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the scent of green bananas

how many asian women have blogs about food? i don't know, but this is another one.

Updated: 2017-12-11T13:09:17.663+10:00


road trip: experience in the far southwest: austin, the shopping edition.


my traveling companion actually had a reason for being in austin, which involved a lot of shopping. NO I'M SERIOUS, YOU GUYS. or at least, window shopping. chris is one of the founders of modern bear, which is--and although i don't have actual proof, i'm pretty sure about this--the ultimate guide to modern design and bears. no, not these bears. or these. like this. NO I'M TOTALLY SERIOUS. it's a thing. anyway, he has a book called "guide for the modern bear" which is partially a field guide, travelog, and a sort of sex and the city-like romp. it's a fun read, no matter your predilections. and yes, my friend's name is chris bale. obvs not batman chris bale. anyway, he's working on a modern bear app, which is why we had to have a major shopping day. just to see what's out there.....and as we expected, there were a plethora of used/vintage/retro shops throughout the city--every possible type of shop, from the carefully curated vintage furniture store with prices to match to the shops that were just a space to hold as much junk as possible where maaaaybe you could find a treasure after some serious sifting. one of the nicest shops we visited was uptown modern, which had a great selection of mid-century modern furniture mixed in with more eclectic designs and accessories. but i think the most eccentric place is where i had the most fun:the texas facilities commission surplus store! although the state has several storefronts open to the public, the austin branch is the only one that features things that i have always wondered what happened to them: stuff lost or confiscated from airports. you have a nail clipper or switchblade taken away from you by TSA? did you drop your neck pillow rushing to the gate? if it happened in an texas airport, it's probably here.there were trays upon trays switchblades, knives, boxcutters, keychains, belts (! really?), and nail clippers, which, i don't know, even at a dime apiece, i'd think twice about picking up. literally. i mean, once you get it home and sterilize it, it's probably fine, but where has it been--on someone else's body--in the meantime? and a sort of scary selection of weapons and things that looked like weapons. they also have a pretty interesting display case of things confiscated that weren't for sale, like an alligator in a jar of formadehyde and....well, actually, that's all i remember, because c'mon. an alligator. in a jar. that someone tried to hand carry onto a plane. if i lived in austin, i'd probably utilize this place more as they had an impressive warehouse filled with useful office supplies and furniture. a LOT of file cabinets. some really beautiful old desks and practical drafting tables. chairs. the prices here are super reasonable, but even better is that everything's negotiable. even those ten cent nail clippers. we did visit a lot of other places that sold "normal" things, especially clothing boutiques, all which were quite lovely. i have to say i really liked a lot of the men's clothing shops we visited, mainly because a lot of them were eclectically decorated, so even though i wasn't interested in the actual stock, there was enough going on hold my interest whilst my friend shopped. also, i learned something really interesting about austin men's shops, which is that they encourage drunk shopping. almost every shop we walked into offered us a cold beer upon entering (and usually from a decent brewery). hell-o. we visited a LOT of shops, and it was 101˚F outside, it was a welcome enticement. i guess someone figured out that a little alcohol encouraged more impulse or whim shopping and i have to say that person might be right. also? austin is the home of the first and one of the largest whole foods markets (80,000 square feet!). yeeks.uptown modern5111 burnet roadaustin tx512.452.1200 ‎ state surplus store6506 bolm rdaustin tx 78721512. 463.1990stag1423 s congress avenueaustin tx 78704512.373.7824[...]

road trip: experience in the far southwest: austin, part 1


to get an idea of the map of texas, i give you a quote from a pretty good flick, "bernie":  allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"> three hours and one minute later, and we were in the people's republic of austin, the capital of texas and seat of hipsterville travis county. the reason why our time in dallas was so short was because chris suggested that we spend more time in here. i'm sort of glad we did, as i was particularly enamoured with our hotel, hotel san jose, which used to be a motor lodge, but has transformed into a charming, quirky bungalow-style the time i booked the hotel, you couldn't even make a reservation on the internet, but had to call in. i imagined that they had a white board with a drawn calendar on it, and that's how they figured if there was any room available. (i don't think i'm actually wrong about that, but you can now make a reservation on the website) our room was on the second floor of a building in the back of the courtyard/pool area, secluded and shady, with a communal table on the landing. the hotel offers bike and typewriter rentals (!) and has an extensive music and video lending library.  none of the rooms seem to be the same; i would have loved to have had this room with a small outdoor sleeping alcove, but was very charmed with what i got.  from the website it looks like they've got a limited room service menu, but last summer there wasn't anything like it. luckily there is a lovely coffee and sandwich shop, jo's coffee, adjacent to the parking lot. we picked up some ice coffees and breakfast tacos and basically spent the first day lounging by the pool.  wouldn't you?after a long nap and a casual late night stroll along south congress, dinner was a couple slices of some very good pizza outside the takeaway window of homeslice pizza. i know there are photos of the tasty eggplant pie (like eggplant parmesan pizza!) i had somewhere, but they seem to be lost in the ether. still, homeslice was very good, and very worth mentioning.hotel san jose1316 south congress avenueaustin tx's coffee 1300 south congress avenueaustin tx 78704512.444.3800.home slice pizza1415 south congress avenueaustin tx 78704512.444-7437.[...]

road trip: experience in the far southwest: dallas.


