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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Pie Life Pizza

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

Shi Foo-Chino

Shi Foo
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.

Create your own noodles-$9.95.  Tofu, chow mein noodles, with garlic and soy sauce.  Now, the prices listed for beef and chicken is $8.50, shrimp, fish or the house trio- beef, chicken, & shrimp is $8.95.  So, why is tofu, a much less expensive ingredient a dollar more??  Anyways, the noodles were well cooked, but the tofu were overcooked.  Very tough on the outside.  It also lacked seasoning!!  A very bland, flavorless dish.
Create your own entree- shrimp, with ginger and onion sauce and brown rice.  There were a lot of shrimp, I counted 14, just like David Allen got with his order.  While the shrimp are small, they do not cheat you on the number of shrimp.  This was more flavorful than the noodles, but not a great dish.  The brown rice as well cooked.

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

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!

Shanghai Express

Shanghai Express
500 Elmira Rd
Vacaville, CA 95687

So I'm in Vacaville, CA and don't know the area at all.  But, I'm hungry and searched online and found two restaurants, China Stix Kitchen and Shanghai Express.  I went to Shanghai Express since it was only a short drive from where I was staying.

This is a fast casual restaurant.  They have a steam table full of food.  Or you can order something off their menu.  I decided to order off the menu.  The restaurant is small with about 8-10 tables.  One sloppy family just finished eating and they made a mess, there was only one child in that family, who was maybe 10 years old.  The lady didn't even clean up the area the entire time I was there, maybe 15 minutes.

Garlic prawns-$9.25 large order.  This was an ok dish.  Good portion with about a dozen medium sized prawns.  I wasn't expecting a bunch of bamboo shoots but they were fine.  The garlic sauce was flavorful.  But, the prawns themselves were a bit tough and didn't taste as though they were that fresh.

Vegetable chow mein-$5.75 large order.  This was a good dish.  Not much in terms of veggies, a few pieces of carrots, some chopped up celery and some green onions.  But, there were a lot of noodles and they were well seasoned and cooked.  Portion size was great and a great value!

Service was friendly.  But, the lady helping me, must have been new because she didn't know the prices-she had to look at the menu for the prices.  She also didn't clean up the mess made by that family.

Shanghai Express is one step up from a Panda Express.  I wouldn't go rush back but wouldn't mind giving them another chance.  The prawns, if they were fresh, could be a good dish!