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Breakfast/ What's On My Plate

What’s On My Plate: Fall Breakfast

As we get into fall, there is the emergence of new items like plums, grapes, squash, etc. and the continuation of summer items like beans and tomatoes. No complaints here! Pictured are produce from the CUESA’s farmers market at the Ferry Building:

Enjoy the season, and get your hands on this produce. If you do, I’d love to hear about what you’ve made and eaten!

Breakfast/ Cooking

What’s On My Plate: New + Home

For my plates, I’ve been wanting to make something that either:

  1. Incorporates an ingredient I’ve never cooked before
  2. Reminds me of home aka. Taiwanese food

There’s both on this plate, which makes it an A+ in my book: Chinese tea egg (茶葉蛋) and trumpet mushrooms. If you’re wondering how it tasted, it was delicious (obviously since I made it right?) Sautéed mushrooms with tomatoes and onions gave it a good bite; while the tea egg was fragrant and perfect amount of salt. The strawberries ended things off on a naturally sweet note. It’s vegetarian friendly, and a great way to start the day!

As always, the list of farms where ingredients are from:

Breakfast/ Cooking

What’s on My Plate: “Californian Breakfast”

Special service announcement everyone…I cook, sometimes! One of the key benefits to living in California is that this state is full of great farms that turn out incredible produce. On the weekends, you can find me at a farmer’s market asking questions like, “how do you cook cranberry beans (side note: they do not taste like cranberries)? What is a pluot? (If you ever get one, it’s worth it.) Luckily I have an unabashed attitude, or one that comes across as completely unaware, so when I ask my questions strangers happily answer. Thank God for genuinely nice people!

Is this challenging? Yes. Fun? Absolutely.

In the spirit of trying something new, from time to time I’ll be sharing what I make with a series called “What’s on My Plate.” I want to highlight what I’m eating, and the farms where these ingredients came from (insert promo to support local farmers). If there’s a request to provide a recipe, I’ll be happy to write about it – just let me know e.g. leave a comment, write me an email, send me a tweet…pick one!

This plate is my “Californian breakfast” because it well represents Cali (touches of Asian with American, with a heavy dash of farm) – the classic American Sunny Side Up egg with sautéed tomatoes. and traditional Chinese sticky rice (carbs are my friends) topped with Momofuku’s ginger scallion sauce. Flavorful, delicious, and tasty.

This plate includes ingredients from:

Breakfast/ dinner/ lunch/ Taiwanese/ travels

Taiwan: Foodie Heaven Pt. 3 – Delicious Meals

If you haven’t noticed already, Taiwan is full of food and frankly I have too many pictures to show for it.  Because Taiwan is full of street stands, it’s hard to tell you where half of where these dishes are found.  Just know that this tiny island right next to China is truly a heaven for those who love food and want to be surrounded by it constantly.

And now…onto the food porn!

Typical breakfast – soy milk with fried culler.

Scallion pancake with egg. I really would like to eat this everyday for breakfast!

Tofu with cilantro and sauce. Light and tender.

Tomato beef noodle soup. Delicious…perfect for any occasion!

Minced pork with sauce noodles, right by Taiwan National University.  Very solid and hearty.

Hand-pulled pancake. It’s crispy and light, not oily, and perfect with some soup!

Oyster vermicelli noodles.

Rice ball stuffed with fried culler, pork, and pickled vegetables. SO good to eat in the mornings.

One of my most favorite noodles – yi mian. Every single time I go back, I MUST EAT THIS.

Taiwan has some nice pastries too!

Peanut milk shaved ice. It tastes like peanut butter!

Alright so I think I’ve made all of us hungry, but hopefully this just shows you how tasty Taiwan is so make sure you visit! If you do, let me know when you’re there so I can make some food recommendations!


American Traditional/ Breakfast/ nyc

Clinton St. Bakery – Pancake Month 2011

February is a special month for foodies in NYC. No, it’s not Valentine’s day but rather two special monthly events – City Bakery’s Hot Chocolate Month and Clinton Street Bakery’s Pancake Month – which both foods are my loves. I managed to go to Clinton Street Bakery during my lunch hour and participate in their Pancake month. Be aware that the wait is on average an HOUR for two people, so you can only imagine how many people they manage to feed with their magical pancakes.

