Sunday, March 29, 2009

Daikokuya Ramen

327 E 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA
(213) 626-1680

This is by far one of my two favorite ramen shops to go to in Los Angeles! Everytime when I'm in LA, I make sure I make a trip there, even when it's too hot for ramen.

Daikokuya is not a very big shop, so there is always a group of people waiting for seats outside the shop. Oh yes, and the wait is well worth it! The soup looks like miso soup, but it is actually made with soy sauce and pork bones. It is really tasty, and I can always taste the pork flavor in the soup. The chashu they use is kurobuta or black pork, which is one of the more tender kind of pork. The boiled eggs they used in the ramen are soaked in a special sauce over night before serving, and the yolks are always golden yellow and custard-liked. The ramen is thin but chewy. If you want the soup to be richer, you can ask for kotteri flavor, which uses "added soup extracted from the back fat" of the pork.

Daikoku Ramen - tonkotsu soup base, boiled chijire style egg noodles, kurobuta pork belly, marinated hard boil egg, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and a tons of green onions.

It is pretty standard thing to order gyoza with ramen, but that's not the case with me most of the time. BUT at Daikokuya, ordering gyoza is a must! It is homemade, pan-fried and not deep fried like most ramen shops. The pork and vegetable filling is so juicy and tasty.

I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but Daikokuya loves topping their dishes with green onions. So if you don't like them, ask them not to put them. I always forget, so I always end up digging them out. I must say, they add up to a big pile every time!

I can't wait to go back again!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'm in Love with a Jerk...Jerk Chicken, that is!

Back A Yard Caribbean American Grill
1189 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA
(650) 323-4244

I'm in love with a jerk! For real! I never had a jerk in my life before, and after one, I was in paradise!

Jerk, not a person who is naive of foolish, but meat that is marinaded in mixture of spices and cooked over flames in Jamaican cuisine, is so delicious!!!  Chef Simpson from Back A Yard definitely know how to marinade and cooked up some fabalous stuff!

The restaurant is located in a secluded neighborhood next to the 101 South freeway. From feets away, I can smell the grill! Upon entering the small restaurant, both my boyfriend and I were greeted by his wife at the counter, who had a really nice friendly smile by the way! The menu included items like jerk chicken, pork, salmon, steak and tofu, regular BBQ chicken, ribs and sausages, and fried catfish and shrimps. They are served as a meal. For the jerk meal, it comes with rice & beans, fried plantains and salad. Fthe BBQ meal, it comes with french fries, a bread roll and cole slaw. The menu also consists of many different caribbean sides like rice & beans, corn festivals (which is like fried bread), corn bread, cold slaw, macaroni and cheese plus more.

As recommended by our friends Kirk and Eilun, my boyfriend and I decided to try the jerk pork and a order of corn festivals, which consists of four pieces. We also ordered a order of jerk chicken because I am a fan of chicken!

Jerk Chicken - grilled spiced marinade chicken with plantain and rice & beans.

The jerk chicken was very flavorful. It has so many flavors that I can't even tell what kind of spices go into it. All I can say is, it is so, so good! I am not a fan of beans, but the rice and beans are very flavorful and delicious as well! The plantain was very sweet and not dried at all even though it is deep fried. The jerk pork was very flavorful also. The marinade tasted the same, but of course, it was pork instead of chicken. I actually prefer the chicken over the pork because the chicken was more tender to me.

I didn't take pictures of the corn festivals, but right when my boyfriend and I got the order, we ate one right away. They resemble sweet fried dough. Steamy and hot, I can see small pieces of grinded up corn inside. It tasted so good, I want to grab another one, but they are very filling.

I really enjoy the food from this place. Both times my boyfriends and I went, we ordered to go since the place was very tiny and was always full. Even though we got our order to go, it was still really tasty. The only thing I dislike about the jerks though, was that I seem to get quite thirsty after eating them. I am guessing it's because there are so many spices and salt added to the meat. But being thirsty is quite worth it for such a delicious meal!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sprinkles Cupcakes

393 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, CA
(650) 323-9300

When I found out Sprinkles Cupcakes had a new location in Palo Alto, I was dying to go try one. My first encounter with a Sprinkles cupcake was when my friend bought a box to share. Oh joy! Even though I never seen the shop then, I was happy. The cupcakes were huge! Topped with heavy buttercream, I thought it weight a pound!  I love getting red velvet cupcake as a default when I try new cupcake places, and that was exactly what my friend bought--red velvet! Goodie!

The cupcake was so big, I had to open my mouth wide to ensure I get a bit of the cake and the frosting. The cream cheese frosting was overwhelming. It was fluffy but heavily sweet. The cake was moist and fluffy also. I really enjoy the cake!

Half a year later, today, I went to Sprinkles so I could bring my friends some Sprinkles Cupcakes. The shop was small. Upon entering the door, the cupcake display was there to greet you. It completely stole my attention. Racks with colorful, flavorful cupcakes. I aimmed to buy four cupcakes, but with Sprinkles offering nine daily flavors and fifteen different flavors that appear on different days of the week, I knew this was going to be a difficult decision. Thanks goodness the line was long, so I had time to stare at the display for awhile.

I ended up getting an orange flavor one for my friend who loves orange, a cinnamon sugar for my friend who loves sugar, a chocolate marshmallow because it sounds good and a lemon coconut for myself. They were all very good by the way, but again, very, very sweet and heavy. I just needed to take half of the frosting off.

So after eating Sprinkles twice, I have learned something new. Sprinkles cupcakes are delicious but overwhelming. Oh yes, and the process of eating and sharing Sprinkles with your friends is a joyful experience. With that said, it is a perfect treat to have your friends and yourself to buy different flavors and just share. You get different taste of every flavor there is, and get your belly filled with goody goodness.