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By Steven Li on 2005-11-12

November 12, 2005


After a spending all Friday night studying for an upcoming Accounting, a friend and I decided we needed food! Unfortunately, every restaurant in Claremont seems to close by 8 pm, leaving us with only fast food options which just wouldn’t suffice. So we drove down to Rowland Heights and after a bit of searching found one restaurant that was still open at 3 am.
Garden Cafe is one of the pseudo Chinese restaurants that caters to the “modern” Chinese-American generation of eaters who don’t appreciate authentic Chinese cuisine. These places attempt to both Asian-nize American food and Americanize Chinese food all at once. Their menus can be thought of as a Chinese version of the Cheesecake Factory. You can get Peanut Butter French Toast and Satay Chow Fun, or even a “Baked Cheese & Seafood Omelette with Toast” if you so desire…

Definitely not the ideal spot for great food, but with no other restaurants open (not many people crave jook at such odd hours) and having driven so far, we decided to eat here. I didn’t realize how much (bad) food we ordered until it all came – that’s the consequence of being tired and really hungry at the same time! First came a very bland Pork with Preserved Egg Jook ($4.25). There was absolutely NO flavor to this dish, just a bowl of plain jook with tiny pieces of egg and a couple shreds of pork.

The Fish with Preserved Egg Jook ($5.25) was equally dissapointing.
We ordered the E-Fu Noodles with Crab Meat Soup ($5.25) out of sheer curiosity. This too, was a mistake. The bland soup was thick and gelatinous with shreds of imitation crabmeat. It was a very confusing dish – the noodles and the soup were gummy and mucus-like in texture, I don’t know what to make of it!
Eww. Look at this. Beef Stew Curry ($6.75). Chunks of hard, chewy beef swam in a gooey brown mass that didn’t even resemble curry in flavor. It was awful. At the end of the meal our waiter brought out a bowl of Hot Bortsch. (Don’t ask why a Chinese restaurant feels obligated to serve Bortsch). I think he felt bad for seving us such poor quality food. Either that, or it was leftovers from the kitchen. The soup was semi-decent, tasting like something from a can of Campbells. This was sadly the best part of our midnight snack.

Driving back to school we passed a 24 hr Korean restaurant. Poo. Next time we know where to go – or at least where not to go. Or maybe we should go earlier as there are many excellent places in Rowland Heights, as well as an abundance of Chinese bakeries! Any recs (been meaning to try Capital Restaurant) for Rowland Heights area, Kirk?

Garden Cafe 18406 Colima Rd # H., Rowland Heights, CA 91748 (626) 913-1188

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