31 May 2010

D.C. in a Nutshell

Damn awesome, except that it's, uh, a QuakerFoods ad for oatmeal, in the metro station.
Chipotle in Chinatown in D.C. I didn't think that this was possible. But it is!! Yay hope!
Giant plastic icecreams on the way to the metro station. The family sitting outside was watching me with scorn. They probably thought I was the stereotypical tourist with camera who doesn't speak English. Well, they're WRONG!
Space/Air Museum. They're actually M&Ms. However, there is probably some copyright/royalty issue with using the phrase "Mars M&Ms".
Air/Space Museum, plastic aeroplane food way back when gas appeared "unlimited". Looks very tasty.
Some vegetable pizza. The crust... reminded me of this pizza from Pizza Hut in Australia. Or, it could've been Pizza Box, in Hong Kong. I'm not quite sure, but it was that thick, doughy and dry kinda crust. The best ever!!
Swiss Roll at breakfast time from their Asian food market. In the end we ended up trying the green tea, orange, coffee, and strawberry flavoured ones. They all tasted exactly the same, except that the strawberry one had a little zing to it. Apart from the colour, they could've all passed off for "Original!" flavour [whatever "Original!" means in company terms]. Later I found out that there was propylene glycol inside the cake. Which irked me. Yay antifreeze ingredients...
Green bean soup, with sugar and TAPIOCA. Genius! Gotta try that soon.
My parent's friend made dumplings. Egg and Chinese chives... BEST. DUMPLINGS. EVER!
I will post about La Tasca tomorrow.

29 May 2010

Hunan Manor

Hello Doctor State, a.k.a MD, Maryland!
After being in the car from 3:45pm to 8:15pm, we finally arrived at my parents' friends' house. They then drove us to dinner at Hunan Manor, which - surprise surprise - is a Chinese restaurant. I personally didn't have a great impression of it when I went in, because of this:
Dude, it's nearly mid 2010. And, "dungenese" isn't that great to advertise to people who speak English.
They actually, though, had a ton of vegetarian stuff that was, well, DELICIOUS.
The weird fried flour thing:
Napkin roses; the one on the right is mine, the one on the left is my brother's:
Fried tofu with mushrooms:
Sweet and Sour "Pig" [a.k.a gluten]. Actually, I was gonna get Sweet and Sour "Chicken" [a.k.a gluten], but the waitress literally said, "That one doesn't taste good." Then again, the "pig" dish cost more, so I guess that was their marketing ploy. Either way, it looks like the real thing, and the sauce was really good! The "pig/gluten" part itself though was really dense so I suppose it depends on people's preferences. I don't think I really like dense stuff, except fudge and brownies and toffee [you get the picture].

27 May 2010


Yesterday, I had lunch with AP. [I like AP. I hope he likes me too. I digress.] We were talking about playing guitar, and I said that I was bad at guitar, and he said that I couldn't be worse than him. Then I said that we should jam together one day.
I find it funny how "jam" is used in such different contexts. Jam: the fruit & sugar preserve [NOT "JELLY"], rockin' out, getting something STUCK [usually cars, but cupboards can get "jammed"]. As a kid, I didn't really have a predilection for jam... it was just this sticky sweet stuff, like honey. However, I've grown to actually enjoy it, though strawberry jam has been wayyyy too trite in the past decade... so I don't really like it anymore. Currently, I am obsessed with cherry jam and apricot jam. I'm NOT talking about the "sugar-free" type; those are filled to the brim with aspartame, which is an artificial sweetener. Okay, okay, the FDA thinks that it's safe to ingest, but I disagree. Wikipedia, using this source, states that "A study performed by Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine found that individuals with mood disorders are particularly sensitive to this artificial sweetener, and concluded that its use in this population should be discouraged."
It just so happens that I have mood disorders. Obesity spread from the U.S. The rough figure is that 1/3 of the U.S. is way too chubby. Ironically, though, the U.S. more obsessed with the whole "fat-free", "sugar-free", "carb-free", "cholesterol-free" and "common-sense-free" crap than any other country.
I remember this asinine chain letter that I read ages ago, poking fun at U.S. people by saying "The [insert ethnicity] eat a lot of [insert fatty substance], but they aren't fat". It later concluded that "It turns out that being American is what makes you fat!" Pretty racist, considering that other countries' citizens are also becoming obese due to [American] fast food... Anyway, my grandpa got some strawberry jam from the plane and it was OUT OF THIS WORLD [literally.] It was gelatinous, sans fake-American-"jelly"-flavour, and there were chunks of strawberry in it... too bad it was just a sample size.

26 May 2010

Chinese Version of Mochi!

When my grandpa came to visit us, he brought over a few kilos of food [he's still here; he's going back in September], and among them was this sesame mochi. Mochi is this Japanese candy, made out of rice flour. Inside the rice flour is a flavoured filling, such as sesame paste, red bean paste, green tea flavoured cream, or chocolate [in the U.S.]. The one my grandpa brought isn't exactly Japanese mochi; the rice flour exterior was kinda lumpy and dry and of course, it was manufactured in China. The sesame had a very peculiar taste. There was a modicum of sourness. This was rather disturbing, because sour sesame filling can only mean one thing. There was a random ingredient!!! Oh no! Though, if China had a non-corrupt FDA, I wouldn't be blogging about this mochi right now. Then again, I'd rather be healthy than have sour-sesame-inflicted-cancer. However, I'm not a hypochondriac...so I digress. Anyway. One funny thing is that the wrapper said "injoy". It's pretty funny, as I have two friends named "Joy", and I suppose the mochi would be in them, if they consume it...
I love looking at Chinese translations into English, because they are truly. Fail. I'm probably going to blog about that, one day, too. All I needa do is go to the Asian food store at some point in the near future...
I didn't know my camera was capable of going into such detail. I suppose natural light is way better than flash. Anyway, you guys can see the calluses on my hand from doing push ups on the track. :) I've just realised how much I love sports... even though I've never really looked at myself as "athletic". I mean, I love XC, track, badminton, archery, table tennis, parkouring, climbing trees, pole vaulting [which I tried yesterday and today, probably for the first and last times ever]...
I just realised that none of that stuff is "big" in the U.S. The U.S. likes American football and baseball. Oh, and swimming, because of Phelps.

25 May 2010

Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzels!

At one of the Animal Alliance meetings at school in 2007, I was introduced to something called "Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzels". Actually, they were probably called "Nibblers", because that's what they're currently called. Anyway... I had never had honey mustard in my life, before, and I remember asking, "Are these vegetarian?".
The first bite? They tasted tangy, with a hint of bacon. I honestly thought that they tasted like bacon. That's evidently not the case anymore, since now they just taste onion-y and honey-y with a hint of spice. Anyway, that was the first time I had ever encountered Nibblers. In all honesty, I've never been a huge pretzel fan; I've always preferred other forms of carbs, and pretzels are usually covered in coarse chunks of NaCl. However, these Nibblers are the zesty exception [harhar].
A month or so ago, I bought two packs of Snyder's of Hanover Honey Mustard and Onion Nibblers, and I fell in obsession with them again... [aka I went on a thorough binge]. In the first bag, everything was "standard" shaped. The second bag had two mutants, which I think is pretty cool :) Damn sexy flavour. :P

24 May 2010

Divine Chocolate.

I like volunteering at the Essex County Environmental Center, and the largest events include Octoberfest and Earth Day. Since I'm very behind on posting, here is a snippet of a piece of chocolate I got on Earth Day while I was taking a break from the face painting station [I also ended up eating 4-5 organic hot-dog buns, and I met this guy, P, who works at the parks and he's really cool and has eyebrow piercings]. It was called "Divine Chocolate", and the lady at the desk informed me that it was Fair Trade, which I suppose is nice.
If you think about it though... if everything was forced to be Fair Trade, everything would cost more, and people will "complain", and there would be this black market of "cheap" stuff made from illegal labour. Basically, it's like child labour these days. Another unsolvable problem... This is looking at it from a global perspective, rather than purely a human rights or environmental perspective, because people are inherently selfish.
Anyway. This morsel of chocolate was extremely pretty and delicious :D
This has to be the most sensual chocolate picture, ever. Look at the detail... the drips... the decadence.... ahhhh.

23 May 2010

Cheese Puffs!!!! [aka, Pufferfish]

They are not crackers. They are not Goldfish crackers. They are... PUFFERFISH CRACKERS! Literally, in the sense that they're poofy, cheesy [tastes like Goldfish, sorta], and honestly soo delicious!!! I have never baked anything so easy! You basically pulverise everything and mash it up and make globs of it and bake it. :D
So... I initially wanted to recreate the ubiquitous Goldfish cracker, which I adore with an emotional passion [track. track. track.]. I found this recipe, and decided to follow it, with some tweaking. Of course, anything I tweak ends up very different from the original, so instead of having crunchy crackers... I got gooey oozy cheesy ones. To make these you need:
1. pepper.
2. 20 turns of sea salt from the sea salt grinder.
3. 2 cups of flour.
4. 3 cups of cheddar cheese. I used the one from Costco. You know, big bag of shredded orange stuff.
5. 5 tsp butter [we ran out].
6. 1 tbsp oil.
7. water.
8. Whatever herbs you want. I added oregano.

