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Open Mouthed Delight

May 2 '13

Union de Tula

609 East St
WoodlandCA 95776

Have you ever heard of the phrase “you’ve never lived until you’ve (insert any event that is supposed to be life changing)”? There are only a handful of things that come to mind that could appropriately be inserted into that blank. I wouldn’t be so audacious as to say you’ve never lived until you’ve tried a freshly made churro. Well, maybe I would. But to say the least, you definitely haven’t experienced what churros were intended to taste like until you’ve had a fried golden masterpiece from Union de Tula.

The churro truck is a little gem located in the middle of nowhere, AKA woodland, CA. I love the simplicity of the truck and how genuine the people who own it are. The experience is not about the nice ambiance or impressive décor, rather it is simply about eating quality, home made food. What you will find at the churro truck are a myriad of food items from tacos to Mexican hot chocolate. I have never tried anything else at the truck because the churros always take the spot light.  They are always freshly made to order so the texture is what makes these babies far superior to your average carnival churro. I can’t tell you how excited I am when I take a bite into the crispy, flaky sugar coated exterior and my teeth sink into the soft chewy center. And guess what? They are only $1. I know. And yes, it does get better. You can also purchase a nine foot churro roll if you really need to satisfy your cravings (I told you it got better).

If you couldn’t tell already, I love the churro truck. It is hands down the best churro I have ever tasted and the price definitely fits into a college student’s budget. After one bite from Union de Tula, you’ll never be able to look at a churro the same again. 

 

8/10 open-mouths

-J.

Feb 6 '13

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Pho King 4

226 3rd St
Davis, CA 95616

(530) 753-5741

Fuzzy socks, thick scarves, and dry skin… yes, winter has finally arrived full force in Davis. Lately, the weather has been dropping to staggering low temperatures, making it almost painful to walk to class in the numbingly cold wind (it’s official, I can’t feel my face). So what does one turn to in such dire conditions to ease the pain? Nothing seems to hit the spot quite like a hot bowl of pho. It’s really amazing how the combination of broth, rice noodles, and beef seem to warm your soul. Combine it with fresh lime and basil, sweetness from the hoisin sauce, a kick from sriracha and the experience is simply magical.

This week a few friends and I decided to eat Pho King for lunch. We were seated immediately when we arrived and the waiter was efficient at taking our orders. After glancing over the menu, I ordered the #6 large, which includes sliced steak, brisket, and flank. I have been at Pho King a few times before and during those visits I’ve tried the Bun Bo Hue and the spring rolls. In general, Pho King is your run of the mill Vietnamese restaurant. The food here is not horrible by any means, yet it does not exactly completely satiate your Vietnamese food cravings. One particular aspect that stood out to me was that the pho comes with a generous amount of noodles, more than what most restaurants typically provide. However, multiple times I have experienced an oily broth, making the pho slightly unpalatable. Also, the steak at pho king is dry and the texture makes it difficult to eat. The spring rolls are also mediocre and the rice wrapper lacks the soft chewy texture fresh spring rolls often have. The first time I have tried Bun Bo Hue was at Pho King, and I was sorely disappointed. I have heard great things abut Bun Bo Hue, but the broth from Pho King lacked flavor and depth. I would never order the Bun Bo Hue here again.

Davis may be known for cows, hot summers, and fresh organic produce; unfortunately, one thing Davis isn’t known for is great Vietnamese cuisine. If you find yourself in Davis and want to eat pho, sadly, Pho King is the best option there is.
Although Pho King may just be average, it is enough to satisfy those cravings on a cold winter’s day. But I suppose if you douse anything in Sriracha it will taste good.


5/10 open-mouths

-J.

Jan 23 '13

Burgers & Brew

1409 R St
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 442-0900

Burgers & Brew thrives in the happy medium between the current, ears-pinned-back pursuit to advertise grass-fed, cage free, French-speaking beef that is occasionally prioritized above texture and taste and the old school, singular goal to present a juicy, flavorful burger with little regard to ingredient quality. Both causes are successfully united in the chef’s ability to present the fresh patty in its juicy, seasoned, and medium rare glory.

