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Sundae in the Park

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Everything posted by Sundae in the Park

  1. 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.
  2. 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!!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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."
  8. 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!!
  9. 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...
  10. 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.
  11. We were young, poor, and clueless, but still had access to great steak, because we fortunate enough to work in Rosslyn at just the right time. I learned about my love of the hanger; he, for Chateaubriand. Some have noted over the years that RTS & co. didn't appeal to everyone. Since we cut our baby steak teeth at the original RTS, we didn't see the appeal in stuffier, more expensive places that dominated pre-food-renaissance DC (and if you want something a bit nicer, just go to the RTClassics!). Thank you, Michael, for a great run. Since we moved away years ago, we've been missing the Rays restaurants forever, and now everyone else can too.
  12. I did it in CA. It's more or less just renewing your license in person with a few extra documents (in my case, a certified birth certificate, SS card, a W-2 form, and an insurance card; the last two for documenting residency). The DMV will have a list of acceptable documents for proving residency and even with electronic bills most people have a lot of documents that will qualify. You do have to submit paper copies for them to photocpy and keep on file,and can absolutely print out bills, etc., to bring in. Went to the DMV to get in line before it opened and was out in less than an hour (since an appointments had to be made months in advance) even with getting a photo taken. I was glad to get it, since I don't want to haul out my passport for domestic travel next year! Also, I had to get my license renewed anyway so it wasn't much more trouble.
  13. Fajitas! Sauteed vegetables and beef and chicken with a bunch of spices served over cheese quesadillas with guac. We've also gobbled down a very delicious, very heavy eggplant parm. Should probably lighten up with something like Tweaked's vegetable tian above.
  14. Also at Vons/Safeway (in CA, though...)!
  15. Pizza rolls and strawberries - both foods, both kids. I'll take it.
  16. Oooooh, I saw this vegetable galette on Serious Eats yesterday. That would definitely be delicious and wow, though it would be a bit messy to serve.
  17. Haha, yeah what do you want to be known for? And not mind making over and over, if necessary? My parents brought freshly fried wontons to our neighborhood block party decades ago and were asked to make them every year thereafter. Also, a cheesecake with pretty toppings always wows.
  18. Chicken satay with peanut sauce Pavlova topped with whipped cream and fruit Homemade bread with some fixings Pizza rolls (my favorite filling is pesto with chicken and mushrooms) Deviled eggs are always a crowd pleaser Mini quiches (muffin-sized) are actually super easy, or even easier, one big quiche Stuffed mushroom caps (a little pesto and goat cheese plus parm, et voila!)
  19. Ooooh, Tasty China has a few new dishes that haven't made it onto their online menu, but they are GREAT! Their dry-fried chili eggplant "fries" takes me back to the early days of Peter Chang's China Star (from which I lived down the street and visited many, many times). The eggplant is better than the fish version of the same dish (I think it is called chili fried fish or something like that, and the batter is a touch thick for my taste, though my husband loves that), and both taste like a cross between old China Star's cumin fish and the szechuan chili fried chicken (two of my all-time favorite foods). So happy to have these options in the county, since we haven't had anything like them since Szechaun Place in Newbury Park closed. They are now on the picture menu on the wall; when they were menu-testing the dishes, we used to order them based on pictures off the owner's phone 😉 Also, they have good fried pumpkin dumplings and red bean paste buns (basically desserts), as well as big pork soft buns (not the char siu BBQ kind), none of which are super-common menu items, especially way up here. The owner and workers here are super sweet and helpful. Yes, they definitely recognize me/my family at this point, but I've never seen them be less than pleasant/helpful to anyone who comes in. The last couple times we went in I debated ordering a fresher vegetable (they have a nice sauteed bok choi and decent green beans) to round out our meal of dumplings, noodles, and fried stuff. Luckily I've been overruled so we can order more snacky food and the group always feels guiltily, gleefully full and happy.
  20. Interesting article from the LA Times on the changing tastes for Chinese food in LA: The vanishing old-school Chinese restaurants of the San Gabriel Valley. It seems that we are losing many of the larger, banquet hall-style places, including, according to the article, Ocean Star, Empress Harbor Seafood Restaurant and Lincoln Seafood in Monterey Park, Embassy Kitchen in San Gabriel, and East Gourmet Seafood in Rosemead, which all closed within the last year. These are also among the places that you could get the dim sum on carts, which also seem to be going the way of the dodo (anecdotal experience only). David Chan (basically THE nonprofessional guy eating and writing about Chinese food in mostly LA but also throughout the US for the past decade) weighs in for the article. Incidentally, his writings on Chinese and possibly other food can be found here, on his blog, and here, through Menuism.
  21. Over the weekend we made a batch of gochujang rice cakes. Note, julienned snow peas are a delicious sauteed vegetable but they really don't work in this particular noodle dish (it would have been better, though still not ideal with long noodles); it really needs a leafy green like kale or baby bok choi. I also made a batch of brown rice chicken congee for the unseasonably cold weather, and a big pan of sausages and peppers and eggplant (that basically melted into a seedy sauce from the long cooking). For Memorial day we grilled some chicken thighs and hot dogs, made smashed cucumber salad, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed sweet potato leaves frown in my uncle's garden, rice, fruit salad, and then had marshmallows roasted on the firepit. For the cucumbers - I didn't love the proportions of the dressing - too much salt and not enough sugar, even with on-the-fly adjustments - anyone have a favorite recipe for asian pickly cucumbers? I mostly used an AllRecipes post: tossed 2 smashed, chopped, English cukes with 1 teaspoon white sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and drained for 1/2 hr, then mixed in 2 cloves chopped garlic, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, a smattering of red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, and a bunch more sugar to taste. I feel like I added a ton of sugar at the end, and still didn't get a sweet enough taste to match the restaurant dishes in my mind. I've tried before with slightly different proportions of basically these ingredients, but didn't quite get where I wanted to be. My family actually really liked them but I was dissatisfied. Any ideas? Thnx!
  22. We've made potstickers several times in the past week, as well as another batch of basil eggplant. One night we had fresh spring rolls with marinated chicken, herbs, spinach, cucumber, carrots, vermicelli noodles (the really thin and clear, fun se kind), and hoisin-peanut butter sauce. Finally, I made a double batch of giant shells, one set stuffed with 4 cheese and another stuffed with ground turkey, spinach, and cheese.
  23. Chinese sticky rice is a big hit! They kids are even asking for it. Now, they usually leave behind most if not all the good filling ingredients (mushrooms, chicken, sausage, veg, etc.), but it's a start, and then my portion has double fillings... They are also obsessed with the Costco cod fillets. No matter how many you make, they will eat their share and then stare/whine at yours until you fork it over. Finally, right now they will eat whichever yogurt is NOT currently open. Not the whole milk with jam, not the maple Greek (both of which they ordinarily love, which is why we have them and they are open!!); they must have the individually wrapped Chobanis, which come in particularly magical flavors such as strawberry and blueberry. If I say they have to have one of the open options, they'll pass altogether. WTF??
  24. Real question - are these for carrying around and using at restaurants, or just at home? Do guys carry them around and, if so, where? Presumably a woman with a bag can carry them there, perhaps with a cleaning rod and/or holder so your bag doesn't get wet, but they don't seem super pocket-friendly. Maybe they are a reason to carry a man-purse? Paper straws have made it out to the 'burbs in Ventura County, as I've noticed their use a few times in the past month.
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