Boiling Crab: My Favorite Restaurant EVAH

B.C. is an abbreviation that to most stands for Before Christ. I have always been self-involved and have always used it to stand for “Before Carina.” In fact, whenever I am with a guy that I am dating I am normally am forced to ask, “B.C?” To make sure he isn’t talking about another girl after he has already met me. I will blame my youth on being so self-involved. I have always assumed that only when I have kids will I be truly humbled, as I have never been a strong believer in g-d. So at some point in the future I have thought that B.C. would stand for Before Children.  Life is a funny thing and B.C. has ended up taking on the abbreviation of something that I am a million times in awe of something that truly brings me to my knees. B.C. now refers to my favorite restaurant in the world, Boiling Crab. Everything about this place is brilliant and it has the richest story. It started in Texas with a Vietnamese-American husband and wife began serving Cajun food up in a town with only 2,000 people. Since that humble beginning in 2003 they now live in OC and have 5 location including my closest one in Alhambra and one only miles from where I was born in San Jose, CA. It is one of those amazing American stories that brings together love, different states, different cuisines, and creates something that is truly delicious.

I have been to Boiling Crab several times and every time the food is perfect and exactly what I expect it to be. If it was up to me I’d be going every week or so but alas my other UG 1/2 can’t eat shellfish and despite making it a New Years resolution every year I still can’t eat alone. Therefore, Boiling Crab is always a place that I have to wait to have either dates or friends to go with me. A month ago I was having lunch at C & S with Minty and her friend and I got the obligatory, “What’s your favorite restaurant?” question. I, of course, answered that it was B.C. Her friend had an upcoming birthday and was interested in trying it. I invited myself to the b-day dinner and we were joined by the climbing couple (CliminChiro and ClimbingDancer) that also share a B.C. love. B.C. always has a line and a strict rule that you can’t be seated unless everyone in the party is present. You can imagine how bad I felt being the last one to arrive, I may have been only 6 minutes late but when you walk in to this place and think about what you will soon be devouring it feels like a lifetime. I have been through most of the menu and now know exactly what to order. The beauty of this group is that they have also done the same search and we are all now on the exact same path. A little over a pound of shrimp a person whole sha-bang style, throw in some corn on the cob, and add sausage slices. If you are still hungry grab some fresh oysters and sweet potato fries. This group totally knew my drill and I was pleased to introduce them to the $3.00 apple/pear hard ciders that always complement the meal.

So what makes B.C. my favorite restaurant? Let me try to explain, in life I am a fairly lazy person. I like drive-thrus and being waited on and stomp my feet at establishments where I have to stand up to order and yet when it comes to eating my food I like to be involved. The more tactile the better. Crab and artichokes are probably my top two foods and I love picking at and eating it. Also, I am a food tearer (or terror) as I break apart pieces of any sandwich, burger, or pizza I eat and I constantly squish all my fries in search for a limp one (What can I say..I like my fries like I like my men. Or as VeronicainLA told me last night there is some Freudian thing about me liking limp fries) Anyway, this restaurant gives you no utensils, just a roll of paper towels, and a bib. They put the perfectly seasoned bag in front of you and you get to go to town. The whole sha-bang brings together the cajun, lemon pepper, and garlic butter seasonings all in to one and as you rip off your shrimps exterior you re-dip and enjoy. I have had all the shellfish at B.C. from crab to crawfish (or as I like to call it, lobster for poor and small people) but the work to reward ratio of the shrimp can simply not be matched. On this night we, 5 people, had 6lbs of shrimp, oysters, crab for the birthday girl and a lot of fun.

There are certain things that I know about B.C. First, you never wear cute clothes and always accept the bib. Two, at no point in the eating process should you touch your eyes or any sensitive area (read: wash hands before going to the bathroom). Three, the night after you go to Boiling Crab you will have a hard time sleeping because you won’t be able to stop sniffing your hands which smell like heaven and you will wake up dying of thirst from all the salt and not enough water. As much as I consider myself an expert, the other night I learned a great tip from those that are also part of the B.C. religion. I always end up going through a roll of paper towels but this time I was told by my table mates to not even try to clean off your hands till the end and to ask for lemon slices to squeeze on your hands before washing them. Great advice! Anyway, now you know about my favorite restaurant. I have probably already told you about this in person or on the blog but this is my first time with photographic evidence since I always dig in as soon as the food arrives and don’t let my filthy hands touch an expensive camera. Let me know if you’d like to try B.C. and I will be happy to be your religious teacher and come along for the ride. Also how could you not love a restaurant that has this as their dream:

Their dream – that The Boiling Crab have the “best tail in town” and be the biggest ass-pinching, head sucking venue, this side of Mississippi – has become a reality

The Boiling Crab
Cusine: Seafood, Cajun
Neighborhood: Alhambra
742 W Valley Boulevard
Alhambra, CA 91803
(626) 576-9368
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Los Angeles: An Explosion in Foodie Subculture

This post seems very apropos given that the Gold Standard event is on February 28th. The event celebrates, remember this is according to Jonathan Gold, the best of what LA has to offer in terms of food. Which actually got me thinking about low-end food. I was actually inspired to write about this after I read Mattatouille’s article, “The Greatest Food City in the World” and also the one by Mr. Rotund himself, thejGold, so aptly titled, “The Hungry Metropolis.” I know there’s been a bit of backlash about LA being a food wonderland, and it may very well be a myopic point of view, but really?! It’s an editorial piece. And maybe, just maybe, we feel the need to represent for once. Especially considering that we get so much sh!@ from other critics about being sub par. In other words, perhaps we need to publicly address this so that the rumors that “LA has nothing to offer in terms of food” no longer linger. My purpose for writing this post  are two:

1. To give you a defense for why I (remember I) think that the LA’s food scene is superior:

a. Interesting trends that are almost exclusive to the LA food scene. Most notably, food and its compatibility to mobilization and technology.

b. A powerful subculture of bloggers and Yelpers  that so willingly embrace the foodie niche. (And so do their readers.)

2. Stating that LA is, in fact, a food mecca is just that, an opinion. It’s emotional. Deal with it.

We have an amazing foodie subculture that has exploded in recent years. More specifically, food trucks. Other cities only pale in comparison. The LA Street Food Fest is proof of that. And rather unfortunately, we get no street cred for this. And while NY and SF are indeed the kings of the high-end, LA is king of the low-brow. For LA, much of its culinary color is unburdened by high-brow snobbery, much of which other cities so willingly embrace. So maybe we’re a little low-end, but there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

Just to give you an example of how quickly this happened, I remember five years ago when I was in college the only mobile trucks were taco trucks. I was in Highland Park at the time and the only people that dared to eat from such eateries were Latinos. Ok, there were also those half-drunk bar-goers at 2:30 in the morning. (Don’t worry, they didn’t remember eating from the taco trucks the night before anyway so I guess it didn’t count.) As time passed and the rise of Twitter came about, these eateries started to become more and more popular. Suddenly, gourmet taco trucks were appearing everywhere and thousands of followers were now actively seeking these eateries on wheels. I suppose it made sense. Along with the food trucks came the poor man’s food critic, the blogger – and many at that.

Rewind and think about it. SF-based Yelp and its tech-saavy demographic is on the rise and suddenly there’s this group, The Millennials, who have more disposable income than their family-raising elders, love to dine out, and who like to be “in the know.” So much so, that people are vying over Yelp Elite statuses and every foodie wants to know what’s good before the “big time” critics ruin it with a review. The internet empowered these people to write a review and suddenly this group, the “low-end” critics, had a voice. Plus, did you know that the Yelp LA is now the biggest group of Yelpers? We blame/thank Sauce LA for this astonishing feat during her time at Yelp.

