Los Angeles Cookie Con offers tastey sweets.

by Megan G. Razzetti

Local bakers and business owners shared their sweets and pastry products during the Los Angeles Cookie Con and Sweets Show on Feb 6.

In its second year, L.A Cookie Con moved from the Pasadena Convention Center to the Los Angeles Convention Center to better accommodate the sold out event more effectively.

Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” winner, Cream by Crystal, offered samples of its original recipes that transformed the concept of a cupcake entirely.

Crystal’s “Spicy Sophia” cupcake combined savory and sweet. Layering a chocolate- mayonnaise cake with an ancho chili and cayenne pepper dark chocolate cheesecake made for an unforgettable decadent treat. The cupcake was topped with a fluffy chili infused buttercream that tied all the flavors together with each bite. The spice was not overpowering and complimented the chocolate really well.

For those who are not so much into spicy food, the “Roman Red Velvet” cupcake still incorporates a classic cheesecake taste over a semi-sweet chocolate base topped with red velvet crumbles. It also provides the proper moisture a cake should have but is hard to find in most cupcakes.

Sherman Oaks bakeshop Creme Caramel LA offered samples of its freshly made custards. Their traditional vanilla custard topped with a caramel sauce, holds a rich flavor. Although it is made with quite a few eggs in each batch, there is no eggy texture or taste like one would find in a flan. The creaminess of the custard and caramel sauce works to satisfy even the biggest of sweet tooths.

Other flavors include a softly savory Ube, or purple yam custard that is topped with a crunchy graham cracker crumble. The lavender colored custard may seem odd at first, but it’s flavor is perfect for those who do not like overly sweet confections. The crumble also adds a great texture with each bite, as if you were eating a cream pie.

Creme Caramel LA also specializes in vegan custard options, which incorporate almond butter, coconut milk bases and maple syrup to ensure flavors stand out. Vegan options also incorporate chia seeds, which produce a gelatinous texture and create more body in the custards.

Along with the baked goods, local homemade ice cream vendor Quenelle came to the convention with authentic flavors. Their blueberry pie ice cream was a true example of excellent craftsmanship. At first bite, the vanilla ice cream blended with real blueberries is a refreshing take on a flavor like this. As more bites go on, more surprises are revealed, such as bites of crunchy pie crust and upon looking closely, real vanilla bean is used in the ice cream.

Another flavor featured was a dirty chai, a mix of spiced chai tea and an espresso shot.

The lightness of the flavors resembled a cup of dirty chai tea put into a freezer.It tasted true to its name and it was not disappointing. The extra care and dedication used to produce such great flavors is a great indicator that the people behind Quenelle are passionate about their work, which is hard to find sometimes.

Despite the convention being solely about cookies and sweets, there were some savory food vendors. Proper’s Pickles, a family operated Long Beach pickle company, gave tastes of their goods to those who needed a break from the sweets. Their pickled green beans were fresh even though they were in a jar and pickled, they maintained their crunch as if they were just pickled that very same day. Prosper’s Pickles uses ingredients such as vinegar, water, salt and dill, staying away completely from using artificial ingredients that include chemicals people cannot pronounce.

Also, companies that were featured at the convention, promoted non- traditional baking ingredients such as almond flour, gluten-free treats and even sugar replacements for diabetics who still love their sweets.

The convention, like the year before, was sold out and therefore the convention hall was packed and the aisles were congested with people. Seeing each vendor was difficult, however, a VIP wristband,made the convention even more worth it. The pass granted access to two special areas that offered a better chance to try things without the crowds of people. There were also special vendors in each area that were not offering samples in the general admission area. Those who are really into these conventions,don’t want to miss out on them.

Oaxacan street food offers unique hand-made varities

By Cortez Cruz Serrato

Standing on the side of a liquor store parking lot in Echo Park is the Oaxacan Quesadilla Cart assembling quesadillas that are a little different from the one’s that our mothers used to cook up for us.

Pulling up to the quesadilla cart anyone will be instantly amazed by the aroma of fresh handmade blue corn masa being warmed up on the stovetop and the small army gathering around the cart patiently waiting for their turn to order.

Oaxacan Quesadilla Cart is not the only option for excellent street food in the greater Los Angeles area but they use fresh quality ingredients in their quesadillas. This sets them apart from many street vendors.

