Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Relax, Kick Back, It's China Bistro

I was snowboarding with my friend George up at Mountain High this Monday morning. Since we both had rather flexible schedules, we would always go early morning on a weekday to avoid the crowd but still get back in time in the afternoon to get some work done the rest of the day. Usually we would grab some food at a fastfood joint and be done with lunch. But that day we decided to grab a bite at a cafe instead; we ended up at China Bistro.

This place over ten years ago used to be a MacDonald's that moved down the street. Since then it had changed hands a couple of times and now it had become China Bistro, a Cantonese cafe that served only the Chinese foods but with the western influenced drinks. This day I actually opted out of my usual lemon iced tea and just had water, I had no idea what actually came over me.

(Dry Beef Chow Fun)
George ordered the dry beef chow fun, a pretty standard dish in case if you missed my many other posts on this dish. China bistro's dry beef chow fun is pretty well made. The chow fun didn't stick together and were evenly seasoned. There were ample amount of beef along with onions, sprouts and chives. It was certainly better then the ones I had over at U2 recently too, which drove me nuts if you read the other post. But no matter how good dry beef chow fun is made, I don't care for it. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that my parents love this dish and eats it all the time. But I personally preferred the wet style than the dry when it comes to chow fun. In fact I much preferred it in soup found more commonly in Chiu Chow style cuisine, though I much preferred the thin version than the thick ones.

(Beef Stew over Rice)
For me I ordered a beef stew over rice instead. I generally would order the beef stew over vermicelli wraps in a clay pot here at China bistro, which is one of my favorite things to eat. That day I really just felt like having a bit of rice instead. The dish was not very well plated, with sauce dripped on the side of the plate. The beef felt like it was just thrown on top with absolutely no consideration at all on presentation. I never really expected much in presentation at a cafe, but this felt as crude as street vendor food in Hong Kong. It was a bit crude even for my taste.

However the taste did make up for it a little and I cleaned my plate. Perhaps I was just hungry from the morning workout. The beef was very juicy and well marinated. It was spot on in terms of the thickness of the sauce. Served over rice, it was less heavy than its vermicelli wrap clay pot counterpart. The little bit of vegetables, as little as I was given, was at least a bit of fiber I desperately needed.

(Chicken With Vegetables)
George ordered an additional dish, not because he was that hungry from snowboarding, but mostly to take home as dinner. For less then $7 a dish, it's certainly a cheap and tasty dinner that could easily be heated up at home either with a microwave or reheating it on the stovetop. He wanted a little bit of vegetables in the second dish and ordered the Chicken with Vegetables. We actually didn't realize the vegetable was broccoli, which I actually liked. It just wasn't what I was thinking when I hear vegetables. But when the plate arrived, I remembered that I actually ordered it before and it was broccoli at that time. The problem was broccoli during the last time I had it was out of season and was really bitter. This batch was normal and edible.

The chicken was perfectly made in this dish. It was cooked just right giving it a nice spongy quality that was juicy and chewy; not one piece was stringy. The sauce wasn't overpowering which allowed the meat and the vegetables to speak through. The little bits of mushrooms balanced off the texture giving that added sponginess to the dish.

I do frequent China Bistro every so often, and generally order their lemon iced tea. In fact I was just there today again with another friend with a tall class of tea. The food is generally consistent in its quality, which is harder to find around here sometimes then one would imagine. Though the food has never been spectacular or well presented, it has always been reliable and decent. I wouldn't expect more than some alright food with a nice environment to sit in for an hour or two. It is a great way to just kick back on a small budget after a morning of intense exercise and long drive.


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