Monday, May 31, 2010

My New Toy!

And loving it! This was a birthday gift from the husband and I’m still learning to take pictures with my brand new macro lens! =)



Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Blogger Turns 29!

Another year has crept up to me…I’m now denial and there’s no turning back.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Excuse My French…….

My French themed (inspired might be more accurate) dinner…that is! It had been quite a whiel since I last had my usual suspects over for a home cooked meal. After Chris’ Italian themed dinner 1-2 weeks ago, I knew it had to be our turn to have people over. The main reason is to motivate us to clean up the house; big time! The second reason; for some good old company. The third; I really miss spending time in the kitchen after being in the workforce again!

I wasn’t in the mood to cook something random and French seem like a cuisine that would impose some kind of challenge to me! Plus, I really want to make some quiche. I actually did not finalize the menu until about 4 Horus before I started making dinner.  Usually I have the menu pretty much nailed down the day before. It was hard this time when it was a specific theme and I wanted something that does not cost an arm and a leg. Here’s what I did beside trying to set the table as fine dining looking as possible with my limited dinnerware set.


1) Cheese Platter with brie; a soft cow’s milk French cheese, whipped cream cheese with garlic and herbs, rosemary cracker, French baguette and grapes. That was like an appetizer as we drank some nicely chilled Sauvignon Blanc.


2) Lobster Bisque (Bottom Left) – Made a huge pot of creamy lobster bisque; a popular New England Soup. Lobster was in season @ $4.99 per lb. We can afford some! =) Bisque is a smooth creamy French soup with a crustacean broth as a base. The husband thought the soup could be thicker. My other guests liked  as it wasn’t too starchy and was light. I enjoyed it as well but agreed with the husband. Instead of using cognac like in many recipe, I used the cheapest wine Walmart has. $3 per bottle if you want to know how much I paid for it! =)

3) Creamy Seafood in Puff Pastry (Bottom Right) – Scallops, Tiger Prawns and Mussels were sautéed and cooked in a béchamel sauce with a splash of (Walmart) wine. Chopped chives were also stirred in before platting. I baked some puff pastry, made pockets and “stuffed” the creamy seafood into them. The result, a fine looking dish. Don’t you think? I thought it looked very fancy, and yet it wasn’t too hard to prepare. Best of all, my guests and my husband loved this!

LobsterBisque Creamy Seafood

4) Salmon & Spinach Quiche (Bottom Left) – I for some reason have been wanting to make this for quite a while. It was shut down my the husband and a friend when I offered to make quiche for dinner and both the boys wanted KFC!! I was finally able to make it for my French themed dinner. I did not mess with the crust and use pie crust instead and baked it in a tart pan. Smoked salmon and frozen spinach was the 2 key ingredients in this dish. I really liked this. It felt really healthy with all the spinach and we had plenty for lunch the next day! =)

5) Strawberry Clafouti (Bottom Right) – Clafouti is a baked French dessert with cherries and has a texture like flan. I had wanted to make a Chocolate soufflé, and realized that was a lot of work and chances of the soufflé failing was rather big! Strawberry clafouti has a last minute idea and I used a Julia Child’s recipe! The clafouti honestly looked kinda ugly when it came out of the oven. With the help of powdered sugar, fresh strawberry and mint leaves, I disguised the look and made it look fancy! =) The guests enjoyed this dessert and I was pleasantly surprised it tasted better than it looks. Next time, I will try it with other fruits instead. Maybe those will turn out better looking!

SalmonQuiche StrawberryClafouti

5) Ratatouille (Not pictured and no, not the movie!) – Chris made and brought this over along a bottle of yummy rosé. He layered tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, bell pepper and cheese and baked it. Awesomely delicious! =)

That’s it for my French themed dinner. Did I mention we played French music and finished about 4 bottles of French (or French grape) wine? =) I can’t wait for the next themed dinner @ Seyda and Rob’s. The theme is English! This will be interesting! I can’t wait!! Any ideas what English food should I make?


Monday, May 24, 2010

Limoncello Cake

The theme was Italian potluck and it was a get together at Chris’s to catch the Celtics vs Magic game. I usually volunteer to bring dessert, and this get together was no different. I offered to bring dessert (thought we did buy a vegetarian pizza from our favorite pizza parlor as well) and of course I had to think of something Italian. I wanted to make something different yet easy. Tucked in the corner of out little bar, was a bottle of delicious Limoncello. Limoncello Cake it is!

