Monday, December 29, 2008

PBJ bars

Last night I was looking through my Barefoot Contessa cookbook and decided to make Peanut Butter & Jelly bars. Creaming butter and adding peanut butter (creaming peanut butter?) is something I've never done before and it gives you this beautiful butterscotch color that browns into a caramel in the oven. The end product is dense and wet. If blondies a pbj came together, this would be their lovechild. What's great about these are that theyre sweet but the peanut topping is salty so that there is a lovely contrast.

I used strawberry jam for mine but I think raspberry would do even better.

ps: eating these in portions greater than two-inch squares at a time may result in death.

Borba and Bakery

Sorry folks, for being MIA
I am pretty bad about making posts during the school year at my home campus.
I'm on my winter break as of now and I will spend the spring semester in Tokyo so you can expect blogs of my Japan food adventures. ^^

I recently took a trip to Saks 5th in the city (jerseyspeak for ny) where I stumbled across... this.

Borba is a facial skincare line with creams and gels and now, this, vitamin waters in trendy flavors like acai berry which is the new celebrity weightloss food icon. There was a little refridgerator with these zero calorie drinks in four to five flavors and even gummies which promise healthier skin.
I seriously doubt their potency but I bought a few anyway. The bottles are reusable and very pretty.

The same day, the rockefeller center magnolia did not have a two-mile line wrapped around the block *gasps* probably because it was the day after christmas and tourists kept the crowd concentrated near the tree and other displays. Anyway, magnolia's cupcakes are just as good, even without the sixty minute wait. I got myself doublechocolate and buttercream cupcakes but be sure to try the banana pudding--excellent reviews.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Five Guys

permission to peep before commentary

edit: commentary below

this statement is a bit bold but fiveguys is always always satisfying

burgers come in little and regular sizes which are big and bigger
i've actually never had a burger here for fear of not finishing but all i get are good reviews...
and smells

hotdogs are my usual, with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, lettuce, and some hot sauce
they're split down the middle so that theres no rollage between bites--smart guys

cajun fries are popular
and they should be eaten with a sprinkling of malt vinegar and generous black pepper in your ketchup


Monday, October 20, 2008

Best Bagel

I know New York is the pizza/bagel capital of the universe but I reserve supreme bagel praise for Celebrity Bagels (Tenafly, NJ)

Okay, maybe since Tenafly's only a short drive and a walk over the GW from the city the proximity to the NY bagel might have rubbed off some awesome-bagel traits. But dirty jers has done a great job outdoing ny dough.

chewyness is peerless

There isn't even a need for creamcheese (which, if you ask for will be spread in 1-2in thickness). Sufficient foodgasms are to be had from pulling apart the doughbabe and consuming with somewhat perverted relish.
on St. Patty's they serve green bagels! which is not yuck!

Question: if bagels are first boiled in water and then baked for a short time... are bagels a baked good after all?

Edit: 10/23/08 12:04am

Truethat, Yours, Truly, I should definitely update with pics actually from Celebrity's.
The shots above were taken midsemester break when I had 1.5 days at home. The pops brought home a bag of bagels in the morning because that's one of the two things I ask of him which makes me very happy (the other one being brewing perfect pots of coffee constantly).
You forgot to call me out on not listing nommy bagel combinations.

As you said, Sesame with scallion cream cheese
Poppy with egg salad
Plain with strawberry cream cheese
Lettuce tomato and scallion cream cheese
Any others?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Best Scone

If Amherst/Umass has the best pizza (Antonio's), then CMU has the best scone.

La Prima Espresso is probably my favorite thing about going to CMU.
This semester I don't have any classes in Wean Hall so I don't go there as often but the past two years have seen a lot of sconing.
There are two kinds of scones they sell, and the better kind are triangular, bigger, a bit dry, and always in the display case. Those are my favorites. But they do have smaller oblong ones in the in front next to the muffins and brownies. They're sort of undercooked--which could be a good thing but that's for you to decide.
Apricot and Chocolate Chip are winners.

Stuffed Pretzels

I came across Kim & Scott's Gourmet Pretzels in the freezer aisle of the Geagle (Giant Eagle) in Squirrel Hill. It's a short busride away from CMU campus.
"Chocolate Crumb" stuffed pretzel. My shopping buddy Christine decided to restrain herself but I went against my culturally instilled groupism tendencies and stood by the pretzel. I even put back some other junk to make junk space. And I think this was one of the best choices I've ever made in my life.

