Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In Memoriam : New KangNam Korea House - San Jose

It's so sad that this place is no longer around. We went there to do take out a couple of days ago but there was only a lease sign showed on the window. No sign of notification of any new address or anything.

We have lived in that neighborhood for around six years. And as far as we remember they were also around for that long. The food was simple but tasty, very homely feeling. Our favorite dishes were spicy squid/octopus, seafood pancake, spicy bbq pork and of course the soon dobu (tofu stew).

Everytime I watch those Korean drama and felt like having Korean food we always head there. Their lunch specials were good values. For around 20 something dollar we could satisfied our Korean food craves. The best of all, we don't have to drive all the way to Santa Clara Korean Town. Now we were left alone. Hik..hiks..

New KangNam Korea House
used to be at Blossom Hill - Lucky Supermarket (corner of Blossom Hill and Santa Teresa)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cafe Baklava - Mountain View

We went to this place on a Friday night without reservation. I thought it was going to be a warm night, so I didn't bring any sweater/cardigan. When we got there, the breeze was pretty cool. So we thought sitting inside would be nicer. We requested a table inside but were told that they were all reserved. It was around 7:30 by then. So instead of waiting with an empty stomach, we took a table outside. It turned out to be not too bad. It was fortunate for us that the breeze stopped for most time during our meal so we were could dine in comfort.

We shared a appetizer platter (mezzes). I ordered chicken kebab on rice with grilled veggies. Hubby picked one from the specials. It was lamb shank on tomatoes bean sauce. We were also brought pita bread with sun dried tomatoes dipping. Those were good. The dipping sauce was a bit oily (I wasn't sure what kind of oil they used) but we were hungry.

The appetizer consisted of hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel, cevizli peynir, tabouleh, dolma . We tried each of those and also the dipping with pita bread but decided to save room for the entree. My chicken kebab was all breast meat. Mildly seasoned with lemon and still very juicy after being grilled. The veggies were a bit soggy but was good complement to the chicken and safron rice. The rice for some reason was a bit hard on certain part, as if it had been left out uncovered for a while. Hubby complaint of the same thing with his rice.

Hubby's lamb shank was very tender. Practically fell off the bone. The lamb was cooked right with no trace of lamb smell. The sauce tasted sweet with hint of cumin. It reminded us of chilli especially with the beans that we found between the sauce. :)

Cafe Baklava
341 Castro Street

Mountain View, CA 94041-1296  (650) 969-3835

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Milpitas Buffet - Milpitas

Had a chance to check out Milpitas Buffet last weekend. It was supposedly another buffet place before (Happy Buffet). Not too sure whether it was a happy ending for the previous buffet. The place was in full swing when we walked in. There was a huge party that took up a few long tables.

Hubby's first plate was a platter a sushi. Their sushi selections were not much compared to Tatami. The sushi didn't look fresh and tasted dried. Most likely because they had been sitting there lonely for quite a while.

My first stop was the bbq station. One side was Mongolian bbq. Pick your choice of noodle, toppings and spices and the guy would cook it for you. The same guy also manned the grilling station. There were skewered marinated chicken and corn on the cob. I then stopped by the seafood counter and picked up clams, salt and pepper prawn, fried blue crab and fried chicken wings. Prawns were awesome. Clams were good. The winner was the chicken wing though. Crispy and hot - they were so freshly out of the wok.

There were three soups. We tried the miso soup and hot and sour soup. Both were good. Hot and sour soup could be more sour and hot in my opinion. The miso soup had tofu that was way bigger than regular miso soup. I guess the chef didn't feel like cutting tofu that day. The last one that we didn't try was fish ball soup.

For my second round I got to try the deep fried frog legs. Yeah...haven't had those for quite a while. They still tasted like I remembered it last. Just like chicken. Seriously. Even hubby who wasn't a regular frog connoissseur thought the same too. He tried one and left the rest to me.

I made room to stop by the bbq station the second time to try the Mongolian bbq. It came out a bit too oily for my taste. Next time I have the guy to cut the amount of oil.

Hubby finally gave up after he gobbled up a platter of chicken wings. He went and grabbed some fruits and jello. Really nice combination of color.
Milpitas Buffet
24 S. Abbott Ave, Milpitas, CA 95035
(408) 945-8888

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Janty Noodle and Bakmi Parahyangan - West Covina

We’ve been to this noodle joint last year. For an Indonesian style dry noodle, this is as close as you can get when you’re craving it. We were there on Sunday evening. The place seemed more alive than before. The premise is part of a food court adjacent to a grocery store. Last year when we were there, the grocery store was closed down. This year there has been a replacement – Hongkong Supermarket. Supposedly it’s a supermarket chain stores that has around 17 around LA area, mostly West Covina and Rowland Heights.

