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Everything posted by basquecook

  1. thanks so much, all.. Yeh, i left this morning at 7 am, or 8 pm Thursday NY, NY time.. My last flight lands in NYC at 5:50 pm Friday Night... I should be home by 830 or so..(i tell myself this as, i consider customs, and traffic and whatever else happen.. The last time i flew home our huge packed plane from China showed up at customes right after a plane from Jamaica landed.. There is a huge difference between Business travelers and families of vacationers that just got back from a week on an island, not to mention customs checking for drugs and whatever.. We all stood there bleary eyed and disgruntled as children ran around and families arrived at the security check with their arrival cards not filled out, having to fill them out at the desk) So that makes, a 24 1/2 hour flight.. Sitting here in the airport lounge drinking cold beer for the first time in a little bit, eating some bad Chinese Food, I am ready to come home.. The Misses is giving birth in a little less than 4 weeks so, that is exciting. I would have taken the weekend to hit up South Korea had it not have been so close to show time. I flew from Nanjing this morning over to Beijing.. I thought i would share my horoscope that i read in today's english newspaper. this is a rather interesting.. this was my horoscope in the english newspaper on the airplane this morning.. Looks like I will see you all in the dinner threads! Thanks again.
  2. Last dinner of the night.. We worked from like 8 to 830 tonight and then grabbed a quick dinner.. Not much in terms of ceremony on the last night.. we work all day and then grab and average meal.. i have been to this restaurant a few times and it's all just ok. Had a really nice fish head though, the same soup i had last time.. a foul tasting fish soup, an average roasted chicken, some decent peashoots and some salted pork. Oh well, a good trip, I'm ready to head home and this makes it easier, I guess. Nothing left to do but, pick up a few Chinese Zpacks and sit around for the next 30 hours or so. Not terrible, not exciting.. Scallions and salted pork.. A much better version had at the Sichuan place in Zhangjiagang. Pea shoots. Shrimp.. Fried and topped with things. Funky soup: Fish head: This was a good version.. a really meaty fish. Wonderful meat. A successful trip business wise.. I wish it was easier to post things.
  3. do you see any advantage in sous viding a steak for this long.. I can't really see the grain, does it disappear after awhile. i see you added butter to the steak, was it dry or something? Do you marinate a steak before sous vide or during?
  4. Thanks so much for the kind words. The pleasure is all mine, i appreciate sharing my trip.. i hope to look back one day and appreciate it as well! Last full day at the turkey factory.. Tomorrow, i leave out of Nanjing, fly up to Beijing then over to EWR.. I am guessing it's a quick 28 hours door to door.. Started with a soup. A little lamb a little vegetable i have never heard of before.. Kind of like a cucumber, kind of like a cacooza but, it was not.. I asked what the vegetable was and was told, lettuces, then she said, asparagus lettuces.. it was neither. But, very good, all the same. Next up another soup. Bits of pork, mushrooms, bamboo and the famous Yangzhou Shredded Tofu.. Something about the tofu here, it's so fresh and soft. I think, better than noodles.. While my hotel offers them in the breakfast buffet, they are hard and dry and nothing like the nice ones found at restaurants around town.. I tracked these down in the plastic bags in NYC Chinatown but, they are not the same. This pork was so great.. The sauce was ridiculously good. So rich.. it was a five spice flavoring but, all the spices were present and separate, almost like deconstructed. The cinnamon so fresh. This sauce was really tremendous. I found myself pouring the sauce over the crispy rice bowl, as well as pouring it over the rice that came at the end of the meal. Plate of greens.. I take these for granted in China yet, i won't get a plate of greens this good until I return. These were reminiscent of of shisito peppers as, some of them were super hot, while others were mild.. I felt that they packed more of a bunch than shisitos. In addition, they were served with beef and this rice dome. The rice dome is super crunchy rice.. when it comes into contact with liquid, it doesn't dissolve, it soaks up the liquid and still remains crunchy.. Celery and tofu w/ little bits of pork.. deep rich sauce.. celery is one of my favorites and it must be celery season around here because, i've had so much celery on this trip One of the rare meals where rice was served.. Hosts poured the "lettuces" soup over the rice.. while, i poured the brown 5 spice sauce over top.
