One the way back home from a roadtrip earlier in the year, I finally had a chance to stop by JYTH Restaurant. I'd tried to convince the Missus to stop by before, but She declared havung the specialty of the house, mao erduo - ("cat's ears"), too much carbs. Since this was a solo trip, I was able to stop by.
Since this is the SGV, you just knew the place was going to be in....a strip mall of course. The place was quite empty when I arrived, the woman working here was very nice and friendly.
I was only after one thing..... mao erduo (貓耳朵). Which arrived steaming hot.
Very simply prepared, which is sometimes best, the noodle, which resembles Orecchiette, or as my coworker "Lily" who is from Shanxi, where mao erduo is one of the regional specialties says, "no, Orecchiette, resembles mao erduo." This version is quite chewy, almost dense, and hardens a bit as it cools. Quite substantial, it is stir-fried with soy sauce, garlic, a bit of napa cabbage, and a touch of sesame oil. It is topped eggs scrambled with scallions and wood ear fungus. Quite filling, I could only put away half of this before calling it quits. I thought it was fine, but nothing I'd go out of my way for in the future.
I later spoke to Lily about this type of noodle and was told it should be chewy, but also smooth and clean in flavor. This seemed a bit to dense and over-worked.
One really cute thing happened as I was finishing up my meal. The front door of the restaurant opened; two old-timers in wheelchairs were pushed in by younger women and a table was set-up for them.
The women were wearing scrubs, so I'm assuming there's a senior/assisted living facility nearby. Apparently this is a fairly regular thing as the server saw me smiling and gave me a wink! The gentlemen seemed very happy to have the attention, the women were very attentive....I guess these guys are their favorites! For some reason, I found this kind of cute and charming as all four seemed to be having a great time. Other folks I mentioned this to found it creepy.... I guess it's all based on your viewpoint.
Of course, in spite of the attention of young ladies, one must still be able to focus on the business at hand, right? Which means checking out the liang cai (cold dishes). The menu is quite a collection of everything from Sichuan to Northern Chinese, the prices are quite reasonable. The main item of note here are the noodles.
JTYH Restaurant 9425 Valley Blvd Rosemead, CA 91770
Of course I stopped to get take-out on the way home......
After all, no place even comes close with regard to these dishes in San Diego...
mmm-yoso!!! is a blog about food. So many events lead us to food. Today's post is about one of those days. Cathy is writing; Kirk and Ed(from Yuma) are reading.
Saturday, we woke up around 3:30 and let the dogs out, made coffee, threw some laundry and dishes into their respective cleaning machines and by 4:50, The Mister and I were headed North in the cool darkness of the early morning. (Other 2015 road test posts here and here.
Our first stop was Cream Pan, six minutes after it had opened. We picked up a ham and cheese croissant, orange chocolate pastry and a loaf of walnut bread, all still slightly warm, from the filled shelving displays.
Cream Pan Japonaise Bakery 602 El Camino Real Tustin, CA 92780 (714) 665-8239
A few 2015 Tournament of Roses parade floats were lined up on Raymond Street, ready for mechanical and maneuverability testing.
The American Armenian Rose Float Association, from Pasadena, is sponsoring this very large, beautiful float this year. It's the first time an Armenian float will participate in the parade, 100 years after an Armenian (M.S. Pashgian) was chosen as Grand Marshal for the 1915 Tournament of Roses Parade. The various details of this 'Cradle of Civilization' titled float symbolize the 'Inspiring Stories' of the American Armenian community. (Theme of the 2015 parade is 'Inspiring Stories').Here's the 'Observer' seated in the City of Hope 2015 float. He doesn't control anything, but speaks to the driver (seated more toward the center) telling him how and when to turn, steer and if the speed needs to be increased or decreased. Here's a full length view of the City of Hope 2015 Rose Parade float- it will have various beakers and flasks, a DNA strand, and 'wishes' printed on the tags, all attached to hot air balloons. Seeing the bare outline now is as interesting as seeing the finished product. (The driver sits next to the red fuel tanks).The Shriners Hospitals for Children float, "A Million Stories of Hope and Healing", was also tested that morning. The Shriner Bear rocks from left to right and is just so cute! See the small rectangle cutout at the base of the green bookmark? That's for the Observer on this float.
When we were finished with the testing, we walked to cross the Metro tracks and this time stopped to check out the public art decorating the Fillmore Metro Station.The spire (top and bottom details in the above photos) is part of the entire work at the station and titled Geologica 42. (Link to a very detailed description)(Link to a less detailed description). There is symbolism in all of it, from the baseball (at the very top), weather vane, anemometer, Bell X1 rocket ( which first broke the sound barrier, designed at CalTech and tested at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory; locals), the number 42 (Jackie Robinson was a Pasadena Resident) ...
...as well as the five bronze steamer trunks which are seats at the Gold Line stop (Harry Houdini was born in Pasadena). We walked over the tracks, to Arroyo Parkway and one block North, to Lucky Boy, for a quick breakfast. This 24/7, drive in, walk up, American breakfast, burger and burrito joint has been here for decades and prepares quality, hearty food for a good price (without tip jars on the counter). Above, the bacon and egg platter ($6.80): 3 eggs, hash browns toast and...bacon(!) and my usual, an egg sandwich on rye ($3.35) with the included fixings of lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. Served with the fresh made tomatillo based salsa, this was a great meal. Lucky Boy 640 S. Arroyo Parkway Pasadena 91105 (616) 793-0120 Website We drove five miles East, to the parking lot of Pasadena High School on Sierra Madre Boulevard and stopped at the Pasadena Certified Farmers Market, which was already buzzing.
We try to only shop at Certified Farmers Markets and this one is particularly interesting, being in such a central location to attract local farmers. Pasadena Certified Farmers Market 2900 North Sierra Madre Boulevard, Pasadena Website
Back on the road, headed East to the 15, I wanted some coffee and yet another snack (or three) and we stopped at the Chino Hills location of 85C (a location is being built in San Diego on Clairmont Mesa at Genesee, but seems to be taking forever). This typical (grab a tray, line with paper, grab tongs and serve yourself, take to the cashier who individually bags each item for you) Taiwanese bakery chain is named because 85 degrees Centigrade is the perfect temperature for brewing coffee. There are two sets of cash registers, one dedicated to beverages (but you can order beverages from the other register also). Our snacks, a mini apple pie (puff pastry crust) ($2), Cheese bread (filled with a sweet ricotta cream cheese blend)($1.50) and a Calamari stick (which was round, filled with cheese and topped with garlic)($1). Sea salt beverages are available here. Above an iced sea salt coffee ($3)and an iced sea salt (mountain green) tea ($2.75). There was no sugar added and each tasted wonderful, with the brewed beverage topped with a dollop of chilled steamed milk with sea salt crystals on the bottom, slightly blended in (swirling the container helps). The flavor meshing is amazing. 85C Bakery Cafe 12959 Peyton Drive Chino Hills 91709 website
We were home by noon. Hoping you have an interesting weekend!
A few weeks back we finally had some time to return to the SGV....we hadn't been back since we got back from our trip. I gave the Missus a list of places and She decided to forgo those choices and just return to Sea Harbour for dim sum. I've posted on the place a couple of times already, so I decided to do one of my C(learing) O(ut the) M(emory) C(ard) posts.
So it'll be mostly photos from here on...other than commenting on that "interesting" menu item to the right. I felt if I ordered this, it would try to hump my leg.....or something like that.
Still our favorite dim sum in LA.
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant 3939 Rosemead Blvd Rosemead, CA 91770
Strange what you notice when waiting for take-out. Here's the sign right next to the front door of Shufeng Garden. I thought it was a kind of odd location....unless of course, this is a common occurence here.