The    Oaxacan      Quesadilla     Cart offers a variety of fillings for its quesadillas, ranging from: chicken, chorizo and potato, to Huitlacoche (corn smut), chicharon (fried pork skin) and a vegetarian option of a mixture of corn, squash blossoms and chopped onions.

Each quesadilla is wrapped in a blue corn tortilla which is hand made.

The freshness of the tortilla is undeniable.

The tortilla has a soft texture that not only holds the filling well but also does an excellent job of bringing out the flavors of the mozzarella cheese, fillings and salsas.

The chicken inside the chicken quesadilla is very moist and has a lot of flavor. The chicken  is marinated in a collection of   spices and chillies which does not dry out the chicken.

The huitlacoche has a very distinct earthy flavor which is unlike any other flavor.

The taste of the huitlacoche is very smokey and has a mushroom like texture.

Out of all the quesadillas that are offered at the cart, the one that packs the most flavor is the chicharon.

Chicharon is fried pork skin and the cart does an excellent job of making it extremely crispy.

The chicharron is marinated in chillies which makes this quesadilla spicier than the others.

In addition to the spices, the cart offers a variety of extra condiments to add on to the quesadillas.

Mild and hot salsas are offered to add on additional spice to your quesadillas along with a container of additional ricotta cheese.

The tastiest condiment is the medley of nopales, red onions, and cilantro.

The freshness of the medley balances out the spice of the salsa, which gives the quesadilla great balance.

Oaxacan Quesadilla Cart is only open Friday through Monday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Each quesadilla is $3 and drinks are sold for one dollar. It only accepts cash.

The Oaxacan Quesadilla Cart is located on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue, at 1246 Echo Park Avenue in Echo Park.

Parking at the Oaxacan Quesadilla is very simple since the cart is located right next to a free parking lot.

El Chamizal delivers great Mexican cuisine

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By Miguel Maceda

El Chamizal “La Casa de Las Parrilladas” is one of many restaurants that serve Mexican food.

The smell of fresh cooked food awaits as people enter inside. The restaurant hostess waits by the entrance to seat customers.

The wooden tables and chairs shine and reflect the green and blue lights on the walls and the red light from the ceiling. A large painting of two men and women is on the wall. They are bowing down at each other to insinuate a dance.

El Chamizal has a variety of options in the menu from burritos to tacos to four types of fajitas.

The burrito is a big flour tortilla filled with rice, beans and meat in the inside and it is cover with red or green salsa on the outside. The burrito comes alone with no side dishes. The burrito itself contains a lot of rice, beans and meat.

There are multiple kind of tacos available. There’s chicken, meat and beef.

The restaurant is known for its Parrilladas. The Parrilladas are from $18-$20 for one person and $30-$40 for two people. Parrilladas are the most expensive in the menu due to what it contains. The Parrilladas contains many portions of food.

There are over ten kind of Parrilladas to choose from the menu. The food in the Parrillada comes with a long and flat pan. The pan is hot to keep the food warm. On top of the pan the food is served and a knife and fork are placed at the side to get the portion wanted.

These are many foods a Parrillada has, such as: meat, chicken, fried bananas, shrimp, salsa and onions.

The taste of the grilled carne asada is not too overcooked, but just right. The flavor and color of the seasoned orange grilled chicken gives it a good taste. The fried banana has an oily taste the isn’t too overpowering. The Parrilladas are the main dish that make people want to go back.

The staff is polite and attentive and they offer to get drink refills.

Once seated, one of the wait staff will serve chips and salsa while the food is being prepared.

El Chamizal has a unique way of entertaining it’s guests. They have live bands, comedians and sometimes dancers so guests have a great time.

El Chamizal is located at 7111 Pacific Boulevard, Huntington Park.

The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner all day. It’s open Mon.: 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and Tues.-Sun.: 11 a.m.-2 a.m.

For more information on specials, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/restaurantelchamizal

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Rancho Grande delivers a taste of Mexican cuisine

The carne asada combo plate, which includes 10 ozs. of marinated steak, seasoned rice, guacamole, beans with cheese, pico de gallo and the customer’s choice of corn or flour tortillas wrapped in foil. CN/JADE INGLADA
The carne asada combo plate, which includes 10 ozs. of marinated steak, seasoned rice, guacamole, beans with cheese, pico de gallo and the customer’s choice of corn or flour tortillas wrapped in foil. CN/JADE INGLADA

HOT OFF THE GRILL–The carne asada combo plate, which includes 10 ozs. of marinated steak, seasoned rice, guacamole, beans with cheese, pico de gallo and the customer’s choice of corn or flour tortillas wrapped in foil. CN/JADE INGLADA

By Jade Inglada

Hidden at the end of a small shopping center stands Rancho Grande, a family-owned Mexican restaurant that’s been serving its community since the early 1970s.

