After lunch at Shanghailander Palace we made the short drive to Gale and the City of industry for our appointment. We had thoughts of getting our appointment done and having an early dinner and possibly a later snack. Unfortunately, what is usually an hour appointment became a 2 1/2 hour one. Kind of bushed we decided to just stay in the area. We hadn't been to the area on Gale west of Fullerton Road in ages and I had a choice of two places; Remy's or Xi'an Kitchen.
The choice became rather easy as I've been looking for good Shaanxi food since we returned from Xi'an a couple of years ago. The places we've tried just didn't measure up. We didn't set our hopes too high....I just really wanted a good Yang Rou Pao Mo, unleavened bread in mutton soup.
The place was totally different in terms of service from lunch; the young lady here just wanted to do the bare minimum. She was more interested in talking to her friends on one of the tables than serving customers. In fact, when the older couple on the back table, returned the Yang rou chuan; the lamb skewers, because they thought it was too fatty, she loudly and blatantly mocked them when taking it back to the kitchen.
I was fascinated to see Rou Jia Mo on the menu as "Chinese Hamburger". This is basically a flat bread filled with fatty pork. What's not to like. In my mind, I thought if this was half as good as what we had at Fan Ji La Zhi Rou Jia Mo (樊记腊汁肉店), I should be happy. With that as the benchmark, I guess I should be satisfied.
The filling was rich and greasy, with a good porkiness, just about right. It was however, ice cold, which made it somewhat unpleasant. The bread was over-worked and too dense , repelling the wonderful porky goodness of something like this version from Xi'an:
The Yang Rou Pao Mo tasted almost exactly like the version at Shaanxi Gourmet, so perhaps these two places are somehow related?
In places such as Tong Sheng Xiang (同盛祥) in Xi'an, the dense unleavened bread is brought to your table whereupon you break the pieces up and the hot mutton broth is poured over everything. I didn't expect that here, could you imagine the young lady having her social time interrupted for those annoying customers? Anyway, like Shaanxi Gourmet, the bread was wrong, very waxy and slippery, seemingly over-worked, developing too much gluten. Thus the bread never absorbed the flavor of the broth, which was decent, and the nice and flavorful lamb.
Of course I was wishing for something along the lines of this.
No cilantro, chili paste, or pickled garlic either...perhaps I needed to ask for those standard accompaniments? So, I recall saying that Shaanxi Gourmet didn't quite take me to Xi'an....perhaps to New Guinea; this one took me to Catalina Island........ Still, the portion size was quite large, and would fill one up quite adequately.
We ordered one other item; called "Braised Meat in Fermented Sauce", basically preserved meat.
We both loved the texture of this cold dish, though it was pretty salty. Still, this was the best dish of the evening.
The prices here are very reasonable, but you get what you pay for. I'll pass next time....should have gotten Niu Rou Mian next door at Remy's.
18213 E Gale Ave
City of Industry, CA 91748
After dinner, we decided to drive up Fullerton Road into La Habra, then to Imperial to check out one of the Missus's old favorite haunts; Brea Mall. For some reason, the place just looked dull and uninspiring to the Missus....ah, how times have changed. After walking off dinner we crossed over the 57 and checked out Mother's where the Missus bought some apples....which seemed to be the theme of this roadtrip; the Missus bought apples everywhere; Braeburn, Black Arkansas, Crimson Gold; we got back home with a bag full of apples....go figure!
We ended the evening at Daiso....the Missus bought some trinkets for some friends. If I recall, this used to be a dance studio, which I think has moved further down the strip mall.
In what seemed oddly humorous to me; they kept announcing how many minutes to closing from the time we entered....830 pm, every five minutes! By the demeanor of the staff you could see that they just wanted us the heck out of the store; it was easy to read between the lines here. "Attention Daiso customers, don't go away mad....just go away!!!" After escaping from Daiso, we walked over to 85C bakery, where we soon noticed all the other folks who had gotten kicked out left Daiso had gathered. Daiso refugees one and all!
What was really sad is that the Albertson's, which used to anchor this strip mall is now gone. We hated the Von's in Rowland Heights, which became SF Supermarket, so we used to shop here every so often. I'm not the biggest fan of these mega-chains, but we had nice memories of the place.
So Von's in Rowland Heights is gone, Albertson's in Hacienda Heights, along with Ralph's off of Colima Road in Hacienda Heights, and Ralph's in Diamond Bar. Wow........
We crashed early, deciding to leave for the next leg of our roadtrip early; like 530 am early. The Missus wanted to stop by Donut King in the same strip mall for a cup of coffee, for old times sake.
When we lived here, Donut King used to be open 24 hours....now they open at 3am. I'm still amazed that the place survives with Krispy Creme literally a block away and all the Asian Bakeries, but there were a couple of folks in the place at 530, so I guess they're hanging on.
It's been over a decade since we left this neighborhood.....we mulled over all the changes as we headed off into the early morning darkness......