Showing posts with label chinese food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chinese food. Show all posts

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Don Papa Filipino Rum Launch Dinner in Boston

I love tasting new spirits, especially those that come from unusual places. Don Papa Rum is a Filipino rum from The Bleeding Heart Rum Company that recently launched in Boston.
Specifically, Don Papa comes from the island of Negros, which is also dubbed Sugarlandia. The province of Negros Occidental produces more than half of the country's sugar. About 100 years ago it was the largest sugar producer in the world.

I recently went to a dinner at Shojo to celebrate the launch of Don Papa's rums in Boston.
Don Papa Rum @ Shojo
Don Papa is founded by Stephen Carroll, who was marketing director of Remy Cointreau. There are a number of rum distilleries in Philippines, but there are only two that export out of the country - Tanduay and Don Papa.
While rum is a popular spirit in the Philippines, a Filipino aged rum is a pretty rare proposition. But the Bleeding Heart Rum company had inherited a warehouse that happened to be filled with aged rums, and it started off the Don Papa line. Don Papa is named after Papa Isio, a leader of the Philippine revolution, and it is aged at least 7 years in American Oak. They also recently released the 10 year aged rum in the US market, which currently comprises of New York and Boston.

We started with a few Don Papa cocktails and a whole suckling pig.
Don Papa Rum @ Shojo

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Chinese Porridge at Lu's Garden (San Gabriel, CA)

As it's getting colder where I live (and a tiny bit in LA too), I'm missing one of my old favorite SGV spots: Lu's Garden. I love getting porridge here and ordering all kinds of side dishes.

They have all kinds of dishes displayed in deli cases, which you can order with rice or porridge (go with porridge). There's grounnd pork, tofu skin, pork intestine, braised pork and eggs, various vegetables, Chinese sausage, and just so many more. You can pay for each item or get a 3-item combo (the way to go if you ask me).

Lu's Garden

My favorite combo to eat with the porridge is some ground pork with tofu skin and pork intestines, but of course, there are a lot of options for everyone. After all, the best thing with Chinese porridge isn't just the porridge but all the things you're eating it with. It's not for everyone, of course, with the more adventurous items on the menu.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Craft Cocktail Meets Chinese Food at Sichuan Garden II and The Baldwin Bar

I drove out in the snow to Woburn to check out Sichuan Garden II. And it was worth it.

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Sichuan Garden II is no normal Sichuan restaurant, located inside a 17th century mansion. There's a wonderful little cocktail bar in the restaurant. The Baldwin Bar is headed by Ran Duan, whose family owns the Sichuan Garden restaurants. He went all out with The Baldwin Bar, not minding that it was out in Woburn, with top notch cocktails and gorgeous pre-prohibition style interior. Where else can you get Sichuan food along with impeccable craft cocktails? I can't think of another place.

To convince you that the cocktails here are worth a drive, know that Ran Duan has won the title of Most Imaginative Bartender at the 2014 USBG competition sponsored by Bombay Sapphire.
The cocktail menu at Baldwin changes all the time, but I've always found great drinks like I Put a Spell on You (Bombay Sapphire, Earl Grey, yogurt, lemon, orange blossom water, $10)
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That night also happened to be Fire Puncher Day, so there were special drinks made with GrandTen Distilling's Fire Puncher Vodka.

What about the food? You can either dine in one of the mansion's rooms, now outfitted as dining rooms for Sichuan Garden II, or dine at The Baldwin Bar part of the restaurant. Either way, you can get the full menu. The most popular item is probably the Chengdu Dry Hot Chicken Wings ($11.50)
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These chicken wings are really crispy and have a nice kick to it. I must've gotten better at my spicy tolerance because I kept eating these. The double battered, extra crispy wings were covered in a spicy dry rub of garlic, ginger, and chilis but there's also a small amount of glaze (maple sriracha sauce)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Fiery Feast at Szechuan Impression (Alhambra, CA)

OK, that's not actually quite true. Szechuan Impression, which serves more of a "modern" take of Szechuan food compared to Chengdu Taste, is actually not as spicy as Chengdu. The main question on everyone's tongue is: Is it better than Chengdu Taste? The short answer is that they are each better than the other on different dishes!

One of my favorite dishes at Szechuan Impression is the mung bean jelly noodles, which I think they do much better than Chengdu Taste. This restaurant sure uses the word "impressive" on the menu a lot, perhaps in relation to the restaurant's name, or perhaps just bragging. Anyway, this dish is called the Impressive Bean Jelly ($5.99)

Szechuan impression
I thought it had a lot more flavor than the one at Chengdu. It's also not overly spicy while still having that numbing effect and bold kick. The slippery noodles have a cooling effect that tempers the spiciness for me.

My other favorite dish there was the garlic pork ($8.99)
Szechuan impression
This spicy, garlicky slices of fatty pork were very addictive! I would come back for this dish and the jelly, for sure.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Pavan Liqueur Fueled Lunch at Ming Tsai's Blue Dragon (Boston, MA)

This was the time I got to start my week with a toast of sparkling Pavan cocktails at Blue Dragon. Yep, a boozy lunch on a Monday. Ssh, don't tell. It's summer.
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Pavan is a vin de liqueur made in France using muscat grapes accented with orange blossom water. It's a lovely liqueur with a relatively low sugar content, but still naturally sweet from the grapes. It's great to use in cocktails, or just to drink with soda water or sparkling wine!


Blue Dragon is one of Ming Tsai's Boston restaurants and is his more casual restaurant - an Asian gastropub, if you will. The decor is mostly one of gastropub with some Asian touches here and there.
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The lunch menu is quite different from dinner. The lunch features many more sandwiches and banh mi options while dinner offers more larger entree items.

We all liked the spicy chicken dumplings ($8). The skin is thin and had a nice texture, the sauce has just enough heat.
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Pavan is part of the Suntory portfolio, who also carries Lejay, a creme de cassis, and Mozart, a chocolate liqueur. I tasted these too, so read on!
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