Upon entering the restaurant, the entire menu, as well as photos of some of its popular dishes, are posted on the left wall.

Rancho Grande has a variety of options available on its menu from burritos and tacos, to heaping portions of carnitas or barbacoa.

The “Original” Louie Special, named after the founder, is what the restaurant is known for.

This dish is a burrito filled with red and green chiles, rice and beans, and covered with enchilada sauce, cheese, sour cream and guacamole.

The mix of tender pork and beef stands out from dishes at other Mexican eateries and makes for a hearty meal alone.

It’s an ideal choice for people who want something different, and, for $6.95, it’s not hard to understand why it’s a favorite.

The carne asada combo plate comes with marinated steak, beans, rice, guacamole and pico de gallo. Customers have the choice of flour or corn tortillas that come with the meal wrapped in foil to keep warm.

The carne asada has a light lemon and charred grill taste that isn’t overpowering.

The beans sprinkled with cheese are full of rich flavor, and the rice is seasoned well enough to avoid being bland.

While the pico de gallo and guacamole may be heavy on the onion, everything is made fresh and creates a variety of flavor combinations.

As the most expensive item on the menu for $9.25, customers will definitely get their money’s worth.

What keeps customers loyal to this 40-year-old establishment are the low prices and courteous staff. Everything on the menu is below $10, making any meal affordable no matter what time of day.

The staff is polite, offering to get drink refills or address any questions or concerns customers may have.

If customers choose to dine inside or use the outdoor seating, one of the wait staff will serve chips and salsa while the food is being prepared.

The overall environment is casual with two televisions at opposite corners of the interior and with simple decorations. The restaurant also offers breakfast all day, a kid’s menu and a special that changes each month.

Rancho Grande is located at 10935 East Rosecrans Avenue, Norwalk. It’s open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and closed on Wednesdays.

For more information and to see the whole menu, go to ranchograndegrill.net.

Boba Bear Packs in New Flavor

By Nguyet Tran

Combining three different ethnic concepts into one small package, Boba Bear in El Monte is quickly attracting attention.

Located off Baldwin Avenue, the compact lounge offers Asian fusion teas, coffee and boba; as well as hookah and crepes.

With a seating capacity of 45 customers, the décor is simple yet inviting. The white walls are decorated with fun and quirky hand-painted murals of cute bears smiling and laughing while hip-hop is played on the speakers.

The shop usually gets crowded around 11 p.m. most nights, with a majority of the customers being in their early twenties. A major plus side of Boba Bear is that it is open until after midnight, allowing restless bodies to come and relax instead of being bored at home.

The lounge is sectioned off with glass walls, one side for students who are doing their work and the other for people who are there to socialize.

Boba Bear doesn’t offer any savory dishes, but they do offer dessert crepes ranging from $4.50 to $6.50. In total, there are six different types of crepes you can choose from, with a majority of those containing fruit and Nutella.

Desserts are created on a legitimate crepe pan and the finished product comes out soft, warm and fluffy.

The Juliet crepe consists of sliced fresh strawberries, Nutella and is topped off with whipped cream. For fans of chocolate and overly sweet desserts, it’s best to go with the Nutella crepes, since there’s an obsessive amount of the hazelnut spread inside the crepe.

The apple cinnamon crepe is a combination of fresh apples, cinnamon, butter and brown sugar also topped off with whipped cream. The flavor for this crepe, however, is very bland and disappointing. The brown sugar and cinnamon aren’t prominent, so the crepe is left tasting unsweetened.

The drink list provides a different array of selections, ranging from coffee to milk teas with boba depending on your mood. The prices are reasonable, considering how delicious the drinks are.

Although the cities of El Monte and San Gabriel are known for Asian drinks, Boba Bear offers unique concoctions that can’t be found elsewhere.

There are usually only two to three workers during the night shifts, but drinks are made quickly and the hookah is brought out within 10 to 15 minutes after ordering.

The banana milk tea was tasty and different. Most milk teas are diluted with ice and have no flavor, but Boba Bear’s was thick, cold and ice-free. The banana flavor was fragrant and not overly sweet.

