Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ramen Setagaya, will you adopt me?

I have this thing for ramen in case you didn't know. It's somewhat poorly documented since I didn't really get a chance to photograph the most of the stuff I had in Taiwan, but it's true. It's up there with beef noodles and curry rice. So on the same night that I pushed several thousand more calories through my tiny body, I had also gotten ramen from Setagaya. Daven, Dom, Chris, Han, Rich and I had trekked downtown planning on getting our noodle on, and proceeded to get lost (this is the collective intelligence level of 6 Columbia students... if you're a prospective student, consider that before coming here). Anyhoo, after many twists and turns, we ended up at our magical destination of St. Mark's Place. We walk in (SUPER BOSSLIKE), and they tell us that there's not enough seating for all of us. We proceed to glare at these 2 guys that were taking up a long table, and they got up as soon as they caught our gaze, probably out of fear (this only took place in my mind btw). No seriously though, these 2 guys were extremely accommodating and gave up their seats so that we could sit at the large table. Everyone orders (more or less the same thing)... the picture to the upper left was supposed to be the shio ramen (but they screwed up and gave me the chasu pork!) as part of the dinner set, with which I also got gyoza... I ate them... without taking a picture. Fail. For I think $11.95 it wasn't super cheap, but it also wasn't expensive for the area. To boot, it was close enough to what I expect where I'd go back again, so if you're looking for ramen, I would point you here I guess.

So while I wasn't smart enough to take a picture of my own side (your choice with any meal set... either oyako don, curry rice, or gyoza), I did snap a picture of the oyako don that Han got. I have no clue how it tasted, I just thought it looked good with a nice blend of colors haha. See how superficial my opinion of restaurants are? Anyway, in summary... if you like ramen (and on a cold day, who doesn't?) and if you're in the area, don't hesitate to stop in at Setagaya. There's a nice little Izakaya feel, complete with bar, and the food is definitely palatable. I'd say it'd be comparable to Menkuitei, but with smaller portions. The prices aren't outrageous, and the area is certainly fun.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

What a heart attack looks like

I'll explain later. Lots of judging going on by people on the street though. Edit: So as promised, I'm back to explain this stupidity insanity. In celebration of me getting into even more graduate schools (not really, I wanted to go out to eat, but I needed an excuse), my boys and I went down to St. Marks to grab some heart and soul warming ramen from Ramen Setagaya, which... I will soon write about once I get to be less lazy, more bored with life, and give up on senior design. After we pounded down our bowls of ramen and finished watching this sick ass game show from Japan that involved Japanese girl bands and wall climbing, we mused whether or not we should just head back to Columbia. Of course, me being the fatass that I am proposed we go to Baskin Robbins since I wanted a shake like a fat kid wants cake. After a momentary lapse of weakness where I saw a McDonald's and considered getting chicken nuggets and a smaller shake, we proceeded to go next door to fulfill our goal.

Yeahhhhh yo, that's a dozen donuts split between Dom and myself. I swear to god the girl at the counter got pissed off that we individually made single donut selections. Also, I got the large oreo milkshake. This reminds me, the last time I asked which shake had the most calories, the guy friggin' lied. Peanut butter and chocolate is 320 calories per scoop. Oreo is a massive 350 per scoop! I feel ripped off.

Bonus shot in action. Like I said, a lot of people kept staring. I mean, it makes sense... if you saw a group of people with a box of donuts stuffing their faces whilst walking, you'd be perplexed too. I should add, the sugar crash after that was phenomenal.


Monday, February 15, 2010

More installments of what I eat at school

I'm too lazy to make a real post. Let's be honest, it's surprising that I've managed to post on here with semi-regularity given my personality. In any case, a lot of my friends either find it gross 1) what I eat or 2) the amount of food I eat, so I thought maybe it'd be of interest to random strangers on the interwebs too (also since for some reason, people don't believe someone my size can eat all that much). Uh, my dinner from a night ago... was a pint of General Tso's Chicken with white rice, a quart of vegetable lo mein, french fries, and I forgot to take a picture of the container of fried chicken. Where I got this is irrelevant since the place isn't all that good (just cheap). Meh, what can I say? I'm easily satisfied when it comes to food as long as the quantity is sufficient. Though I have to say, I am kind of peeved I didn't get my free soda.

I actually really like having the above though. It's from Hamilton Deli (which to my great surprise... I've never written about!). It's just a breakfast wrap with eggs, cheddar cheese, and spinach, the number 12 if you will. It's becoming increasingly difficult for me to get the home fries outside of breakfast hours, and since I only like having this for dinner, it's a real luxury when it occurs. Anyway, just thought I'd post another peek into my life for would be stalkers and friends alike. Carry on. Maybe posts about Hamdel tomorrow. Maybe.

A btw thought... does this count as a food review post?


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fried octopus balls take two

These actually aren't takoyaki per se, but I love them equally as much. I forget the name of the place I went to to get these (it's a chain store that sells fried chicken, fried octopus, and other assorted fried goods). It's not KuKu Chicken if that's what you're thinking, the name just eludes me for some reason. Anyway, imagine someone taking an octopus from the ocean and straight up cutting off its arms. Whilst the octopus is screaming (silently) in pain, the arms are cut up into half inch chunks. Battered in crack tempura and some other ingredients I'm more or less clueless to, and then fried. End result? Pure sex on a stick. The main thing is, you don't really taste the 'octopus' at all. Does octopus even have a taste? Anyway, what you do taste is the incredible blend of spices they pour on at your request, followed by a subtle sweet and savoriness found in the thick layer of tempura and oil, followed by an unexpected crunchiness in the center. Really it's like when gelatin doesn't set correctly at the bottom of a mold and it's super thick (that sounds so appetizing right? haha). Winningest part of this. I think that costs 25 NT (about 75 cents). Don't ask me how I remember the price, but not the name of the restaurant. That's how my mind works.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I like pie... I also like cookies

Inspired by this sweet ass idea... my suitemate and I wanted something super fat for superbowl Sunday. To be fair, we had ordered roughly $50 dollars worth of KFC and Chris was planning on making chicken skewers (which were incredible), so it's not like we weren't already acting like pigs... but we felt compelled to make this to push us over the edge. I had actually invited other people to come help make it, but me being an idiot... failed to take into account the preparation time for the dough. I refused to give up the idea of having a chocolate cookie pie though, so I did the most bootleg thing possible, and bought premade pie crust, and cookie dough in a tube. I know, I know... for shame. Some might even call me a 'loaf' haha (seriously though, that's the greatest insult I've ever come across... wtf do you even say as a response?). I didn't care. I just wanted chocolate chips, and cookie, in pie form.

There it is in its unbaked configuration. Seriously, we just took the pie crust, baked it for 3 or so minutes, and then put a layer of cookie dough in. We might've layered a thick layer of chocolate chips in between more dough. Just to make sure that we were extra heavy the next day. In an unrelated note, is there a reason Pillsbury calls their dough 'chocolate chip flavored cookies' instead of just 'chocolate chip cookies?' Is it because Nestle Tollhouse owns copyright or something? I'm genuinely curious.

Post baking. Fully risen. It was a gorgeous thing that... didn't taste all that great once it cooled. I mean, when it was warm, it was soft and gooey, everything you expect from a good chocolate chip cookie. The only drawback was the fact that the crust was kind of salty. Once it cooled, it got too crisp, and the crust would just break off when cutting. Know the reason why there's no picture of single slices? Because it's impossible to cut perfectly. Whatever, it tasted like it was supposed to, and that's all I care about. I might have to do a take 2 the proper way though... this failed experiment was enough to make me believe the real thing is 10x better.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fried carbs... I like fried things okay?

So honestly, this is probably a stupid post. I'm prefacing this post by saying that. That said, on the very same trip to 淡水 (Dan Shui), I happened to run across a stand called 好大甜甜圈 or in English 'Super Big Donut.' No false advertising here, they make really big donuts. Correction, they make really big donuts, really cheap. No, of course you won't find the same selection that you might at Doughnut Plant, or even at Dunkin Donuts, but you know what? These are 30 NT (less than $1), and they're about the same size as my hands stretched out. It should be noted that I have small hands, but not comically small. I can palm a women's regulation basketball if that gives any indication of scale (I meant... on a good day). Anyway, they're ginormous, but how do they taste...

Yeah yeah, I'm gonna hold you in suspense for a few more lines. I just thought the picture of the stall was pretty amusing. Mostly the sign. If you think about what the name is for just a few times over, you'll realize how stupid it sounds. Oh well, good thing their donuts are friggin' awesome. They're fried fresh and just to the right consistency. The oil is still bubbling from every nook when you bite into it, and the latent temperature melts just a fraction of the sugar. End result, crunchy crystals melting straight into liquid like syrup. The dough is light and airy to boot, with just a hint of yeast in the flavor, which... while unexpected, was a nice contrast to the sweet outer layer. Super big donuts, super recommended (yeah that doesn't make sense, sue me).


Monday, February 1, 2010

Fried durian, no... really

Short story, when I was about 7, my grandmother called me into her tiny kitchen and pulled something out of the freezer. I associated the freezer with ice cream (for real, that's how a fat kid thinks), so when she presented me with a sandwich bag filled with an iced over chunk of white milky consistency, I assumed it was a vanilla popsicle or something. I took a giant bite of it and started going to town on the small crystals of ice. It didn't hit me right away that I was gnawing on something that tasted like gym socks, onions, and the evil incarnate combined. No, it was gradual realization that I made a mistake, and hard. Pure evil, my grandmother, bless her heart. I love her to death, but a serious wtf mate. Anyway, that was my first experience with durian, and I was convinced it would be my last... guess not.

So I found this gem when I went to 淡水 (Dan Shui) which is basically a night market that operates all day. Actually, I'm lying. I might've gone there on purpose because they had fried durian. I'm not really sure anymore. In any case, look at all the options... taro, original, and Chinese yam rhizome... YUM. I don't remember how much they cost, so don't ask me that. I can promise they were super cheap though.

The first was the taro fried durian. It was extremely crispy. Too crispy. I'm not entirely sure as to how they prepared it, but it appears that they shredded taro into strips and made a batter out of durian. To be honest, there wasn't that subtle earthy undertone I normally associate with taro, nor the sweetness you hope to find to mask other flavors. That said, you can't really taste any foulness in this, it's just kind of like chips that you get at a bar. Except hot enough to burn your hands. No opinions on this really. The latter is straight durian fried in more durian batter. I actually loved this. Just a hint of sweetness is first led in by a savory outer layer. It's not crispy, but it's also not soggy. Difficult to describe really, it's hemorrhaging hot oil like no one's business, so it's sort of soft, but there's a distinct crunch whilst chewing. Unbeatable texture combination that seems impossible ftw. The durian taste is still present, you know you're what you're eating, but it's so mild that it becomes pleasant... with a mild onion like flavor, it's savory yet sweet (a phrase I probably use all too much). The consistency in the middle was pleasant too, mushy like a marshmallow, but creamy like frosting. G'damn, I don't know how to describe it adequately. Whatever, in summary, I now like durian. Sort of.