In the midst of a busy mall Westfield Mall in Arcadia dipped it’s toes into the dining hall game and came up with something awesome. We didn’t know when they created this area or where they found the space to do it but for the last year or so I’ve been keeping tabs on the small restaurant alley creation. Finally the lines didn’t seem as crazy so me and my boyfriend made our way to try Side Chick as well as a slew of other eateries that popped up at the new “Food Alley”.
Parking can be insane at this mall and it took us a while and a few turns before we found one open on the lower levels of their underground parking lot. Their top level as well as their main parking lot area seemed far more busy than if you were to go a floor lower where all the spots were pretty open around 10:30AM-11:00AM. Although it seemed to get packed by the time we left around 2:00PM in the afternoon.
Food Alley is located next to the glittering and busy Din Tai Fung restaurant (one that sells amazing XLB and wontons). We made our way to Side Chick, one food place we’ve been following since it’s inception as a pop-up stall in Downtown Los Angeles in Chinatown. We’ve tasted Chef Johnny’s creation at the pop-up stall as well as the Sticky Rice stall in Grand Central Market and will admit it’s one of the best Hainan Chicken entrees we’ve had out of all the Hainan Chicken rice dishes we’ve had. Thankfully when we arrived there was no line yet and we were the first ones there. We ordered two Hainan Chicken rice dishes ($8.50) which had a mix of dark and white meat with a side order of chicken broth ($2.00). If you want either all white meat or all dark meat it’s $1.00 extra. It comes served with three sauce options but the only one I used was the ginger spring onion one that worked the best in my onion. The meat was amazingly tender and juicy, but it could’ve been a little warmer or hotter since ours came out a little room temperature. The chicken broth though was superbly deliciously, it was hot and steamy with wonderful aroma and flavor that wasn’t too salty or overwhelming.
After, boyfriend wanted to try the famous Uncle Tetsu Cheesecake that was also an establishment that opened up in Food Alley. Surprisingly no insane line that we heard of so we waited in line (only about 20-25 minutes) and purchased two wonderfully fresh baked cheesecakes ($8.75). It’s definitely really different from the traditional Western American cheesecake that I remember hating. Japanese cheesecake is far lighter in taste and texture, almost like really airy spongecake. The cheese and sweet flavors weren’t heavy at all rather it was very subtle. The cake is best eaten when freshly taken out the oven and piping hot!
Food Alley has a few other interesting options like Matcha Matcha that sells an array of different matcha and black sesame items like soft serve, drinks and doughnuts. There was also the famous EMC Seafood & Raw Bar that was coming soon (soft opening phase at the moment) that is tremendously popular in Irvine and few other areas for their fresh oysters. Then there is Tsurumaru Udon Honpo that serves wonderfully tasty udon and Japanese cuisine it seems. This eats alley is definitely a place for someone that loves to explore new food to come and try each spot out and make an adventure out of it.
For more photos from the Food Alley, click here!