Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Journey to the West

Yet another Spring Break had passed. It felt like I just entered college last semester!

I had quite a good chance to taste good foods in big cities. I mean, Urbana-Champaign are two small twin towns, and you can't really expect much for foods. I ate in a Japanese sushi restaurant in Champaign before, and the next day, my two other friends and I were having diarrhea :(

And so... I took some pictures of what I ate there. Yes, I didn't take a shot of all the food. Very unusual, isn't it? Well, that's because there were 5 hugely intimidating camera lenses and 1 better point-and-shoot camera to snap high resolution pictures. I mean, honestly. I felt pretty intimidated to the point that I lost interest in taking pictures of the food. Sigh. I know, I know. I shouldn't have done that.

That being said, I completely forgot to take note of the names of the restaurants that we went. Ahahaha. HOW STUPID :( I'm just gonna rely on my poor memory to remember the names, okay?

1st stop: San Francisco

Beef Tataki
Ohhh yumm :) I wish they add some yuzu to it, though. I think they'll taste great with some addition of yuzu.

Crispy Tofu
I'm not a big fan of this crispy tofu even though my friend greatly recommended this. Maybe it's just a difference in preference...

Chillean Sea Bass Hot Plate
Lots of f-f-f-fatttt but how bad can a chillean seabass be? :)

Complimentary Green Tea Ice Cream
Somehow tasted like avocado to us :S It's not so good, and not so bad. Mediocre, I'd say.

2nd stop: South Lake Tahoe (Red Hut Cafe)

The Red Hut Cafe at Lake Tahoe
Excellent (if not awesome) service! I love the food - even though it might be a little too much. Breakfast menu is served with a choice of toasted bread and hash browns. I had 2 easy over eggs with sausage. Way too much for my size, but it's probably normal for Americans.

The ladies' bathroom at Lake Tahoe. A very unique decoration!

3rd stop: Lake Tahoe (Scusa- literally meaning "excuse me")

Seared scallops with sun dried tomatoes, heart artichokes, asparagus, linguini, and olives
It's unique, but I feel that some items are a little mismatched. The sauce is a little too sweet for me, and it's too oily that the flavor didn't stick to the linguini. Tasted a little bland if you eat the linguini without the olives or sundried tomatoes.

4th stop: San Francisco Japan Town - Osakaya
Hiyashi Soba
It's not sour at all... maybe I mistook it for Hiyashi Chuka? The sauce is way too sweet, I don't like it :(

5th stop: San Francisco - Kow Loon Tang (dessert place)
Hot Tea
It's just a normal tea, but I like the cup. And surprisingly, even though the tea was really hot, the mug holder wasn't hot at all (and that's why I burned my tongue LOL)

Steamed Egg Custard
Very, very, very eggy! This is the dessert my mum kept talking about. It's her childhood dessert - grandma used to make it for mum, but she could never reproduce it :(

6th stop: San Francisco - Dim Sum
Dim Sum (ha kau, xiao long bao, chai tau kuay, chai pau, chee cheong fun, shiu mai)
Funny enough, there was no dim sum place opened that day that had tables and chairs for us to sit on, so we decided to make the dim sum for to-go and ate in the car!

7th stop: Some unknown Korean place in San Francisco

An array of kimchi
 I forgot the name of the restaurant, but we ordered Chilean Seabass Jjim and Fried Chicken. The Chilean Seabass Jjim was TOTALLY AWESOME!! The fried chicken was just so-so; I don't get why Yelp reviewers recommend this fried chicken so much :S

Oh, and before I forget, for awesome gelato, go to Marcopolo. They serve great durian gelato! It's sooooo creamy!!

8th stop: San Francisco Airport, Terminal 3:
Peet's Coffee and Tea
Not found in Mid-West area?

Iced Machiato Latte
Strong caffeine and coffee flavor but was not bitter nor sour! Awesome! :)

9th stop: Las Vegas, MGM Grand - Wolfgang Puck

Halibut with squids and shrimps, spicy
Awesome food, but the baby carrots somehow just... didn't really match the entire set :(

10th stop: Los Angeles - Din Tai Fung Dumpling House

Pork Chop Fried Rice
I don't know if it's because my friends keep telling me that this fried rice is supposed to be superbly delicious, but I couldn't agree with them. The fried rice basically comprised only of eggs and green onions - something that my family had been making since I was really really small. I can even cook it when I was like 8 years old. Probably even better than that. And the pork chop isn't anything too fancy either. I've tasted better pork chop than that.

Xiao Long Bao
One of my most favorite chinese food on earth. I knew it when I was in Singapore that Crystal Jade was better than Din Tai Fung, but since my friends told me that LA's Din Tai Fung is the labeled the best on earth, I had expected something more. And once again I was a little disappointed. I mean, it's definitely way better than the xiao long bao that I made (the first and last time I made xiao long bao! it's waaay to difficult for my level!), but.... oh well. It might have been the best Din Tai Fung, but not the best xiao long bao for me.

Whoa... I complain too much about xiao long bao. That's probably because I am a big xiao long bao lover - I know which ones are nice and which ones are not so nice. I'm even so shocked to hear that chicken xiao long bao can ever taste good.

NAY. It can never taste good without pork. Xiao long bao is meant for pork, pork and pork.

And now I'm back at Urbana-Champaign. Back with Mandarin Wok. And my own kitchen. After eating out for so long (1 week?) I think I lost my energy and swiftness in cooking.

Gotta get a grip and start cooking again! :D


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