Insatiable Girl

SAN GABRIEL: Half and Half Tea House 伴伴堂

Posted in food, los angeles, not recommended, restaurants by sue on January 13, 2011

120 N San Gabriel Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91775
(626) 309-9387

Price: Pricey
Rating: Still overrated
Directions: Get off at San Gabriel Blvd on the 10
Reservations: N/A, but there are seats/tables
Must Get: Nothing

I decided to give Half and Half another shot since I did not have their specialty drinks the first time, so at this trip I had their Taro Honey Boba Milk Tea, half sugar, less ice. Even at half sugar, the drink was still really sweet. The sugar masked all the tea flavor which still was not great tea and I could barely tell the difference between their honey boba and regular boba from other places. The only way I’d come back here again is if someone really wanted to try it, but I would probably stay away from their tea and order their Taiwanese snacks instead.

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CITY OF INDUSTRY: Half and Half Tea House 伴伴堂

Posted in food, los angeles, not recommended, restaurants by sue on January 13, 2011

17575 Colima Rd
Industry, CA 91748
(626) 810-8778

Price: Pricey
Rating: Eh… It’s overrated
Directions: Get off at Fullerton on the 60
Reservations: N/A, there are barely any seats
Must Get: Nothing

After two attempts at trying this place but leaving due to the long, long wait, I decided to give it a shot one day when I was early to meet a friend for dinner down in LA. I went before nightfall, so there was no line here at all. I got my drink and was out of there within 5 minutes, compared to the twenty minutes Debbie and I had attempted to wait one day only to give up because we were in a rush. Anyway, is the line and wait warranted? Heck no. Their green milk tea was horrible. It didn’t even taste like tea. It was worse than my own attempt of making green milk tea by just adding milk and sugar to the green tea I boiled at home. And the cup sizes?? What idiot designed that? If you are going to have to-go cups in LA, please make sure they fit in the cup holders in cars. It’s only the smart thing to do. Instead I had to tilt this cup to the side and worry about it spilling all over my car. Ugh, such stupidity.

Anyway, if you’ve been here before, you’re probably thinking well, she just got the wrong drink. Read my next post. I went to the one in San Gabriel the day after to try their “specialty” drinks with the honey boba too. (Spoiler alert: it still sucked.)

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ROWLAND HEIGHTS: Phoenix Food Boutique 鳳城

Posted in food, los angeles, recommended, restaurants by sue on January 9, 2011

www.phoenixfoodboutique.com
18166 Colima Rd
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
626 965 8688

Price: Cheap
Rating: Great
Directions: Get off at Fullerton on the 60
Reservations: Not Accepted
Must Get: Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings, Green Milk Tea, Mango and Coconut Mochi Rolls, Coconut and Taro Jello

I am in love with this place. I’ve been a number of times in the past, but I did not appreciate it until I moved back to LA. The stuff here is great. I usually stick to their tea and dessert, but I got their House Special Fried Noodles and their Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings the other day. The noodles were alright, nothing special, but their chicken wings were amazing– not oily, perfectly crisp, and just the right amount of flavor. We finished the first order so quickly, we had to get another even though we had just eaten two hours before.

I’ve had green milk tea from a number of places in the area this past month– Ten Ren, Tea Station, Phoenix, Half and Half, some random restaurants– and I have to say Phoenix is now on the top of my list. The tea flavor is really strong and it’s not too sweet. (I always get half sugar, less ice at every tea shop by the way.) Now that i’ve discovered their tea, I’ll have to stop going to Ten Ren, a shop I’ve been an avid fan of since I was in high school.

But if the tea is great, their desserts are out of this world. I can’t think of another place in SGV (San Gabriel Valley) that makes desserts like this place or in New York or Taiwan for that matter. Everything I’ve had here has been amazing, from their pre-made desserts to their hot made to order ones. They aren’t too sweet, but they’re really flavorful. As mentioned above, their mango coconut mochi rolls and their coconut taro jello are my favorite. They can be found in the glass counter when you walk in.

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TAICHUNG: Aqua 水相餐廳

Posted in food, restaurants, taichung, taiwan by sue on December 11, 2010

www.aquatea.com.tw
407 台中市西屯區惠中路一段117號
No. 117, Sec. 1, HuiZhong Street, XiTun District, Taichung City, Taichung 407
04 2258 1616

Price: Reasonable/Expensive
Rating: Good
Directions: Take a cab or drive
Reservations: Unnecessary

Yet another tea spot, I know… but this place is different. Aqua is trendier than most restaurants in Taichung with its modern decor. It’s great for a change of pace from the “normal spots,” unless you hit up restaurants on GongYi Street quite often.

The food here is pretty decent, but I would suggest you get their pasta dishes, especially their baked pumpkin and chicken risotto. Surprisingly, most Taiwanese places do baked cheese dishes pretty well. (Read the word most, not all.) If you are starving, for an additional NT$150 (~US$5) on top of the cost of your entree, you can get a set meal that comes with soup, salad, a bread basket, baked escargot or salami plate, a palate cleanser (which just means a shot of apple vinegar here), dessert, tea, AND your entree. The other things aren’t mind blowingly delicious, but they are pretty decent. My only complaint about the side dishes would be the sauce that comes with the potato salad. It totally ruined it for me.

The tea section is only half of the restaurant, the other half is a newly added yakiniku restaurant (by newly added, I mean it wasn’t there when I moved out of Taichung in 2009), so this is a review for only half of Aqua. If anyone has tried the yakiniku side, let me know if it’s any good!

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TAIPEI: Chun Sui Tang 春水堂

Posted in food, restaurants, taichung, taipei, taiwan by sue on December 10, 2010

chunshuitang.com.tw
105台北市松山區慶城街1號2樓
2F, Urban One, Qingcheng St., Songshan Dist., Taipei City 105
02 25469493

Price: Reasonable/Expensive
Rating: Good
Directions: It’s right behind the Nanjing East Road MRT Station
Reservations: Unnecessary
Must Get: 蘿蔔糕 Radish Cake (luo bu gao), 工夫麵 Kung Fu Noodles (gong fu mian), 牛肉麵 Beef Noodle Soup (niu ruo mian), 排骨酥麵 Pork Chop Noodle Soup (pi gu mian)

While this post is basically about the restaurant in Taipei’s Urban One, I can vouch that this chain is good overall. There’s a reason why there are so many locations throughout Taiwan– the food is consistently good despite the branch you go to and I’ve been to more than a handful of them.

I used to sit at the one in Chung Yo (above Starbucks) in Taichung quite often, grading homework or practicing writing Chinese characters, so I’ve tried a number of their dishes. The ones that stick out the most are: 蘿蔔糕 Radish Cake (luo bu gao), 工夫麵 Kung Fu Noodles (gong fu mian), 牛肉麵 Beef Noodle Soup (niu ruo mian), and 排骨酥麵 Pork Chop Noodle Soup (pai gu su mian). The radish cakes, pictured above, are tiny rectangular pieces here which are fried and not just grilled liked most places in Taiwan, so they have a crispy outer skin. The Kung Fu Noodles (I still snicker at the name) are dry noodles (meaning no soup) with pieces of pork, green onions, and bean sprouts. It’s probably my favorite noodle dish here– it’s tasty and just the right size for before class. (I used to eat breakfast, lunch, a snack before class, and dinner after class when I lived in Taiwan. And somehow I managed to lose weight!) The beef noodle soup is comparable to the taste of my mom’s, but not nearly as good of course. It’s a decent replacement for when I was starving and already heading towards work. The pork chop noodle soup consists of spareribs that were fried and then added to soup, so they lose the crispiness but retain the flavor.

This place offers a number of small dishes like shui mai, fried chicken, chicken wings, fried octopus balls, etc. They are decent overall, but I usually stuck to the noodles. There is one mushroom dish that I would stay clear of though.

And, of course, tea… it is a tea place afterall. The tea here is great, but costs you an arm and a leg if you are comparing it to places you’ll find off the street like 50 Tea (50嵐), Dodo, Asir, etc. I guess the added cost goes to supplying you with some seats and a table to sit and chat with your friends. They make up for it by giving you an enormous cup though which if you don’t finish, you can ask for it to go.

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This place is comparable to 水舞饌 (shui wu zhuan), another tea shop found commonly in Taichung. The name literally translates into Water Dancing Gala, or so Google Translate says… The food is similar (水舞饌 offers hotpot as well) and the prices are about the same. Remind me to write up a post about this place another day…

And please no one kill me for the bad pin yin. =X

NEW YORK: Tearrific

Posted in food, new york, restaurants by sue on November 11, 2010

It’s a decent boba (aka bubble tea) spot in Chinatown. The almond milk tea is a bit too sweet for me, but I prefer it to the one at Saint’s Alp.

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