Sunday, December 27, 2015

Delicious Assorted Cakes For My Christmas Cocktail Party

Review submitted by: Jane Ong

As I mentioned in my previous post, I hosted an early Christmas cocktail party a week before Christmas.  Being an extremely busy professional who doesn't have much time to spend in the kitchen, I had chosen to not make my own desserts but to pay $52.08 to get a dozen mini cakes from one of my favorite Japanese bakeries.  These cakes were a great hit at my cocktail party.  They tasted richly delicious and were such a joy to eat.  Everyone at the party loved the good clean sensation from the cakes. These cakes just didn't leave a sickly and stuffy feeling in the chest or throat.  They were rich, yet smooth and they felt so light and comfortable after the last bite was gone.  They were really great with coffee.  I could have spent days in my kitchen and watched all the baking shows on TV but I don't think I will be able to make cakes like these. May be I can, but I just don't have the time.  According to my friends at my party, these were actually the best cakes they ever had in their lives. Of course, these cakes aren't made of vegetable shortening, and there is no food coloring in them. The ingredients are real chocolate, real cream, real fruits, and this is why these cakes don't come with too many color schemes, which I don't care. Because most of the colorful cakes that I had before from grocery stores and other American bakeries just made me feel so sick afterwards and all I tasted was food coloring. I personally hate the taste of vegetable shortening, and I don't like the taste of food color which is so strong in all cakes in a lot of American bakeries... and the fondant that is so widely used. Yuck. To me, cakes and desserts aren't about the color, the price or quantity, it's all about quality.  I would never want to eat cakes again if there were no Japanese bakery in the USA and if I couldn't find time or the money to bake them myself.

Bakery: Mammoth Bakery
Address:Inside Marukai Gardena Pacific
              1620 W. Redondo Beach Blvd. Gardena, CA 90247
Tel: (310) 538-9031

Notes From The Editors: Share your bakery experience with us and we will send you a box of gourmet Chocolate Truffles if we decide to publish your review here. For submission guidelines, please click here to connect with us.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Trees Crostinis

Content submitted by: Jane Ong

I never had to even boil water until I graduated college.  My parents always discouraged me from even stepping into the kitchen, because they themselves were forced to spend their entire childhood and young adulthood in the home kitchen and working in the kitchen.  For some twisted reasons, my parents just didn't want their children to go even close to the kitchen.  I'd come to learn how to make a sandwich when I started working and living on my own.  This year, I felt I had to prove to my friends that I wasn't totally helpless and spoiled just because I get most of my meals from restaurants. So, I decided to throw an early Christmas cocktail party at my tiny apartment before I went overseas for my Christmas vacation. Based on my years of sandwich making experience, I made Christmas Trees Crostinis for the cocktail party.  It was fast, and easy and I was proud that they were extremely well received and they disappeared from my party tray really really fast.

The Japanese bakeries here in Los Angeles make the best and freshest white bread in the entire Los Angeles (just my opinion).  Naturally, the delicious white bread makes the best tasting Crostini. My friends could just eat the plain toasted white bread by itself non-stop.  It's how good the Japanese white bread was. 

I bought a Christmas tree cookie cutter years ago wanting to make Christmas tree cookies to bring to the Christmas party at work.  I ended up not making any cookies but bought a party tray of disgusting cookies from the grocery store instead.   When I saw the brand new cookie cutter that had never been used all these years, I thought of using it to may be  make some croutons for salads.  Then I felt they were too big for salads and decided to turn them into Crostinis.  The cookie cutter turned out to be really useful in making festive looking Crostini. These Crostinis are extremely easy to make and taste really good with Champagne.   

Makes 24 Crostinis  

  1. 24 pieces of really really good quality white bread 
  2. 4 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 2 teaspoons dry parsley flakes
  4. 1 can (5oz) tuna in oil, drained and flaked (reserve 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil)
  5. 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  6. 1 cup can (7oz) sweet corn
  7. 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  8. Salt & ground pepper 
  9. Powdered Parmesan cheese for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cut 24 Christmas trees out of the white bread using a cookie cutter. Place the Christmas tree pieces on the baking sheet.  On both sides, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with parsley flakes.  Bake for 10  to 12 minutes or until golden.  Turn over once during baking.  

  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together ingredients 4) to 7).  Use some of the reserved oil from the can tuna to bind the ingredients if necessary. Or you can use some mayo to bind instead.  Season with salt and ground pepper.

  3. Spoon the tuna mixture from step 2 above onto the baked Christmas tree pieces, garnish with powdered Parmesan cheese and serve.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Martha Stewart's Double Chocolate Brownies Recipe Make Great Christmas Gifts

Content submitted by: Jane Ong

In the past few years, I always picked up a Martha Stewart Magazine on the magazine rack whenever I visited a grocery store.  It was however just pure browsing.  I hadn't tried any recipe or any craft from the magazines.  I have been a very busy professional slave and I never had time to do much other than flipping through the glossy Martha Stewart Magazines during check-out.  2 years ago during my sabbatical, I had the leisure to finally make her Double-Chocolate Brownie recipe.  They are so delicious that I have been  making them as Christmas gifts for my landlord and his family ever since. They love them tremendously, which I am very glad.

I can't be buying the glossy Martha Stewart Magazines all these years and not learn one trick or two in terms of gift wrapping. I originally was looking for the Martha Stewart brand gift box but they seem to be kind of pricey.  So I just grabbed whatever that was the cheapest:

$3.76 for the Bags & Ribbon, $1.99 for the 9 gift tags, and 9% sales tax, total $6.27 to pack 32 brownies with 1 gift tag left for use to tie to another gift.  This is  not the first time in my life I made gifts from the kitchen, but  I still don't know how to tie a proper bow.  My bows just didn't come out as proper looking as the one shown on the Wilton photo.  I still don't know how to do it. So one of my resolutions for 2016 will be to find out how to tie a bow properly and learn to do it.  Hopefully there is a tutorial on Martha Stewart's website somewhere?