The new comer was another noodle joint exactly next to Janty Noodle. The name is Bakmi Parahyangan – Parahyangan Noodle. I ordered a bowl of noodle with mushroom topping from Janty noodle for hubby. Then I went next door and inquired about their noodle. Looking at the menu, I noticed a lot of over lapping between Janty Noodle and Bakmi Parahyangan. Wow…what a tight competition. I ordered their special which was ..of course – The Parahyangan noodle itself.

Hubby got his noodle and enjoyed it so much. He kept on praising that it was the best dry noodle by far. He asked me what I ordered and I told him I got another noodle order from the other stall. He commented that he was hungry and had room for more. Then I went and picked up my noodle order. Upon looking at it, we were overwhelmed. Noodle was nowhere to be seen. Roasted pork, half a soy sauce egg, chicken meat, boy choy, pork skin, etc. Those were the topping for this Parahyangan noodle. Wow..we totally got a better value for almost the same amount paid. Competition is awesome !!

Janty Noodle
989 S Glendora Ave #14

West Covina, CA 91790
(626) 480-1808

Bakmi Parahyangan (next door to Janty Noodle)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Food Tour of San Francisco : a tourist point of view

Me and hubby were in SF taking a friend from out of town. We did the usual. First stop Fisherman's Wharf. We avoided sit-down restaurants. We just wanted to snack along the way.

First : chilli dog. This one turned out to be so so only. A bit on the salty side and more beans than anything else. Not even any heat at all.
Location : one of the stalls toward the back of Pier 39

Second : clam chowder. Yeah..this is a must try if one visits Pier 39. We got one on the bread bowl and a cup. The bread was a good additional to the soup. Me and hubby shared the 'bowl cover' and we got pretty full from it. The chowder was surprisingly rich, creamy and clammy. Just thinking about it made me want to go back.
Location : Look for the red stalls just in front of Pier 39. There were two of them. I think they were chain stores brand or something.

Last : custard tart. If you're in China Town. Make time to stop by this tiny bakery shop on Grant Ave to check out their custard tart. The best in town. Always fresh out of the oven. The wait time could be around 20 minutes but believe me it's worth every bite of it.

1029 Grant Ave

(between Jackson St & Pacific Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 781-2627

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thai Dessert and Vegetarian Food - Thai Town Los Angeles

I don't know the name of this place. I took down a picture of the place. There was some Thai characters on it and also English but with no name. But if you like Thai dessert especially the deep fried style, you should totally check this place out. It's located next to Sapp Coffee Shop.

We discover this place on the way back to our car. I peeked inside the store and saw a pile of what looked like tiny baked coconut cake. I don't know the name, but by the look of it I know it must be made of coconut. ha..ha.. So I signaled hubby and we both went in. Everything looked yummy so I had to remind myself to just pick enough for that day since we would be mostly on the road. I asked the lady working there and she confirmed my diagnose of coconut cake. I got an order of those. We got ten for $3. I was about to pick another one that looked like mini empanadas but then I noticed a few other ladies tending some mighty big wok at the back. They looked like they were deep frying some snacks. I asked the lady who was helping me and she told me those were fried banana. OMG ...fried banana ??? I sure would love some of those. Even though it meant we would have to wait another ten minutes.

Ten pieces of banana for $5. I think it's a fair deal. I wouldn't have been able to do a better job myself with a big wok of hot oil. And since they all stick together, we got to enjoy some fried taro as well. They were good. So awesome that I forgot to take pictures of them.

Turned out that the coconut cake were really made of coconut - shredded coconut not just coconut milk. When we chew on them, they were a bit chewy. Not exactly like I had imagined but we still enjoyed them.

Location : next door to Sapp Coffee Shop

Sapp Coffee Shop - Thai Town Los Angeles

Feeling like having a bowl of hot Thai style noodle soup in the morning, we skipped breakfast at our hotel. By 9 something we left our hotel and was on 101 to Thai Town. The road was relatively quiet. Hollywood Blvd was still sleeping. I started to doubt that we would be able to get our bowl of noodle that morning. But we were wrong, the big sign outside Sapp Cafe said OPEN. We gladly parked and went in.

The lady greeted us in Thai thinking that we were. She brought us the menu and as we were looking at it, she brought us two cups of ice water. Then we were ready to order. I got noodle soup with minced pork, fish cake and sliced pork liver and hubby got noodle soup with fish ball.

Not long later we were busy prepping our noodle soup and slurping it. As usual they satisfied our craving of hot and sour Thai style noodle. Hubby's fish ball noodle soup actually came with fried pig skin (chicharones) which surprisingly when got soggy absorbed a lot of flavor of the soup. Yummy and good combination with fish balls. My noodle soup used pork bone broth so it had more pork flavor than hubby's which was pretty mild.

The bowl of noodle there was slightly smaller than those of Vietnamese pho in San Jose so we felt that we had room for another item. So the next time the lady came checking on us, we ordered a plate of rad na which is fried wide rice noodle with gravy.

