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Cravings Culture Features

We Experience A Magical Street Food Crawl At Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival

What could make the most magical place on Earth a bit more magical? Street food and booze, in our humble opinion.

Disneyland’s annual Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival at Disney California Adventure theme park is booming and guests are able to indulge themselves in spellbinding dishes that’ll bring the most powerful king and the poorest pauper together for a meal.

A few of us Disney lovers hopped into the park to check out some of the best things the Food & Wine Festival had to offer. To say it was a good work day would be such an huge understatement.

Photo: Peter Pham

The annual celebration that features California-inspired small plates, desserts, and wines has been expanded to feature nearly twice as many food booths as the previous year.

Mouthwatering dishes from the 15 Festival Marketplaces include Maple Bacon Macaroni and Cheese, Pork Belly Adobo Baos, Sliders, Jackfruit Carnitas Banh Mi Nachos, Macarons, and Whoopie Pies.

Let’s also not forget there’s tons of wines.

Photo: Peter Pham

Aside from simply food and wine — though that’s pretty much all it took to win us over — the Food & Wine Festival holds culinary demonstrations, wine education seminars, live music, and sells limited-time festival merchandise.

Make sure to check out Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival before it ends on April 16. Unless you don’t mind waiting another year to partake in the magical festivities.

Once the festival ends, make sure to consult our Disneyland food guide to check out some of the best things to eat at the two California theme parks.

Photo: Brayden Curtis
Categories
Deals Sweets

8 New Hype Foods To Eat At Disneyland RIGHT NOW

Disneyland holds a special place in the hearts of many. It’s the most famous amusement park in the world, mainly because it taps into our inner child without us even realizing it. As a kid, all I wanted to do was run around from ride to ride without slowing down for anything.

Now, however, I need to take a break from time to time, get off my feet for a few minutes here and there. More often than not, those breaks include snacking, since Disneyland is renowned for having awesome (albeit expensive) food. The hype is real people, and this list of the hottest new treats at Disneyland will turn you into the hungriest person on earth at the happiest place on earth.

1. Tri-Tip Nachos

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Photo: @ddeyanira

Nachos Rule #1: If you can barely see the actual chips, you’re doing it right.

While this pile of crunchy, chewy goodness isn’t seen on the menu, it’s often used as a substitute for the Lobster Nachos. Some people are allergic to shellfish and some simply don’t like lobster, so feel free to request a tri-tip replacement next time you’re at Cove Bar in Paradise Pier.

2. Pulled Pork Cone

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Photo: @artsantos24

Cars Land has a cozy little spot reserved for the hungry and tired called the Cozy Cone Motel. Each cone-shaped hut at this pit stop (pun absolutely intended) serves a different item in a pretzel-like bread cone, ranging from popcorn to beverages and everything in between. This Pulled Pork Cone comes packed with sweet, succulent pork topped with ripe, crispy coleslaw and paired with a crunchy pickle.

3. Pizza Flavored Popcorn + Pear Of Dice

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Photo: @jaytasmic

Clearly the Cozy Cone Motel has been killing it lately, and they continue to do so with the discovery of this eclectic pairing. The “Popcone” serves up a pizza flavoring for one of their their popcorn cones that will make you think you’re eating tiny pieces of crunchy pizza. Couple that with the crisp sprite- and pear-flavored Pear of Dice soda and you’ve got yourself a winning combination.

4. Strawberry Shortcake

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Photo: @socaldisneylandapunite2

The Plaza Inn has finally brought the return of the Strawberry Shortcake, and we’ve never been more excited! This decadent dessert is almost too pretty to eat, but don’t waste your time ordering and not eating it because this seasonal item won’t be around for long.

5. Banana Corn Dogs

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Photo:@monicaaaguido

With the release of the hilariously heartwarming film Zootopia, Disneyland unveiled their new Banana Corn Dogs at the Award Wieners restaurant in Hollywoodland for a short time, then brought them back for the release of The Jungle Book. Dipped in batter then deep fried to a golden brown, these soft, warm treats come standard with both chocolate and mango dipping sauces. MANGO DIPPING SAUCE, GUYS.

