Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Goldilocks - Cerritos

So you've been to Magic Wok right? If you haven't yet, go! If you have no idea what I'm babbling about, look to the right and read up on the multiple posts I've written on the place. I believe there should be at least five.

I need you to be aware of Magic Wok--which is, in my opinion, the best Filipino restaurant outside of the Philippines--because I'm now about to write about Goldilocks, which is like the Denny's.

Please don't take that last part as a knock against Goldilocks. It isn't. But it is quite like America's chain diner in many ways--it's lit brightly and has a similar corporate polish behind it. When you look around you get the sense the people who eat here aren't doing so because they're celebrating any sort of special occasion. Just at Denny's, they're here for sustenance.

I have a history with Goldilocks. My family and I had been going there since they were in a tiny location on Pioneer Street. We went specifically for their cakes. For a long time, if there's a birthday, it's usually a Goldilocks Black Forest beneath the candles.

But this visit was different. We stopped in to get a meal simply because we were in the area, and it turned out to be exactly the thing we needed--comfort food to sustain us and get our insides warm and cozy.

We ordered the sinigang, some pinakbet and a big pot of rice. We ladled the soup and its boiled vegetable contents into our own bowls, spooned some of that broth to moisten our rice, dribbled patis (fish sauce) onto the pork after we scraped them off the bone, and then we ate and ate, and slurped and slurped that tamarind-flavored pork elixir like it was the first hot soup we had in years.

There were more vegetable matter in this sinigang than there are in Magic Wok's. It was also the first time I saw taro in a restaurant sinigang, which is what I usually like to add in mine when I make it.

On the pinakbet, there were the usual assortment of pork, shrimp, bittermelon, pumpkin, green beans, eggplant, all shellacked in a funky gravy laced with the stinky-salty fermented shrimp paste called bagoong. I still prefer Magic Wok's rendition, but this was a very decent, very capable dish all the same.

During our meal we sat next to a poster that advertised that they had a $1.99 special on their pancit palabok (which I've described in previous posts as the Pinoy equivalent to pad Thai). We came back a few days later for it because we've never seen this meaty, saucy, and altogether satisfying mound of pork, fish and annatto-tinged wiggly noodles priced lower than $4. I think of it as Goldilocks' Grand Slam.

Goldilocks Cerritos
11489 South Street
Cerritos, CA 90703
(562) 924-5990

Foxfire - Anaheim Hills


At 8:10 AM, Blogger Greg Hao said...

Man, I don't know what you're talking about with Magic Wok. Maybe I just don't know what to order but the last time you wrote about the fried chicken at Magic Wok I excited took a friend who was visiting from out of town down there. The chicken, while pretty crispy was pretty bland and we had no idea what else to order.

And with the waitress not being helpful at all, we ordered this roast pork with shrimp paste sauce that was okay but salty as hell.

At 3:41 PM, Anonymous WeFlipBurgers said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Edwin. I too used to go to the former locations on Pioneer and miss the homey feeling. Even when they moved from the left side to the right of the same center, I preferred it over MW 'cause the young ones there were too snotty. I patronize MW more now since the old ladies are more helpful but Goldilock's just seems cold--I don't get that nice, warm welcoming feeling. BUT, that doesn't matter 'cause while the insane people are knocking down others at Black Friday sales, I may just try that 2 buck pancit.

I don't know what Greg ordered--sounds like it could be the pinakbet? Greg, try the crispy pata, fried calamari, sisig, bihon, but I'm thinking if your taste buds are not like ours, you may not find anything there you'll like. If you do go, ask to speak to one of the older ladies or Maria (she's Hispanic, has been there for many years and is helpful).

Happy Holidays!

At 2:50 PM, Anonymous JB said...

I'm actually wounded to hear someone express displeasure with Magic Wok!! Greg, if you give it another shot, you must order Magic Wok's sisig, which is not only the best dish on the menu, but the best dish in the entire 40 degrees North latitude region...
and 50 degrees North, 60 degrees North, and heck, 30 degrees North too.

I didn't know Magic Wok offered fried chicken, and I'm wondering if you may have ordered Crispy Pata, which similar, except it's pork, and it's ankle-centric. Though everyone raves about MW's crispy pata and you see it on every table, it's been more 'miss' than 'hit' for me...usually is overdone and too tooth-shattering "al dente" to be flavorful.

MW doesn't do everything great...
a dining companion once insisted on getting our table some lumpia, and it was awful...
but most of the core Flip plates, like the kare kare, are as close to your mom's or your "tia's" as you will find in a restaurant in these parts.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Sorry, been abroad with no access to reliable Internet. Thanks all for the comments.


I've had just about everything on the Magic Wok menu and I believe you might have had the binagoongan baboy. That's actually one of my new favorites!

I do warn people that the chicken is a bit dry and I actually eat it with the lechon sauce and chase it with the sour soup called sinigang.

I'm not sure that you'll come back to try more, but if you do: try the sisig, as JB has said. It remains the best pork dish and in my opinion, the best dish Magic Wok produces.


Ah, I do remember you telling me you went to the old Goldilocks as well. Do you remember there used to be a business called "The Three Bears" across the street? I don't know what it sold, but always thought it was funny in an opportunistic way.


"I'm actually wounded to hear someone express displeasure with Magic Wok!!"

Amen brother! Amen!

Except, you know what, I actually am not too fond of the kare kare. The one thing I did not like and had to force myself to finish.

The lumpia's alright.


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