I hope everyone has a great weekend! No choking allowed!
mmm-yoso!!!, a blog about food and the story prefacing as well as post scripting enjoyment of said food. Today's post is bookended by food and also centralized by books. Kirk and Ed(from Yuma) are doing other things while Cathy writes.
A beautiful Saturday morning, waking while the sky was illuminated by the Supermoon and driving North to Pasadena was intervened with a quick stop for breakfast at Philippe the Original, which Kirk blogged about in 2007. (A recent post from cc here and from Elmo in 2007 here and a 2008 post from MiP here )This quintessential American Cafeteria, with a fascinating history, is famous for THE French dip sandwich.
There is also a breakfast menu. Walking up to the counter, The Mister ordered, paid and waited for our food to be prepared while I enjoyed the various miniature museum of displays surrounding the communal seating areas.
Soon enough, breakfast was ready. At the top is the Breakfast Combo Special ($7.50)- French toast, over easy eggs, bacon and coffee. The French toast batter has a bit of cinnamon in it, the bread is soft, thick and cooked just right (crispy on the exterior and soft and warm/fluffy interior). The bacon is thin and crispy and has flavor. Here's a better photo of the corned beef hash plate ($8.25)served with home fried potatoes and over easy eggs (again, coffee is included). The hash is wonderful -dry, not greasy- and has a great flavor. The Home Fries are made expertly, as are the over easy eggs and the biscuits (a classic baking powder/soda mix) - great short-order chefs.
We drove up the 110 to Pasadena and the Phoenix Decorating Company barn for the second 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade float maneuverability testing in less than six minutes.
There were ten floats being tested this day and quite a few were ready for their final tests before decorating (which begins in December) by having people on board to test weight bearing on the maneuverability as well as ability to escape efficiently in case of a fire. Above, Kiwanis International, with their float now color coded for the volunteers to decorate easily. So much prettier than when it was tested in its 'cocoon' stage last month (3rd photo).Similarly, last month's rebar/chicken wire/partial cocoon stage of the Lions Club International float, "Inspiring Challenges" (to the right in the first photo in that post), did no justice to this finalized version.
The City of Alhambra is titled "Go For Broke" and will also have a military theme.
The theme of the 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade is "Inspiring Stories" and a good number of floats are taking that concept literally and depicting books on their floats. Above, the Donate Life float titled "The Never Ending Story".
Back to food, since Philippe the Original is only about seven miles from Raymond Street...
The ordering cases filled with a variety of sides, ten order/serving lines (there are only five at breakfast), ordered chaos, freshly sawdusted flooring, house made HOT mustard on each table. (Philippe is right next to Chinatown, which I'm pretty certain had an influence on the mustard recipe). Lunchtime.
Double dipped (each piece of crispy fresh French bread gently run through the jus; opposed to a 'single dip' with only one piece of bread dipped) sandwiches of roast beef ($7) roast lamb ($8.50), sides of house made potato salad ($1.35) and pickle ($1.30) along with two glasses of iced tea (65 cents each).
Because we had side by side comparisons, we liked the roast lamb considerably more than the roast beef (no complaints when we tasted the beef first) (There were also some nice crusty pieces of the lamb in the sandwich, which may have been a further influence). The kosher pickle was excellent as was the freshly made potato salad.
We also served ourselves water...so reminiscent of Elementary School...
and stopped to check out the gift counter, where some old fashioned candies are sold (Sen-Sen anyone?) (this area takes credit cards; the food counter is cash only)...
while getting a roast pork sandwich, double dipped ($7) and pickled egg ($1.15) (see the gallon jar on the counter in the second photo of this post?) to go. No worse for the drive, the pork also was very good. The pickled egg has a good old fashioned pickled beet flavor.
Philippe the Original 1001 N. Alameda Street Los Angeles 90012 (213)628-1731 Website open seven days 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
Again Ed (from Yuma) is blogging about his road trip in June 2014. Who knows what Kirk and Cathy will be blogging about next.
On our trip to Paso Robles in June, 2014, Tina and I could see old friends, go wine tasting, and eat in some of the fine restaurants in Paso – but we also could stop in the San Gabriel Valley on the way up to Paso and on the way back.
On our return trip, Tina found a good deal on a room in the Hilton Hotel on W. Valley Blvd. in San Gabriel:
The hotel could not have been more convenient, smack dab in the center of the San Gabriel Valley and across street from San Gabriel Square, better known as the "Great Mall of China." The room was well furnished, the basement parking garage easily accessible, and the staff friendly and helpful. When checking in, we told the clerk, Adolfo, that we were staying there to be close to all the Chinese restaurants. "Yes," he said, "very authentic. The first time I went into one, I ordered orange chicken, and they all laughed at me."
That Thursday afternoon, we were tired from driving and needed to stretch our legs and what better way than walk around and look at restaurants and menus. It didn't take long for us to be overwhelmed by the choices and overheated by the bright sunshine. On our way back to the hotel, however, we decided to explore the little restaurants in Hilton Plaza, the small two-story stripmall just to the west of the hotel itself. Some things looked interesting, so we decided to dine close to the room that evening.
Shanghai Dumpling House:
We were early and only one other table was occupied in the small, clean restaurant:
Tina ordered honey lemon iced tea ($2.75), which she liked very much:
Having just driven in from Paso Robles where we had been feasting on wine country cuisine, we wanted basic simple foods. Cucumber in Sauce ($4.35) sounded cool and refreshing:
Amazingly simple, but simply amazing. Irregular chunks of freshly cut cucumber lightly sprinkled with salt and mixed with garlic bits and a touch of sesame oil. Not much sauce, really, but fresh and delicious, clean and refreshing – a perfect antidote for our four hour car ride.
The Beef Rolls Pie ($5.95) was next. A large and flaky green onion pancake wrapped around numerous beef slices, fresh cilantro, and a spicy/tangy hoisin sauce:
I suppose the pancake could have been a little browner and crunchier, but the flavors were excellent, and Tina and I were both impressed by the tender and flavorful beef:
Also served at the same time were the xiao long bao, Juicy Pork Dumplings ($6.95). We have had enough experience with boiling hot XLB exploding in our mouths that we ate half of the Beef Rolls Pie before we attempted even a single dumpling. But when we did, we were completely blown away.
If you look at this picture, you will see no spilled soup in the steamer; each dumpling is intact:.
One at a time, we would take our chopsticks, grab the little morsels by their topknots, carefully lift them off the paper, add a drop of black vinegar, lay them on the tongue, close the mouth, and chew. The juicy soup flooded the palate and the mildly seasoned pork ball was tender and tasty. Worthy of the mmm-yoso dance.
We were amazed by the dumpling wrappers. They were thin and elastic without being tough or chewy. When we raised the dumplings out of the steamer their bottoms sagged downward but never tore and never leaked. Just perfect Shanghai dumplings.
The last item to arrive at the table was the Stir-fried Vegetables ($5.95), in this case perfectly cooked baby bok choy:
For most of you, I'm sure this dish looks plain and pretty boring. However, the freshness of the tendercrisp young vegetables and the wok skills of the chef made this very inviting. In fact, we ate every piece of baby bok choy as well as everything else we were served at Shanghai Dumpling House – with no leftovers. That almost never happens anywhere.
Shanghai Dumpling House, 227 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776, (626) 282-1348
Xiang Wei Lou
Thursday night's dinner had been so easy and delicious that we decided to try another place in the same stripmall – Xiang Wei Lou, a small Hunan restaurant that Kirk wrote about several years ago:
The place was small, but well lit and inviting – though now I wonder about all those specials posted along the wall (what did we miss?):
Both Tina and I had been intrigued with Kirk's description of the pork intestine at this restaurant, so we discussed chitlins choices with the very helpful young server. "You know that's the, the, the intestines of a pig," she said, rubbing her lower abdomen, as if perhaps we were such clueless Anglos that we didn't understand what intestines were. We found that sweet and amusing. Kirk had not liked the pickled vegetables he had chosen with the intestines, so with the assistance of our server, we settled on spicy pork intestines ($9.99), which she assured us came with some vegetables:
It was good to see that the restaurant has not lost its touch with intestines. These were truly excellent. As Kirk said, they were split lengthwise and well cleaned, and Tina and I especially appreciated their richness and tender chewy texture. The promised vegetables included extensive celery, scallions, garlic slices, and both red and green sliced chilies. The veggies added flavor, spice, and crunch. Being over cautious, we had ordered the dish medium spicy, which was okay because there was a lot of noticeable heat, but the dish could have been even hotter.
Again being cautious, we had ordered the house fried rice ($5.99) not spicy:
This was excellent fried rice, the Hunan smoked pork giving it a unique touch.
That same smoked pork provided the flavor for the smoked pork with string bean ($8.95):
The beans were perfectly cooked in a very hot wok and tasted fresh and green beany. The pork – though it looks like bacon – has a different smoky flavor profile. This dish was probably our least favorite, though still pretty good, like someone's least favorite child.
The last item to arrive on the table was the house special, Steamed Spicy Whole Fish ($9.99): The fish was extraordinarily tender and melted in the mouth. While it had that fresh water fish flavor, it was not muddy or fishy. The profusion of chopped dried chili pods and crushed garlics provided flavor certainly, but this dish was not excessively spicy, and the flavor of the fish came through very well. We liked it:
Xiang Wei Lou, 227 W Valley Blvd # 118A, San Gabriel, CA 91776, (626) 289-2276
Overall, we had two excellent interesting dinners, and appreciated the convenience of eating next to our hotel. I also just want to thank Kirk for making me a more adventuresome eater and helping guide Tina and I to some of the good places in San Diego and elsewhere. Thanks Kirk!
mmm-yoso!!!, a food blog with posts centering around food, sometimes sharing the process which the acqusition of said food occurred. Kirk is busy, Ed(from Yuma) is busy and Cathy is writing.
More than a month ago, friend and fellow food blogger, cc, asked (another friend and food blogger) CAB and I to accompany her on a celebratory (beginning of vacation) food crawl 'Up North'. CAB unfortunately had a change in plans and couldn't make it. I discovered on Wednesday before our scheduled crawl that the first Rose Parade float road testing was also going to be held that Saturday morning. Checking out the road testing is something The Mister and I do and share here on the blog ( I also sharedecoratingand other 'behind the scenes'posts about float consruction). I felt guilty, A) Because The Mister wouldn't be able to come with us and 2. For asking for a slight change in 'plans'. Except our plans included and lot of 'maybe here and maybe there' places to visit and eat..so I added one in. Of course it had to be the first thing we did that day, because testing begins at 7 a.m.. In Pasadena.
At the end of this epic day (I was at cc's home at 5 a.m. on the dot and got back to my home at 6:35 p.m.), I was exhausted, had driven 314 miles and had 327 photos on my camera (many were the same subject from different angles) and so this post is mostly photos. Details in future posts.
First the 2015 Rose Parade. The floats tested this day were all sponsored by service (volunteer) organizations. The theme of the Tournament of Roses parade is "Inspiring Stories". The Grand Marshal will be Louis Zamperini, WWII POW, Olympian and the subject of soon to be released movie, Unbroken. Each float is the interpretation of the theme by each participating organization.
This will be the Donate Life float. It's in the basic stage of construction and testing. Those detailed butterflies are just so beautiful. You can see the float driver in this photo.
Now, to the food portion of this post. In order: what we ate and did. One photo from each place. Yep. We did a LOT in a few hours. It was fun, educational, tasty and only slightly exhausting. The details will be revealed in future posts. Feel free to guess or ask questions. Hope you are having a good week!
Man, it's so hot today.......I started doing this post and decided that the pictures speak for themselves. During my extended roadtrip to LA in February, I decided to get the $40 lunch from Shunji.....let me just say, it's worth every penny.
Last time I was in the area, this location was Mr Cecil's California Ribs....let me just say, this is beyond a major upgrade.
Like I said....worth every penny.....
Update: So now that's it's getting cooler here's the listing:
1 - Madai
2 - Megina (Opal Eye)
3 - Wild Hamachi
4 - Miso Soup with Crab
5 - Blue Nose Snapper
6 - Marinated Salmon
7 - Maguro
8 - Inada
9 - Hirame
10 - Kanpachi
11 - Kinmedai (One of the best things I've eaten so far this year)
12 - Ikura
13 - Uni (Santa Barbara)
14 - Blue Crab Handroll
Shunji Japanese Cuisine 12244 W Pico Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90064
I've taken folks on various roadtrips before and have even explained my strategy to folks....you need to have a basic plan of eating....what needs to be consumed right away and what you can take home, something that might even taste better later. You have to approach things with a rather balanced approach....you can't be like PeterL, who tasted a beef roll for the first time and just went after it,even when I told him we'd be getting another; possibly an even better version later.....which of course, he was too full to eat, along with the Xiao Long Bao, Shenjian Bao, etc, etc.... Just because he got greedy.
A recent, really fun roadtrip is a good example of the fun we have. We did a good deal of shopping in between meals and the Missus and I had a blast....and lots of left-overs to boot. I won't delve too much into the food since these are places I've posted on at least twice before.
Song Long - Cha Ca Thang Long for breakfast:
So this is enough for the two of us.........
As I've mentioned in previous posts, this place has become a favorite of the Missus. They open early; we hit them up at just after 9am and the place was empty. For some reason the Missus really likes the Banh Trand Me here and will eat it up before the Cha Ca arrives.
We like this version of cha ca thang long.....but it really won't keep so we had this for breakfast.
The one thing being that the mam nem is the gift that keeps on giving....as in every time you burp, you'll be reminded of what you had for breakfast....until lunch of course.
Song Long Restaurant 9361 Bolsa Ave Suite 108 Westminster, CA 92683
Tasty Noodle House - for my favorite Tianjin Baozi:
So, in my mind jiaozi, xiao long bao, and to a certain extent shenjian bao will not keep. Baozi is kinda iffy; it won't be quite as good, but can be passable. For me; the version at Tasty Noodle House is my current favorite. After going about taking care of shopping and stuff we made it to this part of San Gabriel....even with all the detours and road closures by 11am. It's a tiny restaurant, so it can get filled quite quickly.
For me, the item here is the Tianjin Baozi....but the Missus felt guilty about just ordering one item for the both of us, so we started with some Fried Intestine....hey, who doesn't love fried intestine?
Somewhere between 2006 and 2009, I really developed a taste for deep fried pork rectum...to the point that the Missus says when I die, I'll be headed to the "giant chitlin in the sky". These were crisp and easy to eat; though I'm not a big fan of dipping it into hoisin sauce.
There's something wonderfully yeasty about these that just takes me back to China. The bun is light and not too sweet; there's just a bit more than a smear of meat but it is also very light.....there's a nice ginger flavor that comes through which really refreshes the palate.
Tasty Noodle House 827 W Las Tunas Dr San Gabriel, CA 91776
When we start thinking in terms of "what's next", it's items that can either: keep real well, or have really assertive flavors. On this trip it meant.....
Hunan Chilli King - almost five years later:
It's been a while since we'd been here.......this is where I first understood what the term "big spicy" really meant. I also remember getting "maced" by the leftovers that I heated in the microwave. I'd been craving spicy food recently; the Sichuan in San Diego is quite timid and doesn't cut it, so it was time to return.
We started with the basic "three steamed meats".....
See the chili seeds? This was kind of spicy and was what we called a two out of three...the smoked pork (la rou) was excellent; the chicken (how lamented that they don't seem to serve duck anymore) was good, but the fish was really hard and chewy.....it was actually better then next day.
The one dish we were wondering about is a favorite of the Missus. It was a dish simply called "steamed eggplant" on the menu, but was so good that I've made this a couple of times. It has not quite reached the heights of the dish as made at Hunan Chill King though. However, it had been quite a while since we had it and wondered if it had withstood the test of time.
Well, it has....though it wasn't quite as salty as we recalled. It was also really spicy when we had the leftovers the next day.....still a great dish though.
As a bonus; we got our fun "San Gabriel sign" fix here as well.
Hunan Chilli King 524 East Valley Boulevard San Gabriel, CA 91776
Shufeng Garden - my take-out go to joint:
We had to stop by Rowland Heights on the way back to San Diego....so it made sense to stop by a take-out favorite of mine; Shufeng Garden. For some reason, it was really quite on this day.
There are basically two dishes I get from here....and perhaps some Liang Cai (cold dishes), we really need to stop by for a sit down meal again someday, but it's always the situation of "so many places to try....so little time".
Anyway, for us it's the Tea Smoked Duck:
And the Sliced Pork with Garlic Sauce.
This makes for some really good take-out....though I think Sammy may disagree.......
I guess he doesn't have quite the same taste in spicy foods as we do!
Shufeng Garden 18459 Colima Road Rowland Heights, CA 91748
We left San Bruno at a bit after 5am the night after having a wonderful meal at Wakuriya. We decided on grabbing lunch in LA, then doing a couple of errands, then heading straight home.
We stopped at "fragrant" Harris Ranch for gas and bought some stuff for Da' Boyz. What was really funny was that the Missus had never been back to LA this way.....so when I turned off at Gilroy, She asked me "why the hell are we taking side streets!!!"
Now if you recall, this was during the first weekend of December, which was the coldest of the year. The Missus told me to take a break and She'd drive until we reached Castaic. I dozed off, but awoke when the Missus told me, "hey, check this out!" We were on the Grapevine at the Tejon Pass and my god, it was snowing........like sideways snow. Now you have to remember, I'm a kid from Hawaii, the Missus didn't learn how to drive until She moved to the US......in LA. We don't drive in snow.....
I looked ahead......I told the Missus, "you see those vehicles in front of us? Those are snowplows!" Yep, at the Northern tip of LA County......snowplows....
This was something very different for us.....and yes, the Missus was actually fascinated by the experience.
We were very lucky, they had closed the Tejon Pass about 15 minutes later. A few minutes more and we'd had been caught in a traffic jam. Here's what it looked like in Castaic.....
We made it to our lunch destination right on time; a shade after 11am. We'd been wanting to return to Yai Restaurant for a while. Alot of water had passed under the bridge since that visit in 2006; we'd been to Thailand, Laos, had our favorites in San Diego, and were wondering if our impression of Yai would be the same.
Yai resides on the outskirts of "Thai Town". It's a no frills, no pretense, simply furnished joint. I kind of believe that what Yai does best is are Chinese influenced Thai dishes.
We ordered the two dishes that really made an impression years ago and went with one I was interested in trying.
One of the dishes that we really enjoyed was the BBQ Duck with Chili and Garlic ($10.95).
This was definitely not visually appealing. It did have that wonderful sweet-garlic flavor, though it was a bit on the greasy side. The duck was also on the chewy side, but had a really nice flavor.
The Black Egg Pow ($8.95)
So good, just the way we recalled. I don't ever recall seeing this dish anywhere else. Preserved duck egg is deep fried, then combined with a wonderfully sweet and savory sauce that captures classic Thai flavors.
The fried basil leaves add a crunchiness and a mildly sweet-herbaceous flavor to the dish. The preserved eggs have a wonderful texture, the exterior crunch, yields to the firm egg, then gives way to a creamy center. There's a slight sulphuric - musty finish that I find pleasant in a strange sort of way. This is one of my "desert island dishes".
This is simply called Roast Pork with Chinese Broccoli ($8.95) on the menu and is actually crisp roast pork with gailan. But this dish is more than just a description. I'm not sure where they get that roast pork, but it is simply wonderful. It almost melts in your mouth.
This was a nice way to end our roadtrip....it's always gratifying to visit places you really enjoyed years ago and find they're still putting out good grub.
Yai Restaurant 5757 Hollywood Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90028
Today, you can read about Tina and Ed (from Yuma) touristing and eating in the LA area. Tomorrow, it’ll probably be Kirk or Cathy writing. Things change at mmm-yoso.
The Huntington in San Marino (not far from San Gabriel) contains a wonderful Library, rooms full of Art collections, and botanical Gardens:
The estate of approximately 120 acres contains huge lawns decorated with statuary:
Flowers blooming even in late December:
The major art collection in the Huntington mansion includes the largest selection of English portraits outside of London, including Gainsborough’s “Blue Boy” and Lawrence's “Pinkie:
When we were there in December, 2013, the gallery in this building below contained an extensive exhibit, called "Face to Face," that focused on how Flemish painting influenced and contributed to the great art of 15th-century Florence and presented over 30 works by Memling, van der Weyden, van Eyck, and other greats:
Of course, Tina and I were also interested in the traditional tea buffet in the Rose Garden Tea Room ($29.50). Classical chamber music played in the background perfectly accenting the understated elegance of the room itself:
Each table had basic tea condiments – lumps of brown or white sugar and a small pitcher of milk:
When seated, we were given a large basket of buttery and flaky scones, each about the diameter of an old silver dollar, all rich and flavorful:
As you can see, some had raisins and some orange peel. There was also a small tray of complements for the scones – blueberry preserves, orange marmalade (made from Seville oranges grown on the estate), fresh butter, and sweet Devonshire cream:
A large range of teas including many flower or herbal teas without caffeine were available. Since we were having tea as a Saturday brunch, we chose good, old-fashioned English breakfast, which was flavorful but not astringent or bitter:
I have to admit to being slightly disappointed in the utilitarian teapot, which was refilled when needed. For some reason, I had expected something more ornate in sterling silver.
After gorging ourselves on scones – certainly the best either of us had ever had – we filled plates with treats from the buffet in the middle of the room. Here is Tina's first plate:
My first plate:
My 2nd plate:
From a different angle emphasizing the fruit:
This was all generally good. Tina's favorite sandwich was the cucumber. I liked the chicken and tarragon, the ginger and carrot and especially the smoked salmon with dilled cream cheese. The caviar was abundant, crunchy, and not too salty or fishy. The hummus, which looked pretty ordinary, was actually extraordinarily complex and flavorful. We both thought the lightly smoked Gouda was the best of the cheeses that we tried. Some of the fruit – I remember the giant strawberry in particular – was truly excellent. Of course the salads were fresh and tasty. It took great restraint to only have 2 plates of food along with the wonderful scones. Had we scheduled The Rose Garden Tea Room in the middle of our visit to the Huntington (instead of 10:45 am), we might well have sat there for a couple of hours sipping and savoring the various treats.
If I’d spent more time, I could have even sampled the numerous brownies, cookies, and cupcakes that I forgot to photograph. But I did take some snaps of the roses outside:
In any case, we had a wonderful time at the Huntington, and we both want to thank Kirk who reminded us about the traditional English tea room on the estate.
The Rose Garden Tea Room, at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Rd San Marino, CA 91108; Tea Room hours Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 12 noon to 4:30 p.m. (last seating at 3:30 p.m.); Sat. - Sun.: 10:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (last seating at 3:30 p.m.); Closed Tuesdays; (626) 683-8131. Link to The Huntington http://www.huntington.org/