Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Seasons Kitchen USA - Anaheim

Finding Malaysian food that I like in Orange County usually involves driving to Anaheim on the weekends for Seasons Kitchen USA (@seasonskitchenusa), which I reviewed last year for OC Weekly.

But sometimes its Malaysian food finds me, especially now that Seasons Kitchen's Khim Teoh has set up a traveling pop-up lunch shop at certain Irvine, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, and Tustin office parks during the workweek.

And that's good news, because let's face it, for us Malaysian/Singaporean/Indonesian working stiffs, the workweek is when we need this food the most!

Seasons Kitchen USA
641 N. Euclid St.
Anaheim, CA 92801
(714) 608-1375

Quan Bun Co Giao Thao - Garden Grove

Monday, September 17, 2018

Icy Cream Roll - Buena Park

It’s trendy. It’s overpriced. It’s rolled ice cream and liquid-nitrogen-dipped cereal that causes you to huff and puff white vapor like Pete’s Dragon. And where I got it, Icy Cream Roll, is one of the latest in a slew of eclectic eateries to open at The Source in Buena Park, which is quickly becoming the epicenter of eclectic eateries in Orange County.

Rolled ice cream isn’t new to OC. Other vendors offering the made-to-order frozen delicacy has been around for a couple of years. And the concept of freeze-from-scratch ice cream—whether smeared on a freezing pan or poured into a liquid-nitrogen-filled mixer—has been around for longer than that.

It’s all about the gimmick. In the case of these specimens, the ice cream is so cold, it’s hard as a rock for the better part of ten minutes. And those cereal balls add nothing but special effects.

In the end—after you realize you can get two pints of Haagen-Dazs for how much you spent— it’s still ice cream. But I’ll be damned if it isn’t fun. And what is ice cream if it’s not fun?

Icy Cream Roll
6980 Beach Blvd H-118
Buena Park, CA 90621
(714) 202-0303

Circle Hook - Newport Beach

Monday, September 10, 2018

"Pulutan" by Marvin Gapultos

This is a shout out to my old school food blogging comrade from way back: Marvin Gapultos. He’s the creator of quintessential Filipino food blog, Burnt Lumpia. And when the rest of us were still writing about food trucks, he went out there and started actually started food truck, Manila Machine, LA’s first Filipino food truck.

He followed that with “Adobo Road” one of the most adroit, well-researched cookbooks on Filipino cuisine. Now he’s about to drop his newest cookbook. It’s called “Pulutan”, in which he focuses on Filipino bar bites, appetizers, and street food--basically stuff that goes well with beer. It’s on Amazon pre-order now and will be out this week.

Marvin sent me an advance copy and I can tell I’m going to have a lot of fun trying the recipes from this book, especially his corn-dogged kwek-kwek (quail eggs), a fun Filipino street food merged with a fun American county fair food. The cookbook is full of why-didn't-I-think-of-that inventions like this, which I guarantee will be copied by trendy American restaurants who are already realizing that Filipino cuisine is awesome, underrated, and here to stay.

KoJa Kitchen - Tustin

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Sweet-and-Sour Pork Ribs at Din Tai Fung - Costa Mesa

If I had to guess the secret to Din Tai Fung’s recipes, it’s this: get quality ingredients; do only what it takes to let those quality ingredients shine.

This is why, I think, the pork chop tastes the best a pork chop can taste; and the green beans always snap as though it’s at the peak of its season.

But even when the kitchen uses a heavy sauce, such as in their newest dish of sweet-and-sour pork ribs, no single ingredient outshines the other—everything is in perfect balance. Behind the shellacking of sticky glaze made with Shaoxing wine, rock sugar, and black vinegar, I can still taste the pork—which was itself sweet and soft where it wasn't covered in that caramelized lacquer. It’s easily one of the best things I’ve had at Din Tai Fung, and that’s saying a lot!

Din Tai Fung
3333 Bristol St. Ste. 2071
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 549-3388

Playa Mesa - Costa Mesa