Saturday, May 30, 2009

getting spammed

L & L Hawaiian BBQ
4414 York Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90042

price: $
verdict: it's aight

Acting like

the only time i will allow SPAM to touch my lips is if it's encased in rice and nori a la spam musubi. there's something incredibly enticing about the sweet/salty combo that makes it hard for this fat girl to resist. although SPAM is gelatinous and rubbery with its make up of porky scrap meat, once it's fried to a nice crust with a slathering of teriyaki sauce rolled up in rice and bound by nori, i find that i am NOT turned off by this canned meat. in fact, i would eat this hawaiian luncheon favorite every day, 25/8 (an extra day and hour wouldn't hurt) if i could.

i use to go to shakas in monterey park for its spam musubi, but it is a far drive that i don't always care to take. then i discovered l & l hawaiian bbq while i was rocking out in eagle rock. holy moly spam musubi was what i thought and i entered this fast food restaurant in heavy breathing anticipation.

an order of spam musubi will set you back $1.85. i did not go overboard this time as i normally would when i see this spamtacular crack and stuck to one as oppose to my usual 2 orders. nice thick piece of pan fried spam, sweet teriyaki sauce, firm rice with softened nori. it was gooooooood. mind you, it is pedestrian food. you will not find a sprig of parsely on it as garnish ya hear...and don't judge.

i also always order a side of macaroni salad and in any hawaiian food place, you will surely find some. this one wasn't bad either. mayoey, generous sprinkles of black pepper, bits of carrots (to make it nutritious), and bits of egg yolk. i got a small order since i knew it would go straight to my thighs and did not want to add an extra ripple to my cellulite.

this fatty lunch ended on a sweet note with their coconut haupia (pudding) which i thought would be soft but turned out to be a lot stiffer than expected. it tastes like almond jello with a coconut twist, but unlike almond jello, the gelatin is a bit excessive in it which created a rather firm jello/pudding. seriously, how many puddings out there can hang off a spoon like this one can?

spam musubi is my cheap thrill. ahhh, sometimes, it feels sooooo good to go this cheap. aloha.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

two boots and a belly

Two Boots
1818 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 413-2668

price: $
verdict: it's aight

hello new hipster addition to echo park. i know you're hipster. you're too colorful, too cool, and a tad too overpriced to claim otherwise. besides, you're right next to the echo and that place is a hipster hive. by default, you are hipsterish. deal with it.

i like the colorful exterior and the cute outdoor seating, though i'm CONTINUALLY amazed by the fact that people choose to sit right on sunset to eat. dirt, exhaust, smoke inhalation does not deter those that want the sun and those that want to be seen. perhaps my 25 something odd years of haunting this street has lowered my tolerance level for its grime. i do not eat outdoors when i'm on sunset. nope. i hide myself behind a restaurant window and marvel at the changing landscape that is echo park. i sometimes do hipster sighting, but nowadays, that is way too easy. instead, i wonder where all the old timers went, the working class immigrants that used to live here because the numbers, though not outnumbered, has clearly dwindled.

two boots is an east coast transplant (new york to be exact), set to grow in the california sun. new york pizza?! will i hear the angels sing when i eat a slice? is this THE pizza to put all other pizzas to shame?

the pizzas have interesting names and they do try to be creative with their ingredients. i'll give you a few points for that. mr. pink, bayou beast, night tripper, the dude...who wouldn't want to try something called "the dude." come on now!

really friendly dude serving pizza. he suggested the spicy buffalo wings pizza called "the bird." i declined. you can get pizza here by the slice and they run slightly under $4 each. probably best to try it out first before you committ yourself to a whole pizza, no matter the size.

as i broke out my camera to take some dorky blog pics for my d-list belly blog, the crew in the kitchen noticed and actually offered me a free slice of experimental pizza! heck yeah! i think they were being nice because 1) i have a camera and 2) i TOTALLY looked like i was important....not. thanks to all the wannabe foodies out there (yelp included) that have a blog and an opinion, the effects felt by businesses are very real, no matter how good or bad or big or small. so i think they were playing nice and offered me a free slice of their experimental "hamburger pizza" which a crew member made, just in case.... as disgusting as it sounds, it is fairly delicious. it really did taste like a burger on a pizza without the lettuce and tomatoes which they then later offered. the meat patty was not dried out during the cooking process and the cheese melted over everything in a good way. the onions carmalized well and the small pieces of pickle gave the bizza (burger pizza) a nice tartness. besides, i LOVE burgers and there's no better topping for a pizza than a burger in my opinion. i would get it again if they sold it.

