wong’s golden palace | la mesa
Jake and I had our 9 year anniversary recently (yes… 9!!) and for our anniversary Jake wanted to pick the restaurant. That’s how we ended up at Wong’s Golden Palace in La Mesa. I have a vague memory of going here when I was kid. Jake and I have passed the place a ton of times with it’s kind of retro fake “palace” exterior. It was high time to try it as an adult.
The entrance to the restaurant is actually in the middle. On the far right is another entrance but that goes to the bar. The parking lot is pretty tight in here but we were able to snag the last spot in the lot.
There wasn’t anyone else in the restaurant when we first arrived and someone came in shortly after us. I guess the lot was full because everyone was at the bar next door.
One thing I noticed right away was that there were no lights on in the restaurant… see that dark area behind Jake? That’s another room. No lights on over there. It made it look kind of creepy. They turned the lights on only when the sun was mostly gone.
There were some little dioramas that I thought were kitschy and cute. Course, I didn’t bother to get up to take a photo, I just zoomed in with my camera. Lazy blogger.
One of the reasons Jake picked Wong’s Golden Palace was because there was a coupon in this “get1free” coupon magazine. There was a $16 special for 2 people which include an appetizer platter, cashew chicken, and sweet and sour pork.
I didn’t take any photos of it but I noticed that on their regular menu they had an “American” section which served burgers and also breakfast. Say what? I haven’t seen a Chinese place that offered American food before… weird.
Our meal started off with the pupu platter. Americanized Chinese food at its finest, my friends! The pupu platter is really just a tray of appetizers. It comes with a mini grill so you can heat up a few items at your table since it is already cooked.
On our pupu platter there was an egg roll (cut in half), two skewers of beef, two pork spareribs, two fried shrimp and a wonton.
The egg roll was bland and full of mostly cabbage with a hint of other vegetables. The shrimp had an incredibly thick coating on it that made it hard to really even taste the shrimp.
The beef skewers were my favorite thing from the pupu platter. They sizzled up nicely on the mini grill and had a nice teriyaki glaze on them. The beef was tender and pretty yummy.
Jake seared the bottom of his pork sparerib for only a few seconds and ate it. He said his piece was very dry and he didn’t enjoy it. I seared mine on all sides and I actually enjoyed it – mine was tender and juicy. He got the bad piece, I guess.
We were also given wontons to munch on with some sweet and sour sauce. Jake thinks the best thing he had here was the sweet and sour sauce! It was quite thick and reminded him of the one they serve at Mandarin Chinese in Chula Vista.
Jake asked if he could switch out his soup to wonton soup and our nice waitress told us he could for an extra 50 cents fee. He doesn’t like egg drop so he went with that. I didn’t try this. Jake thought the wontons were nothing special but he enjoyed the broth.
[egg drop soup]
I didn’t upgrade since I actually enjoy egg drop soup. I’ve never seen noodles in this kind of soup before which I found to be an interesting addition. The flavor of the broth was very, very light. This was a bit on the bland side. Nothing really special about the soup.
Our two plates of food arrived not too long after.
It’s interesting how every place seems to have a different spin on cashew chicken. This particular version had lots of cabbage, large chunks of celery, mushrooms, water chestnuts, cashews and chicken. The chicken was white meat and was very dry. The sauce was very light and pretty bland tasting. The cashews also weren’t crunchy – I don’t know if that’s because they soaked up too much sauce or because they weren’t fresh.
[sweet and sour pork]
The sweet and sour pork was pretty standard. The pork pieces had a thick, heavy batter. It made the pork crunchy, but the flavor was masked by the thick batter. The pineapple didn’t taste the freshest but the sweet and sour sauce was decent. Not great, not incredibly awful, but not really very satisfying either.
Our meal also included a large side of fried rice. The only other thing in the fried rice was fried egg. It was pretty plain. I was hoping to see little bits of vegetables in the fried rice but no such luck.
All in all we weren’t really impressed with the food at Wong’s Golden Palace. The best thing were the beef skewers for me and for Jake he enjoyed the sweet and sour sauce with the crispy wontons. It’s probably safe to say now that we’ve checked it off the list, it won’t be going into our regular rotation.
Wong’s Golden Palace (Yelp)
7126 University Ave.
La Mesa, CA 91941
Since dinner wasn’t the greatest, I wanted to get a little dessert afterwards! We headed over to Bruxie for a little sweet treat.
I started off with a Belgian Mocha which was like a hot chocolate with espresso in it. The chocolate had a nice dark chocolate flavor to it with espresso in the mix. I liked it! I got it iced but you can also get it hot.
I didn’t want anything fancy and I decided to get a plain old Brussels Waffle for dessert. The Brussels Waffle comes with either cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar or both! I got it with both. There was a nice sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and a light dusting of the powdered sugar to give it a little sweetness and flavor. My favorite part about this dish is that it came with a tiny little bottle of pure maple syrup! Just look at how cute that little bottle is! EEK! The bottle is even real glass! They’re made special just for Bruxie.
The Brussels Waffle is different from the waffle they use for their sandwiches. That waffle is much thinner whereas this is a nice, thick waffle. It’s a little “wet” on the inside and it has almost a sour-ish taste to the waffle. Pour some maple syrup over this baby to balance out the flavor and you’ll get a sour-yeasty flavor along with the sweetness of the sugar and the syrup. The yeast in the batter makes for a really unique and interesting flavor that Jake and I really enjoyed. It’s a simple dessert but it was really yummy!
We found out that Bruxie will be opening another location in Horton Plaza soon which was exciting to us! The Bruxie location in College closes during the summer since it’s too slow with the college kids gone. Opening another location at Horton Plaza will make waffles more accessible all year long – hooray!
5157 College Ave
San Diego, CA 92115