Mango Mochi {recipe}

…or MMMango mochi as some would say!

 

lesson of the day: late night redbull & vodka gives me the motivation to blog…and book excursions in vegas and apparently makes my inner ADD come out!

since moving out and officially being on our OWN (scary, i know!) i’ve been forced to cook.  a lot.  too bad i haven’t been keeping up with the photography as well.

i’ve had my fair share of misses…but this hit was too good and easy to be overlooked!  and it also helped that i had awesome lighting in the kitchen that day!

let me start off by saying i don’t like mango.  but i do love mochi.  confession: at my local froyo place, i often fill my cup with more mochi than froyo!  what you don’t?  well you should try it one day.  really.   ok ok…back on track…red bull and i do not mix well.

and i lied a little bit in the title…maybe i should have called the recipe ‘passion fruit mango mochi’?  because the actual mochi is passion fruit flavor and the filling is mango.  whatever.  my nom nom. my rules. FOCUS!

in a nutshell:

  • we got invited to a luau themed 4th of july bbq.
  • mamma bear always told me that you should never show up empty handed to an event at someone’s house that you are invited to.
  • my OCD (ocd AND add?!  its quite the party over here!!) doesn’t like to stray far from the theme.
  • i had a can of passion fruit juice in my pantry that i was hoarding and frozen mangoes in the freezer (for the boy’s green juices).
  • i like bullet points.
  • a lot.

since we are double booked for the day (lucky us!), i needed something that was quick and simple to make.  mochi came to mind.

 

since i also have paranoia of my cooking not tasting good (and i like to self diagnose myself based on what i read on the internet…damn you webmd!) i decided to make a test batch yesterday afternoon.

they came out good according to the boy (see above note about the dislike of mango).

 

 

Mango Mochi {recipe}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1 dozen pieces

easy mango mochi recipe

What You'll Need

1 1/4 cup passion fruit juice
1 1/4 cup glutinous rice flour
cubed mangoes
cornstarch for dusting

What to Do

  1. add passion fruit juice and rice flour into a microwave safe bowl (i used a pyrex - makes cleanup much easier!)
  2. mix until combined
  3. cover tightly with plastic wrap
  4. microwave for 3 minutes on high
  5. carefully remove plastic wrap and stir - the center should be slightly liquidy and the edges stiffer
  6. cover again with plastic and microwave for another 2 minutes
  7. remove from microwave and stir. you should now have a 'dough'
  8. dust a cutting board with cornstarch and turn the dough out onto the board
  9. wait about 30sec - 1min until the dough is cool enough to handle (your fingertips will thank me)
  10. dust the top of the dough with cornstarch and form into a log
  11. cover loosely with plastic wrap (keep covered to prevent from drying out)
  12. cut off approximately 1.5 inch piece and form into a circle (make sure your hands are well starched so the dough doesn't stick)
  13. place some cubed mango in the center of the dough and pinch closed
  14. ENJOY!

Notes

feel free to change up the flavor of the mochi and fillings! the ratio is 1:1 for liquid to rice flour. i have used plain water, coconut milk, coffee, green tea and guava juice to replace the liquid portion of the recipe. if your liquid is not sweet, add 3-4 tablespoons of sugar to the mixture before microwaving. coffee mochi and nutella filling was an absolute hit! if your mango is not fully ripe, feel free to add a tablespoon of sugar to it and let it macerate. and be sure to drain some of the juices before filling the mochi so it won't get soggy!

http://www.misstsien.com/2013/07/mango-mochi-recipe/

important note – this is best made the same day that they will be eaten, otherwise the mochi might dry out and start to get hard.

 

till next time…toodles!

 

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Week in Photos #21

What did you do Memorial Day weekend?  I know quite a few people that headed up to the New England area to spend the long weekend, us included.

The week started off with a Monday night dinner at the Oxenburg’s – Amanda and I both missed a bridal shower that we were invited to last month so we decided to get together with the bride to be and have a home cooked meal…Amanda prepped the lasagna the night before so all she had to do was pop it in the oven and wait for everyone to arrive! She’s become quite domestic since she’s gotten married!  😉

I had a buy one get one free code for Moe’s…home of the Coke Freestyle machine!  So on Friday before our long weekend I went out to lunch with some coworkers.  Chicken burrito for me…tacos for them.  I think I like this place better than Chipotle!

Since Friday was an early day for me I had time to do a set of my own gels at home.  I knew a manicure wouldn’t last me through the long weekend and I didn’t want to bring a bottle of polish with me for touchups so gels were the way to go.  Glitter included!

We spent Saturday and Sunday in Cape Cod on a family trip.  After heading out to dinner at which I didn’t take ANY pictures because I forgot my camera at the hotel…the adults hung out and did adult things and got ready for bed while the kids hung out for a little while doing…uhh..kid things?  The boys had to be up at 3AM to prep for their fishing trip so it was a relatively early night for all.

My pj’s for the weekend:

The boy packed lucky boxers in hopes that it would lead to a good fishing trip!  And it worked!  Everyone went home with coolers packed with fish!  I *puffy heart* seabass :)

Since we wanted to get back home as quickly as possible on Sunday, we decided to skip a real lunch and just stop by the 7eleven in town to pick up some snacks for the road.  Corn dog and a cheese stick for me and a sandwich for the boy.  And one can’t go to 7eleven and not get a slurpee, right?!  We even had our own slurpee bartender mixing it up for us!

When we got home we came back to find Milo with this on his back and tufts of fur all over the floor.  This was the first time he’s been left alone without humans or another cat around over night so we think stress might have caused it…

Slightly panicked, we called the vet the next morning and made an appointment…he said it was an allergy…to what, no one knows.  A shot, a bottle of pills and $120 later we were all back home.  How one feeds a cat pills is beyond my comprehension…but I guess we’ll find out tonight.  Side note: the turkey gained over a pound since his last visit in Jan!  Thats 20.6 lbs of cat hiding between the boy’s legs!

We must have brought home at least 30 fish from this weekend’s trip!  I decided to try to cook one up for dinner last night Chinese style…it came out pretty good for a first time try!  I probably could have stopped cooking it a few minutes earlier…it was a little overdone and the oil that I put over it could have been a little hotter.  At least we have plenty more for me to practice on!

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Week in Photos # 19 & 20

Another double week post…

Nothing too exciting going on over here…hence the lack of pictures and posts!

We tried to go biking on what was supposed to be a nice Saturday….loaded the bikes up and drove all the way to the bay…and it started to monsoon.  FAIL!

The following week we headed back to said bay and it turned out to be a gorgeous day!   Did three runs for a total of 19 miles.  Hopefully we’ll sign up for a good bike tour this year…Hoping to be able to do at least 50 miles…we’ll see how my legs and butt fare…

Seriously how did May come and go so quickly?!  Quickie snapshot of our Cinco de Mayo dinner at Casa Pepe.  Dinner was much better this time around than the first time we had dinner there a few years ago.  Maybe it was the pomegranate margarita that influenced me!  Actually…the boy’s paella was much better than my pork chop…we ended up switching less than half way through :)

I finally found a Coke Freestyle machine!  :)  If you don’t know, I have a somewhat unhealthy addiction to cherry coke.  Yes, I’m one of those weird people that love cherry flavor…and no, I don’t think it tastes like cough medicine…  The only problem I have with the coke that comes out of it is that my cherry coke seems to be bright red!  I’ve also tried the raspberry coke (yuck), vanilla coke yuck) and cherry vanilla coke (YUCK!!).  I still haven’t figured out what the difference between diet coke and coke zero is….so i just stick to diet cherry coke :)   TIP: let the soda run for a little while before you put your cup under it!  Otherwise it will taste like what the person before you got! Especially if you are getting one of the Dasani water selections!

Got my nails done with Gelish….I’m not really a fan…but its boat loads cheaper than Calgel so I give it a whirl every now and then.   My nail girl talked me into getting a little glitter on my ring finger…it made me feel extra girly :)

This little asshole was trying to make me even LATER than I already was for work!  It kept squaking and honking at my car and making motions that it was going to peck at it!  I tried to go around him/her and it just ran in front of my car again!  Seriously?!  As I think back though…it was probably a mamma goose trying to clear the road for the babies to cross.

The boy and I went out to HideChan ramen one night after work.  It was okayyy….my selection was actually better than his for once!

We threw a fund raiser for my manager at work because her husband is going to be going through some hefty medical expenses in the next few months.  10 baskets were raffled off and lucky me won the bath and body works one!  :)  I won’t be needing soaps or lotions for a long time!

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Atlantic City Getaway Recap! Part 1

WARNING: Long winded and picture filled post ahead!  Settle down and get comfy…its gonna be a long read!

This might be a new record of the time between getting the pictures up from when they were taken!
Here goes our little vacation recap!

I had it all planned out.  Neatly mapped on an excel sheet like I always do for our trips – activities, meals, plans and alternate ideas all plotted and color coded (its the PMP in me I can’t help it!).  Only this time I had a slight hunch that things just MIGHT be different…

Our original plan was to leave early on Saturday morning and get to the condo around noon to drop our luggage off and then get right back on the road to head down to Cape May for lunch, sightseeing and dinner…That plan quickly went into the crapper.  :(  The day we left the region got a record snowfall for the month of October!   That made driving down to Jersey quite a trip.  At some points it was blizzard like conditions with little visibility.  By the time we were half way there most of the snow was just rain.  But we decided that even if it was just raining, continuing onto Cape May would be a waste since a lot of the things I wanted to see/do were outdoors.  Our plan was to reschedule that for another day during the week.   It ended up being a good decision since we were able to take our time unpacking our luggage and organizing the place to our liking for the week.  I also like to wash all of the sheets and towels on the first day since the apartment only gets used a few times a year…I think the last time my aunt was there was Easter!

We settled in and cooked dinner.  Since the weather was crappy, some comfort food was in order. String beans with ground pork, steamed spare ribs and melon/pork bone soup.


Since the boy had the nerve to complain that whenever I cook, I always make the same thing…so I thought up some new dishes to make this time around.  There were some definite hits and misses. Recipes to follow!

I must say that I am most proud of my soup!  Its my first pot of ‘Chinese soup’ that I’ve ever made!  *pats self on back!*  Although its a pretty simple one, I still think its delish!  I remember my grams always making this with her bounty of melon from the garden in the summer.    And it couldn’t be simpler…bring some pork bones, a few slices of ginger, and a few slices of Chinese salted turnip to a boil.  Let it boil for about 15-20 minutes and reduce to a low simmer for 2-2.5 hours.  During the last 30 minutes throw in some dried shrimp and your melon.  Let the melon cook until tender and add salt to taste.  TA DA!  :)  I actually didn’t need to add much salt because of the turnips!

After dinner the boy helped me clean up and we settled down and watched Cars 2…a nice eding to a long day.

The agenda for our second day was to go running on the boardwalk and then hit up  Hooters for lunch since the boy had to watch the Giants game.  Running was important for us because we didn’t want to be complete sloths all week.  :)  The morning runs were gorgeous!  We headed out about 10am each day.  Its so peaceful and scenic on the boardwalk in the off season!

picture of the beach snapped from my phone before our run

Lunch was pretty uneventful…Hooters wings were good as usual.  Hooters has the DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket package so they play every game every Sunday.  It was pretty crowded in there and plenty of people were in their jerseys cheering on their teams.   The waitress we had was slightly over attentive and would ask us every 15 minutes if we needed anything so we decided to pack it up and leave.  The boy ended up watching the end of the game on the 2nd floor of the condo where they have a big tv in the common area.

Also on the plan today was to check out Steel Pier.  I haven’t been there in years and during the off season they are open on the weekends.  Instead of driving we decided to walk (I just mapped it out and its 1.5 miles each way!) that way we could snap some nice pictures on the way.  They had a giant Monopoly board in front of Caesars so of course we had to stop and horse around a bit!  Did you know that the board game was based on places in or around Atlantic City?  :)

As we got closer to the pier the boy and I noticed that it didn’t look open…no flashing lights…no rides were on…we got to the gate and there was a sign kindly notifying us that it was closed for a private party!  BOO!!!

Since we walked all the way down to the end of the boardwalk we went into Trump Taj Mahal for a bathroom break and to wander around a little bit.  After a little froyo stop we were pleasantly surprised to see a  White House Sub Shop had opened there!  It worked out nicely since we had planned on going there once during our visit anyway!  The boy had the bright idea of getting enough for two meals – he wanted to try the hot sandwiches as well as the original.  These babies are enormous!  We got 2 halves of the hot variety and one whole of the original.  This probably would have lasted me a week but the boy can eat like a linebacker so it was a good amount for two meals for us.

On our way back we passed by an arcade that had the boy’s absolute favorite…CRANE GAMES!  A row of at least 15 games lined both sides of the place.  It wasn’t a question.  We WERE going in!  They had everything from domos to smurfs to care bears…to our favorite – angry birds!   He ended up winning two – the yellow one and the black one.

Camera and sandwiches in tow, back to the boardwalk for the 1.5 mile trek back to the condo!

When we got back we parked our asses in front of the TV and spent the next few hours watching Fringe as we munched on our sandwiches. :)

We thought that it would be a good idea to avoid the outlets on the weekends so we saved it for Monday!  Leftover sandwiches for lunch and then off to The Walk we went!  We got some pretty good deals…but the best of the day was by the boy – he got a pair of cashmere lined gloves from Coach for $48!  I was able to pick up some air freshener refills from Bath and Body Works and some sweaters from Banana Republic.  Overall we got what we needed and not too much impulse buying!  :)

Since we did a lot of walking I decided that I wasn’t in the mood to cook dinner so we decided to take the car out and drive to Harrah’s to hit up the Waterfront Buffet.  So far this is my favorite one that I’ve been to.  They have a huge variety of food and more importantly its CLEAN!

Fast forward to Tuesday…we woke up for another morning run.  The agenda for the day was to check out the AC light house, aquarium and The Pier Shops at Caesars.  After our run the lazy bug bit us.  Hard.  We decided to skip the light house and aquarium.  I cooked a quickie lunch of instant noodles and wontons and then we parked ourselves on the couch for another few hours of Fringe!

 Before we knew it, the sun had set and our tummies were rumbling again!  I had mapped out 4 Viet restaurants near the condo that we could try.  The first one we walked to was closed for renovations!  So off to our second choice.  Our hopes weren’t that high since our favorite Viet restaurant in Brooklyn still hasn’t been matched!

The boy got the equivalent of what would be a #1 at most restaurants.  He said that there was a little more tendon in there than he would like and he also found some meatballs in there which we’ve never seen in a #1!  I tried the broth and it tasted very herbal as opposed to the usual mix of spices in pho broth.

I wanted something on the lighter side so I ordered the ban xeo which was actually much better than the one I get from our fav spot at home!

The springrolls were a fail.  They used regular egg roll wrappers instead of the rice paper wrappers that is normally used.  The insides were a bit flavorless and they were pretty greasy.

The summer rolls on the other hand were yummy!  Freshly made (wrappers were still slightly warm!) and the ingredients inside were at their prime!

After dinner we walked back to the boardwalk and back to the condo to watch more…you guessed it Fringe!

Wednesday marked the half way point of our vacation….we went for another morning run and then stopped into Starbucks so I could FINALLY get my first red cup drink of the season!  I made another quickie lunch of snow cabbage, pork and bamboo shoot soup noodles (I’m getting good at this!) and we watched a few more episodes of Fringe before heading out to The Pier Shops.  No picture of lunch because as delicious as it is…this dish was horrifically un-photogenic!

I’m a bit of a MAC junkie so I collected all of my empty containers and brought them with me since I knew there was a MAC inside The Pier.  I had enough to get 4 free lipsticks with their recycling program!  I probably could have found enough empty containers to get 5 lipsticks if I really tried!   I decided on just two lipsticks for now.  :)

We walked into Caesars from The Pier and found that they had a video roulette table there!  The type where its a live dealer spinning the wheel and dropping the ball, but instead of the table with everyone reaching over one another to put their chips down and such, you sit at your individual screen and place your bets there instead!  Just my style!  No one to invade my personal space!  No dirty chips!  Too bad about half the screens had “out of service” flashing on them!

Dinner this night was Cornish hens and pasta.  Big FAIL here… :(  And I was so excited about cooking my little hens too! :(   Flavor wise it was fine…it is just that the oven at the condo wasn’t accurate and I didn’t have an oven thermometer to check the temp.  In the end, two little hens took over 90 minutes to cook!  Resulting in overcooked pasta as well.

I cleaned and dried the hens…put a little butter under the skin and sprinkled the top with Mrs. Dash salt free seasoning.   I stuffed 1/4 of an onion into the cavity, placed a slice of pancetta on top and laid them down on some carrots and potatoes in the pan. After an hour in the oven the juices were still not running clear!   So back in they went.  In the meantime I had made some pasta – just an olive oil and garlic sauce.  Here comes the fatal mistake…I hadn’t timed it out well….so the pasta had gotten cold by the time the hens were ready.  So I put the pan back on the heat so it could heat up….but since it was an oil based sauce it made the pasta super crispy!  FAIL! :(

The pancetta was probably the best part of the meal….like a porky potato chip!

