Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Jul 29th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Spring Flower

Dining_YanFlowerYan Flower dishes up a fresh assortment of unique Chinese delicacies at the southern end of Pacific Avenue

I don't often find myself in the South of Laurel section of Pacific Avenue, but when a friend described Hong Kong Noodles at Yan Flower I just had to try them. After all, the man is of Korean and Chinese heritage, and speaks with a New York accent.

In the back of the restaurant the owners converse in Cantonese. Yan Flower's well-kept yellow and green tiled building is roomy, clean, and simply decorated. Comfortable orange booths surround glass-topped tables, the windows are treated with pretty flowered valances, and the walls are papered with tasteful, contemporary swooshes in soft earth tones.

Nicely priced lunch specials ($3.95 to $5.95) include soup, a spring roll and steamed rice, but the full and lengthy MSG-free menu is always available. Specialties include a Half Roast Duck, Beef with Black Pepper Pots and Egg Foo Young. Daily specials might include Mongolian Lamb, and there is a large selection of tofu and vegetable entrées.

Twelve soups are served including Yanflower Spicy Won Ton, Egg Flower, and sizzling rice. I started with a cup of Hot and Sour ($1.50) soup. Served in a rather large clear glass bowl, the thickened chili-flecked broth contained slivers of bamboo shoots, threads of seaweed, and tofu.

The mix of appetizers includes Crab Cream Won Tons, Chinese Chicken Salad, Sliced BBQ pork, and Dumplings. The Sesame Balls ($2.95) are beautiful. Six perfect spheres the size of ping pong balls were deep fried until the neat coating of sesame seeds just began to tan and emit a nutty aroma. Biting into the thin, chewy dough revealed a center of sweet and savory Chinese red bean paste.

Hong Kong Noodles ($7.50) arrived on two plates; one holding thin, crisply fried noodles, and the other, stir-fried chicken with broccoli, bok choy, miniature corn cobs, crunchy water chestnuts, halved cloves of garlic and carrots in a rich, brown sauce that was not overly salty with soy sauce. When the stir-fry was poured over the noodles, some became chewy, and others remained crisp, offering a satisfying mix of textures.

Spicy dishes are highlighted on the menu in red ink, and the kitchen will adjust the heat to your specifications. One of these is Garlic Chicken ($6.95). Like the noodles, it was loaded with tender strips of white chicken breast. The spicy sauce had a unique sweet and sour flavor, and also included bamboo shoots, shredded carrot, green bell peppers and chili flakes.

I requested the extra-spicy treatment for Hunan Beef ($6.95). A halo of al dente broccoli surrounded a layer of bright white rice sticks; fried until airy and curly, and topped with pinkie-sized strips of deep-fried beef which was sprinkled with additional dried red chili. Although I had feared that I was full after soup, I couldn't stop savoring these chewy morsels coated in syrupy, sweet, and sour sauce.


Yan Flower, 617 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-2574. Beer and wine. Open daily 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Takeout available.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Binding of Edmund McMillen

How a Santa Cruz designer created one of the most unlikely hits in video game history

 

Sun in Leo, Rosy Star, Venus and Uranus Retrograde

Three major celestial events occur this week. Wednesday, the Sun enters Leo, highlighting the heart center of everyone. Leo is a sign of deep sensitivity (along with Cancer). Wednesday is also the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. Saturday, July 25, Venus turns stationary retrograde at 0 Virgo (progressed Regulus, the Law, Hall of Records). Venus retrogrades for 44 days and nights, forming one petal of a five-pointed rosy star (pentagram) in the sky (five retrogrades over eight years = star). Venus retrograde turns values upside down. Our usual sense of beauty, values, the real price of things, relationships—all turn into a bundle of confusion. We don’t seem to know anything. Luxury goods are mispriced, values are jumbled, we wonder who that person is we’re in relationship with. We don’t know where our money is or where it’s gone. Venus, in daily life, represents values (resources, money, possessions and quality of relationships). Venus retrograde asks, “What do I value?” Venus retrograde puts us in touch with what has changed and what is truly of value in our lives. Venus retrogrades from 0 Virgo to 14 degrees Leo (July 25-Sept. 6). Leo is about the self and our creativity, which is how we come to know and value ourselves. We “know ourselves through what we create.” In Venus (values) retrograde (inner focus) we will ask, “What are values (not just money and finances)? What are my values? What do I create? How do I value my creations? Do I value myself?” Sunday, Uranus—planet of all things new, revelatory and revolutionary—also retrogrades (from 20 to 16 degrees Aries) until the full moon of Christmas Day. Five months of Uranus retrograde. In July and continuing on through the following months we have many planets retrograding. Things therefore slow down. Everyone’s focus becomes subjective, hidden by veils and curtains. A time when inner reserves of strength are available. A time of protection.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 24

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

AJ’s Market

Local cult fave keeps getting bigger and better

 

What do you think of Bernie Sanders?

He’s what we need, more hardcore Democrats. Old-school, ’70s-style Democrats. Tony Dolan, Santa Cruz, Freelancer

 

Hunter Hill Vineyards & Winery

Calling all Merlot lovers—Hunter Hill has released its 2013 estate Merlot ($25)—and a superb one it is, too.

 

Turn Up the Beet

Golden beets with buffalo mozzarella, plus single-malt whiskies and award-winning local Chardonnays