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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Young Dong Tofu - San Gabriel

Young Dong Tofu - San Gabriel 1

Earlier this summer, I met up with Pink Candles at Ridgemont High and her family, who were up to check out the Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition at Nucleus Art Gallery & Store - Alhambra. She wanted to eat cold noodles for lunch. After running through Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese cold noodle options, she decided on Korean.

I suggested Young Dong Tofu in San Gabriel because the menu specifically has a dish called Korean cold noodles. I know, so generic-sounding, but it was exactly what she asked. :P

Young Dong Tofu is located in a strip mall on Las Tunas Drive where Tokyo Lobby and Sam Woo BBQ are also. Unfortunately, ever since the Albertson's grocery store closed and got boarded up, the area has a rather desolate feel.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pork Ribs with Gochujang and Samjang (Korean Chile and Soy Bean Pastes)

Pork Ribs with Gochujang and Samjang (Korean Chile and Soy Bean Pastes) 1

I feel a little guilty posting this recipe since it really consists of just combining two items -- gochujang and samjang (Korean chile and soy bean pastes). But really, the beauty of this simple recipe is that both the chile and soy bean pastes are already seasoned so you don't need to add anything extra.

I like to bake my ribs for tender, fall-off-the-bones ribs, but if you want to grill them, you can easily start them off in the oven first. This recipe is perfect for when you're in the mood for some Korean barbecue or for flavorful ribs, but don't want to mess with fussy marinades.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How to Make a Homemade 3-Tiered Cupcake Stand

How to Make a Homemade 3-Tier Cupcake Stand 1

Remember back when I made the 2-tiered cupcake stand for cousin A's bridal shower, I said that cousin D perked up at the mention of cake stands too?

Gosh, before I knew it, nearly a year has flown by and it was time to make another set of cake and cupcake stands for yet another cousin's bridal shower. This time, because I've had several homemade cake and cupcake stands under my belt, I've gotten kinda good at this. That and the longer lead time gave me plenty of chances for more trips to the thrift store, and plates and candlesticks to stockpile.

Do you know how hard it is to find a salad dish-sized glass plate at the thrift store?

Virtually impossible for some reason.

So this is the first time I've been able to make a 3-tiered cupcake stand. And I have to say, this may be my best one yet.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner, Paris On My Mind, and the Last Harry Potter

Breakfast for Dinner

On February 3, 2009, at 11:40 p.m., I made breakfast for dinner. I really have no idea why I took this photo except that I'm so used to taking photos of everything that I just do it out of habit. It's not like this picture included anything that I was going to blog.

Well, I long ago already blogged Banh Mi Op La (Vietnamese French Bread with Sunny Side Up Eggs). So the few squirts of Maggi Seasoning Sauce on the eggs and the rather craptastic photo wouldn't have had anything to do with updating that recipe's photos. I'm not even sure what recipe I used for that pancake. Singular. I hope I hadn't finish all this because that's a lot of food to eat in one sitting.

Breakfast for breakfast is just too much food too early in the day for me. Such is what I remember from someone I dated in college who was fond of breakfast for late night. Or perhaps that was more because we'd study until the library closed at midnight, and there weren't too many food options at that hour. So IHOP it was. I wonder if I had some deeper thoughts about breakfast for dinner that I wanted to impart way back when and that's why I took the photo?

Not that my eating habits in college have much to do with anything except that July was a busy month. And on busy days, sometimes all I have time to make for dinner are a couple of eggs. But these days, they tend to be quickly scrambled and eaten with rice.

I've been thinking about my undergrad experience a lot lately. That and some of the places I've been. Partly because of the loss of a former student this month and thinking about everything that I experienced that she'll never get to. And partly because I miss Chicago. And traveling. I miss traveling a lot.

I'm halfway through a year of chronicling every day of my life now. Well, between Day 182 and Day 183 is the halfway point anyway. And all I have to show for it is what I already know. I like food, books, and naps.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ga Nuong La Chanh (Vietnamese Grilled Chicken in Kaffir Lime Leaves)

Ga Nuong La Chanh (Vietnamese Grilled Chicken in Kaffir Lime Leaves) 1

I meant to post this recipe at the same time as when I made Tom Nuong Hanh Ngo (Vietnamese Grilled Shrimp with Scallion Cilantro Sauce) and Thit Nai Nuong Xa (Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Venison) since those dishes were all served at the same dinner party held shortly after my trip to the Bay Area. But those initial photos were really horrible and I wanted to try making the recipe again anyway. Who knew it would be almost two years before I would eventually get around to it?

I first heard of Ga Nuong La Chanh (Vietnamese Grilled Chicken in Kaffir Lime Leaves) from Highway 4 Restaurant in Vietnam. Or rather, Kirk of Mmm-yoso had dined there back in April 2008 and ordered other dishes, but I was curious about the restaurant and checked out their menu on their website. I couldn't find a recipe that I liked for this dish, so I came up with my own. If anyone has eaten this dish at Highway 4 or at anywhere else, you'll have to tell me how my recipe compares.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tom Yum Fried Rice with Shrimp Roe and Kaffir Lime Leaves

Tom Yum Fried Rice with Shrimp Roe and Kaffir Lime Leaves 1

In the interests of clearing out old pictures, this Tom Yum Fried Rice with Shrimp Roe and Kaffir Lime Leaves dates back to November 2009. I was trying to figure out why I had so many shrimp heads and shells on hand and none of the recipes taken around that time revealed any clues. So I must have already blogged whatever it was I was cooking with all that shrimp.

I normally save the heads and shells of shrimp to use as stock in such dishes as Tom Yum Goong (Thai Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup) because they add so much flavor. That particular day though I was looking for something different, and remembering Miss.Adventure at Home's post about braising shrimp heads with rice and Blazing Hot Wok's Southeast Asian Rice Pilaf, I decided to make Tom Yum in a rice dish instead. So basically the Tom Yum ingredients -- shrimp heads, shrimp, chilies, lime juice, and kaffir lime leaves -- but stir-fried with rice.

The result was a very briny, fragrant rice. If I had to re-do this dish again though, I'd either drastically cut down on the shrimp shells, using only a few shrimp heads for the roe, or just stick with peeled shrimp. Because while the shrimp shells added so much flavor to the rice, it was a pain to pick out while eating. Of course, then you'd miss out on the gorgeous red color the shrimp roe added to the rice. It's a trade-off. The strips of kaffir lime leaves and a squeeze of fresh lime juice at the end helped offset the brininess of the shrimp.

So of course, it probably would have been easier to re-do the pictures with those recipe changes, but I just loved seeing the shrimp heads sticking out of the red rice. Haha. I know, I'm weird. Alternatively, if you want to skip using shrimp heads, just substitute with a tablespoon or two of Tom Yum paste.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kaffir Lime Leaves

Kaffir Lime Leaves

I don't have much to say about kaffir lime leaves since I don't use it too much in my cooking. Kaffir lime leaves add a lovely citrus note to many curries and seasonings without making the food taste too sour. I associate the leaves mainly with Thai cuisine, although there's a random Vietnamese and Indonesian recipe thrown in as well.

The double leaves of the kaffir lime are a little thicker than normal lemon leaves, although in a pinch, I've used Meyer lemon leaves off my uncle's tree with no problems. The leaves can be left whole to stew in curries, or finely chiffonaded and added as a garnish.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken 1

I've said it before many times that I have so many sets of photos that I could not cook or dine out for an entire year and still have something to blog every day. My photos were alphabetized since I tend to blog thematically, but too many posts got buried that way. Recipes languished and restaurants closed before I ever got around to blogging them. So I recently sorted my photos again, this time by date. And lo and behold, this Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken recipe from February 2008 popped up.

I had made this around the same time that I made and blogged my Taiwanese Popcorn Tofu and Japanese Chicken Karaage recipes, but wasn't quite satisfied with the recipe for some reason. But these photos, even taken with the old point and shoot camera, don't look half bad. The texture was fine, I just couldn't figure out exactly the right spices to make it taste like what I get at the tea houses. But here you go anyway, my almost forgotten Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken recipe.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Le Arbre Tea House - Rosemead

Le Arbre Tea House - Rosemead 1

Back in March, Tony of SinoSoul and his missus went to check out the mango shaved ice at Le Arbre Tea House in Rosemead. They invited me to join them since the shaved ice will be too big for the two of them to finish. So off I went, looking to find another tea house to replace my usual spot at Tapioca Express Inc. - San Gabriel.

