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Sunday, January 29, 2012

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup 1

When I first learned how to make French Onion Soup about a decade ago, I used to make it at least a few times a year. The cookbook instructed me to cut the onions into whole rings, which can be a bit of a bother. Slicing the first half of the onion wasn't so bad, but the second half became unwieldy and difficult to cut thinly.

What a silly reason to stop making such a delicious soup.

Or even sillier was feeling like I had to slice onions exactly the way a cookbook told me.

So when I was craving the caramelized cheesy goodness, I decided to be daring and slice the onions in half before slicing them thinly. No more rings! Sure the soup won't look as pretty, but the smaller onion slices also meant it was easier to spoon.

Really, the key to a good French Onion Soup is patience. Patiently slice the onions thinly. Patiently wait for them to caramelize. It takes about 45 minutes, but it's so worth it. If you cheat and slice the onions thicker or add the broth before they've properly softened, it just won't taste the same. So just be patient, I promise it'll be worth it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

King Hua Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Alhambra

King Hua Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Alhambra 1

My childhood friend and I recently started a tradition of meeting up for the lunar new year. Last year was the fancy afternoon tea at Tres by Jose Andres at the SLS Hotel. Two years before that was dim sum at Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant - Rosemead. So for the Year of the Dragon we decided to sort of go back to the beginning. Rumor has it that some of the chefs at Sea Harbour jumped over to King Hua Restaurant in Alhambra. We were hoping for the upscale dim sum like at Sea Harbour but without the upscale prices.

Every time I passed by the restaurant, I always wondered what the inside was like. The interior was a lot nicer than I expected with the gold brocade-covered chairs and the pretty Chinese frog buttons down the back.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lucky New Year by Mary Man-Kong

Lucky New Year by Mary Man-Kong 1

A while back I bought "Lucky New Year" by Mary Man-Kong from the bargain bin at Amazon. I didn't know what to expect, but have been steadily accumulating a pile of my childhood favorites and some cultural books just because. I was so pleasantly surprised by the clever pop-ups though that I went out and bought four more to give as gifts. (It was a 4-for-3 book promotion.)

The niece, Pablo, baby A, and baby M3 all love the book if that's any kind of endorsement. Wanna see why?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Year of the Dragon!

Happy Year of the Dragon everyone!

Happy Year of the Dragon 1

When Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) arrives in January, it always throws me off. I'm not prepared! I didn't make anything for my relatives like I usually do in previous years.

I don't think my aunts and uncles were prepared either because this year's food exchange was much lighter compared to previous years.

Nonetheless, I sure appreciated the homemade keo me (Vietnamese sesame candy), banh tet (Vietnamese sticky rice cakes), dua mon (Vietnamese pickles), and kimchee they gave me.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Japanese Meiji Ginger and Milk Chocolate

Japanese Meiji Ginger and Milk Chocolate 1

Speaking of Japanese chocolates, lil' sis brought gave me this Meiji Ginger and Milk Chocolate after she got back from Japan. I loved the individually-wrapped sticks. Love great packaging.

The flavor was very mild and smooth.

She also got me these cute panda pins to decorate bento boxes and food-safe pens since she remembered the ones I used for the Hello Kitty Cake Pops didn't work so well.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Japanese Wasabi Kit Kat

Japanese Wasabi Kit Kat 1

While waiting for our orders at Ton-Chan Ramen - San Gabriel, Gourmet Pigs brought out a wasabi-flavored Kit Kat she picked up at the airport in Japan.

It's been a while since I've done a fun food post, so thought I'd share.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ton-Chan Ramen - San Gabriel (Closed)

Last February, shortly after Ton Chan Ramen opened I went to check it out with Tony of SinoSoul, who said the restaurant featured the milky tonkotsu-style broth that so many people in SoCal seem to prefer.

Ton Chan Ramen - San Gabriel 1

Ton Chan Ramen is housed in what used to be Aji Man Japanese Restaurant, which closed just short of its three-year anniversary. :( In looking up other ramen restaurants I've posted, I discovered Kappa Ramen - Anaheim is now closed as well. Seems like only the ramen chains are weathering the economic storm, or I need to try more mom-and-pop ramen restaurants.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Oh My Pan Bakery & Tea - San Gabriel

So, as I was saying, when I went to visit my new nephew, I wanted to bring my sister-in-law something that her parents were unlikely to have brought. Remembering that she likes the black sesame soy milk from VP Tofu - Monterey Park, I figured black sesame cream puffs seemed like just the thing.

Oh My Pan Bakery and Tea - San Gabriel 1

My first visit to Oh My Pan Bakery and Tea in San Gabriel was in the late afternoon on New Year's Eve, lil' sis and I went with the oldest '87 and the older '88, since the latter two were skipping out on my brother's party that evening. The oldest '87 said Oh My Pan was her newest favorite tea house, pushing out her previous favorite, Half & Half Tea House - Monterey Park.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Banh Bot Khoai Mon Chien Xao Cai Xoan (Vietnamese Fried Taro Rice Cake Stir-Fried with Kale)

Since I clocked out of my brother's New Year's Eve party before midnight, I was up bright and early on New Year's Day. What can I say? I'm an old fogey. I was in a mood to do some cooking, and since lil' sis spent the night at my brother's, she was there to let me in before the rest of the house woke up.

Banh Bot Khoai Mon Chien Xao Cai Xoan (Vietnamese Fried Taro Cake Stir-Fried with Kale) 1

Lil' sis likes pretty much any noodle stir-fry that I cook up. And while, banh bot khoai mon (Vietnamese fried taro cakes) aren't quite noodles, they're sort of a pasta. Fried up and then stir-fried, they have the crispy/chewy texture that she loves. This is pretty much a riff off of my recipe for Banh Bot Chien (Vietnamese Fried Rice Flour Cake), but because everyone resolves to eat healthier for the new year, I added in some kale. Ha!