Their chocolate-mint-mocha-blended coffee was also a hit at the table. The drink was not overbearing; the flavors were distinct and didn’t mask each other.

What makes Boba Bear unique, is the hookah. Considering there are only a handful of hookah spots within a 10 mile radius, this spot provides an opportunity for hookah lovers to stay close to home instead of having to drive far for good hookah.

Boba Bear provides more than 40 flavors of hookah with prices as low as $15 to $22, depending on quality. For customers who are uncertain about what flavors to choose, the shop offers small glass tubes filled with different hookah flavors that allow their customers to smell the flavor before purchasing.

The Safari Melon Dew flavor is sweet and pungent and lasts for about two hours between three people. Although the coals burn out quickly, the workers are prompt getting new coals and making sure everything is running smoothly.

Jenga, Uno and decks of cards are provided for the customers if they request it. They also provide cups filled with soap, water and a straw to blow smoke bubbles for entertainment as well.

The downside of ordering a hookah is that there is a minimum of one drink or dessert per person to sit in the lounge to smoke. Also, there is no outdoor seating, so the hookah is smoked inside even though the lounge is a little cramped.

Overall, the experience is great. The service and drinks were fast, on point and did not disappoint at all. The crepes were decent but not the best. The hookah is a different twist to a boba shop and provides the neighboring community with an opportunity to smoke hookah close to home.

Boba Bear is located in a hidden plaza at 9216 Flair Drive in El Monte. Their hours are Monday-Thursday noon to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday noon – 4 a.m., and Sunday noon – 1 a.m.

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Quality food at Bollini’s

By Joshua Inglada

Not too far from campus is Bollini’s Pizzeria, an Italian restaurant that succeeds in both quality and quantity. With several authentic recipes handed down through tradition, their goal is to satisfy customers with the freshest ingredients California has to offer.

The menu offered pizza, both in small and large sizes, but also listed pasta, salad and other appetizers. They had main courses, too, like roasted chicken and 20 oz rib-eye steak.

Besides having the pizzas already on the menu, customers are also given the choice to build their own pizzas with whatever toppings and cheeses of their choice. Beverages of choice were soft drinks and lemonade.

The waiter served a plate of pesto pizza bread as a complementary dish. The pieces were sprinkled with bits of cheese, garlic, nuts and other spices. The bread pieces were all toasted, which made them crunchy and addictive to eat.

The arugula salad was ordered first and cost $9. It was a heap of fresh arugula coated in red wine vinaigrette, with shredded carrot, corn, smoked bacon-bits, mushrooms, teardrop tomatoes and bits of goat cheese. It was served on a large square tray to be scooped out onto plates and was big enough to serve up to four people.

The salad was very crunchy and the goat cheese just melts in the mouth. The vinaigrette gave the greens a tangy flavor and an extra kick. The cooks did not skimp out on the bacon-bits either. In the end, there was enough left to be taken home for a later meal.

The Rocco pizza cost $12 and came with sauce, cheese, pepperoni and basil. Fresh mushrooms and bacon were requested as additional toppings, each costing one dollar, totaling it out to $14. It was ordered as a large and was enough to feed four people.

The cheese was piping hot and there was a fine amount of sauce per slice. You can really taste the smokiness of the oven on the thin crust. Just like with the salad, bacon was not ignored on this pizza at all. The mushrooms were fresh and tender to chew. It makes a filling meal.

The seared pork-chops cost $15 and came with garlic mashed-potatoes, roasted asparagus seasoned with lemon and chili and finished with a sweet Brandy reduction. The pork-chop slices were soft to chew and savory. The largest piece near the bone could have been cooked a little more in the middle.

The potatoes had pieces of mushroom in them and tasted wonderful. The asparagus was tender and the seasonings gave it spice. The reduction that came along with the food brought an extra zing to the dish’s flavor and was sweet.

The establishment has a large interior and contains over 15 tables, each seating up to two or four people. The walls are decorated with paintings and the wall right next to the entrance is covered in framed newspaper articles of the restaurant’s staff, history and accomplishments.

There are also several flat-screen televisions stationed around for customers to watch as they wait for their food.

The lighting of the restaurant was somewhat low, but made it feel atmospheric. Everything was very clean and well taken care of.

The area where the cooks prepared the food had an old-fashioned fire oven near the entrance that they used to bake their pizzas Neapolitan style.