hello nenes, yes, i realize we were still in honolulu the last time i stepped into this blog properly, but time goes by faster than all of us care for it to go :( i will get back to honolulu posts soon, but i promised lovely maria from franklin avenue that i would blog about a summer road trip through texas, ahead of her own holidays....**i love a good road trip, don't you? it has been far too long since i've had more than just a mini-jaunt throughout california or to vegas; i was itching to get on the road again, and the destination was more about not exactly where i wanted to go, as to where i haven't been. i can't tell you why i decided to go to texas--in the middle of summer--but to texas i went, and beyond. originally my friend, chris, and i were going to drive from LA to LA--los angeles to louisiana--but time restraints meant we had to cut out the los angeles to texas part and take a miss on marfa tx (which, actually, i have always wanted to see), and instead we harvested some mileage points and scored seats on an oddly narrow but quite comfy commuter plane to dallas. we somehow nabbed first class seats, which sounds a lot more glamoo than reality, but afforded us a precious two extra inches of seating. it doesn't sound like much, but it was utterly comfortable, and a lovely little perk to start our trip. not so lovely was the complimentary sodium-laden snack box (pictured above), but i was happy enough that i didn't have to shell out six bucks for it. i think chris ate most of mine. or did something with it.a little forewarning: i had arrived in los angeles a little over 24 hours prior to this segment of the trip, and we were only in dallas for a little over 24 hours, NOT LONG. and, i forgot to take photos. o_Oi forgot to take photos. not completely, but a lot less than the rest of the trip. so, you don't get to see photos of the very lovely teresa gubbins, who so very kindly acted as my guide and dinner companion for the evening i was there, nor do you get to see the fantastic meal we had. however, my brain kicked in the next morning as did my shutter finger.  but yeah, i had a great meal with great company at smoke, at the belmont hotel, in the oak cliff neighbourhood of dallas.  the hotel is a renovated 1940s motel set on a hillside, with amazing views of the dallas skyline, very eclectic and cozy. i wish i had time to poke around but it really looks like someplace i would enjoy. smoke features southern cuisine, lots of in-house smoked meats and texas-style (i'm guessing) barbecue, but with modern sensibilities--not so heavy, lots of fresh herbs and produce, not-so-traditional pairings. i had the grilled quail with chickpeas, turnip greens, bbq chiles, mint and parsley salad, which was lightly smoky, lightly spicy, super juicy and perfectly accented by the greeny and slightly sharp salad. the quail was massive. it might've actually have been two, but by this point i was sort of seriously out of it and needed to pass out. so after a quick sightseeing trip back to my hotel, i inadvertently bypassed the nightly milk and cookies buffet (! WHAT.) and passed out.the next morning, the hotel provided us with a serviceable breakfast buffet on the mezzanine level. we were staying at the magnolia hotel in downtown dallas, which is apparently conveniently located to a bunch of stuff which we didn't see because we hit the road shortly after breakfast. there was a mary kay convention going on, which was kind of seriously amazing, but i'm not going to get into it, because it was...well, let's just say i got a glimpse into another world i didn't know existed, and if i start, i could easily fall into that rabbit hole. even though i didn't really explore the hotel, i'd definitely consider staying there again. the rooms were clean, fairly large, and the lobby was nice enough but what would bring me back is the fact the front desk staff was really great, very much the epitome of southern hospitality.although the breakfast buffet was okay, the coffee was not, so [...]

je suis juicy


having some sort of appliance infatuation with my new hurom slow juicer. when i was in los angeles last year, i was severely run down, anemic, and really unfit. i have a difficult time taking iron supplements (nasty combination of laziness, forgetfulness, and total nausea when ingesting), but i found that daily cold press extracted vegetable, root, and fruit juices were a palatable way of getting my essential nutrients and getting fit. ish.  pressed juicery snaked out my wallet innards,  whilst their juices...snaked out my innards. ew. 

unfortunately there isn't a juice bar on island that compares to the ones in LA, so after the major expense of the holidays i decided to invest in a good juicer, and i think i've got one in the hurom slow juicer. i really don't know much about juicers, but i do remember having one in the '90s that lasted maybe a week in my flat--i stopped using it because it was bulky, loud, had low output and was an absolute ***** to clean. i admit, the majority of my research was watching a bunch of youtube videos, but for the very short time i've had it (less than 24 hours, natch), i've been more than fascinated with it. it's compact, less than 10 pounds, the output has been more than adequate, and the best bit (besides fresh juice) is that it took less than 5 minutes to clean it properly. the first thing i tried out was a kale, fuji apple, ginger root and lemon combo, and it turned out great--far more vibrant than prepackaged juices, and instantly customizable to my tastes. and yay, kale. it is teh awesome. 

so, as i would like to do a little more blogging this year, you might find a bunch of strange extraction experiments on here soon. do you have a favourite juice combo? let me know in the comments below.  and happy new year!

