Chinese New Years Dinner for Two at Lavender

On the first Day of the New Years you have to eat vegetarian until noon… so what else than frying up some Nian Gao. 甜粿

SOOO GOOOD :] I love the crispity edges from the egg…

The Guangdong variety is also called nian gao. It is sweetened, usually with brown sugar. It is distinct with a dark yellow color. The paste is poured into a cake pan and steamed once more to settle mixture. The batter is steamed until it solidifies and served in thick slices. It may be eaten as is. The nian gao becomes stretchy and extremely sticky. It can also be served as a pudding flavored with rosewateror red bean paste.

The next stage is optional as it can be pan-friedafterwards,often with egg, to make (煎年糕, jyutping: zin1 nin4 gou1; pinyin: jiān nián gāo). When fried it is slightly crispy on the outside, and remains pasty on the inside. During Chinese New Year, it is cut into square pieces and served along with similar cake dim sum dishes like taro cake and water chestnut cake. [Source]

No rest for the wicked.. still gotta work. Just no swearing or fighting or cleaning [so no real eating at home! haha] today. Mom and I decided to go out to eat at our local fav chinese restaurant right by our house for the main event. We craved Peking Duck & Lobster…. so I slapped on some red lipstick for good luck – Red means lucky DUH and headed out for good eats.

Lavender

Wonton Strips to snack on….

As soon as we sat down we ordered the duck, since it takes awhile to prepare.  We also got two glasses of Pinot Noir but it was meh. You know it’s bad when I DON’T want the booze LOL.

Peking Duck

Juicy, meaty, crispy delightful skin! OH LOVES!

A little meat, a LOT of skin and lots of scallions…. I put 4x more meat and skin on after the pretty picture hahahahah…

SEE!!! Freaking Peking Duck burrito!!! SOOO GOOOOOD!!!

Salt & Pepper Soft Shell Crab

Why not indulge on holidays?!… I always indulge since I’m always feeling like everyday is a holiday HAHAHAHA… these were pretty good. Lots of spicy salt & pepper toppings… chunks of jalapeno. NOM!

Steamed Chilean Sea Bass w/ Ginger & Scallion

Typical way of cooking fish in a chinese restaurant.. but it was a bit TOO thinly cut and overcooked :[ Still tasty. Totally wish there was bigger portions for this dish...

Lobster Tails w/ Onions & Scallions
Tasty and meaty!  Very fresh lobster and TONS of yummy sauteed onions around it SOOO FREAKING GOOD.

Gai Lan & Bok Choy

I couldn't choose which veggie dish I wanted so our waiter, he knows us, gave us half portion of both on a plate. TEEHEE.

Complimentary Pineapple

And we each got TWO fortune cookies :] My tradition in college was to always grab THREE fortune cookies and pick the best fortune out of the three – no more no less! HEHE

They also gave us Red Envelopes – :] YAYYY more lucky money to go in my pile under my pillow. I remember last year I actually found a WHOLE stash of old red envelopes I had stashed under my mattress I had forgotten about… SCORE~ money money moneyyyyy

Chinese New Years Eve Dinner… a la Mommy

After a delicious brunch and some last minute grocery shopping for tonight’s dinner…. possibly a new McQueen scarf for me ;]

Not only is mommy cooking TONS of delicious food, for just the two of us, and a half? [Didi counts!] But the PATRIOTS ARE GOING TO THE SUPERBOWL!!! WOOOOOOO

All this, plus noodles, for just us two little ladies…

You have to make a fish, eat some but you HAVE to save the rest for the next day.. so it’s 年年有餘 – means the fortune from this year will be passed onto the next.

Pan Fried Red Snapper…

Spicy Pork Belly and Chinese Celery

Curry 粉蒸排骨

MMMMM Dinner wouldn’t be dinner without three porky dishes!!!! Fatty Pork Ribs covered in rice and steamed <3 NOM!

Extra spicy Mapo Tofu

On New Years you have to eat noodles without breaking them for good luck.
SCORE!!

My baby is so smart :] She didn’t break the noodle either!!!

Happy Chinese New Years!!! 新年快樂

A Day at the Zoo and a night at 老友紀

After a quick lunch/snack of Red Bean, Mochi and Sesame Ball Soup….. [sorry for the crappy quality photo... it was dark in my room hehe cuz I got it as takeout - see my laptop in the background]

I headed to the Taipei Zoo to see some of my favorite animals… they close at 5pm so I was there til the end, didn’t get to see as much as I did last time I was there but got to see some of my fav highlights!

Fan [mom's side] and Ding [dad's side] next to each other – destiny!!!

I iz panda?!


See his dinner/mouse in his claw?

SERIOUSLY??!?!

They started fighting!!

A delicious tea egg as a snack!!!

Afterwards, since they closed and we were swarmed with students – we headed to Taipei 101 for one of my favorite Japanese places in Taipei but it was CLOSED!!!!

This year’s Tiffany’s tree…

They got rid of it cuz of renovations *tears* so we headed back to option #2 which was original option anyways - 老友紀 :D Time to get my meats and soups on! Always a delicious and cheap option!!!

Steamed Gai Lan

Mixed Plate #1 – Duck, Chicken & Sausage

Deicious fatty duck… we actually got the last serving ;]  Delicious chicken and of course a nice soft fluffy sausage.. taiwanese style.

Wonton Soup

SOOOO delicious. I’m SUCH a sucker for wontons!!! These were delicious. Great pork filling with a shrump!

Steamed Cabbage

Mixed Plate #2 – 2 different sausages & smoked Pork Belly

I do I do I do adore, all I wanted was the black sausage and pork belly!!!

Shrimp 腸粉 [Cheung Fun]

Fresh shrimp and a yummy tender rice noodle roll around it! You can’t really fudge these things up! YUM! Just like DIM SUM!

Steamed Lettuce

Beef Ball Soup

& more Steamed Lettuce – this time with no sauce

Round 1 done and in transition to round 2…

Black Bean Spicy Pork Ribs

SOOOO meaty! I’m SO not used to it since in the States you get these at dim sum and you just get only bone and fat and almost NO meat. DELICIOUS!

My favorite Black Taiwanese Sausage

This stuff is AMAZING but they won’t give away their secret to their yumminess. GRR.  The fact that it’s black makes me think that there’s blood in it.. YUM! Once you go black you REALLY don’t wanna go back ;D

More Smoked Pork Belly <3 or 腊肉 ["preserved?"]This stuff is SO delicious! So fatty and smokey and full of flavor. My mom is SO good at making this too.. she used to make it all the time for us and family friends :[ But no more.. need to beg her for some when we go back home – OR eat a ton til I puke while I’m here.. hahaha….

YUM! All of this and it didn’t even cost that much!! Great for cheap quick eats that’s DELICIOUS and totally filling and satisfying! YUM!

Healthy Baked Rainbow Trouth w/ Succotash

After a nice brunch….. and a nice shopping spree at Burberry with my Gaga hair bow ;D… I headed to H-Mart for some protein and eats to cook tonight – I wanted to be in the area since I left my car at my bestie/sister’s Katy‘s house again.

I found a beautiful fresh rainbow trout… de-gutted, de-scaled but otherwise kept whole… I LOVE trout, I remember fishing for it in lakes with my daddy growing up in New Mexico.. I went on SO many camping trips in the mountains and had my own fishing rod.. trout it SO tender and is TOTALLY under-appreciated.

I usually just do a light pan fry with trout. easy, simple etc.. but I wanted to go a different route…

Healthy Rainbow Trout with Rainbow Succotash

1 Whole Trout, de-gutted, de-scaled, de-finned
6 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Red Onion Chopped
1 Orange Pepper, Chopped
20 Chopped/Split Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 Carton of Frozen Corn
A Few Mushrooms, Chopped
[All veggies are to taste]
Add Salt & Pepper & Paprika to the succotash

A few slices of lemon
Scallions, half chopped and half cut into long lengths

Orange peppers & Tomatoes

Tsp of Grapeseed Oil, Red Onion & Pepper

I added the Tomatoes, Peppers, Corn, Mushrooms and some Sea Salt

When it was cooked I added some beer/lager and scallions

Here’s the cleaned beautiful FATASS thick trout <3

I stuffed it with lemon slices and long pieces of scallion

And then stuffed it with the “succotash” I made, and all around it.. salt & pepper and more beer

For a side dish while the fish baked at 450 degrees for about a half hour – 20 min in foil, 10+ minutes with the top foil off
Baby Gai Lan with rice wine… basically oil and garlic… then add the vegg…. then right before you turn off the heat to serve, add as much rice wine as you want – a few glugs :]

YUM!

Here’s how the fish turned out ;D Sexy

I sprinkled cilantro on top for that added crunch/freshness.. if you don’t like cilantro you could always add just more fresh scallion!

I decided to pop some bubbly since it’s been awhile since I cooked something significant and out of the blue…. :D

YUM!

And I even got served first.. how sweet.. the fish was SO tender… just too many bones – ugh to trout and their bones, next time I’m totally buying fillets – but it was DELICIOUS!

LOVE from here <3 Trout Fish Head Says Hi!

China Cottage – delicious Fish in Ohio

Who would’ve thunk that I’d go to Ohio for good Chinese food? I thought it was hilarious but parents convinced me it would be good… They told me that their Chilean was a huuuuuuuuuuge half fish fillet not just some ghetto tiny little thing, and OH EM GEE, it was huge and amazing. Fudge you for not being sustainable, but Chilean Sea Bass is freaking good. China Cottage [Springboro].. I will be there for Chinese food forever everytime I’m in Ohio.

There’s a couple of them thru-out the area but apparently this is the only one with the Sea Bass and the best food!  We got there a little on the late side so they were out of their fresh veggies except for one.. which we’ll get to in a sec…

 China Cottage in Springboro, OH

I love how it looks like a little Euro type house

It’s like a little Didi

Mai Tai..

I wish I could take the cup home with me….. I thought it was too sweet and weak sauce but I was feeling tropical and asian drink-ish.. mom thought it was pretty hardcore tho.

The Mai Tai is an alcoholic cocktail based on rumCuraçao liqueur, and lime juice, associated with “Polynesian-style” settings. [Source]

Fruity sweet asian booze drinks are no fun without my Scorpion Bowl partner in crime :[ Miss you.

醉 雞 Rummy Chicken
Never heard it being called "Rummy Chicken" I usually see it as Drunk or Drunken Chicken - soooo good, simple and traditional.  It's just plain steamed chicken marinated in wine - sooo good. And served chilled- usually as an appetizer.  It's usually a little goopy with a jelly like substance from the chicken juice and the booze. MMMMM...

My mom actually knows how to make a quick version of this when you need extra dishes on the fly so I'll try to steal it from her and re-make it and blog about it for you guys!!! I need more cooking posts - and asian ones :]

凉 拌 海 蜇 Jelly Fish
I adore jelly fish but apparently it’s not that easy to make.. well not good at least.  I’ll try to experiment with this as well and post it.  Remember when I finally got my Bear to try it? :]  This was so good cuz it had a great light vinegar-y sauce.. but like I said super light. Sometimes the sauce can be overpowering or the jellyfish is too mushy.  This was nice and crunchy and crisp almost.  A crunchy gelatin like consistency. YUM.  Demolished this SO fast.  Even my mom, who’s not  a huge jellyfish eater ate like half the dish.

芥蘭 Gai-Lan aka Chinese Broccoli

We ordered two differents kinds of sauteed garlicky veggies but since it was late they only had this left.  I almost got another plate but decided to be a good girl on my first night :]  I’d already been eating and eating all day and drinking… [and ended up drinking more after dinner]

White and Brown Rice…

Steamed Chilean Sea Bass with Scallions and Ginger
Delicious, HUUUUUGE piece it was like the size of my giant watermelon head.. SOOOO tender and cooked to perfection.  TONS of delicious ginger and scallions, thinly sliced… and fresh cilantro – I love making this myself but I never put cilantro on it. I should.  I’ll cook and put up my version of my Chilean Sea Bass with Ginger/Scallion soon, promise. My parents love it when I make it for them :]

烤 鴨 (半隻) Roasted Duck (Half)
I think we got the crispy… or maybe it was the roast.. either way the skin was crisp and the meat was juicy… it came with raw scallions and more cilantro <3 My fav.  Pretty sure it was roast duck.. I’ve had gross double fried “crispy duck” in NYC before *gag* bad takeout chinese.   This was the only thing we didn’t finish out of all our dishes :]

FORTUNE COOKIES!!!!!!

“Versatility is one of your outstanding traits”

Thanks but no thanks. I like silly future ones better… oh wait, just add “….in bed” and every fortune in a cookie gets better :]

Now I look and feel like this guy:


*rubs belly*

Afterwards we did some grocery shopping.. walked off the booze… 
I was lazy and wanted to sit in the car, it was easier squishing in than getting out of it. *cramp* ouch.

Saw a huge 25lb bag of carrots

Went home [late] and popped in a scary movie and opened a delicious bottle of wine .  I’m obsessed with this wine since Ohio, I had at least a bottle a night. Woot! #Wino.


Martin’s Rake Pinot Noir

Delicious Meats at 老友紀 [Lao Yo Ji]

Want a quick delicious meal? Head over to 老友紀 … hidden but still always packed.. they’re known for their delicious meats, congee and noodles… NOM!

Gai Lan, sauce on side

Taiwanese Sausage, Scallion Chicken and Roast Duck

Yummy Lettuce

Delicious huge bowl of Wonton soup

Still hungry so ordered anothe plate of 3 different sausages [including BLACK taiwan sausage, SO good] and “LA RO” NOM! Cured and then Steamed Pork Belly… 

Happy and excited…. satisfied, FULLY….

Check out a post on them from my fav Taiwanese blog: A Hungry Girl’s Guide to Taiwan <3

16, Ln 232, Dunhua S. Rd, Sec 1
Number: (02) 2731-2269

Hours: 11:30am to 9:30pm

In the mood for Thai…

You know how I roll… I eat, day by day, on a “what I’m in the mood for” basis… sometimes it’s Ramen… sometimes 1$ pizza… sometimes I wanna go all out…  but this Thursday afternoon:

THAI!!!!

So my partner [and also Thai-craving] in crime ended up getting the 15 Course Tasting from Kittichai – we were warned that it was a lot of food, but instead of getting scared, we ordered a few more dishes.. and even ended up ordering a few more desserts ;D You know how I roll…. anyways the dishes were brought out and wine paired into 5 sets…. 2 apps, 2 entrees and a dessert :D

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