Tag Archives: fried rice

Maui, Hawaii Part 2

15 Mar

During the difficult times at work, I like to fondly think of my time in Maui. At one point during our trip, Bubby and I had a serious conversation about moving to Hawaii and opening a shrimp truck called Miso’s.  But of course Bubby the buzz kill killed my shrimp truck dreams. At least we should try to visit every year. And every year I’m going to eat this French toast at Kihei Caffe (yes, two “f”s).

Banana macadamia nut French toast

This is the best French toast I have ever had.  Thick slices of crispy sweet bread, thick banana slices, crunchy macadamia nuts, drizzled with maple syrup and the house coconut syrup.

All of the components in one bite made me preach.  “I feel good! I feel good, because I know there’s a God somewhere! There’s a God somewhere! You know there’s a God who sits on high and looks down low! Man cannot make it like this!” Name that movie.

Bubby ordered the pork fried rice loco moco.

The pork fried rice inspired me to make a kimchi pork fried rice loco moco, and everything is better with kimchi. But even without the kimchi, this dish was savory and the perfect salty pairing to my French toast.  Kihei Caffe is a caloric dream come true.  While reveling in our food fantasy, we were suddenly disturbed by a gang of birds.

And the king of the bird gang, Rufio! Ruf-i-oooooooooooooo!

We got the hell out of the crossfire of Rufio’s gang, and went to Charley Young Beach so I could rub my belly in peace.

And at this beach, Poseidon summoned me once again. And in true Hawaiian tradition, I donated my favorite Rayban sunglasses to Poseidon.  Every time I go to Hawaii, Poseidon takes what it wants.  Seven years ago, it was my Juicy Couture red jumper and Ipod.  What was my jumper and Ipod doing in the ocean? Or better yet, why the hell was I wearing Juicy Couture?!  It was seven years ago, and it was a cute ass beach jumper.  Seven years ago, Bubby and I placed our belongings in a locker.  Bubby pinned the locker key to his board shorts while we took surfing lessons.  While Poseidon tossed us around wildly, the locker key unfastened from Bubby’s shorts.  Assuming we lost the key and needed the office to open our locker, we noticed our locker was wide open and empty.  Someone had found our key and stole our possessions, including Bubby’s wallet, our towels, and book.  We walked back to our hotel soaking wet with shame, almost nude, pissed as fuck at Poseidon.  Damn you, Poseidon.  I hope you are rocking the shit outta my shades.

Because there was so much to eat and so little time, we went to Foodland –the best grocery store in the land.  While Kroger (I call every grocery store Kroger) sells rotisserie chickens, Foodland sells spam musubi, ahi poke, and my favorite, spicy raw crab!.

Look at this big ass avocado!

You can also see how the humidity in Hawaii is helping my winter’s eczema, too.

For dinner, Bubby and I went to Mama’s Fish House, a very popular restaurant in Maui.  The restaurant faces the beautiful ocean view and provided a very romantic atmosphere.

Macadamia nut crab cakes

I love crab cakes and cannot wait to go to Baltimore to eat some authentic cakes and to take The Wire tour.  These crab cakes definitely had nice chunks of crab, more crab than breading which is essential for a good CRAB cake.  The tomato relish provided a nice spicy and cool hint of flavor to the meaty cakes.

Opakapaka in lime and coconut milk served in a fresh coconut (Tahitian ceviche)

I asked for extra limes and drowned the shit out of the Hawaiian pink snapper.  I scraped the coconut flesh off the shell and mixed the gelatinous shavings with the ceviche.  This ceviche is making my mouth water as I type these damn words.

Bouillabaisse Mahimahi, lobster, shrimp, scallop and shellfish simmered in a saffron broth, with garlic rouille

Isn’t this picture the most beautiful bowl of underwater treasures?  As you can imagine, the seafood in Hawaii is fresh fo’ sho’.  The scallops were the size of silver dollars and as thick as marshmallows.  There was so much seafood in this dish that every spoonful contained several different types of seafood. My only issue with this dish was that I don’t think the pasta is made from scratch.  If Mama made fresh pasta, this dish would be the best dish of the trip especially since I rationed the garlic bread to last throughout the entire meal.

