August 25, 2010

S.A.T.C 2010

No, this isn't a post about Carrie or one of her whiny friends. I'm here to talk to you about LIFE and what's real: Santa.Ana.Taco.Crawl, HOLLA-day inn (i love that line paestry!)! I hadn't done one of these in a while, and I made sure to do quick run beforehand to work up the appetite and rockin my gym shorts with the expandable waistline. Some quick shoutouts:
-Gratitude to Elmo and Gustavo, and everyone else from stickaforkinit who provided the necessary info from their blogs.
-Much love to my adventurous friends who braved the heat with me and persevered to five spots + dessert. Special thanks to the young and up and coming Jomo (who can bake bread in your rice cooker, biatch!) who took all the pictures, drove, and made it to the bonus round.
This year's taco crawl is brought to you in part by:
And now, with the formalities out of the way, I introduce to you Harry Potter and the Santa Ana Taco Crawl.
The secret list.

Marauder's Map.
Amuse bouche.
A. Alebrije's Grill. The owner (?) was quite a friendly guy who enthusiastically described his product and some of his favorite items. We ordered a Taco Acorazado to share and sat down on some plastic crates outside the pink truck.
This thing was bananas. A freshly made tortilla(so good), beans, rice, thin pounded breaded beef steak, tomatoes, onions, avocados, and a sprinkle of cotija cheese with some cactus on the side. We liberally added some hot carrots and some of the tasty salsas, and this was quite a delicious meal. I was tempted to order another for myself, but we had places to go and tacos to see!
Dayammmm!!!! A perfect remedy for the heat.
Sandia, tamarindo, horchata. I enjoyed my watermelon very much.
We ordered the Torta Cubana to share. Ham, spicy pork, beef steak, and headcheese all stuffed with veggies on their own freshly baked mexican bun, which was a bit airy although my piece had significantly less bread than the other two. A monster.
They also make baked goods and were giving out free samples of their tres leches cake. Amiga made the comparison of this place to Lee's Sandwiches.
C. Taqueria Tapatia
Here we each ordered an al pastor taco. Overall, it wasn't great, but it was above average imo although the others didn't seem to like it too much. No picture, but they make a pretty damn good melon aqua fresca.
D. I'm still not sure if this place is called Torta Ahogada or Chiva Torta. I had visited this place on the last run I did.
We ordered their specialty, the torta ahogada and split it three ways. This looked a lot more naked than the last time I had it although I suppose I could have added the pico and what not myself. The bread was like an crunchy baguette and I think the filling was pork though honestly, I have trouble telling the difference sometimes. Also inside was some beans and onions. Being a pansy, I requested it to be "media" so that slow burning sauce didn't drown the sandwich completely. Definitely a different kind of torta and one worth trying.
To aid digestion, we walked around the adjacent Northgate Market and picked up some mexican candy.
Also D. El Rincon de Sabor. We went on a bit of a wild goose chase for this one. We saw a truck a few feet away but didn't see a name. After some turkey jivin and some wild turkey shots though, we headed back and saw the name on the other side. I laughed so hard at my dumb mistake that I walked into a pole. I cried for a bit, then I laughed some more.
We saw that this place offered the acorazado too, so we had to try it out to compare. While overall, this was a pretty decent taco, it fell short of Alebrije's Grill. The tortilla didn't seem hand made and more oily (seemed lightly fried). There were also no beans and other veggie goodies.
We didn't get to go to E, so we went straight for dessert to Natural in Anaheim.
I ordered the chamoyada. Basically apricot+chile+salt+mango shake. Read the full description here. This was a really intense drink.
Comes with a special straw!
The young eligible bachelor got a cantaloupe smoothee. Two white gloved thumbs up he sang. We then headed back home. The end. Or was it?
A few hours later after some gentle coaxing (like the guy is trying to do on the right), we met up at Bootlegger's for a beer and some more tacos for the bonus round. I thought the Dos Chinos Truck was gonna be there, but instead it was Calbi. No pics of the beer, but it seems they raised their prices a little bit and a lot of their selection is gone although I did get to try a delicious hopped up hef.
I've had this truck before once after a tipsy night in L.A. The cute worker took my order of a spicy pork and chicken taco. The chicken wasn't very good...cubed pieces that reminded me of sandwich meat. The spicy pork was better though. It had this sweet taste to it that kinda reminded me of apple juice and later on, a slow burn. I wasn't a big fan of the lettuce or cheese on it. But my friends both said they thought it was better than Kogi.
All in all, a pretty fun and successful crawl, and I didn't get sick either. +1 star. This will be my last socal post, and I think it's fitting that I go out with a bang as I'm moving up to Davis tomorrow to spend my next four years. So to end, lemme hear you say, "hotel, motel, HOLLA-day inn!" Peace love and tacos everybody!

