August 13, 2007

Phoenix: Day 3 & 4

[A note from your friendly blogger: I'm not in Phoenix anymore—I'm back in THE JERZ! I hope to have the rest of the Phoenix entries up by the end of the week. If you want more Phoenix action, read my review of Pizzeria Bianco on Slice. I'll write another version for this blog, aka one that is more mindless and wandering and has lots of made up words. PREPARE YOURSELVES.]

[Another note, 8/14/07: I have another review up on Serious Eats for Pane Bianco.]

yay, In-N-Out!
In-N-Out, so clean, so fresh

I'm happy to report that I have finally ingested the meaty juices of the legendary In-N-Out, legendary for those of us who have read about its unsurpassable deliciousness for the past few years but reside on the In-N-Out-less side of America, also known as "The Region of Sadness." It might be strange to be a little thankful that I'm not surrounded by In-N-Outs, but that's because I'm afraid that if I were I would eat there all the freakin' time.

cheeseburger with onion
cheeseburger

Although I knew about the secret menu I decided to try the basic cheeseburger topped with raw onion with a side order of fries and a vanilla milkshake, as recommended by my friend Karen. (Other non-secret menu items are the hamburger, the double hamburger, fries, and your basic drinks and milkshakes.) How pretty is this burger? Don't you just wanna hug it? Caress its fluffy bun? DONCHA?

(A small aside: I'm currently typing this on my flight back to New Jersey and had considered getting an animal style burger to take on the plane with me before leaving Phoenix, but decided against it since I was too stuffed from lunch to think about eating a mass of grilled onions and tasty sauce and patties of delicious meat. Of course, now that I've been on the plane for a few hours I wish I had a burger to snack on, even if it had been sitting in my bag for a few hours. I suppose I'm better off without the calories though. Yeah...yeah...)

BURGERS
BURGERZ!

The burgers, THEY LOVE YOU!!!

innards
Innards of Lee Anne's burger

You don't need me to tell you this, but man...this burger is really tasty, especially when you consider that it costs less than $2. My burger, fries and shake totaled under $6, or less than the price of many mediocre burgers in NYC. This is not fair man...just not fair. But back to the burger.

My first bite was a mix of crispy grilled bun, crunchy raw onion, melted gooey cheese, tender, juicy burger patty, fresh crisp lettuce (hand leafed, yo), somehow not loathsome tomato slices (I usually dislike raw tomato in burger or sandwiches because they slither out on their trail of frictionless tomato goo) and tangy sauce that I assume is something like mayonnaise and ketchup. Each ingredient was in perfect proportion with the other. The burger was a beautiful rainbow of tastes and colors sandwiched between an impressively tasty bun that was super-soft without being flimsy and grilled to form a micro-shield against the treasures withiiiiin.

The only complaint I have is just a matter of personal preference: I should've done without the raw onion because my body rejects raw onions. My taste buds may like them and the sudden sharp jolt they bring to my sinuses, but eating raw onion results in an entire day of feeling like onion fumes are being expelled out of every one of my pores. Seriously. All day the strong taste of onion lingered in my mouth, which gave me the impression that it was festering on every inch of my body even if no one else could smell it. I don't think this could just be me, but I suppose most people don't have this problem. Despite knowing my body's weakness towards raw onions, I still eat them every now and then. And promptly regret it. I suppose it was worth feeling like a gross, smelly onion for a day to eat the burger though.

fries
Friiies

The fries, which we saw being sliced from whole potatoes, were well salted and...potato-y. Overall, a taste that I approve of. If you like your fries soft then these babies were made for you, but I prefer those of McDonald's-crispy caliber. If I went back to In-N-Out I'd definitely order them "well done," or possibly "extra well done" if that choice exists. You can also get them underdone if you're weird you like realllly soft fries. I'm under the impression that you can get cooked almost however you want (I don't know if they'll give you a tray of uncooked fries), meaning that they should fit anyone's tastes.

milkshake
Vanilla shake

The shake passed the Robyn-test with flying colors of face-sucking thickness. I mean, it's very thick. Face-suckingly thick. It may be almost too thick, but it's better to lean on that side than on the side of being milk-thin, which is SAD and WRONG and SHOULD BE PUNISHABLE BY 50 WHIP LASHES TO THE BACK. I am so, so not a fan of thin milkshakes—just throw a glass of milk at me, why don't ya? If I can either drink my shake with a straw (with some difficulty) or eat it with a spoon then I know that all is well and that the hundreds of sinful calories are going to a good cause.

doodz, eat up
Lee Anne and Karen!