Notes From Our Editors: Tell us about your most favorite food gifts for Christmas and we will send you a box of Godiva Chocolate Truffles if we decide to publish your review here. For submission guidelines, please click here to connect with us.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Gift Wrap Wine Using Wrapping Paper Leftover From Prior Years

Content submitted by: Jane Ong

I can't believe I am still having Christmas wrapping paper from more than 2 years ago.  I don't dare to use it to wrap gift boxes this year because I am afraid that my friends will recognize the same wrapping paper when they receive the box of gift from me.  I'm so sick of having this old roll of wrapping paper lying around that I decided to use it to wrap Champagn bottles this year. I hope that the wrapping paper showing up in a bottle shape instead of a cube shape will make it look less familiar to my friend.  Gift wrapping the champagn bottle is easy, I just double folded the wrapping paper and rolled the bottle inside, tape it up (tugged the bottom in with invisible tape) and secured the neck with a silver beaded hair band that I bought for cheap when I had long hair, yet my short hair now has no use for it.  I also added a gift tag left over from 2 Christmases ago.  Now hopefully, my friend might not remember the wrapping paper so much.  Below is a photo of the Champagne before it was wrapped.

It actually looked great and Christmas presentable even without wrapping. I just want to use up my old wrapping paper... However, I'm still not done with the roll and it's still lying around in my home.... It's driving me crazy now that I have to think of more ways to use it up. I hate tossing things away even though I know I can simply trash it. I just can't get myself to trash wrapping papers that are in good condition....

Notes From Our Editors: Tell us about your most favorite food gifts for Christmas and we will send you a box of Godiva Chocolate Truffles if we decide to publish your review here. For submission guidelines, please click here to connect with us.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Stay Away From Kroger Wild Caught Pacific Cod

Review submitted by: Jane Ong
I just had a piece of these cods that I bought for $9.99 a bag at my local grocery store Ralph. But now I feel I was scammed and I am very angry about the quality of this totally tasteless cod fillets.  I love fish.  Most of my money I spent dining out is on seafood dishes, particularly on fish dishes like cod.  So when I saw the photo and the description on the bag, I was lured to make the purchase.  May be I am not cooking it right?  I thawed the fish fillet and I dumped it in my pre-seasoned Korean Soon Tofu soup starter kit, thinking it's going to add a lot of flavor to my beloved tofu soup.  Korean Soon Tofu soup is a very tasty and delicious soup. I bought the extremely tasty Korean soup starter kit, tossed in mushroom, the cod and green onions.  But the cod added no extra seafood flavor to my tofu soup. While my tofu and mushroom soaked up the seasoning of the soup starter kit, the cod still tasted nothing.   How could the cod taste nothing while my tofu and mushroom absorbed the seasoning of the soup kit?  Eating the cod is like chewing on paper towel. I mean paper towel right out of the dispenser without soaking the paper towel into my tasty tofu soup kit.  It's because if only I soak my paper towel into the soup, even the paper towel becomes flavorful.

What exactly is this cod?  Is this really fish?  I mean I had cods in restaurants all the time, baked cods, fried cods, sauteed cod, grilled cod, etc, etc, and I love Trader Joe's "American Made" oven ready breaded cod fillets.  I had never had a piece of cod that tasted like paper towel. I am angry because I feel that Kroger insults me by selling me this crap.  Does Kroger really think I am so retarded that I think cod should taste like paper towel?  Does Kroger think I don't deserve to be sold decent quality cod but tasteless crap?  The package says the cods were wild caught in the Pacific. Then when I read the "fine print" just now, I saw "Product of China".  Now, no wonder the cod tasted like paper towel, or recycled white plastic?  So America can't even fish now, but has to depend on China to fish for her?  Only god knows how these cods were processed in the processing plants in China or how they were treated to have the texture  changed so drastically and the taste totally bleached out.  Anything that can't be seasoned after soaking in the tasty Korean Tofu Soup kit has to be pretty bad....because this soup kit can make anything taste decent, including paper towels and I am not kidding.  But the soup can't add flavor to the cod.  Besides, fish is supposed to add flavor to any soup...Now, my concern is, are those really cod I just eat or some simulation from recycled plastics?

The Best Tasting Decadent Little Chocolate Cake

Review submitted by: Jane Ong

Set on a little gold plate, this is one of the best tasting mini chocolate ganache cakes I'v had.  Covered under the deliciously rich chocolate ganache are layers of light and fluffy regular cake and chocolate cake layered with real delicious whip cream and chocolate butter cream.  Dusted with coco powder, topped with rich chocolate truffle ball, chocolate pieces and a flake of gold (which is edible light sugar that melts in the mouth like cotton candy).  This mini individual size cake is so divinely delicious.  What I like about this cake is, it tastes so rich and so good and yet it feels so light. This is made by one of my favorite Japanese bakeries.  This cake doesn't give me a sickly and stuffy feeling. It's just a pure enjoyment to eat this cake because it's not overly sweet, and yet it's appropriately sweet, and indulging.  I just like the after feeling when I finished my last bite. I just felt great and I didn't feel stuffy and sickly like I always felt after eating a donut or a cheap cupcake from the average American bakeries, or something baked by my dear friends and colleagues from the mass market baking mix.  For people who think their cup cakes are good or the baked goods in the typical grocery stores are actually edible, just try this cake and they won't be able to go back and taste those craps again.  

This cake is $4.29, yes, it's not cheap because this isn't made of cheap hydrogenated anything or artificial chocolate powder cake mix and crisco, this is the real cake made by Japanese bakers using the real ingredients. This is how cake is supposed to taste like.  This cake is totally worth my time to eat and the possible extra calories that I added to my slim body. (My family and I  have been eating cakes like this all our lives, never the cheap disgusting baked goods in grocery stores. We don't eat cakes every day, only once in a while and we are still slim.)

