Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Saying Goodbye to the Polish Dog at Costco - Tustin

My heart burns for Costco’s Polish sausages.

It literally does. It gives me heartburn. I used to favor it over their regular hot dogs, but then I had to stop because…well, the heartburn.

So today, when the news broke that Costco will discontinue the Polish, I wasn’t as sad or outraged as others. I mean, the $1.50 hot-dog-and-soda deal isn't going away.

The news did, however, convince me to try the Polish again before it gets the ax because nothing makes you want something more than when you know you can’t have it for much longer.

But going there has also made me realize a few things. First, it has been a long time since I’ve eaten at the food court. Usually, when I eat my meals at Costco, it’s free (thanks to repeated helpings of all those food samples). Second, there are entirely new items on the menu, including an acai bowl, which would’ve been the most California-hipster thing I’ve ever seen at the food court if there weren't also the vegan “Al Pastor” salad with “banh mi” vegetables. Third, the new line-busting order kiosks at my local Costco is an astronomical improvement over ordering with the cashier. There are enough lines everywhere else at the store; I don't need one when I want my $1.50 hot dog lunch.

This brings me to my lunch. It’s more filling than any other food I can buy for that amount of money. In fact--and I don't think I need to say this--it’s so cheap, it should be immune to criticism of any kind, even if it sucked.

But the thing is: it doesn't.

The skin has snap; the sausage has a hint of hotness; the bun is soft and supple. If you’ve never had the Polish, you might be wondering: Does it taste that different from the regular hot dog? Yes, but it's very nuanced. Like a 4K versus an Ultra HD TV, you really have to either concentrate or compare it side by side before you can really tell. For now, at least at the Tustin II Costco, you can do just that. Both are still available. So get the Polish while you can.

I, for one, intend to have it again this week and maybe a few more times before I can't any more. Pepto Bismol, don't fail me now!

2700 Park Ave
Tustin, CA 92782
(714) 338-1933

The Q Joint - Costa Mesa

Friday, July 06, 2018

Three First-Place Trophies at OC Press Club Awards!

A few weeks ago during a ceremony at the Newport Beach Marriott, my OC Weekly colleagues and I won 25 Orange County Press Club Awards, including 14 First-Place nods.

I was fortunate to win three First-Place trophies.

It would not have happened without the support of Gustavo Arellano, Nick Schou, Cynthia Rebolledo, Lisa Black, the entire OC Weekly crew, my readers, and last but not least, my lovely dining companion and partner in life (a.k.a. Cookiemonster). She not only encouraged me to go for this dream job more than a decade ago, but also told me to enter in more than just one category this year.


FIRST PLACE: Edwin Goei, “Tin Vuong’s LSXO Combines Hip-Hop and the Best Vietnamese Food Outside of Little Saigon” in OC Weekly

SECOND PLACE: Edwin Goei, “The New Northgate González Market in Anaheim Is Like a Mexican-Food Disneyland” in OC Weekly

THIRD PLACE: Brad A. Johnson, “Pacific Hideaway channels a rebellious surfer vibe” in Orange County Register


FIRST PLACE: Edwin Goei, “Montreal Has Poutine, Yes, But Go With the Jewish Food First” in OC Weekly

SECOND PLACE: Anne Valdespino, “Touring Castle Country in Scotland” in Orange County Register

THIRD PLACE: Kedric Francis, “Road trips for a realist” in Orange County Register


FIRST PLACE: Edwin Goei, “Korean Fried Chicken Is Becoming a Thing in Orange County. Here Are Three New Spots” in OC Weekly

SECOND PLACE: Brad A. Johnson, “These are Orange County’s 20 Best Mexican Restaurants” in Orange County Register

Grandpa's Kitchen Dry Noodles 168 - Garden Grove

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

The Flying Saucer a.k.a. Taco Salad at Sabrosada - Fountain Valley

This is the Flying Saucer from Sabrosada. Actually, it's not called “Flying Saucer” anymore; it's just called “Taco Salad”. It used to be called “Flying Saucer” back when Sabrosada was called Alerto’s, because Alberto's, the chain that started it all, also called it that.

But when Alerto’s shed its name and became Sabrosada, I guess the owners felt it unnecessary to keep naming it “Flying Saucer.”

I, for one, still order it by telling the cashier I want a “Flying Saucer”. To this day, it is still understood even though what’s now printed on the receipt clearly says “taco salad.”

I still do it because calling it a taco salad is like calling the Lexus LFA Nurburgring a Toyota--it's technically correct but not completely accurate.

While there is some shredded lettuce in it, it is not the main ingredient. The lettuce merely acts as garnish on top of a meat-centric mass (which can be chicken or beef) sitting in beans and melted cheese. The only thing that makes it fit the “taco salad” definition, I suppose, is the puffed-up and crispy fried flour tortilla bowl it's served in. That's about it.

What’s important is that it's the same dish I ate for decades at Alerto's, Alberto's and its clones. So go out and get it, because no matter what Sabrosada decides to call it, a Flying Saucer, by any other name, tastes just as awesome.

17225 Brookhurst St
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 593-0069

Miss Shabu - Buena Park