Saturday, April 23, 2016
727 E Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
When a restaurant comes up with a good concept and attracts a ton of diners, sooner or later competitors will pop up! Newport Seafood has been the standard Chinese seafood restaurant for a long time. The first competitor I knew about was the Newport Seafood, in Santa Ana! They have the same name, concept but have nothing to do with the original location in Rowland Heights.
I recently found out about Boston Lobster in San Gabriel. At least Boston Lobster had the good sense to name itself something other than Newport Seafood. The word is that Boston Lobster is a less expensive, but just as good version of Newport Seafood!
Shrimp fried rice, $7.95
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Hot Red Bus
31 E Main St
Alhambra, CA 91801
About six months ago, I saw the ESPN 30 for 30 episode on the Hillsborough Disaster and it really changed my view about English/European soccer fans. In the 1980's, there were many stories about unruly fan behavior at soccer games throughout Europe. So, in 1989 when I heard about Hillsborough, I just blew it off as another example of drunk idiots rioting over soccer. The 30 for 30 episode really opened my eyes about the cover up by the English government and police officials. A disaster that claimed the lives of 96 innocent Liverpool fans was due to police incompetence, not drunken fans!!! While I still hate soccer as a sport, I hate police and/or government cover up, much much more! Hopefully there will be Justice for the 96!! YNWA!!!
While I will always remember April 15th as the day Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, for the BROOKLYN Dodgers, I will also remember the 96 innocent Liverpool fans who were killed because of police incompetence!!
So, while I thought about the Hillsborough Disaster, I saw a story about the best place to get fish and chips in LA. Hot Red Bus in Alhambra was one of the places listed. I don't expect Alhambra to be a hot spot for that British favorite, fish and chips. Want great Chinese food? Yes, you can find it in Alhambra. But, fish and chips? Now way! I tried two places in Alhambra, New England Fish & Chips & Chinese Food and the now closed, Little London Fish & Chips. But, Hot Red Bus was highly recommended, so I made a trip to Alhambra for some fish and chips.
A small restaurant, just east of Garfield, Hot Red Bus was packed the day I went. A fairly small restaurant with about 10 tables inside and maybe 6 tables outside. I entered from the back and either they forgot to turn on the lights in the hallway or all the light bulbs are burned out. Either way, not a good impression. You almost have to enter from the back, because there is very little parking on Main St, in front of the restaurant.
Of course, their menu has fish- three different fish to choose from, and some Indian items. I wanted to try each type of fish they offered. So I ordered two pieces of cod and pollock and to try their chips, I got a two piece swai and chips.
Cod- $4.80 per piece. The batter is good with a nice golden color. But, this wasn't as crunchy as I like. I like cod the best for fried fish because it's firm and moist. A good sized piece and worth the price. But, not a good example of fried fish.
Pollock- $4.20 per piece. Most stores go to pollock because it's cheaper than cod. But, the quality difference between cod and pollock doesn't justify going the cheap route. Of course they use the same batter.
2 piece swai fish and chips, $8.55. Swai is suppose to be a buttery fish with a mild flavor, but I'm not a fan.
Service- Friendly, but very slow and understaff. There was only one person taking orders and working the cash register, along with the two cooks. This place was very busy for a Sunday afternoon. There were four older ladies, two who used walkers, at a table and the cashier was very nice to take their order at the table, instead of at the counter. But, after taking their orders, there was only two people ahead of me in line. I didn't order until about 25 minutes later!! Not acceptable.
The fish is cooked to order, so I expected to wait for the food. But, not the wait to order. They were out of many of their Indian food items. Now, you're open about two hours on a Sunday and you're already out of items? That is not acceptable at all!! Either, staff more workers and/or cook more food!! The only thing that made the wait acceptable was the fact that staff was very nice! The lady working the register who apologize for the long wait. She did that to every customer, while I was there!
I wouldn't go back to Hot Red Bus again. They are very unorganized and understaffed. I can't believe they ran out of some of their Indian items about two hours after opening!!
Saturday, April 16, 2016
Dough Box Pizza & Bread
1539 Fishburn Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90063
One of the co-owners of Dough Box Pizza & Bread used to own Hollywood Pies. So, when Dough Box & Bread opened I was excited to give them a try! Dough Box Pizza & Bread went back to the original concept of Hollywood Pies-pick up and deliveries only from a small kitchen. This location is in an industrial section of East LA, with tow truck yards and recycling centers as their neighbors.
They have been open for about five months with some late hours- 5-10pm Tues-Sun. I went on a Saturday and the area was empty except for the people picking up pizza.
9in deep dish- mushrooms and spinach, $16.35. Their menu prices says $15 plus $1.50 for each veggie topping. I didn't get out a ruler to see if this is a 9in pizza, but I assume it is So, either their online menu prices are wrong or they charged me the wrong amount.
The crust is very firm and holds up well to the toppings and sauce. The toppings were fresh and plentiful. But, the sauce is just way to tangy for my tastes. They need to add some sweetness to the recipe.
Service is good. I called before opening hours and was able to place my order. The pizza was ready when I got there and the transaction went smoothly.
I had high hopes for Dough Box Pizza but I was disappointed. The sauce just ruined it for me. I'll stay with Masa or go back to Hollywood Pies.
