Category Archives: Chicken

Absolutely Phobulous, Los Angeles

Coming from the many twists and turns of X2, Tatsu, and the Riddler (AKA Six Flags), we all decided we needed something to soothe our stomachs. And so we came to a conclusion to go ahead and eat pho. But with the proliferation of many Vietnamese places serving this staple, it might be hard for the wandering tongue to pick and choose a place. Where to? Where to pho?  Someone said Absolutely Phobulous, I thought it was joke. Only until we parked, did I realize it was not. It is called Absolutely Phobulous. So  then by all means I should take the road less traveled and be enticed by a name that says gimmick written all over it.

Small space with very confused decor strewn all over the wall, with busy wait staff that will unfortunately not wait for you. Look long and hard, decide without doubt and swiftly or you will be passed by without any regret. Fact: he passed by many times without regret.

The menu has more items than the usual Vietnamese pho places. With appetizers, salads, vermicelli and even baguettes and dessert. Fresh spring rolls, vegetarian vermicelli (rice noodles served cold), pho beef combo, baguette sandwich, and Thai iced tea for everyone. Done.

The fresh spring rolls come fat (and I do mean about 2in in diameter each). It was filled with huge shrimp and plenty of vermicelli noodles to easily become an entree vs just an appetizer. The carrots, bean sprouts, and cilantro were crisp and fresh. And instead of the peanut sauce, this time it was served with hoisin which lent it a different sweetness, much different from what you’ll get from the shrimp and vegetables.

The vegetarian vermicelli came with both crystal noodles (clear noodles) and vermicelli which for $6.75 is a big, heaping bowl of satisfaction. It comes with mushrooms, tofu, the usual vegetables, and even a vegetarian egg roll. It’s finished with peanuts on top and drizzled with their “house” sauce (which, by guess, was a mix of soy sauce, vinegar, and maybe a little hoisin). It was a delicious combination of ingredients that a lack of protein was never an issue.

The baguette sandwich was just a simpler version of banh mi. Instead of plus the pickled carrots, daikon, and a pate, this one came with spicy chicken, just the cucumbers, fresh carrots (which on the menu said marinated), slices of jalapeno, and the usual cilantro. Although the baguette was a little too hard, scraping the roof of your mouth (that kind of hard), the fillings were actually a good merry mix of fresh, spicy, and flavor. The chicken just had enough amount of spices to still taste like chicken, until that little kick comes in towards the end.

But we must not forget the purpose of this visit. Let us see if this place lives up to its name. The beef combo came with rare steak, beef meatballs, and brisket. It’s served in beef broth with vermicelli, green onions, and bean sprouts, jalapeno, and basil on the side for your mixing pleasure. The meat balls were flavorless, the brisket was hard (AKA tough), and the rare steak was huhum. The beef broth was not as resounding, meaning many of bullion in lesser time (at least that kind of taste). I was hoping for that thick flavor you get from hours and hours of boiling those lovely bones, but was disappointed. Although pho broth is not as dense as some ramen broths but at least give more love into it. A little bit of hoisin and chili sauce helped enhance the taste a little bit or a lot.

Soon we will find that perfect bowl of Vietnamese chicken noodle (not literally). For now I’ll just be satisfied at their attempt at delivering a delicious bowl; whilst failed, it was still able to provide that sigh of comfort when that warm broth started traveling from my mouth to my stomach (and the rest of the menu were not  that bad either). And that is good comfort food in my book.

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Filed under Beef, Bread, Chicken, Comfort Food, Noodles, Pho, Roll (non-bread), Uncategorized, Vegetable, Vietnamese Food

Viva Las Vegas Day Two- Harbor Dimsum

Viva Las Vegas indeed. My henna tattoo faded as fast as I swiped my card to pay for it. And the Fat Tuesday’s big jug is still full of some potent concoctions. No hangover and tennis was a blast. So time again to eat, we decided to explore Chinatown and go for some dimsum.

