Tuesday, November 30, 2010

happy family restaurant for good faux meats

after watching too many kung-fu movies back in the days, i've always associated vegetarian food with tofu, rice, and bland veggies....well, that's what the shaolin monks were eating before they kicked some serious ass in defensive righteousness. cool, but not tasty.

needless to say, the belief that vegetarian food was flavorless (thank you monks) pervaded my thoughts whenever i came across vegetarian options. why eat bland when i can eat cow? yes, that is a question i ask myself on a daily basis....that is until a few years ago when my practicing buddhist friend took me to happy family restaurant and swore up and down atlantic blvd that it was the best vegetarian eats ever. she was definitely 85% in the right with this one.

i came back a few days ago to their brand new location in the shopping center right off the 10 freeway (the one with the 24 hour fitness). they pretty much packed all their tables and chairs and moved shop, but the food was still as tasty and as righteous as it ever was.

their sweet and sour soup was tart and tangy. this bowl packed as much of a punch as one might expect from the flying fists of a shaolin monk. on a cold day, it immediately warmed my soul and spirit.

the minced squab in lettuce ($7.95) is probably their best selling appetizer and a must order for all. each lettuce cup contained finely minced jicama, marinated tofu, and slivers of fried wonton skins. each ingredient contributed to quite a flavorful explosion of flavors for your mouth.


since we caught them at their "happy hour" prices which occurs between the hours of 2:45 to 5:00, we ordered two additional dishes at recession friendly prices. this vegetarian fish with spicy sauce ($5.95) has a spongy texture, a fishy taste, and will confound your tastebuds because during certain bites, it REALLY did taste like fish even though it's not. weirdness.

without a doubt, my absolute FAVORITE dish is their vegetarian deep fried house chicken ($5.95) which is battered white button mushrooms slathered in orange sauce. hold the presses, this tastes EXACTLY like panda express orange chicken. and if you flirt with the ghetto fast food side of life like me upon occasion because you hanker after eats like mcdonald's french fries or panda express orange chicken, then this will not disappoint. the only disappointment you will feel is when your dining partner robs you of the last piece.

i really love this place because it's flavorful, reasonable, down to earth, and best of all, i spared a few animals from heading towards the great green pasture in the sky. FURTHERMORE, places like these remind me that explosively delicious flavors need not come from michelin stars or celebrity chefs. tasty is tasty. ok, now i need to go meditate whilst i rub my belly.

Happy Family Restaurant
608 N Atlantic Blvd

Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 282-8986

price: $$
verdict: omg, i love it!
Happy Family Restaurant 3 on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 28, 2010

my yummy rummies for the eat my blog bake sale

what do you think vanilla ice, biz markie, and the roaming belly have in common? (other than the ability to rap of course).

we are all ONE HIT WONDERS. yup, that's right! this is my third time baking for the eat my blog bake sale and i've decided that THE ONE baked good that seems to be a hit are my rum cakes. here are a few past GLOWING reviews as i attempt to convince you to come by and purchase a few on december 4th at tender greens in weho.

hari says, "I was one of the lucky ones to get your rum cake. It was really good and reminded me of one of my favourites, the rich plum cake, from back home in India. It was that good!"

harriet b. said, "the BEST rum cake ever!!! bought it at the bake sale and just started in on it today. fabulous topping, not too much rum and cake was velvety moist and delicious. YUM!!!!"

um, if those aren't glowing endorsements for my rum cakes, then i have no future in sales. but seriously, i AM stoked, and i hope you are STOKED, too. not only do you get to satiate your sweet tooth, you can also feel warm and fuzzy knowing that your money will be donated to the los angeles regional food bank! so please come by and say hi, then buy, and then eat...and possibly repeat.

also, visit the eat my blog blog for a complete list of baked goods available for purchase AND sneak peeks of sweets that will make your teeth ache. AND i hear a kitchen aid stand mixer donated by tastespotting and wine shop certificates to domaineLA will be raffled off as well. the whole event is getting tastier by the minute! i'm excited!

see you soon!

Monday, November 22, 2010

furballs and ludo truck balls...it's getting rolly-poly up in here

i'm a dog lova, but i recalled a time when i was a cat lova too. in particular, with a white cat that wore a red bow and a frog that had too many syllables to its name, seven syllables in fact. i just counted.

when the opportunity arose for me to check out the sanrio small gift pop-up shop on its last day in l.a., i was stoked...i mean, i was meowed. talk about a walk down memory lane. *sigh*

hardcore fans lined up to do mucho cutsey things. hello, hello kitty! and hello to you too badtz-maru!

after winding ourselves in and around the small space that housed this hello kitty clusterfuck, we promptly headed out to the back where the food trucks were located. low and behold, i spy with my little eye a big red coq. kitties and coqs...this is getting unreal folks. seriously.

although other food trucks were present; manila machine, ahn joo truck, che truck, etc...we were drawn to ludo's bold red truck and the images of crispy chicken balls in our mouths. if it wasn't for the impending gorge fest that involves a turkey, this tale may have a different ending...one that involves lots of truckin' good food and one ginormous belly.

we started off with the refreshing basil blood orange drink ($2.28). lovely and refreshing. the hint of basil and the blood orange juice was a perfect compliment to each other. i think they need to start thinking about selling them in big gulp sizes.

the infamous ludo balls, the balls that compell most women AND men to clamor after them. this two piece provencal pepitte combo ($7.52) came with ludo slaw, fries, and a choice of dipping sauce.

as expected, the chicken balls were tender and juicy in the middle. the herbaceous fragrance that were infused into these balls tingled my nose hairs and added an exceptional sophistication to otherwise, err...well executed fried chicken. the bearnaise dipping sauce which i chose was a limey and creamy compliment. for an EXTRA $0.68 (boo), we got the piquillo pepper dipping sauce as well. it reminded me of sriracha....

we also got the two-piece honey glazed garlic wings combo ($7.52) which also came with fries and ludo slaw. they were delicious and sticky and will definitely appeal to those that love the savory/sweet food profile. man they would make terrific snacks during a l.a. kings hockey game!

the entire meal was $19.76 (tax included). although my post may sound riddled with conflicting messages, i would have to concur with other diners that the value was just not there...YES they were tasty, but these were definitely appetizers and not a meal. and peoples, i was looking to eat.

so after the chicken balls and kitty love, we finally left. thank god we came at the time we did because a long line had already formed to get in. bye bye kitties and coq!

Sanrio Pop-Up Tour

Ludo Truck
(213) 973-8839

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it
Ludo Truck on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 14, 2010

cham sut gol bbq gave me a gut

baggy cargo pants. check.
stretchy black top. check.
hair tied up in a ponytail. check.
celebrating a family member's birthday at an all you can eat korean bbq joint. check, check, check.

if you don't go to a black tie event wearing baggy jeans, then you certainly don't go to an all you can eat korean bbq joint wearing tight clothes. to do so would be torturous as your belly will surely expand during the course of the night and who in their right mind would want to feel like a sausage after such a feeding frenzy? with such thoughts in mind, i was dressed to heif as our family trooped down to cham sut gol in rowland heights.

the six of us opted for the all you can eat kbbq menu at $18.99 per person. the deal came with marinated galbi, beef tongue, thinly sliced brisket, black pork loin, spicy pork, marinated chicken, whole shrimp, and sliced octopus. i found the quality of the meat to be decent for the price you pay.

sliced brisket formed into pretty, meaty rosettes. if i was the bride of frankenstein, i would TOTALLY rock this meat bouquet down the aisle.

a platter of all kinds of goodies that will make your belly stretch.

the black pork loin chillaxin' in its pool of marinade.

finally, the sizzle and smoke from a well handled, totally occupied grill. love.

the set menu also comes with steamed egg. quite tasty might i add.

and a bowl of bubbly seafood tofu soup.

the meal ended with jiggly jello pieces and sliced orange.

but enough was enough really. i mean, my cargo pants didn't feel as loose anymore and i waddled to our car like i was pregnant with beef. in my book, that was a good feast but one that must not be repeated too often. thank god you're located in rowland heights!

Cham Sut Gol
18722 E. Colima Rd.
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
(626) 839-9282

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!
Cham Sut Gol BBQ on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 8, 2010

swimming with the sugarFISH

bitterMONKEY, sourPUSS, sugarFISH? i think sushi master kazunori nozawa and his team of sushi enthusiasts picked a winner with the name sugarFISH. nommmm...and this sugarFISH is not your average swedish fish either. more than anything else, it is like sexy, grown-up sushi candy for your tastebuds, seriously.

this past friday, i was invited to a media tasting at the newly opened SUGARFISH by sushi nozawa in downtown l.a. we were warmly greeted by emanuele massimini, one of the partners in the steadily growing SUGARFISH empire. the dinner was a treat for my mouth and my ears as all sorts of nozawa secrets were leaked out, none that can be told to you unfortunately unless you want to end up sleeping with the errr....sugarfishes.....

our meal promptly began with the theNozawa menu ($35- $38) which is comprised of ten items. the organic edamame, the quintessential starter for most sushi meals, were al dente salted pods. what a great way to busy the hands and the mouth as we waited.

next up was the big eye tuna sashimi which lounged in a shallow pool of tangy ponzu sauce.

the trio of albacore, salmon, and snapper sushi were delectable as they laid on delicate mounds of fluffy, warm rice. the quality of the fish were duly noted as i popped them in my mouth, slowly savory them one bite at a time.

very quickly, the toro hand rolls and the crab hand rolls were presented to us. the fragrant nori sheets reminded me of korean laver which instantly tickled my nose in the most delightful way. as soon as these hand rolls were brought to our table we were urged to consume them since the softened nori would ruin the taste and texture of the hand roll itself. (below is a pic of the crab hand roll).

the large scallop sushi was the "daily special" of the night. sweet, tender, and plump, just the way scallops were meant to be appreciated.

the toro sushi was unctuous in a most delightful way. the buttery, fatty fish intermingled with the tart rice perfectly. a wonderful bite for any sushi lover.

the halibut fin sashimi ($7.50) was a textural surprise. the strips of sashimi rested in a light ponzu sauce and were slightly crunchy and limey to the tongue. if you get the chance to order this, i urge that you do. it is a nice departure from the typical dishes one finds at a sushi restaurant and to up the exclusivity factor, it is not always available either.

look at this beautiful, translucent strip of fishy flesh.

one of my favorite sushi items of the night was the halibut sushi. the yuzu ponzu sauce was tart, tangy, and delivered a subtle prick of heat to my tongue. this particular sushi definitely left me craving for more.

i ended my tasting as i do with all sushi dinners by popping two pieces of uni into my mouth. the delicate, creamy, sea tofu was the perfect way to cleanse my palate at the end of a yummy sushi meal.

thank you emanuele for your invitation. sugarFISH is an absolutely chic and tasty addition to dtla and for sure this visit will not be my last. the value and quality i find here is hard to beat!

600 W. 7th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 627-3000

verdict: tasty, try it!
SUGARFISH Downtown Los Angeles on Urbanspoon
Related Posts with Thumbnails