Yeah yeah, you guys know the drill by now. These pictures were taken last week. The front of the bun looks pretty good still.
The white mold at the back is slowly growing!
I’ve been blog-lazy lately, yes. Haven’t been doing much in the kitchen either. I have however been doing a little cereal-exploration. Today’s feature is Nature’s Path’s Heritage Granola. I love Nature’s Path‘s cereals. They are organic, healthy, not sugary, and most use minimal ingredients without additives. And they taste great. I stock my pantry with boxes and boxes of their Flax Plus, Spelt, and Kamut flakes whenever they go on sale. Hm, stock would be an understatement. I go through a box in two days.
Granola is not my type of go-to cereal because it is on the sweet side, and has too much stuff in it sometimes. But then, sometimes that’s just what you need. I tried their Heritage granola with raspberries. It’s quite packed: oats, spelt flakes, quinoa, puffed rice, and uh… dried raspberries. You can never expect much from cereals that claim they have “fruit”, so I was not surprised to see the large raspberries on the box and got little red dots instead. Typical. It’s not bad, not too sugary either, and has a nice balance of different grains. This particular pack seemed quite crushed and powdery, but maybe it was just that box. I prefer Nature’s Path’s Ginger Zing granola though, because the ginger really comes through without being too much, and I like ginger.
Two weekends ago, I was going about my usual grocery shopping at Osaka Supermarket (ie. the T&T at Yaohan Center, Richmond), and nearly squealed with joy when I saw stacks and stacks of little 年糕 (leen goh, or Chinese New Year Cake) sitting on a New Year’s stand at the bakery section. Chinese New Years is just 3 weeks away, and the Asian supermarkets are out in full force! Anyway, of all Chinese New Year foods, 年糕 is probably my favorite. I like the dark brown variety (you can see some white ones here at the bottom left hand corner), fried, crispy outside, gummy and oh-so-sticky inside. Yuummmmm.
This was all exciting and fun, until I came upon some rather strange things. Next year will be the year of the Rat. This year is the year of the Pig. I saw these little plastic containers and I could swear they are pig-shaped pastries. On closer examination it seems like the cake inside might actually be a rat. But I cannot tell. Perhaps this is their way of ending the year of the Pig (this year) and ushering in the Rat. I still don’t know think it resembles a rat, and that container is definitely a pig. Anyhoo.
And then, I found something even stranger: Taiyaki. ??!?! This is taiyaki by definition, because on the bottom of the box it says that this fish-shaped pastry is filled with red bean paste:
Granted, it is not as waffle-y, nor is it of that same tail-up configuration as your traditional Japanese taiyaki, but I just have to call it taiyaki. Because, having spent my entire life as a bona-fide, made in Hong Kong Chinese person, I cannot recall a Chinese name for such a thing, and I most certainly have never seen or eaten something like this for Chinese New Year. Please correct me if I am wrong, and if I am I must sincerely apologize for my lack of Chinese-ness, I am a disgrace to all Chinese people, and I will eat this taiyaki or whatever the hell you call it as punishment.
Perhaps T&T is trying to incorporate multiculturalize CNY? CNY fusion style? Beats me. Just gimme my 年糕 and I will be happy.
Tri-ty Cafe (翠緹) has been opened for quite a while now at the Save On mall on Ackroyd Rd. It’s a Taiwanese cafe and tea house that occupies what used to be one of my go-to HK-style restaurants- Much and More (or was it More and More, I can never remember.) It’s pretty busy all around the clock, since they not only serve bubble tea and snacks, but also meals of noodles/rice/hotpot/sandwiches. I have always wanted to try this place. Finally came for dinner with my parents (who have already came here several times).
Anyway, Tri-tylooks pretty suave, and the whitish decor kind of reminds me of Pearl Castle. At most tables you get this little LCD screen that continuously flashes food porn a la Tri-ty, making you wish you had ordered that noodle dish instead of the one you did, then actually making you order more. This is a great tactic!
For an appy we ordered the pork and daikon soup. Unfortunately this both looked and tasted gross – it was like pork and daikon floating in diluted pig fat, not soup. Maybe that’s why it never made it to the little screen.
The Grilled mackerel and rice came with half a soy-marinated egg, and a bit of marinated veggies. The fish was pretty tasty.
紅燒牛肉麵 Beef Noodle soup: I didn’t try this, but it wasn’t too bad, according to Mom.
Seafood Hot Pot: This was served with a bowl of rice, and had imitation crab meat, fish balls, tofu-wrapped fish cake, tiny scallops, jumbo shrimp, kamaboko, and napa cabbage. Not lacking in variety or quantity there. I enjoyed this one.
Complimentary dessert: Creme caramel. Not great but not bad, surprisingly, it wasn’t overly sweet which is fine by me. Plus it’s free. Grad students like free food.
The service was OK, but our server couldn’t speak English very well (I had her explain something on the menu to me, and she couldn’t do it in English. Finally Mom had to speak in her broken Mandarin. Heh.) I’d come back again, perhaps for lunch or snacks. The quality of the food is not bad (though pretty comparable to restaurants like this) – they do have some pretty interesting dishes, and it’s the kind of place where there is bound to be something for everyone. Not a bad place to just sit and enjoy a drink and chat with friends either.
Tri-ty Cafe 翠緹
130-8100 Ackroyd Rd, Richmond (in the Save On mall)
This is something I should be rather familiar with, as our lab is a 5 minute walk from Safeway. Safeway bagels have thus been a feature for many a morning lab meetings. I never really touch them, but now my Bagel Quest keeps getting me into … interesting situations. There is to be no bagel-discrimination here, so I have to try bagels from all walks of life. In fact, a few weeks ago (during some storm) I tried a package of Dempster’s 12 Grain bagels. Uuuuugh. Bad. I don’t have pictures to show for that. They aren’t bagels, maybe they might make decent, dense, whole-grain bread, but they sure aren’t bagels. Maybe I will hold off on the pre-packaged bagels until I get very desperate. (And even then, I still have one plain bagel from Siegel’s left in my freezer.)
Anyway. Safeway makes these so-called “New York Style” bagels that sell for 69 cents each. They are quite giant and have a very commercially beautified appearance, all perfectly round, nicely browned, and puffy looking:
Each weighs in at about 3.5oz. They are both slightly sweet and slightly salty. Chewy, and doughy. Crust isn’t too thick. OK bagel, probably one of the better supermarket ones, but definitely nothing like Solly’s or Siegel’s. Most supermarket bagels are just dinner rolls with a hole in the middle, and aren’t boiled before they’re baked. I’m not sure Safeway really boils them, they don’t really feel like they are boiled, but at least they are better than those Dempster’s bagels.
I finally went to the first Williams-Sonoma in Vancouver – I think it opened in December. The store is located on Granville Street near West 13th Ave.
Le Crueset was 30% off, but only the yellow and blue. Gaaah. X__X (I belong in the “Flame” camp of Le Crueset colors.) All of the Le Crueset stuff here I have seen is made in France. The dutch oven I have at home is made in France. I have, however, gone to many stores and found Le Crueset stuff made in Thailand. I know they may have outsourced some of their stuff, but sometimes I would find a piece of cookware that is made in France in one store, and made in Thailand at another. It is odd, I am slightly wary of the Thailand-made ones.
Anyway, W-S was having a sale of left-over Christmas stuff, and had a box of their ginger snaps out for sampling – they were really good. I didn’t buy any though…. I was going to get this really cute pumpkin-shaped oven mitt, along with an orange-striped apron, but I decided that neither would be useful, since pumpkin-shaped does not equal good mitt, and I never wear aprons!
In the blink of an eye I realized I had already spent over an hour browsing and salivating but not being a very successful shopper (though you could say I was sticking to my New Year’s Resolution of saving up quite well). Still, determined not to leave empty-handed, and so I ended up buying a little something that is useful but still kind of interesting… a measuring spoon that has a plastic “cap” that clicks at each specific teaspoon/tablespoonful measurement!
2903 Granville Street (near West 13th), Vancouver
Sunday food is fun food! Unfortunately, I poked the yolk in my eggs in a basket, and flopped it rather messily afterwards. Heeheehee. It was still delicious. I love my alpine grain bread though, best packaged bread in the world! 😄