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.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Shrimpin' Ain't Easy!!

"Shrimp'n ain't easy but it sho is fun." That is The Shrimp Pimp Truck's motto. It's catchy, but is it really that good? Even though I wanted to try this truck out for my faithful followers and readers, the picture of shrimp on their truck was enough to lure me in on its own.  With my mouth salivating from that picture, I was excited to try their Shrimp Po' Boy and the Fish and Chips. A shrimp po' boy is one of my favorite sandwiches so I was already hoping it was good.

Their po' boy is tempura battered shrimp, served on a toasted French roll with baby greens, roma tomatoes and a remoulade sauce. The bread was slightly toasted so it was still soft when you bit into it. They were definitely not skimpy with the shrimp! You had shrimp with your first bite and with your last.  The batter was light and crispy and the shrimp were nicely deep fried and had a good crunch to it. It’s not your typical tempura batter. It was a little lighter and flakier. The remoulade  sauce was tangy and a little spicy. Spicier than most I’ve tried, but it was good.  The sandwich was a good size and would definitely satisfy your craving for a po’boy.

That's my hand underneath!!
Then I got to the Fish and Chips. The  first thing I noticed was the size. The fish was about 7 inches long and the widest part about 4 inches. It was HUGE.. (mind out of the gutter, please. This is a rated G site). When eating battered fish, I don't like how underneath the batter seems undercooked or when you rip a piece off, the batter and the fish separate from each other. Well, this didn't happen at all.  The batter was crispy at the edges and crunchy throughout every bite.  It was a nice cut of fish. Flaky, succulent and  juicy, everything it should be. The tartar sauce was good, true to how a tartar sauce should taste, smooth, silky with a little bit of tang.

There weren't any real disappointments with this truck.  The chips in the Fish and Chips were a little soggy, but that's probably because of the steam coming off the huge chunk of fish laying on top.  The prices are a bit high for a food truck but it was worth it. Surprisingly, everything tasted fresh not frozen. Even though the portions were big, they were just trying to sell size.  The food was well made.  Shrimp'n may not be easy for us normal folks, but for the Shrimp Pimp it's a breeze.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Oinkster

I read a tweet that said “Go to The Oinkster for their Ube Shake.” That’s all it took to convince me to go. I’ve heard of the place, but didn’t know it was so popular until I went on their website to make sure that the shake was still available. Then I was told that this Eagle Rock, CA eatery was featured on Foodnetwork’s DDD. So of course, I had to search for that episode to see what was featured. Their pastrami and pulled pork sandwiches were showcased. So, our order consisted of a cheeseburger, Oinkster pastrami with fries and garlic aioli, BBQ pulled pork sandwich, piggy fries, and an ube shake.

Let’s start with the fries. “Belgian Fries” twice fried fries, basically.  They were definitely crispy and fried perfectly. They were good by themselves but with the garlic aioli, they were delicious. You can really taste the garlic and the aioli itself was a lot thicker in consistency. It wasn’t like a “spread” consistency like mayonnaise or salad dressing. It was thicker, like whipped butter. You could stand a fry in it and the fry would stay in place. The garlic taste wasn’t overwhelming, you can definitely taste it but in a sweeter, more delicate form.

The Piggy Fries are Belgian fries topped with thousand island dressing, caramelized onions and shredded cheddar cheese. The thousand island dressing wasn't as tart as other dressings I've  had, but it did have a similar taste to the Big Mac dressing. It didn't have as much tang. Although there was nothing wrong with it, I could pass on this next time and stick with the regular fries with the garlic aioli.

On to their cheeseburger.  The cheeseburger had melted cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles and thousand island spread. The patty was juicy and had that char taste. The bun was soft and sweet but nothing out of the ordinary. It was well made cheeseburger but I wouldn't say it was the best cheeseburger I’ve ever eaten.

I ate half of the Oinkster Pastrami. It had caramelized onions, Gruyere cheese and a red cabbage slaw. The amount of the pastrami to bread was perfect. It wasn't like those obnoxiously filled sandwiches where your jaw hurts from taking bites out of the sandwich. The pastrami itself was thicker than what I’ve seen. It’s not the flimsy, thin slices of pastrami. The pastrami had good flavor. It was peppery and salty.  The cabbage slaw gave it a  little kick.  I’ve never had that on a pastrami sandwich. The bread was warm, soft and it soaked up the juices from the pastrami but it wasn’t soggy. I’m not a huge fan of pastrami sandwiches, but this sandwich was good enough for me to eat my portion.