Our rad na was also very good. Smoky with enough gravy to fill up a plate but the noodle wasn't soggy at all. Perfect.

Sapp Coffee Shop
5183 Hollywood Blvd,  Los Angeles, CA 90027   (323) 665-1035

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Simpang Asia - Los Angeles

Simpang Asia is one of the recommended place to have Indonesian food when you're in LA area. A few years ago we managed to sample some of their dishes at the West Covina location before they closed down later on.

The LA location one is side by side with a small convenience store that provides Indonesian snacks, drinks, some ready made food and sandwiches. The restaurant portion seemed like it was just renovated. Minimalist, cement floor, no decor whatsover on the wall. On one side was a counter with a cash register and a bunch of snacks on the counter. There was a sign that says "All snacks $1". Kue lapis - layered coconut cake and bolu kukus - steamed cup cakes were among the snacks. We got to try some fried banana (2 for $1).

When we got there, there were about three tables occupied. It took about a couple of minutes before anybody acknowledged us. We were then seated and given a menu. First page of menu was special of the day. None of those seemed to be interesting enough. So I settled with Bakwan Malang - noodle soup with fried wonton. For hubby I chose Nasi Rames Padang - rice with Padang style spicy dishes. And for dessert, we'd share es teler - shaved ice with avocado, coconut and jackfruit.

Our orders came out pretty promptly. I was quite surprise with the size of my Bakwan Malang. The bowl was tiny and the amount of rice and yellow noodle was ridiculously small. Okay, there are not too many Indonesian in the whole LA area and you need to survive but seriously, noodles don't cost that much. The chilli paste that came with it was a killer though. It was spicy enough that I didn't have to use the whole serving. Hubby even had to use part of my chilli paste because his wasn't spicy enough to his liking. All in all I enjoyed my order even though I think they should have put more noodles.

Hubby's Nasi Rames Padang looked delicious. The combo came with rendang - beef in coconut milk and spice, balado style egg and prawn, green chillies and jackfruit cooked in coconut milk. I tasted the rendang and it was good. The green chillies though was disappointing. It was too finely grounded to more like a paste consistency. The real one should be just roughly pounded and still show big pieces of green chillies. Anyhow it was a good combo though of course it was pretty milk to our taste. But it's a good value compare to my Bakwan Malang.

By the time we were done with our food, the es teler still hasn't showed up yet. Upon asking, I was told that they're preparing it. I think they forgot. But anyhow we got our order. It was fresh and refreshing for a hot day. A bit too much ice which we didn't finish at the end. We just fished out the avocado, jackfruit and coconut shavings.

From next door convenient store, we bought otak-otak. Literally means brain but it's actually snacks made of fish paste, coconut milk, salt and pepper wrapped in banana leaf and grilled. The fresh ones are good. But the ones we got were a bit disappointing. Dry and a bit too tough. The peanut dipping sauce was wonderful though.

Simpang Asia
10433 National Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90034-4681   (310) 815-9075

Monday, July 5, 2010

Kyochon - Los Angeles

Having had this name on my 'must try' list for at least two years. Finally I can cross it out and make room for other restaurants.

The restaurant was located on a strip mall. Parking on a busy day could be challenging. The strip mall has limited parking space. We were there at 12 noon on Saturday. Some of the restaurants were not open for business but there were not too many parking spots left.

The restaurant itself was at the corner of the strip mall which gives it benefits of having view to both street - 6th St and Serrano. Especially since the restaurant also has huge windows with covering that can be pulled down (on hot days) that will show pictures of fried chicken. Tasty !

We went to the counter but upon knowing that we were going to eat there, we were told to get a seat. Then a waitress brought us our menus. I zeroed in on a small order of soy sauce chicken wings. Hubby would get the combo of potato wedges, spicy chicken wings with a soda. I also got a side dish of pickled daikon. While waiting for the order we saw a few patrons coming in and out picking up their orders. Their take out orders was put in a very cute bag that looked more like a bag from a boutique rather than a take out fried chicken restaurant. I'm not kidding !

The potato wedges came on a platter with a little container of ketchup. It was far way bigger platter than I'd have imagined. The chicken wings though were smaller than I thought. A small order of chicken wings only consists of five pieces. And of course that were not much. But we were not looking to stuff ourselves. The day was going to be long and we looked forward to other eateries along the way.

Back to the chicken wings. The spicy ones were delicious. Awesome. A bit of heat and hint of garlic at the background. Our order of soy sauce wings were grilled (which could also be fried to your choice if one prefers) were not special. They were just salty and we felt like we could do it ourselves at home. But they went well with the sweet tangy pickled daikon. All in all the combination of potato, chicken and daikon were good. We were full but not stuffed. If they had location closer to where we live, we would certainly be back.

3833 W 6th St

Los Angeles, CA 90020