Monday, January 28, 2013

Ching @ Tustin, Seafood Noodle Soup

Seafood Noodle Soup combo ★★★★

Good for: 
When you are feeling sick (the healthy seafood noodle soup), craving for black bean sauced noodles (Jajangmyeon, zhajiangmian or炸酱面, whatever)

Price: $

Today I felt so sore from all the exercise I did yesterday (all the exercise == 40 min or work out), and was craving a healthy noodle soup place for lunch. So I ended up going to this small food court in Woori’s market (Korean supermarket on Redhill before 5).

There are altogether three places in the food court, a Chinese Korean, a Korean and a Japanese. We wanted to have the black bean noodle, but was afraid that it would be too dry, so we ordered a seafood noodle soup combo from “Ching” in the end.

It was not the best combo I had, but it was the perfect food I need for lunch today. Noodle soup, there are several categories:
A. Strong flavored oily beef noodle soup
B. Strong flavored miso ramen
C. Normal ramen (sometimes with starch)
D. Normal beef noodle soup
E. Sweet salty Pho
F. Clear soup Korean noodles with no spicy
G. Mama’s homemade noodle soup

Pardon me for any possibly missing categories… Obviously my preference for lunch today is G, but since that’s not available I turned to F. Someday, I shall have a post about all the differences in the noodles too:p As the noodles here at Ching is different than traditional Chinese noodles, they are more smooth (sort of like spaghetti).

More exercise tonight maybe? I hope my body doesn’t ache that much after more work out, so I can go for A in the list soon lol.

Ching Chinese Express
14551 Red Hill Ave
Tustin, CA 92780
(714) 838-8001

Ching on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Trend on Souplantation

I know I'm a bit late on this, but I'm still gonna mention it anyway (lol):
Souplantation added whole grain items and features non-fat frozen yogurt sundae this January, and now there's a good start for a fresh new year!

I was at Souplantation last week and enjoyed the whole grained items (pardon the whole grain freak reside in me), as well as the yogurt. I could tell that the yogurt was popular because within 3 minutes while I was sitting at the table eating, I noticed at least 5 people passing by holding a nice looking yogurt swirl in their hands.

Fresh has always been the marketing tagline of Souplantation. But nowadays too many companies are trying to do the same. When you think of fresh, you think of ...Well, a lot of places besides Souplantation, Panera, Whole Foods, dot dot dot. But Souplantation has obviously tried to push further down the road of "healthy" by providing whole grain items and non-fat yogurt.

I think it's a good thing. The other day I got a survey from Starbucks asking about my preferences at Starbucks, including whether I concern healthy as a key factor while I choose my coffee shop. Well of course. Who doesn't want to taste a yum and stay healthy at the same time?

2013, healthy eating is still well on the trend.

Hakata Ramen @ Fountain Valley 新撰组

The other day me and my colleague were heading to a Vietnamese restaurant in Fountain Valley, but was disappointed to find out that they were closed for lunch. Another perfect example of how you should always check before you do something lol. But the good thing is, I remember this ramen place in Fountain Valley where every one of my friends who has been there said was really good. So we just went! I’ve been to the barbeque place right next door. That one was good too, feels very Japanese :p I like places that have that kind of “foreign” feeling.

Anyway, the place is called Hakata Ramen (Shin-sen-gumi). The moment I entered, I kind had this bad feeling that how come I’ve never been here before…It was crowded, but matched the perfect picture of a Ramen place in my mind J The selections were actually not that many. We got distracted and talked about the power of customization and how everything is becoming “Micro” addressing individuality. Anyway, we then ordered a fried noodle dish and a pork soup ramen combo with fried rice, which turned out to be too much for us (people are trying to lose some weight here, never mind if you can eat two bowls of ramen without a blink :).

They have a piece of paper that you need to fill in for your order. It basically turns a customization process into a standardized one, by naming the columns how much oil you want in your soup (light, normal, strong), how much flavor you want for your soup base (light, normal, strong), etc. We chose light for the oil and normal for the flavor. Turned out to be great. The soup was not oily at all and felt very natural (opposed to the heavy creamy soup base in Mitsuwa or Class 302). Compared to Mitsuwa, the noodle portion is large, definitely fed me well. Like other Japanese places, they have hand-written dessert menus posted on the wall. We were really full so didn’t try any (I really wanted to try some though), so maybe next time!

Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen
18315 Brookhurst St
Unit 1
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 962-8971

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tasty Noodle House @ Irvine 品味

Ok I have to say I created the Yelp page for this newly opened restaurant BY ACCIDENT...

Then I failed to write a review first...Oh well, guess I just prefer to write it here rather than the sea of Yelpers lol.

This place is a Shanghai Style restaurant -- not salty, not too spicy, and I would say it's pretty good. Actually last week I went there twice, with a group of Vietnamese colleagues and a group of Chinese folks. Both of the times people liked the dishes. Even two ladies who recently came from Wuxi (a city fairly close to Shanghai) said the dishes were good. Ha!

