Dec 30, 2009

Hito BBQ 田季發爺燒肉農安街總店

This time I wanna show you guys this all-you-can-eat barbeque place in Taipei,
Hito BBQ,
They only have two pre-set prices,
One is $399 (around $12 U.S.), and the other one is $499 (around $15 U.S.),
There are more seafood items for the higher price,
But since me and my friends can be careless about seafood, we picked the cheaper one.

By the way,
For this restaurant location, 
Before getting to the meat, you have to first climb 3 floors of steep stairs,
Me and my friends were complaining to the guy who booked the place,
Exercise is good, but not when we're starving!

So for the first round, we selected all the meat items-

And few plates of vegetables,
Just for your information, the ratio of meat versus veggies is about 3:1,
We're all carnivores!

Free kimchi-

Very good, I was surprised actually.
Maybe I shouldn't blame the guy for booking this restaurant,
We'll see how other dishes go later on.

Pork items-

We seriously ordered way too much food,
I didn't have time to ask what kind of meat it was,
The only thing I remembered was plates of meat keeps piling up at our table...

To show you how much we ordered-

The waiter had to use 4 grills total in order to cook all of our food.
Oh yeah, the waiter/waitress actually cook for you, you don't have to touch a thing,
Some of us tried to cook our own meat...but after comparing with the ones prepared by the guy...
Mmmm...we've decided to let the professional to do the job.

This is the chicken thing our waiter made-

Looks like okonomiyaki,
It was slightly burned on the outside and very juicy on the inside,
The waiter used some spices on the table for the seasoning-

Cheese, mustard, dried seaweed, shichimi togarashi, pepper, salt,
The restaurant also provides seasoned soy sauce and lemon juice as additional seasoning options.

Our waiter also made cheese flavored beef-

Kind of different, but it was indeed very delicious and juicy.

Grilled fish-

The fish won't fall down even if you turn the net upside down,
You might be thinking that the fish skin is sticking to the grill net right?
Surprisingly, our professional chef simply gave the net a few knocks with two tongs and the fish came out perfectly,
Skills skills.


What is he doing?
Peeling off the shells for us, how nice!!

(((Skipping some meat dishes pictures, sorry I was too busy eating)))
This is our final dish,
Sticky rice cake dipped in condensed milk and peanut powder-

The rice cake was grilled till it started to bloat up a little bit,
Then dipped in condensed milk, and rolled in peanut powder.

I rarely eat sticky rice cakes,
Don't like the way it sticks on my teeth...and I probably have to lick it out with my tongue..
Not a pleasant scene in the public.
However, this time I ate it because I never had it with condensed milk,
Glad I tried, it was delicious!
But I did have to deal with the "remaining" sticky rice cakes on my teeth afterwards though..

Hito BBQ is probably one of my favorite all-you-can-eat barbeque places within this price range,
Service was good,
Our waiter had to cook for a bunch of starving people, didn't really get a chance to rest in between,
Applause for that!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Hito BBQ 田季發爺燒肉
台北市農安街31號3樓 3rd Floor, Number 31, Ruon En Street, Taipei
(02) 2595-4100

Dec 26, 2009

Animamix Biennial Visual Attract & Attack - Taiwan Taipei

Sorry that I haven't updated my blog for a long time,
I'm currently traveling in Taiwan (Horray for winter break!),
I do have internet at home..
But somehow my parents lost the password for the wireless network,
And my desktop at home is super slow,
Seriouly, I felt like smashing the monitor numerous times already...
(It can take up to 10 seconds sometimes to load one page...)

So before I head to a cafe with wireless service,
Let me just post some pics of a current exhibition at MOCA Taipei,
Animamix Biennial Visual Attract & Attack,
Pretty cool stuff!

Some sculptures-

"Miss" Murakami-

Baby spider man-

Painting (the second panda from the right is so cute!)-

Highly recommended exhibition!
If you are in Taiwan, come check it out,
It's unlike some of the "artsy" stuff that are hard to understand,
(Like staring at a giant painting with 2 blocks of colors...),
This one is fun and interactive, I'm loving it!

MOCA Taipei - Museum of Contemporary Art

Dec 17, 2009

Urth Caffe - Downtown Los Angeles

Haven't write a restaurant review for a long long time,
Actually, I was gonna post a recipe about Japanese stewed egg plant..
But...I think that dish needs to be improved a little bit before I can write about it..
Don't wanna give out the recipe unless it really tastes good,
Especially during this holiday season, giving my readers stomachache is not a very wise idea!

Luckily, I always have some backup pictures in my hard drive,
So here it is, my restaurant review for Urth Caffe in Downtown Los Angeles.

Located in the center of art district,
This place offers a wide variety of organic coffee, as well as some high quality, healthy sweet and savory items,
And this is the first thing I saw when I walked into the eatery-

Cakes!!! Pies!!!
I think other customers standing in the line could see a spark in the corner of my eyes right at that moment, BLING**

Urth farmer's salad-

Made with organic greens, grilled artichoke, dried fruits, and more.

Side track here,
I think it's very important to eat organic stuff as long as financial situation allows,
Indeed organic stuff is expensive...hopefully it'll get cheaper when more people start buying these products..

But what I'm trying to say is that...
I seriously think many "modern" diseases are coming from the food we eat,
Especially canned products or processed meals.

I was reading one article from New York Times, talking about the danger of consuming extra estrogen by eating canned food,
(Estrogen coming from the materials used for the inner side of the can)
After all, it's not natural...think about it..eating food coming out from a tin can...
That's been sitting on the shelves for who knows how long...
Or cooking vegetables that were being sprayed with pesticide..
Even though the government said the amount of chemicals used will cause no harm to human bodies...
Seriously, it's not natural!

Hmm...just a thought here, after all, you are what you eat!
*Hey! That can be a good name for a food blog!

Ok ok, enough of my babbling, let's get back to our Urth Caffe,
Tea latte and tomato basil quiche-

Both items are super good!
The quiche might look small here, but it was very filling and very flavorful,
Kinda juicy inside, possibly coming from the tomatoes,
Only one thing I have to pick on here...
I can never figure out what's the pattern they were trying to draw on my tea latte..(?)..
Elephant? Monkey?

Fruit tart and the back of either triple chocolate cheese cake or key lime pie-

I really the cheese cake was very heavy, just the way I like it!

Urth Caffe is a very relaxing location,
Their light meals are great (I'll definitely try other individual quiche next time),
There are also some cute little stores and art galleries around the neighborhood,
After venturing around the area, stop by for a cup of tea or coffee, it'll make your day even better!

*For me, I'll probably go for the dessert and quiche....yum!

Cindy's Rating: 8

Urth Caffe - Downtown Los Angeles
451 South Hewitt Street
Los Angeles, CA
(213) 797-4534

*They also have other locations in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica

Dec 9, 2009

Pork Rolls with Spinach and Dried Seaweed - 豬肉波菜捲

Took me a while to figure out the English name for this dish..
Sometimes it's just so hard to translate for food items....
Once a while I even said garlic when I meant to say curry,
Because garlic sounds just like the Chinese pronunciation for curry...
Confused enough, let's start with this recipe.

Pork roll with spinach and dried seaweed-


10 pork loin slices
1 big piece of dried seaweed (smaller kind works too, but just have to use more)
1 bundle of spinach
Black pepper
Olive oil
10 toothpicks

Sauce (you can adjust it a little bit depend on your personal taste):

2 tablespoons of ponzu
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoon of hot water
1 tablespoon of mirin


1 teaspoon of sesame oil
Some roasted sesame seeds


So I pound each pork loins to make them thinner and wider first,
In the mean time, boil a pot of water, add some salts in it.
Remove the bottom stems for the spinach, give it a rinse then toss in the boiling water,
Cook till it got wilted down, drain out the water, set aside.

Here's the fun park,
Lay down on pork loin on the board (I work on my chopping board),
Tear off the seaweed to the exact size of the pork, put it on top of the meat,
Then add some of the cooked spinach in one end,
Roll it up! Start out with the side you put spinach on,
Seal the end with toothpick.

Repeat the steps for the remaining 9 rolls.
Remember to sprinkle some salt and pepper before cooking.

In a skillet, drizzle some olive oil and wait till it turns very hot,
Transfer the pork rolls and sear all sides till medium brown color.

Pour in the sauce mixture and cook till it's reduced for about 1/2,
Drizzle some sesame oil before you take them out the skillet.

Transfer to the cutting board, wait for about 5 minutes.
Now, cut out one ends so the bottom part is even,
For the other end, but it diagonally,
Transfer the center part to the serving plate and sprinkle some sesame seeds.


Cindy's Rating: 7

Dec 3, 2009

Berry Much Muffins

Too early for Christmas?

Ingredients (for 6)?

1 1/2 cup of mixed berries (it's gonna be a lot of berries, you can use 1 cup instead)
1/4 cup of whipping cream
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of butter (room temperature)
1 egg
1 cup of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Some salt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pre a big bowl and sift 1 cup of flour there,
Add a pinch of salt and the baking powder.
In the other big bowl,
Beat the whipping cream, sugar, honey, egg, vanilla extract, and butter till well-blended.

Pour the dry ingredients to the bowl with wet ingredients,
Mix them well then pour in the berry mixture,
I used golden raspberries, red raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.
Use a plastic spatula and fold the berries into the mixture.

Line up paper muffin cups in the muffin pan,
Into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or till the top turned slightly brown.

Taste even better if you drizzle some honey over the muffin!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Nov 28, 2009

Simple Marinated Pork

This is what I made for Thanksgiving (small bite appetizer)-

The whole process is extremely easy,
Especially only little dish washing work is required afterward,
How good can this be?

Marinated pork-


1 lb of pork loin (cut into bite sizes)
2 stalks of scallion
5 garlic cloves
Few slices of ginger (I used 4)
2 tablespoons of honey
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
2 teaspoons of ponzu sauce
2 teaspoons of sesame oil
Some freshly ground black pepper
Some toasted sesame seeds


Mix all the ingredients together and let it marinate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
I used a Ziploc bag because it's easier to mix the sauce together with the pork,
I also toss the marinade about every 4 to 6 hours, just to make sure that the sauce is soaking in all the pork pieces.

Before cooking,
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit,
Line up aluminum foil in a baking sheet,
Trust me, it saves a lot of dish washing effort later on.

Transfer the pork over, preferably fat side up so you'll get a nice caramelized color with semi-melted fat,
It'll ooze in your mouth later.
You can also add some marinade if desired, I left it out for mine.
Cook for about 35 minutes, or till the edges turned slightly brown.

Let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving,
I sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds,
Just to make me feel better that there's at least one "vegetable" type of ingredient in this dish....(like it'll help...)

Cindy's Rating: 7

Nov 22, 2009

Mitsuwa Giant Blue Fin Tuna Cutting Performance

Yesterday I went to Mitsuwa to see the giant blue fin tuna cutting performance,
You know? Where your lovely otoro came from?
I even marked my calendar 10 days ago just to make sure I won't miss out this event,
It was written clearly in blue ink, "Sat 2 p.m. Costa Mesa Mitsuwa."

So this is what I saw when I got there around 1 p.m.-

Ehh??? What happened to my giant blue fin tuna?
Where's the whole fish? Where's the head? How come only the body left?

A giant piece being left on the side waiting to be cut into smaller portions-

I walked towards the back, they even started selling the fish already-

Next to the stand I saw a sign saying something like performance started at "12 noon."
What? 12 noon?
No way, no way no way,
I was looking forward to take the very first picture of the whole fish, the one with head and tail...
This can't be happening...

My friends kept saying I must wrote down the wrong time,
We even bet on taking two shots,
If I did remember the wrong time, then I'll have to punish myself with alcohol (nice..)

So I checked online again, it said 12 noon...
Luckily, I still kept one of the flyers in the magazine rack,
Here it is, "2 p.m."-

Gosh, what a relief, now they'll have to take those two shots!

Anyways, the head and tail were gone...
As I wiped out my tears....(I really really want a big tuna head picture!)
Me and my friends decided to get a small box of otoro and just finish it at the dining section right next to it-

We also got some aji sashimi from the market-

Good thing we're still in time for the best part - otoro,
It just melts in your mouth,

Now, my friends, please take these two shots!!!
(I'm so gonna pour shots into two gigantic beer mugs for them! evil grin*)

Nov 17, 2009

Instant Pizza in 20 Minutes! (My Very First Try)

I've been trying to shop in a smarter way nowadays,
Back then, I'll just grab whatever I want at the grocery store,
But time is different now,
My wallet is getting skinnier (seriously!),
And I don't wanna let go all these organic goodies down the aisles...
Plus I've got to save some $$ for my dream camera, can be tough....

So now I'm always searching for a bargain - by stocking up my kitchen cabinet when things are on sale!
Canned corns, canned soups, and occasionally some fresh meat,
There's always this thing called freezer to store them,
What a wonderful invention!

One day, I came across discounted premade pizza crust,
Looks interesting because I've never made pizza myself,
Ended up I brought 2 of them home, one extra just in case I mess it up!
But I'm so glad my first try turned out a total success!


1 can of refrigerated pizza crust
1 sausage (use any flavor you like)
1 cup of frozen spinach
Some mozzarella
Some parmesan
Some marinara sauce
Some red pepper flakes


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (or simply follow the instruction on the package).

Line up some parchment paper on a cookie sheet and roll out the pizza dough on the top,
Smooth out the surface and make the edges thicker and higher,
It helps to prevent the sauce from dripping everywhere while baking.

Meanwhile, remove the casing from the sausage and break it into small pieces,
For the spinach, thaw it according to the package instruction and drain out all the remaining liquids.
Remember to grate some parmesan cheese that we gonna use later.

So first I spread out some store bought marinara sauce over the crust,
Add the sausage pieces along with spinach,
Just spread them out evenly.
After that, break the fresh mozzarella cheese into smaller pieces by hand and sprinkle them all over the dough (I love mozzarella),
We also need some salty flavor for the pizza; some grated parmesan will do the trick,
Just add as much as cheese you want,
It's a pizza! Don't be afraid to go bold!

Into the oven for about 15 to 17 minutes or until the crust turns slightly golden brown,
I opened the oven door and took a picture while the pizza is still baking,
I know I shouldn't let the heat was so tempting...-

Sprinkle some red pepper flakes before serving, Tabasco works well too!

You can play around with the recipe,
It's pizza! Just toss whatever things you can find in the fridge or anything you like on it,
It'll never taste bad, trust me!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Nov 10, 2009

Not Your Everyday McDonald's, This one in Downey, CA is Ooold!

I'll just assume that everyone has been to McDonald's at least once in their life time.

This fast food giant is everywhere,
Started out from America and gradually ventured to every single continents,
It's on TV commercials, printed advertisements, radio stations, internet and more,
Now there are at least 30,000 McDonald's in the world,
But this one located in Downey, California is different,
It's old, very old; in fact, it's the oldest operating McDonald's on earth! 

The mascot is different from the familiar clown,
Back then, it was more like a "bun boy!"-

The letters are too small to see from this picture,
But it was saying something like served over 500 million hamburgers!

The golden arch-

The golden arch sign was different back then too,
It got a line across the golden arch-

I read it somewhere that the arch shape was originally designed for supporting the building.


This place didn't change much over time,
The menu is about the same with several original items,
You can't find new stuff like McFlurry or McCafe here.

Another view-

French fries-

I also had filet-o-fish, chicken nuggets and other stuff,
But you all know how these food looks like right? No need to post more food pictures here.

Small museum entrance-

This door was used for the first McDonald's University.

Inside the small museum-

Started out with a big sign telling the history of this place.

The multi-mixer-

McDonald's used to make many milkshakes all at once with this machine.

Some oldies-

This is what I called the "bun boy" mascot-

Very first guy dressed up at the clown (still looks kinda creepy to me)-

One of the wall displays-

I like this clown mascot, looks chubbier-

Swing by if you every happen to be around the area,
Just fun to see the oldest McDonald's still operates here with little changes.
By the way, there's a new McDonald's just about 2 blocks away,
Guess people still need their fix for McCafe and McFlurry stuff huh?

Cindy's rating: 7 (what a historical site)

10207 Lakewood Blvd
Downey, CA 90240
(562) 622-9248

Some reference sites:

Nov 7, 2009

Baked Honey Custard

Simple dessert for my lazy Saturday afternoon.

Ingredients (about 6 mini individual servings or one big ramekin)

2 eggs
3/4 cup of whole milk
1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
Hot water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a double broiler, heat up whole milk, whipping cream, honey, and vanilla,
Remember to whisk them well so everything is blended together smoothly.

In another bowl, beat 2 eggs for about 30 seconds.
Transfer the ingredients from the double broiler and mix with the eggs,
Whisk them well.

Pour the mixture into the ramekin of your chosen size.
Transfer to a baking dish,
Fill up the hot water till about half the heights of the ramekin,

Into the oven for at least 30 minutes.
I baked for about 30 minutes for the small size ramekins,
About 47 minutes for the big guy.
You can test it by sticking a knife into the center and see if it comes out clean,
If so then the custard is done,
If not, well, lick the knife clean and keep baking!
Take it out, let it cool down a little bit and transfer to the fridge for at least one hour or till the custard turns completely cold in the middle.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Nov 2, 2009

Stir Fry Chicken with Basil, Lime Juice..and Some Other Things

Currently listening: The Way You Look Tonight by Rod Stewart
Currently thinking: Upcoming spicy hot pot dinner this Friday...
Current position: Laying on the sofa with my legs on the coffee table...about to fall asleep..

*Rarely having such a relaxing Monday night,
Let me try to finish up this recipe before my eyelids fail on me.

How should I name this's say...stir fry chicken with a little bit of everything!-


1 lb of chicken breast tender (chopped into bite sizes)
1/2 onion (chopped)
1/2 lime juice
1 small bundle of basil (remove the bottom stems and give it a few chops)
6 cloves of garlic (peeled)
10 dried chili peppers
1 stalk of scallion (chopped)
2 tablespoons of spicy bean paste 辣豆瓣醬
1 tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine
Soy sauce
Olive oil


Let's marinade the chicken first,
In a small bowl, mix chopped chicken with some soy sauce and set aside,
Give it at least 20 minutes for the soy sauce to soak in the meat.

Drizzle some olive oil in the pan, toss in chopped onions and sprinkle some salt over,
Give it a quick stir, add the chili peppers, garlic, and scallion,
Cook till the aroma comes out, but be careful don't let the garlic gets burned.

Add about 2 tablespoons of spicy bean paste and the cooking wine,
Again, give it a quick stir, cook for another 1 to 2 minutes,
Toss in the marinated chicken along with the remaining soy sauce,
Wait till the chicken is fully cooked through,
Stir in chopped basil,
Transfer to the plate when the basil just got wilted down.

Drizzle half of the lime juice before serving.
That's it, simple dish that matches perfectly with a bowl of steamy white rice!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Listening to old love songs late at night...makes me wanna spend my Christmas in NY..
Can't wait for Christmas to come...such a romantic and cozy holiday..
With a lot of food too!