Friday, May 30, 2008

The HORROR!

So today Sex and the City, the movie, came out and I went early to see it. There were a few people there and mostly women... go figure! =P I don't want to give anything away so I will keep the review very general. The movie was decent, nothing spectacular. I felt it was a little corny, but then again it is a chick flick. Still, if you are a devoted fan you will probably love it. As we were leaving the theatre we heard this women calling her friend and RAVING about it. We just started laughing at how silly people can be. Just watch the movie and enjoy! Although I think I rather they didn't make the movie because the way they ended it was more meaningful than the movie's ending. Regardless, I thought there were some really funny parts and some really heartbreaking moments. It's just nice to watch.
Now onto the BAD! It was HORRIBLE! The HORROR! And I don't mean that the movie was scary, it's the horror of having to sit through such a CRAPPY movie! At first I thought Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skulls was a bad movie because of the lame plot. Man was I in for a surprise... This movie had absolutely no plot.. it did NOT make any sense at all. The entire movie was just lame spooky tense scenes. It was funny watching people jump because they were startled. I almost fell asleep to be honest! These guys sitting behind us really need to grow some **beep beeps** I can't stand such chickens. A few nights ago I fell asleep with the TV on and I didn't know. I suddenly heard someone whisper, "I am going to kill you." Then I woke up and I looked around thinking.. hmm that's odd.. but oh well! Lets just say I am not a chicken and I don't care even if I am home alone. After seeing this movie, I realized that it was the trailer I heard and still NOT scary. =9 Avoid this movie! Unless you just want a drawn out lame violent movie leaving you empty and wondering why you came to see such a crappy movie.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

On Saturday I picked up Ms. Lin from LAX to surprise our parents. We tried our hardest to find a good sushi place open for lunch on Saturday. For those of you out there who are avid sushi-goers you know how hard it is to find such a place. Finally we found Nagao Sushi & Salad tucked away in this corner on San Vicente. It's a very clean and airy ambiance, the colors are very tranquil like the sea. The service was friendly and we sat at the sushi bar. Chef Nagao was there hard at work.
To start off the day we had to get our favorite, Hamachi. It was very fresh and the pieces were delicately sliced maintaining the texture. The cut was generous.
I ordered the Eel Avocado Roll with Soy Paper to fill me up. The initial roll fell apart since soy paper is very delicate. Chef Nagao made sure not to serve anything that was not up to par. Although I was fine with one piece breaking apart, it's still good. ^)^ Before I could say anything he started a new roll. I really liked the Soybean Roll because it was different from the usual rolls. People on the internet liked this roll a lot so we had to give it a try. We chose yellow tail wrapped in soybean paper with crab, asparagus, avocado, burdock roots, smelt eggs, and rice. Ms. Lin and I love wild carrot aka burdock root. They really add a wonderful texture to the entire roll. There was also a special mayonnaise sauce to dip the roll.
Burumun decided to try the Ankimo, Monkfish Liver. The presentation was nice and colorful. We wanted to try the Hokki Cai because it said shell fish and I was hoping it was similar to orange clam. It turned out to be Surf Clam. They gave huge pieces.
Ms. Lin and I shared the Hotate, Scallop. The portion was very generous and topped with Roe. This was the first time I have seen it topped with roe and it was good. It adds a different texture to the bite. The three of us decided to share the Cajun Sashimi. We were sold by the word Cajun. Even though I don't like Maguro, I still wanted to try it. The portion was tremendously generous. I really loved how they gave minced garlic as a condiment. The pieces were delicately cut in front of us and it was a great deal for the price. I'd definitely recommend this if you like tuna and albacore. They flavor and sear the fish when you order it.
As we chatted with Chef Nagao, he inquired why I was taking all the photos. I told him about my website and how it's a detailed site about my adventures. He wanted to present their signature dish and offered it to us. It was the Moonlight No. 3 on the menu. The roll contains no rice at all. It's tuna, halibut, crab, smelt eggs, avocado, burdock roots, and asparagus all wrapped up by cucumber. I took a picture before the sauce was poured on. The roll was tasty and delicate. It was not heavy at all. There were a number of ingredients that added to the texture. I would definitely want to try the other Moonlight rolls.
All in all the food was solid and fresh. The service was friendly and Chef Nagao seemed very passionate about his culinary skill. It was a very nice find tucked away in Brentwood next to a gas station. From the outside you wouldn't realize that it was a nice stylish sushi restaurant. The prices were very reasonable and affordable for the nice portion you get. Before I leave you, I have to show you the pic of the freshly seared Cajun Sashimi. Just by looking at how much gets seared, you can imagine how big the portion was. ^_^
Nagao Sushi & Salad