I was too busy talking about food and stuff to introduce you to the people who accompanied me in my eating adventure. You already know Lee Anne, my adorable and friendly hostess, but for those of you who are still reading this, we were also accompanied by the one and only KAREN! KAREN CHOW! THE KAREN! The...okay, why is this significant? Well.

Lee Anne and I are frequently asked how we became friends. The short answer is that we were brought together by the awesome power that is Karen. Karen was my best friend and classmate in 6th and 7th grade when we went to school in Taipei. By "best friends" I mean we talked on the phone too often, chatted on ICQ too often, went to Japan together (just once, not too often), played with beanie babies too often (I'd rather not expound upon this), did stuff, blah dee blah blah blah, etc.

When we moved back to the US I returned to New Jersey while she moved to Oregon and then later to Arizona. During high school she befriended Lee Anne and...BOOYA...Lee Anne came to know me and...BOOYA...yes, I will stop saying booya. That's the story. Kind of. Missing a few details here and there, but you get the general idea. Or maybe you don't, but I ought to stop rambling.

reuinted!
Karen + moi

Even though I lost touch with Karen, she's one of those people (and I suppose vice versa) around whom I think I will always feel totally comfortable and at ease to act like a goofball. Like Lee Anne! Like a handful of other people. When I spotted Karen in the parking lot I practically shrieked,

"KAAREEEN!!!"

To which she responded with laughter and...well, I think that was it. No horror. If she was scared, she hid it well. Like a professional spy or someone who frequently deals with scary people. While my laugh has become increasingly maniacal with age (meaning that I should sound like a raving lunatic by the time I'm 40), hers has retained its giggly cuteness from middle school. Or maybe my memory's going. Possibly. It's hard for me to explain this goofy personality I have where I say dumb things in weird tones and stretch my face into abnormal expressions while saying the aforementioned strange things in weird tones, but I only do it around certain people (the ones that I think will find it funny, which aren't many) and...that's pretty much my favorite state of being.

Sigh. BACK TO FOOOOOD!

LOLLICUP!
Lollicup

Lee Anne suggested we go to Lollicup for boba drinks. I never heard of the West coast-based Lollicup before, but Karen obviously had without knowing it existed in her backyard. Her eyes grew large at the prospect of Lollicupping and with a excited twinkle in her eye she exclaimed, "WHAT? There's a LOLLICUP HERE? YEAH LET'S GO!!!" And then she plowed us over—paying no attention to the crack of our heads hitting the pavement and our writhing, bloodied bodies—as she clamored into the driver's seat.

This diagram needs more detail
Mommy, what's boba?

They really are all about the boba, as seen on this educational poster in the shop's window. Behold, an overly-detailed diagram of what boba is. I guess the description of "wonderfully chewy in the middle," "naturally sweet in the center" and "slight soft on the outside" is pretty spot-on, although it leaves out the part where your stomach feels like it has a bowling ball in it due to the boba expanding as it digests (a strange phenomenon, yeah). I've been drinking boba-filled beverages since the beginning of high school, but you might be surprised that I don't love them to death. There is a story behind this. Oh yes, a story.

...Not an exciting story.

So. Boba. Those weird chewy pearls that interrupt your drinking experience. I used to love boba drinks, which I could only infrequently get while living in New Jersey since I could pretty much only find them during trips to Chinatown, but at some point I had hit my boba threshold. It was only a year or two ago when on a hot summer afternoon I was drinking a cup of boba something-or-other from Quickly on Grand Street with Diana. We stood around in the nearby park watching sweaty people playing basketball while gulping down our drinks when I looked at the mountain of boba in my nearly liquid-less cup and thought,

"Man, I am so sick of eating this boba. It's chewy. It's in the way of my drink. I DON'T WANT ALL THIS BOBA, OH DEAR GOD."

And that was it. Quite an anticlimactic epiphany, I'll admit. I didn't stop drinking boba drinks after that, but I think I consumed them very sparingly as those black, gelatinous balls continued to haunt me.

taro boba milk tea
Taro boba

Taro is my favorite drink flavor, but there was no way I could suck up all those chewy boba spheres. Nuh. After getting all the sweet, milky, mildly taro-flavored liquid out of the cup I was left with a mountain of abandoned boba. Aw...well.

drinking stuff
Drinking the bobaaa

Karen ordered a medium boba milk tea (or maybe it was a large) and ate all of the boba. She would totally whip my ass in a boba-eating contest.

