Sunday, March 15, 2009

Alright, I have delayed this long enough! This is the monumental 400th post! I was planning on launching The French Laundry, but I am so crunched for times these days with classes. This is my way of cheating O=). Instead of some fancy shmancy place that is a landmark, I am going to do an old favorite. The longer I delay the 400th post, the more backed up I get! It's not fair to my devoted readers to keep waiting. Lu Gi will get this honor of being the 400th post and I made a few collages. Recently I have started loving spicy food and now hot pot. For the longest time I was sick of hot pot and had a strong disdain. This was mainly Ms. Lin's fault because she loves it and I was so sick of eating it for all the special occasions! It is also Ms. Lin's "fault" that I now love it and Ninji for making it so delicious! lol Lu Gi is the best Ma-La Hot Pot in Southern California for now.
It's been long overdue for me to talk about this place. I have been going every other weekend or so after the "addiction" started lol. Now I don't even take any pictures because I have so many and they all know what I like there. O=) The service there varies depending on who is working. I really like the lady that works in the back that only comes out to serve if you are there super super early before the servers arrive. As soon as I walk in, the owner knows to get me 2 orders of Pig Intestines. We always get the Dual Hot Pot so that you can choose to have it spicy or just plain. I haven't progressed to the point where I only eat the Ma-La side. O=)
Can you make this home? Sure, but it is not the same. We have many hot pots at home, both gas and electric. You can buy pre-made packets at 99 Ranch but they are still not quite the same. They are good to tide you over until you have a chance to drive down to SGV to get your fill! I even took TP one time and she is now a super huge fan! You wouldn't think she'd like it and now we have tempted Veggie Girl to join us. Whenever Ms. Lin comes home Lu Gi is always on the itinerary. In fact we are going there again next week! lol They have a small sauce bar for you to spice up your dipping sauce. At the table they give you Satay and freshly chopped Green Onions & Cilantro mix as the base. Normally I add chopped Garlic, Soy Sauce, and Sesame Oil. Some days I play around and make a few sauces to test out. If you have never made your own sauce or have never had hot pot, then take a few bowls and mix around a little bit in each bowl just to taste.
They bring out the pot immediately after you order and turn on the heat. Now comes the waiting time! When we are hungry we start eating the Spicy Tofu on the Ma-La side. Normally I don't like the texture of Tofu that much, but after all the "hot potting" I have been doing it has grown on me. The Tofu here is firm yet spongy. I love how all the spicy flavor soaks in and just make the Tofu pop in your mouth! You can do this at home but their Tofu has a much better texture. It is simply Tofu that is frozen and then cut up to cook in the soup. They probably have a better technique to maintain the firm texture. By freezing the Tofu, you allow air to perforate through creating the spongy texture. Ms. Lin was much happier the first few times we went because I never ate the Tofu, but now I am joining in on the fun! lol
To start off the meal, we always get some Lamb and Beef. The quality of the meat varies daily because of the cut and marbleization of the night. You can get various textures in just one night because they have started slicing from a different cut of meat. I often change which plate of meat I'd like to reorder depending on the initial dish. My way of cooking the meat is to dip the meat in the plain broth first so that it will add a nice meaty flavor to that side and immediately dip it on the spicy side that the meat can soak up the flavor nicely. Of course, I never let my meat overcook so that it will be tender and tasty. You can eat the meat as is or pile on some sauce to give it that extra spicy kick. MmmmmMmMmm goooood. ^_^
The first time we came here Ms. Lin ordered the Beef Tendons, Pork Blood Rice Cakes, Fu Zhou Fish Balls, and her signature Tong Hua. **eww veggies! lol** I just stick to eating my meat and she fills up on her side dishes. O=) If you order tendons, be sure to let them cook for a long time so that they become soft and melt in your mouth. As for the veggies, she actually cooks them on the plain side even though she loves spicy. If you have never had spicy hot pot then I'd recommend testing where you cook your dishes before consumption, just in case you don't like the spicy flavor on certain items.
My favorite item, besides the meat is always the Pig Intestines. I have noticed that when you order 2 sets together you get more! haha Yes, I have been here that many times to take note of that! It's one of the rare times where it probably pays to be greedy and order extra. They take a long time to cook so that it will have the right texture. Beforehand I would put the majority on the non-spicy side but now I dump most of it into the Ma-La side to soak in all the flavor. If you leave them in the soup and take it home for the next day, they tend to become too soggy but definitely full of flavor... maybe even a little too much lol.
All in all it's a great place for Ma-La Hot Pot. I agree with KFP that it's best to eat this during the Winter or when the weather is cold because it just warms you from the inside out. This is just good ole comfort food. You cook everything to your own liking and it's fun with groups, although it can kind of hectic if there are too many people! lol Ms. Lin and I always take home the left over soup filled with goodies to make our own hot pot at home for left overs. It's delicious and you can buy tons of meat at a cheaper price to get your fill! She tries to limit the amount of meat I order by telling me that I can have more the same price by buying meat at the markets and eat the leftover soup. Regardless, I eat it there and at home... for days. O=)Lu Gi
539 W Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 457-5111
Lu Gi on Urbanspoon

7 comments:

5 Star Foodie said...

400th post! How awesome - congratulations!

Kat said...

Thanks 5 Star Foodie! You are always so sweet and awesome! Happy Friday! I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family! ^_^

Keizo said...

Wow 400 already? Nice! I think 401 should be about ramen. ;)

Eileen said...

Lu Gi is my FAVORITE hot pot restaurant! And pig intestine is also my favorite item! ^^

Ms. Lin said...

Happy 400th!! Yum yum I love spicy hot pot. Can't wait to have some when I go back!

Kat said...

Haha I really tried Keizo... I even postponed a few days on posting, but I couldn't think of a ramen place I tried that I haven't posted! lol See, I need you to guide me! lol

We should go sometime Eileen! It's about time we meet! I am always up for delicious hot pot with extra pig intestine ^_^ Man, I can't wait until I go tomorrow!

Ms. Lin, you lie! You almost sounded sick of hot pot when we were talking tonight! Blasphemy! lol j/k I will still make you eat it and I am sure you would anyways.

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