A Yelp freak that I am, I decided to seek help and searched for the best places to try these bite-size delights. Cathay House, DONE. But it took us forever to find this place, it was also nearly 3pm, and we were already hungry. We saw the first neon sign for dimsum and decided to stop and take a chance. Harbor Palace, let’s go.


There were only a few carts, a big difference from my usual go-to places back in Los Angeles, so we decided to hoard from the first one that visited us.

The egg rolls were cold by the time we sunk our teeth into it, maybe because we came a little too late for lunch. The spare ribs were chewy and oily good but slightly bland. The tofu with crab meat was blah, fine for the hungry. The har gow was over-filled with shrimp but the wrapper was too chewy. The shumai was cold and hard, not worth another round. The crab claw was the highlight of the meal. Unlike the sugar cane sticks I’ve had many tastes of, this one came with actual crab claw that you can suck a fat piece of meat out of, also with fillings of crab and shrimp with a crunchy coating on the outside. We had to get some more, in fact we had 7 plates of these. But they come with a price. $7 per plate that came with only 2pcs. Ouch!

The chicken feet was tender, sweet with a little spicy finish. It was cooked just right that it was easy to chew and suck the meat off each cartilage and bone.

We also ordered crab fried rice to add a much needed carb assistance to our plates. It was fine, I mean, I really can’t say anything good nor bad about the dish. It was edible yet a little bland, but came with generous servings of crab meat (and not imitation), egg, and vegetables.

So our adventures paid off well. The food was very satisfying and came with little surprises, including a pricey bill at the end of the meal. $30 per person is steep for dimsum, especially since I know I can get better quality and more delicious servings back home. I can’t wait to go back to Alhambra and Monterey Park. The crab claws threw us off a little. But what’s done is done, and we’re on vacation so c’est la vie. And when you’re in Vegas, you either go big or go home.

SIDENOTE: We had some delicious boba after, with some very interesting flavors as well. At the next door shopping center we found a little corner that sold both boba and an array of dried fruits and seafood showcased just like a candy bar. I had the fresh taro which I would consider the best I’ve tasted so far (and believe me I’ve had MANY). It was packed with flavor and the tapioca was chewy good. Bf had black sesame which was an interesting flavor, with crunchy bits of surprises with every sip. Another had the avocado which, contrary to popular misconception, does not taste like guacamole. It was creamy and sweet. Delicious.

ANOTHER SIDENOTE: Dinner will be missing as I was too busy downing drinks and making shots to take some pics and even finish my cabeza burrito. Safe to say, we had Mexican food. Sad to say, our friend’s burrito got stolen inside the restaurant. He left it on the table for a few seconds just to grab a to-go bag. And when he was still waiting at the counter, other customers let us know some guy in a red baseball cap came and took it. Oh well, maybe he needed the meal more than we did. Hope he enjoyed it. Red-hat guy, if you get to read this, I’d love to know how it was. I might include it in my blog.



 

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Filed under Burrito, Chicken, Chinese Food, Crab, Dimsum, Drinks, Dumplings, Mexican Food, Pork, Shrimp, Tofu

Pampa’s Grill, Farmer’s Market

(I had to put this in my blog. One of my favorite examiner articles so far-maybe because I love me Pampa’s.)

Nothing is more enticing than the smell of grilled meat. It is the ambrosia that turns heads, tilts noses up, and puts people in a complete stand still. Experience the aroma that spells meat at Pampa’s Grill at the Farmer’s Market and leave your taste buds completely tickled fancy.

Beware of the line, it will be your first obstacle. Know your hours, dinner is the worst so come prepared. Bring your most talkative friend or fully charged phones with your Facebook app in place.


