Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ms. Lin told me that while I was up in SF and she was home that the family went to some crappy Chinese restaurant. She told me that I shouldn't be mad that they went out without me because I didn't miss out on much and the food was bad. Little did I know what place they went to! My Mom suggested that we try some place "NEW" so I agreed. She took me to Seafood Noodle House on Culver. I was like, fine... I am always willing to try some place new. Later I called Ms. Lin to complain about where we went and I find out this was where they went last time! I was outraged! Lies! Tricks! False! lol
The lunch menu looked decent. It's nothing different from your regular Chinese lunch menu. They start off by giving you their Daily Soup. It consisted of Tofu, Ground Meat, Green Onions, Mushroom, and more. I didn't really think the soup was all that great and passed it onto my Mom. To start off we decided to order 2 lunches. I got the Salt & Pepper Fish Fillet. The portion was actually extremely generous but as soon as I saw the dish I knew that I would not like the batter. I am not a big fan of thick liquid flour coating that when you use too much it is just mushy. Luckily they didn't put on a thick coating and it was crispy but lacked any flavor. The seasonings on top were good but they needed to load the dish full of it to make it tastier. It was mostly chopped Green Onion with a little Jalapeño and Garlic.
For our second dish we got French Style Beef, which is Peppered Beef. At first I was wondering what type of meat they will be serving since it just says beef and not steak. To be fair they did give chunks of meat but what a tiny portion! The fish was plentiful and the beef was barely there! My Mom liked the Pepper Sauce that was super thick. I thought the flavor was decent but the sauce was too gloppy for my liking.
All in all this place was a huge disappointment! Both lunch dishes were $7.95 and lunch cost us $19 or so, which for Chinese food at lunch time is quite RIDICULOUS! For that price I could have gone to Chef Chen and gotten 3 dishes that tasted better! They seem to be known for noodles and I tried to order some but my Mom stopped me. I don't think it could have been much better based on what I ate and I don't think I would come back to give them a second chance. The servers weren't too friendly either. No thanks.

Seafood Noodle House

14370 Culver Dr
Irvine, CA 92604
(914) 654-8388
Oriental Seafood Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ever since I was little and ditching school... I have been driving myself to here for their awesome Spring Rolls! Cơm Tấm Thuận Kiều is one of the best places. Actually they are really good for Vietnamese food too. They usually have a bunch of people eating in there. I will have to come back here for their regular food so I could take pictures and review them. One thing that I learned to love is the Shrimp in Tofu Skin they have here. Yummy! Just thinking about it makes me want to hop in my car and ditch everything to get my fill! ^_-
They sell their Spring Rolls for $4.25 for 4 and boy are they worth it. I took PK here for the first time and she really liked them. They get my stamp of approval and we all know how hard that is to obtain! ^_- What gives their Spring Rolls that extra kick is the Fried Egg Roll Skin rolled up inside to give each bite that extra crunch and enhanced texture. They also put Cucumber, strips of Carrots, Lettuce, and Vietnamese style Meat. Everything just goes wonderfully together.
They also pack their special sauce inside. It's a mix of Fish Sauce, Egg, Saracha, and some Peanut Sauce? This is definitely something unique that they serve with their Spring Rolls. I am going to have to pay them a visit again... and soon! O=9

Cơm Tấm Thuận Kiều

14282 Brookhurst St Ste 2
Garden Grove, CA 92843
(714) 531-4852


8940 Bolsa Ave
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 897-4751

Com Tam Thuan Kieu on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I normally try not to go shop or park at the Asian Garden Mall because it's just a huge mess! Bad memories in the parking lot just rile my feathers every time I think about it. Luckily, I was not the one driving! ^_^ So it wasn't too bad and I took this opportunity to visit some old favorites inside the mall. I use to come to C & C Express all the time for the little snacks and drinks. Is it just me, or is everything getting more vibrant in colors these days? lol
The first thing that caught my eye was that they sell is Balut! (Trứng vịt lộn or Hột vịt lộn in Vietnamese) PK and I were both extremely intrigued. I tried to goat her into trying one but she refused as did I. ^_^ It was funny that as we were taking pics, the lady behind the counter immediately put more in to make the picture look better. So now we know where to get this delicacy if we ever decide to try it! Hmm I will have to take Ms. Lin there to see if she will eat it too!
One of my old favorites was the shāomài. There is usually 3 huge pieces on a stick and they heat it up for you. Then they squirt some soy sauce on top to give it an extra kick. Unfortunately it did not taste as good as it looked! Don't fall for my photography skills... blech! There was actually a broken piece of the toothpick inside and it jabbed me! *sobs* Was this even meat? I think they have changed the ingredients to skimp on the value. It is now made of ground meat?? With tons of flour? It is almost like the meat cakes served with the BBQ meat at Vietnamese restaurants but worse!
I decided to pick up a Chả Ốc. They were $1 each so I just picked one up to try. It reminded me of the Indonesian Otak-Otak, so I couldn't resist. The flavor was not too bad and it was definitely different. I also grabbed another huge cup of Fresh Sugar Cane Juice, but the one here is nowhere near as good as Bahn Mi Che Cali. Still, I can always go for more anywhere. It's nice to have snacks and drinks while you shop, but every store in here has signs everywhere saying no drink and no food. =*(

