Monday, December 27, 2010

Alex DiPeppe's part two

Alex DiPeppe's Italian Restaurant
140-42 W. Las Tunas Drive
Arcadia, CA 91007
Open Tuesday-Friday 11:00a-2:00p and 4:00p-10:00p
Saturday 4:00p-10:00p Sunday 4:00p-9:00p
Closed on Mondays

  It's been over two years since the last time I wrote (old post can found here) about Alex DiPeppe's and thought it was long over due. A week ago my Grandma, we call her Meme, my Mom and my family spent the early evening at our favorite local Italian restaurant. It was our Christmas dinner and we had the whole place to ourselves. When you see Alex DiPeppe's from the outside it looks like a small run down restaurant. You walk inside and it is a small restaurant that has had the same decor for as long as I can remember. The same red and white checkered table cloths had been draped on the tables year after all these years. A familiar sight for anyone that has been there before. The smell from the kitchen hits you right away, again something any regular comes to expect. The quality of food that comes out of the kitchen remains the same as it always has since I was little. The nights dinner cost was not something I had to worry about but I can tell you the dinners run from $10 to $20 a plate.

  My daughter ordered pizza that night but she seemed more interested in talking then eating. She enjoyed a single piece of peperoni pizza. I have had this pizza before and the crust is cooked just right, crunchy outside and soft inside. The right amount of sauce ladled on the pizza with generous amounts of cheese and peperoni. It was good the next night when I had a cold slice. My son got the grilled chicken and pasta. The chicken was good and the pasta was al dente. A simple yet delicious sauce covered the pasta and chicken pile. My son even ate some of the mushrooms that were also included. He was either extremely hungry or he really liked the food. I think it was the food.

  My wife had the chicken alfredo. Man did this look good. It was cooked chicken and noodles covered in a white alfredo sauce. The alfredo sauce was creamy but not too rich. The chicken was plentiful, just enough to have a bite of chicken with every fork full of noodles. With some pepper this sauce was awesome and something I myself may have to order the next I am there.

   Every time I go to Alex DiPeppe's I always order the meat lasagna. This time I wanted to try something different. I saw the parmesan sample plate on the menu it came with eggplant, chicken and veal parmesan and a side of pasta. I wanted to order this but I had never had eggplant before so I wasn't sure if I should. In the end this was meal for the night. The eggplant was the first thing I tried. A deep fried piece of plant cover in meaty sauce and melted cheese. How could this be bad? It was not. This was really tasty and I was surprised how good it actually tasted. The chicken parmesan was nice sized piece of breaded white meat chicken. The breading was seasoned well and overall this was my favorite parmesan on the plate. The veal was thin and breaded with the same breading as the chicken. I thought the veal was a little over cooked but still yummy none the less. The veal was my least favorite thing on the plate. The pasta was covered in the house meat sauce and that was a winner for sure.

  Alex DiPeppe's is a restaurant that I would recommend to anyone in the area to go to or to anyone willing to drive the distance. I know if my mom says lets go to Alex DiPeppe's I will drive from Orange County in a heart beat. Alex DiPeppe's will not disappoint you. The food is made fresh every day and is cooked to order. This restaurant has been a family stop since I was child and is beginning to be a family stop for my own family. I would highly recommend this place to anyone looking for fresh Italian food with that homemade taste.
Alex di Peppe's Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 18, 2010

This fox is delicious

The Snooty Fox
23028 Lake Forest Drive
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Mon-Sun 7am to 3pm

  So I was trolling for suggestions on my Facebook fan page and my friend Niyaz from Fat Dude on a Diet suggested I go check out a place called The Snooty Fox. I typically do not get down that way unless I have a reason. My friend needed help moving and she happens to live down there so the family and I decided to stop at the The Snooty Fox before a day of heavy lifting and moving boxes. Boy was that the wrong choice, moving with a stomach full of breakfast goodness is the suck.

  When we got to The Snooty Fox there were people waiting outside to be seated. The restaurant had inside and outside seating but we wanted to wait for inside seating. While waiting I saw a lot of customers and waitresses address each other by name. This seemed like the kind of place that locals frequent often. Once seated my little one order mini pancakes, my son got the french toast, my wife got steak and eggs and I got a ham and cheese omelet. With drinks and tip this breakfast cost about $50.

