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