Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Derby- Arcadia

The Derby Sign

When talking about high end restaurants in Arcadia, there really are not many. Sure, there are plenty of pricier restaurants like the Cheesecake Factory or Din Tai Fung for that matter, but both are really quite casual. Moving onto more formal restaurants, we have hotel restaurants, Santa Anita park's own restaurant, Sesame Grill, and then the Derby, probably the most expensive of them all.


Interior

The Derby is a long time restaurant in Arcadia, but I have never tried it before until this year. It is a very popular option for people watching races at Santa Anita Park, obviously due to the horse inspiration of the Derby due to Seabiscuit's owner actually owning this restaurant for some time as well as its general classiness. The Derby ticks off plenty of fancy check marks: business casual suggested, free valet parking, and expensive prices on the menu overall, whether it be lunch or dinner!

Lamp

The atmosphere was quite dark. Don't let the photos fool you, I edited them so that they wouldn't appear completely dark.You would be seeing very little otherwise!

Lunch Menu
(click on the photo for a larger picture)

After sitting down we were promptly given menus, which were split into these sections: Appetizers, Salads, Sandwiches, Entrees, and Seabiscuit's Favorites. Prices were all in the double digits, from 10-40 dollars. Prepare to spend plenty! You can still save some money though, by going to Costco and getting some gift cards for the Derby at a nice discount.

Cheese Toast

The server came by later to give us some cheese bread from a bread basket. Plain white bread cut in half, with butter and cheese on top. Nothing really special but something nice to munch on. If you like the char, you'll like it; as for me, I didn't care much.

Salad

It took some time for our entrees to arrive, but they all arrived at once. One of my dining companion had the Derby Cobb Salad (12.95 USD) which had lettuce, turkey, tomato, avocado, bacon (we excluded this), chives, egg, and bleu cheese crumbles. It was a tasty salad, but nothing too special. Traditional American style, yes.

Steak

Another of my dining companions tried the Ground Beef Tenderloin (14.95 USD) which was topped with sauteed mushrooms and served with Bordelaise sauce. On the side you could pick french fries, mashed potatoes, sweet potato fries, rice pilaf, fruit, or cottage cheese with tomatoes, in which my dining companion had the cottage cheese with tomatoes. This dish yet again was quite traditional, a nice tender patty with a nice rich sauce. The cottage cheese was cottage cheese, nothing quite special.

Ahi Tuna

My other dining companion ordered the Ahi Tuna (18.95 USD) which had a seared ahi tuna steak served over steamed spinach with ginger soy sauce served on the side as well as some rice pilaf (again, you pick the side). I did try a piece and it was very nice, the inside was still rare while the outside was lightly crisp. The ginger soy sauce gave an Asian inspired flavor which was quite nice.

Prime Rib Open Face Sandwich

As for myself, I had the Prime Rib Sandwich (16.95 USD) which was served open face with avocado, tomato, Jack cheese, and creamed horseradish along with a side of fruit which consisted of honeydew, strawberries, and grapes. The bread was a toasted sourdough, and the prime rib was firm, if not very tender. There was aj jus, but since the prime rib was not very tender, I dunked it more into the horseradish instead for a slightly spicy taste. As for the tomatoes and avocados they were slightly warmed from being under the broiler to melt the cheese; I ate them separately. Overall, quite nice for a prime rib for lunch, but again, not too special.


Photo Finish Dessert Menu

After finishing the entrees our server handed us some dessert menus to look at. Like at Aureole, we decided on the Dessert Sampler, which took a while yet again to arrive.

Dessert Sampler

The Dessert Sampler (10.95 USD) had an wide assortment of traditional American desserts, like the Tuxedo Mousse Cake (left), Warm Whisky Bread Pudding (middle), and the Cheesecake (right). The Tuxedo Mousse cake was quite chocolatey with thick ganache and creamy chocolate mousse with light sponge cake in between. The bread pudding was quite delicious; sweet with a hint of alcohol bitterness which went great with the raspberry and white chocolate sauce poured atop. As for the cheesecake, it had a sweet graham cracker crust, and the filling quite interesting- it seemed like there was some extract that they put in that made it quite unusual- almond or cherry, I'm guessing. Obviously there was some vanilla, but the other flavor I can not discern... Overall quite a nice traditional American dessert, a bit on the sweet side but as the menu says, "Great for sharing!"

Overall, a nice traditional American meal at the Derby. They have changed owners in the last month or so after this visit, so I'll have to go spend the rest of the gift card money to see if the food has improved more or not.

*P.S. Sorry for not posting last week, my schedule is quite busy nowadays...

The Derby
233 East Huntington Drive
Arcadia, CA 91007
Tel: (626) 447-2430 

Derby on Urbanspoon 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tahoe Galbi Restaurant- Koreatown, Los Angeles

Logo 2

Last time we talked about Orange County, now it's Los Angeles for a twist before I go back to restaurants in San Gabriel Valley again. When we were going back from Steinway and Il Piccolino last time, we drove by Tahoe Galbi, and a thought came into my head that Wandering Chopsticks had wrote about it before. We went back to LA in hopes of trying Spago after visiting the places we needed to go, but when we saw the customers going in, they seemed as if they were dressed very formally, and we were not. My dining companions did not feel right eating there in casual clothing (although that was permitted), so we decided to find a casual option based on Korean food since Koreantown was close by! After driving by Tahoe Galbi again, we noticed a small, dimly lit restaurant with plenty of customers, but with problems on finding parking we just went to Tahoe Galbi. After getting our car in the valet (2 USD), we went in, only to find a long waiting list plus the smell of barbeque.

No problem, the lady just wrote down our name in Korean, and we were settled into watching Avatar on their LCD TV for about a hour. In between that time period we analyzed the different all you can eat options (divided into several tiers), as well as seafood options. We also observed what other people were eating in hopes of knowing what to order with the all you can eat deal!

Interior

Inside, the bell shaped smoke vents were probably the most interesting thing of all. We were seated in one of the side zones, where large groups were situated in long rectangular tables  and small groups were seated next together with dividers.

Salad

When we arrived at the table, it was time to eat. Immediately, that is! All the banchan were already set on the table anyway.

Banchan 1
Banchan 2

The banchan spread was not very impressive, but there was plenty, including: japchae, napa cabbage kimchi, zucchini, bean sprouts, shredded daikon radish, and a marinated cucumber mixture. There was also salad with shaved scallions which was tossed in a tart soy sauce/vinegar mixture. All of it was certainly quite tasty, and we ended up ordering plenty of refills to aid with the meat. Besides, we already finished the majority of the banchan by the time the server came to actually take the meat orders. But where was the meat menu?

Dipping Sauces

Well, there was none. And the server came without a menu, so I made up choices: BBQ beef, pork, and chicken as well as their "vegetable" and miso soup and steamed egg. Actually, the steamed egg was not even part of the 17.99 menu, but the server said nothing about it. However, since they never served it and another server said,"You can't get this," we just left that as is.

No rice /radish/lettuce wrappers were provided either. You had to ask for those, and I forgot to ask to see what all the hype was about on the rice wrappers!

However, a tart soy dipping sauce was provided as well as salt, fresh garlic and pepper, and a bean paste.

Chicken and Beef 

The meat arrived quickly, and the server put the beef onto the gril for us first.

But, isn't that beef not the marinated thin shaved bulgogi? Doesn't that look much more like kalbi instead? Well, it probably was, and tasted like it. The meat was tender with a bite, and since we controlled the grill, we left barely any black char on it! However, we all agreed that the marinade was quite weak. BCD Tofu House served better. I found myself actually dipping all the meat into the dipping sauce, since there was not much flavor.
Chicken and Pork

The chicken took a long time to cook, so take note: if you want chicken, ask for a smaller portion! The chicken and the pork portions were gigantic, and after ordering those we didn't want to order much else since there was plenty of meat. I'd suggest you to request smaller plates, e.g. say I want a half portion. Otherwise, you won't get around trying a lot of different meats.

As for the chicken, it tasted fine being quite tender and juicy. But it was not very flavorful in the marinade either, although the final result as you can see did have some browning.

Grilled Pork

With the chicken out, it was time to focus on the pork grilling. Here is what I am talking about: isn't this a lot of meat? And it was only one plate. Suffice to say we stopped grilling for a while after the pork was done and concentrated more on enjoying the food. The pork was lightly spicy and tender and juicy, but yet again the flavor was quite muted. More panchan came, and we even got some new ones like potato salad which was a refreshing cool break from the meat.

Beef Brisket

After a short while, we decided to order some more meat. Since the party next to us who seemed quite experienced with ordering started out with the beef brisket for their meal, we also wanted to try it. This was quite nice, with the thin slices of beef. With the dipping sauce it was quite nice! I could also see why the party next to us started with this first: marinated meats get the grill quite dirty. The brisket did not, and thus you could keep on grilling for a while, transitioning onto the grilled meats. On the other hand...


...with our beef briskets, tiny bits of char left from the marinade on the grill got stuck onto the beef brisket while grilling. Another positive of the brisket was that it cooked very quickly and thus you could eat it almost immediately! This all-you-can-eat experience does require some experience on how to get the best experience+most dishes tried.

Miso Soup

It took a long while, but the Miso Soup finally arrived soon. It was on the salty side, but otherwise it was nice for a soup and plus, it had pieces of zucchini and other veggies in it. All the better! Somehow, we got three due to my constant pestering, and supposedly we were only allowed to have one. One server noticed we had three and was not very happy, but shrugged it off. Besides....we probably didn't consume that much meat anyway in contrast to other tables!

Corn

The so called fresh vegetable was actually a diminuitive platter of canned corn topped with some cheese. Nothing special, but since we wanted some veggies we ordered two plates eventually.

Mushroom

But HEY! The other table next to us ordered mushrooms. Just another example of our newness to this all-you-can-eat-korean-bbq aspect. You could really request anything, and this mushroom plate was quite nice. Plenty of king oyster and large button mushrooms. By this point we were getting quite full, but the value proposition didn't seem very well filled due to our lack of experience in ordering special things like this mushroom. If I had known earlier, I would have probably ordered two dishes of this mushroom as well as other various veggies! Plus I would have ordered other types of meats if there was a menu on the table. All this is just a example on how lack of experience does not yield fantastic results. And in this case, I was feeling that way. Since this was my first time with AYCE, I really did not get to take advantage of what was offered, taking in more conventional choices instead of the special stuff!

And dipped in the dipping sauce, these mushrooms were quite tasty. Although they were quite good by themselves anyway.

Small Intestine

My dining companion saw that there was small intestine on the menu and since he rarely eats it decided to order it for this special event to close the meal. This was a half portion, but there was plenty! The intestine shrinked right when it hit the grill, which was shocking. With the cut of some scissors provided, it was much more manageable. However, it was quite chewy, which we fixed by letting it sit on the grill even longer. But by then, we noticed that the intestine was not very well cleaned and the taste was quite off putting compared to how it usually tastes.

Logo 1

We left Tahoe Galbi quite late, and the wait had almost vanished.  was in the credits section as well. All in all, this was a fun experience. The feeling in the restaurant was very lively and that alone made for an interesting dining experience. As for the food however, one dining companion that knows Koreantown much more than I do said he's had better, and it certainly wasn't that exception. Additionally, what we experienced this visit sure did not seem to be as value filled compared to how other people experienced- there were more banchan options+steamed egg and the meat portions were smaller so you could try more options from what I saw. But at least now, we know what all the hype is about on all-you-can-eat Korean barbeque!

Want to try it out yourself? I'd say go visit any AYCE Korean BBQ restaurant when there are less people so you can get more instructions and not feel so rushed, and thus get more return on your money. Or, bring a friend who knows how this system works for a fun time.


Tahoe Galbi Korean Restaurant
3986 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Tel: (213) 365-9000

Tahoe Galbi on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A September Trip: Thai Nakorn- Garden Grove, Marine Air Corps Air Station-Tustin, UC Irvine

Thai Nakorn

It so happened to be another UC Irvine visit again due to the start of their school year, so what would we do a fair morning at UC Irvine? Lunch of course, but where? Charlie Palmer? Not today. Pippin @ UCI? No, it would feel like a waste of money since other dorms at UC Irvine got free dining passes during move in day.  My dining companion didn't mind driving far, so I suggested Thai Nakorn thanks to the reviews by Elmomonster and KevinEats. I didn't know that Garden Grove, at least for Thai Nakorn, was so far from UCI when I inputted it into the GPS. A grueling 30 minute drive later thanks to the GPS route going local most of the way (instead of going a further distance by the freeway), we were there.

Interior

It was quite surprising to find the restaurant empty, although by the time we arrived it was a late 1:30PM. There were only two or three tables that had people sitting, and in such a large restaurant (you see only about 1/2 of the restaurant in this photo) it felt very cold feeling, added even further by the fluorescent lighting.

Fruit Combination

While we were looking at the menu, one of my dining companions went to the counter to look at what was available, and decided to order a Fruit Combination (about 2-3 USD), which had coconut milk and various canned fruits and pandan jelly topped with crushed ice.

Fruit Combination

After mixing, it looked like this. There was a lot of various fruits yes- palm seeds, jackfruit, and other various fruits, but all were canned. The pandan jelly was tasty though. Furthermore, the coconut milk was also from a powder. It was quite canny and lightly coconut-y in taste, but not the entire table liked it. One of my dining companions really liked it, the others didn't at all. We should have ordered the sticky rice with bean dessert instead.

Nam Sod with Crispy Rice 1

In an effort to make some better decisions as to what to order since I had no clue and didn't want to order too oily dishes, I was deliberately looking at Elmomonster's multiple reviews of Thai Nakorn to see what to order but the pages loaded too slowly on the phone. And thus I didn't know that the Nam Sod (with Crispy Rice) (8.45 USD) which my dining companion ordered, would not be very good.

Nam Sod with Crispy Rice 2

The regular Nam Sod would probably have been much better, as this ended up way too dry in terms of the crispy rice  as well as being too salty and oily. The crisp rice, as Elmonster said, only distracted the diner from the flavors of the meat, and it certainly did. The subtle lime and fish sauce flavors for the Nam Sod were quite subdued and I just kept getting crispy and salty flavors thanks to the rice. No fun, plus a waste of money since this was left mostly uneaten.

Pad Thai

Tell me now, is pad thai supposed to have ketchup notes when you taste it? Because that's what I kept encountering with Thai Nakorn's Pad Thai (8.00 USD), with the shrimp omitted. The ketchup flavor was not as strong as what I had in Guangzhou and Hong Kong, but it was definitely there. We did leave out the sugar and the hot peppers, but otherwise the dish was fine other than the ketchup flavor that my dining companions all agreed there was. Is this ketchup flavor authentic at all? I sure didn't see it in Lotus of Siam- Las Vegas.

Chicken Curry

One of my dining companions ordered the Chicken Curry(8.45 USD), which was better. At first when the bowl of curry arrived, I immediately thought of the curry at Noodles (Bellagio)- Las Vegas, but this was better. The flavors were better in the curry with a light coconut tone and the meat tasted like the Chicken Capitan at Little Malaysia Restaurant- El Monte. And the rice was fragrant and fantastic! But, all that said: that puddle of oil, I want an explanation as to why it is even there...

Rice Noodle with Egg and Chinese Broccoli

I decided to pick something from the Thai Nakorn Special side: Ride Noodle with Egg and Chinese Broccoli. This was quite tasty with some wok flavors and a slightly sweet soy sauce flavor, but it was yet again too oily. Just as oily Chang's Garden-Arcadia dishes, meaning a pool of oil. But only this time, I could see the oil and feel the oil in every bite. Or let me state it in another way: they used oil to the equivalent of how some chefs love, love butter.

Tom Yum Talay Tong

For a soup, we also had a pot of  Tom Yum Talay Tong (15.95 USD). This was quite good: the lemongrass, lime leaves, and galangal flavors were strong, and the soup was not too spicy as we requested. However, the seafood wasn't much in terms of quality to make it worth the pricetag: just fish fillets and some shrimp with the canned mushrooms. I'd order a bowl if you don't have a party larger than four unless you love to drink lots and lots of soup!

Marine Corps Air Station Tustin 1

Anyway, the overall meal wasn't that great as I hoped it would be. Of course, I was wishing this to be a fantastic meal to put onto the excellent restaurants list! Plus so many people wrote positive feedback on this place! But sadly, the turn out was authentic but too oily and roughly executed. One dining companion even commented Thai Ritz Cuisine-Irvine had better food...shocking. The others commented that it was like my first experience with tortoise jelly- I really wanted to try it after my dining companion's comments but then when I actually got the chance to try it I felt it tasted awful. But now, I think it's tasty. And Hong Kong is definitely the place to eat it!  Hopefully Brodard is better, whenever I try it.

But what's this? It's the Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin. And the hanger you seen in the photo was enormous. There were two of them in fact. 

Marine Corps Air Station Tustin 2

Now you have something to compare to in terms of the size, but this photo also has too many distractions. But I think you can get the point. Where were we going by this point? Back to Diamond Jamboree, where there was plenty of things to look at. The 85C Bakery line was two times longer than last year, meaning in that the lines went all the way to the other side of Diamond Jamboree near Lollicup and the back wall. We also got some food at Capital's to-go section which looked fine and very similar to Arcadia's version, and visited H-Mart yet again.

