Friday, February 29, 2008

Okay, for those of you who know me personally... I have a serious problem, I am addicted to Pinkberry! It's an incredibly expensive and hard habit to break. Even though there are none around me, I drive far and wide to hunt one down so I can get my fix! What to do! Now they are going to open one in Irvine Spectrum, man am I counting down the days! Say good-bye to all my money. $6.50 each time really adds up fast! O=P
I was up in LA today, near Korea Town, so I had to stop by for a big cup of yogurt. At first I'd only get the regular size, but now as I am hooked on the goods I need a greater dosage to satisfy me! Now I only get the Large Original with Mochi. Some times I just get the yogurt, depending on my mood. If you have never had the mochi be sure to get it, it's delicious and chewy. What I love about their yogurt is that it's always tart, sweet, and never leaves you feeling weighed down.
My pal got a Small Green Tea yogurt with Blueberries. I have had their green tea and it's good, but I just love the original. The green tea flavor is subtle and not as tart nor sweet as the original. Word to the wise, AVOID the new coffee flavor! I had a free sample and I almost threw up! My friends and I tried it and immediately threw it into the trash. Doesn't taste anything like coffee, just sour and rancid.

I would have took pics of the store front, but the K-Town store has a security guard inside whom makes sure no one takes pictures. I have been to Pinkberry in New York and all over LA, they are all about the same decor. Simple, clean, plastic chairs, and white tables. This store always has a line and a lot of tables for people to sit and chat. This yogurt craze is really getting out of hand as there are Yogurtland, Red Mango, Kiwiberri, Snowberry, and MORE! I have been to a bunch already, but I still love the simplicity and flavor of Pinkberry!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I wish TP a safe & fun trip to India and back! Take the Aquamarine this time, and give it to ME! ^_^ Don't forget my mangoes! We decided to try this place that Mama Panda's friends recommended in Irvine, Tri-Village. It's located right next to Kohl's on Jeffrey. The place looked really nice and clean from the outside, a more modern woodsy feel. Mama P and I arrived early and TP arrived super late so we had tons of time to look over the menu.
We started off the night by ordering two Northern Chinese dishes while we were waiting for TP, since she wouldn't be eating them anyway. I have been on a wonton craze so I wanted to try the Wontons in Spicy Red Chili Oil. The wontons were decent but nothing memorable. At first you don't taste the spiciness because it looked like soy sauce and no chili oil. After you take a bite the flavors come out and the spice kicks in. The bottom was layered with Chinese Broccoli, which offsets the greasiness. I must say that the wontons I made recently are much more flavorful and memorable. We also decided to try the Pan Fried Pork Buns. It contains the best of both worlds because it was crispy on the bottom and soft on the inside. Theirs was not bad, but I don't think the meat inside was that flavorful.
TP needs to eat beef and pork! It was so hard to find chicken items for her to eat. We decided to order one of their specials, Chicken Spring Pancakes. The chicken was sautéed and mixed with fresh vegetables & hoisin sauce in Chinese pancakes. I must say this was nothing special and really lacked in flavor. If I knew it was going to be like this, I would have ordered Mu-Shu because it would at least have more flavor. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, you can easily make this and better at home.
Since we couldn't find anything that we would all want to share, I suggested that we get Chicken Fried Rice and Chicken Pan Fried Noodles. Big mistake! Funny thing was that Mama P said it was salty and TP said it lacked flavor. I have to side with TP to say it really lacked flavor because it was totally not memorable. One reason could be that there were a lot more vegetables and they don't absorb the flavors as much. We should have just gotten steamed rice, although I really hate paying 75 cents PER person for steamed rice.
We ordered Walnut Prawns, Honey Walnut Shrimp. Their shrimps were surprisingly large and a generous amount was given. Mama P didn't like the fact that they skimped on the walnuts. Usually when I have this dish it was sweet, but here it wasn't. The flavors were very light and subtle. Overall this dish was not bad and I would order it again, but most likely I won't be back for dinner. I don't like to pay $14 for an entrée at a Chinese restaurant.