6. Crab N’ Corn Chowder Bowl

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Photo: @pham_bot

The Pacific Wharf Cafe at Disney California Adventure serves bread bowls that rival the famed bread bowls of San Francisco. Yeah, I said it. This Crab N’ Corn Chowder Bowl is a seasonal item only though, so make sure to give it a try before it’s gone!

7. Frozen Hot Chocolate

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Photo: @mss_mina

With a conundrum of a name like that, it’s no surprise that the imaginative and whimsical minds at Disney came up with this delight. Made with hot chocolate ingredients then frozen, this treat is sure to keep your lust for chocolate slaked while keeping you cool throughout the day. Head to the Cove Bar to try one out, but be quick, it will be gone very soon!

8. Cotton Candy Lemonade

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Photo: @disneymuses

This non-alcoholic specialty drink is made with Odwalla Lemonade then mixed in with cotton candy flavoring, followed by a cotton candy garnish to top it off, along with a couple of lemon slices to recreate the iconic Mickey look. I know I said the Frozen Hot Chocolate was refreshing, but THIS is ever so slightly more refreshing. This drink is not seasonal, so you’ve got plenty of time to try it out.

Categories
Adventures

My Lactose-Intolerant Adventure at Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream School

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Working at Foodbeast has given me many opportunities to see a unique side of the food world. I’ve been behind the scenes at Knott’s Berry Farm, explored Thai Town with a world-renowned chef and even got a firsthand look at the fabled Sriracha Factory. I’ve always enjoyed the experience, tasted amazing dishes and come out of it having learned something new.

Being lactose-intolerant, however, has left me out of some pretty fun shenanigans with the rest of the Foodbeast team. I can’t appreciate a gooey grilled cheese with Marc or some nachos with Isai. Mac and cheese Mondays? Forget about it.

The worst part is, no matter what, the team always seems to forget this little nugget of information about me. You’d think they’d remember by now what with me working here for three years and all. Nope.

So, of course, they sent me to ice cream school.

Welcome to Scoop School

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Baskin-Robbins was kind enough to invite the Foodbeast team to their Scoop School in Burbank, Calif. However, with Dom shooting a video, Marc out of the country and Elie in back-to-back meetings, they sent me on a solo trip to the training center.

Remember, this is Southern California, the land of unbearable heat and constant traffic. Who wouldn’t want to be chilling in the heart of an ice cream training center? Maybe the guy who can’t eat any of the ice cream he sees. Though, who knows, maybe they’ll have air conditioning.

In training.

Training-Gear

They had air conditioning.

As I walked in the door, I was greeted by one of the nicest reps I’ve met in the business. I quickly explained my dairy-free situation to him and he assured me I would still enjoy the experience regardless of my intolerance.

We’ll see, Justin. 

Pictures of iced creams that were made, or whatever.

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I was taken to a room that looked practically identical to a Baskin-Robbins location. It was equipped with bar stools, a vast ice cream selection, everything you would find at a regular store. The only difference was a handful of desks scattered throughout the room. This was the training room for franchisees to get the feel of making their own ice cream dishes, so it simulated a real store to recreate the environment as best they can.

The students would practice making as many sundaes as possible. Whatever they create, they can either eat or throw out. I’m assuming not much gets thrown out. It was like an 8-year-old’s dream.

The instructors offered me a shot at making my own Banana Royale Sundae.

Heck, why not? 

I put the camera down and set off scooping ice cream, slicing bananas, spouting whipped cream and sprinkling almonds. It was actually really fun.

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I’ve turned down many sundaes in my life, but on this day I turned down enough to shed a tear.

I mean, look at this thing.

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It wasn’t all torture…

Sherbert-Sorbet

Baskin-Robbins is kind enough to offer a few non- or low-dairy products. Take this Wild ‘n Reckless Sherbet and Daiquiri Ice Sorbet.

I had a bite.

It just wasn’t the same. 

Makin’ with the Iced CREAMS.

Ice-Cream-Tube

The main event of the trip out to Burbank was making our own ice cream. The office was given the opportunity to create our own Foodbeast Flavor. My mind had been racing with what crazy, over-the-top ingredients I could throw into the mix. Bacon? YES. Sriracha? Absolutely. Ahi Poke? Maybe we’ll circle back to that one.

Unfortunately, Baskin-Robbins had to limit the choice of ingredients we could throw in. Understandable, since I’m sure most stores don’t carry bacon and Sriracha. Though maybe think about it, guys?

