Friday, November 30, 2007

Banana Bay, Rowland Heights

Banana Bay
18230 Colima Road
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
Phone: (626) 839-5511
Type: Thai food

Hours: Sun-Thurs 11am-1am
Fri-Sat 11am-2am
Happy Hour: 10pm - close
many drink specials


What can I say about this place? Oh, it's just the place I go to at least once a week! Banana Bay has been around for a few years. It used to be an Asian buffet called Paradise Buffet (for those who haven't been here in the area for a bit). It's located on the corner of Fullerton and Colima in the Yes Plaza.

This review is way overdue because I've been going here for years. Banana Bay is under new ownership, and it's even better than before. I know the new owners of this place, so you may think this is a biased review, but I've liked this place before they owned it. Before, the service could get really, really bad. I once had to wait for my food for about an hour! If you look at some of the old reviews about this place, they'll all say the service was slow. The new owners knew that was probably the biggest complaint about the place, and they've done a lot to fix the problem. Main thing was getting more staff out on the floor. At their busiest times now, I never had to wait for my food for more than 10 minutes. And it gets really busy here. If you're really hungry you should go during the lunch or late night hours so you'll get your food right away.

While you're waiting for your food, on most nights there's a live band playing good music. Even when there's no band, the music they play has vastly improved. I remember going there a few years ago, and I'd always hear that Nora Jones song playing every single time. It's a nice song, but c'mon. Play something else. Now, there's a wide selection of good, classy R&B jams. There's also TVs where sports are usually playing.

The main reason why people come here is the food and its prices. I'll put a menu up when I get a chance so you can see for yourself why people keep coming back. The prices average about 6-7 dollars for a meal. Not only are the prices cheap, but the food is bomb. The pad see ew is bomb for sure. I always order the crab fried rice. Almost everything I ordered is good here. As of this writing, I'm usually ordering the King Noodle. Bomb! Trust.

Crab Fried Rice (eat it with the fish sauce)

Crispy Trout Fillet (gotta try it at least once)

Shrimp cake

Catfish w/ Chili Sauce

Another reason why I love this place is that they're open past midnight 7 days a week. I wish they were open til like 4am, but that's being greedy on my part.

That's all I got for now. If this review doesn't make you wanna try it, maybe knowing they were nominated as one of AOL Citysearch's best might do the trick.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sake Sushi, Walnut

Sake Sushi
20795 Amar Rd
Walnut, CA 91789
(909) 594-5221
Type: Japanese food / Sushi
Get directions

Sake Sushi, formerly known as Jun Sushi is located near Mt. San Antonio College in the same plaza as Stater Bros. and Baskin Robbins and other little shops around the area. This place just recently reopened with the new name, but I used to hit up Jun Sushi before somewhat regularly.

When I went to Sake to see what was new, I didn't really notice any drastic changes. The prices are still similar to Jun's prices. This place is on the cheaper side of the sushi spectrum, but it's no value meal. The food was pretty much the same. Depending on how picky you are with sushi/rolls, you might not like this place. I'd be willing to go here once in awhile, but it won't be like, "Oh. Let's go to Sake Sushi!!!!" Go here if you're nearby and are lazy to drive too far... or if you're willing to spend a little more, head over to Naked Fish in the adjacent plaza.

Crunchy Rolls I think...

Salmon Skin Roll I believe....

Dynamite for sure....

The hell is this?

Deep fried California Rolls

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

La Creperie, Long Beach

La Creperie
4911 E 2nd St

Long Beach, CA 90803

(562) 434-8499
Type: French food / Crepes
Get directions

When I think of crepes, I think of boba, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, and baggy pants. What the hell do they have in common you ask? To me, they're trendy things that kind of sprang up out of nowhere. Some have withstood the test of time, while others have been donated to Goodwill. I barely heard of crepes maybe about 2 years ago, and I first tried them maybe about year ago. Yeah I know, call me a late bloomer. Everybody was talking about "crepes this," "crepes that." Shut up already! You're giving me the crepes................ *tap* *tap* *tap* is this thing on?

Anyways, I've been to La Creperie twice (I never said I wasn't trendy). Both those times we ordered the calamari. The sauce it comes with is bomb, and I'll order the calamari again.

Calamari with bomb sauce

I got the breakfast crepes. I think it was the Mexican or Spanish style crepes. That one was pretty good. I took it to go cuz I had a job interview right after. Mimi got the crepes with shrimp. That one is also good. The prices aren't too expensive that I could remember. I think the total might have come to less than $20.

