Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I have been going to Country Bistro in Rowland Heights forever. It's the usual lunch place that my family and I frequent. They have a pretty good lunch selection and at a good price... BUT... recently I have been greatly upset by them! They are so stingy! I can overlook the typical rude and bad Asian service but how dare they deprive me of white rice!!! That's unholy for any Asian! lol =9 I ate there and picked up my usual extra lunch to go for the next day. They actually had the audacity to tell us that if you want rice, you'll have to pay extra!!! When you dine-in they give you rice with the lunch specials, which is normal! I guess they are getting more and more stingy these days by skimping on the rice for takeout! WTH! It says on the menu that it comes with it. I can understand that soup or what not are not included for take out, but rice!?!?! Bah-humbug! lol
So the specialty of this restaurant is that they offer nutritious soups for $1 extra with each lunch. My Mom LOVES the soups because it is suppose to be extremely nutritious for the body. Her favorite ones are the ones shown. Sometimes she orders a third one with Bittermelon inside. I don't know how non-Chinese people can order these soups since they are written in Chinese! >=P She usually gets the Spare Rib soup or the Stomach soup as shown. *hard to translate directly*
My favorite dish here is the Intestines with Basil. As many of you have noticed, I love pig intestines! O=9 They usually do a wonderful job in flavoring the dish and the portions are usually not bad. I love the fragrant flavor of the basil leaves mixed in with everything and I could do without the Red Bell Peppers lol. The intestines are usually soft but still retain their chewy texture. It's a great balance of sweet and salty. This dish goes great with rice. Word to the wise, if you love this dish like me do not order them together because the portions get smaller. =*( It's harder to season a huge wok evenly too.
On that particular trip, I decided to try the Fish Fillet with Black Bean Sauce. The black bean flavor was strong and the flavor was not bad. I still prefer the intestines by far. This dish was more salty but can be mellowed out with the white rice. All these dishes are meant to be paired with white rice to accentuate and exemplify the flavor of the dish.
All in all the food here is pretty good and at a good price at lunch but I am still furious about them depriving me of my white rice for take out!!! That is just jacked up!!! lol No worries, I just went home and cooked my own rice that is better... but it is just the principles of the matter! Since then, I am more opposed to eating there for lunch. Hey, I am in RH... I can EASILY find great food at a great price there! =P Although, I do like the intestines here. Darn them! *shakes fist wildly into the air*

Country Bistro
1380 Fullerton Rd Ste 105
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
(626) 839-9889
Country Bistro on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Since Chef Ludo and his wife Krissy were so nice and just a joy to meet, I was motivated enough to bump this post up. As many of you have noticed, I am super super super behind. O=) Gourmet Pigs and Kung Food Panda had both emailed and called me to invite me to LudoBites at the Bread Bar very last minute last week for Tuesday. Due to all the confusion we pushed it back to Thursday. I invited PK to join us on this foodie adventure. Imagine 4 cameras snapping up pictures of every single dish. It's chaos to eat with foodies! lol
So the concept and goal of LudoBites is to make fine dining affordable and fun. They follow the style of renting out restaurant spaces that are only open in the day time at night to cut down the costs that's relayed to the customers. It's a down to Earth dining environment with great innovative food. They don't serve alcohol here so you have to bring your own and there is only a $5 corking fee. Thanks to Gourmet Pigs for bringing the Semlar Cabernet Sauvignon to share. At first Chef Ludo scared me when he said seriously that no photos were allowed @_@ I was taken aback, but it was just a joke. I was also fortunate to meet Christine, "Mattatouille's better half", as Gourmet Pigs said. lol Luckily she was there to clarify that it was a joke. She was helping out in the kitchen, which I thought must have been a wonderful experience! I'd love the chance to work there as well. *hint hint* lol
This is my dedication to food. I drove during traffic hours up to LA to try LudoBites and I had a midterm the next day too. O=) Still, I was glad to go on a food adventure with friends. We were a group of 5 so it was a bit hard for sharing but we managed somehow and were able to try a wide variety of dishes. The first dish to come out was Gourmet Pigs' Shrimps, Sweet & Sour Emulsion, and Rosemary. Each piece of shrimp looked extremely succulent. As the dish was set down I could smell the fragrant aroma of the Sweet & Sour Emulsion.
I guess we were lucky to catch a fresh shipment of White Asparagus. They wanted to try the White Asparagus Velouté, Parmesan Marshmallow, Shaved Feel, and Lemon Zests. I thought the soup was very light, fresh, and flavorful. It was nicely strained to be silky smooth with no grainy vegetable remnants. The Parmesan Marshmallows were very unique and added a different texture to the soup.
Next came the King Red Salmon Cube, Watermelon, Mint, Oranges Confites, and Sesame Oil. This sounded so appetizing that we got 2 orders of this. I was really looking forward to the flavor explosion with all the ingredients. One of my favorite things is to mix fresh fish with fruits to enhance the natural sweetness of them both. The presentation was very nice and inviting. There seemed to be some Ikura atop the salmon. Chef Ludo recommends that the watermelon be consumed immediately after the salmon. I thought the salmon was fresh, but I am not sure what I was suppose to feel by eating the watermelon at the end. This was not as I imagined it to be, maybe next time I will eat them all together at the same time for a bigger flavor explosion. Still, it sounded liked a great idea and the color palate was wonderful.
PK and I are huge fans of Foie Gras so we had to try out their Miso Soup with Foie Gras, Rhubarb, Hibiscus, and Beets. The color of the soup was very radiant and different from the usual Miso soup you'd get at a Japanese restaurant. I thought the soup was very hearty and full of flavor. It's well seasoned and only enhanced by the chunks of Foie Gras in the soup. PK commented that it was rich. Of course it would be when it has sumptuous pieces of Foie Gras floating in the soup. Mmm good!
Surprisingly, PK wouldn't share a dish with me that night. I had to jump and bail ship to share with GP & KFP then. O=9 We shared the Chicken Liver Mousse, Cornichons, and Green Apple. The texture of the mousse was very smooth and it maintained the delectable flavor of the chicken mousse. It was laid upon nicely toasted bread. Maybe I shouldn't have shared with the others? lol Now if it were Duck or Goose Liver Mousse, then there would definitely be no sharing and I'd tell them to keep it coming. O=)
After seeing the Beef Tartar with White Asparagus, Shallots, and Anchovy dish come out PK and I decided to get one for ourselves too. The presentation was very interesting and the slivers of anchovy atop the asparagus was a nice touch. I thought the beef tartare was not bad but nothing really stood out for me on this dish. Adding anchovies was definitely an interesting touch.
Luckily I have no shame in asking for a bite since Gourmet Pigs and I are really close. ^_- I was able to try their Creamy Polenta, Cantal Cheese, Oxtail Beef, and Carrots. Beware, this dish does come out piping hot. I had a difficult time passing it around for everyone to take photos. lol It was extremely creamy and I could taste the decadent flavor of the Cantal cheese. The Oxtail was very tender and melted in my mouth. Chef Ludo joked about how this is a safe dish with us, but who cares if it is safe or not... it's all about how well it's made ^_^. Although, at the end I ordered one to share and I felt that it wasn't as creamy or delicious as the one I stole a bite from. Maybe it tastes better when other people have it? Or maybe I didn't eat it while it was piping hot... still... I'd get this again for sure.
There was no question in my mind that I had to get the Crispy Veal Sweetbread with Foie Gras, Asian Pear, Imaginary Choucroute, and Mustard. What definitely caught our eyes was the word Foie Gras! lol I had to order anything on the menu that said liver! lol There was a nice juicy piece of Foie Gras atop the Sweetbread and Pear. Maybe I shouldn't have shared this dish with PK lol. We had dish envy at the table and immediately the remainder of the table ordered another one to share. Then I had Foie Gras envy! lol I paired each bite with a piece of everything. Though they were all delicious and mouthwatering when eaten separately. O=)
I should have listened to PK and chose the Pork Belly dish over the Marinated-Grilled Hanger Steak "Kobe Style" with Yuzu Radish. The main reason I gravitated towards this dish was the word Yuzu! lol I am a sucker for anything that mentions Yuzu. The steak wasn't as tender or flavorful as I hoped it to be. It was a little overcooked for my liking. At least I got to try the Yuzu Radish though.For dessert they offered 3 different choices. Of course we tried every one of them and more. lol The Baba au Rum with Vanilla Cream, Spiced Syrup & Citrus, and Aloe Vera was definitely loaded with Rum. lol After the first bite you feel the alcohol resonating through your mouth. The cake was moist and flavorful. We were all looking at each other wondering if anyone could get drunk from this cake! lolThe Chocolate Mousse, Ganache, and Cacao Chantilly was very smooth and rich. There was a slight spice/bite, which I really enjoyed. We were all perplexed as to what spice it was that we tasted that gave it the extra kick. This dish was definitely a chocolate lover's dream.
They offered a new dessert that night called Peach "Melba" that's served with Vanilla Ice Cream. We weren't quite sure what "Melba" was and to our surprise it was delicate peach that's poached accompanied with a currant and vanilla ice cream. For fun I did an internet search to what is a Peach Melba! lol "It's a classic dessert, invented in 1892 or 1893 by the French chef Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel, London to honour the Australian soprano, Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931). It combines two favourite summer fruits: peaches and raspberry sauce accompanying vanilla ice cream." Now it all makes sense. ^_^ The peach was nicely flavored and had a wonderful texture. PK enjoyed it so much she got one for herself as I am opposed to fruit or vegetables. lol *achoo* so allergic! lolTo finish this post, I thought it would be fitting and funny for it to be a salty dish. I wanted to get the Fried Chicken in Duck Fat seasoned with Herbs of Provences and accompanied with Brown Butter Mashed Potato. Instead I chose to get the Hanger Steak... sigh, but I stole a bite from GP again and I was sold. I am getting one of these for myself! lol It's funny how PK made a remark that it's not surprising that I opt out of dessert and get a salty dish since I did that at Gary Danko. She is so right! I am a meat girl, bring on the dishes instead of dessert! lol The chicken was very flavorful, piping hot, and heavenly. How can you go wrong with frying things in duck fat!?!?! I don't even want to think about the heart attack in my near future, but hey.. this is French food we are talking about... what do you expect!? lol Yummy goodness that is! lol The chicken skin was nice and crisp. I can't believe KFP gave up his skin! Lucky GP! lol The mashed potato was superb! It was creamy but still had a nice resilient texture that could only be enhanced with the wonderful flavor. It was PK's favorite part of the dish.
All in all the food was great and the service was wonderful. We were able to chat it up with Chef Ludo and Krissy, which was very nice. You can really tell they care about their customers and that they put their heart & soul into each dish. There were definitely a lot of foodies there that night, which tells you something about this place. ^_- A good time was had by all. We also forced a bunch of alcohol on PK and she didn't pass out! lol I definitely would love to come back here to try out more of Chef Ludo's master creations. Also... I'd love to help out in the kitchen! ~^_-~
8718 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 205-0124
Ludo Bites (@ Breadbar) on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What was close by and supposedly cheap? I heard some friends talk about Chinatown Express as a good Chinese take out. Of course this comes from non-Asian people so I take it with a grain of salt. lol I asked them before I made my final decision on what they thought of the food. They said it is like Panda Express. In the end I decided to try them out for once. You never know if you will like it unless you give them a try. It's a small location and may be a little run down, but it will do. They have everything sitting under the heating lamp. All the signs are hand written and faded.
My stomach had been very weak for the week so I decided to get a 2 item combo. I had a friend with me and she restricted my choices since I already have to take stomach medicine to consume food. =*( So I decided to get the String Bean Chicken and Salt & Pepper Fish. Even though the fish was fried, my friend permitted it because it was fish! haha What kind of reasoning was that? lol Oh well I at least got to eat some fried food! lol The fish was pretty tasty but super salty so the fried rice helped balance it out. Everything was super greasy. They gave very generous portions. It was almost overflowing. The noodles were very soft and actually not badly seasoned. I was only so-so on the string beans but my friends loved it and helped devour it all later.
All in all the food wasn't that cheap but it is not too bad I guess. This could last me for a few meals. I decided to get an order of Vegetarian Egg Rolls as well. The skin was flaky but the ingredients inside were under-seasoned. They didn't give any sauces to dip it in. I was a little saddened to not find some Sweet & Sour sauce. =*( Oh well! Glad I got to try it and see what the buzz about. I guess it is a little bit better than Panda Express because you at least get more bang for the buck but I am not sure how sanitary or authentic this place is. lol

