Jul 01

ESPN Zone – Anaheim

1545 Disneyland Dr.

Downtown Disney District

Anaheim, CA 92802

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Located near the west-end of Downtown Disney, near the Disneyland Hotel, ESPN Zone serves up a variety of American dishes while displaying all types of sports on the various TVs mounted on the wall. When we arrived, there was a short wait, and there were a few others already waiting. Soon, a hostess was able to guide us to a table near a bank of TVs.

While reviewing the menu, our server came by to tell us of the specials and answer any questions. After bringing back our soda, we decided to order the cheese fries and Parmesan chicken pasta. The cheese fries actually stayed quite crispy and tasted great with the bacon bits and ranch. The size of the dish was also quite big, but it made sense for the price of the dish. The Parmesan chicken pasta tasted fresh and healthy. The pasta was cooked al dente and had just the right amount of sauce. The chicken came in fairly large slabs sliced in half and tasted tender and juicy.

Overall, the food at ESPN Zone tasted fresh and flavorful. Prices are a bit high, but are within a normal range for American restaurants. If you had a premium annual pass, then this restaurant would be much more affordable. Our server provided very good service and monitored the soda for refills. If you are looking for a meal, then ESPN Zone would be OK, but you will not be too impressed with the dishes.

Jun 28

Star BBQ – Garden Grove

8295 Garden Grove Blvd

Garden Grove, CA 92844

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

My preconceptions of the Anaheim area got me to believe that there were only a couple Korean BBQ restaurants in the vicinity. Surprisingly, I found an entire Korean district in Garden Grove. Finding a Korean BBQ restaurant now became a chore to select from the many popular establishments. Today, we decided on Star BBQ because it did not seem as popular as some other nearby restaurants, but still seemed like a good choice.

Upon arrival on a busy Saturday evening, we found multiple groups of people waiting outside. We were told by staff that there was a 20 minute wait, which made sense, so we decided to stay. After what seemed to be a 30 minute wait and after seeing even more groups arrive for dinner, we were finally called in.

We were guided to a table in the back of the packed restaurant and were greeted to a table full of various side dishes. The variety of side dishes were OK, but the type seemed lower quality. We were able to review the menu, which essentially consists of two different sub-menus: the “A” menu for $20.99 per person and the “B” menu for $16.99 per person. The A menu has a few items that the B menu does not such as beef rib, short rib, and beef tongue. We decided to opt for the B menu since there were already plenty of choices on that menu.

Throughout the session, we ordered the beef brisket, bulgogi, spicy pork belly, steamed egg, fried rice, and chicken teriyaki. The beef brisket was very tender, but was extremely greasy and fatty. The bulgogi was flavorful and was well marinaded, but the meat fell apart really easily on the cook top. The spicy pork belly came with a good amount of heat, but the pieces had a fairly large chunk of fat on each one. The steamed egg was a delightful change from the rest of the meat since it came in its own bowl of fluffy goodness. The fried rice was interesting because our server pretty much took over the grill and cooked a variant of bi bim bap at the table. The server did cook way too much, and it was hard for us to finish. The chicken teriyaki was marinated well, but was pretty basic. Every time we ordered, the server brought a fairly large amount of meat. I would have preferred smaller portions so that we could have tried more varieties, but we got too full too fast.

Overall, the food at Star BBQ tasted of good quality and were marinated OK, but the portion sizes were too big and the side dishes were disappointing. Service was pretty good considering the number of tables each server is serving. Our server actually cleaned our cook top 4 times during the session by spraying water on the metal and then scraping the burnt stuff into a hole on the pan. Star BBQ may have good food, but I wonder if other restaurants can offer speedier service with smaller portions or self-service meat.

Jun 24

Thai Orchid

6974 Sunrise Blvd

Citrus Heights, CA 95610

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Since I was recommend to try out a particular Thai restaurant in Citrus Heights that supposedly serves up delicious, authentic Thai food, I had to see if the authenticity was there. Located inside a fairly shady shopping plaza with an anchored FoodMaxx, the small Thai Restaurant had quite a few tables available since it was around 1 hour before closing time. We were welcomed with a smile from the very friendly server. After the staff rearranged and set the tables for our party, we were seated and provided with a vast menu.

Today, we decided to order the Yellow Curry with Chicken, Papaya Salad, Chicken Larb, Pineapple Fried Rice, Pad Thai with Chicken, and Sweet and Sour Chicken. Although I ordered my Yellow Curry hot, it tasted more medium, but that was OK. I did not like how the potato, carrot, and chicken chunks were so big. I would have much more preferred the pieces to be a quarter of their size. The curry did taste delicious and went well soaking my white rice. The chicken was tender and the vegetables were soft. Although I did not taste the papaya salad, I heard that the salad was fresh and had a good amount of spice it in (very hot. The chicken larb tasted fresh and spicy as well and looked very appealing. The pineapple fried rice tasted good, but I would prefer it not to have the peanuts and raisins in it. The pad Thai had plenty of noodles and an OK amount of chicken, but it would have been better with prawns too. The sweet and sour chicken tasted healthy and fresh since they were not deep fried, but the sauce was lacking in flavor.

Overall, the Thai dishes at Thai Orchid definitely tasted extremely fresh and authentic. The prices for all the dishes were on the much higher size for the portions received in comparison to Thai restaurants in South Sacramento. Service here was amazing with multiple refills for water and consistent checks on the taste of the food and if our group needed anything else. If you are in the Greenback area and wanted to get some Thai food without coming down to South Sacramento, then Thai Orchid will do the trick.

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