Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the best of the thai-o-rama best

so if you have been following my blog or this thai-o-rama project than you know there was a lot of not great thai food eaten in the last year.  all a long you may have been thinking, "i don't care about hearing about bad thai food, just tell me where the good stuff is."  so this is where the pay off of eating all that not great thai food happens.  i can, with authority, tell you where you should spend your money on thai eats, and where you should not.
all of the bloggers are all using the same categories below to rate the restaurants:
Best pad thai: i actually don't order pad thai that frequently.  i thinks its kind of a wimpy thai dish, like ordering california rolls at sushi.  but sometimes i do crave it and reading back over my reviews it seems that vientiane had a great rendition.
Best curry: curry is the opposite of pad thai for me, i like to order it every time i go for thai, and i especially love to get it with duck.  the green tofu curry at chiang-mai two was excellent, though one needs to be aware of their heat rating. sabieng thai also had a good panaeng tofu curry.  with these two endorsements i think it may actually be tofu i like to order in my curry
Best spring rolls:  i think that spring rolls across the board are pretty mediocre so i can't recommend any places rolls over another.  but since seth's go-to thai appetizer is crab rangoon i will tell you that hands down the best version of this is at chiang-mai two.  you can actually taste crab in this version.
Best soup: we only ordered soup at 2 or 3 spots so i am gonna decline to comment here.
Best atmosphere: boda is the only interesting restaurant space of any of the restaurants we dined at.  but remember, if you like bus stations, vientiane is the place for you.
Best overall: i'm gonna do a top 3, in no special order -- pom's thai taste, chiang-mai two, and boda.  i'm not totally on the boda band wagon, and i didn't like everything we ordered.  but with some much of exactly the same thai food, its fun and exciting to dine on something different.  honestly i would put it in the top category alone for the dessert of sticky rice, coconut milk and mango.  it was a total surprise that chiang-mai two was so good.  it has a very traditional menu but everything we ordered was the best version we had in 13 restaurants.  pom's thai taste is a great stand by with a huge menu and is super approachable for those new to thai food.  i also think that veranda thai and sabieng thai do a good job.
Best prices: i think this really should be best value for the money.  again i think chiang-mai two had excellent food and reasonable prices.  vientiane also had very good food at pretty much dirt cheap prices.
Best "I never expected to like it" dish:  i have mixed feelings about crab rangoon and i usually just allow seth to order it.  so i guess my 'never expected to like it dish' was the crab rangoon at chiang-mai two.
Place I would never go back to (my own catagory): so while there was a lot of mediorce thai, most places were not horrible, just nothing special.  i think that if they are your neighborhood thai restaurant than you can get a decent americanized-thai meal there.  the one restaurant that i would never recommend anyone is viet bangkok cuisine.  i actually gave this place a okay review when we dined there but it was only our second restaurant and i was not yet jaded by just okay food.  and, in fact, this place's food is not okay.  i can still taste that weird plasticy taste that flavored our curry.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

last thai supper

so last night for our last thai supper (round 13 of thai-o-rama) we all met up at sengchai thai (803 forest ave).  we were the only table in the restaurant (really glad i made reservations) so we got a lot of attention from our server.  at first she was endearing and quirky but by the end of the dinner it was a little much for me.  i was out to dine and conversate with friends and our server frankly dominated the conversation at times (i will be interested to hear how everyone else felt about her).  with all this said she was quite attentive, she gave us all separate checks which i always think is above and beyond what a server really needs to do, and she gave us a free appetizer of curry puffs, which were tasty.
seth and i ordered crab rangoon (surprise) which the server said was great but was only your average crab rangoon that don't taste like crab but are somehow satisfying in their fried creaminess.  we also got the tom kha gai which was quite flavorful with a strong scent of lemongrass and, of course, coconut milk, but was a little watery in texture.
for our entrees we got the spicy basil with tofu and the pineapple curry with duck, both ordered 2 out of 5 spiciness.  the spicy basil was spicy w/ lots of nice fluffy pillows of fried tofu and a nice basil flavor.  the pineapple curry was a red curry w/ loads of pineapple, red and green bell peppers, carrots and duck.  i thought the flavor was fine, not the worst curry i have ever had but far from the best and it wasn't spicy at all. there also wasn't really that much duck in it, but i liked the duck that was there.
finally, my thai iced tea, which i sucked down in about 5 minutes flat, so it clearly wasn't that bad, was not as strong as i typically like them.
so as you can tell, this was yet another mediocre thai meal.  if you are in the area and you are really craving thai, by all means stop into sangchai thai and you will get a predictable meal of thai standards.  but by no means go out of your way to dine at this restaurant. 
coming soon, find out which thai restaurants you should go out of your way to dine at when i do my wrap up of all things thai in portland.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

no name thai restaurant

guest blog post by seth eli goldstein:
Well, this is embarrassing.  Jenner asked me if I would guest blog for this round of Pad Thai-o-rama.  Sure I would, and so I headed down to the Thai food restaurant located in the food court at Monument Square.   The embarrassing thing is I can't remember this place's name.
                The food court is a nice clean space and there is excellent people watching when all the suits downtown are released for their one hour recess.   The restaurant, whose name I cannot remember, is really a counter place.  The cool thing is that you can watch your food cooked to order before your eyes.  My Pad Thai went straight from the wok to my Styrofoam container and was piping hot.   It was a large portion and I felt like I got a pretty good value for the price.  I would have tried a couple of appetizers as well but I was all by my lonesome and although I am in the Guinness Book of World Records for most crab Rangoon eaten in a single meal I just went with the Pad Thai. 
                I thought that the spice was pretty mild, particularly as I requested a spice factor 2 out of 3.  Perhaps a tad bland as well, but still passable Pad Thai with wide noodles served with scallions and mung beans.  Sometimes pad Thai can be a bit on the sweet side.  The Pad Thai, from the restaurant whose name shall remain a mystery, was not too sweet, and that was nice.  If you need a quick and affordable Thai fix for lunch (I'm pretty sure this is a lunch only joint) that will leave you with leftovers for dinner, hit this place up.  It won't knock your proverbial socks off but it does the trick.

this was a guest posting brought to you by seth for the 12th round of thai-o-rama. the unknown name of this restaurnt is siam orchid and it is located at the one city center food court.