Chinatown Express
3835 W 1st St
Santa Ana, CA 92703
(714) 265-5899
Chinatown Express on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 5, 2009

As many of you have seen and heard about the horrible situation in Iran right now. If not, please look it up on the internet. Normally I am not very political but many of my friends have been protesting in Irvine to show support. They also wear green to show their support and to bring awareness. My heart goes out to the many that have been killed and the situation there. In support of my friends, "Freedom For Iran."

Friday, April 3, 2009

I haven't had Persian Cakes before a graduation celebration at our school. My classmates sweet family brought her a super long and beautiful Persian cake. The long cake has many sections and they were all different flavors with different toppings. My favorite flavor was the Pistachio or the Caramel. I asked them where they got the cake and I believe they said that they bought it from Palace Bakery in the same plaza as Jordan. The first time I came here was a Monday and unknown to me, they are closed Mondays! lol Grrr! So many weeks or months passed again for me to trek down there again for cake. One day I went with Lil Bel after our day of adventure but they only had one cake left... =*(
The only flavor was a Cappuccino Cake. It looked beautiful and had the delicious Strawberries glazed over by a thin gelatinous layer that was reminiscent of marshmallows. I asked about the other flavors and they said that they had run out. You can always order the cake a day in advance. =*( I decided to take the Cappuccino Cake since I was already here. Maybe it would be good. For $12, I thought why not. ^_^ The cake was moist and fluffy but I was not a big fan of the flavor. I like the light airy flavor of Pistachio versus having the cake flavored and sweetened just a bit much for me. Still, the cake was good and I devoured the yummy strawberry. Maybe the next time I am shopping at Jordan I will mosey on over to see if they have the other flavors for me to try. O=9
Although it is not pictured here, I did buy an assortment of their cookies and baklavas. They were all pretty nutty and good. Even though their baklavas were not made with pistachios, they were still well made, sweet, and flaky. I personally still like it better with pistachios. All in all it's not a bad bakery. Although I still need to revisit some other ones nearby and try some more of their cakes. Palace Bakery was very reasonably priced for the cake that I bought. If I ever have a special occasion, I'd be tempted to get that super long Persian Cake. ^_^

Palace Bakery

24751 Alicia Pkwy Ste D
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
(949) 768-6252

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