Search This Blog

Friday, December 29, 2006

Karuta Restaurant

Jerick (my brother) and Liz (my sister-in-law) both love Japanese food, so they brought me to Karuta Restaurant which offers teppanyaki. I always enjoy teppanyaki, especially if the chef has a flair for performing. Luckily for me, the chef that evening did have it. He chopped vegetables with a flourish, and lit the fire with panache.

It's fun to watch the fire because it tickles my little nephew Aidan so much. He is both fascinated by and scared of the flames at the same time, and it's amusing to see him peeking at them through his little fingers.

I greatly enjoyed the food. Teppanyaki has few ingredients, and the chef wielded them well. Since the shrimp and scallops they used were fresh, I was happy.

Karuta Restaurant
6890 Beach Blvd
Buena Park, 90621-3448

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Kapow Thai Restaurant

My brother has moved from the city of Buena Park to Hawaiian Gardens, so we have been discovering the restaurants in this area. One Thai restaurant near their house is called Kapow. In my ignorance, I at first thought this to be a very strange name for a restaurant, because it's like the sound effect for the old Batman cartoons whenever the Caped Crusader punched someone. Kapow turns out to be a popular Thai dish.

Most of the members of my family are living with my brother right now for the holidays, so it's been fun trying new restaurants with them. We ordered the usual Pad Thai and Shrimp Curry, but what I liked most among the dishes we had was the Shrimp Cakes. My nephew Aidan liked them too, and he and I practically had to fight over who would get more of them. I had to give in- he is after all, only four years old.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Rude Waitress at Seafood Kingdom Restaurant

I'm back in Cali for the Christmas break, and that means it's time again to pig out in the many interesting restaurants in the area. I'm looking forward to the pig-out sessions that are very likely to take place, because almost all my family will be here for the holidays. I've already been back to Seafood Kingdom Restaurant twice, the first time for dimsum (which is only served till 3pm), the other time for dinner. Both times we tried new dishes that turned out to be just as delicious as our favorites.

Fried Noodles with Seafood

I wasn't able to take pictures of most of the dishes because we were too hungry and dug in too quickly. One thing that ruined our eating experience though was the rudeness of one waitress. We ordered additional dishes which we had forgotten to ask for during our initial order, and she said (in a very impatient voice) "Is there anything else you're going to order? Because I can't keep coming back and forth to take your orders." I was just shocked when I heard that. I've never heard anyone say that in a restaurant. The place was not even half full, so it was not because they were particularly busy. You would think they would be happy that their customers are ordering more food, but instead, she made it sound like it was such a chore to attend to diners' requests. And we were nowhere near unreasonable, we were simply ordering additional dishes.

My sister-in-law Liz who is usually pleasant and non-confrontational spoke to the managers about the incident. After all, we come to that restaurant so often, and she felt embarrassed that the restaurant she had raved about to other members of our family (it was the first time for some of them to eat at the restaurant) had servers who were so rude. We will still come back to that restaurant, though, because their food is really good. I just hope they make sure their staff members show some manners.

Seafood Kingdom Chinese Restaurant
9802 Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 636-0398

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dinner at Gaucho's

My friend Emem recently celebrated her 22nd birthday, and so she invited her friends (mostly from the Journalism school) to have dinner at Gaucho's Steakhouse-Churrascaria, which is probably the only Brazilian restaurant in town. The thought of eating there did not particularly excite me, since it's mostly a meat place (it is a steakhouse, after all). However, I was a bit excited because they have drink specials, and they have $10 pitchers of Champagne Sangria which I think is delicious.

All their grilled meals came with a salad bar. I had the shrimp skewer, since my choices were very limited. It was very garlicky, and not particularly memorable.

I liked the salad bar though, because it didn't just have the usual ingredients that you see in other restaurants. I liked the tuna salad and the sundried tomatoes in particular. I also enjoyed the flourless chocolate cake that I had for dessert.

The biggest downer of the night was getting my bill. When it first arrived, there was a mistake in the check, and I had to send it back three times, because they found a way to make a new error each time I sent it back. All this going back and forth of the bill ate up an extra 30 minutes at the very least. Most of our friends had already left by the time it was all settled. It was a good thing I was pleasantly full and wasn't in any particular rush to go anywhere. Otherwise I would have been really ticked off.

10 Southampton Drive
Columbia, MO 65203

Monday, November 06, 2006


One of my favorite restaurants here in Columbia is Addison's, which is a casual dining place. It's the restaurant I go to most often when I want a break from Taco Bell. Usually, I eat their pasta, but last time I went, I only had space for an appetizer and dessert. So, I had their Italian bread which has lots of cheese on top, and a slice of their caramel pecan cake. Worth mentioning is their sweet potato chips which I had another time. It comes with horseradish sauce, and the combination was surprisingly complementary. We have sweet potato chips in the Philippines, but these are usually sugared. I'll try to make my own version of the sauce when I fly back home.

709 Cherry St.
Columbia, MO

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Chinese Tea Eggs

One dish I learned about from my Chinese friend Yuying was Chinese tea eggs. She served me some when I dropped by her house to pick up some school books. It was the first time I had heard of it, but I was intrigued by it and I wanted to try making it for myself. Basically, tea eggs are regular chicken eggs boiled in tea. But because of the process, it ends up being marbled. I thought they were both pretty AND delicious.

