[LA/Monterey Park] Dean Sin World

We took a trip to LA back in May for a concert, and of course we had to plan some food stops as well. I had read great reviews of Dean Sin World on Kirbie’s Cravings, Gastronomy Blog, and mmm-yoso, so we decided to check it out.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the storefront, but luckily you can see pictures from the other blogs that I linked. When I visited, the banner that indicated its name, Dean Sin World, was no longer there, and we only saw the “Tastio Bakery Deli” sign. It was a bit confusing, but I made sure that it was the right place. The shop was pretty small, but since we were there in the mid-afternoon, we were the only customers.

Pork & Vegetable Dumplings 白菜水餃:
Pork & Vegetable Dumplings

We were floored by the prices here. I guess I should have expected it since it was LA, but this order of ten dumplings cost us less than $5! They were also really delicious – the house-made dumpling wrappers had a nice “pull”, and the fillings were flavorful and juicy. These dumplings really put everything we have in SD to shame.

Spicy Wontons 紅油抄手:
Spicy Wonton

The spicy wontons were also delicious. …

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[Los Angeles] Lady M Confections

On one of our LA trips, my friend A suggested that we check out Lady M – I’ve heard of their famous mille-crêpes cakes, layers of paper-thin crêpes with pastry cream in between – and have been wanting to try it for a while. So, I jumped at the suggestion and we headed to the Beverly Hills location.

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The shop was quite small and tucked away in a neighborhood-y area. There were only about 3 small tables inside, and several outside on the patio.

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Sorry for the poor picture quality – there’s the menu for the café. Since we were still pretty full from lunch, we chose to just share 1 slice of the original flavor cake.

Signature Mille-Crêpe [$7.50]

Signature Mille-Crêpes [$7.50]

At $7.50 per slice, this was quite pricey – but it was so delicious. The crêpes were soft and slightly chewy, and the cream inside had a rich vanilla flavor. And there 20 layers in this cake, which was quite impressive. The amount of work that it must take to perfect these cakes justifies the price for me (especially since this would be such a rare indulgence!).

We also brought home a couple of slices to enjoy later. If you order their cakes to-go, you can purchase an ice pack and reusable thermos bag. I forgot how much it cost, though.

Green Tea Mille-Crêpe [$8]

Green Tea Mille-Crêpes [$8]

The green tea version of the mille-crêpes was just as good – my friend A likes the green tea more. It has a nice matcha flavor that adds just a hint of bitterness – the good kind of bitterness that’s associated with tea, of course!

Strawberry Mille-Feuilles [$8]

Strawberry Mille-Feuilles [$8]

I wanted to try the mille-feuilles, which is layers of puff pastry and sponge cake filled with pastry cream and strawberries. Unfortunately by the time we ate this, the puff pastry was already slightly softened, but it was still quite delicious. The sponge cake was moist and fluffy.

Since their cakes are so beautiful, I also took some photos of the ones in their display case:

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

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[LA Koreatown] Kang Hodong Baekjeong

I’ll start this post by saying that Kang Hodong Baekjeong is the best Korean BBQ I’ve ever had. Period. And you know that I’ve had a lot of Korean BBQ. Unfortunately (there’s always some bad news), it’s in Los Angeles.

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And boy, is this place popular. We’ve actually visited twice, and both times there was a 2 hour wait for dinner. On our first visit, we simply walked around the neighborhood (there was a Zion market about a block away) to pass the time until we received our call for dinner. The second time around, we were actually in LA for a show, so we signed ourselves up at the restaurant before heading to the show, and by the time we got out, our table was ready!

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The special thing about KHB is the “moat” around the grill. In the photo above, you can see a large section on the right side – that’s actually egg! There’s also corn & cheese, and bell peppers and onions – the idea is that as the meat cooks on surface, the rendered fat and juices will run down to the side and add that extra flavor.

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There are some assorted side dishes for us to enjoy, and salads that could be used to mix with the meat or simply eaten on its own – per the instructions at every table, haha.

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The special dipping sauce that’s mentioned contains wasabi, in addition to the usual yuzu-soy. We really liked the wasabi and thought that it really brought out an extra “kick”!

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On our first visit, we ordered the beef combo ($49.99 for small), which includes marinated boneless short rib, thinly sliced brisket, choice of prime boneless short rib or prime rib eye, and a bean paste stew.

Brisket

Brisket

Prime Ribeye

Prime Ribeye

Prime Ribeye

Prime Ribeye

Boneless Short Rib

Boneless Short Rib

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[LA] Macchiato

Hello! I’m back from my trip and bringing you a quick post today from a recent LA trip – S and I were in town for a wedding, and we decided to visit a few food places in LA as well. (I had posted previously about Mama Lu’s Dumpling House – same trip.)

We were planning to visit Half & Half Tea House in Monterey Park, when I spotted Macchiato and immediately dragged S to visit. I had read about this place through a couple of other blogs (linked at the end of this post) and definitely wanted to try it out.

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The “Grand Opening” was almost two years ago, according to their Facebook page… haha.

The menu features waffles – both sweet and savory, coffee and tea drinks, and macaron ice cream sandwiches. I SO wanted a macaron sandwich, but was way too full from lunch. Sadface.

Brown Sugar Latte with Boba & Pudding [$3.50]

Brown Sugar Latte with Boba & Pudding

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[LA] Mama Lu’s Dumpling House

Recently, S and I were in LA for a friend’s wedding, so we took the chance to hit a few restaurants/spots on our LA “to-do” list. One of them is Mama Lu’s Dumpling House (Chinese name: 一口福), which serves what in Chinese is called mian shi (literally, “flour food” – noodles, dumplings, pancakes, etc – non-rice starchy items). I am a huge fan of rice normally, but I do also love dumplings and am always down to try a new place, hehe. So, when I came across reviews for Mama Lu’s Dumpling House, located in Monterey Park, I added it to my list.

There are actually two locations down the street from each other – one on West Garvey Ave, and the other on East Garvey. I believe we visited the East one. Also, I forgot to take pictures of the place because I was super hungry and too excited. Haha. But it was a pretty clean restaurant, a bit cramped in terms of space, and there wasn’t much of a wait around 1:30PM on a Saturday.

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Complimentary appetizers

We were brought some complimentary pickled cucumbers and roasted peanuts, which I really appreciated since I mentioned that I was quite hungry, haha. The roasted peanuts were quite good – they were sprinkled with sugar, so you get a nice savory-sweet taste.

S and I had a really hard time deciding what we wanted, and in the end, we probably ordered way too much food, but here goes…

Scallion Pancake

Green Onion Pancake 蔥油餅 [$1.99]

This, the green onion pancake, was the reason that I really wanted to come here. I absolutely love green onion pancakes – a good version is crispy and flaky, with plenty of chopped green onions scattered throughout. The one here really lives up to its fame, as it was one of the best green onion pancakes I’ve had in a long time. (My mom’s version is still better, though, haha – nothing can beat that probably.)

Pan-Fried Dumplings 鍋貼 [$4.50]

Pan-Fried Dumplings 鍋貼 [$4.50]

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The pan-fried dumplings, or potstickers, were really yummy. I loved the crispy bottom and the flavor of the pork filling….

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[LA] Maruhide Uni Club

When I first heard about Maruhide Uni Club, I immediately added it to my “Restaurant Bookmarks” list since I love uni (sea urchin), and this is a whole restaurant dedicated to it! On a recent trip to LA, I finally got the chance to try it out.

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I heard that the lines for dinner can get pretty long, but I visited for a late lunch (around 1:30pm, half an hour before they stopped serving lunch), and there were plenty of available seats and tables.

I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to order, and a quick glance at the menu confirmed my selection: the Nigiyaka Bowl, served with four preparations of uni.

Salad

Salad

Soup

Soup

I was brought some soup and salad to start… the salad was a little sad as you can see – a few pieces of iceberg lettuce and a wedge of tomato, with barely any dressing. I think there was uni incorporated into the dressing, but there was so little of it that it was hard to tell. The soup fared slightly better – there was a sizable piece of uni in the soup, but the overall flavor was quite mild.

My disappointment about the soup and salad quickly faded, though, when this arrived:

Nigiyaka Bowl [$23.95]

Nigiyaka Bowl [$23.95]

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[LA] Old Country Cafe

Old Country Cafe (老鄉親 in Chinese) is a Taiwanese restaurant in Los Angeles. S has heard good things about it, and we’ve checked out the Alhambra location on one of our past LA trips (other location is in Temple City). Unfortunately, I forgot to get photos of the restaurant itself, so this will be a “food-only” pics post. Haha. The restaurant itself looked kind of… well, ghetto. It’s located in an empty-ish courtyard on the intersection of Valley Blvd and Garfield Ave, and once inside, the seating is comprised of barstools at the counter. Haha.

