Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Hunting for dumplings, I decided to check out Chew Young Roo in the Koreatown Plaza. They are known for their king dumplings, which comes with pork or shrimp. The “king” dumplings are more like Chinese pork buns, selling at $6 for 4. If you want the Chlorella dumplings, they cost $7.99 for 4.
The staff was kind to let me have 2 regular king dumplings and 2 Chlorella dumplings. I wished I had enough money for the red bean bun; it’s cash only. DSC06691

Unfortunately the dumplings lack flavor and there was too much dough for the amount of meat stuffed inside. Where is the meat...?
I was hoping that the Chlorella dumplings would tasted better, but it tasted the same; I guess the only difference is the color of the skin.

I prefer You & Me where it’s cheaper and better. I can check Chew Young Roo off the list.

Address: Koreatown Pl, 928 S Western Ave, Ste 137, Los Angeles, CA 90006
Phone#: (213) 385-1881
Rating: 2 out of 5

Monday, March 30, 2009


El Taurino, is well-known for their amazing $1.25 tacos. Unfortunately they didn’t live up to the Hippo’s expectation.

I’ve been craving tacos lately and was eager to try El Taurino’s tacos after reading the all the positive reviews. I pulled into their parking lot; you won’t have a problem finding a space.
For the Gringos and Gringas, “taurino” means “bull” in English, but even if you didn’t know the translation, it’s not hard to figure that out as the restaurant’s walls are dressed with bulls. I was quite surprised to find the interior so colorful; you actually don’t mind dining-in. There’s also a security guard on the premise if safety is an issue.

I went for the carnita, carne asada, and the al pastor soft tacos and a horchata. The tacos are much smaller than El Parian's and I guess, that's why it's half the cost. DSC06683
My wait time was around 7 minutes.
The carnita was very dried and crispy, but I didn’t mind it as much as the carne asada, which was just dry.
I guess I could have bought a lime for 10 cents; yeah…they don’t give limes for free, especially since their tacos are $1.25, but then again, the cheap taco trucks give lime for free.
The al pastor was the best out of 3, mainly because the meat wasn’t as dry as the other two. I think I will stick to Marielas Taco or El Parian’s soft tacos.

Now their horchata is a different story. El Taurino’s is definitely in the top LA horchata list. I will pop in for their horchata.

Address: 2306 W 11th St (lot on Hoover) Los Angeles, CA 90006
Phone#: (213) 738-9197
Rating: 2 out of 5

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Wow. It’s true. Dim sum is much better in the San Gabriel Valley than Downtown Chinatown.

I don’t do dim sum often since I’m allergic to crustacean and always get screwed on the bill as it’s evenly divided and half of dishes contain shrimp, but luckily the total is never more than $20/person.

After a Sunday service, a group of us drove cross-town to Elite where it’s claimed to be the best dim sum in Los Angeles. They have a parking lot, but it fills up pretty quickly during “dim sum” hours. We waited patiently outside (bring a jacket if the weather is cold) with the other hungry hippos. Be sure not to sit under the speaker, as it’s very loud unless you wan to give yourself a heart attack.

Once seated we went crazy…

Beef Rice Noodles: Loved it, not as greasy as the Chinatown’s. (We also ordered shrimp rice noodles –looks like the beef just with shrimp)

Pork Shumai: They forgot to note that there’s shrimp in them…

Snow Bun (almond-filled sweet bread): Delicious! They make these fresh for every order.

Sesame Ball: It’s not red bean paste, but still pretty tasty and not as oily as Chinatown’s.

Baked BBQ Pork Buns: You must order this and then you will see why…

Steamed BBQ Pork Buns: Very good

Har Gows: Elite puts whole shrimp in the har gows, not chopped up shrimp.

Macao Egg Custard: The BEST egg custard in Los Angeles. It’s pretty close to Macao’s Portuguese tart.

Clay Pot Rice w/ Chinese Sausage:

Almond Shrimp Ball: Looks pretty and deadly (to me)

Sticky Rice: Once again, Elite didn’t note that there’s shrimp in the rice.DSC06626

Ribs w/ Black Sesame: I was expecting the meat to be darker…closer to what my mom makes. You can skip it.

Pan fried turnip (I think..): I prefer it to be crispier, nonetheless, still pretty tasty.

Jellyfish: I don’t like “slimy” texture food. Plus, if it can kill you, why eat it?

Mystery dish: I forgot it was called…it’s made with rice, vegetables, and pork….? I think we were trying to order scallion pancakes, but got this.

Bokchoy: It's hard to mess this one up.

Sesame Pork/Shrimp balls:
I wanted to note that Elite’s set up is not like a traditional dim sum restaurant. There are no pushing carts and it’s set up more like ordering sushi where you check off the items, but there are staff carrying items on trays. Service was fine although it would be nice if the staff were more aware of what ingredients are in the dishes.

