By Eric on 2006-12-17

Jazz Cat Cafe – 640 Valley Blvd – Alhambra, CA 626-293-8999
Themed spots are fun and this one makes weird but endearing sense. At Jazz Cat, the walls are painted with murals of cats playing music and people into jazz. There’s a bulletin board of pictures of real cats near the counter where you can also order a selection of boba drinks. Jazz Cat’s spacious and loungish, but then when you see people at their tables, it’s hot pot everywhere. When we walked in, Astrud Gilberto piped through the speakers, it was bossanova hour.

The menu has noodles, and a variety of dishes, but the main feature is the hot pot dishes. There’s two kinds, one that’s more like a shabu shabu but personal size, and another that has a butter cream sauce as it’s base (I passed on the latter).

This is the vegetarian version, and there’s plenty of dishes with meat and different flavors. There’s thai style, spicy, curry, and a house special. The vegetarian pot comes with bushels of veggies, more than you can handle. The sauce is peanutish and works perfect.

The blue flame is strong and will boil for a while. As it burned down, I mistakenly tried to add some of the pink flammable fuel from my pot which wasn’t ignited. Mistake! I spilled a bit on the table, and my chopsticks and the fuel started to burn on the table. Flames started to grow. I started to extinguish it with the cabbage. But that didn’t quite work, so I dipped napkin in the soup broth and poof, it went out…

This is what the vegetarian dish looks like when it shows up at your table. Take away some veggies and add some red meat and there you have it. You can choose rice or onigiri with each entree. For $1.95 you can add a sweet type of boba drink and for 3.95 you can get a drink and dessert! Can you eat it all?!

I ordered the special kimchee seafood udon. Close to a kimchee chigae, I wasn’t up for the regular hot pots, but this one did the trick. The broth was rich, the shrimp, mussels, and squid were great and walked out perspiring. Enjoy the Jazz Cat for it’s weird ambiance in cold weather. It’s perfect winter fare.