The Mekong Plaza in Mesa is a great place to get real, authentic Asian food to bring people back to their roots or at least to get them away from crappy Americanized Asian food. And among those more traditional restaurants is something that doesn’t fit the mold at all. It’s called Kingo Bowl, and it has taken the concept of rice bowls with molecular sous vide.
Persian food is a special type of Middle Eastern food, and thus I was very excited to learn that Scottsdale has its own Persian restaurant, appropriately named the Persian Room, because it’s basically one big room. With Persian food. And like any Persian restaurant worth its salt, its menu was vast and filled with all sorts of meats and rice. Essentially it was the kind of place that was made for an unvegan.
Sometimes the world feels dominated by American chain restaurants. It seems that anywhere you go you can find McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway and KFC. Yet, we are not the only ones pushing our fast food abroad, as evidenced by MOS Burger. MOS Burger is a Japanese fast food burger spot that I was a pretty big fan of when I was living in Japan, and I was so happy to find that it is also available in Taiwan (as well as a number of other Asian countries, and even Australia) that I had to have some.
Sometimes life gives you a difficult decision. And sometimes there is no “right” choice. Case in point: On what felt like basically the hottest day ever in Hue, Vietnam, we were given the choice of eating in a somewhat touristy restaurant with air conditioning or an “off the beaten path” restaurant without. We chose the former and found ourselves at Y Thao Garden Restaurant. And of course, within minutes of setting food, having not eaten a bite, we all felt like we had made the right decision.
I had little idea of what I was getting into when I agreed to grab dinner at Raffi’s Place in Glendale. Glendale hosts, of course, the biggest population of Armenians outside of the Middle East, but I was meeting my Persian friends and knew that Raffi’s had to have at least some Persian touches. This turned out to be true, as Raffi’s Place served up Armenian food with a Persian twist because a bunch of ethnic Armenians come from the land formerly known as Persia. But enough about ethnicities and whatnot, let’s get on with the food.
EDIT: Chego has relocated to Chinatown. Perhaps someday it will get a review of its own.
With the resounding success of the Kogi BBQ trucks and the Kogi location at the Alibi Room, the people behind Kogi are looking to revolutionize the foodscape of LA once again, with rice. Well, not just with any rice, but with fanciful rice bowls from a real location in Palms called Chego! Their website describes their food as “Chillax peasant food from the soul” and while the word “chillax” sends shivers of discomfort down my spine, I had to see if Chego! carried on the Kogi magic.
For lunch in Monteverde one day we stumbled into a restaurant called Maravilla. The menu was probably the cheapest we had seen so far, but the offerings were pretty similar to what I had grown used to. I decided to mix things up a bit and order the beef with sauce and rice.
When it arrived, it looked just as pretty as anywhere else, despite being cheap. It even had some vegetable garnishings that I brushed away. Unfortunately, the beef wasn’t very good. It wasn’t really tender and the chunks it was cut into made it tough to eat. The sauce was decent, but I also used some of that thick brown sauce I had been finding everywhere to make it taste better.