Monthly Archives: March 2012

Best Boba

Over the past two years, I have changed my opinions on the best bubble milk tea (boba) I have had. It started with ones at Ten Ren’s Tea Time, a tea house that can be found in many Chinatowns in the US. Then there was Kung Fu Tea in New York’s Chinatown, where you get to choose the sugar level in your drink. The past week has seen some new developments. Foodspotting in LA has somehow brought me to Half & Half Tea House in Alhambra, CA, and I now declare Half & Half Tea House’s boba as my all time favourite!

Once again, I do not have a personally taken picture of the boba but here’s another one that I stole from Yelp. This isn’t even the flavour that I ordered but whatevs –

First thing you’d notice is that the drink comes in a short and fat cup. While I was drinking it, I felt like it was way more than what was contained in a regular cup of boba but that may be purely psychological. I guess it is pretty cute that it comes in a cup of different dimensions, but I’m guessing it wouldn’t fit in many cup holders in cars.

I can’t remember the flavour of the iced milk drink that I ordered from the top of my head, but mine had taro pudding, honey, boba and possibly one other stuff in it. What makes the boba so good is the different types of flavours and textures in one cup, and I especially loved the soft pudding! One of the downsides of the boba was that it was so very extremely sweet but that was something I was willing to overlook at that moment because of the amazingness of the pudding and how it mixed so harmoniously with the honey, boba and milk.

This place is pretty popular and there was a long line when I got there. I had to wait for about fifteen minutes to place my order. And of course, with a drink containing so many things, you can expect the price to be more than your average boba. Their iced milk drinks cost $3.85, but that is a price I would pay for the best boba I ever had!

Hainan Chicken Rice

My father sent me a picture of some Hainan chicken rice taken at a restaurant back at home, and that immediately induced my strong craving for chicken rice. I slept on it for a week but the craving did not subside. I knew that I had to get some over spring break or this deprivation will interfere with my life and affect my emotional state of mind.

I was asking a friend who lives in LA for general recommendations on where to eat  and she told me that I had to go to this restaurant, Savoy Kitchen, in Alhambra. It is supposedly famous for its Hainan chicken rice and she told me she loved it. I did not set very high expectations despite the hype surrounding it because I was sceptical that it could compare to the ones I regularly had in Asia. Got a box to go for about $7 and ate it before I could take a picture of it, so here is one that I stole from some random person’s tumblr. Credits to whoever took and posted this picture.

The chicken rice was good for what it is and it exceeded the low expectations that I had set in order to avoid disappointment. The chicken was tender and juicy, and the rice was what I imagined it to be. However, if I were to be unfair and compare it to the real deal in Asia, it would pale in comparison to the ones I ate nearly every weekend at home. The ginger and the chilli sauce was mild and not as strong and flavourful as I hoped it to be. The chicken could also be juicier, and it was lacking a certain ‘oomph’ that I was accustomed to having with my chicken rice.

I can still understand why there is a hype surrounding Savoy Kitchen’s chicken rice, because it still is delicious and there probably isn’t that many Hainan chicken rice out here to compare it to. I would recommend this to someone who rarely or has never eaten Hainan chicken rice, but probably would not describe it as mindblowingly good to someone who has had one too many superb Hainan chicken rice in Asia. It was a $7 well spent and it was good enough for me to indulge in nostalgia and to satisfy my week long craving for chicken rice.

Best Sashimi Deal Ever!

Or at least, in Los Angeles.

Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo, LA has some reasonable lunch deals. If you are a big fan of sashimi and happen to be close to that part of LA, you should be lining up in front of Sushi Gen because it will be worth the wait. I had to wait for a little more than half an hour, and possibly another fifteen to twenty minutes for my meal to arrive, but IT WAS WORTH IT.

For $15, I got this.

The meal came with a bowl of rice, cabbage and the most delicate tofu ever on the side. As you can see in the picture, the sashimi plate also has a variety of different types of raw seafood. The smoked salmon and some cooked seafood stuff in sauce was also a good addition to the plate as it provided a nice balance to all the sashimi and prevented by taste buds from getting bored of raw seafood.

The sashimi was so fresh and delicate, and it was the best I ever had. Thank you Sushi Gen, for making my day. I shall never forget you.

Mexican Madness!

El Tarasco at Venice, CA.

Blew my mind! Their flour tortillas are amazing! I could eat a whole bucketful of their freshly made tortillas.

The menu made me spoilt for choice too. I have not seen so many Mexican food choices on one menu, but that’s not saying much as I have not been to many Mexican restaurants. The only ones I have been to in California are La Burrita, Cafe Durant and Cancun in Berkeley. And Chipotle and Taco Bell, if you consider those Mexican. The point is, I don’t have much to compare to so I have low standards when it comes to Mexican food and am easily impressed.

I decided to go for the carne asada plate and it was so good and filling, especially for just $7 or so.

This may sound so funny, but I also like how the restaurant did not look sophisticated. It gave a greater feeling of authenticity in a way. Sometimes, the restaurants with the best food are the ones that don’t look too refined, and the many restaurants and food stalls in Asia are proof of that.

If only there was an El Tarasco in Berkeley!

Fast Food Fix

Someone back at home once told me that the best burger he had ever eaten was Carl’s Jr Portobello Mushroom Burger. I decided to give Carl’s Jr a shot and I have to say that their burgers are pretty tasty and savoury. I still have reservations about declaring the best burger ever, but that guy did not lie about it being good and it still left a good impression on me.

I also decided to stop by Five Guys near the UCLA campus. What I really like about Five Guys is the fact that you get to choose as many toppings and sauces as you want  from their list of fifteen. I went a little overboard with the toppings, which resulted in a very soggy and non-photogenic burger. The flavour and savouriness of the burger still made up for the bun’s sogginess. I would say it was a good trade-off. This burger would have been perfect if it had Bongo Burger’s warm and seed-toasted buns.

As for the french fries, I liked the ones from Carl’s Jr more than the ones from Five Guys. Five Guys’ tasted a little too starchy and clumpy for my liking, but I guess that’s a matter of personal preference.

Needless to say, I have had enough burgers and french fries for the month, unless an In N Out cheeseburger should  somehow come my way 🙂

Zachary’s Chicago Pizza

I distinctly remember watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother where Ted and Marshall drove all the way to Chicago and defied all sorts of obstacles just to buy a box of Chicago pizza that was supposedly mind-blowing.  Then and there in my cramped room in the boarding house did I make a vow to myself to try this amazing pizza if circumstances should somehow lead me to the Americas. Talk about effective advertisement!

Fast forward two years and here I am smacked in the Bay Area, thousands of miles from that elusive  Chicago pizza. Eating a Chicago-style pizza was on my bucket list and I was telling Eric how it was imperative for me to fly to Chicago before I graduate; not to see the Cloud Gate or to shop till I drop on Miracle Mile, but to tick off that item on my bucket list. Instead, he proposed that I save myself hundreds of dollars on flight tickets and search for a place in the Bay Area that served Chicago-style pizza.

That was how I met Zachary’s Chicago Pizza.

The Chicken Special - my first stuffed pizza!

The deep-dish pizza which oozed with melted cheese,baked chicken and savoury tomato sauce was delicioso! As Eric and I were famished that Friday night, we initially had second thoughts on whether a Small would satisfy our hunger. It proved to be sufficient for three and in retrospect, I shouldn’t have eaten three-quarters of my daily calorie requirement in a single meal. Whoops.

I am glad to have accomplished one of my life’s missions. Thank you Zachary’s and 51B AC Transit, for making my American Dream come true without making me broke.

Midnight Munch

I was not in the best of mood tonight and I happened to be hungry at 1:32AM, so I overcompensated by eating two bowls of Kashi cereal and two almond poppy seed muffins. My conscience is probably gonna nag at me all day tomorrow but for now I have no regrets because all that carbs and sugar made me feel blissful inside. Ah, the joys of eating.

Sinful Saturday in San Francisco

Ghirardelli's Banana Hot Fudge Sundae - all the sugar and fudge I need for the weekend!

French fries for lunch, banana hot fudge sundae at Ghirardelli for dessert, and In-N-Out cheeseburger for dinner. Not to mention the Costco chicken bake that I had for lunch today which I just discovered has 272 calories from fat and 810 calories total.

Pretty good weekend if you must ask my tummy. My hips will probably say otherwise. Time to hit the gym – pronto!