Mar 30, 2008

Maison Kayser in Taiwan

Maison Kayser is a famous and well-known bakery joint from Paris.
Where more than 15 stores scatter throughout the area,
Over 20 stores overseas such as Japan, Greece, and Italy,
They also opened one branch in Taiwan, Taipei,
How lucky we Taiwanese are.

Eric Kayser is the store owner, the founder, the master chef,
His baguette is a must have,
But don't forget other wonderful goodies in the shop,
Delicate cakes, croissants, pain chocolat,
I assure you that all these items will never let you down.

The branch in Taiwan is located in a shopping mall called Breeze Center,
The bakery is designed with two sections,
One for patisserie, and one for breads.
The smell of fresh baked flour kept flowing into my nose,
So me and my mom decided to bring some goodies home-

Despite all the fresh breads in front of me, I was initially drawn by this dessert,
Mont Blanc-

I'm never a fan of dessert made with chestnuts,
But it was sitting in the counter, waiting for me to take it home...
*Ok, I'm making excuse here for my greediness.
After I had my first bite,
The strong aroma from the chestnuts just burst into my mouth,
And it was smooth and creamy,
Right at that moment,
I converted myself into a mont blanc fan.

Just go try it if you ever get a chance!

Maison Kayser

Taiwan Branch:
Fu Shin South Road, Section 1, Number 39.
Taipei, Taiwan.

Mar 26, 2008

Thank You My Mom & Dad, and My Lovely Friends

Happy birthday to myself!!!
Well, happy belated birthday to myself!!!

I just wanna say thank you here to my parents, and all my lovely friends,
All of you are the reason for my happiness and joy,
I can't imagine any single day without you!

To some of you, even though I don't get to see you guys often,
Maybe even less than couple times a year,
But you still remember my birthday,
I'm deeply touched,
I'm so glad that I met you guys at some points in my life.

Let me share some pictures on the date of my birthday,
I went to a Taiwanese style shabu shabu place with my parents,
This is the picture for the interior of the restaurant-

My parents were somewhere behind the camera,
I think they're too shy to be on my blog,
If my mom found out that I posted her picture here....
Mmm.....I don't even wanna think about it.

Went to Barcode with some of my friends (Barcode = one of the lounge bars in Taipei),
Two of them were playing with the giant horse butts painting in the back-

My tricky birthday cake-

Took me a while to blow the candles out,
The fire kept coming back!

Making a wish, actually, 3 wishes-

And time to finish up the cake-

I don't know what to say,
Thank you my mom and my dad,
And thank you my forever friends,
I wish you all the best!

Mar 22, 2008

One Day in Kaoshung

I feel like I haven't update my blog for ages (few days means a lot to me).
I got my internet connection here,
I have my laptop on the whole time next to my bed,
My fingers are all function well, ok, maybe there're one or two paper cuts, but no big deal,
So what's wrong?
Is it that hard to type out another blog entry?
I blame my laziness to food. Yes, food.

Most of you guys probably know already that I am currently traveling in Taiwan.
And Taiwan = food.
I've been busy eating around for the past few days,
No, more realistically it should be for every past hours.
The end result is that I came home with overloaded stomach, then I just crashed on my bed.

I need some exercise to help me digest mountains of food.
So I dragged myself to my laptop and started my routine finger exercise - updating my blog.

I went to Kaoshung the other day, it's in the southern part of Taiwan.
Can you believe it? I grew up in Taiwan and lived there for so many years,
And I never been to Kaoshung before,
It's like you live in Los Angeles for 20 something years and you never been to San Francisco.
Glad that the new high speed rail just finished its construction not long ago,
It only took me 96 minutes traveling from Taipei to Kaoshung,
Wow.. Taiwan is so small,
Only 96 minutes, you can travel from the north tip to bottom south.

Kaoshun Chi Jin-

Me and my friend took a small ferry to cross the ocean to the other side.

Tricycle ride-

I took this picture during the ride.

The beach part 1-

The beach part 2-

*We're surrounded by the ocean.

Back to the city, this is Urban Spotlight 城市光廊-

And the coffee shop on the street-

*Kaoshung government design this small area next to the shopping area with urban lights.

The new Kaoshung MRT station-

It's like New York's subway system in Taiwan.

After posting those pictures,
I have to get ready again for a family dinner....
Food food food.....
*Be prepare to see a bloated Cindy in 10 days.

