potato eats her way into the new year

that's just how i roll. and the food baby is making a reappearance after having rid myself of him/her over the past semester. yes, even mini potatoes like me have bellies.

potato side

we headed out to my mom's place yesterday for the traditional new year's meal and to saebae (bowing/paying respects to your elders. in turn, they bless you and wish all these lovely things for your year...and then give you money. w00t!). i was too hungry to take photos of all the food, but on the menu was ddukbokki (rice cake in a red pepper sauce) as a snack, dduk mandoo guk (rice cake and dumpling soup, to signify turning a year older), galbi (marinated BBQ short ribs), and japchae (sweet potato glass/vermicelli noodles + veggies + meat + good stuff).

we chilled a bit before dinner and finished watching the USC game as mom and her fiance/hubs are alum and the bear is a fan. after dinner, the bear, potatobro, and me were all on the couch on our respective laptops all night after dinner. hah. we also took a late night jaunt to pinkberry (sing it with me: P-I-N. K-B-E. R-R-Y. pinkBERRY!), which was open during its normal hours on the first. afterward, it was more couch potato time. i finally caught no country for old men on TV. javier bardem is certainly a creeeeepy friendo.

oh, and my mom brought back this interesting souvenir from brazil.

maybe "snot" would be more appropriate.

bear side

this morning, we headed to borderline thai town/koreatown (perfect for the bear and me, i guess). in a small strip mall tucked amongst the furniture stores on western ave., we found yummy thai food..."with a little bit of sunshine" as the menu claims. we ate a ton of noodles at sunshine restaurant to ring in the new year and the longevity that noodles signify. with the amount of noodles we ate, we'll live forever.

everything was very good, but not quite as good at the bear's super secret thai town noodle cave that he will under no circumstances publicize in any way at all due to its limited parking and seating situation. so here i am, blogging about sunshine.

first, it has another location at which those who need some ambiance might prefer. it's newer and supposedly bigger. however, this location does have an "A." not that this "C"-grade-eating piggie cares, but you might.

it's cramped. it's cold (see the unit A/C? that appeared to be the only form of temperature control). today, there was no sunshine at all thanks to the fog. the laminate table tops are worn through. when you walk in, the fried plantains under the heat lamp that greet you might make you wonder if all your food is prepped that way. then when you see your dining companions*, you may further wonder what you're getting into.

however, you can't escape once one of the friendly family members (or all of them in our case) greets you. seriously, they are so friendly. full disclosure: the bear-rents (dahaha, i crack myself up) have been eating at this place for over 30 years and know the owners. but they treated all the other customers, including our table neighbors*, just as cordially.

while eating, a monk dressed all in caltrans orange (including his beanie) walked in then out again. we watched him squeeze between the bear-rents' car and its neighbor...and almost take the side mirror out.

anyway, why am i so long-winded? anyway, onto the food. anyway, the last entry's beautiful snow photos were taken by the bear. you are now back to my crappy photos. on my iphone, no less.

we started with kah-fe yen (thai iced coffee). it's really good here. very creamy, rich, just under my too-sweet threshold, and the coffee brewed very strong. it was so good the bear took one to-go when it was time to leave. we also each had a fried plantain. these plantains were lightly breaded, deep fried, then sprinkled ever-so-slightly with sesame seeds. crisp on the outside, warm and sweet and gooey on the inside.

then came the parade of noodles + 1:
yen ta fo--flat rice noodles in a tomato-based broth with veggies and meat. it's usually on the sweet side, but this one had some nice spices that countered the sweetness here. i think this one's my new favorite out of the versions of this dish i've tried.

guay teow lohd--
the favorite of the day. pan-fried rice noodles with beef and...stuff i don't remember. it normally comes with bean sprouts, but the bear isn't really a fan of them so we did without.

another "special" version of guay teow [guay teow gai goong, i think] but with chicken, shrimp, bell pepper, and pineapple. the sauce was a bit wetter, like in lad nah, and the dish a bit sweeter. very good as well.

the +1 being som tum [green papaya salad--green papaya (feels more like a veggie, texture is similar to a cucumber's but it's slightly more fibrous/less watery) shredded and mixed with green beans, tomatoes, and a spicy fish sauce lime dressing], which is one of my faves.

so yes, this is bear-rent approved and recommended by potato and bear for noodles. the bear-rents haven't tried anything non-noodly on the menu besides the som tum. ignore the yelp reviewer who mentions how he compares all his thai food here to his "experiences eating in thailand and southeast asia." i bet he ain't even thai. i mean hello, he rates a thai place in irvine (no offense irvine, but the bear-rents and potato+bear have not found thai food worthy of our recommendation south of cypress) with four stars. effing yelp. needless to say, i may link restaurant info on yelp, but i now rarely read the BS reviews. unless they're written by people i know and whose taste i trust (::waving:: hi weemo, cee, wan, claire, Y_L, nannersp, et. al.!). [/random yelp rant]

now that i'm stuffed with rice flour products, 2009 can begin!

*there were some dudes sitting at the table next to us. at first, two guys were sharing one
tom yum (hot + sour) soup and a beer. only the beer was being poured from a tall can encased in a brown bag. there is a liquor store next door. the restaurant also serves beer. however, it's not quite as well-priced as tall cans from the liquor store, i guess. then their friend, who looks just like gus-gus from cinderella walks in and joins in their [usually first course for a few or mini entree just for one person] soup fest. they pour him some beer from the can, into a cup. the restaurant's cup. he then proceeds to take a loooong gulp during which he pours half the contents of the cup down his front. he doesn't stop, though; he just keeps drinking. when he's done watering himself, he rubs his front with his bare hand all over what he has spilled. um, i'm sure the restaurant will provide napkins. because like i said, the family that owns and runs the place is friendly as can be, even if you randomly BYOB. anyway, the bear and i had to just hold back our laughter at this point. oh dear.


  1. Why are you so funny?

    I was going to write, "Funny. Yet again."

  2. Dude that looks soooo good.

  3. You'd be so disappointed in the Thai food here. Well, at least the ones we've visited :(

  4. i am dyyyyyying to know about your secret thai cave!! i promise i'll keep it a secret! ;-) i cracked up about gus gus. that is nasty.

  5. I'm eating my way through the new year, too! scary. :/

  6. I want to comment on this post, but I can't get over Gus Gus and his friends!

  7. OMG. gus the beer boy is my favorite part of this post.

  8. ::grinning at shout out::

    Those noodles look great, but Gus Gus Beer Guy sounds even cooler.

  9. i've only had thai food at song in pasadena, but i could eat that fish sauce lime dressing all. day. long. it's ridiculously tasty!

  10. I think eating your way through any holiday makes it better. :) Aaaaand that's why my pants don't fit. ;)


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