So without further adieu, here is the collage. The best dish I've tried so far was the stewed pork with tofu skin (pardon my memory here, 红烧肉百叶结), with the second place Sanpei chicken (三杯鸡). The preserved veggie with tofu skin one was pretty refreshing, as well as the bitter melon with stirred egg (苦瓜炒鸡蛋). We ordered the soup dumpling again at this place, it was...meh, not too impressive.

I saw on Yelp it was 4 stars already. The guy at the restaurant was actually pretty nice (offered us free drink the first time) and the service was good too. Highly recommended for those who like Chinese style dishes!

Tasty Noodle House 品味
15333 Culver Dr
Ste 320
Irvine, CA 92604
(949) 654-3770

Tasty Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Starbucks Salad Bowl

Today I was driving thru Starbucks and trying to get a cup of Mocha before I headed to the library. Then I saw something in their menu board. Salad Bowl.

Yes, Salad Bowl. I wish I was in the store so I could witness how the salad bowl looks like. The price was $6.95 stating on the board.

I just Googled it and it looks like the salad bowl's gonna be in a clear plastic squarish box, tossed with chicken, veggies and dressing on the side.

Cool. My first reaction.

Really? On a second thought.

The debate of whether to serve breakfast in the store has been lasted forever, and it seems that now Starbucks is able to manage to keep the smell of hot sandwich out -- So you smell coffee only -- so far so good. They've been having cold sandwiches, and trying to push for their oatmeals thru vast email blast (Give u an extra star in your Starbucks reward they said).

OK...but salad bowl?

Starbucks may need to be more careful before they push fast forward this whole meal campaign. Though I don't mind someone sitting next to me not reading a newspaper but eating salad and sandwich in the store, some other people might. Because after all, coffee culture has something unique to it that people don't usually like to associate with chicken caesar salad, unless Starbucks (and I wouldn't be much surprised if they really succeed)  can make those meal offerings fashionable and cool.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Those Amazing Kids

The other day I was taking some photos for a friend, whose daughter is in this OC Dancing, of a 2013 winter ballroom gala event they initiated. About 20 or more kids were at the “show” and a little to my surprise (I didn’t mean to be mean, but you know, you set your expectation watching kids dancing together for their parents), the whole thing was absolutely amazing.

Fromthe little ones who are only 5 or 6, to the apparently more mature ones aged
about 15 to 16 - everyone of them had happiness written on their face when they
danced. Even though some of them were shy when you talked to them, they were
expressive, passionate and dedicated while they were dancing.

The first part was about showing their parents what they learned (tango, …sadly this is the only one I could name right..), and the second part was like a mini show – they have set the story scene in a train station and stitched different stories with various music and dancing in it. Awhhh, was it touching! They danced in a style that was exquisite but natural, with even a little bit curiosity about their own moves with the music. I’m so glad I recorded the whole thing so they kept a record of this wonderful performance.

Meh, sometimes I wish I can dance too.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lao Dong Beef Noodle Soup @ Irvine 老董牛肉面

Guess what, the new beef noodle soup place that we've been waiting so long... is OPEN now!!
(During the long months of me and my friends waiting for this place to open, we actually made couple good jokes, one of them being-- Friend: Hey, you know that new clear soup beef noodle place, when does it open? Me: WTH is a Nuclear Beef Noodle Soup?!....o(╯□╰)o

Anyway, we can't wait to try this new place! It's in the plaza of Jefferey&Walnut in Irvine, near 99 Ranch Market, replacing the old Pho place. 

We ordered a championship clear soup beef noodle (清炖牛肉面)and soup dumplings. 

The word I would use to describe the soup is --"SOOTHING". It really is. The soup texture is between chicken broth and the ones you used to get at the stewed beef noodle place, and the color is like the ones you see in a Japanese ramen place if you order Miso Noodle Soup. 

It is not salty, which makes me very happy. The noodles are not too soft nor too chewy, I would actually give a 5 star on the noodle itself. As far as the beef...I wish there were more of them, as they were really yummy too.

Too bad they ran out of the shrimp & luffa melon soup dumpling. But the pork ones were just great... You have to really eat them while they were steaming hot (well, maybe not, but at least try them while they were still warm... lol you know what I mean), otherwise the soup would all be absorbed by the dumpling skin.

Ok I don't have a picture for the most important noodle soup, that's because... I forgot to take a picture as soon as the bowl was served to the table...sad face...Oh well, plenty of opportunities in the future I'm sure. 

Now there are three beef noodle places (possibly more) in that plaza. I wonder how the competition will head towards... I'm hungry now just by looking at the soup dumpling photo above. So I shall stop typing now and go to bed.

Chilly in OC...Night!

Lao Dong Beef Noodle Soup at Irvine 老董牛肉面
5414 Walnut Ave
Irvine, CA 92604
(949) 653-5728

Hello World!

Ok. Apart from this coding style title I don't actually know where should I start...

Hmm...I don't even know eiher how many blogs I own now, 1, 2, 3, 4, ...let's just say -- Plenty. But, I always feel the inner craving for a real casual food blog to reflect my life here in Orange County - Best place possible in US for an Asian foodie like me!

So, I'm just going to type stuff into this blog from now on and hopefully it will bring you some useful information, or, you know, just help to kill some time :p