Oh man.. I haven’t posted in SO LONG!  I am a little ashamed of myself, actually.  But it’s winter break now, so hopefully I will post more normally now.  I just got back home to St. Louis, and it’s wonderful!! I have already visited Trader Joe’s and gotten lots of yummy treats to enjoy before I leave next Wednesday .. for.. JAPAN!!! My mom and I are going to visit my brother in Tokyo, and my dad is coming over from Taiwan, so it’ll be a little family reunion in Japan.  We’re going to stay in Tokyo for most of the time, but go to Osaka and a few day trips from Osaka as well.  Can’t wait!!! (If anybody has any suggestions as to what to see, and more importantly, where/what to EAT… then let me know!)

Anyway, let me do a bit of catch up work now… the picture is from Phileo!! I finally managed to go with my roommate this semester, after hearing about it in the summer and wanting to go THE ENTIRE SEMESTER!!! Seriously, you wouldn’t think it would be so difficult to go out to get frozen yogurt, lol.. but since it is out on 4th and South it is a little bit more work to get to.  We actually went after we went to Foster’s for a free cooking demonstration Mark Vetri was doing there, along with a book signing for his new book, “Il Viaggio di Vetri,” which we both got signed!  Mmmm we got to sample his sweet onion crepe and ricotta gnocchi, and both were AMAZING!  It has been my goal to go to Vetri (or at least Osteria) before I graduate, and now, I’ve made it my roommate’s goal too!  In the meanwhile, we have said we are going to try to make the sweet onion crepe on our own, so let’s see if that ever happens…

Anyway, on to Phileo! The great thing about Phileo is that they have so many different flavors to try!! The bad thing about Phileo is that they have so many different flavors to try!! I basically had to try every flavor, and my cup ended up being this massive mix of crazy colors and also ended up being quite expensive.  The flavors I remember getting were… blueberry, mango, strawberry, green tea, taro, pineapple, and cheesecake.  And then I got a lot of fruit toppings, which were pretty good for the most part (kiwi was not so great… but mango was good!) and they even had little mini mochi pieces!! All in all, a fun and yummy trip.  Although, I did get yelled at b/c apparently you aren’t supposed to take pictures of their machines?  We didn’t really understand why, but it’s okay, I took the picture before they got mad, and I didn’t delete it. HA!

Okay, that’s it for now.. hopefully I’ll post again soon!

Published in: on December 14, 2008 at 11:14 am  Leave a Comment  

back back back!

Oh man, back at school… How the heck did that happen?
But it’s good to be back. I went to Tampopo last night, and got the fresh tuna bi-bim-bap. Delicious!! Please try this dish immediately. http://www.tampoporestaurant.com

It’s on 21st, b/w Chestnut and Walnut, and conveniently close to Capogiros, where I got their espresso granita… I was really tempted to get their Blueberry Yogurt, but I wanted to try the granita after seeing pictures of it on Egullet. I was not disappointed in the slightest. Perfect for summer with the thickest whipped cream I have ever had. Seriously, I don’t even know how they did that. It comes out of this whipped cream machine that I have never seen before, but it is fantastic. I can’t wait until they open the Capogiros and Naked Chocolate Cafe on campus. Whoo!!!! Goodbyeeee money!

And then, of course, on the walk back, we had to stop by Trader Joe’s, my second trip there in the past week. I have an addiction to buying groceries at a rate far greater than the rate at which I consume them… So far my favorite purchases from TJ’s is their white bean hummus (my favorite hummus there so far, out of the millions that they have…), cocoa almonds, and Caribbean fruit floes. Yummmm.

I’m in the process of putting together my kitchen with pots and utensils and what not. Hopefully I can cook soon. In the meanwhile, I have TJ’s and my newly purchased 2009 Zagat guide that I have already started thumbing through…

Published in: on September 6, 2008 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Crepes! Crepes! Crepes!

