Giant pretzel served with “Obazter” cheese, sweet mustard, and onion mustard.  Yummy!

The beer I drank was the “bottom-fermented lager” made especially for Oktoberfest, called Hofbräu Oktoberfest.  It is said that this crisp beer is historically made with a higher than usual alcohol content and is brewed from pure water, the best quality malt and exquisite hops.  I am not much of a beer person, although I have tried many over the years.  This was very good.

I tried the Jägerschnitzel – Pork Cutlet “Hunter Style” topped with creamy Mushroom Sauce, Bacon and Onions, served with Spätzle (special German Noodles) and Cranberries.  It was amazing!  If I wasn’t full from the litre of beer that I drank by the time the food arrived, I would have eaten every last bite.  Trust me, I tried.  Everyone at my table loved the foods that they tried.  Everything was authentic and cooked by German chefs and was quite enjoyable.

Now for the confession. . .

I swear I did not participate in this, but I am guilty for watching and getting a “kick” out of it!  At the Hofbrauhaus, if you buy a shot of Jager, it is served to you by a Jager Girl (or boy) who spanks you with a paddle after you drink it.  In case you are not familiar with this practice and think you read that wrong, I will repeat it.  They spank you on the bottom with a paddle when you drink a shot of Jager at the Hofbrahaus.  And everyone watches and cheers you on!

Again, I scoured the Hofbrauhaus website looking for mention of this practice and could find none.  Was this another German Oktoberfest “thing” like the Chicken Dance, that everyone knows but doesn’t know how or why it started?  I wanted to know more.  I found this bit of information in the blog for the OktoberfestHaus ,which is an online store for everything related to Oktoberfest.  I found out that the spanking part is an American thing.  In fact, it is a Vegas thing.  What can I say?  I think it’s best to leave it at that and say nothing!

Please don’t tell me if you get spanked at the Hofbrauhaus, but let me know if you go there!  I hope you have as much fun (or more) than I did!