  The kiddie pancakes were anything but kiddie sized. These things were the size of normal pancakes from other places. Her meal also came with eggs and bacon. She ate almost all of her pancakes except for the bits I stole. She even ate all of her eggs which is rare for her. This told me she enjoyed her meal. She said the eggs were good and that she loved the pancakes. The pancakes were light and airy and with a little syrup, they were good. When my son ordered the french toast they had two choices either deep fried or griddle top cooked. My son picked deep fried. The french toast was crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Almost reminded me of a deep fried cake. The son enjoyed his meal and ate all but one piece. That was my opportunity to grab a bite or two. I thought that it was a little greasy but still tasty.

  My wife had steak eggs with the steak cooked medium and the eggs over medium. She said the steak was over cooked and the eggs were under cooked and runny. The eggs did look a little under cooked to me but the steak looked fine. I had a bite of the steak and it was tender and tasted like a good piece of meat. My wife also got the "those potatoes" which are O'Brien potatoes. She said these were good and had just the right amount of peppers and onions. Not my cup of tea but they looked good.

  Ah, my good old stand by order, a ham and cheese omelet. I looked over the menu and almost ordered something else thinking to my self I should really try something different. I couldn't do it. When the waitress asked me what I wanted, ham and cheese omelet was what came out of my mouth. This has been my favorite breakfast for as long as I can remember and continues to be a way for me to measure a restaurant. When my plate was placed in front of me it looked awesome. What I found out is that the ham was cooked and piled on the plate. The three eggs were placed on top of the ham pile and then covered in cheese. This was hammy, eggy, cheesy yum on a plate. The hash browns were crunchy on outside and soft on the inside. The way hash browns should be made.

  The Sooty Fox is located in a strip mall and can not be seen from the street. However this is place that you should seek out for an excellent breakfast meal. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming and the food had that home cooked feeling to it. The Snooty Fox is a place I would recommend to anyone that is looking for breakfast that will leave you stuffed and satisfied. Give The Snooty Fox a try and I am sure you will be fan a like I am now. Thanks for the great tip Niyaz.

Snooty Fox on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 10, 2010

50 50 is so so

Burgers by Design
6362 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road
Anaheim Hills, CA 92807

  So I have been told by my two sisters that I needed to go check out Slater's 50/50 Burger. I finally found the time to head over there and give it a try. It was a Friday night so the place was packed full. The wait to just sit down was about forty-five minutes. The inside was loud with sports on the TV, music in the background and of course people talking. By the time I was done eating my food I had an ass full of the noise. The wait staff was nice but crazy busy. Our waiter did do his best to keep our drinks full and help when we had a problem. More on that later.

   Everything at Slater's 50/50 is served a la carte so none of the burgers come with fries, except the kids meals. You have two choices for ordering, either from the menu of pre-built burgers or a menu that allows you to build your own burger. My daughter had the kid sliders, my son and wife did a build your own burger and I had the ballpark. We also ordered a combo plate of appetizers which had french fries, onion strings and fried pickled chips. With four drinks this meal was about $50 but would have been closer to $60 again more on that later.

  We got the appetizer plate which was load full of fries, onion string and fried pickle chips. I went for a fried pickle chip first since I have always wanted to try these little bites of deep fried sourness. The coating they use at Slater's for the pickles reminded my of a tempura batter. The crispy batter, still slightly crunchy pickle that was salty and sour at the same time. The addition of ranch dressing helped round these pickles out to make them really good. The fries and the onion string were nothing special. Now the problem. While my wife was eating a fried pickle she bit into something hard. When she spit it out of her mouth it looked like a piece of broken plate. Now I know this was an isolated case but for my first visit it was not a good start. The waiter did end up taking the cost of appetizer platter of the bill so that is why the check was about $50.


  My daughter had the mini cheese burger sliders. The burger patties reminded me of two pieces of charcoal between some bread. The burgers were way over cooked but that did not seem to matter to my daughter because she did end up finishing both burgers and a handful of fries. My son basically made a bacon cheese burger. He said the burger was tasty and filling. He was only able to finish half the burger but he did munch a lot of fries and onion strings. My wife basically got a bacon cheese burger with guacamole. She had a 50/50 patty which is half beef and half bacon. She had to cut the burger in half so she could eat the burger. She enjoyed the first half of the burger saying it was good and that the guacamole was fresh and creamy. However when she went to eat the second half the patty was so small she just ended up eating the patty and leaving the bun filled with the fixings on the plate. Yeah she may have cut the burger oddly but I had the same problem with my burger.

