Sunday, August 29, 2010

Why My Thai?

I gotta feeling ... that tonight's gonna be a good night!  That's tonight's gonna be a good, good night!

Tonight was the perfect night to dine out.  The weather's been fluctuating for the past week, so it was nice to see the sun again and feel the summer heat.  My beau and I decided to take advantage of the weather as well as a gift certificate that I had purchased a while ago to My Thai, located at 78th and 3rd Ave in Brooklyn.  It was a pleasant experience - great service, delightful ambiance and yummy food!

We started off with a dish of beef satay as appetizer.  The beef was tender and perfectly marinated.  It came with 2 dipping sauces, one that was vinegar based and another that tasted like a combination of peanut butter and sweet chili sauce.  They were both delicious but I preferred the latter whereas my beau liked the lighter one.  That goes to show you that fatter people tend to go for food and sauces that are much stronger in flavor ... lol.  The way I look at it is... we know what good food tastes like and they don't!

I thought the heart-shaped brown rice was so cute.  Normally you would see white rice as an upside-down round bowl, particularly in Chinese restaurants, so I thought this was pretty creative and a unique spin to the usual.  What girl doesn't like seeing a heart?  I'll admit it, I did the whole "Aww" thing when the dish came out, lol!

Unfortunately, my heart had to be broken when the main dishes came out.  It also started oozing with blood!  No, more like I drizzled a lot of flavorful sauce on it!!

We paired our rice with a specialty of theirs, Mango Chicken, apparently a very popular choice amongst the customers.  It was basically a sweet and sour chicken, mango and bell pepper stir-fry plated on mango skin.  It was delish!  Not only was it sweet and sour, there was a hint of spicy, which wasn't too overpowering ... just perfect for a weakling like me.

Ofcourse, we also had to order a curry dish, so we went with a "medium spicy" red curry seafood platter.  Although I normally prefer Indian or even Malaysian curry over Thai curry, I don't mind its coconuttiness.  It gives the curry a great aroma and sweetness, which is preferable over the overly spicy types once in a while.  This one was still a tad too spicy for me because I have a weak tolerance ... so you can imagine how empty I kept my glass of water.

Meal must've been good ... we ate EVERYTHING!

AND we had room for some green tea ice cream!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Crazy Family's Photo Contributions

When I broke to my sisters that I just started a blog with a main concentration on food, I asked them to contribute photos of good food so that I can share them here.  I also requested that they take detailed and quality pictures of food in ALL ANGLES because they are unacceptable if they don't meet my standards, lol!  One of the first emails that I received had me rolling ...

LOL ... my family is crazy!  A Coke can in all angles ... who would have expected that?  However, it's nice to receive these silly emails once in a while to keep me sane!

Well besides that, I also received the following pictures.  It's roast pork over rice from Wing Wong on Mott St., a juicy burger with fries from Cup and Saucer on Canal St. and finally beef brisket over rice from Oversea Taste Restaurant on Canal St.

I told her that her photos suck ... but I honestly think that she has some potential!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Guess the Shadow!


So I went to Chinatown today after work to get something taken care of.  Prior to hopping on the train back home, I made a stop at the Chinese market that extends from Mott to Elizabeth Streets.  No idea what the place is called, but it has everything!  They sell just about anything all in a long narrow aisle, from meat to frozen foods, to takeout to pastries ... and SUSHI!  What's even better was their $6 for 2 deal.  So glad I made the stop.

Unfortunately, my favorite salmon sashimi wasn't part of the deal, so I picked up 2 boxes of Unagi Maki, probably one of the best rolls created.  The combination of avocado with eel is perfecto.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

No Life? Have an Egg Tart!

Boy oh boy...

I just survived a month of continuous studying of dry material for the Regulations section of the CPA exam.  Continuous is defined as lugging the book and my notes wherever I go and reading whenever time is available, ie: on crowded New York City trains to and from work (despite the lack of room to move and being crammed against train doors) and reading once I get home no matter how exhausted I am.  I seriously have NO LIFE whatsoever right now, but I know that it'll be worth it in the long-run.

