May 31, 2009

Joe's Sushi

Came here for lunch a few months back based on recommendations from several friends. Joe's is a chain that has the option of AYCE. Price is around $17, and it also gets you some entrees/appetizers (teriyaki, tempura, and the like...) I think this is a Korean owned joint.

I had my reservations before coming here, and I was right. I tried most of the nigiri options, and nothing was very fresh. The spicy scallops were probably the only thing that I liked. If you are a roll person, there are some varieties available, but nothing too fancy, and that might make it worth your money. But I don't think I'd come back here again.

The service was friendly. The bar wasn't too packed, and the sushi chef made us a nice little concoction of his own as seen above after curiously watching me take pictures and asking what I was doing.

I have heard the phrase, "It's pretty good for an AYCE" both from friends and Yelp users. I'm not exactly sure what that really means. Perhaps the price is a little cheaper(?), but the quality was no different from other places, beating only Todai, which doesn't really count. There was no second round for me here, and I felt like my money went straight down the drain. I suppose some people will call me a snob for not liking Joe's while the other half would call me a dumbass for even wasting my time and hard earned dollas on an AYCE sushi joint.

Honestly, I don't get what's the big deal about this place, and I left thinking it sounded too good to be true. Perhaps if I had been drinking, I would have enjoyed the food more.

460 N Beach Blvd
La Habra, CA 90631

May 25, 2009

And the answer is...

El Taurino! A popular 24 hour joint located in Los Angeles...

A look at their menu.

I settled for two tacos: carne and al pastor @ $1.25 each. Two street sized tacos that you can devour in 2 bites. They come bare boned w/ just onions and cilantro. You can add cheese, sour cream, guac for an additional price (check menu for add ons). You could really taste the citrusy marinade the carne had been in, and the al pastor, cooked on and sliced from the spit as it should be, was very soft and tender. I've read/heard people say that this is hands down the best place in L.A. to get carne asada and al pastor. To tell the truth, this is the only place I've had tacos in L.A, but I would agree that both are pretty good. Not the best I've ever had, but definitely up there. What I will vouch for is their salsa roja. Now that is the best hot sauce I've ever had...very spicy and so addicting at the same time. I also tried out their salsa verde, which tasted freshly made, and had a milder kick to it, compared to its fiery sister.

Also ordered the carnitas tostada $3.49. Beans topped with carnitas, sliecd tomatoes, onions, sour creme, crumbled cotija cheese, and a fresh slice of avocado. The carnitas was a little on the dry side for me, but doused with hot sauce, along w/ the combo of everything else going on, this tasted pretty good.

2306 W 11th St
Los Angeles, CA 90006

You can park on the street, but they do have a nice sized parking lot in the back on Hoover.

May 24, 2009

Herpin in the Mojave

Yeah I've been MIA. Work and school are taking up too much time...3 more weeks left. Last weekend I went out to the Mojave Desert for my herpetology class. To answer your questions, yes, I spelled it correctly, and no it's probably not what you're thinking it is. It's the study of reptiles and amphibians. Herpeton is the Greek word for crawling animal. We were out there to catch and study some reptiles. I hadn't gone camping for about a year and realized I really missed it. You can't see stars in the suburbs like you can here. No food pics here because I lived off ramen, snacks, and lots of water...

@ the Kelso "Singing" Dunes

Speckled Rattlesnake

Long Nosed Snake.

Can you find the Desert Tortoise?

And lastly, some beetles getting it on!

Well, this is a food blog, so I figure I should post a quick pit stop at Baker on the way back home. Anyone going to Vegas from Southern Cali probably will recognize this place...

Array of different hot sauces...

But more known for their different jerkies. Beef, pork, buffalo, turkey, gator and a variety of different flavors. Free samples to the left of the cashier. They also have some random candies, nuts, and olives. I thought the Buffalo was pretty good. The marinade tasted a bit like bulgogi. They also have some flavor called "Colon Cleanser," and I ate a little piece of that. It definitely left a burning sensation in your mouth for a little bit, but it wasn't overwhelming and had a very peppery taste to it. But then again I only ate a little piece.

Know it yet?

72242 Baker Blvd
Baker, CA 92309

Follow up to the Mystery Hour post to come soon....just too lazy to write back a while ago from another herp trip. Good night.

May 13, 2009

Guppy Tea House

I heard a while back that there was now a Guppy Tea House in Hacienda. Guppy is a chain that is well known for two things: their popcorn chicken, which is liberally sprinkled with crack cocaine, and the shaved ice. Picture below taken from a blog by the young, up and coming Jomo.

Holy sh!t. Look at that damn thing....

I met up with a friend to get some dinner about a month ago. I wanted to get the shaved ice, but the small is too big for two people. The pictures didn't turn out that great. We opted to sit outside because it was too loud inside the place, and I didn't know how to use my camera that well.

Started with some miso soup that came along with my meal. Pretty good/standard with some pieces of seaweed floating around.

Spicy Dumplings $8.50. I think these were filled with pork. They were not very spicy. I cannot remember if we were asked how spicy we wanted it, but I do remember that our waitress was cute. It was very vinegary and sweet and reminded me almost of a balsamic vinegar.

Superb Meatballs Meal $8.25
2 big ass meatballs in a cabbage broth soup along with glass noodles, tofu, and some cabbage. Sides of corn and "pickled cucumbers" and a big bowl of white rice.

It almost looks like there is a skin over the soup, but that's just the oil/flash. The meatballs were soft, but I thought they had been dredged a little too much in flour before hand. The broth was ok. This is a comfort food like meal.

We also got espresso milk teas, which were delicious, to end the meal.

Lots of food for two people to share. But next time, I'd like to skip the meal and go straight for the shaved ice. And maybe some chicken on the side.

Guppy Tea House
17188 Colima Rd
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

I'm checking out early for the week. Going to the Mojave Desert for the weekend.

For my next trick...

All you L.A. dwellers, do you know where this? holla holla holla holla! =)

May 5, 2009


As I was driving home, I got a text from a friend saying: "Oprah just bought the whole country lunch from KFC."

Hilarious. It's legit tho. 2 pieces of chicken, 2 sides, and a biscuit.

Looks like the old link is dead, but this one seems to work.
(Courtesy of

The finer details: Coupon download available from 9 a.m. CDT on May 5, 2009, to 11:59 p.m. CDT on May 6, 2009. Coupon is redeemable at participating KFC® locations in the United States from May 5, 2009 to May 19, 2009—excluding Mother's Day, May 10, 2009.

May 4, 2009

Revisit to Mandarin House

I took out Grandfather again to Mandarin House. The man loves his jjajjangmyun. Read the previous post here. I decided to stray away from the usual and order the seafood udon. I think this was around 9 bucks.

Like their jjajjangmyun, it came in a big bowl that could serve two people. The noodles were fresh and chewy and were the same ones used for their jjajjangmyun. The broth however was weak. A watered down beef broth that could have used a lot more flavoring. Lots of pieces of squid, octopus, krab, a couple of shrimp, along with squash, onions, carrots, and topped w/ an egg.

A picture of their noodles, which I believe they make themselves. If you look towards the back, there is a window in which you can see a table w/ a big bag of flour and some other things that I cannot remember right now that made me reach that conclusion. The noodles were good, but I cared more about the broth, which was no bueno. I've noticed the same thing w/ their jjamppong. The broth has no flavor to's just really oily. So next time, I'll probably just stick with the jjajjang.

Service was same ol. No complaints. We had to wait about 10 minutes to get seated on a Saturday afternoon.

I'm pooped. 4 posts in a row. It's been a while since I've done that. Back to chemistry.

May 3, 2009

Reclaiming my Sundays

Going up Grand over the hills and far away,

you come across the Stater Bros Plaza on your right side, and in it is Manna Donuts, a 24 hour donut shop that also serves sandwiches.

Bought a dozen for $6.50 to bring into work. Why? Because today is my last day working Sundays, and I wanted to celebrate. Props to all those that work every day. I just couldn't do it anymore and needed one day off the week to recoup. Jelly, crumb, maple bar, chocolate bar, glazed twist, and two rainbow sprinkles. They are not stingy w/ the jelly and use better quality stuff that actually tastes like raspberry instead of syrup. I'm also a fan of their maple bars. Their cake donuts are delicious. None of their donuts(at least the ones I've tried) are overly oily.

I also ordered the tuna sandwich for lunch (no picture sorry) for $4 bucks. You get a choice of a sub or croissant and I chose the sub. It's definitely a fatty sandwich on a somewhat airy piece of bread(I wonder if they make their own here), and the tuna salad was plain along w/ all the standard lettuce tomato, etc. A good sandwich for what you pay, but I would have appreciated some chopped onions and celery in my salad.

Overall a pretty good donut shop that also gets +1 star for being 24 hours and serving sandwiches.

My new addiction/upper to keep me going in the mornings. It's not too sweet and has a sort of plant-y (I know that's not a word, but I can't find the right word to really describe the taste) and herby flavor mixed in w/ whatever one you get. The original is fine w/ me although here I have the passion fruit and pomegranate flavors. I try to switch it up. I find that for myself it gives me just the right amount of the caffeine kick I need to stay awake in class. How do you stay up w/o caffeine or any drug? I'm always tired and need to find healthier alternatives to stay awake.

*Just looked up the key ingredients in the Passion flavor: catuaba and damiana. These herbs have a variety of remedial claims, one of them being an aphrodisiac, hence the name "Passion."

Sundays come and go too quickly. Time to enter the rat race once again.

May 2, 2009

Earthen Restaurant

Got to cross out another place on my "to try list" last weekend: Earthen Restaurant in Hacienda Heights. The commentary will be brief because I was well sauced by the time I stepped foot into this place. All pictures courtesy of Jomo because I decided to take a break from taking pictures that night. I really grew a greater appreciation for food bloggers after starting my own blog. Taking pictures can be tedious work, especially if you are hungry or have ordered a lot of dishes.

The green onion pancakes. I've never had these before, so these were new to me. A little on the oily side, but nevertheless good. It would have been nice to have some sauce with it though. Jomsees told me to dip it in the next dish.

Beef noodle soup (Niu Reu Mein?). My second time trying this. Too much talking was going on at this table and not enough eating. All I remember was trying to help dish out these long noodles, and the broth tasting a bit like anise.

House Chicken. I thought this was a hot dish, but what do I know. I'm just a kid. A good amount of cold chicken with plenty of minced garlic and small pieces of cucumbers below in some kind of soy/sweet/garlic sauce.

Overall, a positive experience where Yelp reviews came through and some good times w/ friends.

As I walked out, I noticed that all the tables were pretty much eating the same things we did, so it seems those three dishes, along with the dumplings seem to be the most popular items. We had gotten there at 5:45, afraid of the "long waits," but when we arrived, the small restaurant was only partially full. We put our names on the list, said we would return around 6:30, and were promptly seated then. By the time we got back, the list had grown to about 8 parties, and as we left, there was a good amount of people standing outisde waiting to get a seat. So try to get there early if you can.

Service was quick and efficient, and there were no problems even though none of us spoke Chinese.

1639 S Azusa Ave
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

Yeah Chicago lost. Damn. One hell of a crazy series...

I leave you with a clip of the young Rose, Rookie of the Year against the Sixers:

May 1, 2009

Dante's Italian Deli

Suck it Boston.

And now, onto our main story of the night. A while back, some friends of mine had been raving about a sandwich place that was nestled in between Oak Tree Lanes and the Emergency Pet Clinic in Diamond Bar off Diamond Bar Blvd, so I finally decided to check it out today after class.

The deli not only offers sandwiches, but a variety of other items such as pizza, salads/sides by the pound, and home made Italian food, such as spaghetti and lasagna. They also serve various coffee drinks (they advertise using "illy Brand Coffee" although I confess I know nothing about coffee brands) and gelato.

After perusing the menu and giving it some thought, I ordered a small (roughly 6 inch) "Grilled Chicken" ($6.25) and a small "The Italian" ($5.75). Argh...that last phrase is bugging me..."a small the" just doesn't sound right even though I know it's okay. But moving on from my anal grammar tendencies...

I'm not exactly sure how one is supposed to take a picture of a sandwich, but here it is.

Fresh sliced mozzarella, tomato, roasted garlic herb spread on white bread. The chicken was made to order and was still warm when I got home to eat it. It smelled delicious. The first thing I noticed was when I took a bite of the bread. It was really soft, and although it had soaked up some of the oil/grease from the chicken, it still held its form. I'm not really sure what kind of bread it was and will ask the next time I go in. The chicken was a little on the dry side. The tomatoes were fresh and gave the chicken/gooey cheese a tangy compliment.

An inside look of 1/2 of the Grilled Chicken.

"The Italian:" Italian dressing, salami, mortadella*, coppacola**, ham, provolone cheese along the standard shredded iceberg lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, red onions all thinly sliced along with some mayo and mustard. They use Boar's Head brand for their sandwich meats. For some reason, I had been craving a nice cold cut sandwich, and this definitely hit the spot. Everything was fresh, just like the chicken sandwich, and the same type of bread was used. I ate half of this and saved the other half for a late night snack, which I happily consumed not too long ago. The only complaint I had about this place was that I wished the pickles weren't sliced so thin and would have liked a spear or two on the side. I always do appreciate a good pickle.

Bonus: As I was about to pay, I noticed a sign that said Happy Hour. Curious, I read the finer details which stated that all sandwiches, pizzas, and entrees were 50% off from 2-5 PM everyday, combos not included. My final price for these two delicious sandwiches? $6.99. Winner winner.

I'd definitely check out this place again, not just for their happy hour prices, but to try out their other sandwiches and items. I'll have to see their take on my favorite: tuna sandwiches.

958 N Diamond Bar Blvd
Diamond Bar, CA 91765

End Notes: I had no idea what mortadella or coppacola was nor had I ever tried it before until today, so I looked it up.

*To anyone who is interested, mortadella "is a large Italian sausage[1] or cold cut (salume /sa'lume/) made of finely hashed/ground heat-cured pork sausage which incorporates at least 15% small cubes of pork fat (principally the hard fat from the neck of the pig). It is delicately flavored with spices, including whole or ground black pepper, myrtle berries, nutmeg, coriander and pistachios and/or olives." Taken from Wikipedia.
**Coppacola/Coppa/Capicola is a traditional Neapolitan Italian cold cut (salume) made from pork shoulder or neck and dry-cured whole. The name coppa is Italian for nape, while capicola comes from capo—head and collo—neck of a pig. Taken from Wikipedia.
***Lastly, for any Sopranos fans out there who, like myself, always wondered what the hell a "gabagool" was they were referring to capicola but were using a Neapolitan dialect. Again taken from Wikipedia.

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