The BBQ Pulled Sandwich wasn’t the pulled pork sandwich that I was accustomed to.  I'm used to pulled pork sandwiches being on a bun, topped with coleslaw and the pork being mixed in a sweet, thick BBQ sauce.  This one was on a roll and it didn't have the normal coleslaw topping.  It had caramelized onions, red cabbage slaw and their Carolina BBQ sauce on the side. I first bit into the sandwich without the sauce. The pork was tender and had lots of flavor. I’ve never had a pulled pork sandwich with Carolina sauce before. This sauce is a thin vinegar based sauce with lots of spices. I poured it onto the pulled pork, took a bite and it was heaven. The sauce has so much flavor that I didn't  need too  much of it. I’d have to say that this was a good pulled pork sandwich. I like my sauces on the tangy side rather than sweet, so I may like this style pulled pork sandwich a little better.

Onto the menu item that I came here for, their ube shake. Ube is a Filipino dessert made from purple yams and sweetened with sugar and coconut milk.  Ube has this vibrant yet deep purple color. So when I got my shake and it was light purple, I was a little worried that there may have been a little too much ice cream for the amount of ube. After one big sip, I was proven wrong.   For all you ube lovers, this shake is for you! The Oinkster makes their shakes with Fosselman’s ice-cream. Fosselman’s is famous for their ice-cream (we’ll save this for another post.) Anyway, this shake was thick but you’re still able to drink it with a straw. Some sips you get that smooth velvety pure ube taste.

But some of the sips, you get that same velvety texture but then get little chunks of ube that you can bite on and enjoy. I didn't want to sip it, I wanted to gulp it. I was halfway done with it before I realized I better start eating my meals.  If any part of my meal was awful, this would be a good way for me to forget all about it. 

This was a really good meal. For the 2 sandwiches, a cheeseburger, 2 order of fries, 2 drinks and the shake, the total meal cost $38. Not bad for the quantity and definitely worth every penny for the quality of food.  If The Oinkster was closer, I would definitely be a regular. I am also looking forward to trying out the other restaurants by the owner and chef of The Oinkster, Andre Guerrero.  He also opened up Senor Fred and Boho.  So readers, look out for future blogs ; ).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dim Sum Truck

I enjoy dim sum, but sometimes I am not in the mood for the hustle and bustle of a busy Chinese restaurant. Dim sum usually ends at 2 pm and restaurants are pretty crowded if you don't get there fairly early in the morning. Being able to eat dim sum any time during the day? FINALLY...I was excited to hear that there was such a truck. So, I ordered what I would normally order at my favorite dim sum restaurant, baked bbq buns, shrimp shu mai and egg custard tarts. I also got their duck taco.

I took a bite out of their shrimp shu mai.  The skin was a little rubbery. The filling tasted more fishy than like pork and shrimp. It tasted better after dipping it in the sauce that it comes with. It tasted as if they were cooked, put in the refrigerator and heated in the microwave.  They were also pretty small compared to the typical ones served during Dim Sum. Although this wasn't that great, it was probably the best of all the items I got.

Next was the bake bbq buns. I took a bite, and the bread was crispy. Its texture was as if it was placed in a toaster oven. It wasn't soft and steamy. Usually when I order this, I see a glaze on top of the bread that makes it a little sweet and makes it look shiny. This pork bun didn't have that. The bbq pork filling  was scant and not very tasty.  The sauce was on the watery side and there wasn't much flavor. I was really disappointed as this is my favorite thing to eat at a dim sum restaurant.

The Peking duck taco is not an ordinary dim sum item, but I love duck so I had to try this. The duck was dry and tasted overcooked. Like the skin of the chicken, duck skin tastes its best when it is crispy. But with me, unlike chicken, I can eat duck skin soft. In this taco, the duck skin was soft but it didn't have any fat underneath the skin so to me it wasn't as flavorful as it could have been. The sauce had good flavor but the problem was if there was no sauce, the duck taco wouldn't have had flavor. I would've liked to have been able to enjoy it with the duck being the star.

On to the egg custard. Looking at the picture, it doesn't seem appealing. Eating it, well, it was as I suspected. There was way too much crust and not enough filling. The crust wasn't buttery or flaky and tasted a little stale. The top of custard didn't have it's normal sheen. It was like the custard curdled. The flavor of the custard was ok.  The entire thing just seemed way too overbaked.  It may have been bad timing but it appeared like they didn't put much thought in the food put out.

Overall, I was a  diasppointed with most of  the items I got. The idea of the truck is genius, the execution and authenticity of the  flavors of the dishes, not so much. The service was good, the guys who ran the truck were really nice, but I would have to pass on this truck next time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Finally got my mouth around a Greasy Wiener

The Greasy Wiener claims to serve New Jersey style dogs with West Coast flavor.  Jersey style dogs are deep fried, that's all I know about them.  Never been to Jersey and never had a Jersey style dog. So I wouldn't be able to say if these were "authentic" to Jersey dogs.

I ordered the Iggy's Bleu, The Bomb and a plain hot dog. Yup, plain. Nothing on it, just the bun and the dog. My daughter is weird like that. When we got the plain hot dog, he gave us two. He explained that when it was fried it shrunk more than it should so he gave us two to compensate for getting a smaller hot dog than what is normally served. I will assume nothing was wrong with it because she and my son ate both of them.

The Bomb is a bacon wrapped hot dog topped with grilled onions, chili, cheese, and a dil spear with mustard spread on the bun.  Snap, Crackle and Pop  isn't just for cereal anymore. When I bit into The Bomb, I definitely felt the Snap from the crispiness of the outside of the hot dog, then your teeth experience the Crackle of the crisp bacon and fresh toppings, and finally you experience the Pop of all the flavors as they bounce in your mouth.  This hot dog had a great balance of flavors and .

Although it’s called The Greasy Wiener, I think their sliders stole the show. The Bacon Bleu Igg’s. 2 Angus beef sliders topped with grilled onions, blue cheese, crisp bacon and special sauce inside King’s Hawaiian rolls. The pattie was so juicy and it wasn’t from the sauce or the bleu cheese. You could tell it was made to order because it was still warm and the bacon was still crispy. Bleu cheese is very strong, but in this slider, it wasn’t overpowering. The only thing I wished was that there was bacon in every bite.   

Overall this was a solid experience. Nothing we tried tasted under seasoned, over cooked or worse undercooked. There were no out of the box menu items. The owners didn’t do a fusion or twist on anything. Just traditional hot dogs and sliders but made very well. Not only was the food good, the service was awesome. Thank you Adam and team!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Chunk N Chip Part 2

My first experience with this truck wasn't great, so of course my review of it wasn't either. Their marketing director, Howie, responded to my review of them. He thought that the Moo-lan Rouge was a quality issue that particular night and that the cookies were definitely not supposed to be the way they were. Because there were so many other BOO-Yahs I wanted to try I was open to give them another shot. There was a new BOO-Yah combo that looked good but was advised  to stick with the snicker doodle or sugar cookies since the spice the same spice was used in their chocolate chip cookies.

When we got there, I saw the new BOO-Yah. It was two chocolate chip cookies and sandwiched in between was chocolate raspberry truffle ice cream. Although I was given the heads up that the chocolate chip cookies had the same spice the chocolate brownie cookies had, I ordered it as is anyway. I was also skeptical on getting the Moo-lan rouge again but I had to.  My love for red velvet and wanting to really like it gravitated me to ordering it again.

The first thing I did when we got the order was touched the cookies. The cookies were warm and they were soft. My experience this time around was already different than the first. I broke off a piece of the chocolate chip cookie. It still had that little spice taste, but the taste wasn't as dominant as it was in the brownie cookie. I took a bite of that BOO-Yah, and it was good. I think the chocolate ice cream mellowed out the spice of the cookie. The tanginess and sweetness of the raspberry complimented the cookie really well.

On to the  Moo-lan rouge.. Was I going to experience disappointment again? The cookie was soft, so that was a good start. I broke a piece of the cookie off and smelled it. It smelled more like red velvet than the first time. I ate it and voila! Red velvet is how it tasted. I'm still not a fan of the white fudge ice cream with macadamias so next time I'd order it with vanilla bean ice cream, but it was really good.

This was a complete 180 from the first time I tried this truck. When I first tried it and took a bite out of the BOO-Yah, the cookies were hard so when I bit into it the cookies pressed the ice cream back so I didn't get that ice cream sandwich experience and had to eat it with a fork in order for me to eat the ice cream and cookie together. This time I was able to bite into two soft cookies and have the ice cream come with it. I'd have to say that I'm really glad I gave it another try.  I would definitely get another Moo-lan Rouge BOO-Yah and would try some of their others too.