March 31, 2009

Youngdong Tofu

Noticed a new tofu place in Chino Hills going down Grand Ave before Peyton and checked it out a while back.

Standard iceberg lettuce salad to start, but for the life of me, I cannot remember what this dressing tasted like.

Complimentary been deh dduk (mung bean pancake) that was a good size for two people to share as a small appetizer.

The banchan included three types of kimchi (the top right were two large green peppers, which I enjoyed the most) along with the standard bean sprouts, seaweed w/ gochoojang, and spicy marinated squid.

Jengban Gooksoo. Underneath the greens, veggies, egg and krab was a solid amount of buckwheat noodles. The waitress then marched out with a pitcher of the "dressing" and steadily poured a sort of sweet soy sauce/vinegar mix over it all, as you can see in the picture above. I've only had this dish once, and the sauce they gave was more of a gochujang based thinned out sauce, so I was a bit surprised. If you order this, you'll probably want to share with another person. While I did like the fresh taste of veggies, the sauce got old real fast for me, and although I put a pretty good dent in it (I also shared), I didn't want to finish the rest.

My dad got the seafood mix tofu, no heat, just white. He said he liked it. You can see a lone shrimp peaking out on the left corner there...looks like he's just chillin in a jacuzzi. Except he's dead.

No complaints about the service. I'd come here again to check out the tofu soup for myself.

3233 Grand Ave. (In the Albertsons Plaza before the Shoppes next to Happy Wok)
Chino Hills, CA 91709

March 24, 2009

Santa Ana Taco Crawl

Heyo. Hallejuah it's the weekend! TGIF!!!

Been neglecting the blog lately. Sorry. Just been busy with the same 'ol same, and Cal Poly begins again on Monday...damn. I did pretty darn well last quarter though and am relieved it's over. Anyhoots, let me tell you a little story about a kid who liked tacos.

I planned a taco crawl with some friends a few days ago, where we would hit a few taco trucks around the Santa Ana area, and then reconvene at Cream Pan for dessert. However, after reading some Yelp reviews and finding out this place closed at 4, we decided to go there first, worried that they would have run out of most of their baked specialties by the time we would have gotten there after lunch.

They have various locations around Orange County, but we chose to go to the one in Tustin, as it was only a few miles away from the trucks. As we got closer, I realized that I had seen this place before when going to Honda-Ya. I just didn't really notice it because it was at night.

I wasn't really sure what to expect there, but upon entering, I saw that the place mostly made Western baked goods ranging from loaves of bread to scones and muffins. The strawberry croissant seemed to cause a ruckus on Yelp, so I ordered one of those ($2.20).

I rather enjoyed this. The outside was quite crisp and flaky (prob. due to copious amounts of butter brushing) and sprinkled with powdered sugar. The inside was filled with a generous amount of light cream (but without it getting too messy) and some very fresh strawberries. A friend of mine also got the apple croissant and said it was better than the strawberry, so I'll have to try that one out next time.

Also tried their Tiramisu ($4.50). I've never had Tiramisu before, nor did I even know what it really was. That thin layer of brown that you see on the bottom is the cake, and I wish there had been more. Overall, it was a bit too rich for me, and I shared it with the others, wanting to save room for the tacos. I should have tried their pudding instead.

Also got a Melon Pan to go ($1.50). It reminded me of a pan dulce/Korean anko bread, except that the outside was very soft and the insides fluffy. I don't really remember if tasting like melon though, but by this time, I may have already been gone (more on this in the story below).

I'd come here again. They also seem to serve a variety of lunch items from soup and sandwiches to curry.

602 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92780

*Don't panic when you see construction/remodeling going underneath this sign. The bakery is to your right*

Having had our "breakfast," we went right into lunch, hopping onto the 5 towards Santa Ana. Unfortunately, the first truck on the list proved impossible to find, and we ended up having to go to the 2nd one on Mortimer and 4th called Tortas Ahogadas. There was a long line of people just chowing down, which we took to be a good sign. Being the only Asians there, I noticed some people openly stare at us, while others looked on amusedly. I didn't care. I was here for some tacos. Uno al pastor y un carne asada taco con todos por favor!

2 bucks for both. They offered verde and rojo sauces along with a pico de gallo, onions, cilantro, radishes, and jalapenos. I'm not sure if they made the tortillas, but they were very soft and enjoyable. As for the meats, I thought it was just average...nothing really stood out, and I felt disappointed.

What I should have gotten is what everyone seemed to be eating, as well as what the truck was named after: torta ahogada ($5), which literally means drowned sandwich. The meat inside this was carnitas, and instead of having the soft bun, the bread was a bolillo/birote (think kinda like a baguette) topped with pico de gallo. From what I've read upon doing some research, as well as on their business card, this type of sandwich is from Guadalajara, Jalisco in Mexico. The sauce that drenched the torta burned your lips, and this was at a "medium" level that my friend BP requested when asked what level of heat she wanted.

My drink? Coke made from Mexico in a glass bottle ($1). The difference? They use sugar instead of corn syrup. It tasted less sweet than Coke we have here. Honestly, the only way I can put it is it just tasted like it there was sugar added to it. I liked it, but I don't think it's superior to the American Coke, like I've read/heard from others. I like both...

400 Mortimer St.
Santa Ana, CA

At this point, I started feeling slightly ill and sweaty, but wrote it off as being full and hot. It was probably around 80 degrees that day.

Again, the third stop was nowhere to be found, but we hit a plethora (I have no idea how that word even came into my head...I am buzzed as we speak, trying to finish this post up for tonight) of trucks, seeing one on every street...

Everyone was full, and our bellies were threatening to burst at the seams, but we had to continue. The truck was manned by a middle aged man and woman. The man was friendly and patiently answered our questions about what everything was. He then brought out a tray of pork and began breaking pieces of it for us to try. I have to say that the carnitas I had was pretty delicious...and I'm not really a big fan of it either.

I decided on the suadero taco ($1.50) w/ everything: cilantro, onions, and salsa. I asked him what suadero was, and he simply said steak. Upon looking it up online, "it is the is a thin cut of beef from the brisket (breast of the cow). Suadero is noted for having a smooth texture rather than a muscle grain" (from Wikipedia). What I first noticed was how hot the taco was. I don't know if I've ever had a taco come off the grill that fresh before. The meat and salsa again were okay...shoulda gotten the carnitas.

I have to look for the directions later, and I'll try to post a rough address. It's in my car somewhere.

And that was the end. Everyone was full, and we could do no more, although we had planned to go to one more truck. We had scarcely begun to drive back home when I started feeling feverish and nauseous. Being no stranger to food poisoning, I realized what had happened. The culprit? I have no started after the first truck, but I don't know if food poisoning sets that fast. It could have been the few drinks/food I had the night before. A friend of mine who came with me also said he didn't feel too good either, so it may have been from the truck. To be fair though, I have a weaker stomach than most. I ended up telling my sad story to a cold and apathetic toliet at some random gas station and got it all out, just in time to go to work...

Besides that though, it was a fun trip, and I hope to do one again sometime, but in a different location, perhaps L.A.? I'm out folks...have a good one tonight!

March 18, 2009

Ain't no thang but a chicken wang

Hello again. Sorry, I know I have been lagging with the updates. I just finished taking my finals, but the hustle never stops. School and work are wearing me down. Have you ever read or watched Harry Potter? My O-chem lab feels just like a Potions class. You have to be real careful and good with your technique, and that's no joke kid.

A quick shoutout/congrats to my two buds who made it to Western U for Veterinary Medicine. Party time! Hopefully I'll be joining you next year.

I haven't had too many exciting eats lately, but I plan to capitalize the free time I will have this week and the next. So without further ado...

Wing Stop. I had tried this place once on a previous occasion in Chino (in the 24 Hour Fitness Plaza).

They have a variety of bottled beers, but the only thing they had on tap was Newcastle and Bud Light. I told the guy I wanted the Newcastle, and he poured me a Bud. When I pointed this out, he asked if I wanted the Bud. Whoohoo, free beer!

I guess this place is popular for offering a variety of different flavors for their wings: Atomic, Cajun, Original Hot, Mild, Hickory Smoked BBQ, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Parmesan, Hawaiian, Teriyaki. You can sample their sauces before you choose. If you're wondering what the Hawaiian was, it was just a simple sweet and sour sauce. I ended up getting 10 wings, where you could choose 2 different flavors, and got the Hot and BBQ. The pictures I took with my phone aren't worth posting up, since I took better ones today, but I will say that there wasn't a whole lot of meat on the wings, and the BBQ flavor was nothing to write home about. I don't know about it being "smoked." It just tasted really sweet to me. The hot was a bit tangy and decent. I'm guessing that the wings are made to order because it took a while for our order to came out, and there was no one else in the place. Overall my impression was that it was an average place that was a bit pricey.

Wing Stop
4200 Chino Hills Pkwy
Chino Hills, CA 91709

I ended up trying it again last night w/ a friend in their Glendora location. We got the 35 wing meal that came with fries, a side of veggie sticks (carrots and celery), and the choice of two sauces (ranch, bleu cheese, and honey mustard), in which we opted for the first two. you can see the sauces hidden on the left side. The meal cost $25.29, and along with two beers (again they had a wide selection of bottled, but only Bud Light and Newcastle on tap @ $3.50 each) the total came out to be $33.88. You get to choose up to three flavors for the 35 combo.

The meal. I wish they had given us more veggies, but it was a fair amount. 4 sticks each of fresh thickly cut carrots and celery. The large fries given were a good amount but weren't as crisp as I'd have liked. At both locations, the fries had this strangely sweet flavor to them. I don't know exactly what it was...

Lemon pepper. These sort of tasted like they had been brushed with the same seasoning as the fries. I don't know why, but I think of crack when I imagine the workers sprinkling this onto the wings.

Cajun, which is just their original hot flavor with some special seasoning, which tasted mostly like oregano. The wings definitely had a nice kick that burnt your lips, but wasn't to the hotness level that you'd be sweating trying to eat these. For those that would like that, go for their "atomic" sauce.

The mild. Not much to really say about is what it is.

The meat was again on the small ratio. The wings weren't drenched in the sauce, but it was still good amount. I wish we asked for the wings to come out in segments or something, so they wouldn't have gotten cold. The 35 wing combo, although it may seem a lot, is just the right amount for two people.

Service at both Wing Stops was friendly. It just takes a while for your food to come out, so be forewarned. Open until midnight.

1365 E Gladstone St
Glendora, CA 91740

Lastly, one of the places on my list to check out was The Donut Man in Glendora, so I was looking forward to a strawberry donut for dessert, even though I was pretty full from our meal.

I was surprised to find out that it is a small little place (and funnily enough, next to a gym. oh those poor souls) that has their goods displayed in the windows, in which you order from the outside. There is no inside seating, so your choices are either eating in the car or sitting on one of the two lone benches in front of the store. If you look on the bottom left corner, you can see their apple donuts (click the pic for zoom). I've also read that they make peach donuts when its in season.

But I was here for their strawberry donut ($2.75). A glazed donut cut in half and filled with so many strawberries that it looked like that one boa who tried to eat an alligator and burst. The syrup/glaze was a little too sweet for my liking, but the strawberries were delicious, and the glazed donut was a nice light compliment. It wasn't soggy either, which was a good sign that the donut hadn't been sitting out for some time. All of this was washed down with some good ol 2% milk ($1.25). I was done after this. By the time I got home, I abandoned any hope of going out for St. Patty's Day to let my stomach have a break...

915 E Route 66
Glendora, CA 91740

24 hours. Cash only, but they got an ATM machine on the side.

Posts always take longer than I think they will. I'm out folks. Gonna sleep like a baby tonight. See yaaa.

March 8, 2009

The Farm Store

Hello. Another beautiful Sunday.

I started taking some classes at Cal Poly Pomona this year through open university, and one day, I noticed a sign near the campus that said "Farm Store" and pointing down Temple. Having ended class early Tuesday, I finally decided to check it out. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera with me, but the place is really big and sells a variety of stuff from their own honey to different fruit trees, all grown on campus. They also raise and process their own pork and beef. It was very peaceful and quiet there, and you could admire all the produce and plants growing on Cal Poly's farmland.

I bought a small pack of strawberries for $2.50. You can also pick your own for $2.99 a pound. When I got home and measured the strawberries though, they were nearly a pound (14 oz), so it's pretty much the same price. The strawberries were okay. Some were sweet, while others were mildly so.

Fruas 3 for $1. What is a frua? Apparently, it's a hybrid grown here of a tangerine and grapefruit. The inside flesh was the color of an orange. It initially tasted bitter like a grapefruit, but the sweetness of the tangerine came through afterwards. Another frua (or is it fruas?) I had didn't have as much grapefruit taste to it, and was a lot sweeter than the other.

Large Zutano Avocado for a buck. These avocados were pretty huge, although it may not look like it in the picture.

They also had some interesting, unique soft drink selections, and after some careful deliberation, I chose to try a bottle of Sparky's Fresh Draft Root Beer brewed from Pacific Grove, CA by Knox Brewing. $1.99 for a 12 oz bottle. A bit pricey. What's the difference between this and say the more commercialized and popular Barq's or Mug? Sparky's uses pure cane sugar (and also honey) instead of high fructose corn syrup. Now, don't get me wrong. I do appreciate a cold Barq's or IBC root beer, but there is a noticeable difference in taste when the brewing companies use real sugar. My experience with these kinds of root beer or sodas is pretty limited, but I do enjoy Virgil's Root Beer (they once sold small kegs of these at Costco). So how was Sparky's? There were some wonderful smells of vanilla and anise, and I never thought I'd say this about root beer, but the flavor was very strong and initially almost overwhelming for me upon the first sip. Upon doing some research, I found that flavor to be birch root/wintergreen. However, the brew left a lingering sweetness on my tongue, and I had no problem finishing this complex bottle of brew. Although the strong taste threw me off, I'd like to try another bottle of this sometime.

So there you have it. My trip to the Farm Store. If you're into buying locally, this is great and interesting place to go (with free samples) and explore.

Farm Store at Kellogg Ranch
(Located just south of Temple Ave.)
4102 S. University Drive
Pomona, CA 91768
Sunday - Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

March 4, 2009

Tuesday Night Cooking Quickie that Mt. Sac started, I don't have as much free time as I would like, but on the upside, the quarter at Cal Poly is almost over. On a side note, I think it's sad and a bit shocking that Mt. Sac has better labs for students than what I've seen at both Cal Poly Pomona and UCSD. Anyhow, here's a post for anyone just trying to get through the week, esp. the worker bees. Thank God it's hump day...

The food blogging world is endless (and that is only a small part of the bigger blogging universe), and I've found another food blog that I like called For the Love of Cooking. On it, I saw an interesting recipe that I wanted to try called Vegetable Tian. She adapted it from a Barefoot recipe. What a "tian" is, I really don't know. I tried looking it up, but none of the hits really said what it was or where it was from. Is it French?

I'll leave the specifics for you to read on Love's blog, but here's the gist of how to make it.

Dice an onion into small pieces and saute in a pan, along with two cloves of minced garlic. When the onion becomes translucent, layer this in your baking dish.

On top of the onions/garlic medley, tightly arrange sliced potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and Roma tomatoes in a ring. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and dried thyme. I didn't have just dried thyme, but I did have some Italian seasoning and sprinkled that on it. I liked the colors of it all. Go look at Love's site, to see how it should look haha...hers looks a lot better.

Bake the dish covered in the oven for about 35 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. For some reason, I thought she wrote Mozzarella, so that's what I added, only to quickly realize that I was wrong. So I added some Parmesan cheese to this as well. Then, uncovered, bake it for another 30 minutes.

I should have cooked this longer to let it develop more of a "crust" from the looks of Love's pictures. The vegetables turned out nicely though...nothing got overcooked. A simple and easy dish to make, but it tasted good, if you like vegetables. I think next time I will try some fresh herbs, and maybe add some eggplant to the mix.

I've also had a hankering for some cookies. I remember in high school in the mornings before class, there would be freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, 3 for a buck. They were so good...
But today, I decided to make oatmeal raisin walnut cookies, using Simply Recipes Recipe. I don't know if this was coincidence, but I was looking at the Quaker's Oats (the oats I used) Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies recipe, and it was pretty much the same except that the Quaker's called for 1/2 cup less of the granulated sugar. On another side note, I made a fairly recent discovery to link Quaker's Oats with the Quaker religion and the guy on the label...haha yea I'm slow...

x 2

x 2
The recipe made 24 humongous ugly cookies. I baked em a bit too longer than I should have because the out edges came out almost crisp. But the middle was still chewy, so they weren't ruined. Next time, I will try the Quaker's recipe, by cutting down the sugar and also adding more walnuts.

That's it for today folks...Until we meet again. Same time, same channel.

March 1, 2009

Honda Ya: A Food Pornapalooza Pazookie

After reading Monstermunching's post on Gen Kai Sushi, a friend and I headed over to the spot on Jeffrey Rd, ready to announce, Omakase onegai shimasu! Unfortunately, as we drove by the place, we noticed the lights were off, and the ill fated words "CLOSED FOR RENOVATION" met our eyes. Damnit....I had been craving some sushi for quite some time too...We then decided to check out Taiko, and while that was open, the hostess told us it would be at least an hour wait. Now resigned to the fact that we wouldn't be able to get some sushi for the that night, we decided to check out Honda-Ya. I had heard some good things about this place, which was said to be a type of Japanese place that specialized in yakitori (skewers). And btw, does anyone know if yakitori means all kinds of different skewers , or does it only refer to chicken? Because I don't mean that they just have chicken here, as you will see soon.

We arrived, and again, there was a wait. However, since it was the two of us, we said it'd be fine if we sat at the bar, and in about 15 minutes, we were seated near the front.

Reader's discretion: Many of these descriptions are brief or blank because I went here a couple months back and my memory is quite muddled from an already hazy night, so I apologize beforehand and will do my best.

We started off with a pitcher of Kirin draft and a bottle of Nigori (unfiltered) sake. I love Kirin from the really do appreciate the difference as you take a sip and go, "Ah!" The nigori was sweet(but not too sweet) and a little milky. If you're wondering what that white thing is in the pitcher, I think it's some sort of plastic thing to keep the beer cold. There was about 4 mugs worth of Kirin in the pitcher, which was $13.

Salad of romaine and iceberg lettuce with some random bits of purple cabbage that came with the combo plate. The dressing was okay...a sort of creamy miso.

Chicken teriyaki. This was the entree chosen for the combo plate that I shared with my friend. It was a pretty good portion (this is only half of what they gave us). The chicken was grilled nicely, and the sauce complimented the chicken without overwhelming it, like some places do with their sickly sweet sauces. I'd give it a B+.

Onto the skewers. The seasoning was simply salt and pepper on all of these different items and sometimes a lone lemon wedge would appear alongside the "yakitori."

Ginko nuts and beef tongue. I remember as a boy, my dad would sometimes buy a bag of ginko nuts and roast them up, so when I saw these on the menu, I had to get them. I found the flavor to be milder than I remembered it to be.

Bacon wrapped tomatoes (?)

What is this...I think some kind of chicken part.

Giant spicy shrimp.

Japanese beef with mushrooms. Definitely a must. It is one of the pricier items on the grill going for $4.25, but believe me, you can tell the difference in the quality of beef.

Bacon wrapped asparagus on top, along with pork belly, some kind of chicken, and squid balls.

Sashimi platter. Tuna, yellowtail, salmon, octopus, and snapper. It may have been halibut. The sashimi wasn't that great. The salmon was definitely fatty, but overall, the sashimi was not very fresh.

The octopus, sprinkled with some lemon, was pretty good and chewy, so we got another order of that.

Buta Kaku (braised pork belly). So fatty. So bad for you. So good!!! This was definitely very rich and came with a small side of spinach and liquid it had been cooked in. I wished that I could have gotten a bowl of that liquid and drank it. This is one item I recommend you try.

Some kind of deep fried sausage "roll." I wasn't very impressed with this. It was just an ordinary sausage that tasted like the Oscar Meyer Wieners. Served with some mayo and ketchup.

Grilled yellowtail cheek, one of the specials going on right now. This was delicious with a good amount of meat. The lemon helped to bring out the full oily flavor of the fish.

Having stuffed ourselves, we were ready for some dessert.

Vanilla ice cream with apple turnovers made like an egg roll.

Green tea ice cream.

The nice server also gave us some green tea after we had already paid, which I thought was nice, although it was probably because we spent a good amount. Service was good. Our waiter/server was informative, and everything we ordered came out promptly.

Not a very descriptive post, but hopefully the pictures did some of the talking because I enjoyed the food here. It was a bit on the pricey side...the total including tip came to be about $120, but we ordered a lot of food, some of which did not make it to this post on the account of my being plastered. They have a lot of things to try both on their grill and regular menu, along with their specials. If this place wasn't so far, I'd make a point to come here regularly, as drinks with the extensive menu and good food equals fun times.

Honda Ya
556 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92780

They also have two other locations in Little Tokyo and Fountain Valley.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin