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Sundae in the Park

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    Ventura County, CA

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  1. We use our toaster oven a LOT in reheating pizza, when we bother to reheat.
  2. You can order dim sum all day! And by that, I mean morning till night, every day (10 AM -10 PM weekdays, 9 AM - 10 PM weekends), so you can show up at odder hours to beat the crowds (still a small line at 2 PM on a Sat., but we were seated immediately because we had a large group and could take one of the family banquet tables). There are lots of pictures of the most popular dishes on the menu, which is helpful if you're not sure what you're looking for. There are quite a few sweets options - regular and Macau-style egg tarts, lots of "golden" bun options, yam, taro, etc. The sizzling beef udon is expertly stir- fried and very tasty (enough that the adults didn't *quite* want to cede all of it to the kids, as originally intended) and we enjoyed the sticky rice as well.
  3. Their food is also great for local takeout, BTW. Our non-kosher folks really enjoyed the shrimp and pork dumplings but by far the star of the table were the lamb dumplings. Everyone fought for those and then had to make do with the other fillings...
  4. Yum! And glad it has been turning into a lighter storm than expected. Tonight I made a red curry to use up some eggplant and cauliflower, which will be lunches for the week. For dinner we made decent crock pot then broiler carnitas, served with tortillas, rice, guacamole, salsa, sautéed corn, and black beans. Yesterday we had a bunch of different sausages and KBBQ-marinated grilled steak, served with rice, sautéed zucchini, sliced melon, and cucumbers. It has been a crazy few weeks and we hadn't been cooking much, instead subsisting mostly on various pastas with jarred sauces (lots of Costco pesto), fruit, takeout, and delivery pizza. It's good to be cooking again!
  5. Hat Yai, the new Belmont location. The Hat Yai combo with puffy, stretchy roti, thick and darkly flavorful curry, crispy/juicy/tasty fried chicken, including an extra wing, ordinary sticky rice, and various pickly/saucy elements. The food is absolutely divine if you are into SE Asian flavors, the vibe is a bit overly trendy, young, and shiny new, and the tall stools are deeply uncomfortable (hard, weird height). I almost went to the other location to have the same meal again the next day but ran out of time. Chicken rice at Nong's Khao Man Gai. It's sad that the original and other carts are gone, but they have two teeny restaurants serving, theoretically, the same food. While this was pretty and yummy and I was happy have this dish again, it didn't blow me away like the dish I remembered (I've had it twice from the original cart, years ago). The soup is blander, with no pickled taste. The sauce is fiery sweet but not...hmmm...life changing, which is kind of how I felt the first time I took a bite. It was nice. It's a PDX institution. But for my $ and calories, I'd go to Hat Yai every time unless I was feeling like I needed a cleansing meal. Finally, no pics but I went to the Din Tai Fung location at the Washington Square mall. It was a rather long line for a weeknight but a lot of fun per usual. Pork XLB are still delicious and perfect, and the vegetable dumplings are good for vegetable dumplings if you must, but the brand-new fish dumplings were not a dish that I'd order again. I had to try them in my quest for the West Coast version of China Bistro's sliced fish dumplings, but the mushy filling is overly fishy yet not particularly flavorful (I did ask in advance and knew it was not a sliced fish filling). Meh.
  6. Papa Hadyn in east Portland. Buttery, cheesy (brioche is grilled with butter and parmesan) decadence in the form of a croque monsieur with cucumber salad. The cucumbers were a better choice than the plain salad, but I do wish that the dressing had more dijon bite, or a vinaigrette dressing to better counterbalance the sandwich. The main was HEAVY but good but the star of the place is dessert - so many gorgeous cakes and pastries to choose from! Every desert brought out was head-turn worthy pretty. Our mint chocolate cake slice was moist and delicate, yet rich with chocolate and mint flavor, with fun crunchy accents. Worth the splurge. Also, this location has a lovely outdoor garden patio seating area. The flowers were in full bloom, the hedge protected from most traffic noises/smells, and the umbrellas kept us cool on a sunny day. It was not exactly what I'd choose for myself but a wonderful pampering experience of a business lunch!!