Service was excellent, as the waiters quickly brought out the food with a smile and patiently waited for those who needed extra time to make an order. If someone’s drink started to empty, a server would collect the glass during a run and quickly refill it for the customer, just like that.

Bollini’s Pizzeria is located in Monterey Park at 2315 S. Garfield Avenue. Two more of them will be coming soon to Orange County and Long Beach.

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Elizabeth’s Bakery Provides Sweets and More

By Marisol Perez

“Elizabeth’s Bakery” is a popular local bakery located in the City of South Gate.

The sweet and appetizing fragrance of bread baking at “Elizabeth’s Bakery” draws customers every morning.

The scent fills the air and once in the bakery its hard not to want to try everything they have to offer.

They specialize in cakes for all occasions such as, weddings, birthdays, graduations, and even bachelor’s parties. They cater to any event and party.

The bakery is famous for their bolillos (French bread), they are baked fresh daily. You can usually buy them fresh out the oven still warm and soft. The bolillos have light sweet taste to them. The texture is soft and fluffy. Customers will find long lines early in the morning and late in evening. People line up to purchase freshly baked bolillos. The bakery has a quick and speedy staff so you will not be waiting in line too long

The bakery also has a large variety of Mexican sweet breads, cookies, candies and even donuts. The bread is always fresh and soft. The Mexican wedding cookie is a delicious nutty cookie rolled in powdered sugar. The textures of the cookies are flaky and crumbly. It melts in your mouth almost immediately. It is really good.

A favorite item customers purchase is the Chocoflan. The chocoflan is not overly sweet. The caramel flan is light, rich and creamy. The chocolate part of this cake is super moist. It is very delicious.

They also make tamales with different fillings such as pork with red or green chili sauce, chicken, cheese with jalapeno slices and sweet tamales. The pork tamale was well cooked and seasoned. The dough was just right. The chili sauce was not too spicy. It smell and taste reminded me of tamales at Christmas time. It was really good.

“Elizabeth’s Bakery” is located at 2828 Firestone Blvd in South Gate. They are open on Monday to Sunday from 6 am to 9:30 pm.

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Hotpot, Hot Deal

By Derek Venegas

“Szechuan Hotpot & BBQ” is a clever fusion of Taiwanese style hotpot and Korean BBQ paired with the explosive and pungent properties of Chinese Szechuan style cuisine.

Hotpot is a traditional Chinese way of cooking soup that promotes family style interaction. Usually a large portion of broth is cooked prior to a meal. Once everyone is seated, the broth is poured into a large bowl in the middle of the table that has a flame that keeps the broth boiling. Various meats, vegetables, and fish are served sliced and thrown into the bowl.

There is a sign on the door that is written in Mandarin and says, “$9.99.” The price refers to the amount for the all you can eat hot pot. For $9.99, it is well worth the parking fiasco.

Szechuan Hotpot & BBQ is a place for real foodies, and not people looking for aesthetics. The décor inside is quite dingy, but the waiters and waitresses wear tuxedo shirts. Although inside of the restaurant is dull, the food definitely makes up for the white walls and squeaky chairs.

The menu is a little ticket that is written in both Mandarin and English. The customer checks off which items on the ticket they want for the hotpot. The first thing to do is chose 1 of 3 soup broths. They also allow the costumers to split the pot and chose two broths.

There are about 25 items to choose from ranging from shellfish to tofu to add to the broth.

The best items on the menu were sliced lamb, tong ha (Chinese bitter greens) and fish balls.  The most difficult item to eat on the menu was the noodles. Noodles are hard to pick up in a large bowl of boiling soup.

The food is so good at Szechuan Hotpot & BBQ that it is very hard to stop eating. Wear stretchy pants and a big shirt when going to eat there. The waiters must be evil, because they encourage to you eat more and more to maximize the, “all you can eat,” experience. Gluttony and hotpot go hand in hand.

The best way to share a different culture with members of a community is through food. Szechuan Hotpot & BBQ is just one of the many benefits living in a diverse community. A language barrier is never a good excuse to miss out on such a beautiful experience like Szechuan Hotpot & BBQ.

“Szechuan Hotpot & BBQ” is located at 111 North Atlantic Boulevard, Monterey Park, Mon-Sun 11 am to 1 am in the Atlantic Place Shopping Center. Parking is difficult to acquire.

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A Different Kind of Taco Spot.

By Janet Garcia

Family owned “Tacos el Negro” is a popular taco spot among locals looking for something different.

