New wordpress is giving me a headache

December 15, 2008

now grant it i thank wordpress for offering such an outlet for my blogs free of cahrge.
Yet at the same time, i feel destain for the poorly designed interface.

the old one was bad, making it really difficult to correctly put in images and
captions. But at least i could type and eventually get images on there (after
an hour or so of deleting and replacing lost images and the horrible gallery
feature.

The new interface promised to be more user friendly, yet its even more atrocious.
i can’t even properly write in this box without the words falling off the page
when i write too much. (shouldn’t it go back to the beginning of the line
rather than just keep on writing off the screen?!?!?)

Needless to say, i rant, because its so hard to see what i’m doing, (plus they
never fixed the annoying image feature), so i’m having a hard time posting up
a few of the new restaurants i have already install for y’all.

well i’ll try to make the best of it and get something up to u real soon.

Joe’s Place

November 29, 2008
PB & J cupcakes for dessert at Joe's Place

PB & J cupcakes for dessert at Joe's Place

I’m a new convert to Joe’s place. Set in a strip mall next to Big Lots, this formerly dead piece of property has become an avenue of sorts for the urbaness rock/hip culture of today’s youth. The outside store sign is strangely reminiscence of a tiki hut Polynesian vibe whereas upon entering, you are greeted by what could only be described as a hybrid urban outfitters/ mum and pop cottage/barnes & nobles hosh-posh of eclectic fixtures and nick-knacks. We’re talking multiple different types of spunky clocks playing against the wall, a small little bookshelf dedicated to urban outfitter type trinkets for sale such as magical 8 balls, Joe t-shirts, and other paraphernalia brought back from the dead of the 1970’s, plus various other items lining the walls.

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xmas trees, pianos, rocking chairs, and books to read!

xmas trees, pianos, rocking chairs, and books to read!

Small attention to detail like these is what make Joe's unique

Small attention to detail like these is what make Joe's unique

Joe’s place is surprisingly large, a deceptive view from the outside, but with 2 rooms (one of which is available for meetings), it allows for dozens and dozens of patrons to sit down and relax on the multitude of regular dining chairs and tables, or if you wish, to sit within the lounge area with comfy sofas, rocking chairs, and even an adjacent piano and fireplace. Available right over is a large shelve with all different types of books for you to peruse at your pleasure, or feel free to bring your laptop while sucking down an enjoyable starbuckesque type beverage with their free wi-fi connection.

Specials and deals are found on the black chalkboard above

Specials and deals are found on the black chalkboard above

Once you’ve finished sightseeing over the entire place, which there is plenty to look at, and also at the same time wondering to yourself how such a room so mix-matched and completely unresolved of any true style of decor could ever look so intimate and attractive, please feel free to step up to the deli style counter where you are greeted by a friendly cashier.

Click the menu for a better view

Click the menu for a better view

First question he asks ” hi guys, so is this your first time here?” with a friendliness that seems genuine and unforced, something that belies the rock look he has with tattoos on his arms as proof. He directs to a well-made sheet of paper while guiding you to the proper way to order an any-way-you-like-it sandwich from their establishment. Simply put, choose the bread (out of the several choices they have), toasted, untoasted, or panini toasted is your next question, followed by the type of condiments they have, the types of cheese you prefer, then continuing with your choice of the various types of meats they offer, then up to five out of the dozen or so vegetables and greens they have, lastly by your choice of home-made potato salad or coleslaw (the potato salad is delicious, thick and teaming with potato, black olives and the other ingredients. It offers itself as a very nice side dish to any complement sandwich). The base price of the whole sandwich plus the side dish is $6.50.