  As for my burger that Slater's 50/50 calls The Ballpark, it was burger that was covered in "chili" and cheese sauce.  The burger was cover in the "chili", cheese sauce, 1000 island dressing and fresh onions. I too cut my burger to make it easier to eat. The reason I say "chili" is because to me it tasted more like a sloppy joe mixture then chili. The burger was cooked perfectly, the bun was soft and the onions were plentiful. This burger was messy but tasted really good. I was a bit surprised when I took the first bite because I was expecting chili and got sloppy joe instead. Still a tasty blend of flavors just not was I was looking forward to. My first half of the burger was fat and I had a hard time figuring out how to eat the burger. The first half went down in no time so I picked up the second and the patty was gone in a few bites. I was left with a bun full of sloppy joe, onions and dressing.

  Overall I would say Slater's 50/50 Burger did not live up to the hype. The meal was good but I think I was expecting more after hearing all the talk from my sisters. The noise level inside the place was way too loud for my liking. I was really bummed about my wife finding the piece of plate in her food. To be honest I have had better burgers at my local burger joint for half the price. I'm sure I will give Slater's another chance, maybe during lunch so the crowd won't be so large and maybe that will help. At this point in time I am not a fan and would say go check it out for yourself so you can be the judge. Just don't go in there expecting to have the best burger of your life.
Slater's 50/50 Burgers By Design on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mandarin in Orange

574 S. Glassell
Orange, CA 92866

  In my daily travels to work I used to drive down Glassell and would always pass Yen Ching Restaurant. I had asked myself many times "I wonder if that place is any good?". Well finally the family and I took the time to check this place out. From the outside it does not look like much but when you open the doors you are greeted with a nice sized eating area and well groomed tables. The wait staff seats you and menus are presented right away. As a family of four we decided to get the dinner special for four. Since our youngest is only six and our oldest is twelve they each ate for half price. This dinner special includes soup, appetizers, choice of entree and dessert. As a family we picked egg flower soup, the appetizers were paper wrapped chicken, pot sticker and egg roll. The entrees were mu-shu pork, mongolian beef, orange chicken and broccoli beef. With drinks and tip this meal was about $90.

  We started with the egg flower soup. This was a great bowl of egg flower soup. The soup had nice bite sized pieces of chicken and the egg was strung through out the soup perfectly. The small cubes of veggies were crisp and added a nice bite to the soup. The stock had that classic chicken flavor. This bowl would be up there as one of my favorite bowls of egg flower soup. The appetizers came next and I started with the paper wrapped chicken. Again this was delicious the chicken had that salty soy sauce and herby taste. The pot sticker and egg roll were yummy but what made these even better was a sauce served on the side. I wish I knew the name of the sauce but it was dark like soy but had a sweet taste to it.

  The main dishes came next and it all started with the mu-shu pork which I had never had before. The waiter mad the mu-shu wraps and added a sweet plum sauce. The dish was was full bean sprouts and thinly sliced pork. I wasn't sure about the plum sauce since I had never had it before but that sauce totally made the wrap. My first couple bites I did not get any sauce but once I got the plum sauce the wrap went from okay to great. After the mu-shu pork the rest of food came all at one time and it was on like Donkey Kong. The whole family started digging in like ravenous zombies feasting on a fresh kill. The orange chicken had a crispy shell and was doused in this sweet orange sauce that was zesty. The mongolian beef was really good and loaded with green onions. The sauce perfectly coated the beef. The broccoli beef had huge pieces of broccoli and what I think was bamboo shoots. The broccoli was cooked to just the right texture. This is one of the only ways I will eat broccoli. I am not sure how else explain this other then pure awesome sauce.

  Yen Ching Restaurant was a hit with myself and the family. My daughter ate way more food then I thought she would. She ate at least two bowls of soup, almost all of her appetizers and she ate a little bit of everything else. She did great and tried everything. My son couldn't talk because his mouth was full of food the entire time. My wife and I agreed that Yen Ching Restaurant would definitely be a place that we would visit again and recommend to our family and friends. This family style meal would be great for just the wife and I on a night out or taking friends out for some great food.

Yen Ching on Urbanspoon