All in all this place was decent. The service was friendly although I had to ask twice for the water and always ask for it to be refilled. They were funny because TP was very late, we were saying how we've been waiting for over 1/2 an hour and the waiter came to take our order and he laughed with us by saying that we'd been there for over 2 hours already. More guilt to TP! =P There were some entrées that were good, but nothing spectacular. I think if you come here you shouldn't order anything Americanized. Stick with their Northern Chinese foods. I would probably come back here for lunch to give them another chance. If anyone goes there and tries the Salt & Peppered Eggplant, let me know how it is! Mama P and I thought it sounded good, but TP doesn't eat pork so we didn't get it. TP I am taking you to a STEAKHOUSE or BRAZILLIAN BBQ next time! I will force you to eat beef and pork! O=)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I always stop by this place. There are tons of other stores around, I believe they are franchised and the items differ from store to store. I really like one of the owners here, she is always very nice to me. Customer service is very important! Especially since I go there so often. There pre-made food is always really tasty. Funny this is that the lady who makes a lot of the stuff is one of my friend's bf's mom. Confusing huh? Small world too.
Ever since I was young, I have always loved Beef in Sesame Pocket. It's a typical Taiwanese snack, breakfast food. They do a decent job here and you have the option of spicy and regular. I am not a big fan of spicy but now I get the spicy because it has more flavor and it isn't too spicy. They toast the pocket and fill it with marinated beef, cilantro, green onions, sesame oil, & soy sauce.

Today was hot so we also got the Shaved Ice with 3 toppings for $3.95 and a Milk Tea. It was very refreshing and cooled me off.

All in all I like coming here a lot. Nice service and lots of yummy Taiwanese pre-made food! They also sell different types of jerkys and snacks. I love the Fruit-flavored Beef Jerky! It's kind of expensive, but definitely good. Stop by some time check it out and pick up a snack to give them a try! Don't forget to get a stamp card if you get a drink or shaved ice!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I have driven by this place many times and my friend asked me if I had try this place. So I decided to try it the next day. My best bud went with me and she told me that they have weird hours and are often closed randomly. The prices were quite high for what you get and especially in the cheap area they are located. Since we were the only ones there, you would think they'd have nice service. I think the owner was there and she had this attitude about her, it's not like she has that many customers! Warning, I like to take good pictures and make them look nice but pictures are deceiving!
The Petit Fours looked really cute, so I wanted to try them out. There was a guy helping me, but he had no idea which was which so he called out this lady that looked like the owner. I find it a little ridiculous that their staff does not know what was in the case and the lady, owner, who came out was rude and impatient. Geez, how do you plan to sell stuff with that attitude! No wonder no one was in there. I tried three of the Petit Fours. An Espresso Bean one that had no espresso flavor except the tiny bean on top. The Citrus tart, made with three different citruses, was good. I also tried the Crème Brulée tart, which was only normal. The only thing I found interesting was that the tarts were all lined with white chocolate, which was probably used to keep the moist custard away from the crust. These were my perspectives because the mean lady wasn't any help to describe her pastries. Usually they would describe their creations with joy or passion, but don't expect that from this place!
Since this would probably be the first and last time I come here, I decided to try a slice of cake. There weren't many choices to get a slice and they didn't look that appetizing. I ordered some type of triple cheese cake, or something to that sorts. This was such a big let down! It had no flavor and just tasted like nasty cream. The cake was a little dry too. One word, YUCK!
The only thing that we liked were the decorated cakes. They looked very pretty, but I don't think they would taste very good. The cakes were nice, but I think you can get just as beautifully decorated from any decent bakery. I just like the pictures, so I am posting them up.
All in all it was NOT worth it at all. The petit fours were $2.50 each for bite size pieces and the lame excuse for a cake was $3.50. Even the slice of the cake was measly! I liked the tarts, but everything else was not worth the time nor calories. If they had better service, I might have given the place another try for regular food but they even lack in service. Makes you wonder if they can do anything right. I definitely won't be coming back.

