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Everything posted by MsMelkor

  1. Melkor and I stopped by to visit Owen's baby one morning when we were in town for Thanksgiving. The place is simply gorgeous - spacious, elegant, and warm. And the coffee's not bad!
  2. Microwave (wet) for 3 minutes after doing the dishes.
  3. I, too, like to buy locally-produced food, direct from the producer when possible, but we can't assume that local = organic/sustainable/etc. and non-local = mass-produced/drenched in pesticides/etc. Certainly with local foods it is often easier to determine the growing practices, which may not be what we assumed them to be.
  4. Last meal in HK - lunch today. We decided on Man Jiang Hong, based on HKDave's recommendation. Boy, is that place hard to find! The address is 482 Hennessy Rd and HKDave rightly points out that the entrance is on Percival. But the stairs we saw led only to a driving school, and the people at the bank downstairs helpfully pointed out the Man Jiang Hong sign in Cantonese but didn't know how to get upstairs. We were about to give up when we noticed what looked like those same characters in a Japanese restaurant ("Mytokyo") on the ground floor The staff there told us that they have two restaurants - the Japanese one downstairs, and Man Jiang Hong upstairs (the stairs are inside the restaurant, out of view from the street). So if you are trying to find this place...go about 5 shops in from Hennessy on Percival and go through Mytokyo up the stairs. It took about 10 minutes, once we sat down, to get a waiter's attention. You could tell that the entire staff was totally in the weeds (this was at about 1:30, as lunch was just starting to wind down). The set menu was very reasonably priced, and included one cold dish, two mains, tea, and another beverage. As neither of us drink soda, we asked for water, but the waiter was insistent that we get soy milk, pictured above. It was much better than what I've had out of those aseptic containers we get in the US, and turned out to quench the fires in our mouths quite well. The first dish served was braised beef brisket with potatoes. I was surprised to see potatoes, but I am no Szechuan expert, so for all I know that could be very standard practice. The beef was very tender, falling into shreds easily. I would have preferred that it was better trimmed, but I'm a total wimp about that (hate eating globs of fat) and at home Melkor enables my irrationality. The sauce was very thin, with a soup-like consistency, and a very even, assertive heat. The second dish to arrive was the "green noodles" with shredded chicken, very similar to the glass noodles we ordered at the Yellow Door yesterday. These noodles were much thicker with a more gelatinous consistency, and the dish was much spicier than yesterday's. I really enjoyed this dish, more than Melkor did. The final dish was chicken with green onions and peanuts. While it wasn't spicy overall, there were whole spices, including Szechuan peppercorns, that were quite pungent. Unlike the chicken we've been eating for the past few days, this was both boneless and skinless, which made it a joy to eat. The bold flavors and contrasting textures made this Melkor's favorite. This food was definitely spicier than yesterday's lunch at Yellow Door, but I'm not sure which I liked better. We both loved each meal - definitely highlights of the week. Melkor had a couple of post-lunch snacks for our trip to Victoria Peak - more Pocky (actually, it was a Pocky ripoff called Meiji Lucky Mini - as you might imagine, these were smaller than Pockys and were covered with almonds - yummy!) and an "ice cream pancake" which is fruit (bananas), ice cream (mango), whipped cream, powdered sugar, and chocolate sauce piled into a crepe shaped into a cone. Very odd. And that about wraps up our food blog for the week. Thanks to everyone for following us around this part of the world - it's been quite a trip!
  5. The menu at Felix was only in English, but at most other restaurants we've been to in Hong Kong, the menus have been in both English and Cantonese. At lunch today (to be written up momentarily), there was an English/Cantonese menu but also a set menu only in Cantonese. Luckily I knew that there is often a set menu at lunch so we asked, and the waiter helped us order off of that. In Thailand and Cambodia the menus were generally in both English and Thai/Khmer, although in a few places there were pictures instead of English and on the street we mostly pointed. I know a handful of words in Thai (pretty much all food-related), which helped with street food. The food at Felix was very similar to what you might find in other cities around the world. Eating there, and having Western food on occasion during our trip, was definitely a "comfort food" experience.
  6. As far as we can tell, middle-class people eat Western-style with three meals a day. Lunchtime is particularly busy, with hordes of office workers eating lunch out. Hard to say if people eat breakfast, as we've been eating at the hotel in the morning, but most restaurants seem quite crowded at dinner. There do seem to be more large groups dining out than we see in the States, especially in the evenings.
