Archive for September, 2008

The Hat’s : Pastrami & Chili Paradise

September 21, 2008
Chili Cheese fries. $4.59

Chili Cheese fries. $4.59

Most of you that have been visiting Yummy Monterey Park food blog probably have come to a certain conclusion of my eating habits by now. That being, i am inescapably and inevitably addicted to fast food! But most of all, i love burgers and fries. Theres something magical about holding that burger in your hand, being able to taste all the various condiments found in a burger, differeniating between lettuce, tomato, onion, meat, bun, ketchup and all the plethora of possible combinations found within a neatly packaged (though sometimes messy) wrapper. And to top it off, whenever you feel like you need a slight change in your taste buds, you can switch off to french fries for a quick salty change.

That being said, i would like to mention one of my all time favorite establishments of the burger domain. The Hats. The hats is pretty much an icon of the 626 area  having three locations in alhambra, monterey park and temple city, including 7 more establishments within southern california.  Their first location was established in 1951, which is quite an achievement for a small burger joint.

corner of Valley and Garfield in Alhambra

The Hat's : corner of Valley and Garfield in Alhambra

If you’ve lived in monterey park or alhambra, you’ve seen it. Its that place on the corner of vally and garfield. the one with all the people in front of it at all hours of the day and night. hahah.

Always a constant stream of loyal patrons

Always a constant stream of loyal patrons

Parking lot in the back.

Parking lot in the back.

Click for a closer view of the menu.

Their claim to fame is their “world famous pastrami”. ahem. quite a hefty title to go by. i hope they can handle my critique! hahah.

How would i describe ‘The Hat’s’. one word: ALOT…. (or is that two words?!?!?! i never could bother figuring that out. hahah).  for a decent price, they give you alot of food. i typically only order two things from the hats which are their awesome ‘Chili cheese fries’ and their ‘Pastrami burger’. Sounds good already ya?

Eating chili is a messy affair...

Eating chili is a messy affair...

As you can see, their chili cheese fries that cost $4.59 is anything but little. sometimes me and my buddies would come here for a late night snack. 3 or 4 of us will tackle this single gigantic monstrosity and barely finish it ( of course its just a midnight snack, so we chose not to eat that much). They serve it with a heaping stash of golden cut fries. They use the thick potato cut style of french fries which allows for a higher proportion of potato taste to fried taste in every single chip, which any french fries connoisseur will know is what makes a frie a good frie. 

Look that that thick chili

Look that that thick chili

Now for the perfection da resistance! the chili. look at dat chili  man! i ain’t talking about no frilly little watered down eat before bedtime chili. I’m talking about a heart attack inducing, takes an hour to slide down your throat, can’t sleep with your girlfriend type of chili. Absolutely marvelous. the chili is thick, with plenty of of chunks of ground meat in every bite. the texture is what chili should be, the chili itself isn’t spicy, but has a strong and vapid smell to it, and the color of it is a nice bold cyan red that in my opinion gives the chili a even more pleasant appearance. On top of the chili is a handful of cheddar cheese that melts into the chili giving it even more flavor and fat to go along with your already clogged up arteries. PERFECT!

Patrami burger. dinner for two. $6.99

Patrami burger. dinner for two. $6.99

Now if we really want a meal, i also order a pastrami burger. At 6.99, its pretty expensive considering a burger iself is around 2.00, that would mean the extra pastrami they heap onto the burger is another 4 or 5 bucks. pricey…. i didn’t know the going rate for pastrami was that high. hahah.

As you can see, its pretty big, usuall good enough to split into two. Its a typical burger, however as you can see they add quite alot of pastrami onto it. enough that i can’t quite exactly put my mouth over the entire burger. i gotta tackle it in two bites. lol. the pastrami is overall pretty good. Sometimes i get good moist pastrami and other times i’ve had some lackluster pastrami that was a little on the dry so, so overall its a hit or miss on their part. That being said, even when the pastrami is a little too dry, you could still smell and taste the pastrami, indicating they have quite a good recipe in terms of seasoning and curing the beef.

Stop by sometime, you are definitely in for a treat!

4 outta 4 stars!– Gotta try it!!

The menu and location can be found online their website.

Bahooka’s: The Tiki pirate ship

September 16, 2008

You’ve seen it before. You’ve wondered whats the hype. You’re curious about whats inside. Why that name? and what makes it so intriguing? Dare you go in? or should you just sit back into your nice cozy car seat and drive on by, making a mental note inside your head to visit this place the next time you are free…. like you say you would always do.