Monday, October 18, 2010

cumberland county fair

alpacas!

mini lop bunny

i grew up with guinea pigs and i heart them very much


midways are made for hipstamatic and cross process




stuff i see, portland streets 1

one of the best things about my new iphone is having a camera with me at all times.  honestly, while i am trying to get the cost of it covered by work because there are health care apps that i can use for my job, i really bought it for hipstamatic.




Tuesday, September 28, 2010

tamales for thai

for this round of thai-o-rama it was off to chiang mai-two at 52 washington ave.  while we were pretty sad to see loco pollo close down, it was fun to see what the new proprietors had done with the space.  it really felt very different from its previous incarnation as a tamale shop.  i thought it was tastefully decorated with a merciful lack of south east asian kitsch. 
there was only one other table the tuesday we went in but the young man who was cooking and serving all the food seemed a bit overwhelmed.  in any event he waited on us quickly, was very friendly, and all of our food came out fast.
for appetizers we ordered the crab rangoon and the thai dumplings.  if you have been following these posts, you know that seth loves crab rangoon.  i feel pretty ambivalent toward them -- i enjoy the creaminess of the filling contrasted with the crunchiness of the wrapper, but i never, ever feel like they taste like crab.  these crab rangoon actually tasted like crab and i could even see real pieces of crab in the filling.  served with a clear, sweet plum sauce and yum.  the thai dumplings, filled with minced pork and shrimp and topped with fried shallots, were two bitefuls and again a fabulous version of a standard thai appetizer.
the entrees are ordered by star for how spicy you want them on a one to three star scale. i asked the waiter if one star meant not spicy at all and he answered "i can make it not spicy if you want."  so really it should be a zero to three star scale.  we ordered the spicy duck as 2 stars and the green tofu curry as 1 star. 
the spicy duck was served in a creamy red sauces with lots of bamboo shoots, snow peas, green bell peppers, and basil.  the duck was suppose to be crispy and it was, a little, but it wasn't exactly what we expected.  and it was a bit of a small serving of duck.  but on a whole, it was delicious and spicy!  2 stars definitely gave it a great kick that made my nose run and my lips burn.
the green tofu curry was full of tofu, yellow summer squash, zucchini, green beans, bell peppers and basil.  the curry itself was creamy and flavorful and 1 star was a great level of spiciness for this dish. 
somewhere in the midst of this burning goodness i had an epiphany.  this is what is missing from so much thai food. thai restaurateurs have watered down their cuisine so much to make it palatable to americans that it has lost most of its flavor. thai food is suppose to be spicy. its from a country that is hot and the spice is there to make you sweat and cool you down.  unfortunately, the next morning seth paid for our spicy dinner, if you know what i mean.
the waiter, it ends up, is the owner and he was really excited to talk to us about the restaurant, local thai food, and even this blogging project.  he gave us some coupons for 25% of an entire meal (but which are only good for less than a month) and tried to give me like 10 take out menus, i think to hand out to friends.  i'm not gonna give you a menu but i do recommend that you check out chiang mai-two.  i have accepted, after 10 or 11 thai restaurant reviews, that there is really very little variation in the vast majority of menus.  so instead of judging on originality, i judge on quality.  i thought this place was great when it came to taste and quality.  in all honesty i think its gonna be our new go-to thai restaurant.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

a little thai take out

we are not huge take-out people.  part of it is that i love the experience of eating out and the other part is that i hate the waste involved with getting take out.  of course there are exceptions, like pizza and i find it absolutely decadent to get indian take-out and eat it in front of the tv.  but with the assignment to go to ventiane for this round of thai-o-rama we made another exception.
and to be frank, vientiane has absolutely no ambiance for a dine-in experience.  unless you like to dine at bus stations, in which case this would be the perfect spot for you cuz you could get some tasty thai and not have to breath in diesel fumes.  there is a small selection of asian condiments that is fun to browse through while you are waiting for your food, so i think that's enough ambiance.
as far as the food goes, it really quite tasty.  we got fried spring rolls to start which were pretty average but the sweet, thin dipping sauce helped out.  for our mains we got yellow chicken curry that had lots of fresh veggies -- peppers, eggplant, green beans, basil -- but kind of scant on the chicken.  seth felt like the chicken was overcooked, but it was in a saucy curry so it wasn't really an issue.  the curry was creamy with a nice subtle burn.  we also got pad thai with 2 shrimp and scant chicken, but with lots of crunchy mung beans.  there was a good peanut flavor, and while it wasn't served with lime wedges (sorry dawn) i really enjoyed it.
they also have a really fun selection of canned asian beverages so we each got a can of thai iced tea and the cashier talked us into trying a can of jelly grass drink, which kind of tasted like tea w/ long pieces of jellied something.  not something i would try again.
we also got at jar of tom yum soup mix which reads: "remark: use fish, chicken or other meat also delicious."
i have heard rumor that there is something on the menu that is so spicy that it clears the entire shop as its being cooked.
after a summer break from thai food and blogging, vientiane was a great welcome back.  while they offer the average thai fare, vientiane does a good job at it.  its very convenient and we will definitely be going back for thai take-out.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

the perfect morning

i initially started this post to describe a perfect day i had.  but i only made it to 11:30 am before i put it on hold to finish in a few days.  now i am coming back to it more than a month later.  so i think i will edit it a bit and post it as the perfect morning.  and truthfully, this is how most of my saturdays look, though i am not quite lucky enough to have a massage every saturday morning.
let me tell you what a perfect morning looks like in jenner's mind.
7:45am: okay so this was a little early for a perfect morning but i was getting up early for good reason.
8:00am: church tag sale just down the street from my house.  i have always wanted to be a regular tag sale go-er but i have only recently starting really started going.  i didn't have any unbelievable finds, but i still had a great time and spent $4 on 4 items.  and i got to indulge my obsession with cookbooks and add yet another one to my collection.
9:00am: massage w/ becca.  okay, i have been keeping this secret to myself for long enough.  the awake collective in the east end has massages for $40/hour!  yes, that is right, $40/hour!  and this is an AMAZING massage.  worth at least double what they are charging.  becca has gifted hands and she is truly a healing practitioner
10:00am: ice coffee and berry muffin from katie made bakery.  they have coffee ice cubes.  need i say more?  but i will say more -- greatest berry muffin ever!  i also really love their berry scones.  i have had a love affair with scones for years, probably made all the more intense because a good scone is hard to find.  my most favorite scone was from the original buckie's biscotti in dennis, massachusetts.  but ever since they moved locations (and the fact that seth works every weekend so we never make it to cape cod) i never get to indulge in this favorite.  finding these amazing scones at katie made is a happy discovery.
10:30am: farmer's market.  this is my saturday ritual and it really does make me happy.  this saturday i got to meet up w/ jen and her two kids.  one of my new favorite finds at the farmer's market is swallow tail farm's dairy products.  every morning i make a smoothie w/ their kefir and in season berries whenever possible.
11:30am: seth finally has a weekend day off ...
so that is what a perfect saturday morning looks like in jenner's mind.  not surprisingly, food is a major factor.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