Bakery: Monte Martre Bakery
Address: 2525 Pacific Coast Hwy, Torrance, CA 90505
Tel: (310) 326-2783

Notes From Our Editors: Do you know how to ship delicate cakes?  If so, you are welcome to tell us how, and we will send you the above cake if we decide to publish your tips here. For submission guidelines, please click here to connect with us.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Williams-Sonoma Classic Hot Chocolate

Review submitted by: Barbara Weiner
This was my impulse purchase when I was visiting the Williams-Sonoma store to kill time while waiting for my friend. The store was full of Christmas traffic, it smelled really good and the display was totally festive.  When I saw this beautiful red tin, I wasn't thinking so much about Chocolate, but I was really thinking of the white open cabinet rack in my kitchen.  I thought the red tin would make my white rack look good for this holiday season and it does.  In terms of the chocolate, it's just shaved chocolate. It's pretty good quality chocolate, but not much better than regular chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate. I probably can make the same hot chocolate by melting semi-sweet chocolate into my milk.  It's very pricey at $19.95 a can. It goes fast because it takes 5 table spoons for every one cup of hot milk. I did get a 20% in-store discount though.  But you can also get 20% off and free shipping for this chocolate if you shop at the Williams-Sonoma website and enter the code  "FRIENDS" at check out.  What I love about this product isn't so much about the taste. Sure the taste is good and I surely enjoy it (but I had better hot chocolate). What I really like about this product is that it's  made in the USA and its Christmas container is a great functional holiday decor for my white kitchen rack.

Notes From Our Editors: Tell us about your most favorite food gifts for Christmas and we will send you a box of Godiva Chocolate Truffles if we decide to publish your review here. For submission guidelines, please click here to connect with us.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Baked Cod Fillet Served with Linguine With Pesto and Tomatoes

Content contributed by: Jane Ong

Trader Joe's has this tasty Linguine with Pesto & Tomatoes  for $2.99 per a 16 ounce bag that makes a great meal when paired with  Trader Joe's oven ready breaded cod fillets.  A box of 8 to 9 pieces of breaded cod fillets is only $9.99.  I normally don't buy frozen fish fillets because most of the fish fillets in American grocery stores are "Products of China" and I am  aware of the fact that there isn't that many unpolluted shores or rivers in China to produce that many fish fillets for export.  So when I saw that Trader Joe's oven ready breaded cod fillets are "Products of the USA", it naturally became one of my favorite grocery items from TJ.  I popped them into the oven as instructed and they came out pretty good.  

Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday Truffles Star Ornament

Review submitted by: Barbara Weiner
I spotted this really cute box of chocolate truffles when I was shopping for Christmas gifts at Barnes & Nobles.  I would like to give some of my friends edible gifts this year and so I decided to try out these chocolate truffles myself.  They tasted pretty good. But it is the Christmas star box that really appeals to me.  I  hang the box on a gold tone door knob on my bedroom's white door and  it looks really festive and pretty.  I'm actually going to buy more of these for myself as Christmas ornaments on my kitchen cabinet.  After I finish the chocolates, I will use the pretty candy wraps to wrap balls of paper towel and put them back in the box for decorating.  These beautifully packaged chocolate truffles however aren't cheap at $10.00 per box.  For those of you who are really crafty, may be you can make the box yourself and stuff it with your homemade candies. But for me, paying $10.00 for a box of these beautifully wrapped chocolate truffles  is very worth my time.

Notes From Our Editors: Tell us about your most favorite food gifts for Christmas and we will send you a box of the above Chocolate Truffles if we decide to publish your review here. For submission guidelines, please click here to connect with us.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

240-Calories Herb Roasted Chicken Dinner

Review submitted by: Jane Ong
Herb-Roasted Chicken Over A Medley Of Zucchini, Tomatoes & Butternut Squash

I had been walking by My Fit Foods many times because it's right next to Trader Joe's, a few steps down from my favorite Chinese restaurant, a few more steps from Wholefood supermarket, an authentic Japanese grocery store, Blaze Pizza and also a number of Japanese restaurants.  I have always been curious about this shiny and sparkly clean store front but as you can see, there are just too many food choices within walking distance that it's not easy for me to make up my mind to walk into this prepared meals store.

Today, I finally bought a box of dinner ($7.29 + tax) from there before I walked over to pick up my Chinese lunch next door. The box size reminds me of meals that I ordered when I was flying with Virgin America.  In my opinion, the taste and quality of this dinner are also similar to the meals served by Virgin America, which I didn't particularly love, but I had no problem swiping my credit card for when I was hungry and I had no other choice.  The quality and the taste of this dinner are decent, but the chicken is just way too bland for my taste.  The veggies are somewhat less bland but they are still not well seasoned for my palate.  I mainly tasted the peppery seasoning from the veggies, and no salt. The taste is too one-dimensional for me, which is somewhat boring, compared to the ready meals from grocery stores like Wholefood, Fresh & Easy & Trader Joe's.  This dinner box is however much better than frozen dinners. It's after all made up of decent quality real chicken and real veggies.

Los Angeles may seem to be a great market for healthy meals, but the competition is fierce and consumers' are spoiled by all the great cuisines brought in from around the world.  If this store wants to survive here in Los Angeles, it has to do a lot better, in terms of taste, quality, price and delivery.

Store: My Fit Foods
Address: 2543-G Pacific Coast Hwy, Torrance, CA 90505

Notes From Our Editors: Share your restaurant experience with us and we will send you a box of gourmet Chocolate Truffles if we decide to publish your review here. For submission guidelines, please click here to connect with us.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

My Thanksgiving Dinner Classics

Review submitted by: Jane Ong

After two years' absence from Black Angus Steakhouse on Thanksgiving day, my friend and I had returned this year for our traditional thanksgiving dinner there that we started several years ago.  Last time we went, it was $16.99 for a whole dinner with all the fixings.  This year, it was $18.99 per dinner. We like that the dinner included a bowl of richly delicious potato soup.  My friend suggested to go to my favorite Chinese restaurant which was open on Thanksgiving day.  But to me, I just needed to get that turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. I never had any kind of  food other than the American Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving and the thought of  not having it this year drove me into a panic mode.  So my friend gave in and I had my familiar comforting Turkey dinner that I usually enjoyed at Black Angus Steakhouse.

As usual, I was overall pretty satisfied with my turkey dinner there, even though pie isn't this restaurant's specialty.   The restaurant has very decent dinner rolls, and I love the turkey stuffing there.

The pumpkin pie I had there wasn't the greatest, but it wasn't bad.  I always requested the server to heat the pie up for me because I don't like pumpkin pie cold.