And to remind myself that I’m on vacation, I make sure the following happen.  I don’t wear makeup.  I must consume a fruity beverage with an umbrella  in it.  And I eat dessert after every meal.  Yes, every meal.  Ergo, ladies and gentlemen I introduce you to Ono Gelato.  The best fuckin’ gelato I have ever had.  Yes, I’ve never had gelato from Italy, but I don’t think I’ll have to.

Coconut is the shit.  But add some strawberry into the swirl, and I was immediately doing my happy dance while wiggling my toes.  Bubby even asked, “Are your toes dancing for gelato?”  Yes, Goddamit. Don’t judge me.  Best. gelato. ever.

Okay, I just gained five pounds writing this shit.

Kihei Caffe
1945 South Kihei Road
Kihei, HI

Mama’s Fish House
799 Poho Place
Paia, HI

Ono Gelato
1280 South Kihei Road
Kihei, HI

Ono Gelato
115 Hana Hwy # D
Paia, HI

Ono Gelato
815 Front Street
Lahaina, HI

We went to two out of the three Ono Gelato locations, and I give 5 slow mothafuckin claps.
 

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I left my heart in San Francisco

13 Mar

Since Blister’s in the Philippines for new year’s eve, we couldn’t go to our annual new year’s trip to Glen Ivy. So this year, Bubby and I went to San Francisco, the city where we fell in love. Our first date was at Palomino in Embarcadero. The food was not particularly good, but I was nervous. We were friends for so long and ate together all the time, but on this January 30th day, 7 years ago, I had butterflies in my stomach. After dinner, he held my hand as we walked along the pier. I was jumping on and off of the stoops, and he held my hand for my “safety” so I wouldn’t fall. It was more like a slicker version of the “yawn and reach” technique at the movie theater. Since that day, we just knew we were meant to be together. No DTR conversations, no “where do we stand?” inquiries, no “it’s complicated” relationship status. We just knew we were together and have never broken up since. Sure, there are times when he’s my greatest enemy and I want to punch him hard in the balls, but most days he’s my best friend.

Going back to San Francisco is always a treat. I love walking down the dirty streets of my old hood, the Tenderloin. Stepping on spit, fecal matter, and used needles never felt so good–kind of like an urban version of Dorothy and her yellow brick road. Although my brick road is stained yellow from urine– both animal and human. I also love going back to San Fran for the food. Always for the food.

Our hotel was located in Fisherman’s Wharf, a tourist trap.  The best part of this tourist trap is Trish’s Mini Donuts.  These fried rings are worth the six-hour drive from LA.  Every time I go to SF, I always try to fight the tourist trap traffic just to get my hands on these fried babies.

They are liberally showered in cinnamon sugar which eventually melts into the super hot fried dough.  I have never ordered a tub of these mini donuts, but one day I will.  Cha-longe!!!

On New Year’s day, we decided to go to Brenda’s, the only Cajun restaurant in the Tenderloin.  As a former Houstonian, I love Cajun food.  We decided to go on New Year’s day assuming the crowd would be hung over in bed.  On our walk to Brenda’s, we noticed some stragglers still partying at noon the next day.

I cannot remember the last time I partied until the sun came up. I feel old.

As we walked towards Brenda’s this is what I saw.

Oh hell no.  That line is not cute.  We had to wait for an hour and 45 minutes.  Bubby had been before, and he made me wait for my crawdads.  And dammit, he had me at crawdads.

After watching every crazy homeless person pass by, some familiar faces and some new, our table was finally ready.  The restaurant is packed with tables only two inches apart from each other.  I immediately ordered the watermelon iced tea to ease my anxiety and claustrophobia.

Sometimes sweet tea outside of the south can be way too sweet.  But this watermelon iced tea was perfectly cool and sweet. It reminded me of a hot Houston day and the smell of fresh-cut green grass.

