Sunday, June 26, 2022

BCD Tofu House - Garden Grove

You are mistaken if you think no one would want to eat steaming pots of soft tofu soups on a hot summer day like today. 

But that’s just how beloved the BCD Tofu House chain is. It commands a waitlist regardless of the temperature outside. 


Well, for the $14.99 you pay for your tofu soup, you also get an array of side dishes that are refilled by ladies in roving carts as often as you want. So in effect, this is the cheapest all-you-can-eat restaurant in existence.

But unlike a buffet, you can ask for to-go boxes for anything you can’t finish. That fact and also because the servers are attentive, friendly, and voluntarily perform tasks you wouldn’t usually expect servers would do (like handling superheated stone pots and scooping out rice tableside), BCD would probably compel an Eskimo to buy snow cones from them if they sold it.

BCD Tofu House
9520 Garden Grove Blvd #9
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Sunday, June 19, 2022

A Dim Sum Poem on Seafood Cove 2

‘Twas the Day for the Fathers and all through Lil’ Saigon,
Everyone had the same idea: “Let’s take out Dad”, said Daughter, said Son.

Who cares if there's a ninety minute wait and the parking lot’s a mess.
Let’s get OC’s best dim sum for pops; he deserved nothing less.

So from all corners of Orange County they drove.
Braving traffic and congestion to a place called Seafood Cove.

The wait is undoubtedly long but the service is brisk.
The staff still wore masks, hopefully lowering the Covid risk.

There’s no paper menu anymore, just a QR Code for some items, the rest on carts.
The new system confusing to both the Millennials and the old farts.

The prices are now close to 5 dollars for the ”A” items, 6 for the “B”.
And it’ll cost you 8 bucks if you want the Chinese broccoli.

But everything’s delicious: dumplings, wontons and BBQ pork buns of every type.
Not to mention the slippery and gingery beef tripe.

The quality here is as it always was, just a smidge better than the others.
And everyone there today was happy, but especially the fathers.

Seafood Cove 2
9211 Bolsa Ave
Westminster, CA 92683

Friday, June 17, 2022

A Bad Meal at Thai Nakorn - Garden Grove

I grew up going to Thai Nakorn at its original Buena Park location. In the 18 years I patronized their “new” Garden Grove store, I proselytized its greatness on multiple Best Of Issues for OC Weekly and countless posts on my own blog. I celebrated milestones there. Before the pandemic I brought friends, relatives, food people I met online to experience it for themselves. During the pandemic, I ordered takeout and ate the food in my parked car while it was still hot. I have never had a bad meal at Thai Nakorn. 
…until tonight. 

The “crispy pork belly” in the stir-fried watercress was so chewy and stale, it was literally leather.

The pomfret had not been salted after being fried and the dipping sauce tasted like it was concocted from Sriracha and Frank’s Red Hot—-too sour and harsh for the delicate flesh of the fish.

The nam sod didn’t have its usual lime juice zing or depth of flavor. The ginger and onions were cut too thick. Worse, the ground pork stank. It had the same off-putting fetid odor that makes you pinch your nose at the butcher.

If I had been served any of this food at any other Thai joint, I wouldn’t have been so disappointed.

It’s always the ones you love most that let you down the hardest.

Thai Nakorn
12532 W Garden Grove Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92843

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Taco Tuesday at TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room - Tustin

In my ongoing quest for Taco Tuesday bargains, TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room would’ve been the last place I expected to find a good deal, let alone a good taco. But that’s exactly what I found: $2 beef or grilled fish tacos that exceeded my expectations on quality and cost. 

The fish is fine. But the beef isn’t just beef, it’s steak—big chunks of what’s possibly grilled sirloin in quantities at which, I would guess, the restaurant is barely breaking even. 

Or maybe I’m wrong.

I did, after all, also order a $5 cider to wash down my food truck-produced meal…and a $1 pouch of Capri Sun. 

Got the scoop on other Taco Tuesday deals in OC? Let me know!

TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room 
15501 Red Hill Ave
Tustin, CA 92780

Sunday, June 05, 2022

Three Oysters in Two Days in Whatcom County, WA

If you only had two days in Whatcom County, Washington, the northernmost county in the contiguous United States, you’d also try to eat all the oysters. 

The three oyster bars featured here are:
  • Anthony’s at Squalicum Harbor. A good but old school local seafood chain that I found slightly overpriced and stodgy.
  • Drayton Harbor Oyster Company. A must-visit oyster farm near the Canadian border that offers raw oysters, fried oysters, oyster stew, and grilled oysters topped with five different gourmet toppings.
  • Rock and Rye Oyster House. A hip Bellingham oyster bar with a happy hour menu offered weekdays and all day Sunday that includes local oysters, mussels, and poutine.