Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Joy Yee's - Avocado Freeze Ritual

Avocado Freeze with tapioca. Definitely one thing that I have to put into my digestive system whenever I'm in Chicago. Joy Yee's have gazillions fresh fruit drink selections, so indecisive people beware!
I can rave all day about their drinks but the food had some hits and misses. Joy Yee's is not authentic Asian cuisines, they reminded me of college's students comfort food. Wide food range: Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Thai. Expect them to be greasy, jumbo in proportions, but not so big on taste.

Me likey: Thai Fried Calamari

Joy Yee's Escargot. YUM!

Thai Spicy Red Snapper

So-So:Ong Toy with Shrimp Paste

String Beans with Salted Fish

Korean BBQ Short Ribs

There are four Joy Yee's locations spread in Illinois: Chicago, Evanston, and Naperville. Additionally, they're now serving sushi, Pho noodle soup, and frozen yogurt in Chinatown Chicago. Make sure you make a stop for their fresh fruit freeze! If only I can have my avocado freeze in hot sunny LA...

Joy Yee's Noodle
Chicago-Evanston-Naperville, IL

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quartino - Bon Appetito in Chicago

After months of anticipation, finally the days I've been waiting for had come - two of my dearest friends were getting hitch! To top it all off, the wedding reception was held in Chicago and most of my college buddies back from Michigan State University (yep, I'm a proud Spartan) were reunited... WOHOOO it felt so good to be back to Chi-town...

Windy city + friends reunion + exquisite wedding = FIESTA!!!

So, what should a hungry girl do after hours of flight from LAX-MDW? Eat, eat, eat...

Back in 2007, the wedded couple took me to Quartino, for a delightful Italian tapas and I just wanna relive the experience once again.

The minute I stepped into Quartino, we were warmly welcomed and seated in the outdoor patio.
Substantial marble tables and nice comfortable chairs makes it pretty, however the patio was too close to the walking pavements and streets which means loud noises, walking hobos and traffic.

Since we were in a small plates movements, so we ordered three dishes for the two of us to share.

Veal Meatballs Napolli - Meatballs will never be the same again! Served on a hot pan with sun dried tomatoes, sweet raisins, and MAGIC sauce. Melts in your mouth! I never knew meatballs can change my life. sweeter, meatier, juicier, and tastier! Ahhhh....Polenta Fries with red pepper sauce - I was trying so hard to like this dish after my first bite. To say the sauce was bland would be an understatement. Judging from the bold orange color I expected it to be spicy, or at least gimme some taste. Such a waste of my tummy space!
Steamed Clam with Pinot Grigio and red chili broth - it was lots of tasty clams and the broth was fantastic. The thin slices of garlic were the perfect compliment to the clams.It was a good way to kick start my Chicago trip. Bon Appetito!

626 N. State Street
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 698-5000

Friday, September 25, 2009

JRDN - Location, Location, Location...

Every now and then, I make some visits to San Diego, tried to check out new places to chill. As we drive around Pacific Beach, we were spontaneously struck with this restaurant bar which laid out with a huge panel of glass windows and overlooking the ocean, called JRDN (Jordan). Total gorgeousness!
Coming with a huge dessert appetite, I went straight to their sweet treat selections, so I wasn't paying much attention to their lunch and dinner menu. Not sure what's good in here, we decided to have one chocolaty and one fruity desserts.

Chocolate truffle bar - a stack of chocolate, caramel, brownie and a scoop of coconut ice scream. Sounds good? I was fooled! One of the most awful desserts I ever tasted in my life. Let me start by saying how HARD it was to chew, and to make it even worse, the caramel was all over my teeth ARGH so hard to be enjoyed.Thank God the strawberry shortcake have come to rescue me! I was expecting to be as nasty as my first choice but as I put them in my mouth, they were soothing my pain away. The cake is moist, the strawberry is fresh, right amount of vanilla ice cream with sandy pie crust at bottom. Delicate enough, but I've had better!My verdict: overprice! I'll come by next time only for the drinks and sunset viewing!

723 Felspar St
(at Ocean Blvd)
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 270-5736

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Musha - Less is More Delicious

I felt so fortunate that one of my friends recommended me to this Izakaya style Japanese joint coz' it's SMOKIN'! From their cold dish to the Shichirin grilled dish, Musha consistently bring the best stuffs to the table. Although this place is always jam-packed, I was delighted that finally there's a good Izakaya place that we can RESERVE, jeez...

OK, no further due, let me break it down what made Musha an Izakaya restaurant at its finest:

Aburi Saba a.k.a seared Saba - You'll watch a torching experience. the taste? DAYYYUMM! fresh Saba vinegar marinated melt in your mouth leaving salty, crispy, smokey Saba skin at end.
Cheese Tofu - mozzarella cheese, soy milk, cottage cheese, and cream cheese might not sound like a good combo, but mixed together as a spread on top of baguette or crackers, pour a little bit of honey from the honeycomb stick - you get a kick ass appetizer. You can ask for extra crackers too.

Negitoro Tuna Croquette and Kabocha Pumpkin croquette - both are very yummy fillings and oh I love how crunchy they are!
Tanshio - thinly sliced and tender beef tongue grilled on tiny tabletop grill. The only bad thing about this meal is I can't get enough of them!

Takotama - It's a house special dish. It's a finely stacked scrambled egg, octopus, fried noodle, mushroom, onion drenched in mayo. Highly recommended!

Cheese Risotto and Spicy Tuna Dip weren't too striking. Although the way they prepare the risotto was interesting, a handful of creamy risotto being tossed in a gigantic block of Parmesan cheese, but the taste wasn't spectacular.

Oh, I can't wait to go back and tried every single dish on their menu. I heard their pork belly is a must try!

1725 W Carson St
Ste B

Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 787-7344


424 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 576-6330

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sweet Lady Jane - Berry Good

Talking about a piece of heaven, Sweet Lady Jane's triple berry cake sent me away to cloud 9. It was one of those guilt free kind of desserts because everything seemed light yet indulging. The thickly sliced cake felt so fluffy, accompanied with fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, was big enough for the two of us to share. Usually, frosting is my least favorite part of a cake, but I will make an exception for this one. The cream frosting is silky, not too sweet, and little did I know, we finished all of it :)

Sweet Lady Jane
8360 Melrose Ave.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 653-7145

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Elite - A Bit of Heart

Since I live in West LA, a little trip to East side always excite me. Mainly because good Chinese cuisines and treats are better in the East than anywhere else in LA. I've tried so many dim sum places and by far Elite Restaurant is my ultimate favorite. Despite a long wait for a table, I say the food enjoyment worth the wait.

The quality and freshness of these light dishes are unquestionable. Unlike many dim sum restaurants where the food are wheeled on a trolley by servers, Elite's dim sums were freshly made to order. Don't worry, if you come hungry, the food are out fast!!

Served alongside Chrysanthemum tea, here are a few rundown of our comfort food.

Chicken soft tender or chicken cartilage: crunchy and always gets me!

Something really filling about this shu mai and I can't stop talking about how FRESH their ingredients are! The smelt eggs on top of each piece of shu mai make it even more irresistible.
One of the main favorite dish is the crispy shrimp wrapped in rice noodle. The combination of crispiness of the shrimp Chinese donut and the softness of the rice noodle is simply a perfection.

This one unique dish - fried shrimp ball with almond, is a must try!

Oh-em-ji, we all agree that the Macau egg custard looks and taste heavenly. I fell in love at the first bite, not too sweet, not too plain, crunch that crust. Even if everything else in Elite sucks big time, I would give a full five stars only for these egg custard.So all the the food were kick ass, but I have to warned you for a bad service. On top of the ignorant waitress, there is a language barrier if you are a non Chinese speaker. No worry, sign language will works :) and always try to talk to the managers if you have any requests.

Elite Restaurant
700 S Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 282-9998