please stop

every time i post something here i get one, and sometimes multiple, comments in japanese or chinese trying to advertise their websites of young asian women in their under ware.  i have nothing against these websites or their content, but i always block your comments and i really don't think that anyone reading my usually about food blog is looking for information about your websites (not that they aren't in to the content but they know where to more appropriately look for that content).  i doubt you are actually reading the posts you comment on, but if you are can you please stop posting comments on my blog?  i will never publish your comments so you are really wasting both your time and mine.  please please please stop.

go over the bridge right now

seth already told you how good it is.  i dropped their name in a post about a totally different restaurant.  but have you gone yet?  i know you have some weird aversion to driving over the bridge into south portland but i'm telling you that pho hanoi will not disappoint.
if you like vietnamese you have try this place out.  i am very fond of than than 2 and i enjoy the pho immensely at siagon, but i don't know that i need to go back to either because pho hanoi is SO GOOD.
so i am begging you, for the very selfish reasos that i don't want to see this little gem go out of business, go to pho hanoi!!!!
other people like it too:
yelp
chow hound
urban spoon

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

saneg thai house

so for round 9, it was off to saneg thai house.   they have two locations, strangely close to one another.  the original is on congress street, in the shadow of maine medical and the other is literally around the corner on st. john street.
seth and i had been urged some time ago to try this place out by our friends, mark and kate.  they had warned us that it could be hit or miss but we decided to try it out anyway.  this was way back before i was an expert on the thai restaurant scene in portland and in general we were very pleased.  the food was good and the service was ... um, entertaining.  
the old thai woman working the front of the house, who ends up to be the sister of the owner, seemed to not have the stamina to walk all the way over to our table so took our order from across the room.  at some point she warmed up quite a bit and decided to tell us in great detail about her mammogram and pap smear.  now this is something i'm pretty used to because once you tell people that you are a nurse practitioner they want to tell you all about their health.  but i didn't tell her i was a nurse practitioner.  it was also quite interesting to watch the numerous people coming in for take out, almost all ordering pad thai, and asking for no radishes.  they were repeatedly told, there are no radishes in the pad thai, but in fact the menu does say their are radishes in the pad thai.
but that was last time.  this time i also felt the food was good, though pretty standard.  at this point i have surrendered myself to average thai food.  the service was also not nearly as entertaining this time around.
for appetizers we got the basic pu pu platter, which was -- you guessed it -- standard, but still tastey with its fried chicken wing, and chicken satay and crispy cups of some sort of ground meat and lots of sweet dipping sauces.  
for entrees we got pad thai (no radishes please) and a duck red curry.  i was pretty pleased with the pad thai.  it was peanuty and light and citrusy (lack of citrus can be a big complaint of my fellow bloggers).  there was plenty of chicken and i think a few shrimp and it really satisfied that rare craving i get for pad thai.
the duck curry was also very good.  it was a rather mild creamy red curry with lots of big chunks of crispy, fatty duck.  there were so many vegetables they were practically spilling out of the bowl.  i especially liked the cherry tomatoes and the grapes, which when hot sort of burst open in your mouth (yeah i know, "that's what she said").  i don't imagine that grapes are especially authentic in thai cuisine, but i really did enjoy them.
in relation to all the standard thai in this town, i think its up towards top of the list.  but as my friend mark said, we may just be hitting it on the right night.  its also quite a deal with the pad thai costing like $6 or $7.  so at this price point and the two good meals we have had so far, i would visit saneg thai house again.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

also on veranda street

a few fridays ago, seth and i went to veranda thai for the 8th round of thai-o-rama.  we have wanted to try this place since our mechanics, across the street at portland motor sales, told us it was good.  (note: if you need a great honest mechanic, you should go to these guys).  its a tiny little place and we grabbed one of the last open tables to watch a parade of to go orders come in and out of the door.
  we quickly ordered a couple thai iced teas and our food.  this was a few weeks ago and i'm tired and can't find the menu on veranda's website so i'm gonna have to summarize the meal a little.  for appetizers i'm sure we ordered spring rolls.  i can't remember them, so i guess they were just okay (unlike the fried spring rolls at the new pho hanoi in south portland that are just awesome).
for our main courses we got a fried fish in a  brown basil sauce and the classic thai beef salad.
the fish was really good with a rich brown sauce, lots of fresh basil, onions, and i can't remember what else.  the beef salad was quite good as well. seth and i both agreed that it really needed a little more lime but the beef was more tender then in the same salad at pom's thai taste.
as i said before, the restaurant is tiny so the kitchen is tucked around the corner, really only feet from the dining room.  its kind of cool to be able to hear the cooks working in the kitchen, but with that you have to take that your meal may be a little smokey and your clothes may continue to smell like thai food long after you are done eating.
overall i found veranda thai to be pretty good and i would eat here again.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Vietnamese Joint in So. Po. Hits the Spot!

Whats up folks? Seth here, guest blogging.  Why?  I had to let you know about the new Vietnamese restaurant that just opened up at 171 Ocean st. in South Portland.  Last week I was riding my bike through South Portland and, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a new sign for a place called Pho Hanoi. (I have great peripheral vision, particularly for all you can eat buffets, large carnivorous predators, and Asian restaurants.)  I'm a big fan of both Tan Tan and Saigon but I was very excited that another Vietnamese place was opening in our city.  So yesterday afternoon I checked out the menu posted on their door to make sure they would be open that night.  I noticed a couple of "special combination plates" of bun and rice with no further description.  This intrigued me, I was intrigued and compelled and by the time Jenner got home from work I was hungry!  First late me state with absolute authority that you with not find better more attentive wait service in any restaurant in the greater Portland area.  This seems to be a common trait of Vietnamese places here in Portland, this winter one of the waitresses at Saigon, literally, kissed my wife on the cheek while serving her pho.  The two servers at Hanoi were great and checked in with us often about our beverage and food status.  The menu is considerable and I was pleased to see some offerings not available at Portland's established Vietnamese joints.  For apps Jenner and I had the shredded pork skin spring roll, which was texturally a bit strange due to the pork skin but super tasty.  We also tried the fried egg rolls.  I'm gonna put it all on the line her and say that they were the best Vietnamese style fried spring rolls I've had in Portland.  That' right, I said it!  Jenner got the chicken pho as her main and it certainly rivals the pho at both Tan Tan and Saigon (although it did not have the pronounced anise flavor favored by some).  The pieces of chicken swimming in the broth were particularly tender.  I could not help myself, I had to have the "mystery" combination bun plate listed only as "Special Combination Vermicelli Bowl."  I asked the waitress what was in it but I don't understand accents so well.  I did take away from our conversation that something was wrapped around something.  In spite of not being exactly sure what was in the dish I ordered it anyway.  And, Ladies and gentlemen, I was not disappointed, turns out the dish is contains a shrimp paste that is hand molded onto pieces of bamboo.  The special combination also had grilled pork and grilled chicken which both had a wonderful char grill flavor to them.  All the accompanying veggies were super fresh and the basil, in particular, stood out.  When we had finished and were leaving the chief had come out from behind the line and he asked us how our dinner had been.  Accolades.  I should mention that the space is basic but pleasant.  I had my take out menu in hand and I plan to use it frequently.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sabieng Thai

this is round 7 of the GREAT thai-o-rama and this time we went to sabieng!  located on forest ave. just off congress, it is in a nice space with a huge front window, very high ceilings, and exposed duct work.  i did appreciate that the required thai kitsch was quite pared down.  it seemed like someone had put a little thought into the decor versus just putting the most tacky things possible on the walls.  but i know you don't really care that much about the decor.  you want to know how the food was.
appetizer = chive pancakes.  yummy.  a little gummy in that way that rice pancake-type-things can be but it  filled with fresh chives and garlic and complemented nicely with a ginger dipping sauce.
mains = panaeng tofu curry and lemon grass chicken, both served with brown rice and both ordered medium spicy.  yum to both.
the tofu was like little pillows of soft goodness soaking up the richness of the perfectly spicy, not too sweet, curry.  it was full of fresh crisp green beans and basil and sprinkled with kefir lime zest.
the lemon grass chicken was unfortunately not so lemon grassy but still really good.  a nice rich brown sauce with lots of chicken and green beans and bamboo shoots and basil.  again it was spicy enough to give you a nice burn without detracting from the overall flavor.
we were the only table in the restaurant so we got pretty great service.  the cook himself came out of the kitchen and asked us how everything was.  he seemed very pleased that we were so pleased.  we thought we were really gonna see some action when a fire truck pulled up right outside the restaurant but the owner told us that the fire truck comes almost daily as the building across the street houses a lot of older folks.
on our way out, we saw blueberry files coming in with m.  i hope there take out was as good as our dine in.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

images of spring

eat fiddle heads!  these were prepared with shallots, olive oil, salt, and pepper and sauteed.  last night we had them tossed in garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper and cooked in the grill wok. both so simple but so delicious. they are only around for a short time so eat them up!
lilacs!  i love lilacs so much, but because i don't have any bushes of my own, i have to try to find bushes around town that aren't obviously in some one's yard so i can cut some to fill my whole house with their amazing aroma.  these i cut from over a brick wall while no one was watching.
pansies!  i went a little overboard and bought way too many pansies.  but i found pots for them all and now it looks like someone threw-up pansies on my deck.  not such a bad thing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

a very thai experience

round 6 (i'm losing track) of thai-o-rama and we went to boda!
the inside of boda is really interesting with concrete walls and rough wood tables and chairs.  the windows in the front are amazing for people watching.  a couple delicious cocktails got us going.  seth had a basil tom collins and i had a mildly fruity alcoholic arnold palmer.
started with the larp het, at northeastern-style spicy mushroom salad of grilled assorted mushroom mixed with chili, shallots, soy sauce, lime juice, mint, long-leaf coriander, and roasted rice powder.  this was a little disappointing because it was overwhelmingly salty from way too much fish sauce.  there were a couple of bites where the grilled mushroom and herb flavors shone through and they were really great.  but the majority was difficult to enjoy.  and while i like a little crunchy, i didn't like the texture of the roasted rice powder.
for appetizers we got the northern-style sausages and a grilled squid special.  the sausages themselves were very gingery, which i loved, and were served with pickled ginger and relish.  i can't really remember the relish but seth and i both LOVED these sausages.  to be honest, i don't meet many sausages i don't like.
the squid was just okay.  it, like everything else that landed on our table, was presented beautifully.  the small squid bodies sliced horizontally and served with spicy chili, garlic lime dipping sauce.  by itself, the squid had hint of smoke, but was otherwise flavorless.  the dipping sauce was really good, but it was all you tasted with each bite of squid.  i love sauces, but i think they should complement the flavors of the main dish, not overpower it.
we shared one entree of braised pork hocks, simmered in a rich dark stock made with chinese five spice, served with jasmine steamed rice, hardboiled egg, tofu, asian mustard green pickles, and spicy & sour chili sauce.   the menu said it is one of the most popular street foods in thailand.  it was pretty amazing.  it was kind of deconstructed and both together and standing alone, each component was great.  the asian mustard green pickles were ridiculously good and my only complaint was that there wasn't more of them on the plate.
we usually don't get dessert but i was feeling decadent so i got a decaf espresso and we shared an amazing dessert of sticky rice, coconut milk and mango.  again it was deconstructed and we had to unwrap the sticky rice from the banana leaf and pour the coconut milk over the rice.  the mango was perfectly ripe and buttery.  its the thing i would be most excited to go back to boda to eat.
all in all, this was a pretty good meal.  first off, i have never seen any of these things on a menu at any other thai restaurant, so they get points for showing me something different.  second, even though there were a couple of items that i didn't really care for, the things i did like were really great.
i would go back just for the cocktails, dessert, and people watching.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

poisoned in california

seth wants it to be called the great lengua incident of 2010. i'm thinking i should market it as the new lengua diet. in any event, i got food poisoning on day two of my seven day trip to my home state of california.
i was dreaming of tacos for weeks. i had done all this research and found blogs dedicated to tacos in sacramento: yum tacos and perfecto taco de sacto. my family graciously allowed me to haul them across town to eat these authentic jewels of taconess. my mistake was the lengua. yes people, tongue! i love it as many others do, but i think i have likely eaten my last bite of tongue, for at least a while (no pun intended). i will say they were delicious going down. and seth and my whole family ate other types of tacos - carnitas, pollo, carne asada -- but i was the only one who ate the lengua. and the only one to get sick. i have many more photos of this taco truck moment but i can only bring myself to post this one glorious photo of how beautiful and innocent they looked before going down.
i planned on photographing and blogging about every meal in california, but i was sick as a dog for almost the entire trip. i had absolutely no appetite for like four days and the mere thought of food made me ill. in fact, i'm still having some residual nausea as i write about these tacos now. at the worst points of yucky tummy, i thought i would never blog again because i couldn't imagine having the stomach to write about food.
i am happy to report that i got some in-n-out into my belly before the tacos. and on my last day we hit up comforts for their signature chinese chicken salad. i worked at this up-scale deli in high school and i would definitely say it helped to create my obsession for food. the chinese chicken salad is simple but absolutely their best seller for years. romaine and iceberg lettuce, crispy fried rice noodles, scallions, grilled chicken, and this perfect tangy light dressing.

boston eats at susan's fish and chips

my friend and movie maker extraordinaire, sarah, came for a visit to portland and we created another boston eats at susan's fish and chips.
she is also getting some much deserved attention for these creations and was interviewed on wbur's public radio kitchen blog about boston eats. enjoy both!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

transitions

friday was the last day of my first nurse practitioner job. and while i am happy to be leaving behind my two hours a day of commuting and multiple daily annoyances that left me feeling like my patients weren't getting the best possible care, i was sad to say good-bye to many amazing people i called my patients. truthfully, i'm on to bigger and better things, including a less than 20 minutes round trip commute, amazing benefits (the painful irony is that i have been an uninsured nurse practitioner for the past 16 months), lots of chances to grow, and many more amazing and also difficult patients.
in this two weeks between the end of one job and the beginning of the next, seth and i are going to california to visit some family and friends. it will be my first trip home in 2 1/2 years. my parents just moved from petaluma, a town they had been living in for the past 12 year to sacramento, the capital of my home state. as a kid, sacramento was a cow town with very little going on. my cousin went to college there so we spent a few weekends there each year, rafting on the american river and looking for something to do. but its a city that has grown up quite a bit. and naturally, i am looking forward to some eating! i plan on reporting back on what i am putting in my mouth. i can tell you right now that mexican and in-n-out burger will be on the list.
as for this beautiful easter sunday that signifies many transitions within itself, i was gonna make lamb with artichokes. unfortunately, i didn't realize that while easter is not a big deal to me, it happens to be a big deal to most other people. the super markets were very much closed so i couldn't buy my lamb. so we will instead be heading out for some indian at hi bombay!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

finally some good thai taste

round four and our assignment was pom's thai taste. between the congress street location and the cottage road location in south portland, seth and i have been to pom's a least half a dozen times and its my feeling that its some of the best thai food in portland.
this past wednesday, after the bizarre snow cleared to a beautiful evening, we walked downtown to sample pom's again. it was about 6:30 and the restaurant was quite full. there were a few empty tables but they were still waiting to be bussed. as we waited by the door i could see there were two servers working the floor without a busser or hostess, and they were hustling. initially i was quite put off because one of the servers walked right by us on her way to bring a table food and didn't even acknowledge us. i was a waitress for years, and i in no way expected her to drop what she was doing to seat us, but i felt like she should have at least said 'i'll be right with you.' but within another minute she was seating us and apologizing for the wait and the rest of our service was great.
ordering at pom's can be a little intimidating as you are presented with three separate menus -- one of sushi, one for noodles, and one for thai. we knew we were going for thai, so that made things easy for us. and once you get into the thai menu its super descriptive and helpful. i've been eating thai for years but i didn't really know how choo chee varied from other curries until i read the descriptions of the many thai sauces.
i managed to steer seth away from the appetizer sampler and instead we started with the thai crab cakes and the deep fried pork dumplings. this was our second time ordering the crab cakes and they were delicious again. the cakes themselves are a mixture of maine crab meat and ground chicken and don't have the delicate texture i expect from crab cakes, but are quite toothsome (remember kevin's definition of toothsome on top chef?). though the menu mentions some pineapple sauce and ginger salad dressing, both times we have gotten these, they are served with this yummy pink creamy sauce and a sweet and sour sauce. i'm curious about the other sauces, but the two we got are great accompaniments.
the pork dumplings were kind of a disappointment. you can choose between steamed or deep fried, but i really wanted them pan fried. i love the way pan frying crisps up some of the skin but leaves other parts soft. deep frying the dumpling just made them tough. and both the filling and the ginger dipping sauce were bland.
for our entrees we got the yum nuer salad and the spicy crispy duck. we had ordered the duck before and it was amazing the first time so i was really excited to try it again. but i felt like we were sort of going out of our comfort zone ordering the salad as i usually order some sort of curry. when the salad arrived at the table i realized we had ordered it the first time we ate at pom's, along with the spicy crispy duck, so we were basically repeating a previous meal. it was great the first time and it was great again!
the yum nuer is salad of thinly slice of charcoal-broiled beef mixed with lemon grass, red pepper, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, and scallions, tossed in spicy sour lime juice dressing on a bed of lettuce. it certainly is yum (sorry i couldn't help myself)! the beef itself was a bit overdone for my taste and pretty tough, but the fresh veggies with cilantro and mint and the spicy dressing totally made up for it. i would absolutely order it a third time.
the spicy crispy duck was all that i remembered it to be: half a crispy roasted duck topped with mushrooms, onions, red and green onions, and basil leaves in a spicy chili-garlic sauce. we had a dish very similar to this at viet bangkok and oh my god how pom's version blows that one out of the water. this is the way you serve crispy duck! the crispy crackling skin coated with sticky spicy and slightly sweet sauce ... i'm drooling just writing about it.
i love that pom's features local maine crab and shrimp on their menu. but i'm totally puzzeled as to why they have new zealand mussels. is there something i don't know about these mussels? is it just a species of mussels? are they really so amazing as to forgo local mussels in favor of importing them all the way from new zealand?
one thing i feel compelled to address is price as it was one of the things i bagged on sala thai for. in reality the price points at pom's and sala are pretty much the same, but i don't mind spending the extra money at pom's because the food is better. it doesn't even really strike me as pricey because the quality of the food is so great.
so this was yet another great meal at pom's and it reinforced my belief that this is one of the best thai restaurants in portland.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

north creek farm, a slice of heaven


back in decemeber i was reading downeast magazine and i came across this piece about this little place called north creek farm in phippsberg right on the way to popham state beach.
when the weather was forcasted to be absolutely amazing for seth's birthday on march 6th, i suggested we hit up north creek farm for lunch on the way out to a day at the beach. this little place it a total gem. a country store/gourmet market/cafe/farm/rose garden. every little nook and cranny is so adorable you want to plotz. even if the food sucked, it would be worth it just to check out this gorgeous piece of earth. but, in fact, the food is pretty great. we shared two paninni and a cup of tomato soup. the surfer sandwich had smoked turkey, spruce mountain wild blueberry chutney and gruyere, a combo i would never think of putting together but that works so amazingly. the smoked salmon paninno also had cream cheese and roasted red onions, an obvious but delicious combo. if you look really closely at the photo below you can actually see my tongue sticking out of my mouth i was enjoying my sandwich so much.
(i'm trying to add more photos to my blog but i tend to be very unhappy with my food photography. i blame my camera and the lighting in my kitchen at night. it has nothing to do with my photographic ability. as you can see from the photo above, with the right light i can produce great food porn ... i mean photos.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

KON asian bistro

round three and out to kon asian bistro with some of the other contributors to pad-thai-o-rama. i again wanted to just sample from their thai options, but seth already had his mind set on his entree and i had to have the mini beijing duck. yeah, we had already been here before and we know what we liked.
oh mini beijing duck! i dream of you often with your sweet plumy sauce and crispy fatty skin and your fresh cucumbers and scallions and your light fluffy rice flour bun. seth and i ate something very similar to this, called a peking mac, every time we went our favorite little dim sum place in new haven, connecticut (east melange too, sadly closed now). and then i had the pleasure of eating the real deal, peking duck, in hong kong at spring deer. it was pretty much indescribably amazing so i won't try to describe it. anyway, this little rendition of peking duck was almost as great and i toy with the idea of returning to kon and ordering two plates of these all for me.
i did manage to order a thai dish for my main course, thai red snapper -- fried fish in a sweet and sour sauce with fresh vegetables. it was good, but not great. the fish was fried perfectly, with a great flavorful crust that stood up to the syrupy sauce. the veggies were vibrant in color and still crisp and fresh tasting. but the sauce totally unexciting. i also somehow got it in my mind that it was going to be a whole fish, so i was a little disappointed when it arrived as a fillet. but it didn't say anywhere it was a whole fish.
to be honest, it would have been hard for any dish to stand up to seth's main course choice the szechuan crispy dried shredded beef. thin pieces of beef breaded and deep fried, the covered in a sweet, sticky sauce and tossed with sesame seeds and some green veggies. yum. if you are the kind of person who enjoy any rendition of a chinese dish with small bits of fried meat in sweet sauce, and i am that kind of person, you will enjoy this.
i can't really recommend that you go to kon asian bistro specifically for thai, but i will recommend you go there. all the food i tried there was at least good and some of it was exceptional.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

the salt exchange and MRW

last tuesday, for restaurant week seth and i decided to try the salt exchange. as we browsed through the menus on the maine restaurant week website, their menu appealed to us the most and i have pretty much been wanting to try it since it opened.
at 7pm on a tuesday the restaurant had a nice crowd but was not too busy. seth and i both really loved the space, with the painted brick walls and open duct work -- it is airy and elegant, while still retaining the charm of an old port warehouse. our server was attentive, well informed, friendly, and helpful.
in his classic pirate style, seth started with a winter rum punch with meyer's, bacardi, and captain morgan's rums mixed with pineapple and cranberry juice and an amaretto floater. as i have been suffering from repeated headaches from red wine (i know, i'm drinking cheap wine!) i decided to go with an alagash tripel.
the salt exchange is a small plates restaurant heavy on local seasonal foods. they elected to offer 3 savory courses for MRW, instead of the more traditional starter, main, and dessert courses most of the other restaurants offered.
for our first course we ordered the pork terrine and the cheese board. the pork terrine was, not surprisingly, very rustic and served with whole grain mustard, pickled shallots, and candied lemon peel (i think, having trouble remembering the exact details now). the terrine itself was ... porky, but not terribly flavorful in any other way. the extras on the plate were really nice accompaniments, especially the pickled shallots, whose briney tartness helped to balance the fattiness of the terrine.
the cheese board included two cheeses, honey, apples, baguette, and a few pomegranate seeds. i can't remember exactly what the cheeses were, but one was a grassy vermont cheese and the other was a earthy french cheese (descriptives from our waitress). the plate was lovely, the honey was amazing and floral, and the cheeses were fine, but we both really would have loved to have seen a couple of maine cheeses featured on the plate.
for our second course we ordered the pan seared scallops and the farm greens. the scallops were great: perfectly cooked, with chunks of bacon stuffed inside and served with baby purple potatoes and a broccoli puree.
the farm greens, on the other hand, was the weakest course of the meal. the greens themselves were beautifully tender, dressed lightly in a tasty sherry vinaigrette and served with a smear of briney olive tapanade (the only food seth will not eat are olives so i licked up all the tapande) and the most amazing duck proscuitto. i had never had duck proscuitto before so i was really excited to try it. it was cut so thin you could see through the fat marbling and it was salty and lusciously fatty in my mouth. so i know you are asking, you are raving about this salad, so what was wrong with this dish? the greens themselves were so over salted as to make them inedible. part of me thinks this may have been on purpose as there were these other salty elements on the dish, the chef wanted the salad to also have a nice saltiness. the other part of me thinks there was no communication behind the line and each of the three cooks (its an open kitchen) salted the greens personally. in any event, it was WAY too salty.
for our third course we chose the casco bay cioppino and the confit pork belly. seth was dying to try the cioppino packed with local fish and served with the requisite sourdough bread, and this dish really did deliver. growing up outside san francisco, i have had my fair share of cioppino and this was spot on with its tomato broth tasting of the sea with a great variety of shrimp, white fish, mussels, and crab. the pork belly was my favorite dish of the meal, after all it was pork belly confitted in pork AND duck fat! needless to say it was fatty and luscious and fall apart tender. served over one of the creamiest polenta i have ever had with root veggies on the side, which were just slightly aldente. a great complement to the softness of both the belly and the polenta.
we opted to spend a bit extra and share a slice of the flourless chocolate cake and a deliciously fruity (not yucky fruity like an apricot or blueberry ale) widmer bros. drifter pale ale. the cake was decadent and served with a petite cup of hot chocolate topped with a bruleed marshmallow (aka a toasted marshmallow).
overall it was a great meal and i will definitely be going back to the salt exchange. but due to its moderately high price point, it is one of the many restaurants in portland that needs to be reserved for a special treat, at least until i make that billion dollars. the restaurant week price for three courses was $30.01, which saved us about $5 per person. even if this MRW deal wasn't quite a steal, it did get us to try a new restaurant, and like i said, we will be going back.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

more confessions of obsessions

you probably guessed it from my post about my cat's favorite treat that i am a bit obsessed about my cat.  well even i did not understand the depth of my obsessions until i looked through all of the hundreds of photos of her that seth and i have taken.  what can i say, she's photogenic.  i knew we had to do something with all these photos.  and so cow's meow was born.  just wait till i have me so human babies!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

don't judge a book by its cover

so for round 2 of pad thai-o-rama it was off to viet bangkok cuisine at 249 saint john street.  this restaurant is very close to my home and i have gone by it many times on my way to enjoy a delicious vietnamese sandwich at kim's souvenir shop, but that's a discussion for another time.  anyway, based on the exterior, i have never thought it a restaurant i wanted to try.  in fact, i planned never to try it.  so when we got out assignment for the second round, i was far from enthused.  but i did my duty as food blogger and took on my assignment, albeit with a slightly closed mind.
i was surprisingly pleased once we walked into viet bangkok.  its a small clean restaurant with all the requisite kitschy south east asian decor.  there were no customers when we first walked in and we were greeted with a friendly hello by a woman i guessed is the owner.  just after we sat down, another table of three came in, but that was it for customers while we were there.  which led me to the realization that this food blogging challenge is not just fun, but we are helping to stimulate our local economy and hopefully getting some readers to also eat out.
viet bangkok's menu, you may guess from their name, is not strictly thai, but vietnamese and seemingly chinese too.  seth got very excited when he saw the long list of fruity tropical cocktails.  alas, they didn't have pineapple juice, so could not make nearly 1/3 of their cocktails.  we both settled for a singha, served iced cold.
per usual, i had to convince seth that neither one of us needed to start our meal with a heaping plate of fried food by ordering the sample appetizer plate.  but i did let him pick out our starter, and, per usual, he chose the crab rangoon.  i'm not a huge fan of crab rangoon for multiple reasons, most importantly because i don't think they ever taste like crab.  this version was really no crabbier than any other that i have eaten, but they were pretty tasty.  the fried wanton was crisp around the edges but sort of soft in the center and the cream cheese filling was flavorful without being overly sweet (another complaint of mine about rangoon).  the sweet and sour sauce was also especially good with the sweetness nicely balanced with salty fish sauce.
for our main courses we ordered the spicy duck from the house specials and the chu chee curry with shirmp from the thai curry section.  viet bangkok offers the choice of white or brown jasmine rice.  i know brown rice must not be traditional in thailand but i think its nuttiness goes so perfectly with the sweet and spicy sauces of thai cuisine.
the spicy duck description stated it was a dish of boneless roasted duck specially prepared with eggplants, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, carrots, and scallions in a chili basil sauce.  no where did it mention that the duck with be small pieces of tempura battered meat, which was a little disappointing.  i love duck and i eat enough of it to know that if cooked properly, its skin will be plenty crispy and no tempura batter will be necessary.  the thick coating of batter detracted from that fabulous ducky flavor.  but even with the protein of this dish falling short, it was quite yum.  the chili basil sauce was fragrant and flavorful and the huge portion was overflowing with tons of perfectly cooked veggies.
the chu chee curry with shrimp came out about 5 minutes after the crispy duck, so i am glad we were sharing both and one of us didn't get left waiting while the other ate.  this was the biggest serving of curry i have ever seen.  food writing is full of hyperbole, but this is not one, the serving was huge.  in truth, there was a whole lot of curry, and sort of a normal amount of everything else.  this entire dish had 6 giant prawns, which tasted as though they were cooked separately with lemon grass on a grill.  they were huge and tasty.  on my initial bite, i was overwhelmed by a flavor i couldn't place, but which would best be described as tasting of plastic.  interestingly, after a few more bites this flavor didn't bother me so much, and i really enjoyed the dish. 
even though there were some weird elements in both our main courses and seth couldn't get his drink on because of the lack of pineapple juice, i enjoyed our meal at viet bangkok.  as our assignment is to try all the thai restaurants in portland, we stuck to their thai selections for this meal.  but i'm intrigued and i will defiantly be heading back to try out some of their vietnamese and chinese dishes.  it was also a really great value and we had enough leftover to both have large lunches the next day.  so take my advice and don't judge this restaurant by exterior.  you may get some surprises in your dishes, but overall i think it will be enjoyable.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

bolognese

ever since i had that amazing bolognese with orecchiette at caiola's back in november, i can't get it out of my head. i have to admit, before this dish i sort of thought bologease was just red sauce with ground meat. this dinner at caiola's changed everything for me. friday night, already in bed, i decided to make it this weekend. so i grabbed my copy of how to cook everything, and just like i thought, bitty had a very approachable bolognese recipe.

so yesterday i woke with plans of visiting the first winter farmers market and having a little lunch with jen, andrew and the kids. seth and i planned to incorporate a little exercise into our day and we ended up walking through the entire city, stopping here and there for little bits of food. the weather was amazing and it turned out to be one of those special portland days where i keep asking myself how i can be so lucky as to live in such a wonderful little city with such an amazing quality of life. i will narrate it through the dish i made for dinner.

meat sauce, bolognese-style by mark bittman

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced (from fresh approach)
1 carrot, peeled and minced (from winter farmer's market, fish bowl farms)
i celery stalk, minced (i omitted this)
1/4 cup minced bacon or pancetta (from micucci -- i just realized i used a 1/4 pound of pancetta! well more pancetta is never a bad thing)
1/2 pound ground pork (from farmer's market, sumner valley farms)
1/2 pound lean ground beef (from fresh approach -- for some reason, didn't occur to me to buy it at farmer's market)
3/4 cup dry white wine or juice form tomatoes
1 (28- or 35-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, drained reserve juice if needed instead of wine
1 cup beef or chicken stock (used my own homemade chicken stock)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup cream, half-and-half, or milk (used MOOMilk)
freshly grated parmesan cheese

put the olive oil in large, deep skillet or sauce-pan. turn the heat to medium-low and, a minute later, add the onion, carrot, celery, and pancetta. cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
add the ground meat and cook, stirring and breaking up any clumps, until all traces of red are gone, about 5 minutes. add the wine or tomato juice, raise the heat a bit, and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes.
crush the tomatoes with a fork or your hands and add them to the pot; stir, then add the stock. turn the heat to low and cook at a slow simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes and any clumps of meat that remain. after an hour or so, add salt and pepper. cook for at least another hour, until much of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is very thick.
add the cream, half-and-half, or milk and cook for another 15 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. serve immediately with any dried or fresh pasta, passing grated parmesan, if you like, at the table.

seth has no qualms about carbo-loading so he asked me to also make garlic bread. normally if i were making pasta i would refuse,but i was feeling pretty indulgent, so i agreed. i really like to get a little demi baguette for garlic bread, because we just don't need that much bread for the two of us. we found one at standard baking co. i must say, my garlic bread is some of the best i have ever had. the trick is a lot of butter! for a demi baguette, i use about 2 tablespoons of butter and 2-3 cloves of garlic. i let it come to room temp (or gently microwave it) and spread it all over a baguette sliced length wise. then i sprinkle a little finely grated parmsean cheese on it and stick it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes.
at standard baking co. we also picked up some dessert: 1 madeline and a chocolate cork. the madeline was a perfect rendition of this cake like cookie and the chocolate cork was rich and fudgey and a total treat!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

sala thai

on tuesday night seth and i ventured to outer washington for a little thai food at sala thai. the restaurant is cute and kitschy with plants and decor hanging from the ceiling. as it was a tuesday night, sala thai was pretty quiet.

we started out with thai iced teas for both of us, seth wanted a cup of tom khar gai, and i ordered the pan fried pork dumplings. the thai iced tea hit the spot and the menu even suggested the iced tea as a good way to cut the heat of the food, if you didn't want a beer.
the broth of the tom khar gai was very tasty and fragrant of lemon grass and coconut. but the only ingredients in the soup had were chicken and scallions, which was a letdown because we were hoping for some vegetables. to be fair, when rechecking the menu, it clearly states "chicken soup with coconut milk, lemon juice and chopped scallions" so i guess we can only blame ourselves.

the pan fried pork dumplings were by far the highlight of the meal. they were stuffed with a mild pork filling, pan fried to a beautiful crisp, and topped with little bits of fried garlic. i tried to scoop up as many bits of garlic onto my dumpling before dipping it into a slightly sweet tamarind sauce.

for our main course we ordered seafood rad pik off the specials menu and yellow curry with chicken from the curry offerings. The seafood rad pik consisted of lightly battered shrimp, scallops, and squid, sautéed with mixed vegetables and a special sauce, all served over a bed of iceberg lettuce with cucumbers and tomatoes around the edge of the plate. the special sauce was fruity and reminded me a lot of duck sauce and i can't remember if there were any vegetables in the dish other than the cucumbers and tomatoes. at $14.99 it was one of the most expensive items on the menu and it was a very big serving. i thought the bed of lettuce was kind of strange and even though we ordered it as hot and spicy it was quite mild. with all this said it was still good. while i was getting pretty full, seth polished off every bit of seafood. he left a few cucumbers though.

the yellow curry with chicken had pineapple, green peppers, summer squash and basil leaves and was creamy, aromatic, and slightly sweet with a very nice heat. which was a surprise because it was listed as a mild curry. so the seafood rad pik was more mild than we expected and this was more spicy than we expected. i would have preferred that both dishes has the heat of the curry. i really love thai curries and this was a good curry. it had all the things i look for in a curry, like the creamy sauce playing off the acidity of the pineapple.

our service was at times slow for how empty the restaurant was, but out waitress was friendly and kept our waters full. all in all i think sala thai was good, but standard. all the food was flavorful, but other than the dumplings, nothing stood out. and while sala thai was relatively inexpensive, i thought it was pretty pricey for thai (again, to be fair we did order one of the most expensive items on the menu). it's also quite far from our apartment in the west end. if it was excellent thai, i would make the trip across town to eat here, but there are plenty of comparable thai restaurants closer to my home.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

addictions

i have an magazine problem. i'm totally addicted to magazines. almost all the magazines i subscribe to are cooking magazines and i keep each issue. so in addition to my cook book collection i literally have thousands of recipes in my house.
the big problem with this addiction is that its at odds with my desire to be a greener person. so with all these recipes at my fingertips i decided to cut back on the number of magazines i subscribe to and try to cook some of these dishes.
tonight i did just that. last night i picked a main dish and a dessert out of food and wine magazine from february 2008, bought all the ingredients today, and cooked them up this evening. here is what i made:
three-lentil dal
the flavor of this was great and tasted very authentically indian. i made the mistake of substituting green split peas for the toor dal, and they cooked a lot slower than the yellow split peas and red lentils. and i would have liked more tomatoes in the dish. but it is something that i will definitely make again, probably as a double batch so i could freeze some for a future meal. tonight i served it with a simple green salad and called it dinner.
the bulk food isle at whole foods came in quite handy for this dish as i was able to buy the yellow split peas, red lentils, and cumin seeds there. i love the bulk isle for spices because you can buy just what you need and not spend a fortune on spices.
milk-chocolate pots de creme
we have yet to sample the finished product of this decadent dessert but we licked the blender and the chocolaty custard was super rich and delicious. i'm gonna serve it with a little home made whipped cream. should be great!