Monday, June 30, 2008

Spam Katsu Musubi (Ono Grill, Monterey Park)

Rarely will I ever just blog only on a side dish, but at Ono Grill in Montery Park, not to be confused with Ono Hawaiian BBQ, serves up the BEST spam musubi and deserves its own write up. I used to come to this establishment way before it became Ono Grill, and it was always good. In my opinion the one thing that separates them from all other "Hawaiian/Japanese" restaurants, is their Spam Katsu Musubi. I have yet to come across any restaurant that serves a better spam musubi. Yeah there might be place that serve up a better loco moco or kalua pork, but No One can come close to their spam katsu musubi. For those that are not familiar with spam musubi. Simply put... its likened to a spam sushi. The spam is typically seared and is placed in between rice and rolled with nori (seaweed), but there are many variations of this simple dish. Spam musubis make for the best travelling snack or meal. It travels well and is very easy to pick up and eat. Ono Grill's version is they coat the spam in panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and is deep fried and then coated with a teriyaki sauce. Typically I do not care for sauces on my spam musubi. I like mine plain and simple, but this is to die for. The sauce is definitely not over powering. I don't know what their secret is, but it is darn good. Believe me this is to die for!!!

Spam Katsu Musubi

Ono Grill
1975 Portrero Grande Drive
Monterey Park, CA. 91755

Monday, June 23, 2008

Decadent Cheesecakes! (Cheesecake Factory, Arcadia)

If you are looking for a variety of items to choose from, Cheesecake Factory is the place for you. Most notably known for their variety of decadent cheesecakes, Cheesecake Factory also offers a diverse menu. Offering something for everyone. Unfortunately for me, or maybe fortunately for my diet, I don't particularly care for the food here. Although I do LOVE their cheesecakes. I'd much rather eat at a restaurant that specialized in a particular type of cuisine, rather than the all encompassing type of restaurant that is Cheesecake Factory and other similar type of restaurants. I am not saying that the food at Cheesecake Factory is terrible. In fact, for what they do, they do pretty well. My only gripe is that there is nothing on the menu that really WOWs me here. Now, their cheesecakes are another story. I have yet to eat a cheesecake that I haven't loved.

It's been about 7-8 years since I've actually sat down and eaten at a Cheesecake Factory. Recently, I've only picked up cheesecakes to go. What brought me to eat here? We were eating with some friends of "Mrs. Gohan". To my surprise, I actually enjoyed my meal more than I had expected and the company was fun. I ordered the the Pasta Carbonara w/ Chicken. The first thing that struck me, was the portions that they serve. I had forgotten about the enormous portions of food served at Cheesecake Factory. The carbonara was pretty good, but it was too filling. That night it so happened that my sister and her kids were coming back from a ski trip and I had to pick them up at the airport. Unfortunately for me, their flight actually came in early. I had to cut my dinner short. I had to ask "Mrs. Gohan" to order my dessert and to bring it home for me. I had asked her to order me the Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake. One good thing about cheesecakes, is that it tastes just as good at home as it does at the restaurant. Yummm!!! All in all, the dinner at Cheesecake Factory was good. The food was surprisingly good and the company was even better!

Cheesecake Factory
400 S. Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Simply a delight! (Philadelphia Sandwiches, North Hollywood)

There's a lot of eating establishments I have to thank my in-laws for introducing me to. One is Philadelphia Sandwiches in North Hollywood. My brother and sister-in law used to live right across the street and know the owner pretty well. I remember vividly when I had my first Philly cheese steak at their other location which is now closed. It was my sister-in law, my wife, and me.... Mr. Gohan. The three of us were on the hunt for a venue for our wedding, and since we were close by and hungry, we ate here. We called my brother-in law to join us and he happily and quickly obliged. That was my first time, but everyone else's nth time. I didn't know what to expect. I am not really a sandwich type of guy, but everyone assured me that this was going to be good. And boy... I was definitely hooked! The bread is really good. A perfect balance of airiness and crispiness. The caramelized onions were oh so sweet! And the bell peppers add that extra something. And you can't forget about the meat. This is not your typical Philly cheese steak sandwich. The meat is chopped up on the grill and is combined with all the accompaniments to meld into perfection. Every time I come here, I wish I could order two sandwiches. I probably could finish them too. They are that good! I can't forget to mention the French Fries. The fries are absolutely delicious. They come out piping hot and cooked to perfection. Perfectly crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. One would be remissed to mention the owner. The owner and his wife are the most delightful and cheerful people. Philadelphia Sandwiches in North Hollywood is simply a delight!

Philly Cheese Steak

French Fries

Philadelphia Sandwiches
11112 Magnolia Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA. 91601

Monday, June 9, 2008

Good Ol' Bachan's (Bachan's Take-Out, Rosemead)

Good Ol' Bachan's. Not quite my bachan's (Japanese term for Grandmother), but it sure is good! This local joint is located in a non-descript strip mall right next to the cemetery of all places, serves one of the best Kalbi (teriyaki style short rib) around. This little take out restaurant is really small with only a few tables to eat inside, but lives up to it's namesake and caters mainly for take out. Bachan's Take Out pumps out excellent quality take out food. This is not your typical Japanese/Hawaiian local place that serves local food. Along with more typical local food, Chef Shannon Kamimura creates dishes which resembles cuisine that can be found in more of a fine dining establishment rather than a take out joint. His dishes are simply delicious. I've only been here a couple of times and each time I've ordered the short ribs. This time, I ordered the combination plate (chicken & short rib). Not only was it super tasty but it was filling as well! In my opinion this is the best teriyaki around. My wife ordered the Sake Pan-Seared Beef bowl. This dish was also very good. It was thinly sliced beef cooked with sake and what seemed to be some sort of soy and sugar sauce served over rice. The sauce was similar to the teriyaki sauce but not quite as intense in flavor. On another occasion, I decided to give the Chicken Taquitos a try. I've never heard of an Asian inspired takeout serving taquitos. The chicken itself seemed to be the same BBQ chicken as in the combo plate. What makes this dish is the guacamole. It was really good! Another dish that was really good was the special of the day. It was a Rib Eye Pepper Steak. The meat was cooked really well and the sauce was fabulous. Bachan's Take Out has a limited menu but they do have daily specials, so make sure you call ahead. If you are thinking of coming here, make sure it is not on a Tuesday or Wednesday. For some reason, they are closed right smack in the middle of the week. I guess Chef Shannon needs a break too.

Teriyaki Chicken & Short Ribs

Sake Pan-Seared Beef BowlChicken Taquitos

Rib-Eye Pepper Steak

1324 Potrero Grande Drive
Rosemead, CA