Monday, October 25, 2010

New York: Nan Shian Dumpling House / Katz Delicatessen

Since I got some downtime on this work trip, I'll post about my 2-day trip to New York back in August of 2010. I went for work and so I used the opportunity to convince a few of my colleagues and co-workers to try these two spots I've had my eyes on!

First was Nan Shian Dumpling House. I've been craving good xiao long bao for some reason and I figured Flushing in NY gotta have something good, so I yelped and Nan Shian was what popped up!

Nan Shian Dumpling House
38-12 Prince St.
Flushing, NY 11354

store front
Nan Shian. They actually used the name of a really popular Northern Chinese restaurant in Shanghai so I figured it can't be that bad or else they wouldn't be able to live up to the Nan Shian name.

xiao long bao
Xiao Long Bao!! I seriously love xiao long bao. I love how the juices from the pork gets released during the steaming process and it gets trapped so when you take a bite into the bao, all the juices can be slurped up. It's pretty good here but the skin is a little bit thicker than what I considered the best, Ding Tai Fung.

beef wrap
This was intense: beef wrapped green onion cake. Typically it is just normal beef wraps but they use green onion cakes here to wrap their beef. Nice braised slices of beef and the fried green onion cake makes a nice crunch when you bite into it.

pig ear
Pig ear in red oil. Good stuff.

thinly sliced beef, beef lung/stomach/tongue
Fu Qi Fei Pian. Honestly I don't know what theirs is but it is usually thin slices of beef, beef lung, beef intestine, and beef tongue... marinated, so take your guess at what it is hahaha.

After all that spicy stuff, need something refreshing. Sliced marinated cucumber!

Of course, there's some sort of cold seaweed dish. May look spicy with all that chili peppers but it's more for colors really.

A good spot to grab lunch or dinner but is it comparable to Ding Tai Fung? Well I have strong attachment to Ding Tai Fung so no... but it's good!


On day 2, after visiting a few places, we wanted to grab lunch before our flight so I convinced everybody to go to Katz Delicatessen.

If you don't know what Katz is, well it is pretty much famous for its hot dogs, corned beef, and of course, pastrami. It's been opened since 1888 so it's got a bit of history as well. It is also one of the location in Where Harry Met Sally and several other movies.

Katz Delicatessen
205 E Houston St (between Avenue A & Essex St)
Lower East Side, New York, NY 10002


pastrami sandwich
The GLORIOUS pastrami sandwich. It's so simple: pastrami on rye bread with a bit of mustard. It is the best pastrami I've had. Anywhere. Period. The pastrami melts right in your mouth and it's incredibly juicy from all the fat. It doesn't feel greasy at all however. I love how it is handcarved in front of you and the carver present you with a sample from the piece they are cutting it from to see if it is to your liking. You can request it fattier or leaner, depending on your taste. These guys are good, carving each piece at the right thickness. OMG I can keep talking about it forever but just know that it is amazing.

It is sorta expensive though... I remember it being around $15 for that sandwich, but who the hell cares! Too. Damn. Good.

harry sally
They have a sign where Meg Ryan sat in the movie hahaha.

There are way too many spots in NY that I want to check out. Sometimes I really hate myself that I don't live in NY but maybe it's a good thing since I'll be poor and fat as hell if I really do live in NY haha.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Far East Trip

I will be back in a week or so since I'm heading off on a trip to Taipei, HK, and southern parts of China. Finally got a nice point & shoot camera for this trip so hopefully no more iPhone pics, even though... iPhone 4's quality is surprisingly nice.

Definitely will be looking for some new and interesting things... or just the same old classics haha. Beef noodle soup time!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Torrance: Hakata Yamaya (Sanui-Tei)

I think one aspect of Japanese cuisine that's overlooked a lot of times is Japanese BBQ. Most people only know of teppan-style, where you cook everything on a super hot griddle, most famous being Benihana, but most places are too Americanized. For me, Japanese BBQ is all about grilling on a steel mesh screen over SUPER hot coals aka Yakiniku. The smoke, the intensity of the heat from the coals, and the flavor you get as a result reminds you exactly why mankind invented barbecue.

Yakiniku is all about the meat: high quality meat with beautiful marbling. After cooked to the way you like it, dip it in the sauce and the flavors from the meat and the sauce meld together so well. At Hakata Yamaya (used to be Sansui-Tei) in Torrance, it's all comes together perfectly: Washyugu beef, high-grade pork, great dipping sauce, and hot coals.

Hakata Yamaya
2529 Pacific Coast Hwy
Torrance, CA 90505

washyugu rib eye
Washyugu Rouse - cut of rib-eye from Oregon Washyugu cattle. Super tender and juicy from the marbling. I like how they say it is Washyugu (Wagyu) rather than Kobe. Don't believe restaurants when they say it is Kobe beef! The breed of the cattle is actually Washyugu and most are from either Colorado or Oregon, not true Washyugu from Kobe!

Washyugu Kalbi - They used kalbi probably cause everybody's so accustomed to the name kalbi to stand for short ribs. Great flavor and the thickness is perfect. After a bite, you'll realize just how different the quality of meat from KBBQ is compared to this. Perfect with the dipping sauce.

What else? Pork belly with minced onion and pepper. My favorite!

You add the mined onion mix on the top or eat it together with the pork belly on the side and daaaamn it is good. They add something to that onion mix and makes it so addicting!

Ahi Tuna Wasabi Vinaigrette Salad. Fresh ahi and you can definitely taste the little kick from the wasabi.

Bibimbap. Ok, I know this is Korean but I saw someone eating it and I had to get it. They first mix everything in the typical stone bowl and let it sit for awhile to let the rice touching the side of the pot get crispy. Since we had to share among 3 of us, we each got a small portion. Boo. It was really good too!

I just realized I forgot to take a picture of Hakata Yamaya's dipping sauce since I think it's one of the best sauces I've had at a yakiniku restaurant.

Hakata Yamaya is now one of my favorite, especially that there's coupons for it! That definitely helps since it is kinda expensive, at about $6-10 for a plate of meat. Of course there's always Gyu-Kaku but I always think they are so overhyped and the quality isn't as good, especially for the AYCE side... Hakata Yamaya for me!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Redondo Beach: La Cueva

Recently I've been frequenting this Mexican food spot near the Redondo Beach, just touching Torrance & Lawndale. If you know me, you know I love tacos and when Leonard and I drove past it one day on our way to ball, we saw that they have 5 tacos for $4.99, our Asian-ness kicked in and Leonard & I decided to try it one day after bball.

Now.... La Cueva doesn't have the best carne asada or al pastor but it's pretty solid. At $4.99 for 5 tacos, it's about a buck per taco. Where can you get street tacos for $1 all day every day except at taco trucks?? There's a small outdoor seating area so there's a place to sit as well. Plus one for La Cueva.

They also have other deals where you get 3 tacos + chips & guac for $5 or 3 tacos + agua fresca for the same. Legit, especially if you're strapped for cash!

Sorry for the photos. It was taken with the iPhone since my SLR is still sitting at the shop waiting to be fixed :[

La Cueva
4565 Artesia Blvd.
Lawndale, CA 90261

La cueva
Right across from South Bay Galleria Mall.

La Cueva
Here's 3 tacos with their spicy salsa: carnitas, al pastor, and asada.

La cueva
Al Pastor: got a little kick to it!

La Cueva
Carnitas: a little dry that day.

La cueva
Asada: favorite protein selection there.

La cueva
Chips + guac. Part of the 3 taco combo! I'm not a big fan of guac but here you can actually see chunks of guac. None of that fake stuff!

5 tacos
On a separate occasion, got the 5 taco combo deal! I love how they give you beets & pickled carrots here.

For $1 a taco, this place is awesome and it's even better now that the girl is starting to recognize us and gives us free chips. I think that also means we are going too often haha. Sure there's King's Taco in LA and their taco is only 25 cents more... but guess what... there's none around me, soooo La Cueva is a good enough substitute for me :]

Monday, October 4, 2010

San Gabriel: Stuffed Sandwich

One day during work Leonard and I had to visit a project site so decided to stop by Stuffed Sandwich in San Gabriel for a quick lunch with Diana before heading back to the office.

Stuffed Sandwich is this... random sandwich shop on Las Tunas in San Gabriel, but really popular around the area, especially for people that work close by. You totally wouldn't expect something like this in this city full of Asian food, so it's a nice break from all the Chinese food. The cool thing about this place: hundreds types of beer served! Stuffed Sandwich has a serious collection of beers from all sorts of places, and they even have Stone Brewery on tap! Just sucks that I had to go back to work or else it'd be party time mid-day at Stuffed Sandwich.

Stuffed Sandwich
1145 E Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel, CA 91776

stuffed sandwich
The front. There's a nice outdoor patio area.

Our food :]

spicy polish sausage + marinara
First up, the Spicy Polish Sausage Sandwich with marinara sauce. When I was ordering, the owner said "you better make sure you can eat spicy food." I pretty much scoffed at him when he said that buuuuut holy it is spicy. One bite of the polish sausage, I was sweating bullets, and after a few more I could tell my stomach wasn't happy with me at all. I kept on refilling my soda and it doesn't help in that the marinara sauce is also spicy! It sorts of creeps up on you and lingers... and then it his and that spiciness just won't go away. Legit.

Pastrami sandwich. Thin sliced pastrami with mustard. It's not that fatty which is good, and I think I like it more than The Hat's pastrami!

spicy curly fries
Spicy curly fries. Honestly I was scared to eat this after I took a bite of my spicy polish but this was weaaaaak compared to that. Just curly fries with a little bit of seasoned salt and chili powder.

Great sandwich shop in SGV and I'll forever remember Stuffed Sandwich as one of those places that genuinely surprised me. I'm now a fan of this place and would love to bring any spicy food lover here. Don't worry, I'll bring the Pepcid.