Thursday, August 25, 2011

Smith & Hsu


I went to this place before and the gourmet food that brings me back again is their scone.Scone is a classic English dessert and it's easily seen everywhere.But I think it's hard to find a perfect combination,which involves a crispy surface,moderately moist inside,creamy clotted cream and fresh jelly.


It's around the end of my summer vacation,so it can't be better to catch up with friends.Karen,my cute high school friend,and I go to have a nice lunch."By convention,"the scone is a must-get,and we also have a Salad Niçoise and Sandwich with Smoked Chicken,Mango and Cream cheese.

This big box is really cool,containing different types of tea for testing smell.Then we both get Osmanthus Dong Ding Oolong Tea.








Beside the Devonshire clotted cream,you can also choose another jam to go with the scone,so I choose blackcurrant and Karen goes with honey.A bad scone would make you feel like you're eating a dough,but a good one would make you appreciate the smell of flour.Also,what captivates me is that there're two flavors of the scone,one is the original and the other is cranberry.

I just get lazy lately and I write fewer and fewer words.But I guess a picture is worths a thousand words,right?So please enjoy the visual tour with me!








Smith & Hsu

They have 5 stores around Taipei City.It's better to book a table in advance but there're only 2 available for reservation.Go check their website.





Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chili's

I've never been so freaking hungry and desperate in my life!

It all started with the visit with my bestie back to our high school.Before the sophomore year begins,we thought it's a good idea to go back to high school for some chit chat with our homeroom teacher and English teacher.I miss my high school life a lot,although it's full of endless tests.

And we did have a nice talk with our teacher,especially with our homeroom teacher.I felt like she had been talking for ages with us because we stayed much longer than we had expected.For the record,it didn't mean I hate to talk to her,but I was there with almost nothing in my stomach.When we left there,it was 1:20 pm.

After changing the metro for three times,we finally arrived at the German restaurant we planed to go.It was a super scorching day,so we were both like really thirsty,tired,hot,and HUNGRY!When we arrived at the restaurant,it's too late to have lunch,and they only offered afternoon tea.Being in that almost-go-nuts condition,we grabbed a cap and left for another restaurant right away.It was such a disaster!It ended up with going to three closed restaurants in succession.

It seems like only american style restaurants offer everything at anytime.Finally,we went to Chili's.Chili's is kind of the only american style restaurant I like in Taipei.It has a wide variety of dishes and I guess you can definitely find something you like.

So guess what?We had our lunch at 3:20 pm!We were totally like two refugees,without eating for days.Despite my hunger,rationally speaking,it was a nice and hearty meal.

This's "Triple Dippers,"there're hot spinach & artichoke dip,southwestern eggrolls,boneless buffalo wings,blue cheese dip.They are all quite good,except the southwestern eggrolls.They were the only thing we didn't finish.It didn't taste bad but it's more like american micro food.


I like this "Bottomless Chips."They went well with those creamy yummy dips!


 This's "Lime Chicken Salad,"mixed with grilled chicken and different kinds of vegetables.


Apple tart was reaaaally amazing!It's the second time I have it!The smell of apple,cinnamon and vanilla ice cream makes it the one-of a-kind.


 This's called "Molten Chocolate Cake."A warm chocolate cake,topped with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream,chocolate and caramel dressing.I think you have to have this when you crave for something super sweet,cuz I feel like it's too big I can't finish it all(Somehow,it doesn't look huge in this picture).


Isn't it fantastic?There're all chocolate inside the cake!





Chili's

Since there're many branches in Taiwan and around the world,I only attach their website,you guys just go check it if there's one nearby!







Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dazzling Cafe

First of all,thanks for all of your sweet concerns,I've already healed from the annoying flu.Umm,so that means here comes my food tours!I'm excited for several coming dates with my friends.I'm really thankful that my friends are always willing to be my guinea pig and explore new restaurants with me.

Out of nowhere,honey toast has became popular for a year in Taiwan.People are obsessed with that and there're increasing cafes start selling honey toast.The very first and famous one is called Dazzling Cafe,which you have to make a reservation like one month ahead.Yet,a little bird told me that you don't have to wait too long,if you go to the branch located in Shin-Yi district.

This noon I go there with my sweet college friends and have a small birthday celebration for one of them.It doesn't take too long to serve our dishes,which does please me a lot.And here's some pictures.

Whoop!This's is the honey toast that I've been anticipating for a long time.It's caramel flavor and there're cube honey-dipped toast inside the square toast.Topping with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce make it looks fabulous.Frankly speaking,it tastes good but the visual effect still surpass how it tastes.






This's ham sandwich,not particularly good,but I think it would be great if they bake the bread first.