What you'll need

8 eggs
2 or 3 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons Chinese five spice powder
1 piece star anise
1 tea bag (plain black tea)

What you'll do

Boil some water, and put the eggs and all the ingredients in.
Let the eggs boil for 3-5 minutes.
Remove the pot from the fire.
Remove the eggs from the water, then gently crack the egg's shell all over.
Do not remove the shell.
Put the eggs back in the pot, making sure there is still enough water to cover the eggs.
Let the eggs simmer for an hour.
Put the fire out, but let the eggs stay in the water for another hour.
Drain and enjoy.
You may dip the egg in a salt and pepper mixture.
The eggs can be eaten hot or cold.

Monday, October 16, 2006

P.S. to Moe's Grill

I've changed my mind... I'm NEVER going back to Moe's Southwest Grill again. I went there for the second time last week, and it was a disappointing experience.

I was feeling a little overwhelmed by school work last week, so I decided to take a break and de-stress by what else... eating. So, I went to have some fish tacos at Moe's, since it was one of the closest eating places to the journalism school. Since I was feeling particularly swamped, I thought I deserved TWO tacos, which I proceeded to order.

When I started eating the tacos though, I was horrified by the way it tasted. When I first wrote about their fish tacos, I already noted that their fish, instead of the one-piece fillets I was used to at Rubio's in California, was crumbled into several pieces. This time though, the fish was shredded and seasoned much like they do chicken when they serve it in tacos. The fact that the fish was shredded was bad enough, but the seasoning was just awful. It was TOO salty, and the fish was too "fishy", and obviously not fresh.

I know it's a lot to expect good fish dishes in the midwest, being so far from the coast. But it was just an utter disappointment to have fish tacos that tasted that awful. I never waste food, but it was so bad that I couldn't finish them.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sweetee Thai

(This is a rather belated post about a restaurant in Southern California. I've started reminiscing about the food in that area because I've been sorely missing it.)

On the night before I left LA to head back to good old CoMO, my brother told me that I had the privilege of choosing which restaurant where we were to have dinner. It was after all around the time of my birthday, and also, I was the one who would be deprived of good dining options when I returned to mid-Missouri. After much thought, I told him that all I knew was that I wanted something Asian to eat. After driving aimlessly for minutes, we finally saw a complex that had several restaurants. We decided to try our luck and chose to enter a restaurant with the rather dubious name of Sweetee Thai (It seemed to me to be a rather poor play on the words sweety pie, though I'm not sure that was the real intention).

The interiors were very nice, probably the nicest among the Thai restaurants that I've tried in the area so far. It turns out that the quality of the food they served was at par with the restaurant's design. Everything we ordered was good. We had fried shrimp rolls for starters, and these were crispy and tasty. Also worth mentioning were the scallops with garlic. The garlic was fried brown before putting it on the scallops, which is exactly how I liked it. We also had Pad Thai and Red Curry Shrimp, though these dishes tasted pretty much like they do in other restaurants.

When I checked the Internet for the restaurant's address so I could post it on here, I found that many people have given Sweetee Thai good reviews. I for one am looking forward to going back to the restaurant when I come back in December to spend the Christmas holiday break with my family.

Sweetee Thai

(714) 828-7371
10557 Valley View St.
Cypress, CA 90630

Monday, September 18, 2006

Lunch at Yuying's

My friend Yuying Dong, one of only two Chinese Fulbright Students sent to the US last year, has a great talent for cooking. I had been nagging her to invite me to lunch or dinner at her place since I got back to Missouri, and she finally relented. She invited me and Felicity Duncan (a Fulbright student from South Africa) to lunch yesterday. Free food is always a joy when you are a grad student, but Yuying's meals are something else.

She only had two guests, but she prepared six dishes (Now THAT's the way it's done!). She made a beef dish, a pork dish, one with chicken stomach and hearts, a fish soup, a cucumber salad, and mapo tofu without meat, which she prepared especially for me. We all sat around the table with our chopsticks and ate practically non-stop while we chatted for two hours. What seemed to be a large amount of food (definitely too much for only three people) seemed to just disappear without us being aware of it.

It's too bad that I wasn't able to take pictures of the food. I was too hungry and eager to eat that I totally forgot to take photos. Oh well, I can only hope that Yuying will cook for us again.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Back in Columbia, Missouri

It's been three weeks since my summer vacation in California ended, and I'm now back in Columbia adjusting to school life after months of being pretty much a bum. Along with the end of my break came the end of opportunities to eat out in so many great restaurants. Don't get me wrong, I think that Columbia has a measure of diversity when it comes to dining choices, considering it's in the heart of the midwest. And in relation to other towns/cities in Missouri (St. Louis and Jeff City aside), it probably has a lot more to offer. One problem of course, is that it's very far from the coast. Which means seafood is that much harder to come by.

There's a new restaurant right in front of the Mizzou Journalism School where I study, it's called Moe's Southwest Grill. It's similar to Rubio's in CA, where we had our Taco Tuesdays (boy, I miss those days). I saw that they were offering Fish Tacos, which got me really excited. I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up, though. The fish was a bit crumbly and didn't taste fresh. More importantly, it cost $2.69, as compared to dollar fish tacos in Rubio's (on Tuesdays only). I guess I should know better than to expect good fish in this area. This doesn't mean I'm not having fish tacos at Moe's ever again. I'm going back there for sure. It's still a better alternative to a lot of other fast food joints, where I usually can't find anything to eat except fried fish sandwiches.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Dirty Restaurant

One of my favorite Thai restaurants in Southern California so far is one we call "The Dirty Restaurant". My 3-year-old nephew Aidan was the one who gave this nickname to the place. The restaurant actually deserves it, because whenever we wipe the glass tabletop with a paper napkin, the napkin inevitably comes out black from all the dust and what-not on the table. This however, does not curb our appetites at all. The dishes are all good and best of all, it's quite cheap. Some of the main courses cost just a little over $5. Special mention goes to the shrimp rolls, which have a piece of mushroom and carrot inside. These add extra texture and taste to them.

Crab Cakes

My Favorite Shrimp Rolls

Shrimp Curry

Shrimp Fried Rice

The small restaurant is run by a Thai family of immigrants, all of whom are very friendly. Because they are so nice, you want to go back also because you want to see their business succeed. Also, as in any ethnic restaurant, the fact that the owners have an accent irrationally adds to the authenticity of the place.

This restaurant is not the place to go if you want to impress a date with your impeccable taste in restaurant decor and ambience. It is however a great place to visit if you just want to chow down on good (and cheap!) Thai food.

Thai Bird House
Somewhere in Long Beach

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Aji Grill

There's a Peruvian restaurant near my brother's house, and since I've been intrigued by Peruvian cuisine since I met my Peruvian friend Maria-Ines, I was excited to check it out. I liked the ambience of the place, and though we were happy to see that we didn't have to wait to be seated, I was also surprised at how few people there were in the restaurant.

We ordered several seafood dishes, and none of them were particularly memorable. We had the Macho Pescado, and we unanimously decided that we liked the version of this dish better at Charo's. The one dish that I particularly liked though was the crispy shrimp appetizer. The taste was pretty unique, considering that so many restaurants offer this in their appetizer lineup.

I've read a lot of horrible reviews about the service at Aji Grill. Thankfully, we were not a victim of this. The man who served us (the only one, it seemed) was very helpful and polite, and we did not have to wait too long for anything.

I think though that I would still go to Charo's if I wanted to eat Peruvian food in the area, unless I discover a better restaurant.

Aji Grill
10205 Valley View St.
Cypress, CA 90630
(714) 484-0888

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Joy Sushi

It's never too soon to eat sushi again, so when Liz, Aidan and I set out for a day in the sun at Seal Beach, we decided to have lunch at Joy Sushi. Since we just wanted to have a snack, we just ordered a couple of things. We had a bento box, and a spider roll. I thought the presentation was pretty, and indeed spidery. I love these deep-fried sushi selections, which are not strictly Japanese dishes, more a result of what they call "Japanese fusion" cuisine. This picture does not do justice to the dish, which was tastier-looking in reality. The restaurant is only a few months old, and judging from the service, interiors, number of customers, and food, it may have a lot of staying power.

Joy Sushi
1013 Pacific Coast Highway
Seal Beach, CA

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Oishi Sushi

Sushi is another thing that's hard to come by in the midwest, so I've been having it as often as I can while I'm here in Southern California. (Just gotta have my raw fish!) So one evening, we went to try Oishi Sushi. I've been enjoying this sushi-fusion that I've been seeing in recent years, like sushi that's fried somehow, dragon rolls, and such. (For sushi purists this may be unacceptable, but I'm just glad to try anything new that tastes good.) There were a lot of these dishes at Oishi Sushi.

Lobster Rolls- These lobster rolls for example, were something I enjoyed. Then again, it's not hard for fried food to please me.

Oishi Rolls- This was one of the specialties of the house. I liked the pickled cucumber that came with it.

Some sashimi- I always enjoy sashimi, and the fish seemed fresh enough. I recently realized I don't like salmon sashimi (too fishy even for me), so I ordered a sashimi plate that didn't have it.

Soft-shell crab- Soft-shell crab is not easily available, even back in the Philippines. So I always grab the chance to have some. This dish was also deepfried, as it usually is. Come to think of it, I don't think I've had this kind of crab that wasn't fried.

The miso soup was rather thin (and rather tasteless), but the servings of the other dishes were pretty generous.

Friday, August 04, 2006


T.G.I.Friday's is an American franchise that's been around for quite some time in the Philippines. This restaurant to me is what a typical American restaurant would be (aside from Mickey Dee's, of course). My friends and I back home like going there only because of their dessert called Mocha Mudpie. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have that dessert in the branches here in the US anymore. The last time I recall eating it here was three years ago, and it hasn't been on the menu since then. (I checked the website; no sign of it there either.)

Parmesan and Romano cheeses blended with spinach, artichoke and sautéed onions and peppers.

There's a Friday's in Knott's Berry Farm which is just across the street from where we live here in Buena Park. So when Kuya felt like having some ribs immediately, it was the logical place to go. We had the spinach and artichoke dip (this dish is obscenely expensive back home), then I had a new dish on the menu, the Bruschetta Tilapia. I liked the way the fish was cooked. Tilapia dishes are usually tasteless for me here in the US (the meat of our tilapia back home just seems to be naturally tastier). The Bruschetta Tilapia was rather tasty though. Then for dessert, we shared the Brownie Obsession. Though it was no Mocha Mudpie, the moist warm brownie still topped off the meal very well.

Roasted Tilapia topped with a roma tomato-basil salsa and drizzled with balsamic glaze.

A warm brownie covered in Ghirardelli chocolate-fudge sauce, vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and pecans.

Knott's Berry Farm
8039 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Pig-Out at Patio Filipino

Kuya, Liz, Aidan, and I recently went to the Bay Area for a long weekend. The drive (if we had gone non-stop) would have taken seven to eight hours. Because of leisurely eating and shopping breaks (a totally different story), it took us much longer than that. Anyway, our itinerary for the trip included mainly seeing friends and family. Our purpose wasn't really sight-seeing or shopping in San Francisco, though we didn't discount the possibility.