13050 San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 451-7733
Nagao on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Last Tuesday was an all day eating fest since I was leaving SF and the last part I didn't write about was the lunch we had. Ms. Lin had to work in San Jose and my flight was down there as well. For lunch we went somewhere really close by to her work. She talked about Pinoy Express where they offer an all you can eat lunch for $8.99 or you can get plates and choose either 1 or 2 items. This of course excludes the all wonderful turrón.
Reasonably, the turrón costs $1 a piece. It's your typical Filipino dessert. I love it when it's good and I wish you could find them easier. So when I saw it here, I had to try them out. I played it smart by getting one to try out before ordering a ton. Typically it's similar to a plantain lumpia and filled with a slice of jackfruit. The one they served here were decent size but it only had tons of banana mush inside. I liked the crispy shell but not the stuffing. If the center was a little firmer and had a more complex flavor like jackfruit then I would have bought a ton to bring home.
They had a wide selection to choose from. Sorry but I don't know any of the names of what we tried. Ms. Lin said that they change their selections daily so you might not get the same choices each time. One thing I liked was that they used tons of nicely fried pork. If you do not like fatty meat, be sure to ask for what they recommend. Most of the dishes used the marbleized pork with a fatty outer layer. One thing they had was the fried fatty pieces of the pork. I thought they would taste really good, but the fat was too overpowering for me and I like fatty meats. The meat was fried way too much. There were other dishes that have the fatty meat and aren't fried too much that was stir fried were much better tasting.
All in all the food was good and I liked the owners. You can get the sense of feeling that they really want you to enjoy their cooking and they care. I think it was good that we chose the all you can eat option because I could try all the different dishes and pinpoint which ones were my favorite. If there was a place like this in MV, I'd go there often to check out the goodies. Of course nothing is as good as Little Bel cooking Panset for me ^_-!!!

Before I left for SF, I met up with TP for lunch in Irvine Spectrum. TP is in the center picture right in front of the door. I have never eaten at PF Chang's because it's food that I can easily make at home. The prices here are much higher than what you'd see at normal Chinese restaurants. I refuse to pay more for a lower quality meal. If it wasn't for TP, I wouldn't have ever stepped into a PF Changs. It's your typical Americanized mediocre Chinese food chain. To me, it's almost on the same level as Panda Express. I think I'd rather have Panda Express because it's cheaper and tastes about the same.
The place was packed that afternoon. We decided to order their Traditional Lunch Bowls that was actually on a plate and not in a bowl. They come with either Hot & Sour or Egg Drop Soup. The flavor was decent and not too heavy. TP decided to order the Almond & Cashew Chicken. It was decent, but nothing special. The only thing I really liked about this dish was that they used chicken breast versus dark meat. Even though I love white meat more, dark meat does make certain dishes better since it's a fattier meat and retains moisture. I think this dish goes better with brown rice than white rice.
I decided to get the Crispy Honey Chicken and the Citrus Soy Salmon. White rice goes better with the honey chicken and compliments the flavor, whereas the salmon went better with the brown rice. I liked the crispy honey chicken because it was fried and sweet. It's nothing special but you can never go wrong with yummy fried food glazed with honey. The salmon was horrible! It was way overcooked so it was extremely dry and tough! I can NOT believe they served me such a poorly prepared salmon. The sauce that it came with was extremely salty and disgusting. I really should have sent the dish back and talked to the manager, but instead I chalked it up to I will never be back.
All in all the food was nothing special and the salmon was just horrendous. The service was friendly, although they did take some time to get us our soup and then the food came out immediately. I am a big stickler about servers that don't time it better. Even though I wouldn't be caught dead in this place, I know a lot of people enjoy PF Chang's and all I have to say to you is... You need to branch out and go to REAL Chinese restaurants where the chef's are ACTUALLY Asian. If you want to know where there's good Chinese food just search through my website. ^_~

