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Ladius' description here is the closest to Tokyo dialect, followed by wilafur.

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 15, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Peruvian Kitchen - Fountain Valley, CA (Review w/Photos)

To read the full review with photos, please visit -
http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/2006/10/peruvian-kitchen-super-post-fountain.html

A mid-sized, family run establishment, Peruvian Kitchen is located in an economic dead zone, sharing a tiny strip mall with the likes of a vacuum cleaner repair shop and a pan-martial arts dojo that has seen better days. Blink while you're driving by and you'll miss the shopping center entirely. If you're on the other side of the road, you won't even notice it. Either way, unless you know exactly where the restaurant is, you'll have a hell of a time finding it.

The decor is an oddly pleasing form of casual jungle kitsch, full of golden tones, light woods, and hanging rushes. Plastic fish, the odd fishing net, pictures of Peru, and a few native tchotchkes add a fanciful touch of whimsy to the experience. My favorites are the tiles with cute little fish outlines mounted above the bar and open kitchen. At night, the restaurant's muted lighting and candles make you feel like you're really dining in a small Peruvian village. ... Well, ok. Maybe more like you're dining in a classier rendition of Disney's Jungle Cruise. But, it's fun!

Drinks Sampled:

* Maracuya - A passion fruit juice of higher quality than is found in most grocery store juice aisles. Tasty, but familiar and not terribly exciting.

* Inca Kola - A Peruvian soft drink made from plantains that is practically the national beverage of Peru. It has a wonderfully mild taste, like the result of a sexy rendezvous between bananas and Coke. It's also a highly alarming shade of yellow.

* Chicha Morada - This sweet and darkly mysterious beverage is made by boiling Peruvian purple corn, then adding sugar, pineapple, and ice. Once the mixture has cooled, it's strained, chilled, and is usually served without ice, since the nuanced flavors shouldn't be diluted any further. I can't really describe what it tastes like. While you can certainly taste the constituent components, the whole is infinitely more wonderful.

Peruvian Kitchen focuses primarily on cuisine from Lima, Peru's capital and largest city, as well as on the cuisine of Peru's central coast, where Lima is located. The native food in this region is heavily influenced by the Chinese, Japanese, Italian, African, Spanish, Basque, and German immigrants who flooded into Peru during the 19th and early 20th centuries. As such, the dishes are both reassuringly familiar and intriguingly exotic.

Dishes Sampled:

* Ceviche de Snapper - Generous strips of raw snapper are marinated with thinly sliced red onions in a mouth-puckering ambrosia of lemon juice, lime juice, chili peppers, coriander, and garlic. It's served with Wedges of boiled sweet potato and large kernels of fresh hominy. Although the fish is undoubtedly very fresh, the pieces are too large, making them hard to chew. The marinade, which goes by the fanciful name of "leche de tigre" or "tiger's milk", is just slightly too strong.

* Tiradito al Aji - Thinner slices of fish are marinated in lime juice, pureed yellow Peruvian chili peppers, and ginger. Unlike the ceviche, onion and sweet potato are not served, although hominy is included. The thinner slices of fish translate to a finer texture, and the marinade for the tiradito is more subtle than the one used for the ceviche. It also works wonderfully as an entree, where it goes under the name Tiradito Mancora, and is served with white rice, fried yucca, and hominy.

* Anticuchos de Corazon - Thin slices of tender beef hearts are marinated in a spicy blend of vinegar, garlic, and chili peppers. The pieces are then threaded onto wooden skewers and grilled to perfection before being served with broiled potato. The flavor is very well controlled. The marinade is delicious, and only the faintest hint of the gaminess that characterizes all organ meats is left behind. The texture is very similar to beef filet, although more tender and crunchy. Peruvian Kitchen also offers anticuchos made with beef, chicken heart, or seafood.

* Yucca a la Huancaina - Yucca a la Huancaina originated in the Huancayo, the capital of the central highlands region of Junin. Before the Spanish moved their stronghold to Lima, Huancayo held the dubious honor of being Peru's provisional capital during Francisco Pizarro's occupation. Huancaina, the Huancayo-style of serving boiled starch with a sauce made from cream, mustard, chili peppers, garlic, flour, olives, eggs, cheese, and huacatay, is a meld of Spanish and Peruvian. In Yucca a la Huancaina, balls of mashed yucca are stuffed with cheese before being boiled and covered with the spicy cheese sauce. The texture of the yucca is similar to very dense potato, and the sauce is reminiscent of both nacho cheese sauce and Béchamel sauce, with an additional degree of refinement; delicious. For the less adventurous, Peruvian Kitchen also offers Papa a la Huancaina, or Huancayo-style potatoes, which are almost as good.

* Loma Saltado - One of the most interesting facets of Peruvian cuisine is the genre of fusion food called "Chifa". A derivation of the Mandarin Chinese words "chi fan", meaning "eat rice" or "mealtime", Chifa is the Peruvian term for both traditional Chinese food and the fusion between Chinese cuisine and Peruvian cuisine. The Loma Saltado, made by stir frying strips of tender beef, French fries, tomato, onion, vinegar, and chilies, is a popular member of the Chifa family. The starch on starch action between the lightly salted white rice and beef gravy coated fries blows me.

* Arroz con Pollo - Tender chunks of chicken are braised with rice, garlic, onion, chicken stock, peas, tomatoes, chili peppers, saffron, paprika, olives, red bell peppers, and enough chopped cilantro to choke a cow. Each bite of the delightfully moist and fluffy rice fills your mouth with chickeny goodness. In some ways, those large chunks of chicken on top are merely garnish, as their delicious flavor has already seeped in to every grain of rice.

* Tacu-Tacu - I have no idea how many cuisines contributed to this dish, but it's something else entirely. Remember how much I like starch on starch action? Here's a platter that's just disturbingly sexy in a drunken, one-night-stand-with-someone-you-know-is-never-going-to-call-you-back sort of way. At the base is a mound of refried beans and white rice, which have been stir-fried together. That's right. Together. In a sinfully hedonistic, crispy on the outside, creamy with al dente bits on the inside, patty of delectable, heart-clogging delight. On top of that, a perfectly seasoned and grilled county steak full of juicy and flavorful beefy goodness. To either side, two long halves of fried plantain with their rich, crunchy sweetness. Add one egg, sunny-side up, so that when your fork pieces the delicate yolk, the golden nectar within runs out and over the entire, sensually voluptuous experience.

Is it just me, or is it hot in here?

Peruvian Kitchen
8610 Warner Ave.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708-3132
1-714-847-7555
http://www.peruviankitchen.com

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 15, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Pho 99 - Irvine, CA (Review w/Photos)

To read the full review with photos, please visit -
http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/2006/10/pho-99-irvine-ca-eating.html

-=Not Recommended=-

Pho 99 is a bit is a mystery to me. While I know it's a Southern Californian chain with locations in City of Industry, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Lake Forest, Los Angeles, and Orange, my online research as been unable to shed any light on how extensive that chain may actually be. There seem to be Pho 99 locations in major metropolitan cities across the US, as well as in other countries.

In any case, the Pho 99 branch in Irvine is stylishly decorated in the soulless way I've come to expect from casual dining chains in Southern California. With wood tones, pseudo-artsy lighting, a fake fountain, and mass manufactured paintings on the walls, it's easily duplicated and completely forgettable.

Dishes Sampled:

* Lemon Soda - A generous spoonful of granulated sugar served in a glass with lemon juice, club soda, and ice. I've always found this soda to be too gritty for my taste, since the low temperature of the liquid inhibits the complete dissolution of the sugar crystals. Plus, I can make it in my kitchen in about five minutes for a lot less than the $2.25 asking price.

* Goi Cuon - Vietnamese summer rolls usually filled with some form of poached protein, rice noodles, herbs, and greens, and wrapped in a soft rice skin. The goi cuon at Pho 99 taste half finished. They have the mild saltiness with the chewy and crunchy textural components I look for, but are missing the floral astringency from of herbs. It makes a good conveyor for their very tasty peanut sauce, but if you enjoy a balance of flavors in your goi cuon, Pho 99 is not for you.

* Khai Vi Dac Biet - An appetizer platter that comes with four pieces of goi cuon, four shrimp rolls, and four pieces of nem ran. I've already covered my impression of the goi cuon above. The shrimp rolls are pretty good. Shelled shrimp are tossed in seasoning, wrapped in flour-based wrappers, and deep fried. The wrappers are light and crunchy, separating into distinct layers like filo. The shrimp are juicy with just the right amount of salt.

Nem ran are Vietnamese spring rolls. They are traditionally made with some form of ground protein, wrapped in rice skin, and deep fried. The nem ran at Pho 99 are excellent. The filling is predominantly well-seasoned ground pork, with shredded carrot and wood ear mushrooms. The outside is crunchy and actually uses the same flour based wrappers as the shrimp rolls instead of rice paper.

* Pho Dac Biet - Rice noodle soup, which come with rare and well cooked beef, brisket, tendon, and tripe. The last time I tried this, all the noodles were stuck together in a congealed mess on the bottom of the bowl. There were about two small pieces of each type of protein. The restaurant had left out the the thinly sliced onion usually placed on top for a little hint of sweetness. For the most part, the rare beef was looked just like the cooked beef, only with a bit of pink here and there.

The beef tasted ok, but was tough, dry, and overcooked. The few bits of brisket I found were mostly gristle and resisted chewing. The one piece of tendon in there was hard and crunchy. Tendon should be melt-in-your-mouth tender, not crunchy! The few wisps of tripe were impossible to chew. I might as well have tried to eat strips of surgical glove. The real blow was the broth. I've had bad broth before, but the broth in this bowl didn't even register as bad. It barely registered at all. Other than a faint, dishwater-like twang, I was in Flavor Country's Death Valley. Maybe what I was actually served was the broth of phos past. Who knows.

Adding insult to injury was a paltry plate of garnish. Half a cup of bean sprouts, one sprig of thyme, and a lime wedge were what I had to work with. Not a slice of chili to be seen. But, I was still grateful, because with the hot water they were trying to pass off as crappy broth, I needed every bit of help I could get. I added all of the garnish, tasted the broth, then added hoisin and sambal because it was still lacking. I even flagged down a waiter and asked for mam ruoc (a pungent and highly flavorful Vietnamese fermented shrimp paste), something I almost never do.

* Banh Mi - A grilled pork sandwich made with a sliced baguette. The ones at Pho 99 are about half the size of the ones at Lee's Sandwiches, but at close to double the price. There's barely any meat. The pickles are shredded carrots, and there's nary a chili to be found.

Pho 99
5414 Walnut Ave
Irvine, CA 92604
1-949-551-1655

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 14, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Great Chocolate in OC?

I second Chuao. I just picked up one of their big boxes and will be analyzing each type of chocolate for a special Christmas article.

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 13, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

where can I find those ultra sticky/glutinous/stretchy chew balls that the old fellow in the film Tampopo nearly choked on

Chikara mochi. Available from your local Mitsuwa or Marukai for broiling in your toaster oven. A number of traditional Japanese noodle shops, such as Ebisu Ramen in Costa Mesa, will serve it with with soba or udon.

It could also have been standard untoasted mochi, manju, or dango. All these items are also available at your local Mitsuwa or Marukai.

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 13, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Good Eats for College Students in Irvine?

There's a new Pacific Whey opening up in South Coast Plaza's Crystal Cove annex. Can't wait to try it out.

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 13, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Good Eats for College Students in Irvine?

Wheel of Life has great stuff. IMO, the original Irvine location is better than the Huntington Beach one.

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 13, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Diho Bakery - Irvine, CA (Review w/Photos)

To read the full review with photos, please visit -
http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/2006/10/diho-bakery-irvine-ca-supplying.html

Tucked away in the side of Irvine's Persian center is, of all things, one of my favorite Taiwanese bakeries. A genuine mom & pop operation, Diho Bakery has the single goal of getting fresh, tasty, Taiwanese pastries into your belly for a nominal fee. If I've gained any weight from carbs lately, my Diho addiction is the main suspect.

Since Diho's focus is primarily on the food, you'll find few of the fripperies or amenities here that you might at many other Asian bakeries. Three shelving units for displaying baked goods, two freezer units for displaying frozen buns and dumplings, and a cake case are all you'll find. That's it. No boba, no meal sets, nothing. Just buns, dumplings, and cakes. However, it's the quality of those goods that keeps me coming back for more.

Breads Sampled:

* Raisin Bread - Football-shaped with a soft crust and a thick, fluffy, and chewy crumb, this mildly sweet bread is studded throughout with plump, juicy raisins. The consistency is like a cross between pain de mie and brioche.

* Pickled Mustard Green Bun - The standard lighter, softer, brioche-like dough preferred by the Taiwanese and Chinese envelopes a delectable mixture of minced Chinese Pickled Mustard Greens and sautéed ground beef. The resulting combination of sweet, salty, beefy, and bready flavors takes me back to childhood visits to Taiwan. To me, pickled mustard greens and ground beef taste like memories. If Taiwan has a signature flavor, this might be it.

* Four-in-One Bun - For those who like variety without extra calories. Four miniature buns with different fillings are allowed to proof close to one another so that they meld into one easily separated bun when baked. Diho's version offers Green Onion & Shredded Pork Sung, Cha Shao (Cha Siu), Custard, and Sweet Red Bean fillings. It's a four course bun tasting for the price of one.

As splendiferous as Diho's baked bread is, their real draw is their steamed buns (bao/nikuman). Made fresh every morning, the bao are at their best right out of the steamer. Although they reheat very well in the microwave, steamer-fresh is the way to go, which explains the large crowds that tend to gather in the bakery on weekend mornings. Diho's selection is massive, although availability depends on what's in the steamer when you walk in.

Bao Sampled:

* Cai Rou Bao (Pork & Vegetable Steamed Bun) - Diho's top selling bao, it contains seasoned ground pork, leeks, ginger, and rice noodles. One bite and it's easy to see why these outsell almost every other bun two to one. The pork is juicy without being greasy, the seasonings are well balanced and bold, and the rice noodles add a very pleasant textural component.

* Cha Shao Bao (BBQ Pork Steamed Buns) - Diho's is probably the best rendition I've had in a long time. The pork is perfectly seasoned, not too sweet, and juicy instead of dry. The bun-to-pork ratio is excellent.

* Xiang Gu Bao (Mushroom Steamed Buns) - Containing a flavorful mixture of sautéed Shitake mushrooms, ground beef, and onions, these buns are remarkably similar to one of my favorite Taiwanese noodle dishes, Ma Yi Pa Su (Ants Climbing Trees), with a strong mushroom component. It's like noodles in bun form. Brilliant!

* Su Cai Bao (Vegetable Steamed Bun) - Think of the best egg roll you've ever had. Now make it a bun. Stuffed with the standard egg roll filling of stir-fried Shitake mushrooms, cabbage, carrot, garlic, and seasonings, this light and refreshing bun even tastes healthy. But, healthy in a flavorful way. If I was a vegetarian, which I try to be during weekdays, I wouldn't feel in any way meat-deprived with this bun as a snacking option.

Diho Bakery
14130 Culver Dr # J
Irvine, CA 92604
1-949-857-6415

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 13, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Anyone know what happened to Super Korokke?

That poor lady. I'll miss her.

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 12, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Taste of France - Huntington Beach, CA (Review w/Photos)

It's been busy at work for the past few months. I let a few too many build up.

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 12, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Anyone know what happened to Super Korokke?

No way! Really?

I did a bunch of searches and couldn't pull up any additional info. Could someone link me to the thread, an article, or something?

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 12, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Anyone know what happened to Super Korokke?

Hey all,

I've had a major korokke (Japanese croquette) jonesing for the past month, but every time the fiancee and I drive by our usual dealer, Super Korokke in Costa Mesa, it's closed. Anyone know what happened there? Is the nice owner/cook on vacation?

I love that place. I really hope it'll open again soon.

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 12, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Waters - Irvine, CA (Review w/Photos)

To read the full review with photos, please visit -
http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/2006/10/waters-irvine-ca-eating.html

Perched on the shores of a beautiful artificial lake in Irvine's Woodbridge community, Waters offers a tempered selection of West Coast dishes designed to appeal to the area's affluent residents. With a classy interior heavy on wood paneling and muted, warm lighting, the restaurant provides good food in a cozy atmosphere. Live musicians frequently play during evening service, adding to the cheerful ambience.

The restaurant's biggest draw is its view. Bordered on two sides by a long veranda, and surrounded on all sides by large windows, Waters creates the illusion of fine dining while floating over the mirror-like lake surface. Regardless of the weather, the tables on the veranda are almost always full. At night, lights from the houses ringing the lake reflect off the dark water like captured constellations.

Dishes sampled:

* Lobster Taquitos - Chunks of lobster meat were sautéed with celery, onion, breadcrumbs, and spices before being rolled up in red tortillas and deep fried. The taquitos were then cut on a bias and served with black bean salsa, fresh guacamole, sliced red cabbage, and a drizzle of sour cream. Light and crispy on the outside and meaty on the inside, the taquitos were excellently prepared with only one fatal flaw; the filling was overcooked and much too salty.

* Steamed Manila Clams - A massive helping of fresh clams steamed in a broth made from onion, garlic, basil, white wine, lemon juice, and rough-chopped fresh tomatoes. The clams were served in a large bowl brimming with their steaming liquid. While the clams were plump and juicy, the broth was the true star of the show. Rich and perfectly seasoned, I finished it with the help of a soup spoon after I'd polished off the clams.

* Angel Hair with Lobster - Generous chunks of lobster and tomato were tossed with angel hair pasta and served in a delicate cream sauce made from olive oil, shallots, capers, and white wine. The gentle flavors of the dish were brought together by the rich cream sauce, which soothed the palate without being too heavy.

* Mushroom Dijon Chicken - A double breast of chicken was marinated in Dijon mustard, grilled, covered with sautéed mushrooms and a Dijon cream sauce, and served with a tasty rice pilaf, sautéed carrot strips, and blanched yellow and green haricot verts. Although it was juicy and perfectly grilled, the chicken by itself lacked the flavor a long marinating process would have given it. However, it was excellent with the tangy Dijon cream sauce and earthy sautéed mushrooms. The vegetables and rice were delicious. The rice had completely absorbed the flavors of the butter and chicken stock in which it was cooked. The vegetables were fresh, with just the right crunch and amount of salt.

Waters
4615 Barranca Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92604
1-949-733-9503
http://www.watersrestaurant.com

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 12, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Taste of France - Huntington Beach, CA (Review w/Photos)

To read the full review with photos, please visit -
http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/2006/10/taste-of-france-huntington-beach-ca.html

Bistros in Paris are strictly mom & pop affairs. Small cafes that can be found in every neighborhood, they serve affordable meals for the working class. In addition to simple, hearty soups, sandwiches, croissants, and coffee, each bistro will offer several specialty dishes, such as Coq au Vin, Poulet a l'Ail, Rouget a la Provencal, Steak au Pauvre, and Steak Frites, often rotating availability depending on the day and what's fresh in the market. For soul food, this is where the French go.

If you live in the States, finding places like these are difficult, to say the least. If you're not eyeing the few restaurants in your area attempting to peddle haute cuisine, you're braving the rash of pretentious chain cafes/boulangeries like Grain d'Or or *twitch* Panera that have fungally infested high-end shopping malls across the country. Luckily for me, there's a bistro a few blocks from my office where I can get a less-filtered taste of France. It’s called, amusingly enough, Taste of France.

Taste of France offers a number of baked goods and desserts, made off-site in a nearby bakery also owned by the same family. Most of their offerings are simple sandwiches containing meat and/or cheese, made using the large bread rolls from their bakery. They also offer quiche, crepes, and a few soups. There are three specials; Rotisserie Chicken, Tomato Wine Chicken, and Mustard chicken. Only one is available on any given day. The specials are classic French bistro dishes, but the owners haven't bothered to include the French names in the menu listings.

Dishes I've tried at the Taste of France include:

* Rotisserie Chicken special - Half of a small, roasted chicken, a mound of parsley mashed potatoes wrapped in a crepe, a mixed greens and apple salad with a side of vinaigrette, and three slices of soft, white bread. The chicken was perfectly seasoned, crusted with herbs, and roasted until tender and juicy. It practically fell apart when I applied my fork and melted in my mouth. The parsley mashed potatoes were good, but not as impressive. The salad was nice and fresh. The tart sweetness of the apples paired very nicely with the vinaigrette.

* Split Pea with Ham - Warm and unctuous, the salty bits of ham speckling the soup added a nice body.

* French Onion Soup - The caramelized richness of the onion really shone through. It was closer to authentic French Onion Soup than the flavor-blasted versions I've tried elsewhere.

* Leek & Potato Quiche - Very good, with thin slices of potato and large pieces of buttery leek. The curd was flavorful and firm without being dry. The crust was tender and flaky, just the way I like it.

* Ham & Cheese Quiche - Very good. Large chunks of ham, thinly sliced potato, and melted tendrils of some white cheese threaded their way through the savory curd.

Taste of France
7304 Center Drive
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
1-714-895-5305

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 12, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Looking for a special evening on a budget (Central/South Orange County)

Hey all,

This follow-up is a little late, but thanks for all the great recommendations. At MzMaggie's suggestion, we ended up at Waters in Irvine.

Here's a review of the event and some photos:
http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/2006/10/waters-irvine-ca-eating.html

It was a really great evening, although we ended up spending about $15 more that the $60 I'd originally been shooting for. However, we ended up staying well within our budget for that month, so everything turned out just fine.

Thanks again!

- Chubbypanda

http://www.chubbypanda.com

Dec 12, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

ISO affordable wine as gift.

I whole-heartedly agree. I just tried a 2004 Dr. Lisson German Riesling that was out of this world. The 2004 goes for around $30-$40, so I'm going to see if I can get a few bottles of more recent vintage and age them myself.

- Chubbypanda

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/
http://www.chubbypanda.com/

Dec 03, 2006
Chubbypanda in Wine

ISO affordable wine as gift.

Lol. At the time, I hadn't known he'd been to Napa recently. We get together once every few months to catch up, schedules permitting.

- Chubbypanda

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/
http://www.chubbypanda.com/

Dec 03, 2006
Chubbypanda in Wine

Good Eats for College Students in Irvine?

I second the Diho Bakery motion. Their morning bao are awesome.

Diho Bakery Pictures:
http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/2006/10/diho-bakery-irvine-ca-supplying.html

Across from Diho Bakery is Curry House, the place for Japanese curry in Irvine:
http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/2006/08/curry-house-irvine-ca-eating.html

If you like Taiwanese Cafe-style food, I highly recommend the Red Onion Cafe:
http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/2006/09/red-onion-cafe-irvine-ca-eating.html

On the border of what's affordable for college students is Frenzy Sushi, which is the best sushi restaurant within 15 minutes of UCI:
http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/2006/10/frenzy-sushi-super-post-costa-mesa-ca.html

- Chubbypanda

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/

Dec 01, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

cheap ethnic eats in Orange County?

Let's not forget the great Taiwanese eateries in Irvine's "Chinatown" at the corner of Walnut and Jeffrey, including my personal favorite, the Red Onion Cafe.

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/2006/09/red-onion-cafe-irvine-ca-eating.html

Mmmm... Tastes like pork!

- Chubbypanda

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/

Nov 30, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

ISO Recommendations - Best of Little Saigon

I love Vietnamese coffee. Thanks for the reccs!

- Chubbypanda

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/

Nov 10, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

ISO Recommendations - Best of Little Saigon

You're the man.

- Chubbypanda

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/

Nov 10, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

ISO Recommendations - Best of Little Saigon

Hey Elmo,

*eyebrow waggle* Up for some more eatin' adventures?

- Chubbypanda

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/

Nov 10, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

ISO Recommendations - Best of Little Saigon

Awesome! This post is taking up permanent residence in my briefcase. Thank you so much.

- Chubbypanda

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/

Nov 10, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Izayoi chirashi, what's that pink sugar?

Unless you put it in on a really warm day (condensation), it stays nice and powdery. Even if it does seize up a little, a few stiff raps to the side will break it up again. I store shredded or powdered hard cheeses, like Parmesan, the same way.

It can't stay in there indefinitely, though, or you risk the funky flavor of feezer burn. But, it'll buy you another month or so.

- Chubbypanda

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/

Nov 10, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Mr. Chow

Mr. Chow's Chinese Fast Food.

Good lord. After seven years away, I can still remember the jingle.

- Chubbypanda

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/

Nov 10, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Best Hawaiian Plate Lunch in OC

I work in the high rise next to the Loft in Huntington Beach, and I have to disagree with the assertions that it's the best. It's ok, but not great. One of my coworkers is Hawaiian and lives in HB, and she's recommended a few other local restaurants to me for plate lunches. I'll try to update this thread once I've tried them out.

I think the L&L Hawaiian BBQ in Irvine serves better quality food, even if I can't get behind the cabbage filler in their kahlua pork. Plus, they have mini orders for small eaters like my fiancee.

http://www.hawaiianbarbecue.com/

- Chubbypanda

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/

Nov 09, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Mr. Chow

Is it owned by the same people who run the steamtable fast food chain up in NorCal? Just curious.

- Chubbypanda

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/

Nov 09, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Izayoi chirashi, what's that pink sugar?

It's good stuff. I used to get it in my bento boxes and futomaki as a child. It might be one of those things you have to grow up eating to like.

Storage tip: Put it in your freezer. It'll last a lot longer.

- Chubbypanda

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/

Nov 09, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

ISO Recommendations - Best of Little Saigon

I had a great dinner of Seven Courses of Beef (Bo 7 Mon) with several food blogger friends last night that got me thinking about how little I've tapped the glorious culinary jungle that is Orange County's Little Saigon. "Beach", our host and local guide last night, confided to me that most restaurants in Little Saigon specialize in one dish that they each do really really well, and often these dishes may not be on their menus. Intrigued, I decided to go on a tasting tour of Little Saigon to search out the best Vietnamese specialty cuisine the area has to offer.

So, I put to all of you Little Saigon locals these questions: If you were going on a tasting tour of Little Saigon, where would you eat, what would you eat, and in what order would you visit the restaurants?

Since I want to go, but can't afford to vacation in Vietnam at the moment, please take me on a tour of the country through the food.

- Chubbypanda

http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/

Nov 09, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area

Wedding Anniversary today in OC

Soprano's in Costa Mesa is fun, intimate, inexpensive, and has both familiar pastas and "adventurous" items like osso buco. The lamb shank is a must try. Good place if you want a relaxed, romantic evening.

Soprano's Italian Restaurant
2400 Newport Boulevard, Suite A4
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
1-949-675-4070
http://www.sopranoseatery.com/

I second Agora, although you'll probably spend twice as much. Some of the items, like the pirahna or crocodile, might be a bit too much for your husband.

- Chubbypanda
http://epicurious-wanderer.blogspot.com/

Nov 09, 2006
Chubbypanda in Los Angeles Area