Charlie is working from home today so I feel like I have a little more bandwidth to do things like blogging because if Noah cries, there’s someone else in the house who can pick him up ^_^
Anyway, we “celebrated” (getting it to the postoffice on time is an accomplishment, no?) tax day by going to a nearby handmade noodle house.
These days when we go out to eat it’s usually for two reasons 1) to meet up with some friends 2) because I’m too lazy/busy/tired to cook. When it’s reason #2, we always end up at some old standby place because we know it’s reliable and inexpensive.
But last month I decided that life is too short to “waste” multiple meals on the same restaurant when there are new ones to be explored. So last night we ventured out to QQ Noodle, a new place for me (Charlie has gotten take-out) even though it’s been around for a while. Fortunately dinner happened around Noah’s nap time so we got to enjoy the experience in peace.
Since there are several reviews of QQ Noodle on yelp I won’t go into much details here. But for anyone who’s wondering what the place looks like and the taste of their soup noodles, read on…
As you can see, the place is pleasantly decorated. Nothing fancy but certainly nicer than the “dive” I thought it was going to be. When you enter, there’s a nice fish tank by the door. Then the spacious room is sectioned into two by a divider with some plants. Even though there was only one waitress, she kept the place relatively clean until around 7:30 PM when a steady stream of customers came in we had to wait for a few minutes to get our bill. But it was no big deal, we could tell she was busy and trying her best.
Okay, so how was the food?
*We didn’t have Charlie’s nice digital SLR with us so I had to take these with my Canon, which isn’t great for in-door shots
We ordered 2 dishes (a bit much, probably could have fed 2 adults and 1 – 2 small children). The first was the Long Time Boiled Thick Noodle Soup & Beef ($8.75). We were interested in the pork version as well and asked which is better. The waitress told us to get the beef because it would be more tender and less tough.
The second dish we ordered was the House Special Sour & Spicy Pork Sauce Noodles ($6.95) because Charlie had tried the San Hao (name of the restaurant in Chinese) Soy Bean Paste Sauce Noodle and I just had homemade Jajiang Mian for lunch.
At first we were somewhat underwhelmed by the taste though the noodles were QQ and tasty. The soup noodle tasted a little bland but you could tell that the meat stock was indeed “long time boiled” (flavorful). I did however, like the greens that they put in the soup; it brightens up the dish and balanced the big pieces of tender beef. The house noodle met my expectations but Charlie found it a little strange because of the sourness.
But we continued digging into the two bowls because we were hungry.
After a while though the taste grew on us. The flavors ended up “melding” with the noodles and became tastier. Charlie especially liked the small pieces of potatoes in the house noodle. And I like the nourishing quality of the soup noodle. I felt my body relax with each sip as I drank the broth. If you order this dish, I recommend adding a dash of white pepper which “kicks it up a notch” instantly.
We didn’t get to try any of the small dishes this time but they looked pretty good too. As mentioned earlier, around 7:30 PM business picked up (there were about 3 – 4 tables of customers when we got there).
Last night, most of the diners were Asian, including some elderly (age 60 plus?) people. I always think it’s a good sign when people take their parents to the restaurant. Usually these older overseas born diners care more about taste and less about ambiance or even customer service. *Sorry if this is a gross generalization.
So even though I’ve been complaining a lot lately but not having easy access to places like Whole Foods, Izzy’s Bagels, Beard Papa, etc. in the East Bay I am thankful that we have ethnic eateries like QQ Noodle in our neighborhood. That and $2.50 Vietnamese sandwiches ^_^
Considering the number of photos on yelp I was surprised when the waitress commented on me taking photos. She was pretty nice about it but asked if I was taking them to “open up a second branch.” Hrm…that’s an idea, though I don’t know who would make the hand-pulled noodles…Charlie? Noah? Polly?
By the way, QQ Noodles takes credit card but only for orders over $20 so bring some cash or order a few more dishes if you go!