November 26, 2008

A feast to remember

I don't know if it was the oysters, drinking, or just being tired, but I started throwing up all day long after I wrote that last post. I think it was just a combination of all three, or I could have had a bad oyster or two from Taps. I don't know. I'm not done with oysters, but it will be a while before I have any again.

Last weekend, I went to Madang Gol in the Chuck E Cheese plaza on Hellman and Foothill after a long day's work with some coworkers. We were all pretty hungry and got the bossam (steamed pork and kimchi wrapped in some kind of cabbage...napa in our case) and the gamjatang. They were both around $20-25 each. Sorry, these pictures aren't the best quality, and as you can tell, I took them with my phone.

Banchan was not the best, but good. About 8 of them plus the jun, which I enjoyed, came out. I don't remember it all/didn't take pictures, but here's a list of what I can remember: kimchi, cucumber kimchi, fish cake, bean sprouts, seaweed. There was also iced tea served and it was enjoyable, and almost sweet.

This was really good. There were a couple of oysters in this as well. You also get some sehoojut(pickled fermented shrimp), and the raw garlic slices are pretty good in it too. We ran out of the cabbage halfway through, but the lady gave us more for free.

Gamjatang. We didn't finish this among the three of us, but we got through a good amount. I've only had this one other time, and it was at Chingooneh's in San Diego. A side story: I once called Chingooneh's for a pickup order, and got the number from some Korean yellow pages online. It turned out to be the owner's cell phone(why it was on there, I have no idea), and when she picked up, she was a bit confused and weirded out as to how I got her number. Needless to say, it was a bit embarassing when I went to pick up my food.

Anyhow it was spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. One complaint was that there wasn't enough potatoes. They put about 2.5 potatoes in it, and instead of it being in pieces, it was literally two whole potatoes and a half thrown in. There was a good amount of meat though. The perilla leaves on top were the first to go. I wish there were more when I ate it, but still the stew was good with rice.

The restaurant is pretty small, and I'm guessing it fits about 20 people max. Service was friendly, but the food takes a while to come out. It's better to order ahead so they can have it ready when you come in. I have not tried the bbq here, but I have tried the jengban noodles, which were pretty good, and the chicken teriyaki, which was decent.

We left with our bellies full and walked over to Frozenii Yogurt for dessert. They are new in the area, and it's self serve place. I really liked their strawberry flavor. They are currently doing a promotion of buy one, get one free. I'm not sure how much per ounce...I think it was around 28-38 cents.

Madang Gol Korean BBQ Restaurant
9339 Foothill Blvd
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
(909) 980-2002

Happy early Turkey Day!

November 23, 2008

"I am the Walrus"

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether pigs have wings.”

“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
“Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!”
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
“Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed—
Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.”

I went to Taps with some friends this weekend and got to eat something I had been craving for a quite some time now. Besides sushi places, I'm don't know of a lot of places in the area that has oysters. I've been to Taps a couple of times, and it's a bit on the pricey side. I do like that they are also a brewery, and have some interesting beers. You can sit at in the dining area, oyster bar, or bar section, which includes outside seating. While waiting, I got the pumpkin ale, $6.

It wasn't as sweet as the Bj's version and was a little stronger in alcohol content, which had my head spinning(I'm a bit of a lightweight). Still, you could taste the pumpkin and spices in it, and it was pretty enjoyable.

I started with a cup of Gumbo $5. The consistency was more thin than thick, and there were pieces of sausage and celery. The gumbo had a lot going on in it, and had a nice spicy kick to it that wasn't overwhelming. I thought it was pretty good. However, I haven't had gumbo at any other place, and I left wondering if this was the real deal.

Half dozen raw oysters $13. Condiments: Tabasco, lemon, cocktail sauce with horseradish, and a red wine vinegar. I like my oysters with lemon and vinegar. Tabasco is always good too.

Our waitress was not very good at selling the menu. She never told us what oysters they had or what they were called. The other times I've gone to Taps, they had a small selection of different oysters available. Nevertheless, the oysters were fresh and briny, which I prefer over the milder tasting ones. I ended up getting a dozen of them.

Service, while attentive, wasn't very prompt. They gave us a lot of bread, but our food did not come out at the same time, and I also had to wait a while for my second half dozen. The other times I went (I've been to the Corona location as well) the staff was a lot more helpful and informative, so I'm not saying that the service was always bad.

All in all, it's a nice place to have oysters. My friends seemed to enjoy their food as well. They also have a Sunday Jazz brunch that I'd like to go to sometime. It's $32.99, but for a seafood buffet with plenty of oysters, I'm not complaining.