  7. Jianbing and roujiamo from Master Kong on SE Division. It's a small, cozy place with excellent options (I wanted to try so many more things) and apparently a terrible wait on the weekends, but at open on a weekday (9:30 AM) it was deserted...for a few minutes. Go go go.
  8. Agree with above. It's been super popular in the SGV and beyond and they continue to build stores in the states (dozens of shops in CA urban areas, one coming soon in Portland, OR, big presence in TX) so thought I'd give it its own thread. Although they have some typical Chinese bakery options, mostly the sweeter breads and pastries (no meat buns, curry puffs, etc.), I wouldn't call them a Chinese or Taiwanese bakery, per se, as they have quite a few Euro-centric bready options. I've been to 3-4 stores and they are usually quite large, brightly lit, with lots of seating, inviting (young!) people to stay and sip/chew/chat. Their website offers lots of modern accouterments, like an app, a rewards program, nutrition facts, newsletter...It's a nice place to stop if you know what to expect.
  9. Hahahaha yes to the incorporation of compost being SO PORTLAND! Salt and Straw's June flavor's were camping-related. There was a mushroom-based (really! And you could taste them!) ice cream and one with spruce tips and huckleberries. Interesting to taste, but I went with a flight ($9) of sea salt w/ caramel, almost brittle, lavender & honey, and strawberry & basalmic vinegar. All good, interesting, etc., but honestly I wasn't blown away like the first few times I've been, many, many moons ago. Something about the texture, though the depth of flavor is impressive. Maybe it was the (relatively manageable) line or that they were out of the coffee/chocolate, or just that high-fat ice cream in artisanal flavors is much more prevalent than before. Go if you can avoid a crazy line, but I'd bet that you could get a similar experience at one of the many other ice cream shops. At Blue Star I got an OG original and chocolate bergamot cake to take home, and the verdict was that both were excellent but perhaps not quite worth $3 and $4 apiece. More to come on other trip highlights but I wanted to note that the Alder & 10th street food cart pod is slated for destruction!!!! Their last day is June 30th, and a big building is going up in its place. When I passed by last week most of the tenants were still there, but only a few had signs updating costumers about new locations. Hopefully something can be done to relocate the bulk of the group but either way, it's the end of a Portland era. Also, the Washington Square mall in the 'burbs seems to be indicating a greater Chinese (at least food!) presence in the area, as they have a Din Tai Fung, an almost-built 85 degrees bakery, and a Taiwanese bubble tea shop slated to come.
  10. Blueberry crisp, a bit more crisp and burnt than intended, but quite tasty having scraped off the black bits and smothered it in whipped cream. Nuts in the streusel are key.
  11. I'm not sure I'd return fruits if they were suboptimal, say sour cherries (of which I have a bag at home right now), but for bad fruits, like unexpected rot/mold/bruises I'd probably try, if I could remember them on my next trip to the store. At Costco I definitely would, both because of the large portions and their easy return policy (I've returned soured cream before). I don't know if you have to bring the bad fruit back, or just a receipt. Worth an ask! At Costco, they just asked for the clean, empty carton and receipt as proof of purchase for the cream "return."
  12. Ugh, those front ticket folks can be the worst!! Especially since they guard the gates to get to the next step and often have wrong/incomplete information. Once, back in the day the VA DMV ticket person wouldn't let me through because I didn't have a green card, which they insisted was the form of ID I must present to get my license. They wouldn't accept that I'm a Boston-born U.S. citizen and DON'T HAVE A GREEN CARD. I actually had to leave to go get my passport because I didn't think to take up the issue with a manager like you did. Still get mad thinking about it!!
  13. So, my kids won't eat roasted potatoes when I chunk or slice potato rounds, but they will devour homemade french fries when I roast potatoes cut into a fry shape and refer to them as such. Gotta see if this will work with sweet potatoes...
  14. The other night we had blackened cod with roasted garlic, green beans, and potatoes. Yesterday we baked cherry-apple oatmeal and pecan sticky rolls in the morning, then roasted a trip-tip and more potatoes for dinner. Served with sauteed green peas and store-bakery rolls. I also made a batch of chicken congee for our scratchy throats.
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