Saturday, February 20, 2010


It's been a while. Writing in general has been getting really busy lately or maybe because I'm usually busy regardless and it's been adding up. But I have made a vow. Updates are coming up. Yey.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

New reviews...check them out...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Daikokuya Ramen House, Little Tokyo CA


Comfort food is all about indulging to one's carving and hunger pain. And there's nothing more comforting than a bowl of hot soup, especially on a cold winter day. Visit Daikokuya Ramen, and any of its four locations, when one feels the need to give in to comfort.
Daikokuya Ramen in Little Tokyo, Downtown LA serves one the most delicious bowls around. This bowl is not the typical 99c ramen one can get at the local supermarket. The broth alone is a product of hours of boiling pork bones and joints until the flavor becomes so intense. It is then mixed with their special soy sauce based mix so that the flavor is completely embedded in every spoonful.  The broth and the ramen noodles simply come together in sync. But the soup does not overpower the rest of the players inside this bowl. Each order comes with kurobuta pork belly chashu  that is tender enough to melt in one's mouth. And as if the pork is not indulgent enough, Daikokuya adds marinated boiled egg, bamboo shoots, green onion, and a touch of sesame seeds to complete the offer.
But Daikokuya is more than the bowl of comfort. They also offer a multitude of appetizers; from the crispy gyoza that is their version of Chinese dumplings to Japanese sausages filled with their famous kurobuta pork. They also serve rice bowls and bento box combinations if a huge bowl of ramen is not enough for the craving tummy. Order either a diet coke or Asahi to wash the goodness down and one is set for the day.
So when that carving hits, either after a night of over-indulging in the diuretic called alcohol or upon waking up on a cold rainy day, Daikokuya is a sure fire hit to comfort that rumbling stomach and ease the salivating back into a calm, sighing relief.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Let me close this year's blog with the many places I am thankful for...
-Thank you Savoy for your Hainan chicken and rice. I hope to eat it more than once this 2010.
-Thank you Kogi for the innovation and the creativity that is Mexi-Korean. It is the pioneer in you that really made me interested in chasing your truck and craving it every week. Thank you for parking in Eagle Rock, it does make my satisfaction a much easier conquest.
-Thank you Coral Reef. It may not be in my blog but it has become a recent favorite for a VERY cheap lunch location.
-Thank you Rambo's for being there when we need a late night meal, status post alcoholic bouts. 
-Thank you Gyu Kaku for our happy hour moments and the cheap beer.
-Thank you Full House for my dimsum fixes. Good every single time.
-Thank you Tofu Village. Your dollar domestic beers are always a good find for early HH moments. I wonder when will you have cold noodles again?
-Thank you Conrad's for always being patient in accommodating the tennis team. It may not have the best of food but it has been the connecting point of many conversations and controversy.

Ooooo, I have so much more to be thankful for. I may not have mentioned it but I will find a way to honor your greatness by continuously supporting you and eating my way through the menu of your establishment.
Goodbye 2009 and Hello 2010. I shall have more offerings, I hope. I'll wipe my salivating palate and type away my satisfied belly once more this coming year. 
Ahhhh....what can i say? This is my life with food. 



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cocktail for Dummies...

I am now a proud owner of Cocktails for Dummies (pocket edition)...YES, I am. We went to target yesterday and there they were...IPhone for Dummies, Twitter for Dummies, Blackberry for Dummies, and Cocktails for Dummies. And for only $1 you will have the pleasure of serving your most favorite and most complicated drinks at your next holiday party. 56 glorious pages of alcohol at its finest. And even on one chapter called Methods to the Madness, it teaches the dummy in us on how to slice a lime or an orange. NICE. I'm not a fancy hostess (well, to a certain a point) so a simple excess of alcohol is enough for me. When they have the cranberry or OJ in place next to the Grey Goose then my part is done. The rest will all fall into their specific glasses. But it is relieving to know that if someone asked me make a Bellini then I would know to muddle a peach in a champagne glass, add simple syrup, and plenty of champagne. Or if someone wanted an Irish Buck then I would know to hand him/her whiskey and ginger ale and call it a day. Or that if someone shouts out Nervous Breakdown it may just mean vodka, Chambord, soda, and a splash of cranberry mixed together. Do NOT call 911. In conclusion, buying ________ for Dummies may not necessarily mean that you're a dummy. It just means there are certain things that you are not so familiar about. Take it from me. I am a self-confessed expert on anything above 5%alc but I did not know before tonight that Buttery Nipples exist (Irish cream, vodka, and Butterscotch Schnapps). 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rambos, Eagle Rock CA

