Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Hot Pot Palace Buffet
1628 Hostetter Rd
San Jose, CA 95131
This past weekend we celebrated my mom’s birthday. We were initially going to attempt to check out Kome in Daly City, a place that opened about a year ago and we attempted to try around the holidays but weren’t willing to wait two hours. I did some research and apparently it is still crazy packed on weekends, with an average of an hour and a half wait. We tried to make a reservation, but they only take reservations for a party of 15 or more.
So after some researching, we came across Hot Pot Palace Buffet, which opened a few months ago. There were a couple of things that seemed interesting about this place. First, everyone is given an individual hot pot. There are also eight soup bases to choose from. In addition to all you can eat hot pot, they also serve a selection of hot foods including several dim sum items.
The Hot Pot Palace location used to be another chinese restaurant. So when we entered, the set up looked like a regular chinese restaurant rather than like a buffet place or a hot pot place.
I chose a chinese herbal broth. It was similar to the one served at Little Sheep.
Here’s the mushroom broth and the spicy sichuan broth.
The nice thing about individual hot pots is that you can control what goes in and everyone is responsible for finishing their own portions. There tends to be a lot of nonclaimed items in a group hot pot.
The hot pot items were your typical hot pot items. They had a couple of greens, fish pieces, three kinds of fish balls, fried tofu, fresh tofu, frozen tofu, squid, baby corn, beancurd strips, mussels, seaweed knots, mushrooms, lamb, chicken, beef, intenstines, tripe.
The hot food selection actually looked pretty interesting. There were a variety of dim sum items like tripe, spareribs, various steamed buns, shrimp dumplings, steamed chinese broccoli, pork shu mai, egg tarts, and miniature pineapple buns. Since this was a former chinese restaurant that served dim sum, the dim sum items were actually pretty good and much better than the dim sum items you would normally expect at chinese buffet spots.
They had a couple of “American” items that made me laugh because they came straight out of Costco: bagel bites, corn dogs and dinosaur chicken nuggets. I’ll admit it, I had to have a corn dog. Other hot food items included clams and crayfish. Here’s some plates of food from my group that I took pictures of:
They also had fresh vietnamese spring rolls.
For dessert, they offered some cakes which I didn’t try and shaved ice.
I had a good time here. The buffet items were generally of higher quality than typical chinese buffet spots and I liked the all you can eat hot pot. Inevitably, there was the comparison of this place to Hot Pot City. Hot Pot City does have more hot pot items for dinner and it also has the grilling section which this place does not offer. But I like how it offers other hot food items and I like the individual hot pots.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
I love the pillowy soft pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I made last week, but I was also curious to check out some other pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipes.
I found a promising recipe from Handle the Heat, who got the recipe from the Food Network. The recipe was pretty simple to put together and required more spices than my previous recipe.
One thing I noticed was that this dough was a lot easier to work with. The pillowy cookies had a really sticky dough, and this one was more firm.
One of the problems though was that the dough didn’t really spread when it baked. So it maintained all it’s uneveness. I would definitely make sure to make the rounds as smooth as possible next time before popping the dough into the oven, and also flattening the cookie dough before putting them in the oven since they spread so little.
The spices ended up being a little too much for me. And I was disappointed that they didn’t bake as pretty. The texture was cakey like my other recipe, but not as soft and melt in your mouth as the other recipe. I prefer the other recipe I used, but some may prefer this recipe if they want a stronger pumpkin spice taste.
Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (slightly adapted from recipe found on Handle the Heat)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add in the white and brown sugars and beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into wet batter. Stir in the chips with a large wooden spoon.
4. Scoop tablespoons of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets ( I would recommend making smooth balls and flattening the cookies because they don’t spread much) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
During my sour cream baking kick two weeks ago, I also made this sour cream coffee cake. The sour cream keeps this cake incredibly moist. And I love the cinnamon crumble on top and in between.
This cake is deceptively good. What I mean by that is for some reason I kept forgetting that I liked it. I think because I made it at the same time I made the wonderful sour cream pound cake and chocolate pound cake. I would think “Oh I don’t really like this that much, I’ll just have a tiny bite,” and then next thing you know I’ve eaten two pieces!
Next time, I’ll have to put a more generous layer in between because I had too much crumble left for the top.
When I was making this cake, I was worried because it called for so much sour cream. And when I was mixing it, all I could see was sour cream. I was afraid there wasn’t enough flour!
I actually had to bake the cake a bit longer than the original recipe called for because of all the sour cream which didn’t want to bake. So when it was finally done, I was doubtful as to how it would taste.
But it tasted delicious! Very, very moist. You definitely taste the sour cream, but it’s very yummy.
I made a couple of changes. I used an 8 x8 pan instead of a 9 x 13. I didn’t want my cake to be too thin and I wanted a thicker streusel layer. I think next time I might also reduce the sour cream a tad. I think the cake had slightly too much, making it harder to bake properly. My streusel top was getting a bit burned as I waited for the cake to fully cook. Here’s the modified recipe below:
Sour cream coffee cake (adapted from gimme some oven)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 oz of sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1. In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs to the mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Then add the sour cream and vanilla. Mix until combined.
4. Pour half of the batter into a greased 8 x8 inch pan, and sprinkle with half of the topping, distributing evenly around the surface. Add the remainder of the batter on top, and sprinkle with the remaining topping. Bake at 350 degrees for40 -45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.