Black Forest Bakery Cafe

21731 Lake Forest Dr Ste 104
Lake Forest, CA 92630
(949) 768-6101
Black Forest Bakery Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 25, 2008

My friend and I decided to order take out from this place next to her house on Saturday night. The menu looked decently priced, so I decided why not. Normally these kind of places turn me off because they serve Korean, Chinese, & Japanese food. You know that any place that can't decide which cuisine to serve probably doesn't do any of them well.
We were already a little full, but we couldn't resist Japanese food. I decided to try their Dinner Combination, which you choose two items from a long list of choices. I got the Aromatic Shrimp and the Pork Katsu. It was a decent amount of food, but the katsu was a little dry and under-flavored. The shrimps were big and they must have been freshly made, but I didn't know it would be spicy! It was good but a little too spicy for my taste, and it kind of resembled sweet & sour shrimp but spicy.
For some odd reason I got a free Vegetable roll, which was very nice but... I am a pure carnivore! Luckily my best bud was around to eat my veggies! The roll looked really nice and yummy, if I liked vegetables. She ordered the Crunchy Dragon Roll, shrimp tempura roll with spicy tuna and eel sauce. It was not bad and spicy. They were very filling and a generous amount.
We also couldn't resist nigiri. My best friend got Salmon and Albacore drizzled with Ponzu. I had to get my Hamachi nigiri. It was actually pretty fresh and tasy! They did a very nice presentation on the salmon and albacore. Everything was very reasonably priced, so I would definitely try them again or order take out if I hang out at my best friend's house.

All in all the food was decent and very reasonably priced. The sushi was better than I thought it would be. As for the cooked food, I am still a little skeptical. The shrimps were huge, but I don't know about the flavor. I would probably still give their cooked menu another try. If I lived closer, I'd probably drop by for some nigiri since it was cheap and good!

I still think the best time to come here is Happy Hour! Lunch was only okay. I have been here many times for lunch. The good thing about them is that they still have lunch specials on Saturday. Our meal ended up being $51 for the two of us, which was not too cheap. If you come for Happy Hour, you can get more food for half the price!
We ordered the Sashimi Lunch, which comes with Miso Soup and Salad. The soup was lacking in flavor, but the salad was not bad. They have a more gingery sauce on top of the fresh vegetables. One good thing about lunch was that the sashimi comes with steam rice, unlike dinner. I still have issues with the fact that you don't get rice with your sashimi at night. The presentation of the sashimi was nice, although I think my collage looks much more appetizing than what it really looked like. They give you two pieces of five different kinds of fish. Today's choices were salmon, albacore, tuna, white fish, and surf clam. Overall it was fresh but I felt that chef lacked technique.
As usual, I must order Hamachi nigiri and Toro nigiri. Don't know why it took so long to come out. The cut seemed small, but when I picked it up you could see it was not too thin. Hamachi was only okay. The toro was great! Smooth texture and delicious! It melted in my mouth.
I was in a hurry so I didn't see the new lunch menu out on display outside. I made sure to take pictures as I was leaving. They now offer Dynamite Shrimp, Curry Chicken Katsu, Spicy Sashimi, Ginger Beef, and Spicy Tuna with Crunchy. It looked good, but I think the only thing I want to try would be the spicy tuna. Still, if you can make it to Happy Hour it would be a much better way to go.
All in all the staff was nice, but very slow. The food was good, not really worth the price though. Especially now that I am addicted to Happy Hour, I just can't go back to paying regular price here. I really missed my Crispy Rice Sushi, but I would never pay full price now! =9

Sunday, February 24, 2008

MUCH BETTER this time around. I really wouldn't recommend this place for dinner because the price difference isn't worth it. You probably get the exact same amount of food at dinner as you do for lunch, but for a lot cheaper. They have lunch on the weekends too, so you go somewhere better priced for dinner.
I ordered the Seafood Salad Combination. It comes with an organic salad topped with seared albacore, yellow-fin tuna, & salmon served with a pepper onion dressing. This was very tasty and delicious, but a little salty. My friend was astonished that I ordered a salad! I would definitely order this again. There was around 6 pieces of fish inside the salad. I am a little skeptical on how fresh the fish was because the dressing was so powerful it can mask many things. Overall this was flavorful, but the best part was the side dish that came with it!
The Spicy Tuna-Don, chopped tuna with spicy mayonnaise on sushi rice, was great! It was simple but delicious, I actually really like this and I will be back some time this week just to get it again! I would not be willing to pay for this as a regular menu item. It was about $11 if you wanted to order that dish. The spicy tuna was not very spicy. All the flavor really comes from mixing the soy sauce and the wasabi into the bowl. The texture of the tuna was very smooth.
I have been craving Oyako-don for the longest time. So I decided to try this here. I didn't want the soup and salad so they took $1.50 off the price. It was good but I don't know if it was worth $7. I would recommend people to go to Mitsuwa for better value and taste. It was a little bland and really paled in flavor when compared to everything else I had. I guess it would suit those who like a light flavor. One thing I really liked was the brown rice, it really gives a different texture to the meal.
All in all, this time around I had a much better experience. I think this place is a hit or miss depending on what you order. Definitely come for lunch and not dinner because it wouldn't be worth the price difference for the combos. Maybe next time I will give the udon a try again. Overall the service was nice and food was good. It was a much better value than last time!

