A lot of restaurants are all bark and no bite. They are full of too much hype and not enough flavor. From food trucks to hole in the walls to 5 star establishments, I'm here to answer the question on everyone's mind, "Is it really that good!" I am not an Iron Chef let alone a line cook. I'm just an ordinary girl who loves to eat extraordinary food.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Slater's 50/50

Lately I've been seeing my friends on Facebook 'checking in' to this establishment claiming this place has the BEST burgers.  After checking out their website and seeing all of the different types of burgers, I decided I had to try this out. The menu offers Slater's Signature burgers, sandwiches, salads and a build your own burger option which allows you to select any and all toppings you want. At first I thought Slater's 50/50 was just a name and didn't really know why it was named that until I read the menu. Sure you can pick a beef, turkey, or veggie patty, but why would you go to Slater's 50/50 and not pick their signature patty? 50% ground beef and 50% ground BACON!!! Now I got it!!!

Let's start from the beginning.  To drink, I got a strawberry/chocolate shake. They filled the glass to the top and like most places, they give you the extra in the container they make the shake it. The shake was thick enough to eat the entire thing with a spoon. I drank, or for me ate, everything that was in my glass, and the reserve container. For starters, we got the Deep Fried Pickles, Sweet Potato Fries and the Slater's Vampire Dip. The Deep Fried Pickles were served with ranch dipping sauce. They were fried nicely but the breading soaked up too much oil and the pickles they used were a little too sour. The Sweet Potato Fries were just okay. They weren't sweet enough and the pumpkin sauce they serve it with didn't complement them either. Then we got to the Slater's Vampire Dip. It is a mixture of garlic, cheese and artichokes nestled inside a bread bowl surrounded by deep fried pita chips.  The taste of garlic and cheese were dominant flavors and it had just a slight taste of artichoke.   Deep fried pita chips worked perfectly with the dip, as opposed to thin tortilla chips that are normally served with dips. The dip was thick, gooey and so delicious!!! This is one of the best appetizers I've eaten.  It was so good that when the dip was all gone, I started pulling apart the bread bowl just to get the last remnants of the dip.

For my burger, I got the Hawaiian Burger. It is a 50/50 patty topped with a medium fried egg and American cheese all sandwiched in between white brioche bread spread with baconnaise (as if there wasn't enough bacon flavor in the patty, right??) You'd think that with so many toppings  you wouldn't be able to really taste the burger. WRONG.... The burger was sweet from the teriyaki marinade. It was surprisingly juicy and you can really taste the bacon inside the patty. The pineapple was grilled to bring out the sweetness. Besides the patty being different from any other burger joint I've been to, the bread also stood out. It wasn't your normal sesame seed or plain white bun. The bread was made of brioche, but was soft and sweet. It wasn't too thick where all you tasted was bread but thick enough to hold form and withstand all the components of the burger.

I have to mention that I did take a bite of their Peanut Butter and Jeallousy Burger. I could understand the jelly part. It's like eating cranberry sauce with your turkey, but peanut butter??? After tasting it, besides feeling like how a dog would feel after eating a spoonful of peanut butter, it wasn't bad. The peanut butter wasn't lathered on as I thought it would be. It was definitely different. I didn't hate it, but wouldn't recommend it.

For dessert I got the Bacon Brownie. I've heard that this is the 'new' thing to try so I ordered it. When it came to the table it looked more like thick chocolate cake with frosting. It was accompanied by vanilla ice cream so I thought it was going to be served warm. It wasn't. I tasted it without the ice cream and it was dry. The only place I could taste the bacon was the bacon they used to top the frosted brownie. Other then that, it wasn't anything great, it wasn't even good.

Overall we had a really good meal. The service was good and prices were reasonable. The only location is in Anaheim Hills but if you really want to taste a really good burger, it is worth the drive. It is definitely a place I would go back to.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Food Truck Frenzy

When did food trucks become all the rage? Weren’t they once known as “roach coaches?” Whatever they are doing they must be doing it right because they’ve got people chasing them through town just to wait in line for hours with the possibility that they won’t even get the chance to order. What a waste of time, those people are CRAZY. Well, call me crazy because I became one of them!!!!

There recently was a food truck festival at Speedzone in the City of Industry. It wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be, probably because of the $5 cover charge. Don’t get me wrong, the lines were still long but not wrapping around a building or a corner of the street like how some events are. We didn’t get a chance to go to every truck, just some of the ones I’ve heard were really good.


Tapa Boy Truck organized the whole event so in honor of the organizers I had to try them out first.  It took about 40 minutes to order my food and take my first bite.  I ordered their signature Tapa Bowl. It was beef with garlic fried rice topped with a fried egg. The fried rice wasn’t flavorful. It tasted like it was just fried in oil and soy sauce. There wasn't a strong taste of garlic nor that subtle crunchy texture that Filipino style fried rice should have. The beef was ok, a little tough and tasted more like teriyaki beef in that it was more sweet than sour. The egg was cooked nicely though in that when you broke through the yoke, it didn’t flood the other food.
The next item I had was their Spam Hand Roll. A Filipino version of spam musubi, I guess.  It had strips of fried spam, julienned cucumber and sauce enveloped by white rice and wrapped in seaweed. The rice was a little dry, it should've had an egg inside and I didn’t think there was enough spam or enough flavor to call it a bite sized version of their bowl. 

The desserts I ordered were the Turon Old School and the flan turon cleverly called Flan B.  Turon Old School, a slice of burro banana paired with jackfruit  wrapped in a lumpia wrapper then deep fried. Their new school turon is the same concept but instead of the jackfruit, the banana was paired with nutella. I’m not sure why I didn’t get that because I didn’t like this AT ALL! I’m used to a sweeter turon where the sugar is in with the banana and then fried, or the sugar coats the entire turon. The desert as a whole wasn't sweet enough to be even somewhat reminiscent of the traditional turon it claims to represent. 

The Flan B was better. Small pieces of flan wrapped in a lumpia wrapper and then deep fried. The flan was creamy and sweet. I wish it had the caramel sauce drizzled on top of it though. It just doesn't seem right to eat flan without the sweet sauce!

Overall the things we ordered from this truck didn’t make the mark. It wasn’t worth waiting 40 minutes in line for. I’d only go back if the line wasn’t long and I would definitely order something completely different, however I would come in with the expectation that it isn't really that good.


While I was waiting in line for The White Rabbit Truck, Ed went to this truck to get their Imperial Wagyu Beef Kobe Sliders but they were all out so he ordered their Shrimp Po-Boy Sliders and the Pulled Pork Sliders. I understand putting twists on foods and trying to "make it your own," but completely disregarding what makes these sandwiches famous is NOT the way to go. The shrimp po’boy was just a deep fried shrimp, like the ones you can find in the seafood section of your grocer's freezers or any buffet, placed on a dinner roll and topped with a few shreds of lettuce!  Definite fail. 
When I think of pulled pork sandwiches, I think soft, tender pulled pork soaked in barbeque sauce then topped with cool coleslaw. Well, when you go to this truck, DON’T think of that. It was basically carnitas on a roll. Don’t get me wrong, I love carnitas  but don’t call it a pulled pork sandwich, call it a carnitas sandwich!  The fried onion would have been a good compliment to the sandwich if it were executed properly.  Both slider plates were so poorly executed that trying a Waygu Beef Kobe Slider didn't seem worth visiting them again for.


The line wasn’t as long all the other lines UNTIL the Buttermilk Truck closed shop. I was really looking forward to their White Chocolate Champurrado. As luck would have it, they ran out! They also ran out of the sisig and tocino and only the beef steak and adobo were left along w/ a few other desserts.  So I was left ordering their Adobo Tacos and Beef Steak Tacos.  Mediocre at best.