Twitter is a popular ad tool for bloggers; it helps them whore out the word about new content. It’s succinct and usually useful. With hundreds of blogs and wannabe writers (UGs included), bloggers inform their audiences about what’s good in their neck of the woods. With none of the pretentiousness that comes along with stuffy food reviews, food bloggers report on the food and their stories at these particular eateries. “It was at THIS particular place at THIS particular time that I had THIS particular experience.” Nothing more and nothing less. All of a sudden LA was equipped with food trucks popping up everywhere, bloggers eager and ready to support them, and a viewing public that is, unlike traditional media, BOTH actively and passively (in the form of news feeds) listening.

Marry bloggers, Twitter, and a relentless passion for food and you have the LA foodie subculture. That’s a powerful phenomenon. If you ask me, that’s pretty fu@!ing cool. Can you call that a competitive edge over NY and SF? I’d say so.

Which brings me to my last point, I’m biased. Maybe I’m just cheerleading because, for me, my love for Los Angeles is inelastic. And obviously, those subtle emotions influence my opinion in the matter. My point is, it’s obvious Angelenos are going to have a predilection towards food in their city. And obviously, our opinions will carry a disproportionate weight. The fact is that we prefer LA’s culinary landscape is merely our opinion – which is deeply rooted in our emotions – and which play a powerful role in evaluating our world, especially when we’ve got experience in that domain.

Conversely, perhaps our need to defend Los Angeles as a great foodie city is a guise which allows us to cope with the unspeakable culinary misery we have…;)  What do you think? Can there even be an even-handed approach to this question?

In the meantime, I’ll see you at the Gold Standard event.

Cupcake Challenge: Who took the Cupcake?

This past Saturday was the Nesquik Cupcake Challenge at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel thrown by our good friends at Drink-Eat-Play. I have put off writing this for the following reasons.

1. I am lazy
2. I have been waiting until the official winners are announced
3. Writing this will force me to look at a million cupcakes, something I vowed to not do for another month
4. I will have to remember all that I consumed on this fateful day

Josie was unable to attend this event due to work, so just as an FYI, I am blaming her for making me consume all of those deliciously sweet calories. Here was my experience on the day of the event.  I was planning on eating a sensible breakfast prior to arriving, but in typical Carina fashion I walked in to breakfast at 11 and asked if I could order off the lunch menu. One corned beef sandwich and french fries done and I had only three hours before the cupcake event. I drove home and napped and did 5 minutes on my treadmill pretending like that would help. I arrived at the Cupcake Challenge right at the start of the event and was handed my judging card. I thought I was important because I am a food blogger, but in true democracy my vote had the same weight as everyone else. I am all about one man and one vote. The first place I headed when I entered was the Polkadots cupcake stand. I wanted this for several reason. First, they won last years event and I wanted to support a local Pasadena store. Furthermore, I have tried to try their cupcakes numerous times and they are always closed when my sweet tooth acts up. They had a beautiful display and I finally got to see one of their famous cupcake cakes. Yup, these are all made of individual cupcakes.


The first cupcake I had of the day was the Lucky Charm, which was a perfectly moist pistachio cupcake. The other cupcakes devoured were a blur but there were some major highlights and I have decided to give unusual awards to mix up the challenge a bit. The most beautiful cupcake that unfortunately didn’t have the taste to match was the Salted Carmel from Tavern Restaurant, it was dusted with gold and a homemade macaroon was placed on top.

Another favorite of mine was the creative booze filled cupcakes from Speakeasy Sweets. They had an Amaretto Sour and an Irish Car Bomb cupcake. I am not crazy about either drink but I love the cupcake creativity and, well, everything is better with some hooch.

The best dressed cupcake server award went to the cute girls at Friandise Pastries.

My favorite cupcake display hands down went to Two Parts Sugar and I found it hilarious that they did a Naughty and Nice display and that a few hours in only the nice remained. Is this really the City of Angels?

