Friday, May 28, 2010

Curry House

Before watching opening night of the Prince of Persia movie, we had dinner at the Curry House in Little Tokyo. We arrived at 7pm Friday night and we didn't have to wait to get seated.

I had the Tofu and minced meat curry with a side of potato croquet and soft boiled egg. The egg was just the way I like it, truly like a golden nugget.

It came with a cup of soup and I chose the creamed corn which was very good, nice and buttery all over. I can't say enough nice things about the soup. Get it!

The potato croquet was definitely worth the extra cost, better than Genki Living (which is frozen, takes forever to come out, and comes with nasty tartar sauce). It was crispy and has that extra flaky texture on the outside, but so nice and warm and soft on the inside. It was like eating real food! Somehow taking a bite of it was like a memory of childhood when everything you ate was made with an extra touch of love instead of artificial flavors and preservatives like at most modern establishments.

Service was good. Waiters/ waitresses were fast and efficient. I especially like how my friend was trying to order iced coffee and was telling the waiter it wasn't the normal kind, it was the special kind but he didn't remember what it was called and the waiter said "ah yes I want the fatty kind." Isn't it great when the waiter can read your mind?

There wasn't a wide variety of deserts to choose from but I think if I hadn't been so full, I would have liked to try a little something.

This is my 2nd time at the Curry House at this location and enjoyed it both times. The Little Tokyo location is much better than the Rowland Heights one, though it's hard to say whether or not it was really the quality of the Rowland Heights restaurant that's at fault or the quality of the company at the time that ruined the eating experience. One thing I noticed was there seemed to be more Japanese people serving at the Little Tokyo location than at the Rowland Heights one, so that may have been one factor that helped make it appear more "genuine". The staff at the Little Tokyo location appear more knowledgeable and professional.

Lunchtime on the weekends require a fairly long wait. I think I waited half an hour last time. It is in a great location and after you're done eating, one can stroll downstairs to the Marukai Japanese market in search of Hello Kitty goods. For example, this time the greatest find was the Hello Kitty macaroni product which I first read about here.

The Curry House at the Little Tokyo location is a must for the novice connoisseur while I give the Rowland Heights one a thumbs down.

The only downfall would be looking for and paying for parking in the area. However, be sure to get your parking card validated to reduce the parking cost or to park for free. If the servers are good, they will ask you for the card when you pay.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thrifty's Ice Cream

Thrifty's ice-cream in a 1.75 quart container is only $1.99 with the wellness card! Make sure you sign up before you pay. The lady behind the counter was nice enough to tell me about the great deal because otherwise without the card, it is $3.49. And best thing is they don't tax you for it. it was $1.99 exact!

They've got some really fantastic flavors like chocolate malted crunch. The taste and the price just can't be beat. Now that's what I call a cool deal!!

My other favorite flavors are mint and chip and coconut pineapple.

I know it's always made fresh because the factory is right in El Monte! Beat that Ben and Jerry's (which I have never been a fan of except during their free cone days).

This is another great item that brings me back to my childhood days. I remember back then a single scoop was only $0.35! Now I think it's over a $1.00? And the quart packaging did not have a lid, it was merely a square carton with flaps to open and close. Ahh...the simple days.

Update. Price has gone up to $2.50; 2 for $5.

Burger King Original Chicken Sandwich

This is a classic chicken sandwich! Reminds me of childhood. I haven't had this in a really long time and I had been craving it, especially since mom has been saving the buy one get one free coupons. So, yes, I got 2 chicken sandwiches for $3.83, not bad at all.

I was pretty hungry and took a bite and nearly burned my tongue! Wow, it was so hot. Now that's what I call freshly made! Yes I know it's ironic, enjoying the burning sensation of freshly made food, but one of the reasons why I had not gotten it for a while was because the last few times, the sandwich was cold like it had been sitting around for a while. This is the BK on Las Tunas, near the Pet and Jungle so I am going to have to remember to go to that one from now on. The crappy sandwiches was from the BK near the K-mart so I will have to remember not to go that one.

I really enjoy the elongated shape of the sandwich and the sesame buns are soft and just wonderful!!! I hate mayo but I do appreciate whatever white sauce it is that's in it. There's no cheese, just lettuce, nice and simple.

Unfortunately, Burger King no longer has cheezy tots! It's sad, I know. They were tots with piping hot cheese embedded inside. But guess what? A Sonic's has opened closer to my house and they have really good tots, so I'm going to have to visit them so I can do a blog entry soon!!

BK has a buy one get one free promo going on.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


After a pleasant hike at Crystal Cove National Park, we headed to Maggiano's for an early dinner at about 4pm.

They served us fresh hot sliced herby bread with a side dish of olive oil & vinegar. Not being a fan of the oil & vinegar I requested butter and they came out with a dish of sliced butter which was very good, but hard because it must have come fresh from the fridge but good.

I had the Creamy Chicken Potato soup to start off with. It was soo good. A shame there were no noodles instead of the potato within as that would surely have soothed the soul. It was really creamy, not fake creamy like with starch.

Two hungry hikers ordered the 4 cheese Ravioli. Because that was part of some special pasta category or some others, they were each offered an extra order of pasta to take home!

Well, I shared a Mushroom Ravioli. It was pretty hearty.
Typical restaurants usually only offer 4 pieces; this plate had 8! The mushrooms were like meaty; reminds me of UK Quorn, a popular meat substitute for vegetarians, made of fungus. Mmmm...fungus. My only complaint would be I don't like my pasta swimming in a sea of cheese as pictured. I like the combination of pasta and cheese to be just right.

And finally the moment everyone waits for- desert! One person ordered the Tiramisu. It looks very delicate.

But as usual, I was more curious about the creme brulee. It was a huge serving, but it did not affect the quality. Perfect texture with the burnt sugar on top and pleasant creaminess on the inside, flavorful but not overpowering vanilla, topped with fresh berries and a sprig of mint. An excellent way to end the afternoon.

On the other hand, service could have been better. Our waiter had a habit of chatting too much with the other waiters hidden along the hallways, keeping us waiting, even when we were ready.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Shin Sen Gumi

Ramen at Shin Sen Gumi.

We went to the one on Valley Blvd and it was right next to a fruit shop. With Durian! Yipe, what a stench! It smelled like rotting fruits! Isn't that an environmental odor violation? On the other hand, I don't think the AQMD regulates agricultural sources.

The food is not too bad, though the selection is very limited. Instead of offering the major ramen types like seaweed, miso, salt and the like, they have just one kind with different sets, like ramen bowls that come in these chicken balls or gyoza. Or you could add seaweed or an egg and other things separately. Half portions are also available, which is an interesting twist to the american fast food cuisine which usually has super size portions as options. On the other hand, for the non-half portions, you can request more noodles for an extra 95 cents.

Since it was dinner, the sets were actually not it was a bit of a pain choosing what to get. I finally settled on the half portion with a side of the chicken ball.

The menu did not have a good photo of what a chicken ball was...turns out it is merely a triangular balled shaped rice with stuff inside, but I don't taste any chicken. It's got these orange and brown bits that are definitely not chicken pieces; tastes a bit like turnips, but I'm not sure. It was not to my palette.

And in the ramen, I asked for an egg, and was expecting it to be lightly cooked into the soup...instead it was hard boiled!

But the green tea creme brulee was good, no disappointments there.

It turned out I had actually been here before a few months back except I forgot what I had ordered. The chicken balls did not make an impact on me the first time around because I didn't remember I ordered that upon my first visit until I ordered it a second time, saw them and recognized them and remembered I didn't like them for not tasting nor looking like chicken! So, now I'm writing all this down to make sure I don't order them again!! They are nothing more than fancy looking rice balls and just not worth the price.

*update- 2/2/11
Tried the Sesame Ice-Cream. It is full of flavor, rich and creamy!!
My only complaint is that there is only one scoop per serving!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gypsy Den

The Gypsy Den is located at the anti-mall, a rather laid back area in Costa Mesa. I love the atmosphere and the food was not bad either. It has both indoor seating and outdoor seating. Indoors seemed a bit cramped and dark; we chose to eat outside in natural setting. There are trees and green plants abound; a bright red lounging chair in a cozy corner. People reading; on the computer; singles; couples; families. It was very pleasant and relaxing.

My dining buddy had the Special of the Day- Garlic Chicken Broccoli Casserole. I had a sample; it was a bit cheesy for my taste, but he had no complaints. It came with a soup or salad; he chose the potato corn chowder. And some kind of Italian soda to drink.

I got the Garden Quiche and Garden Salad with a green herby dressing on the side. The Quiche looked more like a huge chunk of cake instead of a slice of pie as I'm usually more accustomed to. But the shape did not hinder me from enjoying it. They did not skimp out on the bread, like a lot of places do these days. The bread appeared to be homemade. And the butter certainly made it better! The dish is excellent for aspiring vegetarians like myself. I even liked the salad with its fresh leafy veggies. The dressing was not bad as in it wasn't vinegary; usually I detest dressings because of the high vinegar content.

The quaint cafe has an excellent selection of green and black teas. I had my meal with Dragonwell tea. I was excited to see that tea on the menu. But Dragonwell tea tastes better as loose leaves at an authentic Taiwanese tea place than as a tea bag.

