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.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Buttermilk Truck

I’ve been waiting a while to be able to try this truck out. I’ve heard so much about them.  Their lines are always ridiculously long and if you’re not there at a decent time, they will run out of food. (Which happened to me at the San Gabriel Valley Food Truck Festival) So I was excited when I found out they were going to be in Pomona, CA on a Saturday night. I made sure to plan my day around the time they were going to be there. When  I finally got there, the line was already starting to form, but there were only 10 people ahead of me. After waiting about 30 minutes, it was finally my turn to order. **Feet clicking in my head** They were serving the late night menu and I ordered everything on there but the apple cinnamon donuts.

Hawaiian Bread Cinnamon French Toast Sticks- These weren’t too sweet. It had a nice crunchy batter but it tasted like it was fried in the same oil as the chicken.  It’s served with a few dashes of powder sugar. Adding just a little syrup gave it the sweetness it needed. This is something that wouldn't be on my regular order. Although it wasn't bad, it just wasn't that great.

Fried chicken with cinnamon waffles- (not pictured) This dish comes with 3 fried chicken tenders and a cinnamon waffle. The waffle was folded over and already had syrup inside it. I didn’t know and added syrup on top. It didn’t make a difference only because it was so overpowered with cinnamon. From the couple of bites I did take, it was soft and fluffy but not too thick. It wasn't crispy like a Belgian waffle.  It just had too much cinnamon in it for me to enjoy it. The chicken on the other hand, was cooked and seasoned to PERFECTION! The chicken was juicy and it had the right amount of breading to make it crispy. One of the best fried chicken tenders I’ve had.

Hawaiian bread breakfast sliders- Portuguese sausage, sautéed onions, scrambled eggs in between Hawaiian rolls. This was good. How can you really go wrong with these ingredients. I think it needed a little mayo or some sort of spread. Shoyu mayo to go with the shoyu scrambled eggs, perhaps?  I would have preferred my eggs to be over easy, but this was still a satisfying sandwich, but it’s something you could make at home if you were craving it.

Red Velvet Chocolate Chip buttermilk pancake bites- My love for red velvet anything  is the reason why I was following this truck. I’ve heard so much about these pancake bites. When I first looked at them, they were red. Duh, right? You’d be surprised at how many “red velvets” look brown.. So right off the bat, I knew these meant business. I ate one without the cream cheese/butter mixture. It was pillowy soft, not too chocolatey, and made perfectly. The added touch of the chocolate chips was different. It wasn’t bombarded with the chocolate chips so each bite that I got with them added a nice sweetness and taste. The next one I ate was with the cream cheese/butter mixture. It wasn't too sweet like frosting. It made it taste even better! These were the perfect size and were really good. They are even better than most of the red velvet cupcakes I’ve had. I would order them every single time!!! BTW, I ordered one to go and it’s still as yummy the next morning. Just pop it in the microwave for a little bit and you are good to go. Now if they can only make these little things in hot chocolate form...

Buttermilk brick- hash browns, 2 eggs over easy, buttermilk biscuit and chorizo gravy. The chorizo gravy wasn’t runny. It was thick and peppery and just was full of flavor. The hash browns still had the fried texture despite the gravy flowing over it. When you cut into the egg and the yolk breaks open, it just adds a little smoothness and a little bit of sweetness to the dish. I think the  bread was just there as a broom to sweep away any of the remnants of food that were too small to pick up with your fork. Well, that’s what I used it for anyway. This by far, was my FAVORITE dish.

So guess what happens as soon as I take a picture of the truck? A food blogger's nightmare!! My camera runs out of battery!! Wonderful.. How the heck am I going to do my review with no pictures?? LUCKILY, they did another event a couple of weeks later by my house. I ordered the same exact thing.. I guess it was a good thing my camera ran out of battery!

I definitely recommend this truck. BELIEVE AND TASTE THE HYPE! Next time I will order the apple cinnamon donuts and coming soon are their homemade banana pancakes with homemade granola. Can't wait to pay them another visit!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kogi! Kogi! Kogi!

Kogi Truck... The truck of all trucks, the motherload of trucks, the the one that started this whole food truck craze. Yup, it all started with this one little truck that people were flocking to, waiting in line for hours for, buzzing all over Facebook, Twitter, and any social media outlet they could rave to. Kogi BBQ, a fusion of Korean bbq and Mexican flavors. How the heck was this going to turn out to taste?  We visited the Rosita truck in Irvine on a Thursday night.  It was open for business at 6:30 but we didn’t get there until 7:30. I was afraid the line was going to be crazy, but it wasn’t. There were probably 15 people ahead of me and 8 people waiting for their orders. Just standing there made me hungrier. The aroma of the food smelled so good! 30 minutes later it was my turn. WAS THIS REAL?? Was I FINALLY going to try the food from this infamous truck?? YES!!! I ordered 3 short rib tacos, the short rib burrito, BlackJack Quesadilla, and the Kogi Sliders.