B&B’s Mushroom & Onion adaptation features an abundant blend of carefully caramelized onions and a bushel of succulent fungi that synergize with the tasty patty and warm, chewy bun to offer well-proportioned bites from start to finish. The Bacon Cheeseburger, on the other hand, contains the same patty and unarguably crispy slices of bacon, but its parts struggle to elevate the whole, leaving an uninspiringly ordinary, if still well-cooked burger that can be found in diners worldwide.

B&B’s slightly salted, crispy fries acceptably complement the burgers, but are too stout and starchy to ascend to the plane of satisfaction reserved for their shoestring cousins. Also still striving for shoestring greatness are the overwhelmingly crispy curly fries that are devoid of flexibility and twang, and inevitably brittle.

While culinarily comparable to its sister Davis location, Sacramento’s B&B at dinnertime is like sk-lift lines on a blacked-out, three day holiday weekend, while Davis’s B&B is the same ski resort on a Wednesday during finals week, with more attentive servers able to make more frequent rounds.

 7/10 open-mouths

-A.

Jan 16 '13

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Teabo Cafe

2191 Cowell Blvd Suit E
Davis, CA 95618
(530) 746-8320

For me, growing up in the bay area, one of my weekly staples included boba. There’s something so wonderful about the simplicity of it all, the combination of chewy tapioca with a sweet creamy drink. But simple does not necessarily equate to boring. Personally, I enjoy the versatility that comes along with choosing different flavors, jelly, tapioca size, hot or cold, the list goes on. So naturally when I heard that Teabo was opening up in Davis, I was ecstatic.

Tonight, Stacy and I decided to try Teabo because it’s conveniently located across the street from where we live. We ordered a green milk tea with tapioca and a passion fruit black tea with tapioca, both with normal sweetness. At Teabo, they let you customize how sweet you want the drink, which is a plus because other boba places in Davis don’t have that option. The drinks cost $2.50 each for a small size. Immediately, when we were handed our drinks I had to take a sip because I’ve heard so many mixed reviews about the boba. I took a sip of Stacy’s passion fruit black tea, and I was pleasantly surprised! The sweetness from the passion fruit balanced nicely with the tea’s bold flavor. It also tasted refreshing and didn’t leave residual sugar lingering in my mouth. Next I tried the green milk tea and after taking a sip I was speechless. To make myself clear, I was not experiencing a lack of words due to the sheer mind blowing, life changing flavor of the drink. I stood there not knowing what to say because I was confused if I was even drinking boba.  My primary critique is that the milk tea was not sweet even though I requested the normal sweetness. Secondly, it lacked a nice blend and balance between milk and tea, something most customers expect to taste. The milk tea tasted like a drink I could make at home by throwing together milk and tea in random proportions. Also, after a few minutes I tried the passion fruit again and it tasted really bland, essentially like water. However, one positive thing about both drinks was that the tapioca had a nice texture and wasn’t over cooked.

Overall, the drinks were less than average. So if you’re trying to satisfy your boba craving, I would suggest getting gas and driving two hours to San Francisco because you won’t be satisfied at Teabo. The drinks aren’t horrible because at it’s bare minimum they can quench your thirst. But to be blatantly honest, what we drank tonight simply cannot be classified as boba. Despite our mediocre experience, Teabo is a relatively new store and definitely has room to improve. We hope to see positive changes in the future! 

3/10 open-mouths

-J.