I am indeed referring to Bahooka’s, the restaurant with the interesting name and even more interesing outdoor decor. Looks part hawaiian tiki hut, partial robinson crusoe hideaway. Thumbs up for a restaurant that delivers on ambiance. You could tell that the owners of this restaurant wanted to create a special environment for their guests, that of a tropical polynesian paradise, and i do say they nailed that right on the head. Even from the outside, you’d notice the tropical palmtrees and playful fixtures such as the gigantic cruise ship blow horn outfront.

Entering inside is a completely different experience. Everywhere you walk, you see dark wooden furniture, probably mahogeny i’m guessing, with fish tanks. tons of fish tanks filled with an assortment of aquatic creatures from fishies to turtles. From the ceilings dangle shanty colourish lanterns and plastic parrots, anchor chains and wooden buckets. All the while you wonder, am i in a polynesian tiki hut? or the port bow cabin of a pirate ship?

We were promptly seated, slow for a friday night, they were setting up it seems for a birthday party, yet still very few patrons for this time of night. Walking to our table was a treat in itself, as our entire party could not keep our eyes from jumping from the left of the room, to the right of the room, to up top at the ceiling… so many things to see!!!

our table, wooden, was propped up by a gigantic link sea chain. we ordered drinks. what sounds good for our co-worker that just arrived from holland? how about a BAHOOKA BOWL (VODKA). it has flames in it. that sounded good. 20 dollars? sounds pricey, but it feeds two. okay, we’re game.

WOAH!!! its really on fire. how cool is that. omg…. this drink is strong…… we can’t finish it. okay.. we need help guys. this thing is fruit punch tasty and getting us tossed. Its freakin’ strong, and sooo worth the 20. what? you can’t drink our drink because your drink was so good and strong your tossed too? pffft. and you call yourself a mexican… tsk.

oooh, look, foods here. heres your salads. howz it? looks like regular salad to me. bahooka’s special salad dressing? tastes like a lighter version of thousands island dressing to me, but the girls liked it alot. my clam chowder which cost an extra 75 cents was okay. average by all accounts. It had medium thickness with a few half clams here and there, however the overall taste of the meal was lacking.

okay… now here’s the real food. we ordered from the bahooka’s special which was roughly 20 dollars a plate.

i ordered the bbq ribs and 6 oz new york steak (medium well) with a yam. the bbq ribs were pretty good. they had a good amount of meat on the bones, and though the meat didn’t fall of the bones as many other bbq restaurants would claim is the only wayy bbq ribs should be, the meat itself was moist and tender and flavorful even prior to adding any bbq sauce to it. the only gripe i had was that they only gave you a tiny cup of bbq sauce. you couldn’t exactly bombard your ribs with bbq sauce but rather only spread it over one or two sides. next time, i’ll ask for more sauce because the sauce is pretty good itself and you can’t call it bbq without getting your hands a little bit dirty.

The steak itself was average. as you can see, they did a nice job in grilling the steak, but to be honest it didn’t taste like it was really grilled. i’m guessing they may have panned fried it most of the way then finished it off with a quick grill…. or those could be painted on grill marks (kinda looks like it ya? lol) overall,l i wasn’t stoked about the steak. typical steak that was rubbery at times and had some flavor but nothing to write home about. the yam was well…. a yam…. nothing special, if you like yams, you’ll probably enjoy this soft and palatable sweet potato.

my friend ordered the teriyaki chicken. i didn’t get to try it, but just looking at that overall brown color and how she had this smirk on her face as she only managed to finish less than half the chicken, she didn’t like it that much. awwww.. its okay. your too buzzed to notice that chicken ain’t great anyways.

oh wait… what do we hear? someones birthday and the waiters are singing a happy birthday song to them. awww. how typical. what…? its not my birthday dude. no, don’t tell the waiter its my…. sheeeesh….

oh hey, at least we got this FREE awesome flaming shaved ice desert for my *cough cough* birthday . how lets taste see…. it tastes like….. ice…. wow. how cheap. the red and blue coloring was exactly that. coloring, we could not taste anything at all except ice. at least we could have some of that pineapple, which i must say is absolutely ripe and delicious. yay for free desert on my fake birthday!

overall.. .like many people have mentioned before, Bahooka’s is not really a place for the food. its for the ambiance, its for the curiosity, its for the strong drinks and decent prices, and just maybe, just maybe, its for the bbq ribs, extra sauce on the side.

Thanks for checking out Yummy Monterey Park. Look forward to seeing you again soon for another one of my ramblings. =)

4501 Rosemead Blvd
Rosemead, CA 91770
(626) 285-1241

3 outta 5 stars for the food
5 outta 5 stars for the unique environment and decor

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Los Angeles County Fair

September 12, 2008

With so many delicious foods that this event has to offer, I had to (as a famous and respected food critic. cough) diverge from our usual 626 food and show you all the delicious and greasey culinary delights of the LA county fair. The LA county fair is going on from sept 5th to sept 28th 2008. thats right, its happening RIGHT NOW. so what are you waiting for? its at the pomona fairplex and only 20 minutes drive from the 626 area. go go go. here the link to the website with directions, admission prices, and all the plethora of different eats. be sure to look at dates and times since they are closed on mondays and tuesdays, not to mention the special concerts and events happening throughout the next few weeks.
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Lets start off with some of pictures of the fairplex. parking is $10 for general admission. If you arrive after 5 pm on wednesday or thursday, the admission is only $5!!!! With that being said, me and my poor co-workers came around 6pm after work on wednesday. be sure to bring a light jacket as its starting to get chilly later on at night.

Blooming Onion. Absolutely delicious

Blooming Onion. Absolutely delicious

Yummy. Blooming onion for $7 with ranch dressing. a good deal and everyone in our group loved it. lightly battered and perfectly fried. a must have on your trip. This sucka is pretty big, can easily feed 5 or so people until you don’t wanna eat no more.

three different tacos

three different tacos

carne asada, pastor, and chicken soft tacos. ehhh. it was so so, for 2 dollars a piece, i was expecting more. Frankly, i could of gotten tastier tacos from any of the local taco trucks in east LA.

Jumbo Hot dog. $8. not too shabby. its a typical hot dog with the various regular fixings like ketchup, onions, relish etc. WHile been humongous, that was the extent of how great it was. Go to your local costco’s for a cheaper dog that tastes almost as good. That being said, it was still a well made and good tasting hot dog, just nothing special about it.

Dissapointing nachos. I call them YUCKchos.

Dissapointing nachos. I call them YUCKchos.

Nachos were YUCK!. chips were kinda pathetic. I was hoping for some home made chips, maybe deepfried right before hand. These chips seemed to be the type you get out of a bag. The cheese was so so. no one touched them so they got soggy real quick. overall a big dissapointment.

Pulled pork and fries. ~ $7.50. this was actually suprising. when my friend brought the food to us, i only had one question on my mind “wheres the bbq sauce?” the pulled pork burger was alright in itself, but this sucka would of been plenty of times better if it came with bbq that drenched the meat. thats how its suppose to come right? without the bbq sauce, it just seemd a tat too dry.

one of the numerous taco stands scattered around the fairplex.

the night time views were spectacular. be sure to go on the lift that takes you up and across the fairgrounds. the ride itself costs about 3.50 per person and gives you a highrise view of the entire fairground. This should definitely be one of the things on your to-do list.

the beer bar is on the other side.

the beer bar is on the other side.

they also have a sizeable wine tasting section in the fair. on one side, they had wine, the other side had a bar that sold various beers and alcoholic beverages from around the world. If memory serves me correct, each wine taste is $3 dollars. ( or it could be $6). huh….. guess my memory starting to suck now eh?

Cholesterol in a bun!

Cholesterol in a bun!

i had to try this… deep battered deep fried whitecastle cheeseburger.

errrgh….. i love fried stuff… but this thing almost gave me a heart attack. every single bite, i felt grease and fat just sliding down my throat. it was not a pretty sight. lol. hey. you only live once right?!!?!?

a little too salty and not enough alchie!

a little too salty and not enough alchie!

Margarita. I didn’t like it. too salty, not enough alcohol. ON the plus side, they had a live mariachi band playing for the audience.

Rocky Road Fudge

Rocky Road Fudge

Big slab of chocolate fudge. $7.

You must try the australian potato fries. basically they are potatos cut into slices and put in batter and deep fried. i guess they are kinda like french fries, but they have a different type of batter and coating that makes it uniquely special. quite a popular side order in australia and one i use to enjoy quite alot when i used to live there. unfortunetly i didn’t order any, even though it was on my to-eat list. sorry, but that white castle burger was slowly killing me and not in the good kinda killing way…. whatever that means.

Churro. $3.00. yummy.

Turkey legs. couldn’t order one cuz i was dying from all the fried food from earlier, but i had it at other fairs and its one of the highlights of the trip. be sure to share. cuz these suckas are HUGE!!!.

wow. this fair was huggggggge. 5 hours was not enough to explore indepth all that it had to offer. besides all the differents foods available (in which i only showed you a tiny portion of), they have artisans fair selling everything from candles to umbrellas. they have numerous rides and games where you can win prices ( the games were actually pretty expensive to play). they had attractions like a hawai’i themed room showing exotic flowers with live dancers doing the hula. too much to talk about. all i gotta say is GO! don’t miss out. go, have fun, and give me a shout out on how good it was.


5 outta 5 stars.

A must go.

From sept 5th to sept 28th, 2008 (excluding mondays) and tuesdays

Cakes and such!

September 7, 2008

With several dozen people in our workplace, its not uncommon to come across a celebration of sorts for birthdays, going away parties, and baby births. And of course, what celebration would be complete without cake! So without further ado, bringing you some of the coolest and most unique cakes coming from bakeries in the 626 area.

The syringe cake

The syringe cake

One our coworkers made this cake shaped like a syringe needle. Even though it wasn’t made in a bakery, you can tell she put alot of effort into. Looking at it, you can see its a 5ml syringe and she even had put a nice little touch by adding a yellow boba straw as a needle. Now thats creativity!

Ex-Coworker cutting the cake

Ex-Coworker cutting the cake

This is my colleague cutting the cake. I don’t know his name, since i had arrived only a week or two earlier before his departure. For now i’ll call him Dr. pediatrician. Now look how big the cake is in comparision. easily enough to feed the dozen or so hungry co-workers surrounding the cake.

Wait... Its Jello!!!

Wait... Its Jello!!!

What creativity. Look at that. she actually made the syringe realisitic with orange jello once you cut inside. i wonder how she did that? make the jello first and mold the sponge cake around it? either way, that is way cool. I can’t be sure what the orange jello indicates, but i’m guessing it must be either serum or blood plasma. the cake itself was scrumdidlyumscious. who knew sponge cake and jello went hand in hand.

Moving on to another celebration…..

Square cakes

Square cakes

This happened to be a birthday for the chair of our deparment. ALong with a fruit platter and various other cakes, this one right here was the highlight of the celebration. Chocolate sponge cake with a light white frosting and various fruit toppings including fresh ripe strawberries and kiwi. the sponge cake itself contained a light and fluffy chocolate freshness to it. i would of preferred a stronger chocolate taste to it, but i can see this light chocolate taste appealing to people that wanted a light sugar rush without the guilt!. haha.

oh  my goodness!

oh my goodness!

the sponge cake itself was perfect at room temperature and the fruits on top were at its peak of ripeness. the cake itself was placed on a huge cardboard box with gold trimming which just amplified the subtle sophisication of the cake itself.

I happened to catch a shot of the bakery where this was made. its right on baldwin ave in arcadia. Not too far a drive for someone in the 626 area.

And finally, what i like to call the coffee kettle cake.

Its a coffee cake

Its a coffee cake

Thats right, your eyes aren’t decieving you. that is indeed a cake with a perfectly molded tea kettle made out of chocolate. How terrific is that. This celebration was two fold. One for our co-workers who was about to go on maternity leave and another for a summer intern who was about to leave. I was fortunate enough to be invited due to everyone obviously loving me and my companionship. hahah… it could also very well be because i was the only one that had a camera at the time, but i choose to think its because i’m awesome!!!. hahaha.

Anyhows, this is an inside cut of the cake, as you can see, they had 3 layers of coffee sponge cake with 2 layers of frosting with a generous amount of mango pieces within. the sponge cake was absolutely delicious. You could really taste the coffee and the sponge cake itself was moist and fluffy. the mango and frosting part however was a big letdown. the mango pieces were COOOOOOLD. brrrrrrrrr. a couple of my coworkers also expressed their disatisfaction of the coldness. It seemed to me the mango itself may have been shelved in the freezer prior to its making.

other than that major gripe, the decor and taste of it was excellent.

yet again i happend to catch a picture of the bakery. Also a local 626 joint. If you don’t mind frozen fruit pieces, this place is a definite winner for creativity and decor.!!!

Stay tuned and visit next week for another exciting addition of YummyMonterePark!!!