Friday, April 27, 2012

The Derby

A historical spot in Arcadia...the menu even features Seabiscuit's favorites.

Came here for birthday lunch for coworker's 30th!  It was just a nice pleasant group of us girls, no guys!

We all ate healthy, even if some of the dishes had the option of fries, we all got fruit!

I got the Derby bacon was...crunchy.  I was impressed they toast the buns as it was rather warm.  But aside from that it seemed to lack in some flavor.  I prefer the burgers at Cafe on 2nd for a few dollars less.  The plus is that they don't smother the burger in ketcup or mustard as I hate both.

My other coworker got a turkey sandwich with cranberry, which she enjoyed.  And many of the other girls got the salad which they said was good.

The restaurant is decorated with lots of horse memorabilia.  The majority of the diners were white American senior citizens.  My super loves this place!  We went for lunch once before, last year- I got the mushroom ravioli back then and didn't like the pungent cheese.

While the service was excellent and they were flexible in what you wanted (there was a vegan who ordered a ahi tuna edamame salad, but wanted it without the tuna), I'm not sure I would return on my own.

Also parking is valet only.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Golden Deli

Wow...the platform here changed...

Coworker was feeling like Pho so I suggested Golden Deli which is a new location at Temple City.  I have been to the San Gabriel one, and honestly did not like it that much, but maybe because it is San Gabriel and always got crowded, stuffy and stinky fast.

Coworker was in doubt as she was happy with our usual Pho-licious.  But I convinced her to be adventurous and go.  Temple City to her sounded soo far, but it is really along the same route as Pho-licious, but instead of making a left on Live Oak to Las Tunas, you just make a right on Las Tunas, past Baldwin, crossing the border immediately to TC and right there is Golden Deli.

Parking is a bit tricky as there isn't much of a lot, and someone stole my spot.  At the same time construction blocked off 2 precious spaces.  I managed to find street parking and we were immediately stuck in a line at the door.  But the line moved quickly.  I got the rice dish with grilled pork and baked egg.  My coworker got Pho with chicken broth, which also had a crab claw.  I don't remember the full name of it.  She also was tempted to get their banana strawberry cupake and coacoa cupcake.  They were just made that morning and she said they were divine.  She was also impressed with the avocado smoothie.

The setup of this joint is different in traditional places as in you have to get in line to order and pay first before they get the food out.  The good thing about this is that you can decide what you want in line and don't have to bother waiting for the check later.

I only got a side of beef broth that was yummy.  The pork on the rice was kind of fatty and I prefer Pho-licious BBQ pork fried rice in that it is fried with egg, lots of egg.  I hate looking at plain white rice with fat on it. 

I would come back for the Pho and try the cupcakes next.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This is an Indian restaurant in Monrovia. I've never been a fan of Indian food, but my coworker really wanted to try something different. While I don't like the main spicy dishes typical of Indian, I do appreciate the fried appetizers and naan bread I have had.

They have lunch specials. My coworker got the Tandoori chicken. It comes with rice and veggies and plain naan. I got the assorted appetizers, which Samosas, kabob like meat and what looked like Tandoori chicken cutlets. At the bottom was some lettuce leaves for presentation. The lettuce leaves tasted like there was some plum sauce on it.

The best thing about the appetizers was that they came out fresh, they were very hot! If they had merely nuked it in the microwave, I wouldn't have known. Inside the samosa were potatoes and mushy veggies. The outside was very doughy and hard though. The chicken was a tad dry and the kabob kinda had a funky taste...I'm not sure if it might have been goat or lamb, in which I'm not used to. It came with a green sauce and tamarind sauce, neither of which I was a huge fan of. The garlic naan was good, though I tasted mostly cilantro. I can't say that the lunch was all that healthy for me.

Service is good. It seemed like there were only 2 people serving, the owner and what looked like the owner's mother, constantly making sure your water glasses are full. Decor is pleasant. And entertainment is the TV featuring cheezy Indian romance films shrill Hindi singing.