Matt's roast beef au jus special w/ cranberry sauce ($6.50)

Matt's roast beef au jus special w/ cranberry sauce ($6.50)

The true winner of their shop however is the plethora of suggestions the workers have to offer. This time around, the co-owner matt suggested a hot roast beef au jus style sandwich, which sounded just right for me. A French style roll panini pressed with warn roast beef au jus, two styles of melting cheese, plus a thin layer of cranberry sauce came in this approximately 5 by 5 inch sandwich. My first observation upon tasting the sandwich is they did good job in making the roast beef, still nice and tender, with still a hint of the flowing au jus juice within the meat. The panini press had done its job in toasting the bun, plus also offering a very well made out and enticing presentation. A good amount of cheese went into this sandwich, particularly good for a cheese lover like me, and it complemented the meaty aroma of the roast beef quite well. The piece de resistance of this sandwich is the layer of cranberry sauce in-between the meat and the bread. I’ve never had it quite like this before, and I have to say, it made the sandwich oh so good. The cranberry offered a tangy sweet hint of flavor, that though would seem unusual company for roast beef au jus, rather offered a different dimension to this otherwise normal dish. And so kudos to matt for being able to come up with something as creative and tasty as this dish.

Kristen's Sandwich

Kristen's Sandwich

My two other friends who also accompanied me ordered off the menu, one order the Kristen’s sandwich, a vegetarian’s delight, which included allot of very fresh and crisp vegetables. She elicited this 3 out of 5 stars, her only complaint that prevented it from being 4 stars being that the ciabatta bread it came on should of been toasted (something easily fixable if she had asked before hand), though perhaps with this sandwich, the cashier should of offered it as an option while ordering.

Another friend ordered the half and half, a half and sandwich of your choice plus soup of the day, which today was tortilla soup. We each got to try a small sample before hand, generously offered by matt when we came in, and indeed the soup was very fresh and flavorful, indicative of its homemade origins. The soup base was robust and powerful, complementing the beans and other ingredients mixed into the soup. Easily comparable to the well made tortilla soup available at the island’s burger chain stores.

Meatball sandwich

Meatball sandwich

For her half a sandwich, she chose to make her own, going for the meatballs with alfalfa sprouts. The sandwich was decent, the meatballs being tender and somewhat juicy. What lacked in this dish were the powerful flavors in the meatball. Though the meatballs had good flavor to it, personally for me I would of preferred this type of Italian meat to have more spices that would offer it a stronger zest flavor that would truly distinguish it from other meats. Overall, this meatball dish would have satisfied any person it served, but also it has room for improvement.

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Even these guys participate in the ribbon decorations!

Even these guys participate in the ribbon decorations!

Oh by the by, besides serving espresso, cappuccino and other hot items from their beverage selection, they also offer mini and regular cupcakes that make for an excellent dessert. While asking to buy some mini cupcakes, which cost a dollar a piece, Joe the owner of the store, offered us each a regular cupcake ($2.00) for free, it being their way of promoting these neat little suckas. Each regular cupcake came in a clear plastic box, with a colorful decorative bow and sticker to add to the overall presentation of the cupcake, easily presentable at a little kid’s birthday party. They had three or four different selections at that time; we all chose the different ones to share. Peanut butter & jelly cupcake, pumpkin, and French vanilla. I tried all of them and had varying views of them, but for the most part consider all them in a positive light. I was hesitant to try the PB& J at first, after all, who has peanut butter and jelly on a cupcake?!?! To my surprise, it really did taste like PB & J, and though odd at first, was quite enjoyable once my brain acclimated to this perverse coupling of foods. The pumpkin cupcake was by far the best. It just simply taste good. The French vanilla cupcake was moist and light, however the addition of the chocolate mousse icing on top seems to be this cupcakes failing. It just did not taste good on the vanilla cupcake base. In my opinion, this French vanilla cupcake would have been tops with the replacement of the chocolate mouse with say vanilla icing instead. Oh, and I would be a very happy person if they were able to offer a truly great red velvet cupcake. Every since doughboy’s disappeared, there has been a void in good red velvet cakes…. (But the disappearance of doughboys is another story for another time.)

Regular sized cupcakes $2.00

Regular sized cupcakes $2.00

Overall, Joe’s place is an exemplary place for anyone wishing for a different experience. No more mass-produced starbucks places, but rather a homey cottage like establishments where the people call you by first name, as if you were friends. These people are the new cultural and social entrepreneurs of the culinary world, and it is my hope that they continue to be creative and innovative with their sandwiches and other foods. Only by continuing to try new and different recipes, usurping the culinary norm and playing with new and different ingredients, can food really evolve. Next time you visit Joe’s, be sure to tell them to create you something special. You may be in for a surprise.