Pictured above are their Japanese Pumpkin pancakes served with pumpkin seed streusel and warm maple butter. What I loved about these pancakes was the fact that the pumpkin was also incorporated into the middle of the pancakes. The streusel was comprised of pumpkin seeds and brown sugar (I think), which gave it a nice bite. SO DELICIOUS!

And to add to the pancakes, fried green tomatoes. They were lightly fried, and tasted sweet and slightly tart. It’s on their normal menu so highly recommended whenever you go.

There’s still time left in pancake month so make sure to go!

Clinton Street Baking Company & Restaurant
4 Clinton Street
New York, NY 10002
(646) 602-6263

Breakfast/ dessert/ dinner/ Mexican/ Seafood/ travels

Cancun: Tropical Paradise Ready for Tourists

Paradise: clear waters, beautiful beaches, lots of sunshine…why did I leave again? This trip was a great break from the snowy winter. Reading about Cancun,all the guides talked about fresh seafood, Mayan foods, and alcohol in the forms of magaritas, pina colodas, and Mexican beers. Of course it is also known as a spring break destination. This post is about highlighting the dishes that I ate during my trip at my hotel, downtown Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Chichen Itza.

One of the first stops was at a really touristy restaurant called La Parrilla. They come with English menus prepared, a guy that goes around taking photos of you, and large alcoholic drinks. Pictured above is the five taco appetizer which has one of each: pastor (pork), sausage, grilled chicken, grilled steak, and tilapia. They were okay but nothing really stood out.

This is a traditional Mayan dish – Cochinita Pibil. Basically it is marinated pork meat in citrus juice with annatto seed. They roast pork meat while it is wrapped in banana leaf underneath the ground for a long period of time. The result? Fall-off-the-bone meat that is nicely spiced and flavored. Clearly the Mayans knew what they were doing when it came to pork.

A very typical dish in Mexico – seafood ceviche. I got to eat this right by the water on the Isla Mujeres right after snorkeling. It was very refreshing and the seafood tasted very fresh. They add lime which added a slight citrus tang and helped highlight the flavors of the shrimp, octopus, and fish.

Grilled shrimp with vegetable rice, lettuce, tomato, and lime was very good. It was simply cooked and nicely cleaned (no shrimp vein!). It’s great island food and definitely a pleasure to eat. The shells came off very easily and paired nicely with the tortillas they provided along with the meal.

A whole fried fish served with vegetable rice, lettuce, tomato, and lime is pictured above. Unfortunately I’m not sure what type of fish this was, but it was very easy to eat because it was lightly fried. It had a crunchy exterior to the soft white meat, and not oily at all. I certainly wouldn’t mind eating some whole fried fish again.

The last savory dish is comprised of two fried eggs, cheese, ham, peas, tomato sauce served on an English muffin. It was served fried plantains. It felt like a brunch dish I would eat at a Mexican brunch in New York. I devoured the whole plate because it was so good. The combination of runny eggs with ham lightly sprinkled with cheese gave this dish a two thumbs up.

And onto dessert! Churros are always good – crispy outside, soft inside, lightly coated with sugar. They weren’t very big but just enough to end the meal.

Maquesitas are thin waffle crepes, a easy dessert to eat whilst walking around. I ordered the banana with nutella and caramel. Oh, it is as good as it sounds. I would definitely order a few of these at once if I had the chance in New York.

Last but not least, a picture of a huge margarita. Mexicans definitely take pride in making tequila (shots, shots, shots) and fun tropical drinks i.e. pina colada, margaritas. It was pretty intense but all in the spirit of Mexico!

Cancun isn’t a culinary capital and many dishes are often overpriced, but at least you can enjoy the beautiful beaches and sunshine. It was a great to leave the cold, enjoy some fresh seafood, and see Chichen Itza.

Breakfast/ brunch/ Chinese/ lunch/ travels

A Taste of Chinese Comfort Food: A&J Restaurant

It’s hard to find good authentic Chinese breakfast / lunch food these days. As a Manhattanite, I find myself frustrated with the limited options of this city. In a city full of Chinese people, generations and generations of us, I have yet to find solid comfort Chinese breakfast. Where did I end up? Not Flushing or Brooklyn. Instead I was brought to a place in Virginia called A&J Restaurant.

