Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Saigon Baguette "The Classic"

I've been to a local Vietnamese quick service restaurant by my office a few times, but somehow I've never managed to write about it. Saigon Baguette has some really good banh mi sandwiches, and I'm glad that they're in the area. Today I decided to go back just so I could write about them. I opted for their "The Classic" banh mi. It's loaded with Vietnamese ham, BBQ ground pork, and pate along with the standard banh mi toppings of mayo, cilantro, and pickled crunchy vegetables.

First things first, with banh mi one of my biggest testing points is the bread. Every banh mi is served on a toasted baguette. Some places over-toast the bread to the point that it cuts up your mouth when you bite into it, and it leaves crusty crumbs all over your eating area. This bread wasn't perfect, but it was pretty good. There just a touch too much toasting on this, but it was still soft enough to not cut everything up.

The filling was tasty, but it was also a little different from "classic" banh mi that I'm used to. Most of the time it's some combination of cold cuts to go with the pate, but this BBQ ground pork added some nice sweetness to the sandwich. The pickled daikon and carrots also were paired with sliced cucumber to add a lot more freshness and crunch. The pate was barely noticeable, but every so often you got that nice rich, mineral flavor. Overall this was a very tasty sandwich. They didn't add any sliced jalapenos or Sriracha sauce, though, so luckily we had some Sriracha in the office. I like that Saigon Baguette is so close to my office. It's a fairly quick and delicious option that's not priced too horribly for the area.

Monday, April 27, 2015

TJ's Dolmas

We love eating dolmas, but they're one of those dishes that we usually get at restaurants instead of attempting at home since the vine leaves seem like a lot of work. Now that we've found cans of dolmas at Trader Joe's for the very affordable price of $2.49 (for 10 dolmas), it's probably even more unlikely that we'll try making them anytime soon.

The TJ's version wraps up rice, onions, dill, spearmint, and black pepper inside the vine leaves. To keep them moist and fresh in the can, they're soaked in (a lot of) soy oil. Before we tried the dolmas, we had heard some people remark that they were too oily. I suppose if you were to just eat them right out of the can dripping with oil, that's probably true. But it's pretty simple to just blot them on a towel or drain them well or something similar if you're worried about the oil.

We ended up eating them with some rice pilaf, so after draining them a little bit, we just set them on top of the rice. The rice soaked up whatever soy oil was left on them, so they were no more oily than any dolmas you get at a restaurant. And at a restaurant, you're certainly not getting 10 of them for $2.49. That price is such a great deal.

As for the dolmas themselves, they taste good, very light and fresh. Maybe not quite as good as a great Mediterranean restaurant, but certainly good enough to satisfy any dolmas craving we have. If someone put these out on a platter at a party, we would never have guessed they were canned and from TJ's. Good quality buy.

Buy Again? Absolutely! We already have a few more cans in the pantry.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Week 15 - Surf and Turf

I was not excited for surf and turf week. Usually when I think surf and turf I think about steak and seafood, which wasn't going to happen (I don't eat steak). I figured I could do some sort of grilled chicken and shrimp, but was not inspired at all by that idea. The themes for the challenge are generally pretty liberal, and they basically said you could just match up one thing from the land and one thing from the sea, so I decided a tuna melt with bacon would work. Tuna and bacon, surf and turf. Sounded like a good plan.

I didn't really follow a recipe for the tuna melt. My original thought was pretzel bagel + cheddar cheese + tuna salad + bacon + tomato + avocado or arugula, but the avocado wasn't ripe in time and I didn't really think arugula would fit that well, so I ended up doing pretzel bagel + cheddar cheese + tuna salad + bacon + tomato + caramelized onions. Just like the challenge before, why waste all that bacon fat and not caramelize an onion in it?

The ingredients for the tuna bacon melts (not all of which are in the photo since the tuna salad evolved as I kept tasting it) were:

- 2 pretzel bagels ($0.83)
- 4 slices of cheddar cheese ($1.60)
- 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced ($0.79)
- 4 slices of bacon ($2.50)
- 1 yellow onion, sliced ($0.60)
- 2 cans of tuna ($2.17)
- 3 large spoonfuls of mayonnaise ($0.40)
- 3 scallions, chopped ($0.40)
- garlic powder ($0.05)
- dill ($0.03)
- thyme ($0.05)
- black pepper ($0.05)
- dijon mustard ($0.10)
- lemon juice ($0.10)

The total came out just over $9.50 for 2 sandwiches. You might be able to get 2 tuna melts out there for that price, but not with as much stuff as I packed into them. That was a pretty good price for dinner for 2, and we were really full.

The steps for making the tuna bacon melts were:

1. Fry bacon slices. When they're done, remove to paper towel-lined plate.

2. In the same pan that you fried the bacon (with all the bacon fat), add a sliced onion and saute until caramelized. Then place the onions on a paper towel.

3. While the bacon and onions cook, slice the tomato and mix up the tuna salad to taste. To the tuna, I added mayo, scallions, garlic powder, dill, thyme, black pepper, dijon mustard, and lemon juice. 

4. Assemble the sandwiches. After I finished layering up the cheese, tomatoes, onions, and tuna salad, the towers were hilariously tall. I ended up cutting the tomatoes down a bit, but they still look like they are stacked really high.

5. Bake for a few minutes so the cheese melts and everything blends together a bit. I don't recall exactly what I did, probably 400 degrees, for maybe 5 minutes. Not very long. 

We really liked these tuna and bacon melts but they were very heavy. (Good thing I didn't make any side dishes!) The tuna salad turned out well and was a good match for the melted cheddar and bacon. It probably didn't need the caramelized onions, but as I said, I didn't want to waste that bacon fat, and they tasted good anyway. Overall, we were pretty happy with the melts and would definitely do these again sometime.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

DreamWorks Character Breakfast

We got up earlier on day 4 of our Quantum trip than any other morning on the cruise (other than disembarkation day). After a couple of days of waking up so late that we barely made it to breakfast, on that morning we got up with the sun. We had reservations for the DreamWorks character breakfast and we were pretty excited... except for the fact that it started at 8 am. (It ended up being a good thing as it helped us adjust our schedules before we started arriving early at the ports, but it felt so early.) We were really hoping to see Po from Kung Fu Panda as well as the penguins from Madagascar, and even dressed in panda and penguin t-shirts for the occasion.

This breakfast was a "special event" that ran several times throughout the cruise, but we got to go for free. The day that the DreamWorks character breakfast appeared as an event on the ship's calendar, A booked it for our group. A couple of weeks later, they changed it from a free event to $10 per person (for adults, anyway). We were grandfathered in to the free admission thankfully, but were a bit flabbergasted that they would charge for something like that. We figured it would just be standard ship breakfast food, so it really just seemed like a money grab to charge for it.

Anyway, we were really looking forward to the breakfast, as M had pretty fond memories of Disney character breakfasts at Walt Disney World. A bustling breakfast with characters wandering around the tables, chatting with you, posing for photos, just an overall happy experience.

The breakfast was held at Silk (not our favorite place at the time). We got to Silk on time, but things didn't go quite well from the start. We were put at a table on the very far edge of the room, in a section that felt completely separated from the main room. This happened because, even though we showed up on time, we were some of the last people to show up, and they just stuck us where our party of 4 would fit. It looked like there was some stage set up in the front and center, but since we were in that side section, we were blocked by a bunch of poles. We felt a bit like second class citizens. Since they were selling spots, shouldn't they have accounted for how many people there would be so that everyone could see? We were really glad at this point that we hadn't paid for this.

Since it was a character breakfast, they did have a cute themed menu with sections named for the movies and characters. For example, the Kung Fu Panda section had healthy plates, like cold and hot cereals, granola, fruit, and yogurt. The Madagascar section offered pancakes, French toast, and more "international" foods, like herring and smoked salmon. Most of the other sections were Shrek-themed, including the "3 Pigs Egg Shack."

You could get the majority of those breakfast items elsewhere on the ship, but in addition to an entire category of pastries, there was also a large section of chocolate-themed breakfast selections ("Muffin Man's Chocolate Dreams") that appeared unique to the character breakfast, including chocolate milkshakes, chocolate muffins and croissants, chocolate waffles, and chocolate pancakes. While we did appreciate the work that went into making a themed menu like that, in the end, most, other than the chocolate stuff, was pretty standard breakfast fare just renamed for the breakfast.

Neither of us recall ordering a plate with chocolate croissants, chocolate banana bread, and a chocolate muffin, but we have a picture of it from our table so it must have arrived somehow. Did they just bring it to the table? Did we order it but just not remember it because it was so unremarkable? Not a clue, therefore no review.

We do both remember getting cereal, which was to be "served with ninja-sliced bananas, brown sugar, milk or skim milk." Based on the description, we figured the cereal was coming with bananas, sugar, and milk on the side. Instead, the cereal just arrived with milk. We both requested the sliced bananas (and the wait staff seemed a bit confused since we hadn't "ordered" them separately) and had to wait a long time for them to arrive. M waited for the banana before having her cereal, but unfortunately A didn't have that option.

For whatever reason, the waiter decided to pour A's milk for him as if he were a small child. Regardless of his intentions, how did he know that A wanted to eat his cereal first? By pouring the milk for him, he basically forced A to eat that first or else everything would just get soggy. A was understandably annoyed, and that certainly didn't improve his mood or impression of this "special" breakfast. The service at Silk seemed just as bad as our first dinner there.

In addition to the cereal, we both ordered Marty's special smoked salmon plate. No idea what zebras have to do with smoked salmon since they're herbivores, but at the time we got it we didn't even know Marty was a zebra. (We would spend much more time on the DreamWorks movie channel later in the cruise watching lots of Madagascar.) The smoked salmon here was served with a bagel and cream cheese, as well as "traditional garnishes," meaning tomatoes, red onions, capers, and arugula. This was pretty good and we were glad to have this for breakfast, but it wouldn't have been worth paying extra for something we could just get in the regular dining room.

As for the character breakfast itself, it was nothing like Disney. Not even close. The way it was set up, everyone ate breakfast at their tables, and then after that, in the central stage area (that we could barely see), they introduced each character which would then do a little dance or activity with the little kids. After each character's introduction, they quickly made the rounds to each table area, took pictures, and left. Then it was the next character's turn. There were only 3 characters at breakfast - Po, Tigress (also from Kung Fu Panda), and King Julien (from Madagascar). Other breakfasts had different groups of 3 characters. We were glad that at least we ended up at one with characters from Kung Fu Panda, a movie we had actually seen, but overall it was a very rushed process with no real interaction with the characters other than a picture.

We were pretty glad that we had gotten to do this for free as we would have been very disappointed if we had paid any money for that experience. The food was standard, the service was pretty bad, and the character element of the breakfast was so short and rushed, leaving you barely any time and almost no interaction with the characters whatsoever. We don't know if the character breakfast has changed or improved any over the past few months, but if not, Disney definitely does this better.

Friday, April 17, 2015

XPL Truck

Ever since I started working at my new job, I couldn't find a go-to street meat place. I walked by several Rafiqi's trucks and a couple sidewalk carts that looked like they got no turnover so I never wanted to risk trying them. Then one day one of my coworkers mentioned that he used to visit XPL Halal truck up on 43rd St and 2nd Ave. I'd heard about them as they have consistently been rated as having the best rice of any street meat purveyor in the city. I've visited them several times now so I'll give some opinions on everything I've tried.

My first trip happened to fall while M and I had decided to give up red meat so I got the chicken over rice with white sauce and hot sauce. Normally I would get the chicken and lamb over rice, but sacrifices are sacrifices. After trying their food this first time I understood why it was so hyped. The rice is just flavored so differently and so well compared to most other vendors. The chicken is seasoned very well and adds the right amount of salt and spices to the fluffy, flavored rice. The salad is a typical salad. The white sauce and hot sauce are fairly standard as well, but overall the food here is really good. I was really looking forward to trying the lamb after our self-imposed sacrifice.

For my second trip I was able to try out the chicken and lamb over rice with white sauce and hot sauce. The lamb was a bit saltier than I would normally prefer from street vendors, but it had some really good char/crisp to the thinner parts. I liked this, but moving forward I made the decision that I would stick to just the chicken moving forward.

This week I promised to take a coworker to XPL as he was always wondering where I was getting the awesome smelling food. While we were waiting to order a lady in front of us got a chicken and vegetables over rice with white sauce and green sauce. First, chicken and vegetables? She was talking to the lady behind her (one person in front of me) and noted that it was chickpeas and other vegetables. Second, green sauce?! Visions of Omar's green sauce at Little Morocco danced through my head, but the more I thought about it, the more I figured it would be more like s'rug like you might get from Taim.

I had to order this after hearing about it, and I was very pleased that I did. The vegetables are a great addition to the already tasty chicken. The green sauce isn't incredibly flavorful so I think I'll go back to just white sauce and hot sauce, but it was good to try it out. I'm pretty sure I'm going to stick with the chicken and vegetables from now on, though.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Week 14 - Easter

The theme for Week 14 of the challenge was Easter. When I think of Easter foods, I mostly think about candy, but after that, ham and lamb. I didn't really want to make either of those, so when I saw this recipe for leek and bacon egg tottins on the Trader Joe's site in the Easter section, I jumped at making that. It was certainly something that would fit an Easter brunch, so it was perfect for our Easter-themed challenge dinner.

For the tottins, I used:

- 30 potato tots (a little more than 1/4 of a bag) ($0.62)
- 6 slices of uncured bacon ($3.37)
- 2 large leeks ($2.99)
- 4 oz (1/2 log) of garlic and herb goat cheese ($2)
- 16 oz carton of quick eggs ($1.99)
- salt and pepper ($0.05)
- 1/2 bag of wild arugula ($1)

The grand total for our tottins dinner was about $12. Not the cheapest, but good bacon comes at a price and I also went the convenience route on a couple of items (leeks, eggs) to simplify our dinner routine. The trimmed leeks at Trader Joe's are a great product and very clean as far as leeks go, but they're definitely not cheap. I also went for the carton of eggs instead of using 8 actual eggs, which cost about 30 cents more, but that's not much of a difference for the convenience of not having to crack open and beat all those eggs. Still, we were pretty full in the end, and at $12 for 2, that's not too bad.

Making the tottins was very straightforward and simple. It took a little bit of time for the bacon and leeks to cook, but it was easy, perfect for a weeknight dinner. I changed up the process a bit from what Trader Joe's put in their recipe, as you'll see, and we were perfectly happy with how it turned out. The steps were:

1. Grease a muffin tin and add 2-3 tots per cup.
[The recipe said 3 but the tots looked so crowded in the cups that I wasn't sure any of the other stuff would fit in. I put 2 tots in 1/2 the cups and 3 tots in the other 1/2. I personally think the ones with 3 were better.]

2. Fry the bacon and then let it cool on a paper towel, then crumble.

3. Chop the leeks. Once the bacon is done frying, add the leeks to the same pan (without draining the bacon grease or adding oil or butter). Cook the leeks until they are caramelized.
[The original recipe had these swapped and said to cook the leeks in butter and then fry the bacon. I couldn't figure out why, since the bacon was going to let out a ton of its own fat that we could cook the leeks in. Seemed like a waste to not use it! The day before, we only made 2 slices of bacon and there was so much grease left over that I caramelized an onion for fun so we wouldn't waste it. It just made sense to use that instead of butter.]

4. Mix the caramelized leeks, crumbled bacon, eggs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and then add to each muffin cup.

5. Add a few pinches of goat cheese to each muffin cup.
[The recipe said 3 or 4 pinches for each cup and that would be 1/2 of the log of goat cheese.  I don't know if I don't understand how much a "pinch" is or if mine were too small, but I had put more than 4 pinches in each cup and barely finished 1/4 of a log. I added more until it seemed like the right amount and then we just ate the rest of the log half with crackers.]

6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes (until eggs are cooked and brown on top).

We ate some of the tottins over a bed of arugula just to add some more vegetable matter to our dinner and all together, it was pretty good. We really liked the tottins. Combining bacon, caramelized leeks, potatoes, and cheese, what's not to love? The only negative was that I thought they were a little on the salty side. I definitely think you could skip adding the salt to the egg mixture because of the bacon and cheese. It really wasn't unnecessary. But other than that, it all worked really well together.

Considering that there were 12 tottins, we probably shouldn't have eaten them all in one sitting, but they were so good that we couldn't stop. They were just so tasty! We would definitely make these again and maybe mix it up with different ingredients next time. Happy (belated) Easter!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

5 Quarters

I actually finished the first 13 challenges of this year's 52 week cooking challenge on time, but am just so incredibly behind on blogging about them! In any event, all 13 posts are up now, so here's a summary of the first quarter of challenges for this year. I've got a streak of 5 quarters going. Pretty proud of that accomplishment!

Week 1 - diet foods (carrot and farro salad)
Week 2 - dairy (swiss chard and goat cheese custard bake)
Week 3 - alcohol (beer braised BBQ chicken sliders with Asian style slaw)
Week 4 - offal (liverwurst and provolone grilled sandwiches)
Week 5 - Native Australian (mango and macadamia chicken with macadamia garlic spinach)
Week 6 - two+ ways (carrots and Greek yogurt 3 ways)
Week 7 - chocolate (cocoa jerk tofu, chocolate green beans, chocolate vegetable tarts)
Week 8 - canned/preserved (strawberry fruit leather)
Week 9 - one color (green tofu patties and lentils)
Week 10 - book inspired (Harry Potter Christmas feast-inspired roast chicken and stuffins)
Week 11 - bananas (Southeast Asian banana curry)
Week 12 - hangover cures (bangers and colcannon with sausage onion gravy)
Week 13 - spicy food (Korean stewed chicken)

We both liked quite a few of these challenge weeks, but if we had to choose favorites, I think my favorite 3 weeks were chocolate, bananas, and spicy food, and A's were chocolate, bananas, and book inspired. We were both pretty impressed and surprised by the cocoa jerk tofu and the banana curry, and both will be great additions to our rotation.

Looking forward to the rest of the second quarter of challenges!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Week 13 - Spicy Food

Our home is no stranger to spicy food, so we were excited to see that the Week 13 challenge theme was spicy food. We use a lot of spicy ingredients regularly (well, as regularly as we cook anything), such as Sichuan peppercorns, chili oil, chili bean paste, red pepper flakes, chili powder, jalapeƱo peppers, and more. I didn't want to use anything that was common in our kitchen so I knew from the start the ingredient I wanted to use for the challenge - gochujang, the Korean hot chili paste.

We've both had plenty of gochujang at Korean restaurants before, but have never cooked with it at home. I found this recipe for dak bokkeum (Korean stewed chicken) and decided that would be perfect for the challenge. I (of course) adapted it a little bit for what we had to work with, but mostly tried to keep the spirit of the dish intact.

The ingredients for the dak bokkeum we made were:

- 1/3 cup gochujang ($0.62)
- 1 small bunch of scallions ($0.50)
- 2.5 tbsp low sodium soy sauce ($0.30)
- 5 garlic cloves, minced ($0.08)
- minced ginger (amount equivalent to garlic) ($0.15)
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil ($0.46)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar ($0.20)
- 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper ($0.05)
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts ($3)
- 1/3 cup water ($0)
- chopped kale ($1)

The measurements above are approximate other than the gochujang, as I didn't feel like adding measuring spoons to the wash and just estimated by how much of the 1/3 cup they filled up. That was accurate enough for me. The total for the stewed chicken was approximately $6.36, which is quite affordable for dinner. Normally we'd add $1 or so for rice, but my parents gave us a giant bag of brown rice that they brought home from some fundraiser so that saved some money.

The steps for making the dak bokkeum were:

1. Mix the gochujang, chopped scallion whites, soy sauce, minced garlic, minced ginger, sesame oil, brown sugar, and crushed red pepper together for the marinade.

2. Slice chicken into small pieces and mix into the marinade. Marinate for about 20-30 minutes. (I would have marinated it longer but it was very, very, very late in the night, and we couldn't wait much longer.)

3. Add 1/3 cup of water to a Dutch oven and bring it to a boil. (It's very quick.) Add the chicken and marinade and bring to boil. Simmer covered for about 20 minutes and then add chopped up kale. (We had a Costco sized bag of kale and no baby spinach so I just finely chopped that up so it would cook faster. I don't know how much kale it was but it doesn't really matter. I think in the future I would just use however much greens I had or felt like using, since it just adds vegetables to the dish and sauce. Can you guess that I don't really cook by measurements that carefully?)

4. Mix the kale in and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes or so.

5. Turn off heat and add in the scallion greens. (You're also supposed to sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, but I really did not have time to toast them and kind of forgot about them even though they were sitting on the counter.)

We really liked this stew and it's so easy to make. I don't know why it took me so long to put together the marinade (I guess I was just working really slowly that late night), but it took much longer than I planned. The actual cooking part was very easy since everything was pretty much mixed together already and just needed some time to cook. This would be a good weeknight dinner, if I could just get it together and make the marinade faster. The flavors were great.

The gochujang here added a nice amount of heat. The stew wasn't as red as we were expecting, but the spiciness was there. I think in the future, in addition to the kale or spinach, maybe we'll add some other vegetables, like some finely chopped mushrooms, just to give the stew some more vegetables. I have no idea if that's remotely traditional, but it'll work for us. We would definitely make this again, and now we've got a tub of gochujang in the fridge to make more fun Korean dishes!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Siri Thai

A while back, Wondee Siam III (which was one of my favorite places to get larb gai) closed and a new Thai place called Siri Thai took its place. We weren't sure if they were the same people who had just disassociated from the Wondee name, or if it was a totally different operation, and since we've ordered significantly less delivery ever since I started cooking more, we didn't really have a chance to test that out until this week.

We started out with the curry puffs ($4 for 3 puffs), which had minced chicken, potatoes, onions, and curry powder wrapped up in puff pastry. It came with a small cup of "cucumber sauce" on the side which was basically some cut up cucumber, sliced red onion, and shredded carrot. The salad wasn't anything special, but the curry puffs here were pretty good. They had a good curry flavor and a flaky pastry shell. Although they probably weren't our favorite curry puffs ever, we would probably order these again.

The main reason we picked Siri Thai to order from was because I had been in the mood for larb gai for about a week, and we were curious to see if this would be the same as the old Wondee III larb. The first sign that this larb gai ($7) might be different from the old Wondee version was that ordering it didn't automatically trigger an option for an (included) order of rice on the side. Since I've really come to like eating larb with rice, we added one on the side for $1.50 (which was a good idea anyway since we could also use it for the other dishes we got). The second difference was that the container it came in was a smaller "appetizer" size one and in the past, it was the same size as an entree. You can't really tell the size in the photos, but this is smaller.

Even though the larb didn't taste quite the same as we remembered from the old Wondee III, it was still good. We ordered it medium spicy and it had a nice amount of heat. Larb gai has always been one of my favorite salads, and this was nice, light, refreshing, flavorful, and spicy. At this point, I'm not sure where my favorite larb is since we don't order or go out for Thai food as much as we used to and places change, but this one was pretty good. 

I was also in the mood for some curry, so we went with the yellow curry chicken ($11), which was chicken, bell peppers, potatoes, and onions in yellow curry. The curry here was good but the flavor wasn't as rich with curry flavor as some other yellow curries we've had before, and we love that flavor. It was also a little bit oily. That said, it was still good, especially as leftovers after I let the rice sit in that curry sauce overnight and soak it all up.

A remembered liking the pad thai from Wondee III (we never wrote about it so we can't really confirm if our memories are correct), so we got the pad thai ($10) from Siri to try it out. This was a pretty standard chicken pad thai, but we liked that it wasn't too sweet and that it had a nicely balanced sauce. It was also loaded with plenty of bean sprouts, scallions, and carrots to add some freshness and crispness to all those starchy noodles.

Overall, we were pretty satisfied with our dinner from Siri Thai, even if it wasn't exactly what we remembered from the previous inhabitant of the space. We would check this place out again, maybe for lunch specials, since we love Thai lunch specials!

Siri Thai (delivery), 641 10th Avenue (at 45th Street), Manhattan.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Disappointing Eggplant

I hadn't had a bad lunch from Hunan Manor yet, but I knew at some point it would probably happen. Unfortunately, today was that day. I'm a fan of eggplant in garlic sauce so I figured maybe I'd give the Eggplant with Minced Pork Garlic Sauce a try. I also changed things up and got a vegetable spring roll instead of my regular hot and sour soup.

This spring roll was really greasy. I mean, yes, it's fried, but as soon as I touched it to bring it out of the package my fingers were just dripping with oil. After I finished eating it I found that there was a little puddle of oil sitting on the bag. The spring roll itself was also rather bland. I think I'll just stick to hot and sour soup moving forward.

The eggplant sure looked good when I opened it up, but that's sort of where it all ended. That's not to say this was a horrible, inedible dish, but it just wasn't that great. The eggplant and minced pork were put together with red peppers, scallions, garlic, ginger, sliced green chilis, and sliced dried red chilis. The issue I had with this dish was the the sauce was too sweet. It wasn't cloying or purely sugar-filled, but overall it was just too sweet. This isn't going to stop me from going back, obviously, but I'm certainly not going to get the eggplant dish or vegetable spring roll again.

April 2015 Custard Calendar

We hadn't posted anything yet this month, not even our usual custard calendar post, which means the first week of the custard calendar is already over! Maybe we were distracted by spring finally arriving. Maybe it's because we weren't that enthusiastic about the month's calendar. Maybe we were just tired. Who knows, but here's the calendar.

The April line-up is:

Week 1 (April 1-5) - malted marshmallow peanut butter (did not try)
Week 2 (April 6-12) - buttery brown sugar (new to us)
Week 3 (April 13-19) - pineapple upside down (new to us (but not SS))
Week 4 (April 20-26) - caramel pretzel (7.5/10)
Week 5 (April 27-30) - oatmeal creme pie (6.25/10)

We may not head over for any custard this month (unless we decide to go for pineapple upside down, but we didn't love pineapple brown sugar), but hopefully May will have some great flavors!