Sunday, May 22, 2011

Yang Ming Garden

Yang Ming Garden
1866 North Tustin Street
Orange, CA 92865

  I have been hearing about Yang Ming Garden in Orange, CA for a long time now. I finally took the time to stop in and give this place a try. Walking into Yang Ming the family was greeted by a friendly staff member and immediately seated. The waitress promptly brought out deep fried won-ton wrappers with a sweet dipping sauce. The whole family munched on these while looking over the menu and deciding what to have for dinner. My wife, son and I all decided on the meal which included soup, appetizers, a main dish and a small dessert. My wife ordered beef and broccoli, my son sizzling beef and I got orange chicken for our main dishes. My daughter got a teriyaki chicken dish al-acarte. The entire dinner with drinks ran me $85.

  The dinner started with a large bowl of war won-ton soup that was split four ways. The waitress was very careful to make sure that each bowl contained a bit of each component of the soup. The soup was loaded with veggies and all the typically offerings in war won-ton soup. The shrimp were cooked perfectly. The veggies were cooked but still crisp. The won-ton filling was really good. These were brought together in a flavorful broth.

  After enjoying this soup I dove into the appetizers and totally forgot to take a picture. So if you can imagine paper wrapped chicken, a spring roll and a beef skewer on a plate. The beef skewer was good and the spring roll too, but the paper wrapped chicken was awesome. I could have eaten all three plates that were brought to the table but I had to share.

  Being the type of restaurant that Yang Ming's is all the food is served family style and we all got to have a little bit of each. The teriyaki chicken was not what I think of when I think teriyaki chicken. It was not sweet at all, but more savory. For me good teriyaki chicken is always a bit sweet. This is not to say it was bad, in fact just the opposite, it was very good. Thinly sliced chicken breast covered in Yang Ming's version of teriyaki sauce and then sprinkled with sesame seeds.

  The sizzling beef was served like a fajitas at a Mexican restaurant. The plate was screaming hot and when the waitress slid the beef and veggies on to it the sizzling was loud and steam rose every where. The beef it self was tender, the veggies were tasty and the sauce was delicous. It's hard for me to describe the flavor but it was good. It almost reminded of a beef stew kind of taste.

  The beef and broccoli also had nice, tender beef slices. The broccoli was fresh and crisp, and cooked just enough. The beefy broccoli is my favorite way to eat broccoli. The sauce was good but nothing that made me think this dish was special. It just reminded of your average plate of beef and broccoli. I have definitely had better.

  The orange chicken was some damn good food. They offer you the option of going spicy or not and we chose the non-spicy route. The still crisp pieces of chicken were covered in an orange peel laced red sauce. The sauce was full of orange flavor. The spoon was stringing with gooey sauce as you served it up. A sweet plate of chicken. This was by far the best dish of food I had that night. I would recommend at least one person in your party order the orange chicken.

  Dessert was simple, your choice of ice cream or almond cookies. The family all got almond cookies. Overall my experience at Yang Ming Restaurant was good however I was not extremely impressed. There was nothing wrong with the food but it was not the kind of food that made me think "Oh my God I have to tell people about this place." I have had much better Chinese food for less money so Yang Ming's kind of left me disappointed in that respect. This is place I can say has good food but nothing you haven't had before.
Yang Ming Garden on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Taste of Sicily in Orange, CA

Taste of Sicily
665 N. Tustin Street
Orange, CA 92867

  For along time I have been trying to find a local restaurant with  good home made Italian food. The only place I have been lucky enough to find and enjoy is all the way back in Arcadia which isn't so local. I have been driving by Taste of Sicily for years and finally made the decision that the family needed to stop in and give it try. I am kicking myself for not stopping here sooner. The family was seated and greeted by a warm and friendly waiter who promptly brought us some garlic knots. These things are simply amazing by themselves but are served with an oil and balsamic vinegar mixture. A dip in the oil makes these knots unbelievable, but I had to stop myself to ensure I left room for dinner.

  While munching on these little goodies I was able to look over then menu and try to decide what to order. The menu at Taste of Sicily is loaded with so many different choices from pizza, pasta, seafood and even vegetarian selections. My daughter picked the kids cheese pizza, my son got the meatball sandwich, my wife got the chicken marsala and I got the baked ziti with sausage added. With drinks and a huge dessert, more on that later, the meal was about $75.

  As usual my daughter chowed down on her cheese pizza. The cheese was super stringy when pulling the slices apart. This told me the cheese that Taste of Sicily used was quality cheese and not the crap chain pizza joints tend to use. She could not stop talking about how good her pizza was and manged to eat two slices. The pizza was pretty large for a child's pizza so I was impressed that she got two down. My son's meatball sandwich looked like a freight train when it came to the table. A freight train loaded with meatballs covered in sauce and melted cheese. He had to stop half through the sandwich because he was eating too fast. He said he could not help himself because it was good. He did end up eating another quarter of sandwich but I am wondering where he put it all.

  The last time my wife had a plate of what that restaurant called chicken marsala is was burnt and nasty. So I saw this on the menu and suggested she give it a try, my hunch was this chicken marsala was going to be good. She decided to give a try and she was glad she did. I had to have a bite a myself and I can tell you the chicken was tender and the marsala sauce was great. The thin sauce was in the bottom of a plate with the large pieces of chicken swimming in the sauce. With the sauteed onions and mushrooms this was a plate of food anyone could enjoy. She even ended up using some of the garlic knots to soak up some of the marsala sauce at the end of her meal. She said she was glad she finally got to taste what real chicken marsala was like.

  Myself I was torn between the baked ziti and the pasta carbonara. When I told the waiter my choices he told those are his two favorites dishes but if I went with the baked ziti they could add sausage for an extra charge. That sounded like the perfect meal to me so I agreed and I am glad I did. When my plate got to me it was ziti loaded with cheese and sausage baked til golden brown. The pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente and covered in ricotta and mozzarella cheese with some marinara sauce and large pieces of sliced sausage. The first bite had a bit of everything and was what someone might call the perfect bite. The creamy and slightly sweet ricotta with the bright marinara sauce was great. The meaty sausage with the gooey mozzarella was a great balance of flavors. This is a dish I would highly recommend to anyone.

  Sitting at the table feeling pretty damn full the waiter asked if we wanted anything else and I sat for a few seconds thinking then asked about the dessert menu. That was a mistake but a deliciously good one. I knew I didn't need the dessert but when he described the plate to us the family decided to go ahead and get it. I can not for the life of me remember the actual name of dessert but when he described the dessert the waiter said "Think of it as an Italian churro". It looked like pizza dough that was deep fried then rolled in cinnamon and sugar. Then severed with sweetened ricotta that had chocolate chips in it, nutella and then sprinkled with powered sugar. A dab of the sweet ricotta with the chocolate chips made this deep fried treat even better. It's something that can and should be shared with the whole table but worth evey bit of caloric intake.

  Taste of Sicily was one of those unexpected surprises for me and the family. We had never really heard anything about this place but have seen the sign and always told ourselves that we needed to try it. I am super excited that we did because we now have a new Italian restaurant that we can frequent. The food was really well done and extremely good. The server was great, super helpful and was very attentive. The prices are what I expect to pay at a restaurant of this type so all in all Taste of Sicily gets a thumbs up from me. I would definitely suggest that if the urge strikes you then take a trip to Taste of Sicily and you will not be regret the choice.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

  Happy Mother's Day to my wife and the mother of our two kids. Without her in my life I would be lost. Tonight I will be cooking for her so she can relax after having to work today. This also means no restaurant post this week. With that being said another Happy Mother's Day to all the readers of PapaKaster Eatin' that are mothers and we will see you all next week with a brand new post.