Chocolate is the best bet because it's chocolate. But there are a lot of different kinds including savory varieties. To name a few:
Sourdough Asiago
Apple Cinnamon
Mixed Berry Cobbler
Cream Cheese and Herb
Grilled Cheese
Cheddar Jalapeno
Spinach and Feta
They're not as big as the average soft pretzel so you can stop freaking out. If you have asian girl hands like mine, you can say the pretzel is a palm and a half in diameter.
You zap it in the microwave for about a minute and it becomes this soft, gooey thing you get to break up and consume slowly. But not too slow because it'll cool down. Plus finger licking.
The trick is though, to heat it up for just the right amount of time so that it becomes just hot enough but not overheated and tough. This a matter of whether to microwave it 55 seconds or 58.
Perfect for a college student with lazy mornings.
I often wake up and compulsively eat random things I don't really like and end up feeling unsatisfied to the ex-treme. "Should have showered and gotten that coconut chocolate cake donut at Entropy." That kind of thing.
Anyway. This is good. You're stupid if you pass it up.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Skylark has a lot of branches... 10 to be exact...and Taipei is such a small city that I wonder if this is normal. I've been to the Zhong Xiao Ming Yao one twice, the first time having an unremarkable 香辣咖哩海鮮炒飯 Seafood Curry Pilaf NT$140. But I'm really 貪吃 and while spooning my pilaf I saw this girl with a stylish bob cut in a little black dress eating the squid ink pasta that I might have ordered. Now, I've seen girls eat in Taiwan and this one didn't eat like a little-black-dress girl; she ate like a more-cheese-on-that-burger-please girl. And I had to go back to try it.

烏賊墨義大利麵Pasta with Squid Ink Sauce NT$200

You can choose between thick and thin noodles. I chose thick because I thought it would pick up more sauce, which was the main attraction. Squid Ink is one of my favorite dish themes, mostly because its interesting and pretty and black. Also because I still don't understand the flavor completely. Mystery= ooo sexy. The dish holds herbs, green peas, squid, and 1-inch squares of bacon. I give the dish a good "nom nom" rating because it's delicious. The bacon actually added points and did not overpower the mysterious squid ink taste. The only thing that the dish lacks is that eye-opening spark that makes you rave like a fatty. Otherwise: "nom nom" "smile" "happy." Just remember 注意: you shouldn't eat the red pepper garnish because the heat will make you choke, tear up and temporarily lose your voice. I knowingly did this because I'm one of those desperate Korean girls who get excited when they're given an unexpected red in their food...and perhaps because I have masochistic tendencies.

He got the 厚切牛排草蝦鐵板燒Grilled US Chuck Steak & Herbed Shrimp NT$370
It comes with a black pepper sauce that is a bit overpowering for my liking. And the beef isn't as beefy as I like them. But then again in all my steakings I've only ordered petit filet mignon before (except once when splitting with a girlfriend). And what can you ask of steak in Asia, right? He finished it. And the side items were cooked perfectly fine.

Fruit Iced Tea
Helps when choking and tearing up

Mmm... I would go again for the pasta. Everyone's pasta looked really good.


Zhong Xiao Ming Yao Shop
200 E. Zhong Xiao Rd. 11F

Get out of the Zhong Xiao Dun Hua MRT exit 3 and the Ming Yao will be straight ahead to your right.
Also, before you open the link to the Skylark website be prepared to be extremely annoyed by the song that plays. You can turn it off (noticed that a bit late) but it's still really annoying.


鳳梨 are really delicious, really common, and really various in Taiwan

Roughly translates to Golden Diamond Pineapple, which is a much bolder yellow/orange that is somewhat transparent and reflects light along its facets--like diamonds! The taste is in perfect accordance with its looks; still a pineapple, but more daring and sharp.

Milk Pineapple, which is grown under generous nursing of the cow teets (teehee). It's not fair to give the taste away after I waited two months for this to be in season. Plus, I can't think of anything witty to you just go try it if you're in Taiwan.

They also have Milk Guava

Best instant noodle

Wei Lih Men

This is the most humble looking 速食麵 you will find. You can tell that it's an old-schooler and that it's good enough to have lasted this long and still is competing with the newage instant nooldes that are getting more and more creative (I found one that comes with a packet of alcohol inside). It's a dry 炸醬麵 (zhajiangmian) that comes with two styrofoam bowls; one for the noodles and one to hold the 湯 which some people still save to drink while eating their 麵.

I'm not a fan of drinking oily ramen water so I passed on that.
But that is besides the point.

More goodies from IJY

They do not fail

If you like tiramisu


chocolate mochi with chocolate dipping sauce
Previously reviewed here


IJY Sheng
台北市師大路 53 號 電話:(02)2362-0425 傳真:(02)2362-2625

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Durian milk

For all the people who love durian but can't stand the smell. You might try durian milk as an alternative because there is no smell to it. I am assuming that somewhere between the milking and the pureeing the smell dissipated and didn't come back. And if you don't like durian at all you still might want to visit this fruit store because they sell cute bottles of freshly made watermelon juice, hemp berry juice, mango milk, avocado milk, and like things.

