Sunday, July 25, 2010

xoia eating in echo park

i'm barely literate in english let alone vietnamese so when my friend asked me to meet her at xoia in echo park, i just said, "oh, that new vietnamese place. sure!" when we got there, both my friend and i decided that it was not a phonetic vietnamese name and sure enough, our server told us xoia was pronounced "soy-yah" and was named after the owner's child...either that or they might have named the child "mango" in vietnamese, but the spelling would still have been incorrect. xoia definitely sounds a lot cuter than "bob" or "martha" or "mango" doesn't it?

we decided to sit outside in their patio area to inhale the fresh exhaust that comes right off of busy sunset blvd. ahh, nothing like combusted fuel to expand my appetite. of course, if you don't enjoy the automotive bustle while you eat, there is a larger dining area inside for you to enjoy your meal.

we started off with the pho beef tacos ($5.75) which were surprisingly yummy! these tacos tasted like a bowl of beef pho sans the soup and the noodles. the salsa was a fusion of red salsa with a hint of sriracha. my friend was eager to begin grubbing and squeezed lime on our tacos while i snapped away. i would totally order these again. you should too.

we also ordered the lemongrass pork carnitas banh mi ($6.50) which was a fabulous rendition of the traditional banh mi with long cilantro tendrils and vinegared daikon and carrot sticks spilling out. i loved the chunky carnitas with my every bite and the hint of lemongrass for a lemongrass lova like me left a wonderful fragrance in my mouth. this banh mi was quite generous in portion size because behind those white shrimp chips was the other half. two words: cheap date. you eat one half, i eat the other half and then we fall in love.

the mi quang ($9.25) was the main reason why my friend wanted us to eat at xoia. this dish is a hoi an specialty which i thought was rather delicious. although per my friend's observation that the noodles were a bit wider and thicker than what she had tasted in that region, i thought the thick yellow noodles xoia used were a great medium to sop up the delicate sauce that puddled at the bottom of the bowl. crispy black sesame chips, chopped peanuts, and crunchy bean sprouts gave this dish all the crunch you would ever need in a bowl of noodles.

we ended the meal with the banh xeo ($6.50) which was our least favorite dish of the night. the banh xeo was crispy which was a plus, but the pork was severely oversalted with a double ugh of severely overcooked shrimp that resembled dried chicken which were nestled inside. i'm also not use to banh xeo with peanut sauce which is normally served with nuoc mam (fish sauce). not to mention that the peanut sauce tasted thick and straight from the jar and lacked the typical garlic notes which i am use to.

i'm normally very critical when it comes to vietnamese eats because i grew up eating superb homecooked vietnamese food, but xoia did not disappoint even though there were a few details that needed tweaking. this is a cash only spot so i'll be sure to return with a wallet full of greens to try other xoia eats on the menu. perhaps i might even bring my mother. great yummy addition there echo park. nice.

1801 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 413-3232

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!
Xoia on Urbanspoon
Xoia in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

Monday, July 19, 2010

cane crack juice at the silverlake farmers market

i really love this time of year at the farmers market. the stone fruits are ripe and plenty of tomatoes are harvested for tomato lovas like me to enjoy. a quick walk to the silverlake farmers market on a saturday is a great way to get the much needed fruits and veggies to prevent scurvy for the week. that's right folks, i enjoy doling out public service announcements about scurvy prevention.

the stalls overfloweth with ripe peaches, pluots, and apricots. how dreamy, oh lucky pie hole!

i use to pick up a bag of these muy caliente pistachios too...until i found a muy caliente dead worm in the 2nd bag i bought. eek.

and if this heat wave has gotten you all hot and bothered, this little stall makes the silverlake farmers market kinda special because it quenches your thirst in a most delicious way.

i'm sure he pimps his cane crack juice at other farmers markets, but if you happen to be at silverlake anyways during farmers market saturday, then i strongly urge you to drop by and give raw cane juice a try. it's pretty gooooooood, complex flavors, soothingly sweet, and oh so refreshing.

Silverlake Farmers Market
3700 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 661-7771
Between Edgecliff Dr & Maltman Ave (intersection of Griffith Park Blvd)

verdict: omg, i love it!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

phoenix food boutique or ice cube down pants?

during the dog days of summer, it can get so hot that your innards will boil, your skin can fry to a crisp like chicharrones, and your b.o. quadruples in potency due to the heat. if you're a lucky a.c. owning bastard, you can blast that square box of godsend till your brain freezes to avoid this so cal heat...unless you're pathetic like me and all you have is an old school fan that goes click, click, click when it turns. perhaps at some point in this heated desperation, you consider dropping a few ice cubes down your pants to cool down, though if you're a boy, i don't suggest this. i hear your shlong can freeze off...or worse yet, the ice cube will stick to your snake like ralphie's tongue to the flagpole in a christmas story. there's gotta be better ways to cool off than this. oh man, but there is.....

they have a.c. ahhhh...and sweets.....and a.c......and a.c......and a.c.....(click, click, click goes my fan as i type).

