Tag Archives: chinese
Wow, this post is way overdue! Since we’ve moved to SF, Yufei and I have not had a shortage of food outings. On weeknights when I work late and have no time to cook dinner, we usually just go to one of the neighborhood restaurants a few blocks away. We sure are glad that we live in the Lower Haight, with a ton of restaurants and bars within walking distance. Some of our favorites include Sushi Raw for Japanese, Wonderland for Chinese, Axum Cafe for Ethiopian, Tandoor on Haight for Indian, Chilli Cha Cha for Thai, Greenburger’s for burgers, and Danny Coyles for drinks. There are still a few places around we have yet to try, but we’re definitely happy with the amount and variety of food options near our apartment!
One of the fancier but still close to us restaurants that I really love is L’Ardoise. It’s a cute and cozy little French bistro that has great food, excellent service, and wonderful ambiance. We’ve been there twice now and have an awesome time both times. Not sure if you can tell from this photo, but it’s quite a small restaurant, with lots of rich, red decor, resulting in a very French, very intimate atmosphere.
Now the food. The first time we went, we ordered their appetizer special, which was a delicious salad with spinach, green beans, goat cheese, walnuts, and I forget what else.
Yufei got the filet mignon and I got the duck confit for our main courses, and both were really good. The only thing was that my duck was a little bit too salty, and I wasn’t sure if it was just that one night or not.
We also had the creme brulee for dessert and it was one of the best I’ve ever had! I had to resist the temptation to lick the dish.
Last time we went we shared a butter lettuce salad, and ordered the hanger steak (for Yufei) and coq au vin (for me). Again the food was wonderful! And of course we had to get dessert again. Yufei opted for the flourless chocolate cake and I was intrigued by the floating island. I’d never heard of it before, but the waitress told me it was made of meringue floating on creme anglaise served with caramel sauce and fresh strawberries. Sold! It was so light and sweet, and beautifully presented too.
Another great thing about L’Ardoise is their bread. I swear they have some kind of bread monitor, and every time our bread basket is even half empty, a server would sweep by and replace it with a fresh, full one. And they do this throughout the meal!
I have a few more restaurants around SF I want to review, and I thought about lumping them all into one post, but I think they deserve their own posts. So look forward to more of our food adventures!
We didn’t leave our apartment until late morning (we were on vacation, after all!) and we took the subway down to get lunch at Schwartz’s, a famous smoked meat place in Montreal.
The place always has a huge line out the door so our expectations were very high. We got inside and each ordered a smoked meat sandwich with fries, pickles, and black cherry soda. The sandwich really was out of this world!! I’m not even the biggest fan of meat but this was amazing. The meat was perfectly smoked and tender and the spices were so good (apparently they invented Montreal steak seasoning?!) I’m still kind of craving it now!
After our very satisfying lunch, we headed to Mont Royal Park to hike up the mountain and burn off the calories. It was still quite icy there so the way up was a little treacherous, but it was a beautiful sunny winter day.
The top of the mountain offered spectacular views of the city, which looked so lovely bathed in the setting sun.
After enjoying the views and the sun for a while, we went back down, trekked through McGill quickly, and headed to dinner at Cuisine Szechuan.
The food was pretty good, though nothing spectacular, but it served to fulfill our cravings for Chinese food!
My first ever 4th of July spent in the US was amazing! Yufei came to visit for a few days and we had such a great weekend here in Nashville, which, of course, included lots of awesome food.
On Saturday night Yufei treated me to a delicious dinner at Sunset Grill, a neighbourhood restaurant not far from where I live. I think it was the best meal I’ve had – and probably will have – in Nashville yet! We started off by sharing the Sweet and Sour Smoked Duck, which came in a scallion pancake and was served with creme fraiche:
For our main courses, Yufei had the Angus New York Strip:
And I ordered the Shrimp and Grits because I was seriously craving seafood:
The dish was so so good! The shrimps were perfectly seasoned and the grits were so delicious and buttery. Even then I still couldn’t finish it since the serving was huge, and because I needed to save room for dessert! We opted for the Small Trio, which included 3 half portions of desserts. We chose a Rhubarb Crisp with vanilla ice cream, the Butterscotch-Habanero Bread Pudding, and the Death by Chocolate Cake:
They were all very yummy and we definitely stuffed ourselves that night. I really liked the restaurant a lot: the atmosphere was great, at least where we sat in the airy open area with glass windows and ceiling, our server was great as well, and the food was heavenly. I’m going to try and go back before I leave Nashville!