Service was good with friendly waitresses.

The only downfall would be it doesn't have its own restroom. I didn't need to use it at all, but it would be an inconvenience for those who do.

All in all, highly recommended!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hsin Hsin Shau May

This is the one at the food court next to 99 Ranch.

I am amazed at how empty that food court got. Only half of the shops are doing business there.

Well, that night, it was buy 3 and get the 4th free with rice and soup. I chose the lionhead meatballs, green veggies, snow peas with tofu strips, and some kind of fish. I was disappointed with the lionhead meatballs. Maybe it was just meatballs because they were quite small. And they appeared to be mixed with 80% soy product. It was very soft and not all that flavorful. The fish was ok, though I did detect a slight fishiness in it. My term for fishiness means that the seafood doesn't seem 100% fresh. It had a really wierd medcinal taste to it. I liked the veggies ok, though they were slightly on the greasy side. The snowpeas and tofu were eh.

The soup was sweet and sour...not my fav.

The food overall wasn't all that fresh. I finished the meatballs, rice and soup; the rest I kept in the fridge. Well, next morning, I had it and the veggies had gone off; there was a sour stench to it. Still ate it, but I wouldn't recommend it.

I guess there is a reason why business had gone bad; because the food had gone bad. They leave those food out for god knows how long. I won't be going back to that food court again.

The only exception would be the one connected to the Full House Seafood Restaurant.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Market Broiler

Last night, I had dinner at the Market Broiler at the Block in Orange.

The person I was meeting was already sitting inside and I thought if I gave them the name they could lead me to the table, but they don't take reservations.

It looks like a semi fancy place, but I wasn't all that impressed. It has a bit of a fishy smell, but I suppose that's only expected, being known for fish.

Well I ordered a Mac and Cheese by itself. You have the option of having it with shrimp for double the price.

It's too cheezy! It didn't say in the menu, but I could definitely taste and feel all 3 different cheeses- Cheddar, Parmesan, and Mozarella, I think. It was almost as goopy as the broccoli and cheddar chowder I had the night before. Just awful! I told a manager looking guy and he said most people say that aren't enough cheese.

I prefer Yard House's mac and cheese with bacon bits and bread crumbs. BJ's is so plain. But I suppose you get what you pay for. The Mac and Cheese was only $7.95.

The bread is ok; this bread had more garlic and butter than the corn/ garlic pizza I had at BJs.

Service was a bit off as in the waitress came with the bill about halfway through eating without asking if we wanted desserts or anything. I was really curious about the creme brulee, but oh well. And the crazy thing was after it was paid for, she asked if I wanted a box and I said no, I didn't like my meal enough to want to take it home to eat and she apologized and asked why I didn't say something before she ran the card. But why was she in a hurry to give us the bill? Aside from that, she was nice and friendly.

I don't think I'd come back to this place. It's good if one likes seafood and fish. They don't have a good selection of much of anything else. And it's definitely not the bother to have to drive to a mall like place. It must have been prom night last night because some teenagers all dressed up walked right in front of me in the parking lot and they weren't walking like they were crossing the street, but walking like they were one of the annoying!! They would have had to see me with my lights flashing at them and everything. Ugh! Malls, hate them.

One plus for the restaurant is that they do serve bread before the meal, nice piping hot bread with butter!

Friday, May 7, 2010

BJ's Restaurant' Brewery

BJ's is always crowded Friday nights so I joined my friends for dinner before they headed to watch Ironman 2.

One guy ordered the Mediterranean topped with fetta cheese and olives. I don't like it. Not just because of the toppings but because the crust is like mushy.

I ordered the mini pizza with just 2 slices; I had corn and roasted garlic, but it was really lacking in flavor of any kind. Would it have killed them to add butter to the corn, salt and pepper? And for roasted garlic as one of the toppings, I sure didn't taste much of the garlic. Again, the crust wasn't crunch at all; it was like doughy, like it hadn't been baked long enough or something.

My friend later explained to me, it's because it's deep dish; that's all BJ has. And that thin crust is for me.

I had the broccoli cheddar chowder and it's too much cheese! Why don't they call it cheddar chowder instead with broccoli bits? Also I had to ask for crackers. They don't give you crackers or bread to start out.

As for the dessert, everyone else liked it. The Pazookie is essentially a large thin cookie topped with like 5 scoops of vanilla ice cream. How come they don't make their pizzas like that, thinly crusted? Anyway, it seemed like a kid made it. You could do the exact same thing buying Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough, stick it in the oven for 5 minutes. It was kind of a disappointment to me. And would it have killed them to decorate it up a bit with a cherry on top?