This's spicy spaghetti with anchovy.Combining with two of my favorite elements,spicy and anchovy,makes me have a really good appetite.It's cooked with tomato sauce and anchovy and seasoned with basil.I like this one a lot,it's rich and well-cooked.But i was wondering where the heck has my anchovy been?They use anchovy sauce,instead of canned anchovy.What a shame!Otherewise,it would be freaking amazing.




Dazzling Cafe

Add:No.11,Aly. 7,Lane 205,Sec.4,Zhongxiao E. Rd,Taipei,Taiwan
Tel:02-8773-9229
(They have branches as well,you can click the link above.)






Thursday, August 11, 2011

Valerie's Kitchen:The dual canapé


You might be wondering why I stop writing restaurant reviews lately.That's because I have been really sick for almost a week!Yet,being a foodie,despite my illness,I still wanna have something good to eat,at least that can cheer me up,right?

Today,after my internship,I go to my favorite supermarket,Jason's Market Place,for filling up my refrigerator.They always have so many good and fresh stuffs,which I think I can make something different that I've never tried before.

This time I make some cute canapés.A canapé is a small,prepared and usually decorative food,held in the fingers and often eaten in one bite.Canapé is commonly seen at a fashion party and a cocktail party,or you can just be like me,at your cozy home.

The canapé I make are two flavors,buffalo cheese and boiled cod roes.Both using pepper&chives crackers and tomato basil sauce as the base.And then after baking for ten minutes,put some capers on the top.This's super easy and it takes less then 15 minutes!And you definitely can create your own combinations!

Needless to say,the crackers are really crispy and the toppings are creamy.What's more,the buffalo cheese one is just like a pizza,but the calories is definitely much lower than a pizza.So why not make it yourself and stay healthy and enjoy freshness?Aw!Maybe I put the wrong title,cuz I end up having a dozen of them. ;p





Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Valerie's Kitchen:Pan-fried Cognac Brandy Apples


Generally,I like fruit;somehow,apple is not my thing.What's more,even my doctor doesn't know why I easily get stomachache whenever I eat apple.That's really weird!But here's something unexpected going on!

Curtis Stone,an extremely charming and humorous Australian chef (geez he's my dream lover! ),who hosts a popular tv show,Take Home Chef,demonstrated an amazing dish of Normandy Apple Crêpe last night.I immediately feel like aw I gotta learn it right away!


The recipe is very simple,anyone can get the hang of it in no time.To my surprise,this's the first dessert that I successfully ace it at the very first time.So trust me,you can't go wrong even if you're a rookie.It's kind of a plain appearance with a freaking good taste!

Sadly,I have neither a crêpe machine nor mascarpone cheese,which means I only can make the pan-fried apples today.The good news is I booked a crêpe machine just now.Hopefully,I'll create different kinds of crêpe soon.

To fry the apple(a person's portion is about one apple),you just have to peel and slice it first.Then,put them into the pan,sprinkle some sugar and honey,drizzle some cinnamon and Cognac Brandy.Sounds so easy,huh?And after five minutes (or till you can smell the mouthwatering aroma and see the fringe gets burned a little bit),voilà!Here's your delicious pan-fried apples!

This is my first time completely in love with apple.How can it be so yummy just with a tiny trick?Aw btw,if you're obsessed with slathering a thick layer of peanut butter on apple,give it up!I guarantee that your favorite snack would be pan-fried apples hereafter.

Ah!I almost forget to tell you the most important tip,which is don't waste the juice in the pan!The liquid left in the pan is caramel!Drizzle it on the top of apples after you put them in a plate!Bon appetit!





Monday, August 8, 2011

Valerie's Kitchen:Banana Cookies



This was actually a crispy pumpkin cookies recipe.After steaming the pumpkin,it seems like it has too much fiber to bake cookies.So I just change it into banana and cross my fingers.

What I like about this recipe is this's completely 0% of butter,which means you don't have to heat up all the ingredients first and that really save your time.

I also try to put some chocolate chips in the cookies.But after experimenting some cookies,I feel like the flavor would be too heavy.And then,I just keep baking plain banana cookies.

The result is different from what I thought,because according to the pumpkin cookies recipe,it supposed to be very crispy.On the contrary,the banana version I create is between crispy cookies and a banana cake.I don'n know whether this's because of banana or my incompetence.

Even though I failed to make the crispy cookies,I think if you like banana,you'll gonna love them.The mouthwatering baking smell lingers in my kitchen for hours.So if you would like to give it a try,here's the recipe!


Ingredient:

egg yolk                                      1
suger                                        60g
banana                                     50g
cake flour                                 110g
baking powder           1/3  tea   spoon
vanilla extract               1 tea    spoon
milk                             1 table spoon

1.Mix all the ingredients,except the cake flour.
2.Add the cake flour little by little
3.I don't know the exact time for baking.I just keep an eye on them all the time.


p.s. My mommy,aka my exclusive consultant,says the failure of the pumpkin is due to the type I use.The one I use is oval-shaped and I supposed to use the one which looks like Cinderella-pumpkin-carriage.Hmm this exciting clue makes me can't wait to bake again!





Saturday, August 6, 2011

Antoine Room

Being the only child in my family,I never feel lonely.But I guess because of this condition,I cultivate my hobby into a calmer and alone one.I really enjoy doing things on my own during my leisure time,sometimes I even feel like I'm such a loner.However,I'm so grateful that I've made several good friends in my life,whom I can share anything with.

It may be cliché to say that Poki and Jessie are my "BFF,"but the fact is I can't figure out how they manage to make me laugh so hard whenever we hang out together.

My mom has met them several times before and heard a lot of them from me as well.Since Jessie studies in Seattle,we made a deal like six months ago that my mom will take us to Antoine Room this summer.

The amuse bouche,peach vinegar with vegetable jelly,is not particularly stand-out.The peach vinegar does stimulate my palette but the vegetable jelly is kind of creepy,just some different colors of chopped pepper and agar.


Tomato-flavored butter and plain butter served along with breads.



Our fresh juice,orange,grapefruit and kiwi.


Jessie and my mom are not a fan of raw dish,so they have shrimp and avocado salad as the second dish,and me and Poki have carpaccio.The carpaccio is pretty good,it's given more texture by spreading olive oil and sprinkling sesame on its surface before being cut into slices.I'm surprised that the crispy fringe is sesame because I thought it was because of roasting.




The cappuccino mushroom soup is really delicious,creamy and served at a perfect temperature.The proportion of froth and soup is about one to one,which can warm your stomach but doesn't leave no room for the coming dishes.


Next dish is butter escargot,topped with fried silk-like alomond.



The main course is steak.I'd blame the pleasant atmosphere that I forget the exact name of the steak.But I think it doesn't change the fact that it's well-cooked.The garnishes are some grilled vegetable and a small portion of potato.I like the garnish a lot that it's not oily.


What can be a competent happy ending except an amazing dessert?This is an imported peach from France covered with berries and there's a vanilla ice cream underneath.The peach is the best one I've ever had.It's hard to precisely describe what it's like,it's neither super juicy nor crunch.It's far cry from the common Japanese peach.It's such a heaven-like moment when you scoop a spoon of ice cream with the peach.Aw!I have no idea I can have a thing with peach until this sweet encounter.



As alway,this hearty meal ends up with a cup of black tea.





Add:No.12,Sec. 1,Zhongxiao E. Rd,Taipei,Taiwan
Tel:02-2321-1818





Friday, August 5, 2011

Secret weapons against scorchers

During scorching days,the best way to cool down,without doubt,is ice cream.But I don't really know why I'm not a fan of ice cream,instead,I crave sorbet!

However,last summer,when I was in New York,it was my first time trying gelato and frozen yogurt.And then I changed my ming right away,gelato and frozen yogurt become my current obsessions.

The awesome gelato I got was from L'arte del Gelato,which is located in my favorite area,chelsea market.They have a wide selection of gelato,from nutella to fruits,so they definitely can cater your picky tongue.

The photo I took was not very good,so I took some pics from their website and you also can click the link above to see the details.Aw please stop by if you're in NYC,or I'd say it's totally worth a detour!





Then,as for frozen yogurt,my first acquaintance was like,on my way to have some shopping around Union Square with my roomie,Maria,she asked me if I like frozen yogurt,and I was like aw I'd heard about it but I'd never try it,then Maria was like how can you don't know about it?She said if you like yogurt,you'll certainly like it.And luckily,there's a frozen yogurt shop,Pinkberry,around there,so she took me there right away.Since then,I'm totally in love with that.When I came back to Taiwan,I missed it so bad and I was thinking geeez where can I get some frozen yogurt?

To my relief,I think God probably has heard my prayer,because there are increasing frozen yogurt shops open in Taipei.

Yoforyo,Yogurtme,Tutti Frutti,to name a few,but I think the best one is Hielo.

I like that you can have a great variety of choices,either pick what you want or combo,and of course,you can chose the size.Like these HOT days,sometimes I just have a large size as my lunch.

My favorite are "Kate"and "Cup Justin," the former is original frozen yogurt with kiwi,melon and strawberry,and the later is layers of original frozen yogurt,granola and cupcake,topped with passionfruit,kiwi and melon.




Despite my previous comment for ice cream,I've found a super creamy and crunchy one.This is Häagen-Dazs's Cookies&Cream.It's ridiculously yummy,the speed I finnish it just like the way I eat Nutella.It is not only creamy but also has layers of texture.It's much tasty than just vanilla one.


Umm yeah,these are my secret weapons (aka guilty pleasures) to fight against the oven-like weather.No matter what you like,I hope you all can find a sweet way to survive from the summer.






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