I had many Thanksgiving Dinners at relatives' or friends' homes where I literally felt like torture to me because the food was either too bland or just not well prepared by the not-so great cooks who think they are good cooks.  In order not to hurt their feeling, I often had to act like I loved their food that they piled on my plate.  There is nothing more tortuous than forced feeding myself a plate of cold, gamy or bland dry turkey, with the really mushy and overcooked broccoli or canned green beans casserole. The worst part was I had to sit at the dinner tables with people I love and care and try to hide the fact that I was literally repulsed by their cooking.  I just don't like canned veggies, I love fresh green beans but I hate canned green beans, particularly when they are drown in canned mushroom soup.  So this year, once again, I came up with all kinds of excuses to dodge my thanksgiving dinner invitations and chose a decent turkey dinner over spending time with friends and family.

Restaurant: Black Angus Steakhouse
Address: 3405 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90503
Tel: (310) 370-1523

Notes From Our Editors: Share your restaurant experience with us and we will send you a box of gourmet Chocolate Truffles if we decide to publish your review here. For submission guidelines, please click here to connect with us.

Friday, November 27, 2015

American Grown Sweet and Juicy Comice Pears

The sweet good pears are worth buying again again. It's pear season and we again went to Trader Joe's to buy  Harry & David's pear gift boxes, not to send as gifts, but for ourselves to eat. The price this year is $6.99 per box vs  $5.99 when we first tried them last year..  These are Comice pears grown in Medford, Oregon. and they are all good this time around.  They were very sweet, juicy and delicious. We loved the creamy texture. These pears were so good we will keep buying them whenever we see them at Trader Joe's.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Vietnamese Beef Stew Rice Noodle Soup (Phở/ Mì Bò Kho)

Review submitted by: Jane Ong

This is so far the one and only good Asian restaurant in Toms River, Manchester, Brick, Point Pleasant, in Ocean County New Jersey.  I personally like this place better than the sushi place I visited. At this point, I had already given up in looking for more Asian restaurants since I have no desire in driving through the rest of the county far far away from my hotel.  I also don't have the will or the patience to drive to New York City or Philadelphia just for Asian food.  I am very thankful that there is this one Vietnamese restaurant in the area for me to go back again and again to eat. I just hope that this restaurant can make it here in this area, because I have been here long enough to observe that the demographics in this area have very different standards and taste about food.  

As long as I am here in this area, I want to support this only one place that serves decent Asian food. Besides, I really enjoy the Stew Beef Noodle Soup ($9.45) here. The beef is really tasty and the broth is addictively delicious. The noodle on the menu is supposed to be egg noodle.  But I always substitute with rice noodle because rice noodle is more like the Pho thing and I am here for the Pho.  This noodle soup reminds me of my home town Los Angeles.  I am always homesick for California whenever I am working here in this area and this familiar noodle soup reminds me of the comfort food I often had in California.

Restaurant: Vietnamese Cuisine
Address: 1222 Rte. 166, Toms River, NJ 08753
Tel: 732-349-7777

Notes From Our Editors: Share your restaurant experience with us and we will send you a box of gourmet Chocolate Truffles if we decide to publish your review here. For submission guidelines, please click here to connect with us.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dinner Rolls That I Will Never Buy Again!

Review submitted by: Jane Ong

This bag of dinner rolls is the exact reason why I avoided buying baked goods in the mainstream American grocery stores.  These rolls were just awful to me because I am used to much fresher and tastier buns and breads from the Asian bakeries.  After having the really good rolls at a Dim Sum restaurant, these dinner rolls from Ralph just tasted like crap to me.  I know I can't compare the two since they are different like apples and oranges.  But still, I just can't eat the dinner rolls from Ralph anymore.  I tried and I wanted very much to hold onto them. But I just didn't see how these rolls would be any better if only I stored them another day when they tasted so awful on the first day I bought them from the grocery store.  I struggled to eat one roll on the first night I bought it, and then I just tossed the rest into trash.  It was a huge waste of money, and it made me feel so bad and guilty, since I was raised by parents and grandparents who had once lived through years of near-death starvation and extreme poverty. I hate trashing food, because every time I did, I could picture my parents and grandparents starving and suffering.  But I just couldn't bring myself to eat these lousy rolls.

Notes From Our Editors: Share your bakery experience with us and we will send you a box of gourmet Chocolate Truffles if we decide to publish your review here. For submission guidelines, please click here to connect with us.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Winner Announcement: Free Book Giveaway Julia Child Biography: Dearie

We had only one participant for the above free book giveaway. The winner for the above free book giveaway is: Carol.  We had already shipped the book to the winner. Please continue to follow us for our upcoming free cookbooks giveaway.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Marie Callender's Meatball & Sausage Marinara

Review submitted by: Jane Ong
My hotel room here in Toms River NJ has a microwave, so I bought the Marie Callender's Meatball & Sausage Marinara when it's on sale at $1.99 at Shop Rite.  I had been to Marie Callender's restaurant a few times in California and I generally liked the food there but this was my first time buying the brand's frozen dinner.  The portion was great but unfortunately the sausage and meatballs tasted very foul and stinky.  I don't want to know what kind of meat and what quality of meat was used to make this pasta.  It was so awful that I had to spit it out.  I tried 2 bites and I had to toss the entire dinner plate away.  The pasta itself tasted tolerable even though it was too salty for me.  But the meat was the worst I had ever tasted.  I'm not sure if it's just this particular box, or the meat that was used to make this kind of cheap frozen dinner just generally tasted like this.  I will not buy this ever again. But then I think this frozen dinner will be great for a Halloween Dinner Party.  It will be fun to serve this at a dining room that is decorated with spooky stuff and lighting.  I would like to film the entire dinner party and register every guests' facial expression when they take their first bite into this foul and stinky suspicious meat.

Notes From Our Editors:  Share your frozen dinner experience with us and we will send you a box of gourmet Chocolate Truffles if we decide to publish your review here.  For submission guidelines, please click here to connect with us.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pumpkin Cream Cupcake

Review submitted by: Jane Ong

I can really feel the fall season now that I'm back to New Jersey because of work.  The weather is really chilly today so I want to get the familiar comfort cake.  I'm glad that there is a Barnes & Noble in this area because I really love bookstores and the coffee shop inside Barnes & Noble.  I like that I can have the baked goods that I usually enjoy wherever I am in the USA.  I have the pumpkin cream cupcake today and it's pretty comforting to my sweet tooth.  I like the Barnes & Noble here in Bricks NJ because it's a lot less crowded and there is just  so much more seating.  Back in my town in Los Angeles, the Barnes and Nobles is always jam packed with Asian students and kids and their moms.  It was hard to get a table at the coffee shop there.  Here at Brick NJ, it's just so much nicer that I can literally sit anywhere I want to enjoy my latte and my cupcake.  It's so spacious here because there are so much fewer visitors. I love the quiet and peace at this bookstore. The parking lot is so big and it has so many empty parking spaces.  Back in my hometown in Los Angeles, I had to circle around and around to park my car every time I went to Barnes & Noble (meaning weekends).  I really enjoy such stress free parking. I'm beginning to see the good in this part of New Jersey.

Restaurant: Barnes & Noble 
Address: 44 Brick Plaza, Brick NJ 08723
Tel:  (732) 255-6600

Friday, October 16, 2015

Treat Your Favorite Trick Or Treaters With Spooky Spider Chocolate Truffles

We love Halloween because we love seeing all the cute trick and treaters at our doors.  We usually stock up with really cheap candies from Costco to give away.  This year, we would like to upgrade our treating by giving our most favorite treaters the luxurious chocolate truffles.  A box of 5 pieces costs $10.00 but our most favorite trick and treaters certainly deserve this splurge.

If you have tried  these chocolate truffles, we encourage you to share your review exclusively with us.  If your review is selected to be featured here, we would send you a gourmet food gift card. For instructions on sending us your review, please click here to contact our editors.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Spectacular Halloween Cake

For those talented home bakers out there who love to bake,  Halloween is really a great time to show off your cake making grandeur. With festive cake toppers and cupcake decoration rings for only $4.99, passionate home bakers can easily whip up a really impressive Halloween cake.  If you have used these cake toppers to decorate your cake, we encourage you to share your cake's photo with us in here.  If your Halloween cake is selected to be featured here, we would send you a gourmet food gift card.  For instructions on sending us your cake's photo, please click here to contact  our editors.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Serve Delicious Brain Jello This Halloween

Halloween won't be fun without a ghoulish meal. This brain gelatin mold will turn the ordinary Jello into a crowd pleasing Halloween treat. $5.98 per mold.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cantonese Style Kung Pao Shrimp

Review submitted by: Jane Ong

I love Chinese food but if I have to pick my favorite among all Chinese regional cuisines, I have to pick the Cantonese cuisine.  Kung Pao Shrimp is basically on every Chinese restaurant's menu in America.  Yet Kung Pao Shrimp just tastes very different in every Chinese restaurant I visit.  I prefer the less saucy and less spicy kind of Kung Pao Shrimp that is rendered by the Cantonese chefs.  Kung Pao Shrimp is a variation of  the Kung Pao Chicken in China's  Szechuan cuisine.   The best Kung Pao Shrimp I ever had was in one of the side street diners in Hong Kong years ago when my parents first took me there for a summer trip.  It was the first time I ever had Kung Pao anything, and I will never forget the thrill of it. I was sitting at a table on a packed street with no air-conditioning but I had a blast and I consider that dinner to be one of the best I ever had.  I could see the chefs cooking on their roaring fire on one side of the street and then waiters fishing out live lobsters and fishes from the fish tanks on the other side of the street.  As a little kid, I was so mesmerized by the bustle and hustle of the cooking action.  I was totally hypnotized by all kinds of delicious smell floating in the air.  Back then I could care less about the name of the dish.  All I knew was I felt that  I had the best food in my life at the time (for my very short existence of only 8 years in this world).

Since then, I have been trying to find the same great Kung Pao Shrimp in America.  While I haven't yet found the Kung Pao Shrimp that tasted as good as the one I had during the summer trip in Hong Kong, I am lucky enough to find Kung Pao Shrimp that is decent. Even though Kung Pao shrimp is supposed to be a Szechuan dish, but I always feel that Cantonese Chinese restaurants produce better Kung Pao Shrimp than  the Szechuan restaurants.  To my own palette,  Cantonese chefs' rendition of Kung Pao Shrimp has just the right seasoning that is neither too hot nor too sweet.  The shrimp is also not drowned in sweet brown sauce like the ones produced by many American Szechuan restaurants.  I don't like Chinese stir fries that are too saucy.  I have to admit though I had never been to any Szechuan restaurant outside the USA.  May be I will be equally in love with the Kung Pao Shrimp produced by the more authentic Szechuan restaurants.

Until then, I feel fortunate to be living just a short drive away from  a Cantonese restaurant that serves decent Kung Pao Shrimp at $7.95 during lunch hours.

Restaurant: PV Palace
Address: 2166 Pacific Coast Hwy, Lomita, CA 90717
Phone:(310) 326-3228 Hours: Friday 10:00 am – 9:30 pm

Friday, August 28, 2015

I'm Inspired To Go On Picnics

Product review submitted by: Jane Ong
Thermal Insulated Picnic Backpack For Two
My work is scheduling me to return to Toms River New Jersey to work on some projects there again. My problem with Toms River New Jersey is that it is a town that is totally lack of decent restaurants, or the kind of supermarkets I like. (eg. Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's).  But this time, I am going to return prepared.  The area around Toms River New Jersey is very pretty, even though it's very hot and humid most of the time in the summer.  But this time, I am expecting the temperature to be cooling off since it's going to be September.. or am I wrong?  I'm planning on bringing my picnic backpack for my business trip to Toms River this time.  I figure out that instead of having a miserable time dining out at restaurants that serve bland and often horrible food during the weekends, I can assemble much better meals and go on picnics on many scenic sites near Toms River.  

I bought this thermal insulated picnic backpack ($54.97) a while back because I wanted to picnic at a Hollywood Bowl summer concert.  But then my friend and I ended up being too lazy to pack our food, and  we went to a nearby restaurant instead.  I really like this picnic backpack because it includes 2 plates, 2 cups, 2 forks, 2 spoons, 2 knifes, 2 napkins, 2 salt and pepper shakers, 1 cheese cutting board, 1 bread and cheese knife, a multi-function wine opener, and a 45"x 53" picnic blanket.  I also love that the backpack has a collapsable wine holder.

I'm looking forward to finally putting this picnic backpack into good use when I go back to Toms River and enjoy the beautiful landscape there.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Caramel Waffle Cookies And Vietnamese Coffee

Review submitted by: Jane Ong

One of the reasons that I love Whole Foods  Market is because the quality of their baked goods.  I have been so sick and tired of the lousy tasting baked goods in most American grocery stores that are baked with "vegetable shortening" or "hydrogenated palm oil".  I am very happy that Whole Foods Market carry baked goods that taste naturally good and that are baked with high quality ingredients that include butter and cream. In my opinion, any American town that has no Whole Foods Market is not worth living in.  I have realized that any town that has no Whole Food Market, also has no Trader Joe's (another of my favorite store), which somehow only has very lousy restaurants. If I am wrong, please correct and educate me.  This is just based on my travel experience in American towns that don't have a Whole Foods Market.

Besides wholesome and delicious baked goods, Whole Foods Market  also carries a wide variety of decent tasting ethnic foods that show me the taste of the world.  I am delighted to find Vietnamese Iced coffee there and it tastes pretty good.  Shopping at Whole Foods Market is never just a chore to me, it's always an amusing and educational experience.  I can't say I am a very worldly person, but shopping at grocery stores like Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's does make me become more appreciative of other cultures.  After all, the world isn't just all about greasy hot dogs and ghastly cakes that are baked and pasted with "hydrogenated vegetable shortening".  

Grocery Store: Whole Foods Market 
Address: 2655 Pacific Coast Hwy Torrance, CA90505
Tel:Phone:(310) 257-8700 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Omakase Dinner At A Japanese Steakhouse

Restaurant reviewed by: Jane Ong

I had been to a lot of American Steakhouses, but this is the first time I visited  a Japanese Steakhouse.  I had the 5-course Omakase (Chef choice) dinner at $50.00.  It was money well spent because everything was delicious.  The first course was a plate of five dainty appetizers, a small piece of grilled filet mignon, melon with prosciutto, miso-marinated cream cheese, seasonal ohitashi (vegetable dish in the middle, crisp cucumbers), caprese heirloom tomato and buffalo mozzarella. I think this was French cuisine interpreted by Japanese, which was very well done.  It's different from the typical French cuisine, but it tasted just as good but lighter. I love the Japanese's touch of making the food taste light, fresh and tasty.

The second course was soup of the day, which was a cream broccoli cold soup. It was light, creamy and very refreshing.  I don't know how the two properties of  "light" and "creamy" can co-exist at the same time, but this was how I felt about the soup. It was so good!

The third course was a cold soba tapas (fresh made soba noodles topped with the chef's choice of accompaniment). This was another tasty and refreshing dish.  The noodles were well seasoned with super delicious Japanese dipping sauce.  The fish pieces on top were so fresh and so tasty. The tiny crunchy fried roes sprinkles were just addictive.  

There were a few options for the forth course, I chose the grilled miso-marinated cod, served with mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley. Most vegetable medley in American steakhouses tend to taste really bland and boring. But these vegetable medley made by the Japanese chef had a lot of flavor.  I cleaned out my plate and all my veggies. 

There were also options for the 5th course.  I chose the creme brulee which is of course very rich, creamy and delicious.  I licked my pate clean again, I used the strawberry piece to help me soak up the strawberry sauce on the plate. This was one  fantastic dinner that was totally delicious from the start to the finish. I felt really satisfied, yet without any bloating or sickly feeling I normally had with the American steakhouse.  I love the way the food was portioned, and the restaurant's use of fresh and high quality ingredients. I'd rather pay for quality than quantity. 

Restaurant: I-naba Steakhouse
Address: Country Hills Shopping Center, 2933 Rolling Hills Rd, Torrance, CA 90505
Tel: (310) 891-2333 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Chocolate Dipped Double Peanut Butter Ice Cream Bar

Review submitted by: Jane Ong
I bought a box of these ice-cream bars for $5.99 yesterday.  I had just finished my last bar a few minutes ago.  Each of these ice-cream bar has 340 calories, so I definitely need to mop my floor this evening to use up these calories.  I like these ice-cream bars but they aren't the best ice-cream I've had.  To my personal taste, these ice-cream bars can be better if there is more chocolate ice-cream and less peanut butter flavored ice-cream. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Delicious Chinese BBQ Combo Lunch Special

Review submitted by: Jane Ong

Chinese BBQ Combo Lunch

I love BBQ food, and Chinese BBQ never disappoints.  Today I had a $7.95 combo BBQ lunch special (BBQ Duck & Soy Sauce Chicken Over Steamed Rice With A Heap of  Bok Choi). It comes with free hot and sour soup.  I love the boned-in Soy Sauce Chicken but my experience with this famous Cantonese style chicken had been sighting of bones that were quite red.  When I visited Hong Kong, my friends there told me it was how the chicken was supposed to look because the chicken had to be extremely tender and juicy and with the bone also cooked through, the chicken had to be soaked in the boiling soy sauce for way too long, which reduced tenderness.  

I don't mind a little less tenderness and a little less juiciness.  Whenever I order this chicken dish, I always request the chefs to please make sure there is "no red" in the bones.  I love this chicken dish so much. It's really flavorful.  It pairs perfectly with Chinese BBQ Duck or Chinese BBQ Pork.  These meats make the steamed white rice taste so good.  It's a very filling meal and a very popular lunch box meal choice in the Cantonese culture. (The culture of the Quangdong province in China that includes Hong Kong & Macau. The majority of people there are quite slim which may indicate that steamed rice, and moderate amount of flavorful meats can curb the desire to over eat junk food...)

Restaurant: Nice China Cafe
Address: 2543 Pacific Hwy Ste B., Torrance, CA 90505
Tel:(310) 539-0323

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Will You Install A Range Hood Just For Cosmetic Purpose Only?

Content submitted by: Jane Ong

I was house sitting for an elderly relative tonight because she is hospitalized.  I went there to pick up a few things for her and also to fry a couple steaks.  Even though I don't cook much, I do know how to pan fry steaks and I do know that I should turn on the range hood for ventilation during cooking. Yet, the kitchen just got more and more smoky even though I had turned the hood on high.  A few minutes into cooking my steaks, the deafening smoke detector alarm went on. It threw me in a panic mode because I had never experienced this before.  I just didn't know how to turn the freaking smoke alarm off.  I was so afraid that the firemen would show up if I didn't quiet the alarm down soon enough.  A rush of embarrassment also took over me because my elderly relative lives in one of those very tightly packed 55+ communities where row-houses (actually row-condos even though they look like houses) are very close to each other.  I just didn't want to disrupt the peace and quiet of the retirees in the complex.