And the next day, I ate more stuff

chicken and green beans and carrots and stuff! eggy stuff!
foood!

The next day Mrs. Shaffer had made us a delicious simple lunch of sugar snap peas, carrots, onion and chicken for one dish and scrambled eggs and chopped tomato for the other. I never had the scrambled egg dish before, but Lee Anne said it was a common Chinese dish. A home-y soul food-ish type thing. What other tasty Chinese things am I missing out on? WHAT ELSE?

pickled cucumbers!
Sweet pickled cucumber jesus!

Not pickled cucumbers. Now this is something I do remember from my youth as a topping for congee. I highly disliked congee, a dish that never made much sense to me because bland watery rice was about as appealing to me as sucking on a wet dishtowel. (I've also had the blended version, which tastes better but doesn't win a spot on my "list of things I ever crave.") However, I've always accepted the stuff that went on top of congee, like...PICKLED CUCUMBERS. (And pork floss.) So what is it about Chinese pickled cucumbers that's so awesome? I dunno. I don't even know how to describe them since when I eat them I just think, "Oh, these taste like Chinese pickled cucumbers." No shit. And the color red looks red. Would you accept my description of the crispy cucumbers that they're sweet with a hint of tartness? You're gonna have to. I bought two jars of them at the Chinese supermarket yesterday and one jar is already almost empty. I don't know if it's something you'd find incredibly tasty if you didn't grow up eating it, but it won't kill you or anything.

mm, sweet mung bean soup
Sweet mung bean soup

Chilled sweet mung bean soup was another Chinese dish I remembered from ages ago but hadn't eaten in...er, ages. The recipe is simple, basically mung beans, water, and sugar, but you can add coconut milk or condensed milk for a thicker soup. It's refreshing and not overpoweringly sweet or...well, not overpoweringly anything. Just light and refreshing with bean matter here and there. BEHOLD, THE BEANS. They have power you know not.

Angel Sweet PILES OF GELATO?!
Angel Sweet

After lunch Mrs. Shaffer took Lee Anne, Kimberly and me to Angel Sweet for gelato. I liked how neatly they piled the gelato in their containers, like mammoth multicolored beehives, pulsating with the delight of fruits and nuts and chocolates and other non-bee matter.

cheesecake and strawberry
Cheesecake and strawberry

After staring at the case for too long I settled on cheesecake and strawberry. They had pistachio, but it tasted too much like "not pistachio" for me to think it was worth getting. I can't complain about the strawberry—it tasted like...strawberry. Strawberry in smooth, creamy and light form. I've found strawberry to be pretty reliable, unlike pistachio whose flavor can range from vanilla to peanut to—occasionally—pistachio. The cheesecake could've used more flavor, but the crunchy graham cracker bits dispersed throughout it were a nice touch.

lemon and panna cotta
Lemon and panna cotta

Lee Anne's lemon sorbet and panna cotta was a better combination. The panna cotta was nearly heavenly with its super smooth, dense and buttery texture. Buttery. Yes, much buttery essence was there. Lemon provided a good foil to the butterness.

fruits of the forest and chocolate
Fruits of the Forest and dark chocolate

I didn't try much of Kimberly's fruits of the forest and dark chocolate. It's pretty though. See? [points]

Overall I'd say Arlecchino was better than Angel Sweet, but Angel Sweet gets props for paddling their gelato into the cups instead of scooping them. Gelato DEMANDS paddling—am I right? Right. It doesn't matter if you disagree; I'll just cover my ears and hum a song.

uh...we weren't really ready
Oops

We took some silly photos, like this one where neither Kimberly nor I were ready.

we are happies
Happies!

And this one, where Lee Anne and I were ready.

BASHA'S!!!!
Bashas'

We walked over to the nearby Bashas' to kill some time. I ended up buying a few bags of Poore Brothers potato chips (pretty good stuff and they survived sitting in my check-in luggage during the flight home) while Kimberly got a bag of hot lime-flavored Cheetos. I don't know if it's a regional thing, but if they sell it in NYC I may have never noticed it because I don't follow the latest in Cheetos development. The bag doesn't lie; these Cheetos are friggin' hot with just a hint of lime. You get used to the burning sensation and subsequent loss of feeling in your mouth after chomping down a crapload of 'em though. At least, I did. Woo!

chop those shrooms! PUTTING IN DA CABBAGE
Making stuff!

