Saturday, February 28, 2009

The gals and I decided to grab dinner together last minute. we were all hungry, tired, and sick... you can imagine how grumpy and whiny we were together lol. We kept arguing on where to go for dinner and who's driving. Eventually we came to the decision that we will check out the newly opened Capital Seafood at the Diamond Jamboree Plaza. Somehow I got roped into driving. =*(
I have heard mixed reviews ab out the food in this place but the interior was beautiful. The colors are vibrant and the lights on the ceiling were vary classy and elegant. It had a great vibe. Of course we had a problem... Veggie Girl had a limited about of food to choose from! They had a few Vegetarian options and we decided to give it a try. Upon walking in, I was that they offered Peking Duck for $12 dining in Mon-Thurs. My jaw dropped and I was very inclined to try them out. =9
Veggie Girl ordered the Vegetable Chow Mein. I had a really hard time trying to get my questions answered and to keep Veggie Girl happy. She wanted to get my questions answered and to keep Veggie Girl happy. She wanted stir-fried noodles, lo mein. Apparently this restaurant is more Cantonese style and only made the "chow mein". It's called something else in Chinese, "lian mien huang". In the end we had to settle with the Chow Mein, which was very different from what they wanted. **MMP, I know it is Cantonese since it serves Dim Sum >=P** lol For the 1st dish that came out, Veggie Girl's, they did a whole presentation for serving everyone. Time for another time-consuming collage. =)
TP was jealous that they didn't do one for her dish. She ordered the Chicken Chow Mein. The portions were HUGE but the Chicken was not good. It tasted kind of rubbery and not like real chicken. I thought they gave a wide-range of freshly stir-fried Vegetables. The dish smelled good and looked appealing. Overall I felt the noodles were utter failure. The dish had potential but just missed the mark and these were not cheap noodles.
I got the best deal! lol My Peking Duck came out nicely and they didn't skimp much on the portion. I haven't had this in a while and I've been craving Peking Duck so it was perfect. The duck itself was not super flavorful but for the price, I am not complaining!! haha Usually the skin is the best part. The skin was nice and crispy but lacked the normal succulent flavor. Most of the tables around all had this since it was such a good deal.
They didn't serve my dish and I wished they did to save me some trouble but it is easy to do yourself. Most of the duck was de-boned but there were still some big bones hiding in the lower pieces. Take a bun (mantou), open it up, put Hoisin Sauce on one or both sides, place a piece of duck meat & a piece of crispy skin on one side, then add the Scallion onto the side with the Hoisin, and bon appétit!
All in all it was like MMP and what other people said... it is just aiight. It is the "new" hot thing in Irvine so I am sure it will be super popular for a while. The decor is super nice. A great place to take out of town visitors but it is more for the ambiance than the food. The service here is friendly too. Still, keep in mind that this is "Irvine" Asian food. lol

Capital Seafood

2700 Alton Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92606
(949) 252-8188
Capital Seafood on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 27, 2009

After hearing so much about the infamous SinBala, PK took me on our way back from SF. When we arrived it was not that busy and then suddenly a bunch of people started to come in. It's a tiny place inside the shopping center. One down side is that the place was freezing. I guess it could be a plus in the summer but it was raining that day and we were there to grab a quick meal then finish the evening with delicious shaved ice. Being cold and eating cold dessert just makes your body freezing cold. Probably why we are all sick and still recovering from the trip. Still, it was worth it!