Let’s start with the tacos.  Have you ever felt like the inside of your cheeks just puckered up as if whatever it is you’re eating is making all of the senses in your mouth go ballistic....when it’s so flavorful that every single taste bud is jumping around dying to go wherever the food is so they won’t be left out of the party?? Well, that’s how my mouth felt. The flavors were so bold. It was a perfect balance of the sweetness of the marinated meat with the tanginess of the cabbage slaw. One of the best tacos I’ve had. The short ribs were perfectly cooked and seasoned.

Next, the BlackJack Quesadilla. Melted inside the flour tortillas was spicy pork, caramelized onions and a combiniation of jack and cheddar cheese topped with salsa verde. This was good. Not spicy at all. I couldn’t tell it was pork. I wish it just had more cheese. It didn’t have the gooey-ness I was looking for but it was still good enough for me to eat 3 triangles.

A surprise hit was the Kim Chi Quesadilla with short rib meat (not pictured). I didn't order it, nor was I planning on doing a review on it but fortunately my brother asked me to take a piece of his.  I know the Blackjack Quesadillas are most people's favorite, but I liked this quesadilla much better. It had more cheese,  so you have that gooey smoothness when you took a bite and pulled it apart. Red sauce was also poured on top of it to give it a little more spice.

On to the sliders. Just when I thought I couldn't taste anything better, I did! Short rib, cheese, mayo, cabbage slaw and red sauce were smashed in between a sweet roll. Way BETTER than the taco. The bread soaked up the sauce from the meat and the slaw. But the bread wasn’t soggy at all. Everything just went nicely together. The sauce wasn’t too hot where your taste buds are shot to hell and can’t even feel your tongue but you can taste the spice. I'd order this over any other slider out there.

Kogi, Kogi, Kogi.. oh how others would love to follow suit. You are often imitated but haven’t been duplicated. How I am wishing right now that I worked on the FoodNetwork and a cast member would show up with a Kim Chi quesadilla and some sliders! I can definitely see myself craving this and eating it again.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sugar Rush

I was requested to give the Chicken Spinach Melt from Sugar Rush a try. It is a little café in Walnut, CA.  Most of the people there were regulars because I noticed that some didn’t even need the menu and knew exactly what to order. I saw the Chicken Spinach Melt on a few people's tables.  Besides the melt, I ordered their Cinnamon Raisin French Toast, an omelet and hot chocolate.

Let’s start with the hot chocolate, labelled on their menu as "Arguably the best hot chocolate you'll ever have." It was more like lukewarm chocolate. If I waited any longer, it'd be cold chocolate. It was watery, not enough chocolate flavor and it wasn’t even sweet. You’d think with a name like Sugar Rush they’d sweeten it, even just a tad. Not worth the $4 and definitely not the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. The instant hot chocolate from a packet is more satisfying.

Now time for the Cinnamon Raisin French Toast.  The cinnamon bread looked like the Sunmaid raisin bread you find at the store, I'm pretty sure it was. They may have used a little too much vanilla extract or flavoring because the syrup was really strong and  tasted like it had alcohol. The bread wasn’t thick enough to withstand the flooding of syrup.  This was definitely not a french toast I'll remember. 
 Next was the omelet. (Not Pictured) 3 eggs and 3 of your choice toppings. I chose bacon, mushrooms and cheddar cheese. Again, nothing to brag about. Nothing you can’t make at home. It tasted like the mushrooms weren’t sautéed before adding it to the egg mixture. There also wasn’t enough cheese and you couldn’t taste the salt from the bacon or any salt for that matter.  The omelet lacked seasoning of any kind. 

Lastly, I took a bite out of the Chicken Spinach Melt. The melt has herb marinated chicken breast with sautéed spinach, grilled tomatoes and swiss cheese in between two slices of toasted ciabatta bread. The bread was nicely toasted. The chicken was very juicy. The problem was, there was no flavor. It was herb marinated but you couldn’t taste any herbs. It was very bland. The homemade potato chips they served with it would have been a great touch to the dish but they didn’t have any salt sprinkled on top of it.  The ingredients tasted fresh and this could’ve been a very good sandwich if they had seasoned the chicken properly or if they had some sort of a herb mayonnaise spread on the bread and if they salted the chips.

Sugar Rush’s service was really good and its employees were super nice. Unfortunately, the food was just mediocre. I wouldn't recommend Sugar Rush to any of my readers but I am still grateful for the request to try it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Four Kegs

Four Kegs is a sports bar and casual dining restaurant in Las Vegas, NV about 15 minutes away from the strip.  I heard about this place through The Food Network. Guy Fieri featured, Four Kegs’ Stromboli  on his show,  Diners, Drive-ins and Dives' "Classics" episode.

Stromboli is defined as “a type of turnover filled with various cheeses and Italian meats.” The stromboli is very similar to a calzone. The difference being the shape of the dough. A stromboli looks more like a roll and a calzone is crescent shaped like a big empanada.

There were 6 different types of stromboli offered but I ordered The Original. Inside was ham, sausage, pepperoni, salami, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. There were slits cut across the top of the Stromboli to help it bake evenly but these perforations also makes it easy to cut into and not ruin the form of the entire stromboli.  This is perfect for someone who doesn’t like the end pieces, where the filling to dough ratio is the least; or for someone who doesn’t want to eat it like a burrito but would rather eat it in smaller portions.

I went for the middle piece.  When I cut into it I saw the various meats inside and I wondered if I was going to be able to taste each component of the stromboli.  After I took my first bite I was able to taste each specific type of meat used.  With all the different types of meat it comes with one would also think that they wouldn’t be able to enjoy the crust, but you can.  The crust had a buttery flavor but did not taste or feel oily.  It was crispy on the outside but when you bite into it the dough it is soft in the inside. The sauce also had the right amount of sweetness to it to compliment the saltiness of the meats.  The stromboli had the right amount of cheese and surprisingly the mozzarella wasn’t chewy. It had a soft texture and smooth consistency to it, similar to melted Monterey Jack.  My tummy was satisfied after 3 pieces. Anymore than that and I would’ve popped the button off my jeans.

Overall, I liked it. The only thing I would do next time would be to ask for a little more sauce. This isn’t a place I would go to every single time I’m in Las Vegas, but it is definitely a go to place if you are craving a well-made stromboli.  On a side note, for those who are super sensitive to cigarette smoke, this might be something you’d want to order to go and eat in the car, because the second you walk in you can really smell it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Chips Don't Stack Up... but the Dog's Are Definitely Out!


I was driving home and heard about this truck on a local radio station. It got voted 2nd place at the OC Foodie Fest as Most Popular Food Trucks. It is an ice cream sandwich shop on wheels. The representative mentioned  different types of cookies and ice creams that were available to choose from. Moo-lan Rouge was among one of the favorite combos. All I heard was red velvet. OMG, anyone who knows me knows that I am red velvet anything and everything.. I LOVE red velvet. I know we’re not supposed to use any electronic device while driving, but I could not resist. I NEEDED to know what this truck offered and where they were going to be next! They had a lot of different combos to choose from which were cleverly named. Bahama Mama, Nutty Wutty, Minteroni, Old School and Goober Doober just to name a few. You could also pick any cookies you wanted with any ice cream as well.

We were finally able catch them on a  Tuesday night. This truck along with a few others were at the Lake Forest bowling alley. This was the first on my list, what we drove 50 miles for!  The cold weather must’ve repelled people from going because there wasn’t much of a line. Not more than 3 people were ahead of us. We ordered 3 types of sandwiches.
The first,  Chocolate Heaven, chocolate brownie cookies with vanilla bean ice cream. Second, the Mumbo Jumbo, chocolate brownie cookies with peanut butter cup ice cream.  Last but not least, the Moo-lan Rouge, red velvet cookies with white chocolate fudge macadamia ice cream. We didn’t have to wait long for our order.  I took a bite out of the Chocolate Heaven first.  Eh, I thought it was ok. The cookie didn’t taste like a brownie, it had a weird after taste and didn’t know what it was. It sort of tasted like there was a hint Chinese Five Spice. It just tasted funky. Then I took a bite out of the Mumbo Jumbo. The ice cream was good, you can really taste the peanut butter, but knew I wasn’t going to like it if it was the same cookie used in the Chocolate Heaven. The moment of truth… On to my Moo-lan Rouge. I couldn’t wait to eat it! I took a bite of it. Blah!!! The cookie was a little too crisp. It tasted similar to a sugar cookie rather than what red velvet tastes like. The ice cream had little chunks of macadamias inside, so with the crunch from the cookie and the crunch from the nuts in the ice cream, it didn’t have texture and smoothness of your typical ice cream sandwich. I kept eating it as if my thoughts about it would change, but it didn’t. No taste of red velvet, no taste of fudge. It possibly would’ve been closer to a classic red velvet if they used a cheesecake ice-cream???