Crawfish beignets with cayenne, scallions, and cheddar

Brenda’s serves several different kinds of beignets including plain with powdered sugar, apple, chocolate.  I ordered crawfish because I love crawfish.  The beignets are served hot, fluffy, and they collapsed with the pressure from my fork.  As I broke into the dough, the melted cheese oozed out.  Unfortunately, the ratio of crawfish to dough is off.  I expected large chunks of crawfish, but there were probably three small ones swimming in cheese in each pocket of dough.

I ordered the grillades and grits, and Bubby ordered the fried catfish eggs benedict.

The beef cutlets in the grillades and grits was tough and difficult to chew.  The grits were fluffy clouds perfectly buttered and smothered in cheddar cheese.  Nothing makes my belly smile more than buttered grits and cheese.  Bubby’s catfish eggs benedict was not as good as we imagined, but the biscuit was slap yo’ mama good.  That biscuit was it.   Would I wait two hours for it? Probably not.

Bubby and I needed to burn some serious Cajun calories, so I dragged him to Union Square for some serious shopping.  While in Union Square, Bubby and I always have to eat at King of Thai Noodle.  It’s not fancy Thai food, but serves really good roast duck.

Bubby always orders the duck fried rice with a fried egg on top, and I order the duck noodle soup.

Simple.  Duck.  Noodles.  Soup.  Peppers.  Good.
I haven’t tried the other dishes because there really is no need to.  This is the only dish I order every time.

The next day, I dragged Bubby to Hog Island Oyster Co.  I had a serious craving for oysters.  But once again, we hit another damn line.

The wait was not as bad as Brenda’s, probably 30 minutes total.  I ordered fresh lemonade to prep my taste buds.

We ordered both fresh and baked oysters.  The fresh ones included Hog Island Sweetwaters, Hog Island Atlantics, Sand Isle Kumamotos, Chelsea Gems, and Island Creeks.

These fresh oysters were thick and smooth as they slid down my throat.  The kumamotos had a slight “oceany” tang which I let Bubby enjoy.

The baked oysters were actually as tasty as the fresh ones to my surprise.

The Casino and Tarragon oysters were so flavorful.  The only bad thing about them was that there were only four.

The clam chowder

The clam chowder is not your typical clam chowder.  It’s not thick, but light and milky.  I added a splash of fresh lemon juice which really brightened the taste of the clams.  I loved dipping my grilled cheese into the chowder broth.

The crunchy sourdough bread and the stringy cheese dipped into the milkiness wonder of the clam chowder felt like a perfect hug from the inside on a cold January San Francisco day.  The pickled vegetables, cauliflower and carrots, added a nice acidic note to the entire meal.

As we walked back to our car to head home, we picked up some road trip treats in the Ferry Building.  Miette’s macarons and Blue Bottle Coffee Co.’s cappuccino.

The vanilla was way better than the chocolate.  Even Bubby, chocolate lover, agreed.

And for the last damn time, a San Franciscan line at the Blue Bottle Coffee Co.

Good strong caffeinated drinks.  Too bad it wasn’t strong enough to keep me awake during our car ride back to LA.  I always fall asleep in the car like a behbeh.

Goodbye, San Francisco.  I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for this beautiful city.  Where else could you find an Asian family all dressed in matching puffer jackets?

Trish’s Mini Donuts
Embarcadero Pier 39, Bldg B
San Francisco, CA

Brenda’s
652 Polk St
San Francisco, CA

King of Thai Noodle
184 O’Farrell St
San Francisco, CA

(duck noodle soup only)

Hog Island Oyster Co.
1 Ferry Bldg
San Francisco, CA
   

Miette Patisserie
1 Ferry Bldg
San Francisco, CA
   

Blue Bottle Coffee Co.
1 Ferry Bldg
San Francisco, CA
  

Din Tai Fung

7 Mar

For the next few months on every Sunday, Bubby and I will attend pre-marital classes.  Our classes are very educational and provide insight to our relationship and upcoming marriage.  We recently found out that we have the two personality types that are the most compatible.  After hearing that, Bubby and I mentally high-fived each other during the lecture because we’re awesome.

