An ex-New Yorker’s hunt for good Chinese Food in SoCal

September 5, 2006 at 1:09 am Leave a comment

If you grew up in the New York area, and live in Southern Cali, you know that there a few things that you just can’t get here. Pizza, Bagels, Drakes Cakes, and GOOD Chinese Food.

People who live here have a thing for toppings on Pizza. Having tasted alot of LA Pizza, I know why….for the most part, it’s pretty bad. A REAL good slice of Pizza needs no toppings to be great…just the sauce and the cheeze.

That being said, I HAVE succumbed to the pizza thing somewhat and now commit the unthinkable for a NY Italian…Pineapple on Pizza !!!! yes, you heard it right. My fond affection for all things Hawaiian has blinded me for the committing the unholiest of NY Ginny Sins. Hey, I like it, what can I do ? Add some sausage, and I have to admit, it’s good. So, I don’t mind bending the rules every now and then, and when I’m in NY, I just order it straight up…no taste enhancers, it don’t need it.

Bagels ? Oy Vey!….There are some ok places, but you’re not gonna find anything that comes close to a SLIMS bagel, fresh outta the oven at 2 am, after a night of gigging in the City….Just add butter, and it’s pure bagel perfection.

Drakes Cakes….We just don’t have em’…period

Gone are the days for me, stopping into a corner deli and grabbing a pack of Devil Dogs on the run. Now, someone has to buy them and ship them out, and since they’re not exactly “health food” in the first place, I just plain don’t bother.I miss em’ like crazy tho’.

Yes, there are some things that you give up for living in that great LA weather all year…it’s tradeoff I guess, but try I do, to find some of the acceptable substitutes for my favorite foods from home….which brings me to the matter at hand…CHINESE FOOD.

When I first moved to LA, I tried some Chinese food and nearly gagged….Something as simple as Chicken Chow Mein has a different meaning here. Chicken Chow Mein in NY is made up of a few simple elements…Bean sprouts, Onions, Celery, water chestnuts (I ususally pick these out), chicken, and that’s it…it’s stir fried, mixed in with a white starchy sauce, and served with rice, and crispy fried won tons strips or crispy noodles on the side.Not in LA…you order chow mein and you get low mein noodles, and usually a whole mangerie of veggies that have no business being there, and it’s sautee’d in a brown garlic-y sauce, with too much oil, and you get no rice.
I don’t get it !

So, when I do come across a good Chinese restaurant, it’s a nice surprise. This particular one is in Costa Mesa, around the corner from one of my old friends from high school, and member of my first band. I passed Golden Garden, and noticed it’s old school Chinese restaurant appearance, and asked him about it. He gave it the thumbs up, and said he eats there all the time. I really didn’t have to ask much more, because I KNOW he understands what I’m talking about when I ask about Chinese Food, because we both grew up with the same stuff.
Old School, NY CHow Mein ? Got it. null
BBQ Spare Ribs smothered in that gooey red Char Siu sauce? Got it. null
Wonton Soup ? Got it. null

All really good too. The crispy noodles were crispy, the wontons were tasty, and the ribs were sticky and delicious.
I HAVE found some other good places as well, and will be posting them on this blog in the future, now that I’ve become one of these damn bloggers.

Golden Garden restaurant

1505 Mesa Verde Dr E
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 540-6989

Pizza, Bagels, and Drakes Cakes…coming soon


Entry filed under: Food.

House of Tiki / Hot Lava Java Coffee House Teenacide/Shakes Records Release party !

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