Tuesday, September 1, 2009
It was so hot here in San Diego this past weekend that my baking plans flew out the window. Instead, I indulged on sweet treats of ice cream, lots of different fruit, and pandan flavored soybean pudding!
Soy bean pudding, also known as Dou Hua was one of my favorite cold treats growing up. It's also a healthy alternative to some other cold sweet treats. Dou Hua is a type of tofu. By itself, it really has no flavor. It is usually served with a syrup with crushed ginger. Eaten together, it tastes a lot like the soybean milk drink. I usually buy mine at Ranch 99, and the containers usually look something like this:
The tofu is usually in a big container, with a small container of syrup on top. It's usually found in the refrigerator section of chinese supermarkets, near the milk and soybean drinks.
Normally, the tofu is a normal off-white tofu color. However, the pandan flavored one is a pretty light green. I've always eaten the regular one, but decided to change things up a bit. Especially because I really like the light green color. It tasted almost the same. I couldn't really taste the pandan. But it still tasted good.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
14805 Jeffrey Rd, #D
Boyfriend and I took a road trip to Irvine this weekend to visit some friends and eat some yummy food. I've been craving beef noodle soup and chewy homemade noodles lately, and the only place I know of in Irvine that serves both is A&J Restaurant. There is an A&J near where I live back in the Bay Area, and while I haven't been there, my mom went once and didn't like it because she said the portions were way too small. After doing some research, it appears a lot of people feel that the A&J in Irvine is much better. So I decided to give it a shot.
We arrived for a very late lunch on a scorching hot day. The restaurant was pretty empty. But we got great, attentive service. Not sure if it was because it was so empty. Once we chose somewhere to sit, we were given a menu, and an order sheet. Boyfriend asked why we were coming here to eat spicy beef noodle soup when it was so hot outside. I told him there is nothing wrong with eating spicy food when it's hot out, and besides, it was cool inside.
I ordered the beef noodle soup with beef only. You have a choice of thin noodles or thick homemade noodles. We both chose the thick noodles.
The noodles were nice and chewy. Yum! The broth was flavorful and only a little bit spicy. The beef was very tender, and full of flavor. It had the flavors of the broth, only intensified. I really enjoyed this. While it's not the best beef noodle soup I've ever had (there are many in the Bay Area and Taiwan that would rival A&J), it's pretty good and compared to the slim offerings in San Diego, this was delicious and definitely worth the road trip.
The quantity was slightly on the small side. I was able to easily finish this bowl.
Boyfriend got the beef noodle soup with beef and tendon.
While he initially had been a bit grumpy about eating spicy soup on a hot day, he soon changed his mind. He really loved the broth. In fact, he started dipping other food items we ordered into the broth, declaring that everything tasted better in the broth.
We also ordered pot stickers.
These were just okay. Not crispy enough and nothing special. So a bit disappointing.
We also ordered the green onion pancake
I did not enjoy this at all. It was small, and not flavorful. You couldn't really taste the onions. It was a bit thick and hard. The frozen ones I've bought at Ranch 99 tasted better than this.
Finally, we ordered thousand layer pancake.
While better than the green onion pancake, it was still a bit disappointing. The dough was a bit on the hard side. This was also quite small.
I think next time we come back, it'll just be for the beef noodle soup. I wanted to get a copy of the menu, but I forgot. Oh yeah, it's cash only!
Monday, August 31, 2009
I saw some beautiful starfruit (also known as carambola) while grocery shopping this weekend (found them at Ranch 99). While they were are on the pricey side, I couldn't resist buying one. Usually I'll see them on sale in the summer, but so far this summer the prices have remained expensive. Not sure why.
I'm not really sure why I enjoy starfruit. I think it's one of those food items that I enjoy simply because of the way it looks. If they didn't look like stars, I probably wouldn't enjoy them as much. For those of you who haven't ever had a starfruit, a whole star fruit looks like this:
They are ripe when they turn from green to yellow. The darker the yellow, the more ripe and sweet they are. Because of its unusual shape with five edges, when you cut the fruit, the slices look like little stars. The fruit is usually crunchy and watery, and sometimes sweet and a little bit sour. There is another taste to it, but I don't really know exactly how to describe it. Sometimes you'll find a few seeds near the core of the starfuit, which can easily be removed. I first started eating these when I would visit my family in Taiwan. I've also tried them in Hawaii. In Hawaii, the ones I found were much smaller, but a lot sweeter too. I haven't been able to find the small ones in San Diego.