Ruiji Sichuan Restaurant 瑞吉川菜 in Lomita, CA

Ruiji Sichuan Restaurant 瑞吉川菜 in Lomita, CA

Hard to believe that there’s been a true Sichuan restaurant in the South Bay area of Los Angeles (communities south of LAX) for almost 2 years now before I finally discovered them.  The prices here are slightly higher than the Sichuan restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley, but the quality of their food pretty much rival the excellent ones in San Gabriel Valley.

The menu is huge and offers a wonderful variety of Sichuan dishes and more.  The dishes offer a good enough of a kick but not to the point where the spiciness would overpower the layers of flavors that exude from every dish from the very first bite.  And while most of the dishes were delicious, there were a couple of under-performing dishes, such as the Corn laced with Salted Egg Yolk and the Wontons in Spicy Chili Oil.  The corn was too sweet and had too much of the salted duck egg yolks dusted over them.  It ate more like a dessert than savory goodness.  The wontons tasted one dimensional, especially from the sauce the wontons were served with.

Other than that, it was a great dinner.  With so many offerings on their menu, we would have to make a couple of return visits in the future.

 

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Atlantic Seafood & Dim Sum Restaurant 黃金閣海鮮酒樓 in Monterey Park, CA

Atlantic Seafood & Dim Sum Restaurant 黃金閣海鮮酒樓 in Monterey Park, CA

One of the more popular places in the San Gabriel Valley for dim sum because of its pricing (it is one of the less expensive places for dim sum these days).  Most of the dim sum items are priced at $3.18 per item (specialty items such as Roast Pork Belly and Roast Duck cost $6.32 each), and these prices are good for weekends and holidays.  However, if you are able to have dim sum during the weekdays, then pricing is substantially lower at $2.78 per item, or $5.56 for the specialty items.

Dim sum is served in carts that weave through rows of tables throughout the restaurant.  If you come during the peak dim sum brunch hours of 11:00am and 1:00pm, then you will be able to order any dim sum listed on their dim sum menu.  During the rest of the time, the less traditional dim sum items such as the Deep Fried Green Tea Balls with Pumpkin and Pan Fried Fish Cake with Corn are not offered.

Two of the dishes that are a stand out for me are their Pan Fried Stuffed Bell Peppers made with shrimp pasted and a black bean sauce, and the Pan Fried Turnip Cake.  Both are delicious, and the Pan Fried Stuffed Bell Peppers are a rarity these days as not all dim sum palaces serve this dish anymore, and for some who do, they would use jalapeno peppers instead.  Jalapenos give the dish a slightly different flavor profile, and the spiciness of the jalapenos overpower the delicate flavor of the shrimp past.

Service here is attentive and responsive, and the quality of most dim sum is quite good.  Sometimes you may get items such as the Har Gow and the Shrimp Rice Noodle Rolls overcooked, and the rice flour wrap becomes gummy and soggy.

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the photo.

9th Annual L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade at UCLA

9th Annual L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade at UCLA

This is perhaps the best food festival one can attend in Los Angeles, and all proceeds raised will be go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.  This is one of the few local food festivals that have chefs from other parts of the country participate, such as Jonathan Waxman, Marc Vetri, and Donald Link, just to name a few.  They, along with top chefs in the LA area, graciously donate all of their time, effort and food for a wonderful cause.

Added the amazing prizes that were being auctioned off during the Live Auction (a week’s trip to Rome and Tuscany for 4 with dinner at Nancy Silverton’s Tuscany home, plus wine tasting throughout the region fetched a whopping $100,000 from one bidder; and dinner for 8 at Jimmy Kimmel’s home with chefs Josiah Citrin, Michael Cimarusti and others, also fetched $100,000 from each of the 3 winning bidders).

Tickets to this event cost $195 for general admission, but it was 4 hours of culinary and liquor bliss as the food spread offered by the chefs were delicious.  However, another way to be able to attend the event and be able to sample of the offers was to volunteer for the event.  The middle of September is usually the start of the hottest time of the year for Los Angeles, and yesterday, it was no different.  While it wasn’t extremely hot, walking around for hours in the sun and heat drained me out completely.  In the end, I only had enough time and energy to hit a few of the stands.

My two favorites out of the bunch were Stephanie Mutz’s Sea Urchins and Sea Urchin Shooters, Kevin Meehan’s Beef Tartare with Charcoal Chip & Yolk Aioli, and Jeremy Fox & Andy Doubrava’s Bone Marrow Fried Farro Verde.  Both made my palate sing.

Perhaps next year, I’ll attend the event as a regular ticketholder and hope to be able to maximize the experience of this event, an event which, I’m quite sure, easily raised over a million dollars to fight pediatric cancer.