Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Old Country Cafe Isn't So Old

I have been church hopping on Sundays for a few months, but the last couple of weeks, I have been returning to a couple of churches some of my family attends just to be in familiar settings during this Christmas season. Last Sunday I went to my brother's church Chinese Mission Bible Church in Alhambra. Generally after church I would eat out with my brother and his wife, but this past Sunday his wife was busy and so it was just my brother. He suggested that we go to Old Country Cafe in Alhambra.

After so many years here in the San Gabriel Valley I am always surprised to discover some new hole in the wall places. There are just so many and some of them can be quite good. Where we ended up eating at was quite delicious. The draw back was that since it was a little chilly on Sunday, the place wasn't heated and a tad bit cold for my liking.

(Old Country Cafe)

(Japanese Comic Books For Patrons)

The place was actually split into two rooms. The main room had two large tables and a bar while the small room had a few other tables with huge shelves of Japanese comic books free to check out while inside the restaurant. The place really isn't very nice despite their attempt to be hip. The furnitures were a bit run down and in desperate need for an upgrade. The positive was that the place was clean, especially for a hole in the wall type restaurant. I didn't feel completely disgusted touching the furnitures and that's all I can ask for.

(Boba Milk Green Tea)

(Papaya Milk)

My brother ordered the boba milk green tea. I personally don't like milk green tea. It just taste too watery for me. If I add milk to tea, it has to be black tea. But some people like that so I'm not going to judge. I decided to order a papaya milk instead. It's been a while since I've had one, and it's actually a childhood favorite of mine. Papaya milk is an exclusively Taiwanese drink. It's actually quite simple in concept, blend papaya with milk and you have papaya milk. This was just that and it was a great and healthy drink.

(Minced Beef Over Taiwanese Lettuce "A" Choy)

To my surprise, my brother ordered a minced beef over Taiwanese lettuce, which is also known as "A" choy. It's similar to romain lettuce but has a slightly hint of bitter quality to it. The dish was well made with a small amount of oil. The lettuce still had a little crunch to it while the minced beef was marinated on the lighter side. I actually prefer them lighter. I find too many Taiwanese restaurants smothering their minced beef with so much sauce that it drowns out every last bit of beef flavor. This was a balanced little appetizer dish for the upcoming main dish.

(Deep Fried Chicken Rice)

On the recommendation of my brother, I ordered the deep fried chicken rice. My brother actually ordered the same. It's the dish he always gets when he dines at this little joint. I've had a few other Taiwanese style deep fried chicken and pork. This one beats them all. The crust was almost flaky. Too often the crust of these fried chicken or pork are so hard it's a little too crunchy. But this was just right. It almost melted into the chicken when I bit into them. Of course there was still enough of a crunch to it to remind you that it's still a deep fried dish. Fortunately it didn't retain too much oil making the dish much easier on the stomach.

The dish had some mixed Taiwanese style veggies and half of a marinated egg. They were all done pretty well, but they weren't the best I've had. The sour veggie was slightly too sour and the other one could use just a little more flavor. The egg though was well marinated and flavorful.

This joint is definitely worth revisiting just for their deep fried chicken rice. My brother is actually right, for a change. Alright, he has been right on many occasions and this is definitely one of them. I highly recommend if you are in Alhambra and in the mood of something deep fried without feeling like you just drank a gallon of oil, Old Country Cafe is definitely a place worth checking out.


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