Then on Sunday, for lunch we picked up food from Panera and had a nice picnic lunch in Centennial Park. The frozen strawberry lemonade was so good and I’m obsessed with their potato chips. We also got ice cream and sweet tea – Yufei’s first ever! – at McDonald’s after. Then for dinner we went to P. F. Chang’s. We don’t often to go big chain restaurants but I wanted nice Asian food and that was a scarcity in the area around Vanderbilt. We had the prix-fixe four course dinner for 2. We each had a hot and sour soup and shared the lettuce wrap appetizer, which was really good, but I found the soup a bit salty.
Then for entrees we had pretty standard fare, sweet and sour pork for Yufei and sesame chicken for me. My chicken was actually very good, it had a nice ginger kick to it and I really liked it.
Then for dessert we had 2 of the mini desserts – the Great Wall of chocolate and the red velvet cake – which came in little glasses and were the perfect size after a pretty big meal.
Then came Monday, the 4th of July, and we headed downtown for the festivities. We had lunch at Jack’s Bar-B-Que which was yummy as always, and then bought ice cream before getting more free ice cream samples, free Cherry Dr. Pepper (Yufei was very very happy about that) and free McDonald mango smoothies. Dinner was the unhealthiest combination ever: sweet potato ribbon fries, nachos, and fried chicken on a stick, with a huge lemonade made from real lemons (pathetically the healthiest part of the meal). But to be fair, healthy options were pretty much nonexistent among the food stands in the park. Ah – gotta love America.
Tuesday was Yufei’s last day here in Nashville, and we had to go to The Pancake Pantry before he left.
It’s a so-called “Nashville Tradition” and I’d heard enough about the place that I was pretty curious about it myself. We went at around 11:45 am, and there was a line out the door. I was warned about this so it wasn’t so unexpected. We waited about half an hour before we got seated – in one of the booth seats by the window – score! After looking at the menu, Yufei decided to get the sweet potato pancakes and I got the Swiss chocolate chips pancakes, and we also got the Cook’s Medley to share.
The pancakes were fluffy and warm and scrumptious as expected, but I also seriously loved the Cook’s Medley – crispy hash browns with onions, peppers, tomatoes, and ham, with melted cheese on top and 2 fried eggs, served with spicy salsa – so so good. I was a lot of food for the 2 of us, and we wished that we’d only gotten 1 pancake serving to share, but oh well, everything was delicious!
And that about wraps up our food adventures this weekend in Nashville! Ahh… it was divine.
This is from last weekend. Title is pretty self-explanatory.
First stop: Dim sum at Golden Unicorn
Rice noodle roll with beef filling:
Duck egg and pork congee:
Second stop: Xiaolongbao, 4 for $1:
Third stop: Lamb kabobs:
Fourth stop: Xi’an Famous Foods:
Liang Pi noodles (actually had this for dinner because by this point my belly was too full already):
Other random stops for snacks and such:
Dried plums from Aji Ichiban:
They make for amazing snacks because it takes so long to eat them and they pretty much have no calories.
Hawthorn chips!! Exactly the kind I used to eat as a kid in China!!
Also bought soy milk, steamed buns, and pork floss. T’was a very successful day for food.
Has it only been three weeks since the new semester started? It’s starting to feel like a drag already. The weather certainly isn’t helping either. I’m regretting not going to school somewhere warming every day (I’m only semi-kidding here). So I haven’t done a whole lot since I got back to New York, since I’d rather stay inside all the time and go into the snowy slushy mess that is Manhattan right now. But anyways, there are some things I wanted to share here.
I had lunch with a fellow Canadian girl a couple of weeks ago. I gave her some advice (she’s a freshman) and she’s so nice and gave me this cute little cell phone chain:
It has a charm of the mascot of the 2010 Shanghai Expo, Haibao, and a tiny little hourglass. I like pretending that it’s a Time-Turner :D
On Thursday I attended a scholarship reception at Columbia. I didn’t bring my camera, which I regretted as soon as I walked through the doors. It was the fanciest affair I’ve been to in a while; tablecloths, floral centerpieces, jazz trio on the stage, hors d’œuvres, a wonderful buffet dinner… the type of thing that was designed to make you feel special to be a Columbian. I met some wonderful new people and have a lovely evening. I even brought home one of the centerpieces (of course, in Columbia colors blue and white), as I was alerted of this possibility by friend and fellow Columbian Jin. Isn’t it gorgeous? And it makes my room smell wonderful.
Then yesterday, to celebrate Chinese New Year, Yufei and I went to have lunch at Wa Jeal Sichuan Chili House. Reviews on Yelp compared it to Szechuan Gourmet, of which I am a big fan, so I wanted to try it out. We ordered the Sichuan dumplings with chili sauce as an appetizer, and it was nice and spicy, very good. Then we shared shredded pork with garlic sauce and kung pao chicken as entrees. The pork was cooked with water chestnut and mu-er, which added interesting texture to the dish.
I could barely contain my excitement when I saw the kung pao chicken, because for the first time ever the dish contained green bell peppers!!! Just like the way we make it at home! This has never happened at a restaurant before, so that was a huge plus for me.
Both dishes were delicious, though I think not as spicy as Szechuan Gourmet, as well as less oily. Anyways, I really liked the restaurant, the decor was more upscale than the typical Chinese restaurant and it wasn’t cramped at all, the service was great, and the check came with orange slices and fortune cookies! I would love to go back there sometime.
After lunch, we headed to the Met a few blocks away, where they had Chinese New Year festivities. We were rather late so we only caught part of the youth orchestra performance and the tea ceremony demonstration. We walked around the museum some more, as somehow we had missed the Asian art collection during previous visits. I really liked the beautiful Astor Court, modeled on a Ming dynasty scholar’s courtyard in Suzhou.
Since we were in the area already, we decided to go to the Guggenheim after leaving the Met. We had attempted to go last semester, but they required a current sticker on our Columbia ID’s for free admission (hey, MoMA never asked). So now armed with our Sping 2011 stickers, we entered the giant spiral building.
I really liked the structure of the museum, as walking through it felt very natural, not like most museums where one feels constantly unsure of where to turn next. The main collection on display right now, The Great Upheaval, is great as well. Must go to more museums before graduation!
And now it’s Sunday, and as usual I haven’t gotten any work done, so I better be off now!
… is what I’ve been experiencing this whole Thanksgiving long weekend.
It all began Wednesday afternoon, after my morning class and finishing up an assignment due that day. Yufei and I headed downtown for lunch at Pommes Frites, a tiny little place in East Village that supposedly serves up excellent Belgian fries. Armed with a coupon from KGB deals, we arrived at the shop, where a line had already formed outside the entrance.
We waited for about 15 minutes before we were inside and had our orders taken. We got 2 regulars and 2 sauces, one sweet mango chutney mayo and one curry ketchup especial. The fries were nice and thick, freshly fried twice, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, served up in a paper coane. The regular size was pretty big, definitely enough for a meal. Their sauces, of which there were many (nearly 30), were also delicious and went perfectly with the fries.
We were lucky enough to get seats inside, and leisurely enjoyed our meal. I also liked the fact that we could see the entire process of how the fries and sauces are made, from the potatoes getting peeled, cut, and fried, to the sauces being processed in blenders. In addition to their regular fries with sauces, they also serve poutine. The Québécoise inside me has always loved poutine, and I’ve yet to find a good place for it in NYC. I think I might have to come back to try it here.
After lunch, we walked around a bit, found a Salvation Army thrift store, where we marveled at a fully functioning old school cash register and a early 90′s word processor, and from where I bought a Banana Republic skirt in great condition for only $5. After that, we found a Best Buy and played games on the iPad for about an hour. Then we finally got to where we were supposed to be – the Union Square Holiday Market. After looking around all the booths filled with all sorts of trinkets and treats, I finally decided to buy a lavender scented sea salt scrub for my mom. Of course, we also got more food at the market: a Belgian waffle from Wafels and Dinges! Soft, warm, with hot fudge on top – it was delicious. Who knew one could have so much Belgian food in a day?!
By the time we finished strolling in the market, it was still too early for dinner, so we found a Barnes and Noble nearby and went inside to read (you know, bookstores are excellent places to kill time). Then finally the time came for the dinner I’ve been anticipating all semester – authentic Sichuan cuisine at Szechuan Gourmet! We ordered eggplant with garlic sauce, Kung Pao chicken, and spicy dumplings. Everything was absolutely delicious. The eggplant was amazing, exactly how it’s supposed to taste, made with real doubanjian!
The chicken was also excellent. You know, Kung Pao chicken is such a simple dish, yet very few restaurants I’ve been to get it right, and this is one of them. It’s almost exactly the way we make it back home, except we put green peppers in it just to add some veggies.
It was such an awesome meal; I wish I could eat at that restaurant every single day. Sigh.