Taps Fish House & Brewery
101 E Imperial Hwy
Brea, CA 92821

November 22, 2008

Reflection and Tacos

I feel that the more recent of my posts are trash. I'm writing about places I've eaten, rather than places that I want to eat at. In light of this, I suppose those posts can be seen as a resource of the Mt. SAC area and my exploration of the area more than anything else. But having eaten at almost all the restaurants across the street, I found myself not really wanting anything there this week. At least with the semester coming to an end, I'll be able to do more interesting eats.

Taco time.

In the Stater Bros Plaza in Chino Hills, by Grand Ave and Chino Hills Parkway, there is a Mexican restaurant in the left corner called Crazy Coyote. I went once during the summer, and decided to check it out again. The place is a sit down type of place and is very clean and spacious. You can see the kitchen behind the counter, and the service is friendly.

I got some free chips, which were thin, a bit airy, and lightly salted. They were pretty good. Their salsa bar had your standard pico de gallo, a mild blended salsa, and a hot salsa, which tasted like it had been roasted. There were also some carrots, onions, jalapenos. The carrots were fresh and crunchy, but I don't think they really marinated it in vinegar. It was lightly seasoned and enjoyable.

The fish taco on corn tortilla $1.99 It looks like a fat piece of fish, but the batter that it was cooked in was quite thick and tasted different from regular batter used. It tasted a little bit like corn. The fish itself wasn't that great. It came with some kind of mild orange sauce(?), cabbage, onions and pico. They also have a grilled fish taco, which I might try next time.

Carne and lengua taco on corn tortillas. $1.99 and $2.49. I wasn't too impressed with the carne. It was a little dry and lacking in flavor. The tongue was slightly better. They put in a lot of cilantro and onions. The added salsa made the taco taste better.

All in all, I wasn't too impressed with this visit. My last visit was a better experience, in which I got the carne, al pastor and lengua tacos, and the carne tasted better that time. I'd come here again because of their variety in the menu. They have some soups, and advertise that they serve pozole verde on Thursdays and Sundays and mole poblano on Sunday as well. The pozole sounds interesting. I've never had or heard of it until now, and it sounds pretty good from the wiki description.

Crazy Coyote Mexican Grill
14270 Unit E, Chino Hills Parkway
Chino Hills, CA 91709

I just realized I forgot about the dduk, and will have to do that next time...

November 20, 2008

A Revisit to Domo Sushi and Roll

We didn't have to evacuate luckily, so thanks for your concern. Let's go on to this week's adventure: Domo Sushi and Roll

Since I knew the place was Korean owned, I was hoping they had hwedupbap. Unfortunately, I didn't see it on their menu, but I did notice on my way out that they had some specials on the wall that wasn't on their menu. I don't think I saw hwedupbap though, but I could have missed it.

I ordered a beef teriyaki bowl $5.45 and it came with some soup.

Soup was watery. It had pieces of seaweed, which was nice.

Not bad. The sauce, which is described as homemade and zesty, reminded me of a hybrid between a bulgogi marinade and teriyaki and wasn't bad. It was an okay amount of beef. It definitely was a bit more than my last visit with the chicken bowl. Veggies were your standard steamed carrots, broccoli, and cabbage. The quality of the beef wasn't that great and was a bit stringy. The rice was average. Not pictured: the siracha sauce I put in the bowl. Overall, I give the bowl a C+. The sauce was definitely better than my last visit. And this reminds me to also try the Jack in the Box teriyaki bowls....I love teriyaki, and whether it's good or bad, I gotta try it all.

I also ordered nigiri yellowtail, tuna, and salmon. These were some big ass pieces of fish, let me tell ya. They were all around $3.25 each. Pretty cheap. You have to remember this is a fast food Japanese place, so quality wasn't great, but this was expected. Still a good bang for your buck, I'd say, if you don't care about quality, and just want nigiri. But for me, I left Domo feeling empty inside, not satisifed and wanting something better. This just won't do won't do at all. They also got your mix of rolls, which I have not tried yet.

Bottom line: Prices are cheap. Service waitress was very friendly. Sushi chef was a stern and quiet man, who probably isn't afraid to bring out the belt every once in a while.

Domo Sushi and Roll
1375 N Grand Ave
Walnut, CA 91789
*Free wifi*

Afterwards, I stopped by the 7-11 next door and what did I see?