Mexican or Spanish style breakfast crepes

Obviously I'll go back here. I'll try other crepes places too in the future... right before I get some boba thai iced tea with a dozen glazed donuts.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cho Dang Tofu Restaurant, Cerritos

Cho Dang Tofu Restaurant
12245 Artesia Blvd

Cerritos, CA 90703
(562) 924-6099
Type: Korean food / tofu soup
Get directions

I went here a few weeks ago because I don't mind trying new tofu spots. My friend seems to like this place and she was the one who introduced it to us. It's located in Cerritos just off the 91 freeway. I read other reviews how people like this place and that it's always packed. I've got nothing really bad to say about it. Their sides are mostly the same as other spots I've been to. I especially like the dried seaweed they have. I'd devour all of them quickly, but I hate asking for more all the time. The tofu is good as any other, and the service is good. At the end, you can make yourself some soft serve ice cream which is nice. The price is about $8-9 for tofu-- which again, is the same as any other place. I really hate sounding like I'm giving this place a bad review because there was nothing to complain about. It's just that if I had a choice, I would go to either Tofu Village in Garden Grove or the Tofu House in West Covina-- depending on what was closer.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mink Quan, Long Beach

(562) 439-3008
Type: Thai food

I don't want to say too much bad stuff about this place so that you'll never try it, but I'll never go back here if I have a choice. I read that this place has a regular clientele and it gets packed on Friday nights.

The only reason we went to Mink Quan was we couldn't find another Thai place, and we were driving on a section of Anaheim St. where there's so many Thai places to choose from. We got there just before they were closing the kitchen so we had to hurry and order. We got the crab fried rice and the pad see ew. I would've ordered some kind of fish dish, but they didn't have any that I remember. Their menu is pretty limited. The only good thing about the crab fried rice was the portion. As you can see in the picture, its a pretty good sized hill.... oh wait, I took that pic after a few bites. But it was good-sized.

Crab Fried Rice

The pad see ew (if that's how you spell it) was bland. I had to try putting that chili fish sauce on it just to give it some taste-- but it didn't really work well.

Pad See Ew

So yeah. There you have it. Not a satisfied customer. Maybe it was because we came in late and the cooks just wanted to get it done... come to think of it, the food came really really fast. The only way I'll go here again is if somebody's treating :) . There's plenty of other Thai restaurants in the sea of Long Beach, so I'll keep swimming.

Star of Siam, Long Beach

Star of Siam
2109 E Broadway
Long Beach, CA 90803
(562) 439-1564
Type: Thai food
Get directions

(Jim) Star of Siam received a lot of great reviews from the people of the internet. Am I gonna be one of them? ...Kinda.

Let me start off with the not so good findings about this place. Don't worry, there's not that much. First, the prices aren't expensive, but I've seen cheaper at many other places. That one's not such a big deal. It was maybe a dollar average more for most of their stuff. The biggest thing I didn't like about this place was the portions. The Vegetable Thai Fried Rice was gone so quick between two people. We had to order more steamed rice. The entree we got wasn't so big either. For $12.95, I would hope it fills you up so you don't have to order other things. That's pretty much all the gripes I have about the place.

Vegetable Fried Rice

The best part was the fish. We ordered the Siam Apple Trout. "Trout fillet (lightly breaded) served with a wonderful green apple salsa with lime juice, green chili, garlic, palm sugar, dried shrimp and cilantro. An adventure!," were the words of the Star of Siam website. Damn that was bomb! The outside of the fish was so crispy. I don't remember there being too many bones, but I think there were some you had to watch out for. The salsa was the one that made the dish so good. All you had to do was take a spoonful of it and pour it over the fish; eat it with rice; and say "mmm..."

Siam Apple Trout

Next time I come here, I'm not ordering no fried rice. I probably won't even risk the noodle dishes, cuz I'll end up having to order something else to make me full (I eat a lot remember). It's just fish entrees and steamed rice for me over here. Thank you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bouchees Bistro, Long Beach

Bouchees Bistro
515 Long Beach Blvd
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 951-8222
Type: French food / American food / sandwiches

"Bouchees..." is that French? Well, whatever it is, it's pretty bomb. I didn't wanna go here at first, cuz I thought it was just gonna be like any other sandwich place. But, since I was hungry from work, I decided to give it a shot.

This place is located in Downtown Long Beach on Long Beach Blvd., but you have to find meter parking or park in the structures near Wal-Mart. I don't know if they validate, so you take that risk if you want.

Bouchees is I guess what you call a modern kind of place. I don't really care about that too much. What I care about is the food and the prices. Bouchees serves salads, sandwiches, burgers, soups, and appetizers. What's kinda cool about this place is that you can order mini versions of the sandwiches and burgers if: a) you're on a diet. b) you have the appetite of an infant. or c) you want to try other burgers/sandwiches. I myself would fit into the "c" category.

