Search This Blog

Sunday, February 28, 2010

USA v Canada?

Wha?!! The USA is playing against Canada for the hockey gold medal at the Olympics? How can that be? Isn't Canada our 51st province? Hehehe... K, that was a cheap shot. Go Team USA!!! Let's kick those maple leaf tushies!


I have two friends in Chile. When I heard of the earthquake there, I emailed them, and fortunately they and their little ones are all doing fine... but they are without power right now... sigh, the forces of nature...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

XO Kitchen

XO Kitchen is a popular eatery in Manhattan's Chinatown... I had a major craving of Chinese food when my flight landed in NYC... so when I met up with F, we rushed straight to XO Kitchen! Wanton soup... slurp, mmmm....

Clams with garlicky breadcrumbs... hmm, not really Chinese, but still good. The clams were very tender, not chewy at all.

Stir fried turnip cake, a bit greasy, but I was hungry and tired so it was good.

XLB, not exactly authentic, as the skin was a bit too thick to be Shanghainese, actually think of it, we Shanghainese have pretty thick skins, but we'll discuss that another day...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Xian Famous Foods

Long long time ago, the ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an used to be the last stop on the Silk Road... Although the Persian traders are long gone, they left their culinary marks on Xi'an. When I was little, I used to spend summers with my aunt's family there and go to the Muslim quarters to eat Chinese Muslim food... And so when I read a review of Xi'an Famous Foods in the New York Times, I started to plot a trip to NYC to eat some good Liang Pi and cumin lamb burgers!

We went to the Manhattan branch which is literally a hole in the wall, there aren't any tables or seats, just a tiny bar area, only big enough to fit two people standing up. Here, the lady is tossing my Liang Pi...mmmm...

Finally! Liang Pi! Spicy, soury, slippery, spongy, crispy... such a great combination of tastes and textures...

Cumin lamb burger... it was only $2.50... can't beat it. They stuffed it with cuminy lamb meat and the pancake was very very good too.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

America the Beautiful

What do you get when you throw lion dancers...

Senator Chuck Schumer...

Chinese people in cheesy customs...

Grannies playing drums...

Miss USOs...

People with the surname Lee...

and white dude and his pooch (both in drag)...

together in NYC's Chinatown? Chinese New Year's Parade! It was crowded, loud, chaotic, but so so much fun! Happy Chinese New Year!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Paris at Night

Last night in Paris... will head to NYC tomorrow for the weekend. Passing Place Vendôme...

Paris Opera House

Orchid at the bottom of stairwell...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Indignation in Bremen

St. Peter's cathedral in Bremen town square... it's been around since like the 1000s... that's old.

This is the side of the Bremen Rathaus (ie Bremen parliament)... if you look closely (at the corner of the red brick building) you can see the statue of the Musicians of Bremen, the donkey, dog, cat and rooster...

Teutonic knights guarding Bremen Rathaus from, eh, rats?

Kogi's taco truck has invaded Bremen!

The town butcher's truck... all sorts of meats inside. It was a cold day, so I was all bundled up looking roly poly in a hooded ski jacket with chubby mittens. While standing next to the large black doggy, admiring the meats inside, the butcher's wife started to wave really fast at me... she had a huge grin on her face... I thought, wow, she is one uber friendly German, so I gave me a big grinned wave back... then I realized, oh, she thinks I am a little kid, that's why she is doing the... aww, aren't you cute wave! It's one thing to be mistaken as a 20 year old, but it's another thing to be mistaken as an 8 year old!

Auf wiedersehen! Dear Bremen, for the record, I am not 8 years old, and we Americans do not condone child labor.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year from Bremen, Germany. Best wishes to you all!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Old Town Warsaw

Yay, finally got to go to Old Town Warsaw! It's called Old Town, but it's actually only 50 years old, as Warsaw was almost completely destroyed by the Nazis during WWII (evil!!) and Old Town had to be rebuilt. Here is the entrance to the area...

Ponies! They are so cute and furry! Hope not too cold.

Cobblestone Streets...

Madonna and child... most likely this was carved prior to WWII as almost everything was destroyed during the war... please continue to bless Warsaw, it has gone through so much.

Town square!

The Warsaw Mermaid, the symbol of Warsaw and part of its coat of arms.

It was so cold, we had to stop every half a block and sneak into a coffee shop or eatery to get warm... here is a little pizzeria...

I could not believe how yummylicious the pizza is here. I don't even normally like pizza! The crust was thin and tasted like it was made from real flour! The seasoning was simple but hit just the right spots. It's 1am here, and I am craving it again!

Cold cold! So we stopped by a coffee shop along the way, in the cellar of one of the buildings here... but it was all warm and toasty inside!

I got strawberry and cream tea...MMMM... feeling all warm inside now.

Bye bye Warsaw... you've gone through so much. We learn from the past and live for the future. Good luck.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Anatomy of a Polish Meal

This is a really neat restaurant in Warsaw... the kitchen used to be the kitchen for a hotel and the dining area used to be the dining area for the staff so it's got this retro-look. At first I thought it used to be a hospital. Look at the industrial burners!

I was told the Poles don't eat salad, but they make awfully good salads. There is a person who washes every leaf that goes into the need to worry about worms or dirt... and the salad is beautifully presented. Oh yeah the dessert is right next to it... see that cream puff on the upper right corner of the plate? Well, it is happily sitting in my tummy right now... mmmm. Beard Papa? No competition. The Polish version is so much better.

Better view of dessert selection... I like this about Polish restaurants, you get to go pick out your own cream puff!

Here is the salad... too bad it came out blurry, cuz it was one of the best (not to mention beautiful) salads I've ever had... they put a lot of crunchy shredded beets and stuff in there, added a subtle layer of sweetness...and the dressing is not soggy at all.

The thing I like the most about this restaurant is that food is served at your table. Unlike in the US, where the plating is already done, then it is brought out to you. Here, it has a much more intimate feel. The servers and chefs bring out the pots and pans the food is cooked in and serve it to you right at the table. Here the ham is being carved (nothing like the US ham, tasted more like a roasted suckling pig) and the server is giving me some beets as a side.

Mashed potatoes and sauerkraut being served.

This is what a Polish main course typically looks like -- a huge slab of meat with some form of potato by its side. It was really good though. The onions were perfectly caramelized, the beef steak pretty flavorful and the mashed potatoes... creamy and buttery.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fine Polish Cuisine

When I stepped into this traditional Polish restaurant, I had an irresistible urge to break into a polka dance! Yeeeehah! Ok, that's western, sorry.

Chef making steak tartare at the table... he looked like a chef too!

Here is my main course, veal schnitzel. It was so huge, it came on its own chopping board!

For country, for people, Chaaarrrrrge! CHOOOOOOMP!

Polish desserts. Kekeke, major tickling of sweet tooth.

Japanese in Poland

I must say, Warsaw is really growing on me... It's got a quiet charm to it. Hard to pin point, but it's like people here have this understated sweetness...

So, to take a break from dumplings, I went to an Asian fusion place here called P.. mostly Japanese and Thai dishes, plus some raw seafood.

The best tom kai kung soup I've ever had. The herbs and spices are perfectly balanced... not too sweet, not too sour and not too spicy... just right.

Oysters, yum!

My friend's sushi and sashimi

My sushi: giant scallops and Norwegian salmon. The scallops had a subtle sweetness to them and the Norwegian salmon tasted fattier and more flavorful than the salmon we get in the States.

Shrimp and veggie tempura -- bad choice, ok, not that bad, but the batter was off, they did not use special Japanese tempura batter, so it was a bit soggy.

Thai curry dish -- beautifully presented, but okay taste.

Refreshing sorbet to clean the palate.