Since it was my first time being here, I just let PK order because she knows what is good here. She believes that they make the best Taiwanese Sausage with Garlic in all of LA. Boy, was she not kidding. The flavors are wonderful and a perfect blend with the fresh slices of Garlic. It is sweet but not too sweet. The sausage by itself is packed full of flavor and a great plump texture. I feel that the raw garlic really adds another level to the flavor. It lowers the sweet taste and adds a kick. Keep in mind that I really LOVE garlic! They have a huge drink menu. In fact when you first look at the menu you wonder if they only served drinks or is there another menu for food. Hey, it's okay if they don't have a huge menu like Cheesecake Factory as long as they know what they are doing with the items they do serve. I got a large Watermelon Juice and PK decided to get one as well. It's simple and good. Fresh blended Watermelon that has pulp. Be sure to mix well if you let the drink sit for a long time. A typical Taiwanese dish is the Oyster Pancake. The one here is extremely flat with a few Oysters. This resembles an omelette as the outside has an Egg layer. I like the thin chewy translucent cough lining the inside. "The gelatinous dough is made of a combination of corn starch, sweet potato starch, and rice flour, which gives it its chewy, sticky, and gelatinous texture and a greyish translucent hue." This dish has a light flavor enhanced by the sauce on top that is sweet and tangy. The flavor and texture was good. One of my favorite dishes is Cold Noodle with Shredded Chicken because it is simple and good. It is great for people on the go. I asked PK if it was good here and we ordered one. It comes in a typical already prepared box with sauces packed in individual containers inside. There is Noodle, Shredded Chicken, Shredded Vegetables, Chili Oil, Minced Garlic Water, and Sesame Paste. You open the sauces and poor it over everything and mix. Voilà! It is full of flavor. I love it when the garlic flavor jumps out at you. The noodles are not over cooked and has just the right chewy texture. PK also ordered "Gong Won" that is a Pork Meatball Soup with Vegetables. The soup was very light on the palate but full of flavor. I liked the simplistic pure flavor of the broth. For me, I could do without the vegetables. =9 Still, I ate and drank the whole thing to warm myself up since it was freezing inside. It's great for a rainy day. She recommended the Fried Chicken Leg Rice. I have never ordered this because I love the Taiwanese Pork Chop Rice more. Since PK recommended it and I am always open to trying new things, why not! lol At first I thought it would be whole chicken thigh but it turned out to be strips of thigh meat nicely battered like the popular Taiwanese snack Salt & Pepper Chicken, "Yen Su Chi". The flavor was on point with a great balance of savory and hint of sweetness. all the pieces were very tender yet retained a crisp texture from the outside coating. I really enjoyed the Corn and Scrambled Egg sides on the plate. Normally I hate eggs, but they were well seasoned to compliment the chicken, corn, and rice. This might look like a simple dish but full of flavor and complexity. Drum roll please... What everyone has been raving about here is the Shaved Ice. You get 5 choices of toppings. Condensed Milk not included, you must choose it as a topping. We all know that you can't have shaved ice without Condensed Milk! lol For their sugar syrup they use a black sugar that is so fragrant and tasty. All you need is their special sugar syrup and Condensed Milk! Yummy!!! ^_^ PK and I wanted to share one because they are pretty big and we were pretty full. Sadly we couldn't agree on the toppings. Like I said, I just like it plain. She decided to get the Small Red Beans, Taro Balls, 2 orders of the Flan, and Condensed Milk. The pudding is really good and tasty by themselves. When I mix them with the sugar syrup and Condensed Milk, I feel that they are overpowered and their own flavor disappears. It is better to eat them separately IMHO. I'm a purist at heart. All in all the food was great, prices reasonable, and I went back 2 weeks in a row even when I was sick! lol That night I ordered an extra Taiwanese Sausage with Garlic and Cold Noodle to take home for lunch the next day. It is so convenient and simple without losing any of the great flavor. What more can you ask for? lol Did I mention that I live over an hour away, yet I keep coming back. O=9


