Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Take-Out Review: Taco Tuesday at Ponchos Tacos - Santa Ana

When the weekends feel like weekdays and the weekdays feel like weekends, Taco Tuesday has become a welcome diversion from the Möbius strip monotony of our pandemic lives. 

For me, the sheer act of driving to get the tacos from this truck in Santa Ana on Tuesdays has become a highlight of my week. 

Perhaps it's because the experience would've been no different pre-Covid. Or maybe it's because of the promise of a discount, even if it's a measly 25-cents per taco. (The asada, chicken, al pastor, lengua, and chorizo tacos are normally $1.50 on any other day.) 

Or maybe it's because I just need an excuse to get out of the house. 

So I raise my dripping pineapple al pastor--which I swear almost tastes like Chinese char siu--to you, the genius who saw the alliteration in the words "Taco" and "Tuesday" and used it market meat wrapped in a tortilla. 

Send me your favorite Taco Tuesday deals or what other diversions you found during these quaran-times! 

Poncho's Tacos
271 N Bush Street
Santa Ana CA, 92701

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Take-Out Review: Dim Sum at Lucky 1 Restaurant - Rosemead

What restaurant experiences do you miss most during these quaran-times? 

 I have many, but on top of the list are Korean BBQ and dim sum. More than the food, I miss the communal aspects of both. 

Whether it’s plucking a perfectly grilled piece of meat from a smoky grate, or pondering what steamed dumplings to take off the cart next, there’s nothing like sharing Korean BBQ or dim sum with those you love and cherish. 

But while the full KBBQ restaurant experience has been mostly out of reach these past few months, I’ve still been consuming a lot of takeout hargow and shumai. Unlike KBBQ, dim sum is eminently portable. 

And right now, my go-to to-go dim sum joint is Lucky 1 Restaurant in Rosemead. 

Pre-Covid, this modest restaurant had a small dining room. Now it’s blocked off and used as storage space. But the restaurant’s original, no-frills way of offering its dim sum--a display counter filled with all manner of delicacies baked, fried, and steamed--still feed people like me who think that consuming this food (even alone in front of the TV) can bring back some normalcy during times that are decidedly abnormal. 

Lucky 1, as you can see by the pictures, is a hole-in-the-wall. It stands in stark contrast to the palatial dim sum banquet halls across town. But the har gow here is surprisingly delicate, the shumai is light and mousse-like, and the enormous baked BBQ pork bun counts as a light lunch onto itself. 

I’d even go so far as to say that the dim sum here is better (not to mention orders of magnitude cheaper) than those that I’ve had at the last proper sit-down dim sum house in the “before times”. And these days, I think getting the most out of your money is almost as important as staying healthy. 

Don’t you agree?

Lucky 1 Restaurant
7637 Garvey Ave
Rosemead, CA 91770

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Take-Out Review: Xiu Mai at Banh Mi Che Cali - Westminster

If all meatball subs had a per unit price of $2.83 (after the buy-2-get-1-free deal) and tasted like this xiu mai banh mi from Banh Mi Che Cali, I’d eat more meatball subs. 

Banh Mi Che Cali 
15551 Brookhurst St. 
Westminster, CA 92683

Friday, September 04, 2020

Take-Out Review: $1 Slice at Big Parm - Tustin

After learning to bake a pretty decent homemade pizza from scratch during the lockdown, I told my wife, “I don’t think we need to buy pizza ever again!” 

That, however, was before I discovered Big Parm at the Mess Hall Market offered $1 slices. 

For that remarkable price, you get a satisfying triangle of molten cheese, sauce and pepperoni that not only beats the Costco food court pizza on taste, but also on cost, which is really saying something. 

Also, when you consider that a crowded Costco is a pretty scary place right now, Big Parm at Mess Hall Market—a food hall that wasn’t very busy even before the pandemic—becomes a more attractive lunch option. 

And it has to be lunch because Big Parm is only open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Actually, it’s so slow in there that sometimes they don’t actually get to making the pizzas until about noon...or until someone shows up hungry with a buck. 

Big Parm 
1705 Flight Way #2
Tustin, CA 92782