Tuesday, August 5, 2014

As I never trek down to San Diego, I had to make my one day trip count! So what does SD really have to offer?  I did various searches on good eats but I decided to look up a tasty BBQ place.  Apparently they have a highly rated place called Phil's BBQ that is growing in locations in SD area.  Unfortunately none up in Orange County yet.  Supposedly Phil's BBQ is rated as one of the top ten restaurants in the US by Yelp.  I actually only found that out when I arrived and was waiting in the semi-long line.
Smile, you are on camera and on the internet while you wait.  I read all the reviews that discuss about the long wait.  Luckily this was the last stop of the night for us and I wanted to just order take out.  As I have never been here before, I didn't know if there were two lines so we split up and had one person check out if there is a separate line for take out while the other one waited in line.
You can always call in the order or move to the front of the line as there are two lines, one for take out and for dining in.  Once you get to the front of the line, the cashiers will hold up cute animal paddles to let you know they are available.
I didn't read too much about the reviews and am normally a bigger fan of baby back ribs so I decided to get a rack of baby back ribs.  They were a bit on the drier side for my taste.  The sauce was very flavorful but I wished that the ribs were smothered in it or if I had an extra side of sauce.  As for the meat, the ribs were not too meaty and I think I have been spoiled by the ones at Costco or Bludso where the ribs are plump and full of meat.  The BBQ sauce used here is more tangy and reminiscent to the styles you would find in Memphis.
Normally I do not get the beef ribs as they are very big and fatty.  Fortunately I am greedy and wanted a bit of everything.  Here you can buy by the single rib so I decided to try one.  Unfortunately, I only got one! I wish I ordered a full rack or more and forgo the baby back ribs.  The beef ribs were very flavorful and tender.  It melted in my mouth and was loaded with flavor.  This was definitely the winner of the night.
Many people recommended the Broham sandwich.  At first I was hesitant because I was full from the day and I am normally not a sandwich person.  I am all about the meat! ^_- This sandwich is jam packed full of pulled pork, some coleslaw, and slathered with BBQ sauce.  The meat was flavorful and the buns were crisp to the bite.  I could see why many people enjoy this sandwich.
All in all the food was tasty and definitely counts as a good BBQ place.  I am still on the fence for it to be named one of the top ten restaurants in the US... I have never thought of San Diego to be the birth place of BBQ.  I would need to head back to Memphis or take a trip to Texas for comparison.  For Southern California, it is not bad.  The beef ribs are pretty darn good and I would definitely swing by if I was ever down in San Diego and order myself a rack or two!
Phil's BBQ 
3750 Sports Arena Blvd
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 226-6333
Phil's BBQ on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Who doesn't love a refreshing milk or fruit tea to quench your thirst?  After a nice meal, Ms. Lin Guide and our friend decided to grab a drink and chat some more.  We found the closest place that looked good was 7 Leaves Cafe.  They are not your typical Asian milk tea place as they offer a little variety and pizzazz to their menu.
The staff was very friendly and offered samples before the purchase.  We actually got to try a great variety before we ordered.  They were so friendly that my friend and I each ordered 2 drinks.
They have the Strawberry Hibiscus Tea made with real fruits, hibiscus flower and rooibos tea. This was very light and refreshing.  Personally I wished it was a little sweeter as I have a sweet tooth when it comes to my teas.
We tried the Sea Cream Jasmine Tea has a light whipped sea cream on top, which was a little weird for my taste.  I don't think I can quite adapt to the salty cream mixed with the tea as I like drinks of a sweeter nature.  Still, I am glad that I was able to get a small sample to see if this would be a new drink that I might like.
One of their most recommended specialties is the Mung Bean Milk Tea made with mung bean, jasmine tea, and pandan leaves.  I am not a big fan of beans in general but I thought this was the most interesting and tasty drink.  The texture was not overwhelming and nicely flavored.  It was also sweeter than the other drinks so I did enjoy it.
We also tried the Sunset Passion made with hand squeezed passion fruit.  This was a little more on the tart side and didn't have the oomph that I was looking for.  In the end I decided to get the Strawberry Hibiscus Tea and Mung Bean Milk Tea.
Was this place mind blowing?  Not really but I would be willing to come back if I was in the neighborhood to grab a drink.

7 Leaves Cafe 
9786 Westminster Avenue 
Garden Grove, CA 92844
(714) 590-2790
7 Leaves Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 9, 2014

What is the number one thing that Ms. Lin Guide and I miss most about Paris?  It is the African Chicken! It sounds weird but believe me, it is the best thing and for a great price!
Where else can you get a full delicious meal for around 20 euros?  We use to love going to Chez Alex, but it closed down so we have tried all the poulet braisé places in Paris and found Babylone near Etienne Marcel.
This place can be a little deceiving.  It is open super late when everything else is closed.  I believe they open late and runs until the early morning.
There is a door that you ring the door bell to and wait for them to come and open the door for you.  Just because they looked closed, don't give up and ring the bell until they come and let you in.
Once you head inside you will see the decorative wall and all the photos of famous celebrities.  They usually have music playing and the servers are all dancing and singing happily as they work.  It feels very family run and a very fun and open environment.
Warning, this is Paris and they are very open.  There are some nude photos on the wall and the artistic wall has a very sensual fertility feel.  It is hard not to look at all the interesting photos and artwork around the restaurant.  You will see photos of Rihanna and more.
Now onto the yummy food.  Don't question what to get, you have to get your own plate of poulet braisé.  It is the best thing and what everyone else will be eating.  I am not a big chicken fan but I would fly thousands of miles just to get this! Oh wait, I do every year! lol
They have gotten very fast in getting the chicken done as more and more people discover the wonders of poulet braisé.  There are these 3 magical sauces that taste like ambrosia when mixed together and then enhanced by some heat.  They will warn you about the chili sauce if you have never had it before.  It is definitely not for the weak as it may burn your whole mouth, but definitely work up the courage to drizzle it in.
There is a trick on how you eat the chicken.  It may just seem like an ensemble of food.  You have the braised chicken and you will need to order the rice.  If you are hungy then you can order the alokos, fried bananas, to munch on as a side.  Make sure to ask for the Maggi sauce for the savory component.  I could be blinded by the label but I think the ones made in Europe taste more fragrant
I prefer to sauce my rice first.  First drizzle on the sauce one by one and then evenly add the Maggi for that extra flavor.  If you are able to hold your own on spicy food then drizzle a good amount of their chili to set your mouth ablaze with flavor.  Then mix the rice and start digging into the chicken accompanied with a mouthful of flavorful rice.
Ms. Lin Guide does it differently where she does not mix it in with the rice.  She starts first with the chicken and layers it over the rice.  Then she begins to drizzle all the different sauces one by one on top of the chicken.  You would think that there would be no difference in flavor but I made Ms. Lin Guide try my chicken versus her own concoction, but the flavors come out different.
If it is your first time having the poulet braisé, then you should try both ways with a little portion of the chicken so you can determine the best way to enjoy the heavenly meal!
Babylone
34 rue Tiquetonne
75002 Paris France
+33 1 42 33 48 35

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