Showing posts with label alhambra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label alhambra. Show all posts

Monday, March 21, 2016

Going Berserk with The Rick Reuben Burger at Grill 'Em All

by guest blogger @iam_robot

By now I trust you all have heard of Grill 'Em All's extravagant burgers. Since its opening as a food truck 6 years ago, Grill 'Em All has been known to serve the masses with daily fix of beastly-looking burgers and loud heavy metal. A few years ago, I remember getting a Behemoth Burger (BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, pickles, bacon and beer soaked onions on grilled-cheese buns) during Venice art walk First Fridays could be a 2-hour ordeal and it almost seemed like a miracle when its impresarios, Chef Ryan Harkins and Matthew Chernus, opened up a brick-mortar shop in Alhambra (of all places) sometime in 2013. I knew when I saw them won $50,000 from the first season of The Great Food Truck Race, they’d do something extraordinary.

The colorful storefront – located strategically on the busy streets of Alhambra between Main St and Valley Blvd – tucked subtly between Menchie’s Yogurt and Applebees. Walking inside the shop, my first impressions were of the loud heavy metal blares and the gluttonous smell of sizzling meat and bacon. I couldn’t help but notice the long chalkboard menu showing their eclectic burger offerings: Chili-topped burger, peanut-butter-jelly & bacon burger, waffle buns & fried chicken sandwich, champagne hollandaise burger, etc. 

But today, I’m not eating any of those – I’m getting something BIGGER and BETTER. Finally, I had the chance to devour The Rick Reuben aka Hornswoggle, a St Patrick’s Day themed burger with Beer Braised Kraut, House Corned Beef, Thousand Island & Swiss on a Half Pound Burger with Caraway Topped Buns. This burger is available throughout the month of March.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Fiery Feast at Szechuan Impression (Alhambra, CA)

OK, that's not actually quite true. Szechuan Impression, which serves more of a "modern" take of Szechuan food compared to Chengdu Taste, is actually not as spicy as Chengdu. The main question on everyone's tongue is: Is it better than Chengdu Taste? The short answer is that they are each better than the other on different dishes!

One of my favorite dishes at Szechuan Impression is the mung bean jelly noodles, which I think they do much better than Chengdu Taste. This restaurant sure uses the word "impressive" on the menu a lot, perhaps in relation to the restaurant's name, or perhaps just bragging. Anyway, this dish is called the Impressive Bean Jelly ($5.99)

Szechuan impression
I thought it had a lot more flavor than the one at Chengdu. It's also not overly spicy while still having that numbing effect and bold kick. The slippery noodles have a cooling effect that tempers the spiciness for me.

My other favorite dish there was the garlic pork ($8.99)
Szechuan impression
This spicy, garlicky slices of fatty pork were very addictive! I would come back for this dish and the jelly, for sure.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine Expands Menu with Hokkienese Food and More

When Little London Fish and Chips first converted into Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine, they were only serving a small menu of Kalimantan style Indonesian and Chinese Indonesian food. Now, they've expanded the menu considerably, and I am most excited for the Hokkianese noodles on the first page.

My dad grew up in Medan, where the largest Chinese population are Hokkianese, and they are very proud of their food. Their noodles, especially. When my aunt has a layover in LA coming from Indonesia, she would ask for kwetiauw (large, flat noodles like the ones used in the Thai Pad See Ew). Never mind that she was just in Indonesia, that's still what she wants to eat! I'm partial to Kwetiauw Sirem, where the noodles are topped with a type of gravy, and Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine has it! 

What I had to get: Mi Karet Hokkian
Borneo serves a thick, curly, chewy style of noodles called "Mi Karet' which literally means "rubber noodle."
The only times I've had this style of noodle is at a Hokkianese hole in the wall in Jakarta. Borneo serves this noodle in a few different preparations, but of course I have to get the Hokkian style, topped with char siu, chicken and mushroom, egg, etc. The other preparations include Hakka style mi karet, which has different toppings. 

The noodles are served with a small bowl of chicken broth on the side, which you can add to your noodle to your own taste. The mi karet here was quite good, pretty close to what I had in Jakarta! Many complained that the food here tasted just like Chinese food. Well, don't get the Mi Hokkian, then, because it is Chinese food. But if you don't mind that, this is a great bowl of noodles!

If you want something more Southeast Asian on the new menu, they are also serving Borneo style laksa, a spicy curry noodle soup. We tried the laksa with shrimp:
The broth was spicy and packs a lot of flavor! This style is pretty close to the Singaporean laksa (although the noodle type and what they put in the soup differs) and may be one of the best versions in town.

Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine
19 S Garfield Ave
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 282-4477
Little London Fish & Chips on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kalimantan (Borneo) Food at Little London Cafe (Alhambra, CA)

As an Indonesian food blogger, I try to make my way to all the Indonesian restaurants in town, albeit slowly. When Wandering Chopsticks told me about the Kalimantan (the Indonesian word for Borneo) menu at Little London Cafe in Alhambra (formerly, and pretty much still is, a fish and chips place), I was pretty excited since Kalimantan food is a hard find. The LA Times beat me to the punch, but I feel that there is still some explaining I can do about the food here.

#1: Nasi Campur Kalimantan ($7.25) / Kalimantan Mixed Rice
babi merah panggang, ayam goreng bumbu, sosis babi, telur rasa, timun
(roast pork/char siu, fried marinated chicken, pork sausage, marinated egg, cucumber)

Nasi Campur Kalimantan
Do those like char siu and chinese sausage to you? Many of the people I knew who had come here said the food was just like Chinese food. Well, that's because it is. There is a big population of Chinese people in Indonesia, and Kalimantan in particular has a big Teochew population (Teochew people come from the eastern region of Guangdong).

The key here is the gravy that's soaking the rice and the amazing fried chicken. I should have gotten the half chicken,but luckily the fried chicken here is as ubiquitous as rice. In fact, it ended up being in all three dishes we ordered. No complaint, though, the chicken was juicy, the skin just the right combination of crispy and fatty.

The other dishes are more decidedly Indonesian rather than Chinese.

#3: Nasi Melayu Kal-Bar
($6.99) / West Kalimantan Malay Rice (Kal-Bar is shorthand for Kalimantan Barat, i.e. West Kalimantan)
Ayam goreng, telur gulai, ikan kacang, timun
(fried chicken, curried egg, peanuts and anchovies in sambal, cucumber - and it's not listed but there's obviously tofu, too)
I ended up enjoying the cut-up pieces of chicken in #1 better because the skin was fattier, but this was a great dish to order. More chicken, and the anchovies and peanuts in sambal is always a great accompaniment for rice. The "curried egg" was actually the same as the marinated egg in the other dish.

They ran out of the beef soup so we got the Soto Ayam Pot ($6.99) / Chicken Soup
nasi, ayam goreng bumbu, tomat, kol, daun bawang, bawang goreng, kerupuk
(rice, fried marinated chicken, cabbage, green onions, fried shallots, shrimp crackers)
Soto Ayam Pot
Soto is chicken soup made with various spices (the yellow color of the soup comes from turmeric). The fried chicken appears here again. No complaint, still, but they sure do maximize the use of their ingredients and it seems a bit silly to dump fried chicken in a soup but at least the marinade adds a nice flavor. The soto is pretty similar to what I get in my hometown in Java except for the tomatoes. They do a pretty good version here, though I miss the stronger flavors of Soto Ambengan.

Crysanthemum Tea
Tea with whole crysanthemum leaves
The menu here is pretty small, but a good Indonesian restaurant is always a welcome addition. Their rujak kalimantan (fruit and vegetable salad with peanut sauce) is supposed to be authentic and rare in this part of the world, but unfortunately they ran out when I was there, as was the beef soup, but they were getting hit by the post-LA Times crowd. I plan on coming back when the crowd settles and try the other items. Or at least have more fried chicken.

Little London Cafe
19 S Garfield Ave
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 282-4477
Little London Fish & Chips on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My New Fave Dim Sum: Lunasia

Happy New Year to all!
Hope everyone had a great winter break.

So, now that it's 2010 and all, I wanted to try to get my backlogged posts out! My favorite dim sum place as of late is Lunasia, which replaced Triumphal Palace a while back.

Why do I like Lunasia so much?
1. The wait is typically less than other places like NBC, Elite, etc.
2. The ambiance is nicer, the place cleaner, the dishware nicer, and the service better. They actually changed the plates regularly.
3. The prices are quite reasonable.

Even if they did bump up the price last year, "Medium" dishes are still only $3.28. The popular fares like shiu mai and har gow still fall under this category. (Small dishes are $2.28 and large $4.28)
Compared to Dim Sum Express' $0.75 shiu mai, the ones here taste that much better and for 4 of them you'd only end up paying $0.28 more.

The shrimp dumplings (har gow, M) are also great. The skin is not too thick as to taste doughy, the shrimp nicely flavored and fresh.

Chicken feet in black bean sauce.

I also always like getting their bean curd skin wrap ($4.28)
These are meat and veggies wrapped in thin bean curd skin in a delightful broth.

Buttery char siu bao ($2.28)

The egg custard tarts are rich with a nice, flakey crust ($3.28)

Earlier in 2009, they had these durian puff pastries that I loved. Alas, they didn't have it on my last 2 visits and so I can only reminisce about it.
The pastry was warm and flakey, and inside you could find creamy durian paste the way it should be - sweet, strong in flavor and aroma. If you don't like durian and thinks that it's not at all sweet, then I'm sorry to say you had a bad durian.

I have never had to wait more than 15 minutes at Lunasia, even on the weekends! Add the taste and price point to that, this is my go-to dim sum place.

500 W Main Street Suite A
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 308-3222
Lunasia Chinese Cuisine on Urbanspoon
Lunasia Chinese Cuisine in Los Angeles

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In Search of a Taste of Home: IndoKitchen

Indonesian cuisine in Los Angeles is not as common as Thai or Vietnamese, but as a student living in LA indefinitely, I still have to try some good representation of my country's cuisine. I've tried out the Indonesian restaurants on the westside through downtown, and also Pondok Kaki Lima at Duarte Inn, but there are still a few restaurants in the SGV I have yet tried.

So, to celebrate my exam passing a couple months ago, I had a pre-party dinner with Wandering Chopsticks, Kung Food Panda, and an old classmate, at Indo Kitchen in Alhambra.

I like avocado smoothies with chocolate syrup which is a typical Indonesian dessert, so of course I got one here - I'm celebrating after all.
Unfortunately the one here is not so great. It tasted like the avocado was not fresh, and the shake had a bitter aftertaste. I didn't manage more than a few sips.

As a starter I ordered the Ketoprak, which is a Javanese dish typically consisting of tofu, vermicelli, bean sprouts, etc, in peanut sauce.
A pretty good rendition, albeit it doesn't have all of the usual ingredients.

We also got one of my favorite dishes from childhood - goat Tongseng.
We usually make tongseng from leftover goat curry by adding vegetables (mainly cabbage) and then eat this the next day. Tongseng is usually not as spicy. The tongseng here is pretty good. The goat is a bit gamey (which I like) and tender, the flavors and spices are right on.

We also got their special fried chicken (I don't know why I neglected to take a photo of this!) which were also pretty good and flavorful.

Of course, we also got some rendang for Kung Food Panda who was new to Indonesian food. Rendang - braised beef curry, is a safe dish that people usually recommend to the newbies.
The rendang here is not bad, but could be better. Normally you would use smaller chunks of meat such that the result is more tender, easily cut with just the tip of your fork. Since Indo Kitchen uses bigger chunks, the meat is not as tender as it could be, and the sauce doesn't seep through into the meat completely. Still a pretty good dish - the meat is not tough and the sauce is flavorful - but could be made much better with just one simple change.

Overall a pretty good Indonesian restaurant, and I think the conclusion is mostly the same as the other Indonesian restaurants in Los Angeles. Indonesian cuisine spans thousands of islands with different cultures - and food cultures. It's impossible for one kitchen to get them all right, so at each place, order wisely and you'll be satisfied.

Indo Kitchen
5 N 4th St
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 282-1676
Indo Kitchen on Urbanspoon
Indo Kitchen in Los Angeles

Sunday, January 11, 2009

S-S-Spicy Dumplings!

Disclaimer #1: I can't really eat spicy foods and don't normally eat spicy (that is to say, I'm no authority on anything spicy -- if I am on anything at all).

Disclaimer #2: I tried these dumplings in chili sauce at YunChuan garden after Kat's disclaimer that she can't really eat spicy yet she loves these dumplings.

I now also loove these dumplings, despite my disclaimer #1.
Give me a bowl of these and a pitcher of ice water (or two) and I'm a happy camper.
It's really the chili sauce that makes this soooo good. The dumplings themselves could be better - with better dough and better meat.
But alas, they don't just sell you the chili sauce! You can try to bring home leftovers and throw the chili sauce with your own homemade dumplings. Mmmmm.

YunChuan garden serves a variety of other (spicy or non spicy) dishes as Pleasure Palate has tasted on her visit there, but these li'l babies are what I eat there!! Actually, they're the only reason I go there :P

YunChuan Garden
301 N Garfield Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 571-8387

Yun Chuan Garden on Urbanspoon
Yun Gui Garden on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hainan Chicken Rice Hunt

A friend of mine told me that he'd found the best hainan chicken rice place in LA (although he did say the place had also gone downhill :/ ), so for his birthday I told him I would treat him to a meal there - two birds with one stone!

He told me to meet him at Savoy in Alhambra. A place named Savoy in Alhambra? And it's Chinese? That's a new one ... I'm more used to Phoenix-Royal-Ocean-Seafood-Star-Palace type names. But I guess Savoy was kind of a "fusion" place (they serve pizzas - Asian style), although they are apparently still known for the Hainan chicken rice.
Savoy is a small place - they have about 5-6 tables inside, and a few chairs at the counter. Then they also have a few tables along the sidewalk. We put our name down and waited about 10-15 minutes and got a table inside.

We both ordered the Hainan chicken rice of course! this was taken with my phone camera, so the quality is not that good, sorry.
The rice was fragrant, almost the way I remembered it from back home. The chicken was tender and pretty juicy, and not too fatty. So the rice was just a weee bit dry, but if you just dump a lot of ginger on it, it's all good :)

We did both have to ask for extra ginger, but they gave us a big dollop with no hassle.
I haven't had a lot of hainan chicken rice in LA, but the one at Savoy was pretty good! It was as good as I would expect from places back home, and I think I wouldn't really expect much in terms of better ones in LA. I really enjoyed it and remember it fondly. I'll definitely be back often for it!

Savoy Kitchen

138 E Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 308-9535

Savoy Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Reviews: San Gabriel Valley


Bamboodles (San Gabriel) - CLOSED
Boiling Point (Monterey Park)
Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine (Alhambra) | old review
Cui Hua Lou (Monterey Park)
Donut Man (Glendora)
Falafel Me (Azusa)
Golden Deli (San Gabriel)
Grill 'em All (Alhambra)
Happy Sheep Shabu Shabu (Rowland Heights)
Indo Kitchen (Alhambra)
JTYH (Rosemead)
La Casita Mexicana (Bell)
Lunasia (Alhambra)
Lu's Garden (San Gabriel)
Mon Land Hotpot City (San Gabriel)
Noodle House (Arcadia) -- CLOSED
Noodle House (Monterey Park)
Pal Cabron (Huntington Park) - CLOSED
Pho Filet (El Monte)
Pondok Kaki Lima (Duarte)
Raso Minang (West Covina) - CLOSED
Salju Dessert (Alhambra)
Sam Woo BBQ (Alhambra)
Savoy Kitchen (Alhambra)
Szechuan Impression (Alhambra)
Taza: A Social Coffee House (Arcadia)
Vietnam House (San Gabriel)
YunChuan Garden (Monterey Park)
Zelo's Pizzeria (Arcadia)

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