We ordered around 20 dishes for 7 hippos and it cost $16/each including tip.

The hippo shall return.

Address: 700 S Atlantic Blvd Monterey Park, CA 91754
Phone#: (626) 282-9998
Rating: 5 out of 5

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Feeling adventurous after my hike on the Agoura Hills, I made a pit stop in Sylmar to have din din with my friend Chrissy and Julian. It's not often that I trek to the 805 area, so why not kill 3 birds with one stone: 1) hike 2) see my friends 3) eat and review. I don't know what I was thinking, but I should have just skipped Sylmar...

Julian suggested Caruso's Pizza, which I soon found out that Sylmar only offers surburbia & Mexican food. When I say "surburbia," I am talking non-gourmet, highly fatty watty food. There are two dining areas and one bar area at Caruso's.
We went for a large half pepperoni & sausage and half tomato & mushroom, and a Caesar salad.
Their salad portions are gi-normous! One is good enough for three people, seriously.
The salad wasn't drenched with dressing. It's an average Caesar salad until I found...
...a black, short stiff hair in my salad? Julian claimed that it's part of the salad...when the salad is not fresh it turns black...something like that and then my reaction was, "They're serving us unfresh heart romaines?" Julian said it was fresh but seemed to dig himself into a bigger hole. I made him eat it and he did. Soon after we finished the salad, our pizza arrived.
Caruso's loves to add on A LOT of cheese, and with all that meat, it was one greasy pizza! It's about the same as Domino, Pizza Hut, etc.DSC06602

Our waitress was nice and fast. Our total was $48 including tip, 2 coffees and 1 tea. I will stick to Mexican food if I find myself stuck in Sylmar again...

Address: 13737 Foothill Blvd Sylmar, CA 91342
Phone#: (818) 367-7766
Rating: 2 out of 5


Coffee & Cream is a cute little ice cream parlor that lacks good ice cream.
There are some food that my taste buds can’t quite differentia like truffle oil vs. vegetable oil, MSG vs. no MSG, and then there’s ice cream vs. gelato. It was unclear if they were offering ice cream or gelato…as the sign read “ice cream/gelato….,” but I saw that they had my favorite flavor, coffee and knew I had to have it. Their flavor is “coffee cream” to be exact.
What a huge mistake! It was creamy like a gelato or creamy like an ice cream, but grainy and with each lick, the texture was inconsistent. I don’t think they were done mixing the ice cream….or was it gelato…? After 7 licks, I tossed the $2.85 1-scoop ice cream/gelato into the trash. Never coming here agan.

Address: 13739 Foothill Blvd Sylmar, CA 91342
Phone#: (818) 364-5303
Rating: 1 out of 5

Friday, March 27, 2009


My friend Shaz’s mom Clarisse is in town from Spain. Clarisse moved to Barcelona around 2001 from Los Angeles, and one of things she misses about this great city is sushi. I can’t imagine living in a place where good sushi is not available.

While I was at Sushi-Gen, the fella sitting next to me recommended me to check out Kiriko, so I figured I’d take the opportunity to try out the sushi joint with Shaz and Clarisse. Kiriko is a cute sushi restaurant in the Olympic Collection Mall, facing Sawtelle Blvd, street level. It’s a bit confusing-- just get on Sawtelle. I made reservation and we were seated immediately. The interior is simple and the space is small and somewhat narrow, so if you’re party is more than 6 don’t come here.
Shaz is trying to crush the Hippo, but failed (you have watch “Kids in the Hall” to get that). There’s a cute low table in the back where you can sit on the floor in the back.
Shaz has stopped eating sushi for fear of all the bad stuff, so she ordered a miso soup and a mushroom salad.
Boring. Clarisse and I have no fear for all the bad stuff and ordered…
Mango & Salmon (w/out caviar): The waitress misheard me and brought it out with caviar, which is about a $10 difference. It was fixed quickly and wow, the mango and salmon melts in your mouth!
Spicy Tuna cut roll: Good but I’ve had better rice
Albacore sushi: Good, but I’ve had better
Spanish Mackerel sushi: Good, better than Sushi Gen’s
Eel avocado cut roll: The sauce is perfect. Delicious, The rice is what’s holding it back from being perfect.
Snapper sushi: WOW! SO GOOD! My favorite out of the bunch!
Toro sushi: Yum! My 2nd favorite sushi item.
Edamame: Love salty edamames!
Their dessert menu is cute:
We went for the green tea ice cream as we barely had room for dessert, and I’m so glad I did!
Kiriko has the best green tea ice cream in Los Angeles! Serious. Shaz who recently avoided dairy products couldn’t resist taking a bite out of it and loved it too. You will too.

Thanks to Clarisse for picking up the tab!

Address: 11301 W. Olympic Boulevard Suite 102 Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone#: (310) 478-7769
Rating: 4.5 out of 5


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