If you’ve been following my baking adventures, you might recall that I’ve tried twice now to make a castella cake with no success. You can read about that here and here. I get an edible cake, that is actually quite tasty, but it is definitely not the right texture.

Castella (also known as Kasutera) cake, is a japanese sponge cake that has a light, fluffy texture. It’s usually baked in to a long thin rectangle shape and then sliced. It’s delicious for breakfast or for an afternoon snack with tea.

I wish I could tell you that I finally mastered castella cake, but sadly I haven’t. I’ve found a couple more recipes but they require a lot of eggs and a lot of patience. This weekend, I saw some castella cake on sale. It is readily available at the bakery section of Japanese supermarkets. I got mine at Nijiya.

I thought I’d buy one and see if it was as good as I remember. Was it really worth the effort of me continuing to try to bake my own? One bite, and I was in heaven. The cake was so utterly soft and light. I ate three slices before stopping myself.

Yes, it was as good as I remembered. So I’m going to continue on my castella cake baking quest. Though if it doesn’t work out, I might just go out and buy it from now on. It’s not expensive and it keeps well.

Anyhow, I was munching on the cake and I was itching to take a picture to capture how a castella cake really should look. Which is why there is this post of castella cakes with no recipe.

If anyone is interested in trying to make the cake, the most promising recipe I’ve found has been on The Little Teochew. It involves a lot of work, but her cake came out so pretty.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Faye, one of my readers, letting me know that a new Taiwanese restaurant had opened up on Miramar. Since both of my parents are from Taiwan, Taiwanese food is near and dear to my heart and I immediately wanted to pay a visit.

Faye was nice enough to send me a picture of the Taiwanese menu, which is in chinese, so that I could have my mom help me translate before visiting. You can read Faye’s review of the restaurant on yelp here.

The small restaurant is located in the same plaza as Roberto’s. Once inside, I was surprised to find that all the customers were Taiwanese. Apparently they have been doing a lot of advertising in chinese newspapers.

We were given the chinese menu only, so I don’t even know what the English one looks like. I whipped out my translations from my mom to help me order, though the staff can help you out as well.

We were given some complimentary pickled vegetables.

We ordered the Taiwanese style meat ball.

Ground meat and bamboo shoots are tucked inside a translucent sticky dough. I thought their version was a little on the sour side. I’m not sure if they make it themselves or buy it elsewhere.

We also ordered the fried chicken roll. This was pretty tasty.

We also got the stir fried pork with tofu skin.

We also got a spicy boiled dish containing five ingredients including tofu, intestines and pork blood. I’ve had some bad versions of this dish but it’s one of my favorites so I usually get it wherever I go. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed the version here.

Finally we got the beef noodle soup. The soup was very disappointing. The broth was too sweet and didn’t have enough beef bone flavor.

Overall, we had an enjoyable experience. The food served was definitely homestyle and it appears to be family run. I would not order the beef noodle soup again but I will come back and try some more dishes.

Here is the menu along with the rough translations (which may not sound too appetizing to those who don’t like tripe and intenstines)

A1- Taiwanese style meat ball (ba wan)
A2- Taro cake
A3- fried chicken roll
A4- Taiwanese sausage
A5- Fried fish balls (hua zi wan)
A6- Oyster pancake
A7- Fried squid
A8- Soy sauce braised bamboo
A9- Lu Zou Fan (a rice dish usually topped with braised meat, bamboo)
A10- Taiwanese sausage rice
A11- Red meat rice
A12- taro pastry
A13- Snow vegetable (xue cai) shredded meat fried rice
A14- oyster soup
A15- beef ball soup (gong wan)
A16-Missed this one. Will have to ask mom again.
A17- Sour vegetable with pig intestine soup
A18- Intestine and pig blood soup
A19- Che A Mian (It’s a noodle soup usually topped with shredded pork, bamboo and uses egg noodles)
A20- Spare Rib Noodle soup
A21- Meat noodle stew
A22- Beef noodle soup
A23- Taiwanese style noodles
A24- Taiwanese style rice noodles
A 25- Taiwanese mix soup
A26- Something tofu. Will have to ask mom again
A27- 3 spice chicken
A28- Stir fried vegetables
A29- Salt and pepper pork ribs
A30- Stir fried shrimp
A31- 5 ingredients spicy boiled dish including pig intestines, tofu and pork blood (wu gen chang wan)
A32- Stir fried Dried bean curd with meat
A33- Stir fried Tofu skin (bai ye) with shredded meat
A34- Spicy cow stomach
A 35- House special intestines dish
A 36- Stir fried sour vegetable with large intestines

Lai Chen
6780 Miramar Rd
Ste 104
San Diego, CA 92121
(858) 635-6690


The brownie stuffed chocolate chip cookies were a huge hit with my family. It’s definitely something I’m going to make over and over again. They also didn’t last long.

Anyhow, I was thinking I might try a version with brownie chunks rather stuffing a brownie inside. That way the cookies would be normal-sized and would still have brownies. I also changed up the chocolate chip cookie recipe, opting for a chewier recipe so that the cookies would maintain the chewy texture even without a fudgy brownie sandwiched in the middle.

They came out good….but not as great as the brownie stuffed cookies. The little chunks of brownies weren’t as satisfying as biting into a whole fudgy brownie sandwiched into a cookie.

I think I would have liked these a lot better if hadn’t had the brownie stuffed chocolate chip cookies first.

Chocolate Chip Brownie Chunk Cookies

Ingredients
One box of your favorite brownie mix

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions

1. Make brownies according to box directions. After brownies have cooled, cut into small cubes.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.

2. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl.

3. In a separate bowl cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar using an electric mixer until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix on medium speed until combined.

4. Add in the flour mixture on low speed until combined.

5. Using a large spoon, mix in the chocolate chips.

6. Scoop a large tablespoon of dough and push a few chunks of brownies into the dough (I put about four on the surface and one inside) and drop onto baking sheet.  Repeat until all dough is used up.

7. Bake for about 8-10 minutes.  Remove cookies from try and let them cool on wire racks.