The adobo sauce was watery and needed a tad more garlic, more soy sauce and it definitely missed the mark with not having the acidity of the vinegar that adobo should have. For the beef steak tacos it was the same story. The beef was tender but again, the sauce was  bland.  It definitely could have used more lemon and soy sauce. Also, we all know that tortilla, especially when doubled up, can make a taco taste dry.  Well, the sauces used to flavor the meat for these tacos were not even to overcome this dry taste, so most of the time all you can really taste is tortilla.  However, the thing that annoyed me most with the tacos was the shredded cabbage on top. Tacos don’t always need some type of vegetables on their top. Plus, cabbage has NOTHING to do with adobo or beef steak, so why put it on there? 

Ok, since they ran out of white chocolate champurrado so I decided to get the Red Velvet Flan and the Ube Flan. I ordered these desserts without having any idea what I was in store for.  I was expecting the Red Velvet Flan to be red and their Ube Flan purple… NOPE.  It was regular flan topped on a piece of red velvet cake and the other was flan topped on a piece of ube cake!
The red velvet cake tasted like it was made from a box and was drizzled with what was probably the caramel from the flan so the flavors didn’t mesh well together. The ube flan was yellowish brown and tasted like banana bread. For those who don’t know, Ube is PURPLE! The flan was good, I’ll give them that. But that’s all about I’ll give them. The only reason why I would go back is to get the white chocolate champurrado.....

Ok, so the White Rabbit Truck actually paid a visit to my area recently. I was in line at 6:20, ordered at 8:05, and got my food at 8:20. Because of all the hype I have heard about their White Chocolate Champurrado, it was worth investing 2 hours of my time to see for myself and my followers if it really is that good.  I captilized on my two hour investment by ordering their Sisig Burrito as well as their White Chocolate Champurrado!! You don’t know how excited I was to taste that bad boy!

The Sisig Burrito - Every time I see sisig, I usually don't eat it. First, it’s normally made from numerous parts of the pigs body, like the head, ears, snout, etc.. Yeah, uh, NO thanks! Secondly, it doesn’t smell too great because its typically made very spicy. Thirdly, it just doesn’t look appealing! But since it sold out the last time, it must be good, right??? The burrito had rice, shredded sisig, and a fried egg inside. The sisig, was super dry and was more like shredded pork rather than true sisig, kind of like the consistency of…. hay! Was the fried egg supposed to mellow out the over-peppered rice or was it the sisig? The used an excess of pepper to give it its spice rather than chili.  I love me some pepper, but I’m not into a black pepper burrito with a hint of rice, egg, and pork. It was a definite disappointment

White Chocolate Champurrado - Traditionally champurrado is boiled sticky rice flavored with cocoa powder, milk and sugar. I used to love when my mom would cook that in the morning. I could seriously eat 2 huge bowls!  So when I saw that they twisted it up by making it with white chocolate, I knew I had to get it. I didn’t care how long the line was. I LOVE white chocolate that much. Ok, the moment I was waiting for. I opened up the container, and the aroma of white chocolate filled my olfactory system.. Aaaaahhh. The champurrado was topped with sweetened cornflakes and a strawberry. I hurriedly  scooped a spoonful and gently licked it off and swirled it around my mouth, eagerly awaited for my palate to taste all that yummy goodness… Hello??? Palate, are you there?? Ok, maybe it sat out for a bit so I mixed it and took another bite.. What?? Out of the gazillion taste buds I have only 3 of them could taste the white chocolate. I mean you could taste the white chocolate, but you had to try really, REALLY hard to find it. The consistency was thicker than what I was used to, so maybe it just sat out a little longer than it should. So I mixed it and took another bite, and another.. still no success in finding the perfect balance of white chocolate to rice ratio. UGH! I was so disappointed. The concept was awesome; the execution, not nearly as good as I had imagined. Maybe that was the problem but in my opinion, it wasn't really that good.


Tropical Shave Ice. I’ve heard a lot about this truck saying it’s the best shave ice next to the ones you will taste in Hawaii. Then again, I’ve heard that about Shave It and Shaka’s, which fall way short! There was no line, probably because it was freezing outside! The person who took my order, Rick, is the owner.  I told him how I heard that this is "The Best of the Best," and that it’s like being back on the Island. He said, “Well, that’s what I’m hoping, but you’ll have to tell me yourself.”  I ordered my usual, large shave ice with strawberry and blue vanilla syrup, with vanilla ice-cream at the bottom of the cup, and mochi and sweet cream (condensed milk) on top. As I scooped some for myself, I could already tell the ice was as soft as freshly fallen snow. I thought to myself, whatever, there’s nothing that can compare to Local Boys in Maui. I tasted it again, and it melted in your mouth. No biting of the ice required.  Ok, it was from the top and just out of the ‘shaver’ so of course it’s going to be soft. I take another bite, and another, and another. It was so good. I was finally able to get some of the ice cream on the bottom.

YUM!. Not one bit of the ice cream or shave ice had icicles. Every bite was super creamy, super silky. It tasted exactly like Local Boy’s shave ice.  I’d get this EVERY time!! Definitely a must try for those who love shave ice and for those who want to taste how real Hawaiian shave ice should taste like without having to spend an arm and a leg to go to Hawaii. 

I have to agree with all those who called this "The Best of the Best" because it really is that good.  In honor of Tropical Shave Ice, I took a picture with Rick giving him my stamp of approval.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Chicago's Gem in Southern California

Tony’s Little Italy.  A hole in the wall pizza establishment located  in Placentia,CA. . “The Best Chicago Style Pizza outside of  Chicago.”  I am a California girl. I have been to Chicago once and refused to eat anything deep dish. I like a crispy, thin crust with fresh toppings rather than a lot of chewy bread and thick crust. The outside banner boasts "Best Pizza in Orange County in 2007". The inside showcased multiple awards. So of course, I had to try what all the fuss was about.

There are only 5 or 6 tables that seat 4. So if you have a large party going, call ahead to make sure there aren't too many people waiting. Also, if you want to take the chance that you will find a table right away, order the pizza in advance, if you don't want to wait. It does take about 25-30 minutes depending on the type of pizza, if you order anything else, and how busy it is.

Their menu offers a variety of pasta dishes and sandwiches along with their  pizzas. The pizzas can be thin, thick or pan crust, stuffed and of course, their famous deep dish. The toppings were nothing out of the ordinary. They have your normal pepperoni, mushroom, Canadian bacon and pineapple, etc.

We ordered the Tony’s Special . If it has "special" next to it, you know that has to be their most popular one. Of course, we got it deep dish style. It has a thin crispy layer of dough on the bottom followed by a thick, crunchy side crust. In the middle of all this are sausage, bell peppers and onions laying in a bed of A LOT of mozzarella and freshly crushed tomatoes.

This is not your normal pick up, fold over and stuff your mouth style pizza.  You can try, but they put so much toppings, you are bound to be wearing some by the end of the meal. You really do need a knife and fork to eat this. I was already a skeptic going into this so naturally after my first bite,  I wasn’t impressed. I thought to myself "what’s the big deal!’ Then I ate another piece. I bit into a thin layer of crispy crust.  I tasted all the mozzarella, bit into chunks of tomato, tasted the flavors of the sausage, bell peppers, and onions. I ate bite after bite after bite.  I don't remember if I was even breathing or talking at the table.  Before I knew it, all that was left was the crust.  I don’t like crust. I wasn’t going to eat it. BUT, I picked it up, dipped it into the sauce and toppings that oozed off of the other slices.. It was thick, but not chewy and you could still taste what was either really good olive oil or butter. Whatever it was that was brushed on the crust, it was delish. 

So after much thought, and remembering how every bite tasted, I’d have to say, I’m a believer.  I will admit, Tony's Little Italy does make a pretty bad ass deep dish pizza! So the answer is, YES, it really is that good! So with that being said, I might have to go back to Chicago to see if their pizza stands up to this little Southern California joint. I don't know, Tony's Little Italy may give them a run for their money.