Thursday, December 30, 2010

Din Din A Go Go, Irvine, CA

It was a chilly night but I haven't been to a food truck in a while so I felt like it was time to pay them a visit. As usual, I followed Din Din A Go Go to figure out what I wanted to eat and where to get my food fix. If you didn't know, the whole "Din Din a Go Go" event is basically a weekly meet of food trucks at various locations. The Tuesdays Location is over at Los Alamitos, on Wednesdays, they're in Irvine.

For the first timers, the address is located at 3415 Michelson Drive, Irvine, CA.

As a random sampling, I picked out a couple trucks that I will review individually here:

Rolling Sushi

Their Menu

Baked Salmon Roll

This is your typical California Roll with Baked Salmon on top with Teriyaki Sauce

Judgment: The sushi was very typical of what you would expect to taste. The fish tasted fresh and delicious. The baked salmon was a change of pace from your typical cold sushi because the fish does get baked in a broiler and it is quite tasty when it is fresh out of the oven. The Masago (Smelt Egg) was a nice touch to change it up from the sweet teriyaki and mayo flavors of the salmon.

Price: 3/5
Wait Time: 2/5 (Depending on what you order, if you ordered baked items, it will take at least 8-10 minutes in the broiler alone.)
Presentation: 4/5
Taste: 5/5


The Menu

Pulled Pork Sliders, Chicken Empanada

Chimichurri Fries

Judgment: The menu had so many delicious looking things on it that I couldn't decide what I wanted! I went with the sliders based on the recommendation of the truck owner instead of tacos and it was a great decision. The pork is savory and so tender, they explained that they do a similar process of braising the pork similar to Carnitas. With the Chimichurri and pink sauce, the flavors come together nicely. They also provided me a Chicken Empanada to sample and I felt that it was okay. The empanada probably would've tasted better if it was piping hot, although the flavors to come together well with the basil, mozzarella, and seasonings. The Chimichurri fries are one of the best buys on this truck because you get a massive tray of them for $3 or you can add them to an entreé for just $2.

Price: 5/5
Wait Time: 3/5
Presentation: 4/5
Taste: 5/5


Their Menu

Banana Nana Fo Fana

Judgment: I came by this truck and took a quick glance at the menu. They specialize in Hot Dogs obviously but I was here for dessert. Halfway through the evening, the lights went out on this truck, so they were pretty much working by flash lights, and I definitely commend them on that because it is tough to cook in the dark and still produce some delicious looking foods and desserts. The Banana dessert caught my eye because I always enjoy having the fried bananas/plantains at Brazilian Churrascaria. The combination of a fried tortilla, covered in cinnamon sugar mixture, grilled bananas and other toppings was a little much at first but after eating it, I saw how the dish works out. The grilled bananas have the sweetness accentuated since it carmalizes the natural sugars of the fruit. Similar to grilled pineapples. The tortilla itself was just basic run of the mill deep fried tortilla, but combined with the banana and some whipped topping, it tastes similar to a sweet crépe.

Price: 5/5
Wait Time: 4/5
Presentation: 4/5
Taste: 5/5

That's all for now! Visit the trucks websites here:

Rolling Sushi -

Piaggio -

Taco Dawg -

Monday, December 20, 2010

Union, Las Vegas, NV

Water Show outside the Aria

This was from my birthday weekend that I spent in Las Vegas. Joe asked me where I wanted to eat, and after reading several menus and restaurant offerings, I decided to pick the Union Restaurant at the beautiful Aria Hotel that was constructed between the Bellagio and the Monte Carlo. It just so happened that same day, there was a huge industry convention going on in the same hotel and there were reps from Adobe there. They had a dinner party of 38 going into the restaurant before my group so the service was a little slow.

After talking it over, we discovered that if I wanted to do the Chef's tasting menu, EVERYBODY at the table has to take part in the tasting menu as well, so that's where we began.

First Course: Beef Carpaccio "Flat Bread"

Beef Carpaccio with Red Onions, Micro Basil, Boursin Cheese on flat bread

Judgment: The beef was exquisite and the micro basil definitely adds character and taste to the dish. The subtle hints of cheese expand the flavors even more and all in all, I kind of wished I had more of this to enjoy but it was just the beginning of the meal.

Second Course: Roasted Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup with Roasted Peppers, Bacon-Tomato Grilled Cheese

Judgment: I wish my photo came out better, I also probably should have taken the time to properly adjust my camera settings but aside from that, this soup was excellent. I'm not a big fan of tomato soups, but this was definitely one that I finished to the last drop. The Bacon Tomato Grilled Cheese has a savory flavor to it, mostly thanks to the bacon. The soup itself you can taste the roasted tomatoes, and the addition of balsamic vinegar brings out the richness of the flavors and adds to the acidity of everything.

Main Course: Stuffed Lobster Tails and Porterhouse Steak

Grilled Lobster tails sitting on a bed of stuffing, Grilled Porterhouse Steak with dipping sauces

Judgment: WOW, where to begin. It was interesting because one of my friends was allergic to shellfish, so he stuck to the steak in the back where it only had lobster one side to avoid contamination. The Lobster was poached to perfection and they included 2 types of butter for dipping. Regular and Vanilla/Coconut butter. The Vanilla definitely takes it as it adds another dimension of sweetness to the lobster meat. The steak was grilled to a beautiful Medium Rare and the filet mignon portion of the porterhouse was quite tender. They included a Bernaise sauce and teriyaki sauce, but I felt that wasn't needed, the steak alone was mouthwatering and delicious. The platter also included a Macaroni and Cheese, as well as a Potato Puree. The entree alone was enough to feed all of us have leftovers for us to take home.

Dessert Course: Dessert Platter

Chef's assortment of Desserts: Apple Pie with Pecan Ice Cream, Churros, Rum Raisin Ice Cream and Ice Cream Pop

Judgment: Surprisingly, after eating the massive amount of food before this plate, none of us really cared for the dessert. Although I will say that the churro was well dusted with cinnamon and sugar, the apple pie should've been served warm, but I guess with the prep time to prepare this platter for individually for everyone at your table, it would've gone cold anyways. The ice cream pop was basically a miniature klondike bar on a stick, I think I would've liked it more if it had been covered in almond pieces. The Rum Raisin Ice Cream was probably the most interesting. The flavor was not what you would expect in something like that, and first impressions were that it didn't taste good -- but after eating a bit, I started to enjoy it a little bit.

Conclusion: This restaurant can get packed with large corporate events. There were other parties going on in the restaurant as well. Also, a reminder, that sodas are not refillable. As it is a bar, they'll charge you for each one.

Judgment: This restaurant gets an S-Rank