4 outta 5

Joe’s Place
1340 E Huntington Dr
Duarte, CA 91009

(626) 357-5637
http://www.eatatjoesplace.com

http://www.yelp.com/biz/joes-place-duarte

Thai City: a taste of thailand.

November 23, 2008
Cashew Nut lunch special at Thai City

Cashew Nut lunch special at Thai City

Over the past summer my coworkers and I have been visiting this restaurant near our work place. Perfect since its not too far from work, has reasonable prices (inparticular the lunch specials that go for $6.50), never overcrowded (though never empty either), and has some very delectable and almost authentic thai cuisine.

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Only thing missing here are the fishes and Turtles!

Only thing missing here are the fishes and Turtles!

This business is located on the very busy street of Huntington blvd in duarte, surrounded by residents and a few businesses. the parking lot in the back is usually full during the lunch rush, but street parking is ALways available for your convience. The first thing you notice upon walking thru the wooden arches is the small little pond with the squirting water on your right, surrounding by a small rock formations and bits and pieces of flowers and shrubbery. Very nice and somewhat tranquil, though if i had my choice, i would of opted for perhaps a flowing waterfall and maybe some fishes in the pond!

Traditional Thai style? maybe. Old? fo'sure!

Traditional Thai style? maybe. Old? fo'sure!

Entering the restaurant you will find a business partitioned into two rooms, each inlaid mainly with dark wooden panels and fixtures meant to inspire the more rustic traditional thailand architecture, also effectively utizilizing the large windows to allow real sunlight to brighten the room rather than artificial light.

Hey have a great lunch menu, which runs for $6.50 and includes soup, two fried wonton pieces, salad, and white steamed rice with your entre.

These photos are compliations of all the times i’ve been to thai city and remembered to take pictures.

Sorry, I don't recall the name of this dish

Sorry, I don't recall the name of this dish

Though i don’t recall the name of this dish, it came from the lunch special section. Obviously, It has something to do with chicken and i beleive the diner said it was reasonalbly decent, earning itself a 3 outta 5.

Shrimp appetizers

Shrimp appetizers

Anything fried is good, and these were no exception! crispy wonton wrapped around shrimp and deepfried.

Very yummy.

Very yummy.

Curry

Curry

Very good curry. We had these multiple times and everytime we go, someone in our party always always orders this dish. Though often times its a hit or miss for people (THey complain that it either has too much coconut milk or not enough), but often i find it really just depends on the individual curry tastebuds of the eater. Spicyness can be adjusted to your liking by telling the waitress. One coworker who shall remain namless, (though she’s mexican so you know she can eat spicy) ordered it spicy, and lets just say she coudn’t finish her curry, hehehe. i thought she was almost in tears at the end. lol. thats spicy!

stuffed chicken

stuffed chicken

stuffed chicken part 2

stuffed chicken part 2

Sorry for the last couple of horrible pictures. i’m still not a very good photographer. But perhaps these blurry pictures is a metaphor for the actual taste of this stuffed chicken. i managed to taste some of it and too my dissapointment found the meat to be on the dry side. the noodles and meat failed to compliment each other and too be honest, i found it rather disconcerting that after all that mushing and mashing of all the different ingredients, that they would remold it back into the shape of a drumstick and chicken wing. Say thats UNNATURAL…

Pad-see-ew. SCORE!

Pad-see-ew. SCORE!

Pad-see-ew, a staple of the americanzied thai appetite, comes in the the form of thick noodles with beef and broccoli with a nice portion of sauteed garlic all wok fried into one dish. I managed to get a taste of this the first time around and the 2nd time around, ordered a dish for myself. This dish itself is a true winner. the noodles were moist yet firm, the beef was tender and moist and offered a nice complimentary flavoring to the broccoli. Combine this with all the diced pan-fried garlic and it made it for a wonderful lunch. Unfortunetly, this is not part of the lunch time special so u’ll have to pay the full $7.95 for it. still way worth it.

Lunch special - Cashew nuts with chicken

Lunch special - Cashew nuts with chicken

Lunch special - Orange chicken - YUMMY!

Lunch special - Orange chicken - YUMMY!

I think i’ve ordered the orange chicken the last three times i’ve been here. So, i know that being a food bloggie, i should be trying as many different dishes as possible, but this orange chicken is THAT freaking GOOD. i bet they make it to order right here and then, cuz each time i get it, the chicken is always nice and tender, and the outside fried batter is always cripsy. ONly complaint i have with this dish is the proportion of batter to chicken is a little on the high side. you tend to taste more batter than chicken which may not always be a good thing. Luckily i like me’s some fried stuff, so the high ratio of fried batter wasn’t all that bad. The highlight of this dish is definitely the orange sweet and sour sauce, which absolutely for anyone that has a sweet tooth. You can also try this viscousy syrup with the wontons that come with the lunch specials (its hidden underneath the wontons).

Oh, i guess i forgot to mention that the salad that comes with the lunch special is your standard fare of iceberg lettuce with some sliced up carrots etc. the sauce on the salad is pretty good. very nice and refreshing.

Lunch Special Menu

Lunch Special Menu

Thai City

4 outta 5

2414 Huntington Dr
Duarte, CA 91010

(626) 303-2736

McDonald’s Cherry Pie : POP!

November 16, 2008
Cherry Pie - Baked Form

Cherry Pie - Baked Form

McDonalds, the cultural fast food icon of the world. Located in 119 countries around the world, serving 47 Million customers each and everyday, and also the establisment of one of my favorite desserts of all time. PIE!. back in the hay days, the use to serve fried apple pies, a delicious crispy elongated pie feeled with warm and soft apple pieces. Sadly, the days of obesity and health conscious fanatics led to the disbandament of these fried miracles for the more healthy baked variety in 1992. ( tho here and there they still have small pockets of mcdonalds resistance that still serve the fried kind. like the walmart mcdonalds in duarte california off of mountain road.)

Every so often, here in the US they release for a very limited time, a variation on the pie. Quite common place in other countries and regions (i.e in Thailand, they have the taro pie and in Hong Kong they have the mango pie, whereas closer to home in hawai’i, for a limited time during xmas they had fried banana pies).

Fried Banana Pie, Circa Xmas 2007, Honolulu Hawai'i

Fried Banana Pie, Circa Xmas 2007, Honolulu Hawai

A week ago, i came across the cherry pie which i must admit was absolutely delicious. It came in the baked dough form. BOO!!!!! However, even in this form, the cherry filling was absolutely delicious, not to mention the dark ruby red filling was absolutely mesmerizing and quite appealing visually. Try it out before there gone!!1!.

Cherry Pie, Limited time availability

Cherry Pie, Limited time availability

 P.S. work and partying has gotten to me lately, so i haven’t been updating any biggies, but rest assured i’ll bust out some good reviews in the near coming future!. LATES!

Mamma’s Brick Oven Pizza: Two MM’s cuz its MM MM good!

November 2, 2008
Mammas Margherita Pizza Slice. Yummy!

Mammas Margherita Pizza Slice. Yummy!

My food inspirations initially came from the foodie site www.yelp.com . Real reviews from real people. None of that self advertisement crap meant to exploit the good natured honesty of the real foodies of the world. And so i happened to stumble across Mamma’s brick oven pizza in nearby pasadena. the pictures on the site was enough to stoke my curiosity, so much that on a casual sunday morning, my foodie buddy and I headed over to this joint to begin our enjoyment of a good slice of new york style pizza. the rest as they say, Is History.

Former KFC off of Fair Oaks

Mamma

 

Look at the red and white checkered table clothes

Look at the red and white checkered table clothes

Notice something similiar about the building? well, after a bit of digging around and talking to the owner, we found out that this actually use to be a KFC building, recently in the last few years taken over by mamma’s. Mamma herself, Jamie, spent her time remodeling the place to give it her own homely, non-kfc, appeal by stitching the draperies herself against the windows and a few other things.