August 24, 2010


Still on my search for good sushi in the area, I decided to check out a place in the Chino area. I had been here once before a few years back, and it had seemed to be a promising place.
To start, I shared an eggplant dish that had been simmered in some kind of soy sauce base and topped with some grated radish, which I thought was pretty good.
My sister ordered a combo that came with soup and salad.
For her main dishes, she got chicken karaage and some sashimi. I've only had that chicken once a long time ago, so I don't really remember it too well, but this version was a bit bland although decently fried.
I got the chopped yellowfish (or was it toro?) in ponzu sauce, which wasn't too bad.
An order of ikura, which was also average.
And a sample nigiri plate. None of the stuff besides the spicy tuna roll was very fresh. I had proceeded to mark single orders of nigiri, but when I saw that it was cheaper getting this, I jumped on it. Well, now I know why.
I found both the quality and their prices average for a sushi bar. Seems to be a neighborhood favorite as the place was pretty packed. But my search for good sushi in the area still goes on.

August 23, 2010

korea: hongdae and shindangdong

We stopped by Ewha University (the top women's university) to visit an old friend, then we were off to Hongdae U, in which the surrounding area is known as a popular college hangout. While I loved UCSD and La Jolla is a beautiful place, it's far from a college town and I was always slightly envious when visiting friends at other campuses, particularly Berkeley, where the city seemed to be integrated, and not segregated, with the school.
The women here were definitely a lot more beautiful than I remembered them to be. Lol, actually that's a guy, rockin the tight jeans and a leopard skin hand bag. A lot of the males here seemed to be on the feminine side in dress...Sorry for the blurry picture, but when you're in the subway station, you gotta move, lest you get trampled.
The subways are awesome here though, and we found Hongdae easily enough.
We stopped by Bonchon, the Korean fried chicken place, for a quick snack. I've actually never had visited this particular joint in the states, so I wanted to see how it would be in the motherland. We ordered some Asahi and munched on some free chip/corn thingies.
The digs.
While waiting, the helpful waiter came out and gave us each a box saying "sample." What the fruit?
Inside the cute little package lay a small chicken wing. I thought to myself if these were the size of the wings, I would feel jipped. It didn't seem to be very fresh, and I guess they were trying to get rid of them. Later when we were leaving, I saw them handing out free samples outside.
The waiter then came out with a metal gravy boat. I asked what it was, and he said it was a fruit cocktail as service. Lol...gotta love it here.
We ordered 5 drumsticks, 3 spicy and 2 soy sauce I think. These were quite big pieces and if you love thin crispy skin, you would enjoy this. I don't remember how the soy sauce tasted, but the spicy wasn't very hot at all. It reminded me a bit of a korean ramen packet seasoning (like shin ramen). I still think Kyochon has the best spicy wings although the one in Rowland Heights seems to have gone out of business.
Up close and personal with that double deep fried goodness.
We spent the rest of the night wandering around from place to place. Some kids spitting some rhymes at a playground.
Wonder what they have in here?
Seriously though, the ladies were looking right, a stark contrast from my past memory of ugly school girls. A friend of mine described this place as a "meat market."
Nearby was some reps from Cass, giving out free beer. Another watered down lager, but hey, it was free, and you know me!
Do your thing little turkey....
As the sun went down, the crowd grew bigger.
We stopped by this strange place that sold "hard" drinks in a bag, much like Kirk's adventure with beer.
I ordered a jungle juice (haha) and drank this down pretty quickly. Not very strong, more sweet than anything else.
We allowed ourselves to be pulled in by the tide of the crowd and ended up at some random drinking place.
We just wanted to drink, but they said we had to order something, so we went with the cheapest thing on the menu, a fruit salad. This weird looking thing came out. I think the white stuff was a bit like frosting.
Of course, we had to get the classic combo. How are you gonna say no to soju for under 3 bucks a bottle? Boktan gumbeh! (Soju bombs lol)
Shortly after, a waiter stopped by and proceeded to quickly put it all this stuff on the table. "Whoa whoa whoa, we didn't order any of this stuff!" *Waiter, giving me a curious look* "It's service yo, so enjoy yourself!" *Me nodding and smiling* "Thank you!" Among the goodies was a cabbage salad, seaweed soup, spicy marinated squid, tofu, and hidden in the dark because I didn't use my flash, a whole fish and corn cheese.
Finally getting to a decent buzz, I started to crave ddukbukki (spicy rice cakes), but I decided to hold back the craving (despite the fact that there were a bunch of vendors on the streets), and we took the subway back home.
But not to worry kids, there is justice in the world. I met up with my cousin the next day, and he took me to Shin Dang Dong ddukbukki town, a small strip that sells solely ddukbukki. There were people outside of their own restaurants, inviting you in, saying theirs was the best and you'd get hooked up.
This ddukbukki was a bit different from what I was used to though. It was served in a big pot and cooked in front of us with a whole other bunch of random stuff thrown in like ramen noodles. We ordered the extra spicy.
After a few minutes, it started to boil and turn an angry shade of red. And St. Peter in heaven, it was spicy. The heat on this was not a creeper; it immediately burned you from the first sip and if it went down your trachea, God help you son. Even my cousin, who has a high tolerance for the spice, had to admit it was pretty extreme. The small rice cakes were on the bottom, but because of the potpourri of other ingredients, there didn't seem to be too much of them, and that was a pity because I like those things. Overall, I preferred the more traditional version, but it was still good. After that, our two weeks in Korea were up. It went by so fast. It definitely is an amazing place, especially since I hadn't been in 15 years, but I hope to visit again soon!

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