Friday, June 29

U2 Cafe

This tiny restaurant, called U2 Cafe, confused me when it first opened. I mean, what does the band U2 have to do with food? And isn't that copyright infringement? The answers are nothing, and yes. However, asian food places have never shied away from naming themselves or having similar logos to pop culture entities, so you or I shouldn't be surprised.

The name comes from the fact that it's a hybrid of two popular Chinese eating establishments: the BBQ place, and the cafe. The former is known for its roast duck, cha siu pork, and other favorites, like wonton soup and beef chow fun. Flagship: Sam Woo. The latter is known for its coffee drinks, baked dishes, pseudo-American dishes, and penchant for being open into the early morning hours. Flagship: Garden Cafe.

U2 has both in its small building, appealing to many of its customers, I'm sure. I have to confess I have yet to try anything from the BBQ side, so I haven't yet taken advantage of this duality. However, the cafe I've been to many times. The main draws here are breakfast and lunch. The breakfast menu is unique, offering a "Chinese breakfast" and an "American breakfast." The Chinese breakfast consists of your choice of congee, fried chow fun or macaroni soup, and a breakfast drink like coffee or tea. The American breakfast consists of your choice of pancakes or eggs and bacon or sausage, oatmeal or macaroni soup, and the breakfast drink. All this for the bargain price range of $4.50-5.50!!

I had eggs and bacon, the macaroni soup, and milk tea. It was way too much food for breakfast, but since it was so cheap I couldn't help but try to eat it all so that I would feel I got my money's worth and more. My boyfriend ordered the pancakes and eggs, and chose the oatmeal. He was satisfied, but thought the oatmeal was a weird soupy consistency. Plus, they only provided white sugar, not the brown sugar he was used to. My reply was that it was his fault for ordering oatmeal at a Chinese place! My aunt says when she doesn't have anything to bring for lunch, she'll order the congee and the fried chow fun. She eats the congee for breakfast and has the fried chow fun for lunch...two meals for under $6!

The lunch here is like most other cafes, including a cup of soup and a drink that's coffee or tea (there's an extra charge for cold drinks). The soup I had there for lunch was a cream soup with corn and chicken. It was flavorful and creamy, and fell right in line with other cream soups I've had (though I usually get the "vegetable" soup at Garden). I ordered my usual, which is the pork chop with whatever sauce I feel like that day (mushroom, garlic, or black pepper) and that day I felt like garlic. I order this dish at the cafe regardless of what meal it is (lunch or dinner) and whether I'm hungry enough.

The pork chop came smothered in sauce, with some rice and buttered vegetable medley that I suspect is from the freezer aisle (all cafes include this). It was fatty and delicious, but I couldn't finish it all. It wasn't the best that I'd had, but it wasn't the worst either. The cafe serves a wide range of items, like curry, sandwiches, pasta, and Chinese favorites. No cafe would be without its baked dishes. These usually come baked with lots of cream sauce and cheese...definitely not for the ones watching their weight!

I wouldn't say this is my favorite cafe, but they are my old standby when I don't want to wait at Garden, or want a cheaper breakfast that's not vomit-inducing like the neighborhood Denny's. It's a novel idea to combine the two kinds of establishments, and I wholeheartedly support it.

U2 Cafe
1200 E Valley Blvd.
Alhambra, CA 91801

Lunch special 11am-3pm

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Blogger B said...

I love your blog. You should do something for the Davis/Sac area too!

11:35 PM  
Blogger eatdrinknbmerry said...

I only come to this place for the comfort foods... like beef chow fun, beef chow mein and porridge. it gets the job done. sometimes you just don't want to be in the asian cafe scene.

10:18 AM  

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