After painstakingly running around to open up all the windows and setup window fans to air the smoke out; I rushed for a wet towel to duct tape around the smoke detector, I finally got the alarm to shut the hell up.  This is why I don't cook much.  I always feel that cooking just involves too much hassle and much of it can be just too unpredictable....  I much prefer the peace and predictability from just ordering delivery and take-outs.  I can never trigger the deafening and embarrassing smoke alarm by ordering delivery.  The reason that I didn't order delivery tonight is because this 3000+ units complex is out of the range of delivery from the only decent restaurant I found in town. This is a suburb that has only one supermarket, no hospital, and yet many sprawling 55+ communities, and several thousands more 55+ units being built.  The only supermarket in town is always congested and busy.  So when I saw the steaks in the fridge, I instinctively took on the CIY (Cook It Yourself) challenge.

I just hope I didn't damage my hearings because of this alarm.  My ears are still feeling the trauma as I am typing now.  I rarely cook and losing my hearing just because I cooked tonight is so not worth it.  I always feel that this retirement community has bad feng shui ( or Karma). The complex looks like every resident was kidnapped by aliens. May be they are just hospitalized in different towns like my elderly relative.  I guess for those who love peace and quiet, this is the place because the complex looks like an empty ghost town. There isn't much sighting of humans but the regular big jets that fly overhead. May be I am young, I find this lack of life forms very depressing.  This is a quiet place and yet there is the regular noise of the loud jets from above. Then there are all kinds of people targeting the residents of this community to rip them off.  Like this useless range hood that is installed by a contractor who supposedly had installed and serviced many range hoods in this complex.  I remember the time when my elderly relative told me about the total kitchen remodel this contractor sold her...which wasn't cheap. She told me the contractor ran ads in the community's magazine and was highly regarded by the HOA...

I don't know if it's fair for me to blame the hood unit for the weak ventilating capability (Broan QS142WW Under Cabinet Range Hood, QS1 Series, Allure I), or the pure cosmetic installation of the hood by the contractor.  The air suction of the hood is very weak, but then I wonder if it will get better suction and ventilation if only the unit is actually connected to a chimney.  No, my elderly relative's range hood isn't connected to any duct or chimney that runs through the roof.  Her range hood is literally an under-the-cabinet hood that is attached  to the bottom of her cabinet shelf, on which are piles and piles of plates and bowls.  This is why the cooking smoke just accumulated as I cooked even though I had turned the hood fan on high.  All I did was actually blowing the cooking smoke all over to the living room to trigger the smoke alarm.   This is the most ridiculous kitchen gadget I had ever seen.  Just what's the point of having a range hood if it can't ventilate?  I'm appalled to find that a contractor just took advantage of an old lady like this?  How did he have the decency to install the range hood this way?  Literally underneath a sealed cabinet shelf?

I found this out because I was just too curious and shaken by the alarm.  I just didn't understand why the fan was somewhat blowing and yet the smoke just accumulated to a point that it triggered the alarm.  So I opened the doors on the cabinet above the hood and there I saw why.

Many people keep taking about the good old 50s and how great a time it was.  But I personally think people from the 50s are just a lot more naive and not as informed.  My elderly relative just never realized a hood was supposed to be connected to the outside in order to ventilate? The scary part is, my elderly relative was educated by UCLA in the 50s...UCLA is a very competitive college today.  I don't know  how my elderly relative was admitted back then since she seemed to be quite clueless about too many things, like how a range hood ventilation works.  I mean, I am young and I don't cook much but I do understand a little about how ventilation works.  There is no way I will pay anyone to install a range hood this way for me.

I hope the hospital where my relative is staying is giving her the proper treatment, and her hospitalization isn't a cosmetic one like her range hood installation.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Thai Style Green Curry Chicken With Green Tea Infused Brown Rice & Farro

Review submitted by: Jane Ong
Thai Style Green Curry Chicken
Since my return to Los Angeles from Toms River New Jersey, I had discovered that the grocery store Albertsons that I had patronized for years had been replaced by a new grocery store chain called Haggen.  It was there that I discovered a brand of frozen meals that I had never seen before. (Well, I had to admit that I don't do that much grocery shopping to really see everything, since I'm a fan of restaurant deliveries...)

The catch phrase that made me buy this frozen dinner is "NO ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS".  So, that's is one positive change that came with this new grocery store chain.  I had been staying away from frozen meals because of my concern of the possible artificial ingredients and the plastic tray packaging.  I am happy to finally see a brand of frozen meal that is all natural.  I'm not sure if this brand will covert me into a believer of packaged "frozen meals" because I never felt the need to buy them when I am living in a suburb that is populated by many great restaurants that offer great take-outs and delivery menus.  It's not much more expensive to order from restaurants than buying the packaged "frozen meals" in the supermarkets.  These enticing looking frozen meal boxes just never made sense to me.  The industry of "frozen meals" must be the big beneficiary of America's never ending "suburban sprawls", just like the automobile industry.    I can see why these meals are popular in the suburbs that have few restaurants, and that are far from anywhere that have dining and restaurant delivery service.  I had been to suburbs that are in the middle of no where and that have not even one grocery store.  I guess to these remote towns that are lack of access to amenities, packaged frozen meals make perfectly convenient sense.

Now that I had tried this new brand of frozen meal, I realize it actually tastes okay.  However, it's still a huge disappointment from the expectation of presentation. The food inside the box looks nothing like the photo on the box.  The food looks really sad and pathetically gross and mushy.  Just like all packaged frozen meals, the portion is very small, which makes frozen meals more expensive than restaurant take-outs and deliveries.  In this Thai Style Green Chicken Curry, there is only a few tiny bites of chicken meat.  The meal does taste a lot more natural and more pleasant than other brands.  The package also seems to be healthier and more environmentally friendly than other brands because it's packaged in paper bag and not a plastic tray.  I'm always skeptical about heating food in plastics...