Mar 18, 2008

Taiwan Night Market Scene - Rei Fon 瑞豐夜市

I finally got a chance to update my blog!
Since I only have 12 days in Taiwan,
My schedule is pretty tight,
Plus I wanna spend most of the time with my parents,
Usually I can only meet up with my friends after dinner time,
That means less sleeping hours for me.

The consequence is that every time I come back home after running around outside the whole day,
I just crashed on my bed,
Most likely is due my stuffed stomach and exhausted legs.
People (especially my mom) can't stop offering food to me.

But today, I am the reason of my major food coma,
And here's where the crime scene happened,

Rei Fon Night Market 瑞豐夜士-

It's located in Southern Taiwan in the city of Kaoshung,
If you decide to visit there one day,
It's on Yu Chen Road 裕誠路,
About 3 minutes away from San Min Vocational High School 三民家商,
Of course you can also ask any local residents from Kaoshung,
I'm pretty sure that at least 70% of them know where it is.

Picture of the crowd-

I had to take this picture in a lightening speed.
The lady from one of the food stands kept telling me to just sit down and eat there,
Also people from behind tried so hard to squeeze pass me,
Come on,
I just wanna take a nice picture of you guys eating!

This stand is famous for their "teh tarik" 印度拉茶,
They stick all their public coverages (magazines, newspapers, TV shows) on the stand-

Teh Tarik is an Indian beverage,
The basic ingredients are milk and tea.
Wait a second,
Why Indian food in a Taiwan's night market?
Well, I don't know about other things,
But when it comes to food, we Taiwanese are very open minded multi-national adventurers.
Indian, Thai, Korean, American, Japanese, French, even Mongolian,
You name it!

Here's how they make the tea-

I told this guy that I am gonna take a picture of him making my tea,
He was like "I look ugly, let me ask my friend to do it for you."
But I guess that his friend's camera shy too,
Poor him, became one of the victims under my camera.

Special container for Teh Tarik-

Instead of a cup, they use this interesting bag that seals tightly on the top.
The beverage wasn't very milky,
You'll like it if you're a fan of strong tea flavors when it comes to "milk tea."

Then I had this one, chicken steak on a sizzling hot iron pan 鐵板雞排-

Served with creamy corn soup and ice tea,
And the steak comes with noodles, one thin slice of ham, and a sunny side up egg.
You also have the choice of mushroom sauce or black pepper sauce.
And all that only costs $3 U.S. Dollars-

San Dong Strewed Duck Stand 山東鴨頭-

Basically they marinated every parts of the duck and stewed it over a period of time,
You pick what you want and put that in the iron bowl,
They'll fry it for you, and add some seasonings according to your needs.
Usually black/white pepper and chili powder.
In this picture you can see:
Duck intestine, duck tongues, duck heads, duck eggs, duck necks, duck wings, duck feet, and other non-duck related items (pic blood cake, bean curd, seaweed, etc),
Did I scare you away already?

Here the bosses are preparing the food-

Night market is a fun place to go,
You can always see something new there,
People trying to come up with new ideas everyday,
Hoping that their food products will be a big success.
And all the noises, people ordering food, calling for customers, music from the stores,
Different stand layouts, delicious food smell,
It's a very lively atmosphere.
Stop by here if you ever get a chance,
I'll assure an interesting experience of your life.

Mar 14, 2008

Don't Know When I'll Be Back Again.......I Wish

I'm leaving for Taiwan in few hours!
Was gonna post my "little" luggage picture up here,
I'm running out of time!!!!!

Please stay tuned,
Since I'll still have my internet connection overseas,
*God bless, I don't know how can I survive without internet.
I'll post some delicious local food from Taiwan from time to time!


Mar 11, 2008

POIRE Chocolat

This box of chocolate has came a long way,
It flew over the Pacific Ocean from Osaka, Japan for over 10 hours,
Experienced the traffic in Los Angeles,
Then my lucky friend got it from his co-worker (aka the chocolat carrier),
What's even luckier, is that I'm so notorious about wanting yummy food,
My "nice" friend decided to share this precious box of "chocolat" with me!

Here are the little pamphlets that came together with the chocolat-

As you can see,
Besides chocolates,
This store also carries:
Patisserie items such as mont blanc, cheese cake, fruit tarts,
Ice Sorbet made with melon, orange, papaya,
Biscuit and other seasonal items.

This one shows you their locations in Japan-

This one shows you what's inside the box-

I didn't wanna take a picture without the plastic wrap cz I thought that little logo in the middle was cute,
And if you look closer, ok maybe it's pretty obvious,
You can see the top three spaces are empty,
Me and my friend ate it already....
We couldn't wait.....
Inside the box you can find a tiny white fork,
That directly translated into "Go ahead. Dig in!!!" in my tiny little brain,
So I forgot to take a picture first...

Oh well,
The chocolate was really smooth and creamy,
It's been under room temperature, but when I got those chocolate, the weather's still pretty cold here in Southern California,
So with the cold weather, the chocolate was like melting in my mouth,
I couldn't believe how smooth it was!

I've attached their website on the bottom,
You can see that their items are not that expensive,
Something affordable yet delicate.

End Note:

If you read this post before March 14th, 2008,
You can see that on the left of POIRE's website, there's a "White Day 2008,"
What's White Day?
That's for White Valentine's Day!
Usually on February 14th,
The girl will give some sort of present (usually home-made chocolate) to the guy she likes,
And if the guy is interested,
One month after February 14th, which should be March 14th,
He will give something back to the girl,
I don't know what's your opinion on this,
But one month wait for the girl is way too longgggggg!!!!

Mar 9, 2008

Microwaved Eggs with Ground Pork and Dried Shrimps

This is my second attempt of trying out this dish,
Supposedly I should have "steamed" the eggs instead of microwaved it,
Like the one I made before - steamed eggs with ground pork topping,
Steaming things are just too hard in my little kitchen here since I have no proper utensils to do so,
I've decided to ask for some help from my right-hand man here,
Mr. Microwave.

My conventional dish turned out nice and yummy,
Let me show you how I did it.


8 eggs
1 cup of chicken stock or water
Sea salt
1 lb of ground pork
1 palm-ful of dried shrimps
3 garlic cloves (minced)
3 tablespoons of black bean soy sauce
Extra virgin olive oil


Microwaved eggs part:

Simply beat 8 eggs in a flat-based bowl,
Sprinkle some salt and add 1 cup of chicken stock or water, mix them well.
Transfer that to the microwave and cook under high heat for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, take the bowl out and give it a stir.

Since we're using microwave here,
Sometimes the sides will cook faster than the center part,
So just make sure that you fold the cooked edges into to the center, and let the uncooked parts flow back evenly to the sides.
Back to the microwave for another 5 minutes.

Ground pork and dried shrimps topping:

First soak the dried shrimps in the water for about 3 minutes or so until it "puffed up."
Discard the water and dry it well with kitchen towel.
Chop the shrimps into little pieces like this-

After preparing the shrimps,
Drizzle some olive oil in the pan,
Toss in finely chopped dried shrimps and let it cook till it turned semi-brown color.
Add the minced garlic,
Be careful here,
You have to add the ground pork into the panbefore the garlic get burned,
We don't want that bitter taste in the dish.

So after adding the pork,
Pour in about 3 to 4 tablespoons of black bean soy sauce (正蔭醬油),
It's pretty sweet and it's thicker than the regular soy sauce, like the texture of honey.
Keep stirring the mixture,
Cook until all the liquid is absorbed by the pork,
Spread the ground pork and dried shrimps over the eggs,
There you have it-

Enjoy it!

Cindy's Rating: 6.5

Mar 5, 2008

Pelican Grill

I think I'm in love with Newport Beach,
Ever since I took my host parents out for a nice dinner last week at The Cannery,
I've decided instead of driving all the way up to downtown LA,
I should just stay local and explore the eating joints along the coast.

So one day I paid a visit to Pelican Grill,
The restaurant is actually located inside a nice resort called Pelican Hill,
As we turned into their very own "Pelican Hill Road,"
The first thing came to my sight was a giant arch above my head,
Keep going and you'll see the valet service right at the front.
Many nice cars there,
Mercedes, BMW, Bentley, you name it,
Who were the owners?
I don't know, all I can see were a bunch of golfers wondering around with their very own golf club sets.

Memories came back to my mind all the sudden, will I ever play golf again?
I tried it a few times,
Once I was at a nice golf resort, my pressure playing there was mountain high.
A golf newbie like me couldn't stop taking off the grass while swinging the club,
I have the power of turning a shiny green land into a savaged battleground.
After that, I never played golf again.
Oh well,
I came here for the food anyways.
As I entered the hallway with giant clay pots on the side (it's becoming a signature of Irvine Company's properties in Southern California. Especially in Irvine, you can spot those giants pots in every plaza and apartment complex),
The hostess took us to our booth.
Looking out to the left was the patio sitting looking out the hills,
On our right was a very spacious open kitchen, where you can see Thomas Ryan, the executive chef preparing dishes for the diners.

They had sunflowers on every table, very cute.
*We were there for lunch, I'm pretty sure they change the sunflower to something else during dinner hours.-

My Tangerine Mojito-

I was very pleased with my mojito,
Perfect balance between the amount of rum and fresh squeezed orange juice,
Absolutely loved it.
I give it a "9."

Margarita pizza-

With "sun ripened tomato, basil, and mozzarella," garnished with watercress.

Molasses marinated pork chop-

Our side dish, baby spinach "creme double"-

I have to say that our entrees (my friend ordered filet mignon) and pizza weren't as good as expected,
Somehow our "supporting dishes" out-shined our main dishes,
The filet mignon was very tender and juicy, but not to a point that can give us a "wow" effect,
In the other hand,
Our spinach was gooood,
I guess "creme double" really made a big difference,
It was moist, creamy, and very cheesy of course.

Then our dessert menu came up-

I was too full (as usual, I tend to order a LOT of food) so I passed on the sweet part this time.
Will I come back again?
Most likely not.
There are so many other restaurants out there in the neighborhood,
I will take my time and try each every one of them,
Then I will pick out the top 3, ok maybe top 5 eateries,
These 5 places will be the ones that I'll pay my visit over and over again,
For sure Pelican Grill won't be on this list.
*Wait, mmmm, I'll come back for their mojito!

Overall Rating: 6

End Note:
Approximate price per person: $40 and up.

Pelican Grill
22701 Pelican Hill Road South
Newport Coast, CA 92657
(877) 735-4226

Mar 2, 2008

Pork Rolls with Mentaiko and Ohba

I was having a hard time figuring out what dishes I should cook for this upcoming week,
Chicken, pork, fish, shrimps, clams...,
All these ingredients were bumping around inside my tiny little brain.
Forget about it, I shouted.
I'll never come up with anything just sitting here thinking,
So I grabbed my car key, made a trip to Mitsuwa (local Japanese supermarket),
And I had it,
I quickly tossed some fresh ingredients to the little red basket dangling on my arm,
Let's head back to the kitchen and start cooking!

Ingredients (for 8 rolls)?

8 ohba leaves (also known as perilla)
2 small sacs of mentaiko (cod roes)
1 box of pork slices (about 16 slices)
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil


It's a fairly simple dish,
First let's get the ingredients ready.
Run the knife in the middle of the mentaiko and spoon out the little eggs,
Set aside,
You can also see my previous post for more details about mentaiko.
As for ohba,
Just gently wipe the leaves with a damp kitchen towel,
Washing them directly under the faucet might break those delicate leaves.

Here's the picture of ohba-

My memory is fading away,
But I think it's about $2.80 U.S. Dollars for 10 of them.
I know,
It's darn expensive for only 10 leaves.

Time for assembling work,
Lay down 1 or 2 pork slices,
The reason why we're using 2 slices here is because we wanna make sure that there's no openings in between,
I don't wanna see mentaiko been squeezed out of the pork rolls during the cooking process.

Now let's place one ohba on top of the pork slices,
Spread out some mentaiko on the leaf,
Carefully roll these three ingredients together, and seal the end of the pork slices with a toothpick.

It should look like this now-

Drizzle some olive oil in the skillet,
Place the pork rolls and sear them till slightly brown on all sides,
Don't forget to sprinkle some salt and pepper, only a tiny bit,
Mentaiko and ohba have their very own distinctive flavors,
We won't wanna murder those wonderful tastes by over-seasoning the pork rolls.
Usually we're done cooking this dish after searing the pork rolls,
But I always do an extra step to get rid of the excess oil.
I'll put a kitchen towel on a plate and transfer the pork rolls there,
Take out the toothpicks,
Into the microwave for another minute,
Yes you heard me, microwave.
It's probably one of the best invention in the 21st century (Am I right on the time here?),
We should all make a good use out of it.
Oven would do the trick too,
But hey, it's easier to use microwave here, and it'll still be as yummy as using an oven.
After taking out the plate,
You'll see all that extra oil is already been absorbed by the kitchen towel,
How wonderful!

Here's our final product-

Not bad huh?

Cindy's Rating: 7