Archive for January, 2008

So last Sunday was Dim Sum and a movie, and tonight I went out for Restaurant Week, but I figure I can lump those together into a single post.

Joy Tsin Lau is the most well known Dim Sum place in philly’s chinatown, but after the third visit with mostly the same food options, it might be time to try somewhere new. Especially since we have vegetarians in the group, and the last time we went there was mostly pork and this time there was a predominance of shrimp.

I did try some new dishes:

  • Chicken feet – I’d seen some reviews online raving about the chicken feet here, so they’d been on my list since the last time we went. Sadly, the taste wasn’t all that exciting and the texture… I’m guessing it could have been crispier. The little bones weren’t too much of a problem, if I had wanted to be all day about eating one foot. All in all, not exciting.
  • Jellyfish – there was a big mound of tentacles, and they were tasty but didn’t quite suit the dim sum nibbly mood. They were sort of a cross between seaweed salad and cellophane noodles. They were served on a bed of half-round of red stuff rimmed with white. GeeksDoItBetter tried that part and declared it not unlike lunchmeat with unevenly distributed fatty bits. I trusted her on that.
  • Chicken buns – tasty. Very bready, but tasty.
  • pork and peanut dumplings – these were so good and tasty, but sadly they only came by after we were mostly already stuffed.
  • eggplant stuffed with shrimp – good but could have been hotter. I need to take [redacted], who also loved them (if I remember correctly) to my current favorite asian restaurant, Sang Kee Bistro, to have an even more amazing version of this dish, only made with pork
  • fried shrimp – as in whole shrimps breaded and fried – these would have been better hotter, but inexplicably they set the tray out while they were steaming and tempting, but they only put them on the cart after they were cooler. On the other hand, they were tasty and it was rather fun munching straight through the shells and eating the wiggly legs and heads (though we did keep trying to avoid the eyeballs)

Huh – that’s a lot of new dishes. Maybe the selection wasn’t as repetitive as I thought. Anyway, the plan for next time is to try Kingdom of Vegetarians.

~*~

Movie: Juno was everything people promised it would be: a wacky and crazy feel-good romp through unwanted teen pregnancy. I was a doubter, but that was some amazing script writing. And I think I want the soundtrack. YAY! I loved it so much. Vern Schillinger makes the best dad ever. It should win all the Oscars.

~*~

Amada for Restaurant Week was wonderful.

Amada is a lovely tapas place that I went to once before when I was killing time before a movie and was starving – that time I had wonderful food and amazing service from the bartender (who made me one of the best cocktails I have ever had, but which sadly doesn’t seem to still be offered there).

First course (choice of two) – I had

  • Melon con Jamon (Serrano Ham & Melon) – OMG! This was amazing. The honeydew melon (juicy even in the middle of winter) had a sugar crust on it like a creme brulee and the ham was like prosciutto. The waitress recommended this one from among the four I was waffling over, and I am so glad she did.
  • Pulpo Gallego (Spanish Octopus) – there was weird cognitive dissonance here because they had rounds of fingerling potatoes cooked in with the octopus, and you couldn’t tell the difference by sight (well, the octopus tended to have a smaller diameter and a more irregular edge, but that wasn’t reliable) so it was all a matter of how it melted on your tongue. The spicy seasoning was oddly familiar and quite tasty.
  • honorable mention goes to the garlic shrimp, which smelled amazing and I totally should have lobbied to swap out one of the second course options so that I could get three from the first course. Unfortunately, the really luscious garlicky smell was less exciting while I was eating my dessert.

Second course (choice of two)

  • Costillas de Ternera Coca (Beef Shortrib Flatbread with Horseradish, Parmesan and Bacon) – Amazing. All of the flavours were perfectly balanced, the dish was slightly gooey and sinful, but still able to be eaten with danty, dignified fingers. Even the tiny portion size was perfect because I was just able to savour every bite in the duration it was abl to hold its heat.
  • Chorizo Grilled a la Plancha – the only off note of the night. The sausage was a bit chewy, and it ended up tasting as though it had been finished off with a light buffalo wing sauce. Yes, some of that was a limitation of chorizo, but usually they are brilliant.

Third course

  • Manchego Mousse (Sheep Cheese Mousse, Pistachio Shortdough, Apple Crumb, Apple Cider Sorbet) – So good. The sorbet was tart and went with the crumb, and the mouse was a bit like a cheesecake, only much much lighter. You could definitely taste the sheep’s milk, but it was mellow and well balanced with the rest of the dish

Again, I had wonderful service, and it was really a wonderful night. If I were rich, I would eat here every month.

27
Jan

Center City Restaurant Week

   Posted by: JS74nCLOr6    in Center City Restaurant Week, Events/Promotions

Apparently, this week (January 27 – February 1) is Center City Restaurant Week

I even managed to find a place still open when I get off work.

So, I snagged reservations at Amada for 2 this Tuesday at 10:40pm. (The restaurant week $35 prix fixe menu is here.)

So will anyone else be up that late on a school night?

23
Jan

Chicken stock and swine flesh

   Posted by: JS74nCLOr6    in Food, lists, non-vegetarian, Recipe

I think I might be back to eating food like normal. Woo!

And since I have more energy, I am getting back into the swing of cooking.

This morning I threw together some ingredients that were starting to worry me (roast chicken leftovers, tail end of a jar of salsa) with a rice mix and cooked then thoroughly. Then I tossed in a can of kidney beans and a can of corn. Those were all packed up into containers for lunches.

Yesterday, I started a pot of chicken stock. This morning I finished it and strained it into containers.

Tonight (or tomorrow morning), I shall cut the pork loin in my fridge into 2 roasts and a pile of chunks. Then it and some of the stock will either go toward goulash or carnitas. I have all of the ingredients for both except for the (optional) orange for the zest in the carnitas recipe.

Maybe soon I’ll go buy some vegetables. Hmmm – I should check the few remaining vegetables in my fridge for whether they need to go in the compost pile or whether they’ll still be good for eating.

Shopping List
orange(s)
lettuce
tomato(es), if tasty smelling
limes
bread
milk

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21
Jan

The quest for the best local hot chocolate

   Posted by: JS74nCLOr6    in hot chocolate, Review

I am at work, so I thought I’d console myself by buying a fancy hot chocolate (and by earning overtime, so not so much consoling as luxuriating)

Only – woe! – the cafe in the basement is closed because they are not working on Martin Luther King day.

So my other options for a fancy pantsy hot chocolate within a 1 block radius include:
– Dunkin Donuts (who pretty much just has a machine where they’ll give you the equivalent of cheap ass powdered cocoa, but I have coupons that would make this option free. Also, they are the closest)
– Starbucks (I have gotten tasty hot chocolate from Starbucks before when I was in Seattle and people were trying to brainwash me to the glory of Starbucks – no lie!)
– Cosi (most likely to have an annoying line, but also probably the most satisfying option)
– Bucks County Coffee Company – (untried, but it seems reasonable that they’d be good, ya’know?)

I will be waffling about this for at least another hour while I am inside and toasty warm.

ETA: The winner was Bucks County Coffee. Well, sort of winner. They looked at me funny when I asked for a fancy pants cocoa and did not try to sell me on drizzles of chocolate syrup or odd flavors or anything. They just made me a regular hot cocoa and charged me $2.50. That said, it was like good powdered cocoa where you get just the right ratio of powder to milk. It was light and creamy, but went down easily and is now all gone. Not a luxury drink, but tasty and yummy nonetheless.

ETAA: The next day, I tried Cosi. Again, I went up and asked for some kind of fancy hot chocolate (only not the white chocolate thing they were advertising), and again the person shrugged and offered me a regular hot chocolate. A large was $3. This time it was milk and syrup, instead of powder, but she could have had a heavier hand with the syrup. It ended up being a bit too bland for my taste.

ETAAA: Hot chocolate from the cafe in the basement. Eh – it’s a lot like hot chocolate everywhere else. I did not see how they made it, though, since I sent a student worker to get it for me. No, not quite that imperiously: I just asked if she’d mind getting it after she asked if she could go get a coffee for herself.

When did dark chocolate sexiness go out of fashion? I liked that fashion.

Tags:

15
Jan

Hmmm

   Posted by: JS74nCLOr6    in dubious, Food

Maybe the reason I am starving all the time is because I haven’t eaten anything all day.

14
Jan

Health and Food

   Posted by: JS74nCLOr6    in dubious, Food

So I pushed the recovery on the injured knee and let myself get worn out. And when I am tired, my immune system crashes. So I have a cold.

I’m having the weirdest relationship with food right now. It just doesn’t taste like much, or I have to put a lot of work into tasting it.

And the stuff I am making at home, mostly seems to make me actively uninterested.

Part of it is that I’m worried without a reliable sense of smell that just cooking is becoming a high risk activity – especially as food sits around longer when I’m not interested in eating it.

But even when I make something safe (like a whole tube of Pillsbury cinnamon buns because I’d just finished reading Sunshine by Robin McKinley and was craving cinnamon rolls as big as my head like you would not believe), it still hardly registers as having eaten food – I just feel vaguely starving and uninterested in eating.

I am going out to eat more because I can trust that food to be food.

And I am craving fancier food because then not only do I know the food is good, but the atmosphere is also soothing.

And yet right after I eat, it still feels as though I haven’t. And I don’t know if that because I’m still hungry because it was over 24 hours since the last time I ate or just that I’m not registering my innards correctly.

So I’m pretty much trying to make sure I keep track of time, but that’s never been the easiest thing for me to do, either.

I just want to be back on kilter.

I am eating the weirdest cookies that I bought at Death Bi Chocolate – I think they have white chocolate chips, raisins, dried cherries, and powdered candy canes…. They are addictively good, and I have no idea how.