Archive for the ‘rice’ Tag

Ignore the Sign   Leave a comment

QuickSamsquickSamsiiiThe name Quick Sam’s conjures images of Quick Draw McGraw and Yosemite Sam, neither of which has anything to do with south of the border cuisine. But then the sign for this unassuming, three-table eatery is misleading, too; it boasts pizza, fried chicken and sandwiches, which aren’t even on the menu. Nothing suggests authentic Mexican food. Add to this the fact that Galesburg, Ill., is not a locale that immediately comes to mind for enchiladas, rice and beans.


In a building that stands out only because it’s next to a cemetery on one side and a row of two-story clapboard houses on the other, Quick Sam’s is an anomaly on several levels. The place is small: part tiny diner, part miniature-convenience store complete with glass coolers where much of the inventory for the diminutive kitchen. Yet, it’s muy grande when it comes to flavors.


The menu features standard Mexican fare: tacos, burritos, enchiladas and chile rellenos. Chips and fresh made salsa are the precursors of tastes to come. Quick Sam’s salsa is the kind to ruin an appetite only because it’s easy to eat too much. Self-restraint comes in handy here.

The chile rellenos combined the smokiness of roasted poblanos with creamy Jack cheese that had all been coated in an egg, flour and cornmeal mix and fried. It wasn’t greasy, but not quite as crispy as I like.

Prices are reasonable: less than $8 for a meal that includes rice and beans. All items are also available a la carte.


Quick Sam’s
Four Plates
275 S. Academy St.
Galesburg, Ill


Mole Heaven   2 comments


Blue Page Special followers know I can’t resist mole. This is either a character flaw or an attribute, but I love the thick paste usually made with nuts, seeds, chile and cocoa. Guelaguetza Restaurant provides not just one mole item, but so many choices, we had to try Festival de Moles: a sampler of four types.


The large, colorful, Oaxacan restaurant located on the outskirts of Los Angeles’s Koreatown is all things mole. A plate of chips with mole was set on the table soon after we were seated. The sampler featured two reds, one green and one dark mole. A yellow and one of the green moles were not included. Each of the four bowls was filled with shredded chicken and subtle differences in taste, with obvious variations in color. It was impossible to choose a favorite. The dark, Negro Mole, was smoky and the color of fudge. The two reds, Rojo and Coloradito (Little Red), were somewhat sweeter, but each provided a subtle kick — the Rojo more than its misnamed lesser counterpart. The Estofado Mole, something completely new for me, is made with tomatillos and green olives for a tangier flavor and different hue.


Three of us shared the sampler. Initially we thought it wasn’t going to be enough. Four small bowls, a little serving of rice and a thin platter-size corn tortilla. We also ordered guacamole (as in holy moly, not molay),it was chunky, fresh and spicy. Before we knew it, we were stuffed and sorry we left a few bites.

Guelaguetza Restaurant

Four-and-a-half Plates
3014 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, Calif.

Dissing the Stereotype   Leave a comment


Chinese restaurants in San Francisco are more common than gas stations and 7/Elevens – combined. Somehow, Fang manages to escape the conventional in its décor and menu. Sure, there are the requisite Buddha statues and Asian artwork, nonetheless the ambiance is modern, even austere, compared to some garish counterparts.

After visiting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art just around the corner, we opted for a late lunch at Fang. The owner, Peter Fang, has been in the restaurant business since 1988, which may explain why he seemed to lack patience as we ordered. We mistakenly asked for a brown rice bowl, instead of brown rice delight. Once we acknowledged our error, he warmed up a bit.

fang plate

The dish showcases steamed browned rice, as an alternative to fried, which is mixed with caramelized onions, herbs, green beans and beef – Mr. Fang said he was out of roasted pork, our first choice. The flavorful dish was filling and left us feeling virtuous since it was so healthy.


We also tried the steamed pork buns and an order of sesame chicken. The latter featured crispy pieces of chicken with slices of sweet potato. Unlike some versions which tend to be cloying sweet, this leaned more toward the savory side of the taste scale. The pork buns were so good, we could have ordered a few more and made a meal out of them alone. With the pork balls inside silky white, slightly sweet dough, this is what a sandwich should be: fresh, creative and delicious.

Four Plates
660 Howard St.
San Francisco