I wish I had my coupons! I know there are coupons for this place that come in the mail. My friend and I suddenly decided to come here after he dropped off his car. We went on Friday for lunch and the place was packed, which was a good sign. Fortunately we were seated right away and they brought out bread with the Peruvian Green Hot Sauce. The sauce should be made from cilantro, a type of chili, garlic, salt, & oil. This really packs a punch in flavor and spice!
Luckily I saw a yummy appetizer and decided to try it. I ordered the Chicharron de Pollo, chicken slowly marinated with garlic & spices then deep fried to perfection! As I have mentioned before, anything that's fried gets lots of bonus points. It was served with fried yucca and sarza criolla on top. The chicken was extremely flavorful and tasty! Only to be perfectly complimented with the sarza criolla that toned down the saltiness and brought out the taste of the spices. We both enjoyed it immensely! The yucca was very bland, so it doesn't fight for your tastebud's attention.
I have had Peruvian food at the Farmer's Market in LA, and I loved the fried rice. Nostalgic for some good old stir fried rice, I ordered the Chaufa de Pollo. This was a big mistake! It was extremely bland and oily. I wished it was saltier and flavorful like the appetizer was. Luckily we still had the green sauce, so I drenched my fried rice to add a kick.
My friend ordered the Inka Special. It was chicken sauteed with minced onions, peas, carrots, french fries in a spicy yellow chili & garlic sauce with white rice. He thought that it was bland, but I thought it had a LOT more flavor than the fried rice. I really liked the crisp texture of the french fries even when they were drenched in sauce. The chili flavor was light and tasty, I really wished I had ordered that.
All in all, the service was nice and friendly. The food had its high and low points. I was sold on the appetizer, so I will definitely be back again for that. Next time I will bring a coupon I swear! You can even print them out on their website, makes me mad that I didn't have one! Still the food was good overall. The bill turned out a little pricier than I thought it would be for lunch. Another funny thing was we asked them to split the bill, yet somehow he got $15 and I got $16 something... makes me question their math skills. =P

Friday, February 22, 2008

This is a back post. There was a special deal for tickets to Wicked! from January to February so my friends and I all bought tickets to go. Special thanks to a very sweet friend of mine who bought me my ticket for X-mas! Cyber hug! **'cuz I don't hug in real life** We decided to eat close to the Pantages, which would be Thai town.
Oh my goodness, delicious! I really liked Palms Thai. Great recommendation from a pal that went with us. We did everything family style so that we could try a little bit of everything. Unfortunately the traffic was horrendous so we showed up late and one of my friends was almost done with her meal. Yes, I am sorry but we are even now! =P She ordered an awesome Fried Tofu served with ground peanut on sweet & sour sauce. The tofu was crispy and firm. The flavor was only accentuated with the sauce.
We ordered their Coconut Soup with Chicken to share. It was good, but nothing extraordinary. I love using the soup to drizzle on my rice to add flavor to the Chicken Yellow Curry.
My other friend ordered the Thai Sausage as an appetizer. Wonderful! Each bite was bursting with flavor! I really loved this dish and will definitely get this again. The outside was grilled to perfection while maintaining the moisture within. It was still tasty when it was cold.
They have a very interesting wild things menu. I really wanted to try the wild boar because I loved it from La Fondue. Interestingly enough I ordered it and the server immediately said, "Are you sure?" She kept asking if I have ever had wild boar and I said yes. It was quite obvious she was trying to tell me NOT to order that dish. Luckily I listened and ordered the Deep Fried Trout with Mango Sauce. How can I ever say no to mango anything!?! The mango sauce was mixed with sliced chili, cilantro, & cashew nut on the side. The server told us that it was boneless, but there were bones. I was enamored with this dish though! The trout was fried to perfection. All the flavors blended superbly together! I am so tempted to go back all the time, if only I didn't live so far away.