We really didn't have time to cook anything today. And with all the holiday preparations I had to do it was evident that a quick stop was necessary. We were getting tired of the usual burger/fast food places and we happened to have cash so Rambo's was a natural choice. I've mentioned Rambo's in my Kogi blog but it does merit its own. It seems that Rambo's brought many weird, painful, embarrassing, and drunken memories. But tonight was just dinner. I love their cabeza (beef cheeks) so I went ahead with my cabeza torta and a lengua (cow tongue) taco. Joe ordered his BRC (bean, rice, and cheese burrito) with plenty of hot sauce inside plus a cheese quesadilla. The smell of grilled meat filled the car as we drove excitedly back to Joe's house. I was a happy little kid. My beef cheek sandwich was a marvelous piece of art (LOL). It was soft, tender pieces of chopped meat that melts in your mouth with just the right amount of salsa verde dripping down the slightly grilled bread...ready for some serious licking. My lengua taco was just as good with some salsa roja; it was just right. I'm pretty sure Joe enjoyed his BRC. I was too full to try it. He said the quesadilla was pretty good. I will have word for it as another morsel would have pushed me to burst in the seams. Ayayayayay Rambo's. I would love to the an experiment: Leo's vs Rambo's. Someday. Someday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Newport Tan Cang Seafood, San Gabriel CA

I watched way too many Anthony Bourdain episodes last night. This streaming from Netflix jeopardized all that hard work...PKA (Project Kick Ass) was assured of failure post-Bourdain. So a "blogging lunch" is inevitable. I had to keep my sanity before I got to Newport. I was craving. I was hungry. I was salivating. I was ready to devour.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 is 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 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 this is what I'm talking about. 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. (Note: i finished the whole plate, to the last bite...well, i did share maybe a piece or two).
Fish/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 at the table so I had to try this plate anyway. 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 walk to Panda Express and get my fix.
Pea sprouts...Joe's favorite item to order. He said it was good. I say it is pea sprouts.
Shrimp fried rice...their fried rice was filled with enough shrimp and add-ons. I mean, don't you get tired of ordering this dish and get two or three pieces of shrimp? Newport's shrimp fried rice IS shrimp fried rice.
Shrimp and scrambled eggs...simple but good. I know i could have easily made this dish at home as I make Chinese scrambled eggs most brunch days 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.
In conclusion...I have found that this place is 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.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Blue Hen, Eagle Rock CA

EAT DRINK ORGANIC. Blue Hen boasts of many Zagat, AOL, and Citysearch recognitions. So I was definitely made curious the moment I stepped inside. I agree, eating and drinking organic will not hurt for one to try, so I was made more enthusiastic to know of their claim about healthy, organic products coming out of their Vietnamese kitchen.
The menu was fairly simple and small. They had specials posted on the board so Joe had to try one of them right of the bat. We ordered turmeric fries (Japanese sweet potato) for our appetizer, vegetable Vietnamese crepe for Joe, and the caramelized ginger chicken and tofu for me.
The fries were served with diluted fish sauce and organic ketchup. WOW. Just something I do not see in my pantry often. I would like to, and I will because it tasted just like ketchup...even maybe how ketchup is supposed to taste like. By the way, the fries were normal. A cross between sweet potato and Yukon gold. If you've read my Spitz blog then you would know how I feel about "abnormal fries".
Work for your food best describes the crepe. Joe had such a hard time keeping it all together. It was a lot of bean sprouts and carrots with some tofu. Wrap it together and dip it in the sauce. Again, nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, working for something that I would rather NOT have defeats the purpose of a foodie enjoying her food. I am thankful I did not get this dish.
My plate sounds promising-BRAISED ORGANIC CHICKEN AND TOFU SERVED WITH RICE AND SIDE OF MARKET GREENS. Yummy, right? I guess. A foodie saying I guess is sacrilegious but this one has no choice. I really dismay in the fact that I have nothing good to say about this dish. Braised chicken that I could not even taste the ginger, simple slices of tofu that has been soaking in the sauce, Chinese broccoli on the side, and undercooked brown rice. The saltiness from the fish sauce just swims and penetrates each and every bite that it hits the back of your throat as you place each bite in your mouth. I was expecting a more ginger taste, but encountered the overpowering fish sauce instead. They also have to know that tofu is like a sponge. It starts tasteless and morphs into whatever liquid it absorbs. So as my chicken, tofu, rice, and side of market greens lay on the ladled sauce, I just had to pray my kidneys would get out of Blue Hen alive.
We had banana pudding after. Even though it wasn't the best I've had, I welcome the change of taste in my mouth. There is hope, after all.
Maybe we just ordered the wrong items on the menu. The place does show proof of many awards. Maybe my palate deceived me and the promise seduced me silly that my expectation were very unreasonable. I don't know, I guess. But it will take a long time for me to try Blue Hen gain. Next time I will stick to Lemongrass. It is just around the corner. It maybe a little bit pricier but organic or is by far better.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Back for Good?

Do you remember the song? PKA is still in heart and mind but I am back to scouting the hole in the wall, the small spaces, the crowded rooms, and the longest lines. YES.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The chronicles of PKA...

I know that PKA is done. I have lost by a 2lbs. to my friend Lui. It might have been more fair and acceptable if we were to measure by percentage as I was the smallest of six; nevertheless, I lost some poundage and that is all that matters for now. To narrate such ordeal is quite scary, I must admit. I had my weakest points and I had my stronger (much more disciplined) ways. I am proud to have lost many and will be ashamed to gained some back. But blogging leaves me no choice but to continue to forge on to new horizons and eat mas instead of menos. I will eat...if sensibly??? It leaves to wonder. But I will have more weak moments, I PROMISE.