Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Something new at Pei Wei

Pei Wei Asian Diner
985 E. Birch St., Suite D
Brea, CA92821

  I have know about Pei Wei Asian Diner for a while now but have never taken the time to check them out. Recently I was contacted by a member of their PR group. I was asked to go check out the new menu at the Pei Wei in Brea, CA. For doing so I was given two twenty-five dollar gift cards. I used one for my meal and at the end of this post you will have the opportunity to join a giveaway for a chance to win the second twenty-five dollar gift card.

  Having never been to Pei Wei before the family spent a few moments checking out the menu and I also wanted to try a few of these new menu items. To start we ordered a small ginger and orange edamame, Thai chicken lettuce wraps, and the Korean steak lettuce wraps. For our main dishes the little one got honey seared chicken, my son got ginger and broccoli steak, my wife got Mongolian steak and I got orange peel chicken. With drinks this meal was about $53.

  I started munching on the ginger and orange edamame, these were not like other edamame I have had in the past. The edamame were tender but not mushy. The ginger flavor was prevalent with some sweetness from the orange. I was surprised by how much I liked them but even more surprised because my daughter really enjoyed them too! So much so that she brought what was left of the edamame home to snack on later.

  Then came the two different lettuce wraps we ordered. I started with the Korean steak wrap. The "steak" reminded me more of ground or chopped beef then steak. When I saw steak I was thinking there would have been strips of meat and not the ground texture that it was. However that aside the Korean lettuce wraps were a hit with the family. The level of spice added a good kick of heat while the cold lettuce helped to cool it down. I very much enjoyed these wraps despite the "steak".

  Next I tried the Thai chicken lettuce wraps. As with the "steak" wraps the chicken seemed to be chopped really fine. But I had an issue with the flavors in this wrap. It was not horrible tasting but there was just something about this that I did not like. I'm not sure if it was the over powering taste of onions or the pungent flavor of cilantro. These wraps weren't liked by any member of the family and it is not something I would ever order again.

  The honey seared chicken looked good but I did not try a piece because the portion size was small and I wanted to make sure my daughter got enough to eat. She did say how much she liked the chicken and even attempted to use chop sticks, but in the end she decided it was too hard. So she was using one chop stick like a spear to eat the chicken pieces. This worked for her and it allowed her to gobble down all of the chicken. It was good to see her having fun while eating and also enjoying her food. Not sure why but I spaced on getting a picture of my daughter's dish.

  My son ordered the ginger and broccoli steak or broccoli beef in my eyes. Like always we shared our main dishes so I grabbed a couple pieces of beef and broccoli. The beef was tender and the sauce very much reminded me of the sauce you get at P.F. Chang's. The broccoli was crisp and bright green when added with some of the sauce it was just about perfect in my opinion. My son had no problems finishing his meal. He also said that it was just as good as P.F. Chang's.

  Mongolian beef is pretty much a go to item for my wife and I when ordering at P.F. Chang's so it was an easy choice for my wife here at Pei Wei. Again I was pleasantly surprised to find that this dish was very similar to what you would get at P.F. Chang's. The beef in this was also tender, the green onions added a nice hint of flavor and my wife said the mushrooms were good. The mushrooms are something different that Pei Wei does and my wife was a happy camper to see this addition. She loves mushroom on her steak so this was a natural fit for her.

  Not knowing what to get but wanting to get something other then the norm, I decided to get orange peel chicken. This is a dish the family has never got at P.F. Chang's so it was new to all of us. The chicken was moist and delicate. The coating was thin but added a bit of crunchy texture. The sauce was sweet and full of garlic. The heat was just enough to tickle the back of your throat to let you know it was there. The addition of fresh snow peas added some flavor and texture contrast that helped the dish. The snow peas were fresh and crisp which worked well when putting some of the sauce on them. This was very well done version of orange chicken and something I will have to order again.

  Being that Pei Wei is basically the fast food version of P.F. Chang's I did expect some of the main dishes to be similar, they were and that made the family happy. We love going to P.F. Chang's any chance we get and now we can get our fix more often. The Brea Pei Wei location was great, the service was friendly and helpful. The food came to our table quickly and the portions for the prices were fair. The only down side for us was the Thai chicken lettuce wraps. I would definitely recommend any of the other dishes we tried and recommend you head on over and try them for your self.

Pei Wei 

Pei Wei Brea on Yelp
Pei Wei Asian Diner on Urbanspoon

Pei Wei Asian Diner on Foodio54

  Now for the fun part, a giveaway! Here is your chance to enter and win a $25 gift card to Pei Wei Asian Diner within the U.S. This gift card is good at any Pei Wei location so you do not have be in California to win. Make sure to head over to PapaKaster Eatin' and like the fan page if you have not done so already.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Meat Lovers Paradise

The Meat House
415 South Associated Road
Brea, CA 92821

    I first stumbled across The Meat House in Costa Mesa and I was in awe when I first walked in the door. But that day I was looking for place to eat and not a place to buy meat. So Father's Day comes around and my Dad said he would like to barbeque hot dogs and hamburgers, so I think to myself that I want to get Pops some good meat and not something from the local grocery store. That was when The Meat House came to mind and I find out they also have a location in Brea. Score! The family headed over there before our Father's Day barbeque with Dad and grabbed some meat.

    The Brea location is tucked away in a dense shopping center right off the 57 freeway at the Imperial Highway exit. If you are familiar with that area it is in the same shopping center as Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ. We easily found the store front and walked in and again I was in awe with this location. The side counter was loaded with fresh cheese from more places then I could count. The meat counter, front and center was load from edge to edge with fresh cuts of meat. Anything from hand made sausages, pre-made burger patties, fresh hot dogs, and a lot of nice looking cuts of beef.

    We went with the all beef hot dogs and the cheddar, bacon hamburger patties. The hot dogs were $6.99 a pound and the patties were $8.49 a pound. We also got freshly sliced cheese, fresh rolls for the hamburgers and hot dogs and we got a jar of the most amazing pickles I have ever had. The total for this haul was about $45 bucks. Now I know this sounds expensive for hot dogs and hamburgers and I would tend to agree but the quality of these meats was well worth the cost.

    I ended up cooking the meat and I must say that everything turned out fantastic. The burgers were juicy, full of beefy flavor with a enough cheddar and bacon to let you know it was there but not overpowering the beef. One of these burgers and I was almost too full to enough my hot dog, I said almost. The hot dog it self was also moist and spiced just right. This all beef wiener was a winner in my book and my Dads. So much so that my Dad had proclaimed to his wife that he must have more the next time we barbeque.

    I wish more places like The Meat House existed. The service was outstanding, the quality of the food, both the meat and the other items were superb and for what you are getting the prices were fair. I would highly recommend that you take the time to check out your local The Meat House or even drive to one of the three location here in SoCal. Oh and if you want to really splurge they have all kinds of exotic meats and dry aged beef as well.

The Meat House

The Meat House Brea on Yelp

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Hawaiian Lunch

Da Lu'au Hawaiian Grill
41 Auto Center Drive
Foothill Ranch, CA 92610
  My co-workers have ended up being a good source to find restaurants that I have never been to before and also serve up great food. Da Lu'au Hawaiian Grill was no exception. I ended up there on a Friday afternoon and parking was scarce. I did find a parking spot and inside Da Lu'au there was small line even at 11:30am. I ordered myself the two item combo with Kalua pork and chicken Katsu. This also comes with two sides, so I got white rice and potato, macaroni salad. With a drink this meal was about $11.50.

  After ordering to eat there you are handed a number and off to find a table. There were plenty of tables and even outside seating. The wait for my food was not long and it was delivered to my table by a friendly member of the staff. I started with the Kalua pork and this is some of the best Kalua porks I have ever had. The pork it self was full of smokey flavor but not so much it was over powering. The meat was tender, moist and had tiny bits of fat that really added a nice richness to the pork. I moved to the chicken Katsu next. The chicken was breaded and fried to a nice crisp texture. The chicken remained moist on inside. I had one small issue with this chicken Katsu and it was the dipping sauce. This sauce reminded me more of barbecue sauce then the sweeter teriyaki sauce I am used from most other Hawaiian BBQ places. The side dish potato, macaroni salad was a mix of the two and normally it is just mac salad. This combo was good but not the best mac salad I have had and crave for at times. The white rice was pleasantly sticky and worked well with Kalua pork.

  Da Lu'au Hawaiian Grill left me stuffed and ready for a nap, which would have been a good thing if I still didn't have half my work day left. The food was awesome, the portion sizes were generous and the staff was super friendly. I know that Da Lu'au will remain in my memory rolodex of lunch spots when I need a Hawaiian BBQ fix.

Da Lu'Au Hawaiian Grill on Urbanspoon