Archive for the 'restaurants' Category

Cooking Asian Food is Hard

Let’s be honest: one of the main reasons Asian food tastes so delicious is because they add MSG to it. Another reason is probably because every restaurant has a family recipe or a certain way of making things. That’s how I feel about pho restaurants. Almost every place I’ve been to has had a unique broth, which can make all the difference. And those are the reasons why I didn’t enjoy my own pho. I bought a standard pho buillion, but of course it’s nothing like the restaurants. Sure, it smells the same for the most part, but there was just so much flavor missing from it all.

these are all my pots: tendon, noodles, and broth. insane.

I’m not going to include my recipe because it will vary depending on the ingredients you use. (Plus, the noodles and the buillion came with directions.) The only thing that I really learned was how to cook soft tendon: boil it for 2 hours, then cut it up. Considering how soft and chewy and delicious it is in the soup, it takes a long time for it to get that soft (that’s what she said?).

my lunar new year dinner: custard dumplings, rice and chinese sausage, and thai iced tea with pearls. YUUUUM!

Anyway, instead I’ve decided to share with you the two almond cookie recipes I tried for the Chinese Lunar New Year. I’m also not going to post these recipes because they’re slightly different. Ultimately I’ve learned that, as much as I love Asian food and embrace my Chinese heritage, I will never be able to cook as well as my grandfather did. I wish I had a picture of him to share with you. He was such a big, happy man who was always so excited to cook for me. I have a fuzzy memory of being in his kitchen while he was cooking, and he showed me what he was doing. My dad tells me that, when he knew we were coming to visit, he would cook a ton of food and just wait for us to arrive. Whether or not he actually did, I can completely imagine it being true.

I’d like to think that Grandpa watches me and cooks with me and is proud of me for eating and cooking all that I can.

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Pho #1 (Seriously) and Hi, Auntie Mei!

First, I’d like to say hello to my Auntie Mei. She’s always telling me about the awesome food she’s cooking, and I’m excited to get her recipe for jook! Yummm.

Anyway, last week I finally made it out to Buford Highway where there are tons of Asian restaurants and markets! It was really exciting. I almost peed myself when my boyfriend and I walked into Pho #1. I ordered a large bowl of pho with flank steak, eye of round, and soft tendon, and a thai iced tea with tapioca pearls. It was heaven. I was only disappointed in two things. First, the bean sprouts were kind of sad-looking, but I’m guessing it’s not easy to find fresh bean sprouts in Atlanta. Second, I didn’t get as much tendon as I wanted, but that could be for any number of reasons.

so so so so delicious. it's like a bowl of happiness with a side of awesome.

After lunch we went to the Buford Highway Farmer’s Market. I’ve learned that farmer’s markets here are not the same as the ones in California. Why? Because they’re basically big grocery emporiums and not actually markets for local farmers to showcase their products. Regardless, it was an awesome time. And for next week, I bought pho buillion cubes, pho noodles, eye of round, and tendon. That’s right: I will attempt to make pho. Prepare yourself, ladies and gentlemen.

Arden’s Garden: Juice and Smoothies

I’ve recently accepted a job with the Arden’s Garden office, and as a result, I’ve been reading up on juicing and cleansing and nutrition and all that fun stuff. So far I’ve felt conflicted, mostly because I learned in my nutrition class that it’s better for you to eat your food than to drink it. I also can’t imagine that cleanses are that healthy for you, since you basically go on a liquid diet for 2 or 3 or 14 or 30 days.

One of the most important reasons to eat your food rather than drink it is because you need to exercise your digestive muscles. If we were supposed to drink our nutrients, we probably wouldn’t have so many muscles in our stomachs and intestines. Another problem with drinking instead of eating is that our bodies are not accustomed to receiving calories and nutrients from liquid. It takes practice and discipline to train your body (and mind) to feel full after drinking a meal’s worth of calories. Since your body doesn’t have to work as hard to process the nutrients, it doesn’t think it’s getting any, and so you don’t feel full, and so you eat more.

If, however, you’re not eating well to begin with, fresh juice and smoothies may be a great option for you. Drinking your fruits and veggies is still nutritious, and probably much easier than eating apples and spinach and blueberries while driving to work. You can easily have a serving of spinach if you blend it with fruits like strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. Furthermore, if you replace sodas, sports drinks, or processed juices with fresh juices and smoothies, then you’re cutting out bad sugars from your diet, especially since most Americans drink their calories nowadays. For example, if you replaced a glass of whole or even 2% milk with a smoothie with spinach, you could get your serving of calcium without the saturated fat from milk!

The only thing I’m still skeptical about is this cleanse business. A lot of people have made money through this kind of stuff, but I don’t believe that you need to do a cleanse in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. That being said, I may do one, just to see what it’s like. As Daniel Tosh of Tosh.0 said, “Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

My Farewell Brunch

I’m now back in Northern California with my manfriend/boyfriend/thing (who left Saturday), and I took him to La Victoria, in-N-out Burger, Pan Tao for real Chinese, Lee’s Sandwiches, a couple pho places, the Golden Dragon for dim sum, and Twist cafe. I promise I will tell you about them all at some point, but now I have to tell you all about my farewell brunch and how awesome it was. I made 3 dozen corn muffins, 2 bacon quiches, a 7-egg veggie scramble, and 2 frozen bags of tater tots for 16 people, in addition to fruit, iced coffee, and mimosas. There were 4 corn muffins left at the end, and a couple wounded soldiers of champagne. Needless to say I was a beast in the kitchen.

I’ve already posted my bacon quiche recipe, so I guess I’ll just post a couple pictures. The corn muffin recipe was from the back of the GOYA corn meal package. Really simple, really tasty, as usual. All in all it was a great way to say goodbye to (almost) everyone who had made my NYC experience amazing. I mean, you really can’t go wrong when you offer people free food. OH, that was the other thing: my friends brought me alcohol, fruit, juices, and a pie! So there was that, too.

i made all 3 dozen corn muffins the night before. so cute!

the quiche before i put it in the oven. less appetizing here, but sooo delicious.

nooooms.

Last Meals: Corner Bistro and Joe Shanghai

On Tuesday I went to Corner Bistro (followed by a visit to the Cubbyhole Bar), and on Friday I went to Joe Shanghai, and yesterday I had a fabulous farewell brunch. It’s been an amazing week of debauchery. I’ll start with the restaurants, and then I’ll tell you about the brunch in a separate post.

Again, I have no pictures because I ate everything too quickly and with friends. Sorry. But I’ll have a picture or two of the brunch!

Continue reading ‘Last Meals: Corner Bistro and Joe Shanghai’

Last Meals: New Tu Do

Today was my last meal at New Tu Do, a pho restaurant on Bowery between Grand and Hester off the B, D (I’m really selling it here). That has one of the most personal stories of all the restaurants I have relationships with. (weird?)

my last bowl of pho in NYC! well, what's left of it anyway.

Continue reading ‘Last Meals: New Tu Do’


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