Showing posts with label food marathon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food marathon. Show all posts

Friday, April 24, 2009

South Bay Japanese Food Marathon, Part 1

The South Bay has rapidly turned into a Japanese food mecca, with the likes of yakitori-turned-izakaya Bincho, etc in the area. I haven't been there much. Why? It's really not that far. There should be no reason! So why not go and hit em all, food marathon-style? I was joined by Food Destination + 1, Pepsi Monster, the nascent Kung Food Panda, Mattatouille, Choisauce, Teenage Glutster, and Rumdood.

Our first stop: some okono and monjayaki at Gaja in Lomita.

Which one do we want to order? Do we want to cook 'em ourselves or have them prepare it for us?
Luckily Food Destination(a.k.a Gilded Palate)'s Japanese gf was there so we could order properly.
Look at her skilfully whip out our okonomiyaki on the teppan!

This time we also had something I haven't tried here before, the monjayaki. We ordered the one with mochi and spicy roe.

You also grill this monjayaki on the teppan, but it doesn't quite solidify like the okonomiyaki.

Okay, you got me, I just love eating it with the cute lil spatula they gave us!
The monjayaki might look weirdly gooey and runny, but it's actually a creamy mochi-like concoction that's pretty flavorful with the spicy cod roe.

Gaja Japanese Restaurant
2383 Lomita Blvd Ste 102
Lomita, CA 90717
(310) 534-0153

Next we went right next door to one of my favorite patisserie, Patisserie Chantilly. Communist-style, we each put in $3 and got a bunch of stuff. Except that the ones below are bought separately by Pepsimonster and added into the pot ...

We had almost everything, including their popular cream puffs (popular because Mr J Gold raved about it) - all three flavors: Chantilly cream, chocolate, and sesame.

One of our favorites was the souffle fromage - which is kind of like the love child of a rare cheesecake+souffle.
Light and fluffy, Food Destination claims it's like eating clouds. Agreed. A sweet, cheesy cloud.

Maybe you're thinking that we were sitting nicely around a table, taking a small bite of each cake and passing it around ... well, I wouldn't want to mislead you. When food bloggers share teeny cakes like these, our approach is to ...
ATTACK!


P√Ętisserie Chantilly
2383 Lomita Blvd
Lomita, CA 90717
(310) 257-9454
P√Ętisserie Chantilly on Urbanspoon

The day had just started. Next stops: a detour from Otafuku and Hakata Ramen to Ichimiann, and a grand finale at Izakaya Bincho :)
In the meantime, you can read about it on Food Destination and Pepsi Monster's blogs.



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Monday, February 16, 2009

Jungle Food Marathon Part 2: Cambodia and Vietnam

Continuing on my report of the Jungle Food Marathon with FoodMarathon, LA&OC Foodie, FoodDestination, DigLounge, Teenage Glutster, Mattatouille, and Choisauce (who in between this and the first post, has started her own blog!!).

After our nice Peruvian meal, we went further south to Long Beach to Siem Reap, a Cambodian restaurant with Cambodian music videos playing on the background. I know DigLounge in particular *really* enjoyed this song Dhoom Dhoom ...

We ordered quite a variety of dishes including the Beef and anchovy saladSome Beef lok lak (they didn't have venison) - marinated square chunks of meat cooked with some peppery sauce.
These are pretty basic, but delicious and particularly tender. I can see how they can be a staple food.

Another "typical" Cambodian dish is the fish and sadao leaves salad
Definitely different/interesting. The sadao leaves were, yes, bitter.

We also got some pork curry (pictured below) and fish paste that you eat with various raw veggies
I actually enjoyed this pork curry quite a bit - a tad spicy but not too much so even for me.

The Fish Paste stunk of rotten meat to me and I really could not eat it (I can't believe you guys ate this but can't handle durian! :P )

Siem Reap
1810 E Anaheim St
Long Beach, CA 90813
(562) 591-7414
Siem Reap on Urbanspoon

Next we ventured down to the Westminster area, to a Vietnamese bistro called Quan Hop. Prices here are slightly higher than usual for VNese food, but it is a bistro with a nice ambiance and probably caters to the younger crowd.

We started off with these small appetizers called Banh Beos, which are steamed rice pancakes with dried shrimps, scallions etc in the middle, served with fish sauce.
Really enjoyed this - the toppings were delicious and savory. The rice pancake itself is pretty light and nicely chewy.

We also got a vegetarian version of these, but they tasted and looked pretty similar, so no extra photo/description.

Next we had some banhitram: fried glutinous rice flour filled with shrimp, pork and mushrooms
This is the dish that really stood out in my mind from this particular stop - different and delicious. Chewy mochi-like rice cakes - these were bordering on 'dessert-y' for me (even with the shrimp/pork inside), but they are delicious little things and I definitely recommend you guys try them!

The other dishes we tried that night were all good, although the ones I remembered well were the ones noted above. The others include a jackfruit salad:
and tu tiu hop dai, a vermicelli dish with pork and shrimp
Quan Hop definitely has some interesting selections I don't normally see elsewhere and has a nice bistro ambiance.