since i felt bad that i didn't order anything and just ate free bizza, i decided to order their "larry tate," a white pie (no tomato sauce) with spinach, tomatoes, and fresh garlic. ack, totally boring. thin floppy crust, skimpy toppings, and a new note to self that i like my pizza with tomatoe sauce. period. i would not order it again.

comfortable eating space, interesting pizzas which i still need to try, and just why not. why not?

Monday, May 25, 2009

MILK does the body good!

7290 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 939-6455

price: $
verdict: omg, i love it!

milk makes me lactate...i mean, milk makes me salivate. mmmmm....

i dropped by milk after a shopping spree at century city. like the uncool girl who is always one season late with the fashion trends, i am late with jumping on the milk bandwagon as well, but like the saying goes, better late than never (if you want to pretend to even care, milk has been featured on mtv's "the hills" since 2007 and was made very popular ever since). my quick visit was suppose to be for a quickie dessert fix which eventually turned into a reversed late lunch with a lot of sugary items to go. aigh, my fat butt.

i ordered their infamous blue velvet cake. yummmm. dark blue cake with blueberries nestled within and a generous coating of a cream cheese frosting which was perfect. to top it off, each slice had a chocolate covered blueberry.

the frosting to cake ratio was just right which meant a delectable bite times 20. as i ate, my friend notified me of my blue tongue. great, now i look like i licked a smurf. and to top that off, fast forward to the inevitable moment when you visit the crapper after eating one of these blue velvet babies, it will look like you pooped out a smurf as well. damn that blue dye is POTENT. consider yourself WARNED.

i couldn't resist the sugary temptations i saw around me and ordered myself a mint chocolate crunch shake to accompany my blue velvet. mmmm, loved the mint ice cream, love the teenie tiny chocolate pieces, and love, love, love the freshly made whipped cream. with some help, the entire shake was consumed with much enthusiasm.



by that time, a few more sightings of their savory items made my belly full of sugar yearn for something more substantial...and salty. i ended up ordering a hot pressed herb roasted chicken breast sammich. very yummy as well. the salad had a good tart balsamic vinegear dressing and the sammich had great oozy mozzarella cheese and portobello mushrooms to boot. tender, juicy chicken breast with a great pesto sauce. i really liked it...

before i walked away, i got a few dessert items to go to bribe a few folks in my life. of course i was able to taste them as well :)

two miniature red velvet cupcakes. the cake part tasted dry, but i suspect it might be because of their tiny stature that dried them out so easily. they were alright, but i probably wouldn't get them again. i may try the bigger red velvet version to see if that made a difference. i also got two mini blueberry muffins. ok, but nothing to rave about. their crumbly tops and muffin bottoms were too dry.

the carrot cake was a tad too sweet for me, but it was polished off quickly by other family members. the carrot cake had generous hunks of walnut.

the chocolate covered coconut macaroon was really tasty. the coconut had a nice glaze to it and was my favorite item from all the other sugary sweetness that i brought home.

what a sugar high i was on after visiting milk! i will be seeing you again. and again. and again.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

dead 8 ways

Nhu Y Ca 8 Mon Restaurant
10830 Warner Ave
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 963-1700

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!

if you've ever had 7 course beef from a vietnamese specialty restaurant, then just think of this as the fishy equivalent plus one. yes, 8 course fish. why do you need 8 ways of eating fish you might ask? well, why do we need 7 ways of eating beef? i suggest you go ask god when you finally meet him because i don't have any answers here. i just eat.

i took my mom and company to nhu y ca 8 mon restaurant to try their 8 course fish. you see, no matter how amazing she is in the kitchen, 8 course fish just ain't something you make at home. to top that off, there's very few places that actually serve this so nhu y ca 8 mon is a find. once you enter the restaurant, you may feel a bit thrown off by the cheesy plastic decor a la michaels arts and crafts. but if you have any vietnamese blood in you, then you will know that plastic flowers are the vietnamese people's number one choice in decorating anything. this is not the place to patronize if you want to have mood food.

our foursome were immediately seated in a booth. one order of 8 course fish will actually serve two people (enough for a taste) so even though the servers tried to push one order per person, we DIDN'T submit because we knew it would be too much food. each order rang in at $21.99. we ordered two orders for the four of us amongst other things. the meal started with the fish salad. crispy pieces of fried battered fish were mixed with shredded cabbage, red onions, peanuts, mint, and basil with a sweet dressing. the salad was topped with large pieces of shrimp chips that you usually get at chinese wedding banquets. i love those shrimp chips (!) and the dish was rather delicious.

next came the fish spring rolls. i really liked this as well. what really sealed in the flavors for me was the shrimp paste dipping sauce with minced pineapple. in theory, the sweet pineapple should counteract the extremely salty shrimp paste, but i warn you the sauce is still extremely potent. if you've never had it before, you might gag a little, but if you like really bold flavors, this is the best sauce to dip everything in. it was my sauce of choice for the meal.

then came the fried fish strips, fish egg rolls (also fried), bbq fish, and fish wrapped in edible leaves. all four items were served on one plate, but in order to perpetuate the image of bad asian service, our server dumped an extra serving of egg rolls that my mom had ordered on top of this plate because we did not have enough space at our table. in that split second, i felt like i was eating from a trough. anyways, rice wrappers were provided for these items. here, you dip the rice papers to soften them. then you place your preferred item in the middle with a helping of basil or lettuce. wrap, dip, and consume. yum.

next came the sizzling fish fillet on a hot plate. i found it rather greasy and the fish was dried out from sizzling too long. the flavor was bland too. the fish died in vain for this one.

the last fish dish to end our 8 course fish was a favorite as well, the fish rice porridge. it was very light which was a nice way to cut the grease collected from the other fish dishes.

my mom supplemented the meal with that extra order of egg rolls (the ones i mentioned that were dumped in the trough) and sugar cane shrimp. i believe it is shrimp cake rolled around a piece of sugar cane and then fried. this wasn't very good. again, pretty greasy. they might be put to better use as bludgeons to whack bad people. it's a thought....

we walked away with fat bellies that day. this is not a meal to indulge on a daily basis, but a good experience to be had. 8 course it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

ramen with a kick and a shove

Orochon Ramen
123 S Onizuka St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 617-1766

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

i first saw orochon ramen on man vs. food and the seed of desire to try this place was immediately sowed. i was pulled into the hype not because i wanted to test my tongue against satan's crotch (this place is known for its signature fiery soup), but more because i really dig ramen and wanted to find an array of ramen houses to rotate through. methinks it's a good plan right?

on a friday night, the wait was manageable though the earlier you go, the better the chances for you to eat sooner rather than later. you have a choice of either indoor or outdoors seating, but sitting in seems more popular. when we got there, the wait was short. we barely missed the critical time when folks started packing in. must be all those damn hype eaters like moi.

we started off our dinner with the spicy scallop which is suprisingly DELICIOUS. it is chilled and the scallops are teenie, but it's meant to be eaten as a condiment. the scallops have a kick to it as well, but the spiciness is very manageable. the added sweetness to the sauce with sesame seeds sprinkled throughout it made for a delicious explosion in my mouth. it reminded me of a korean dish and i would come here JUST for these scallops. yummy.

a half order of fried rice was also ordered though it was a pathetic interpretation of fried rice. the rice was really mushy which is a cardinal sin in the fried rice making world. mushy rice is like a flacid penis, soggy fries, and overcooked pasta. no one will be happy with putting THAT in their mouth. ick.

then we finally got to our ramen...the reason for coming to orochon. to get to your said bowl of ramen, you need to make three choices. if you are one of those people that can never make up your mind, then i suggest you just give up now and say, "i'll have what he's having," hoping of course that what he's having isn't that fiery special #2 which will make you shit lava after you eat it.


1. pick the soup base: miso, soy sauce, or salt. btw, why do they have a soup base called salt? are you thinking hypertension as well? bloating?

2. pick the spice level. i went with the #7 which is a code number for "wimp," "pussy," "loser." i did not mind that since i don't like too spicy so i went with the tongue friendly one...the one that has NO added spice to it. my friend ordered #5 which i took a spoonful of and thought it was ok. apparently, most of the spice settled to the bottom of the bowl. anyways, i was happy with being wimpy.

