Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lincoln Hotel

Sometimes the best food can come from the strangest of places. Take Lincoln for example. This restaurant is located inside the very ghetto and very old Lincoln "Hotel." Who are we kidding... that place is less than a motel. In fact, the whole place even burned down a few years ago. The place is destroyed with bad reviews on yelp, but no worries that's where I come in handy. This IS absolutely a great place for Cantonese food. 

At night, there are amazing specials. They give each table refillable 老火湯 aka soup made from scratch for many hours. The soup is different every night and it's amazing! Plus, free dessert if you eat there for dinner. There's a menu for the cheap specials hanging from the wall. 

Here's their steamed pork belly with preserved mustard greens.Delicious.  梅菜扣肉
Here's Lincoln's version of duck. It's called their pipa duck. It's different from Duck House's duck in that it is much cheaper and they use the steam buns instead of the tortilla-like skin. You can also order it done two ways. I didn't take a picture of the 2nd way, but it consists of mashed up duck meat and lettuce. You wrap the meat into the lettuce as a bun and eat it. 
Here is the inspiration of orange chicken. Here are the ribs. They are sweet and sour, but not in a ridiculous Panda Express way. The meat is fried to perfection and the sesame adds a sweetness to the flavor. Their fish and lotus dishes are also very good. 

But why is Lincoln so amazing? Because others don't realize its amazingness. There's great specials at dinner but their lunch dimsum specials are spectacular as well. They offer cheap duck lo mien for $1.99. I've taken 4 people to dimsum there and bought several to-go dishes without going over $20. When I get lazy or am hosting small parties at my house, sometimes I'll just call in and get my favorite dimsum dishes to go. 
 Pork and shrimp dumplings. Har gow and shiu mai. 
 Hong Kong egg tarts. 
 Pineapple buns with cha siu BBQ pork and pineapple buns with custard filling. 
 And of course their signature roasted pig. Here's a trick: If you want to take your roasted pig to go, you should make a hole in the to-go container. Give your piglet some room to breath and then the skin will remain crispy for the rest of the day! 
 Baked BBQ pork buns! 

Don't expect a great atmosphere, but I can assure you that the Cantonese food is good!

123 S Lincoln Ave
Monterey ParkCA 91755

My top Cantonese Places, not including HK style cafes are:

Delicious Food Corner
Happy Harbor
New Lucky
Sham Tseng

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Banh Xeo Quan

Allow me to profess my love for Banh Xeo Quan. My love for them began on one of my earlier trips to Vietnam. I can't remember which trip it was, but it was one that was more than 8 years ago. There, we had some delicious bahn xeo aka Vietnamese pancake at a place called Banh Xeo Quan. After returning from Vietnam, my mom and I were driving through the San Gabriel Valley and saw a restaurant with the same name. Of course, we stopped and enjoyed. Sure, the food was good but the restaurant was literally that of a ghetto Mexican taco joint. In fact, the restaurant just took over a Mexican bar. Ghetto fab indeed (not that I minded). Fast forward many years, and I remember how I hadn't been to Banh Xeo Quan in a long time. Their decor has not changed, but now there's a personal TV on each seat so you can ignore whoever you're eating with in typical Chinese style. (Chinese people don't like having conversations during dinner.) 

And here was the famous banh xeo. They have a regular one and a "special" one. The special has different types of meat inside and just sounds more awesome. So pay a few bucks more for this baby. It's good! Make sure to use fish sauce and chili sauce for the dip. 
Also, don't forget to order their banh canh. It's the traditional Vietnamese flour soup dish. I'm so-so on the typical broth that banh canh is made with, but the one from here I love. Their broth must be Northern style because it's definitely different. 

The real standout of the place is the sugarcane juice!!! I don't like plain sugarcane juice, but add some kumquat inside and I'm all yours. This is definitely the best sugarcane juice you can find in L.A. outside of Singapore. Nothing can beat Singaporean sugarcane cause they have the mini limes and other exotic fruits you can only find in Asia. But hey, for L.A. it's pretty darn good! Plus it's so healthy for you! Why wouldn't you want to come here?

If you've been keeping up with my blog, then you know I've been coming here for balut. They only serve it on weekends though. So whether you want to try some good Vietnamese food or try out balut for your inner bizarre foodie, you should definitely check this place out. Plus, I'll be there drinking up their whole sugarcane supply.

Happy Eatings!

Banh Xeo Quan
8742 E Garvey Ave
Rosemead, CA 91770

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Double Dose of Mexican Goodness

If you're an avid follower of my blog, then you know that I believe in cheap, street food. So what happens when I am invited to have an expensive Mexican dinner? Sure, I cringe at the thought of paying more than $25 per meal, but you have try everything once, right? Enter Frida's Mexican Cuisine in Beverly Hills. 
 Known for their slushy-like margaritas, we were treated to strawberry margaritas that tasted like something from 7-Eleven. 
 The food... was delicious. Yes it hurt a bit knowing that we were paying so much for Mexican food but at least it was tummy. Me friends and I decided to share a plate. I mean look at that goodness ... topped with cheese and guacamole, etc. 
Although our main dish was yummy, I could have lived my life without it. I mean, after all it's kind of offensive spending so much for Mexican food when you can get cheap one-dollar Mexican food anywhere. I mean I do live in LA. But then came the steaming hot churro with caramel sauce. THAT was seriously to die for. I could have died and gone to heaven at that moment. Now that was worth coming back for! 

Now let's not forget that good Mexican food can be found on the streets. Enter El Taquito Mexican Truck in Pasadena. For all my 626 followers, let's not forget that it's on the border of Pasadena so it's quite close to San Marino. Don't be afraid to drive a bit! It's also close to Old Town Pasadena. Anyways this truck is awesome. Their al pastor and lengua are amazing! It's a must try! Plus it's open late night for all your club rats or insomniacs out there. 

Happy Eatings! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Balut, Anyone?

Surprise! Can you tell what I'm eating from this picture? Hint: It's called balut in Tagalog or Hot vit lon in Vietnamese. It's actually a fertilized duck embryo. Sold usually as street food throughout Southeast Asia, many people consider it in the bizarre foods category. 
I haven't had balut in years. I guess my bizzare foods gene kicked in when I was young. I remember  being in elementary school and asking to try balut. I question why my mother didn't stop me at such a young age. Oh, well it all makes sense now... she must have known I'd turn into an street-food-eating monster!
 This balut was from a Vietnamese place so it was eaten with salt, lemon juice, pepper, and mint leaves. 
Sometimes if you get an egg that is more developed, you'll get a peek at a pretty developed fetus. You'll see hair, bones, beak, etc. No worries though. None found here. 
So why do I eat balut aside from my bizarre food tendencies? The soup that comes from the egg is delicious. Chicken noodle has nothing on it! Such a rich, rich flavor. The duck soup is much better than chicken soup. If you are a soup lover and scared of balut, I'd recommend just cracking open the egg and sipping the soup if you are scared of eating it. The yolk inside is also delicious. It much more flavorful than any regular egg. This all depends of course, on how well your balut is cooked and how old your egg is. 

Bahn Xeo Quan
8742 E Garvey Ave
Rosemead, CA 91770

Happy Eatings! Live a little! Give it a try! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Food Showdown

The San Gabriel Valley can be quite the daunting and intimidating place to visit. Sometimes clad with only all Chinese signs and sometimes far worse, all Chinglish signs, outsiders to the area can find this microcosm of Asia a scary place to venture to alone.

I’ve always thought that if my journalism career didn’t work out that I’d create my own type of tour guide. I love history and shopping like any other person, but I go anywhere for the food. I don’t want to see any landmarks, show me the food, then more food, then more food! Trust me, ask my friends that I’ve taken on “tours” of Hong Kong or LA. They ate from morning to night and were not given any of those boring experiences. Oh no, this was the Kristie experience.

So what did I do when my non-Asian besties came for a full day of visiting me in the SGV? Food show down. We ate for hours straight. I squeezed in some Asian shopping for them in between, but other than that we ate from lunch to dinner, layered with lots of snacks and more snacks, and shopping and snack shopping. That’s how I do.

 We started the day off with some Taiwanese style Shabu Shabu aka hot pot. Everyone get their own mini pot where you can choose whatever soup base you want. I chose the Japanese Spicy Miso. You also get to choose what type of meat you want. I chose beef. Your order also comes with some sides like veggies, noodles, etc. Try it yourself at Jazz Cat.
At this point, I knew it was time for dessert. We drove all the way to Rowland Heights for some shaved snow from the famous Class 302. Their sign is only in Chinese. They have a minimum of $3 per each person if you want to sit so we got it to go and ate in the car. This was our mango and strawberry with condenses milk snow. It was like the ice I have in Hong Kong, which is hard to find in the U.S.. I’m not wowed like all the yelp reviewers though. I’ve had better. If you do not live near the San Gabriel area, I’d recommend trying Hawaiian shaved ice from Get Shaved. They have a food truck that drives all through the Los Angeles area.
Next we went to the Atlantic Times Square for some Ten Ren. Their boba is really good, but pricy. It’s about $4 for a small. There’s also some fun shops in the area. They  enjoyed the Japanese makeup shopping available there. Make sure not to get their slushies though. Only get the teas here. You have been warned.
By this time we were stuffed like no other. But that only means we had to move on to the next stop. Bakery time! I love bakeries. I’m extremely picky when it comes to pastries and bread. This is the pineapple bread from Kee Wah bakery. There’s actually no pineapple in it. It tastes like a Hawaiian sweet bread, but better. It’s just that the crust looks like a pineapple. Anyways I Kee Wah is only good for their pineapple bread at 80 cents a piece. I would not recommend any thing else from them, no matter what their yelp pages says. You want better bakeries? Just ask! I have a list of my top 10.
Then for the true Asian experience, I took my friends to the 99 Ranch Market to check out some Asian fruits. Of course, I had to show off the horrendous smelling Durian. My sister says durian smells like rotting trash that has been stashed somewhere for a week. It’s definitely an acquired taste. Great photo opp though.
They ended up buying some lychee, dragon fruit, mangosteen, and star fruit.
And then came dinner time. My biggest secret is Boathouse. As many of you may know, Boiling Crab is a cajun place that has waits of upwards of 2 hours for their food. Boathouse is a great alternative in Alhambra that has no lines and is much cheaper.
Our raw oysters.
Our mussels, corn, potatoes, shrimp, and clams.

The battlefield…
We went to four cities: Pasadena, San Marino, San Gabriel, Alhambra. We meant business. So did you agree with my food choices?