Food Journal March 3, 2019
March 4, 2019
Author: Bianca Yang
I went out this weekend to three exciting restaurants. You can take a look at the restaurants still on my checklist by going to “Useful Links” > “Places in LA to Try”.
The first was Thien An Bo 7 Mon, In Rosemead. This is not your typical Vietnamese restaurant with pho and bun cha (my personal favorite). If you want that kind of Vietnamese, I’d suggest you go a bit northwest to Golden Deli. Back to Thien An. Thien An Bo 7 Mon is a higher end Vietnamese restaurant, specializing in the Bo 7 Mon that is a Saigon classic. Bo 7 Mon is $23 as of last Saturday. Thien An also serves whole catfish and vinegar hot pots and other “cook yourself” meats like boar and shrimp. The cook yourself portion is like kbbq but Vietnamese style. You get a small, oiled up cast iron plate on which to fry some marinated boar or shrimp or beef. It’s certainly a sight to see and a great place to invite family and friends for a fancier dinner.
I chickened out of paying for a $20+ entree and instead ordered the fried rice. The fried rice was nothing special (as expected), but it filled me up for the night. The friend I went with ordered the cook yourself on a cast iron griddle wild boar, which came with all the classic toppings you need for making rice paper spring rolls. I chickened out of trying his food, but it looked pretty tasty. The table next to us ordered something like $140 worth of cook your own meats. They had 5 people, and the portion seemed just right for the two voracious men and three women of medium appetite.
I probably won’t be going back to Thien An Bo 7 Mon unless I have a party to plan, but it certainly deserves a place on my list for its flair.
Yesterday was a whole different kind of food adventure. I took two classmates out to Chinatown to try out Eddie Huang’s BaoHaus and Mr. Churro. I’ve been wanting to go to NYC to get BaoHaus since, like, years ago. I’m a die hard for Taiwanese street food, and Eddie’s stuff looked legit. Those crushed peanuts and 酸菜? Mmm. So we booked an Uber and headed on down into China Town. BaoHaus is in this alley with Ten Ren’s tea and a whole bunch of other stuff. They don’t have a raging line, but the shop next door, Howlin’ Ray’s, has got a line wrapping around the downstairs plaza. That place is on my list for next time.
Anyway, BaoHaus is a nondescript little counter shop that plays some lit hip hop and has a vintage letter board. The walls have graffiti and polaroid covered wooden boards. The feeling is exactly as I expected. I ordered the Chairman Mao, which is the classic pork belly bao, and the Birdhaus, which lays a popcorn chicken type piece of fried bird between the bread. The meats were very tender and fresh. The pork belly was very tender and nicely seasoned. The Birdhaus has a beautiful crunch and got the flavor just right. I just wish the Birdhaus was a tad more spicy. The other complaints are that there weren’t enough condiments on my baos. Not enough peanuts, not enough 酸菜. I guess I’ll have to ask for extra of those if I go back.
After we chowed down some baos, we went walking through Chinatown to Mr. Churro, an establishment known for its filled churros. I got two filled churros, guava and lechere, for $3.75 each. Plain churros are $2.75 each. The money is well spent. One, the churros are huge and fresh, two the flavors are gorgeous. A friend got a raspado, which was huge and more than enough for two people with average appetites. I have a personal love for condensed milk, so lechere was by far the superior choice on filling. The filling may be too rich for some people, so just go for the plain if you’re afraid it will be too sweet. Mr. Churro also serves ice cream and juices and classic Mexican foods. I guess I’ll have to go back for a full meal and dessert next time.
If you’re like us an live in Pasadena, pay attention to the Mini Storage sign next time you come back along the 110. They sometimes have quirky messages on the board. It once said: “ Smile while you still have teeth. “ Yesterday’s message had something to do with apples. The other side said something about drive through coffee. Google Street View will reveal some of the messages.
All three places I mentioned today are now on my Places in the World I Like map. Need a review on another place on that list? I’d be happy to supply it. As usual, contact info is at the top of the page.