We ordered the Pineapple Fried Rice, Chicken Yellow Curry, and Spicy Beef Salad. They were all good, but nothing as memorable as the sausage and trout. All in all they are pretty consistently good. The service was questionable at time. The servers were nice but this busboy was horridly rude! He told my friend that she was done with her meal and basically took her plate away! We all were in awe and thought that was so rude. They were also super strict about not letting her get a table while waiting for us to arrive. Overall the food was great. Can't wait to go back!

Palms Thai

5900 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 462-5073
Palms Thai on Urbanspoon

I know it is shocking for me to say I LOVE a salad since I am a carnivore and all. This is one of the rare places I go to just for their salads! My favorite Nordstrom Cafe is the one in the Shops at Mission Viejo. Each store has a different daily soup. Mine has the AWESOME Roma Tomato with Basil soup as there daily soup. I have gotten many people addicted to this yummy soup, you know who you guys are! ^_^ They also come with their delicious garlic cheese bread. I always ask for extra bread. If you are ever in Mission Viejo then you definitely need to stop by try a bowl!
A bowl of soup is never enough. I usually order a delicious salad or a tasty panini. Currently my favorite salad is the Parmesan Chicken Crusted Salad, which is a cobb salad. The chicken is always made to perfection in flavor, moistness, and crisp texture. My favorite use to be the Chicken Caesar Salad because they would have wonderful moist grilled chicken and their sauce as delicious especially if you add lemon. Their Chinese Chicken Salad is delicious as well. It is a colorful mixture of red & yellow bell peppers along with a variety of fresh crisp vegetables. The sauce is a little too sweet, but still great. They add delicious wontons on top. If you are a fan of blue cheese and fruit then you must try their Chicken Fruit Salad. The blue cheese really brings out the sweetness of the fruits.

Nordstrom Cafe also has delicious hot panini's. My favorite is the Chicken Pesto Panini. They always have a generous amount of moist grilled chicken, sundried tomatoes, cheese, & pesto. So delicious! The only thing about the sandwiches is that after a few bites they scrape the roof of my mouth, but they go swimmingly with the tomato soup!

As you can see I love this place and have tried almost EVERYTHING! I often try their specials too. Note that not all Nordstrom Cafes carry the same menu items nor do they taste the same even if they are the same items. Still I would give any of them a try and I have, that is why I know they are all different. All in all, they should be a good place for a light meal.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Celebrate tonight! Another one set free from the evil clutches of Quest Diagnostics! Welcome to Un-Employment and a Better Life! I recommended this place because I miss the bread! Sooooo YUMMY! We girls totally chowed down on bread tonight! Someone almost missed out because she was too into the menu, while we all gobbled down the delicious bread and marinara sauce! Don't worry she made up for it by asking for lots more bread, and nothing wrong with that! ^_^
As I said in my previous blog about this place, I will DEFINITELY try an appetizer of bread! I just had to! This came out at the same time as the food and boy! were we full on the free bread! It took a little longer for things to come out this time so we just continued to eat and eat the yummy bread! I liked the Garlic Cheese Roll with Tomato Sauce. The bread is almost the same but stuffed with delicious MELTED cheese! My favorite thing! I like the creamy tomato sauce, I think even more than the marinara. It was great, but I was getting full off of just bread and not complaining about it!
I wanted to try something new this time and asked for a recommendation from the server. She suggested the Spicy Chicken with Eggplant sautéed with garlic, white wine, red chili pepper, olive oil, fresh tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, & basil over spaghetti. It was very tasty and flavorful, much better than the pesto. Sadly I was too full to enjoy the delectable entrée, but from what I had it was delicious. I asked for not too spicy. The only thing was I wished there was more chicken, it was hard to tell since there was a lot of eggplant that blended in. Overall I'd recommend this dish, the red sauce was they way to go!
Against my warning TP had to order Salmon a la Pesto. At first she couldn't even find the entrée, I think that was a sign. Low and behold she also felt that the sauce was bland, but the salmon was cooked to perfection. I think this time the slice of salmon was very generous. I took a bite and the salmon was good. If you must order the pesto, just season it to your own palette and it will be great! Fair warning don't sit on your left overs like TP did =). The sauce was primarily made of olive oil, it does congeal and leak if you crush the container. Still good and edible though!
Fortunately this place has a lot of vegetarian options because two of our friends are vegetarians. A lot of restaurants actually aren't suitable for us to dine together since I am such a carnivore and most places I go only have entrées with meat. Our friend chose the Tortellini Alfredo with green peas and garlic Alfredo sauce. I had a bite and the tortellini was delicious. The sauce was flavorful, although if it were my plate I would've loaded it with Parmesan cheese to add a little more saltiness. Don't take it the wrong way, I load everything with more cheese!
One of our pals ordered a Small 10" Veggie Pizza with Mushrooms, Green Peppers, Tomatoes, Onions, Black Olives, Basil, & hold the Eggplant. I must say, very generous amount of toppings! It looked delicious, I really want to try the pizza some time. The crust looked just the right size and crispness, not too thick and not too thin.
I ordered the Tiramisu again because I liked it the first time. I do agree with my friend that there was a lot more cake than marscapone cheese. You know I am a cheese lover so I agree, but still good. The only thing was that it wasn't as good as the first time in my mind.
Overall I still like this place a lot. Service was good and the owner was there again. It wasn't that busy on a Wednesday night and we were there for a while. The only complaint was the food came out a little slow and I didn't like how my appetizer came with the meal. Other than that, delicious! The best part was my beautiful coupon! Luckily I found it! If you look closely you will see my coupon in the bread picture ^_-. Nothing better than a great meal AND 20% off!!!

One word, Delicious! I read the rave reviews of this place on the internet. It was packed when I went. Expect a crowd at random times since it's located near UCI. There was little space to stand and wait for the sandwich. There were only four tables inside the store, definitely not a place for a lot of people to dine together. It was more like a quick grab and go place.
I felt a little rushed when ordering since there were some people behind me so I just kept ordering. I HAD to try the Chicken Garlic sandwich, 9 inches. It was delicious! The garlic sauce totally reminds me of Zankou Chicken! Simplistic but packed full of flavor. This was my favorite sandwich.
The web recommend the Chicken Mushroom and Broccoli sandwich, of course I chose GARLIC sauce! I guess I am a pure carnivore, I didn't like this as much. Just give me the chicken, garlic sauce, & cheese and I will be in heaven! If you like veggies then this sandwich would be a great combo for you.
I ordered the Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich because I love cheese and chicken. Their sandwich also came with the wonderful garlic sauce, ham, and fresh tomato slices. For some odd reason I didn't like the sandwich all that much. It was good but the texture I felt was off. The ham was a thick slice, I think this might be one of the rare times that I say less meat the better. A thin slice wouldn't have taken so much away from everything else. It was still delicious, just not for me.
Unfortunately I decided to try the Special Meat with Paté sandwich. Thinking back, it really wasn't worth it. The sandwich was over $5 and only 9 inches. It was your typical Vietnamese sandwich toasted and maybe on better bread. Other than that nothing special. You can get the same sandwich at Lee's Sandwich, which was only a few steps away, for a much cheaper price and better! I only took one bite and gave it to my Mom.
People on the web also said that their Vietnamese Ice Coffee was good. It was cheap, $2, so I ordered one. You definitely get what you pay for. The size was very small, maybe 12 oz or less. It was good, not very strong, and sweet.

All in all I really liked this place. Loved the Chicken Garlic! I will definitely come back to try their other sandwiches, if only it wasn't so far away! The prices were reasonable and much cheaper than what I thought it would be. Not as cheap as Lee's sandwich, but a great value for the chicken sandwiches! I guess one of the main differences was that they use Vie de France bread. Definitely come check this place out for yourself and enjoy a nice hot sandwich, bring breath mints. I will probably dream about the garlic sauce, drool drool!

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