August 25, 2009

Hogetsu and a Hiatus

Here is a story about my last stop from my past SD trip earlier this month.

I had read about Hogetsu Bakery on mmm-yoso!!! and had been wanting to check them out for a bit. Read about Kirk's visit here or just search "hogetsu" on the will find many posts there.

It was a pretty far drive from Pacific least it felt like it. As I got off the exit and onto 3rd Avenue, I realized I hadn't written down the address. *#$*@$! By some miracle, I turned into a plaza that I thought it was in and got very very lucky. I should have immediately taken that as a sign to drive straight to Barona to test my luck even further at the tables (damn I've had some fun and sad (mostly sad) times there), but I had to get home.

It's a small little mom and pops store that makes and sells manjoo, mochi, and other Japanese snacks/candies/drinks. Can someone tell me the difference between manjoo and mochi? Are they the same? Is mochi a type of manjoo?

I selected a little bit of this and that and went home. I got 12, and I think the total price was around $15.

Some of these were too pretty to eat. I only had one or two mochi (the two in the center), and I found the outside to be very soft, unlike the chewy ones I've only had. The rest were for my parents. My dad liked it, but my mom thought the stuff they sell in Little Tokyo was better.

1210 3rd Ave
Chula Vista, CA 91911
Tues-Sat 10:00 - 4:00 PM

I've also read that Mitsuwa, Nijiya, and even Zion sell stuff from Hogetsu if you don't want to drive down to Chula Vista. Depends where you're coming from I suppose, but I think it's a cool spot to check out.

Summer break is over, and school and work are back in session. I've also got Brazilian Jujitsu tonight. I signed up to have a break from the monotony of my science classes. Should be pretty fun.

4 posts in a row, I've got a nice streak going on here, but it's only because I've been putting off the inevitable. I'm going to take a break from blogging in an effort to get on my apps...I hope to finish within the next two weeks, God willing. See ya in a bit.

August 24, 2009

and another one!

Met with some of the old UCSD alum at the BJ's in Brea a few weeks back. BJ's is a chain/brewery that serves deep dish Chicago style pizza as well as other entrees. I don't know if this is "true Chicago style" since I've never been to Chicago or am a pizza expert, so please don't stone me.

We arrived early to take advantage of the happy hour, $2 off appetizers and 1/2 off personal pizzas, which end up being about 5 or 6 bucks. Descriptions taken off their website because my memory is foggy and it sounds a lot better using theirs =) Some photos seen here were taken by the young up and coming Jomo.

We started off with some drinks. I'm not a real big fan of BJ's brews with the exception of their porter. So whenever I go, I ask what seasonal beers they have. That day they offered the Trois Pistoles, a Belgian Dark Ale (right). This had a dark fruity taste and was delicious. Upon looking it up, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the brewing company was Unibroue, which makes La Fin Du Monde.

Avocado eggrolls: a blend avocados, cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, pine nuts, chipotle peppers and spices. Served with a sweet tamarind sauce.

These were pretty good and held their own w/o the overly sweet sauce, which I thought took away from the slight spiciness of the eggrolls.

Overview of our meal.

I decided to try something new for once and ordered the Chicken lettuce wraps, one of the "lighter" picks on the menu: Marinated chicken breast diced and sautéed with mushrooms, water chestnuts, celery, green onions, garlic and topped with crispy wontons. Served with chilled iceberg lettuce cups, sesame soy sauce and hot Chinese mustard.

I soon learned that the hot mustard was burn through your nostrils hot, as I unknowingly applied a liberal amount to my wrap. It came with about 6 lettuce wraps, and there was still of the chicken left. I'm not sure if I would get these again because I am a big fan of their nachos, but it was better than I thought it was going to be.

Great White: Rich and creamy Alfredo sauce with mushrooms, garlic, fresh Roma tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and grilled chicken breast.

I didn't get to try this one sadly.

BJ's Favorite aka the works: Oven-baked meatballs, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, black olives, white onions and seasoned tomatoes.