Taste wise there were three cupcakes that absolutely blew (blue) me away. The first two were from the same bakery called Blue Cupcake. They had a Sweet & Salty Vanilla and a Pumpkin cupcake that had pumpkin bread stuffed with pumpkin mouse, cream cheese frosting, and topped with a toasted pumpkin seed brittle. I asked if Blue Cupcake had an actual store and apparently at the moment they are only serving at Farmers Markets.  The thing that sold me on both of the cupcakes submitted by Blue Cupcake was that the cupcake consistency, it was not too wet and not too dry. My other favorite was the last cupcake I tried, it was rose petal by Sugar Bliss Sweets in Santa Barbara. The actual cupcake was infused with rose water but it was this frosting that knocked my cupcake top off, it was perfection.

As you can see from my ballot those were all of my winners. Blue Cupcake’s Sweet & Salty vanilla for best traditional and they also took the cupcake on my judging for their Pumpkin cupcake in best original and the Rose Petal cupcake was the best overall.

The official results of the Cupcake Challenge are as followed:


Best Traditional
1st Place:  Big Man Bakes “Red Velvet”
2nd Place:  Blue Cupcake “Sweet and Salty Vanilla”
3rd Place:  Southern Girl Desserts “Red Velvet”

Best Original
1st Place:  My Delight Cupcaker “Breakfast Cake”
2nd Place:  Jus Minis “Caramel Banana”
3rd Place:  Two Parts Sugar “Chocolate Covered Strawberry”

Best Overall
1st Place:  Jus Minis “Caramel Banana”
2nd Place:  My Delight Cupcaker “Breakfast Cake”
3rd Place:  Two Parts Sugar “Chocolate Covered Strawberry”

I don’t want to disagree with the consensus but most people came in with their own cupcake tupperwares and boxes and grabbed one of each and exhibited something I don’t know a lot about, self-control. I am just saying that some people’s cupcakes looked like the main picture, placed beautifully into a box and consumed in a leisurely manner. That was not the case with me. I took instant bites and made this kind of a mess. Whatever, I am uncouth.

I know I am complaining about calories and too much sugar, but in all honesty it was a sinfully sweet time. I owe a big thanks to The Minty for being my cupcake sampling partner. I don’t have our official digital photobooth pictures but here is my picture from the picture.

Also, I want to give a big thank you to Drink-Eat-Play and to Quick. I have been referring to Quik the bunny as my new boyfriend. What’s so crazy about that? He is tall, dark, and handsome and goes at it like a rabbit. I would continue but this reminds me too much of that Funny Bunny Friday.

Thursday is the New Friday: Round-Up

I once wore a makeshift tee to My Last Bite’s party that read, “Broke is the New Black” but now I am coining, “Thursday is the New Friday.” What has come of the world? Commoners, like us, are now partying like rock stars during the week?! Sadly, with the unemployment rate at over 9% nationally and over 12% in California, there are quite a few unemployed folks out and about spending their money on booze. Did you know that during a recession, alcohol is one of only a few goods that experiences a rise in sales?! And with “Happy hour being the new dinner,”  (Carina’s  line) you just can’t resist shaking your chonies and forgetting about the present economic climate. When in Rome…

Here’s a few things that the UG Girls will be up to this Thursday:

1. Checker’s happy hour: Because it’s the “best happy hour you didn’t know about” and because the food always exceeds our expectations, we continue to frequent it almost weekly. It’s in our favorite neighborhood, downtown, and at $4 a plate and $4 for drinks, it’s really a deal you can’t resist. The only drawback is that service is a bit slow. But think about it: The food and drinks are far beyond your expectations, which logically, will take longer and you’re in a classy spot. Go in and entertain yourself with friends, order a drink, and have fun. If you’re bothered by the amount of time it takes to get your food and drink, then maybe you should consider your company. Chances are, if you’re bored, that’s probably why. Below are this week’s menu themes. We’ll be there early so join our digital entourage and join us out for a drink. Let’s celebrate my (Josie) newly unemployed status – well, in two weeks. Unemployed that is, by choice!

