March 19, 2014

Taipei 2011, Day 5: Mussels, Fried Oysters, and Extreme Soft Serve in Danshui

I took a trip to Taipei from October 3 to 9...2011. Um. Yeah. Why am I writing about it over two years late? Because better late than never? Not because I've been wasting away on a diet of Netflix and Candy Crush? Sure, let's go with that. Read my introduction about the trip, a recap of the first day, second day, third day, and fourth day.

More shops
Somewhere in Danshui.

I love a good welcome sign. Something that declares more than the name of the town/state you have just entered/left. Something with personality. Something unique. Like Delaware's dual achievements of "THE FIRST STATE" and "Home of Tax-Free Shopping."

Welcome to Tamsui ! 彩繪牆
Tamsui welcome sign uploaded by yawei2009 on Flickr.

The welcome sign for Danshui (or Tamsui, but I prefer the former) is a sign to remember. If you drive up to Danshui from Taipei City, you'll whizz by the sign, which is painted on the side of a wall hugging the main road. The wall is some meters high and the sign runs...[counts on fingers]...many more meters long. But as you're probably driving past it quickly, that doesn't give you much time to process it. I'm guessing I mentally responded with something like, "Did that sign say...what?...wait... [turns] oh shit it's gone now." I would've forgotten what the sign said if I hadn't tucked away a mental note to myself that I had to look up the sign online because something about it made it worth treasuring forever. Thanks to Flickr member yawei2009, I can recount what the sign says:

Welcome to Tamsui!
Don't Do Drugs
Don't Drag Race

That sign is just one of many things I came to treasure about Danshui.

» Continue reading "Taipei 2011, Day 5: Mussels, Fried Oysters, and Extreme Soft Serve in Danshui"...

Posted by roboppy at 3:44 AM | Comments (3)

March 9, 2014

Taipei 2011, Day 4: Keelung River Bikeway, TAS, Beef "Pie," and Din Tai Fung

I took a trip to Taipei from October 3 to 9...2011. Um. Yeah. Why am I writing about it over two years late? Because better late than never? Not because I've been wasting away on a diet of Netflix and Candy Crush? Sure, let's go with that. Read my introduction about the trip, a recap of the first day, second day, and third day.

Biking time
A little bridge on the Keelung River Bikeway.

I biked more during my one week vacation in Taipei than I have in the last three years of living in New York City. It's not a tough record to break—I haven't used my bike here in, um, at least three years. During the summer of 2009 when I lived in a first floor apartment I'd ride my bike out to Prospect Park at night with uncharacteristic enthusiasm, largely because I was disgustingly drippy with summer sweats and hurtling myself through the air was the best way to cool off. But about three years ago I moved into a second floor apartment. Second floor. You expect me to carry my heavy folding bike down and up one whole flight of stairs? Nah, I'll just marinate in a puddle of my own sweat.

Bike trail map
Map of Keelung River Bikeway.
Ducks are allowed
Ducks are welcome. If they're wearing sunglasses.

I'm just as lazy in Taipei, but Taipei offers a few incentive to getting me off my butt that New York City doesn't: picturesque mountains and rivers in tandem. Mother Nature dealt Taipei a good deck. If you ride along the Keelung River Bikeway in the northwest outskirts of the city, as my dad and I did this morning, you'll be treated to well maintained bike paths with lovely scenery far from the din of the city.

» Continue reading "Taipei 2011, Day 4: Keelung River Bikeway, TAS, Beef "Pie," and Din Tai Fung"...

Posted by roboppy at 6:01 AM | Comments (9)

February 14, 2014

Behold French Fry-Stuffed Fat Sandwiches From RU Hungry in New Brunswick, NJ

This post was originally published on Serious Eats New York a week ago. Am I totally cheating by reposting it here? Yes. But seeing as I'm not terribly disappointed by the quality of this post, and I know not all of you read Serious Eats, I figure someone will enjoy this. Maybe.

Fat Darrell
The Fat Darrell from RU Hungry.
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

Lee Greenwood's patriotic crooning doesn't often pop into my head, but when it does, it's probably not for any reason Greenwood had in mind. Unless he wrote those words to behold the majesty of a sub roll stuffed with three different kinds of fried foods. In that case, I totally nailed it.