Quan Hop
15640 Brookhurst St
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 689-0555
Quan Hop on Urbanspoon

We ended our day(night) on a sweeter note: sugar cane juice from Nuoc Mia Vien Tay (just down the street from Quan Hop)! The sugar cane juice here is freshly squeezed (is that the write verb here?) and enhanced by kumquats, as you can see below:
Nice, cold, refreshing, and cheap! The kumquats definitely add a nice citrusy note and helps get rid of the aftertaste that tends to bother people about sugar cane juice (although i never minded it).
It was 7 pm, we ended our journey and started heading home, satisfied. I think we paced ourselves well and thus did not completely stuff ourselves (Mattatouille apparently could still handle two Double-Doubles).


Nuoc Mia Vien Tay
14370 Brookhurst St
Garden Grove, CA 92843
(714) 531-9801
Nuoc Mia Vien Tay on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Jungle Food Marathon Part 1: From Africa to Peru

9 foodies, 4 "jungle foods" restaurants (+1 drink stop), 7 hours.

Back in November (yes, I'm behind ... ) 7 foodbloggers and some of their +1s made a trek from Inglewood down to Westminster to hit "jungle food" restaurants, i.e. cuisines from countries with jungles. Led by Mattatouille, the group that included FoodMarathon, LA&OC Foodie, FoodDestination, DigLounge, Teenage Glutster, and I made our first stop at a Nigerian restaurant, Nkechi African Cafe.

This was actually a detour as our original stop, Saaris, was closed. Thanks to iPhone's Yelp app we managed to find this African place nearby.
The place was completely empty when we arrived and the one staff they had there was definitely shocked to see the nine of us walk in.

We got some fermented palm juice to share around the table. It tasted slightly carbonated and was actually lighter and not as sweet as I had thought (or wanted it) to be.
So here you can order any type of rice/stew and get any of the different types of meat they offer.

We started out with some Jollof Rice with mixed meat
This was a good start. The tomato based rice reminds me of jambalaya a bit. The mixed meat was tasty (they were deep fried :P ).

Next we had some egusi soup (made with melon seeds) with goat meat, with some balls of starch (either fu fu which is made of cassava, or eba, made from yam)"
The egusi soup with goat meat was not bad, though the texture was rather interesting. It's rather hard to describe. Let's just say I would eat this again. If I have to.

The other dish we got was the ogbono soup, which is made with mango pits, and we ordered this with fish.
Umm. So. None of us liked this. I think Mattatouille was the only one who kept giving it more tries, while most of us stopped after two or three. The consensus, I believe, was that this tasted like "rubber tire with a slight hint of blue cheese."

Besides Teenage Glutster, I think this was the first time most of us had Nigerian food, but it's doubtful that we would try ogbono soup again. At least we can say that it tasted pretty darn authentic :P

Nkechi African Cafe
2717 W Manchester Blvd
Inglewood, CA 90305
(323) 541-1265
Nkechi African Cafe on Urbanspoon

Now, with that rubbery taste in our mouth, we rushed down to our next stop - El Rocoto Peruvian restaurant down in Gardena.
The strip mall joint was relatively busy and our server was a bit surprised (disappointed?) that the nine of us only ordered 4 dishes but then we told her of our lil excursion.

BTW, I was also disappointed because I saw Cusquena Negra on the menu but apparently they don't actually have it :(

We started with, of course, some ceviche mixto.
Just like Food Destination, I also just went to Peru last summer, and having had the amazing ceviche at La Mar, this doesn't quite measure up, but it was still pretty good.

We also got a combination plate containing seco de cardero (lamb stew with cilantro) and cau cau (tripes and potatoes)
The seco de cardero is hearty and gamey - this was my favorite dish of the whole meal. I wanted to get seconds but it was all gone by the end :< (Hmm I think FoodMarathon finished it .... ) The 'saltado' dish which is just sauteed with tomatoes and onions with thick fries served with lightly seasoned rice is a very popular Peruvian dish. Here we got the seafood version, saltado mariscos
I thought this was a decent version, though not as flavorful as I've had before.

We also got some Chifa dish, which is the Peruvian version of Chinese dishes. This is the pollo enrollado (chicken rolled up with pork, shrimp, asparagus, with veggies in oyster sauce).
I have no real opinion on this dish. It was enjoyable though I prefer to have my Chinese and my Peruvian food separately.

This meal definitely was way more enjoyable than our first and we were glad to get the ogbono soup taste out of our mouths!

El Rocoto Peruvian Restaurant
1356 W Artesia Blvd
Gardena, CA 90248
www.elrocoto.com
(310) 768-8768

El Rocoto Peruvian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

This adventure is to be continued on my next post as I go through the other restaurants. In the meantime though, you can read the other bloggers' accounts of this adventure:
LA&OC Foodie's , DigLounge's, , FoodDestination's, Teenage Glutster's and then you can take the quiz at FoodMarathon's site!

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