and those icy, icy, more ice cubes in me chonies yay! the best item by far for my panting tongue and b.o. emmitting body is the phoenix mango shaved ice ($5.95). holy moly what isn't there to love about a pile of soft fluffy snow, little tapioca balls, sweet mango cubes, and a cold lava flow of mango puree. i'm getting HOT just thinking about something so COLD.

and while you're there, might i suggest that you pick up a few more items especially for your bikini ready body? like these luscious mango mochi balls ($2.95).

soft, yellow-tinted mochi dusted with coconut shavings envelops a large piece of mango. the mango mochi is slightly chilled which feels refreshing to hot sunburned lips BUT this dessert is quite the crap shoot though. sometimes, you get a really sweet mango piece and the bite is HEAVENLY, but sometimes you get a sour OR bland mango piece and you find you're just biting on mediocre mochi. you be the judge.

i also like to pick up a box of their pecan tartlets housed in sushi boxes. i LOVE pecans and the phoenix boutique versions are the perfect balance of sweetness to me since i'm not a fan of overly sweet pecan pies. might i add that these are some lovely bites. too bad the overuse of butter will make you regret this purchase but c'est la vie fatties.

phoenix food boutique also serves savory foods and snacks. on another occasion, whilst waiting for dinner to happen like...4 hours later, we ordered a plate of the spicy squid. acceptable, but the "whiteness" of the batter was so dang odd to me. albino batter? could it be?! perhaps i am just use to old oil and burnt fried foods :0. it was ok. i definitely don't come here for their savory items.

so when it gets so hot again that i actually contemplate dropping a few ice cubes down my pants, you know there's a 50/50 percent chance that i'll be at the phoenix food boutique heifing down some of that mango shaved ice OR at the gas station buying a large bag of ice cubes.

**the alhambra location has super rude servers. i avoid that place like pubic lice. consider yourself warned.**

Phoenix Food Boutique
712 W. Las Tunas Drive
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 289-9888

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!
Phoenix Food Boutique on Urbanspoon
Phoenix Food Boutique in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

Monday, July 12, 2010

new lucky eats and duck tongue wonderings

the sad state of our economy inspired a lot of deals for our belly as of late. "affordable" pre fixe menus at fine dining establishments, kid eats free deals....and even freakin' "happy hour" prices at baskin robbins. oh man i would be so fat if i wasn't already fat.

anyways, new lucky was recommended to us because of the lobster deal. as you can see, $5.99 for a lobster AND you get one for that's like $2.995 for one! unfortunately, there is a quantity limit per table and you have to order other dishes with your meal. but still a deal? YES.

the place was rather crowded with other deal seekers so our party of six had to wiggle in. we started off with the conch soup ($19.99) which had a strong musky seafood smell that rose to my nose and tickled my nose hairs when i sipped it. the chicken feet floating about reminded me of amputated chickens and a much needed trip to get dimsum. i liked this soup and thought it was a great way to start off our meal.

the pork rib and spicy salt ($9.99) which always makes an appearance during our family meals, but is not a favorite of mine. i'm not fond of breaded, fried pork that becomes tough and chewy during mastication. this one at new lucky was no different.

the lobster x 2 based on the $5.99 deal was newportesque, but definitely not the same. still tasty though and worth every penny of the $5.99 price tag. oh come on now, it's only $5.99!

duck tongue marinated in maggi sauce ($16.99). i've never had duck tongue before so i had to order it when i saw it on the menu. when the plate came to us, i thought i had ordered fried penises. seriously, look at it. then when i ate it, i was suprised to find a bone in each tongue (yes, laugh) which was another shocker. apparently, ducks have boney tongues. man, who would have quacked. the tongues are also quite fatty.

steamed red cod ($33.23) which mitigated any savings we might have had with the lobster. the flavors on this one was ok but most steamed fish pales in comparison with my dad's version. and yes, i deliberately turn the fish head away from me when i eat. i don't mind stealing a fish cheek or two if i'm anywhere near the fish head, but a gaping mouth turned to me when i eat makes me want to go vegetarian. :(

dried salty fish with gailan a.k.a chinese broccoli ($11.99). this dish is usually slick with a thin layer of cooking oil. but you forget that when you take a bite of the crispy gailan stems and taste a burst of saltiness from the dried salty fish. one of my faves and a must order for me. this version was quite good.

stir-fried pea sprout leaves ($14.99) was tender and delicious. nothing beats a good plate of these greens at any chinese dinner. yum.

our dinner ended with bowls of their complimentary dessert soup. instead of orange wedges, you get this, spoonfuls of warm, lightly sweetened syrup with small chunks of sweet yams, taro, and teeny weenie tapioca balls. yum.

by sgv standards, the initial deal didn't become much of a deal once we saw our check for $124.16 (tax and tip not included) for the 6 of us. but it's priceless to get tongued by a duck and i would totally order those quacky tongues again.

New Lucky Restaurant
415 W. Garvey Ave.
Monterey Park, CA 91754

price: $$
verdict: it's aight

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

i picked a dud at little dom's deli

one of the worse kinds of eating experiences, other than finding a roach in your food, is to pick the wrong item off of any menu while everybody else hits a gustatory jackpot. you know what i mean. while everybody smacks their lips praising what they ordered and devouring their said awesome item, you sit there picking through yours just WISHING you had ordered differently. perhaps you start whining a bit, attempt to play the pathetic card so others may offer you a morsel of theirs. OR if you're anything like me, you make do with what you have and burn this item in your memory as a NEVER-EVER-order-it-again item. fyi, my brain is full of these kinds of useless never-ever notes.

not too long ago, i ate at little dom's deli in los feliz which left me with one of those never-ever notes. this experience was rather disappointing given the good things i've heard about its mother restaurant, little dom's.

but back to the deli...the deli menu is rather diverse, with all kinds of interesting sounding salads, hot and cold sammiches, pastries, and a variety of deli meats and cheeses to go. after the usual "what are you getting?" discussions with my party of four, i ordered my truffled chicken salad & arugula sammich ($10.95). it was tough not to grab a package of these sweets as well.

when our sandwiches arrived and we all took our initial bites, i heard nothing but satisfied sighs around the table....except for me. ack, i picked a dud! dangit! this sammich looked great and i was allured by the "truffle" aspect of it, but the creamy chunks of chicken were severely underseasoned. in fact, i think a sweaty gym towel might have more flavor than this sandwich. not wanting to face the sad truth of picking the failed item in the group, i nabbed myself some salt to sprinkle on the sammich. it still did nothing for the overall taste of it *sigh*

not to mention that the bread was rather chewy. if i had dentures, then that's one issue, but my beaver-like teeth can bite off evander holyfield's other ear, but biting this bread it could not. i've never met such a tough piece of bread in my life. i left on my plate what i couldn't gnaw.

to be fair, everybody else in my group enjoyed their sandwiches and my dud of a sandwich does not bespeak of the the overall quality of this deli. but to also be honest, the plethora of dining choices out there and the tightness of my wallet does not afford me the luxury of giving many second chances so i probably won't come back. besides, parking in los feliz sucks :0

although i have no desire to go back to the deli, i have yet to partake in the offerings of the main restaurant, little dom's, and look forward to it. besides, they currently offer $15 monday suppers which intrigues my tastebuds and my wallet.

Little Dom's Deli
2128 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 661-0055

price: $$
verdict: ?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

my tongue was assaulted at chego :(

it is rare for me to travel out to the westside when there's a plethora of still to be conquered eats east of the 10 freeway. but when i do find myself out there, you betcha i'm going to hit up some places that i've been itching to chego. oh, chego. chego is roy choi's kogi meets korean rice bowl venture and is located in a strip mall in palms, a stone's throw away from culver city. if it wasn't for the sudden horrible parking in the middle of an apartment filled/strip mall street, you would have never known that the master behind the kogi truck has set up shop here.

restaurant front. imagine long lines out the door if you don't eat insanely early dinners like me.

the belly of this restaurant is rather small and cramped. a wall of mirrors tricks your mind into thinking there's a vast open space, but there really isn't. if you are not one of the lucky ones to nab a spot along the wall or the sides which allows you to sit and eat, then you stand up and chow along the long communal table located in the middle like a row of birds.

my friend and i started off with the charred asparagus ($5) which had extremely potent flavors cranked with a side of ADD. there was a super charge of acid and salt that i did not like and which made me pretty nervous about the food to follow.

because by then, i had already regretted my order of the buttered kimchi chow ($7) which was a heavy bowl of shlacked on kimchi piled on a mound of rice. i understand the salty nature of kimchi, but did not enjoy the sour, fattiness on top of that. seriously, if all i can taste from my main bowl of sustenance is salt, sour, and heat, then this belly is going to die a hungry death.

my friend ordered the one chubby pork belly bowl ($8) which tasted SLIGHTLY better, but still just as eww. i LOVE pork belly, but i don't love fucked up uncharred pork belly. it's like eating a blob of uncooked fat with a shlack of sauce on it. why do it? is your muffin top not billowy enough? bleh.

we also ordered a side of ooey gooey fries ($5) because i read good things about them but wish i didn't. there goes another five dollars. not only do these fries pale in comparison to the frysmith truck, they also belong in the category of overly salty and sour eats at chego. i ate a few bites and threw them away.

in general, i enjoy roy choi's intense culinary flavors in a taco because they are small, bite sized, but then you're done with it. however, once it's placed in a big ole rice bowl, the extremely salty, spicy, and oftentimes sour flavors attack your tongue in a most unpleasant way and you are eons and eons away from being "done with it" cuz the damn bowl is kinda big. even though i grew up respecting the rice bowl so i would always eat everything i was given even though i was full, i could not do it here at chego. i threw most of the food away and drove home thirsty and hungry. man, that sucked.

3300 Overland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 287-0337

price: $
verdict: hells no!
Chego on Urbanspoon
Chego Restaurant in Los Angeles on Fooddigger
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