Sunday, October 31, 2010

Banh Xeo and Fries: Dip's Grill

********THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED.********

Dip's Grill is one of my newer go-to places for lunch with co-workers. It touts itself as "Asian fusion," which here really means "burgers and fries for your unadventurous friends and Vietnamese and Chinese food for you."
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The various iced teas are really good here, and refills are plentiful and free. Featured above are sweet potato fries ($4) and sliders ($7) in regular hamburger and pulled pork versions on Hawaiian rolls. The spam and egg sliders are "too weird" for some of my friends.

Sometimes I wonder how we are friends.

My co-workers with more expansive palates enjoyed the below dishes with me.

Banh beo -- steamed rice cakes topped with ground dried shrimp and crispy onions served with sauce ($6).
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These are usually served in individual hockey puck-sized bowls, so this presentation of a mountain of silver dollar rice discs was quite interesting. I prefer the traditional version. These were not as moist and springy.

Banh xeo -- pan-seared rice crepe filled with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and shallots ($7).
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Tasty! Nicely crisped outside and warm and savory inside.

Pork belly buns -- braised pork belly, crisp lettuce, and scallions served in steamed buns (four for $7).
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Not as good as what you'd find at a real Taiwanese place but I can't complain too much about something that costs $1.75. Take that, momofuku ssam bar.

Xoi chien -- steamed sticky rice with ground pork, shrimp, mushrooms, and onions ($5)
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Yummy! Lovely chewiness surrounding a pleasantly seasoned meat blend.

Is Dip's Grill authentic? Many items are the real deal, but, for the most part, the flavors are accessible for the untrained. I'm sure I'll keep coming back because it's not often that I find a place where I can down a bowl of vermicelli while my friends chow on burgers and fries. The clean and sleek decor helps, too.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Mama's Food Is Better: Mama's Kitchen

Mama's Kitchen (1308 E. Valley Blvd., Alhambra) is warm and friendly. The food is fine, but the truth is my own Mama Monkey can cook circles around this place.
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Pickle with shredded pork ($3.75), simmered beef and pork shank ($0.80 per oz.), beef stew noodle soup ($6.50), fried stinky tofu.

Not everybody is lucky enough to have a Mama Monkey. Mama's Kitchen is a decent substitute for the Mama Monkey-less.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Skip It: Bistro 39

We often go to the Edwards movie theater in Alhambra. After a late show one night, we tried Bistro 39, one of the few restaurants within walking distance open after 10 p.m.
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Don't go. Not much more need be said.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Buffet Is Ok: Mahan Indian Restaurant

Mahan Indian Restaurant may not be the best Indian food you'll ever have, but it's not terrible for being on Main Street in Alhambra.
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I'm a sucker for Indian lunch buffets. It doesn't matter if it's good or bad. I'll eat it. Quantity can sometimes make up for quality.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Fave at Farmers Market: Singapore's Banana Leaf

The Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax has over 30 food stands. Stall #122 is my favorite. Yes, folks, I like Singapore's Banana Leaf more than Loteria Grill. I've eaten here many times and have yet to be disappointed by anything!
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Among my faves are the rendang beef ($9.45), curry puff ($1.50), and satay chicken ($8.95).

It's not the cheapest or the fastest eatery at 3rd and Fairfax.

But it's the best.

What do you think? What's your favorite place at The Farmers Market?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Roy's Fall Prix Fixe Menu

I recently had the opportunity to sample most of Roy's Fall Prix Fixe Menu in a room full of bloggers and Internet media types at the restaurant in Downtown L.A.
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Roy's treated us to miniaturized versions of seven of the nine options on the prix fixe menu. Yes, this lovely dinner was comped. The FTC requires me to tell you this.

For the Fall Prix Fixe Dinner, you choose one appetizer, one entree, and one dessert for $35.95. The real portions are larger than the mini versions pictured below!

Hawaiian martini.
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SKYY vodka, Stoli Vanil vodka, and Malibu coconut rum, shaken and served with fresh pineapple. Mmm.

Edamame.
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Not just salted but spiced, too!

Elaine's Kabocha Squash Salad, Cinnamon Spiced Pepitas, Cranberry Vinaigrette
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Nice and light. Squash wouldn't be my first choice for a salad additive, but apparently that's what Elaine wanted. Loved the crunch of the pepitas, though.

Blackened Rock Shrimp & Red Bean Soup, Portuguese Sausage, Shishito
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Choose this for your appetizer. Rich and complex, this was easily my favorite dish of the night.

Artichoke & Goat Cheese-Crusted Salmon, Sundried Tomato Sauce
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As you may already know, salmon is one of my least favorite types of fish, but even I recognized that this was well prepared. The goat cheese on top was delightful.

Cilantro Grilled Tiger Shrimp, Stewed Curried Lentils & Fall Vegetables
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The shrimp was a tad overcooked, and the lentils were a bit too salty. This was my least favorite dish of the night.

Tender Braised Beef Short Ribs, Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Natural Braising Sauce
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If I were doing the prix fixe meal, I'd choose this! It lived up to its tender name!

Roy's Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé
, Flourless Chocolate Cake with a Molten Hot Center served à la Mode
; Pumpkin & Ginger Cheesecake, Pumpkin Anglaise.
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I love pumpkin. I love ginger. I love cheesecake. Yet I did not love the pumpkin and ginger cheesecake. I certainly liked it, but I thought I would love it. Does that make any sense?

Funny enough, however, I am not a huge chocolate fan (and am actually slightly allergic), but I did love the souffle! Go for the souffle! It's a tried-and-true classic at Roy's!

Roy's describes its Fall Prix Fixe Menu as follows:

Inspired by the beautiful colors and flavors of Autumn, we're proud to present our three-course Fall Prix Fixe Menu. It's a collection of incredible dishes, created with the finest seasonal ingredients for your dining pleasure. We hope you enjoy what our talented Chefs have prepared for you this Fall.

I encourage you to go to Roy's to taste the blackened rock shrimp and red bean soup, tender braised beef short ribs, and melting hot chocolate souffle for yourself. Pretty sweet deal for $35.95.

Special thanks to Allison of Formula PR for inviting me to this event!

Be sure to read the thoughts of Starchy Marie, The Roaming Belly and Pleasure Palate. A good time was had by all!
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