C & C Express

9200 Bolsa Avenue
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 894-7533
C & C Food on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

After finding out about Famima!! and how it is suppose to resemble the 7-11's in Taiwan, I have been dying to go to one! Ms. Lin raves about them in Taiwan and how they are like right across the street from each other. So when PK and I happened to see one on the way we couldn't resist but to turn in so that we can check it out! We were already going everywhere in Garden Grove/Westminster area that this small detour just seemed right! lol The store just pops out when you drive by with the vibrant colors and huge letters!
I found it quite funny that they offer 2 Gallons of Milk for $7.99 as a limited deal! lol That is so expensive compared to the supermarkets around, but what do you expect if you do shopping in a store similar to 7-11! lol We were able to find the Grapefruit Izze that PK has been talking about and wanting. I had to buy one to try it out with her too! ^_^
The store just jumps out in color and flava! They have a huge assortment of foods readily prepared for any hungry traveler or hungry late night person. It's a convenient place to stop by for any odds and ends. The person behind the counter was very nice. I was attracted by the offer of a free shirt, but there was a catch. You have to get a stamp card filled to get it and she stamped a bunch of stamps to help since the offer will expire really soon. Sadly, I never really filled up the card! lol
They also offer hot foods in a case by the counter. Everything looked nice and tempting. While I was looking, PK mentioned that she heard the wings were really good. She said that her friend really liked the Sesame Chicken Wings, so I had to give them a try. Even though I might be full from lunch that surely didn't stop my urge to try new things! I did it for the sake of my readers! ^_^ Of course it was also the last one in the case, so I had to get it! The taste was light and the texture of the skin was not crispy but more of a broiled nature. All in all... mehh lol but I only paid $3 so why not! I will probably come back and keep trying stuff just so I can feel like I have been to a 7-11 in Taiwan! lol

9475 Warner Ave
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 968-5241

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

First off, I have seen the name be used as Sweet Spot Baker's Workshop instead of what their signs say. One of two things must be happening here... either people can't read! or the people who own this place are labeling their names differently somewhere! Either way... it needs to be resolved. This new cupcake place just opened up at the Irvine Spectrum not too long ago and I happened to pass by it late at night. I will give them credit for being open late on a Tuesday night, but this place is just another copycat cupcake store that will come and go.
The concept is really cool because it's like a Build-a-Bear workshop but with cupcakes! I also adore that they are charitable but why can't they make a good cupcake! As a rule of thumb, I would support most charities especially if it lessens my guilt of gorging out on calories. Sadly, the cake was dry and flavorless. The icing was weird tasting and the presentation without any decoration was just horrible. They just opened up but the cupcakes felt and tasted like they had been there for weeks and ready to be tossed.
So onto the great concept! I got to end on a higher note! I apologize for the harsh criticism but people need to know the truth so that they are not sucked into the hype of cupcakes like they were with yogurt! What makes this place great is the idea that you can take a cupcake and make it into a work of art... yourself! They had great cards with pictures on the table to show you some of the wonderful ideas that just made my friend and I smile. What really warmed my heart was that they offer that if you buy a dozen cupcakes they will donate a dozen cupcakes to kids in need so that they can also enjoy in the activities. If only their cupcakes tasted average, I would say people should definitely frequent this place for parties to support charity but... I am sorry, save yourself the trip and just donate directly this holiday.
SweetSpot Baker's Workshop

