Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's the long awaited Vegas trip with everyone. Now's the right time to start the long journey. When I was in Vegas during the winter time I was staying at the Venetian with Ms. Lin and our Mom. This truly is a fall from grace! For the amount of money we were paying a night for the so-called "Spa Suite" it's ridiculous. The room is tiny and dingy. In short BLECH! We stayed in the pyramid so I guess the rooms are older there and the AC is not so great. The walk from our room is equidistant to either inclinator. One thing I did like was that they gave Bath & Body Works condiments, but not if you ask for more. If there wasn't a group of us staying together I would have been even more upset.
We all agree it's a really lame hotel/room. The pictures on the internet showed a couch and there wasn't any. It was a tiny room that isn't even worthy of being called a suite! We wanted to come here because of their pool and I will give them credit that the pool looked nice. Nothing special but it was pretty. I would never stay in this hotel, unless it's a dire situation. The sad thing is the small hotel we stayed in for July 4th was a much better deal than this one. Okay the best part of the hotel stay was the super thin walls that really entertained Mango. Apparently the people next door could not keep it down and we heard them quite often. It was extremely hilarious because I woke up to girls giggling and then I found out why. Then later that day we had another incident where Mango was taking a shower. She missed out and you should have seen her reaction. It was priceless! ^_^ Just for that, it made it all worthwhile!

Friday, August 29, 2008

I have been wanting to try Lotus Chinese Eatery in Huntington Beach because people online raved about this place. It's suppose to be Islamic Chinese cuisine. As a family we decided to come here so that we can try something new and we were too lazy to drive to Rowland Heights. It didn't take long for us to get here. We were sat down immediately. There were only a few tables when we got there but then it started to get busier.
We debated for a long time on what to order. Since they have lunch specials every day, we all decided to get lunch specials. They bring you a cup of soup. It was Corn Soup, which is Egg Flower just with Corn added in. The taste was fine, but I make a killer Chicken Corn Soup or a Seafood one. ^_^ We were all fine with the soup.
Next they brought an Egg Roll for each of us. It's interesting that they are Curry Spring Rolls. The flavor was not too bad. I enjoyed the skin, but the curry flavor threw me off a little. It was easily masked or overlooked when I dipped it in the Sweet & Sour Sauce. I will give them some extra points that it's something different, but we can make it better too. =9
We were not planning to get the Big Sesame Thin Bread with Green Onion because we were not really getting dishes that are suited for the bread. Despite 3 of us not wanting to order this, my Mom insisted on it so we just got an order. My family enjoyed the amount of green onion used, but I thought it was a little too salty for my taste. They did complain about it not being thin at all because it still had some thickness to it. We all agreed that the place in Rowland Heights is much better tasting.
I always like ordering Honey Walnut Shrimp so when I saw it on the lunch menu I had to get it. AVOID it at this place. The dish came out looking over fried and raggedy. Everything looked shriveled up and the sauce was one-dimensional. It was just sweet and nothing else. This dish was definitely a mistake. My Dad who eats almost anything wouldn't even eat this dish. I had to sadly finish most of it since it was my mistake to order it. **Okay I admit I took a good picture and edited it well, but don't be deceived by my photo!**
The other dish I really wanted was the Hand-Cut Lamb Noodles. Ever since Ms. Lin took me to Fatima, I have been a huge fan of home-made noodles. The flavor here was not too bad and the noodles were fine although cut weirdly. This was probably my favorite dish of the day. We all agreed that the lamb meat was SKETCHY. It's just tiny shaved morsels that don't even form a solid piece. This dish was mainly Eggs and Vegetables stir-fried with little Lamb. The taste was fine, but I question certain things... hmmmm.
My Dad automatically ordered the Hunan Spicy Lamb lunch because he loves spicy. This dish barely had any lamb at all. It was full of filler vegetables. Again the meat was tiny slivers/morsels of meat. How come there isn't one solid piece of meat? I feel like there must be something wrong with the meat. The flavor was so-so and not spicy at all. It was a big disappointment.
Usually I decide for my Mom what dish to order. For her order we got Lamb with Satay Sauce. When the dish came out it almost looked like over-shredded pork. It's an illusion as well because there was barely any meat and tons of vegetables on the bottom. The satay flavor was light. Okay, even my Dad can make better satay dishes. They really missed the mark on the lamb dishes. We were greatly disappointed with everything. Everyone pointed the blame on me since I did the research. I must say the internet has failed me! BOO!
All in all this place wasn't good. Even I who hates driving would rather go to Rowland Heights next time. As a funny tid bit, I must say it's survival of the fittest when eating with my family! I am an extremely slow eater because I like to take in the flavors and savor the taste. Even though I liked the noodles, my Mom scarfed 2 bowls down before I even ate 3 chopsticks full. Let's just say I went home hungry, but that is okay because the food blew! I told Ms. Lin we should have ordered their Spicy Tendon and Beef dish, but our parents objected. Maybe that would have been better, but judging by the other stuff we had... I wouldn't bet on it! BLECH!