I didn't order the minis yet, but Mimi (my girlfriend) did. I got the organic vegetable burger-- regular-sized. That cost about $6.00. Although expensive, I would order it again. Another down-side to that is that it doesn't come with fries. I also got the crab minestrone. That was good. I would definitely order that again. Mimi got mini crab cake sandwich and the mini ahi tuna sandwich which you can customize yourself. Both of those were good. We also got the herb parmesan fries.... bomb. One thing to remember whenever you eat here is, you should try the homemade ketchup. I'm a ranch guy, but this ketchup was waaay better than anything else.

I don't know if everybody would like this place. It's a little yuppie-ish, the prices aren't that cheap, and the menu is pretty limited. I don't care. I'm going here again fo sho. Au revoir.

Crab minestrone

Crab sandwich & Ahi Tuna sandwich

Organic Veggie Burger

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Taste of India, Long Beach

Taste of India
2620 Long Beach Blvd
Long Beach, CA 90806
(562) 595-7525
Type: Indian food
Get directions

I gotta thank this place for introducing me to Indian food. Actually, the first time I had Taste of India is the one in Fountain Valley on Warner and Magnolia. I'm not exactly sure if they're the same company, but they seem pretty much the same.

Taste of India is a fast food Indian joint serving their food like the fast food Chinese restaurants do-- I can't think of the name of that style right now (if there is a name). They usually have about 8 to 10 different entrees you can choose from that are ready-made. I think you can choose other stuff that's cooked to order. I like this place because they have a good amount of vegetarian dishes. My favorite is the creamed spinach "aloo saag" which I always order when I go there. You can order the entrees in combinations with some basmati rice, naan, and a saldad, or by themselves. The price for a 3 item combo is about $7-8.

I like the Taste of India in Long Beach cuz they're not shiesty with their portions. The Mexican girl serving you the food usually hooks it up, and the other workers there are cool too. I haven't been going here lately because when we eat Indian, it's usually at Natraj or some all-you-can-eat buffet, but I definitely wouldn't mind going here again.

Vegetarian entrees:

Chicken entrees:

West Coast Buffet - Update


Don't eat here if their closing time is in 2 hours or less. You won't have much to eat.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

One World Vegetarian Cuisine, West Covina

One World Vegetarian Cuisine
178 S. Glendora Ave
West Covina, CA 91790
Phone: (626) 917-2727
Type: Vegetarian food

West Covina isn't known for its abundance of veggie restaurants. It isn't exactly Santa Cruz, Frisco, or L.A where you'll run into one at every shopping plaza. But it's what I call home. Luckily, One World popped up in a Google search when I was looking for veggie eateries. What?! It's just 5 minutes away? Aight, I'll try it...

I've been going to One World since it was 2 weeks old. I don't know how many years it's been (maybe 3-5) but that place is still going strong and getting more popular. They add items to their menus every once in awhile, but I usually stick to their OG dishes.
When you first come to One World I would recommend getting the sauteed garlic veggie beef balls. I don't know what it's made of exactly, but I know it ain't meat, and it's baamb!

Sauteed Garlic Veggie Beef Balls

I've ordered most of their dishes there, and none of them really suck. Maybe one complaint I would have is that some of the portions are kinda small for my appetite, but I eat like a fat ass. Besides, most of those who eat at veggie restaurants don't eat much anyway-- I'm assuming. The prices aren't exactly cheap, but they're not even close to stupid expensive. Take a look at the MENU and see for yourself. Even if you're not vegetarian I recommend you give this place a shot. It's located near the Edwards Cinema near the West Covina mall. Save the cows!

Eggplant w/ veggie ground meat

UPDATE (11/15/07):

So I received a comment about this post a couple weeks ago. It turns out somebody (Linda) at One World liked my honest review of their place. She offered me a free dish on my next visit. What's that you say? FREE food? Let me think about it... I guess I'll go. Yeah right! I was so happy when I read that comment that I told all my friends. They were happy for me, but not as happy as I was for myself. I guess giving an honest review pays off. Who wouldn't mind getting free food at a place you love to eat at? And anyways, who would want free food at a place you don't think is great? Actually some people (including myself).

Anyways, I took Linda up on her offer and took 3 other people. They consisted of my girl and two very non-vegetarians. For those who haven't been to One World, or haven't been in a while, they have expanded and took over the business next door. I didn't go to that other side but from what I saw, it was a bakery/pastries/desserts section. They've been gaining in popularity still. I wouldn't be surprised if they open another location soon.

Linda wasn't there so I didn't have much conversation about the new place and renovations. A big change that I noticed was their menu. The names of everything have been changed. For example, there's no more sauteed garlic veggie beef balls. It's now the Golden Masterpiece. The veggie steak is now the Patriotic Royale. They're trying to get away from associating themselves with meat-- is what I'm assuming because everything in there is vegan. Their desserts are also vegan. That's one thing I haven't tried in my many many visits here. I never leave room for the closers. Next time.

So we ordered our food and chatted about the place... yada yada yada. Our appetizers came first and we got the Universal Paradise Sushi ($4.25). We got two orders of those. They look like plain cucumber rolls or something but they're pretty good. They put some veggie meat in there. I've had them before.

(Sorry. I didn't take pictures for some reason. Just go there and look for yourself.)

We also ordered their regular-sized Majestic Soup ($6.50). That's the smallest size that you can order that I know of, and it's enough for 3-4 people. One recommendation to One World would be to add individual-size orders of soup. The soup was peppery but good. We all killed it.

My lady got the Grilled Teriyaki Kabobs ($7.50). I ordered this before and I wasn't a fan. I should've told her to order something else because it was too dry for me. It's always been like that. It's not bad the first few bites, but after a while it gets repetitive. We were told that this was one of the more popular dishes, so go ahead and try it if you really want.

What I do always order is the sauteed garlic veggie beef balls-- I mean the Golden Masterpiece. It's just some small pieces of veggie beef that's flavored right. They came out crispy this time. Me like. If they don't give you any, make sure to ask for the clear sauce for this. It just adds juiciness to the dish.

My friend got the Imperial Eggplant ($6.95). It's eggplant in some sauce with veggie ground beef. He said he wanted to order authentic vegetarian that didn't include meat, but he still got this one. Anyways, he can be a tough critic. Like I said he's very a very non-vegetarian, steak-loving, football-watching kind of guy. He said the dish was good. He liked my veggie beef balls (know what I'm sayin!!!) and said "anything deep fried is bomb."

My other friend got the Yin and Yang Serendipity ($7.50). It's kind of like orange chicken we were told. I tried some and it was good. I haven't had real orange chicken for so many years now, but I don't think the taste and texture were the same. Regardless, still good. It came drenched in the sauce. Good stuff. My friend liked it. Although he said he didn't know what to do with the veggies served with it. I told him, "you eat them."

No dessert this time, but like I said, I'll make room next time. The food was great as always. The staff was very friendly and helpful to us. One of the best things about the meal was when the bill came. Instead of giving us one free dish, they took half off the bill! If you wanna do the math, that's waay more than one dish is worth!

I want to thank Linda and the rest of the One World staff for this great experience and for all my past visits. I will definitely be back. Thanks and go Prop 2!

P.S. I was told by my friends the bathrooms are really nice and clean. I'll check that out next time as well.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Ichikara Teppan & Sushi, West Covina

Ichikara Teppan & Sushi

450 S Glendora Ave
West Covina, CA 91790
(626) 962-1008
Type: Japanese food / Sushi

It's been a while since I posted any restaurant reviews, but that doesn't mean I stopped what I love doing-- going out to eat! Maybe it's cuz I've been eating too much so the laziness has been kicking in. I'll try my best to catch up on the reviews.

So first off, there's this sushi/teppan place called Ichikara in West Covina. It's like 2 minutes or less from the West Covina mall. It's on the corner of Valinda and Glendora Ave. I've always seen it whenever I drive by, but I never thought anything of it. It just seemed like a struggling business to me, so I never even bothered. I guess we ended up over here one day cuz we've tried almost all the other local sushi spots and this is one of the last frontiers to conquer.

Too bad we didn't check this place out before. When we arrived in the parking lot, there was a sign that said "10% off on take out orders" or something like that. Right there we decided we're eating sushi at home. So when we got in and checked out their menu for special rolls, I wasn't too impressed. Kinda disappointed in a way. But we learned you have to ask to see the menu for special rolls. Once we saw that, there was hope once again. It's been so long so I don't remember exactly what we ordered. Just look at the 2nd class photos I took with my camera phone and try to figure out what's in it. Anyways, we took it to go so we got our 10% off. The prices for the rolls weren't too expensive in the first place, so that extra discount was just a bonus.

Ichikara was a sleeper. I only found out about it years after driving by it. Moral of the story: don't judge a book by its cover. Don't steal that quote.

Blurry Roll, Dizzy Roll, DTCP (Don't Take with Camera Phone) Roll