aloha, honolulu. pt 1


aloha, keikis! what have you been up to since i've been away? i have been really off, off-island...on and off, anyway. have any of you been on holiday lately? let me know!the first big trip of the year was this spring, and the first stop was honolulu. i love honolulu, but i never really stop there anymore, except for the layover to los angeles. this time, i did stop. for a day. (i know. but i'm working up to it, by the end of the decade, i may even spend a week.)but i arrived at my hotel, the modern, at night.  and yes, the hotel lives up to its name. it has all the quirks one would expect from a modern boutique hotel: low lighting in public areas, chillout-y music on the p.a., sexy scuffy wood floors and comfy soft furnishings in hideaway places. but there are little touches of that still remind you that yes, you are on an island, like the broken surfboards behind the front desk, or um, yeah, that ocean view. or ukuleles and saris in every room.which is admittedly twee but sort of love it all the same. i didn't really have time to explore, though, as i was having a late-ish dinner with reid from ono kine grindz. we kept it simple, and went to the waikiki branch of the fried pork cutlet empire of tonkatsu ginza bairin. i don't really have a predilection towards tonkatsu, but i have to say, this place may spoil all other tonkatsu you may consume. i don't know why it's so good, aside from the fact that they use kurubota pork, or its american equivalent. the cutlets are crispy, not greasy, juicy, and tender all at once. i snarfed down my katsudon like, well, a pig, and i probably would've eaten reid's perfect-in-its-simplicity tonkatsu sandwich too, if i wasn't so full. and sleepy.  and so i went back to the modern, and promptly passed out. i didn't realize until sunrise that the window was open in my hotel room, and there was a beautiful ocean breeze wafting through the room. i blearily made my way to the window, pushed aside the shutters and pulled away the curtain to this view:i know, riiight? really lovely. i think this view would energize most people into getting together some towels and swimsuits together to go for a swim, but come on, keikis, i live on a beach, and if i'm not going there on guam, i'm probably not going here. but it did wake me up enough to cuddle up on chaise lounge and read the morning paper on my ipad. and eventually i made my way outta there, but i really could've stayed in the room all be continued, soon!the modern honolulu1775 ala moana boulevard  honolulu 96815 808. 954.7427.tonkatsu ginza bairin255 beachwalkhonolulu 96815808. 926.8082.[...]

boiled salad.


hello, yes, admittedly this post is up because instagram is down, let blogspot benefit from north virginia's woes.

you guys, do you know KirkK? he is the founder of one of the few blogs i read regularly, mmm-yoso, which chronicles the culinary adventures of Kirk and his lovely wife and dogs, along with Ed from Yuma and Cathy. it's based in the san diego area, but you'll never know when nor where he and the blog might head out. recently, i read a great series of posts about their holiday in Crete; one post in particular stood out because of the very simple but intriguing dish that Kirk cooked for dinner one night: boiled new potatoes and zucchini, dressed with olive oil and sea salt.   

really, you are saying. and i mean like this:   o, rly?  o_O

yeah, i know. but i'm the kind of person who will gnaw on a cold boiled potato dipped in salt for dinner,  or lately, half a head of iceberg lettuce dipped in lemon and soy sauce. i think it's partially a bodily rebellion against all the other food i eat, which is relatively complicated compared to a boiled root vegetable. the key, i think, to Kirk's dish's success is that he got his produce straight from the farm (via a farmers' market), and had most likely been picked less than 24 hours from the time he cooked and ate it. there is v. little chance of that happening here. my boiled potato and zucchini was okay. 

luckily, internetz and a basically-stocked larder led to a lidia bastianich recipe for a salad of said ingredients, plus hard-boiled eggs and a vinaigrette. not far off from the original intrigue, but somewhat more satisfying with my run-of-the-mill produce. it is the simplest thing, just a matter of boiling and chopping. it is a boiled salad of beauty: light yet substantial, lots of flavour without a lot of ingredients, ideal for hot summer days or really lazy nights.

the recipe is here.

hugh acheson's "a new turn in the south".


nenes, i know. three posts in a row! what is this? 2005??do you know hugh acheson? he of the unibrow on top chef who looks like the love child of henry rollins and bill berry from REM?  he's sorta my favourite chef at the moment, and his book, "a new turn in the south" is fast becoming a staple in mah kitchen. southern food is a cuisine i don't think about often, but acheson's book shows how healthy and vibrant and exciting it can be. yes, exciting. i don't like to think that my dinner is more interesting than me, but well. this food absolute favourite recipe in the book is something i cooked tonight: frogmore stew. it was the first recipe i'd tried, and i just cannot get enough of it; a low country staple, it is basically a seafood boil where shellfish is the main ingredient, fortified by sausage, potatoes and corn, in a not-too-spicy, citrusy, unctuous broth. when assembling it, i think, oh, okay, this looks good, but once it gets to where it needs to be? oh maaaan.  it tastes magic: fresh tomato juice is the foundation, with andouille sausage adding a dimension to the prawns and  that only pork products can, chopped arugula and fresh thyme along with traditional old bay seasoning adds a freshness to what could be a musty mix. and it's so pretty.another favourite is a simple update on an old school southern staple: pimento cheese. you know the stuff--cheese paste with pimentos. NOM.  i am not a big fan of sharp cheeses, roasted red peppers nor plain grilled cheese sandwiches, but one made with pimento cheese (which is basically cheddar cheese and roasted red peppers)  is just enough to take the flat plasticky dimension out.  of course, if you are mixing things up a bit, you might as well add some thinly sliced ham and locally grown arugula. might as well.i like chef acheson's book because although it is undeniably a southern food cookbook, the recipes seem lighter than what i associate with the cuisine, yet there is still a deep traditional vein running throughout (he even has a recipe for cane vinegar cooked chicken which sounds almost filipino). the recipes are sometimes ingredient intensive, but with items that are common enough to find or substitute, even on guam. the techniques used, however, are as simple as pie. which reminds me, there's a delicious-sounding peach pie recipe in the book that i will have to get to this can find the frogmore stew recipe here  and pimento cheese recipe here. oh, and the cane vinegar chicken here.[...]

a big bowl of udon.


rarely, if ever, does the word "venerable" describe a guam restaurant; frankly, there aren't that many dining establishments that have been around for years--let alone decades--and most of them that have survived have definitely had their share of erratic service and quality. one restaurant that probably does deserve the word is joinus japanese restaurant, in the tumon sands plaza. joinus has been around since...the seventies? definitely the eighties? and although there was a brief closure/renovation with new management relatively recently, it has managed to stay in most people's good books. although its focus has always been its teppanyaki tables, they do have many other offerings.

admittedly, i haven't been in joinus for almost a year--i'm not a big fan of their teppanyaki grill area (although the teppanyaki itself is quite tasty); i have always preferred their quieter, better ventilated, usually available dining section. i have, however, found myself back at joinus twice in as many weeks for an anniversary special that is just available until the end of the month: udon suki. (hence, the blog post! twice! in a row! zomg!) it is $25 per person, with a minimum order for 2 people, which is basically a $50 pot noodle. however, it's soooo much more than that. you get a copper basin of dashi (along with a big teapot filled with extra soup stock) on a portable propane stove on your table, along with a platter of chewy udon noodles, and another platter of assorted vegetables and seafood. the ratio of seafood to vegetables is ridic, it's something like 3 types of seafood for every vegetable offered, and generously so: tonight's pick included a very fertile lobster, dozen oysters, a gigantic fish head, tiger prawns, king crab legs, crab claws, scallops, fish cake, fish balls, napa cabbage, tofu, carrots, and mushrooms. oh my. you let the dashi simmer on the a table, and cook your ingredients in the giant vat. it's v. double, double toil and trouble, fire burn, and caldron bubble. i am generally against paying to have to cook my own food, but there's something quite entertaining about all this cookery and craft.

this was the set-up for two, and my cousin and i had no real problems tackling this; admittedly, we didn't eat that many noodles and there was still a generous takeaway portion. it was obvious, though, at the table next to us, that slender filipino family of eight found the serving for two more than sufficient. yes, joinus folk are not soup nazis--your group can order the minimum amount, and as long as you order a couple of appetizers or a salad, they are cool with the group share.

you have until 30 june 2012 (this saturday!) to check it out.  

tumon sands plaza, san vitores road

cool and simple.


sometimes it isn't necessary to find a balance of flavours nor nuances nor complements. sometimes all you need is to beat the heat and get some caffeine in you. for this i recommend a scoop of coffee ice cream in a glass, topped with shaved ice, drowned in iced coffee (with or without milk) and then crowned with a heaping pile of coffee jelly. you know you want it.

browned butter popcorn


happy new year! how was yours? you guys, you have to try this sometime: brown some butter in a saucepan until nutty, add a handful of chopped (lemon) thyme, parsley and a squeeze of lemon, then drizzle it in some freshly popped popcorn. zomg, peeps, so good. so ono. probably not particularly healthy but it was time you broke that resolution this year anyway, right?

you can get the recipe right here. see you soon.

herby quinoa with mango and eggplant.


hello, nenes! i just got back from manila, i might be able to eke a post outta that trip for you later this week. i just wanted to drop in, say hello (helloooo!) and give you a recipe that is waymazing, oh, you gotta try it. i am perpetually trying to eat healthier foods, so i've been stuffin' myself with lovely leafy greens and wholesome grains. however, one grain i'm sloowwwwwly coming around to is quinoa, which wiki tells me is a pseudocereal rather than a real cereal. which probably explains why i only pseudo-like it as opposed to really like it. it is, says wiki and maybe more credible sources, related to beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds. ah. so you say. hm. anyway, people (and maybe even wiki) say it's good for  you, so i've been trying to eat it. it's just a little too seedy for me to treat it like a grain, so i can only eat so much of it. i recently started reading heidi swanson's blog again, and in her reinvention of pasta salad, she drastically reduces the amount of pasta in the salad, and makes the vegetables the star. i thought perhaps i would take this approach with quinoa; instead of making it the main ingredient, i'd delegate it to the background for now, at least until i get a better grasp of this tumbleweed relative.  one of my favourite recipes is from yotam ottolenghi's cookbook "plenty", which is exclusively vegetarian, but filled with recipes that are adaptable to any lifestyle or almost any environment. my guambat readers know how...quirky and erratic produce shopping can be here, so it's nice to know that there are tasty recipes out there that can accommodate our lack of variety that sometimes plagues us. the recipe i turn to often is one for soba noodles, aubergine (eggplant), and mango, which sounds funky--and it is! in an entirely good way--but gets its flavours from familiar southeast asian cuisines. you could wrap this up in lettuce or rice paper wrappers and be a happy island camper. i followed the recipe, with the only substitution being three cups of cooked red quinoa for the buckwheat soba noodles, to great success. the quinoa soaked up the vinegary dressing, and the slightly annoying texture was lost amongst all the crunchy herbiness and soft, fleshy aubergine and mango. good stuff, this. might even be good for you.get the original recipe here! substitute with red quinoa, white quinoa or noodle of choice, should you desire.[...]

old town at aurora resort.


old town chinese restaurant moved into the space where my childhood favourite, toh-ka-lin, used to be in the old okura hotel (now the aurora resort). the hotel itself is almost completely abandoned, and the semi-hideous, totally ill-conceived renovation makes the place look like “the shining”.

oh but anyway. the dim sum limited, but pretty good. maybe the best on island, although not quite up to par with the best of SGV.


old town chinese restaurant at aurora resort
aurora resort (old okura hotel), 
at the northern end of pale san vitores 

weekend project: the PBLT.


i have to admit that since i've come back from werope, i've been a little sluttish with my eating habits, and haven't been eating very healthily. so i thought i would clean out the fridge and freezer, stock up on some beautiful, locally grown hydroponic lettuces, various local and not-so-local organic veg, lots of fruit juices and herbal tisanes, and gain some smug satisfaction that not only had i cleaned out my totally disgusting kitchen, but maybe clean out my totally disgusting body. ...and then i found a ginormous slab of pork belly in the depths of the deep-freeze and i threw out the weekend's plans and had an all-out-no-holds-barred porkfestivus. yeeeeeeaaaaaaaah!!!!well, no. not really. the slab was only 1.5 kilos; even though it was a major pork-out, i didn't have enough to feed the village and set atop a maypole, but did have enough for a few waymazing sammiches and then some. the craving for the sandwiches came from not wanting to stand in line at san francisco's ferry building marketplace farmer's market for rolli roti's (in?)famous porchetta sandwich, and from local fave meskla dos's completely infamous PBLT (pork belly, lettuce, and tomato). i haven't had the SF sandwich, although i did overhear some visiting filipinos tell their friends they found it to be overrated in comparison to lechon throughout the philippines. i have had the meskla dos PBLT, which is made with thick, deep-fried strips of pork belly, lots of mayo, iceberg lettuce, and tomato on a slightly sweet hamburger bun. it was decadent and tasty, but i thought the bun, lettuce, and tomato were too soft to hold up against the robust meat strips, and there is an inherent chewiness to pork belly sliced and cooked this way, which is sometimes a little too much for me to appreciate. i enjoy it, but  it's a workout to eat.  of course, that didn't stop me from trying to cook it this way.i watched the dudes at meskla dos make a PBLT, took notes on their method carefully: cut two inordinately thick slices off a massive slab of pork belly. chuck in deep-fryer until golden brown. slather an alarming amount of mayo on a soft white bun, top with slivers of tomato and half a leaf of lettuce, arrange deep-fried pork belly--which is twice the weight and over half the volume of everything else--on top, serve with a smile. i cut off two almost half-inch strips of pork belly from a partially frozen slab, sprinkled it with some sea salt and let it stand for about 10 minutes before frying it in an inch or so of oil, until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes). i left them on some paper towel to pointlessly drain off the excess fat as i assembled the rest of the sandwich: ciabatta bread was toasted, slathered on both sides with japanese kewpie mayonnaise, topped with a fistful of green oak and butter lettuces, and fat slabs of beautifully ripe tomato which i sprinkled with pink sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper. the ratio of veg to meat was about equal in this, and the ciabatta, while light, provided more body that the soft bun, and the open-crumbed yet firm texture would soak up the inevitable mayo-tomato juice-pork juice sluice that would come. it did, and provided another dimension of crunchiness to this already crunchy sandwich. unfortunately,  the pork belly's almost jerky-like texture still fought it out with its 'wichmates and left me struggling with a sandwich that distintegrated as i ate. i know some people enjoy the interplay but i prefer a slightly more harmonious structure. i toyed with the idea of makin' mah own bacon, but that didn't last. i went for my tried-and-true: the easiest of peasiest nigel slater recipes for crisp belly pork roast. it involves a little bit of marinating, which gives the pork more fla[...]

gimme pancakes!


roboppy knows. holy mabel syrup, batman! i waaaaaaaaaaaaant todd von bastiaan's pancake floor pillows with matching butter pat accent pillows. supposedly the set is "only" $600, but on unica home's site, it looks like they are $600 *each*. uh. maybe not. didn't need the carbs anyway....(via boing-boing)



"if you see a faded sign at the side of the road...."and it's in dededo? then it's probably not the love shack. if someone tells you it is, i'd stay well clear. however, if you see a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road, around a shack with smoke coming out of it, it might be a fire (call 9-11 already) or it might be lorwill bbq stand. i haven't been there in the past six months because every time i've driven by, there hasn't been any sort of parking available; unless things have radically changed in those months, i'm pretty sure the place has remained mostly the same: nothing to look at on the outside,  popular for filipino-style barbecue sticks, lots of brown food--medium chunks of various meats in various gravies--in the catering trays.the most popular items on the menu are the barbecue sticks, which come in pork or chicken, and are marinated, filipino style, in a thin, sweet-salty-soy marinade. lorwill is mostly consistent with their sticks--a generous amount of lean but tender meat, well-seasoned, not too sweet, not too salty, not too knorr/maggi season-y/worcester-y, with possibly just a hint of citrus (:cough: lemon-lime soda :cough:). they do a good job--the meat is very well cooked, slightly charred on the outside, but still moist on the inside, with the marinade penetrating the meat, but not overpowering it. they sell them by the stick (the last time i checked, $1.75/chicken, $1.50/pork), or get a plate with two sticks along with either a scoop of white rice, pancit fried noodles, or filipino-style spaghetti. i think there must be some sort of antibacterial/antifungal/antibiotic property in filipino barbecue marinades*, because i tend to buy the cooked sticks in bulk (yeah, that's me cleaning out the supply), and they last forrrrrrever in the fridge, with little deterioration in reheating. well, maybe not forever. but still. even though times are tough, the selection from the turo-turo line is seems to get bigger every time i go. generally everything i've gotten from there has been well-cooked, with good quality ingredients, and generous portions. turo-turo literally means "point-point", which is pretty much what you do: point at a dish (or two or three), and you'll get a heap of it served with either two scoops of steamed white rice or a mess of pancit fried noodles. i don't know if there's rhyme or reason behind what comes out every day--i'm guessing what's popular is what they cook, hence, as i mentioned before, lots of meaty and brown. however, there's some good stuff in there--adobo with lots of garlic and gravy, oxtail, bistec with lots of tender onions, a chunky, tomatoey beef stew called caldereta. however, i tend to look for anything with seafood, and if you are lucky you can pick from grilled or fried bangus (milkfish) or tilapia, or fat steaks of bangus in a sour sinigang soup, or maybe some of my favourites: a chinese stir-fry inspired dish of veggies, squid and mussels in a spicy sauce, tilapia halves cooked with lots of vinegar, garlic and onions--called paksiw, similar to escabeche in flavour, squid stewed in its own ink, or mongo (green mung beans) cooked down into a stew with dried shrimp, pork, and bitter melon (all pictured above).even though i think lorwill does a surprisingly good job with their veggies (a chop suey of sorts is usually available, as is the pinoy version using native vegetables called pinakbet) some of my favourite things on the menu are dishes i rarely get because they are just so, so, sooooo freaking good whilst being so freaking bad for you: lechon kawali and sisig. these are people who know their way around a pig. lechon kawali is the pig of the people, something that app[...]