  5. take a look at the creepy photo from my May China trip http://forums.egullet.org/topic/148537-may-2014-china-trip/?p=1970387 They are a lot of work and do not yield a lot of meat.. It's more like chewing on the shell, dipping them into the vinegar, or whatever sauce they are served with. I personally would rather eat a shrimp but, that is what was ordered.. They are not bad and a fun deviation for the travel but, it's not like you are going to make a mantis shrimp roll or mantis cocktail. there is a lot of shell and it fun to suck on but, more of a novelty for me than something i am going to seek out.. i know my hosts loved them.. if you look at the far right seat against the wall, you will see a pile of shells where my host was eating them.
  6. Thanks.. yeh, the eggs and tomatoes were really nice.. Dinner tonight was pretty good.. These seafood places that are all over Guangzhou and Qingdao and other places are few and far between over in Zhangjiagang. This was a rare treat for the husband of my host. After talking about seafood with him yesterday, he was excited to go here.. Well, this place is in the middle of nowhere, down a long stretch of unlit streets and dirt roads.. It looked like a good setting for a horror movie.. The restaurant was set up very strangely. It was like railroad apartment with lots of little rooms that could have been separate stalls that were all one restaurant. This was one room where the tanks were.. There was not a huge variety.. lots of different types of clams and conch and crabs, with a few live fish and many more on ice. Here is a plate of conch with peppers and onions squid with peppers and onions.. they had dipping bowls with tons of garlic floating in chinese black vinegar. A plate of thin crepes with scallions Razor clams with garlic, hot peppers and ginger greens with garlic scallops with garlic and clear noodles.. tons of garlic.. split and fried shrimp with, you guessed it, tons of garlic and ginger. shrimp were fried and crispy... one could easily eat the shrimp and shell and all.. i ate some without removing the shell.. good stuff.. mantis shrimp. Noodle soup with snails Whole fish with black beans and soy it's really good beer food.. They were super happy with the food.. i felt it was ok.. You know, whenever you eat foods from a different area, it's always going to lose something along the way.. it was more of a rare treat for my hosts. i would prefer yangzhou good but, with beer and fresh seafood, how bad is it going to be. A lot of garlic.. I am safe from vampires tonight for sure. Second to last night, so that is good news for me as well.
  7. Healthy lunch.. Lots of soups Fish Ball and Mushrooms soup with some lamb parts and bok choy. Tofu with pork soup Broccoli and garlic Eggs and Tomato Fish in a light sweet soy Chicken soup.. very basic with celery Melon and Radish.. Yes, that huge pink thing is Radish. It was ok, the melon was just about perfect.
  8. Dinner tonight.. we hit up a BBQ place that is known for their chicken wings.. the place is really tiny.. Zhangjiagang recently has experienced a crack down on outside restaurants.. it's too cold now anyway but, in the summer, the streets are lined with BBQ Places.. It's going to be strange coming back this summer to see what happens. Lots of these really good BBQ Places had to close shop.. This place is really tiny.. where most of the seating was outside.. we walked in and found our way up these stairs to this little loft.. it was perhaps 5"5 inches to the ceiling.. so we crouched down and found a table.. i was really nervous i was going to bang my head on the concrete celling. we started with a lamb soup.. Really strong lamb flavor.. I added some chile paste, some msg and a little salt. little bits of scallion and cilantro added a nice green flavor. They gave you this sesame bread that you added to the soup.. as if it wasn't hardy enough. this was another version of the garlic oyster.. this was super buttery with tons of garlic and some red oil.. i don't think it was butter they used though, it tasted like it.. the red i don't think we chili but, maybe tomato.. it came to the table boiling and spitting.. so good.. this lady was killing it on the grill these sweet grilled breads came out.. it was cool idea as, all of the meats and vegetables rested on the bread that you ate last.. the bread tasted like it was made with condensed milk.. also grilled.. so damn good.. we had grilled seaweed, grilled lamb skin, lamb bone, chicken wings, potatoes and tofu. the wings were ordered extra spicy.. the lamb had lots of cumin. lamb skin chicken wings.. so well done. the fact that you eat the wings with chopsticks may have prevented me from eating a few dozen.
  9. lunch. clam soup with greens and wood ear mushrooms.. slight ginger back note. but, the greens and the clams played well together.. a very clean soup. large clams: this was just a piece of the clam some greens 1000 year old quail eggs with pickled peppers.. i think this may be the hardest things to pick up with chopsticks.. the pickled peppers are the same that you would find in the red and green fish head stew these were sweet potatoes with a sugary crispy crust.. they were soft and on the inside. fish: dark sauce with soy beans a rare beef dish.. the beef, i couldn't place the part.. it was really chewy.. you chewed it up and the swallowed it.. it didn't break apart.. the soup was slightly spicy. there were clear bean thread noodles and cabbage.. the cabbage was my favorite part of the dish lion head meatballs.. famous in yangzhou.. these are really delicate.. not photographed but, we ended the meal with noodles in a garlic sauce.. really nice wheaty noodles.. i managed to not over eat.. really nice lunch.. i also didn't drink any beer.. a small caloric victory
  10. you know, i don't know your situation but, I think you should come to China.. My flight was like 1,000 dollars.. But, after you pay for the flight, which i have gotten as low as 800 dollars in recent years, it's not that expensive.. I am currently staying at a nice hotel in the center of Yangzhou for 28 dollars a night.. There are tons of tours and if you are willing to play charades and get lost a little bit, or not feel completely in control, you will turn out just fine.. The world is getting much smaller these days. I recently took a family vacation this summer to Tybee Island in Georgia and me and my family of three drove there from Brooklyn and I want to say, that vacation was more expensive than one i could spend in China or perhaps comparable. I have seen tour groups with retirees, i have seen young groups of travelers, i have met people traveling alone like myself. People are so friendly here. As someone who speaks very little chinese, who reads none, i get along very well when i am not with my hosts. Sure there are some lonely moments but, in the end, i have had some pretty incredible experiences.. If anything , i hope this motivates more people to come and visit China, or whatever foreign place that excites them.
  11. inner last night was hot pot. It was the type of place that serves individual hot pots.. It is nice as you can choose different bases according to your preference. There was a tomato base, a fish base and i got the spicy base. Started with fish balls and meatballs.. I actually had my meatball fall off my chopsticks, hit the floor and roll about 20 feet away. No one noticed, i played it cool but, started singing "on top of spaghetti" to myself They also ordered these garlic oysters.. Love them. the table in full swing. you can see tofu sheets on the bottom right. it was fairly meat centric, with a few vegetables.. but, lamb and pork were the main players. This was interesting. crispy rice. you let is soak and it didn't get overly soggy, well, it did eventually but, if you timed it correctly, it was a little soggy, a little crispy. There were also these flogging bread balls that got super soggy and became like a noodle as well. at the end of the meal, the people eating the tomato base had their soup base almost evaporate. then the waitresses came over and cracked an egg into the hot pot, added some rice and made this sort of creamy rice mixture.. Really nice.. you can also see those little bread half balls in this photo. For any New Yorker reading this, i have yet to find a place in China that makes as good a hot pot as Happy Family Little Lamb in Flushing New York..
  12. Lunch yesterday was great.. we went to a local place where they have bowls of food out.. You pick what you want and then they cook it up for you.. Just one more reason why i like coming to China in the colder months. beautiful pork dish greens and sea screw, was the translation.. some time of snail i would guess octopus in peppers with a spicy brown sauce this was is a classic homey dish.. julienned peppers cooked until soft with little bits of pork this is a very special dish we are told.. celery grows only in a few regions of China.. i love celery and love this dish.. celery with bits of tofu another one of those under flavored or subtly flavored egg and tomato soups. no clams this time sausages and preserved salted ducks drying out.. winter good
  13. Thanks all, i really appreciate the feed back and that you are enjoying the photos.. it is a lot of work but, it gives me something to do during the down time.
  14. a sichaun lunch the other day food sitting out to be chosen pig ears cold rabbit peanuts in china are the best. chinese bason and scallions tarro surrounded in this crunchy sugary shell chicken with potatoes and bamboo
  15. So we took another flight yesterday.. It is really strange what goes on in these airplanes. I hate rules for the sake of rules and China is chock full of them.. well, everywhere is chock full of them but, it seems like there is an over abundance here.. For example, when you fly in interior China on say, some scary ass airline with broken seats and ashtrays still in the arm rest and these floppy aluminum can looking wings, there is some strange customs that occur.. For example, the windows need to be open during take off and landing.. The over head lights about the aisle seats need to be on. All of the seat belts need to be clicked closed.. Not the ones the passengers are using but, the empty seat seat belts need to be clicked closed.. I also discovered, you can't take your shoes off during the flight.. I had my shoes off, the shoes under my seat, wearing clean socks and all, minding my own business when, the stewardess came over and whispered in my ear, "do you mind if i take your shoes from you" It took me a minute to realize, she was asking me to put my shoes on. Also, I wonder what happens to the stewardesses in China after they reach the age of 25. I have never seen an old stewardess, i have never seen a stewardess that was not rail thin.. Like, scary thin,. Like so thin, they can pass by the drink cart without turning to the side. Also, you can not fly with a lighter, or matches in your suitcase the put underneath the plane. A buzzer and alarm goes off and then they rip through your bag to find the matches.. i don't know how that happens but, they have a sensor that shows matches and lighters and some alarm goes off.. This happened to me a few years ago and i have seen it happen to people at the airport.. Very strange. Just some observations. I arrived at the airport and met a driver.. I can always tell when i am near Zhangjighang because i see the castle.. A castle you say?Yes, it's a bright and cheery castle that looks like Disney World.. Unfortunately, it's a chemical plant, nicely dressed up as a fun place to be. We hit the hotel, exchange gifts and we drive to the restaurant as Nina Simone serenades us.. "She has such a beautiful voice" as the other woman starts to play. Without fail, our first night involves a fancy restaurant, with iPads as menus. She asks me to order and i beg her to please order.. I can barely think and making a decision would bring to tears at this point in my delirium. This is her and husbands new favorite spot.. The restaurant name looks like it's called Cinnamon but, i don't think there are an vowels.. It's more CNMMN Cold eggplant with fried garlic crunch on top String beans with dried shrimp and spicy peppers and oil Thin pieces of pork wrapped around cucumbers.. spicy sichuan noodles. Sticky rice with tea leaf flavoring This is tofu noodles with baby eel in a brown sauce with pancakes.. Very nice.. I consistently love this dish.. Crab roe and tofu in a rich crab guts sauce.. It's served over a flame to keep warm. i love this dish.. never get tired of it in all it's versions here is the final dish from last night.. It was pork dumplings surrounded by pork belly.
  16. The cheeks are the most coveted part of the fish. When and an entire fish is served to the table there is a pecking order as to who receives them. So, fish heads here you get two orders of cheeks. By the time the fish head dish is complete there is just a small pile of bones. There is a lot of meat. Eyes are completely edible. The "bones" that are left are long translucent pieces of cartilage that have small bits of meat attached and also little puddles of sauce on them that are great to suck on. It's just meat and bones and sauce. Head, body, it's all from the same fish.
  17. Thanks so much Darienne!!! I wanted to share this meal from the other night as it had another burger type item.. these were like butter buns. This was another new thing for me. We had a blow out dinner it was saturday night and they usually gather with their friends.. Small business owner and pilot was our host.. Fun people, interesting conversation but, really, it's the food i came for. it's a blur of rice wine shots, cheers and smiles and just all around fun.. Their menu looked like a People Magazine.. It was a glossy magazine that was thick.. There were pages and pages of dishes.. it was pretty amazing actually, just to see it all.. most of the items were also written in english.. started with cold dishes.. a bean noodle. tongue and tripe sichuan style mushrooms. this was really lovely smoked chicken was the only dish i didn't really like that much this was cool.. these buttery buns that you fill with pork.. fantastic never met a fish head i didn't like.. this was the classic hunan red and green pepper stuffed eggplant tofu stuffed with pork meatballs potatoes corn cakes wonton soup type soup inside At some point this huge bread bowl of french vanilla custard was presented.. it was to melt and then there were large cubes of bread that soaked up the ice cream and we all ate it at the end.. of course the meal ended with a big plate of noodles.. i have this trick where i use a spoon and sort of loop and twirl the noodles around my chopstick like one would do while eating Spaghetti.. They seem to really get a kick out of this. I am sure i left out at least 5 dishes..
  18. and now it works again Today for lunch, we had a quick one.. We were not that hungry but, i over ate anyway.. Apparently, about a year ago, my suppler's sister in law purchased a chain out of Shanghai.. they specialize in duck soup.. I was expecting really nice pieces of duck in a soup.. But, it was duck blood and i guess intestine, in a duck broth with clear noodles.. it was really good.. in addition to the soup, they have fried chicken, soup dumplings, meatballs, fried rice and like a tea soaked egg. when you walk in, the place smells funky.. like, i most likely would have walked out had I not known the proprietor. It's fast food but, good.. In addition, the kitchen was cooking sichuan food for the staff so, we got a bowl of this sour fish head soup with sichuan peppercorns. obviously, that was my favorite. \\ Not the best i have had but, really pretty good. soup was delicious. added some hot peppers obviously. I at first forgot it was supposed to be a duck soup, then i was eating the blood and it was good.. i remembered what the soup was and realized, there are no duck pieces.. just parts and such the star of the show.. this is what the kitchen is eating.. really, some stellar sichuan food.
  19. after several failed attempts. internet is terrible at this new hotel.. will try to add more stuff tomorrow..
  20. thanks for the link, Anna.. Baking is something that i am not wired for.. I am so envious of your talents. Longly looking at all the great breads.
  21. The burgers are really good and a welcome source of bread that you can start to miss while traveling in China. Wikipedia says this about them. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rou_jia_mo
  22. It has gotten to the point in Qingdao that I have even had lunch delivered to me at an office and the clams were served from a plastic Take out carton
  23. Breakfast, 7 am Qingdao We found this place that looked similar to the food I had in X'ian. It was just opening and it looked decent enough and more importantly there were photos of the food.. The photos were located high up so, there was a lot of pointing and charades going on. i wasn't confident of what were were getting but, it worked out. This soup was really nice.. seamed like a tomato and meat broth. There was a really nice, sesame oil back note. There was egg and noodles in it. This was a meat and noodles.. a little spicy. the shredded cucumber added an interesting cooling and brightness to the dish. Also ordered a pork burger a la X'ian.. This was really lovely.. as good as the ones in X'ian what visit to a restaurant would be complete without a cultural issue.. These were the glasses they provided for the beer. Mind you it was 7 in the morning but, still you would think they have some glasses for us on the walk home it looks like i found an ex pat bar of some kind.. also opened early in the morning
  24. Qingdao is right on the water.. it is known for it's seafood.. There is a spectacular selection in the city and I am a seafood guy.. Big fan of Qingdao cuisine. I love celery.. This dish was cold celery with sesame oil and these little shrimp. really awesome. the quality of all the seafood in Qingdao is pretty awesome.. greens with garlic and clams or some sort of clammy guy.. such intense garlic.. i loved this dish. i could happily eat this dish everyday. I feel like this is the unofficial dish or maybe the official dish, i don't know, of Qingdao.. I have had this dish at pretty much every meal. steamed shrimp with a vinegar dipping sauce.. When i first came to China, maybe 15 years ago, i was taken aback by how my hosts would eat shrimp with chop sticks.. removing the head and the expertly holding the shrimp in their chopsticks as they deshelled the shrimp with small bites.. I would just pick up the shrimp with my fingers, squeeze the tail, remove the head with my fingers and eat them with my hand.. i am proud to say, i can eat shrimp like my hosts now you know,it's the little things i am thankful for. i also ate one before taking the photo I had this dish in Rizhao City the last trip.. It is fried pork with lots of cumin and some pepper.. It is wrapped in that wheaty hard pancake. Love the dish. Then came out these mushrooms with pork and some chili peppers.. n Beijing or Qingdao, the end of meal dumplings tend to be a lot more loose and less filled... So, its almost like eating a noodle.. These dumplings were shrimp, of course with some scallions.. But, it was a loose dumpling with a lot more skin than filling.. After this huge meal, everyone at the table had like 4 to 8 dumplings. Normally, i would eat an order of 6 dumplings for a meal.. but for some reason, it's just not the filling.. Sure, i skipped dinner last night but, i didn't feel overly stuffed, despite stuffing myself.. With every meal there is normally a soup as well.. You can see on the table, there is an egg drop type soup with clam in it.. It was a little under flavored by my standards but, there must be something to it.. As, i often find the soups to need salt or some additional umph.. But, it's consistently like that, no matter the restaurant or the region, so, it must be done on purpose.. i added some vinegar and it was good. Noticed this puppy on the way out.. I asked about it.. the lady i was with, a new supplier said, well, this is good for older people but, maybe might make younger person sick.. I figured it was something to make a man more virile but, apparently, this is good for older people. so, i have something to look forward to.. Some hard alcohol with a buch of snakes and herbs and bark soaking in it.
  25. Back in China for a quick 11 day trip... Was in Beijing for the night, then over to Qingdao, then to Zhangjiagang and now in Yangzhou.. Internet is not really letting me use fickr or imgur so, it's been hard to upload photos. Here is my first meal..After a long trip, i ended up at my hotel in Beijing right by the airport. i was able to walk to a restaurant right near my hotel as i wasn't downtown but, in like an isolated complex. chicken in an oniony brown gravy.. the entire bottom layer of the pan was onions. I was able to point at photos on the menu and do a a little charades.. it's amazing, even though it's cold here and most places aren't heated, they still manage to keep the beer warm. Cold dark noodles in a spicy and garlicky vinegar sauce We ordered some sticks. There was lamb, lamb kidneys and chicken wings. A plate of dumplings they were interesting as they were filled with egg, mushroom and scallions. really nice. We also had a plate of greens and a few beers. a smashing start.. Dinner was 172 rmb. Or, like 20 bucks with a few beers.
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