Friday, May 23, 2008

For dinner Ms. Lin wanted to go to Fatima in SJ near Marina Foods. It's Islamic Chinese cuisine. They have their own parking lot behind the restaurant. Their interior decor was like most Chinese restaurants and they immediately spoke Mandarin to us as we walked in. The service was friendly and my water glass never hit the bottom. It's one of my pet peeves on how long it takes for them to refill the glass water. Surprisingly, they were really on top of it.
We opted out of getting the traditional Sesame Bread with Green Onion. Instead we ordered more items. For the appetizer we ordered the Chicken and Ground Green Beans Sheets. The flavor was intense and Ms. Lin didn't do a great job of mixing. Some pieces had a ton of mustard so it was spicier than most. The dish was garlicky and flavorful, but quite messy. While mixing the dish, our whole table was covered with splatter.
Ms. Lin also ordered her favorite Lamb with Pickled Cabbage Soup. It was a very light and flavorful soup. I personally don't like sourness of the pickled vegetables and the soup that absorbed the flavor. If you like pickled vegetable then you would love this dish. I just ate the lamb on top that was very tender. There are glass noodles inside the soup that adds to the texture. The soup was like a meal in itself.
For our main course we got the Beef with Green Onions. Usually this dish goes great the sesame bread because it brings out the flavor. The beef was tender but the pieces were cut a little too small. It was tasty, but nothing out of the ordinary. For the carb dish we ordered the Lamb Dough Slice Chow Mein. They were different from your typical noodles, they were homemade soft noodles. At first I was not a big fan of these homemade noodles but as we keep ordering it at different restaurants I've grown to like it more. The noodles were soft yet chewy and the texture varies from piece to piece. One thing I didn't like the eggs in the dish, but the flavor was still good.All in all the food was flavorful and very Chinese. The prices were not too bad, the whole meal was about $32 with tax. Ms. Lin sure had a lot of yummy left overs for the next few days! No fair! >_<# I am fasting today and now I am so hungry after talking about all that food. I would definitely go back to this place one day if I am craving Chinese food. If Ms. Lin still lived in SJ then I would probably go back more often. It's definitely one of the better Chinese food I have had down there with reasonable prices. =P

Moooooooooo!

So sad that I am no longer up in SF, but good for my wallet I guess. On the day I left, we packed a ton of yummy food in so that I won't have withdrawal symptoms. =P We stopped by Hello Desserts! in San Jose. Ms. Lin wanted to take me there the day we went to the concert, but we got back too late. So better late than never! ^_^ They have a policy of no pictures inside, but I got'em! *click click* The interior was very clean and they were not busy at all that Friday afternoon.
Ms. Lin ordered the Island Paradise Fruity Delight, which was their second most popular dessert. The pictures were very nice and it was very refreshing. It comes with fresh fruits and sago in one bowl and a blended Mango Moo in a separate bowl. You can eat them together or separately. I couldn't decide what to get so Ms. Lin recommended the Mango Moo drink. It's a freshly blended mango smoothie with mango jellies on the bottom and mango bits on top. I didn't care for the jellies because I find chewing them while drinking a little annoying, but that's personal preference. The drink was delicious and refreshing.
If they had a place down in OC, I'd be there quite often for the Mango Moo. Lucky San Jose people!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Not even 24 hours after I got off the plane did I start traveling some more. Back to LA I went for the Shecky's Girls Night Out event at the Santa Monica Airport. This will be my third time at their event in the last 2 years. The first time I went was the best because they had better sponsors and was a more happening event. Time after time it started to get less interesting, but on the upside the goodies bags were getting better! I should have just bought an extra pair of tickets just for the goodies bags. O=P Then Ms. Lin would get one, oh well. Too late... This event was a 21 and over event because there's free alcohol everywhere. Last year I tried the beer pairing tasting event. The best part of the night was to see the expression of TP trying red wine for the first time and not even good red wine. It was priceless!
My favorite part of last year was throwing the bouquet into a basket to win a key chain for 27 Dresses, the movie. This year they weren't promoting any movie, instead it was TBS auditioning for My Boys. I only auditioned for the T-shirt! How can you say no to a free T-shirt! Okay, I know I have issues and I really wanted that T-shirt! ^_^ You can vote for my lame audition on their TBS website, not that I would win or anything. There weren't that many free goodies around like the years before, but I still had fun. I wish I bought more goodies bags!! O=) I will have to convince Ms. Lin to buy some for the SF event they will be having next. The tickets are buy one get one free so it's not too bad. It's only worth it for the goodies bags, I think it's ridiculous for anyone to have to pay and shop. Especially when the items there are always super expensive. For me, I just love the experience with your gal pals! ^_~