"King of fruits"
a.k.a. "fruit that tastes like pure fat" ^^


永康街, past Yogurt Me

Shilin Night Market


Is the first and last place I tried 臭豆腐 (stinky tofu). This is the fried kind that comes with cabbage and a spicy sauce. The stink really makes a statement, truly like pure sewage, but I don't remember anything remarkable about the taste. It's not bad. But really there is too much to eat that tastes and smells better by the leagues.

But! If you just walk a few meters past the 臭豆腐攤位 you'll come across the best 熱狗 (hot dog) in Taiwan ever. I still don't know why these are called hot dogs because they seem like corn dogs to me but I won't question the asian diction because it's fruitless every time. Anyway this is the best hot dog/corn dog you will find. This is just my opinion so it doesn't really matter but it also matters a LOT. They come in a few flavors including black pepper, cheese, and spicy. There are spices and condiments on the counter so that you can adjust your dog to taste.

香辣, of course.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The 3am Potato Chip

I can has another?

Hua Xi St. Night Market


What better way to spend 情人節 (Valentine's Day 8/7) than at a night market eating snake?

There is this one snake house that does snake-gutting demonstrations. They are hanged (can I say "hung" since snakes are not people?) as such, slit with a scissor in a upward zipper-cut motion, and bodily fluids are collected. Blood from the heart; Bile from the gallbladder; Venom from the fangs (the guy dilutes the blood and bile with water and the venom with alcohol). NTD$100 for a shot of each. So we entered.

I was really nervous and forgot to take pictures before downing these three. The blood shot is more like a doubleshot in volume and it comes with a pill floating on the surface that you're meant to swallow, I trust, for good reason. I had a second shot of venom 酒 when the other table couldn't finish.

We also ordered snake soup which tasted...I don't want to say bland but more mild and clean. It was like having chicken soup without the dancing oil globules. The goji berries in the soup made it fragrant.

After drinking snake fluids there is a need for a bit of kuchi naoshi. Although it's not bad, you just naturally would not want it to be the last thing you put in your mouth before sleeping. Zhuang yuan gao was very appropriate. It is a steamed dessert with sweet 花生 (peanut) or 芝麻 (sesame) filling. The white cake reminded me of Korean baekseolgi (white rice cake) which you get on your first birthday as the centerpiece to a staggering table of fruit. It's really the next best thing to having authentic Korean rice cake in Taiwan. With yummy filling. My friend ordered 一份 to share so I only got to eat one which had peanut filling. I want to go back to try the sesame.

Baekseolgi texture? Yes?

One or two stalls down there is a 雞排 (chicken steak) vender with an eclectic selection of fresh and fried things which they will fry or refry for you upon selection. There were so many goodies like 地瓜 (sweet potato) and veggies and meats but being me, I ordered the mantou. The mantou was pretty, knotted, and two-toned in white and tan. Even prettier after deep-frying and light salting. A new twist on a twisted favorite. Gaa the puns must stop.

My mantou next to fried shrooms

So here's to my Valentine's day spent with no valentine.

And no complaints from the happy tummy.


Closest MRT 龍山寺

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Starbucks: muffins

Before I express any kind of praise about Starbucks I want to make it clear that I am definately not a fan of Starbucks or any other coffee franchise. In the states I would not happily shell out US$2.00 for a tall black or for unworthy calories from the baked goods display. But in Taiwan you experience this withdrawal from being deprived of the Western saccharide for an extended period of time. Starbucks has been my solution. I dare say the chains in Taiwan carry better selection and quality baked goods than those in the states and their portions are such that I can tackle them by myself.

Here is your eyecandy.

Hey, Sexy, great top!

The blueberry muffin tastes just the way you would expect a good muffin to taste like. It stays true to a muffin's texture and dense consistency. Actually, that dense quality about muffins is what turns me off from them most of the time and it's what causes my muffin-count to stay really low. Including these two recent eats I have heretofore eaten approximately 5 muffins literally +2.5 muffins virtually by way of foodporn and imagination. But the blueberry muffin was definately good. No post-consumption regrets and only fond memories.

I had to try the chocolate chip muffin the next time around after reading
hungrygirl's review and I have to second her critique. As far as competition goes, I think the blueberry and chocolate chip would have broken even but I much prefer the lighter, cake-like texture of the chocolate chip muffin.


Heping Store
2 Heping Rd., Section 1, Daan District