Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No Noodles... For A While

I was looking at some old photos and am determined to get back into some semblance of my former shape. So this means while noodles are one of my absolute favourite things on earth, I'm going to be taking a break from them this summer. This means that Noodle Door will feature less noodles and more lean proteins and veggies. For example, I made a lovely Cajun blackened salmon with collard greens the other night. I have some skirt steak marinating right now as we speak so be on the lookout for that soon!
P.S. While the Summer of 2008 may be relatively noodle free, I've booked my trip to Taiwan in late August so there WILL BE plenty of noodles then.

Friday, April 18, 2008

God Heard My Prayers

Up until this week, I had yet to like a xlb in a restaurant in the Bay Area. I know others like Shanghai Dumping on Balboa in SF, Shanghai in Oakland and/or San Mateo, but I find them all meh. Follwoing a posting on Chowhound from Yimster, Wil and I went to check out Sunny Shanghai in San Bruno. We were rather determined as our first attempt was on a Tues (when they're closed). On the next attempt we hit jackpot. The xlbs were magnificent. They had the thinnest skins I've seen for xlbs in the US. The soup was plentiful - it filled full my soup spoon when I bit into the dumpling. The filling was lighter in flavour but still complex. The broth was more chickeny than porky, but still had that great sticky mouth feel from gelatin. Very nicely folded too.

They ran out of orders of the stinky tofu, but gave us the four remaining pieces. Not as stinky as some in smell. A bit more deep fried on the outside texture and softer, more silken tofu inside. Different than Tw stinky tofu. Wonder if it's a Shanghainese vs Taiwanese stylistic difference?
Baby bok choy with tofu skin. Light and clean in taste with the cabbage still crisp.
Red cooked lions head was light and airy instead of the usual overly dense meatballs. The sauce was savory without being too rich. Not that overly cloying brown sauce seen at many Bay Area Shanghainese restaurants.

I really love this place. Might be habit forming as it's close to my office. The xlbs were perfect and the food was homey, lighter versions of Shanghainese food that I'm partial to. What else can I ask? Well, the bill for two for all this food was $26. And cheap too!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pork Belly Success

I've made pork belly many times and many ways before.
But this was a new recipe for Chinese style red cooked pork belly that I saw on TV that tempted with its simplicty. The result is very rich but not greasy, sweet, yet multi-dimensional. It had amazing glazing of the sauce and sheen as you can see.
So the recipe can be rembered by 1-2-3-4-5.
Everything in quarter cups
1 rice vineagar
2 rice wine or shaoxing
3 sugar
4 soy sauce
5 water
Bring to boil and then simmer for 1.5 hours on low. Sliver up some scallions and red chilies and throw them in about the halfway mark. Brillant!

Finally... I Made Dinner

It shouldn't have been this long since, but it has... I finally made dinner last night. And I mean cook, not reheat something frozen or ordered takeout. I made bittermelon with black bean sauce, egg with preserved radishes and scallions, Chinese sausage steamed up with the brown jasmine rice. A very nice meal...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Yay for Yoshi's (and Maggie)!

Dinner at Yoshi's was highly enjoyable on many levels. The space was modern and elegant, Maggie was in town, our 4-some was a perfect mix of foodie-ism, the food was higher end Japanese without being to California, the bottle of sake we picked was perfect. For once, Bauer was right. Our server was a bit annoyingly odd, but we chalk that up to him being used to serving the older, inland East Bay white crowd. For instance, he was explaining what tapas meant.

Amuse bouche of fig, octopus, and cuccumber
Box style sushi - very hard to find in SF
Sahimi of white fishes special - delicious and high quality. Not a gross huge hunk of meat either on the portioning.
Kurobuta pork - this was a revlevation. Succulent. Cooked perfectly. If there's one pork chop dish to have in SF, this coems close to being IT.
Miyazaki filet - the famed beef. It was good but not that good for $48 for this portion.

Chawan mushi with lobster and dashi broth - this was to orunny and soupy and not custard-like enough. The flavours were nice though.
Okinawan donuts with Suntori whiskey ice cream - this was heaven. Whiskey ice cream... makes mewant to bust out the old ice cream maker at home.

Cooking Lull

I've been really uninspired to cook lately. Maybe it's because I'm in the midst of selling off and reorganizing my apartment. Maybe it's because I've hurt my back. But mostly, I've been subsisting on takeout which isn't helping my waistline. I lose weight more readily when I cook for myself lighter Asian fare.
But I cannot begrudge the wonderful and cheap indulge of shrimp fried rice and imperial rolls from Tu Lan. The stuff is so yummy. The pics are from a recent jaunt with Sherri, my partner in crime for cheap dining. Our other favs are Pakwan and Yamo. Oh, garlic noodles are calling my name...

Dim Sum Redemption

After a truly horrid dim sum experience at "Not My Kitchen", we found salvation curiously at its sister restaurant down the street, Asian Pearl. This place is fast becoming my favourite Chinese restaurant in the Bay Area. Check out these shrimp dumplings. That's a whole deliciously sweet and plump prawn in each one.

Hsingchu Roll - Wil "got" this dish for the first time. The bamboo was crisp and fresh as the name implies.
Shu mai

BBQ Pork Buns
A seafood dumpling and a chawan mushi type with lobster on top.
Shrimp and pineapple roll. No, I didn't have any.
Steamed meat balls.