What kind of name is that? Don’t ask me. All I know is that there were a healthy number of clientele at this place, where steaming bowls of noodle soup and fresh soybean milk (豆漿) were served. Can’t stop drooling? Okay, onto the pictures!

Bean curd with mustard greens and soy beans (毛豆百葉) was a nice starter to whet our appetites. Not too oily and the bamboo was nicely crisp.

Pan fried pork dumplings (鮮肉鍋貼) was perfectly soft yet crunchy at the same time. They had a nice thin dumpling skin while maintaining a fair ratio of meat.

Szechuan Style spicy wonton with hot sauce (紅油抄手) is one of my favorite dishes in general. Granted, the ones in Taiwan I had are still the best I’ve ever had in my life, but their version surely was not forgettable. Though there might have been too much sauce provided for these wontons, they still proved to be a scrumptious bite of spice and savory, with the delicate wonton skin to wrap this delicious package.

Oh yes beef noodle soup (紅燒牛筋麵) is one of my ultimate comfort foods. The intense and steaming beef broth was brought out along with thick noodles and greens. How much more comfort can you get from a beef noodle soup? Yum.

Shredded pork and mustard green noodle soup (雪菜牛絲綿) had a clear broth, possibly a chicken-based stock, which made it easy to slurp and consume without feeling guilty about ingesting oils. We got a Shanghainese style noodle (thin) and went very well with this dish.

Needless to say, I had an amazing time – warm food prepared in the upmost traditional methods to provide the Chinese breakfast food I was craving. My stomach was very satisfied and happy, yearning for more after returning to New York. Perhaps my next mission is to find another place like this in Manhattan. Feel free to mention any places you have encountered like this in the city!

A&J Restaurant
4316 Markham St
Annandale, VA 22003
(703) 813-8181

American Traditional/ Baked Goods/ Breakfast/ travels

Break From the Big City: Snow Goose Bed & Breakfast

Sometimes you need some time to get away from it all, look at some pretty trees and leaves, and breathe in the fresh crisp air. I’ve decided to make this an annual trip – seeing fall foliage in the Northeast – and drove up to the Adirondacks, upstate New York. I stayed at a wonderful bed and breakfast inn called the Snow Goose Bed and Breakfast. They’re located in Keene Valley, about 30 minutes away from Lake Placid. So if you ever think about going to this area, this B&B is definitely the way to go.

To focus on the food, the breakfasts were always really good. Amy and Wayne (the innkeepers) managed to accommodate to my late mornings and kept the food warm. Everything always comes with coffee and a juice! Below are the foods they served:

Turkey sausage is always welcomed in the morning. It was nicely cooked and not too salty.

Parmesan potato hash was certainly interesting, more so than the average potato has you get in diners. It was both soft and crunchy too.

Tomato Asparagus Quiche. It was nicely baked – soft and eggy on the inside with a crisp exterior. I devoured this in a matter of seconds and went for a second round.

The second morning they had another round of delicious food:

Poached pears topped with yogurt. They came out warm and the pears just melted in your mouth. The yogurt was a nice contrast in providing a slightly tart taste against the sweet cinnamon flavors of the pear.

Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast. It’s as good as it looks. They used a nice thick bread to soak the batter and topped it with blueberries and cream cheese. It was both moist and crispy. God, now I really want some again.

The Baked Egg was really good. Not only was it different than how I normally eat eggs (i.e. scrambled, over easy) but had great flavor to it. Inside was roasted red peppers and spiced with oregano. The eggs weren’t dry and had a soft consistency.

For me, not only was I able to enjoy nature but also the delicious food at this B&B. I have to say, it was one of my most pleasurable experiences at a bed and breakfast. If I plan on going back to Lake Placid, I’ll be sure to stay there again.

Snow Goose Bed & Breakfast
1433 NYS Route 73
Keene Valley, NY
(518) 576-9460

American Traditional/ Breakfast/ brunch/ nyc

Tribute to Pancake Month with Clinton St. Bakery

I am an avid pancake eater. I love how there are so many things that can be incorporated into pancake batter along with a variety of syrups that come with it. This special month allows me to indulge in buttery, fluffy pancakes and not have a problem with doing so. As a dedication to celebrating pancake month (February), I want to share with you one of the best places to get pancakes in the city – Clinton St. Bakery. I hate to give into hype, but this place is actually really good. Clearly I am not the only one who thinks so; every single time I try to go there, it is packed. People are standing outside in 30-degree weather waiting for their turn to get into this restaurant. Getting a seat is virtually impossible, even at 2PM. In fact, you run the risk of not being able to eat there. They have so many reservations to the point where it would bring them until 4pm, closing time. Long story short, make sure to allot some time if you plan on eating there because you will wait. Guaranteed.

Clinton Street Bakery celebrated pancake month with a special pancake every few days. My friend, as crazy of a pancake-eater as I am, urged me to go with her and of course I conceded. We ended up going twice because the pancakes were that memorable.

The first time we had poached pears with vanilla bean whipped cream and warm maple butter. Yes, it is as tasty as the description recalls it to be. Pears were included into the pancake itself and gave it a crisp texture; when I bit into my pancakes it gave it a soft crunch. Having poached pears on top enhanced the vanilla flavor to all the pancakes, giving them a sweet and fragrant flavor. The warm maple butter is to die for; when you dipped your pancake into the butter, it gave the pancakes a nice touch of maple and light fatty goodness. I don’t know if they put crack into it also but it was very addicting.

The second time around my friend ordered crunchy bananas with cinnamon-chili-chocolate sauce (I opted to get something savory). I had a few bites of her pancakes and I wanted to get an order to take home. Yes, it was THAT good. Not only did the crunchy bananas provided a different texture to soft pancakes, but also the chocolate sauce wasn’t too sweet so it didn’t overshadow the butter flavor in the pancakes. We couldn’t taste the chili part of the chocolate sauce as much, but the cinnamon kicked in later on in your mouth. All in all, big two thumbs up.

Make sure to mark it down in your calendar for next year to eat pancakes in February. Clinton St. Bakery is sure to be celebrating this culinary holiday, and hopefully you will taste awesome buttery flat pancakes there, and hijack some of that maple butter for me.

American Nouveau/ American Traditional/ Breakfast/ brunch/ nyc/ snack

New Year: Bring It On!

2009 is here! Bring on the new year, and hopefully better luck than the last. As I sit here, blogging because I am currently un-staffed, it gives me the chance to devote myself to writing about my delicious food experiences. As I’ve noted before I know I’m pretty bad at updating this blog but I do aim to make my entries as meaningful (aka. “makes-you-hungry”) as possible.

I realized that I really enjoy eating brunch, namely because of theeggs. Ahhhh eggs…that cholesterol-filled bright-yellow yolk adjoined with streaming egg whites…perfect for starting a new day.

Top to Bottom: Eggs Norwegian from Pastis; Spinach and Garlic Eggs from 5 Ninth; Smoked Salmon Benedict from Stanton Social

All I can say is that I have a genuine appreciation for eggs done well. Trust me, plenty of places put too much hollandaise sauce or eggs are too well done. Cna you imagine DRY, CRUSTY eggs? Ew. That thought just makes me unhappy.

And now to talk about restaurants! My friends and I felt the urge to try out Stanton Social, located in the Lower East Side. Founded on the idea of sharing, all the dishes are designed as small portions to be served throughout the entire mealtime. At first I was a bit confused thinking, “is this like…Chinese lazy-susan dining style?” to which I was definitely off. I would say this is like…American-style tapas, specifically catered to accommodate several people.

Now that you are thoroughly confused, this is what I mean:

Grilled Pizzetta with fresh mozzarella, oven dried tomato, roasted garlic and hot chile oil. It was good, though nothing stood out about it.

Social Frittata with wild mushrooms with smoked goat cheese. Can’t say I really liked it, simply because it has smoked goat cheese…and those who know me know that I do not have an affinity towards cheese…

French Onion Soup Dumplings. I think these made the meal actually. Nothing to me stood out, aside from the restaurant concept and this dish. It had enough cheese, and the bread was able to catch the onion soup.

In addition, we saw BLAKE LIVELY there. She is as pretty as she is on television, and I wanted to take a picture with her. However, my friends advised me against it and by the time I mustered enough courage to ask, another group of Asians took pictures with her. That ruined my opportunity, but at least I know we dined with a celebrity…from afar…

Overall, food is okay and the concept is interesting. The decor definitely made it feel warm as well so I would say they did a good job incorporating sharing themes with their whole restaurant.

Stanton Social
99 Stanton St.
New York, NY 10002