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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

1 + 1 Dumpling House-Closed

1 + 1 Dumpling House
14720 Pipeline Ave Ste B
Chino Hills

Dumplings in Chino Hills?  Most people expect to go to Rowland Heights for dumplings.  But, 1+1 Dumpling House in Chino Hills matches up to any dumpling restaurant in Rowland Heights.   Located next door to Roscoe's Famous Deli, 1+1 Dumpling House is a small restaurant, with the main dining area seating about 25 people and a private dining area that seats about 20.

David Allen gave 1 +1 Dumpling House a good review.

Beef wrap $4.95.  A crispy pancake that is flaky and has a nice crust, tender beef, a sweet hoisin sauce, and green onions.  This was ok, not great and a bit smaller than other beef wraps I've had.  The sweetness of the hoisin sauce is a bit overpowering.  

Fried hand made noodles with vegetables-bok choy, tomatoes, and onions- $5.95.  This was great.  The hand made noodles were very fresh.  You could tell be the texture these noodles didn't come from a box.  The veggies were all well cooked and seasoned.  Interesting that this dish had tomatoes, which you don't see much in Chinese cooking.  I liked this dish but the portion size is a bit small. 

Juicy pork steam dumpling, $6.95. Xiao long bao in Chinese. This is very good. The texture of the wrapper is perfect.  The pork was well seasoned and tender.  The soup inside the dumpling was so good.  Ten pieces for $6.95 is a steal.  1 + 1 Dumpling is running a special; order over $20 worth of food and you get a free order of xiao long bao!

Pan fried pork and celery dumplings, $7.95.  The majority of these dumplings didn't have that nice brown bottom.  They needed to be fried at least 2-3 minutes longer.  The inside seemed to be a bit unseasoned but a bit overpowering with the celery.

Service was good.  They are nice and friendly.  But, they did take forever to bring our check!

I would go back to 1 + 1 Dumpling House for the xiao long bao any time.  I think the pork dumplings, instead of pork and celery, would be better to order and they would need to leave the dumplings in the pan a lot longer.  I will return to try some of their other dishes.  The spicy shrimp looked great!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Etna Fish Market

Etna Fish Market
11175 S Vermont Ave
Los Angeles

Etna Fish Market is your typical "you buy, we fry" fish market that are popular in areas of Los Angeles with a large African-American population.  It's a take out place with a good selection of fish; sole, talapia, catfish, and red snapper seem to be the most popular.  Etna is located a about two blocks from Jim Dandy Fried Chicken, which was rated the top fried chicken in Los Angeles by LA Weekly,  and not too far from Mom's Bar-B-Que.
The store is fairly large but there are no tables to sit and eat. You order at the counter and your items are cooked to order.  Yes, The New Diner has been to eight of the Top 10 fried chicken places listed. Mom’s Bar B Q House, Donahoo's Golden Chicken, Pann's Restaurant, Bertha's, Honey's Kettle, Flossie's Southern Cuisine, and Kyochon.

Etna Dinner Special, $11, 4 pieces of red snapper, 8 medium shrimp, 3 hush puppies, and fries.  The batter used is cornmeal but this was a bit too salty for my tastes.   But, it was nice crunchy texture, some places put too much batter, but Etna but the right amount.  The fish and shrimp were very fresh.  I was impressed with the quality and freshness of the seafood.  The hush puppies were standard, nothing special about them.  The fries were frozen, but the portion size is huge.  They had only packets of tartar sauce and no cocktail sauce for the fried shrimp.  They gave me packets of salsa!!  Come on now, I want cocktail sauce for the shrimp.

Service needs improvement.  If you walk in for the first time, you don't know the ordering system; first come, first served or take a number.  Well there were about ten people inside the store and they all were waiting for their orders.  When they finally came around to take my order, I wasn't greeted, they just looked at me and asked what I would like.  A simple "Hi, how can I help you?" would be more than enough.  When my order was ready, the guy, who I think is the owner's son was too busy talking on the phone to say Thank you.

While I thought the cornmeal batter was a bit too salty, I would have come back to Etna but with the bad service, I won't return.  There are many other fish markets with better service  and food, like Ann's Fish Market or The Fish House.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sage Organic Vegan

Sage Organic Vegan
1700 W Sunset Blvd

Sage Organic Vegan is a very popular vegan restaurant in Echo Park.  I've heard so many great things about Sage and finally had a chance to try their food.  Sage has an interesting set up, with a large main floor seating with lots of natural light and a loft seating area that has very little natural light.

Sage was only serving their brunch menu the day I went.  We got to Sage at the right time because it was packed by the time we were done with brunch. 

Kale Salad:Blanched kale, mango, quinoa, strawberries and shaved almonds tossed w/ maple tahini vinaigrette; $8.95.  This salad was just off.  Something about it didn't work.  The kale was a bit tough, the menu says blanched but it was pretty close to raw.  The quinoa was fine.  There were barely any mangos, but the strawberries were very fresh.  Portion size was fairly good for the price, but I wouldn't order this again.

Service from the server was very good.  She was nice and friendly and helpful. But, the service from the host just sucked.  He was a jerk.  If a restaurant doesn't want customers, I would be very happy to take my business elsewhere.  The restaurant was fairly slow when my group arrived.  The loft was completely empty when we got there.  I made reservations for 10 people,  but a larger group wanted to try Sage.  But the jerk host was making a big deal about my group being larger than I had said.  I mean if you don't want the extra 4-6 people when your restaurant was slow and where we sat was empty, well I won't bring a group back to this damn place.  I would have understood if it was packed and very busy, but it wasn't and the host still cops and attitude and is a jerk?  Screw this place.

The food I ordered was just ok, but there were other dishes that looked very good.  But the terrible attitude by the jerk host, means I'm not going back to Sage.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Link N Hops

Link N Hops
3111 N Glendale Blvd Ste C
Los Angeles

Link N Hops is a gourmet sausage and craft beer restaurant in the Atwater Village section of Los Angeles.  I've gone to Wurstk├╝che, which also has a good selection of gourmet sausage and craft beer.  So people in the Silver Lake and Atwater Village area can go Link N Hops instead of going to Arts District/Little Tokyo for Wurstkuche.

Link N Hops has a nice covered front porch seating.  Since Link N Hops faces east, the covered porch is much needed and welcomed on a sunny day.  Inside you have a communal feeling with the long table in the middle a few other booths.

Vegan Kielbasa-Organic Tofu, Onions, Garlic, Black Pepper, $6.75 with sauerkraut, raw onions, and dijon mustard.   I was very impressed with the vegan kielbasa.  Grilled nicely with a lot of flavor and wasn't dry or mushy.  I had a vegan sausage, when I went back to Wurstkuche, sorry I didn't write an updated review, and it was just terrible, mushy, no flavor at all and a total waste of money.  The vegan kielbasa was so much better.

The sauerkraut was nice and tangy and they give you a nice portion.  Onions were very fresh.  The bun was a bit too big for the kielbasa but was grilled nicely and held up to all the toppings.  But, with that said, not worth the $6.75 price tag.

Service is good.  The people here are nice and friendly.

Link N Hops is a hipster hangout, but don't let that stop you from enjoying their gourmet sausage and craft beer.  But, expect to pay, maybe overpay, for your sausage.  I wouldn't be against coming back here but I wouldn't rush back.