This next photo is pretty hilarious, but if you're easily offended, just bypass it and go down to the third photo.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Half and Half Tea House - Monterey Park

After dinner at Noodle Guy Vietnamese Restaurant - Alhambra my brother wanted to try Half & Half Tea House in Monterey Park because he had heard us talk about it.

Half & Half Tea House - Monterey Park 1

Mostly because the tea is fresh-brewed, comes in giant cups, and is cheaper than Tea Station - Alhambra. Those are my and my siblings' pudding tea, passionfruit tea, and milk teas above.

Those are Half & Half Tea House's normal size cups.


Saturday, August 06, 2011

Noodle Guy Vietnamese Restaurant - Alhambra

Noodle Guy Vietnamese Restaurant - Alhambra 1

Back in January, on my way to Jazz Cat Restaurant - San Gabriel, I noticed a sign on Valley Boulevard advertising kobe beef pho. Kobe beef, huh? Well, I guess they had to up the ante since filet mignon pho is sooo 2007. :P

Anyway, I was distracted and couldn't remember which restaurant it was so I mentioned it to Tony of SinoSoul so he could have a look out whenever he was in the area. Sure enough, he later told me he found my kobe beef pho and it was being served by Noodle Guy Vietnamese Restaurant in Alhambra.

I didn't get a chance to check it out until March, shortly after I got back from Portland. It was a blustery, rainy night. Perfect weather for a piping hot bowl of soup.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Volcano Tea House - Las Vegas

After lunch at Pho Kim Long Vietnamese Restaurant, we went over to the neighboring strip mall for some boba tea for the road.

Volcano Tea House - Las Vegas 1

My passionfruit green tea, $2.99. So yummy. I saw them put in a huge dollop of passionfruit syrup so it was very passionfruity.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Pho Kim Long Vietnamese Restaurant - Las Vegas

The first two vodka shots (more like vodka cups) were fine. I brought the champagne so I had to drink a glass. The three sangrias put me in just the right mood. But the last vodka and two vodka cranberries? I probably should have skipped those.

Pho Kim Long Vietnamese Restaurant - Las Vegas 1

While I felt fine when I went to bed, by morning I was dying. Dyyying.

So when it was time to decide on where to go for lunch, I requested what any hungover Vietnamese person would want, Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup). Luckily Pho Kim Long Vietnamese Restaurant in Las Vegas' "Chinatown" is just a five minute drive from the strip. Head west on Spring Mountain Road (that would be the road between the Fashion Show Mall and the Venetian) and keep going past the freeway. There you'll find several strip malls of mostly Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants, with a Thai or Filipino one sprinkled in.

And while the restaurant's name is amusing if you say it fast, it just means golden dragon in Vietnamese. Kim (gold). Long (dragon).

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Jaleo by Jose Andres ($45 Prix Fixe Menu) - The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas - Las Vegas

Jaleo by Jose Andres ($45 Prix Fixe Menu) - The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas - Las Vegas 1

After snapping photos, it was time to get our grub on. I was huuungry!

After dining at Jaleo by Jose Andres in Washington, D.C. last fall, afternoon tea at Tres by Jose Andres earlier this year, and most recently at Bazaar by Jose Andres, the latter two at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills, I was rapidly becoming a Jose Andres groupie.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Cousin D's Bachelorette Party

Cousin D's Bachelorette Party 1

If you're easily offended, then I highly suggest NOT clicking on the "read more" link below.

Don't do it!

Last chance.

OK, but don't blame me afterward.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas - Las Vegas

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas - Las Vegas 1

Has it really been four years since I was last in Vegas?

Well, that's one thing with the blog, it serves as a literal diary of my life. As I said last time, I'm not a gambler so Vegas never held much allure for me. Sure there's drinking and dancing and shopping and shows, but all those things I can do in L.A. too if I wanted and as I've gotten older, I don't want. But every once in a while, certain occasions will lure me to go places I don't usually go. And in this case, the occasion was cousin D's bachelorette party.