Class 302- Cerritos, CA

Class 302 is a very interesting, busy, B-grade (sanitation) cheap eats restaurant. It is a Taiwanese chain- with places in Cerritos, Rowland Heights, and Irvine. Class 302 is designed like a typical Taiwanese elementary school, hence the name. Each “number”, 302, represents a specific class. The room is even decorated like a classroom. The tables are desks, the chairs, the small chairs you would find in a classroom.

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And here’s the thing- nobody EVER goes there for the food. They go there for the shaved snow. That’s because the food is absolutely terrible compared to the snow. In actuality, the food is okay and people do order the food (we’ve don it), but the snow is much MUCH better. If you don’t know what shaved snow is, first think of a snow cone- that’s basically flavored shaved ice, right? Shaved Snow is shaved ice but the ice is milky and is shaved in the flavor that you want- like mango, strawberry, condensed milk, milk, banana, etc. Also, shaved snow is much more delicious and melt-in-your-mouth.

Papa and Karsen always share the same Golden Mango Mochi Snow. In Anya and Mommy’s opinion, this is way too sweet. The Golden Mango Mochi has mochi, mango, condensed milk, milk pudding (kind of like a sweet milk tofu), and of course, mango snow- Christmas has come early! Of course, this dish has been recommended by true mango lovers- Karsen and Papa- so be careful what you say. The next few times afterward, they got the mango snow without mochi- as it isn’t mango flavored, and we all know how mango crazy they are.

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Yes, that’s right- mango, mango, and more mango. The toppings are on different layers of the snow- condensed milk on top, then mochi and mango, then milk pudding.

Anya and Mommy always make their own snow. They get milk snow with almond tofu, milk pudding, mochi, honey boba (it comes on the side), and condensed milk. Much less sweet than Karsen and Papa’ 3 (5)

Class 302 food: 😀 😀 1/2

Class 302 snow: 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

As you can see, there is a huge difference between quality of food and quality of REAL food- SNOW! We really hope that they open up a Class 302 in Arizona-it’s perfect for our hot summers.

DISH Restaurant and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Papa’s college friend, Mr. Rajeev Joshi, invited us to tour NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. JPL is a CAL Tech sponsored NASA branch, and, according to Mr. Rajeev, also the size of Disneyland. They were in charge of Curiosity, the recent Mars Rover, as well as Cassini, Explorer (all 5), Kepler, Phoenix, Ulysses, and Voyager (and many more). Mr. Rajeev worked on the Mars Rover programming system.

But let’s get to the fun part later. After all, you can’t have your sandwich after your red velvet cupcake! We’ll get to that later- first- food!

DISH Restaurant (according to their website at was voted best breakfast in L.A. by AOL Viewers Poll of 2004. Not at all fancy, though slightly old-fashioned, DISH is a non-expensive place that serves simple but delicious meals to their customers.

Since we got there before Mr. Rajeev and Ms. Jennifer and because it was already 1:15, we decided to first order a salad with green apple, candied walnuts, and crumbly blue cheese topped with a green apple vinaigrette. It was a delicious starter, and got finished off in a heartbeat. Anya and Karsen ordered fresh lemonade (extremely sour!), and both Mommy and Papa both ordered an iced tea.

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We also noticed that DISH had an old-fashioned stove near us and old-fashioned pepper and salt shakers. It is always a joy to see that some places still keep old-fashioned things, even for display (Papa loves old-fashioned things).

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photo 5 (1)Our waiter’s name was Jesse. Karsen ordered the green goddess sandwich, with a delicious green goddess sauce. This was probably the best thing all of us ordered. The greens mixed with the avocado provided a delectable taste. The fries were soggy, with the exception of Papa’s sweet potato fries.

photo 2 (3)Strangely, Papa, Karsen , and Anya all got sandwiches. Anya had a special brie and bacon grilled cheese. When Anya was small, instead of saying “Cheese!” in front of the camera, she said “Brie!” Such is the life of a sophisti-kid.

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Although both of these sandwiches may look the same, the green goddess was far superior and completely worth another try.

Papa got the pulled pork sandwich, which was good with the exception of the fries, which were still slightly soggy.

photo 1 (3)Mommy got a mushroom burger, which none of us wanted, and according to her, was much too filling (she wishes she had gotten a salad instead!).

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Mr. Rajeev and his wife both got a chicken salad, and since they are probably regulars there, probably know what to get.

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Anya, being the greedy pig she is, ordered a gigantic red velvet cupcake. Since it was so big, she shared it with Mommy and Karsen. It was a very moist cupcake, with a delicious cream cheese topping. After all, what’s not to like about red velvet?

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We give DISH 3 1/2 smiley faces. The best thing about this meal was probably Karsen’s green goddess sandwich—perfect.

😀 😀 😀 1/2


Now back to the exciting part-JPL. Like we said before, JPL, or the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is a part of NASA managed by the California Institute of Technology, or Cal Tech. And, like we said before, it is also the size of Disneyland. Mr. Rajeev first took us to the Visitors’ Center where there was a small gift shop and where we signed in and the lady there gave us some cool visitor’s tags. We also took a picture of Mr. Rajeev by the front desk. JPL is WAY cooler than DISH (just so you know).

photo 4 (2)We then proceeded to the JPL auditorium. The auditorium is where announcements of NASA events happened. If, in this blog, you see a million different words that mean the same thing as another word, it is because, KARSEN (darling brother that he is), likes to look up words in the thesaurus (please pardon his idiocy- OUCH! I thought we agreed- no SLAPPING me!) Here is a picture of us at the auditorium (you can pretend that we are making an important new announcement):

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After the auditorium we went to the JPL Museum. There we examined the former JPL projects. We saw a plate of images to indicate we are a sentient species if another alien sentient species sees it, and some sounds of the Earth that will play to an alien species. The plate is made out of gold because of the obstacles in space (this is just a replica; obviously, the other one is in space).

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That was Mommy’s favorite. We saw many replicas of JPL projects and information concerning them, along with the 7 minutes of terror video which you can see on youtube here:

We also saw some other replicas (some full size, some not) in the museum. Here are some other pictures of the museum:

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photo 4 (2)After this we advanced (another thesaurus word) to the official JPL gift shop, where we bought Rubik’s cube coasters and where Karsen impressed the sales staff by solving JPL’s Rubik’s cube in under a minute.

Next was Papa’s favorite part- the Mars Rover testing stage. There JPL workers create Mars-like situations. Currently, Curiosity’s tires are breaking and small holes are forming in them, which was inevitable, but happened much more quickly than they originally thought. We managed to glimpse a JPL worker create a situation and test it out on the tires.

photo 5 (1)There was also a building with a replica of Curiosity, a rover that takes pictures of the planet Mars, checking to see if there is possible life on Mars itself. Actually, in Curiosity’s old tires, there was JPL written over them, so essentially, if the craft were to land on Mars, JPL would be written all over Mars’s red surface. Since JPL is still considered a part of NASA, they were not allowed to advertise itself; instead, secretly, there are strategic holes in the wheels, spelling JPL in morse code. If this were to be discovered by NASA, it would be far too late to change it, because, as we all know, the rover is in space. Here is a youtube link featuring Curiosity’s successful descent onto Mars:

The model inside the museum had the morse code tiles but this rover used the old JPL tires-so they wouldn’t have to spend more money making other ones.

And a close-up of Curiosity’s tires: See how many holes there are?

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There was a covered area very close to Curiosity, and inside was hidden the Mars Rover replica.

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After walking down a flight of stairs, we entered a building with a replica of a data transmitter- from NASA to space, space to NASA. Here is a video of the data transmitting. Signals going towards the ceiling are going to space, and signals going down are to NASA (think about the ratios- there is so much more data coming to us then going out!)


There was also another Curiosity model- this one showed the morse code tires- very cool.

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Now this marks the end of our long and wonderful journey at JPL, much like Alice, the second time she falls through the rabbit hole.  Special thanks to Mr. (Dr.) Rajeev for arranging this and providing us with a 2+ hour tour!  FYI, Mr. Rajeev is incredibly intelligent – he was able to answer ALL of our questions (and we asked a lot of questions!)

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL): 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Paiche- Marina del Rey, CA

As we promised, we are becoming more and more efficient with our posting. YAY!!!! (Everybody please give us a round of applause-Thank you). This is due to the worldwide asset of….(duh duh duh DUH)…ANYA’S NEW LAPTOP!!!! (Before this, we needed to beg and plead with our parents for the use of their laptops!)

At the suggestion of two of our favorite foodies (Dokter and Persen), we ventured to Marina Del Rey to try Paiche, a Peruvian-Japanese (Peruvian Izakaya) restaurant started by famous chef Ricardo Zarate (please note that our new masthead features a picture with him!).  We learned that Paiche is a 600 pound Amazonian fish featured on the menu at its namesake restaurant. Here is a link to there website:

We are fortunate that the foodies (Dokter, Persen, and ZANDER) joined us and Papa drove from work to eat dinner with us. Dokter also gave us a link to Ricardo Zarate’s exclusive interview:

We were immediately seated and greeted by our waiter, Frankie.  Frankie provided both excellent service and food recommendations. Here is a picture of him with us:

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We arrived first at Paiche, and Mommy ordered a pisco sour, a flavorful South American cocktail that is the heart and soul of Peru.

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Karsen then started snapping pictures of the ambiance, and the chefs at work.

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We also immediately ordered an…UNI SHRIMP TOAST!!! (remind you of a certain post we did recently?) This was one of all of our all-time favorites throughout the meal; the melt-in-your-mouth uni with the rocoto honey sauce and shrimp paste made this bruschetta-like toast perfect and makes any foodie’s mouth water.

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Paiche is known as a tapas-like restaurant (or dim sum) – with little plates.  Small plates allow us to try so many delectable dishes!  So, after the uni shrimp toast came, we ordered several other dishes.  Here is a link to the menu:

We ordered two orders of the seabass ceviche sashimi style. It came with an orange zesty sauce that completely made the meal.

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We think ceviche sashimi style is a great contribution to Japanese-Peruvian cuisine and helps amalgamate the two cuisines.

The shrimp dumplings and rock shrimp tempura came promptly after. The shrimp dumplings came with a soy lime dressing and a spicy rocoto infused oil. While both these dishes are common in other restaurants, Paiche takes these common dishes and elevates them.  Both were well done – the sauces add a nice kick!

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The yuquitas, or yuca beignet, as Zarate says, is filled with manchego and parmesan, and was in all of our top 5 dishes and Papa’s favorite. This is also Zarate’s favorite dish at Paiche, according to the interview, and is well worth a try even for the pickiest eaters. Although cheese fritters can be found anywhere, this is a dish that we call “sophistified” and can be shared with all ages.  Mommy says that the accompanying green sauce makes everything taste better.

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Next came Karsen’s favorite, the kampachi tiradito, a bite-sized sashimi of deliciousness. Served with avocado, yuzu onion dressing, and serrano sauce, it was presented over a block of himalayan rock salt that greatly diversified the flavor. Even compared to the seabass sashimi, this was like heaven for Karsen. For our sophisti-kid followers, this is the same rock salt on the walls of the Mission, our favorite Mexican in Arizona!

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We also ordered the pork neck – as many Yelpers recommended this dish.  Truth be told, in our opinion, the grilled pork neck sounds much better than it actually is. The best thing about it was the ajiaco de papas, the equivalent of a Peruvian mashed potato. In the future, we would try another pork dish instead.

photo 2 (2) copyNext came the choritos- one of Dokter’s favorites. We had a dish similar to this at a restaurant called Fishing with Dynamite that we also went to with Dokter and Persen. Choritos is a dish with steamed mussels and clams, topped with chorizo and squeezed lime. There was also a piece of bread in the middle of the stew that contained the essence of the aji amarillo sauce.  Let’s just say this: if you don’t like the food (mussels and clams), don’t eat it, ’cause you’ll hate it. In other words, we thought it was great (mostly because of the delicious sauce that came with it).  We apologize for not posting a picture of this dish – Karsen couldn’t get a clear photo!!

When Dokter recommended this restaurant to us, he said “Six words. Uni Shrimp Toast–Lobster Fried Rice.” And that’s the spark that lit our appetites. The Lobster fried rice, or Chaufa de Langosta, also comes with mussels, clams, and shrimp. This was also a huge favorite among us. Perhaps they could have been a little less generous with the mussels and clams, but the rice? WOW. To put so much flavor into just plain rice takes skill.

photo 5 copy The next dish we ordered was off the menu-a spicy tempura chicken slider with kimchi, recommended to us by Frankie, our waiter. This is not a two-time experience, but was good to try out. Kimchi and burgers may ideally seem like a good combination, but trust me–this gets messy. Kimchi all over your hands (not that that’s a bad thing), but the kimchi definitely makes the bread soggy. Sad. 🙁 Everyone knows how much Anya loves kimchi!!! In fact, Mommy says that when Anya was little she used to lick off the spices of the kimchi and ask what to do next.

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The Niman Ranch (high-quality meat producer and distributor, according to their website) pork belly was on a butternut squash puree topped with pomegranate seeds. What really made this dish was the quality of the pork belly itself, not the butternut squash.  All of us agree that the pomegranate added a nice touch – and chicharron is crispy.  This was MUCH better than the pork neck.

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Our last dish, the wagyu beef tiradito (wagyu beef is a Japanese beef and is known for its marbling), is also one of our favorites (as well as Dokter’s). It is covered with a yellow pepper sauce and our favorite-black truffle…after all, what’s not to like about truffle?

photo 5 We actually got to go inside the kitchen and get a picture taken with chef, Ricardo Zarate. As any good kitchen is, this kitchen was busy, and full of people and airy smells.


We were especially lucky for this picture, as Chef Zarate owns several other restaurants and isn’t always here, the most famous one Picca (like our dog, but only pronounced differently).

What we were not expecting, though, was that he offered to sign our menu-the one that Karsen took notes on for our meals and we kept for this post.

This was an amazing experience for us because–as we all know- it’s not everyday we get to meet chefs, even if we are the sophisti-kids. (Just every other day- haha)

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We give Paiche 5 smiley faces for their wagyu beef, kampachi, and uni shrimp toast (the only and best uni shrimp toast we’ve ever had).  We have been to several michelin-starred restaurants, and we would not be surprised if Chef Zarate’s restaurant gets one soon!

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

Also, we would like to thank Chef Zarate for this amazing meal and experience to meet him – and we’d like to thank Frankie for making it happen!  You da man!

Special thanks also goes to Anya’s new boyfriend, Zander – a future sophisti-kid!

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Maruhide Uni Club- Torrance, CA

Once again, we would like to apologize for our paucity of posts. Since our winter vacation in India, we’ve been busy with school and other activities.  Nonetheless, we want to assure that we have continued to eat delicious food (both homemade and otherwise), and have traveled all over.

To make up for this lack of diligence, we are going to catch up this summer- where we are planning on eating at various delicious places in Europe and California.  We are also planning to finish the posts we’ve already started.

For the first part of our summer, we have been staying with our grandparents in Southern California where Popo (our grandmother) makes a point of cooking us hearty and delicious meals nearly everyday.  Southern California is also known for its diversity of ethnic cuisines.  We have been enjoying quite a few delicacies, including fresh baked breads from 85 degrees C, shaved snow from Class 302, Indian food on Pioneer Boulevard, Beijing Duck from Sea Empress (in Gardena) and peruvian food from Inka Wasi.  While these places are all yummy, we want to draw your attention to a NEW place we’ve discovered:  Maruhide Uni Club.

Maruhide Uni Club was recommended to us by Doctor and Person (and Zander). (Thank you very much) Here is a link to the website:

We were informed that Maruhide Uni Club used to be a site for fishermen to sell their uni.  Uni is a Japanese-style sea urchin delicacy with a melt-in-your-mouth quality that few other foods offer and is often offered in high-end sushi restaurants. As Karsen says, you either love it or like it (we are part of “love it”).

Recently, this place was converted into a restaurant (we think this choice has been beneficial – to both customers who have access to delicious meals and to the proprietor who seems to be profiting from a very crowded restaurant!).

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We took Da E-Po, Popo, and Kung Kung with us, since we all know how much Popo loves uni. Every single item on the menu contains Uni – so for those of you who love Uni, this is your place!  Here is a link to the menu:

We arrived for lunch and with no reservations, there were no tables open.  The service staff were kind enough to offer us seats at the sushi bar.  This turned out to be advantageous for us-WE got to see the sushi chef/master at work!!!

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As is most popular, all of us ordered different Uni-dons (or Uni served on a bed of rice with different cuts of sashimi).  Each of our orders comes with a salad and an uni soup. This is a picture of the salad:

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Truth be told, the salad was quite mediocre.  Nonetheless, Karsen was so happy when the food came that his face looked like this-HILARIOUS!!!

When he figured out I was taking pictures, he finally gave in–hence his expression.

K-Uni Club

Next, we were served uni soup, which had seaweed and uni cooked in a flavorful broth. The yellowish thing inside the soup is that typical melt-in your-mouth uni.  The soup was definitely better than the salad.

Uni soupFor our appetizer, we shared uni croquettes (recommended by our server Yasu), which are the equivalent of cream puffs or scotch eggs (with UNI inside-DELICIOUS!!!) I have to say, that this was one of the highlights (the other being Karsen’s salmon roe, but we both agree on this one).

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All of the Uni-dons were spectacular – and filling.  Karsen ordered the Uni Ikura Salmon Don which featured uni, salmon roe, salmon sashimi, and an uni egg omelet, all over sushi rice. Every order also came with wasabi and ginger and daikon. Karsen LOVES ginger!!! In fact, every time we go to a sushi restaurant, we all donate portions of our ginger to him.

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Anya had the Uni Ika Salmon Don, since, unfortnately she does not like salmon eggs, much to Karsen’s and Popo’s displeasure. This dish had uni, squid, salmon, and uni egg omelet served over sushi rice.

photo 5 copy Mommy got Uni Club Don which has uni, tuna, salmon roe, salmon, scallop, yellowtail, and an uni egg omelet served over sushi rice. We decided to include her dish because it is their signature Uni-don!

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Overall, while the salad and soup were relatively mediocre (similar to many other Japanese restaurants), the Uni-dons and the Uni croquette were AMAZING!!!  We would definitely go back – and as an FYI, you can also purchase Uni there to go!!

We rate this restaurant

a well-deserved

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀  5 Smiley faces!!!!

The service was great, the food excellent, and overall it was a great uni experience.  And how many uni experiences are available???  For Uni-lovers, this place is a go-to destination!!