Apr 18 '12
Jack’s Prime
3723 S El Camino RealSan Mateo, CA 94403
(650) 638-1479I don’t know about you but I’m always in the mood for a good burger. A juicy patty, topped with fresh veggies, a creamy mystery sauce, sandwiched together between two fluffy, buttery buns.  What’s even better? When there’s crispy golden french fries on the side of that burger. What’s even better than that? The burger, the fries, and then a tall glass of a cold, thick milkshake to wash everything down. Yup, it doesn’t get better than that.Usually it would cost close to $20 at a restaurant to get a decent burger, fries, and shake. But what if I told you that every Tuesday at Jack’s Prime you could get it all for just $10? That’s right, $10! This past Tuesday I went to Jack’s Prime with some friends and we all ordered the $10 deal which includes a cheeseburger, French fries, and a shake of your choice. And it’s not just any old plain vanilla milk shake you can get. Their 16 oz shakes range from chocolate to mango, with optional toppings such as malt or heath bar. I ordered a cheeseburger with pepper jack cheese and a black and white shake, and it was dee-licious! Usually I’m able to shovel away all of the food on my plate, but with the quantity of food I could barely finish half of my shake. The bun was unique because it was fluffy and not dry compared to most buns I’ve had. The lettuce was slightly soggy and I wish it had a fresher taste than it had. The beef patty itself was average and not juicy enough for my liking. As Stacy Kim eloquently put it, “the patty tastes like cardboard.” The French fries were crispy on the outside, but it had a slightly stale texture to it that I didn’t really enjoy. But, they have homemade dipping sauces that are amazing! All you have to do is ask for them, and they definitely take the French fries to the next level. And lastly the shake! I thoroughly enjoyed my milk shake. It was thick and creamy, but not so thick that it was impossible to drink through a straw. I’m a sucker for ice cream so I loved the flavor of the chocolate syrup with the vanilla ice cream all blended together. So what’s the verdict? Hands down, you can’t beat the price that Jack’s Prime offers on Tuesday. But which one wins the battle, the price or the cardboard patty? Ultimately Stacy and I agreed that we came to eat a great burger (you know the kind where the grease is running down your arm) and Jack’s Prime patty came up short. However, we’ve only come on a Tuesday and haven’t had the chance to try their other burgers, so you may find a winner!6/10 Open Mouths-J. 

Jack’s Prime

3723 S El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA 94403

(650) 638-1479

I don’t know about you but I’m always in the mood for a good burger. A juicy patty, topped with fresh veggies, a creamy mystery sauce, sandwiched together between two fluffy, buttery buns.  What’s even better? When there’s crispy golden french fries on the side of that burger. What’s even better than that? The burger, the fries, and then a tall glass of a cold, thick milkshake to wash everything down. Yup, it doesn’t get better than that.

Usually it would cost close to $20 at a restaurant to get a decent burger, fries, and shake. But what if I told you that every Tuesday at Jack’s Prime you could get it all for just $10? That’s right, $10! This past Tuesday I went to Jack’s Prime with some friends and we all ordered the $10 deal which includes a cheeseburger, French fries, and a shake of your choice. And it’s not just any old plain vanilla milk shake you can get. Their 16 oz shakes range from chocolate to mango, with optional toppings such as malt or heath bar. I ordered a cheeseburger with pepper jack cheese and a black and white shake, and it was dee-licious! Usually I’m able to shovel away all of the food on my plate, but with the quantity of food I could barely finish half of my shake. The bun was unique because it was fluffy and not dry compared to most buns I’ve had. The lettuce was slightly soggy and I wish it had a fresher taste than it had. The beef patty itself was average and not juicy enough for my liking. As Stacy Kim eloquently put it, “the patty tastes like cardboard.” The French fries were crispy on the outside, but it had a slightly stale texture to it that I didn’t really enjoy. But, they have homemade dipping sauces that are amazing! All you have to do is ask for them, and they definitely take the French fries to the next level. And lastly the shake! I thoroughly enjoyed my milk shake. It was thick and creamy, but not so thick that it was impossible to drink through a straw. I’m a sucker for ice cream so I loved the flavor of the chocolate syrup with the vanilla ice cream all blended together. 

So what’s the verdict? Hands down, you can’t beat the price that Jack’s Prime offers on Tuesday. But which one wins the battle, the price or the cardboard patty? Ultimately Stacy and I agreed that we came to eat a great burger (you know the kind where the grease is running down your arm) and Jack’s Prime patty came up short. However, we’ve only come on a Tuesday and haven’t had the chance to try their other burgers, so you may find a winner!