Limoncello is Italian Lemon Liquor mainly produced in Southern Italy. The liquor itself is sweet itself and great as shot, on rocks or as part of a cocktail. In my case, it was part of cake! =) You might think it was a waste to just pour liquor and make cake out of it, but it was worth it. The cake was indeed Limoncello-y, thanks to the glaze!

I googled for a recipe and settled for one I found on Here’s the recipe I followed and adapted accordingly to my preference.




Part A (Cake):

  • 1 Cup Plain /Lemon Yogurt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Canola Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Zest (About Zest of 3 Lemons)
  • 1-1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Limoncello Liqueur
  • 2-1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1-3/4 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Pinch Salt

Part B (Glaze):

  • 1/4 –1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Limoncello


Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an 8-inch cake pan with cooking spray.

Whisk together the yogurt, eggs, canola oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and 4 tablespoons limoncello in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Do not over mix or the cake will be tough. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Stir Part B (Powdered Sugar and 1/4 Cup Limoncello) together in a small bowl until smooth. Poke small holes all over the top of the still-warm cake with a fork or toothpick. Spoon the glaze over the cake and spread with the back of a spoon. The glaze will seep into the cake and add moisture.

June’s comments: I used a bundt pan to give the cake a little more pattern. I should have removed the cake from the pan when I poured the glaze. Glaze on the cake that would have made the cake look a little prettier. And definitely cover any imperfections!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Asgard @ Cambridge, MA

Sorry for my long hiatus from the world of blogging. I’ve just been busy with work and was also lazy to update the blog when I get home…….

Anyway, here’s an Irish Pub we ate at a few weeks back. Asgard, Irish Pub & Restaurant is located in Cambridge, MA and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. We sat outdoors coz we had Brady with us that day. We soon found out that apparently, the city of Cambridge does not allow pets on the premise. We had to tie Brady up to a tree nearby and keep a watchful eye on the poor confused guy.

Anyway, I did not take much pictures due to poor lighting and shaky hands. =( Here’s what we ordered;

1)  Artisan Cheese Platter – A combination of imported Irish Cheese, sliced pears (canned), mandarin oranges (canned), pickles and assorted cheese @ $14 (Bottom Right). I only like the Dubliner in the selection.

 Asgard1 Asgard

2) Bangers 'N Mash - Grilled light-seasoned pork sausages served on Colcannon mashed potatoes with onion gravy and topped with onions straws @ $14 (Bottom Left). I’ve always heard about it, never had it and so wanted to try it. It was a great choice. The pork sausages were so juicy, flavorful and filled with porky goodness! I also learn a few days later that Colcannon mash potatoes is actually mash potatoes with cabbage, an Irish dish. Yums! I could use more of the gravy though.

3) Beer Battered Fish & Chips - North Atlantic cod fillets dipped in our beer batter and fried to a golden brown. Served with Kinsale fries, house-made coleslaw and tartar sauce @ $14 (Bottom Right). The husband and Rob ordered this. It came with 2 large pieces of quite delicious fresh fish in a not-too thick batter. The chips were not too bad too I think. I liked that they served the entree on a newspaper like paper. =)

Asgard2 Asgard3

Service was decent. Nothing too spectacular, not too shabby either. All of us did enjoy the great food and company. Although, I was feeling quite uneasy having Brady tied to the tree and him trying to get our attention.

I will definitely return to Asgard for some yummy pub food….minus my four legged companion =) Check out their menu HERE. Don’t bring your dog, unless you’re wiling to tie her/him to the tree!

350 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 577-9100


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rostip Thai Restaurant @ Dracut, MA

Review of this place should come sooner. We fell in love with this place and have gone back about twice in less than 2 weeks. A friend of work mentioned Rostip to us some time last year but never quite gave us the name or exact address of the place until a few weeks back. When we finally have the name and address, it took us 2 tries to actually try out the place. The first time we were there, they weren’t open. We finally went there during one lazy weeknight and decided to dine in.


The place is small, but decently decorated. There were more take outs then dine in customers; we were the only dine in patrons that night. Here’s what we ordered:

1) Shrimp Tom Yum Soup (Bottom Left)– Famous Thai hot and sour soup seasoned with exotic Thai herbs, lemongrass, lime juice,  mushrooms, cilantro and scallions @ $3.25. This came with 3 large succulent shrimp. The soup wasn’t the best I’ve had, it’s just average. It could use more lime or tamarind juice and definitely more cilantro. I do however like that they cooked the mushrooms thoroughly instead of serving the mushrooms almost raw like many Thai restaurants do.

2) Crab Rangoon (Bottom Right) – 8 Wontons stuffed with cream cheese and shredded crabmeat, fried until golden brown and served with pineapple sauce @ $4.75. When the order came only 6 pieces was brought to us. While I really liked the filling, they could fill up more. Not sure about the presence of crabmeat either. I was glad we did not pay for the dish when the check came. The nice wait staff told us the crab rangoons were on the house! Yay!

 Rostip1 Rostip3

3) Pad Thai (Bottom Left) – The most famous Thai rice noodle stir fried with shrimp, chicken, egg, bean sprouts, minced turnips, scallions and crushed peanuts @ $7.95. This was pretty good and for $7.95, it was bang for the buck!

4) Red Duck Curry (Bottom Right) – Red chili curry with coconut milk, bamboo shoots, string beans, peas, basil leaves and bell peppers with roasted duck @ $12.95. We LOVE this dish and I really appreciate that the curry comes with a serving of white rice at no extra charge. Substitution/extra order would be charged accordingly of course! The curry was rich, thick and so aromatic. The roasted duck meat (boneless) were sautéed with the curry and vegetables were aplenty! This was just perfect! And yes, portion was humongous too!

Rostip4 Rostip5 

5) Thai Ice Coffee @ $1.50. This was the most inexpensive glass of Thai Ice Coffee I’ve ever had. Huge glass for less than $2 is my cuppa “coffee”! If you’ve never had Thai Iced Coffee, you gotta try it! And it was cute our straw was decorated in a rose origami. =).


There was so much food that we even doggy bagged the Pad Thai and the curry home, and ate it for another dinner! =). Great prices, delicious Thai cuisine, friendly service…it wasn’t a surprise we decided to go back there again.

It was take out this time and we ordered the Chicken Mango Curry (Not Pictured) – Chicken sautéed with sliced mango, carrots, snow peas, bell peppers, onions and string beans in House special yellow curry and coconut milk @ $7.95 and Green Duck Curry (Not Pictured) – Roasted Duck sautéed with green chili curry with coconut milk, bamboo, string beans, peas, basil leaves and bell peppers @ $12.95. We prefer the Green Duck Curry better than the Mango Curry. Maybe it’s because we’re a big fan of roasted duck. =) We were given some Thai rolls (Spring Rolls), FREE! The vegetarian spring rolls here delicious and the fact that they were again on the house made me a happy customer! We again had so much curry that we ate for lunch the next day. All I had to do was cook more rice!

What are you waiting for? Head over to Rostip’s for some delicious Thai food, excellent service and bang for your buck! I recommend the Red and/or Green Duck Curry!

Let me know if they throw in some freebie with your meal. I’ve never had a restaurant being so generous during my first 2 visits…I hope they keep serving me some free food the next time we’re there! Writing about the duck curry is making be salivate….maybe I can convince the husband to go this weekend!

7 Broadway Road
Dracut, MA 01826
(978) 275-9902


Monday, May 10, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

It was a stressful day at work and when I got home I was in the mood to cook and de-stress. I somehow got the mood to cook some Chicken Cacciatore and googled for some recipes. I’ve not made it before, not sure if I’ve tried it before but I often see it on menus and cooking shows. It sounded delicious and the many times I’ve had the urge to make it…I’m always missing some key ingredients. This time, I was lucky to have all the major ingredients needed.

Chicken Cacciatore is actually an Italian dish. According to Wikipedia, Cacciatore means hunter in Italian and in cuisine, "alla cacciatora" refers to a meal prepared "hunter-style" with tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, herbs, often bell pepper, and sometimes wine. Cacciatore is popularly made with braised chicken (pollo alla cacciatora) or rabbit.

I went with a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis of Food Network. The recipe looked a little different, I followed the most part of it and tweaked a tiny bit by leaving out chopped basil (coz I don’t have any) and adding chili flakes (coz I see some recipes that calls for it).

I love the result of the Chicken Cacciatore. It went well with the bottle of red wine we opened for dinner. That was a great week night dinner. Can’t complain when there’s wine with the meal. =)




  • 8 Chicken Thighs (Skinless and Boneless)
  • 2 Tsp Salt (Plus more to taste)
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper (Plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
  • 1 Onion, Chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Finely Chopped
  • 3/4 cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 ( 28-ounce) Can Diced/Crushed Tomatoes
  • 3/4 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 3 Tbsp Capers, Drained
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Dried Oregano Flakes
  • 1 Tsp Chili Flakes


Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly.

In a large heavy sauté pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and sauté just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, sauté it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and sauté over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with the basil and serve.


June’s comments: I served my chicken cacciatore over some home made mashed potatoes (did I tell you it’s easy to make your own?) and steamed green beans. You can always serve the chicken cacciatore over some pasta or steamed rice.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother's Day

A Thousand Thanks

Mother's Day brings to mind
The thousands of things you did for me
that helped make me happier,
stronger and wiser,
because I had you as a role model.

I'm grateful for all the times
you healed my hurts
and calmed my fears,
so that I could face the world
feeling safe and secure.

I'm thankful for all you showed me
about how to love and give--
lessons that now bring
so many blessings to me
each and every day.

Your sacrifices and unselfishness
did not go unnoticed, Mom.
I admire you, I respect you,
I love you.
And I'm so glad you're my mother!

Happy Mother's Day!

By Joanna Fuchs

Happy Mother’s Day Mom, Mom-in-law and all the mothers out there!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Phien’s Kitchen @ Lowell, MA

Phien’s Kitchen  was kinda like a diamond in the rough find. We’ve driven past this restaurant a couple times in the past and have never thought of trying it out. The exterior of the place didn’t quite appeal to us. But that one weekend, we braced ourselves and decided to try the place out as we’re looking for a place to have fun.

Nobody was dining inside the very simply decorated restaurant. I don’t think we’re that late for lunch. We weren’t sure what we got ourselves into and wasn’t just going to leave the place without giving it a chance.  So here’s what we ordered.


1) Peak Kai /Chicken Wings (Bottom) @ $6.95 – Marinated in soy sauce, garlic and black pepper. This was definitely marinated in some turmeric powder as well. About 6 (or was it 8) pieces of crispy fried chicken wings in an order. It was juicy and so darn good!


2) Lard Nah/Fried White Noodles (Bottom Left) @ $10.95 – With pork, shrimp and squid. Fresh wide noodles with garlic snow peas, mushroom, baby corn and Chinese Broccoli. The price of this was quite steep for noodles in comparison with many other restaurants serving the same stuff. However, this plate of noodles was loaded with lots of mea, seafood and vegetables. Like many restaurants, there are usually more meat/vegetables than the noodles itself. I would appreciate a little more noodles. This noodles, is a little on the sweet side but not as sweet as the ones we’ve had elsewhere. We like it and had plenty to pack home. So, overall the price of this plate of noodle wasn’t that bad since one would eat it for 2 meals.

3) Fer /Beef Stock Noodle Soup (Bottom Right) @ $8.95 – Homemade beef broth with shaved beef, shrimp, squid, meatballs, scallions, celery and cilantro. Served with a plate of bean sprouts, fresh herbs and lime on the side. The husband couldn’t resist this beefy noodle soup and had to try it. It was slightly different than the Vietnamese Pho as this had shrimp and beef. Price for this was also steep in comparison to the many places the hubby’s had similar beefy noodle soup. For a start, the portion was smaller than most places. Hubby thought this was ok but did not fancy the meatballs. He commented that the meatballs have some odd spice/flavor that he did not quite fancy.


Overall service was ok. There were a couple customers doing take outs while we were there. I guess, we might return in the future for some Laotian meal. I googled Phien’s Kitchen and found out that they have a pretty good review on; 4/5 stars. Apparently, their papaya salad and their sticky rice dessert is good. I’m already eyeing their sticky rice dessert! =)

Want some simple Laotian meal? Head over to Phien’s Kitchen:

586 Westford St.
Lowell, MA 01851
(978) 441-0014


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Yellow Cake with Jam Filling

Seyda was having a lunch get together and I offered to bring dessert. I told her I will be bringing her a “Presidential” cake. A cake served at the White House actually. Armed with my latest cook book, I browsed for an easy recipe and decided to try the Perfect Yellow Cake filled with Raspberry Jam recipe. This cake apparently has been served during George W. Bush’s administration at many of his afternoon activities.


Although Ms. Clumsy here used the wrong flour by mistake (I used all purpose flour), the cake turned out was delicious. I trust my friends’ compliments. =) It would have been lighter if I’ve used the right kind of flour. The cake wasn’t that bad, just a little dense like pound cake, but not that oily. I used orange zest instead of lemon zest and strawberry jam instead of raspberry. A dusting of powdered sugar on the cake, covered flaws and made the cake look rustic and oh-so homemade! Here’s the recipe extracted from Roland Mesnier’s Basic To Beautiful Cakes:




  • 3 Cups Cake Flour
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Butter, Softened
  • 1 Cup + 3 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2 Large Egg Yolks
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Tbsp  Grated Lemon Zest
  • 2/3 Cup Raspberry (or Strawberry Jam)
  • 2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar


Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease and flour a 10 inch round cake pan with 3 inch high sides. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until well combined but not fluffy. Add eggs, egg yolks and beat until well combined. Scrape down the bowl once or twice as necessary.

Gradually add half the flour into the mixture and stir using low mixer speed until just combined. Add half the milk, and mix until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. Stir in vanilla and lemon zest.

Transfer batter into baking pan, smooth the top and bake for about 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Let cake sit in pan for about 5 minutes, then run a knife along the edges to loosen cake and unmold it. Let cake cool completely.

Once cool, split cake into two horizontal layers using a sharp serrated knife. Spread jam evenly over the bottom layer of the cake and top with remaining half. Sift with powdered sugar and serve. This should serve about 8-10 people.


June’s comments: Did I mention that the cake wasn’t overly sweet as well?  If you like, you can always cover the cake in a ganache or some whipped cream.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Have Food / Wine, Will Eat!

I’m blessed to have friends who love to eat, cook, and DRINK!! The husband and I won’t say no to food and wine. =) A couple weeks ago, our friend Steve invited a few people to his place for a Spring Wine Luncheon. Being a wine connoisseur/collector and a well traveled person, he’s definitely knowledgeable about a lot of things, food included and of course he knows his wine!

Steve put out a well-planned fabulous menu that puts me to shame. Pear seem to be the “mascot” of that day’s lunch. I can never confirm my party menu until hours prior to the party making last minute changes as necessary. Here’s what we were pampered with :

1) Assorted cheese platter with candied walnuts and imported crackers. He brought out 4 very different cheese for us to try. Goat cheese, Brie, Piave and a Candied Ginger and Mango Cheese from England. My favorite was the Piave, an Italian cheese. The Brie, a soft French cheese was my second favorite. The Candied Ginger & Mango Cheese was my third favorite. It was definitely different from the many cheeses I’ve tried in the past. A little too sweet for me. The goat cheese however was something I never liked. I tried it, and still did not like the taste of goat’s milk. Blood Orange Mimosa was a yummy drink to get the afternoon going!

 WinePairing1 WinePairing

2) Pear me up - Bosc pear salad: Bosc pear, peeled, cored and halved, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and rosemary, baked until soft, lightly coated with maple syrup plum sauce. Served chilled along side a spring mix salad with balsamic vinaigrette and  blue cheese. Apparently, Steve cannot find his maple syrup, so he got creative and used plum sauce. It turned out yummy. The pear was soft, sweet and flavored with rosemary. The pear and the salad was a great combination; sweet and tangy. Unfortunately I took a pass on the cheese and had the hubby finish my cheese. I would however learn to bake this baked pear though.

The salad was paired with a Robert Sinskey rosé from Napa Valley. The wine was slightly sweeter than the usual rosé I’ve had in the past. Very refreshing, crisp and definitely paired pleasantly with the salad.

 WinePairing4 WinePairing3

3) Eggselent planting - Roasted eggplant marinara: eggplant, sliced in strips, with eggwash, sautéd in light olive oil until tender, arranged in layers in a casserole dish, drenched in marinara , topped with mozzarella, parmigiano and romano, and baked. Served with fresh French baguettes.

Ahhhhh… this was SOOO GOOD! This was like Eggplant Parmesan, done differently. It has a rustic feel that gave me a warm fuzzy feel. Comfort food at its best. Eggplant was thinly sliced and was tender. The loads full of marinara sauce was very inviting especially with those chunks of crusty baguettes in front of me. I did not waste any single bit served and wasn’t shy to use my hands. I soaked up all the sauce with the bread and was wishing I had more!!! I could seriously eat 2 servings of this!