There were 3 other tables occupied. The table next to us looked like another pair of coworkers. The man was going on about how he had lived in India with his parents and when he was 16 years old he had the run of the house; his parents were always travelling the world and he was free to have house parties with a hot tub and experiment with things generally frowned upon in the Hindi culture. I was not looking at them at first but when the man got up to take an outside call, he was much older than I would have expected. He sounded rather arrogant, some man in his 40s talking about his life in his teens.

I'm not a fan of Indian food. On the other hand, I know I don't hate Indian food, because I have still been thinking about the Himalyan place in Big Bear. Therefore, this Indian joint might not be up to par with my standards, though it is not all bad. If I were to rate it, I would rate it 7 out of 10, due to lack of taste. It is clean though, you don't smell that wierd spicy smell you get at some Indian places. And service was pretty good, though the place was not crowded at all. I would not go to eat by myself, but would be willing to accompany anyone who is interested.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Newport Seafood

Newport has to be my favorite Cantonese style restaurant in San Gabriel. It never gets old.

It's got fried tofu, clams, lobster, crab, mongolian beef, peppered pork, you name it they got it.  Service is fast and friendly...

We came here for dad's 67th birthday and it was about 9pm when we arrived.  It was a good time, as it is usually packed during lunch with a long wait and no parking.

You are given fresh oranges after your meal.  The tea is hot and fresh.

I don't know what else to say about this place other than it is good and it can't be beat!

Monday, April 2, 2012


We had lunch at the most amazing steakhouse ever called Chamonix in Taiwan. It is French style, yet still fits the taste of the discriminating Taiwanese palette.

We started off with appetizers, a mango dollop, beautifully glowing yellow like a honey dew. The other- salmon with some leafy greens, each fitted to a spoon like plate, perfect for just one delicate bite.

Next, the salads. I got the salmon, its delicate slices sandwiched between papaya layers, topped with black caviar. Amazing.

The soup I selected was the seafood chowder...this is the best seafood soup I have had since the one I had in Oban, Scotland. Fresh ingredients, its buttery aroma tantalizing and warm enough to melt the soul. I was a little worried about ordering the seafood chowder as since Oban, I have had the impulse of ordering seafood chowder wherever whenever I see it, only to be disappointed with a mushy red color, slimy texture and a rotten fishy taste...this time I was happy with my selection. The Seafood Chowder ought to be called 10 minutes of that was where my heart felt it was. I have never been more in love with a soup as then. It was perfect the way it was, but they had to top it off with a cheese stick...I have never seen anything more perfect...on the other hand, the one thing you may have reservations on about the chowder is that as you are halfway through, you see a whole shrimp staring at you. The shrimp is juicy and tasty though if one does not mind the whole head and eyes still on.

Then the main course- I got the applesmoked pork; the cooks cook your meats in front of you. They ask you how you like it cooked, and provide you a sample of your meat to make sure it is exactly the way you want it. That is customer satisfaction.

My cousin got the chicken which also came with some kind of a shrimp or fish. The wonderful thing about the way the cooks make it is that they give you your meal in parts; not all at once. This way it prevents you from stuffing yourself too quickly; additionally, your food does not sit out and get cold. I love it!

As part of the course, you also get fried rice. It had little bits of dried shrimp and the rice was so full of flavor.

They also serve sparkling wine and this grape juice with a lemon slush. Unlimited refills! In fact, you are being attended to every second, getting refills without even asking for it. I felt like a queen!

The thing I did not like so much is that they ask you to go to another section of the restaurant for the desserts and tea. But I suppose that is just me being lazy. I got the creme brulee. It tasted more like an egg pudding and it was not bruleed at the top. And I got the kiwi juice, which was a bit too tart.

My cousin got the mint tea, which I almost got. I'm glad I didn't, because it was nothing more than mint leaves in a glass of hot water, served with a tiny pitcher of honey. It was more visually appealing than it was to the palette, I was told. However, it is more on the healthy side.

I had a taste of the hot chocolate in ice cream that my other cousin got...ooh it was amazing!!! The hot chocolate IS actually hot. And it was dark and just all velvety and lovely. In the States, when you get served hot fudge sundaes, the hot fudge is not really that hot by the time it hits the ice just ends up being a goopy lukewarm slimy mess...but this...indescribable!