And so I took the test this morning.  Although there are 3 more sections to come and I either failed this section or am borderline passing ... I am glad that it is over.  I've been running on 4-5 hours of sleep a day, so all I want to do right now, at this moment, is Relax!  Relaxing entails some good food, so I picked up these on the way back home!

I love, love, love egg tarts.  I've attempted to bake a mini version of it with store-bought mini phyllo dough cups.  The filling somewhat resembled the authentic version, but fresh phyllo dough really makes a difference.

I also bought a Kaya Bun ...  Why am I fat?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gaga for My Pho Ga

NOTHING is better than a lazy day at home ... just lying around, surfing the internet, watching tv or doing absolutely nothing.  Maybe not to that extent, but one has to agree with me that a day free of errands and chores is absolutely fantabulous!  But what if it was a lazy day with an empty fridge ...?  Completely different story right?

One of my favorite dinner picks for a lazy night is chicken noodle soup, or pho ga as I like to call it.  It's as easy as dumping ingredients into a crockpot, turning on the switch and closing the lid ... and just as tasty!  What's better is it cooks faster on the stove-top, perfect for feeding two starving, growling stomachs.  It doesn't require much ingredients, just the basic carrots, onions, ginger, chicken drumsticks, and if you like, some scallions, other veggies, and some salt!  The best part is what I put in last, and I cannot do without it ... sesame oil!

To give him his well-deserved credit: what's pictured here was actually made by my beau, my clumsy, inexperienced sous-chef.  He likes having my pho ga so much, he is hooked on it and has the recipe down pat!  Now if he can do it, YOU can do it!!! lol

Sigh... back to studying. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hearty Breakfast

What's your favorite breakfast? A platter of over easy eggs with bacon, home fries and toast like my younger brother likes his? Blueberry pancakes? Lego my Eggo waffles? Cereal with cold milk? It's interesting to see how many different breakfast items we've all come to enjoy and how breakfast varies with different cultures. There's the toasted Cuban bread with cafe con leche, the French's quiche and the to-die-for buttery croissants and ofcourse, the Chinese's dim sum!

I know I've previously suggested not to translate Chinese phrases/words literally, but in the case of "dim sum," it is okay! Dim sum means "touch heart." I presume that its aesthetic beauty and delectable tastes is what gave it its name. It surely touched my heart after I had it for breakfast this morning!

The one and only con of having dim sum at a Chinese restaurant is being seated with other customers. I personally don't mind this because I can easily ignore them and am almost always distracted by food anyway, but on days when you are easily irked or want a private space to you and your beau, having your own table is clearly preferable. I didn't have that luck today as I had to sit with 3 other strangers on the same table, but fortunately, I was in a good mood! They probably thought I was crazy though, snapping pictures of everything rather than digging in! I say, they should be glad I wasn't snapping photos of their food!

The meal typically begins with tea: Jasmine or Chrysanthemum. I've always been a big fan of chrysanthemum tea, especially sweetened ones ... so that was the choice! Dim sum without tea certainly feels incomplete ... after all, you gotta have sum tea when you go "yum cha"- drink tea.

Then we were off to selecting our dim sum! Where are the damn carts? Ha churng, gnau churng, ha gau, siu mai, see joke guen, jun ju gai! Give us everything you've got! Yeah, that's pretty much how chaotic it gets, but that's the fun in having dim sum. There's customers who have 1 or 2 bamboo steamers on their tables, chatting away and forgetting to eat. There's also customers with giraffe necks and owl eyes attempting to spot the closest cart around. Upon spotting one, they manifest their hunger with their loud squawks, which you can hear from across the room. Ok, ok, I'm getting a little imaginative, but that's having dim sum in my own perspective! lol

Well, here are a few items that I have to order EVERYTIME because they are just so darn delicious, with the exception of the item pictured last, a dim sum I tried today for the first time. Chinese restaurants get creative with their dim sum, mixing and matching different ingredients into dumplings. This one was filled with chives and shrimp and topped with a goji berry, such a cute presentation.

So the next time you find yourself contemplating what breakfast to have, drop your french toast, bagel, muffin, or whatever else on your mind. Go for a round of dim sum. Start your morning with a cup of tea instead of coffee. Have a hot bowl of Chinese porridge instead of oatmeal. Replace your eggs and toast with dumplings, some rich in protein and low in carbohydrates, others as carby as you'd like em!

As loud and crowded and crazy as it'll get in the restaurant, I'll be sure that the dim sum will dim your sum

J. King Seafood Plaza
618 62nd Street,
Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tofu ... Not Quite

So I made this light snack yesterday night to suppress cravings that I was having for sweets! Almond Tofu!

Tofu? Yes, Chinese people refer to this treat as "dou fu fa," literally translated as "tofu flower." It was called as such simply because the real deal is made with soft tofu. Don't ask me about the flower part, I honestly have no idea! I don't suggest ever translating Chinese terms/phrases word for word, because it almost never makes any sense!

So, dou fu fa is a popular Asian dessert that may be found nowadays at dim sum restaurants, Asian supermarkets, or even sold by street vendors. You may find them as packaged powder mixtures that come in various flavors and can be easily made just by mixing it in boiling water, adding milk, and refrigerating it for a few hours. You may also find them freshly made by street vendors, normally eaten with a sugary syrup. If you're curious how a sugary, milky, flavored jello tastes like, go with the packaged version. On the other hand, if you admire food in its most natural state, try the freshly made ones ... they are so soft each spoonful just slips down your throat!

Now, back to my version. I didn't have the time nor know how to make dou fu fa out of real tofu, so I took a little shortcut! I mixed gelatin powder with milk, boiling water, Splenda and some almond extract ... definitely a healthier and lower-calorie alternative to the packaged versions!

It's not quite tofu, but if you like tofu, you'd like this! Give it a try!

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Cubicle Smells Like Fish!

If you ask me to name a cheap, simple food that I can't resist myself from eating, I'd have to answer you Chinese buns. Yes, those carby little devils that typically cost under $1.00 each that are paired with an array of fillings - roast pork, kaya, ham & egg, hot dog, cream, nothing at all, or the one filling that I was in the mood for today, tunafish!

Now, it is quite the challenge for someone who works in Midtown Manhattan to find affordable lunch. I am truly envious of those who can afford to go out for lunch 5 out of the 5 workdays, because like I've mentioned in a previous post, even salads can cost up to $10! So I've set a budget for my lunch on days that I don't feel like bringing any homemade food to work: $5.00. Yup, cinco dolares! Believe it or not, it is possible! However, my options are undoubtedly, very, very, and I mean, VERY limited. I can count restaurants in Midtown that offer lunch under $5.00 with five fingers! Well, I might be exaggerating a wee bit, but it is definitely as hard as finding treasures on the ocean floor! Luckily for me, Fay Da, a Chinese bakery is just around the corner ...

And so I decided on the tuna bun. Fay Da's tuna bun is unlike any other that you may find at a Chinese bakery. It isn't just a plain bun with tuna fish filling. It is a cylindrical bun with soft edges and a distinctive top crust whose texture is comparable to pastries made with phyllo dough. It is well-balanced with a slight flakiness and a slight crunch with every bite, but because it is much more compact than phyllo dough, it doesn't leave a single flake on your lip!

They also fill the bun with a decent amount of tuna fish, so don't worry about not getting your bang for the buck (buck 25 in this case). Although my cubicle smelled very much like fish after I split the bun into two, it was very well worth it.

Fay Da also offers a variety of other baked and steamed buns. What's even better is they are situated in the same location as Lunch Box Buffet, where I get my $5.00 lunch boxes with 5 selections.

Oh don't worry, you'll be seeing a lunch box soon enough, when my cheap a** gets too lazy to cook.