When it comes to pizzas, I like having a little bit of everything, so this was a good choice. The crust was thick but wasn't too oily. I thought everything went well together, and no ingredient overpowering the rest. And at 5 bucks, who's complaining?

One thing they're also known for here is their pazookies, which is a freshly baked in a deep dish pan chocolate chip cookie (although on their website, it shows they offer different kinds of cookies now) topped with two scoops of vanilla ice cream. We killed it. And you know this Mannn! Looking at this picture makes me want one right now.

Service was good even though it was busy.

The place was pretty packed, and if you want to get those happy hour deals (4-7 PM and 10-12 on weekdays), it only applies to the bar area, so you're going to have to jump on those empty tables as soon as they become vacant because it's a free for all in there.

600 Brea Mall Drive
Brea, CA 92821

August 23, 2009

Another revisit...

Happy Sunday everyone.

Made another visit to Ong Ga Nae with the family. (On a side note, I hate it when people use the word "fambam" instead of family. I find the word stupid and find myself suppressing the urge to punch something.) One of the better BBQ joints in the DB/Rowland Heights area in my opinion. But this time, we didn't go for the BBQ.

Iced barley tea was served first.

Along with some tofu w/ some oil/soy sauce and seaweed sprinkled on top, given free as "service."

You have the choice of white rice or jahp gok bap, meaning assorted grains/beans rice.

You get about 10 dishes here, and they were pretty much the same as last time. They're pretty consistent w/ the banchan here, and it's all nice to eat while waiting for the food to come out. The particular standouts that you don't see often at other places are squid that comes doused w/ gochoojang (red pepper paste) and geh jang, raw marinated spicy crab.

Other two banchan missing from the picture. Kimchi and mook aka arrowroot jelly.

My dad ordered the dolsot bibimbap (Mixed rice w/ vegetables and beef, all cooked in a stone pot). The picture is a bit blurry because of the steam.

And here it is on a plate. Carrots, eggs, seaweed, spinach, arrowroot jelly, beef, and some other veggies whose names I can't recall. I thought it was good, especially the beef, but my dad didn't like it. First place I've seen that puts mook in bibimbap.

Also ordered the nakji bokum, which is spicy stir fried octopus. It came in a big pan with some noodles, mixed in front of us, then ladled out to each person, so I wasn't able to take a picture of it whole, but here is my portion. It also had some squash and onions. I've never really liked this dish too much. It was good, but not something I'd really crave.

I ordered the kimchi jjigae, which is kimchi stew. I've been having this craving lately for kimchi jjigae and can't get enough of it. It came out bubbling hot in a stone pot as well. It also had some green onions and pieces of pork belly. It was spicy, but not overly so. The kimchi tasted okay...I thought the broth was spicier than the kimchi itself.

Overall, I didn't enjoy this visit too much, and I thought everything was just okayIt might have been because I was more thirsty than hungry when I came here. I had the opportunity a few months back to go to their sister branch Ong Go Jeep, also in Rowland Heights, and found the food to be better there, but unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures that night.

Service was good, and we didn't have any problems.

19745 E Colima Rd
Rowland Heights, CA 91748

August 22, 2009

Some revisits

Sorry, all these pictures were taken w/ my phone.

I revisited Taco Nazo in Walnut a few months back and decided to try something else besides their fish tacos.

I ordered the mix seafood cocteles, which comes with octopus and shrimp. The squid was not fresh at all, and borderline disgusting. The "soup" was a little too sweet/ketchupy for my liking. I would have liked it with more lime.

Condiments of a blended pico de gallo, radishes, hot carrots, and a lone jalapeno. They only offer two or three salsas, and I usually just stick to the pico and the bottled Tapatio.

Carne Asasa Sope covered with lettuce, pico, and cheese. I really liked the masa . Dense and not too oily. The carne was decent...nothing too impressive, but remember this is a place more known for it's fish tacos than anything else. I was also given a grilled yellow pepper that was pretty damn hot...

