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Sundae in the Park

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Everything posted by Sundae in the Park

  1. All flights on American from LAX leave from the AA terminal, INCLUDING INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS. Ask me how I (now) know this. It's only the next terminal over from Tom Bradley but it is confusing and a giant pain if you've got a ton of luggage and a couple of sleepy babies with you.
  2. Doctored up some chicken/veg broth with wine, soy sauce, and powdered ginger, onion, and garlic to make a quick soup for using up some dried Asian noodles, also adding a chicken breast, shredded, and a few handfuls of chopped, frozen kale. Not bad at all! And it went well with another loaf of no-knead bread. We aren't going to have a problem using up that bread flour after all...
  3. Loaf of no-knead bread (6-hr rise, still looks and tastes great, like magic!), chicken Katsu, jap chae, cucumbers, and lots of fruit. Last night we had pan-fried, walnut-encrusted White Sea bass. Actually a little heavy - the fish was amazing and didn't need that much help. Made red beans and rice earlier in the week and now I think we're done cooking for a few days.
  4. We're starting to eat down the pantry, which might results in some stranger meal mash-ups. In the meantime, last night we had a perfectly normal dinner of grilled chicken thighs, roasted zucchini and carrots, cucumbers, brown rice, and All The Stone Fruit.
  5. We are Frito-ing as well! Made a batch of chili last week and the leftovers weren't a popular choice until we got some Fritos to eat with it... This weekend we made some doctored box curry (Golden Curry, medium heat) with lentils, potato, carrots, peas, and chicken, and also the Creamy Almond Mughlai Cauliflower using this recipe. The creamy sauce tastes like a great homemade korma and our personal preference was to nix the star anise, add more chili flakes, and minimize the sugar. To eat up some of the leftovers, I layered the cauliflower curry over microwaved a potato (don't laugh, I really like the texture and it's so quick and easy) and topped it with a fried egg. SO GOOD!!! For sides we've been eating the heck out of the stone fruit lately. We are basically made of cherries and nectarines at this point.
  6. Pizza, takeout, ice cream. They are living their best life and we don't have to cook. We can't do this forever but in the meantime...😎
  7. Now this place is interesting! We visited the Cerritos location and Creamistry's gimmick is that they make your ice cream fresh-to-order in a billowing cloud of liquid nitrogen. While the process is very much a gimmick (and makes the line move rather slowly), there's no denying that their technique yields an extremely dense and rich ice cream. Apparently the flash-freezing process eliminates or minimizes the formation of ice crystals. One nice aspect of the available choices is the variety of bases - organic, vegan, etc. Our group tried a bunch of the flavors and they were all strong/bright/tart, as appropriate, and there are a ton of candy-n-more type toppings to choose for additional customization. The chocolate combustion we tried was basically the ice cream version of fudge - airy, this ice cream is not. In fact, their own description of their product is "decadently rich and luxuriously creamy ice cream with virtually no overrun!" There are many locations (60 now, primarily in CA, AZ and TX, with apparently hundreds more of franchises in the works) and a huge expansion push that reminds me of the 5 Guys story. Incidentally, the use of liquid nitrogen keeps the stores nice and cold, which is additionally refreshing on hot days. It was a bit expensive, about on par with any premium scoop shop these days, but I like that they have a genuine element of "can't get this anywhere else" and it's a fun treat.
  8. Went to the Class 302 Cafe location in Cerritos and wasn't super enthused. The drinks are big and colorful but were wayyyyy too sweet, with no compensating tartness, for my tastes. Our group had several of the boba drink options (tea, smoothies, etc.) and I didn't care for any of them (soft boba, ugh). It looks like other locations have an interesting self-serve option, sort of like the Pinkberry of boba spots, but the Cerritos location is counter service only where they make your drinks. I noticed that shaved ice was big with the other patrons while we were there (well, also it's summer). I didn't see if the Cerritos location has hot food but it is available at other locations, according to the online menu. Has anyone else been? The self-serve boba bar might be interesting.
  9. Chicken katsu has been unlocked!! My husband has been working on it and found the right combination of ingredients and technique this weekend. The chicken (thigh) was juicy and tasty (because...salt), the panko breading was thin and crunchy, and the bottled sauce was the right kind of tangy (we never stock mustard so our homemade sauces hadn't been cutting it). We made a cabbage slaw (sesame vinaigrette) that paired really well and served it over rice, though it would be a great combo on a nice bun as a sandwich.
  10. We live to serve 😉 There have been a LOT of popsicles and ice cream sandwiches consumed in our yard after dinner lately...
  11. My kiddos have been eating rice + cucumbers + meat (pulled pork, grilled salmon or chicken, sauteed bee, etc.) + fruit all summer, and we've been pretty happy.
  12. Grilled sockeye salmon with a dry BBQ-ish spice rub, served with rice, cucumbers, sauteed zucchini, and chopped mangoes. It was more or less a deconstructed version of this recipe minus the avocado, and I think we'll just follow the salsa recipe as well next time since it was quick and easy and everyone liked it.
  13. Still love this place, with a slight preference to the Northridge location when it sensible to go there instead of the Encino location (we almost always get this as takeout on the way home from somewhere in LA, so the distance difference from the 101 is small but significant, but at late hours only Northridge is available). Though it hasn't been practical to try a back-to-back tasting, the cooks at the original location seem just a little more seasoned, with the spicing and balance just a smidge more deft. Though they have a huge menu, with specific Northern and Southern specialties, we have stuck mostly with our Northern favorites, the khao soy and kang ho (the noodles never stick together, it's loaded with vegetables, and has a distinctively tangy curry flavor). We've also tried several other ordinary noodle dishes and apps (all are fine-good-great, but unmemorable compared to these dishes, though my husband really like the angel wings [stuffed chicken]) and a few of the more interesting plates from the Southern menu (very good), but these dishes are what we crave. They take a lot of care with takeout orders, lining containers with foil, individually packaging all the little spices/sauces, and making air vents to preserve crispness as needed. They were on the LA Weekly's Essentials list of restaurants last year but fell off this year, which might actually be the sweet spot of publicity (they were slammed several times when we stopped by last year, and shortly after publication the FOH folks at least were adorably clueless that they had made the list) for visitors, as they seem to remain busy but you can get your food in a reasonable amount of time. We originally found them while looking for late-night food coming home from Six Flags Magic Mountain (a GREAT roller coaster park, and I'm saying this as a huge Cedar Point fan). It's really at an excellent location if you need good food at odd hours (or any time!) coming back to the city from the north. The Encino location is open until midnight on Friday and Saturday, and Northridge is open until 2 AM on those days for the college kids
  14. We use our toaster oven a LOT in reheating pizza, when we bother to reheat.
  15. 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.
  16. 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...
  17. 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!
  18. 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.
  19. 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!!
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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."
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