6/10 Open Mouths

-J. 

Mar 31 '12
Zen Toro
132 E. StreetDavis, CA 95616
(530) 753-0154
Craving sushi in Davis, but you’re not in the mood for sushi buffet? What about a hot bowl of noodle soup on a rainy day? More often times than not, I’m stuck in a predicament of finding affordable Japanese food in Davis that won’t leave my wallet empty. If you’re ever feeling this way, you should definitely give Zen Toro a try! We went for lunch and all of us ordered from the lunch specials (all combinations for $10 or less, what a steal!). Stacy ordered the tempura udon with california roll, and I ordered the chicken udon with spicy tuna roll. The udon had a simple clear, light broth with perfectly cooked chewy udon noodles. Throughout the udon nestled pieces of dark chicken meat that kept me satisfied. I was also pleasantly surprised by the tempura! To be honest, I expected to bite into a soggy breading with a small piece of undercooked vegetable inside (trust me, I’ve had plenty of these experiences). But, the tempura at Zen Toro was the complete opposite! It was light and crispy on the outside, with perfectly cooked pieces of potato, shrimp, sweet potato, and carrot in the inside. The downside? The sushi simply didn’t hit the spot. The rice was too wet and sticky, which made the rolls slightly mushy. Also, the filling wasn’t extraordinary and if anything it was less than average. The California roll that Stacy had looked like it could’ve been bought from any super market, and the spicy tuna roll I had was pretty unmemorable. Overall, we agreed that Zen Toro is one of the better Japanese restaurants in Davis, especially for the lunch specials! And it’s a to-go place if you need to satisfy your noodle soup craving (Davis Noodle City does not hit the spot). Although it’s good for Davis, the quality of food is simply average for what Japanese food should be. 6/10 Open Mouths
-J.  

Zen Toro

132 E. Street
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 753-0154

Craving sushi in Davis, but you’re not in the mood for sushi buffet? What about a hot bowl of noodle soup on a rainy day? More often times than not, I’m stuck in a predicament of finding affordable Japanese food in Davis that won’t leave my wallet empty. If you’re ever feeling this way, you should definitely give Zen Toro a try! We went for lunch and all of us ordered from the lunch specials (all combinations for $10 or less, what a steal!). Stacy ordered the tempura udon with california roll, and I ordered the chicken udon with spicy tuna roll. The udon had a simple clear, light broth with perfectly cooked chewy udon noodles. Throughout the udon nestled pieces of dark chicken meat that kept me satisfied. I was also pleasantly surprised by the tempura! To be honest, I expected to bite into a soggy breading with a small piece of undercooked vegetable inside (trust me, I’ve had plenty of these experiences). But, the tempura at Zen Toro was the complete opposite! It was light and crispy on the outside, with perfectly cooked pieces of potato, shrimp, sweet potato, and carrot in the inside. 

The downside? The sushi simply didn’t hit the spot. The rice was too wet and sticky, which made the rolls slightly mushy. Also, the filling wasn’t extraordinary and if anything it was less than average. The California roll that Stacy had looked like it could’ve been bought from any super market, and the spicy tuna roll I had was pretty unmemorable. 

Overall, we agreed that Zen Toro is one of the better Japanese restaurants in Davis, especially for the lunch specials! And it’s a to-go place if you need to satisfy your noodle soup craving (Davis Noodle City does not hit the spot). Although it’s good for Davis, the quality of food is simply average for what Japanese food should be. 