651 W Duarte Rd Ste F
Arcadia, CA 91007
(626) 446-0886
Sinbala Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Apparently Mitsuwas is having a huge sale this weekend, 3/27-3/30. It is not really a fair style set up but they have the "fruit fair" side, "pickled vegetables" side, roasted chestnuts, and then the sale. What really caught my eye was the big sign of $1.25 and the long set up. Of course I had to take the time to look at what they had to offer. At first I was hoping to find some great set up of food, but there isn't much to look at. The only thing worth the effort is to shop for snacks and junk for home. For $1.25 I could spare some more space in my house. haha
There isn't much to look at inside but be sure to go to the meat section where they are demonstrating/sampling the Wagyu beef.... OMG YUMMY! It took all the will power to walk away without becoming a poor person. They are having a "deal" where the Wagyu is ONLY ... $69.99... ummm yes... so cheap huh? At least I got to have a delicious bite that left me wanting more, but I found solace in the fact that I was going to Sushi Wasabi for good sushi. lol
So what did I end up buying you might ask... a bunch of junk to help keep me awake in my classes. They had a few selections of candy and salty snacks. I took the chance to buy a box of Corn Soup to make at home. The only thing I have tried so far is the Burned Caramel Candy that was only... so-so. For the price, why not ^_^ They are giving away a cute Pink recyclable bag to the first 1000 customers everyday, FYI.

