Sunday, August 4, 2013

4 Seas

Hello all. As most of you have been able to tell, I have let the mantle of responsibility slip from my grasp yet again. I apologize for this. Recently, the Krapp-Liu family has frequented a Chinese breakfast/brunch place called 4 Seas, which is near the Jeffrey and Walnut Asian shopping mall that I have posted about before. It is with great reluctance that I post a Yelp link to my page, but I guess it is a must do. So click here for exact directions and comments and criticism of 4 Seas.

    But now to the critique. It is a very authentic Taiwanese brunch place. One of the stars of the menu is a Taiwanese dish called Dou Jiang Yotiao, which is essentially sweet or normal soy milk, with a fried stick of dough that one can dip in the soymilk. It is a very big part of Chinese breakfasts, and I would be shocked if it isn't on 4 out of 5 Chinese breakfast places. It is very good here, and just might be a must eat. Sticky Rice also gets an honorable mention, and is also one very authentic, very popular, and very good dish in Chinese cuisine. My personal favorite is something called "Scallion Pancakes", which is basically what it sounds like. It is also fried, so f you are looking to lose weight, this might not be the place for you. At this particular restaurant, they serve it with a fried egg on top, and a little can of hot sauce which one can dole out onto this dish with generosity or stingyness. To me, the hot sauce is a holds a key spot in making this dish what it is.

      There is a main menu, like all the restaurants you know, as well as a sort of pastry bar, filled with little fried delights. They also "serve" take out very well, so it is very good for lazy weekend breakfast runs, or lazy weekend morning brunches. They have a very normal, relaxed atmosphere, with a wonderful, almost Miyazaki-like painting on one of the walls. They have a water bar, which is unusual, but is actually quite efficient. Over all, this is very good place, with authentic, homey food, and a pleasant atmosphere. To some, it may be a little too authentic, but others may appreciate it. 

P.S Keep in mind, that it is not a dim sum place, so if you are looking for Chinese brunch, but don't want to spend more calories waving down carts than you get from eating your meal, this is an ideal place. It only takes cash!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Umami, Udadi!

Umami Burger, located in Costa Mesa in The Camp on Bristol street takes a new look at the classic burger joint. Opening just recently in Orange County, Umami Burger is very popular in L.A.  When we arrived at 5:30 on a Monday, the place was chaos. Our waiter told us that there would be a 20 minute wait to get seated. I felt cold, so we decided on take out.

We ordered an Umami Burger, the original, and a Manly Burger plus some sweet potato fries and a ginger beer. The Umami Burger contained parmesan crisp, tomatoes, caramelized onions, mushroom, and umami ketchup. My dad thought the mushroom added a contrasting texture. The Manly burger  came with bacon, onion crisps, melted cheese, and umami ketchup. I thought it was smokier and a touch more balanced than my dad's.

Of course, by the time we got home to eat it, nothing was hot - and the buns, while fresher than at most burger places, started to look a little soggy. They had also mislabeled our burgers. But the waiting would have been something to complain about as well. Even a to-go order at a new place has its issues: as we watched the kitchen process, we saw things packed and then unpacked, orders rejected by the waiters, and our order came about 10 minutes later than the almost identical order placed by the person after us.

Is it worth the wait? You decide. Is it worth the money? Umami Burger is pricey for what you get. Will you go for it?

Friday, November 11, 2011

pizzeria ortica

We went to this pizzeria in Costa Mesa with friends, which is the best way to sample several options. They have excellent appetizers, like the carciofi, the crispy brussels sprouts, the roast vegetable plate, or a plate of prosciutto. The salads look good and healthy. Pizza is obviously one of the attractions - we tasted the Guanciale, the Amalfi, and a Prosciutto pizza that is baked before the toppings go on; this one actually was our favorite. Their pasta is pretty good too, whether you like ravioli or pappardelle, but the sauces are less interesting than the pizza toppings. All in all, recommended for good Italian meals.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Gatten Sushi

"Customer coming"! Every day you enter, or leave Gatten Sushi,  you are energetically welcome and dismissed. The waiters cheerfully greet every new thing that presents its self, including new sushi! Gatten Sushi is a sushi train that in its unique way, raises it above other sushi trains. It is a rather small place in the Albertsons lot near Happy nails and Stricklands. Gatten Sushi's train winds its way through the whole room at a steady pace that allows you to decide what dish to get, but prevents a long wait if you missed a dish. Unfortunately, it does not have its own website, so Yelp, my close competitor will have to do for getting more info on Gatten Sushi. If you get tired of fancy fish and have a craving for something less classy, but just as good, try Gatten Sushi. My personal favorites are the crispy shrimp rolls, the unagi, and the eel. They provide you with strawberry drinks coming around, but if that isn't right for you, you can always order something else. If you desire something not on the train, it is a very simple task to order it from one of the waiters. After eating your fill of the sushi, you can either enjoy their desserts, almond tofu, mango pudding, fresh fruit in jello, or plain fresh fruit. If you are into the almond tofu, make sure to grab it early because it disappears in a jiffy. Make sure not to get rid of your empty dishes (or you can if you want to "save" some money) because that is what your final check is based on. The waiters tally up how many yellow dishes you have on your table, each costing two dollars. Yellow dishes are usually sushi or one of the desserts. The they count up the red dishes, which are three dollars each. Red dishes are the drinks that they serve or the fancier desserts. Then they count how many things you ordered straight form the kitchen, and they create your check. If you don't have a taste for chinese desserts, step into Stricklands to have some great ice cream if you are still determined to have a sweet. All in all Gatten Sushi has a great attitude, a great atmosphere (but don't get freaked out by the energetic greetings), and a really great sushi train with all the sushi you could dream of and more.

Friday, September 30, 2011

101 Noodle Express

on Jeffrey and Walnut offers comfort food for those from the colder climes of china. succulent little dumplings filled with lamp, shrimp, pork and fish. Don't skip the beef rolls. Marinated beef wrapped in a fried pancake stuffed with cilantro.  The five spice should transport you to remote sichuan province: one of the spices in the five spice combo has a famous numbing effect. It coats thin sliced tendon. sublime. the dumplings are filled with everything from lamb to squash (they call it pumpkin on the menu). our favorites are the classic pork and cabbage dumplings. each delicious morsel slides down your throat with ease. it's better if you speak bad chinese, and pay cash. if you can't do either,  you will still be able to take home made chinese food with some attitude to boot.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Sometimes when I feel like having sushi, we go to this little place on Michelson between a Wahoo and a sporting goods store, called Mizuki. They always have great miso soup, and my dad and I split a couple of rolls - our favorites include the tiger and the spider roll, but there are many options. You can sit at the bar and watch the sushi chef and some games on TV at the same time. Try the fresh water eel nigiri, or the ocean eel too - it's fattier but very delicious.