6/10 Open Mouths

-J.  
Apr 12 '11
Whirl’ns: Jamba Juice Frozen Yogurt
Tired of choosing between artificially flavored yogurts, stale toppings, and questionably frozen fruits? Has the saturation of identical frozen yogurt shops polluted the joy of discovering magical combinations that you could call your own?
Jamba Juice Whirl’ns is the complete blend of a fresh idea and a wholesome dessert.  The flavors include traditional plain tart, low-fat chocolate, or vanilla, and fruit or non-fruit flavored yogurt mixed with whole, fresh fruit.  Toppings include dark chocolate confetti, glazed pecans, sliced almonds, shredded coconut, freshly cut bananas, brown sugar crumble, and granola.
The resulting blend is a delightful, natural-tasting dessert with treasures of fresh fruits hidden inside.  The yogurt does not overpower with its sweetness, but instead, provides wonderful substance to enhance the different flavors of blended fruits and toppings.  Whirl’ns is also a desired balance between creamy and icy yogurts.
Keen readers will notice immediately that I have not included an address at which you can enjoy Whirl’ns, or Jamba Juice frozen yogurt.  Whirl’ns is on a test run in select Jamba Juice stores across California.  So make sure to check out your local Jamba Juice to see if you are lucky enough to be able to experience this treat.
8.5/10 Open Mouths
-A.

Whirl’ns: Jamba Juice Frozen Yogurt

Tired of choosing between artificially flavored yogurts, stale toppings, and questionably frozen fruits? Has the saturation of identical frozen yogurt shops polluted the joy of discovering magical combinations that you could call your own?

Jamba Juice Whirl’ns is the complete blend of a fresh idea and a wholesome dessert.  The flavors include traditional plain tart, low-fat chocolate, or vanilla, and fruit or non-fruit flavored yogurt mixed with whole, fresh fruit.  Toppings include dark chocolate confetti, glazed pecans, sliced almonds, shredded coconut, freshly cut bananas, brown sugar crumble, and granola.

The resulting blend is a delightful, natural-tasting dessert with treasures of fresh fruits hidden inside.  The yogurt does not overpower with its sweetness, but instead, provides wonderful substance to enhance the different flavors of blended fruits and toppings.  Whirl’ns is also a desired balance between creamy and icy yogurts.

Keen readers will notice immediately that I have not included an address at which you can enjoy Whirl’ns, or Jamba Juice frozen yogurt.  Whirl’ns is on a test run in select Jamba Juice stores across California.  So make sure to check out your local Jamba Juice to see if you are lucky enough to be able to experience this treat.

8.5/10 Open Mouths

-A.

Tags: dessert
Apr 10 '11
Ike’s Place2247 Market StreetSan Francisco, CA 94114(415) 553-6888Curious to find a hip place that will satisfy your sandwich craving? Well so was Stacy Kim this Saturday afternoon as she finds herself at the infamous sandwich shop in San Francisco, Ike’s. Ike’s recently moved to a temporary location at Market Street that is a bar by night. We arrived at lunch time and the line was already out the door, definitely a good sign. Everything about the shop was modern from the young employees to the comedic names of the sandwiches (“Hi, can I order a Backstabber please?”). The menu contained a diverse range of Sandwich options with different combinations of meat, cheese, spread, and even vegetarian options. We ultimately decided to try the Crab Melt and the [Name of Girl I’m Dating]. When our sandwiches arrived I was delighted to see that the bread was not like that of other sandwich shops. Personally, a pet peeve of mine is eating a sandwich with bread that is too fluffy, thick, and too soggy. Ike’s did an excellent job of pressing down the sandwich and toasting the bread (slightly similar to what you would see on a panini). Both sandwiches were delicious and their infamous dirty secret sauce lived up to its hype. However, the flavor comes with a price and Ike’s will put a dent in a poor college student’s budget. Your meal will probably cost you around $12 for an average sized sandwich, a complementary bag of Dirty potato chips, and a caramel apple lollipop. If you don’t mind the price, come check out Ike’s the next time you’re in The City. Not only do they have flavorful sandwiches, but they also sell tee shirts that resemble apparel of athletic teams in the Bay Area (ie. SF Giants, Golden State Warriors). 7/10 open-mouths.-Joy 

Ike’s Place

2247 Market Street
San FranciscoCA 94114
(415) 553-6888

Curious to find a hip place that will satisfy your sandwich craving? Well so was Stacy Kim this Saturday afternoon as she finds herself at the infamous sandwich shop in San Francisco, Ike’s. Ike’s recently moved to a temporary location at Market Street that is a bar by night. We arrived at lunch time and the line was already out the door, definitely a good sign. Everything about the shop was modern from the young employees to the comedic names of the sandwiches (“Hi, can I order a Backstabber please?”). The menu contained a diverse range of Sandwich options with different combinations of meat, cheese, spread, and even vegetarian options. We ultimately decided to try the Crab Melt and the [Name of Girl I’m Dating]. When our sandwiches arrived I was delighted to see that the bread was not like that of other sandwich shops. Personally, a pet peeve of mine is eating a sandwich with bread that is too fluffy, thick, and too soggy. Ike’s did an excellent job of pressing down the sandwich and toasting the bread (slightly similar to what you would see on a panini). Both sandwiches were delicious and their infamous dirty secret sauce lived up to its hype. However, the flavor comes with a price and Ike’s will put a dent in a poor college student’s budget. Your meal will probably cost you around $12 for an average sized sandwich, a complementary bag of Dirty potato chips, and a caramel apple lollipop. 

If you don’t mind the price, come check out Ike’s the next time you’re in The City. Not only do they have flavorful sandwiches, but they also sell tee shirts that resemble apparel of athletic teams in the Bay Area (ie. SF Giants, Golden State Warriors). 

7/10 open-mouths.

-Joy 

Apr 9 '11

Pizza & Chicken Love Letter

2990 Bradshaw Rd
SacramentoCA 95827
(916) 369-2009

Stacy Kim is about to devour is about to devour a plate of succulent Korean style fried chicken and pizza. The fried chicken here at Love Letter has a unique flavor that will leave you wanting more (after all, I ended up eating two more pieces even after I was full). The chicken is deep fried, which leaves a crispy shell on the outside and a juicy center, which is then tossed in a sweet and spicy glaze. The spicy version lives up to its name so unless you have a high tolerance for heat I would opt out for the mild version, which is equally as delicious. The pizza, however, was slightly disappointing because none of the korean flavors shined through and was instead muddled by the overpowering marinara sauce. Although the pizza included unusual ingredients, such as cubed potatoes, bulgogi, corn, and a white sauce, the flavors were subtle and didn’t pack the satisfying punch I was waiting for. The bright side to Love Letter’s pizza? The crust is fluffy and filled with creamy mozzarella cheese, leaving any harsh critic content. 

Conclusion? If you want to try a unique taste of fried chicken, Love Letter is definitely worth the trip. Anything else is simply average and not worth the price.

6.5/10 open-mouths 

-Joy

Dec 15 '10
Fantasia Coffee & Tea
10933 N Wolfe RdCupertino, CA 95014 (408) 865-1689
Stacy here is enjoying the staple at one of the most heralded tapioca joints in the South Bay.  After numerous visits, I can assure you that Fantasia will deliver. 
If you are not into an authentic tea taste that is more bitter than what Quickly’s has you accustomed to, this might not be the place for you.  However, if you are tired of powdery, artificial milk tea, be sure to give the black milk tea with tapioca a try.  The tapioca is soft and chewy, but retains its structure.  There is none of that quick dissolving tapioca or day-old, stale tapioca here.
9/10 open-mouths
-Andrew

Fantasia Coffee & Tea

10933 N Wolfe Rd
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 865-1689


Stacy here is enjoying the staple at one of the most heralded tapioca joints in the South Bay.  After numerous visits, I can assure you that Fantasia will deliver. 

If you are not into an authentic tea taste that is more bitter than what Quickly’s has you accustomed to, this might not be the place for you.  However, if you are tired of powdery, artificial milk tea, be sure to give the black milk tea with tapioca a try.  The tapioca is soft and chewy, but retains its structure.  There is none of that quick dissolving tapioca or day-old, stale tapioca here.

9/10 open-mouths

-Andrew