Daily Archives: May 27, 2011

Sweet San Gabriel Valley High

lunch - restaurant

I don’t know why I rarely visit the San Gabriel Valley. When there’s no traffic, it takes less time than driving to Venice Beach, and it’s filled with all kinds of fun things to do – like super cheap foot massages!

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There are a ton of businesses competing with one another, which is why you can get 1 hour for only $18. I ended up at Kortry Foot Reflexology – a good choice because not only do they have female masseuses (the Chinese dudes remind me too much of my father) but also these comfy purple massage chairs that fully recline:

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It’s really more of a full-body rub – they do EVERYTHING – even your ears! I asked for my face to remain untouched, since I’m paranoid about zits.

Not the best massage in the world (akin to what you would get at a nail spa or at a street fair) but definitely not the worst. And for less than $20 for 60 minutes, who cares?!?

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While I was getting high at the foot spa, a realization quickly brought me down.

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That would be my wallet, sitting on my fireplace mantel, at home.

Luckily, my lunch meeting with Koji was less than 10 minutes away and he came to my rescue, credit card in hand.

Then he filled my tummy.

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Newport Seafood has a few locations – this one is housed in an old Marie Callender’s, as you can tell from the exterior framework.  The inside is renovated, modern, and spacious:

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Apparently, things can get really crazy here at night and on weekends. Since we arrived for a Friday lunch, there were zero parking issues, and no waiting. Plus, prices are slashed.

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Along with the cheaper dishes, the specials come with free soup – mediocre, but since I was famished I downed the whole bowl.

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Although Newport Seafood is known for their lobster, Koji and I weren’t about to lay down $50-80 for just the two of us. Well, Koji wasn’t. I had no wallet, remember?

Luckily I had consulted Pulitzer Prize Winning Food Writer Jonathan Gold for his advice via twitter

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When the Guru speaks, you listen.

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I don’t think the shaking beef was on the lunch special menu; Koji ordered the Mongolian version

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Sauteed Pea Sprouts

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Free rice. I can’t stand when restaurants charge you for it!

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Demolished two plates that looked like this

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Doubles too on gravy-soaked rice

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The Guru was right – his dish was my favorite – crunchy and perfectly seasoned, flavors blossoming with a squeeze of lime. I’ve never eaten shrimp whole – heads and all – but seeing that it was entirely deep fried, I figured the best parts shouldn’t be removed.

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You can’t find food like this in Los Angeles. Don’t even try!!! (FYI – I’ve asked the Guru before.)

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We ended the meal with a few complimentary orange slices. This is actually a Vietnamese Chinese place, but I found it to be such a straight-up Chinese touch.

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Sadly, I couldn’t stop by the Great Mall of China to pick up Asian groceries or something to-go for Abe. But that’s okay, it gives me an excuse to come back to the SGV sooner, rather than later.

With my wallet, of course!

Tan Cang Newport Seafood on Urbanspoon

Open Sesame

blogger meetup - salads

I’m a Jersey girl, so hanging out at mall food courts feels like home to me. And Century City’s is like the Ritz Carlton, compared to the ones I grew up around!

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I had an impromptu meetup with blogger Ameena. It was 4pm and I hadn’t eaten anything since my Rush Bowl so I was starving – Take A Bao was recommended to me by twitter followers

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They’re obviously known for their homemade bao but when I saw these giant salad bowls, I knew that was what I wanted. Ordered the 8 Veggie Salad, at the suggestion of the nice man at the counter

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Romaine, roasted corn, edamame, sugar snap peas, cuke, cherry tomato, radish sprouts, and the perfect amount of avocado – topped with sesame seeds and tossed with “Grandma’s Tangy Vinaigrette”

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This bowl was da bomb. It KICKED THE ASS of the salad I ate at Cafe Gratitude Wednesday night, for the same amount of $$$

As usual, Ameena had her sweet sidekick in tow…

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…and as always, came bearing gifts. Don’t let the sarcastic tone of her blog fool you – this woman is closer to Mother Teresa than Mommie Dearest

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I always have a blast with the both of them – just watching Maya eat is a trip – she takes two bites, announces she’s full, then goes back for more

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Thankfully, we didn’t have a repeat of the incident at M Cafe last June. Not even after she (and several hitchhikers) rode this flying pig a couple times

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After catching up with the ladies, I came home for a date with one more

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Abe had a late night meeting, so I saved the Oprah finale to relish and reflect upon by myself. I’ve blogged many times before about her, and how much she means to me (even emulating her last holiday season).

Cookies, cocoa, and candy were the perfect sendoff

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The last two flavors of the Piano Recital Cookies – Oatmeal and Snickerdoodle

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Surrounded by frozen and dried fruit

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I needed some salty crunch – opened a bag of one of Food Should Taste Good’s new flavors that they sent to sample

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I think I am in love with Sesame Seeds! It’s what MADE my salad at Take a Bao, and these chips were full of them

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A tea cup’s worth = 1 serving size

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I’m gonna miss you Oprah!!!

P.S. Today there’s a 1/2 off deal for Kalbi Burger in Koreatown, whose Asian-fusion burgers I reviewed last August – a perfect way to end National Burger Month

Take a Bao on Urbanspoon