If this summer is anything like the one before it, we’re all going to need a lot of cold treats to survive the long days and scorching rays. While there isn’t a shortage of fantastic frozen sweets to be had in the San Gabriel Valley (my favorites include Carmela, Fosselman’s, Rita’s, and Blockheads) having another solid option, like Ice Que, certainly isn’t going to hurt.
The man behind Ice Que is pastry chef John Park. After working in some of the city’s finest kitchens (Lukshon, Providence, and Water Grill), he struck out on his own in 2013 to open Quenelle in Burbank. Ice Que is his follow up effort.
Pro tip: A second branch of Quenelle recently opened in San Marino.
Whereas Quenelle specializes in ice cream, Ice Que is all about shaved ice. Forget artificially flavored syrups and such—the creations here are composed of shaved-to-order “snow” topped with a plethora of whimsical ingredients. Taken together, it’s a one-of-a-kind dessert experience that only a pastry chef could dream up.
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Lucky Peach recently launched an online edition, and I’ve been following along as the merry band of writers explores essential topics in food, like dumplings, pizza, and obsession. It’s good reading, all of it.
A charming piece by Chef David Chang (See: Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Momofuku Milk Bar) led me to Alhambra’s Kang Kang Food Court. An expertly curated one stop shop for China’s greatest culinary hits? Yes, please.
While neighboring Chinese restaurants specialize in region-specific cooking, the thrill of Kang Kang lies in the diversity of its offerings. In addition to breakfast staples like soy milk and deep-fried crullers, the expansive menu includes “Taiwanese Food,” “Food in Northern China,” “Food in Eastern China,” and “Food in Southern China, Hong Kong & Asia.”
Per Mr. Chang’s recommendations, my lunch date and I stuck to Taiwanese and Shanghainese dishes on this visit.
After placing our orders at the front counter, we grabbed a seat in the large dining room. Soon enough, food began to hit the table…
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There’s a lot to love about my new job. Somewhere near the top of the list, along with benefits and stock options, is its location in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley—home to some of the finest Chinese food outside of China. Every lunchtime excursion is an event, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Alhambra’s Szechuan Impression has been the talk of the foodie town these past couple of weeks. Upon reading Tony’s initial “Dining On A Dime” write up on Eater, followed by Jonathan’s “First Look” for the Times, the restaurant quickly shot up my To Eat List. As you know, I simply adore Sichuanese cuisine.
Since Szechuan Impression’s dinnertime waits are rivaling those of rival Sichuan restaurant Chengdu Taste, I took advantage of my new employment situation and made my way here for lunch… on back-to-back days! On both visits I was able to snag a table for two without any trouble.
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Chengdu Taste was immediately added to my ever-growing spreadsheet of places to eat the moment Jonathan Gold mentioned it on his weekly chat this past Wednesday. The Astronomer and I absolutely adore Sichuan cuisine and seek it out whenever possible; there’s something about the numbing burn that comes with each bite, coupled with an avalanche of flavor, that never fails to get us giddy.
The restaurant, by the way, is named after the city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province and a USESCO-designated “City of Gastronomy.”
Whereas most dining spots in this neighborhood are fairly dumpy when it comes to decor, Chengdu Taste boasts a fresh coat of paint and plush red booths. The Astronomer, who I never realized noticed and cared about such things, was quite impressed with the surroundings.
“Just order something that you like at Chung King or Yun Chuan and you’ll get something different, but equally delicious,” advised Mr. Gold during the lunchtime Q&A session.
We started with the “Cold Noodle with Garlic Sauce” ($5.99), a dish that we hadn’t ever tried before but sounded perfect on this warm evening. The sauce, a mixture of crushed garlic, vinegar, and chili oil, was potent yet well-balanced. The toothsome strands soaked up the flavors just so. This seemingly simple preparation was one of tonight’s highlights.
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