Monday, October 29, 2007

Anita's New Mexico Style Mexican Food

As a member of OC Food Blogs, a review has been posted on that site.

To read the review and view pictures, please click here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Java Spice

With the recent closure of two Indonesian restaurants, Java Spice seems to be one of the few remaining restaurants specializing in Indonesian cuisine. Once owned by professional poker player John Juanda and his family, Java Spice has come under new ownership in recent times.

The restaurant is small, but tidy. The walls and interior space are sparsely decorated with Indonesian adornments. With the relatively small Indonesian community in Southern California, everything Indonesian seems like the TV show bar Cheers, where you can’t help but run into someone you know.

The Es Durian is sort of like a shake. Take some over ripe durian, if there is such a thing, mix it with some crushed ice and condensed milk, and you have this concoction which will send most Southeast Asians into ecstasy. Durian, known as the king of fruits, is definitely an acquired taste and smell. For the uninitiated, durian sort of smells like athletes foot with an underlying sweet funkiness.

The Ikan Goreng Tilapia Tuaco is a very large tilapia which is deep fried. Large cuts are imbedded into the flesh to let the sweet, pungent and spicy sauce to get into every nook and cranny of the fish. The flesh is firm, yet moist and the sauce gives the rather tasteless fish a life of its own.

The Beef Rendang is slow braised beef in a curry sauce. Unlike most rendeng’s that I have had, this version was rather sweet instead of the normal spice that is usually associated with this dish. The sweetness and richness of coconut milk bursts with each bite of the very tender cubes of beef.

The Ayam Kalasan is twice cooked chicken. The chicken is first cooked in coconut milk, then deep fried. The coconut milk imparts a subtle sweetness to the chicken. The finished chicken is then deep fried to give the bird a deep golden brown hue and to also make the skin crispy. Although the coconut milk should keep the chicken moist, there were part of the chicken that were overly dry.

Even without the star power that John Juanda would bring to the restaurant, Java Spice is a good option for Indonesian food at a very reasonable price.

Java Spice
1743 Fullerton Road
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
(626) 810-1366

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rockenwagner Bakery

Since closing his flagship restaurant a few years back, Hans Rockenwagner has opened up an informal cafe and bakery, and a separate bakery that focuses on breads, pastries and sandwiches.

Rockenwagner Bakery is probably most notable for their pretzel bread, and rightfully so. This artisanal loaf is like a huge un-knotted pretzel. The top crust has a very nice chew and a generous sprinkling of salt, that look like small diamonds in the rough. The bottom crust also has that nice chew, but is also very crunchy at the same time. The interior is everything you would want in a top notch pretzel and more. A slightly yeasty fragrance emerges when bitten into or torn apart. That distinctive taste that can only be a pretzel is recognizable from the first bite.

The Cheese Pretzel does not have that infamous knotted look, but instead appears like a buttermilk bar donut. Topped with a generous amount of cheese, the pretzel marries the best of both flavors. What could be better than a nice, chewy cheesy pretzel?

Well, for those that like things a little spicy, the Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel is your thing. Adorned with a couple slices of jalapeno, this cheesy concoction does have a surprising little kick to it.

If you're a pretzel fan, or like German baked goods, Rockenwagner Bakery would be an excellent choice. They also offer their famous Berliners, a German donut filled with raspberry jam and topped with cinnamon sugar, on Wednesday's, Friday's and Sunday's.

Rockenwager Bakery
12835 Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 578-8171

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fage Yogurt

Many consider Fage to be the Cadillac of yogurts, and it would be hard to disagree. This Greek yogurt is strained which gives it a much richer and denser texture. The yogurt is so thick you can hold the container upside down over your head without fear of being “slimed” on. It also doesn’t contain any gelatin which gives it such a smooth moutfeel. The thick, dense yogurt quickly envelops your mouth in tangy goodness.

Fage is relatively expensive compared to most brands, about twice the cost. The quality and flavor more than make up for the price difference. Interestingly enough, Fage has about half the carbs of regular yogurt, but more surprisingly it has more protein than your average yogurt. It doesn’t make any sense when you consider that it is strained, and the straining process would expel all of the whey out of the yogurt. All of that liquid that you find floating at the top of a container of yogurt is whey, which is primarily composed of water and protein.

Fage doesn’t come in a wide variety of flavors. Besides the plain, the only other flavors are strawberry, peach and cherry. There is also a dual compartment container of Fage that contains a side of honey. I’d rather get just the plain container of yogurt and add my own honey so you get more bang for your buck.

Fage is what Pinkberry and all of the other new wave fro yo places aspire to be.