Below is the menu:

Cocktails will feature VOX VODKA (www.voxvodka.com/).  Meticulously crafted in The Netherlands from the finest wheat grain selected for its subtle undertones, VOX is distilled five times to ensure ultimate smoothness, and there is an undeniable cleanness to the finish.

This week’s featured cocktails will be:

  • LIMONCELLO BRAMBLE – A martini of Vox Vodka, Limoncello, blackberry puree, and fresh lemon juice.  From the mind of our own bartender, Violet!
  • RED CHECKER – Vox Vodka, St Germain elderflower liqueur, muddled raspberries, and lemon juice, with a hint of orange bitters
  • MOSCOW MULE – Vox Vodka, fresh lime juice, fresh ginger juice, and ginger beer.  “Moscow” for the vodka; “Mule” for the kick of ginger!
  • VESPER MARTINI – James Bond’s change-of-pace: Tanqueray Gin, Vox Vodka, Golden Lillet, and a twist of lemon.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesper_cocktail)

Of course, no FOUR event would be complete without the palate-pleasing creations of Chef Todd Allison – and this week is no exception!  This week’s featured dishes are:

  • VICHYSSOISE with house-made taro chips
  • OLIVE OIL POACHED AHI, with cannelloni bean and basil pesto ragout, and red onion pickles
  • SHORTRIB GRILLED CHEESE with sautéed onion, baby arugula, and a stone-ground mustard sauce
  • CONFIT OF ARTICHOKE HEARTS, with lemon zest and shaved mizithra cheese

2. Drago Centro happy hour: At some point in the night, I am having cocktails with a friend at Drago. We can stop in anytime because the Drago happy hour menu lasts ALL day! The staff goes out of their way to be accommodating and if there at the right hour, you can catch many downtown singles in the bar area.

3. Surly Goat: Carina has it in her mind that along with being Yelp Elite she also wants to be a Citysearch Dictator. Therefore she will be hitting up the first CitysearchLA event at L.A.’s newest premier beer bar.

4. Roller Derby at the Echoplex: I may or may not attend the roller derby shindig but you’ll surely see Carina there because she loves it; she pleads me to go every month. I’m not a good skater so I’m a little intimidated by the rough gals who can not only kick the crap out of me, but will be drinking as well. Below are specifics. And if you’re lucky, you may just catch a couple UG girls there.

DOWN AND DERBY ROLLER SKATING ROLLER DISCO AT THE ECHOPLEX THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25TH

Featuring, SKATING DRINKING, DANCING

DONT FORGET TO RSVP FOR REDUCED ADMISSION!!

Disco Tunes provided by: THEE MIKE B & MORSE CODE

21+ (big kids only)
9pm-2am
$5 with RSVP, $10 at the door
To RSVP, please visit www.downandderby.org.

$5 skate rental, or bring your own.

The Echoplex is located at 1154 Glendale Blvd in Los Angeles, California (main entrance is through the alley).

DRESS CODE: BE CREATIVE
GUYS: knee high tube socks, neon tanktops, headbands, wristbands, fros and flat tops
GIRLS: thighs of steel on two inch wheels with short shorts to seal the deal

The Dim Sum Truck takes it to the Streets

I love me some dim sum! In fact, as I am typing this, the closest book to my bed is the Dim Sum of All Things. It is because of my love of dim sum that I was so bummed that I missed the Dim Sum Truck sampling in the VIP section at the LA Street Food Fest last week. I was busy volunteering, waiting in line, and searching for a missed Josie that I never got to try any. Thankfully, Minty forwarded me an e-mail that they would be doing a private sampling of the truck only a day before the official launch. I emailed the proprietor, Alex, and asked if I could tag along. He agreed and I set out on Sunday to the TLofts to see this new truck that was surrounded by bloggers, Yelpers, and street food enthusiasts. The first dish I tried was the the mixed Pork & Shrimp Shu Mai dumplings and the Shrimp Har Gow dumplings. Both were quite good and something where I would normally have to drive all the way to San Gabriel to buy a decent version of these dumplings.