The restaurant is good for large gatherings. In fact, I think you do need a minimum of 8 people to be served the steak and full meals.

I had not seen my cousins for more than 2 years. I did not think I would miss them that much as we are quite distant...but they are really nice people and it was really good to see everyone. And of course I am really lucky to have relatives with such refined taste!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cucina Alessa

Cucina Alessa in Huntington Beach is an authentic Italian restaurant.

I first came here January 2011 for my friend's birthday. Well last night I went for my friend's engagement dinner party. I am really happy for him. He is a really nice genuine guy and the girl he proposed to is super nice too. I know because she got me a Hello Kitty mug on my birthday and I had only ever met her three times and she didn't have to at all.

The food is really good as in not too cheezy or anything, though they will go around asking if you would like more cheese.

Last time I got the meatballs on the side. They were tasty. This time I got the Tortellini Carne, which is braised ribs stuffed pasta with walnut sauce on top. It was very yummy. I tried to share it with my friend but she did not like it as much because she did not like mushrooms; apparently the pasta is also stuffed with mushrooms. Truffles perhaps. Well, I loved it! I have had something similar at other places and there is a wierd aftertaste with the meat, like it had just been defrosted or something like that. So I was quite pleased with the dish.

My friend loved the fried calamari so we had started off with that for appetizers. I just thought that was ok, as it wasn't fried so that it was crunchy, but it was still tasty, topped generously with green onions and it tasted fresh.

The guests to my right had pizza; and the pizza is thin crust and it looked yummy. Well my friend sitting next to me got a salad, but it was not the type of traditional salad with lettuce. There were slices of tomato and a piece of pizza crust...she thought they made a mistake, but they said it was the salad.

And for desert, i got the tiramisu. I think I should have just stuck with my normal creme brulee. I don't like the tiramisu only because I'm not a huge fan of cream. It looked like a scoop of ice cream, but it was cream with layers of the sponge cake in between. And I'm not that fond of coffee either, to I was not too crazy about the taste. But I think for being tiramisu, it was pretty good, not super sweet or anything. Other people liked it anyway. My friend got the ice cream with chocolate lava cake. I liked that one, though the cake was a bit rich, but I liked the texture, a bit gritty, it was quite lovely.

I am really happy for my friend. They make a really good couple, even though they have just been dating for barely 2 years. I guess when you know, you really know! You don't want it to go over that long, there would just be no point in the relationship otherwise. I am really happy for him, he has a great job he's been with for over 5 years; he just bought a condo, he has his luxury car, and now he's got his girl! Everything seems to be in place, like a complete puzzle.

A restaurant with superb food means you do need to make reservations in advance. The place gets very packed.

Of course, what makes a meal great are the great people you dine with! Enjoy the food with good dialogue and special friends!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hop Li

This Cantonese style restaurant also calls itself a seafood restaurant. It has a generous selection from scallops to lobsters. They are very good for special meal events such as Thanksgiving lunch and the like with good service at a reasonable price.

Tonight I called to order their fried rice (they have quite a selection).I asked for the Fried Rice with Diced Taro, Chicken, & Dry Scallop.

I added that it was #163 on the takeout menu but it confused him even more. He said that it doesnt go up that high. Eventually I got the order in.

This dish is on the pricey side, over $17 with tax! The portion is very large though, could definitely split it with several buddies or have it for 2 days worth of meals.

The reason I am attracted to this dish is that there are very few places where you can get taro in your meal. It has a homey feel to it I guess, like reminding me of childhood. There is no egg in this dish though, which is a small disappointment, and it would have been nice with green onions and some other spices added. Otherwise it is quite a hearty dish, though could use some improvement on the taste.

This is the review for just the one dish. The place is accommodating to many, and great for hungry night owls, usually open til 2am.

The disadvantage is that it is on a very busy street, and next to KFC.

I do recommend this place and encourage you to explore their many dishes.