October 30, 2008

Jeremiah was a bullfrog....(A food porn pic extravaganza!)

Greetings, and an early TGIF to ya. I am currently home, sipping on a Negra Modelo, and listening to some nice jazz music. Despite the fact that I have to work on Fridays and Saturdays, I am so happy on Thursday nights because I'm done with school for the week. I usually go celebrate by eating out on Thursday for dinner before my last class, but those adventures will be put in a future post. For now, I give you Tra Vigne.

I went up to Oakland a couple weeks ago because my cousin was getting married in Napa. On Friday, I started off the party early by enjoying a heavily priced Amber Bock at the airport bar, and upon meeting a classmate at the airport, having a drink on the plane, a first for me, but screw it, it's a celebration! I met with an old friend, and we had dinner at this Korean-Chinese place, where I was able to get the jjajang/jjamppong bowl for the first time. Sorry no pictures, but it was good. A quick shoutout to Top Dog. I only wish that I had gotten more there. I got the Bockwurst, which was 1/2 pork, 1/2 veal, milk, and eggs. I've never had veal before, but the dog was very soft. No pictures once again...sorry!

Saturday I went to Napa with my sister. The wedding was held at Tra Vigne, which my sister told me was opened by Michael Chiarello. The wedding itself was quite small, as it was only for family, and the Buddhist ceremony was both interesting and very beautiful. Having had some chocolate for breakfast, and the hot dog for lunch, I was starving by the time the ceremony had ended. And without any further ado, onto the food. After the pictures were taken, people started trickling in for the reception, and appetizers were soon being circulated by the very attentive and helpful staff.

Sorry if the picture is ugly, but this is mushrooms with some kind of cheese on biscotti. I really don't know, but it was delicious.

Bacon wrapped shrimp on a bamboo skewer. I'm not sure what that black stuff on it was. I want to say a grape leaf, but I really don't know. The shrimp was definitely my favorite appetizer. It had a nice citrusy taste to it.

Here's a picture of the shrimp as it was presented to us. At this point, I was feeling GOOD and having a mighty fine time with my friend Jack, if you know what I mean, and started asking the staff if they could just hold still for a second, so that I could take a picture of the food.

Fried calamari with what I believe the server told me was a lemon (ranch or butter? i forget) aioli

The dinner menu.

Some type of focccia bread. I stuffed myself silly with this stuff. I was so hungry I could not stop eating. I went through a good amount, and we had three baskets among a table of seven. The first batch was dry. The second batch was perfect. The last batch was a bit too oily/buttery.

I thought it was bit too salty. Maybe it was just my salad. I don't know. However, the strawberries were very fresh tasting and delicious. I also loved the goat cheese. I love that stuff. I remember when I worked in catering at UCSD we would cut it with a very thin piece of wire.

This was by far my favorite thing I ate there. It was very rich, and I left nothing on the plate, soaking up the sauce with my bread. I think this was the first time that I've ever had carbonara before. I liked it.

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. This was one big ass piece of meat, as my cousin dubbed it, "the Flinstone meal." Underneath these exceedingly soft and tender ribs was polenta, which was quite good, and another thing that I tried for the first time. I'm sorry if my descriptions are short, but I was drinking, and it's been a while since the wedding.

Lastly, an ugly picture of the cake, which I enjoyed very much. Rather than those airy, light cakes, this cake was thicker (for the lack of a better word at the moment), kinda like an ice cream cake's cake part. I don't know how else to put it, but I liked it.

That's the end of that folks. A pretty long post if you ask me. Another congrats to my cousin and cousin(in-law)....More to come in the future...and once again, as I cannot say this enough....


October 26, 2008

Taco Nazo

I don't know why the formatting is going haywire on my last post. It really bugs me, but I'll leave you with a new post, and come back to fix that one later.

Across the street from Mt. SAC, on Amar and Grand Ave, is a place called Taco Nazo, next to Starbucks. Posted on the door is a sign that says "best fish tacos in LA," which was quoted from some magazine. The fish tacos are nice and soft in texture, and you also get a good piece of fish, which fills you up. But my main reason for coming here that day was to try out a soup that was not on their menu, but instead posted on a sign outside their door, saying "Rico Caldo de Albondigas," meaning rich meatball soup for $4.99. I also ordered a fish taco and a drink, and the total came out to be around 8 bucks...If you are a Mt. Sac or Cal Poly student, you get a very small discount...I think it's around 5%.

While I was waiting for my food, I loaded up on the hot carrots, jalapenos, and radishes. They also have yellow chiles on request, which I got on another visit (sorry no pics on that one). Huge fire roasted chiles with some oil, salt and pepper. There was no hotness to it, and it was pretty good. Their salsa bar is meager with your standard pico de gallo, and another salsa, which I'm not sure as to what it is. Maybe a roasted type of salsa? I prefer the pico de gallo. I do like the fact that they offer hot carrots, but these carrots got nothing on rigobertos (formerly known as robertos on miramar) or codis. I like my carrots crunchy.

Here is my feast that I treated myself to after a long week of school. The soup came with some corn tortillas, rice, and a plate of onions, cilantro, and a lime. A quick side note on the tortillas. I never knew what to do with the tortillas when I ordered menudo. I just tore them up and put it in my soup, or ate it plain. When I told my Mexican coworker this, she told me that she likes to roll up the tortillas, and dip it in the soup, or I could use it as a sort of fork/spoon. Something to note in the future.

So how was the soup? It came with four big meatballs, and some big pieces of squash, carrots, and potatoes. The good: The soup broth was very rich, and the meatballs were good. However, while the soup was hot, I wish it came out piping hot. It also seemed like the soup had been there for a while, meaning there was a big pot of it cooked in the morning (hopefully) or the day before. I knew this because the state of the squash was disgusting. It had soaked in the broth completely, leaving it in a semi turgid state. I would really enjoy this soup here if it was fresh and hot. The rice was okay. I just put some pico de gallo on it and ate it. But still a bonus because I wasn't expecting to get any.

The fish taco was a nice piece of fish with your standard shredded cabbage, pico, and white sauce on your corn tortillas. This did not disappoint, and the several other times I got it, I was satisfied, giving them an A in consistency.

On another visit this week, I got their potato tacos, which were 3 hard shell tacos, filled with pureed? potatoes, which suprised me because I always thought it would be like the chunks of potatoes you get in a california burrito. It was very good, and the potatoes were very soft and smooth. I also got the ceviche tostada, but like the soup, the shrimp did not taste very fresh, and it was too limey, as it seemed as if the shrimp had been sitting around too long.

I will have to try some other stuff there, but it seems like what most people order are the fish tacos. I haven't seen anyone order the carne, al pastor, etc, but it is something in the future that I will get.

This damn blogger....I had to "edit" html because the font size for this thing would not change if I used their tool bar. But now it's good. Happy lazy Sunday!

Taco Nazo
1267 N Grand Ave
Walnut, CA 91789

October 13, 2008

how time flies

I write to you, dear reader, to let you know that I am alive and well. I cannot believe that it has been about a month since I last wrote. Despite the hackneyed phrase, it never ceases to amaze me how days are minutes passing by. Listen to Pink Floyd's "Time." So sad, but so true....rip wright. I got a job as a writing tutor at the school shortly after my last post, and along with school and work at the hospital, I spend my spare free time on the weekends catching up on sleep. But enough about me, and onto the food!

update on the last post: my hot carrots were a failure. I did not blanche (sp?) the carrots before hand, and learned it does make a difference in the end result with regards to time. I like my carrots crunchy, and was afraid that it'd make them too soft. Also, I might change the type of vinegar I used, and not use oil in it at all...it got all over the jalapenos nasty like.

On the corner of DB Blvd/Grand Ave, where Diamond Palace and Round Tables Pizza is (two great lunch buffets for your money btw), I've noticed a Mediterrean Place that opened up a while back. I had some time last Friday, so I went to check it out for lunch. I got there around 1230, and it was empty. The menu was very simple, as it offered just a few items, such as kabobs, wraps (chicken, beef, or falafel), and some plates, along with several sides.
I opted for the beef shawerma plate, which included hummus, some greens/tomatoes, and a pita for $6.49.

They did have meat on a spit, and boast on their menu that they use USDA choice top sirloin beef. I remember reading something once explaining the differences among choice, prime, and some other one that I forget. Anyhow, I'm not sure if the lady sliced it off the spit for me. I want to think and say that she did, but I'm not sure. What I did see was her heating it up on a grill with some sauce. Or was it water? I'm no expert on Mediterrean food, but I always thought you eat it sliced off the spit, not reheated. Anyhow, while the portion was generous, the beef was dry. I wasn't sure if I had shawarma (prounounced SHWAR-muh according to wikipedia) before, so I looked it up and read some recipes. I'd like to give it another shot sometime, but maybe at a different place.
What I did enjoy was the hummus, which I'm not sure if it was made fresh. The container holding the orange stuff was a spicy garlic spread, which was quite potent. I had read about some kind of garlic spreadfrom Zonko's I want to say, and I was curious to see what that tasted like. I'm not equating the two, but now I have some idea of what garlic spread is, and I did like it. You also get some pickled onions/radishes was it? I wish I had gotten more. I love that kind of stuff.

Lastly, kudos to the first falafel I really enjoyed. I've had falafels at several places, but all of them, while bigger than the one here, which cost 60 cents each btw, were dry, and I always thought they were previously frozen. This one was moist and tasted home made...meaning different.

Overall, despite the fact that I did not like the beef, I would return here, and try something new, as well as ordering several falafels again. The lady recommended the kabobs, which are a lunch special. The prices are fair, and their menu quite simple. This is Sawyer signing out.

Taza Fresh
1220 S Diamond Bar Blvd
Diamond Bar
Open Mon-Sat 11am - 9pm

Blog Widget by LinkWithin