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Aww! I miss San Francisco! I have left, but don't worry I have a zillion places to still post and I will try to catch up this weekend. It's nice to be home in the quiet suburbs, but being in a crowded city has its own perks! **sob sob sob** I will miss Ms. Lin, my dear sister. So this cute picture is my little tribute to leaving her. We can both be the Shmoopy! A cute pair of kittens! Hopefully she will be down in OC soon and I can take her to all the great places I have discovered. ^_~ One good thing is that I will be back up in LA tomorrow hanging out with a bunch of friends that I have not seen in a while. Yay! We are all going to Shecky's Girls Night Out. I have gone every year and it's tons of fun with many free samples. Sadly Burumun has abandoned me, but I still got TP and the gang! ^_~

Monday, May 19, 2008

After we ate some of the baked goods from the Golden Gate Bakery we decided to stay in Chinatown a while longer since we never really go there anymore. I wanted to drink some nice refreshing milk tea and what better place to get one than Chinatown. Ms. Lin recommended Ten Ren, which I have already been to in Richmond and had a bad experience with service. Then she suggested somewhere else since there were plenty of places around. I told her that despite the service the drink was fine so I am willing to give this one in Chinatown a try. This store was full of herbs and various products on one side and in the back. The drink bar was within the store and the space was pretty tight.
Ms. Lin decided to try the Honey Lemon Tea with Aloe. It was very sweet and flavorful. To me, it tasted a little like flowery soap but still good. The aloe was very delectable and firm. I wanted to get the same drink I ordered at the other place and they didn't give me any trouble. The Passion Fruit Milk Green Tea was good, but it tasted different from the one in Richmond. They must be using a different syrup. All in all it was nice and refreshing on that hot Friday. People stopped us to ask where we got the drink. I guess they looked good. ^_^

Ten Ren

949 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 362-0656
Ten Ren Tea on Urbanspoon

As I was browsing around online, I found rave reviews of the Golden Gate Bakery in SF's Chinatown. They were said to be the best egg tarts in town, so I had to give it a try. On Friday we left early for dinner so we can swing by to pick up some baked goods. Finding parking in Chinatown was simple, but that was because of the hefty price you must pay. They were one of the most expensive yet. A dollar only bought you about 24 minutes, so be sure to bring some quarters if you plan to go there before 6PM. The bakery was extremely small but they still had a nice selection of baked goods ranging from moon cakes, napoleons, egg tarts to curry turnovers. The people working there mostly spoke Cantonese and their Mandarin was very weak.
The Egg Tarts were good and very popular. They kept boxing them by the dozens. I liked the flaky crust and the egg custard was good, but nothing too special. Maybe I had too high of an expectation as other people raved about them or maybe I just love all egg tarts. It was solid and good, but not what I expected. I also picked up the B.B.Q. and Curry Pastries. The rectangular ones were the B.B.Q and they were sweet. You can't really taste the curry in them. Usually I like those better than the Chicken Curry Pastries. The ones at Golden Gate Bakery were very good and different from the usual ones you see at other bakeries. They had corn and a variety of vegetables in the curry that gave it an extra kick. I also got what they called Sesame Pockets that were not what I thought they would be. They turned out to be a chewy mochi-like flat pancake with either mung beans or some sweet paste inside. Ms. Lin wanted to get the Pineapple Napoleon and that was not very good. I say stick with the Egg Tarts and Chicken Curry Turnover. You can't go wrong! ^_-

Golden Gate Bakery
1029 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 781-2627
Golden Gate Bakery on Urbanspoon

After so many rave reviews on the internet about The Cheese Steak Shop, we decided to stop by after dinner to grab a sub. It was nearing it's closing time and we found parking easily this Sunday. The place was fairly empty and the people there were friendly. If you come 30 minutes before closing time then you can only order take out. Be sure to get a frequent buyer card just in case you like this place. I decided to get some Twister Fries, which were just like curly fries. They were freshly fried and looked good, but fell short in taste. It was crispy but I think the ones at Arby's are better in flavor overall.
I was greedy and ordered the 15inch Garlic & Cheese Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich with only onions for take out. It was freshly made to order. The sandwich was huge, but sadly it lacked any flavor. I took one bite and I wish I listened to Ms. Lin and ordered the 10inch. This will teach me not to be too greedy next time. I really wished it would taste great and flavorful. There was plenty of meat, onions, and garlic but no flavor at all. We had to take out the creole seasoning and pour tons of it all over the sandwich to give it any taste.
All in all I was disappointed with this place and I don't think I would ever come back. Ms. Lin commented that it's nowhere near as good as the Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches in Philadelphia that she's been to. I even think that the mall chain of The Great Steak & Potato Company has better sandwiches. They definitely have more flavor.

The Cheese Steak Shop
1716 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 346-3712
Cheese Steak Shop on Urbanspoon

I love Egg Cakes and I have been looking for a great place to have them. Ms. Lin suggested Break Time in Cupertino near Q-Cup. We strolled over to pick up the Egg cakes as they were closing down for their afternoon break. They take a while to make so we stood there looking around. This place offers a variety of desserts. They had some different flavors of souffles but they were around $9, which is an outrageous amount for a snack place. Overall the egg cakes were decent, but I wished they were separated individually. The flavor was a little too cakey for my taste. It almost tastes just like my Morinaga pancake mix. This was not as good as the place in Fremont we went to, but better than this other place we tried on Geary Blvd.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I did a bunch of research online for places that deliver to SOMA and happen to come upon Jasmine Tea House. Their menu looked reasonable and had some interesting twists so I really wanted to try them out. After looking through the entire menu, I realized lunch was a much better deal than dinner and I was determined to wake up for lunch. I had planned to have them deliver, but after showing Ms. Lin Jasmine Tea House's website she decided to try it with me. On Monday we drove out to have lunch there. The outside lacked any appeal, it was only a neon sign that's not lit. Their interior decor was your typical Chinese restaurant. The only thing a little special was the pretty embroidered tablecloth under the glass.
At first I wasn't too pleased with their service. They forgot to give us the Hot & Sour Soup and we had to ask for it. It was a little difficult to flag them down. Then the server came out and gave us two bowls of soup that were bigger than everyone else. This was in large part due to the fact that we ordered four lunches, still it was nice of him. To me, the soup was not bad but I have definitely had better. The Roast Duck was very flavorful, although the portion that they gave us was not very meaty. Even the vegetables under the duck were pretty flavorful. For lunch the duck's a little more expensive, but still worth it. worth the price of lunch if you love duck.
A dish that I really wanted to try was the Mango Chicken because I love almost anything with mangoes. The flavor of the dish was not bad, very typical. It was not what I thought it would be. The mangoes were sour and firm. You couldn't really taste the flavor of mangoes in the dish. Ms. Lin commented that there were probably more mangoes than chicken, which I wouldn't have minded if the mangoes were sweet.
Ms. Lin chose to get the Hunan Lamb. I was shocked that they offered lamb for lunch and at a reasonable price. This dish was also good, but nothing special. I liked that they actually had snow peas in the dish. Ms. Lin did not like the fact that there were tons of red bell peppers in all the dishes. She spent most of her time picking out the vegetables. It's pretty nice that they put in more of the higher end vegetables. Despite the Garlic Fish had a bunch of bell peppers, Ms. Lin loved this dish. The funny thing is that she doesn't even like cooked fish. Surprisingly that was her favorite dish. It was a very generous portion of fried fish fillet. There were barely any vegetables and the flavor was delicious with a small spicy kick. I love fried fish or anything fried. I would definitely recommend this dish above all else if you like seafood. It's the same price as the lamb dish.
All in all the food was good. Unfortunately they just raised their prices because I checked their website a few days before I went and the prices were 30 cents lower. Right now I am on their site and I see they have even updated the prices there too, so it must be a recent change. I think going there for lunch is the best deal. If it's too far away, I'd order take out and have them deliver. Dining in is not something that you need to experience, but the food will probably taste much better at the restaurant than waiting for delivery or take out. If it was located closer to Ms. Lin, I'd probably go there more often just to pick up a quick cheap lunch. Based on the prices, I'd say they were worth trying. The portions were generous and the food was good, so why not? O=P

Jasmine Tea House

3253 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 826-6288
Jasmine Tea House on Urbanspoon

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