some quick but convoluted words about singapura.


i love malaysian food, so i was excited that singapura, a restaurant that features the food of singapore, had opened. singaporean cuisine embraces the ethnic diversity of the country; the food is influenced by the native malay, chinese, indian, indonesian and even western traditions. singapura is in the royal orchid hotel, in a space that used to hold tony roma's; some white paint, banquettes recovered in red vinyl, and a few well chosen accessories have brightened the room considerably, and created a welcoming atmosphere. it certainly doesn't look like a rib joint anymore. now here is the explanation for the title of this post: the flavours on the menu were described to me by one of the managers as singaporean recipes as realized by a japanese chef, taught to a filipino (?) chef, and tweaked for local tastes. SO. um. yeah. YMMV when it comes to what you consider authentic. certainly there's a lot of fusion going on, with a mango fried chicken salad and five-spice fried shrimp appetizer, but there are traditional dishes as hainanese chicken, laksa and beef rendang. my favourite of the traditional is bat kut teh, which translates to "meat bone tea". a typical version has pork ribs simmered in a broth of various herbs and spices including garlic, cinnamon, clove and star anise; singapura's version is subtle compared to some versions i've tried, but the spices are evident in the soup, and there is an ample amount of tender ribs and fat mushroom in a portion. i haven't tried much on the menu, which is considerable--there are several curries, a few vegetable and grilled items and variety of seafood dishes presented as mix-and-match options: choose from crab, crab claws, prawns, scallops or lobster, and pair it with a chili sauce, or black pepper sauce, garlic butter, or coconut curry. all of them sound enticing. i quite like the crab beehon: rice noodles in an unctious sauce with a crab broth base, wok-fried with crab claws, sweet peppers, bean sprouts, and topped with fried onions. i am not a fan of beehon noodles, nor cooked peppers and bean sprouts, but i sort of love this--it's slightly sweet, savoury, slippery and slightly crunchy, and rich with the flavour of crab. another current fave is the coffee-glazed ribs: braised pork ribs glazed in a mixture of oyster sauce, chinese rice wine, sweet soy sauce, and coffee, then dusted with a bit of cinnamon. the flavour is deep, slightly bitter, and only a little bit sweet, so it's not like drinking pork-flavoured starbucks. well. maybe unsweetened pork-flavoured starbucks. you can watch chef walter cook them here. okay, this is probably the least "authentic" dish, but ooh, it's a good one: warm roti prata topped with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, warm coffee glaze and cinnamon. warm, cool, chewy, creamy, coffeeee-ey, and oh-so-tasty. simple and diiiivine. you should check out their facebook page, because there are all sorts of discounts and coupons littering the wall. if you "Like" them right now, there is a coupon for $10 off a $30 bill, which is a GREAT bargain. go. get it, use it. you have a few days (until the end of august). another bargain available is on wednesday nights, something called "tour of singapura" and seems to be an all-you-can-eat for $25 option. i haven't been, i can't quite figure it out, but i think the kitchen brings out a bunch of little dishes, and eat as many of them as you want, then hopefully stop. you can always come back. singapura royal orchid hotel 626 pale san vitores, across from PIC, up against the cliff, tumon. 671.647.2088. [...]

quick bite at yardy's.


i don't really like to post anything about a place i haven't frequented much, which probably account for the pitiful amount of content on this blog in the past few years. however, it's always good to change things up, so i'm just gonna experiment a bit and bang out a few "first impression" posts to see how it goes, zokay? oh, the food truck thing! the first one i remember going to on island was in tumon, a brightly painted red catering truck which featured a yummy yakisoba that was basically fried in butter. i don't remember the name of it--max's?--but it was basically known as the yakiso-van :) when i moved to LA the food trucks i went to were known as roach coaches and didn't have all the gourmet la-la items that are popular now, but still had some tasty mexican food amongst the regular luncheon fare. now when i'm in LA, i tend to avoid the popular "gourmay" wagons--with the exception of lake street creamery and the ludo truck--and stick to the old school taco trucks in my neighbourhood. luckily, two great ones are just around the corner, so i can get my fix of LA street-style tacos in mere minutes. not so much luck here on island, until i was driving around one night a few months ago and saw a couple of food trucks parked in tumon. a little googling led to the yardy's website, and, like any self-respecting, savvy, modern day food truck, a twitter account. from the url,, i mistook it for a hot dog truck, but the online menu features mostly hot and cold sandwiches, and a few specialty items. a check on twitter, and i found that yardy's would be at the commercial port in piti during lunch service, skinner plaza in agana in the afternoons, paul's plaza in tamuning in the evenings, and at the fountain plaza in tumon late night. they seem to be sticking to that schedule for now, which makes the truck (i think only one truck is in service at the moment) easy to find. a couple of times i've been to yardy's at the fountain plaza space, near club denial, during their late night hours. for one reason or another, the menu was limited, so i tried three of their"LA street-style tacos" (one for $1.99, three for $4.99) which were made with soft flour tortillas, lettuce, and pico de gallo on top of your choice of marinated beef, chicken or pork. the beef was prepared differently on the occasions i tried it--the first time it was ground, the second time cut in little cubes--as was the chicken (cubed the first time, shredded the next). the meat was well-cooked each time, tender and moist; the first time around all three meats were too salty on their own, but combined with the warm tortilla, crispy lettuce and salsa, the seasonings mellowed out and worked well together. these were good tacos, made even better by being freshly cooked, warm and filling on a sloshy, rainy night. i imagine after a night of clubbing and drinking, they'd be a phenomenal way to soak up the liquor and fill up your belly. the next time 'round, i wanted to check out the chicken and waffles. i have had a few very, very late night sessions at roscoe's house of chicken n waffles in LA, but frankly, i remember trying not to get stabbed in the parking lot (only once!) more than how the food tasted (although i remember it being pretty tasty). at yardy's, you get three pieces of chicken and a whole belgian waffle per order ($7.50). they are cooked to order, but it didn't take long at all for them to come out. the aroma of the chicken and waffle plate is pretty fantastic--sweet and savoury, warm and slightly spicy, wafting through the air before you actually get your plate. the chicken pieces are a decent size[...]

hello yogurt!



it's hello kitty/sanrio month at yogurtland! sadly, there isn't any cat-flavoured frozen yogurt, nor even a dead-eyed giant hello kitty-garbed employee to loom over you. however, there are appropriately themed cups and four different spoons, and a smattering of merchandise that screams "MOOOOOMMMMMMMMY BUY MEEEEEEE BUY MEEEEEE NOW WHILE I AM ON THIS MASSIVE SUGAR HIGH". (because that's much more interesting than "miaow".) there are sanrio characters bedecking the walls, and helpful flavour-pairing suggestions (chococat swears she loves chocolate yogurt with peanuts, and keroppi likes anchovy yogurt with dead flies plain tart frozen yogurt with gummy worms. because he is a purist.) so for the next four weeks or so, be prepared to battle little and not-s0-little girls in already crowded lines for your next fix of dragonfruit or taro frozen yogurt.

not-so-secretly (because i am asian and i am a girl) i love it. i've drunk the kool-aid of the hello kitty pop cultural church.

but seriously, this is marketing genius, and yogurtland rocks for that. if they bring back a tokidoki partnership, or do a domo promo, i might have to pledge allegiance to the united state of yogurtland. and to the consumer republic for which it stands.

agaña shopping center, next to wendy's.

hot in barrigada


hello nenes! i'm back, and trying to get some holiday posts up for you. in the meantime, i'm going to do some mini-local posts.

for those of you craving krispy kreme hot-glazed donuts, crown bakery in barrigada has fresh donuts out of the fryer at rush hour. they are not quite the same as the international chain variety, but they have the ooey, gooey, warm pillowy softness that-u-want, that-u-crave, i know u do. they are available in the morning (7-9 am?)--although the neverending road construction may have put the kibosh on that--but you can definitely get them from 5.30pm every evening. they are available with a plain sugar or chocolate glaze.

i think celebrity bakery in mangilao also has a hot donut hour, and possibly somewhere else. if you have the skinny on the fat, let me know!

crown bakery
121 Route 10 (next to shell gas station)
barrigada 96921

birthday in bavaria.


cake gone, a photo by chotda on Flickr.

I spent my birthday in Munich! And had a proper boozy black forest gateau to celebrate. Which of course, was.demolished in minutes. Still sort of wandering this earth but will be back on our rock soon enough. Auf wiedersehen! Be blogging soon.

dinner at incanto, in which i finally meet....


no, seriously, i really *am* blogging at my LA blog. no, really. go check, nen!anyway, one of my favourite blogs is ono kine grindz, which is based out of honolulu, but its author, reid, is a globetrotting kind of guy. we had made plans throughout the years to meet up in various corners of the globe, but finally managed to meet up for dinner at incanto, during a quickie trip to san francisco that i took with lovely miss yoony from another great food blog, immaeatchu.incanto is the sort of restaurant that i wish was in every town--smartly casual and inviting, intimate and serious about its food. the menu is a market-dependent, with a rustic italian flare, and changes every day. chef chris cosentino is partial to offal and cuts of meat that most people would discard, but he manages to make the most of some of the most unusual parts.even though we had to cancel our reservations and suddenly re-make them (hello highway 101! you have a lot to answer for!), the staff was gracious and accommodating, and we were seated in a cosy back room with only six tables (of which four were filled with other parties taking photos of all their food as well. and everyone was eavesdropping but pretending to ignore each other. ha. love this town.).some of the things we ate:porchetta di testa, a pig's head salami made by marinating a de-boned head in rosemary in garlic, then braised for an eternity. if you really need to know, there's a video here, but it gets a little graphic.boccalone iberico di bellota lardo, nakita pear & mint: boccalone is the salumeria run by incanto's chef chris cosentino, and this is his version of cured acorn-fed spanish backfat. yes, lard. delicate, flavour-flavy fat. the sweet asian pear and sharp, herby mint was a wonderful complement.foie gras, trotters & citron marmellata: yeah, i'm not gonna lie. this was as rich--even richer, actually--than the backfat, as there was nothing that really cut through the sumptuousness of liver, and slowly braised pig's feet. i'm suddenly reminded of that soap opera "the bold and the beautiful". because it was.pulpo inzimino, cavolo nero & aioli: baby squid cooked in its ink, with black kale and aioli. although more delicate than the pig's trotters, this one also had bold, pronounced flavours with the sweet, tender flesh of the squid playing nicely with the mild bitterness of the vegetable and the unctuous aioli.beef heart, sweetbreads, spinach & potato: i don't think i've ever had beef heart intentionally, nor sweetbreads, but this was a wonderful introduction. honestly, though, i don't remember their flavour apart from the rich jus, but the beef heart was tender yet with a slight chewiness, and the sweetbreads--that's thymus or pancreas to you--were slightly springy and fork tender.for dessert we had goat cheese stuffed figs, honey & almonds and a darned tasty sticky toffee pudding & spice ice cream.i wish i had something profound to say about it, but i don't. it is, however, what i consider to be the epitome of a great restaurant. and the food, the company, the surroundings, our crazy neighbour tables and conversation made for a great night out. mahalo, reid and yoony! hope we can do this again.incanto 1550 church streetsan francisco ca 94131 415.641.4500 ‎ [...]



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meet me at the corner of third and fairfax.


hey kids! i'm in LA at the moment, you can follow me at my LA blog, meet me at the corner of third and fairfax. i'll be here for couple more weeks.

get your mojo on!


i've had this photo sitting in my flickr account for...years, nen. yeah. so long that the kitchn did a post about it in 2008. it's a little overexposed, but it shows the ingredients of one of my favourite marinades, a cuban mojo, which is garlicky, citrusy, herby, so of course, packed with flavour. it works on almost anything--chicken, pork, fish, shellfish, even beef and tofu if you are inclined.

if you click on the photo above, it will take you to its flickr page, where you'll find interactive notes over each ingredient, complete with measurements. just throw everything into a blender, food processor, or mortar and pestle, and go to town. if you are doing meat, i suggest keeping it in the marinade overnight, but for fish and other seafood, no more than one hour, as the citrus will start to cook it. if you are too lazy to click through, here's the recipe:

cuban mojo

1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 cup olive oil (cheap kind is great)
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup lemon juice (or any sour citrus equivalent)
2-3 bay leaves
garlic cloves (5 for meat, 3 for seafood)
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano

throw into blender/food processor. blitz.

delmonico kitchen+bar/dkb


jalapeño corn soupi'm a little burnt out on reviewing restaurants right now. i've been sitting on this post for thre months now, and ahhh, nothin'. have you been here? tell me what you think of it. in the meantime, here are some pretty photos of some of my favourite dishes at delmonico/dkb. mac-n-cheese with crabmeatboneless fried chicken w|creamy mashkb ultimate steak burger apple tartlette and chocolate triple crèmethe breakfast menu appeals to me greatly, but i've yet to try it. here's the slightly quirky menu.28 feb 2011: okay, let's try this one more time.....blink and you might miss it, especially if you're hurtling down santos hill as you are wont to do. tucked into the ground floor corner of the bayview hotel--newbies, look for the mural--is delmonico kitchen+bar (dkb). with its walls clad in warm wood and bright colours, modern decor and casual air, it doesn't look nor feel like a hotel restaurant, but instead like a cool little neighbourhood café. the menu is quirky--a mix of italian, asian and american casual cuisine--but expertly prepared by a kitchen headed up by chefs eddie chien and raul cordero, of the late colors restaurant red. red never quite found its footing, but by keeping the menu relatively simple and consistent, hopefully dkb will stick around for awhile.i've tried to keep dkb in my regular rotation of local restaurants, and for the most part, the food has been consistent and competently prepared. i tend to stick to the same entrees--the boneless fried chicken and steak burger with a flying saucer-like disc of griddled cheese are particular favourites--but i can't fault the lightly crispy battered basa fillet sandwich in a fluffy white bun, nor its more elegant sister, the seared spicy crème dory on a bed of rice with a garlic ginger butter sauce. both are tender and flaky, and the delicately-flavoured fish is somehow never overpowered by its more assertive accompaniments. they've got a temaki bento box of make-your-own sushi with white rice, sheets of nori, sashimi and tempura prawns that can be a substantial entree for one, or a fun appetizer for the table. the desserts are few and familiar, but exceptionally well-made. the crème brûlée is one of the better versions on the island, and if they've got the matcha green tea-flavoured one, it's one of the best desserts i've tried here in awhile.the breakfast menu looks interesting; i think one of the things guam lacks is a casual brunch place for the weekends, and dkb's menu looks extensive and interesting enough that it may fit the bill. now if i could only get up in time to find out....delmonico kitchen+bar/dkbbayview hotel, ground floortumon (santos hill).646.2300.[...]