Whole Lemon Bars

If you’re looking for an amazing lemon bar recipe, this is it. These lemon bars are the best I’ve had. A thick and velvety custard that isn’t too sweet or too tart, with a great lemony flavor. What is really interesting is that it uses an entire lemon (minus the seeds).

As a result, you don’t need to zest or juice. You just puree the whole lemon in your food processor and it gives the lemon bars such a great flavor.

It’s almost that time of year again. Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival will be on September 8, 2014. One of the main ways it is celebrated is by eating mooncakes. In anticipation of the upcoming holiday, I made snow skin mooncakes, a no-bake mooncake made with roasted glutinous rice flour.

Traditional mooncakes have a pastry shell, and a sweet filling. Some of the common fillings include red bean, lotus paste, and jujube paste. Occasionally, they also have a salted duck egg yolk in the center. They are usually gifted to friends and family this time of year, and are eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival while gazing at the full moon. Because they are so rich and sweet, they are eaten in small wedges, accompanied by hot tea.

Snow Skin Mooncakes became popular a few years ago. In modern times, there has been a trend towards creating healthier mooncakes. You’ll often find fruit fillings, or crusts made out of agar jelly or other material. Snow Skin Mooncakes are made out of roasted glutinous rice flour. The texture is somewhat similar to mochi, but much softer. They are usually white, hence the name, but are also made into other colors for aesthetic purposes and to denote flavors.

The ever popular Carnitas’ Snack Shack opened its second location last week, inside Del Mar Highlands Town Center (which seems to be the designated spot for second restaurant locations as it also houses the North County branches of Searsucker and Snooze). I was extremely excited to check out the new digs, which are bigger with indoor seating and a better parking situation.

The menu is pretty much the same, though they do offer a monthly doughnut special and the pork burger is a permanent menu item at this new branch. The restaurant has both indoor seating and some patio seating.

While the restaurant was busy, it was not nearly as crowded as the original location, which is what I was hoping for. We were able to order and grab a table right away.

Elvis Doughnut

The doughnut had a peanut butter glaze and is topped with chocolate chips, candied bacon and a cinnamon sugar dusted plantain chip. I was a little disappointed that the donut itself was plain, with all the flavors coming from the frosting and toppings. This was a decent doughnut, but a bit overpriced at $5.

Pork Burger