Archive | June, 2009

El Pollo Loco

30 Jun

This venue is closed.

El Pollo Loco

Rating: ★★★☆☆
2100 88th St, North Bergen, NJ 07047
Website
(201) 868-0500
Price: $$
Twitter // Facebook

Chicken marinated and flame broiled to perfection, decent burritos and tacos, and always fresh salsas

El Pollo Loco, which translates to “The Crazy Chicken“ is mostly a west coast restaurant chain with new locations recently popping up on the east. They specializes in flame-grilling marinated chicken and is regarded as a healthier alternative to traditional fast food chains. They have over 300 restaurants across the country, I visited their newly open location in North Bergen, New Jersey.

I had their BBQ Slider sandwich ($1-1.50) and eight piece special ($6.99), which includes wings, thighs, and drumsticks. Their slider sandwiches are decent, cheap, and incredibly small; you can literally finish it in less than 2 bites. Their flame-grilled chicken is exceptionally good, the skin is crispy and the meat has good herbal flavoring. Their chicken is also not as greasy as your average chicken fast food chain (ie. KFC). You can purchase meals in 2, 3, 4, 8, 12 piece sets. All meals come with sides (there’s 8 to choose from) and a drink.

In addition to chicken, they also serve burritos, bowls, tacos, and a few specialties. I tried their Bean, Rice and Cheese Burrito (BRC) ($1.69) and there’s no comparison to Toco Bell and the like, they use solid pinto beans and real Spanish rice instead of that mushy refried junk you see in fast food chains. Their Toco al Carbon ($1), which is a chicken taco with diced cilantro and onions is also good, but is extremely small portioned. There fresh salsa bar is also a crowd favorite and it includes toppings such as avocado salsa and guacamole, which is free to all customers.

Overall, I recommend the majority of El Pollo Loco’s offerings, especially their flame-boiled chicken. They’re not the best I’ve had, but at their prices you’re definitely getting a value meal (good quality and descent portions at a fair price).

El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco
Salsa Bar

El Pollo Loco
8pc Chicken Meal (Legs & Thighs) – $6.99

El Pollo Loco
BBQ Slider – $0.99

El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco

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Glico Pretz – Pumpkin

27 Jun

Glico Pretz – Pumpkin

Pretz is a thin and crunchy Japanese cookie snack that is shaped like a stick. The pumpkin flavored Pretz tries to mimics the flavor of a Japanese pumpkin, also known as kabocha squash, not the pumpkin that many westerners are familiar with. It’s lightly sweeten, a little bitter, but lacks any strong kabocha flavoring. I like kabocha dishes in Japanese restaurants, but didn’t like the kabocha flavored Pretz.

The Pumpkin Pretz usually come in 1.48oz packages and can be found in most local Japanese markets or online. I bought mines at the NJ Mitsuwa Marketplace. They retail for $1.49 to 2.50 per pack.

Lotte Crunky Chocolate

27 Jun

Lotte Crunky Chocolate

Lotte is the Nestlé of South Korea and their Crunky Chocolate bar is their equivalent to Nestlé’s Crunch. It’s very thin and light, comes wrapped in a gold foil, and is sectioned off in a 6×4 grid which makes it easy to cleanly divide. Like the Crunch bar, it combines milk chocolate and puffed rice with the majority of the milk chocolate on the surface and the malt puff bleeding off the bottom. The chocolate is very smooth and the mild crunch is very pleasant, but I found the Crunky bar to be no better than Nestle’s or Mar’s standard consumer fare. It’s a decent chocolate bar, but not worth going out of your way to try.

Crunky bars are usually sold in South Korea and Japan and may be stocked in local Korean Markets. I found mines at the local H-Mart. They usually retail for about $1-2 per 60 gram bar, but can be had in South Korea for a measly 500KRW ($0.40USD).

Lotte Crunky Chocolate

Morinaga Choco Ball

26 Jun

Morinaga Choco Ball

Morinaga Choco Balls is a popular Japanese candy that comes in a number of varieties. The ones that I know of are peanut, caramel, strawberry and white chocolate. I have only tried the peanut and caramel, both are made with milk chocolate coverings. Overall, they are no different than your average American chocolate candy. They come in small 1.02oz packages (they may make larger packages) and are perfectly-sized for popping in your mouth, smaller than Whoppers and larger than M&Ms. The peanut Choco Ball unlike the caramel has a wafer wrapping between the outer and inner cores, making them quite additive, this coming from a person who is not all that fond of chocolate.

Choco Balls in the 1.02oz packaging retail for around $1USD and can be found at your locate Japanese Market or online at AsianFoodGrocer.com

Pulmuone Hamhung Naeng Myun – Extruded Buckwheat Noodle

12 Jun

Pulmuone Hamhung Naeng Myun – Extruded Buckwheat NoodleNaeng Myun, which literally means cold noodles in Korean, is an extremely popular dish throughout Korea during the summer. There are two varieties of naeng myun: mul (물 냉면), and bibim (비빔 냉면). Mul naeng myun is served with noodles contained in a cold broth, while bibim is served dry with gochujang (red chili paste) over the noodles. I’ve had both many times in Korean restaurants and absolutely love the taste, so when I came across an instant naeng myun at the local H-Mart, I had to give it a try.

I bought the Pulmuone brand Hamhung naeng myun. It’s bibim style and comes with two servings for $5USD. In the package there are two bags of fresh buckwheat noodles and gochujang. It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, you begin by cooking the noodles for about 30-40 seconds in boiling water. Next, you immediately rinse the cooked noodles in cold water. This is important, if you don’t rinse it immediately, you risk the noodles dissolving into a pile of goo. Once the noodles have chilled, transfer the noodles into a bowl, mix in the package of gochujang, add a boil egg to make it more authentic and you’ve got a bowl of delicious naeng myn at your disposal.

The Pulmuone brand Hamhung naeng myun is acceptable, but not comparable to what you can get at the restaurant. The buckwheat noodles is chewy and flavorless. The gochujang taste is over powering and is the only flavor I can make out of the entire dish. Overall, this a good instant hunger fix on a hot summer day, but is not a solution for a refreshing authentic neang myun craving.

Pulmuone Hamhung Naeng Myun – Extruded Buckwheat Noodle
Contents of the package

Pulmuone Hamhung Naeng Myun – Extruded Buckwheat Noodle
Making it cold

Pulmuone Hamhung Naeng Myun – Extruded Buckwheat Noodle
The finished product – it tastes better than it looks