Off the Grid is a a food truck experience more so than anything. I first stumbled on this event on Yelp, essentially a food truck market held once at a week at Fort Mason Center, which was once a military port.
Now I must admit, I’ve never been too fond of food trucks (especially those of the bourgeois sort), and Off the Grid didn’t really change my general opinion of them. Granted, there were a lot of interesting dishes I ended up having, given the sheer volume of trucks present on site.
It’s that time of the year, again! Yet another 626 Night Market event is upon us! This time the event will be held over a two-day period in my hometown of Arcadia at the Santa Anita racetrack infield. This two night event is approaching fast and will be held on:
October 20th and 21st
Saturday 3pm – 1am
Sunday 3pm – 11pm
The event parking will be $4 and admission is free!
And of course, I had another talk with 626nightmarket’s wonderful marketing person, Aileen Xu about the upcoming event, in which she answered some questions of mine.
1. Since the location of the night market has been moved to the Santa Anita infield, do you think this will take away from the essence of a night market? I know previously it was mentioned that the coordinators of the event didn’t want to make this into a festival, but wanted to preserve the night market feel.
Aileen: I think that the event being at Santa Anita won’t necessarily take away from the market feel. We’ve weighed out the pros and cons for relocating and Santa Anita Park fits best with our long term strategy for the night market. For example, as much as we loved holding the event at Pasadena City Hall, it’s incredibly difficult to work with the city to close off streets for the night market if we want to hold a two-day AND monthly event. But most importantly, we believe that the night market feel comes from the atmosphere of the vendors, smell of the foods, the hustle and bustle of the crowd… which won’t be lacking in our next event.
2. Do you expect a smaller turn out because it is held over two nights instead of one?
Aileen: We expect the turn out to be greater overall, but spread out between the two days. Having a two day event will alleviate congestion, a main concern for night market goers.
3. Will there be more vendors or less this time around? If there are more, do you feel that perhaps it will be more difficult for the vendors to be successful with more competition?
Aileen: The number of vendors for our third event will be about the same as our second. We want our vendors to do well, so we didn’t want to expand too much too quickly and increase competition. We want to remain loyal to our vendors who have been loyal to us (some since our first event!).
I’m excited about attending this next night market. It is definitely a lot closer to home for me and I’m excited to see what changes they have in store for the event. I will most likely be there on the first night.
If you have yet to attend a 626 Night Market, what are you waiting for? 🙂
Sorry for the hiatus. I’ve been a bit busy prepping for the new school year and have officially started my Welcome Week this week at Western University. I’ve been meaning to report back to you all about the 626 Night Market, a bit earlier, however, things have been a bit hectic. Anyhoo, moving on!
The 2nd round of 626 Night Market was held on Saturday, July 28th at the Centennial square in Pasadena. A group of friends joined Justin and me on our food adventure and we made a night out of it. A good friend of ours moved to Korea this week, and so the 626 Night Market doubled as a goodbye to our dear friend. To celebrate, we played some food games (not as successful as we would have liked) and tried a lot of different things.
Before I get into the food, I just want to comment on the venue and the event as a whole. The event was really great! There was so much more open space, a lot of different vendors and a lot more crowd control! It definitely was a lot safer than the last event, and it was easier to access different types of foods. There were volunteers at the more popular booths, controlling the lines while ensuring the safety of the vendors. Some vendors had a ticket system where you could pay for your meal in one line, grab a ticket, then pick up your meal in another. This seemed to work in favor of the vendors. It didn’t take too long to wait for the food for pick up either. There was also a LOT more accessibility to parking structures. I noticed a vast improvement in terms of traffic coming to the event. Definitely did not take me 2 hours this time to find parking or to event exit to the venue. I just want to congratulate the 626 Night Market staff for making this event so successful. I really do hope there will be another one in the future.
One of the things that we got to try were some yummy lamb kabobs. To be honest they were a bit on the dry side and not as heavily seasoned as lamb usually is. However, it had a nice spicy kick to it, which I loved.
Since we had a fairly large group, we split off to line up for different booths and returned to one central location to share the food. We tried Indonesian sate (which of course isn’t new for me, but it was for some), deep fried stinky tofu with pickled vegetables, spicy stinky tofu in a soup, fried fish skin chips, egg waffles, ginger juice rice pudding, fish balls, candy covered strawberries, and different types of teas.
I think my favorite thing of the night was surprisingly the stinky tofu. Why? Oh dear, I made such a terrible face when I first tried it. I was just so shocked by how it actually tasted “stinky,” but it was weird! I actually enjoyed it. There’s something about it that is just really addicting. I don’t get it at all.
If you have never tried stinky tofu, I suggest just trying it at least once! The smell is hard to handle, but you get used to it after a while. Trust me, it was surrounding the whole event for miles.
So I communicated with Aileen, the marketing coordinator, after the event and had her answer a few questions I had in regards to the night market and plans for future events.
Did the event live up to the coordinators’ expectations?
Aileen: I definitely think that everyone is incredibly happy about the event—the event lived up to our expectations and MORE because it was surprisingly smooth. There was minimal parking/traffic issues, and the crowd was manageable. We’ve heard great reviews so far so that is what makes it all worth while.
How was the turn out this time around in comparison to last time in terms of numbers?
Aileen: Jonny spoke to the city and about 40,000 people came out this time. Last time was hard to gauge but there were probably about 35,000 who actually made it to the event.
Are there plans for another 626 Night Market?
Aileen: I can’t give you anything concrete, but we definitely hope to host another 626 Night Market. I want to say sometime in the Fall, maybe Sept/Oct. Hopefully if the demand is there, we can have a monthly or bi-monthly 626 Night Market!
Thanks Aileen for that feedback! Overall, I think it was a successful event. It was a lot of fun and we ate a lot of great food! I hope there will be another 626 Night Market event coming soon!
p.s Calvin from plaidbag.org tweeted a picture of me during the night market, which actually won him a pretty nifty t-shirt. Yay! Glad I could help someone win free stuff 🙂
Once in a blue moon I am whisked away to some fancy restaurant with ridiculously high prices and small portions. It was a blue moon last Friday. This restaurant has a beautiful view of SF Bay and the bridge, a great classy lounge vibe, with homey decor to make it feel like you’re dining in your house. Your very expensive house.
Rainbow Sashimi and Seaweed Salad – $18
Pan-Seared Day Boat Scallops and Crispy Veal Sweetbreads – $16
San Francisco Roll & Salmon Skin Roll
Honey-Coffee Glazed Duck Breast – $28
The food was very very good, the fish was fresh and melted in your mouth. My favorite was the scallops and sweetbreads, they’re to die for…I’ve never had such amazing scallops before. And now I can say I know why there’s been so much hype about sweetbreads – SO GOOD! My duck breast was very tender and seasoned well, I loved the honey coffee glaze on the skin, that was the best part. But alas, I won’t be eating these kinds of meals every day, it was very pricey.
A couple of months ago, Josie invited me to accompany her to an art gallery showing at a local cafe, Eat Cake. The bakery-cafe is located in the eastern flank of Colima Road, in a plaza bordering Diamond Bar.
The cafe is pretty small, but the decor was very cosmopolitan and sleek. (P.S. The bathrooms were adorable. You have to see for yourself). Likewise, the baked goods looked so appetizing. Food porn in its full glory.
Eat Cake Cafe prides itself on organic ingredients and gluten-free baked goods. The goods, as the cafe’s website notes, are baked in the Asian style: light and delicate. Don’t expect American-style cakes heavy with cream and sugar.
The presentation of the mousse slices was, to say the least, lovely. Eat Cake also sells buns and rolls. An online menu (in PDF) lists all of items sold.
The two of us decided to share the green tea matcha chiffon cake. It was light and spongy. I could clearly discern the taste of green tea, which wasn’t obscured by the cream, which was not overwhelmingly saccharine.
We also ordered a strawberry mousse, if I remember correctly. It was covered in chocolate, but I don’t recall much else about it. Perhaps because it wasn’t memorable in any significant ways.
Eat Cake Cafe’s offerings are reasonably priced (a bit more expensive than other Asian bakeries in the area), but their presentation can’t be beat. It’s definitely a decent place to indulge one’s sweet tooth.
P.S. The cafe has pretty bad lighting for photos. Most of my pics have significant ISO noise.. 😦
FEAST at Rieber is UCLA’s newest dining hall. When it had a soft opening last year, it was noted for featuring Asian style dishes, after a renovation that costed $5.1 million.
I’ve been dying to try FEAST, but access is hard to come by unless you actively know a dorm resident with a premium meal plan. (As of June 2012, FEAST does not accept BruinCard EasyPay, which would allow non-dorm students to try it out.) Anyway, I finally got my chance to experience FEAST firsthand. The dining hall recently began opening for dinner, explaining the long lines outside Rieber Hall on the day I visited.
I was impressed by the decor of the dining hall. One would have never guessed that this dining hall was one of the shabbier dining halls (and home of My Pizza, a late night pizza pickup joint), a godsend during Dead Week. Also, the cutlery and chinaware were pretty snazzy, if I say so myself.
The dinner menu was composed mostly of Korean and Thai dishes, including banchan (Korean side dishes) and vegetarian offerings. To be sure, I engorged myself (multiple servings of every dish), having been deprived of a UCLA dorm meal since I graduated last year. (I still miss Covel Commons’ bbq chicken pizza. Nicole and Josie would know.)
The flatbread kitchen offered two flatbreads on that day: sauteed potato banchan flatbread and shrimp and pineapple flatbread. I liked them both, but I was not particularly fond of the burnt edges.
One of the entrees offered was the Thai barbeque chicken, served with jasmine rice. The chicken was perfectly spiced and seasoned, tender and moist. I was thoroughly surprised.
The sandwich section offered subpar banh mi sandwiches. (Also, is it just me or do a lot of banh mi shops skimp out on cilantro nowadays?).
Also tried a couple of vegetarian dishes: eggplant stir fry, Thai basil tofu sandwich and Korean garlic fries. I forgot to take pictures of the latter two. >.,< But they were good. The Korean garlic fries resembled thinly sliced French fries, except lightly seasoned with garlic and salt.
The dessert section’s highlight was its pandan chiffon cupcakes. I love all things pandan, so it really wasn’t a hard sell. There were also black sesame steam buns, but they ran out quickly…
I also nabbed an appetizing cup of peach mousse, which turned out to be way too sweet for my taste buds. In spite of all this, I still managed to wolf it down completely…
I ended my meal with a compulsory bowl of cereal and milk (when I lived at the dorms, I ended every dinner meal with a bowl of cereal and milk). Sadly, Corn Pops weren’t in stock that day, so I settled for Cheerios. After, I brought out an cone of green tea ice cream.
All in all, I was pretty impressed with the dishes I ate. FEAST definitely trumps its predecessor, the Rieber Dining Hall. Too bad it’s not open to the public. Until then, it’s gonna take some first and second year dorm student to swipe you in.
Address: N. Oakland Avenue, between Colorado Blvd and Union Street
Hello ohmyfoodcoma followers!
Sorry about the lack of posts as of late! I’ve been having a little bit sicky, making it difficult for me to enjoy food these days. =(
But I’m back!
Earlier today, I saw a classmate from high school post a link to the 626 Night Market, which totally piqued my interest. Shortly after, I saw Calvin’s post about the 626 Night Market. The idea of it sounds really awesome and I would definitely love to go, however, the idea of having to park in or close to old town Pasadena makes me cringe. But please don’t let that deter you from going! It will definitely be an experience and I definitely would love to see how they will pull it off.
However, my only bone to pick with the event is the location. Why Pasadena of all places, where it’s difficult to find parking, there are one way streets, and there’s always traffic going through there? Why Pasadena and not actually somewhere in the middle of the 626, more known for their Asian cuisine? Hmm..
Either way, I think that if I’m not too tired from work, I’ll stop by and see how it goes.
This recipe is adapted from this bulgogi marinade recipe by my cousin Leslie, with a twist in the added ingredients to make a fusion mouthwatering burger that’s simple to make. Instead of using thinly slices of beef, you can use any kind of meat you prefer and it will come out delicious! In this variation, she marinaded ground beef formed into patties.
-Ground beef 80/20 (the amount will depend on how big you want your patties and how many patties you want to make, she formed them into patties the size of her palm. You can also decide how fatty or lean you want your beef when you buy it.)
-1/3 cup of soy sauce
-3 tablespoons of sugar (white or brown, your choice, we chose brown)
-1 tablespoon of sesame oil
-3 cloves of minced garlic
-1/4 an onion, diced (we used white onion this time)
-2 green onions, chopped finely
-3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
-1/4 red pepper flakes
-2 pinches of black pepper
-1 can of sliced pineapples for topping (optional)
-1/4 an onion, sliced (for caramelized topping, optional of course)
-Pepper Jack cheese (for topping, you can choose your favorite cheese)
-Hamburger buns (amount depends on how many burgers you’re making, we chose Hawaiian bread buns)
Pretty simple – form the patties (we didn’t even marinade the meat by itself). Mix the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, onions, green onions, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and black pepper together for the marinade, put the patties in the marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before grilling. You can do this overnight for more flavor and flip the patties too, but we didn’t even need to do that and the flavors were still amazing.
Grilling time! We used a George Foreman grill and grilled the sliced pineapples first, while I caramelized some onions with brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Toast the bread, grill the the meat to how you like it (we did it around 4-6 minutes per patty and the inside was still slightly pink, perfect for our taste), add your condiments (we used mayonnaise, lettuce, and mustard) and construct the burger! I recommend letting the patty rest for a few minutes to seal the juices inside 🙂
These burgers were really easy to make from scratch and you can taste the bulgogi flavor and sesame seeds, which was complimented by the spicy cheese, grilled pineapples, caramelized onions, and crispy slightly sweet Hawaiian bread buns. It was the cherry on top of a great vacation, yum! Thanks Leslie ❤
The marinade is so simple to make, as long as you have the ingredients, and you can definitely adapt it like we did to fit your tastes and make anything you want like Leslie did. If you try it out, let me know how you liked it, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Before the trip to SF, all us had planned out a pretty detailed itinerary (food places included) on Google Docs, after compiling lists of places and narrowing down, for efficiency’s sake.
Alvin heard about a fusion sushi place called Sushiritto (serving fusion sushi burritos, as the portmanteau implies), so we decided to check it out while were in the Union Square district. I still recall the pouring rain in the city and thinking to myself what a terrible day it was to be outside.
The place itself is pretty unassuming and plain. And even though the menu options are limited, everything was pretty pricey (<$8/dish is cheap in my books). The signature rolls (basically burrito-sized sushi rolls) all ranged from $8 to $12.
Alvin and I ordered the mid-priced Latin Ninja roll ($9), which comes with Salmon, Mango, Avocado, Asparagus, Daikon Radish, Meyer Lemon, Pickled Red Onion, Cilantro, Green Onion. in a Sauce: Ginger Serrano.
Verdict: nothing spectacular or worth waiting in line for. It tasted like a regular ole sushi roll, except with unusual fillings like mango. More importantly, THAT alone is definitely not enough to satisfy my hunger. All hype, no substance.
Address: 59 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94106 | map
Tokidoki at Yogurtland: How we met the Co-Owner of TokiDoki
After having the Sanrio styled Yogurtland cups and spoons today with my yogurt, it made me think back to the time they had the Tokidok Collaboration, back in 2009.
I remember that experience really well, because it was a special night.
Nicole and I went to Yogurtland with our friend Jason. We went to the one over in Sawtelle, like around 10-11 at night. We took a seat outside, and before eating my yogurt I took a picture of it on my phone. There was a guy sitting at the table next to us and he suddenly said, “did you just take a picture of your yogurt?” Nicole and I both smiled and said, “yeah, it’s really cute.”
We didn’t think too much about it, but the guy continued to talk to us. He told us his name was Ivan and he was the one who was responsible for the Tokidoki themed Yogurtland cups. Now, imagine how we must’ve felt at that moment. The three of us exchanged glances like, “is this guy for real?”
Jason asked him what he had meant. Ivan said that he was the co-owner of Tokidoki. We were so amazed, we had to ask him over and over, “wait, are you serious?” We talked to him for a while and realized this guy was seriously legit.
Sometime during our conversation, I told him that it was a really great idea and that I really loved tokidoki’s art. I also mentioned how I wanted to collect all of the spoons. After hearing that, he got up, went back inside Yogurtland and got us a handful of the different collectible spoons. I was so thrilled!
He told us about the new Tokidoki store that was opening up in the area, and told us that we should go to the grand opening. It was really exciting! Unfortunately, none of us could make it to the grand opening.
Anyway, I will never forget that night. During my time at UCLA, I didn’t come across a lot of celebrity sightings or anything like that. But definitely, I will never forget the night we met the co-owner of tokidoki.
Directions: Take one chicken breast and cut them into sliced pieces. Marinade the chicken breast in the spices for about half an hour before cooking. Cook on medium heat until done. NEVER eat raw chicken.
For the sugar peas, warm up a small pan and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add the sugar peas. Stir fry for a minute or two then add the soy sauce, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Stir fry for an additional 5-6 minutes.
So yet another bento for lunch. This one was for my lunch for yesterday. If you’re wondering what’s the purple stuff, I promise you it’s not some foreign, unedible object. It’s actually a mixture of brown rice, barley, and black rice. I’m in the process of eliminating white rice from my diet, for health reasons. Most people can’t stand the taste of brown rice because it’s “hard” but a little trick when cooking this mixture of rice:
Wash the combined rice and then add the appropriate amount of water. Let it soak in the water for 10 minutes before putting it in the rice cooker to cook. The rice comes out fluffy and not super sticky, like I’ve found it to be in other places.
I actually really like the taste of brown rice. Anyway, my mom made this rice combo for me by combining one whole bag of brown rice, with half a bag of barley, and maybe about less than 1/4 a bag of black rice. The black rice is the reason as to why the rice comes off as being purple. The rice that I get is organic and the black rice is rather expensive, that’s why I use it sparingly, but not only that…my mother says that it’s to prevent the rice from looking too “dirty.” haha, at least that’s what the english translation is. Oh moms..
Anyway, I will be posting things that I made for lunch from here on out, little by little. Although these are not the traditional type of bento that most people are familiar with, it still has the same idea/feel to it.
Southeast Asian desserts rock, from cendol to ais kacang to ABC. Especially in Malaysia! I have yet to taste better durian cendol. I’m sad durian is no longer in season.. These definitely beat halo halo.
This has been in the drafts since forever, and now I’m too lazy to write anything, so just make do with some food porn. 🙂
Okay, I’m way behind on posting up food and boba reviews 😦 and I don’t know if it’s even worth writing these up now. Today, a certain someone pointed out that I hadn’t reviewed Chego, a recently opened Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant a la Kogi (food truck) yet, so here it is. My expectations weren’t too high, since I found Kogi tasty but nothing close to mind-blowing.
Service is pretty straightforward. Order at the counter, be assigned a number and wait for your order to arrive on their cafeteria-like tables. It’s pretty much no-nonsense, and the plates are 100% biodegradable.
I ordered Buttered Kimchi Chow, a heapful of chicharrones, kimchi flavored rice, edamame beans, tofu, and a fried egg. For $7, I expected larger portions, considering how scaled down the service was. The bowl was soggy and way too confusing for my taste buds. The medley of flavors: sweet, spicy, salty and herby (if that’s a word) was too much. I wasn’t sure what exactly I was supposed to be enjoying.
One of us ordered the Sour Cream Hen House, basically grilled chicken and kimchi flavored rice with Chinese broccoli, basil, red peppers and a generous portion of sour cream. That too, was confusing. The sour cream was a overwhelming and really didn’t belong. Moreover, like the Kimchi Chow, the bowl was soggy and wet, having the consistency and texture of gruel.
Someone else ordered the Chubby Pork Belly: fatty pork belly with radishes, water spinach, peanuts and yes, a fried egg. The water spinach wasn’t fresh, but I thought the pork belly was okay. It was flavorful and sort of sweet, but nothing special. All in all, all of the dishes we ordered were similar tasting to me.
I wouldn’t go out of my way for Chego. Korean-Mexican fusion might be stretching it a bit, when the food tastes neither Korean nor Mexican.
Rating: 3/5 (I’ll be a tad more generous. Josie gave it a 2!)
so earlier today I had to go to the Federal building to pick up my mom’s passport. I like how everything is so close to UCLA. We’ve got westwood, the federal building, Santa Monica, 3rd street promenade, and more! So yeah…
Iso’s is actually one of my favorite places in Westwood, but I don’t really eat at too often. It was introduced to me by Nicole freshmen year. I really like this place cause it’s a good study spot. It has wi-fi, great food, and good service. So today after picking up my mom’s passport, I had this craving for spicy ramen.
Mm… spicy ramen. I wish I could eat it again. haha.. so the kind of ramen they serve for spicy ramen, is not like Japanese ramen. It’s typically the instant ramen, but Korean version. I know a lot of people on yelp claim that they could probably make this at home at a cheaper price, but quite honestly… sometimes you’re lazy and you just want someone else to make it for you.
$5.50 for this baby. Mmhmm.. which I think is an okay price. The ramen comes with a lot of fixings, like tofu, fish cake, tons of veggies, and yummy spicyness. Now, I’m a big fan of spicy and I have the tolerance of a bamf so, let me tell you now that I could taste some of the spicyness in this dish. Honestly, it wasn’t like burning my tongue or anything, but non-spicy eaters, beware! I don’t know if Nicole would be able to handle this.
I love how it comes in its own individual pot. The dish is really hot, the waiters serve them with oven gloves. Mmhmm..
I really love how there is outdoor seating in Iso’s. I love sitting outside mainly because I like to people watch (in a non-creepy and non-stalkerish way). The way this place works is that you order your food upfront and pay then they give you a number. You can sit down anywhere, and they bring the food to you. Most newbies won’t know that you can get your own utensils, and often times it’s kind of expected that you should. But the waiting staff is super friendly and really nice, and if they see that you have no utensils, they will direct you towards them or even get them for you.
I also got the peach mango ice tea, which was delish. I really enjoyed this lunch, and I want to go back, again! Oh man…