For dinner Lee Anne prepared a dish using her grandmother's recipe of kao fu, cabbage, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and other vegetarian friendly things seasoned with chicken broth (I suppose that's not vegetarian friendly...oops), rock sugar, salt, soy sauce, chicken bouillon (nor that), and 'shroom juice (aka the water the mushrooms were soaked in). Although I'm sure I've had kao fu before (a light, spongy form of wheat gluten), I don't recall ever having eaten this kind of dish. It's good! Why can't I stuff Lee Anne in my luggage and taker her home and subject her to a life as my KITCHEN SLAAVE?...oh wait, that'd be wrong/illegal. She's also probably find a way to cut herself loose from my shackles using nothing more than a toothpick. Lee Anne is very resourceful.

dinner at the Shaffers
Dinner!

The whole Shaffer family (plus a Robyn) sat down to a dinner of kao fu, roasted chicken, and shrimp and vegetables. Pleased, I was.

table of fooood
Table of FOOD

After dinner we went to Lee Anne's friend Emily's house for a party involving friends, family and food (and one stranger, being...me!).

COOKIE TART?
Cookie tart?

The best thing there was this insane fruit tart made from a GIANT COOKIE (although the handmade meat buns come in at a second place). GIANT. COOKIE. A cookie the size of a large pie. Has anyone done this before? A giant cookie may not be traditional or as refined as your standard pate brisee, but it's damn tasty. Because it's a giant cookie. Topped with fruits and cream. This cookie was totally pimped.

Three more days of Arizona are a-coming. Just wait a while. Wait as I cuddle my manatee. Heehe, heeheehee, mweh heh, BWAHAHAHA!!!

[pets manatee, calms down]

Addresses

In-N-Out
Locations in California, Nevada and Arizona

Lollicup
2050 North Alma School Rd, Ste 11
Chandler, AZ 85224

Angel Sweet
1900 W Chandler Blvd Ste 24
Chandler, AZ 85224

Posted by roboppy at 11:17 PM

Tags: Angel Sweet, Arizona, Chandler, gelato, hambugers, In-N-Out, Lollicup, Phoenix

Comments

ooooh those are fantastic pictures! Somehow gelati always looks awesome regardless of its taste, no? I live 10 minutes from one of the best gelati shops in melbourne city- DURIAN's flavours the bomb!!! =D

Posted by: kelshling at August 14, 2007 12:13 AM [#]

In-N-Out...mmmm...salivating...

Posted by: Heather at August 14, 2007 1:15 AM [#]

I order a grilled cheese off the menu (basically it's the burger without the burger ... or the mayonnaise.)

Posted by: cybele at August 14, 2007 1:25 AM [#]

In-N-Out! YUMMY! I miss it a lot. The one I went to was a branch in Los Angeles. It had tons of cute waiters (i.e., struggling actors) and the guy who called out your name for orders had such a beautiful bass voice that I was a bit tempted to pay him to read the phone book aloud. Oh, yummy memories.

Agree with the raw onion bit. I feel gross eating onions raw. It gets worse when you get sweaty (easy in tropics) after eating a raw onion...almost like you're leaking onion broth or something.

Posted by: Mahar at August 14, 2007 2:58 AM [#]

Every time I fly to California, I HAVE TO eat at an In-N-Out. It makes the trip complete. Did you know you could also get the fries "animal style?"

I am salivating right now.

I need a bib!

Or one of those things at the dentist's office that sucks the saliva out of your mouth.

Mmmm....

Posted by: Marvo at August 14, 2007 3:50 AM [#]

Hm, burgers are in abundance in the US. It's not fair! Proper pistachio ice cream apparently isn't. Not here either. Nice people who show you food and good times appear to pop out of their nice bunnyesque (in cuteness factor) fairy tale homes and make Phoenix a great place. Awesome. I'm envious of you and very, very happy that you're having so much fun. After all; I get the fun of reading about it!

Posted by: Morten at August 14, 2007 4:30 AM [#]

Oh man, oh man - In n' out burger looks SOOO awesome. And I love me some secret menu!

B
Hand to Mouth

Posted by: B at August 14, 2007 8:46 AM [#]

Those boba balls....are they slimy? I mean,they're tapioca. And they're suspended in liquid. I'm assuming they break down somewhat and the slimy-ness factor kicks in. I can't abide slimy things so I am afraid to try one. Like I could actually get one in the middle of the friggin' corn field that is the state of Indiana..... Chicago maybe? I'm overdue for a roadtrip. The honeymoon travels have worn off and I want to go somewhere, dammit.