3. choose extra condiments for your ramen. i skipped this step thinking that it already came with cha su (pork) and veggies so why pile more on? but it was clear after i got my bowl that it's not really much. the cha su slices were thin, tough, and scarce. they were heavy on the bean sprouts, there were a few slices of wood ear (an asian fungus), and bell pepper. i think the most enjoyable part of this bowl was the ramen itself which was perfectly cooked. nice aldente egg noodles are the best!

the broth is good and the ramen was cooked perfectly, but in a head to head challenge with daikokuya, i think orochon has room for improvement.

the wall of fire eaters and lava shitters. if you can consume their signature #2 under 30 minutes, you too, can get a pic on this wall. err, no thanks.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

dizzyneland eats

1313 S Harbor Blvd
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 781-4000

price: $$$
verdict: it's aight

it's been over 5 years since i've last visited the happiest place on earth. if you are guessing las vegas, then you are so WRONG and it is obvious that you don't know me at all because i would never let that much time elapse between me and sin city. i'm talking about disneyland folks, good ole disneyland. a wacko place full of mice, helpless white women, and children that never grow up.

instead of boring you with stories of long rides and overpriced merchandise, lets talk about food at the happiest place on earth. i arrived right about breakfast time and i knew i had to get the infamous hand dipped corn dog (breakfast of champions) from the red wagon on main street. fyi, it is located right next to the "first aid" entry in case you get horrible belly aches from bad mouse food during the day.

um, hello. DELICIOUS. yes, delicious. a corndog with a bag of chips will set you back $6.

i bit into the corndog and heard the most delicious crunch ever. awaiting me was a suprisingly soft inner shell with a slight sweetness to it. the salty dog added good protein (relatively) and i was smitten by this $6 food on a stick.

then it was off to adventureland for more eating. a stop at bengal bbq yielded:

a spicy beef skewer and the safari skewer which was basically bacon wrapped asparagus.

in a duel to see which skewer would reign supreme, the bacon wrapped asparagus won hands down. first of all, bacon always wins. if you wrap a shoe with bacon, it would probably taste good. it also helped that the spicy beef skewer was tough. the sauce was not spicy at all and reminded me of tough meat smothered in generic bbq sauce. i could have done without it. in fact, i could have done WITHOUT the dueling skewers. they were far from delicious and robbed me of precious caloric points that could have been used for other decadent meals.

my friend wanted to try the popular "dole whip" at the tiki juice bar in adventureland which is some sort of pineapple ice cream. i only took a scoop and a sip of it since i was expanding exponentially and needed to pace myself. the dole whip was airy and fluffy, but had a distinctive generic verging on mass produced plastic taste to it. although mighty pretty to look at, there the accolades ended. it was tasty for a scoop or two. after that, you should probably hand it off to your brother or sister.

then yaddy yadda LINES, yaddy yadda WAITING, yaddy yadda RIDES, and doing it all over again. time to eat now....whut?! yup, a late lunch was called for and we found ourselves in new orleans square at cafe orleans. it's located right next to the blue bayou and there was a short 15 minute wait. once seated, the ordering frenzy (and eating) began. we started off with the pommes frite which were skinny fries sprinkled with parmesean cheese and cilantro. the dip was a cajun inspired thousand island dressing. VERY GOOD. hit all the fried, mayoey, cheesy parts of the food pyramid.

i ordered the infamous monte cristo sandwich that costs a gazillion bucks at the blue bayou but costed a mere $15.99 at cafe orleans. this heart attack is a ham and turkey sammich with cheese, dipped in batter and then fried till it's golden brown. a light dusting of powdered sugar enhanced the savoriness of the sandwich. a berry jam was also provided with the sammich in case you wanted to further heighten the sweet/savory contrast. it was rather delicious though i couldn't consume it all myself. a definite must order if i find myself there again.

my friend ordered the cajun blackened chicken ceasar salad. as pretty as it looked, it FAILED. the chicken was tasteless and oils from the dead bird pooled around the salad leaving an oily lettuce mess. the only edible parts were the top few leaves and a slice or two of chicken.

this anti-jenny craig late lunch ended with an order of mickey mouse beignets which are the southern version of a donut. however, the texture was a bit dry so if you're thinking of light, cakey, and crispy creamish, this would not be it. the beignets are heavily rained on with powdered sugar and comes with two types of sweet dip; a jam and a watery custard dip reminiscent of beard papa's custard filling.

though it was clearly a mickey mouse masacre, i would not order them again. i am spoiled by cakey softness so hard textured desserts on my pampered tongue does not agree with me. die, mickey, die.

after more waiting, more lines, and more rides, it was near closing time and the belly spoke again. this time, we grabbed a philly cream cheese pretzel which my sister had sworn her soul on claiming it was a must have at disneyland. man, i don't know what's going to happen to her soul, but the pretzel wasn't all that. it was suprisingly sweet but not great enough to devote the small space in my belly for a last chance meal at the happiest place on earth. i only took a bite of it and ran for my first love.....

my night ended with my beloved red wagon corn dog and a message to remind me that disneyland is a place "where dreams come true...." NOT. NO. THAT'S A LIE.

shit i was full.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

where good girls go for grub at good girl dinette

Good Girl Dinette
110 North Avenue 56
Los Angeles, CA 90042

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!
when restaurants pop up with a lot of promise, i get EXCITED. not the "oh my god did you get me a chanel" kind of excitement, but more like a "i hope you will make my mouth explode" kind of excitement...the only kind i feel when my tongue meets good food. yeah, i know. i am fat. holla!
when whispers of good girl dinette started i was already rubbing my belly for some good girl grubbing. you see, i KINDA know diep tran (chef and owner) because i have met her on several occasions through different gatherings. funny gal with a terrific friend/fan base for her cooking way before hens were blue. in many ways, i was hoping this restaurant would be a big hit too because she deserves the success.
so on friday, i went with 5 friends to check out this new addition to highland park. the space was simple and ORANGE. orange chopsticks, orange counter, and orange shirts. the decor was truly simplistic with exposed bricks and a high ceiling to amplify our voices. paper menus and a chalkboard with cursive writing gave hints of what was to come.

local, seasonal, sustainable....i like that.

i started off with an orange pop which turned out to be orange juice with selzer water. i like to do that at home as well, but i go straight for florida's natural minus the pretty orange slice. it was refreshing though unneccesary with the meal. i think next time, i will bring a bottle or two of wine and enjoy those instead. it appears to be a byob or byow kind of place. no corkage fee...hello i think i love you :)

we then ordered two appetizers to share. as you can tell, my friends scoffed at my food blog wannabeness and insisted that they have their fingers in every shot. tisk tisk h8ers. the fries were delicious. they reminded me of the shrimp with spicy salt you get at chinese restaurants minus the tails and legs. the fries are of the thin kind (the ONLY kind in my book) topped with chopped peppers and cilantro. the dip provided tasted like light soy sauce and paired well with these asian fries. i liked it and boy did it disappear quickly.

the second appetizer was fried tofu on rice. it was good and reminded me of my momma's cooking. actually, it was kinda like diep took my mom's cooking and made it smaller and prettier. it tasted familiar to me and for that it gets another happy nod.

i then ordered the chicken curry pot pie which required 20-30 minutes of cooking time. this is perhaps my least liked item of the night. i did not enjoy the texture of the biscuit top. it reminded me of hard oats for some reason. the curry tasted ok but was a bit too watery for me. there was hardly any chicken in there as well. i could have done less potatos and more chicken. i want my bok, bok, cluck, cluck ya hear!

one of my friends ordered the pork banh mi. i was able to snag a taste and boy was it DELICIOUS. i really wanted to rip that sandwich out of her hands and give her my pot pie instead. i did not do that though but vowed to come back to order this deliciousness.

dessert was rather perfect. i always say i have "asian tastebuds" when it comes to desserts and am not a fan of overly sweet sweets. the two dessert items we ordered were perfect. the coconut bread pudding was dry but tasted just right. it had a nice hint of coconut without being too overwhelming. the almond jello with kumquat sauce was my favorite. when i ate that, i felt like a kid again. the kumquat sauce gave this traditional dessert an exciting twist.

so the night ended with a belly full of good food and laughs. although there are still some kinks to be worked out (like running out of items on the menu), the restaurant has a lot of potential and i wish diep great success. it was a joy to be able to support another foodie's passion.
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