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Friday, April 24, 2015

The Country Way Family Restaurant serves country cooking in Fremont, California

Located off Interstate 880 in Fremont, CA, The Country Way is a modest, non-descript restaurant. It doesn’t have any flashy lights but the name “The Country Way” caught our eye as we were looking for a place to stop for dinner. We drove east on Mowry Avenue and didn’t find anything as interesting, we turned around and headed back to The Country Way. Even though it was an hour before closing, they still had a decent amount of folks inside the restaurant. The interior reminded me of a log cabin turned ranch house. It just makes you feel at home. The service is relaxed and friendly.

Clam Chowder Cup (Friday Only) is served with bread and butter. The chowder was creamy and had minced carrots in it which was unexpected. There was a decent amount of clams and slightly briny flavor. Rating: 4/5

Mixed Green Salad is served with your choice of French, Italian, ranch, thousand island, Roquefort, or oil & vinegar along with bread and butter. There was a healthy mix of lettuce, radicchio, red onion, garbanzo, and kidney beans. The Roquefort dressing was amazing but really should be called bleu cheese dressing. Huge chunks of bleu cheese were stuffed into the creamy dressing base. Rating: 4.5/5

Fried Chicken is served with soup or salad, vegetables, and your choice of potato (country fried potatoes, steak fries, or baked potato). This was one of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. The outside was simply seasoned and fried to a perfect crispy golden brown. The meat inside was juicy and tender. It’s a half a chicken (breast, wing, thigh, and drumstick) so you will definitely need a doggie bag, unless you’re totally famished. The vegetables (green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, red bell peppers, and squash) were cooked perfectly keeping their bright color and crisp texture. Baked potato was baked just right with tender interior. Rating: 5/5

Fresh Beef Liver topped with onions or bacon and served with soup or salad, vegetables, and your choice of potato (country fried potatoes, steak fries, or baked potato). The beef liver was perfectly fried with a caramelized exterior and tender inside. I grew up having liver, one of the many tasty dishes prepared by my Dad. It has a flavor all its own with hints of iron and mineral, something you’ll either love or dislike. The huge amount of thick cut bacon slices brought a salty, smoky flavor to the mix which enhanced the liver flavor which I love. The steak fries were perfectly fried to a golden brown, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I used the leftover Roquefort dressing for dipping. Rating: 5/5

The Country Way is the way to go for country cooking at its finest!

Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 4 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
The Country Way Family Restaurant
5325 Mowry Ave
Fremont, CA 94536
Hours: Daily from 6am to 10pm
Parking: Free restaurant lot parking

Country Way on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wienerschnitzel has a “Wiener Dude” following in Lake Forest, CA

Founded in 1961 by John Galardi with a single location in Southern California, Wienerschnitzel now has 322 locations stretching from California to Louisiana to the east, Guam to the south, and Washington to the north. The location in Lake Forest, CA is one of the nicest in curb appeal and customer service that I have ever been to. The interior is always clean and spotless. The exterior from the windows to the parking lot are also very clean and presentable.

Chili Cheese Fries are golden brown French fries topped with Wienerschnitzel’s world famous chili sauce and melted shredded cheddar cheese. I love the shoestring cut fries. They are the perfect thickness for a crispy outside and tender inside. The hot chili sauce melts the cheddar for a gooey dip for the fries. I start from the outside then work my way inward grabbing the exposed fries and dipping them into the chili cheese center. Eventually, you will need a fork to grab the rest. Don’t be surprised if you start scrapping every last bit of chili out of the box. It’s so good! Rating: 5/5

Bacon Ranch Chili Cheese Fries are chili cheese fries topped with bacon bits and ranch dressing. If you love Wienerschnitzel’s Chili Cheese Fries, this will take you in a new tasty direction. The bacon added a salty, smoky flavor. The ranch dressing added a creamy, herbaceous flavor. All in all, it was pretty tasty. Rating: 4.5/5

Plain Dog is a grilled original Wienerschnitzel hot dog (100% all beef in this case) in a fresh steamed bun (pretzel bun in this case). This is my favorite item to order. I love pretzel buns and Wienerschnitzel’s is pretty good. It has a nice glaze on the outside and is tender on the inside. The 100% all beef dog is amazingly beefy and juicy. It’s a meal! Rating: 5/5

Chili Dog is a grilled original hot dog in a fresh, steamed bun topped with Wienerschnitzel’s world famous chili sauce. This is my hubby’s favorite! He’ll get a few of these along with an order of chili cheese fries. The chili sauce works perfectly with the hot dog. I prefer the 100% all beef dog myself, but either way, the chili makes the dog. The bun is perfectly steamed with soft, chewy texture. Grab some napkins as it will be messy. Rating: 5/5

Bacon Strip Street Dog is a grilled original Wienerschnitzel hot dog (or 100% all beef in this case) in a steamed bun (pretzel bun in this case) with a slice of crisp bacon and topped with mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and grilled diced onions. This dog is a naughty, messy monkey. I’m not big on sauce on my hot dogs so the mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup did not work for me. I did like the salty, crispy bacon and the sweet grilled onions. Rating: 3/5

On Thursdays, Tastee Freez Mini Sundaes are only $1.29. They are old fashioned sundaes with creamy Tastee Freez soft serve topped with your choice of hot fudge, chocolate, strawberry, caramel, or chocolate caramel crunch (hot fudge in this case). The Tastee Freez soft serve is creamy and velvety like frozen custard. The hot fudge is rich and perfectly contrasts the vanilla flavor in the soft serve. Rating: 4.5/5

Wienerschnitzel is part of my comfort food cravings! Why not give them a try!

Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 4 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
20652 Lake Forest Dr
Lake Forest, CA 92630
Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 9am to 11pm, Friday and Saturday from 9am to 12am
Parking: Free shopping center par
Wienerschnitzel on Urbanspoon

Hong Hai Dining is a refreshing take on Vietnamese cuisine in Fountain Valley, California

Nhu White always knew she wanted to have her own restaurant. Her mother has been a successful restauranteur and owner of Hong Hai Seafood in Vietnam for over 30 years so it clearly runs in the family. Nhu began her career in restaurants over seven years ago starting from the bottom as a hostess, working her way up to server, and manager. She knew at this point, her experience was at its prime and was ready to open her own restaurant. On January 15, 2015, Hong Hai Dining opened its doors and has been busy ever since. Nhu has a few menu items that are her mom’s recipes from Hong Hai Seafood. Using fresh local ingredients, the food is fragrant when brought to the table and delicious to the taste buds. They also redecorated the interior of the former restaurant with bright white walls and studio photos of fresh ingredients like rice and vegetables used in Vietnamese cooking. The contrast of the black table and chairs is striking.

Fresh Corn Sautéed with Garlic Butter (Bắp xào Bơ Tỏi) is delicious! The whole corn kernels are sweet and pop with a tapioca-like texture on the inside. The garlic butter is perfect and adds an umami flavor to the dish. The crispy fried garlic slices contrast with the refreshing and zingy green onions. Rating: 5/5

Salt and Pepper Calamari is simple but oh so delicious. The batter on the outside is light, crispy, and simply seasoned with salt and pepper. The calamari itself is sweet and a little chewy. The sautéed onions, green onions, and garlic add depth to the dish. You’ll be surprised how fast this dish will disappear when sharing. You might have to order one just for yourself! Rating: 5/5

Fresh Baby Clams (Nghêu) bathed in Hong Hai Spicy Broth (Hấp kiểu Hồng Hải) is beautifully presented in a hot pot with flame. The broth is fragrant from the ginger and lemongrass. The flavor is refreshing, slightly spicy, and a tad briny from the clam juice. The clams are perfectly cooked with a tender texture and sweet clam flavor. The broth is not to be wasted so order up some noodles to make a soup with it. This would be excellent on a cold, rainy day. Rating: 5/5

Oxtail Noodle Soup (Phở Đuôi Bò) is another soup for a cold, rainy day. The oxtail is served on the bone. The oxtail is tender, fatty, and gelatinous making the soup rich in beefy flavor. The broth has a vegetable and herbaceous base making the oxtail flavor more pronounced. The addition of onion, cilantro, green onions, bean sprouts, and Thai basil make this soup into a meal. Gently agitate the rice noodles on the bottom so they open up in the broth and let the slurping begin! Add the smoked chili paste in for an added sweet, smoky, and slightly spicy flavor. Rating: 5/5

Fried Rice with Shrimp, Crab, and Calamari (Cơm Chiên Hải Sản) is fragrant with the fruits of the sea. The crab meat cooks into the rice and caramelizes for a salty sweet crab flavor. The shrimp are perfectly cooked with a snap. The calamari provides a chewy texture to the rice. If you have any of the garlic butter corn left, mix it into the rice for an additional level of flavor. The corn provides an added sweetness that is unbelievable! Rating: 5/5

Chocolate Lava Cake topped with fresh blueberries, raspberries, powdered sugar, and served with berry sauce. This is the perfect ending to a perfect meal. The chocolate lava cake is not overly sweet with a brownie-like outer texture and a molten lava chocolate center that flows out when the first bite is taken. The rich chocolate flavor will amuse the senses and works really well with the fresh berries with their naturally sweet/sour flavor. If you need more sweetness, drizzle the berry sauce on top. The presentation is beautiful! Rating: 5/5

Hong Hai Dining is a Vietnamese hidden gem in Fountain Valley! Come and taste for yourself!

  • Happy Hour Tuesday through Friday from 2pm to 5pm: $4.50 Brisket Noodle Soup (Ph Nạm) or Buy One, Get One Free (not combined with other offers or promotions)
  • 10% your first visit when you sign up for “Coupons
  • For those of you in the Fountain Valley area, check the Community Guide for a coupon

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
18041 Magnolia St
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Hours: Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday from 11am to 9:30pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 10pm, Closed on Monday
Parking: Free shopping center parking

Hong Hai Dining on Urbanspoon