As I entered the lab, the ingredients were already laid out on the table: Ice cream base, raspberry flavoring, Oreo cookie crumbs, chocolate cake chunks and raspberry piping. Out of the choices, those were the most extravagant I could come up with to represent this bubble-gut-inducing publication of ours. We were ready to get started.

I should probably wash my hands, huh?

Overall, the process was incredibly interesting. I felt like I was back in high-school chemistry class. Just awake this time.

Ice-Cream-Ingredients

Once the base ingredients were mixed together, and mixed thoroughly, they were ready to go into the ice cream maker. While I’m sure there were many, much more qualified personnel to handle such a thing, the ice cream scientist let me load the ice cream mix into the machine.

Kewl.

Ice cream, as some of you know, doesn’t instantly pop out once the base mixture is added. It takes some time. While waiting for the ice cream to finish, the crew gave me a tour of the Baskin-Robbins offices. Nothing crazy like a banana split slide or a secret sundae waterfall, but they had some cool collectibles from over the years.

Vintage-Pictures

This includes vintage photographs…

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…and Korean posters of wacky flavors only found in Asia.

Hey guys, is that the timer?

The ice cream was done.

Ice-Cream-Mix

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I have to say this: if it weren’t for machines, mixing together ice cream and ingredients by hand would be hell. Luckily, today was arm day. After a rough few minutes, the ice cream was piped and loaded into the cartons.

Food-Beast-Ribbon

Can’t forget our roots.

The Top-Secret Labs.

Ice-Cream-Internationals

Couldn’t shoot much of the lab, being confidential and all. Stuck mostly to macro shots. I think there was a life-sized dinosaur made out of rocky road behind me. Just kidding.

I’m not kidding.

Ice Cream Cake Decorating.

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Finally, to end the tour, I got a crash course in ice cream cake decorating. It’s much more difficult than it looks, folks.

Ice-Cream-Cake

Between the piping and placement of the cookies, the process takes tons of practice and even steadier hands. Looking at my finished cake above, being averse to dairy for much of my life, I clearly had the amateur touch when it came to decorating ice cream cakes.

Cake-Holding

As you can see, I’m as happy as happy can be taking home my newly decorated ice cream cake to snack on.

Oh, wait. 

Categories
Sweets

Everything You Need to Know About the Donnoli: the Donut-Cannoli Hybrid

donnoli

Frangelli’s Bakery in South Philly has been around since 1947, but until three weeks ago, most people had never heard of it.

John Colosi took over the neighborhood joint four years ago, keeping the pastry shop’s donut recipe the same as it was 67 years ago. Although Frangelli’s is a favorite among the South Philly crowd, they’ve been getting more attention recently, and for a delicious reason. It all started just a few weeks back when John decided to squeeze some chocolate chip cannoli cream inside one of their plain donut shells, and the result was simply genius. Thus, the donnoli was born.

John invited Foodbeast into his kitchen to show us how donnoli is made.

Frangelli's Bakery

The secret to the delicious cannoli filling is the addition of chocolate chips and a bit of buttercream to thicken up the mixture. John pipes a generous amount of the sweet filling onto half of their classic airy donut.

Frangelli's Bakery

Frangelli's Bakery

The dessert sandwich gets covered in a heavy dusting of powdered sugar, reminiscent of carnival funnel cake (and it smells like it, too).

Frangelli's Bakery

Frangelli’s even makes miniature donnolis if you’re looking to purchase a party tray, but chances are you’ll eat enough minis to equal a few full-size versions. They’re also pretty adorable.

As for my first donnoli experience, John’s filling is creamier and less tangy than your standard ricotta-based cannoli cream. It’s unlike any Italian pastry I’ve ever had, and other tasters tend to agree. Just like Dominique Ansel drew crowds for his Cronut last year, Frangelli’s has already received donnoli requests from across the country and has a rapidly-growing fan base.

Watch out kids, it just might end up being this year’s Cronut.

Categories
Restaurants

P.F. Chang’s Fall Seasonal Menu Includes Crispy Korean Chicken Wings and Citrus Mustard Prawns [Gallery]

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Earlier this month, P.F. Chang’s unveiled its latest seasonal menu for the fall season and boarded the popular Korean-fried-chicken train with its Crispy Korean Lollipop Chicken Wings (pictured above) and also included the pho-inspired Vietnamese Noodles with Steak & Shrimp (pictured immediately below). The additional nine menu items of various starter/entree/dessert/cocktail assortment include the Shanghai Waldorf Salad, Miso Chicken, Citrus Mustard Prawns, Harvest Vegetable Quinoa, Pumpkin Wontons, Caramel Apple Wontons, Apple Cinnamon Martini, Ginger Jalapeño Mule,  and the Rum Chata. 

Check out the photos below for full menu item descriptions. Photo credit to FOODBEAST’s Peter Pham.

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Vietnamese Noodles With Steak & Shrimp: Rice Noodles with hoisin, Sriracha, cinnamon, coriander, marinated shrimp, flank steak, Chinese broccoli, carrots, bean sprouts, cilantro.

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Crispy Korean Chicken Wings: Lollipop Style Wings with sweet and spicy red chili sauce, scallions and sesame seeds.

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Shanghai Waldorf Salad: Kale, endive, radicchio, crisp apples, grapes, celery, grape tomatoes, candied walnuts, miso-lime vinaigrette.

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Harvest Vegetable Quinoa “Fried Rice”: Red quinoa, spiced butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, corn, snap peas, carrots, zucchini, and green apples — all topped with a sunny-side up egg. Can be prepared gluten-free.

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Citrus Mustard Prawns: Citrus Mustard Sauced Prawns, baby carrots, black beans, ginger, Fresno peppers, zucchini and cilantro.

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Miso Chicken: Sliced Chicken Breast with miso-tamarind sauce, baby carrots, mushrooms, bok choy, candied walnuts, corn and cilantro.

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Pumpkin and Caramel Apple Wontons

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Ginger Jalapeño Mule:  Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila, Fresh Ginger, Lime Juice, Basil Leaves.

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Rum Chata: Cream Liqueur, Ice Sphere, Cinnamon Stick, Star Anise, Orange Peel

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Apple Cinnamon Martini: Absolut Orient Apple Vodka, Tuaca Liqueur, Apple Juice. Lemon Juice, Cinnamon.

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Categories
Adventures

Smoked Salmon Benedict & Crab Vermicelli From The Upcoming Food and Wine All-Star Weekend

crab vermicelli bellagio

The 4th Annual Food & Wine All-Star Weekend is coming to Las Vegas this Friday-Sunday (October 4-6) and includes participation from notable chefs including Joel Robuchon, Jean Georges Vongerichten, Michael Mina and many others. FOODBEAST will be live-blogging and tweeting from the Las Vegas event that includes over a dozen food and beverage tastings across multiple MGM properties including The Aria, MGM Grand and The Bellagio.

Pictured are two of our favorite dishes (so far) to be featured including Crabmeat Vermicelli (above) from the sold-out Far East to Champagne Brunch at the Bellagio and the Smoked Salmon Benedict (below) from All-Star Brunch at American Fish located in the Aria. Be sure to check out the site over the next week for debuts of all types of cuisine over the 3-day fest. Also make sure to follow @foodbeast on twitter and instagram to follow the live play-by-play updates.

AFLV Food & Wine Smoked Salmon Benedict 2

 

Categories
Adventures

[Adventure] TLT Food Satisfies Our Inner Pork Belly Snob

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Daniel Shemtomb has accomplished much in the last few years. The winner of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race has kept busy maintaining the quality of The Lime Truck. Now the successful young chef has his hands full being a restaurateur as well.

Foodbeast vet Brian and I were lucky enough to be invited to dine-in at TLT Food in Westwood, Los Angeles recently, and we couldn’t have been happier. We’ve always been fans of The Lime Truck and it was great not having to chase it down for dear life for once. So, sit back and enjoy some glorious food porn from TLT Food.

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Brussels Sprouts

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I wasn’t a fan of brussels sprouts until a few years ago, but this item solidified my love for them. It was the perfect thing to start off the adventure with. The sprouts were perfect and each bite was more savory than the last. Cooked with a medley of prosciutto, garlic, chipotle honey aioli, Cotija cheese and picked red onion, you’d have no idea these were good for you.

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Pork Belly Nachos

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I was excited to try this more than anything else on the menu and TLT delivered. I’m pretty snobby when it comes to pork belly and they nailed it. Chunks of savory pork belly on top of gooey cheese nachos. What more could I ask for? Nothing, that’s what.

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Grilled Cheese

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Brian had more of this than I did. The concept was ingenious and after a couple bites I definitely wanted more. Unfortunately, I already killed the pork belly nachos and quesadilla and couldn’t afford any more cheese in my body. Brian loved it though. He threw around the word “orgasmic” a few times.

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Pork Belly Taco

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An awesome in-between meal snack while I snapped photos. As I mentioned earlier, the pork belly is on point and the taco is something I definitely need to try more of next time.

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Beef Short-Rib Quesadilla

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The beef was super moist and pretty much just melted in your mouth. Every bite was epic. I pretty much killed this whole thing within minutes. Their signature Tomatillo salsa was a great contrast to the richness of the quesadilla and added a cool refresher to each bite.

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PBAT

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Skipped breakfast and lunch for this meal and it was ever so worth it after trying the PBAT. Made with parmesan-crusted bread, cured pork belly, arugula, tomato, red onion and aioli, this sandwich was a masterpiece that couldn’t be told in one sitting.

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Dessert

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The desserts really hit the spot. Between the Lime Panna Cotta and the Triple Chocolate Cake, we were in dessert heaven. Unfortunately my limited lactose intolerance only allowed for a few small bites for the Panna Cotta, as I maxed out my cheese budget for the evening with the nachos and quesadillas. Cake was bomb though.

TLT Food has now also opened a new location in Downtown Los Angeles this past week. Unique to the restaurant, TLT will be offering their first brunch menu.

I smell another adventure.

TLT Food

1116 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 443-4433

Categories
Adventures

Chorizo Wontons and More Deep-Fried Goodies at Cha Café [ADVENTURE]

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So I was craving tacos like nobody’s business the other day and was recommended to this place in El Monte, Calif. named Cha Café. Since I hadn’t gone on a food porn adventure in a while, I felt like this was the perfect place to jump back in. Cha has been through many changes since it opened in 2009. It started as a Vietnamese coffee house, then moved on to a Tapas restaurant, then a Fusion restaurant and finally found its place serving California comfort food. This hole-in-the-wall establishment was a nice and relaxing surprise in the heart of my former hometown of El Monte.

Taco Tuesday

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Let me start off by saying bravo. Although they have daily specials on different menu items every day of the week, Tuesday is always Taco Tuesday. Cha serves delightful fusion tacos at $2 for two and come in kalbi beef, chicken and pork. I love fusion tacos, and this place really hit the spot in terms of flavor, heat and portions. I was a happy man.

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My definite favorite of the three had to be the kalbi beef. I almost didn’t want to take a bite and ruin the beautiful sight before me. Of course, I quickly squashed that idea the moment the wondrous aroma hit my nose.

Ninja Fries

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I know why they call them Ninja Fries. It’s because they’ve made their way into my stomach, undetected, in a matter of minutes. The Ninja Fries are one of the more well-known menu items at Cha and very much beloved in my own heart after my trip. Served with their special Cha sauce, the fries are made from Kabocha, a Japanese pumpkin packed with vitamin C, iron and fiber. Thankfully, their deliciousness tells you none of that.

Probably because they were deep-fried.

Chorizo Wontons

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This is the one menu item I was most excited for when I first heard about Cha. Chorizo is probably one of my favorite types of meats, and the idea of throwing it in a deep-fried wonton? Well, I just had to try it. Cha, from what I heard, has been known to run out of their Chorizo Wontons from time-to-time. But I was willing to take a chance and see if this was worth all the buzz.

ChorizoWonTon

A definite: Yes.

Served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce, these deep-fried packets of heaven were music to my ears and poetry for my soul. It was definitely worth the fatty deposits to my heart.

Cha Café is worth looking up if you’re ever in the El Monte area and craving some good comfort foods. Plus, on a hot day you can order their especially refreshing sweet tea mojitos. Make sure to take advantage of their daily specials though, so you can definitely get more bang for your buck.

 

Cha Café
10308 Lower Azusa Road
El Monte, CA 91731