I think this is my most favorite brand of frozen meal thus far, despite the lack of appetizing presentation, which is common in all brands.  This brand at least tastes really natural and pretty okay to me.  Besides, it claims to be all natural.  If I have no choice but to consume packaged frozen meals, I will get this brand only.  For the sake of convenience, I bought a few packages of these to prepare for the hunger strikes in the late hours of the night when my favorite restaurants are closed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Chinese Clay Pot Chicken Stew In Black Bean Sauce - 香蔥豆豉雞煲

Restaurant reviewed by: Jane Ong

Chinese Clay Pot Chicken Stew In Black Bean Sauce - 豆豉滑雞煲

I love food being cooked and served in a Chinese clay pot.  To me, clay pot cooking just  adds a great flavor to the food. Of course, the sizzling fajita pan and the grill also add very nice flavors to food. When I was visiting Hong Kong, I could spend every night having dinner at clay pot restaurants.  But where I am living now, my choice of clay pot dishes is quite limited.  Whenever I spot it on the menu in a Chinese restaurant, I always order it.  This time I spotted it on a white board ($11.99), written in Chinese.  This dish isn't on the regular bilingual menu.  I guess the owner probably thinks this dish won't appeal to the typical Americans because it's made of boned-in chicken pieces with the skin still on (sort of like how Chicken wings normally are served).  It does take some time to get rid of the bone during eating.  But I'm used to this kind of chicken, so deboning the chicken pieces while eating just comes natural to me.  I however won't recommend this dish to young children.  

Chinese cooking often uses boned-in chicken pieces because the bone and the skin preserve the tenderness, the juice and therefore the flavor of the chicken meat. The downside of this type of cooking is, there can sometimes be tiny crumbs of bones that I have to fish out.  Just like every now and then there are crumbs of crab shells and bones I have to fish out when I crack and eat crabs.  I don't mind putting in such effort because I am always rewarded by the great flavor.

Restaurant: Nice China Cafe
Address: 2543 Pacific Hwy Ste B., Torrance, CA 90505
Tel:(310) 539-0323

Monday, July 27, 2015

Spicy Korean Ramen With Shrimp Tempura

Restaurant reviewed by: Jane Ong

Spicy Korean Ramen With Shrimp Tempura

There are so many restaurants near my home that I just haven't had a chance to try them all. This restaurant is one of them. I always drove by the strip mall and was very curious about the sign that says "Rice Heaven" with Korean Characters at the bottom.  I finally paid my first visit today.  The place looks like the typical little Korean casual diner that I saw in Korean dramas.  I was going to have the Korean BBQ ribs but I just couldn't resist my craving for my beloved comfort food, "Ramen". Many Korean restaurants serve BBQ ribs but not too many serve Korean Ramen.  So I ordered the Spicy Korean Ramen instead ($5.99) and added an order of Shrimp Tempera (5 pcs for $5.99) for the protein.  The food tasted comparable to the other Korean restaurants I often patron. But to me, this place has the best tasting Kimchi.  I love the Kimchi here the most.

For those of you who aren't lucky enough to have a Korean restaurant in your town, you can easily make the Ramen at home, just click here for the recipe.

Restaurant: Rice Heaven
Address: 2937 Rolling Hills Rd, Torrance, CA90505
Phone:(310) 257-0134

Friday, July 24, 2015

Review On Annie's Homegrown Organic Bunny Classic Crackers Buttery Rich

Review submitted by: Jane Ong

I love Ritz crackers but unfortunately partially-hydrogenated oil is on the ingredient list.   I bought Annie's organic buttery crackers thinking it was a great alternative to the Ritz's crackers.  But I was disappointed.  These organic crackers just don't taste nearly as good as Ritz. May be it's just impossible to make organic crackers that have both a long shelf life and good taste?  These organic crackers have a "Best By Date" in late February 2016, about 8 months from now.  I'm curious about how they can make organic crackers last so long without going stale.  But then these organic crackers taste a little stale to me at the first bite.  Maybe the less processed wheat flour just tastes this way?  I disliked the crackers initially due the hint of taste that resembles days-old bread.  But after continuously eating them , I just got used to them and they began to taste okay to me.  In terms of texture, these organic crackers seem to be a lot dryer and heavier than Ritz's crackers. 

After getting used to the taste and texture, I don't mind having them around the house for those sudden hunger strikes and for those times when I have to take my medicine.  Ritz tastes light, flaky and deliciously buttery but can't they make great tasting crackers without the partially-hydrogenated oil?  Or is it possible to make organic crackers that don't taste bland and boring? May be I should make my own organic crackers that will only stay fresh for a few days? 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Instant Chicken Lo Mien (Tossed Noodle)

Content contributed by: Jane Ong

Instant Chicken Lo Mien Recipe

What's the difference between Lo Mien and Chow Mien?  Chow Mien is when noodles are stir-fried with high heat with a lot of commotion, versus, Lo Mien is more laid back. Lo Mien's just  about gently tossing the boiled noodles with sauce without all that big fire bursting from the hot wok as seen in the kitchens of Chinese restaurants...

I love both but I usually order Chow Mien at restaurants because Chow Mien requires a big fire to really taste like Chow Mien to me. It just always tastes better at restaurants.  But I can absolutely make Lo Mien at home.  This one is very easy and delicious. All I need is one package of the following Yakisoba, a bunch of chopped green onions and some shredded cooked chicken, that was left over from the whole fried chicken that I had from the Chinese restaurant.  Any leftover steamed chicken or roast chicken, or the store bought rotisserie chicken will do.  This recipe requires no straight measurement of ingredients and I can toss in as much or as little chicken or green onions as I want.  I always like to have a plate of Chinese Broccoli on the side when I eat this. I just like to always have some veggies to alternatively munch on while having my instant noodles.

Cooking Direction:

Cook the noodle according to the package instruction (which is really about boiling the noodle with water), toss in the green onions when it comes the time to add the seasoning from the package (as per package instruction). Then toss in the shredded chicken after the sauce dries up and the noodles look like the Lo Mien or Chow Mien you see in Chinese restaurants.  After everything is well tossed and mixed together in the pan, scoop everything up and serve.  The entire cooking  time is less than 5 minutes. It's fast, it's easy and it's delicious.  This brand of  Yakisoba is very very good!!!  It's our favorite brand as of now...

This is cheap and delicious. This makes the best home-made Lo Mien / Chow Mien that rivals the ones at restaurants, but for much cheaper.  This is available at Amazon for less than $1.00 a package.