Wednesday, December 30, 2009

would dorothy eat here? no seriously.

second chances are overrated. sometimes, if the said person or thing fucks up then it/he/she should be outie like 2008. that's the way it should be. so pray tell me why people give second chances in the first place?

today, i gave a second chance to auntie em's kitchen in eagle rock. it was hard not to because i always come across rave reviews about it so i literally tricked myself into thinking that my first breakfast experience there was a fluke and that this time around, it will be sooooooo much better. NOT. NOPE. HELLS NO. DELUSIONAL. SIKE. STUPID.

today, my friends and i went down there for lunch to catch up on each other's businazz. even though it was raining, auntie em's was rather busy. as we stood around their extremely tight quarters waiting for a table, i saw a tray of these delicious looking roasted squash. mmmm....i immediately knew that a few of them will be in my mouth a.s.a.p. i was pretty excited because i really wanted to like this place and it's so close to target!

but my renewed positivity for this place started to deflate when i overheard a man tell the cashier that he would never come back. i don't know what spurred his statement, but he looked pretty fed up and i was reminded once again how fed up i was the last time i was here. i crossed my fingers for my friends' sake that auntie em's didn't suck bull's testicles.

once we were seated, i looked through the menu and zoned in on the seasonal veggie choices. i ended up ordering the veggie salad which had a variety of roasted squash and eggplants on a bed of greens with cherry tomatoes and a tart salad dressing. the whole thing was topped with a few slices of brie cheese and a big hefty slice of bread.

i was a tad disappointed at how cold the veggies were. i know salads are usually on the cooler side of the thermometer, but i was hoping that these were a little warmer. don't get me wrong, everything was aight in this big salad bowl, but overall, it lacked a little umpf....i really wanted it to umpf.

our server came by once to take our order and NEVER came back ever again. even though we wanted to order a red velvet cupcake to round out our lunch, we never got a chance and we decided the irritation of playing the waiting game would not be alleviated by any cupcake found at auntie em's...not even their infamous red velvet ones.

so ok tasting food with mediocre service hardly warrants a third chance. so i'm done. no thanks auntie em! i'm leaving on the next twister with dorothy and toto! i'd rather take this kind of abuse out there in the sgv. at least when it happens, i'm not suprised or just is.

Auntie Em's Kitchen
4616 Eagle Rock Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041
(323) 255-0800

price: $$
verdict: not worth my time
Auntie Em's Kitchen on Urbanspoon
Auntie Em's Kitchen in Los Angeles

Monday, December 28, 2009

nordstrom means shop, drop, eat, then repeat

i hope you were given a lot of prezzies this year because santa told me that you were on the good list and not on the naughty one that generally gets doo doo. i didn't get many prezzies at all and although you might think it's because i was naughty, it's mainly because my family is buddhist and we don't celebrate christmas. as a child i was always a tad sad about that, but then my wonderfully brilliant momma would remind me that i get chinese new year (cha-ching!) 2 months later and that life always balances out. she was right! as an adult, i've started to appreciate the benefits of not having to exchange gifts during this busy money making season. i don't have to brave the mall if i don't want to and in many ways, that is a completely welcomed exemption during this stressful time of year. well, if you were stressed out in any way, NO WORRIES, it is finally over. i hope it was a good one for you :)

if you got gifted a ton of gift cards and you happen to have one for nordstrom, then you can most definitely use it at their cafe. i found my belly grumbling as i was doing some after christmas shopping at south coast plaza and quickly stepped in line. it was a long line :( for a dizzying moment, i thought i was waiting to get on the log ride at disneyland and i don't even like rollercoasters because of the devilish things it does to my belly and what was my point again?

it's a bit of a cafeteria style set-up, but the line moves quickly. entrees are cooked to order and not pre-made like some other cafes. if it's not a salad, they will take your entree to your table. the food was also reasonably priced which was a plus.

the seating area was nice too! but then again, this is nordstrom in scp. EVERYTHING looks nice at south coast plaza, even the dirt that was tracked into the mall from a shopper's shoe.

with my gift card eats, i decided to get their tuscan pasta with marsala cream sauce. there were chunks of chicken, panchetta, crimini mushrooms, carmelized onions, and sun-dried tomatoes. it was pretty heavy because of the cream and after a few forkfuls, i was pretty done.

good thing i had made a deal beforehand with my shopping buddy to split eats. the california panini was sooooooooooooooooooooooooo much tastier than my pasta! the bread was nicely buttered and gave a perfect crunch to the chicken, tomatoes, and avacado insides. i really liked this a lot and would totally order it again...but next time, no splitting!

so the next time you get a nordstrom gift card, instead of buying those uggs, maybe you can spend a tiny amount of the balance to nourish your body by getting yourself some yummy eats at their cafe. i would totally go long as i have my gift card.

South Coast Plaza (omg, i love you!)
3333 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

the recession brings me to rosemead...again

when i studied abroad in hong kong, those nine months were a blur...not cuz i drank a lot, but because every single minute there was a desire to experience something great and to travel to somewhere different. boy it was fun...minus the near drowning experience in thailand...and the awkward 2 hour convo about jesus with two pilipino men during a bus ride to manila (even though i'm buddhist)...or getting lost in malaysia...ah, good times, good times.

i have a lot of memories about hong kong too, like getting shoved by grannies when i got on the train, street vendor eats, and endless shopping for cheap shit. holy smokes. and the portion size for food too...i will never forget the day i first looked down at my big mac (yes, i sometimes ate mcdonalds when i was there) and wondered why it was so small...and then i looked at my reflection in the windows and was reminded that i'm pretty obese by hong kong standards. i guess if i ate less, then i would have been able to fit into child size clothing like everybody else there. but did that thought stop my belly?! hells no!

i also remember eating at many hong style cafes. cafes are like glorified cafeterias where you can pick and choose from a really extensive menu, which normally means a variety of choices but a decrease in quality of food. when i had dinner with my family this past weekend at ledo cafe in rosemead, i was reminded of this once again.

we started off with their greasy spicy pork chops. the flavors were good, but wiping your greasy mouth with a napkin was not. i think there is a place in the food pyramid for foods like this and we checked that one off quickly.

stir fried green beans with fish cake. tasty, but must be eaten quickly because of the conjeel factor. yes, that is a bone fide factor in foods.

roasted chicken with a side of corn and rice. NNNNOOOOOOOO! ill. i took a bite and left the rest of my portion on the plate. it was cold and pink looking inside. thanks to buddha i have an iron belly or else i be running to the wc.

short ribs in burgundy sauce. this was actually pretty tasty and if i find myself at ledo cafe again wanting to reminisce about hong kong eating, i would totally order this again. the meat was extremely tender and the burgundy sauce was light. it went well with rice.

we also ordered a salmon dish which was quickly pulverized before i could take pics. i dunno, but salmon with mayo sauce does not speak to me. anyways, my family killed the meal and for roughly $60 with drinks, it was a cheap death indeed.

i think the food is decent here, that you will get a variety of items to choose from, and it is tres cheap. service is straight up sgv style, so if you get angry with bad service, then perhaps this is not the place for you. but if you don't mind because you're hardened to sgv service like a soldier wounded by war like i am, then by all means, ledo cafe is quite alright.

Ledo Cafe
8158 Garvey Ave
Rosemead, CA 91770
(626) 573-8998

price: $
verdict: it's aight
Ledo Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 19, 2009

yo yoshida!

do you have friends that rarely, and i mean rarely, like a pig with wings flying over a fence while drinking a stella, want to eat outside of their neighborhood? like you meet me near my house to eat or i see you later? ah, i have a friend like that and she lived in the sgv and any time she was asked to go closer to the westside for eats, she would break out in hives. now she lives in orange county which means if i want to see her, i would have to get a passport and go there. yes friend, i'm talking about you.

when she use to live out in san gabriel, i would meet her for sushi at yoshida. yoshida was actually one of the first places i yelped that worked out great. the sushi is pretty awesome, fresh, and tasty especially out there all surrounded by chinese food.

the last time we went, we ordered a medly of things because her husband joined us as well as another good friend of ours. we started off with a pair of deep fried, panko encrusted crab cake boobies. they were yummy, but seriously, how do you ever eff up deep fried eats anyways? i really liked the chunks of crab meat in it and it was a good way to bring oil and grease to an otherwise "technically" healthy meal.

i HAD to order the spicy tuna handroll and at yoshida, you can choose the heat level. i decided to stick with 6 because i cry a little when i eat hot cheetos so anything higher than a 6 may make my butt hurt. turns out the heat wasn't too bad at all. must have been my vietnamese roots that made me tougher than i thought.

uni, maguro, and abacore with ponzu sauce. must have staples for me at any sushi joint. the fish were pretty fresh.

unagi rolls. the belly conquering one eel at a time.

japanese scallop roll. very sweet and fresh. i'd take these sweet thangs over chocolate any day.

and the yoshida roll, an overstuffed fish fatass in a nori jumpsuit. seriously, i appreciate all the different fish they stick in there but it's way too big for the average mouth, even for a big yappy mouth like mine.

my section of the yoshida roll always ends up looking like this after a bite. i don't know, sushi wasn't meant to look like this right? all broken up, depressed, like it lost its mortgage on one game of craps? each time it's ordered, i always wonder why we do it.

so now that she's moved to the oc with her husband so they can live in their dream house, i'm not sure i will even have any reason to go to yoshida anymore since i live so close to other great sushi eats. the one thing yoshida has which i have not yet tried is their fresh uni in its spiky natural cover. but is it really worth it to drive to san marino for that? do you know where i can get that fresh sushi without diving for it? my belly would like to know.

2026 Huntington Dr
San Marino, CA 91108
(626) 281-9292

price: $$$
verdict: tasty, try it!

Yoshida Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon
Yoshida sushi bar in Los Angeles

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

on target with banh mi my tho

yesterday, $2.20 got me a waxy, plasticky cheddar cheese pretzel at target when i was slowly dying from hunger and needed to eat, lest i rip another target shopper's arm and turn the whole shopping event into a zombie movie. no really, all drama aside, hunger makes me whine like a little bitch.

as i took a bite of that nasty pretzel, i realized that an extra 5 cents would have gotten me a sammich at banh mi my tho in alhambra, but unfortunately, i had to munch in the cleaning section of target in eagle rock which was no where near banh mi my tho. how unfortunate for me.
if you haven't been here before, this shop gets mighty busy at times, and for good reason. i don't know how long the wait was for this dude, but from his anxious looks, it must have been an eternity.

check out the prices! dayam! where in the world can you get such a delicious filling sammich for 2 bucks and some change? where, god, where?!

you can also get an array of cheap but delicious things to eat there, such as egg rolls, spring rolls, rice cakes with dried shrimp, and a bunch of vietnamese sweets. let's just say, $2.20 could have gotten me a lot more yum for my buck than a rock of a pretzel at target.

they also sell maggi which is my dad's soy sauce of choice when it comes to soy sauce choices. after some quick googling, it turns out it's not even made from soy...go figure. and it's created by nestle, double go figure. but if you've never had it before, there is this fragrance that erupts on your tongue and rises up to your nose that regular ole soy sauce like kikkoman and the likes will not do. by far, it has a superior taste and is great for cooking and dipping.

i usually end up with a banh mi dac biet when i visit this little sammich shop, which has pate and slices of vietnamese style head cheese and zaw. they are generous with the meat as well as the pickled veggies that are stuffed in it so for $2.25, you get a filling meal indeed.

SOMETIMES, i get their vietnamese iced coffee, but only if i want to be wired for a few hours. the coffee here is pretty strong and costs more than the sammich!

so now, can you imagine my dismay when i had to fork over $2.20 for a nasty pretzel when i was only 5 cents short and about 10 miles away from banh mi my tho? sometimes, life can be so cruel.....
Banh Mi My Tho
304 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91803
(626) 289-4160
price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!
Banh Mi My Tho on Urbanspoon
Banh Mi My Tho in Los Angeles

Saturday, December 12, 2009

food + lab + dogs + sammiches = lunch

having a dog is awesome. if he is anything like charlie, he will take his fetch toy and ram it into your legs to indicate to you that he wants to play (you may get bruises from that), he may pee on your telephone because he has yet to master the art of holding it in, and maybe, just MAYBE, if you're lucky, your dog will have a penchant for jumping up and hitting your crotch with his nose because he is so excited to see you. my little charlie does all of the above. lucky you say? you betcha.

having a dog is also restrictive. you can't leave them home too long during the work day and making plans for vaykay better include your little fur love or at least a place to house him while you're away. eating out with a doggy in tow means places with patios only...and of course dog friendly places since i can't imagine the ivy which i think has a patio would be dog friendly...other than for celebrity dawgs.

anyways, after buying baked goods at the "eat my blog" bake sale, with sook's dog cooper in tow and my charlie and hanh, marie, jessica, and our dog walking friends, we stopped by food + lab for some grubbin'. it's a teeny place chalked full of olives and pickles and things that have been marinating in salt and vinegar for a luxuriously long time. somewhere in all that was my lunch.

the back patio area was big enough for our dogs to have a field day sniffing out crumbs. it also made for a chillaxin environment to grub on for us hongry eaters. i can imagine it being pretty perfect during a summer day when summer ever comes back again...oh, how is miss you so!

i ordered their prosciutto sammich with ricotta and fig, hugged between two sweet slices of raisin walnut bread ($10.50). though pretty to look at, it wasn't tasty to me at all. i thought the sweetness of the raisins and figs overpowered the prosciutto which made the sammich more of a dessert sammich than a savory one. i did not expect that, and theref0re, it did not agree with me belly. i did not finish my 1/2 of the sammich.

the side of greek salad ($2.50) was tasty though and pretty to look at. ok, maybe i looked at it for 2 seconds before i devoured it. chomp!

my friend got the grilled chicken with avocado, sun dried tomatoes, and queso blanco on ciabatta bread ($9.50). that was a far superior sammich to mine. a good, satisfying sammich with just the right amount of tang from the sun dried tomatoes. i'm glad we made the exchange before either one tasted our own respective choices because i'm not sure i would have gotten a 1/2 of this baby.

the whole lunch ended on a silly note of having an under $20, 99 cent store challenge (ahem). the meters were also calling us back to our cars. anyways, weho is so close, yet so far for me. although i may not make a special trip out here just to eat these sammiches at food + lab, it is a good choice for an easy chillaxin lunch with your dog. i believe charlie was able to find some cat poo to nibble on as we munched our lunch.

Food + Lab Cafe and Marketplace
7253 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 851-7120

price: $$
verdict: it's aight
Food + Lab Cafe & Marketplace on Urbanspoon
Food + Lab Cafe & Marketplace in Los Angeles

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

good service in the sgv? stfu!

like indiana jones in search of the holy grail, searching for good service in the sgv may be just as elusive, minus the car chases and flying bullets. but it DOES exist, and some of this "mythical good service" can be found here. stfu! yes. here, at big 3 seafood bbq.

when i go visit my relatives on that side of town, they always insist on going to big 3 for lunch. i always comply because it's difficult to stray when you're held hostage by senior citizens (dude, walking canes hurt when you get beaten by them). in general, the food here is quite alright, nothing to blog about per se, but the service is impeccable so THAT in and of itself is bloggable :) i do warn you that there are some horror stories about the food that i've read on yelp...but like fergie in the face of her husband's infedelity allegations, i will deal with it when it happens. the food is decent and cheap and with good service to boot, it is always busy when we go.

the last time we went, we ordered abalone because of a promotion they had. i don't understand the fascination chinese people have with abalone (i'm sure it has something to do with health benefits), but the three of us of the younger, non-cane bearing generation thought it tasted fishy. on other occasions when my parents prepared it, i still didn't think the taste warranted the price. it is outrageous. anyways, here it is all cut up. i didn't pull my camera out in time before the old people got to it.

squab (domestic pigeon). my dad makes the best squab dish and every version i've tasted outside of my parent's home has paled in comparison. the squab at big 3 is not bad and the price point is very reasonable...code word for CHEAP. crispy skin with a hint of sweetness. i suggest that you give squab a chance, whether here or elsewhere. it is an understated bird with flavors that packs a punch.

dang, look at the beak on that sucker! this is what you get for pooping on my car...KIDDING.

crab meat and egg white scramble. this dish is very silky and rather tasty. spoon it over your rice and you have a savory dish that reminds you of a custard. i liked this a lot and was glad it was placed right in front of me.

bitter melon with black beans. i use to HATE bitter melon as a child, but as an adult, i've developed a liking to it. i think my palate has broadened a lot. come on now, i use to put SALT on my PICKLES as a kid. talk about yuck right?! this dish was so bitter that it's refreshing if that makes any sense.

battered deep fried (sole?) fish with soy sauce. YUM. the crispy fins and crispy bones makes my mouth water. some places really screw this dish up by using oil that has been used and resused since the early 80's. big 3 did not. it was tasty.

stir fried yam leaves. this dish is not widely available so it was a suprise to see it here. i thought it was a tad stringy.

fried tofu squares with meat stuffing. you spoon a bit of soy sauce on it for flavor. the big 3 fried tofu squares weren't greasy which was a plus.
the whole meal was under $10 per person, with tip included. throughout the meal, our waters were filled without asking and the server came by on multiple occasions to check on us to make sure we were happy with our food. she even took the time to explain how a dish was made when we asked, NOTHING like the brush off you usually get at chinese restaurants in the sgv. although the quality of food and ambience may not warrant a special trip to big 3, if you happen to be around the area and would like to try some of the things you've seen here, you will be most certainly happy with the price point and service.
Big 3 Seafood BBQ
240 W Main St
Alhambra, CA 91804
(626) 300-3990
price: $
verdict: it's aight
Big 3 on Urbanspoon
Related Posts with Thumbnails