As an after-school treat, we decided to go to Din Tai Fung.  Before meeting Bubby, I never had xiao long bao (steamed soup dumplings) before.  He introduced me to these wonderful pockets of delicious meat and soup.  We have had them at several different places, but the best, juciest, and handmade ones are at Din Tai Fung.

Din Tai Fung has 2 back to back locations in Arcadia.  The original is smaller while the newer one has 2 floors.  I prefer the original, it seems the food is fresher.  When we arrived, this was the line outside the restaurant on a Sunday at 1:30 pm.

I like to go to the store next door where they sell a lot of Asian goods like really good black eyeliner.  They actually changed the store and there’s a huge section of several different “claw” machines.  You know the machines that have stuffed animals you grab with a claw? But this store has really good prizes in addition to the stuffed ones.  They have a PS3, an Ipad, a Louis Vuitton purse.  In order to win these expensive prizes, you have to pick up a rubber ball with the claw.  I’m really good at this game but unfortunately lost $5 trying to win the damn Louis Vuitton bag.  As a consolation prize, I almost won a stuffed “Toad” from Mario Brothers.  I just needed 4 more quarters to push it over the edge.  I had prepped it and was ready to go.  As I walked to the counter for change, this high school punk lurked my machine, and stole my Toad.  Fuuuucker.  He totally  swooped.  I was so pissed, but by that time, our table was ready and I no longer cared about the pre-pubescent punk.

On our way to our table, I noticed the hard working Latinos making my authentic handmade dumplings.

We ordered our food, and the waitress said, “That’s a lot of food for the two of you.”  How dare she judge us.  As my response, I told her to add a Sprite.

I love the chopsticks at Din Tai Fung because these chopsticks have instructions on them.

Bubby immediately said, “I don’t agree with these instructions, specifically step 4.”  Step 4 says to “Take a nibble on the dumpling skin and sip the juice.”  (Click on photo to enlarge) Bubby disagrees with this step because he believes that step 4 should be blow on the skin of the dumpling to cool the soup inside slightly and pop the entire dumpling in your mouth to enjoy the dumpling skin, pork, and soup all at one time.  I agree with Bubby, this is the best technique. But we burned the roofs of our mouths on several occasions to perfect this technique.  You’re welcome.

Look at these bad boys.  Pork dumps.

These pork ones are the juiciest.  We usually order 4 trays of them.  I always forget that the pork ones are the best and order the shrimp and pork ones, too.  Damn amnesia.  But I dip my dumps into my sauce consisting of soy sauce, black vinegar, ginger, and chili sauce.  Bubby hates the black vinegar … BUBBY, DON’T FORGET TO BRING YOUR RICE VINEGAR WITH YOU WHEN WE GO TO DIN TAI FUNG.  YOU ALWAYS FORGET.

These shrimp and pork dumplings taste like har gow that you order at dim sum. They don’t contain as much soup as the pork ones.

We also like the noodles here.  The noodles with minced pork.

These noodles are really flavorful.  You don’t need to add chili sauce or anything which is a surprise because I add chili sauce to everything.  Once you add it, you can’t taste the minced pork.

The beautiful string beans sautéed with garlic and soy sauce.

Crispy. Crunchy. Goody.

And finally, our egg fried rice with pork chop.

Bubby says that the best fried rice is when every kernel of rice has an equivalent egg bite.  This fried rice is like that.  Totally eggalicious.  And do you see the crispy fried pork chop?  I gnawed on that pork chop bone like a ravenous beast.  Definitely not my most attractive moment, but totally worth every bite.

I give the pork dumplings 5 slow claps out of 5.  A perfect rating is given when that dish sets the standard or when a dish redefines what I previously thought about a particular dish.  And for me, Din Tai Fung’s pork dumplings is the standard for all future xiao long baos.

Din Tai Fung
1088/1108 S Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA