Friday, May 11, 2018

Coming All Together at PanAsia Sweet and Savory

Asian fusion is well alive in this town.

I reminisced to those days of Wolfgang Puck slinging in his version of what Far East Asian cuisine would be like with all those pretty decorative flowers on his plates. Of course you can tell, majority of the clientele are in his area on the westside of LA and not really catered for people seeking the genuine Asian food.

The team that is behind the venerable chains of cafe and desserts of Phoenix franchises (Boutique, Cafe, Desserts, & Restaurants) are coming out with a brand new "fast casual" restaurant on Alhambra, the heart of meltpot Asian communities. 



Chili Pan Mee, Laksa, Tumuric Chili Wings, Pork Rolls

Fast casual can be somewhat describes of misnomer of fast food like your local BK or Micky D's, but more towards comfort food serves in chic vibrant dining. A lot of restaurant are now into this type dining setting while conveying a more regular hang out spot.

The aptly named PanAsia, consist of many different regions of Southeast Asian cuisine (Thai, Singaporean, Vietnamese, Malaysia, Chinese, and Cantonese style food) for the masses to try. The menu have many types of popular comfort food, but with elaborate fine tuning touches that may suit the taste buds, but also entice the senses of look and smell.



Hainan Chicken Rice

Beautifully plate, but yet enormously appetizing such as for some of the more simple dishes like the Hainan Chicken,  Laksa curry noodle, and their popular Malaysian hand pull noodles of Chili Pan Mee. Obviously with fusion involved, BBQ pork rolls, curry chicken somoas (delicious triangle shaped roll) and wings are also elevated to a more eye pleaser as well.

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Turmeric Chili Chicken Wings

With a pet friendly outdoor patio seating, a stylish vibe on the front end of lounge area to hang out for your tea drinks, or you can dine indoor at their chic communal tables. It has a happening atmosphere either to dine or to just simply relax with your drinks while catching up with your associates. Maybe that's what fast casual should be like.

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Mango Sticky Purple Rice

From an old days of Phoenix Inn to many dessert franchises (which I come to associate them when I was a kid), now back to cool dining, this has earmark of dining for all ages. 

Oh, as in for what they are popular to the masses.... yes, they are keeping many of the hand made drinks and desserts available as well on the menu. Get this, you'll also can pick up many of the prepackaged desserts as well.

Simply put, nothing really will be miss as the place had added something new to include everyone else.

PanAsia Sweet and Savory
45 S. Garfield Ave
Alhambra, CA 91801

PanAsia Sweet & Savory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, May 4, 2018

Elites Gathering at Aveo Table + Bar

I used to be very active on Yelp. I think majority of people understood about what that website was about. With plenty of people venting or raving about the businesses or places they have visited, this was bound to have plenty of users. Recently, I have more ample time and decided to be jump back into actively "contribute" to the site.

Most of the time I think people use Yelp for photos of the establishments to get an idea what the place of business is offering (especially for me on how the place looks in laying out the tables and what the outside of the place looked like).

In a weird sense, I think the website is more informative on hours of operations, address, phone numbers, and maps... than Goggle itself! Which coincidentally Goggle incorporate most of the info from Yelp anyways, but still rely on users of Yelp to update for their Google search for each business.

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Besides the innate info about various forms of establishments (mainly restaurants) are the perks of going to an exclusive event. In many cases, they are like preview or showcasing what the places serves or how business operate. It's like putting on a show for selected members of VIP for using the website. You usually need to be an "elite" .. aka active users.. to be invited to this preview.

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Which in this case, yours truly here got the invite.

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Margherita Flatbread Pizza

An interesting invite caught my eye was to this restaurant that is located on the property of this luxury resort hotel at Dana Point. For the uninitiated, this is going off 30 minutes away from most major metropolitan area of either Orange County or San Diego burbs. Beautiful beaches with excellent nature environment makes this place perfect for a nice weekend getaway.

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Snapper Ceviche

This place was one of the more fascinating place on my list to visit. Situated as an elegant posh restaurant that serves Mediterranean fare with a bit of New American cuisine. I remembered the restaurant had a different take a year back and transitioned to the current situation when a new head chef was on board. When I saw this Yelp event, I immediately jump at it.

To be quite honest, the restaurant did well to impress the dining group that was invited by Yelp. Some of the impressions we got was that obvious it was catered to be high class, but at the same time fun, relaxing and chic atmosphere. Majority of the menu we sample as you seen above was more towards the sea catch affair of local source. With a dash of Mediterranean cooking and a bit of creativity, the dishes came out on gorgeous display.

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The atmosphere of the resort hotel helps quite a bit, beautiful views, elegant settings, and a first class vibe gave anyone a chills of wanting to come back and visit for other dishes. I highly recommend their happy hour menu with the snapper ceviche. The cocktail menu serves delightful drinks as well.

As I said, gorgeous all around.

Now as in for the Yelp event, am I going to get invited all the time to this type of restaurant or dining? Probably not to be honest. The next even I got invited to was a lunch at a hoagie place. Yeah, quite a difference from an elegant restaurant in a five diamond hotel to quick bite at a strip mall.

No complaints, but that was the peak right there.

Aveo Table + Bar
1 Monarch Beach Resort N
Dana Point, CA 92629

Aveo Table + Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, May 3, 2018

A Believer of Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken

One of the big phenomenon we encountered in the past few years was the craze for fried chicken.

Not just any fried Chicken.... Nashville Fried Chicken!

What is so special about Nashville Fried Chicken? Is it the hotness? Spicy? Red hot to your tongue kind of chili hot spicy? I think the Colonel just got into that for all their chains of fast food joints and for some reasons even the fast food burger joints got into the act of offering these delectable craze.

In one sense to be honest I'm not totally sold on it... just yet. However, I do want to savor different type of chickens recipe the southeast has to offer. Interestingly, I'm about to get that chance finally when one of the more revere chain from Tennessee is coming to town.

Gus's World Famous Chicken is a good place to start. It originated from the back of a tavern where a couple used to sling their famous two piece with a bread, side of beans and a slaw. As you can tell by where I am going with this story, their success would lead to expansions to other parts of the country including Texas, Georgia, and the midwest. When they finally opened a few years ago in LA, I still wasn't too keen on wanting to make a trip to a part of the town I loathed to go (one in the valley and one in the southwest area).

People in LA understands me ... when traffic on the long freeways and congested road are involved.

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Press Play to see the interior

Luckily one opened up in a more down to earth part of Long Beach where it's a bit easier and ample parking to boot. In a very nice way of describing, they still kept some of the charm that a tavern would looked like. A few telies showing the sports games and a checkered table cloth decorating the tables in a cozy dimmed atmosphere that would behooved a saloon somewhere in the country side.


3 Piece with Mac N Cheese, Slaw, & Fried Okra

Why did I fancied fried chicken for dinner? To be honest, I guessed I'm still thinking deep fried is still a work of art that culinary snobs treat it as easy to make with no real difference. Chicken is chicken for many people out there.

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It's still the cooking preparations to cook this poultry and the recipe of the spices on these batter to give either crisp on the skin or the flavor on the meat when it's served red hot. That's where the moment of truth comes to play when I came into this establishment.

Let's get it out the way, for a chain... this was hands down the best fried chicken I have had in a long while. The flavor is not that hot as in burning hot. It doesn't numb your tongue like some of the other Tennessee or southeast chicken would do. This was all about capturing the essence of aromatic flavor for the skin and let the juiciness of the meat speak for itself.

The juiciness of these fried chickens on the bone was mouthwatering and the temptations can be hardly feigned off for your a few of your senses. If there any senses, you would give up, lose the ears because the taste bud, smell, and sight are totally needed for this dining experience.

I personally skipped the beans and substitute it to a mac n cheese, but kept the slaw for my sides. I think they both played well. The fried okras I got was a burgeoning success I thought. With the ranch for dipping, those okras are an excellent mouth poppers.

Value for value, how does it compared? Being truthfully told, this place might rivaled some of your more posh dining restaurants in town. Their "snack box" of 10 pieces of fried chickens will set you back a good $30 in this Long Beach establishment. That is almost three times the amount the Colonel is charging for their bucket special down the street.

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Chocolate Chess Pie


Before I forget, you must get their chocolate chess pie when you get the chance. That itself is a spectacular masterpiece itself.

Here's the question on the top. Was this considered to be Nashville Fried Chicken? Am I believer? I think if this is the representative of what a southeast variety of fried chicken should be, then I would be squarely on their side. Definitely will continue to be purveyor of the fowl devourer.

Trust me, your wallet might not like it, but your tummy will thank you for it. What's worse? Your taste bud might request you to make another order.

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken
2580 Long Beach Blvd
Long Beach, CA 90806

Gus's World Famous Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Eternal Sunshine of Spring

To my little surprise, I don't often visit that many French restaurants in Los Angeles.

Not one bit at all. I actually needed to check on list of cuisines on the right hand side column to verify.

To some degree, I think I attribute to my lack of institution of what constitute as a French cuisine. Often times I think I get confused with provincial dishes or classic comfort food as French dishes. To this day... I still thought French Fries are what the French are known for. Yes, shame on me.

My introduction to Spring was made by an old acquaintance, a French restaurant situated in the bottom floor of the Douglas Building in downtown Los Angeles. A building many in LA considers to be a "Xanadu" for some of the wealthiest back in the olden days.

The old acquaintance and I met up at the bar in front of the dining room. It's quite a cozy parlor room that has a great view of the corner street of 3rd and Spring. To get to the fabulous dining room, you would just need to hit up the hallway like it was a speakeasy. Let me tell you, once you get into the dining room, the center of the room has a breathtaking view of the skylight. Like a tree in the view of  a park!

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Click on the play button to view the video

Even though I came in for dinner, I feel like a brunch would be perfect situation especially with the daylight beaming down in the middle of the room.

At the very first occasion, we decided to get the tasting menu to see how the dishes were set up. To my astonishment, I think some of these seasonal dishes were the most beautifully dishes ever presented. So Instagram-able worthy in fact.


Maple Leaf Duck Breast

The dishes were concocted based on the ingredients available for the chef to create with his imaginative presentation that was out of this world. In many instances, I was in awe from dish to dish, all the way to the dessert.


Hamachi Crudo

I think in my first visit, the hamachi crudo and the maple leaf duck breast was the stand out dishes on the tasting menu. This actually got me excited in wanting to go back and tried out their other main courses.


Lamb Sirloin with Couscous

The one dish that people seemed to rave about was the lamb sirloin, which was a fine dish itself. I personally love the desserts that creatively was some of the highlights at this fine establishment.

Beautifully presented, great atmosphere & vibes, and delicious dishes as well. My only beef was that I think they can do better in certain aspect of their services. I know this is not a place to rush people in and out, but I think improvements can be made where attentions to details can be acquired. That will be saved for people writing a Yelp type review, but I do think this is classy elegant restaurant that does strives to be on the top of French restaurant.

I do hope some kinks can be worked out as I do love coming to this restaurant. Especially on how tough LA can be, this restaurant do stands out as one of the best French cuisine restaurant in LA.

Spring
257 Spring St
Los Angeles CA 90012

Spring Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato