May 04

Tokyo Shabu Shabu – Pasadena, CA

345 S Lake Ave #101

Pasadena, CA 91101

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Located in Pasadena in a fairly popular shopping center, Tokyo Shabu Sahbu serves up high quality Japanese hot pot at reasonable prices. We were quickly seated and provided menus. After reviewing the menu, we made an initial order, but later realized that the Shabu feast for two was a much better deal because you get a lot more food for a few dollars more. The server had no problem changing our order over since we had just ordered two large meats anyways.

Today, as part of the Shabu meal for two, we ordered the Tokyo chicken wings, large Wagyu chuck roll, and large Kobe bacon. We opted to pay extra for two flavored broths: pork miso and tonkotsu. Off the bat, we could not taste too much of a difference between the broths, but that was more evident after staff refilled both broths with the same liquid later on in the meal. The Tokyo chicken wings were a bit small and not very meaty, but tasted OK. The highlight of the meal would be the meats. Because of how thin the meats were sliced, you can literally cook each piece fairly quickly by swishing it around for a few seconds in the broth. The Wagyu chuck was extremely tender and tasted amazing in the ponzu sauce. The Kobe bacon was even more surprising because the extra fat basically melts in your mouth. Both meats tasted extremely fresh and high quality. The provided veggies also looked fresh and went well with the broths. The provided noodles took some more time to cook, but did go well with the meat. As the broth cooked the noodles, I did notice the noodles becoming over-infused with the broth flavor and ended up overly salty. The meal also included a choice of dessert, so we opted for a mochi platter. The mochi was delicious and refreshing, which created a nice end for the meal on its pretty plate.

Overall, Tokyo Shabu Shabu serves up delicious tasting hot pot at reasonable prices, especially if you opt for the Shabu for two feast. Service was great, the food tasted great, and we left happy. If you enjoy hot pot at all, especially shabu shabu, then you should definitely give Tokyo Shabu Shabu a try. Next time, I may opt for one clear pot and one flavored pot to balance out the flavor more though.

May 01

The Hat – Alhambra, CA

1 W Valley Blvd

Alhambra, CA 91801

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Located at a busy intersection in Alhambra, The Hat serves up their ever-popular pastrami sandwiches along with various other menu items. Plenty of parking is available and quite a few tables are available behind the corner food stand. A large menu board is mounted to the left of the ordering window.

Today, we decided to order the pastrami sandwich, hamburger, and large fries. The pastrami sandwich came on a large roll with layers upon layers of seasoned thin meat. The pastrami was loaded with flavor and was extremely tender and delicious. It tasted so good that I opted not to walk back to the window to ask for au jus. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the hamburger. The burger patty was overcooked and dry. There is no flavor to the burger and it left little to be desired. The large fries came in a huge potion size, and all of the fries tasted fresh and delicious.

Overall, The Hat really does well with their pastrami, but no so much for their burger. I would definitely come back for the pastrami again with au jus, but I would just order the small fries instead. Portion sizes are generous and prices are reasonable. If you like pastrami, then you must give The Hat a try.

Apr 27

Half & Half Tea House – Monterey Park, CA

141 N Atlantic Blvd #112

Monterey Park, CA 91754

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Located in busy Monterey Park, a line stretches out the back door of Half & Half Tea House filled with boba addicts. A large menu board displaying their most popular flavors is posted near the register. Small take-out drink menus are located near the rear of the facility near the back door. Today, we decided to order the Honey Milk Green Tea and the Lychee Flavored Green Tea, both without boba. The honey milk green tea tasted fresh and refreshing, but tasted watered down. I could not really taste any sweet honey flavor at all. The lychee green tea had a very strong tea flavor, but barely any lychee flavor. The tea tasted refreshing, but the strong tea was overbearing. Overall, Half & Half serves up very popular boba drinks, but we received two very mediocre drinks. Next time, we should probably try the boba in at least one of our drinks. With so many visitors and many other more popular drink choices, we probably would give Half & Half another shot.

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