Saturday, December 14, 2013

Old Skool Chinese Food - Lunch

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I grew up eating chop suey, egg foo young, and bbq pork.  There aren't too many old skool places that serve this kind of food anymore.  I've passed this place many times and one night on my way home decided to stop in, saw a lot of people eating here, wanted to try their won ton soup.

See What Jay Eats
at Chinese Garden Restaurant

Wor Won Ton Mein

Won tons, noodles, vegetables,
bbq pork, and shrimp

It was just OK

I came back for the Lunch Specials,
which I love at these old skool places.

Lunch Specials
Tuesday to Saturday
11:30 am to 3 pm 

Crispy Nooldes with Egg Flower Soup
(part of this lunch special)

 Shrimp with Lobster Sauce
and rice
with an egg roll.
(including the egg drop soup, tea, and fortune cookie)

Not a bad lunch deal for $7.50
and it brought back memories.

Wasn't a fan of the egg roll tho,
was more like a brick filled with meat.

They have 20 different lunch specials
or you can order from the main menu.

Fortune Cookie Time!
With an upcoming lotto jackpot of over $500 Million,
if this is my last post, you'll know why...

Chinese Garden Restaurant
856 N. Garfield Avenue
Montebello, CA 90640
(323) 722-6484

Closed on Mondays

Read my post on another old skool Cantonese style restaurant
 Paul's Kitchen

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats

My Favorite Soba!

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I was watching one of Anthony Bourdain's Japan episodes the other night, he and Chef Morimoto were eating soba at a well-known soba restaurant in Tokyo.  It's been awhile since I've had good soba, not many soba places make their own noodles.  It's hard to explain how good soba is if you haven't had a fresh noodles.

I stopped in my favorite soba shop, Otafuku in Gardena.   I was introduced to this noodle shop about 14 years ago, when their menu didn't have a lot of English descriptions and I usually ordered blind.  Today is a different story, the dining room has expanded into the next store front and the menu now has English descriptions and some pictures.  Regardless, the noodles are made fresh each day and they know how to cook them.  For me, the perfect noodle is cooked al dente.

Otafuku is hidden behind a plain store front with a nondescript sign.  Most of the regulars know that they have a small parking lot and entrance in the back of the building.

See What Jay Eats...

Tsukemono (pickled vegetables), 
tsuyu (dipping sauce),
and condiments (wasabi and green onions) 
brought to the table.

The dipping sauce served here is made from scratch,
not the typical hondashi that others use, 
which is mostly MSG.

Ready to eat...

Mini shrimp tempura bowl
(two shrimp, slice of red bell pepper, and potato) 

It was just the right size for today's lunch.

Seiro Soba Noodles
with dipping sauce

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat
and usually brown in color.
A special white buckwheat flour is used for 
the seiro noodles, made from a polished down 
buckwheat seed.

I do a better job slurping than Bourdain...

at the end of the meal

A square pot arrives at the table.
It's filled with the starchy water used to cook
the soba noodles.  It's to be used to thin out the
tsuyu and to finish off the meal. 

I enjoyed my noodle lunch
and was happy that I got my soba fix. 

Read my previous soba post, click Here
I just realized, I'm a creature of habit, you'll have to read why...

16525 S. Western Avenue
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 532-9348

Closed on Sundays

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bento Box Bargain - At Home Kitchen

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One thing that I don't see much anymore is good simple Japanese food.  It's hard to find a restaurant that does combinations with the classics, like tonkatsu (fried pork) and grilled salmon (without the teriyaki sauce).  

A friend introduced me to At Home Kitchen in Gardena, it's at the old Bob's Okazuya on South Vermont, between Artesia and Gardena Blvd.  For my friend to go twice in one week, I knew I had to try it.

I have to admit, the menu is a bit confusing, everything is a la carte.  The menu starts off by telling you about the set, but to go with what?

The set is an additional $3, which includes miso soup, rice, and @Home Salad, your choice of mixed vegetable tempura, seafood poke, or a 4 pc. sushi roll. 
The "@Home Salad" is actually two salads, a dressed green salad with a Japanese potato salad, it's more like a mashed potato salad on top.

See What Jay Eats...

Grilled Salmon (a la carte $6.60)
ordered with the $3.00 set. 

I opted for today's spicy tuna roll 

The salmon was cooked perfectly,
the $3 is truly a bang for the buck!

Chicken Katsu $5.00
with the set
On this day, the 4 pc sushi was a California Roll

Usually the chicken katsu or tonkatsu (pork)
is thin and dry, they know how to cook a katsu here.

Agedashi Tofu $3.00
(Fried tofu in tempura sauce)

You add a $3.00 set and not a bad lunch for $6.00.

Orange Slices
for dessert

Haven't cut oranges like this
since working at a sushi bar.

It's good Japanese food AND at bargain prices!  BTW, they have a daily Bento Box.  Check the board to see the daily special, it's a bargain too at $7.80.  The service was attentive and they cleared the table of completed dishes.  They have a few small tables, I don't suggest going with more than 4 people.  

I enjoyed it and will be back to try the bento box.

16814 South Vermont Avenue
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 965-0804

Monday - Saturday
10:30 am - 9 pm
Closed Sundays


Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats