It had been quite a while since we headed out of San Diego on a road trip. Things had gotten hectic between vacations and various trips we'd taken. And yet, we really weren't satisfying some of our cravings. One of which was the Cha Ca Thang Long from Song Long. So last weekend we headed out, for the first time this year!
I don't think Song Long has changed much since we first visited a couple of years ago. But it had been long enough that the old menu had been replaced with a newer version and the Cha Ca Thang Long had gone up a buck to $17.95.
It's still more than enough for the two of us.
From the caramelized shallots, to the nicely fired fish to what we call the "gift that keeps on giving", the mam nem, which you keep pouring over your bun and greens, only to have it keep "returning" for the rest of the day! It's just a lovely dish, one of our favorites.
It's also good that they open rather early, since we could hit up places before they got busy on this Sunday.
Song Long Restaurant 9361 Bolsa Ave Suite 108 Westminster, CA 92683
This was nice, not salty, could have used a but more bean paste perhaps, the skin is not the best, but the duck is meaty and it actually tastes better the next day.
It really hit the spot.
The place does put a lot of "jus" over the duck. In case you're wondering what to do with the last few pieces of duck and the sauce. Chop up the skin and what meat....little meat if you've done it right, and make fried rice. I actually made omurice with some of the fried rice I made......I was so hungry and the fragrance just took over, thus I forgot to take photos. Next time perhaps.
mmm-yoso!!! is a blog of food, events, events with food and other reasons to share what we (Kirk, Ed (from Yuma) and Cathy) eat. Today Cathy is writing about an event and also a meal, which did not occur on the same day...
Last Saturday, The Mister and I once again volunteered for "dry decorating" some of the floats which will participate in the 126th Tournament of Roses Rose Parade. A variety of materials are used... Covering every exposed part of every float with organic material is achieved with various glues... Really, the day is more "Detail Decorating"... Peas, lentils, beans, poppy seeds as well as bark, pulverized dried flour petals and cinnamon are the majority of materials used on these decorating days-December Saturdays before Christmas Day. Long day, with much accomplished by about 450 volunteers and yet so much more to do. Intensive decorating with live flowers begins December 26 and goes through until the morning of December 31, just before judging.
Of course this blog is about food, but this day was not very interesting... Stopping at Cream Pan in Tustin before 7 a.m., for some karaage, an orange cream roll, a cheese crisp and, of course, a ham and cheese croissant. Bringing our own lunch this time, we ate on the hood of the car... Getting ready for the drive home, we heard traffic reports on a major accident on the 210, another one on the 5, two on the 101 and others on the 57, 71, 91 and 15, so we tried to avoid it all and ended up getting home in about four hours after having not stopped for dinner, made grilled cheese sandwiches at home and slept deeply.
So, to have some sort of interesting food for this post, The Mister and I drove North during the week...stopping for a late breakfast/early lunch in Garden Grove at Brodard. When you walk in, there is an area to order 'To Go' items and snacks... Along the side of this ordering area, you can see the ladies making the famous nem nuong... Which we, of course, ordered after being seated in the already crowded restaurant... "Mixed order" of Nem and Chao Tom- Two pork paste and two shrimp paste ($8) Spring rolls were brought out almost immediately.What makes these Spring rolls special is, that in addition to the fresh lettuce, cucumber, carrot, daikon, cilantro and mint wrapped tightly in rice paper, there is a folded piece of crispy fried egg roll skin in the center of each fresh roll. The 'house special sauce', served warm (I believe it is made with pork and pork broth and maybe some honey) also make these Spring rolls unique. Another item ordered was the simple and tasty Gou du du bo kho, Gan Chay (papaya salad, $6). Made with both beef jerky and smoked pork liver, the version here is a favorite. The two sauces, one a spicy vinaigrette and the other more soy based, are served on the side and mixed to our preference when we eat the salad...
Again, we try a 'new to us' item at most restaurants and this time it was... Banh Hoi Chao Tom (angel hair vermicelli sheets topped with grilled shrimp paste and served with greens and a lime chili fish sauce) ($8.95) This was a delightful surprise! The dry, delicate noodles were just the thing to go with the various wrappings and good amount of grilled shrimp paste. We could have ordered this with whole shrimp, BBQ pork, grilled beef or nem nuong, or (as we will do next time) order the Banh Hoi Brodard- the toppings are grilled chicken, BBQ pork, grilled whole shrimp, grilled shrimp paste, pork sausage and egg roll, for only $2 more.
Brodard Restaurant 9892 Westminster Ave Garden Grove, CA 92844 8 a.m.-9 pm. daily Closed on Tuesdays
A few months back, I took a day off to meet some relatives who were visiting LA. I left quite early in the morning and hit Westminster at about 830 am. I decided to grab a bite to eat and it had been a while since I'd had pho in Little Saigon, so I decided to stop and get some. I checked out a couple of places and they were surprisingly busy, so I settled on Pho Quang Trang 2 which is in Asian Village Center right on Bolsa.
I hadn't been to this location of PQT, but I had been to the original location way back in the mid-2000's. From what I recall, they made a decent bowl of Pho Ga. I really wanted a obwl of Pho Filet Mignon, which is what I ordered. (small bowl - $6.45)
One of the main reasons being that I think I've gotten kind of used to the typical bowl of pho in San Diego, low in beef flavor, low in clove-scorched onion--anise tones, and high in salt/msg. I just wanted to get some bearings with regards to pho. First off, there was a bit less herbs than I was used too, but what there was sparkling fresh. The noodles were in the typical clump, but nicely done, still having a good amount of stretch to them. The broth looked darker than I expected, but was quite mild in the sodium department, at least compared to what I'd been having the last couple of months. Overall, a light beefiness, a bit too light in the fat department, but better than just about every place in San Diego. Not sure where it ranks within Little Saigon, wince I haven't had too many bowls over the last few years.
The only thing that I didn't enjoy was that the filet was still a bit too frozen, still stiff and solid, taking too long to get to the correct doneness and cooling off the broth too quickly.
mmm-yoso!!!, a blog about food. Kirk and Ed (from Yuma) are trying to stay cool. Cathy and The Mister went on a quick road trip North, stayed cool in the air conditioned vehicle and is sharing her one hour drive each way, just for lunch.
In an effort to run away from the stifling heat in our non-air conditioned home, The Mister and I jumped in the car one weekday morning and drove to see a place we had read about in the LA Times. The description reminded us of 'Food Halls' we eachgrew up with. We arrived around 10:30 a.m.See it? In the back, between the "P" and the "A". The Anaheim Citrus Packing House was rescued from demolition in 2000 and fully restored, opening to the public on May 31 this year. The two acre area just North of it, "Farmers Park", is used for a Farmers Market on Sundays, has an amphiteater and seating, a bocce ball court, public ping pong table and hosted outdoor film festivals this summer and will host other community events (a Fall Festival and Parade, Oktoberfest and a German Christmas Market) later this year. The rest of the 'Packing District' spreads over another five or so blocks, with various shops, stand alone restaurants, a small Food Court area and even a former library turned museum. There is public art, marked on the sidewalks within the District as part of Anaheim Artwalk, all 'Downtown' Anaheim, with City Hall in the midst. The entrance on the East side of the building. If you go in through the doors you see under the signage seen in the background of the second photo, The dual rooster greeters are on the inside on the second floor. Speaking of the inside... This open central/atrium area, giving views of the first and second floors is just so beautiful. You'll notice so many different seating areas, some for each restaurant and many, like a Food Court, out in the open. The individual tabletops (along the railing) each with an accompanying stool, have a hook on the back/center area to hang your purse or other bags. Notice that seating area at the bottom? Under the Pendelton Wool pads, the whole seat area moves; it is part of the original scale used in the plant. There's a seating area surrounded by history- orange crate labels, photos of the original Packing Plant, the scissors used to cut the opening ribbon... Places to eat and drink here? There are quite a few. Overwhelming choices, as noted by each porcelain tile... Adult beverages, behind that Gourmet Grilled Cheese, Fancy Frozens on a Stick, Coffee... Crepes, a 'comfort food' establishment that makes a variety of poutines as well as cheese curds, Southern Soul foods, even bulk foods, spices and seasonings (at good prices). There is a juice place, Indian, Japanese and Vietnamese, hot pot, another beer-centric place and a couple of not yet opened storefronts. Pick a craving; you can find a solution here or within a few blocks.
Then there was what we (finally) decided to order. Chippy's opened when the menu appeared on the screens. The items were properly fried, crispy and not overly greasy and the fish was a very large, moist piece. The squid rings were just OK; not bad, but not great. The onion rings were heavenly. The Chippy Fish and ChipsThe menu at Wheat & Sons was being written and would soon be open. We knew what we wanted. The Porchetta sandwich, still warm, served on a grilled ciabatta roll with a sort of pesto-esque/herby sauce, rocket greens, pickled radishes. Plenty of fresh garlic -no rosemary- infused pork, as you can see from the cross section. We also indulged in less than a half pound of fresh rillettes. If you can only choose one place for a meal, this is where I'd choose. Wheat and Sons butcher shop When we walked in, the first proprietor to speak to us was this nice young man who was chipping chocolate before his store opened. That's the whole menu. We ordered a small affogato with vanilla ice cream, regular chocolate sauce and the additional chantilly cream with chocolate shavings. This was THE best, ever. I don't care for chocolate and this was magical to me. Turns out the chocolate sauce is made from...chocolate, not cocoa, as other places use. Dark 180, another 'if you only can order only from one' place.
We will return. It was a fun adventure.
The Packing House in the Anaheim Packing District 440 S. Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA Website
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!
Last weekend, the Missus really wanted to drop by Portola Coffee Labs.....She has become a real coffee nerd. She's got all the gear to make pour-over coffee.....
Anyway, on the way down to the OC we started getting hungry. This gave us the perfect chance to check out a place I'd been wanting to try for a while; Ha Noi Avenue.
We really don't get to this end of Westminster Boulevard very often and I was hankering for some Bun Cha.
As with many businesses, this was obviously some kind of fast food joint....you could still see the drive thru lane and speaker board outside. The restaurant isn't very large, but is quite clean. Most of the customers were in rather large groups...families. And all were eating just about the same thing; Bun Cha, Cha Ca Thang Long, and Banh Tom, all the trappings of Northern Vietnamese Food.
I read of some instances where service was lacking, but we didn't experience any of that....in fact, the guy serving us was kind of, well jovial in a way. When we placed our order, he smiled gave us the "thumbs up" and said, "good....good!" Apparently he approved.
Fairly soon our table was loaded up; three plates of bun, two large baskets of herbs and greens, the pickled papaya and carrots in fish sauce, mam tom, nuoc mam cham, Banh Trang Me.....
Just the fragrance of the bun cha took us back to Bun Cha Dak Kim in Hanoi. While it was not nearly as good.....it was good enough. All the base flavors were there; the ground pork patty was a bit on the large size and not quite as tender, but the flavors, salty-sweet-savory-porky were just what the doctor ordered.
On another note, the bun here was perfectly prepared....just the right texture for me; not overly sticky or mushy.
When I saw Nem Cua Bể (crab spring rolls) on the menu, I had ot have it.
While not nearly as flavorful as #1 Hang Manh, lacking in the amount of savory flavors (crab) and not as light as I prefer, this was still not bad. Crisp, molten, and lovely with lettuce and a dunk in the nuoc mam cham.
The only real clunker was the Cha Ca Thang Long.
The fish, while moist was very bland. We've gotten used to all the flavors from Song Long's version of Cha Ca, amking this seem puny and missing some parts we enjoy like the fried shallots and peanuts. The mam nem was really watered down and weak. We'll pass on this next time and go for the Banh Tom instead.
And yes; there will be a next time. Funny thing, even though the signs say "pho" not one single customer (all Vietnamese) was having it.
Ha Noi Avenue 8432 Westminster Blvd Westminster, CA 92683 Hours: Wed - Mon 830am - 830pm
It's kind of nice to have all these options if we want a breakfast/lunch, we can go with the Cha Ca Thang Long at Song Long which opens at 9, or some Hue favorites at Ngu Binh which also opens at 9, or if we're in the mood for Banh Cuon we can go to Pho Tau Bay which opens at 8......
In the end, the missus got Her coffee beans at Portola, I got a cup of Kyoto Drip cold brew. And we got a nice little trip down memory lane. To a place crowded wall to wall with people, steep and skinny stairs leading up to an almost communal dining area, at #1 Hang Manh.......
It was wonderful taking that trip in my mind, down the dusty streets, dodging motorbikes, and eating like crazy in edgy Hanoi.....
I think it might almost be time for another trip.....
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!
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
Things have been a bit crazy for me since October and when my birthday rolled around in February, I was....well, not really in the mood for a party or anything, I just had a nice low keyed evening with friends. Later in the month, I took holiday time...I had worked through a couple, and decided to just get out of town...the Missus totally agreed....so I went up to LA for an evening. I was meeting friends for dinner; a very special meal of sorts and I had lunch planned out, so I decided on trying a place someone had told me about several years back......
Huong Giang occupies space in, what else, a strip mall off of Brookhurst in the complex that houses Stater Brothers and Pho 86. Having been in this strip mall before, I had no problem finding the place.
As you can tell by the sign, the restaurant specializes in Central Vietnamese style dishes....banh beo, bun bo hue, and the like. Half of the restaurant looks like a catering business, folks coming in to pick up catering and take-out orders. There was a pretty steady flow of customers picking stuff up.
The other half of the place looks like just about any other Vietnamese joint in the area. At this time of the morning it was just me and a couple of old-timers having their morning coffee and gossip.
Speaking of coffee....being somewhat inspired by the setting, I decided on a cafe den da, black coffee. I really don't drink much coffee nowadays (though I've started up again recently) and this was really strong! It really got me going.......like Dr Hook said, this thing wanted to "make my pants wanna get up and dance".....
Now, knowing the heritage of the place you'd automatically think Bun Bo Hue right? Well, not quite....you see, I can't remember who recommended this place to me, but I was told to try the Mi Quang - Quang style noodles. I hadn't had a good version since we left LA.
In total, this was pretty good, the tumeric colored noodles had a good stretch, the proteins passable, the pork cake dry though well flavored, the shrimp over-cooked. The broth was nice and fragrant, the flavor very nice, though it had a greasy tongue-feel to it.
Still, this was a load of food and better than anything calling itself Mi Quang in San Diego.
It was a nice, filling start to the morning.....with enough carbs and caffiene to keep me going.
Huong Giang Restaurant 14564 Brookhurst St Westminster, CA 92683
And for those who wonder were the heck that Dr Hook line came from....here's the song. And yes, I have a special place in my heart for a good hook (no pun intended) and cheesy lyrics. Have a great weekend!
First, I've always gotten very friendly service, the folks here seem really nice. The food on the other hand has been uneven.
The batter on Shrimp with Exploding Pepper was on the soft and gummy side. It also strangely lacked spice.
The Fried Intestines with Dried Red Pepper, one of my favorite dishes here was nicely fried, but again, really lacked the "ma", the numbing hot that makes this dish so addictive.
As with previous visits; it's the Steamed Fish Filet with Green Onions and Chopped Chilies was the best item we had.
Though it too seemed a bit mild with regards to heat.
Strange, the diners who accompanied me were both Chinese, one of whom worked for a short while at Ba Ren and we had asked for spicy. But this came up a bit short. Kind of sad really. We have a good amount of Sichuan restaurants in San Diego, but none seems to take the lead with regards to the whole "suan-tian-ku-mala-xian" and top notch technique. I was hoping that Fu An would step up.
Fu An Garden 4768 Convoy St San Diego, CA 92111
777 Noodle House:
It's really hard to argue with the prices here. The food itself can be quite good.
The Missus' favorite here is still the Tod Mun Pla. It has a very distinct Kaffir Lime Leaf flavor.
She actually prefers the version here to what the Original Sab E Lee serves.
I've noticed that they've started adding more sour vegetable over the years and making this a bit more spicy. I'm not complaining.
The place also makes a decent, old school, "count every grain" of fried rice.
I've found the beef to be tough and the chicken to be somewhat suspect, so we stick with the shrimp version.
777 Noodle House 4686 University Avenue San Diego, CA 92105
Song Long (Westminster):
Last year, FOY (Friend of Yoso) Kha, recommended Song Long to us for Cha Ca. And he wasn't kidding. We were recently in the area again and on a whim decided to drop by.
We arrived pretty early, about a quarter past 9, which made the place look like some strange, kind of kitschy VN-american diner. We only ordered one thing, the Cha Ca Thang Long ($16.95).
Man, the mam nem here is pretty heady....it's delicious, the Missus can practically drink the stuff, but man, it really is the gift that keeps on giving, as that aftertaste will stay with you for a while.
In what was a funny little vignette, a couple minutes after the greens and bun arrived, I think the guy working realized we weren't Vietnamese and brought over a bowl of nouc mam cham....we had been "gringo'ed!"
When the Cha Ca arrived I sat in awe......this looked way better than what we had last time. It was also delicious.
From the wonderful sweet and savory sauteed shallots, to the wonderful dill, moving to the moist and flavorful fish....not to mention the wilted scallions, this was quite good.
Needless to say, we're thinking about returning again soon....I hope it's always this good!
Song Long Restaurant 9361 Bolsa Ave Suite 108 Westminster, CA 92683