The buns were the next dish that I saw people eating along with dessert. There was a Baked BBQ Pork bun and a Steamed Chicken and Mushroom bun. I am normally more of a dumpling girl, but after sampling the gingery chicken I waited in the small line to get a bun plate for myself. The next few plates I tried were all caught by special sightings. Jenny, who I first met at ramen on the night of my first car accident, would suddenly point at the truck with big eyes when a new dish would emerge and we would all run over to stand in line. Everyone’s eyes got big and we all indulged in the new plates. We got some Lotus Wrapped Sticky Rice and Turnip Cake before we dug into the desserts. The Egg Tart and Lotus Sesame Balls were just sweet enough and utterly delicate, and according to Minty the tart was torched just before serving.

I really enjoyed this sampling, Alex, and the truck concept. Talking to some folks at the event I learned that Alex is an entrepreneur in his early twenties and that he is from San Jose, California. I may be biased as I also meet this profile, although I am from 20 miles west of San Jose (Santa Cruz), but I was impressed. I am very excited about what he is trying to do in terms of sharing Dim Sum with all of LA. For me, living in Pasadena gives me close proximity to very good dim sum but not all of LA (the West side) is that fortunate. I have long been a fan of dim sum in carts and being able to grab whatever appeals to you and the genius of dim sum in a truck is that it can now travel further and share it’s deliciousness with a much larger group of people. The truck is now official launched so you know the drill: follow it on Twitter and tell me what the full menu, which includes lunchboxes and Peking Duck Tacos, is like.

Stir It 28: A Stirring Success!

Last night in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles groups of food bloggers rallied together in effort to raise some money and relief for Haiti. I am not sure how the other events went but I will say that the Los Angeles event was spectacular! Josie was in San Diego for her aunt’s baby shower so I knew I would be flying solo at this event. Many of the food bloggers would be contributing two dishes, but without my other half I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. It is a good thing I just offered to be an event volunteer because after my sugar coma from judging the Cupcake Challenge the day before and a week of late nights, I would have never been able to keep my eyes open to cook edible food. Out of all of the Stir It 28 events the Los Angeles one was the only one that took place in a private residence…and what a private residence it was. I arrived a little after 3 to a beautiful home in the Hollywood Hills. There was valet for guests so I parked down the street and entered the home. The home was offered for the fundraiser by a fellow food blogger, Greg of Sippity Sup. It was a perfect party house with a beautiful kitchen. When I walked in I saw DianaTakesABite, GastronomyBlog, LAOCFoodie, and some other friends preparing their dishes in the kitchen. Since I didn’t bring a dish I found the organizer Chrystal from DuoDishes and asked her what I could help with. She explained to me that Nastassia from LetMeEatCake was unable to attend due to work so asked if I could plate her food and pass it out in the first shift. I happily took on this role because her food was beautiful. She made tabbouleh and S’mores bars. I put her sticker on the platter and when Diana told me I looked enough like Natassia I just decided to play her for the night.

We passed out food to all of the guests and I was impressed to see my Blogger Prom favorites: The Liquid Muse was there with incredible Grey Goose Vodka cocktails she created and so was the one and only Cheese Impersario. After H.C. and I were done passing food we grabbed some cheese and a cocktail and had a blast. He ordered the Celery Delight with Grey Goose Le Citron, celery, cilantro, lime juice, and simple syrup. Trust me, this later became my drink of the night. By the way, in the final cocktail picture, hand model credit goes to H.C. (LAOCFoodie).

Even though I was a volunteer I still got to sample some tasty treats made by my fellow food bloggers. Diana Takes a Bite made tuna bouchans with a lemon parsley dressing that we all went nuts over. She also was my hero of the night as she was not tempted by all the chocolate sweets. She had given it up for lent and even though she was surrounded by desserts she withheld. Can you imagine, a food blogger with self-control? Who would have thunk it?

Aside from seeing all my favorites in the LA food blogging world, I also made some new friends. One of these new friends was a girl that I knew only by her Bacon Brownies that I sampled at Eat My Blog. Her name is Domestic Divas and she brought her same delicious brownies to this event along with what she referred to as white trash egg salad. This egg salad was combined with bacon, stuffed in a mini pita, and topped with a cocktail olive.

The Domestic Diva and I worked the sign-in table together and instantly became friends over talks of food, literature, Hillary Clinton, and astrology. We sold raffle tickets and then later set up the gift bags. It was a fantastic night. Delicious food and drinks were served, money was raised for a good cause, and new friendships were made. If you were unable to attend the event, have no fear, you can still donate to the Stir It 28 cause until the end of the month. All you have to do is visit Flanboyant Eats or Coco Cooks and click the Paypal donate button.

Whenever I am involved in blogger events I am always impressed by everyone’s  ingenuity, spirit, and ability to put on fantastic events. It is a group that I am so proud to be a member of and I can’t wait for the next Eat My Blog and Blogger Prom! Congratulations Stir It 28 on a fantastic night and as Chrystal from Duo Dishes put it, WOW!

Woodlands Cafe: An Unusual Location for Great Thai

A few weeks ago I was alone in the office and had a hankering for some curry. I was interested in the Thai variety but I feared that there was nothing good in the Montrose area. I did a quick Yelp search and the first place that came up was called Woodlands Cafe. It had 5 stars- a rarity in the Yelp world. My first thought, “well these are white foothill people what do they know about Thai food”? Have no fear, the hypocrisy is not lost on me. Although, I constantly say I am Asian in my heart; sadly, I am not in my blood. I did, however, live in Los Feliz/Thai Town for 2 years and consider myself somewhat of an expert from years eating at Ord, Ruen Pair, and Yai. I was interested in trying this perfectly starred restaurant near my office. I called in an order of panang curry and some tom ka kai. The lady on the phone was very sweet but she misheard my name and called me Serena. I liked the name, so I didn’t mind at all.  I drove by and missed the place at first. I then went up an alley to retrace my steps and in the alley I found a very colorful adorable preschool. As I turned the corner I saw the very colorful, also preschool-looking Thai restaurant. I walked in and the sweetest woman behind the counter asked, “Serena?” I happily nodded and when I went to pay by credit card, she looked down and was embarrassed that my name was actually “Carina.” I shrugged it off and told her it was fine. I left this tiny establishment and brought it back to the office to eat.

I poured the curry over the rice and it was perfect. Not spicy but surely I could have asked for it to be. What impressed me the most was the tom ka kai soup and the mushrooms in it. I hate straw mushrooms. I mean I love all mushrooms- they are zero calories of deliciousness, but straw mushrooms are always canned and, well, canned mushrooms are disgusting. It is my only grudge against Casa Bianca. I like my shrooms all-natural. However, these straw mushrooms had a perfect bite. I was so impressed by meal that I returned to dine in with our new intern, Maria.  Here at UG Global Headquarters, lunch is always top priority. We sat at one of the few booths in the joint and were served by the same lovely lady. The menu was interesting, all pictures with a big photo of a dish per page. Maria got the pad thai extra spicy (I like the girl’s style). I ordered the ginger and chicken and asked her to add in bamboo shoots; I am basically a panda bear in love with all rooty things.  The sweet woman smiled and told me she loves the shoots.  I asked her why her straw mushrooms were so darn good and she explained she spends a lot more and gets them shipped in a bag from Thailand. Great business decision, totally worth the extra money. I really love this place and find it to be some delicious neighborhood Thai.

Woodlands Cafe
Category: Thai
Neighborhood: Glendale
2527 Canada Boulevard.
Glendale, CA 91208