Archive for the 'San Gabriel' Category

Miàn by Chengdu Taste – San Gabriel

Mian by Chengdu Taste - San Gabriel

Thanks to The Astronomer’s “alternate work schedule,” every so often we’re able to meet up for a low-key weekday lunch. We stopped into Miàn during its first week of service for a taste of Chongqing-style noodles. Even though the line for a table was longer than anticipated, the food was well worth the wait, especially the dumplings (surprisingly).

Mian by Chengdu Taste - San Gabriel

Tony Xu, who last dazzled our tastebuds at Chengdu Taste in Alhambra and Rosemead, keeps the hits coming at his second concept Miàn. The restaurant serves just a dozen different mian (noodles), five kinds of chaoshou (dumplings), and eight appetizers.

Mian by Chengdu Taste - San Gabriel

A complimentary dish of pickled and lightly spiced cabbage arrived at the table to start.

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Phở Ngoon – San Gabriel

Pho Ngoon - San Gabriel

In the mood for Northern Vietnamese fare, The Astronomer and I, along with our friend Courtney, headed to San Gabriel’s Phở Ngoon for lunch. The newish restaurant, which is located in the same plaza as Boston Lobster, offered a lovely change of pace from the Central and Southern Vietnamese cuisine that we tend to favor.

Pho Ngoon - San Gabriel

Upon arriving at the modernly appointed restaurant, we were seated promptly and presented with menus. The one-page bill of fare was awesomely concise, consisting of just three starters and ten mains. We shared five dishes between the three of us.

Pho Ngoon - San Gabriel

First up was an order of pho cuon ($3.50), a dish that was super-trendy in Hanoi circa 2008 when The Astronomer and I lived in Vietnam. Comprised of thin rice noodle sheets wrapped around lettuce leaves, grilled beef, and fresh mint, the pho cuon was served with nuoc cham for dipping.

While I didn’t care too much for this dish in Hanoi, I quite liked Pho Ngoon’s more robust rendition.

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Phong Dinh Restaurant – San Gabriel

Phong Dinh Restaurant - San Gabriel

A recent girls’ night out brought me and my gal pals to San Gabriel’s Phong Dinh Restaurant. I’m not sure what constitutes a roaring good time for you and yours, but for me and mine, it’s a killer baked catfish. I roll with the best posse ever.

Phong Dinh Restaurant - San Gabriel

Thien An in Rosemead has always been my go-to spot for baked catfish, but we decided to try Phong Dinh this evening at the recommendation of my friend Thien. She promised that the catfish here was even better than the one at Thien An.

According to the restaurant’s menu, Chef and Founder Minh Trang was the first to introduce baked catfish (ca dut lo hau giang) to the area in 1994.

Phong Dinh Restaurant - San Gabriel

Before the star of the show arrived, accoutrements were scattered about the table—a large platter of herbs and lettuce, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber spears, vermicelli rice noodles, rice papers, and best of all, a tangy-sweet tamarind dipping sauce.

Our waitress revealed that the recipe for the sauce came from her aunt, who hails from Can Tho. Now that I’ve experienced this seriously awesome sauce, I can’t ever go back to eating plain ol’ nuoc cham or mam nem (fermented anchovy dipping sauce) with my catfish. Consider me a changed woman.

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Happy Tasty – San Gabriel

Happy Tasty - San Gabriel

Do you remember those Hair Club for Men commercials from the 80s? The ones that end with: “I’m not just the president of Hair Club for Men, I’m also a client.” Well, I’m not just a Scout for the Los Angeles Times, I’m also a Scout Report reader. A powerful testimonial and roaring endorsement all at once, right?

Happy Tasty - San Gabriel

After reading Louise’s Scout Report for Happy Tasty, I immediately made a date with The Astronomer and Mike, our friend and constant Chinese food companion, to check it out.

Wuhan cuisine, which is influenced by the spicy traditions of neighboring Sichuan and Hunan, is a region we’ve yet to experience on our San Gabriel Valley explorations.

Happy Tasty - San Gabriel

I was most excited to try the quintessential Wuhan-style dry hot pot. Happy Tasty refers to it as a “Spicy Hot Pot” on their menu. Every pot includes potatoes, cauliflower, celery, tiger lily buds, black fungus, and lotus root ($8.99) and a choice of two proteins. We selected lamb ($7.99) and beef tripe ($7.99).

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