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California Wok


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#1 skchai

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 08:48 PM

Got a thick and glossy brocure in my mail today advertising the Grand Opening of California Wok's first Hawai`i location int he Ala Moana Center. It informs me that:

You Never Imagined That Healthy Chinese Food Could Be This Tasty!


HEALTHY CUISINE FOR A HEALTHY YEAR!


etc.

The menu looks pretty standard Chinese-American (Beef with Broccoli, Beef Szechwan Style, etc.) And while the prices look very cheap, and I'm all for low fat, the whole place just comes across as too generic - and not just because it's a chain. On the other hand, it trumpets the fact that Zagat has rated it the best "to-go" Chinese. . .

So what's the real deal California denizens? Is it worth trying after all?

Sun-Ki Chai
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#2 mongo_jones

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 09:13 PM

the short answer is "no". actually i don't know if they deserve a longer answer.

#3 skchai

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Posted 26 February 2004 - 10:29 PM

Mongo, I thought you were in Boulder. Was an earlier avatar of you a Californian?

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Former Hawaii Forum Host


#4 jschyun

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 12:13 AM

There are a bunch of California Wok's in CA. Unfortunately, I cannot recall ever having been to one, but it seems like the type of place that one could go to for lunch and not really think about it. I've been to plenty of cheap and cheerful Chinese joints to get a healthy veggie filled lunch. In my area, I usually go to Chin Chin or Panda Express. I know, not haute cuisine, but a girl's gotta eat and run sometimes!

Here's one review.

What someone said about one California Wok

--edit--
A way long testimonial
--/edit--

Hmm, several very positive testimonials.

Edited by jschyun, 27 February 2004 - 12:23 AM.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.
--NeroW

#5 skchai

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 03:28 AM

Thanks for the info, June.

Unfortunately, it sounds like California Wok might actually be healthy (at least relatively speaking). Then I might feel some pressure to go. However, even the positive reviews make it sound extremely bland: basically a lot of steamed and / or barely wokked standard meat and vegetables with tiny amounts of teriyaki-like sauce.

Sun-Ki Chai
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Former Hawaii Forum Host


#6 mongo_jones

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 09:34 AM

the short answer is "no". actually i don't know if they deserve a longer answer.

i was in los angeles for 10 years till last august. since my wife's family is all there (well her maternal side--the other side is in korea) we've gone back twice already--this is making it hard for me to let go and become a boulderite, um boulderian?

#7 skchai

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 11:11 AM

You are a boulderite, I am an island. . .

Your new sig reminds me (in a roundabout way) of the crack made by Ravi Shankar (the columnist, not Norah Jones' dad) ridiculing those who sought to equate Al Qaeda-type extremism with the "vegetarian fury of the naked sadhu".

Sun-Ki Chai
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#8 FoodZealot

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 11:38 AM

SK,

If it is all the same chain and not just the sharing the name somehow, it's edible but not noteworthy, IMHO. If I have their history correct, the founders of California Wok also own Chung King in West LA which gets props from people, but is no great revelation either, IMHO.

#9 dfunghi

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 01:26 PM

Fairly standard food court type chineese food,perhaps with a more healthy cooking style. However for $10 find out for yourself since it's a cheap place. At least the one here in W.LA is. Their food is clean not greasy is the best thing I can say. Downtown Honolulu must have better food than C.W. . Find a nice Saimin place instead. :smile:
Aloha,
D
David West
A.K.A. The Mushroom Man
Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

#10 skchai

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 04:32 AM

Thanks for the advice, Tad and dfunghi. It sounds like it's not a place that I'll go myself unless I was in Ala Moana and really determined to eat a low-fat meal. . . It does seem that it's part of the chain, since the California locations are listed on the back of the brochure.

Also, Mongo - sorry, I hope you didn't find the "vegetarian fury" quote offensive!

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host


#11 mongo_jones

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 11:23 AM

SK,

If it is all the same chain and not just the sharing the name somehow, it's edible but not noteworthy, IMHO. If I have their history correct, the founders of California Wok also own Chung King in West LA which gets props from people, but is no great revelation either, IMHO.

chungking in west l.a is o.k as anglofied chinese goes but the only chung king i give props to is the divine sichuan outpost in monterey park--at 206 s. garvey. 4 can eat till they're stuffed for $40--if only the new yorkers who rave about grand sichuan could eat at chungking or any of the other sichuan places within 1 mile of it, let alone in the rest of the san gabriel valley. truly people in l.a are spoiled. now that we have no access to decent chinese all our l.a trips (we'll be there again in may) revolve around excursions to monterey park/rosemead.

#12 mongo_jones

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 11:25 AM

Also, Mongo - sorry, I hope you didn't find the "vegetarian fury" quote offensive!

not easily offended--not that it is a particularly offensive statement. and vegetarian fury is something to behold--as anyone who's seen a peta ad will testify.

was that a reference to gandhi? he was a fascinating figure--not at all the caricature richard attenbore turned him into.

#13 skchai

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Posted 29 February 2004 - 06:53 AM

I believe it was referring to the VHP and all their Sangh Parivar cousins - quite a different kind of "vegetarian fury". . .

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host