Anyway, the first thing that S and I noticed about this place were the prices – as in, they were really cheap. Well, that explains the, erm, simple decor and state of the place… But we’re not complaining. We’re just here for the food.

The menu has really traditional Taiwanese items – rice and noodle dishes, appetizers, etc. We ordered a few of the apps and one “entrée”-type dish for each of us.

Pork Ball 肉丸 [$3.50]

Pork Ball 肉丸 [$3.50]

Not the traditional meatballs that you might be familiar with. There’s a ground pork filling inside, and the “wrapper” is made from glutinous rice flour – sort of like mochi I guess – and the whole thing is fried, then topped with a sweet and sour sauce. When done well, the wrapper/mochi part should be soft yet chewy, and holds together the sauce and the filling. I’d say that this version was done quite well!

Braised Baby Bamboo 筍尖 [$2.25]

Braised Baby Bamboo 筍尖 [$2.25]

S loves bamboo shoots, so I thought we’d try an order. I thought they tasted pretty good, but S thought they were made with canned bamboo shoots. Haha. I guess I just liked the sauce, which was soy-based and mildly spicy.

Pig Blood Cake 豬血糕 [$2.25]

Pig Blood Cake 豬血糕 [$2.25]

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[LA] Half & Half Tea House

Half & Half Tea House has pretty much become a sensation, thanks to its “Original Hot Honey Boba and Iced Milk Drinks.” The famous Iced Milk Drink is basically sweetened milk blended with ice and flavored with honey syrup from the boba, or whatever toppings that you choose.

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S and I have visited several Half & Half locations, including the original San Gabriel location, but pictured here is the Pasadena location (called an “Express” store).

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I chose the Iced Milk Drink with coffee jelly and pudding as my toppings, since I like those more than boba.

Iced Milk Drink with Coffee Jelly & Pudding

Iced Milk Drink with Coffee Jelly & Pudding [$3.85]

The pudding here is really special – I think it has an extra “eggy” taste, if that makes sense – and for me, that’s what makes this drink really great and stand out among some of its imitators, including San Diego’s Infini Tea.

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[LA] Café Dulce

Since I’m currently in Taiwan and will be here for another week or so, the posting schedule will be a bit messed up… apologies in advance! I’ll be writing about my travels soon after I get back to the U.S., though!

Anyway, I have a couple more things to share from my past L.A. trips. I wrote about Sushi Go 55 and Beard Papa’s Cafe in downtown LA’s Japan Center – well, before we left the area, my friend recommended that we hit up a popular bakery, Cafe Dulce. 

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We were quite full from all our of food adventures that day, but I wanted to bring some snacks home. The shop sells sandwiches in addition to baked goods and coffee – their coffee is supposedly quite famous, but I don’t drink much coffee anyway…

Cakes

Cakes

Breads on display

Breads

Desserts

Desserts

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[LA] Sushi Go 55

On the last day of my mini-college reunion LA trip, we decided to get sushi for lunch. We had originally planned to try out the popular Sushi Gen, only to find out that they are closed on Sundays. My friend found this place using Yelp, so we decided to check it out. It’s located in the Japan Center in downtown LA/Little Tokyo – and as it turns out, it was a great location because there was a Beard Papa’s in the same building, and Ozero Cafe nearby! So even before lunch, we had dessert and afternoon tea/snack figured out… haha. (Actually, there is one more dessert place that we went to in the nearby area – post coming in the future!)

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We were initially worried about not being able to get a table since we had a party of five during lunch hour, and the restaurant was quite tiny, but we were seated right away.

They offer chirashi for $17, which we all thought was a really reasonable price. There’s also a more premium chirashi that includes uni (sea urchin) and ikura (salmon roe), for $24. Given my love for uni, I decided to splurge and order that.

Green Tea & Appetizers

Green Tea & Appetizers

To start, I had a cup of green tea, which our waitress kept refilled throughout the meal. We also got some complimentary pickled veggies & seaweed as appetizers, which were nice and refreshing.

Miso Soup

Miso Soup

Each of us also got a miso soup, which was also quite good. 

Sashimi Lunch [$16]

Sashimi Lunch [$16]

One of my friends ordered the sashimi set, which came with albacore, whitefish, yellowtail, tuna, octopus, and salmon. It was served with rice.

Chirashi [$17]

Chirashi [$17]

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