Taco Nazo
1267 N Grand Ave
Walnut, CA 91789

I also made another visit to Dante's Italian Deli for their happy hour.

Caprese Sandwich. Tomatoes, fresh basil, water mozzarella, onion, oil, balsamic vinegar. This costs more than the Italian at $6.55 for a small compared to $5.75. They were still doing the happy hour 1/2 deals although the sign for it is now gone. The bread was good like last time. Fresh and a little spongy. I've never had a Caprese sandwich before, but I found the cheese to be quite bland, and the balsamic vinegar overpowered everything.

Don't forget to ask for some cherry peppers on the side. I love these things.

I still have yet to try out their pizza and pasta.

958 N Diamond Bar Blvd
Diamond Bar, CA 91765

August 19, 2009


Sorry, this post is going to be a little short because I'm having trouble remembering the finer details.

A friend of mine took me out to Daikokuya in Little Tokyo a few months back. I hear the lines can be quite long sometimes in this small noodle shop, but we got there a bit early and found the place to be half empty.

Shredded cabbage w/ some sort of mayo/thousand island dressing concoction, which I liked.

We both opted for the combos. Friend got the pork bowl.

I got the pork katsu.

This was a good amount of food, and I didn't end up finishing it.

Their broth is made w/ pork and soy sauce. Comes with some green onions, sprouts, a few slices of chasu, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. I found it pretty tasty even though when it comes to broth, I am more of a miso fan.

I thought I knew what al dente was until I had the noodles here.

327 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Yeah, parking sucks, but it is L.A. I would park on Alameda instead of circling aimlessly and just walk a few blocks.

I just checked on their website, and surprise! They've opened up a new location in Hacienda Heights.

August 15, 2009

L.A. Taco Crawl

This month's taco crawl, sponsored by my uncle, is brought to you by:

Some family was in town along w/ my cousin's bf from Philly, and they wanted some Mexican food, so what better way to do it than a taco crawl? I did a little bit of research with the help from Bandini, whose website has now moved here, and we were ready to go.

View Larger Map
The game plan. A. El Taurino B. King Taco C. El Parian D. Kogi E. Dessert @ Ice Kiss

We met up at El Taurino. I have written about them before, but I think this is definitely one of the must tries if you are ever in L.A. And if you like spicy, try their salsa roja.

The place is adorned with lots of bull fighting memorabilia.

They sell pitchers of Michelob or Bud for $7. Good for 5 people. Yes, it was lunch time when we did this, but as DCfoodie once told me, "It's 5:00 somewhere!"

I got the Al Pastor Tostada ($3.49), cooked slowly on a trompo (a vertical rotating spit) that was topped with an onion, and once again, it did not disappoint. All that sour cream and cheese along w/ the beer made this a bit heavy. Underneath that snowy mountain were some onions, tomatoes, a slice of avocado, delicious pork, and beans. The crunchy tostada shell was a little on the thick side. I'm not sure what's the proper way to eat this, but I like to break little pieces of the shell w/ my fork and fingers and eat it, doused w/ some of their fiery salsa roja. I also enjoy their verde.

As noted before, El Taurino has a nice parking in the back of their restaurant.

We then hopped in the car and drove onto Pico to King Taco. It is walking distance, less than .3 miles I think, but we couldn't leave our cars at El Taurino...

King Taco is a famous Mexican Chain that has even made its way into Ontario, a location I've been meaning to check out since it's a lot closer to me than L.A. I've heard that King Taco owns El Taurino. This was further confirmed when I once bought a tamale and found the wrapper stamped with King Taco's signature.

We each ordered a taco: two carne asadas, one carnitas, and a pollo ($1.25 each). They were street taco size, meaning you could eat it in 2-3 bites. I tried the carne, and while it was good, I found it lacked that citrusy taste that El Taurino has. Their roja tasted pretty similar to ET, but it was a bit on the sweet side, nowhere as spicy, and didn't have that smoky taste. Still, it's a solid taco, and I would come back again to try their other meats. My cousin didn't like her chicken (which was prepared on a rotisserie) at all and also said the taco was soggy. She also thought their verde was better than El Taurino's.

Also got a side of jalapenos. There were also some pieces of cauliflower in it, which I hadn't seen before at a Mexican place, but I didn't get to try it because someone got to it before I did. Who dunnit remains a mystery.

Parking: King Taco has a smaller lot, as it is shared with other businesses in a little plaza. I ended up just parking on Pico, which I recommend because then you can walk a few blocks down to El Parian.

At this point, it was about 2:00. Kogi was going to be on Hope until 3:00. I had tried Kogi before and wasn't too impressed, but some of the group hadn't tried it and wanted to. From my past experiences, I decided to skip El Parian for now and head straight over there first, remembering on their website that they stop taking orders 30 minutes before closing. I silently prayed that the wait wouldn't be long since we were going at an odd hour.

I have to say that the first time I went to get Kogi was quite an adventure, looking for the taco truck and then finding it. I'm not sure why, but it was kind of exciting to go all that way to find a truck. Today was no different as I was fueled by adrenaline pumping through my body, nervous we would not get there in time/have to wait in a long ass line again.

What we saw however was a great joy. There was no line, and very few people standing around the truck. And when I saw very few, I mean 6! We all ordered a chicken taco ($2 each + tax now) because they were out of short ribs. They seem to have updated their menu as well as they now regularly offer Kogi Dogs, sliders, and kimchi quesadillas.

Grilled chicken street size tacos topped with a Korean slaw of cabbage, onions, and cilantro. I couldn't really taste their signature salsa roja, but what I did taste was that same Korean soy vinaigrette you often get at KBBQ joints in your salad. I thought this was a more positive experience than the last time. I could actually taste the chicken, the dressing didn't overpower the taco as much, and the cabbage was cooked just right. The tortillas were a little too greasy for my liking. Overall a decent taco although I wish we had gotten a little more meat.

Also got a can of some Crushed Pear Juice. Made with Asian pears, and there were some small particles of pear floating about in the drink. A cool refresher although it can't beat a nice bottle of Jarritos or Sidral Mundet =p

They got three trucks now and also serve food complete with a dessert chef at The Alibi Lounge, which I will be checking out sometime soon w/ another friend who wishes to try Kogi. For more info, check out their website.

I parked on Hope for *ouch* 4 bucks an hour, metered parking.

Walking back to my ride, we saw another taco truck parked about 10 cars down. Curious, we decided to check it out, and what we saw was quite a surprise.

It was another Korean taco truck! Talk about cutthroat competition. And if you notice closely on their menu below, they beat Kogi's 1 cent LOL. (I hate myself everytime I use that word, but for some reason, it seems appropriate here.)

It was called Bool, which means fire. There were some patrons around the truck, happily eating their tacos and praising Bool. There was an ajooma (a middle aged Korean woman) manning the truck along with some other workers, who were all quite friendly and stuck up a conversation with us, saying they had just purchased a second truck and were going to go out to Orange County soon.

Their Menu (courtesy of Cousin J's camera phone)

Since we were denied the short ribs at Kogi, we ordered the Beef Tacos here ($1.99 each + tax). These were also street sized tacos. The first thing we noticed was that these tacos were HOT. They were filled with long strips (opposed to Kogi's chopped short ribs) of sweetly marinated Korean beef bbq, sliced onions, chopped cilantro, siracha, and a kimchi slaw that although looked spicy, was more sweet and vinegary. When the tacos first came out, I thought the kimchi was cheese because it kinda looked like it. Kogi's meat is definitely more tender, but Bool gives you a lot more for your money. We all liked Bool better and were pretty impressed. Maybe I will come by again to try their other meats if I am ever in L.A.

For more info, check out their twitter/website on the address above.

Thinking about it now, the people at Kogi were a bit younger than the ones around Bool. I noticed the same thing when I was in line last week in DB. Most of them had to be in high school or college. It makes me wonder, has Kogi become something "hip" and trendy? Either I'm one of the few people that just don't get it, or all these people that would still wait 2 hours for some okay tacos are baa baa baadly trying to be cool. And more importantly, you have to wonder how long this craze for Korean tacos will last...

We were all pretty content/full at this point, so sadly, we didn't get to go to El Parian, but that is definitely something on my list to try. Perhaps on another taco crawl?

We then decided on what to get for dessert. Originally we had planned to go try a place called Mr. Churro's. We were also quite close to Little Tokyo and had the option of picking up something there. But given the warm weather, shaved ice sounded a lot better, so we headed back towards K-town for some pat bing soo (red bean shaved ice).

Shaved ice (w/ cherry syrup?), red beans, rice powder, bananas, canned grapes and pineapples, chewy not soft mochi (which I really enjoyed), topped with two scoops of ice cream, vanilla and strawberry, a dollop of whipped cream, and to finish a sprinkle of fruity pebbles, artistically scattered (haha) around the shaved ice. The patbingsoo was pretty good, and the choice to get shaved ice was a good call.

This was one size under the monster and cost $13. A bit expensive. Not sure how this compares to the prices at Guppy's. But it was just the right size for 5 people to share. Some of you that are not distracted by the food may be thinking, wait, is that a...? Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. It was served in a friggin doggy bowl. I was a little turned off by this. It wasn't that big of a deal, but if you sit down and think about it, you have to wonder, how the hell did these people come up w/ the idea to serve their shaved ice in a doggy bowl?

We killed it. Normally I don't take pictures of the damage done, but I wanted to show you how deep the bowl was.

The crawl was topped off with the long drive back home through L.A. traffic, which surprisingly wasn't too bad, considering it was traffic hour on a Friday. I'm not complaining though. It was a lot better than the end of my last taco crawl a few months back. Overall, I had a lot of fun and hope everyone else did too.

And if you have gotten this far and read my ramblings, kudos!

L.A. Taco Crawl Success!

August 12, 2009


It's 2 AM in downtown L.A., and you just got out of the club or bar, happily buzzing. Tacos? Nah. Dirty dogs? No thanks. What I want is some soup damnit, and I want it now. Some hot soup to fill that alcohol filled stomach of yours as well as to give yourself some time to sober up for the drive home. Where to go?

Welcome to BCD, a worldwide Korean soondubu chain, and many are open 24/7. Booya. It's not my favorite place, but I've found it to be pretty consistent and good.

This visit however was not one of those aforementioned nights. My cousin took some of us other cousins out for dinner here a few months back.

As with a lot of tofu joints, you're served a small yellow corvina and some salad as an appetizer. Forgot to take the picture until after I ate most of it.

Cousin A ordered the combo which included spicy raw crab (geh jang). Not the greatest picture, I know sorry. You gotta work alittle bit to get that gelatiny goo out of the shell. My cousin didn't like it too much, and I thought the same. They used too much gochoo jang (red pepper paste). It's not that it was too spicy, but that the paste kinda overwhelmed the rest of the flavors.

I ordered the usual, kimchi tofu soup, spiciness level: hot. If you've never had soondubu before, they give you a raw egg, which you plop in the small boiling cauldron of soup right when you get it and allow it to cook. I found this visit to be pretty good. I always can go for some tofu soup and rarely find one I don't like.

No pics of the banchan, but there were just a few of two kinds of kimchi and perhaps some bean sprouts. I forget. You get about 5 different things here.

The rice comes out in the small stone pots they were cooked in, and some warm tea is poured inside after your rice is scooped out, giving a satisfying sizzle. The result after a few minutes is a sort of rice crust soup. Yea, it's pretty much just rice and water lol. But if you asked me what I consider to be one of my top comfort foods, I'd say it would be this. I learned it from my grandma and ma. In fact, I just had that for lunch the other day w/ some kimchi and potatoes. My dad thinks it's horrible haha.

3575 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010

or visit the site to find the closest one near you

Now if you'll excuse me. I got some home made shikhye to attend to. Post to come. Holla!

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