Monday, December 21, 2020

Take-Out Review: Handel's Ice Cream - Lake Forest

I discovered something amazing at Handel’s Ice Cream in Lake Forest.

It’s not that this enormous tower is what they consider a “single”.

It’s not that the flavor I tried, called Monkey Business—banana ice cream with a caramel ripple and brownie pieces—was wonderful, like something out of a county fair. 

It’s not even that I got another cone just like this for free using their Buy-One-Get-One deal, which continues until the end of the year. 

No, the amazing thing I discovered about Handel’s Ice Cream is that with its freshly-made, soft-serve-like texture—scooped to order from bins in a storeroom dedicated to ice cream—it’s the closest I’ve gotten to Strickland’s, which I still sorely miss. 

Handel's Ice Cream
23615 El Toro Rd
Lake Forest, CA 92630

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Take-Out Review: Yummy Banh Bao - Westminster

Ah, steamed buns. Fluffy like pillows, sweetly fragrant of yeast, hiding fillings of savory meat or something sugary like red bean paste. 

I love the stuff--everything from the Chinese original, called bao, to Japan’s nikuman, to Korea’s wang mandoo, to The Philippines' siopao. They’re all wonderful, each one more comforting than mother’s milk, especially when they’re hot and fresh, and the weather is cold. 

Lately I’ve been eating a lot of the Vietnamese variant, called bánh bao. It’s primarily because Yummy Bánh Bao, a bánh bao specialist located in the heart of LIttle Saigon, makes it so darn easy and cheap to buy enough to last almost an entire week. 

$10 gets you a box of 9 bánh baos stuffed with a quartered half-boiled egg and piece of Chinese sausage embedded in a pork-and-chicken mousse. 

Yummy Bánh Bao offers six other fillings, but the one I just described is #1, literally and figuratively. There’s something about how the combination of hard boiled egg yolk, chewy sausage, and meat works together. 

Eating them fresh is ideal, but I’ve kept these buns under refrigeration for a few days without any loss in quality. They reheat well in the microwave when wrapped in a damp paper towel. 

But if you want to revive it to its optimum fluffiness, you should trot out your steamer basket and do it properly. All you need after that is a bottle of Sriracha at your side.

Yummy Banh Bao 
15041 Moran St #106
Westminster, CA 92683