University of California, Irvine Entrance Sign on Bison

Then it was back to UC Irvine. In contrast to the drive from UCI to Thai Nakorn, this was short. But instead of wanting for food when we were driving to Thai Nakorn, going back to UC Irvine I wanted water. And lots of it! At least I got another attempt at taking a picture of the UC Irvine sign by the time we went home. However, the lighting shaded the logo unlike how it was during the morning....good lighting but the shutter speed was set too slowly. There's always next time!

And a short blurb as to dinner: Dean Sin World Xiao Long Bao's are very good abeit with a thicker top but with plenty of juice. 14 dollars for 50! And only 10 dollars for 50 regular dumplings! Fantastic deal. And these tasted just like tons of other restaurants Xiao Long Bao! Good for lunch, dinner, office, school, anything really. I've already brought them for school lunches.


Thai Nakorn
12532 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92843
Tel: (714) 583-8938

Thai Nakorn on Urbanspoon
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Forgot to read last week's post? Here's the link again: Zapata Vive!! Mexican Restaurant & Cantina- Arcadia

And do not forget to leave a comment on my giveaway page so you can have a chance to win a 65 dollar gift certificate to CSN Stores! Offer open to U.S. and Canada residents. Full details HERE.

And a question: Do you want restaurant reviews on so-so restaurants? Or do you just want the good or interesting places that I've gone to?

Monday, October 4, 2010

CSN Stores.com $65 Gift Certificate Giveaway!

 
EDIT: Deadline has been pushed to 11:59 PM Pacific Time (GMT-08:00), on Saturday, October 16, 2010. This giveaway has ended.

CSN Stores has offered me to give a gift certificate worth 65 US Dollars to all of you readers! And that of course means, the first giveaway on the blog to thank all of you U.S. and Canadian readers (gift certificate limited to United States and Canada) after almost two years of staring this blog. But I'm sure some of you are wondering: what does CSN Stores offer?

Based in Boston, CSN Stores is a "Top 3 online U.S. retailer of home and office goods." With that said, their size allows for a wide amount of products to be selected from their website. They actually have 200+ stores/websites  which offer products like dining chairs and office furniture all the way to household appliances and cookware. So, with this certificate if you win it, you are going to have a wide variety of things to choose from!

So, what can you do to earn some entries into this giveaway? Three easy options for three entries (one option=one entry, maximum three entries):


1. Leave a comment here on this blog post and tell me something you want to buy from CSN Stores as well as your email so I can contact you if you win. Go take a look, there are tons of things that are not widely available in department stores like a wide selection of woks and stir fry pans that are not non stick!

2. Like Eat. Travel. Eat!'s Facebook page and leave a comment there that has a link towards your blog if you have one, and then leave a comment back on this post to say you left a comment on the Eat. Travel. Eat!'s official Facebook page plus again your email for contact.

3. Write a blog post on the giveaway here on Eat. Travel. Eat! and link to this page, and then leave a comment here on this blog post that you have written the blog post. While you are at it, give me the link to the post on your blog that has that specific blog post on the giveaway, and then your email again for contact.

However, please notice these limitations before you do something:

1. This giveaway is only open to Canada and United States residents only (sorry, some of you readers).


2. The deadline to do any, or all three, entries is 11:59 PM Pacific Time (GMT-08:00), on Saturday, October 16, 2010. This giveaway has ended. The winner who does not respond within after three days after I send an email to you on your win will forfeit their entries and I will pick a different winner.


Thank you  Jamie Sward of CSN Stores for offering this giveaway, and to my readers the best of luck!

And if you readers didn't notice my regular blog post for this week, the link is HERE. It's on Zapata Vive!! Mexican Restaurant & Cantina in Arcadia.


Have a good week!
-EatTravelEat

 
The winner is comment #12, which is Aileen! Congrats!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Zapata Vive!! Mexican Restaurant & Cantina- Arcadia

Zapata Vive Exterior

The comments from last week's survey requested unanimously for a Mexican restaurant in Arcadia, and so here it is! Zapata Vive is one of the Mexican restaurants in Arcadia where the atmosphere is decidedly more Mexican compared to other places as well as sunny. And if you can't tell already by my writing, I have been here quite a few times. (However, this post only has photos from one visit and that is the first time I brought my camera to this place)

Additional plus? There are routinely coupons for Zapata Vive in the local mail, and there are also restaurant.com gift certificates available. Thus, if you have extra airline miles from United that you don't plan on using for flying, switching for gift certificates is a great option- and using it here is a good option, as the main condition is 35 dollars minimum on food only, which when you have a party of four is easy peas-y. Plus you can use it any day of the week and any time of day, including lunch.

Chips and Salsa

I do not have any interior photos since there were plenty of people relaxing in the restaurant doing work on their computers, enjoying drinks, and watching a Dubai air show competition which was on the flat screen TV's nearby the bar; might as well not disturb them with some click-clicks pointed towards them. But this tablecloth should tell you something about the decor!

Anyway, any meal at Zapata Vive starts with some chips and salsa. The tortilla chips were freshly fried and warm with a crisp, and the salsa was quite spicy with bits of tomato, onions, and pepper. However, the waitress said it was the mildest of the salsas they had; but how about pico de gallo? Maybe she didn't include it as it is different in a sense...anyway, salsa= sauce if you didn't know. Some basic Spanish knowledge. :)

Albondigas Soup

One of my dining companions decided to order the Albondigas soup as an accompaniment to the entree, and it arrived first ($2.25 add to entree, otherwise 5.50 USD). This was quite nice, light and healthy. There were big chunks of zucchini, celery, and carrot in a light meat broth. The meatballs were herby and meaty and a bit on the saltier side. We enjoyed the vegetables and soup broth more, but still it was very good and an excellent deal for an addition!

Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnita Tacos

It so happened to be that two of my dining companions ordered carnitas dishes. The Carnitas with tortillas, pico de gallo and guacamole (1st dish) was 10.99 USD, while the two soft tacos version was 9.99 USD. Both were so-so, but usually we order other things that are better. The main reason was that the carnitas were dry, and needed something for moisture. As you can see, all entrees were served with beans with cheese broiled on top as well as some Mexican rice. Personally if I was ordering I would just order the 10.99 version from the specialty section and not the tacos version, since you get some more guacamole and pico de gallo and additionally get to make your own tacos as you want them to be.

Spinach Enchiladas

My other dining companion ordered the spinach enchiladas, which was only listed on the dining menu and not the take out one. Of course, we were allowed the choice of red or green sauce, which we replied to as green. Speaking of which, there is a story behind this.

Around the end of the school year last May or so, my Spanish class brought in Mexican food almost everyday for one special week, and thus I sampled lots of different foods. One of the most spectacular ones was enchiladas verdes filled with chicken and some onion. The enchiladas had been freshly brought into class and thus were piping hot, and the green sauce was light and slightly peppery, providing a nice backdrop to the rest of the dish. It was so good, I envisioned ordering enchiladas in multiple restaurants to see what could compare...one of which was the Cheesecake Factory (post on that later). But since the Cheesecake Factory version used a red sauce, the comparison wasn't really great. So...

...how did Zapata Vive fare with this? Well, obviously this was a healthier take, with spinach and some other vegetables being the filling. The filling wrapped in a corn tortilla was then dipped in a creamy green sauce, and then broiled with some cheese. Overall, very good. But it wasn't my serving, although I was going to order an enchiladas plate (but decided not to for some more variety for this post). What did I order?

Fish Tacos

I had two fish tacos (9.99 USD).  The first time I ordered this dish, I was shocked that the fish pieces were not fried but almost flaked instead. However, I have come to realize that fried fish tacos are Ensenada-style, and there are other preparation styles for one dish.What was nice about this version was that the cabbage is not bitter at all, and that there was plenty of crema for a nice binding as well as some sweetness as well as some pico de gallo for some pop. The fish was tender and nicely seasoned, and the corn tortillas (supposedly handmade) were not dry and finished well with the rest of the taco. Very nicely done! Estos tacos de pescados son muy sabrosos. Plus the beans and rice went well in between bites of the taco and were not bland at all. Yes, these were better than Los Guero's version, although the fish here was flaked. I said so last year, and I still believe so. Unless you readers would like to pitch in on some other places that are not too far away that serve some tasty fish tacos (and enchiladas while you are at it)!

Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Zapata Vive. It was relaxing and the environment made it feel like we were in Mexico again! The restaurant.com discount cut the bill significantly, but you can save even more money by visiting during lunch in the weekdays for their Lunch Fantastico where dishes like the fish tacos are discounted to a very reasonable 5.99 USD. Really, it is a fantastic deal. El almuerzo fantastico es muy barato y es una ganga buena. (or in other words, very cheap and a good bargain)

Another Mexican restaurant I like here in Arcadia is Pacos, but the thing I don't like is the dark atmosphere. Otherwise the food compares to Zapata Vive, but I prefer Zapata Vive for the brightness!


Zapata Vive!! Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
101 S. First Ave.
Arcadia, CA 91006
Tel: (626) 254-9111

Zapata Vive on Urbanspoon