Friday, December 13, 2013

Snapshots from Taiwan

Rampant succulent growth (so many plants growing from people's windows, balconies, carports...)

foamy latte on tatami at Single Rain cafe in Da'An park neighborhood.

Mario street performer in Da'An neighborhood

Madeleines of many flavors

A color-coded parade of shoppers in the side-streets near Sogo

Snowy in New York

Photo courtesy of Guido Maus

Sometimes we spend snowy weekdays looking at art in Chelsea and when we do we sometimes forget to eat lunch so we end up at 3pm at New York Burger Co. feeling a little crazy.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Taiwan Thanksgiving Part 1

Lilly and I are in Taipei for Thanksgiving this year to celebrate with her Taiwan family. There has been very little conversation about pilgrims or even giving thanks but there has been copious amounts of eating. There are a lot family to see and therefore lots of excuses to eat and eat big. Taiwan is an excellent place to eat. There are fine examples of multiple chinese cuisines here. So far we have feasted at a Shanghai style, Hunan style, Peking Style, Tainan Style, Catnonese Style, and some sushi thrown in for good measure. We'll try and do justice to these meals in the coming posts, but they were epic. So many dishes to try and almost all of them were new to us. Below is a photo run-down of our Shanghai Style meal at the Din Tai Fung dumpling house. This was an amazing meal marked by its clean fresh tastes. Even the fried dishes had a quality of lightness to them. The soup dumplings, however, were the star of the show. We've had soup dumplings in America but these are working at a whole different level. Most soup dumplings are tasty these are trip-worthy.


Start off with some pickles and bean sprouts.



Then move onto the stars of the show. Soup dumplings with pork filling.


These were well complimented by vegetable wontons in spicy oil.


Next was pork noodles with pickled mustard greens.


A perfect row of potskickers. Inside was pork and shrimp.


Here are small bowls of the two soups that accompanied the meal. On the left beef tendon and noodle and on the right sweet and sour. Notice the perfectly cut strands of tofu and blood cake in the hot and sour. It is unlike anything I've had in America. Deep earthy flavors of the blood contrast well with a tangy vinegar broth.

 Just in case there wasn't enough food we ordered shrimp fried rice.

Finish off the meal with lightly sweetened sesame buns.

This was the end of this meal but just the beginning of our Taiwanese Thanksgiving extravaganza!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Donuts, donuts, more donuts


A very kind person gifted us this New York Doughnut Map which has become the guiding force in our movements around the New York area.

We've been to a third of the thirty-five listed sites though not all visits have been successful (one or two sold out before we got there, another doesn't have donuts anymore!)

Here's a sampling of what we've eaten (I'll spare you the full list--just buy the map!)



Sour-cherry jam-filled donut (filled to order!) from Orwashers on the Upper East Side

Chocolate glazed at Orwashers (would have been better at the beginning of the day. Alas, we arrived at 6pm! If late, stick to the jelly-filled.)

We visited the French-styled Balthazar bakery for their amazing cake donuts.

Pictured: chocolate, pumpkin spice with pepitas, and apple cider. The donuts at Balthazar are made distinctive by their celebration of fine, natural flavors. These were very worthy donuts. If we were to find a fault, it would be in their obvious refinement.

close-up of Balthazar's pumpkin spice donut.

On the less-haute, dare-I-say hipper end of the spectrum, we have Doughnut Plant in the LES and Dough in Bedford. Both are excellent, play with interesting but not-too-tawdry flavor combinations like chocolate and Earl Grey (Dough) and coffee cake and coconut cream (Doughnut Plant). We visited both yesterday, trying a combined 9 donuts for the day. Unfortunately, all were consumed before we remembered to take pictures.

Our friend Bethany at the last minute snagged a pic of the almost-empty Dough box. 
Astoundingly good! Quick to disappear!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Eating Southern Food in NY

What are we doing these days in Brooklyn? Eating to survive, and ending up at a good number of Southern-styled restaurants.

Biscuit-sized donuts at Pies 'N Thighs



Fried chicken, sausage, and biscuit at Pies 'N Thighs.

Donuts don't get any bigger than the ones at Pies 'N Thighs (they cut them with a biscuit ring). This leads to gargantuan size but not exactly an even fry (they get a little tough on the outside). The chef does have a deft hand with the sugar, however, and whatever other toppings and fillings he or she deigns to include. 

We made stop at John Brown's BBQ in Long Island City for various meats and thick-sliced bread. Also on the dry side (New York you're killing me!) but a tasty treat nonetheless.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Federal Donuts

honey doughnut (comes with any order of fried chicken) in front of the chicken cart
 Before arriving in Brooklyn, we spent a few days in Wilmington, Delaware and in Philly. We returned to one of our favorite doughnut spots--Federal Donuts. Similar to Rise--though it predates it--Federal sells coffee, fried chicken, and doughnuts exclusively. Federal, however, has streamlined the menu to several tempting subcategories: specialty donuts (the cake, in 6 varieties each day), yeast (fried fresh, topped with 3 different spiced-sugar blends), and the dry-rubbed and wet-rubbed chicken in a few flavor choices. The yeast are incredible, but the lure of the new is always the determining force, so we ended up trying all the cake donuts, one yeast (we'd had 2/3 the last visit), and split an order of the Thai-chili chicken (one must be abstemious somewhere, after all).
can't remember all the flavors but I believe this box includes chocolate sea salt, watermelon and basil, cookies and cream, and lots of other deliciousness.
 Each new cake donut is a surprise at Federal. The accuracy and brightness of flavor and moistness of texture are just absurd. I will never stop loving these donuts.
Thai-chili glazed fried chicken
The fried chicken at Federal tends toward the dry-side, due to frying them before fried-chicken service starts (at 11am) and then reheating with spice/sauce. The flavors, however, remain interesting and it's always a treat.

Rise Biscuits and Donuts, Durham NC

creme brulee donut
We were in Raleigh, NC for most of August and, lucky for us, the RTP area is host to a couple new doughnut spots. We tried Monuts Donuts from Durham which were tasty, but in our bleary-eyed and hungry morning state we scarfed them before we remembered to take pictures. 

Another new gem in the area is Rise Biscuits & Donuts (be still, my heart), also located in Durham.

pea-patty biscuit
 We ordered the fried chicken biscuit and a pea-patty vegetarian. Surprisingly, the pea came together better than the chicken, which was on the tough and dry side. The biscuits, however, were quite good, boasting the satisfyingly crisp top and tender crumb of a Bojangles biscuit, minus the excess salt.
Fried chicken biscuit

Doughnuts, L-R: kids donut, chocolate chocolate, and creme brulee
 I lose all sense when presented with a be-sprinkled donut, so we ended up with the confetti-colored "kid's donut" as well as chocolate chocolate (of the cake variety) and the creme brulee, which was the day's winner.

The kid's donut was nothing to shout about, too small to be moist, but the cake was very nice. The creme brulee, however, was a cream-filled yeast with a bruleed sugar crust that was both an interesting variation on the old cream-filled and a satisfying array of textures.

Next up: another donut post.