*** Ba Ren has closed.
With this wonderful weather, I'm wondering, what the heck are you doing here???? I am glad to know you're reading though. The longer I do this blog, the harder it is to try new places. It is easy to settle into a routine of "wow, it's Thursday..... Ba Ren day." So here's yet another revisit to one of the places on our rotation.
Yes, it's Ba Ren again:
If you've got better things to do, I wouldn't blame you for moving on, and just doing other things.... contemplating your navel, perhaps? I'll try to have something new and fresh tomorrow! Meanwhile, here's some stuff on Ba Ren. We're slowly approaching 1400 posts, and I suppose some folks think that at least 700 hundred of them have been on what we've eaten at Ba Ren. Like I said; I wouldn't blame you.....
Shao Kao at Ba Ren:
If you've driven by, perhaps you've seen this sign:
Or perhaps the sign to the right provides more info. Basically, Ba Ren is now doing Shao Kao, basically grilled (aka BBQ'd) items for a buck-fifty. The set-up is a bit odd, as the BBQ is ordered separately, and you pay the young man who does the grilling, as it is not part of your bill.
On one visit, I finally gave in and had the lamb..... ok, I love lamb, and couldn't wait to get my grubby mitts on that skewer....
Surprisingly, this skewer was more tender, and was better than what I had at Shao Kao 818 in San Gabriel. It was very moist and reasonably tender, with good salt. The skewer was short on the cumin, and frankly wasn't gamey enough for us.
The new seasonal menu:
Yep, there's a new seasonal menu at Ba Ren. Of course it used to be that you'd be forced to have someone translate this, but now of course you can just turn it around, and you'll have the menu translated into English. The Missus joked that "no one will read your blog anymore since they've started to translate the menu." Of course I laughed.... ummm... you're still there, aren't you? Ummm.. hello....
Two of the items, the Lamb Ribs and the Dry Cooked Mushrooms are holdovers. I've been unsuccessful in getting the Missus to agree to order the Frog Legs.
There is one real winner on this menu. It's the Deep Fried Shrimp with Egg Yolk($12.99):
I'm not sure if you all remember the Sweet Corn with Pine Nuts, but if you do.... think of that dish made with shrimp. A nice egg yolk, lacquered, almost tempura batter coated shrimp. The dish is topped with panko coated with egg yolk, salt, and possibly that impossibly good three lettered flavoring ingredient.
Speaking of not spicy:
I've been asked via email, about non-spicy dishes at Ba Ren. And I try to make recommendations, of course the rice crust and the "pot roast" (actually a pork shank and lion's head meatball in broth) immediately come to mind. But recently, the Missus decided to throw me a real Birthday party. I was really touched, I can remember only two other birthday parties I've had in my life, and this would be my third. Of course we knew that there would be folks who couldn't tolerate very spicy food. So we tried to balance the menu. And when working with Wendy on dishes, She recommended a dish we hadn't even thought of ordering. The Jing Jiang Rou Si...... why would we ever think of ordering Pork Strips in Peking Sauce at Ba Ren?
Man, this was good. Just the right ratio of salty and sweet, and a nice savory bean paste kick with perfectly wokked pork. So here's another dish for those who can't tolerate spicy.
I've also noticed that there's another group. Folks who can eat all the chilies in the world, but don't do too well with Sichuan Peppercorns. If you want perhaps the hottest dish at Ba Ren, order this:
I made sure to order this for the Beer Week Dinner, just so folks know that Ba Ren does indeed serve spicy food.
Ba Ren still serves all of those oldies but goodies.......
This post is for one of my favorite FOYs (Friend of Yoso), who once thought that you could only get this dish on your Birthday:
4957 Diane Ave
San Diego, CA 92117