What to pick? The dilemma that is choices is the next hurdle to overcome. As you take your to-go “plate” (as it is likely to not finish, better avoid the hassle and be ready to take it home) and move along, the onslaught of picks might overwhelm you as this is paid by poundage ($8.95/lb). You wouldn’t want to go heavy on the sides as the meat weighs much more but you also wouldn’t want to miss out on the entrancing colors and tastes that lay before you. The garlic rice is a must carb pairing for the salty proteins, the collard greens are garlicky, the chicken stroganoff is unremarkable but a popular choice, the eggplant salad is a refreshing side to the savory, and the Pao de Queijo (cheese bread) is a personal favorite and is always stocked to the top of the plate.

But these are only reminiscence compared to what is the ultimate comfort food here, meat-Brazilian style. Spinning all day on a rotisserie grill, their choices rival the best tailgates and backyards anywhere. And so here comes the next predicament, the meat. You may be forced to try them all, but what with the weight limiting you then pick the ones you think you’ll enjoy the most and move on. Out of the many choices of protein the Picanha (sirloin cap) is the most popular, the Carneiro (lamb leg) is highly recommended as it is both flavorful and tender, the garlic chicken and beef are personal favorites and both salty, garlicky addicting, and the Brazilian sausage is slightly spicy, well-seasoned,and a must-try.

As you hit the end, pick either their Goya coconut water or a Guarana drink to complete the experience. But coming here comes with another warning. You may think that you haven’t put enough on your plate to compare to a sit-down restaurant. This can get pricey, even though it is super fast food. And no, it’s not the plate or the container.


With the many halts Pampa’s brings to the dining table, it is hard to give them a perfect score. The crowd that forms at the blink of an eye, the wait made by fellow confused diners, the price that better suits a restaurant, and the impasse at the line of wondrous food make one wonder if it’s worth it to try. But the many upsides make it then all the more difficult to decide to go or not. Taste over lines? Meat over prices? Comfort over choices? If the craving hits then live a little. Go meat and meatlovers unite.

Pampa’s Grill is at the Farmer’s Market at 6333 W 3rd St LA, T: (323)931-1928. They accept major credit cards.

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Filed under BBQ, Beef, Brazilian Food, Bread, Chicken, Drinks, Lamb, Pork, Related Article, Sausages

Newport Tan Cang Seafood, San Gabriel

I watched way too many Anthony Bourdain episodes last night. This streaming from Netflix jeopardized all that hard work. Any diet is assured of failure post-Bourdain. So a “blogging lunch” was inevitable. I had to keep my sanity before I got to Newport. I was craving. I was hungry. I was salivating. I was told that lunch here was not to be missed. Cheap and good. Two words that entice me endless, bother me continuously, haunt me about a place that only the satisfaction of an experience would suffice.

I entered and was immediately drawn to the tank filled with overweight lobsters calling my name. But my goal today was to prove the validity of this cheap and good premise. The free hot and sour soup came first. FREE…that’s cheap in my book. $5.75 and $6.25 lunch specials. That’s also cheap, considering the recent recession and all; local Chinese food “combo-place” prices inside a very decently designed and appropriately decorated sit-down restaurant. Now to finally taste this GOOD I’ve been hearing about.

Kung pao chicken…it was usual; salty and not even spicy. A taste I would find at any “combo-place” around the corner. Personally, I am not much of a fan of the dish and so the bias has taken over even before I put a spoonful inside my mouth. Salt and pepper fried pork chops, now we’re getting somewheret. Crispy outside with a very tender pork inside. It was breaded ever so lightly and served with salt and pepper on the side for dipping or to pour on top of the whole plate. I can almost see the calories but with complete disregard I forged on bite by bite. But since I am a porkaholic it’s not hard to make a believer out of me. Fish and clams with basil and garlic; both the fish and clams were tender and swimming in a savory, garlicky basil sauce that marries well with either protein. Without the pork chops, I would have been satisfied with a plate of either the fish or clam.

Broccoli with oyster sauce. I know it’s a very typical Chinese dish you can get at Panda Express but I was not the only one ordering at the table. Panda Express is walking distance from my house. If time comes when I would be in dire need of this dish, I would burn calories and would rather walk there and get my fix. Pea sprouts, people said it was good. I say it was pea sprouts. Shrimp fried rice filled with enough shrimp to make it a full meal, which was surprising. I mean, don’t you get tired of ordering this dish and get two or three pieces of shrimp? Shrimp and scrambled eggs, simple, I know i could have easily made this dish at home but something about Newport’s that just made me sigh. Maybe because it was FULL of sweet, perfectly cooked shrimp. Plump and succulent. Ugh, I’m a sucker for excess.

BOBA, they give you a separate menu for this and it comes in a to-go bag. It may have come from another location but when it comes to boba I usually don’t care. I got the durian and it was interesting. Nothing against Newport but my choice of fruit was not exactly the most edible. It tasted like sweetened onions with a very indescribable aftertaste. Go figure me.

I therefore conclude that I have found this place CHEAP and GOOD. For the money you would pay for lunch, this place is indeed an excellent location to satisfy the stomachs of many foodies. Food is good as we did not ask for any to-go boxes even though the portions were considerably larger than the usual lunch plates. The place has either comfy diner booths or large tables that can accommodate a family of many, and all male employees that provide fast and friendly service. I would go back again but maybe only for lunch. I heard the place gets packed for dinner and the prices are double so it may not be worth the drive (especially with Mayflower and Coral Reef around the corner).

So if you’re looking for an Anthony Bourdain moment filled with witty retorts and charming remarks then Newport is not your muse. At least, it was not mine. On to the next No Reservations conquest.

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Filed under Boba, Chicken, Chinese Food, Clams, Fish, Pork, Pork Chops, Soup, Vegetable

Blue Hen, Eagle Rock

Organic living correlates with healthy living. Supposedly “health is wealth”. Blue Hen prides itself of eating and drinking organic, so try it out if you must for organic food that is hopefully healthy because it will not leave you wealthy after you walk out the door.

This place is Zagat and Citysearch recognized, amongst many others. But with the coming paragraphs, it makes me doubt myself as to what I did a couple of hours before i tread to this Vietnamese place. Was this karma, I asked. Its menu is somewhat authentic and fairly small, but considerably larger than most Vietnamese places. There are additional specials on the wall, next to the many 8.5 X 11 customer artwork.

The imperial rolls ($6.75) were stuffed with chicken (or tofu) and were fried crispy, not too oily as they may tend to. But they were the highlight of the meal. The hand-cut turmeric fries ($4.75) were a mix of soggy and oily russet and Japanese sweet potato, served with diluted fish sauce dip and organic ketchup. The vegetable Vietnamese crepe ($8.95) with tofu was the special of the day. It was filled with fillers; more bean sprouts and carrots, not enough tofu. They all came disassembled on a plate, too much work for something unremarkable. The caramelized ginger and organic chicken and tofu ($9.50) was served with brown (or jasmine) rice and market greens, which at that time happened to be Chinese broccoli. The caramelized ginger was misleading as it did not exist on this dish, maybe it was the “aromatic broth” that tasted more like concentrated fish sauce. It was too salty, failing anything else on the dish to come through. The warm organic banana pudding, although ordinary, was a welcomed taste after the salty onslaught.

Maybe it was my fault to not have their Pho, after all this is a Vietnamese place. But LA does have a lot more really good Pho places and lesser organic Vietnamese restaurants. The better choice might have been to try the soup regardless, but too late now. And their prices question sustainable offerings if one needs to save up for a bruising kidney after. Sad to have such a frowning experience in a promising location. But Blue Hen did make the rest of my day blue.

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Filed under Chicken, Chicken and Rice, Crepe, Dessert, Organic Food, Vietnamese Food

It’s all a trick

It’s almost Halloween and the candies will have to either leave or enter the house. My stash will have to leave as, ALAS, I am too old to go knocking on your doors. I will still wear my cop costume though, in hopes to reprieve my lost youth.

Yes, we do not have Halloween in the Philippines. We had All Saint’s Day on the 1st of November and All Soul’s Day on the 2nd. No one bought costumes or candy, and trick or treat was not the “in” thing to do for kids.

The day before, all of the food would be pre-cooked and readied for the feasting on the 1st. My mom and dad wake up early each year and cook whatever needs to be, packed, and dragged our asses out of bed for a whole day affair at the cemetery. We unfold portable beds, lay out tables, put on top “tupperwares” of food. Pakbet (a local vegetable dish with a Bagoong base), chicken pastel, pork adobo, fried or grilled fish, and plenty of steamed white rice. Now the desserts come, turon, suman, bibingka, sapin-sapin, and fruit salad (fruit cocktail with cream-based sauce).


It takes weeks of preparation for one day of vigil. After the rosary and the novena, after the long talks with relatives, after the belly filled with food, we pack up again, go home and await 364 more days ’til our next trip back.

These are home-cooking dishes and events I truly miss. Although, LA has been bombarded with Filipino cooks and eateries, there is still that little bit of taste of home that makes the difference. Who cares if it happens to be my mom or dad’s sweat, it makes the food theirs and theirs alone. Ugh, home. I mean, they do serve a mean sisig here but it’s not the same. It’s just all a trick to me, really.

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Filed under Chicken, Chicken and Rice, Dessert, Filipino Food, Related Article, Vegetable

Savoy Kitchen, Alhambra

Full house. There’s about 5 or so names written on that stand outside the door. No maitre de, no hostess, no welcoming smiles. Paper without even lines on it. Write your name, how many in your party, and wait. Savoy Kitchen in Alhambra may not have the biggest dining room, or the most posh of furniture, or the most elaborate menu. But, since 1982, Savoy has been serving the best Hainan Chicken Rice you will ever find in anywhere (at least for now).

The place is small, with only a bar with limited stools, a dining area and a patio to assist the crowd that may form outside, especially during lunch time. The service is fast and efficient, with food coming out of the kitchen after a few minutes of ordering. They serve free pizza bread that can get you addicted if not careful. The sweet iced tea is unlimited, so are the condiments that come if you order their chicken, and you should.

The menu is full of enticing appetizers and entrees. Their baked escargot with herb butter is glistening with indulgence. Their pizzas are made with original potato dough made fresh daily, and comes with toppings such as butter herb shrimp, smoked beef, and smoked duck. Their pastas are also as unique, with pairings like conch and prosciutto mixed with fettuccine and your choice of tomato or garlic (garlic, white wine, olive oil, and butter) sauce. They’re also famous for their curry; Malaysian style with herbs, spices, coconut milk, and a dozen different fruits and vegetables. Pick your meat of choice; chicken, beef stew, pork chop, fish, tofu, and more.

But this place is Hainan chicken rice heaven. When people tell you to get the Hainan chicken, when Yelpers tells you it’s famous and it’s HIGHLY recommended, or when you see almost everyone inside eating the Hainan chicken, THEN for crying out loud GET THE HAINAN CHICKEN. It is cheap heaven on a plate. For $6.75 (plus $2 for dark meat) you get this huge plate of addiction. The chicken has been poaching in their special broth until it is just fall off the bone tender and infused with such amazing flavor. Dip it in ginger and chili sauce and it is elevated to another level. I mean it is something so simple on a plate. It looks just as plain as chicken and rice, but do not underestimate my friends. This plate is love inside your mouth. Simple yet so complex in flavor, a wave of warmth and comfort on your palate: sweet, salty, savory (SSS-triple threat). And of course, let us not forget the rice. The same poaching liquid for the chicken is used as the cooking liquid, lending such a light, savory flavor to the fluffy rice. I just can’t get over it. Uhuh.

Unfortunately, it is CASH only so come prepared. I would like to try the curry; it comes highly recommended. But when people tell you to get Hainan Chicken Rice…what do you do??? This foodie will not be told twice…this foodie WILL get Hainan Chicken Rice.

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Filed under Chicken, Chicken and Rice, Chinese Food, Comfort Food, Malaysian Food, Pasta