Lotus Chinese Eatery

16883 Beach Blvd
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 848-4940
Lotus Chinese Eatery on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wow this place always brings back memories. Ms. Lin and I use to go to Santora's Hot Wings a lot when we were young. It's a great place to have buffalo wings. Now this place seems busier than before. It's really like a hole in the wall that the locals know about. I haven't been here for a while and I was planning to come here on Sunday but Tofu called... so my plans changed. Then on Tuesday I got the chance to come back since my Mom suggested to come here. She knew that I was a little perturbed about my plans being messed up and she likes this place. The decor has your checkered red and white picnic plastic table coverings. Immediately as you walk in you will see the bar and to the left there is that long thin window to peer inside to the kitchen. You can just seat yourself as you walk in. It's very laid back.
I really came here to get two things... they were the Turkey Sub and Wings! The sub is in a Roll with Mozzarella Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Mayo, Red Onions, and Homemade Dressing. For those of you who know me or have been reading my blog... I don't like sandwiches much and when I do they are really good! ^_^ Always ask for it to be lightly toasted to give that extra Umph! The sandwiches come with your choice of Salad or Fresh Potato Fries. Ms. Lin and I like to eat it by dipping or saucing the sandwich with the Hot Buffalo Sauce and Blue Cheese Dressing. It gives the whole thing an extra kick. So yummy!
We ordered a Triple Order of Mild Hot Wings. First off, I was to greedy. Second, my tolerance have spicy must have been increasing because I couldn't taste anything with the mild flavor. I had to keep asking for more and more Medium sauce. Then it was great! Very flavorful! I could have probably gone even spicier, but I was good. The Blue Cheese Dressing that comes with the Celery Basket goes great with the wings. I think their wings are now back to a decent size because they use to be a little too tiny for the price, but well-worth the taste!
Apparently they have Taco Tuesdays and we happened to be there on Tuesday. They have $1 tacos to choose from. You can get either Chicken, Steak, or Fish. We chose to try the Chicken and Steak Tacos. They had a decent amount of meat and were accompanied with chopped veggies then drenched with sauce. My Mom and Aunt really enjoyed them. I think mainly it was a pretty good deal. They did have an extra kick in taste since it was a little spicy. You can taste the jalapeño flavor in the sauce.
All in all I loved my sandwich and wings. It brought back a lot of old memories. The prices were about the same. I always feel that wings are a little bit on the pricey side, but what can I do when I love them so much! lol Will I be back? You betcha! Do I have their number stored on my phone? Heck ya! ^_^

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

MMP is stalking me I swear! lol After meeting up with Burumun on Thursday last week we went to Zion Market and wanted to get dinner somewhere close by. There was this Japanese restaurant, Sushi Riki, that was right next door. I walked over to check out their menu and as I was walking away someone ran out. She spoke in Mandarin to just come in and try the food. I was taken aback at how desperate they are to get a new client. Then I turn around and it's MMP! It's funny because I didn't expect to find her there. ^_^ She's stalking me! Afterwards she followed me to Zion as well! lol
It wasn't very busy and we were sat down immediately. They had your typical Japanese wooden decor. The servers seemed nice but very very very dimwitted. I asked them questions and they seemed confused. Then they had to run back every minute to ask. Yes, they were nice but shouldn't they be a LITTLE knowledgeable about pricing or how the food is prepared?!? We were given Edamame and Miso Soup after we ordered our meals. They were so-so, but that's about the same for all places.
I wanted Toro but they were out that night. Instead I got the Yellowtail Belly Sashimi. You only get 5 pieces because it's more expensive, but for $10 I am fine with that. The pieces were very thin but delectable. It had the right smooth texture and was fresh. The sushi/sashimi here is fresh and reasonably priced.
We both ordered Combinations for dinner. I picked the Sashimi and Tonkatsu. The sashimi was really for my Mom. They gave 2 pieces of Maguro, Albacore, and Sake. It was fresh and had a smooth texture. The Tonkatsu was presented in a very interesting fashion. This prevents it from being too oil as it is laid atop a grill. The meat was pounded very thin and cut into tiny pieces. I thought it tasted fine, nothing special but nothing bad. For the price you pay I am willing to make exceptions for taste.
My Mom got the Sashimi and Beef Teriyaki. The sashimi was the same and tasted fine. I wanted the beef but I knew she wanted two sashimis so I ordered them separately. They were all presented separately. The beef looked fine. It was also very thin and it was cooked nicely. I like it when the meat is not cooked all the way through because it becomes too tough. After seeing some reviews online about their meat dishes not tasting like meat, I thought about this dish. It did have a different texture from normal beef... hmmm lol
All in all the food was decent, but the service was really disappointing. They were inattentive and just stood about. My water glass was empty and when they took plates away FINALLY they didn't even bother to notice. I would have been inclined to actually come back since it's not badly priced and the food was decent... but come on... I need knowledgeable and semi-attentive people! They don't get a return trip because of horrid service! BOO!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Remember the good old days when Dairy Queen use to be cool? Yah, it's been that long. I haven't been to one in a long long long long time. When I was in RSM the other day, I was sad to find out that the Dairy Queen there had closed. On Tuesday we passed by the Dairy Queen in MV so I had to stop by since it's a rare occasion. I have been craving a Blizzard for a while and it's been hot these days.
My usual Blizzard is the Snickers flavor and my Aunt ordered the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. I love the small bites of candy embedded in the frosty. They have a frequent buyer card that isn't a bad deal. All you have to do is buy 6 and you get one free. We only need to make 2 more trips and we are there. It's an evil way of luring us back and making us more chunky! lol Good plan though! The taste remains the same as it does in the old days. Next time I will have to look for the coupons in the mail too!

Since there was a decent sale at Zion Market, we picked up a ton of Haitai Melon Bars and Nougat Bars. This is the first time I have had the Nougat bars and it was only so-so to me. I do enjoy the chocolate casing but the ice cream inside was only decent to me. It did have a nougat flavor that was very light. I definitely prefer the Melon Bars, but I did enjoy the chocolate casing. For $3 for a box of 8 I will still take it! ^_^ Currently the Mango Bars are still my favorite, but the Melon Bars are definitely refreshing!

Friday, August 22, 2008

So before Tofu left, we decided to have dinner Sunday night and he suggested Thai food. I was debating on where for the longest time because we can't have him leaving with a horrid taste in his mouth! We were tight on time so I suggested Spice Thai on Muirlands. I have gone to this place since I was in High School and I have always loved their Yellow Curry Chicken. Since I know Tofu loves Yellow Curry Chicken too, I thought this would be a good place. So we went and they weren't open yet, so we went back to Tapioca Express. They open at 5PM for dinner and they have early bird dinner specials.
To start the night off I wanted another cool drink so I ordered the Thai Iced Coffee, which was fine. I love looking at the drinks when you stir for the milk to mix. It's always so pretty. ^_^ They brought us their daily soup, which has not change. It's sweet and tangy with thin noodles, garlic chips, celery, & more. Tofu liked it because it's refreshing. I always liked this soup because it different from what you normally get.
We both decided to get the Early Bird Dinner #2 with Egg Roll and Chicken Curry, Khang Curry Kai. The egg rolls are deep fried stuffed with ground Chicken, Silver Noodles, Corn, diced Onions, and Celery served with Plum Sauce. I thought they were only okay, but I would almost eat anything fried. =P It was a little bland, so you really need the sauce to add flavor. The curry chicken is prepared in a Spicy Stew with Chicken, Potato, and Onions prepared in a Spicy Rich, Curried, & Coconut Milk Sauce. This was just as good as I remembered and Tofu really enjoyed the flavor. I don't know what they do here but they make the best yellow curry sauce that's rich in flavor. They go great with the rice and has the perfect amount of vegetables. One small sliver of Red Bell Pepper and tons of potatoes. Perfect! ^_^
The fried rice looked tempting so we ordered the Pineapple Fried Rice. It's Curried Rice with Chicken, Shrimp, and Pineapple topped with BBQ'd Pork. The rice was extremely flavorful and the presentation was unique. I am not a big fan of eggs and I have never seen the dried shredded pork on Thai fried rice. We were both really full from the curry so we had tons of fried rice left over. I had it the next day and it was still emanating with flavor and I love the small grain rice. It was a great left over meal. I would order this again.
All in all the food was good and I am really glad that Tofu like it. Or he claimed he did... hmm... lol It was a nice bittersweet meal. As you all know he has left, but I did enjoy the food and it has been a while since I have been back. I will have to make some more return trips. Warning though, I do not like that they charge for steamed rice so the early bird meals are more worthwhile. Try to get their early or take it home and make your own rice! ^_^

Spice Thai

24301 Muirlands Blvd Ste R
Lake Forest, CA 92630
(949) 458-9606
Spice Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Hopefully in Paris... but most likely in NY or back in CA, which I will take as well.
I love this picture and I am sure Tofu would too. After all, it's Paris! How can you not love that?! As of today, the 26th, Tofu has left for the East Coast. So I thought I should pay a small tribute to his departure. We will all miss him and his witty & sassy attitude. Things will not be as entertaining now. I will also miss his companionship to all these food adventures. **cough cough** Looking for new applicants to take his place! Lol Did I type that here right next to his farewell? Oh well! That's what he gets for leaving us! lol j/k

No no... we will miss him dearly, but he will definitely keep in touch... hopefully! =P Now there will be 2 reasons to go visit NY... he's just added sugar on top lol I wish him a safe and happy journey. May he find wonderful new beginnings. May he be surrounded by people who will truly understand how blessed they are to have him around. May he find his dream job with an expense account! ^_- May he find great happiness there!

When this place first opened up it was called Kiwiberri and it did a horrible job of advertising. The first time I went here it was almost an exact copy of Pinkberry but without the greatness! I added one topping for $1 and they totally skimped! I was very upset that I paid almost $7 and got a few measly mochi. Apparently they have now changed their name to Swirls. It's still the same establishment with a few small changes. Apparently I read online that Kiwiberri was sued by Pinkberry so they just changed the name? Who knows.
They still have the Mango flavor that's very tart and tangy. Now they have a Pomegranate flavor as well. Their yogurt resembles Pinkberry a lot more than Yogurtland. Since Burumun came down today, I took her there and she tried the different flavors. Apparently they are smarter now and offer the toppings for free! With it being free it's actually not that bad of a deal. Surprisingly the fruit was very very fresh today. She ordered Mango, Blueberry, and Mochi. The mangoes were very sweet. All this was $2.50 plus tax. I think the guy heard me complaining and put more toppings. =P Hey it helped my friend out! lol I don't think it's that bad of a deal. This is why I will come back again to give them another go around.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why did they get rid of their coupon?!?! I used to be more inclined to come here with a coupon. As many of you know the prices of Persian restaurants are relatively static. It's actually more expensive now though because they raised their prices by $2 on every dish! >_<# Since I had been craving some Persian food we stopped by Hatam #2 again without a coupon. They are usually not too busy and the decor is still the same. Apparently they are moving across the street near where the Papa John's. I often wonder how this place survives. Despite all that the food is not bad.
The service here is questionable sometimes. I usually see the guy who must be the owner or part of the family chatting away on the phone. He's pretty friendly when he is not on the phone, which is rare. Some of the servers have this attitude or air about them. Their busboys are much more efficient and friendlier. After you order they bring out the usual Lavash bread and raw onion. I usually save the onion.
My favorite dish here is the Lamb Chop. It's charbroiled Lamb Chops marinated in their Special Sauce served with charbroiled Tomato and Imported Basmati Rice topped with Saffron. Sometimes they overcook the meat, but it's usually pretty flavorful. I think what really brings out the flavor is the lime though. So be sure to add some to each bite and not only initially. There is a difference if you add it on top and directly onto the piece you cut off.
I actually really like their Chicken Koobideh so I ordered a side order. It's seasoned ground Chicken. This also goes great with lime. The best part is you get more charbroiled Tomatoes. I eat my rice in a particular fashion. Most people who eat with me end up copying how I mix my rice. I am very detail and precise about how I want my food done. I will sit there and slice the raw onion to tiny morsels. Then when the tomato comes I will break it apart on top of the rice so that no juice will be lost. You can easily tear the tomato apart or attempt to slice/chop it. Then you mix everything thoroughly to make your own instant fried rice. This method really brings out the flavor of the Basmati Rice and Saffron.
Normally I always get the Soltani because it provides the most meat, even though I love the lamb. It's a combination of charbroiled Filet Mignon and strip of seasoned ground Beef served with charbroiled Tomato and imported Basmati Rice topped with Saffron. The filet is my favorite part. Another name for it is Barg. I am only okay about the Beef Koobideh that's why I get the Chicken Koobideh on the side. ^_^
All in all the food is not too bad that's why I come back and get my Persian food fix. I just wish they still offered the coupon especially with the huge price increase. This is my thought and I hope you know what I mean but... when you've gone to a place with a coupon for a while and they take it away... you just can't go back without a sigh thinking that it could be cheaper! GRR! lol That's just my own opinion. I get spoiled by the coupon! lol