83 Fortune Dr
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 754-9004

So what do we need to try when we are down in San Diego? Well I am getting closer and closer to the border so I really need to try some of the Mexican restaurants in the Gas Lamp district. Ms. Lin looked up some rave reviews about La Puerta so since we couldn't really settle upon a decision, we decided to listen to the internet! ^_- We almost went past this place because there wasn't a clear sign for the restaurant's name. You just walk through a big door, hence La Puerta I guess. lol
We were starving and sore from walking so this was a great relief. They brought out water and I thought it tasted a little weird. Maybe I am not use to SD's filter, tap water? They brought out fresh Tortilla Chips and Salsas. We gobbled them down immediately. The chips were warm, thin, and crispy. Their salsa had a strong kick of spice and was really good.
One of my favorite things is Carne Asada Nachos and when we saw that they had Carne Asada Fries here, how could I resist! It's French Fries, Carne Asada, Cheese, Sour Cream, Guacamole, and Pico de Gallo. Everything was perfect! The flavors were on point and the fries were so crispy despite everything piled on it. It was definitely one of the best Carne Asada Fries I have ever had. Am I drooling onto my keyboard? I will definitely be back to order this again!
Okay I have a secret to tell... I have never had Mole! So when I saw Chicken Mole Enchiladas on the menu I had to give it a whirl! It's Grilled Chicken Breast, Ancho, Pasilla, Mulato, Chipotle, Mexican Chocolate, Sesame Seeds, and Sour Cream. This was definitely different and I can't really compare it to since I haven't had this dish. Still the flavor was a little odd but it grew on me. It tasted like a thick smoky gravy with a kick. I think it's interesting enough that I would want to order it again.
I chose to try the 3 Street Tacos combo with Carne Asada, Carnitas, and Ranchero Shrimp. The flavors were decent but I don't think this was anything special. I really wished I had ordered another Carne Asada Fries instead because that was so good. Ms. Lin ordered the Carne Asada Burrito. It's Steak, Guacamole, and Pico de Gallo. This was decent but for the same price, I would rather get the fries! The burrito was a little bit fat for my liking because it makes me think that it barely has any ingredients inside. I want my burritos brimming with ingredients like the fries were! Yum!
All in all it was not a bad place. Prices were around $9 and up. I will definitely come back for the Carne Asada Fries... if it weren't for that dish, the review would be lower.

La Puerta

560 4th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 696-3466
La Puerta on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 24, 2008

After I got back from Vegas, I barely had any time to breath and I headed down with my Mom to meet Ms. Lin in San Diego. I basically spent ALL DAY in a car. We didn't get there until late at night because I took my sweet time in getting back in a car to head down through the traffic. So what is there to do in the Gas Lamp district in San Diego late at night? Well Ms. Lin looked up Mangu, a Caribbean restaurant, to try. They are suppose to be known for their happy hour and late night dining.
Man was the service SLOW! I mean they were really nice and we were seated immediately but the server informed us that the kitchen was slow that night... boy were we in for a surprise! Everything really did come out slowly and my hunger was growing. We did order a cocktail for happy hour and sat there drinking it on an empty stomach... not the best idea. Eventually we got the Caribbean Wings that are Cinnamon Rum Spiced Chicken Wings with a Habañero Cilantro Lime Mayo. Ever since Breezes in Vegas we have been craving for some awesome wings but these were definitely not it. They were sweet and on the wet side. I was hoping for some dry rubbed wings that are cooked to perfection. The flavor was not too bad but it's not the jerked wings that I craved for.
My favorite item of the night was the Carne Frita (Tradicional). It's marinated Fried Pork Chunks topped with Red Onion. Be sure to squeeze the lime to add that extra kick. The only beef (or should I say pork) I had with this dish was that the meat was not cooked well. I think I was eating some raw pork, but I didn't really care enough to send it back as it might take 5 billion years for it to come back out! At first I really wanted to get another one because it was pretty flavorful and juicy, but the wait was just too excruciating and it was getting late. They were out of a few things on the happy hour menu when we arrived and that made me sad. I really wanted to try some of the ceviches that people rave about. Actually they might not have been discounted but I really wanted to try them and it didn't matter how much. Unfortunately, any of the ones that actually sounded tasty were all gone! =*(
We decided to get the Hamburger & Fries and an Empañada that was offered on the happy hour menu. Sadly, these dishes fell super short of execution. The meat in the hamburger was tiny and didn't taste anything special. I would rather get a Whopper than eat this. The fries were crispy and good to munch on but nothing impressive. I was not a big fan of the empañadas. The crust was decent but the ground meat on the inside wasn't anything memorable. These two really wasn't anything special. It definitely was not worth the wait.
All in all the place was nice but the food wasn't anything special. I would describe this place like an Americanized, hip, modern joint that wants to claim it has Caribbean influences. For a late night snack, it's fine and they offer some decent deals. I would probably go back one more time to try their ceviches but after this experience, I wouldn't expect much.