I like these. What the "hi" means I have no idea, but they definitely have an intense fruit flavor, like a lot of Asian candies, which is something I've noticed that the average American candy lacks. It starts off a bit like gum, but thicker, and gives a more pleasant chew than taffy because it doesn't give away as easily. It slowly dissolves, while you masticate the sh!t out of it. While the sugar ate away at my teeth and gave me another cavity, I found that this was a small price to pay for such an enjoyable chew. I like grape flavor as well.

Next time: A look into some korean rice cakes. Dduk yea!

November 16, 2008

Fires, Noodles, and Pies

I woke up today, hoping that the fires would have quelled down, but it had gotten worse. I am currently waiting to see whether or not we will have to evacuate, as they have already called people in the south side of DB to get out. Things are all right here, and the skies are okay, but we can definitely smell the smoke now. I hope that these fires will be controlled soon, but it doesn't look too good right now, especially with the weather being so hot. At least the winds have calmed down a bit from yesterday.

A view from the top of Diamond Bar Center, facing the south part of DB that I took earlier today.
So while I'm waiting (and because I don't want to do any school work right now), here's another post about food.

It seems that most of the restaurants across Mt. Sac are mostly a variety of Chinese and Japanese restaurants. If you want your burger fix, you can settle for Burger King, or drive down a couple of blocks to In N-Out. After another tedious week of school, I decided to check out a place called Yummy House that noticed a few weeks back, but couldn't try out because they took cash only. The front of their place says they have Taiwanese food, noodles, and dumplings. When I looked at their menu, they also had a small section for dim sum. And if you care about health ratings/are paranoid about how clean a place is, like I often am, the place got an A. However, I also remember my Chinese econ professor telling me that only real Chinese restaurants have C ratings, and the As and Bs are fakes. I know this was a Taiwanese restaurant, but just thought I'd throw that in there.

I opted for the Beef Stew Noodle. I'm not sure exactly what that stuff in the middle was, but it reminded me of an asian relish. The soup had a good amount of somewhat tender pieces of beef, noodles, and slices of some kind of cabbage(napa?). The soup was a bit sour(perhaps vinegar? as I heard that Taiwanese food uses a lot of it) and the chili oil in it gave a spicy kick, which slowly burned my lips and throat. I liked the noodles, but I couldn't finish all of the soup. The sourness of it was too much for me. My friend ordered the meatball soup (sorry no picture) which had rice noodles, cilantro, and pieces of previously frozen chicken meatballs. This soup was not spicy, and I thought the broth was rich and good. It had a lot going on in there, but what exactly was in there, I have no idea. Both of them cost around 6 bucks for a decent portion of noodle soup.
The service was curt and not very friendly. Still, I'd come here again to check out some other items.

Yummy House (located by Pho Express)
20781-2 Amar Rd
Walnut, CA 91789

Yesterday, I bought some pies at Coco's for a dinner party, but after sitting in traffic for a good two hours, I decided to just head back home. I was so hungry while waiting that I debated eating the pie with my hands. While I was sad that I couldn't make it (there was sashimi), at least the up side was that I had some pies. I love pies!

I got the apple pie, which was around 9 bucks. I thought that the apples could have been cooked longer, but it was okay. It was a little too sweet for me. It leaves that kind of weird taste in your mouth if you know what I mean. All in all, Coco's has some decent pies, but you really can't beat a home made pie...

The chocolate cream pie, Roughly 11 bucks. Not exactly the prettiest pie with its haphazard shavings of chocolate and ugly frosting bits. I haven't tried this one yet because I'm going to bring it into work on Monday, so I'll let you know then how it tasted.

*Update on the pie*
The word cream was misleading, as the chocolate filling turned out to be more custard than creme. It was a bit thick like pudding and enjoyable. I didn't like the frosting/creme so much around it, and would have liked more chocolate. The crust was a bit buttery and dry for my tastes, although it had been in the fridge for two days.


20955 Golden Springs Dr
Diamond Bar, CA 91765

I cannot believe that it is 90 degrees in mid November here. This is horrible...

November 13, 2008

how now cow. and how!

As I left my last class, I sang, "Halle halle halle loo ooo yaa!" God, I love Thursdays!

You know how I do it after class. Beer. I was thinking about Porter's Pub or Round Tables at UCSD and wished that they had something like that at SAC, where you could come in and have a nice pint and relax.

What I've been drinking this month. Ever have a beer and have certain thoughts about it, only drink it a couple months or a year later, and find your opinion on it changed, for better or worse? Yup. I found it a lot different, than what I thought it tasted like, probably because it had been well over a year or more since I last had it, but still found it enjoyable. I read that the same company makes Corona.

I ate at Pho Express today across the street from Mt. Sac. A previous post with no pictures can be found here .

Same ol same but this time with an order of cha gio (5) for 5.25.

They were pretty big. I thought they were a bit overcooked because the insides were almost mushy. Taste wise was good. It'd have been nice if there would have been some mint, but that's just a personal preference. The cucumbers were a nice touch though.

Same ol veggies....nothing special to see here.

Regular sized Pho tai gau, rare steak and well done brisket for $4.75.
For a regular size, I thought the bowl was a bit smaller than other places. A good amount of meat however, more steak than brisket. The soup had a very strong beef flavor to it, which would have been more enjoyable if it hadn't been so salty. I also wanted to get a sandwich to go, but after my last experience, I decided against it, although I am willing to give the place another try. Actually what I've been craving lately is The Hat....I want a pastrami sandwich or fries.

Pho Express
20747 Amar Road Suite 8D
Walnut, CA 91789
Not sure about the hours, but I think they close at 9:00 PM

And lastly...

Lemonhead AND Friends. Chewy. Something I haven't seen before, until a couple weeks back, when this treat showed up in a goody bag. The only friend not shown is Orangehead, and I have never seen an Orangehead by itself either. They were a bit like jelly beans, but I preferred the hard version of these candies. Overall, I enjoyed it since it gave a variety of flavors in one box. For the poor college student and sugar junkie, Lemonheads or any other variety is a good buy because they are only a quarter, and you get a good amount of them.

Four more weeks of school...

November 9, 2008

campus loop

Like I said earlier, I've been getting through the huge number of restaurants across the street from Mt. Sac, and progress has slowly been made.
There are several places to eat at Mt. Sac, the most notable being Carl's Jr, Mountie Grill, and Campus Cafe. I opted for the Cafe, since I didn't want a burger. I've been to the Cafe several times, and have been disappointed with each visit. They have this "buffet" offer, where you pile as much as you can on a small oval plate for around 7 bucks, which is a pretty good deal, if the food wasn't so bad. The problem is that nothing is very fresh since it just sits there under heat lamps or steam trays, granted they do change it up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At least I hope they do for lunch and dinner. During this visit, I opted for the beef burrito for around $6. It came with rice, beans, beef(?), cheese, and your choice of several salsas and jalapenos, to which I got pico de gallo, salsa verde, and jalapenos. They've also got two types of red I'm guessing is mild and the other hot. Sour cream or guac is a dollar extra. The lady gave it to me for free.

Horrible. I'm referring to both the picture and the burrito. The beef was not good. It didn't taste like Taco Bell's ground beef, nor did it even taste like those taco seasoning packets you can buy at the market. I don't know what it tasted like. I suspect they may have used leftover beef from something else, and cooked it up for the burrito meat. Needless to say, it wasn't very good, although if you put enough Tapatio on it, it won't matter what it tastes like anymore. Overall, I would recommend it if you're looking for a filler and don't have enough time to go across the street because it's pretty big(after trying to wrap it and having the tortilla rip, she wrapped the whole thing in another tortilla), but taste wise, it's not very good. The chicken is a bit better, but it's pretty dry. The service, however, has always been friendly. But all in all, this place has me missing UCSD dorm food.

Campus Cafe (Located on the West Side of Campus)
Not sure about the hours. The day I went, they closed at 7pm. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Across the street, near the Day and Nite bookstore, is a place called Chop Chop Grill. I'm really not sure what kind of food this place is. I'm going to say Japanese/Fusion. They serve up a variety of menutems , such as rotisserie chicken ("slow roasted in our secret blend of spices for a sensational taste""), curry dishes, rice bowls, noodle soups, pastas, salads, paninis(with asian style meat in it), crepe rolls, and snacks. They also have a good drink and dessert menu. You order on a computer touch screen what you want. I decided on the grilled chicken plate, which came with an appetizers, entree, choice of green sald or veggie of the day, and choice of steamed rice, brown rice, or stir-fry noodle. Fried rice $0.49 extra.

Again, apologizes for the picture. 5-10 minutes later, my order came out. I got the veggie of the day, which turned out to be green beans and little pieces of garlic cooked in butter. The appetizer was a piece of corn bread. The total cost of the meal was $5.58 and a soda $1.79, plus tax. The veggies were good and I liked the little pieces of garlic. The green beans were probably the frozen ones, but they still tasted all right. The rice wasn't that great. It was too buttery for me. The chicken was average I'd say, and the sauce, was just a regular teriyaki sauce. The portions aren't very big, but I was content after, and the prices are fair. I'd be willing to try this place again, just because they have such a large menu. The rotisserie chicken has also got me wondering what it tastes like. It seems that they tightly control the sale of their chickens, as they write, "...only available between 11:30 AM - 3:00 PM & 5:00 PM - 8:30 PM. Only limited quantities are made each day. to ensure that you get your rotisserie chicken, please come early or reserve one with us!" Is it that popular?

Chop Chop Grill
1253 N. Grand Ave
Walnut, CA, 91789

Lastly, a couple weeks ago I went to a place called Krazy Noodle Thai BBQ. I had been to this place once before, but no pictures on that visit.

Tom Yum Kai (Chicken). Spicy and sour soup with chicken and mushroom. $7.95 (serves 4)
I first had some Tom Yum at Spices Thai in Mira Mesa, and haven't found a place like that yet, which has me wondering which soup is the right one? Theirs is a bright orange, from their liberal use of coconut milk I believe, but everywhere else I've tried it, it's more of a transparent orange. Anyhow, the soup was good. It had pieces of chicken, which I found to be dry, tomatoes, mushrooms, cilantro, onions, and green onions. I noticed that the onions weren't cooked completely, a step above raw. I didn't mind that very much. At least I knew that the veggies weren't sitting around in the soup all day, like Taco Nazo(which is having a seasonal tamale sale btw). There was a very strong lemon grass flavor in the soup. I'd say that this was good, and definitely better than The Boat or Coconut Bay's Tom Yum.

Rad Nah (crispy or soft noodle) with your choice of meat. $6.95
Crispy noodles and Beef was chosen. I had never had Rad Nah before, so I was curious to see what the gravy would taste like. The gravy was too sweet for me. I didn't like it. I would be willing to try this dish again some place else, to see what the gravy tastes like there. What is the actual gravy supposed to taste like and made out of? I looked it up just now and one of the ingredients is yellow bean sauce. The beef was a bit chewy, but the taste was pretty good. It had been marinated in something before hand, which tasted a bit like bulgogi, but sweeter. The vegetables consisted of some baby corn, carrots, bok choy (?) and bamboo.

Pineapple fried rice $7.50
This came with some tomatoes, chicken, shrimp, egg, your random assortment of fried rice veggies, and big chunks of pineapple. This was definitely different to what I was used to having. It wasn't very sweet, and it tasted like it was flavored with curry. It was good, but I prefer the fried rice to be sweeter. I think we got two pieces of shrimp. The chicken was good, and better than that of the soup. I'd go here again because I have yet to try their pad thai and pad see ew.
The portions were a good amount and this was too much food for two people. I sat in class wanting to go to the bathroom and make myself throw up. But what can I say...I'm a pig, and I really wanted some soup. And here's my thing about Thai restaurants. Why can't I get a side of soup for myself? Can't you just ladle a bowl and charge me a buck or two for it?

Krazy Noodle Thai BBQ
20795-3 E. Amar Road
Walnut, CA
Monday - Sunday 11:30 AM - 9:00 PM

After this feast of gluttony, I walked back to school, and saw a car accident, in which the person must have ran a red, and hit another car full on, around 40 mph. Fortunately, both people seemed okay. No matter how good of a driver you are, you never know what can happen.

Writing about Chop Chop Grill makes me want to go back there, so a future post of the place will probably come. Happy lazy Sunday to you all. I love Sundays....only day where I can sleep in!

I end with a picture of my dying basil plant. Hang in there little buddy...

November 6, 2008

down by the river, where the buffalo play...

"Did you know that Taco Bell isn't real Mexican food?" my dad asked. I was stumped, as I had no idea what was beyond my narrow world of Taco Bell's Mexican pizzas and nachos... He had heard from a friend at church who owned a taco stand (and ironically was Korean) that Taco Bell and Del Taco was not the real deal, and that he should come and try his place. (This is not a hate post on these chains. I enjoy both sides of the border.) So my sister, father, and I went to the suggested taco place, and hallejuah, my eyes were opened to the deliciousness of carne asada. This was roughly 10-12 years ago. While his friend does not own Taco del Rio today (although I suspect that another Korean owns it now), the quality has not changed, and I want to show a little love to Taco del Rio, my favorite taco place around the area.

I went there yesterday after having a rough day of physics. It is easily found by going on the 60, getting off Azuza and heading in the opposite direction of the Puente Hills Mall. I'm sure you may have seen it before while driving by, especially if you like to go to the driving range in Industry Hills.

Yes, this is one crappy picture of the menu. Damn glare. At least I brought my camera with me this time. If you click on the picture, you can see the prices and menu better. Your meat choices are listed on a separate laminated paper near on the window: carne asada, al pastor, carnitas, lengua, cabeza, pollo, chile colorado (beef with red sauce), and chile verde (beef with green sauce). I opted for the special tacos (special because it comes with sour cream and guacamole) with carne, lengua (tongue), and chile verde, as well as an Orange Bang and a small side of fries.

On the other side of the looking glass....
You can see the beans and carne asada ready to be ladled onto heated tortillas, as the man makes my tacos. That guy has been working there for a while.

What's in that pot? Your guess is as good as mine.

My three special tacos piled with cabbage, onions, cilantro, (cotija?) cheese, guac and sour cream. There is no salsa bar. Instead you have your choice of red sauce or green sauce. I asked for both. Special tacos $1.49 each. Regular soft tacos are $1.26. You can't see the meat very well because of the toppings, so I took some closeups.

Carne Asada was on mark.

Chile verde. This was the first time I ordered this. The meat was good, flavorful and tender. I thought it would be dry and stringy. I have tried it all except for the chile colorado and the pollo. The lengua was also very good. It was my second time trying tongue, and this was definitely a better experience than my first, which was at a taco truck in Bakersfield (the one on the 5 where you see all those signs for some Indian restaurant, and across the street from the AM PM).

You can also ask for jalapenos on the side. A must for me.

Hot and crispy Crinkle cut fries, which I believe are made when you order them. Small size $1.52.

My friend ordered the special all meat burrito. Sorry no cross section picture. I personally prefer tacos over burritos because that way you can have different kinds of meats. While I do not claim this place to be the best in LA county or California, it is a place that has been consistent over the years, and has some good carne asada. I also recommend their cheeseburger. It may seem a waste to order a burger at a Mexican place, but hey you never know. Primos in La Jolla (in the Vons plaza) also has a pretty good burger from what I remember. I asked the cook if it was good, and he told me it was, and whatdya know, it was! As you might be able to figure out from the pictures, it is all outside seating, and there is about eight tables total. There is a sign saying 30 minutes maximum for sitting down at a table haha.

Taco del Rio
445 S Azusa Ave (Near Valley Blvd)
La Puente, CA 91744
(626) 912-0703

Old Dan chowin down....


November 4, 2008

i have a horrible phoking headache

and my gums are killing me. In other more relevant and important news, a new era has begun. I went to the polls around 6:50 AM today because that was the only time I could vote, and was surprised to see that people were already lined up. I thought that there would not be that many people at this time, since they have to work early. I was wrong, and ended up late to work. Luckily, my boss was cool with it. If anyone goes to Cal Poly or Mt. SAC and is reading this, you understand my pain of driving through this bs traffic due to the road construction on Grand/Temple....needless to say, it sucked. I wish my school closed for Election Day. Enough on the dithering, and on with the food.

During the spring or summer, I noticed that the Jolly Bagel, which had been around for quite some time on DB Blvd had closed down, and in its place was a little love shack called Pho Super Bowl. I hadn't had a chance to try it out until a few weeks ago, and let the pho adventure begin.

The restaurant is in a big space, but the actual number of tables and seating is small from what I remember. I went in for lunch around 11:30ish AM and there were a few other people eating as well. I opted for the Pho tai nam chin, rare beef and well done beef brisket, which I pretty much always get, regular size for $5.25, the large costs $5.95.

Service, like most other pho places, was prompt, as I got my standard sprouts, sliced jalapenos, basil, and a wedge of lime, shortly after I put in my order. I have yet to see a place around here give ngo gai (saw leaf herb)....I love that stuff. I also requested some sliced onions because I like extra onions in my soup, as well as mixing some with hoisin and siracha sauce, and eating it as a kind of "kimchi."

Here is the pho, after I put in the basil, which is why it may look greener than usual. There was a good amount of beef, and it was okay. I may be mixing this up with another place, but I remember the brisket being sub par because the pieces were very small. The broth on the other hand was good. Something was familiar about its taste that I just could not put my finger on, but I knew that I had also tasted this once or twice at a pho place in San Diego. I want to say it was a bit sweet, and while I'm not sure if that is the right word to describe it, it took away from the taste that I like. I'll have to ask the owner next time, if he/she is willing to share with me. Needless to say, I enjoyed this broth a lot more than Saigon Noodle House or Pho Hana in Diamond Bar, both of which I'd say aren't very good. In retrospect, since I do not enjoy Saigon nor Hana, it would not be completely correct to say that Pho Superbowl's broth is good. Rather the broth is better than Saigon or Hana. So far, I haven't found a place around the area whose broth I enjoy as much as Pho Pasteur in San Diego.

Lastly, there was a surprise. I got up to pay for my bill, which I'm used to doing at the other two pho places mentioned above, when the owner? or staff quickly ushered me back to my seat, telling me that he'd bring me the check. With the check, he set down this delicious treat.

(Yes this picture sucks. I took all these pictures with my cell phone. I think the other two came out well though. It's not the best quality, but it's clear enough for me.)
I was taken aback because 1) I thought he had misplaced his order, and 2) I've never received a free dessert at a vietnamese place (not to say that I've eaten at a lot), let alone a pho place. When i asked him what it was, he told me something in Vietnamese that I could not understand. I asked him to repeat it, and he simply said, "Coconut Milk." It certainly wasn't just coconut milk, but it was good, and he can call it whatever he wants, as long as I get it again next time. It was a warm and rich desert, which was kind of like a gelatinous pudding/porridge, with some kind of bean/rice in it. Sorry, that is a pretty crappy description. I asked a friend about it, and he told me that it was probably che dau xanh, which when I looked it up, translates to sweet mung bean soup.

I would definitely come here again. My only complaint is that they don't serve Vietnamese sandwiches, as I was looking forward to getting one to go. Yes, I know I can go to Lee's or other places, but I'm not really sure where the closest sandwich shop is around Diamond Bar, and I do not consider Irvine or Santa Ana close by any means. There is one more pho place that I haven't checked out yet, and that is Lucky Pho on the corner of Colima and Fairway...

Pho Super Bowl
329 S. Diamond Bar Blvd.
Diamond Bar, CA 91765
Open Everyday 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM

November 2, 2008

Free Coffee, Donuts and More!

Election day is coming up, and there are three freebies you can get for voting.

If you vote, Starbucks buys your coffee

On November 4, 2008, Starbucks will give voters a free tall brewed coffee at participating U.S. stores. This initiative kicks off with a 60-second ad during the final pre-election edition of Saturday Night Live on NBC this Saturday. The ad was developed by BBDO, who is working with Starbucks on a number of initiatives.

Voters simply need to cast a vote, then tell the barista at their local Starbucks and they’ll receive a tall (12 oz) cup of brewed coffee at no charge (limit one per customer). In the best tradition of democracy, we’re using the honor system for proof of voting.


Krispy Kreme wants your vote! Actually, the company doesn't care who you vote for as long as you vote. On November 4, locations around the country will be handing out free star-shaped donuts with red, white and blue sprinkles to anyone with an "I Voted" sticker (we're guessing other proof may be allowed, in case your polling place is out of stickers). The effort is non-partisan, so don't worry about one of the candidates forking over a wad of leftover campaign money in some kind of weird get-out-the-vote effort. This is just about Krispy Kreme trying to get some foot traffic of its own.

"We can't guarantee that your candidate of preference will win on November 4, but we can guarantee that your right to voice your choice will be rewarded with a patriotic doughnut that will remind you just how tasty freedom really is," said Krispy Kreme's Chef Ron Rupocinski in a press release. "Krispy Kreme encourages everyone to take part in this historical election and vote."

That's right. Free scoop of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. My personal favorite is Cherry Garcia, but they have a lot of good stuff.

I am sure there are some other promotions going on as well. Who doesn't like free stuff? Gotta love it!

November 1, 2008

it's raining!

Music suggestion while reading this post: led zepp - the rain song

rain makes soup taste even better...have you watched the movie Oliver?

Oliver- May I have some more soup sir?
soup person - What??!!?
Oliver - Some soup sir, may I please have some more?
*Riot ensues*

A couple weeks ago, I went to Cho Dang Soon Dubu in Diamond Bar for dinner. It used to be an old Chinese restaurant for quite some time, but I guess business languished for them as the years went by. It was the place to go to when I was a kid. Anyhow, I apologize for the poor quality of the pics, especially this set, as I used my cell phone to take the pictures. Service is usually prompt at these types of places. I got a salad, comprised of mostly iceberg lettuce and some little pieces of purple cabbage and carrots with a spicy asian type dressing (not sure what it was...but it had some ginger in it), as well as a small fish (yellow corvina?)

Banchan: Bean sprouts, cucumber kimchi(sweet and spicy, and pretty good), and not sure what that small stuff was exactly...spicy marinated squid? The standard dolsot rice in the background.

Once again, apologies for the crappiness of these pictures. The cucumber again, regular cabbage kimchi, and japchae(noodles), which was very plain and bland. The banchan rotation here is pretty much the same every time I go here. I feel like the quality in food has gone down, since they first opened. Sometimes they give geem(dried seaweed) as well. Nevertheless, it seems like a popular spot. I go simply because its the closest soondubu/Korean place to where I live, making it the most convenient.

Soondubu with Kimchi and beef, spicy level: hot for $8.99. It was pretty good that time, granted I was starving, after coming home from the gym. I scarfed this down pretty quick. It was better than the last time I came.

There is a frozen yogurt machine (vanilla, chocolate, or swirl) where you can have a nice complimentary dessert. They've also been doing this promotion for a while now, where you get a card, in which for every entree you order, you get a stamp, and with ten stamps, you get a free bowl of soondubu. Once I got the yook geh jang (spicy beef soup), and although it was pretty big, it wasn't very good. Spicy though.

Overall, like I said before, I feel like this place has slowly gone downhill. However, I do prefer this to BCD and MyungDong in Rowland Heights.

ChoDang Soondubu
1155 S. Diamond Bar Blvd. Suite M
Diamond Bar

Last week, I was craving some Kimbap (Korean sushi I suppose you could call it without the raw fish), and decided to go to the dying Han Nam Chain Market to try a restaurant inside there that I remember having Kimbap. I consider myself a gambling man when trying food, and often times lose when trying new things. This was one of those times. Inside the market, on the right side, sharing the space with the bakery is Masenara, which serves Korean and Japanese Cusine. I ordered the kimbap and spicy tuna roll.

Sides included two bowls of miso soup, which was bland and a bit watered down, some daikon/dakwang, and some potatoes cooked in a soy sauce sugar type sauce, I'd say.

12 pieces of kimbap, filled with spinach, egg, carrots, Krab, pickled daikon, and fish cake. The rice wasn't very good because it wasn't cooked right, so the chew factor wasn't very pleasant. I'd give the kimbap a D+/C-. I've had worse. The price was around $6 or $7. I think that Han Nam Chain has the best kimbap that I've had around these parts. On the left side of the market, there is a section where people make fresh kim bap for the day around 5 bucks for two rolls. Those were much better than these, as well as the ones at the HMart too. You might be reading this and asking yourself, well, why didn't you get it at that stand then stupid? Because I wanted to try something new, that's why. Sadly I'm still craving kimbap, so I've decided to try and make some of my own for the first time tomorrow. I love kimbap almost as much as I love soup.

Spicy tuna roll around $7 or $8. I don't know why I order this damn thing every time I go to get some sushi. I just can't help it, whether I want it or not, I just have to get it. It wasn't very good, although I can say that I wasn't expecting too much. It was spicy, but the taste of the spiciness was off; it almost tasted like kochoojang. Maybe it was? Funnily enough, Masenara also has a promotion going on with a card and stamps. Every ten bucks spent = 1 stamp. 10 stamps = 1 soondubu. Regardless, I don't think I'll be coming back here again any time soon. They do have an extensive menu, ranging from Korean stews, bbq, to Japanese sushi/sashimi. I've also tried their mandoo, bibim gooksu, and hwedupbab before, and they were okay. The sashimi rice/hwedupbap was a good amount, like other places.

21080 Golden Springs Dr
Diamond Bar, CA 91765

On my way out, I saw a man and perhaps his son, making some hodduk and I forget what the other thing was called, which was a small bite sized piece of bread with red bean inside it. Each hodduk was a dollar, and I planned on getting one. However, I saw a lady who was in front of me in the line that I knew, and she graciously bought me two, which was very nice of her. The sign said it was filled with honey powder, pine nuts, and some other stuff. It was nice to eat warm, as the man cooked each dduk per order. What I didn't like about it was that it was a bit oily, and some parts of it didn't have enough filling. Still it was nice to have on a somewhat cold night.

To end, I bought a bottle of this bad boy at Ralphs, for around 5 or 6 bucks I believe. 5.2%. If you like chocolate and you like stout, this is a beer you'd enjoy. There was a very strong chocolate taste (I read they use dark chocolate), which stood out clearly from the rest of what was going on without it being overpowering. The picture looks weird because I was messing around with it on Picasa.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow. California needs it. Happy day light savings. Everyone gets an extra hour of sleep. Hallejuah Handel!

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