Monday, April 11, 2016
2019 E 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
A few weeks ago LA Eater listed 16 places to get a killer slice of pizza in Los Angeles. Originally Pizzanista was the place I wanted to try, but they don't open until 5pm. So I tried another one of the places listed; Pie Life Pizza in Pasadena. So, I finally had a chance to try Pizznista. They are known for the mac and cheese pizza, but when I saw it, it was all macaroni and very little cheese.
This Arts District location has been open since 2011. They recently opened another location in Long Beach! It's a small galley style set up. There are about 10 tables inside and 5 outside. The line stretched out to the door, but the pizza slices are behind the cashier. Not a good set up, if this is your first time. There isn't a large display menu, the menus are by the cashier. Great if there isn't a line, but when there is a line, not a good set up. Almost the music is too damn loud! It doesn't help that the speakers are on top of the cooler and near the cashier! Turn down the volume or move the speakers higher.
18in mushrooms and jalapenos, $25.05. Cheese pizza $18 plus $2.50 per topping.
The best thing about this pizza is the crust! Thin, yet firm and very good texture. It held up to the toppings very well. The sauce was mild and flavorful. While the toppings were fresh and tasty, the quantity was lacking. There were very few pieces of jalapenos per slice, maybe two! Come on don't be so stingy with the toppings.
Overall I liked the pizza, very good. But, the small quantity of toppings, especially at $2.50 per topping, was a turnoff and very overpriced!
Service was ok. The girl working is just going through the motions, almost like a robot. She forgot to tell me how long the wait for the pizza was going to be, about 25 minutes.
I would go back to Pizzanista, but just order a plain cheese. The very small quantity of toppings isn't worth the added price.
Sunday, February 21, 2016
Pie Life Pizza
691 S Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
Last week LA Eater listed 16 places to get a killer slice of pizza in Los Angeles. Now, I'm not a big fan of ordering slices! I much prefer to order freshly made pies. You just don't know how long the slices have been sitting out. But, most places, if they serve slices, they will serve whole pies!!
I have been to seven of the places listed, a few places a different location than the one on the list; Village Pizzeria, Tomato Pie, Vito's, La Rocco's Pizzeria, Town Pizza, Lamonica's New York Pizza, and Mulberry Street Pizzeria.
I have been to two places Barone's Famous Italian Restaurant and Joe's Pizza on Broadway in Santa Monica, but the Barone's and Joe's Pizza listed in the LA Eater apparently aren't related to the ones I went to.
I would have added Garage Pizza to this list and taken out Mulberry Street.
So, I decided to try one of the places on the list. Since I was in Chinatown that morning, I wanted to try Pellicola Pizzeria or Pizzanista which were close by, but they don't open until 3pm. A few weeks later, I stopped in at Pizzanista!
So, I went to Pie Life Pizza in Pasadena. Pie Life has been open for about three months. It's a very small place, next to a crossfit gym and a very popular coffee shop. It's basically take out but there are a couple high top tables and one table that can fit four to six people.
18 in. veggie with mushrooms, red onions, bell peppers, garlic and jalapenos instead of olives, $20.71. The crust was great!! Firm, yet chewy and held up to the toppings. Very good cheese and while the veggies weren't plentiful, they were fresh. A very good pizza.
Service is good. The owner is very nice and helpful. He substituted jalapenos instead of olives without charging! Which is something I never understood about pizza places. If they charge a set amount of toppings, what difference does it make if you substituted one veggie for another?
I would go back to Pie Life Pizza anytime! A very good addition to the pizza scene in the Los Angeles area!!
Saturday, February 20, 2016
12198 Central Ave
Chino, CA 91710
David Allen gave a great review of Shi Foo in Chino on Thursday. I happened to go by during lunch time and decided to drop in. The Chino location is their second location, opened for about six months. The original location in Chino Hills has been open for about three years. Their motto is “Chinese Food Remastered.” They use no GMO ingredients and no corn syrup.
As David Allen mentioned, this used to be Happy Wok restaurant. While Shi Foo has the steam table, the way to go is making your own entree or noodle dish. You can pick a protein-beef, chicken, fish, tofu, and shrimp. Then pick a sauce-kung pao, Thai sweet chili, ginger and onions, curry spicy, Mongolian spicy, black bean, brown sauce and white sauce, and pick a side-white rice, brown rice, or chow mein noodles.
Service is good. The two ladies there are nice and friendly. They even asked if I wanted to sample their famous orange chicken.
Maybe I ordered the work combo, but I wasn't that impressed with Shi Foo. I like the idea of creating your own order. But, they need to add more flavor to some of their dishes.
Thursday, February 18, 2016
China Stix Kitchen
1661 E Monte Vista Ave
Vacaville, CA 95688
China Stix Kitchen was the first restaurant in Vacaville, CA, that I went to after doing an online search. It was a bit tricky to find, in a big shopping center that has a merry-go-round and a mini train! Shanghai Express was the other restaurant I found online.
Shrimp chow mein, $8.50. A good sized portion of noodles, but not many shrimp-though the shrimp was fresh. A good dish with a lot of flavor.
Prawns with garlic sauce, $11.50, with carrots, celery, broccoli, and onions. A very good dish with about 10 prawns. The sauce was flavorful and had a bit of heat. The veggies were crispy and fresh.
Service is good but a bit slow. It was lunch and while there were only about six people there, my order took a very long time. You can see the kitchen from the counter and there was only one chef prepare all the dishes.
I like China Stix Kitchen better than Shanghai Express. But, prepare to wait for your food!