1. Pulse everything dry + butter in the food processor. I don't have a food processor...so I pulsed everything in the blender.
2. Add oil.
3. Add water, 1 tbsp at a time, until you can make a dough that comes together and is even. You do not want a batter.
4. Stick it in the fridge in a container for as long as you want. For me, that was 40 hours.
5. Scoop balls of it out and flatten. You actually don't have to flatten them if you wanna make 3D pastry-type cheese balls. I initially used a bottle cap to make the circle, but it was wayyyy too tedious.
6. Bake at 350F for 13 minutes. If you want crunchy ones, bake for 14 minutes. If you like preheating your oven [which I don't], you can bake for 10 minutes.
7. Pick them up and eat them. You don't need to grease your pan, by the way.
They were delicious. My grandpa liked them... and he doesn't even like cheese! I made... 35 + 35 + 11 + 14 + 5 = around 100. Wow. Hmm I could start my own bakery.
Oh did I say? It smelled. Out of this world... and into the sea :P

22 May 2010

Pecan Pie Square.

Okay, I ate this a long time ago, but I never had the chance to blog about it... so here is chocolate number 15. Ghiradelli Pecan Pie Square... which my dad got from work when they gave them out at some point [Christmas? This was a long time ago].
Firstly, one may notice the elegant wrapping. Why would anyone bother wrapping one square of chocolate in not only yellow card, but also with a snowflake? Dude, posh.

Anyway... As soon as I peeled off the wrapper, the smell of pecan wafted into my room. No, not just wafted, more like STABBED! my nostrils with the smell of pecan. It was as though I was transported into a pecan pie [not that that will ever happen :(]! Ahhhh redolence...
You can actually see the pecan bits!
I have to say that it tasted great. It tastes like real pecan. Not pie, exactly; it tasted more like chocolate and pecans mixed together into something creamy and wayyyyyy better than Hershey's caramel pecan clusters [ahem. those were upsetting]! I'm usually not a pecan person, having never grown up consuming them on a regular basis [and I am a very emotional eater], but this was very nice. :D A new flavour, guys.

21 May 2010

Quinoa Salad.

So, I am obsessed with the quinoa salad thing from yesterday. The sweety-soury-light taste was so great... so I tried to replicate it, by using this recipe. Evidently, it's flawed, because lemon juice and cilantro are mentioned in the method, but not in the ingredients. Basically, though, I ended up with something similar... and I think that the reason I enjoyed the quinoa salad was not the salad dressing, but actually the quinoa itself. Which is quite awesome, as I've been stuck [or, "glutened"] to wheat, rice and semolina. Oh, and corn, of course, in the form of tortillas. However, I've never really had quinoa in my life, because I never bothered putting some on the stove and actually cooking it. Microwaving stuff is NOT really cooking. It's defined as a "shortcut/time saver" in my opinion, so I do like microwave ovens.
Anyway... It tasted sorta similar, sans dressing, and no one in the family ate much. My dad doesn't eat raw onions, my sister eats nothing healthy, my brother thought that the raisins ruined it...you get the picture. But, truth be said, they're biased because they've never had/probably won't like Mediterranean food. It's like me being a vegetarian. Choices.

South Pacific

Yesterday evening was prom. I didn't go, because I'm not interested in the over-$200-for-the-ticket-and-the-dress-and-shoes-and-blah. I also don't like dancing much. I actually wanted to see the preprom, because then I'd see people in their dresses and stuff, and hot guys in their tuxes, but I think it wouldn't've made much of a difference to my level of happiness, mingled with exhaustion. A, SL and I went to NYC to watch South Pacific, on 65th. I've never seen a musical before, so I found this rather intriguing. Though, despite the awesome performances [as in, Very. Talented. They know the words and lyrics so well...it almost seems real, along with the shifts in scenery and the wonderful orchestra], I don't think that musicals are my thing. It was an experience, though, sitting in that theatre at the very back [and thus, the very top], and seeing every motion happen fluidly before my eyes.

Anyway, we went to a Medditeraean restaurant, Nanoosh, on 68th and Broadway, before our show began. We had to wait for 20 mins or so, which really sucked because we were sort of pressed for time. They have approximately 56 seats in the store, and it was PACKED! However, as soon as we got seated, all the other tables started clearing up, too, which was rather upsetting. [Hah]. I got this Labane wrap, which was ridiculously DELICIOUS. Labane is actually this yoghurt cheese, and it's still sour... it actually tasted just like thick yoghurt. I think I'm going to start putting yoghurt in my sandwiches, because of this. Oh yeah, there was quinoa salad. It. Was. The. Best. Quinoa. I have. Ever. Had. It was sweet, with raisins and cranberries, but also sour. Ahhhhhhh.

SL got some hummus with sun-dried tomatoes, and A got a mushroom hummus wrap. They also got this pomegranate tea, but I personally don't like pomegranate. We managed to consume everything in 15 minutes. Which was... kind of sad, because we had to, since we were pressed for time, but I would honestly have rather savoured the meal for 30 minutes.