That fried food-stuffed roll is just one many members of the fat sandwich family. A fat sandwich is what you get when you cross a burger and/or a cheese steak and/or a gyro and/or bacon and/or eggs and/or dump on a sports bar appetizer platter—namely mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, and fries—and douse it all in a sauce or two. It sounds like a monstrosity from Pawnee, Indiana,* but luckily for us non-fictional folks it hails from New Brunswick, New Jersey, where grease trucks at Rutgers University have been slinging fat sandwiches since the '80s.

* "First in friendship, fourth in obesity."

» Continue reading "Behold French Fry-Stuffed Fat Sandwiches From RU Hungry in New Brunswick, NJ"...

Posted by roboppy at 12:38 AM | Comments (6)

January 27, 2014

Taipei 2011, Day 3: Taipei 101 Food Court and Dim Sum Dinner

I took a trip to Taipei from October 3 to 9...2011. Um. Yeah. Why am I writing about it over two years late? Because better late than never? Not because I've been wasting away on a diet of Netflix and Candy Crush? Sure, let's go with that. Read my introduction about the trip, a recap of the first day, and a recap of the second day.

Taipei 101
Taipei 101, lording over its people.

This is a bit of a cop-out, folks. Not much happened on this day of my Taipei trip, so I'm going to focus on the photos and pair them with forgettable blurbs. It'll be like I'm showing you a slideshow of my vacation! People looove vacation slideshows!...no, wait, vacation slideshows are commonly reviled for being long and boring. But I'm not forcing you to watch, so do as you please. You're your own woman. Or man. (Or neither. Or both.) And you have the power to do what you want. ...[puts on serious face]...Within the law.

If you want to read more of my words with fewer photos, you can check out my recent posts on Serious Eats, published for your mild enjoyment (and because Max made me write them, which is good because, as you can see, without someone telling me what to do I do very little). Here's me talking about my love of stewy foods with rice and rambling about bringing Kåre to a Chinese buffet.

Continue for photo splodge time:

» Continue reading "Taipei 2011, Day 3: Taipei 101 Food Court and Dim Sum Dinner"...

Posted by roboppy at 1:31 AM | Comments (2)

January 15, 2014

Hong Kong Recap: Favorite Bites, Sweets, People, Etc.

View from the top
Looking down from The Peak.

Last February I went on a press trip to Hong Kong (along with Rachelle Lucas and Cynthia Drescher) sponsored by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. I meant to blog something about it sooner—perhaps, saaaay, last year—but I figured I'd wait until I was finished writing about it on Serious Eats.

And I just did. Finish writing about it. This month. Erm. Well. Better late than never? That's the delusion I buy into so I don't hate myself.

Here's a list of all the posts I wrote:

ROAST GOOSE LEG FOREVER Yay egg waffle! Mongkok Wet Market Egg sandwich Lunch with Rachel Steamed sponge cake
Snapshots from Hong Kong.

That's the greatest number of posts I've ever wrung out of a press trip, although in an ideal world it would've been more. I didn't eat as much during the trip as I would've liked—it wasn't primarily food-focused—but I did well with the schedule I was given and the limitations of the Chinese New Year holiday, thanks to the help of a handful of awesome people.

MEET THE AWESOME PEOPLE!

» Continue reading "Hong Kong Recap: Favorite Bites, Sweets, People, Etc."...

Posted by roboppy at 1:32 AM | Comments (8)

December 2, 2013

Taipei 2011, Day 2: Shaved Ice Two Ways, 7-Eleven, Shilin Night Market, Etc.

I took a trip to Taipei from October 3 to 9...2011. Um. Yeah. Why am I writing about it two years late? Because better late than never? Not because I've been wasting away on a diet of Netflix and Candy Crush? Sure, let's go with that. Read my introduction here and a recap of the first day here.

What makes Blow Pops the most coveted of the lollipop family? (At least, if you were elementary school-aged me in the early '90s.) The bubblegum center.* Without the gum, it's just a fat, boring lollipop. Chewing on bubblegum not encased in a hard candy shell just isn't the same. It doesn't leave you with the heady sense of accomplishment**, of victory, that only comes from licking and crunching your way through a thick layer of candy to uncover more candy.

* If you're curious, as I was, here is the patent for "Method for making candy with gum inside."

** My list of childhood accomplishments is very, very short.

How does this relate to shaved ice? Barely. But pretend I came up with a better comparison than what I'm about to tell you. (And pretend with each passing second you're not inching closer to your death. And pretend there is a box of corgi puppies outside your door waiting to let loose in your home and trample you with more cute fluffy butt action than you could ever dream of OH GOD IT'S AMAZINGGUUHHH.)

Bad shaved ice is sort of the opposite of a Blow Pop. The outermost layer is where the party is—a party of syrup-soaked, toppings-laden bites—while digging deeper into the ice mound reveals a center of...ice. Crunchy bits of unadorned ice due to meager and/or ill-distributed toppings.

This is how you do it right:

Red bean and mung bean
Bluuurrrph. That's the sound it makes. In my head.

Thanks to Tai Yi Milk King (臺一牛奶大王)—a famous old-school shaved ice shop that's been serving Taipei since 1956—I now know one sign that I'm about to dig into a good bowl of shaved ice: when it looks like a toppings bar puked on it. Vigorously. In this case, the toppings bar hacked out a hefty mound of homemade glutinous rice balls, sweet red beans, and sweet mung beans dripping with thick condensed milk. Crunchy, soft-n-chewy, starchy, milky-n-gooey—this pile has it all, with hardly any naked ice ruining the party. The way nature intended.

Mango and strawberries
Mango and strawberries.

Looking like vomit isn't a requirement, of course. Here's another bowl of shaved ice more thoughtfully heaped with ripe mango chunks, probably less ripe slices of strawberries, and condensed milk.

» Continue reading "Taipei 2011, Day 2: Shaved Ice Two Ways, 7-Eleven, Shilin Night Market, Etc."...

Posted by roboppy at 1:02 AM | Comments (7)

November 5, 2013

My Favorite Places to Bring Tourists on the Lower East Side

Note: This post was originally published on Serious Eats: New York on Monday. I've never before reposted my Serious Eats posts on this blog, but I thought this one was worthwhile because it's filled with advice I've given to friends visiting NYC over the last couple of years. ...Also, my next Taipei post is still under construction. :(

Breakfast Economy Candy Pastrami sandwich innards The Nog
Clockwise from top left: Breakfast at Cup and Saucer, Economy Candy, pastrami sandwich at Katz's Deli, and pumpkin eggnog pudding at Sugar Sweet Sunshine.

Do you like sandwiches? Pudding? Cake? Candy? Then let me be your guide. Because that's all I'm going to feed you.

This itinerary represents my favorite places to bring out-of-towners to on the Lower East Side for a morning and afternoon jaunt. "Favorite places" does not equate to "best places," but they are, in my humble opinion, consistently good, unique, and won't break the bank. These places aren't all meant to be eaten at in one day (but you can try; more power to you). Pick and choose what sounds best. You'll probably feel disgusting by the end of it, but it'll be worth it.

» Continue reading "My Favorite Places to Bring Tourists on the Lower East Side"...

Posted by roboppy at 11:19 PM | Comments (5)

October 23, 2013

How I Made My BMO (Adventure Time) Costume

Note: This post is totally not food-related. For foodstuffs, please read this post from three days ago, especially because that post took a buttload more hours to write than this one. Yeah, two posts in one week! MADNESS.

BMO faces
BMO, I SHALL BECOME YOU.

Last year, I dressed up for Halloween for the first time in over 15 years. And I did it...for love.

Or, more specifically, I did it because it was the first time one of Kåre's visits to New York City coincided with Halloween and I thought it'd be a shame if he didn't experience the one day a year where it's acceptable to wear silly costumes in public and gorge on fun-size candy*. Someone's gotta guide him through the labyrinth of American customs. And that someone is me. By default.

* Alas, Kåre still hasn't fully experience Halloween because Hurricane Sandy put a damper on last year's festivities, among other far more important things. We had fun wearing our costumes to a few parties the weekend before Halloween.

We dressed up as characters from our favorite cartoon, Adventure Time, because nothing else would've been acceptable. Nothing. Kåre dressed up as Jake and I dressed up as BMO. If you're not familiar with BMO then get out of my face watch some videos and learn. LEARN:

...Actually, you may not have learned much from those videos. But maybe you can at least see why BMO is my spirit robot.

Never having made a costume before, I did a bit of research into different kinds of BMO costumes. They mostly come in full-body BMO or simpler BMO-with-head-popping-out-the-top. Deep down, I really wanted to go full BMO, but I knew I wasn't ready for that jelly. A well constructed full-body costume was too complicated for my amateur skills, and even if I could make one it would give me the double whammy of low visibility and mobility in dark and/or crowded spaces. ...And it would make it harder for me to stuff food into my face.

So I went the simple route of BMO-with-head-popping-out-the-top and added interchangeable face parts to make it less boring. It's not 100 percent true to BMO's design, but it's close enough.

» Continue reading "How I Made My BMO (Adventure Time) Costume"...

Posted by roboppy at 1:05 AM | Comments (10)

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previous entries

» 03/19/14: Taipei 2011, Day 5: Mussels, Fried Oysters, and Extreme Soft Serve in Danshui

» 03/09/14: Taipei 2011, Day 4: Keelung River Bikeway, TAS, Beef "Pie," and Din Tai Fung

» 02/14/14: Behold French Fry-Stuffed Fat Sandwiches From RU Hungry in New Brunswick, NJ

» 01/27/14: Taipei 2011, Day 3: Taipei 101 Food Court and Dim Sum Dinner

» 01/15/14: Hong Kong Recap: Favorite Bites, Sweets, People, Etc.

» 12/02/13: Taipei 2011, Day 2: Shaved Ice Two Ways, 7-Eleven, Shilin Night Market, Etc.

» 11/05/13: My Favorite Places to Bring Tourists on the Lower East Side

» 10/23/13: How I Made My BMO (Adventure Time) Costume

» 10/20/13: Taipei 2011, Day 1: Fried Crullers, Bear Head Doughnuts, Scallion Pancakes, Etc.

» 08/19/13: Indessert, My New Favorite Dessert Shop Serving Tong Sui in Chinatown

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Camera Info

May '10: Canon 7D with a Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC macro lens
Aug '07 - May '10: Canon 20D
June '06 - Aug '07: Canon Rebel XT
Before June '06: Canon SD 450
I "post process" all my photos in Photoshop to make them suck less. Of course, you need a camera to take semi-decent photos first, but without Photoshop, I am nothing.

links

Please don’t hate me if I haven’t included you. I tried to whittle this down to a manageable list, but there are just too many food blogs out there that I like! I shall update this list every so often.

Blogs

A Hamburger Today
A Hungry Girl's Guide to Taipei
The Amateur Gourmet
An American in Ireland
Appetite for China
Baking Bites
Beef Aficionado
The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck
Bionic Bites
Blondie and Brownie
Boots in the Oven
The Boy Who Bakes
Brave Tart
Candy Blog
Cha Xiu Bao
Chubby Hubby
Chuck Eats
Comme un Lait Fraise
Dan Delaney
David Lebovitz
Deep End Dining
Dessert Comes First
Dumneazu
Eat Drink & Be Merry
Eat to Blog
Eat Your Kimchi
The Eaten Path
Eating In Translation
Eating Asia
FastFoodr
Fifteen Pickles
Food In Mouth
French Revolution
Fries With That Shake
Grab Your Fork
Great Food Photos
Goldilocks Finds Manhattan
Hello Sandwich
I live in a Frying Pan
i nom things
The Impulsive Buy
Just Hungry
Kathy YL Chan
The Kitchen Pantry
Law and Food
Lingbo Li
Lingered Upon
LUNCH
Maps and Fragments
Me So Hungry
Michele Humes
Ms Adventures in Italy
My Camera Eats Food
My Inner Fatty
No Recipes
Noona Blog: Seoul
One Wall Kitchen
Ono Kine Grindz
The Paupered Chef
Paris Breakfasts
Real Cheap Eats
The Scent of Green Bananas
Seoul Eats
Slice
Smitten Kitchen
So Good
Street Foodie
Sui Mai
Suicide Food
Sustainable Table
Swirl and Scramble
Tamarind and Thyme
The Tasty Island
Thursday Night Smackdown
Tommy Eats
The Ulterior Epicure
umami
U.S. Food Policy
The Wandering Eater
We All Go Poopie
World to Table

Non-Blogs

Brooklyn Chowder Surfer
Edible Queens
Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down
Serious Eats
VendrTV

Recurring Eating Companions

These friends have lent me their stomach acids on numerous occasions.

Chichi
Colin
Diana
Eric
Greg
Kåre
Kathy
Melissa
Morten
Olivia
Tristan
Veronica