Yay, this past Sunday we took a nice walking trip down to Center City’s La Creperie Cafe to stuff our bellies full with these light and tender pancakes:

My other crepe experiences in Philadelphia consist of Houston Hall’s Creperie and the Crepewalk food cart on Penn’s campus.  I was actually really excited about the crepes in Houston Hall before because it was humongous and nearly exploding with indulgent nutella, strawberry, and bananas.  However, with each order, I got more and more tired of the heavy and overbearing pancake that was trying to pass as a crepe.  The Crepewalk’s crepe is an improvement, but not enough (esp. due to my poor experience with the man who runs the truck.)

But that’s where La Creperie Cafe comes in! I ordered the most classic of “Les Classiques,” Gâteau de Crêpe au Jambon: Ham, Swiss Cheese, Spinach, Mushrooms & Garlic.  It was exactly what I was looking for…with all the simple flavors combining to form my favorite crepe experience yet.  My friends ordered more daringly from the “Les Tentanes: Very Creative Mix” portion of the menu with LOrientale, with a creative mix indeed of Couscous, Chicken Breast, Dry Raisins, Olives and also Merguez et Fromage, featuring their lamb sausage.  While these were certainly more exciting than my own crepe, personally I loved mine the most.  Plus, I have found that I just don’t care for couscous.  Who needs tiny little grains?? Especially in their crepe. Not meeee!

And of course, following up our savory crepes with dessert crepes was a must.  La Finale with Flambé Banana in Rum, Strawberries & Coulis de Chocolat called out to me, and was indeed a great finale.

Also ordered at the table were Le Fraisier: Strawberries, Sugar, Rum & Whipped Cream, and Oh La LaBananas with Nutellla, Grand Marnier and Whipped Cream (which I actually wished I had ordered… I always fall for nutella and choc/hazelnut).  

Some bites of crepe had a delicious, crunchy-sugar topping, as if they bruleed the top just slightly.  As delicious as these dessert crepes were, I think we mainly agreed that the savory ones shined more here than their dessert ones.

La Creperie Cafe has revived my perspective and love of crepes, and now, I set out for crepes from Beau Monde, the recently spotted crepe cart on Drexel’s campus, and hopefully if all goes as planned, France when I study abroad there next spring! 😀

La Creperie Cafe

Published in: on May 5, 2008 at 9:54 pm  Comments (1)  

birthday, aka reason to eat nonstop

Today was the last day of classes, but also my birthday.. craziness!! I always go through this weird phase of where it doesn’t really feel like your birthday leading up to the day, but then like the day before you really really hope that people will do all sorts of things to make it special, even though you’re really not supposed to expect that people do extra things for you because it’s just a birthday, right??

But anyway, my floor had a birthday celebration last night with cakes from the Swiss Pastry Shop on 19th (http://www.swisshausbakery.com/Swiss_Haus_Bakery.html) that I read from Chowhound had really good hazelnut cake for birthday occasions. Soo we got that, and cherry cheesecake. I of course looked forward to this cake eating for like a week or so… dreaming of those slices of dreamy, sugar and fat-laden birthday celebration. Unfortunately, I think I had too high of expectations as the hazelnut cake turned out to be not as delicious as I had imagined in my mind… The buttercream frosting was actually quite good, considering I don’t usually enjoy buttercream frosting all that much, but the cake part itself was a little dry and tasteless. Doh!!! The cheesecake was pretty good though…very very dense and thick, which is the way I like my cheesecakes. Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, although the taste is good (Vanilla Beaaaannn!!!), are way too light and mousse-y for me to fall in love with. But, that is deviating away…let’s go back to birthday celebration. So, after I had those two slices of cake.. at midnight, I was surprised with a huge Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream cake, with mint-chocolate chunk (my favorite classic ice-cream flavor) and their new Imagine Whirled Peace (a flavor I have been wanting to try). So yes. I had THREE kinds of cake in one night. My friends know what makes me happy all too well. (I’ll try to get pictures of the Swiss Pastry cakes up later)

Okayyy and tonight, I went to Tinto!! I went to Amada earlier this year for Restaurant Week, and of course, loved it. I loved getting Tapas in St. Louis, but Amada and Tinto are on a completely different level with the ingredients used, the way the food is presented, the different flavor combinations, even the restaurant interior. I was afraid that we would get our bill at Tinto and be sad about the price, but fortunately it wasn’t bad at all… it is possible to eat there with $25 per person and still have a wonderful meal. I went with friends who had never had tapas before. (Yes, I said Never had tapas before!) Oh the tragedy! Fortunately, I was able to fix this dire situation, and show them the beauty of tapas. Here is what we got: (Sorry, no pictures… it was quite dark in there!)
CHIPIRONES EN SU TINTA chiperones, squid ink, crab bomba rice
MONTADITOS DE PATO duck confit, black cherry, bleu de basque
BROCHETAS DE POLLO chicken, garbanzo puree, truffle jus
POLLITO poussin, truffled pochas, shaved carrot escabeche
SOPA DE CASTANO truffled chestnut soup, duck&mushroom hash, fried quail egg, pistachio
ARROZ BOMBA morel mushroom bomba rice, green asparagus, lemon oil
JUDIAS VERDES haricot vert, almonds, dates, orange segments, paprika sherry vinaigrette
+ one item not on the menu: Truffled Artichokes with I think lemon oil and some cheese?? I don’t really remember…just that it was a great savory tanginess to it.  Probably my favorite veg dish tonight.

Okay, I have no pictures, but really, reading those descriptions should make anyone want to dine there… or in my case, go there again and again, ahhh. For the sopa, they brought it out in this cool asymmetric bowl with the hash and egg, and poured the creamy, sweet, addicting soup around it at our table. For the brocheta, the skewers came in these tall shot-glass-type glasses with sauce inside that I doused my chicken in. The duck confit montaditos had a cherry that one of my friends and I agreed, was the best tasting cherry we had ever had. Seriously, I don’t know what they did to that thing… but it was DARN TASTY. I could go on and on, all the flavors were great, all the platings were wonderful… you get the idea. The French influence on the Basque style tapas was actually pretty easy to tell, especially after eating at Amada. The two are pretty different from each other, in terms of tastes. I’m not sure if I could pick one though. I’ll probably have to make multiple visits to finally come up with a verdict. 🙂

Oh…and…my friends weren’t that intrigued by Tinto’s dessert offerings, so they wanted to go to Capogiro’s after (especially since one of them hadn’t gone at all before). So yes, yet another visit to Capogiro’s!! I should really cut that addiction. But they made meeeee!!! 😉
I got… Thai coconut milk with their dark chocolate, which actually complemented each other quite well. I was pretty proud of myself 😛

A happy happy birthday, filled with food, fun, friends, but mainly food. And I still have more ice-cream cake in my freezer, and a humongous caramel apple from a fruit bouquet gift to devour. Aging really does come with a lot of responsibilities!

Published in: on April 29, 2008 at 10:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

my love of gelato

Seeing as how this blog is new, I figured I should backtrack a bit over some of the things I have eaten in Philadelphia and love dearly.  One of those is Capogiro’s gelato.  Although I haven’t gone to Italy to have authentic gelato, I imagine it couldn’t get much better than this (and it is actually much better than gelato in St. Louis…).  Besides their high quality gelato, it is just so much fun to go with your friends or family and have like five samples of their unique, fresh flavors that they keep coming up with (just to give a few examples, one time I had Lemon Opal Basil sorbet, Sea Salt gelato, Rosemary Goat’s Milk gelato…).  Besides Bacio (the love of my life), I also really like their “Cioccolato Scuro” (dark and somehow fudgy chocolate) plus their Blood Orange, Turkish Coffee (a delicious variation to normal cappucino/coffee), and Saigon Cinnamon.  Another reason why Capogiro’s is amazing is because the flavors they offer changes daily and they put them on their website so you can check obsessively like me.  And that’s why I am now really sad that I cannot go to Capogiro’s today to try their Menta-Menta Stracciatella (mint chocolate chip), Amarena (Fior Di Latte Swirled With Imported Black Cherries), okay the list goes on.  So basically, if you haven’t gone to Capogiro’s yet… GO NOOOWWW!!!  (Or at least check out their website and dream of gelato with me!)

Published in: on April 24, 2008 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment