Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Taiwan Thanksgiving Part 1

Lilly and I are in Taipei for Thanksgiving this year to celebrate with her Taiwan family. There has been very little conversation about pilgrims or even giving thanks but there has been copious amounts of eating. There are a lot family to see and therefore lots of excuses to eat and eat big. Taiwan is an excellent place to eat. There are fine examples of multiple chinese cuisines here. So far we have feasted at a Shanghai style, Hunan style, Peking Style, Tainan Style, Catnonese Style, and some sushi thrown in for good measure. We'll try and do justice to these meals in the coming posts, but they were epic. So many dishes to try and almost all of them were new to us. Below is a photo run-down of our Shanghai Style meal at the Din Tai Fung dumpling house. This was an amazing meal marked by its clean fresh tastes. Even the fried dishes had a quality of lightness to them. The soup dumplings, however, were the star of the show. We've had soup dumplings in America but these are working at a whole different level. Most soup dumplings are tasty these are trip-worthy.

Start off with some pickles and bean sprouts.

Then move onto the stars of the show. Soup dumplings with pork filling.

These were well complimented by vegetable wontons in spicy oil.

Next was pork noodles with pickled mustard greens.

A perfect row of potskickers. Inside was pork and shrimp.

Here are small bowls of the two soups that accompanied the meal. On the left beef tendon and noodle and on the right sweet and sour. Notice the perfectly cut strands of tofu and blood cake in the hot and sour. It is unlike anything I've had in America. Deep earthy flavors of the blood contrast well with a tangy vinegar broth.

 Just in case there wasn't enough food we ordered shrimp fried rice.

Finish off the meal with lightly sweetened sesame buns.

This was the end of this meal but just the beginning of our Taiwanese Thanksgiving extravaganza!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Donuts, donuts, more donuts

A very kind person gifted us this New York Doughnut Map which has become the guiding force in our movements around the New York area.

We've been to a third of the thirty-five listed sites though not all visits have been successful (one or two sold out before we got there, another doesn't have donuts anymore!)

Here's a sampling of what we've eaten (I'll spare you the full list--just buy the map!)

Sour-cherry jam-filled donut (filled to order!) from Orwashers on the Upper East Side

Chocolate glazed at Orwashers (would have been better at the beginning of the day. Alas, we arrived at 6pm! If late, stick to the jelly-filled.)

We visited the French-styled Balthazar bakery for their amazing cake donuts.

Pictured: chocolate, pumpkin spice with pepitas, and apple cider. The donuts at Balthazar are made distinctive by their celebration of fine, natural flavors. These were very worthy donuts. If we were to find a fault, it would be in their obvious refinement.

close-up of Balthazar's pumpkin spice donut.

On the less-haute, dare-I-say hipper end of the spectrum, we have Doughnut Plant in the LES and Dough in Bedford. Both are excellent, play with interesting but not-too-tawdry flavor combinations like chocolate and Earl Grey (Dough) and coffee cake and coconut cream (Doughnut Plant). We visited both yesterday, trying a combined 9 donuts for the day. Unfortunately, all were consumed before we remembered to take pictures.

Our friend Bethany at the last minute snagged a pic of the almost-empty Dough box. 
Astoundingly good! Quick to disappear!