#125: Roseville Family Restaurant

This morning I was up early and decided to go have breakfast.  I decided to go see what Roseville Family Restaurant is all about.  This breakfast & lunch spot is located on Riverside Ave in Old Roseville, nestled within all the used car lots.  It’s one of the places that I’ve long been curious about and inspired to start this blog by.  Along with scattered street parking on Riverside, there are about half a dozen spots just around the corner on Fern St.  I arrived early at about 6:45AM and there were only a couple other customers.  When I walked through the door a man sitting at a table and reading the paper greeted me and told me to have a seat anywhere, then suggested one of the tables around him as he got up, saying it’s nice and warm on this side.  I took one next to the front window and he set the paper he had been reading down on it and headed into the kitchen.

As I sat down the server (his wife?  Guessing they are the owners) asked if I would like coffee as she picked up the 2nd place setting.  I said yes and soon she returned with a pot to fill my cup as well as creamer and a cup of water.  I went over the menu, which was pretty typical.  All the usual things were there in different combos.  There was a pretty good sized list of omelets (random tangent – after debating the spelling omelet vs omelette with my computer, neither look or sound like a real word to me anymore).  Lunch items consist mostly of burgers and sandwiches.  They also have an “Oriental Dishes” section with different types of fried rice (chicken, shrimp, bacon or beef) or chicken/beef/tofu with vegetables over rice.  I picked out Stack’em Up, which is three pancakes, two eggs and four strips of bacon.  The server asked if crispy bacon was ok, which I do like so I said yes.

She took my order to the kitchen and I immediately heard sizzling and he got to work at the grill.  This only took about about 5 minutes.  The restaurant was very quiet during this time.  Just after 7AM hit a slow but steady stream of regulars started trickling in.  My pancakes, eggs and bacon arrived and she grabbed a condiment-style bottle of syrup from another table for me, then went off to attend to the new arrivals.  A lot of these people must come every week because some of them didn’t say a thing, beyond a greeting, and had their drinks and food already going.

My pancakes were fresh and very hot with a big ball of butter slowly melting into a puddle on top.  The bacon certainly was crispy.  Maybe a little too crispy actually, even for me.  They gave me an extra piece though, so that was nice.  The eggs were prepared over medium as requested.  I added a bit of pepper to these and they were OK, nothing noteworthy though.  I cut up the pancakes and added syrup as I went so that it wouldn’t have time to soak in.  I actually really like the bottle, it worked great for adding exactly the right amount of syrup to exactly the spot you want it.  Maybe this should be a thing instead of those tiny syrup ramekins/pitchers.  On the other hand it probably wouldn’t work for hot syrup like some places serve.  I really enjoyed these pancakes.  They were perfectly fluffy and not overly sweet.  I’m typically a waffle guy because I like the texture, but if the flavor is great then I’ll take a pancake too, and these were great!

My breakfast came to just over $9 which seemed fair, I left stuffed and almost finished my pancakes.  Both of the people working very very nice and the server came by to check on my coffee frequently, even after she started to get busy with the newcomers.  It’s a pretty traditional breakfast/lunch joint (with exception of the oriental section).  I imagine it would be a nice place to walk to in the morning if you lived right around there.  While I enjoyed the pancakes, the bacon and eggs could have been better.  Since I don’t do breakfast very often, I think in the future I would probably end up going to Four Sisters or Waffle Barn first.

(Scanned) Menu: Click Here

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#124: Khobkoon Thai Cuisine

Tonight I discovered that my kitchen had a lot less in it than I realized and so found myself heading into Khobkoon Thai Cusine for dinner.  Khobkoon is located at Foothills and Pleasant Grove in the same shopping center as Campelli’s, Beach Hut, Knucklehead and Sushi Mon.  It’s a pretty small little place, probably about the same size as Khun Suda but laid out differently.  It was about half full when I arrived just after 7PM.  Most of the dining room is a narrow strip down the length of the building on the right.  I try not to point my camera at other customers whenever possible, so tonight this meant no interior photos.  The lighting is both dim and bright at the same time.  What I mean by that is the wood paneled walls (very similar to Ruen Thai, in fact the interior design and decorations are similar as well) seem somewhat dimly lit, but every table is fairly bright from directional lighting in the ceiling.  You’ll see a pretty clear shadow from these lights in my iced tea photos below.

I was seated right about in the middle of the restaurant.  On my side the tables each have 4 chairs.  On the other, the tables have two chairs on one side and bench seating along the entire wall.  I was left to look at the menu for a while.  They seem to have all the usual stuff but nothing too fancy, like the special curries (mango, duck, pumpkin, avocado), that some of the other Thai joints have.  Actually it took me a little while to even find their standard red/yellow/green curry.  Instead of having a dedicated “Curry” section in the menu, these are listed as a single line under A La Carte.  The rest of the menu is divided up into Appetizers, Soup, Beef, Pork, Poultry, BBQ, Seafood, Vegetarian and Noodles.  I quickly picked Pad Se-Ew (stir-fried thread-rice noodle with egg, bell pepper, cabbage, tomatoes, chili, and basil) and Red Curry (curry with vegetables, choice of chicken, beef or pork), both of these with chicken.  I waited for a while, with the menu closed, for what seemed like the only server to come take my order.  There was one or two others helping him by running food out and clearing plates, but he was pretty much covering the whole place on his own otherwise.  When he did stop to get my order he was definitely in a bit of a rush because he nearly took off before I told him my second dish.  I also asked what their spice levels were and he simply responded “medium?”.  I was like, “uh, ok, sure.”  I figured out later by overhearing conversation from the table behind me that the different levels are mild, medium and spicy.

I sipped on iced water for about 5 minutes until my Thai Iced Tea came.  After mixing it up I gave it a try.  The flavor was good.  It did seem to be a bit on the thin side, but this might just be because I had a super smooth and creamy mango lassi from Tandoori Nights earlier in the day.  It was about 15 minutes later when my food finally came out. A huge container of steamed rice, while not even halfway full, had way more rice than I needed, even including leftovers.  The curry was in a long, shallow dish with most of the solid items piled up in the center.  My first impression was that I thought it looked a bit runny, like Papaya Thai Cuisine’s curries.  The Pad Se-Ew was a good sized mound on a big plate.  Both dishes seemed to have lots of chicken.

I spooned some red curry over the steamed rice and a serving of noodles.  The serving spoons weren’t much bigger than mine, if they were even different at all.  This made the serving process take a little longer as I had to specifically go back to get some more red curry coconut milk and because the large noodles were quick to slide right off.  I thought the Pad Se-Ew was very good.  The chicken was just a touch on the dry side, but not too bad.  The noodles themselves were excellent, perfectly cooked and coated with a sweet soy sauce.  The broccoli still had a good crisp to it.  Medium was a very good choice for heat.  My nose wasn’t running but I bet the next step up would have been well into that territory.  The curry was not nearly as good as the Pad Se-Ew.  The chicken was about the same, a bit dry.  The main issue with the dish was that it was almost completely devoid of flavor.  I was very disappointed with it.  I didn’t even get any spice from it either.  I may as well have been eating plain chicken and rice.

Pricing seemed about the same as most Thai places.  My bill came to about $22, which isn’t bad at all if you factor in leftovers.  I feel like I did a lot of waiting around here.  Waiting, menu closed, for my order to be taken, waiting a relatively long time for my food, waiting afterwards for my check to come, etc.  I had kind of wanted one more iced tea but he never stopped to check on me between my food arriving and getting the check.  These things coupled with the red curry leave me not really wanting to come back.  The pad se-ew was the one really excellent thing here, but we’ve got plenty of other great Thai restaurants in town that have it along with fantastic curries.

Website: http://www.khobkoon.com

#123: Roseville Gourmet

Last night I was joined by my friends Anne and Justin for dinner at Roseville Gourmet.  This place has been lurking over on South Harding (I didn’t even know it was called South Harding til now, and I pass through that intersection at least twice a day) for 20+ years and I only first discovered it when I started making my list of restaurants about a year and a half ago.  With a name like Roseville Gourmet I wasn’t sure what to expect or what it even was.  For all I knew it was a catering company.  A couple months back I finally stopped in to see what it was and grab a menu.  Turns out it’s a Chinese restaurant.  According to the sign on the window it’s California and Chinese Cuisine.  I joked with Anne that it might just mean they add avocado to some of the dishes.

We headed in at about 6:45PM and were greeted right away by a friendly woman who served us and the rest of the dining room while we were there.  There were about five or six other tables seated when we arrived and this level of business remained fairly constant throughout.  One half of the dining room remained empty for the most part.  It was oddly silent and we quickly realized there was no music or anything.  We started to look at the menu and sure enough, the first item under “California Entrees” was Avocado Chicken.  It was actually the only thing that I saw on the entire menu with avocado but it was still kind of funny.  The drink section was very simple: Soda, iced tea, hot tea, beer and imported beer.  I asked which sodas they had and was told Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Root Beer and one other, maybe Sierra Mist.  We each ordered soda.  They were served in the can with a glass of ice.  The cans were clean and cold so I skipped the glass.

Justin was a little disappointed to see that there were no cream cheese wontons on the list of appetizers.  Anne had wanted a cup of hot and sour soup with her dinner but they only serve it in a large bowl, so we shared that along with an order of egg rolls (with beef instead of the more typical pork).  These arrived within a couple minutes of each other and she served up the soup to each of us right at the table.  I don’t get this kind of soup very often, if ever.  Maybe at some Mongolian BBQ joints if it’s all they have.  It was a pretty hearty soup, filled with veggies, chicken, egg and what seemed to be tofu based on the texture.  What really got me was how hot the soup was.  It was hot both in temperature and in spice.  Anne enjoyed it as she loves spicy foods.  I like spicy food as well, but this was a bit too heavy on the heat for a soup in my opinion.  The “burn” is there from the moment a spoonful touches your lips to a while after swallowing.  Justin commented that it tasted like they used a bunch of Tabasco.  I finished my cup despite the heat.  It really wasn’t bad at all, just strange.

I almost forgot to mention, prior to the soup and egg rolls coming out, we were given a little tray with two condiments.  She told us that one was a hot mustard.  The other was an unknown red sauce.  Anne checked it out and decided it was ketchup.  We thought this was pretty strange.  The egg rolls were three very crispy looking rolls cut in half to make six bite sized pieces which worked out well for three of us.  It was served with a bright red sweet sour sauce.  These were awesome.  Super flaky and crispy on the outside and filled with flavor.  A little dab of sweet & sour on each bite was nice, but I think these would probably be good on their own as well.

Our soup cups and appetizer plates were cleared away and soon the main items started to arrive one by one.  First up was chicken chow fun.  At first glance we thought that it had an awful lot of bean sprouts rather than the flat rice noodles.  Once we moved it around a bit we found that the bean sprouts simply covered a good sized pile of noodles and chicken.  The noodles were done well, slippery and coated with a light sauce.  The tender, juicy chicken was plentiful.  The flavor of this dish was not as rich as I had hoped, but it was still excellent and I found myself going back for a bit more several times.  I really enjoyed it.

Next up we had an order of Szechuan beef.  This reddish dish was filled with lots of beef, bell peppers and onions.  Justin ordered steamed rice to have with it.  I think the bell peppers could have been chopped a bit smaller.  Like the chicken, I found the beef to be tender and juicy.  This was very flavorful and a bit on the sweeter side.  The taste of the sauce reminded me a bit of the Bejing Beef at Panda Express, but that is much sweeter and I am usually over it by the end.  This was enjoyable through the last bite.

Finally, the crispy duck.  I love duck and will often order it whenever I see it on the menu.  Here it shows up in a few dishes.  This one is served with a sweet plum sauce, which was really tasty.  This is basically half a duck chopped into a dozen or so pieces, bone and all.  With nothing but a fork you are pretty much forced to use your hands a bit on this one.  The skin was definitely crispy.  I found the meat to be much drier than any duck I’ve had before.  That rich, greasy flavor was still there, but the texture was not nearly as nice.  Add to that some difficulty in getting some tougher bits away from the bone on many of the pieces and I was not really happy with this in the end.

We asked if there was a dessert selection and our server kind of chuckled and told us that yes, they have a selection of chocolate dipped fortune cookies!  So no, they don’t have any desserts, which was a bit of a bummer, but the fortune cookie was actually pretty tasty.  I wonder if they dip them there in the store.  Overall the prices seemed to be good, on par with or slightly cheaper than most Chinese restaurants.  The duck was about $5 more than most entrees but that’s pretty normal.  I think this is pretty good and affordable Chinese food.  The service was very good and friendly.  Price aside I think that Rose Garden and Bambu are a little better overall.  Despite the disappointing crispy duck though, I wouldn’t have any problem coming back here again.

(Scanned) Menu: Click Here