As it turns out, our visit became one food trip after another. We were stuffed full every single day from eating in different Philippine restaurants. There were a lot more good ones in the Bay Area than we were aware of in Southern California. These restaurants were not the usual cafeteria-type Pinoy eateries or grills that are the found in the LA area.

One place we went to was Patio Filipino, a fine dining restaurant featuring Filipino/Spanish cuisine, where we were brought by Kuya's high school friend, Ferdie. We were eight (five adults and three children), and we ordered around eight dishes. I ate a big plate of garlic rice to go with the Bangus Sisig, Crispy Tilapia, and Coco Loco Shrimp (their version of Ginataang Hipon which went perfectly with the garlic rice).

Bangus Sisig

Crispy Tilapia

Coco Loco Shrimp

We were already bursting at the seams after the main course, but we still found some room for dessert (probably in our lungs). We had chocolate cake a la mode; a mango dessert which was made of sylvannas, ice cream, and mango balls in syrup; and a dessert served in buko which had beans and jello (a distant relative of halo-halo). We left this restaurant stuffed virtually to our noses.

I liked Patio Filipino because it was similar to my favorite Filipino fusion restaurants back home. (I always order Crispy Tilapia in a restaurant called Timpla at the ABS-CBN Broadcasting complex where I work.) Fine dining Filipino restaurants are a recent phenomenon in the Philippines, and I'm glad to see it has come to the US (at least California) as well. This is the kind of restaurant that you could take your international friends to, so that they can discover for themselves that there is so much more to Philippine cuisine than adobo, pansit, lumpia, and bagoong.

Patio Filipino
770 El Camino Real
San Bruno, CA 94066

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Fried Fair Food

The Orange County Fair was held for most of July at Costa Mesa. We planned to go one Friday to make my nephew Aidan happy. What kid doesn't like carnivals? For us adults, we were simply looking for an excuse to eat more fair food. So off we went to the OC Fair. The sight of all that cotton candy and pop corn was enough to make one dizzy.

As soon as we got there, we looked for something to eat. In an attempt at eating healthy, Liz and I got some fried zucchini. In the picture on the billboard, this dish was lightly battered then deep fried. In reality, it looked like a corn dog, except that it had zucchini inside. The bread part was soaking in oil since it wasn't fried properly. But, we still proceeded to eat it. This we regretted later because all that oil upset our stomachs. To make ourselves feel better, we decided to eat even more fried food. This time, we made sure it tasted good. So we headed out to eat funnel cake, the food staple of all fairs.

We got the Bavarian Cream variety, and as always, the funnel cake delivered the goods. It's greasy and fattening, but at least you know from the get-go exactly what to expect.

We needed to drink a lot of hot tea when we got home in a desperate attempt to fight the ill-effects of consuming too much fried food. Too little, too late.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bayadera (Traditional Serbian Chocolate Dessert)

Here's a recipe from my Serbian friend Biljana for a delicious (traditional!) chocolate dessert. I had been pestering her about this recipe since she served it at a party. She recently flew back to Serbia (I don't know when I'll ever see her again, sniff sniff), and as a parting present, she finally gave me this recipe by posting it on her blog. I'm reposting what she wrote here.

"Bayadera; it’s Serbian, delicious and easy to make, so try it out:)

Cook 330g of sugar with a little water (enough to just cover sugar) until it gets sticky and syrupy.
Add 125g of margarine, 150g of ground walnuts and 150g of Graham cracker crumbs. Divide into halves.
In one half add two bars of melted chocolate.
First spread on the tray the dark half (one with chocolate);
on the top of it spread the other half (they should both be between 0.5 and 1 cm).
Top it with the chocolate glaze made by cooking half cup of sugar with two tbsp of milk and 2 bars of chocolate.
Once the glaze is homogenous, add small square of margarine… and ENJOY!!!"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Turtle Pie at Walt's Wharf

One of the great things about being in California is that the beach is just a short drive away. My sister-in-law, my nephew and I headed off to Seal Beach one lazy Thursday to soak up the sun. Before going to the sand and sea, though, we decided to have lunch in one of the quaint restaurants along Main Street. After strolling up and down the street to check out what each had to offer, we decided to eat at Walt's Wharf Restaurant.

Liz and I both had fish dishes, which we did enjoy, and thankfully, they didn't come in gigantic portions that I've come to expect at American restaurants. The highlight of the meal, though, was dessert. Though we were both stuffed from our meal, we ordered the Turtle Pie. (Had we been less full, we would have asked for two things from the list.) I'm a big fan of Turtle Pie, and this one didn't disappoint. What I liked especially that there was so much caramel. Having a very sweet tooth, I finished it all up. Others would probably find it too sweet, but if you like your sugar, this Turtle Pie will satisfy.

Walt's Wharf Restaurant
201 Main Street
Seal Beach, CA 90740

Friday, July 07, 2006

Charo's Peruvian Cuisine

My Peruvian friend Maria-Ines always brags to me that food from her country is very good. She told me that their seafood dishes are particularly delicious, and that I was sure to enjoy them. Being the geographical moron that I am, I was surprised to hear that Peru is a coastal country (The association with the Andes mountains is probably what threw me off-track). So when I saw that there were several Peruvian restaurants here in Southern California, I told my brother and my sister-in-law that we should go and try it. We went to Charo's Peruvian Cuisine in Long Beach, and ordered different seafood dishes.

Ceviche de Camaron a la Piedra

Macho Pescado

Picante de Mariscos

Among the dishes that we had, the one we unanimously crowned "Miss Universe" was the Macho Pescado, which was pan-grilled codfish. The Picante de Mariscos was very hot, but since we like food that way too, we enjoyed that as well. After such spicy food, we had some dessert. We ordered one that sounded like something our taste buds would be familiar with. Sweet Stephanie, as the dessert was called, was made of Helado de Lucuma, which is house-made tropical fruit ice cream; a crepe with caramel; and some fried bananas. Fried bananas are very common in the Philippines, of course; but what I found interesting in this dessert was that the caramel tasted like our very own "matamis na bao", sometimes called coconut jam.

Sweet Stephanie

I called Maria-Ines to tell her I had tried her much-vaunted Peruvian cuisine. She asked what I thought of it, and I told her it was good. She then said I probably didn't try the right kind of food, because if I did, my answer should have been "Great!"

Charo's Peruvian Cuisine
7563 Carson Blvd.
Long Beach, CA

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Seafood Kingdom Chinese Restaurant

A restaurant that we try to go to every week here in Southern California is Seafood Kingdom Chinese Restaurant (we call Sundays "Dim sum Dominggo"). The food on the regular menu is good, but we go there for the Dim sum. The price is reasonable (they have a never-ending 20% discount offer for it), and there are so many seafood choices, which makes me happy. I eat my fill of shrimp dumplings, shrimp-stuffed tofu, scallops, shrimp with snowpeas, and the like. I enjoy eating there so much. Even if we are only three and a half (Aidan enjoys the shrimp dumplings, though), we end up ordering up to 18 kinds of Dim sum per meal.

I did some research on Dim sum, since I've been eating it since I was a child and I don't know exactly what the term means. So... according to Wikipedia (which my professors look at with disdain), Dim sum is a Chinese light meal or brunch served with tea. It is usually eaten from morning-to-early afternoon with family or friends. Dim sum consists of a wide spectrum of choices. It has combinations of meat, vegetables, seafood, and fruit. It is usually served in a small basket or on a small dish.

Dim Sum is a Cantonese term, literally translated as dot heart or order heart, meaning order to one's heart's content. Classical dim sum includes buns, dumplings and rice rolls, which contain a range of ingredients, including beef, chicken, pork, prawns and vegetarian options. Many dim sum restaurants also offer plates of steamed green vegetables, roasted meats, congee porridge and other soups.

The serving sizes are usually small and normally served as three or four pieces in one dish. It is customary to order family style, sharing dishes among all members of the dining party. Because of the small portions, people can try a wide variety of food. Dim sum dishes can be ordered from a menu or sometimes the food is wheeled around on a mobile cart by servers.

Seafood Kingdom Chinese Restaurant
9802 Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 636-0398

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Captain Thai Restaurant

As I think I've mentioned before, one thing that makes me extremely happy to be in Southern California is the abundance of Thai restaurants in the area. A restaurant we often go to, and where we had dinner for my nephew Aidan's birthday, is Captain Thai Restaurant. It's very near my brother Jerick's house, which is why we go there pretty often.

Our favorite dish there is the Garlic Shrimp, though we have to order two servings because eight pieces (per serving) are not enough. We also have to tell them to add extra garlic because they sometimes don't put enough. I also like their Curry shrimp, because the sauce goes very well with rice. We sometimes have the fish cakes as an appetizer.

The noodles are great as well; aside from the Pad Thai, their other selections are worth the carbs too. Their Spicy Noodles, as well as the one with seafood and Chinese broccoli (pictured above; the noodles are hiding under all those vegetables and the sauce), are the ones that I like. These dishes use wider noodles than they use for their Pad Thai, and they're a pleasure to bite into.

Captain Thai Restaurant
8552 Beach Blvd
Buena Park, CA
Tel: (714) 995-1999

Friday, June 09, 2006

Bismillah Restaurant

I have been wanting to eat some Indian food in California, since there are only a couple of Indian restaurants in Columbia. The one I went to a couple of times, called Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine had such slow service (we waited an hour for our food) that I've sworn off going there. I have good memories of eating at Prince Jaipur at The Fort in Makati, and I've been looking for a restaurant that served Indian food that good.

After winning a game of rock, paper, scissors with Kuya, who wanted to eat Mexican, off we went to Bismillah Restaurant, which served Indian and Pakistani food. I ordered Shrimp Masala, some Papadum (spicy Indian crackers), Garlic Naan (leavened bread also called Roti) and Biryani Rice. (You can tell I'm not on the South Beach Diet.)

The Shrimp Masala was good and just hot enough for me. It wasn't too photogenic though which is why I don't have a picture of it on here. I liked the Papadum though I always end up wanting to eat more of it because it's so thin and insubstantial. I liked the Garlic Naan the best, which I dipped into the sauce of the Shrimp Masala. The rice was also good, and it also went well with the sauce of the shrimp.

I didn't find the dishes that I loved to eat in Prince of Jaipur back home, but I enjoyed my meal at Bismillah anyway.

Bismillah Restaurant
8901 Knott Ave #D (Lincion)
Buena Park , CA 90620
Phone: (714) 827-7201

Friday, June 02, 2006

Thai Sky

I'm spending my summer break (three whole months! I love being a student!) at my brother Jerick's in Buena Park, California. One thing I really love about coming to visit him, his wife Liz, and their son Aidan, is that there are so many kinds of restaurants to try. Columbia, Missouri has its charms, but there's not much variety of cuisine in town.