I rarely ever eat fast food if you know me. Saturday morning I went here with my Mom after a pedicure because she had coupons in her car for Carl's Jr. It was super early so we were wondering if they were still serving breakfast food. I don't know if it was because it was getting closer to lunch time but we were able to order their regular menu. Since it was still breakfast time and I never wake up for breakfast, I had to get the hash browns! They were fried to order because they came out piping hot hot. Yum Yum Yum!
This place is pretty clean for the fact that it has been here since I was in elementary school! I actually like Carl's Jr. more than the other burger joints because of their Chicken Club Sandwich. Of course our coupon this time was for buy one get one free Prime Rib Burger. It's their newest edition. We got the Double Burger because we might as well maximize the deal! ^_- The portion is pretty huge and it comes with a Ciabatta-like bread. There is a lot of meat on it but you can't really taste the prime rib. Inside the wrapper there was a few drop of Au Jus and it's not bad. I wish they gave an extra saucer of the Au Jus to add more flavor. Overall it's not a bad deal for buy one get one free. I don't know if it's worth it without a coupon. Since I am not a big burger fan I actually liked it, I might be inclined to order it again.
Before I saw what the burger looked like, I had ordered their Spicy Chicken Sandwich for 99 cents. I remembered that it was tasty. When I opened it up, I realized how tiny the chicken is. It was almost flat, but it was still very flavorful. I think I would actually prefer this over the burger because you can have a lot more! lol Also I have to give a shout out to their delicious Criss Cut Fries! =9
Fun fact for those who don't know. Carl's Jr is called Hardee's in Tennessee and on the East Coast.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Refreshing!

For those of you who like fresh Coconut to drink you might want to stop by 99 Ranch. It's 79 cents each or $6.99 a case. I bought mine at the location off of Jefferey in Irvine. They were surprisingly juicy! I pointed out that they were mis-priced and they changed it immediately.
Tonight when I went home I split 5 of them open for the family. Yes, I am that powerful. I can chop the lid off and open the top for a straw in less than a minute each. =P Over half of my case is gone now, I just might need to head back tomorrow to pick up more. They weren't that sweet but they were super juicy and refreshing! If they were just a little sweeter they'd be heavenly! It was really easy splitting the rest of the coconut to get to the meat. So not bad!

A while back Tofu, Tofu's Roomie(need to give her a nickname), and I went out to the movies and grabbed lunch nearby. We were up in Aliso Viejo and debated on where to go. I have been to Urban Thai Bistro a while back so I named it as one of the places to eat here. They decided that they wanted Thai so we came here. I have to get this off my chest. What is up with the name? It's like an oxymoron! The decor is pretty nice and woodsy. It was pretty packed that Friday for lunch.
To start off the meal I ordered Thai Iced Tea and they ordered Thai Iced Coffee. We ordered the lunch specials and they came with soup. It's their daily sou with Rice, Garlic Chips, Shredded Pork, and more. This was surprisingly good. I really liked the flavor and taste. The garlic chips really gave a great crunch to the soup. If I knew I would have rather had a whole meal of the soup versus the main dish.
I ordered the Spicy Fish Fillets. It's fried Fish fillets mixed with a variety of colorful Vegetables in a Sweet & Spicy Sauce. There was barely any fish in the dish. The flavors were not bad but I didn't like how it was just pure vegetables. It was a little too sweet. This really wasn't that memorable. Like I said, I wish they served the soup as my main meal.
Tofu got the Chicken Pad See Ewe. It's Flat Rice Noodles, Asian Broccoli, and Eggs. This was only so-so as well. It lacked flavor and was a little overcooked. The plating was a little lacking as well. It looked like the food was just flopped on and left there.
Tofu's Roomie ordered Yellow Curry Chicken. It's Coconut Milk, Eggplant, Potato, and Basil. The flavor was a little bland yet again. I really liked the dish they presented the food in. Usually when I eat curry I like drenching the rice with sauce.
All in all the food isn't anything memorable. I am not too surprised since I am in Aliso Viejo. At least the prices for lunch are reasonable. It's better to come here for lunch than dinner because it really isn't worth the price. If you are open to other types of food then go elsewhere. I don't think I really would be back to this place unless a friend drags me there.

Urban Thai Bistro

26841 Aliso Creek Rd
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
(949) 831-7628
Urban Thai on Urbanspoon

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