So what went wrong? Were the cookies overcooked by sitting under the heat lamp? Why weren’t the cookies warm if it had been sitting underneath the heat lamp? The idea of a mobile cookie sandwich truck is a wonderful idea. I really, REALLY wanted to like what we ordered, especially the Moo-lan-Rouge. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t delicious. This isn’t a truck I would stray away from or never go back to. There are too many choices that I still haven’t and want to try. I just wouldn’t drive all the way out there again for it. If it’s in the area, I would like to give it another try.  


The Dogzilla truck was at the Lake Forest bowling lanes the same night we were there to try Chunk N' Chip. I never heard of that truck before that night so had no real expectations or urge to try a hot dog. Ed ordered the Dogzilla Dog because I wasn’t in the mood for a hot dog  and instead got a short rib quesadilla from a Korean bbq truck. I can’t even remember the name of the truck, that’s how memorable it was.
The Dogzilla Dog is an all Angus beef hot dog topped with caramelized onions, sliced avocado, and crispy bacon. It was placed in between 3 split Hawaiian bread rolls that had a jayo (Japanese mayo, perhaps?)spread and drizzled with teriyaki sauce and sprinkled with furikake. Furikake is a Japanese condiment normally sprinkled on rice and generally a mixture of  seaweed, sesame seeds, ground/dried fish salt and pepper.

Because the food I got was just mediocre, I took a bite of the Dogzilla Dog. OH MY GOD! It was love at first bite. The sweetness of the teriyaki sauce along w/ the buttery avocado and salty bacon bits together with the all Angus beef hot dog was so good! The Hawaiian rolls were toasted on the grill just enough to give it a little texture. I thought for sure with the teriyaki sauce and the Hawaiian rolls that it would be too sweet, but they were very complementary to the saltiness of the hot dog and bacon. The bacon was crisped to perfection. Not one of them still had that chewy fat.  After about 3 bites, I reluctantly gave the hot dog back but really wanted to eat the entire thing!

A hot dog is a hot dog. What can be done to a hot dog to make it taste that great?? Try this one and you will taste how good a plain old dog can become! The lady on the corner of Santee and Los Angeles selling the bacon wrapped hot dogs with guacamole has definitely been over-throned by this truck. It was an awesome dog!!! The dogs who run this truck Martin Tse, Son Thai (who referred himself as the hired help), and Bac Dang aren’t so bad either! They were super nice and friendly and were even kind enough to strike a pose with me. I would definitely go back for the Dogzilla and to try their Furikake Dog. Dogzilla, you really are that good!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Churro Who?

For those of us that don't know what a beignet is, or let alone say it properly [ben-yey] , a beignet is square shaped, deep-fried dough dusted with powdered sugar.  I’ve eaten them before and it really wasn’t my type of dessert.  I am not too fond of donuts so needless to say a beignet wouldn’t be something I’d choose to order. My brother told me about this place at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, CA. He said they were the best beignets he’s ever tasted. I didn’t want to bother but he loves food just as much as I do so I had to taste it just to prove him wrong.

Jazz Kitchen Express is where we went. You can see them make the dough, roll it out, cut and deep fry them. When they're ready they serve them hot in a white paper bag. They place the beignets in the bottom of the bag and throw in a heaping scoop of powdered suger. You have to shake the bag to make sure the powdered sugar is on every beignet. Believe me, there is enough powdered sugar to go around. 

I took one out of the bag and shook off some of the powdered sugar and took a bite. It was warm, soft, and not overly sweetened by the sugar. The texture is a little thicker than that of a glazed donut but not as dense as your typical powdered sugar donut. It is light and airy, almost melts in your mouth. The second one I ate, I didn’t bother dusting off the excess powdered sugar.  It was just as good.  By the third, I decided I needed to control myself. I probably could’ve eaten the whole bag.

These beignets are like fluffy pillows of yummy goodness that I’d gladly want to lay my head in all day. Seriously though, they are just simply delicious.  There is no need for any dipping sauce or fruit filling.  They are just good eats in its most simplest form.  The beignets at Jazz Express Kitchen are a definite must try. My family and I use to look forward to the Churros when we went to Disneyland but now we'll make it a habit to stop by the Jazz Kitchen Express for a half dozen order of beignets before entering the Magical Kingdom.  I must agree with my brother on this one and thank him for this great find.