524 Island Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 233-3166
Mangu on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Since I was still stuck in SF by myself, I decided to try Mehfil because I knew they delivered as well. They were highly rated for Indian food so I had been interested in giving them a try. I like that they have an interactive menu online where you can order everything. One thing that really concerned me was that they asked for a ton of detailed information that shouldn't even be necessary. At first I was a little worried that they were trying to steal my credit card number since my Discover card was stolen a month before. Soon after I placed my order, they called me to tell me that they ran out of the Gulab Jamun and I was really sad that I didn't get to try it out. The delivery did take a really long time to arrive and again... they never even give you a time range on how long it takes for the delivery.
I had decided to try the Lamb-Do-Piyaza because it said that Do-piyaza means two onions and that it would be Lamb cubes cooked with Onions, Raw Mangoes, Ginger, and Garlic. Little did I know that this was a curry based dish. I was hoping for a well-seasoned grilled meat dish. It was flavorful but I could not taste anything to do with mangoes. This was really just Mehhhhhhh for me. It was not special that I would ever want to have again, but not bad enough that I wouldn't give this place another try. Every dish comes with Basmati Rice, which was nicely colored.
Being greedy as always, I ordered the Paneer Pakora as an appetizer. It's home-made Cottage Cheese marinated in Chickpea Batter, Spices, and Herbs. How can you go wrong with fried cheese? That was my thought but this was not good. I really like paneer but they just didn't do it right. Maybe it needed to be thick cubes? The paneer was just flat and square with a rubbery texture. They do pack a variety of sauces for you to dip them, but they were only just alright too.
I ordered a Mango Lassi and Mango Juice as well. It's my habit to order Mango Lassis wherever I go. They must not use real mangoes for their Lassi because it just tasted like the mango juice I ordered. I should have just gotten the mango juice, L'ooza, sold at Whole Foods. Still, the drinks were good but I wished they used real mangoes.
For dessert they only had the Rabri. It's cooked by boiling Milk for about 3 to 4 hours. When the milk gets thick add Sugar, Saffron, Honey and Pine Water. Then boil again and served cold. I really really liked this. The amount they give is really really really really REALLY small! I felt a little jipped for $3 because it was stored in a glorified sauce container. Was there even 2 ounces of dessert in that tiny cup? Good thing for them that it was very tasty or I would never want to try them again.
600 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 974-5510
Mehfil Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We drove all the way down to San Jose so that we could get some Columbian food at Tu Rinconcito Colombiano, only to find that this place was closed!!! We braved through traffic just for food, but we were sorely disappointed. So then came the dilemma of finding somewhere else to go. We debated and debated, so while we were arguing I saw Dippin' Dots and headed on over. They sell ice cream that is flash frozen into tiny little balls. This is the first time I have seen a store versus a kiosk in the mall. This place smelled like bleach and cleaning fluid when I entered. They had a nice selection of flavors and the girl working there was more than willing to let people sample.
Even though it was freezing outside, I wanted to get something here so I looked around at what the best deal was. At first I was going to get a cup of Dippin' Dots, but Ms. Lin suggested that it would be better to order a shake. It's a much better value to get a shake because they have to use a ton of the Dippin' Dots to fill an order of shake. You can mix a bunch of flavors and they will blend it in a cup with milk. The taste was only okay. I think it is more fun if you actually eat the mini-frozen ice creams versus a shake.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

While I was up in SF, due to some outstanding circumstances... I wound up being alone for 4 days and had to fend for myself for food. For the sake of my blog, I continued to try new places... but now at the mercy of those who deliver! As I was searching on the internet, I came across Red Crawfish in the Tenderloin. If you know SF, I wouldn't go there late at night or by yourself to eat... not that I had a car... so I called to see if they would deliver. That night they were short a driver but the lady hesitantly agreed. I thought that was really nice of her to comply. As deliveries go, I must say that no one ever tells you how long it takes! I waited and waited and waited, but still grateful that someone would deliver. It took quite a while but it eventually got here. ^_^
Quickly I ran down to pick it up. She was nice but a little shady. I gave her the cash and she just said thanks. I was like, "Ummm, change please?" At first I probably would've given a better tip if she didn't try to pocket a $13-15 tip. My meal was less than $30 and I gave her $40. Aside from that, it is really about the food. As far as Cajun/Creole seasoning for Shrimp... I like Boiling Crab much better. The Cajun flavor was very weak and had a strong Asian/Vietnamese taste. Don't get me wrong, the sauce was good but it was really just Vietnamese seasoning and no kick of Cajun. I thought the Shrimp was overcooked and really mushy, but that could be due to the long time it took to arrive.
I also ordered Chicken Wings and they were SUPER SALTY! Immediately I thought of my sister and how much she would have love them. The flavor was only so-so and I couldn't get past the saltiness. I have to say again that Boiling Crab is much better. This also had more of an Asian flair. They really shouldn't be labeled as Cajun/Creole but straight on Vietnamese. Still, I am just happy to find something like Boiling Crab up in SF to tide me over until I got home.

I have been to Mr. Stox once because they offer buy one get one free coupons. Since there was another dining deal, Open Table Dining Stimulus, I decided to come back again. I debated for a long time on which restaurant I would go to and since I remembered that this place was not too bad so we came again. At first I was really annoyed that we had to pay for parking when it isn't even in a nice area. I was tempted to find parking elsewhere but my Mom forced me to park. That was already minus 1 point and then when we entered they lost another! The lady was on the phone and completely ignored us. Sure she was helping someone else on the phone, but shouldn't she or someone near by check that people are waiting to be seated? I waited for a while before someone else came and finally were seated. The night did not start off well.
So why would I still like this place? Well we were seated and the server was pretty friendly. I asked for the OTDS menu and found out that they offered a 4-course meal for $35 instead of 3. The service was a bit slow to take the order but once everything was set it went smoothly. My glass never hit empty, which was nice. They brought out a nice assortment of breads. Maybe I was hungry, but I thought the bread was pretty good. We both got the Lobster Bisque to start. It's a warm and silky Lobster Bisque with Glazed Cream. I loved their Croutons on top of the soup. As for the soup itself, it was a little one-dimensional in flavor. There were bits of lobster inside the soup. I wish it had a stronger Sherry kick to make the soup more flavorful.
For the Salad course we both got the Caesar Salad. It's crisp Romaine Lettuce, Homemade Croutons, and a Zesty Lemon Anchovy Vinaigrette. I never thought I would live anchovies but it was something extra in the salad. The dressing was delicious and the vegetables were fresh. Their croutons are really good and flavorful. I really enjoyed this salad and it is rare for me to compliment something filled with vegetables! The fresh ground Pepper only enhanced the taste.
I chose Prime Rib for my main course. It's slow roasted aged Angus Prime Rib of Beef au jus with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Vegetables. The meat came out beautifully and cooked nicely. I thought some parts of the cut was a little dry but some were super tender and flavorful. The potatoes and vegetables were a little forgettable but the flavor of the meat made up for it. I asked for fresh Horseradish that gave the meat an extra kick.
My Mom chose the Salmon. It's Mesquite Grilled Salmon in a Basil Sauce served with Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus, and Baby Carrots. Again, the veggies and mashed potatoes were forgettable. The salmon was decent but it needed a pinker center. Regardless of everything else, I LOVED IT! There must be some drug in the basil sauce because it was delicious! I didn't think the salmon was cooked well but I wanted more! The sauce had a slight sweet taste and just popped in my mouth. Once I get my coupon, I will definitely come back for more of that sauce!
The last time I was here, I had their Crème Brûlée and it was pretty good. So for my dessert I had to get it once again. Their specialty is that there are Seasonal Berries embedded inside and some on top of the Candied Lid. The presentation was cute inside an angled bowl. I thought the Crème Brûlée was pretty good and flavorful. I think the flavor was only enhanced by the delectable burnt sugar.
I chose the Chocolate Gâteau as the other dessert to try something new. It's a Rich Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake with a Chocolate Glaze. The cake had a nice texture and was super rich. It was sweet and velvety.
All in all the food was good and a great value. I thought the service was pretty friendly inside the dining room. The salad was good and the basil sauce was fantastic! It was a pleasant dinner for just the right price. Maybe I had low expectations, but the place turned out to be a lot better than I expected. Whenever I get my coupons again, I will be back again to try something other dishes along some old favorites. I love Crème Brûlées and the one served here actually ranks in my top 10, so I definitely will be back! ^_^

Mr. Stox

1105 E Katella Ave
Anaheim, CA 92805
(714) 634-2994
Mr. Stox on Urbanspoon

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