 The pizza was so good here, after sunday a couple of co-workers and I came again, friday night after the rush where we were met by the hospitable and friendly owner steve. Curteous and warm, steve is truly a man that enjoys his job and shows it with his customers. upon entering, he set us right with our table, cleaning the table away and rushing us some free garlic knots for us to try before we made our order. Now thats service!

Yummy Garlic Knots

Yummy Garlic Knots

Notice the thin layer of olive oil and garlic over each piece

Notice the thin layer of olive oil and garlic over each piece

 As you can see, the garlic knots come with a glistening of what could only be olive oil with a strong hint of garlic. moist and light,  the knots were also put in the oven for a few minutes for good measure. by the end of the night, i could still smell the garlic and i’m sure anyone that was within a few feet of me could as well. Now thats good garlic.

Look at the brick oven plus the girl trying to hide from the shot. LOL

Look at the brick oven plus the girl trying to hide from the shot. LOL

Now this pizza joint is a fast food/sit down restaruant type of vibe. You order and pay up front, choosing from either the plethora of different pre-made pizza slices or rolls, or the made to order pizzas and pasta. As you can see, their gourmet pizza slices come in a variety of toppings, from the usual fare of pepperoni and sausage, to others such as the Margherita which have fresh mozzarella, basil, zerty margherita sauce, parmigiano, with extra virgin olive oil. All of which is put into the brick oven to heat for several minutes. the overall affect is that of a tasty slice of new york thin crust pizza thats piping hot and tastes like it was just made to order.

The Margherita Slice

The Margherita Slice

I ordered the Magherita slice.  As you can see, they have different types of cheese generously applied to the whole of the pizza, with basil spread throughout. the slice of pizza came out piping hot, melty and long strips of cheese dangling from my mouth. To my suprise, the pizza was actually somewhat crispy, a welcome suprise.

The Brick Oven slice

The Brick Oven slice

My friends ordered the brick oven pizza (pepperoni, salami, italian sausages, mushrooms, olives, onions and resh mozzarella).  You can actually see the mozzarella ( the white patches on the pizza).  this pizza wasn’t crispy, but not suprising due to all the fat and grease coming off the meat, but still a tasty slice for meat lovers.

Mama Jamie and Steve. Suprise mama is asian?

Mama Jamie and Steve. Suprise mama is asian?

it was a joy to see steve interacting with his patrons, seeing him walk up to his customers asking how their meal was, having repeat customers telling him how much they loved his pizza. definitely one of those mum and pop joints that cater to repeat customers. oh, it also turns out steve is a big James Dean fan, thus his request to have his picture taken in front of the james dean photo.

Hazel Nut Gelato

Hazel Nut Gelato

 

at the end of the night, after a good few minutes of conversation, steve was generous enough to offer us some gelato to try. wow, first free garlic knots and now gelato!?!?! score. i have to say, the gelato was a little bit of a dissapointment. i ordered the hazel nut, and looking at the gelato, you could tell that perhaps it was left in the freezer a little too long. the gelato was a little hard to scoop, showing in the layers of gelato and the freezer burn taste. the sample of blueberry i tried was much better, it being the best selling so obviously had not been in the freezer as long as the others. But hey, its free right?!?! best bet for you if you feel like a little desert is to sample all of them first, then make your decision. The worker was more than happy to help us with that. The blue berry was very good overall though.

Overall, great pizza. the gelato leaves alittle to be desired, but hey, i go to a pizza place to get great pizza, and thats exactly what you get here at Mamma’s brick oven pizza plus a good helping of friendly hospitality.

Food: 4 outta 5 stars

Hospitality from steve the owner: 5 outta 5 stars.

710 Fair Oaks Ave
South Pasadena, CA 91030

(626) 799-1344

Yelp reviews
http://www.yelp.com/biz/mammas-brick-oven-pizza-south-pasadena#hrid:JGym1f12AwC1LcQgOIwhnQ/query:mamma’s

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