 

eyes tired from reading yet?
stomach growling from all the food pics yet?
…to be continued
:)

 

 

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HK Station {Restaurant Review}

We’ve been back from AC for a few days now…and I’m getting the vacation blues!  “last week at this time I was…”…I can’t be the only one that does this am I!?

I haven’t finished sorting through all of the pictures yet to pull the ones I want to post…so I’ll just skip ahead to this post that has been sitting in my drafts for a while now.

E and I meet up about 2x a month to go to dinner…when we have a Shecky’s event we usually head down to Chinatown to grab a bowl of cheap noodles.  Our favorite place to go for this is Hong Kong Station.  My best way to describe this place would be similar to those salad bars that you find in the city…where you pick your lettuce, toppings, dressing and they mix it all together for you.  The difference here is that you pick your type of noodle – ranging from thin rice noodles to thick udon noodles and everything in between; your toppings – various meats and veggies; and then your soup flavorings (scallion-garlic oil and/or curry-garlic sauce).

The service is fast, food is tasty and have I mentioned CHEAP!  :)  From the last time we went I think the noodles were $2.50 and then each topping is about $2.  Our bowls are always under $10.

As far as the toppings go – there is a huge variety.  From common things like ham, fried eggs, veggies, and grilled chicken to some more exotic things (ie things that I won’t touch but everyone tells me I should try cuz its good :-) ) like beef tripe, beef stomach, pork intestines, chicken gizzards…and all of that fun stuff.

I usually get 2-4 toppings depending on how famished I’m feeling.  Obviously in the below picture I was starving since I got 4 toppings!  I like that if you choose chicken, spam or ham they will take it over to the griddle and heat it up there for you since the soup won’t heat it thoroughly enough.   And if you’re not in the mood for noodles you can also get the toppings over rice!

Off to the side of the cashier they also have some additional condiments that you can add to your noodles like soy sauce, chili oil, sesame oil, vinegar, white pepper, etc.

Thumbs up!

45 Bayard St # A
New York, NY 10013-4929
(212) 233-0288

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BonChon {reataurant review}

A few months back E was looking for a restaurant to go to celebrate her 30th birthday. She had two requirements – it had to be suitable for a large crowd and it had to be reasonably priced.
She thought that BonChon would be a good place because who doesn’t love some fried chicken?! So we were off to do a trial run. We were able to recruit another friend to go with us so we’d be able to try some more things. Luckily the restaurant isn’t in a really busy part of the city so i was able to snag a parking spot right outside!
The restaurant is two floors. Downstairs is a bar with a few tables in the back and upstairs is where most of the seating is.

We decided on an order of fries, potstickes and tteokbokki to start with and a combo of wings, drums and chicken strips for our entree.

The fries were great! I think they are double fried and reminded me of Burger King fries.

When we ordered the potstickers they asked us if we wanted it tossed in a soy garlic sauce or hot and spicy. We decided to go the safe route and opted for soy garlic. We were presented with an order of nine pieces arranged on a long platter. First off, these were obviously not potstickers. At first glance we noticed that they were clearly deep fried and not pan fried as potstickers should be. Identity crisis aside, we dug in. Two words. Not impressed. Since they wee deep fried, the skin was really hard and crispy, the filling was bland and the overall taste was overpowered by the sauce that they were doused in.  Despite the saucy coating, these were actually pretty DRY!

When the tteokbokki came out our jaws dropped. In the past at restaurants when we ordered this it was a small appetizer sized portion with about a dozen rice cakes and some fish cake slices. This time however was very different. The plate was about 14 inches across with a combination of rice cakes, fish cakes, noodles and cheese! A little overwhelming at first but we dug in. A little on the spicy side but we enjoyed it. A note about rice cakes though…they can be very dense and filling so if you have a small appetite, I’d suggest notbwasting any stomach real estate on this dish.  I enjoyed this dish…the presence of the noodles weirded me out at first…but  I got over it quickly!  My tolerance for spicy things isn’t all that high and the density of the rice cakes was quickly filling up my tummy…so after a few bites this was pushed over to the side.  (It made great leftovers the next day!)

Now onto the chicken…this is what you were waiting for, no?  I got a combination of the wings and drums and half spicy half soy garlic.  At this point I was pretty full already.  But I tried one of each sauce type for the sake of the review!   The spicy ones would have definitely been too much for me if I had ordered it for the entire order.  It was too overpowering.  The soy garlic was much better!  The chicken remained crispy even though it was quite some time before we actually ate it!   My brother had no problem polishing them off when I brought him the doggie bag so I’m assuming it got a thumbs up from him as well!  Each order of chicken also comes with a small bowl of pickled daikon.  I didn’t try any since I was already stuffed to the gills!

 

I don’t recall much about the chicken strips…which makes me think they were middle of the road.  I’d probably order if if I wasn’t in the mood to deal with chicken bones though.

 

I’d recommend this restaurant.  The menu isn’t too large that its overwhelming nor is it too small where you feel like the ONLY thing you can get is chicken.

E did end up having her birthday dinner here a few weeks later.  They reserved the back section of the top floor for her and it was nothing less than chaotic.  While I would recommend the restaurant for a normal sized party, it was a major fail for a large group (35 people!).  The chicken was still good though!

Thumbs up! (as long as you don’t have an obscenely large party!)

BonChon
207 W. 38th St. New York
NY 10018
212.221.3339

 

 

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@ bcd…my own fishie!

not a real review or anything since i didn’t have my camera(s) on me…this was just a quick snapshot taken with the crappy camera on my phone.
had dinner at bcd tofu with a friend a few weeks ago…and its true!  they give everyone at the table their own little fried fish!  i wasn’t too fond of it because it was SO salty and had SO many bones…but my dining companion seemed to enjoy hers. i WILL be back for some more soon dubu though! nom! :-)

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Jup She {restaurant review}

Neatly tucked in between Baxter and Centre Streets on Grand lies a little known Korean restaurant on the outskirts of Chinatown.  Yes – Korean in Chinatown.
The boy and I have been here several times before (I more than him) and we enjoy the place for what it is: decent Korean food.  Its definitely not the best we’ve ever had but it will satisfy the craving in a pinch.  Parking here is much easier than parking in ktown or Flushing.  I usually have luck right on Centre St.

In a rush to make our movie showing, we decided that we’d grab a quick meal at Jup She.  The menu is on the small side in comparison to other Korean restaurants I’ve been to.  They don’t offer the option to cook the meat at your table at this restaurant, which I don’t mind at all.  I don’t always want to walk out smelling like BBQ after a Korean meal!  Not all places have great ventilation.

Most people I observed ordered the bi bim baps from the menu.  There are several types to choose from on the menu ranging from tofu, pork, bulgogi, and galbi to name a few.  I used to order the spicy pork one a lot…that was until I discovered my love for soon dubu and I haven’t turned back.

As with all Korean restaurants I’ve been to, the meal started with the server placing some banchan on the table.  A lot of reviewers complain about the small quantity and variety of them here.  We have been to some restaurants that give you as many as 8-12 varieties.  I’m not quite fond of them most of the time, so their small offering was more than enough for me. There were 4 dishes in total.  They comprised of kimchi, pickled daikon, potato salad and a savory steamed egg custard.  The steamed custard was a nice touch and unexpected.  But overall none of the banchan were really memorable and we just picked at them.
To start with we ordered an order of the duk bokki.  Thick, chewy rice cakes and fish cakes slathered in a sweet and spicy sauce.  NOM!  I’ve made this at home a few times and I prefer my version better because I hate sesame seeds…and this dish is always loaded with them.  Also, I like mine extra spicy and its usually been on the sweeter side whenever I order it.

On this night the boy decided on the bulgogi bi bim bap and it didn’t disappoint.  He likes to let it sit for a few minutes after it arrives to the table to let the edges crisp up some more.  Sometimes we find that during the peak hours they don’t let the stone bowls heat up enough so your rice won’t get that highly desired crispy bottom to it.

I went with the soon dubu as usual.  Its not the greatest from here but I like it enough to keep ordering it!  The best I’ve had so far was from BCD in Ktown…but it sure is better tasting than what I make at home.

Thumbs up!

Jup She
171 Grand Street
NY NY 10013

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New Tu Do {restaurant review}

Greetings!

A few months back after some retail therapy at Bloomingdales, E and I decided to head over to chinatown for a quick dinner.

In my search to find a restaurant that serves banh beo in the city, Tu Do came up several times and had great reviews overall (on yelp). We got there pretty late (slightly after 9…and the restaurant closes at 10 on weekdays) and quickly placed our orders. Two bowls of pho, an order of spring rolls (I’m a firm believer that the spring roll will determine how good or bad the rest of the food will be!), and an order of banh beo.

The spring rolls were standard. Nothing spectacular…a little lacking in the flavor department. The texture was a lot softer than I’m used to as well…perhaps too much vermicelli and veggies in it and not enough pork…definitely not enough seasoning!

E got her pho with sliced beef and I got mine with grilled chicken.  Upon inspection of the bowl of noodles I wasn’t sure what I was getting into…it seemed as if there was an oil spill on top of both bowls! :-( And it turns out, I have never had an oilier bowl of pho before! It was rather unpleasant. If the broth had some umami it would have made up for the oil slick. But unfortunately, that was not the case either. At least the noodles had decent texture…

Now onto the banh beo…I wasn’t sure what to expect since I’ve never had it before. From wiki: “small steamed rice cake or rice pancake in Vietnamese cuisine. It is white in color and typically features a dimple in the center, which is filled with savory ingredients including chopped dried or fresh shrimp, scallions, mung bean paste, crispy fried shallots, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and oil.”

Not sure if this was supposed to be served warm or not?? But ours was cold.  The rice cakes were smooth in texture and not too dense. The toppings were fried garlic, mung bean paste (unbelievably dry and crumbly!), scallions and dried shrimp.  Like the others, this dish also lacked flavor but was saved by splashing some of nuoc nam on it. I would give it another shot..maybe just not at this restaurant.

Overall the whole meal was pretty lacking and I was quite disappointed.  Maybe it was because we were there close to closing time?  But then again, that is no excuse to serve sub par food! E was there in the past and said that the food was never this bad.  I’d give the restaurant another try and chalk it up to an off day.

Thumbs down!

New Tu Do
102 Bowery St
New York, NY 10013

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hotpot and party crashers!

every year the boys do a secret santa exchange and every year ash and I usually try to hang out to kill time waiting for them to finish.

this year we decided to invite some girls along to join us for a hot pot at ash’s place.  for those of you who don’t know what “hot pot” is…just think of it as asian fondue!  you dip a variety of raw meats/veggies/tofu/noodles, etc into a pot of broth to cook it.  finish it off by dipping into your own sauce creation just prior to eating.

the plans were set.  i’d drop the boy off at his secret santa exchange and then head over to ash’s to start our mini feast…wrong!  on saturday morning the boy tells me the guys are relocating their secret santa to ash and steve’s house!  a quick text confirmation with ash proves true.  why? because the boys didn’t make dinner plans/arrangements and decided to crash on ours!  no big deal…except i went grocery shopping for food for 5 girls…not 5 girls plus 10 guys!  after some quick scrambling, the boy and i managed to pick up some more food for our meal that now turned into a feast!  see, when you’re buying for only 5 small appetites, you’re quite limited to the amount of stuff you can actually get…but add 10 boy’s stomachs to that and you can double/triple the variety!

off to the market and $60 later the boy and i shuffled over to steve and ash’s place to start prepping.  now i thought prepping would be quick and easy…there was no cooking involved by me after all since all of the cooking would take place at the table.  BUT…in reality it took about 3 hours to prep all of the food!  washing, chopping, arranging, etc!

the spread was: nappa cabbage, spinach, 3 types of noodles – mung bean, udon, vermicelli, fish tofu, fish balls – both regular and stuffed with tobiko!, enoki mushrooms, firm tofu, fried tofu,  pork dumplings, xo wontons, konyaku bundles, and lots of meat – two types of beef – fatty and regular, chicken and pork.  if i had more time to plan, i probably would have bought less of each item so i could increase the variety even more…manila clams anyone???

after everyone was stuffed to the gills, the boys went to open their gifts.  they drew cards to determine the order and off they went.  some were too excited about opening their gifts to stand long enough to pose for a nice picture with it!

the boy got what he wanted from his wish list – he broke his gaming headset a while back so he got a replacement.

many thanks to our host steve, ash and baby O!  ironically, steve hates hot pot…and thats the reason why ash and i decided to do it that night – because steve was supposed to be out of the house for dinner!

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