This was served with a Chianti, a red wine I’ve learned to love recently. I was never quite a red wine person, but I’ve been drinking quite a bit of Chianti lately. =) I forgot how this tasted as I was too caught up with my entree!

WinePairing5 WinePairing6

4) Peared up again - Poached vanilla pear: bosc pear, peeled and cored, poached in Riesling with fresh vanilla bean. Served chilled with reduced poaching sauce. Who can say no to pear poached in wine and vanilla beans?? Although it looked very simple, the pear was light and delicious. I ate the poached pear with some of the parching sauce. It does not need anything else.

This was served with Tokaji, a Hungarian dessert wine. Mm…. sweet wines are my favorite. Enough said.


  Wine Luncheon was great! Thanks, Steve for having us over and sharing your expertise with us!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Formosa Taipei II @ Nashua, NH

We’re always in the Nashua area for shopping since it’s just a stone’s throw from our place. During one of our many trips there, we saw a sign for some Taiwanese cuisine in town. We think it’s a new place and was determined to try Formosa Taipei II out the next time.

During one my lazy to cook dinner days, we decided to make a trip to Nashua for some wine/liquor shopping and dinner. Upon entering the restaurant and we realized that, the place probably used to be some Japanese restaurant in the past; with the sushi bar now being used as a storage/bar area. My first impression honestly wasn’t the greatest. Here’s why, after being greeted by the host and telling him we needed a table for 2, the host was quickly distracted when a party of 5 showed up behind us. He proceeded to sit the party of 5 who came after us. The husband and I was left standing there, I was in disbelief how the host just ignored us. He totally forgot about us. When he returned he greeted us as if he just saw us which we then hinted that he’s forgotten about us.

The host ushered us to a dining area, quite packed with people and very brightly light. Brightly lit restaurants are great for picture taking, but does not give you the cozy feel. The menu looks pretty good. They have a variety of Taiwanese cuisine and American Chinese food.

We decided to stick to a more authentic Chinese/Taiwanese food. Here’re what we ordered:

1) Little Juicy Steamed Pork Bun / Xiao Long Bao (Bottom Left) @ $6.95. This is actually more a dumpling than a bun. You have to be very careful when you eat it, as there is hot liquid (soup) inside these tiny babies if the dumpling skin is still perfect. These steamed ‘pork buns’ comes with a ginger vinegar sauce. The way I eat this is to gently bite into the skin and slowly sipping the hot liquid. Then, I’ll dap a little of the ginger vinegar sauce and eat the whole dumpling. Of course, being ever so careful not to burn my tongue at the same time! This was not bad….but no wow factor. I’ve not had enough to really comment on this.

2) Assorted Fresh Mushrooms Hot Pot (Bottom Right) @ $12.95. This one came bubbling hot in a stainless steel pot with a fire below it. It was boiling hot with plenty of oyster mushrooms, straw mushrooms, shitake mushrooms and maybe button mushrooms. There were also some baby bok choy and bean thread vermicelli noodles in the soup. I thought this wasn’t great. I find the soup a little oily and the soup a little tasteless unfortunately.

Formosa1 Formosa2

3) Sautéed Bean Leaf Top (Bottom Left) @ $14.95. This vege is always expensive. We’ve ordered this dish in other restaurants and have paid $16 for an order (portion was bigger than this) of it. In the market/grocer, expect to pay about $3.99 /lb for this vegetable, more often called Snow Pea Tips ( I think). We ordered this sautéed with garlic and it’s always delicious.

4) Tea Flavored Duck (Bottom Right) @ 13.95. I think we were given about a quarter duck perhaps? The dish definitely does not look very appetizing, all black and looked fried. I thought it was going to be dry. Surprisingly, the duck was actually moist and we could taste the tea flavors. We would order this again. It would have been nice if there was some kind of dipping sauce to do with the duck.

Formosa3 Formosa4

Overall, except for the forgetful host and one of the waiter pouring us “yellow water” (he filled up a pepsi/coke jug with water and served everyone “tainted water”)……..the service was quite good. Food came out decently fast. It would be nice if the dim the lights a notch. We would go back there again for some Taiwanese food fix.

Check them out if you’re in the Nashua area. The premise is located up the hill and cannot be seen from the Daniel Webster Highway; you need to turn into one of the strip mall areas (not too far from Costco). Here’s the Nashua location:

295 Daniel Webster Highway
Nashua, NH 03060
(603) 888-7999

They also have a location in Lexington, MA if you like to try it out. =)

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