So Truckin' Good! (or truckin' bad!)
"Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what's right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in." --Andrew Zimmern, 'Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World of Food: Brains, Bugs, and Blood Sausage'
Walking into the 626 Night Market may as well be purchasing a dining pass into a world of Asian Cuisine. Every delectable treat, savory and sweet, are presented with care in food stand after endless food stand. The hardest decision you will ever make is narrowing down the choices of exactly what you want to try.
Picture, if you will, your local farmers market. Now, replace all those produce and flower stands with food booths. Next, multiply the size of the market by about 50 and then possibly, you can envision the size of this event! This... THIS is how the night market gets in the evenings! yelp.com/biz_photos/626-…
A few tips for making your first visit.
1. Go early. Parking is crazy.
2. Wear a hat / sunblock. The late afternoon sun is brutal.
3. Make one walk around the market and take note of what you want to try.
4. Pace yourself. Eat and walk and talk.
5. Bring a water bottle.
6. Wear comfy shoes. Seating is limited.
7. Bring cash. Some places take cards, some don't.
8. Bring a tote bag. You'll end up with stuff and left overs.
9. Plan to spend close to $30+ per person. (worth it!)
10. Have an open mind.
I took a bunch of pictures, but will share a few highlights:
STINKY TOFU from the Fermented Tofu booth. It smells like a gym sock, but tastes like savory awesomeness! (served with kimchi) yelp.com/biz_photos/626-…
PORK SKEWERS from Oh Thit! Succulent, delicious, juicy, and dripping with incredible flavor: yelp.com/biz_photos/626-…
ORANGE CHICKEN SKEWER from Fang's Asian Market. Sweet, tangy and tender, this was a deeeelicious! yelp.com/biz_photos/626-…
SQUID INK PAELLA from the Paella Artisan. Easily my favorite dish. Generous helping of rice swimming in squid ink and seasoning, tossed with huge chunks of seafood. Savory, bold, sublime. yelp.com/biz_photos/626-…
EGGPORN. Cornmeal, soft boiled egg, bacon, happiness. yelp.com/biz_photos/626-…
BTW, it's really called Eggporn: yelp.com/biz_photos/626-…
RAMEN BURGER: Worth $10 and a half hour wait in the hot sun... no. Happy I tried it? Yes. yelp.com/biz_photos/626-…
FRUITY PEBBLES MACARON ICE CREAM from Dolcissimo Bakeshop. Sweet, creamy, rich, indulgent and refreshing. yelp.com/biz_photos/626-…
PLUM BLACK TEA from Passion Tea Lounge. You know that Asian Plum Candy with the the dusting of tamarind powder? This is that. In liquid form. Amazing. yelp.com/biz_photos/626-…
In addition to the food booths, there is a smaller area with merchandise vendors, music, entertainment, art exhibitions and cooking demonstrations. Parking is free, admission is $3.
Link for info on the Night Market: 626nightmarket.com/?gcli…
"Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all." --Julia Child
If this is the case, then Chef Piaggio must have been a maniacal lunatic in his truck as he prepared the dishes for my wedding!
When my guy asked me to marry him last year and we put all the plans in motion, there was one decision that was easiest to make. Piaggio had to be our caterer. Many reception venues force you to use caterers from their "referred" (in English: Required) list. We would not even consider them. If there was one thing we wanted our guests to remember, it would be the great food and good times they had.
I love the fact that Piaggio customized our selections to whatever we liked, and worked with our budget to bring us tasty selections at reasonable prices!
Chef Piaggio worked from his truck in a tight loading dock, and managed to get the evenings offerings up to the 3rd floor of the Cerritos Library into a warming kitchen. His staff was quick and courteous.
Ah but the star of the show was his glorious food!
Our Appetizers: Chicken Empanadas, Pulled Pork Sliders & Prosciutto wrapped Melon Skewers.
Our Entree's: Argentine Sausage, Grilled Chicken Breast marinated with Sage & Garlic, and Grilled Skirt Steak.
Salads and Sides: Mixed Roasted Veggies (zucchini, yellow squash, assorted bell peppers and eggplant), Rice, Black Beans, and Fried Bananas. And all of his delicious Chimichurri Sauce!
After the wedding, the most popular comment I got was how much everyone loved the food! And there are many happy pictures of people happily noming on the yummy offerings!Behold my "Tres Amigo's Burrito" Haiku:
Pulled Pork - Skirt Steak - Shrimp.
I salivate just… En savoir plusI've had Piaggio's food lots of times. Lots and lots. And I've never reviewed his food... my bad!!… En savoir plus03/12/2012 Ingrid,Matt,
It was my pleasure to be part of such a special day. We wish you much happiness in your… En savoir plus
"Vulgarity is the garlic in the salad of life." --Cyril Connolly
Oh Gilroy... it's the only city I know of that you can recognize simply by smell. That savory scent of thousands of garlic plants dances on the breeze and subtly suggests you stop at one of the fruit / veggie stands along the road.
The Fruit Barn is a rustic little highway shack bursting full of delicious Gilroy garlic, and other seasonal treats including fresh fruit, nuts and garlic ice cream. On this day in particular, the garlic shared center stage with luscious cherries and sweet, plump apricots.
How could you not purchase garlic when in Gilroy? Amazing aromatic Elephant Garlic, as big as baseballs! I bought two and can't wait to roast them in olive oil, butter and a hint of truffle salt: yelp.com/biz_photos/frui…
My mom took home a bag of garlic as well: yelp.com/biz_photos/frui…
We also grabbed a few containers of nuts. Everything looked delicious! yelp.com/biz_photos/frui…
My "loot & scoot": yelp.com/biz_photos/frui…
The guy at the register was helpful and polite. We paid with cash, but I did notice a credit card reader. Pretty dang hi-tech for a tiny wooden shack! If you're ever driving through (literally), make a note to stop by this little shack. All the cooks in your life will love the heck out of you if you bring them back a few edible souvenirs!
We also got a few sleeves of heirloom garlic, which from what I understand are the only varieties that can be cultivated from seeds, instead of the replanting of cloves. I will have to do a little more research on that. Until then, I may be a little stinky. At least I know I'll be safe from vampires... and possibly my hubby.
My Yelp Friends, yet again, did not disappoint!
This place was a bit hard to find, but worth the search.
Burgers were juicy, buns were soft, toppings were generous, not salty or greasy yet very flavorful. I tried the Cheeseburger and my guy got the Mushroom Bacon Swiss Burger. The bacon on his was very thick and not over-cooked. Very high quality.
We sampled the Greek Fries and Sweet Potato Gooeys. Didn't have room for the Gooeys but my guy happily munched on them all the way home.
The fries in both dishes were crispy on the outside and soft and creamy in the centers. The toppings on the Greek Fries were fresh! The tomatoes and onions tasted like they were recently chopped and not at all discolored like the ones you see in salsa bars that have been sitting out all day. The sprinkling of oregano on top gave it an aromatic kick that made your mouth water the moment you popped the lid of the container. The young lady at the register informed us that they were out of the Gyro topping for the fries, but quickly suggested that she can use grilled chicken if we were ok with it. The chicken was tender, fresh, and delicious.
The marshmallows were melted on top of the Sweet Potato Gooeys juuuuuuuuust soft enough to make them coat the fries, but still keep a bit of their shape. It gave the fries texture and sweetness that totally complimented each other.
I must admit, I was a bit leery of all the 5-star reviews when I walked up to this place... almost thought I was getting punked... lol: "WTH?? THIS is the place that gets all the awesome reviews? No way." Well... yes way. It's good! Really really good! Looks like the whole neighborhood knows it too. There was a constant stream of people walking up to this place and grabbing orders they had called in.
Novel new concept.
We've visited twice now and tried:
"Green Eggs & Ham" and
"Smoked Salmon & Dill Cream Cheese"
"Bacon, Egg & Cheddar" with a side of Maple Syrup
Everything has been very tasty! I especially loved the pesto sauce to the Green Eggs & Ham waffle.
I love that they are environment friendly and use biodegradable plates, cups, and utensils.
It's a small location, with limited seating and parking (mostly street curbside). No indoor seating. It's on the corner of a busy intersection. Try to get there at an off-time to avoid long lines. It's also right smack by Chapman University so it tends to get packed with student traffic.
"All normal people love meat. If I went to a barbeque and there was no meat, I would say 'Yo Goober! Where's the meat?'. I'm trying to impress people here, Lisa. You don't win friends with salad. " -- Homer Simpson
This BBQ... is impressive. Super tasty, sweet, tangy, warm & juicy deliciousness.
I had the Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese. My guy had The Rhino. The only difference is that the Rhino has mac 'n cheese stuffed in it in addition to the bbq pulled pork and cheese.
These guys really shine with their BBQ sauce. Boy did they knock it out of the park with that recipe! The pork was tender and delicious. A bit too fatty for my taste, but hey... I'm not judging. This stuff is good! I just need to pack me some Alka-Seltzer shots for afterward, lol!
Most definitely CHASE this food truck! So worth it!!
There were a lot of good eats to pick from: yelp.com/biz_photos/s4KW…
But I settled on the Pork Torta: (Chipotle pork, black-bean spread, avocado, tomato, pickled onions and salsa) yelp.com/biz_photos/s4KW… This was one tasty sandwich!! Now, I'm not that good with spicy food. I love it, don't get me wrong... it just doesn't love me back. This sandwich was a bit much for me to handle, but with a trusty water bottle in hand, I washed it all down. The pork was tender and juicy. The avocado was creamy and fresh, and the bread was fluffy and soft.
Another thing I liked about it, was though it was $8, it was huge! I really felt like a got a good deal with it. yelp.com/biz_photos/s4KW…
Can't wait to try something else next time I'm at the SoCo Farmers Market!
Deeeeeeeeelicious soft serve Ice Cream.
The quality of the ice cream is very good... creamy but not too rich, bold vanilla flavor without being too sweet, mixes well with any combination of toppings.
Two of my friends introduced me to this neighborhood "go-to" ice cream shop over the weekend. Everyone got different desserts: a strawberry malt, a strawberry-banana smoothie and a mint-chocolate-marshmallow shake. Me? I got a small banana split. yelp.com/biz_photos/mMO-…
That, my friends is not SMALL. I wonder how enormous their large one is!!
The prices are great, taking into consideration how large the portions are! The Styrofoam cups they use are huge! Easily the size of the Jamba Juice Power cups. Their selection is vast and impressive. yelp.com/biz_photos/mMO-…
The service was very friendly. When we asked the very sweet guy at the order window if we could add a marshmallows to a shake he stated, "If its on the menu, we can do it!"
I believe this ice cream stand has been around for a long time. There's no indoor seating, but there seems to be a small patio-chair set up across the parking lot. yelp.com/biz_photos/mMO-…
If you're ever in the Vista area, Pepper Tree needs to be a stop before you head home!
Oh, last thing, I'm pretty impressed that they take all credit cards at a little ice cream stand. I mean ALL of them. Their sign stated that they take Visa, MC, Amex, Discover, Diners Club and JCB. Freakin' Japan Credit Bureau!! Hah!
Good Stuff, I say!
We tried 4 sliders. All were good and the buns were fresh and soft.
Cheeseburger: Juicy, cheesy, flavorful, condiments were just right.
Sloppy Joe: Tangy, very messy, sweet zing to it.
Fried Chicken: Chicken was well cooked, gravy was a nice touch.
Asian Pork: Reminded me of a regular pulled pork slider with Asian dressing.
They ran out of tater-tots right before we ordered.
I need to chase this truck with my young nephew and niece. The portions are perfect for them.
Definitely a unique twist to food.
"Ultimate Taco" - The beef was moist and flavorful! The slaw and cheese were tasty! Tortilla was soft and warm.
"Carnitas Fries" - Not greasy at all, and good, but tasted just like the taco with guacamole and sour creme added. The fries weren't soggy at all, and not overcooked.
"Corn on the Cob" - Nice and spicy. The sauce topping with cotija cheese was creamy delicious.
So, why 4 out of 5 stars? When we went to find them for dinner, we weren't there past 6:30, and already they were running out of ingredients. They marked off the Quesedilla before we got to the front of the line, and they were loudly discussing being out of a few cheeses already needed to top certain items. They started their dinner at that particular location at 5:30, and the lines weren't that long.
Still, their food was yummy. That slaw topping they use is killer. :)
This truck is good! Only had the chance to try one item, so I made it a good one: The Prime Top Sirloin and Fries with Chimichurri.
The sirloin was served up medium rare. It was tender, juicy, and oozing with flavor. The chimichurri sauce was delicious, but a bit greasy which sogged up the fries. Now, it was still good... but I kinda felt my arteries clogging up with every bite.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I shall die before I wake,
I blame the sauce that these guys make.
Came here for OC Din Din a Go-Go.
So much fun!
Delicious California Rolls and Edamame. I would have liked to try more but my guy were sampling the offerings of other trucks, and I was stuffed!
One CA Roll (8 pieces) and Edamame order was $5. Not too bad.
My 4-Star streak continues with Front Porch Pops!
This little ice-pop stand brings back nostalgic memories for me of going to Disneyland with my parents and getting a frozen banana or a fudgesicle. Remember those? They'd give me a couple bucks (yeah, know it was a LONG time ago. Now you have to take out a mortgage to get snacks at DLand) and I'd walk up to the cart that I was barely tall enough to see over on my tippy-toes, and ask the Cast Member for a Fudgepop. I'd say, "Thanks!" and run back to my parents with the change.
These pops, they bring me back to those days. They have a consistency of a really frozen custard. They're sweet and creamy. My guy and I shared the "Monkey gone to heaven" (chocolate banana). yelp.com/biz_photos/I23P…
Their pop cart is small and unassuming: yelp.com/biz_photos/I23P… but don't let that fool you. There's magic in them there pops!!
They have a bunch of flavors too. I wish I wasn't so darned full or I would have had one of my own. Next time... next time the Orange Clove flavor is miiiiine!
Pimp my Tater!
That's what these guys did!
They start with a spud, and hand you something that looks like a mascara brush on steroids!
You can order up any "Tornado Potato" and coat it with a bunch of different toppings like Cheddar Ranch, Sour Creme & Onion, Roasted Jalapeno, Salt & Vinegar, Lime Juice, Cinnamon Sugar and many others. They even have Sausage Tornado's where they wrap the potato around that!
I really enjoyed my Sour Creme & Onion Tornado. It was like eating a never-ending french fry! A lot of people seem to comment that there isn't a lot of topping and therefore tasteless. I really liked it because it wasn't overly salty and caked with topping.
The guys that work the truck: super cool. They even let me take a picture. They don't know it, but I've been calling them my "Tater Tots." So cute.
Lobster on a Stick. Who does this?
Slapfish does. And its Yuuuuuummy!
A co-worker and I headed over after work and enjoyed Lobsticles (half of a small steamed lobster tail on a stick) and Fish Taco's. The Lobsticles tasted fresh and the texture was perfect. It was served with a savory garlicy chipotle aioli sauce that just added the right amount of kick. Served with a side of slightly sweet slaw, it matched the tails perfectly.
Fish Taco's were delicious. The seabass was juicy and tasty. Not too salty, either. The sauce was buttery and light. I could eat these all day long.
Three lobsticles and two fish tacos set us back $29. It seemed a bit pricey, but hey... it's lobster. Not someplace you go if you're hungry, it'll cost you to fill up. But it's definitely a place to taste some fantastic seafood. Can't wait to try their "Major Crunchy" (fish sandwich).
Super Cute Truck!!
The art on this truck just makes you want to see what they're about! yelp.com/biz_photos/Ns8E…
My guy and I sampled two hand rolls: The California Roll and the Pork Katsu Roll. yelp.com/biz_photos/Ns8E…
He really loved his for the same reason I thought mine was just "meh". The soy wrapper. He loved it! But he's not a fan of traditional seaweed. I think seaweed is the food of the gods so I found the soy wrapper to be just "ok". Other than that, the CA Roll was average for me. My guy says the Katsu was totally delicious.
Really friendly service, cute truck, and good food. You can't go wrong with HandaRollaMasta! yelp.com/biz_photos/Ns8E…
Super unique treats!!
These bite-sized treats are a unique Korean candy consisting of a flavored center (in my case, I picked the Chocolate Oreo) wound by a gazillion (well more like 16k according to the info board) strands of super fine-spun honey. The result is a cotton-candy-esque, but not nearly as sweet, pillow of delicious chocolate filling. The honey was almost starch-like in texture and flavor. yelp.com/biz_photos/FYiU…
Each pillow is $1, or you could get a tray of eight for $7. Kind of pricey for a tray, but considering the work that goes into making each one, it sounds reasonable.
Anyway, if you're ever at the Irvine Spectrum, don't miss this food stand. It's right next to the Carousel. One piece is plenty to get satisfy your sweet tooth after a nice dinner.
Nestled among the food trucks and food stands at the OC Great Park Farmers Market, Street Foods is serving up some really unique grub featuring Blue Crab Burritos, and assorted tacos, quesedillas and burritos made with tempura battered fish, shrimp, veggies or grilled steak.
I sampled their Blue Crab Burrito. It was early-ish... around 10:30 when I visited, and this burrito made with scrambled eggs (omelette style) really hit the spot. The chunks of blue crab were huge and tasty. The mango salsa topping was fresh and added a nice zing to the crabmeat. You get a choice of lettuce or cabbage, and other toppings of cilantro, onions, tomatoes, lime juice, tomatillo sauce, and cotija cheese. yelp.com/biz_photos/dEAH…
This item was $8.75 but considering the ingredients and the size of it, I thought it was right for the price. I brought another home for my guy and he liked it as well.
This stand is a nice change of pace from the other eateries at the Market. Worth stopping by and checking it out!
"I'm gonna be needing five-hundred of your man-catching beignets. Will this cover it?" -- Charlotte (Disney's The Princess and the Frog).
Well.. them "man catching beignets" probably were dreamed up here at the Mint Julep Bar.
This little desert and drink bar is a hidden gem tucked away behind Disneylands "French Market" restaurant in New Orleans square. It serves up refreshing mint juleps, nomtastic beignets that are dished out crispy on the outside and oowie-gooey hot and moist on the inside fluffed with powered sugar, and amazing funnel cakes.
The hot chocolate tastes amazing with the baked goods.
Tip: Grab a few orders of these early and nab yourselves a nice spot to watch Fantasmic, and have a delicious time with family and friends while you wait for the show.
Bringing romance back to camping on concrete...
After my appointment at the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute this morning, I was Hangry. That's right, Hangry. Adj:
1. When you are so hungry that your lack of food causes you to become angry, frustrated or both.
2. A state of anger and irritability resulting from being hungry.
3. To become so hungry that you are also angry.
Don't believe me? Urban Dictionary says so. urbandictionary.com/defi…
The 20/20 Cafe is located right in the lobby for the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, on the UCI Campus. It really is more of a snack bar than a cafe, but it saved the world from a very unpleasant Ingrid. They serve Starbucks coffee's, albeit a very limited menu; pre-packaged sandwiches, assorted pastries and muffins, assorted snacks and bottled drinks.
I got a tall Iced Mocha. At a normal chain Starbucks, that would be a 12 ounce serving. I'm pretty sure that at 20/20, it was an 8 oz cup. I also got a small cheese danish. Prices are similar to any Starbucks retailer.
The service was friendly. Mariah, the associate at the snack bar was conversational and sweet. She let me know that this was a new location and that they had just recently opened. There is ample seating in the lobby.
So, best bang for your buck? Not really.
Worth the convenience of having in a doctors office? Absolutely.
The 20/20 Cafe: yelp.com/biz_photos/20-2…
Baked goods and grab-n-go items: yelp.com/biz_photos/20-2…
Featured items: yelp.com/biz_photos/20-2…
Limited Starbucks menu: yelp.com/biz_photos/20-2…
I only ordered one item from the Bite Truck and was sadly disappointed.
I was excited to try the Tatanka Bite: Bison Chili served over sweet potato fries, jack cheese, diced tomatoes and honey chipotle sour creme. For $8, the portion was incredibly small. yelp.com/biz_photos/m6SY…
Understandably, bison is expensive, but there was maybe a couple of tablespoons of meat on that, with the majority of it being beans. And it was so incredibly spicy that I could not eat more than a few bites. The signage advertised chipotle sour creme, but it was the chili itself that was waaaaay too spicy. They need to warn people of how hot it really is. I did eat what sweet potato fries I could. At least those were decent.
I have no inclination to ever try anything from this truck again.
"Sideways Face" This is the term my guy has coined for the expression I get when I don't really like something.
That is the exact expression I gave when I bit into Eat 'Em Up's Pastrami Quesadilla. The quality of the Pastrami was very good! But that's where it ended. They claim to have used a "jack and cheddar cheese blend", but all I tasted was jack cheese. The meat and cheese was very unevenly distributed. Worst of all, they gave it to me DOUSED in yellow mustard. I know pastrami goes well with mustard, but geez guys... I didn't want mustard with a side of pastrami! yelp.com/biz_photos/rz55…
Side view: yelp.com/biz_photos/rz55…
This Quesadilla was $7. A bit disappointed here.
I also found it off-putting when I heard the transaction for the lady behind me. She ordered something and asked for the cheese on the side. A moment later one of the guys in the truck calls her over and says they can't do that, and she has to have what she ordered the standard way it's served.
Really? You cant put CHEESE on the side?? It's shredded! And even if its liquid... like nacho cheese... ever heard of a little plastic sauce cup?
Oh I need to stop this review. The ex-restaurant manager in me is getting her panties in a bunch.
Located inside H-Mart at the Diamond Plaza in Irvine, this is a small Japanese street food cart serving up little balls of win and happiness for your mouth.
Each ball is made of batter, tempura and your choice of either shrimp, octopus or veggies in the center. Topped with fish flakes, their own house blend sauce, seaweed flakes, mayo and green onions, each bite is a saucy and savory.
You can custom make your order to any number of different balls. I tried 3 Octopus and 3 Shrimp. All were delicious.
If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend trying this place. It's a unique snack that you wont find anywhere else!