665 Paularino Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 557-6699

Thursday, February 26, 2009

YAY! I no longer have to carry a wad of cash to come eat at Newport Tan Cang! They moved to a new location down the street that is bigger and better. Even though it is much bigger there is still a long long long long wait outside. The inside decor has more of a modern feel now and they have seafood tanks displayed by the entrance. I liked the lanterns on the ceiling. While we were waiting, TP and I looked over every inch of this place and enjoyed gazing upon the gigantic crabs in the case.
TP and I decided to drive up and come here for lunch. It was my treat for her B-day. The first time I took her here she tried the lobster and simply fell in love with it. That is saying a lot for the fact that she was a vegetarian for a while and now is very selective about her meats. Still, the more time we spend together the more she will try! haha
As always we both get our own blended drinks. My favorite is always the Durian Smoothie that TP hates. O=9 Even more reason to drink it now! She ordered her Jackfruit Smoothie as usual. With our meal we get the typical cup of Hot & Sour soup. The flavors are decent and the soup is normally piping hot. It's a good way to tie yourself over until the massive amount of food arrives.
Being greedy and adventurous as always, I decide to order 2 lunches and I will still make this mistake again! lol Usually the Salt and Pepper Shrimp is pretty good so I recommended that TP get that so that she will have more to eat. Sadly I think they ended up over frying the shrimp so they were a bit dry. The outside flavor was not bad but the shrimp was a bit too tough.
I wanted to try something new so I asked what they recommend and they told me the Mongolian Beef would be good. The dish looked promising but one bite told me that the beef was a bit chewy. Was this even really meat? I just took this home to the parental units. The flavors were so-so. I mean lunch is a great deal but this was not the way to go. Be sure to stick to the seafood dishes on the list rather then be adventurous like me. =P
Now I must dedicate lots of time and praise about the almighty Newport Special Lobster! There are 2 photos to tempt everyone. One with flash and one without. It is so beeping good that I always carry hundreds of dollars on when I go because I plan to be poor and happy after I leave. This time around I decided to splurge since it is hard coming out here all the time so I asked for a 4-5lb lobster... MmmmM MmmmM gooood. They lightly batter and then fry the lobster then chop it into pieces. Then stir fry in this delicious array of garlic, chopped onions, black pepper and more to make this heavenly dish. The lobster is always juicy and full of flavor. It goes great with white rice.
Every bite is a bit of heaven and you feel the elation and joy of the tender pieces bursting with flavor. Am I drooling onto the computer yet? I normally don't eat too fast but for this, I will work hard at being the winner! lol It is hard to stop devouring every last piece when you start. I wish it was a never-ending plate. The sauce on top of rice is always so good but be sure to do it before the dish gets cold. To finish off the meal they always bring you slices of Oranges. I wish they'd just bring me more lobster! ^_-
All in all I love the lobster here! Hands down the best! I have not tried their other locations nearby but I will get to it one day. Normally I hate waiting for food but for them, I am always standing around pining for the lobster outside without any intention of leaving! lol Just for them, I am also willing to fight with other Asians in the area for a parking spot. That is how much love I have for this place. Yes, it is just that good and TP can testify! ^_^
Newport Tan Cang
518 W Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The first time I went to Chris' & Pitt's was with HW and gang to celebrate her B-day. I have never heard of this place but it totally reminds me of Claim Jumper but more themed and old school. Once you step through the doors you will see the old style red booths and people who call you "honey" or "doll" type of place. It is very nostalgic and different from my everyday place. That night I was running a little late but nowhere near as late as HW. I found my way to the bar where another had arrived early like me, but I didn't know who or what they look like. Eventually we found each other then chatted and waited until the rest arrived. Everyone was super friendly and we were all hungry by this time.
What better way to start off the night than with a nice THICK Chocolate Milk Shake. It is served fresh and in a giant cup. Whooooweee was it SWEET. Totally reminiscent of an old fashioned diner but fun to drink. HW and I had a bunch of laughs trying to suck some milk shake up through the straws. I guess you can say we were training our lung capacity.
Appetizers? Sure why not! We chose Onion Rings and Onion Flower.... both fried onions! haha The rings were lightly battered and fried to a golden crust. Apparently we can never get enough of fried onions lol. The onion rings were nicely crispy and didn't have a heavy batter. It went great with Ketchup. The onion flower was huge and great to share with everyone. Just rip each petal off and dip in their special sauce or a Ranch dressing to give it that extra kick. The batter was much different than the rings. It was flakier and seasoned. Definitely great to share for a big group.
All of our meals came with the choice of soup or salad and I chose soup. It's a Beef and Barley soup. The flavors were thick but reminiscent of the canned soup you get from Campbell's. I wasn't that big a fan of barley so I just had a little bit. Besides, the food was coming out fast and you got to get it while it's hot. ^_-
Since there will be too many people to name after this I am just going to specify the dishes that HW and I had. O=9 The winner of the night for me was the Chicken Fried Style Steak smothered in Rich Country Style Gravy. It has been eons since I last had Chicken Fried Steak so I would never even think about ordering this, but after here... MMmmmmm it is on my list of yummy foods. The portions are very generous and she happened to get a nice juicy thick cut battered to perfection. All the flavors came together perfectly. To be fair... my 2nd trip/taste was not as good as the first. =*(
I ordered the Porterhouse Steak because I was hungry and wanted something big tee hee. Their steaks are suppose to be aged 14-21 days for natural tenderness. I thought the steak needed more flavor and was a bit bland at parts but still tender. The flavors were not too bad once I added some salt. I actually didn't feel like finishing this and took it home for the parental units and they really enjoy it. My Mom thought it was super tender. This wasn't really a "Porterhouse" in my opinion because it was so thinly cut that it felt like a mini mini T-bone. Still it was not bad but I wished that I had ordered the Chicken Fried Steak. =9
The Buttered Garlic Bread and Mashed Potatoes with Gravy that came with the meal were good. Of course not as delicious as the ones served in Claim Jumper but they had their own special simplicity.
We also tried the Full Rack of Baby Back Ribs that has been Hickory Smoked for many hours. The meat fell right off the bone and the flavor was good. It isn't the best baby back I have ever had but for the price, I can't complain. It was only $19.95 and you get all the sides to go with everything. Good ol' comfort food.
Another person ordered the Home Style Meatloaf. The pieces were big and the best part was that they put BACON on top! haha That was the main reason her friend ordered this. We were all envious of the juicy bacon! lol
All in all we had a lot of fun and the people there were super friendly. We were all full and each took home our leftovers whilst trying to finish up our shakes. It was a great evening of fun and celebration. Thanks HW for introducing this place and sharing a piece of that yummy Chicken Fried Steak. It was a trip back in time, which is good to take once in a while. The best part is the prices and portion. =P

Chris' & Pitt's
601 N Euclid St
Anaheim, CA 92801
(714) 635-2601
Chris and Pitts on Urbanspoon

It's astounding that I have not posted about this place. I have so many pictures hidden on many hard drives lol. Here is the most recent visit to Jin's Patisserie. It's a small, quaint, and zen patisserie on Abbot and Kinney Blvd. The small courtyard where you can sit and enjoy pastries with freshly brewed tea. They have special cakes on the weekends so be sure to get there early enough to snag one. We came after our meal at Ocean and Vine for an after lunch and dessert... snack? haha O=9
They don't have that many tables so when we arrived during the afternoon we had to wait for a table. I immediately ran in to stake my claim on the Spring Bouquet and to check out what cakes are left in the case. There were only 2 Spring Bouquets left and I made sure they were mine. O=9 I have had a bunch of their cakes and I always try to experience a new flavor. Burumun's favorite cake has always been the Spring Bouquet and I tried it a long long time ago but didn't quite like it that much. As time has moved on, she always gets a Spring Bouquet for her B-day and last year I got to sneak a piece that has turned over a new leaf. I really liked it! Hence this time around with Ms. Lin and PK, I had to have it and take one home. Actually sitting here typing and looking at the photos, I really want to go up to LA for cake now! lol Any takers? O=)
It was a very very cold and windy afternoon. The heat lamps were on and the three of us were bundled together to keep warm. We were all in the mood for a hot drink. PK and I decided to try out their Hot Chocolate. We both thought it was a bit pricey when we saw it on the menu for $5.50 but we both weren't in the mood for tea. Everything here is a bit pricier but worth it and the same theory applied to the Hot Chocolate. It came out in a pot! PK and I were both shocked. I was lucky enough to catch a photo as the server was pouring. ^_^ The Hot Chocolate was very thick, rich, and dark... but way too much after a cup. If we had knew that it was a pot, PK and I would have shared. It was almost torture trying to finish it off. Also, with the cakes you have to be very careful or you won't be able to taste the delicate flavor.
Ms. Lin decided to try the Adéle H Black Tea. "In the spirit of the traditional Chai tea, with Assam and spices, this combination of a thousand fragrances is a tribute to India and its splendor. A beautiful blend mixed with rare tea blossoms, spices, chili and vineyard peach." The tea comes out freshly brewed in a small pot. Ms. Lin thought the tea was fine but wished that they would just pour more hot water in to continue the brew, but sadly they only give you the tea in the pot. So for the price, it really isn't that worthwhile. They also had changed their tea in the past year and I don't think they are as good as before.
I of course got the Spring Bouquet that is Fluffy Meringue, Light Exotic Cream with Fresh Mango and Strawberries. The Meringue melts in your mouth and the flavor just pops. Everything blends together perfectly. It is fresh and light. I can sit there and eat a million of these without feeling heavy or any guilt. O=9 This was the winner of the table as everyone devoured it. Every bite was light and chewy with delicious fresh fruits. Mmmmm Mmmm GOOD.
Ms. Lin decided to try the Inspiration that is Soft Caramel and Bittersweet Chocolate with a touch of Sea Salt. The cake was moist but it was way too sweet. After a few bites the flavor just takes over the mouth and you definitely can't drink the Hot Chocolate with this. Water please! lol I wished the caramel had a hint of burnt flavor and a tad more sea salt.
PK decided to get the Green Tea that is Mousse made from Green Tea along with Red Bean Paste. As soon as I saw the Red Bean, Azuki, I knew that cake was not for me. Still, I am open to trying anything out. The flavors were light and smooth but it didn't have any wow factor. I think the Spring Bouquet was the perfect balance of flavor and delight.
All in all it was a nice evening and experience. Even though we were cold, good times were had by all. I relished the Spring Bouquet. Now I just want more! lol While we were sitting there they were sampling cookies. First they missed us and eventually made their way to our table. They were sampling the Lavender Shortbread and a Chocolate Covered Nut. The chocolate was good but the Shortbread was unimpressive. My favorite cookie is the Cornflake cookie because of the extra texture that jumps out at you. Nonetheless, I love coming here and I always enjoy my dessert or lunch. ^_^
Jin Patisserie
1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 399-8801
Jin Patisserie on Urbanspoon

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