  7. The first thing we did today once we left the hotel was find a tailor for Melkor, since custom tailoring takes a couple of days to turn around. After picking out fabrics and deciding on specifics, we spent the rest of the afternoon in the area (Tsim Sha Tsui) walking around the many interconnected malls. Of course, all that shopping makes you hungry, so we had a late and fairly large lunch at Hutong. We'd seen recommendations for this restaurant on the Shanghai & HK thread here on eG, and the tailor said it's one of his favorite places to eat, so we figured this would be a good choice. Again, we started with something we didn't order, but in this case we don't think we were charged for it (the bill is itemized in Cantonese, so we're at a bit of a disadvantage in trying to audit). This was raw (unroasted) peanuts and "Chinese pickles" - pickled daikon. I would have preferred a slightly spicier version, but this was OK. Asparagus with white sesame - Melkor wanted to get this but I thought it would be steamed asparagus with a few sesame seeds sprinkled on top. He was totally right - these were amazing. The asparagus was perfectly cooked (crisp-tender) with the bottoms dipped in a thick sauce and covered in toasted sesame seeds. Crispy and drunken pigeons - we thought this would be one pigeon that was both crispy and drunken, but as it turns out, these adjectives describe different pigeons. The drunken one definitely tasted like alcohol (not sure if it was wine or sherry) and was served with a bowl of sherry (superfluous). Like last night's chicken, this had soggy skin but was moist. The crispy pigeon, thankfully, was much better. It was crispy as advertised, with wonderful spicy skin and the same moist meat. This one was served with a dish of salt that had a pinch of dried spices (unidentifiable) in it. So crispy pigeon wins over drunken pigeon. Veggie dumplings - we could have eaten about a hundred of these. They were steamed, and had mushrooms, spinach, tofu, glass noodles, and probably a bunch of other stuff too. There were two sauces served with this - soy/garlic (not bad) and a distant cousin of hoisin with chili paste added (phenomenal). Wonderful harmony of flavors and textures. I did not want to over-order (when we eat out by ourselves we often do, since there are so many dishes to try), and I was still smarting from the fried-rice incident from the night before, but the waiter was convinced that we would not have enough food without another dish, and Melkor insisted that he would eat more, so we ordered the braised veal dish with some sort of flower sauce. I will try to find out what the flower was, but it was not one I had heard of, and the waitstaff had already scolded us for taking photos of the dishes (apparently we should only take pictures of our individual plates, not of the serving dishes) and I didn't want to press our waiter for details after that. For some reason I was expecting a heavy, tomato-based braised dish, since that's how we make braised veal/beef/lamb. This, however, was delicate and ethereal. The meat was tender, falling off the bone (which greatly improved the chances of making it to our mouths via chopsticks), and very flavorful. If I hadn't been so full I think I would have eaten the rest of the sauce as a soup. Fried apple rolls (sorry for the blurry picture) - too much skin and not enough apple. The oil taste overwhelmed the apples. We liked that they weren't very sweet, but they needed more filling. Despite the so-so dessert, this meal was fabulous. The view was great too, although it's really hazy outside and hard to make out the details. A brief word on our restaurant experience here so far: We both have used chopsticks for countless meals, but have never before been expected to de-bone a chicken or consume a giant cube of meat with them. The entire table setting is somewhat foreign and a bit confusing - neither of us have been presented with multiple sets of chopsticks in a place-setting before (as we learned, the outside set is for putting food on your plate, and the inner set for putting it in your mouth). Not wanting to offend, we've both asked our share of absurd questions to the poor waitstaff. We'll get the hang of this by the time we leave, and we might even figure out the appropriate time in our meal to use the endless stream of airplane wet-napkins we're presented with. Off to the night market for more shopping and street food.
  8. Of course, in the US you would never get a hot meal on a 1-hour flight.
  9. Melkor and I have been collaborating on the posts so far, but I thought I'd add my own post since he's on an IP phone calling the states. Last night we were both totally wiped out from the day - I didn't realize seeing the temples would be so strenuous. One of the temples was a 30-minute hike up a hill in the jungle, others required dozens of steps at up to 70 degree inclines, and a few involved scrambling over massive stones and climbing up what was left of various buildings. So instead of dinner, we just had tea and crashed. Not very exciting for a foodblog! This morning we both felt much better after 9-10 hours of sleep. I had my usual rice porridge, although this time I was much more liberal in my use of condiments, which you'll see in the picture when we post it later today. Very spicy and piping hot! Somehow that feels very comforting. Melkor was in the mood for Western food, so he had French toast. Most of the bread here is baguettes (vestige of colonial times), which is what the French toast was made of. Surprisingly, the crust wasn't too hard. This would have been better with maple syrup or even honey, but I thought it was fine on its own. Both dishes were served with plate of pineapple and papaya, and tea. Good fuel for our last day at Angkor - today we are visiting the temple of Angkor Wat (the temple most people associate with Angkor). This afternoon, we're taking a bus back to Phnom Penh. We flew out here a few days ago as we were running short on time, and the bus takes about 5 hours. Should be interesting.
  10. I was recently gifted a couple of bottles of Kathryn Kennedy: Lateral and the Estate Cabernet. The Lateral, a Bordeaux blend, was well-balanced and surprisingly earthy. I really enjoyed the Cabernet, but at $145 retail, I wouldn't be able to justify buying it.
  11. I'm stuck at the Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale for meetings, and all of our meals are at the hotel. I have no car (and little time to spare), but have car service to the airport Friday evening, so I'm thinking of bribing the driver with half a pizza to make a detour for takeout from Pizzeria Bianco - it seems pretty close to the airport. I'd have to call ahead and order the pizza so we don't have to wait too long for it. Is this a really dumb idea?
  12. MsMelkor

    Cauliflower Recipes

    I just made a cauliflower gratin that uses the stem (trimmed, then minced in the food processor) and cream as the sauce.
  13. I haven't been to Oliveto, although it does get very mixed reviews. I've had some very good meals at A Cote. With regard to Walnut Creek: I haven't found many other interesting choices there aside from Ephesus....
  14. Climatology info on Napa from Weather.com. Winter's a nice time to visit Napa - the area is much less crowded, so you'll have an easier time getting appointments for tastings and tours, reserving tables for dinner, finding a reasonably-priced hotel or B&B (since it's the off season) - plus there won't be as much traffic. Greens fees are probably reduced as well.
  15. There's a bus you can take from the Oakland airport to the BART station.
  16. Ella's is a mob scene on the weekends, so if you want to go, pick a weekday. I had a breakfast meeting there about a year ago and enjoyed it, although it's hard for me to concentrate on the food during business meals. I had a wonderful lunch at Pizzetta 211 last weekend, and on our way back from there we browsed the Green Apple bookstore and various Asian shops on Clement St.
  17. Steven Raichlen recommends grilling turkeys on indirect medium heat, 15-20 minutes/lb.
  18. I really like Massimo's - I try to go there whenever I'm in the area. They have a cute patio out back and good gelato and pastries. Haven't tried Jin's yet.
  19. MsMelkor

    Pan Frying

    To get a good crust, dry the surface of the fish with paper towels, and add the oil to the pan.
  20. I have to respectfully disagree with you, Squeat dear, on Limon. I did not find their food to be at all compelling. Mochica, on the other hand, was excellent, but I don't know if I'd go there by myself - it doesn't really lend itself to solo dining.
  21. MsMelkor

    Whipped Cream

    Sorry, "shaking" cream is the way we made butter in grade school. It needs to be whipped to incorporate the air. Actually, if you don't have too many people (so you don't need too much whipped cream), you could use a fork. I've done that in a pinch, in a soup bowl at the place we were staying. Took a little longer, but made fine whipped cream for our dessert. ← I've done it before in a pinch. It's not ideal, but it's definitely closer to whipped cream than butter. As long as you don't fill the container more than halfway, you do incorporate some air.
  22. MsMelkor

    Whipped Cream

    You could bring a tupperware half-full of unwhipped cream (plus sugar, vanilla, etc.) and then shake it vigorously to whip it into whipped cream.
  23. Sounds similar to Wondra, which is pre-gelatinized flour that comes in a 13.5 oz shaker can. Its ingredients are: wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid. I'm guessing that Gold Medal, the company that makes Wondra, just uses the same enriched flour they use in their regular flour. Doesn't seem like it would be worth it to enrich flour that is used in such small amounts.
  24. This year we are at my dad's and stepmother's. My stepmother is a fairly good cook, and this year she is letting Melkor and me help. Maybe it's because she's my stepmother, but she doesn't have any ego when it comes to us helping out - she just appreciates the assistance. So we're flying in a few days early and plan to all work as a team. We'll see how it goes....
  25. I had a similar experience at my mother's a few months ago. I made the lemon tart w/pine nut crust and honey mascarpone from The French Laundry Cookbook for a family dinner (about 20 people), and my mom made a couple of "pies" from Jell-O chocolate pudding, Cool Whip, and premade graham cracker crusts. Nearly everyone in the family peered suspiciously at the lemon tart and then went for the pudding concoction. Oh well, that left more for me (and Melkor)....
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