Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Sep 19th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Go with the Garlic

Dining_PhoenixWestside's Phoenix Asian Restaurant serves huge portions from its long menu
I tend to avoid Mission Street this time of year, but there I was, and realized one of the Chinese restaurants had changed hands, albeit more than a year ago. Now named Phoenix Asian Restaurant, it's known for its huge selection of lunch specials for about $6.
The rice paper wrappers of fat Vietnamese Spring Rolls ($3.95) were lined with lettuce. Inside, spears of cucumber and fried tofu joined matchstick carrot, shreds of purple cabbage, thin noodles and fresh mint leaves. The thick, tart peanut sauce was lightly spiced with red chilies.

One of my favorite Chinese dishes is Garlic Sauce Chicken ($7.65) and Phoenix's version did not disappoint. Sampling chicken breast from the steaming plate, spicy heat built with each bite. The dark sauce held a generous amount of crunchy minced garlic. The assortment of vegetables included mushrooms, green and red bell peppers, thin slices of bamboo shoot, celery, broccoli and zucchini.  The chili sauce on the table was marvelous—no flakes drenched in funky oil, just ground red chilies which pack a wonderful wallop.

Singapore-Style Noodle ($8.95) was billed as spicy, but I did not find it to be so. Either that or I got a different dish. It was a turmeric-colored blend of noodles, thin egg omelette, chicken breast, and plump shrimp with three colors of bell pepper. It was nicely cooked and lightly flavored with what tasted like curry powder, and the soft noodles were very comforting. What I liked most were the red strips of BBQ pork. I would definitely order BBQ Pork with Mix Vegetable ($7.65) on another visit.

Of course take-out is offered, so I called ahead for an early lunch. Thin slices of Szechuan Beef ($8.65) were cooked traditionally in hot oil until crunchy and curly, but I didn't detect any heat or spice. When I've eaten this dish before, the meat was then mixed with sautéed vegetables. With a nice dipping sauce it would make an interesting appetizer.

A generous portion of Salt and Pepper Pork Chop ($9.95), served with sautéed jalapenos and green onions, was made from fatty and bony blade chops. The spice mixture was served on the side to add as desired.

The crowning glory to the meal was the unique hot and sour soup. The dark, thick, translucent broth was sweet, a bit sour, and absolutely loaded with both fresh garlic and red chilies making it the spiciest dish I had tried. It also contained multiple types of bell peppers cooked to perfection.

Phoenix Asian Restaurant, 2301 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 466-3888. Beer and wine. Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Visit menustation.com/phoenix/menu.html ★★★

Teams all over the county are raising funds for the Sept. 25 Alzheimer's Memory Walk in Aptos. Team “It's a Zoo” will be holding a chili cook-off and raffle this Saturday, Aug. 28. Numerous cooks will be vying for the Top Chef award. For a donation ($10), enjoy chili, cornbread, and dessert.

Team “It's a Zoo” Alzheimer Walk Fundraiser Chili Cook-off, Saturday Aug. 28, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. De Anza Mobile Home Park Clubhouse, 2395 Delaware Ave., Santa Cruz. Admission $10; please park on Delaware.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Feeding Frenzy

Culinary journey ‘The Trip to Italy’ isn’t the foodie film you’d expect 

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.