Thursday, January 22, 2009

Eggplant Lu

Another recipe I tried last week from Wei Zhong's Sister's Military Village Food (偉忠姐姐的眷村菜) book was the eggplant lu dish. I've now understood "lu" in northern speak means to make a gravy or stew. The recipe calls for Chinese type eggplant cut in slices. The slices are then dry sauteed with very little oil until cooked through. You put the slices aside. You add a bit of ground pork and saute with scallions, then rice wine, 5 spice powder, soy sauce and let that come to boil with water. Then add in the previous dry-fried eggplants slices and let simmer for about 15 minutes to allow for all the flavours to meld. You add some corn or tapioca starch to this mixture to create the "lu" or gravy. Voila... very homey and fantastic with rice!

Everyday Beijing for My Northern Noodle Jonesing

I've been hankering for Chinese Northern style food the last month or so because of the TW drama I'm watching. In it, one of the families own a northern style noodle and dumpling stand. Since it was rainy today, I thought noodle soup for lunch was perfect. As much as I initally wanted BNS, I was scared it was going to be not the right cut of meat. So I went for Da Lu Mien or what they call Beijing Family Style Noodle and a side of the cold sliced pigs ear. The pigs ear was crunchy with delicate slices. I like their cutting of thsi dish better than all the other renditions I've had of late.

The noodle soup was fantastic. "Da lu" means creating a gravy using starch so the broth was more gooey than thin. I wish the noodles were slightly less cooked but small quibble. The ingredients (of meltingly cooked pork belly, cabbage, black fungus) were generous. And that broth.... loved it!
The owner/server was very nice and chatty. Much more customer service oriented and warm than I expected from your typical Mainlander owned establishment. He said he made my noodle himself. With this kind of hearty, home-cooking appeal five minutes from my office, I know I'll be back.
FYI... the portions are huge so I could only eat about 1/3 of the bowl and 1/4 of the appetizer. This order could easily last me another two meals. What a bargain for $13 before tip!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Burger Bliss at Cafe Rouge

I love Cafe Rouge. They have the best upscale burger around IMHO. They have a good ambiance. They make good cocktails. What else can one want? Well, maybe that it's not in Berkeley. I think that's the only reason I don't go more often. This time it had been a two year hiatus between visits.
We got half a dozen oysters and they went down nicely. Kumamoto and Beausoleil.
The sidecar cocktail was just as I remembered.
The fish mousse appetizer was a loser. The texture and taste pairings between the fish mousse and the parsnip puree didn't work.
The lamb papparadelle was tasty but the pasta clumped a bit.
But the burger, the burger was just as tasty as my last visit.
Some things do hold up to time and the trickery of one's memory.

Everyday Cooking in the New Year

I've been cooking more dinners for myself as of late. I seem to have gotten over the hump of making too much of anything at once. It helps to go to markets where things are sold loose (versus packaged) and you can buy smaller portions rather than the family of four volume that Safeway tends to put things in.
The bottom left are little tofu and beef meatballs I made from the Wei Zhong's Siter's Military Village Food (偉忠姐姐的眷村菜) book I got recently.
The top left are calamari rings sauteed quickly with a little Korean miso paste.
The top right are small pieces of tonkatsu.
The bottom right is loofah sautted with a bit of dried shrimp.