Thai food is my favorite kind (so far), and there are so many Thai restaurants in the West Coast. A lot of them are affordable too. One of the restaurants we usually go to is called Thai Sky, an unpretentious place that has reasonable prices. In our last visit, we had Spicy Crab Noodles in lieu of the usual Pad Thai, some Ginger Fish, and a dish we always order when we find it, Fried Shrimp Rolls.

I want to learn how to cook Thai food, it's just that its ingredients are not easily available, especially in the midwest. (Also, I might be a little too lazy to shop for all those ingredients!) So, I'll just enjoy eating in different Thai restaurants while I'm here in California.

Thai Sky Restaurant
(562) 426-4192
2415 Pacific Ave
Long Beach, CA 90806

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Koi Chinese and Sushi

On a recent trip to Chicago, I ate in Koi Chinese & Sushi, which is actually located in Evanston, a nearby suburb. The server recommended their specials, which they change every month or so. Since she was very enthusiastic about her recommendations, I chose two dishes from the list of specials. One dish was shrimp with mango, peas, and carrots. It was the kind of dish you can order in some Chinese restaurants where the sauce is mayonnaise-based and is a little sweet (other versions of this dish have walnuts). I have asked my Chinese friends about this dish, but they say they do not usually use mayonnaise in their dishes. At any rate, I usually like this dish, whether it's truly Chinese or not.

The other dish I ordered which I was very happy with was the Red Dragon Sushi. As evident in the picture, the sushi is shaped like a dragon. It had cucumber, tuna, cream cheese, and shrimp tempura in it. The tempura gave it a very good texture when I bit into it. It was so good! I would like to go back to Koi, but only if they still have this sushi in their list of specials.

Koi Chinese & Sushi
(847) 866-6969
624 Davis St
Evanston, IL 60201

Monday, May 29, 2006

Shabu-Shabu at Lucy's

Lucy Zahler is a wonderful Filipina I met in Columbia, and she is married to Warren, an equally wonderful American. She has a Ph.D. in Food Science, so it's always a treat to be invited to dinner by the Zahlers. She recently invited some Filipino students to have Shabu-shabu in her house. (Graduate students are always happy to have dinner at people's homes.) Shabu-shabu apparently means "swish-swish" in Japanese, referring to the swishing action when you cook slices of meat in hot water. Lucy thoughtfully provided shrimp, scallops, and lots of vegetables which I could eat. The rest of the party feasted on the slices of beef and chicken that Lucy of course provided.

The Zahlers have a greenhouse at the back of their house, and one of their plants is a calamansi tree. So, were lucky enough to have fresh calamansi to dip in which to dip our food. Lucy and Warren are obviously fond of having shabu-shabu, since they have at least three burners for guests to use. There was so much food that we didn't have a lot of space in our stomachs for the rice. We thought we were all stuffed after the Shabu-shabu, but when the freshly baked brownies were served with coffee, we discovered we could always make room for dessert. I can't wait for the Zahlers' next dinner invitation.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Prawns in Garlic

Finals week is FINALLY over, so I will have more time to write about food. This is one of my favorite dishes as I was growing up. I loved it whenever my mom cooked this for us. When I come over to have lunch, she still prepares it for me.

(May also be cooked with fish)

Prepare: 1 k. prawns, peel skin w/o removing the head
Marinate in 2 T. lime juice
1 t. pepper
Heat: 1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. olive oil or corn oil
Brown slightly 1/4 c. minced garlic
Add 2 t. green pepper - panigang, sliced & seeded
Add shrimps & pan fry till pink
Add 2 T. Maggie seasoning or oyster sauce
1/2 t. pepper
Remove prawns from the pan
Add to the pan 1/2 cup butter
1/4 t. pepper
Boil once and place back the prawns.
Serve immediately with molded steaming rice

Note: If fish is used, roll in seasoned flour, eggs, bread crumbs, then fry.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Aidan's Noodles

The last week of class has just passed by, and finals week is still to come, which is why I hadn't made a post earlier. Anyway, this recipe was sent to me by my mother, Doris. When she concocts recipes, she names it after her family, and so she named this one after my nephew. It's a great vegetarian noodle dish.

Noodles w/mushrooms & oyster sauce (Aidan's noodles)

Prepare 1 K. fresh noodles
Wash well & blanch w/boiling water

Heat 3/4 cooking oil
Brown 1 T. garlic
Add 1/2 K. wild mushrooms unopened
1 T. soy sauce
Stir fry until fully heated through.
Add in the prepared noodles & blend thoroughly
Season w/ 1/2 c. oyster sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. broth
Fresh mike 500 g. for 12 persons
Dried egg noodles 250 gms. - 10-12 persons
Serve immediately

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Biscuits and Gravy at the Broadway Diner

I went drinking recently with my American undergrad classmates at The Old Heidelberg, and when we had our share of alcohol, they said we absolutely had to go to Broadway Diner. They told me that everyone went there for a post-drinking greasy (super early) breakfast to sop up all the acid after drinking binges. Also, since the cops are very strict here about driving while intoxicated, eating at the diner is also a good way to get your alcohol level down before driving home. (It's also one of the few places in Columbia which are open past 1 a.m.)

The diner looked exactly as diners are depicted on TV, in the movies, and actually, it looked pretty much like American-themed diners back home. The glare of fluorescent lights, the barstools, decor using primary colors... What I was interested in was the kind of food that they served. It was mostly a breakfast place, so I had hash browns and pancakes. My friends told me that I really had to taste Biscuits and Gravy, since that's as American as anything can get. They ordered some and I tasted it, though I didn't get too much because I saw some pieces of meat swimming in it. It tasted nice (gravy usually is) and cholesterol-laden.

Broadway Diner
22 S. 4th Street
Columbia, MO 65203

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Cucumber Salad (Sichuan)

Here's another dish which JingQian taught me. Since it's another Sichuan dish, you have the option to make it hotter.

What You'll Need

Cucumber (cut into thin strips)
Seaweed (boiled)
Tofu (cut into thin strips)

Soy Sauce
Chinese Vinegar
Sesame Oil
Spicy Sauce

What You'll Do

Simply mix everything in a bowl, chill, and serve.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Brigadeiro (Brazilian Sweets)

This recipe was given to me by my sweet Brazilian friend Luisa, the girlfriend of my (American) classmate Eric. This dessert is apparently very popular in Brazil, especially in children's parties. A quick google search showed me that it was "named after a Brazilian politician of the 1920's, Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes. He was an Army brigadier general who first gained notoriety for playing a part in quashing a communist coup in Rio. He later ran unsuccessfuly for the presidency in 1946 and 1950, during a brief breeze of democracy which blew after WWII."

The website wasn't quite sure why the dessert was named after a general, but the author said it might have been because he was yummy ;) Someone else said this might not be entirely accurate, and said "it is rumoured that this name was created by someone who didn't like Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes very much... it's about the fact that he had lost one of his testicles during the war (he was shot). Then people during the elections called the candy "brigadeiro" because it doesn't need an egg and "egg" in Portuguese is slang for "testicle".

The recipe that Lu gave me actually calls for eggs, but if you want to "honor" Brigadeiro Gomes' fallen egg, you may leave out the yolks.

What You'll Need

1 can condensed milk
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons chocolate (Nesquik, or something similar. Cocoa powder, if you want a stronger chocolate taste)
1 tablespoon butter
Chocolate sprinkles

What You'll Do

Mix everything together in a heavy saucepan over low heat and stir until the mix detaches from the bottom of the pan.
Shape into balls and roll in chocolate sprinkles.
Refrigerate before eating.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Crab and Cheese Pasta

Here's another recipe from Gigi, my eating partner back home.

What You'll Need

Green Peppers
Olive Oil
Crab Meat
Cheese (Parmesan or Cream Cheese)

What You'll Do

Saute chopped onions and green peppers in olive oil.
Add crab meat, stir for a few minutes until cooked.
Add cream, pesto, and cheese; stir till cheese melts.
Cover pasta in pesto before topping with crab sauce.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Red Lentil Soup (Turkey)

Here's another recipe that Ayca, my Turkish friend, shared with me. She cooked this for our International Women's Group potluck lunch as well.

What You'll Need

1 cup of red lentil
6 cups of water
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon dry mint
1 onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 big potato
4 little carrots

What You'll Do

Wash lentils in hot water to remove dirt and foam. You need to drain in approximately seven times.
Peel the whole onion, but don't chop it.
Peel the potato and carrots, cut them into very small pieces using a mixer.
Boil the water with olive oil.
Add washed lentils into boiling water.
When you add lentils, it will not boil immediately; so when water starts to boil again add your potato-carrot mix.
Add the mint and mix the soup.
Then add the whole onion, put it in the middle of the pan.
When lentil boils, it can make some foam, so you need to remove it with a
spoon. Otherwise, it makes your soup darker.
Cook until lentils melt. It will take total app. 40 min to cook them.
Some lentils will not melt as easily as others, so you can use a hand blender to make it more smooth.
If your lentil is not easily melting, it may require more time for
cooking, so you may need to add more water, depending on desired thickness.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Corn a la Nikki

My friend Nikki invited me over for Easter dinner, and she prepared this delicious corn dish which she said her Haitian aunt often cooks.

What You'll Need


What You'll Do

Melt butter, add milk and flour.
Stir until thick.
Add corn.
Top with parmesan.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Shrimp Salad Sandwich

What You'll Need

1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled and de-veined
3 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
8 slices bread, toasted
Lettuce and tomato slices

What You'll Do

Mince shrimp finely.
Put shrimp in a bowl and add eggs, celery, and mayonnaise; mix well.
Add seasonings to taste, and stir to combine.
Spread additional mayonnaise on both sides of bread.
Heap shrimp salad onto bread and then cut sandwiches in half.
Serve with lettuce and tomato.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Milk Pudding (In Turkey, Kazan Dibi)

My friend Ayca who is from Turkey, prepared this dessert for us when we had lunch at her house. It's a specialty in Istanbul, and is served with ice cream in the summer.

What You'll Need

1 teaspoon Butter or Margarine
2 1/2 tablespoons Confectioner's Sugar
2/3 cup Rice Flour
1/3 cup Starch
4 cups Milk
1 1/5 cups Sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla

What You'll Do

Grease bottom of a baking pan (9x13 x 1 1/2 inch).
Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Set aside.
Combine rice flour, starch and milk in a saucepan.
Cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
Stir in sugar, blending well.
Simmer for 1 minute over low heat stirring gently and constantly. Remove from heat.
Add vanilla; stir well. Spread into baking pan.
Bake in a moderately hot oven for 15-20 minutes or until sugar is caramelized.
Remove from oven.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Place the tray in cold water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Remove from water, chill.
Cut into 6 even portions.
Fold each portion in half lengthwise with a turner, top sides in.
Chill before serving.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Holly's Chocolate Chip Cookie at Pizano's

I had a pizza and pasta dinner at Pizano's in Chicago. I made sure I had room for dessert, since I saw on the menu that Holly's Chocolate Chip Cookie was "to die for". It was described as a cookie with ice cream, whipped cream, topped with chocolate syrup. The menu also said it was good for two. When the cookie arrived, the serving looked like it was good for two. But I found out that a lot of it was whipped cream. I'm not a real big fan of whipped cream so I just put a lot of it aside. The cookie was good though, chewy and well done, which is what I like. It was hot so the ice cream on top was melting, just the way I like it. Overall I would give Holly's Chocolate Chip Cookie a score of 3 1/2 forks.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Rosemary Potatoes

I used to eat a lot of this at my friend Karmina's house. It's simple but so good.

What you'll need

Baby Potatoes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic, Minced
Fresh Rosemary

What you'll do

Heat oil, add garlic.
Put in potatoes, rosemary, and salt.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Walnut-Chocolate Balls

Biljana, my Serbian friend, prepared a version of this for our potluck lunch. Its Serbian name is Kuglice sa orasima I cokoladom (which I can't pronounce).
I like it because you don't really need to cook it.

What you'll need

1 cup ground plain vanilla cookies (tea biscuits) or honey grahams
1 cup ground walnuts
½ cup chopped chocolate
½ cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1-2 teaspoons apple juice, to moisten
For rolling: 1 cup ground walnuts or flaked sweetened coconut

What you'll do

Make cookie mixture: Mix together the crushed cookies, walnuts, chocolate and sugar. Work in the softened butter, then just enough juice to moisten the mixture and enable it to hold its shape into a ball.

Roll the cookies: Place ground walnuts or coconut in a shallow bowl. Pack and roll a tablespoonful of mixture between palms to make a ball. Dip the ball into ground walnuts or coconut.

Presentation: Cover cookies loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, overnight is best. Serve cold.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Poppy Seed Salad

A sweet salad that almost makes you feel like you're also having dessert.

What you'll need

Poppy Seed Dressing
Lettuce or Spinach
Seedless Grapes, halved
Roasted Almond Slivers
Feta Cheese
Poppy Seeds

What you'll do

Mix everything together.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I made up this dessert when I ran out of milk for my cereal. The end result isn't really breakfast, but the cereal had to go somewhere.

What you'll need

Cereal- something complex like Honey Bunches of Oats or Banana Nut Crunch
Chocolate Syrup
Peanut Butter
Whipped Cream

What you'll do

Mix everything in a bowl.
Eat when stressed.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tomato and Egg

This is the easiest dish to cook ever! My Chinese friends said this is a very common dish in their country. Something they whip up when they want a quick meal. I thought it was a good alternative to a tomato omelette, which tastes good with bread (Western version). This goes well with rice (Eastern version).

What you'll need:

Diced Tomatoes
Eggs, beaten
Vegetable Oil

What you'll do:

Heat oil in wok, stirfry eggs.
When eggs start to solidify, add tomatoes, continue stirfrying.
Add salt and sugar.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Shrimp with Peas

My friend Yueyan from Shanghai cooked this yesterday for a potluck lunch of our International Women's Support Group. She said that in Shanghai, they often cook their dishes with sugar.

What you'll need:

Peeled Shrimp
Green Peas
Sesame Oil
Chinese Cooking Wine
Vegetable Oil
Starch Powder

What you'll do:

Put together shrimp, wine, sesame oil, starch, and sugar in a bowl.
Set aside for 15 minutes.
Cook the shrimp in vegetable oil.
Add peas, then salt to taste.

Filipino option: Add boiled quail eggs and cashews.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Yang Zhou Fried Rice

Another Chinese friend of mine, Yuying, told me that Yang Zhou is a Chinese province, and that they would never spell it Yang Chow, as it so often is. Here is my version of this dish.

What You'll Need:

Pre-cooked Rice, refrigerated overnight
Peeled Shrimp
Artificial Crabmeat
Green Onion, finely chopped
Garlic, minced
Vegetable Oil
Sesame Oil
Soy Sauce
Chinese Powder
Chinese Wine

What You'll Do:

Saute Garlic.
Add Shrimp, cook till orange.
Add Crabmeat and half the eggs.
Add rice, mix very well.
Add all seasonings and remaining eggs.
Remove from heat and add green onion.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Shrimp Risotto

Shrimp Risotto was my absolute favorite dish at a restaurant called Aresi in Quezon City. The restaurant closed down because their lease was up and the landowners refused to renew it (probably envious of Aresi's success). At any rate, I really miss their version of this dish. I tried to recreate it, and though I'm no chef, I think I did a good enough approximation.

You Will Need:

Rice- Pre-cooked and refrigerated overnight
Olive Oil
Mushroom Soup
Tomato Sauce
Grated Cheese, whatever kind you like
Peeled Shrimp

What You'll Do:

Saute garlic and onion in olive oil.
Add shrimp.
Add everything else.
Leave to simmer for around 30 minutes.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tofu-Century Egg Salad

I got this recipe from my Chinese friend JingQian who comes from Sichuan province, an area known for their spicy food. It's very simple and easy to prepare. (Also good for low-carb disciples.)

You will need:

Soft Tofu (the type you can eat without cooking), cubed
Century Egg (also known as Preserved Duck Egg), sliced
Chinese Onion, finely chopped
Sesame Oil

What you'll do:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, gently, so as not to break the tofu.
Chill and eat.
You may also dip in a mixture of soy sauce and wasabi, for an extra kick.