It is very well known for its appetizing their authentic Mexican flavor of “al vapor’’ or steamed tacos. This is the place to go to when you are craving tacos and are looking for friendly fast service. Not only are they healthy they also don’t use any oil to cook them.

While you order your tacos, the cooks hear what you are ordering, starts chopping the meat and cook it in front of you. They do this to provide faster service for the customers since the restaurant is always full.

Even though their menu only consists of four different types of tacos, which are asada (meat), cachete (cheeks), labios (lips) and cabeza (head), they still have managed to outgrown over the years.

The tacos are very well cooked, healthy and have no grease or lard at all. They are prepared with a soft tortilla, are very meaty and are prepared by vapor with the use of no oil.

While taking a bite into one of these appetizing tacos you can taste the juices of the meat exploding in your mouth. They have well-cooked meat and are properly seasoned flavor.

The tacos are served with fresh cucumbers, radishes, onions, lemon and cilantro on the side to accompany them.

They have two types of salsas that are very popular. They have a habanero salsa that is very spicy and a green salsa made of “chile serrano”.

For desserts they offer “flan de vanilla” and vanilla jello. They also offer homemade agua de Jamaica, horchata and agua de tamarindo.

This is a very good place to go when you want to eat tacos, but the only problem is that it has very low capacity. It only has about 5-6 tables and is full at all times due to its popularity.

The good thing is that in approximately two weeks the restaurant will be expanding the place. They recently bought the lot right next door which they will join with the current place so, now there will be twice the space and capacity. Once you visit this place and you try their delicious tacos you’ll be coming back for more.

“Tacos el Negro” is located in South Gate on 5720 Imperial Highway and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8 am to 11pm.

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’88 Tea Bar’ Worth the Wait

By Jade Inglada

Patience goes a long way for generous servings at a fair price over at the 88 Tea Bar.

Conveniently located across the street from East Los Angeles College in a small shopping center, this Asian café offers a variety of delicious meal plate items, snacks, a wide selection of boba tea drinks and more importantly a $4.99 student special.

The moment customers enter they are greeted with a bright and colorful interior. The dining area invites people in with warm yellow walls and eye-catching seating options. Outdoor seating is offered as well.

Not all menu items are displayed on the wall. Only the snacks and plate items are shown, so it’s important to go through the menus that are available on the counter.

The crispy chicken wings are fresh out of the kitchen while still burning hot. The extra fried skins are garnished with chopped green onions. While the chicken itself is well cooked, the wings are mostly bland as the skin lacks any serious distinct flavor.

The chicken katsu, a large piece of fried breaded chicken, comes with a heaping amount of steamed white rice and a little bit of broccoli. The bread crust has a crunchy texture and the chicken is juicy, and not the least bit dried out. The rice is well cooked and the broccoli also tastes fresh.

The plates come with a small cup of sweet and tangy sauce that gives the dishes an extra twist of flavor.

88 Tea Bar offers a Student Special plate for $4.99. It includes fried fish filet, BBQ chicken, steamed white rice and broccoli. The to-go menus also come with a $1 off coupon for any boba drink when you purchase a rice plate that’s $6.50 or more.

For an average plate price being $6.50 and up, the cost is fair for the large portions diners receive.

A nice perk for customers would be the variety of boba tea drinks available on their menu. From milk, green and black teas to icy slush and smoothies, 88 Tea Bar offers as many drinks as they do food.

For an additional $0.50, customers can include extras such as pudding, red bean, lychee jelly, or honey boba.

The passion fruit boba slush comes in a short but wide cup. The ice does not melt right away into liquid and lasts, unlike most places that make similar boba slush beverages.

The café does not offer any other type of soft drinks aside from Coke, but with such a wide selection of unique flavors, there’s no harm in experimenting.

While the ordering process is quick, the problem lies in the time between placing the order and receiving it. 88 Tea Bar has busy days, and can be understaffed when there’s a high customer flow.

The wait time can be as long as 20 minutes, but the end result is worth it.

The total was $11.35 for one plate and a slush drink, which isn’t bad considering the amount of food that is given.

Customers are welcome to use the free Wi-Fi service while dining. There is also a television set up on the back corner wall that plays back-to-back English and Asian pop music videos.

Anyone that enjoys Asian food while getting a good bargain should consider stopping by 88 Tea Bar. It is located at 2215 S. Atlantic Boulevard, in Monterey Park.

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