Saturday, September 27, 2008

Earthen Restaurants

I mentioned in a previous post my birthday just passed. Guess what, I sometimes just don't have one birthday dinner, I have a few. My cousin wanted to take me, hubby, and kids to celebrate, and I couldn't decide where to go. It's always tough business finding a place to eat out here in the eastern part of the San Gabriel Valley. Finally she suggested we go to Earthen Restaurants in Hacienda Heights, which was highly recommended to her by a friend. Not sure why it's Restaurants and not Restaurant.

Earthen Restaurants is located in the same plaza as a 99 Ranch Supermarket and the West Coast buffet. As soon as we entered, I noticed the CASH ONLY sign, but since I was being treated, I was counting on cousin's pocketbook to be fully loaded.

The place was on the small side but was quite clean, and we were seated promptly, even though it was quite busy for a weeknight. One way I measure how good the service is at an everyday restaurant is by how they serve my kids (excluding the foo foo fancy places). There are places we go to where I have to ask for everything for them: booster, high chair, plastic forks, water (sorry, my kids can't drink hot tea or wine), extra napkins. Then there are places like Earthen that asks what we need as soon as we enter, and lay out all the kids stuff as we are sitting down. Awesome!

Well, cousin recommended we get certain dishes. So we did. We started out with the Noodle with Soybean Sauce. I guess this is the ja jiang mein, which I understand is a northern Chinese dish that is popular in Korea. Little sister of mine watches thousands of hours of Korean dramas a year and from seeing so much ja jiang mein on those shows, had wanted to try this. We tried asking for it at a Korean restaurant once, but the waitress told us it would be found at Chinese restaurants, not Korean ones. Confusing. But the ja jiang mein was very good, even though it looks gross in the picture. Lots of flavor but not too overpowering.

We also ordered the Combination Chow Mein, because hubby, who is not very open to new things, didn't want to even taste the ja jiang mein. The chow mein had just a hint of spice, so the kids were able to eat it too. The thick round noodles had on it meat, seafood, and veggies. It was flavorful and not too greasy.

Our favorite was the Green Onion Pancakes. Crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, it was delicious.

The pork pot stickers came on a plate of 8. They were large and also had that perfect crispness on the outside, but the filling was just ok.

The pricing was decent and the servings were generous. I have fond memories of eating dumplings at Oakland's Shan Dong, another restaurant serving northern Chinese cuisine, so I will have to return here to try their dumplings and compare. For northern Chinese food, definitely come here. But really, can you not find ja jiang mein in Korean restaurants around here?

Earthen Restaurants is located at 1639 S Azusa Ave Hacienda Heights, CA (626) 964-1570


Chubbypanda said...

Green onion pancakes are the best. I like to use them to wrap up meat. Mmm...

Sandy said...

Jja jang myun! Is it called Jja jang mein there? I should go there next time. I'm dying to try it!

Jen Jen said...

Remind me next time and i will bring you and your little sister :) to a korean restaurant that serve ja jiang mien ok? There are so many version of ja jiang mien that i don't even know which one is better. I only know where the restaurant is, and not the name of the restaurant.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

I had a Chinese version of ja jiang mein and it was a minced bean curd and pork sauce. I thought the black version with chopped veggies was the Korean version of the Chinese dish? I really don't know either well enough to say. :P

I did buy a packaged noodle that looks like the picture. Haven't tried it yet though.

Yay! You're the first person to put up a VNese blogger button. :)

Unknown said...

The Green Onion pancakes there are YUMMY! They are very different than your usual green onion pancake. I like the chew and the saltiness of the pancake there.

Somehow today I can not see your Ja Jiang Mian photo. It says 404 not found when I clicked it, and it doesn't show up.

Their dishes are very good too. The San Dong chicken and the Ja jiang mian I liked during my last visit...in which isn't very frequent as they always have a big long waiting list whenever we go.

Earthen is so busy...long waiting times! Sometimes the waitresses get pretty mad at times, but most of the time they are nice like how they treated you.

shavedicesundays said...

chubbypanda: they were great pancakes, although I'm still thinking about your meat pancakes on your post of Chef Chen.

sandy: I guess there's different ways of translating the dish's name into English phonetics. We'll go sometime, maybe for your birthday?

jen jen: So they do have them at Korean restaurants here too? Thanks for taking me here!

wandering chopsticks: I don't know much about it either. I know it looks really gross in the photo, huh? I'm proud to be a VN blogger. Thanks!

wsl98787: Thanks for the headup regarding the photo. I fixed it. Is there something different about the pancake here versus elsewhere? It is crispier than other places I've tried. I'm glad I didn't get the waiters when they were in a bad mood.

Unknown said...

You're welcome! I was wondering about something else after I looked at your photo.

When we went they actually put the sauce in its own bowl, and then we could put it onto the noodles or just take as much as you needed. Did they do it already for you?

There are differences in the pancake available here and elsewhere. The ones here do not have that many layers and are a little bit thinner as well. Some other places also make it like Earthen does too.

The only other place we go for green onion pancake is Mandarin Noddle Deli in Temple City, but then now their service is not as good as before (we are a long time customer...and now they treat us like we have never visited their place) and the food quality has gone down. It used to be one of the owners who manned the stove, but now others do it, and the food that comes out doesn't taste that flavorful or yummy. :(

shavedicesundays said...

wsl98787: No the sauce was already on the noodles when we got it. Too bad about the Mandarin Noodle Deli. It's sad when a previously good restaurant changes their formula and things start to go downhill.

Unknown said...

Nice pouring of the sauce! It looked like it just came out like that :)
It is sad for restaurants to go downhill. And now..it is more evident that it isn't that great of a Chinese restaurant as now lots of people who aren't Asian are there; publicity maybe?
We got black colored oil in our noodles during a few days ago...and the manager said it was the fry oil! YIKES

shavedicesundays said...

wsl98787, ew about the oil. I think if a chinese restaurant attracts people of all different cultures, that is great, but once they start changing their menu or cooking style, often that's not a good thing.