The next day, Thanksgiving day, we went to a brunch held on campus for those students who couldn’t make it home. A lovely meal consisting of turkey, stuffing, and all the traditional Thanksgiving fare shared with friends, it was a great meal. Once in a while, you get the feeling that Columbia may love you after all.
Then on Friday, a potluck dinner had been organized by the unofficial Canadians at Columbia group. I decided to try out a recipe I’ve been wanting to experiment with for a while now – Oreo truffles. It’s super simple to make, all that’s needed are a package of Oreo cookies, cream cheese, chocolate chips, and optional sprinkles. It’s basically powdered Oreos mixed with cream cheese, rolled into balls, then coated in melted chocolate. So easy to make, but they look totally gourmet and taste amazing.
It was a big hit at the dinner, but I found them just a tad too sweet for my taste, though still delicious. Will definitely make more over winter break (perhaps with dark chocolate to lessen the sweetness a bit?)!
Then came Saturday, and for dinner I decided to cook and made cola wings according to my own recipe. I think it was the best it’s ever turned out! So good. And now I just came back from lunch at my favourite Thai restaurant uptown, Wondee Siam V. Had my favourite thai dish, chicken pad kee mow, and fried coconut ice cream as dessert. They lit the ice cream on fire at our table! It was really cool and tasted great as well.
Ahh… just thinking about all the great food I’ve had this weekend makes me happy :) I hope everyone’s had as excellent a Thanksgiving weekend as I had – can’t wait until Christmas now!
So it’s been two weeks since I arrived in Vienna and I guess now would be a good time for a little update.
My internship has been going okay, but it’s a lot of work. I guess that’s what a full time job feels like. I’m usually at the lab by 8:30 am and leave at around 6 or 7, and sometimes have to go even on weekends. Right now I’m setting up crosses of my flies and doing behavior screenings, but as soon as I finish that (around 400 more lines of flies to go) I will get to dissect the positive lines and stain the brains and ventral nerve cords to see expression in the neurons. So my supervisor decided to “teach” me dissection the other day, which involved showing me this Youtube video of this Japanese guy dissecting a fly brain like he was peeling an orange (see below), then plunking me down in front of the microscope with a vial of flies and two very expensive forceps. Needless to say, it was much harder than peeling an orange and all I ended up with was a dissecting dish scattered with fly carcasses. Better luck next time. But seriously, trying to handle the brain of an animal that has a head the size of a grain of sand is next to impossible.
I haven’t really been working for two full weeks though, since last week the whole lab went on their annual lab retreat from Thursday to Saturday. I felt a little guilty going with everyone since I’ve only been working for three days by then, but they insisted that I come. We went to a place called Steindorf am Ossiacher See, a five-hour train ride away from Vienna. We stayed beside this lovely lake, and our room had a beautiful view:
I had a great time lying on the beach chairs by the lake shore, peddle boating, and kayaking.
This really cute duck family often came to visit :)
After getting back from the retreat late last Saturday night, I was determined to finally go see some sights in Vienna after missing two Saturday outings already. So on Sunday I dragged a couple of my new friends and took the subway into the city center. First stop was Vienna’s landmark, the Stephansdom. The front facade was under construction unfortunately, but it was still a magnificent building.
Next was Hofburg Palace:
The National Library (this puts Butler to shame):
Some museum I think?
I’m not sure what church this is, but I love it Nevermind, it’s the Rathaus, aka City Hall:
As you may have noticed, I didn’t go inside any of these places. I just wanted to walk around and see everything first, and maybe later I’ll take the time to visit the ones that interest me. I really want to go see Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss at the Belvedere, but some people from my group already went last Saturday, so maybe I’ll find someone else to go with me, or maybe just go myself because I don’t think anyone else is as much of an art geek as me. Also really want to see the Hundertwasserhaus because I think it looks so creative and fun. Must make the most of my time here!
Last night I went to this Chinese restaurant near the place I live with a friend. The food was quite good… boy do I miss Asian food. I also found an Asian vegetarian restaurant nearby, so I’ll be sure to go check it out soon. And yes, I am still keeping up with my vegetarianism for the summer. It’s been going quite well actually, the vegetarian option at the cafeteria every day helps a lot. Though I’ve been tempted a few times I must admit… by bacon, salmon, and chicken salad. At least now I know what kind of meat I really love.
PS: A thunderstorm is happening right now. I love it. there’s just something awe-inspiring about thunderstorms. Also hopefully this means the heat will finally die down a little tomorrow.