In-n-Out burgers look freakin' fabulous. All of the food you photo'd looks freakin' fabulous. Now I'll be seething with jealousy the rest of the day.

Posted by: auntjone at August 14, 2007 9:54 AM [#]

Hey dude, I had a tapioca (or boba..new word for me!) aversion for quite some time. Actually most of my friends dont like them (apparently it feels as if you are eating boogers. gross).
So just order bubble tea w/o the tapioca. Its a common thing to do in toronto, and that way you dont have to avoid the bottom half of your drink.
Theyve grown on me now though, and Im craving some bubble tea right now.
Love the writing, you never fail to entertain me.

Posted by: whitney at August 14, 2007 10:58 AM [#]

Robyn, you must definitely try a double-double "Animal Style" the next time you are in the vicinity of In-N-Out's awesomeness. The onions are grilled so you don't have to worry about any potent oniony-ness.

And now, a tough question:
In-N-Out or Shake Shack?

Posted by: Marvin at August 14, 2007 11:05 AM [#]

After not looking at your blog since last week I was STUNNED pull it and find IN-AND-OUT staring back at me. Glad you could finally taste its wonders. People can try to argue there are better burgers, but $1.50 and all the freshness that comes with it - she's a hard one to beat!

Glad you got a Western eating adventure. LA awaits you!

Posted by: superape at August 14, 2007 12:30 PM [#]

Are those handmade da pian next to the meat buns and cookie tarts? Like a giant, savory, multilayered chinese foccacia-cum-pancake? If so, I envy you tremendously, and request better pictures of 'em.

-Far from the Orient

Posted by: Sam at August 14, 2007 2:42 PM [#]

Hey Robyn, did you hear the rumor that they are going to open an In N Out in NY? I can already see the 5,000 person line wrapped around the block. I really hope they don't open it in Times Square - that's the last place that needs additional crowd control. LOL.

Anyhow, I totally miss In N Out. I checked one out in Palm Springs in Feb:
http://www.plateoftheday.com/314/

Posted by: simon at August 14, 2007 3:05 PM [#]

kelshling: It's true, gelato always looks awesome. :) Never had durian gelato though. Some day though, maybe..

Heather: That's the appropriate response.

cybele: I heard of that! :) Is it really like a grilled cheese or..like buns with cheese...there's a difference, I think. Hm. Ooh, I'd like a grilled cheese and onion sandwich!

Mahar: I like that you seem to recall the waiters at In-N-Out more than the food. ;D

Ah yeah, leaking onion broth sounds about right. Eeeuh. I'll make sure not to eat raw onions in SE Asia.

Marvo: I heard Animal Style is either quite good or quite gross. I'd try it at least once!

Maybe you need a bib and that saliva sucker..and a spit bucket!

Man that saliva sucker...sscchhooop....

Morten: Oh, there is so much burger here. YOU SHOULD VISIT.

Many people popped out for me in Phoenix. I'm so lucky! People did that for me in Bergen too...ahems...

And while you're sitting there reading my entries, how bought..uh, book us a place to stay in Italy? KTHNX!!! :D

B: It is pretty awesome. It's a combination of awesome and SO CHEAP. SOO CHEAP. I guess they can do it because they sell a bagillion burgers every day.

auntjone: I wouldn't say they're slimy, but they are...uh, slippery. Maybe that counts as slimy, I dunno; I'm really used to eating them. I don't think you'll like em much. :\

Don't be too jealous; my pants hurt!

Whitney: Ohh man, I wouldn't say it feels like eating boogers. Not that slimy! ;D They're just chewy...things. Like gummies but not.

I know I can get them without the boba, so it's odd that I haven't done that. I'm duummbbz. It almost feels wrong though, like..it's supposed to have boba!..hm.

I'm going to Toronto next week! I should probably write something about that..er...

Marvin: Oh yeah, next time I will get the animal style!

As for In-N-Out versus Shake Shack, SS probably makes a tastier burger but if they were next to one another I'd got o In-N-Out because it's much cheaper, faster, and the combination of all that makes it better. And their fries are fresh! AND I LIKE THE CHEAPS.

superape: I don't think there's anything better for that price. :D

I hope to do a Phoenix/LA adventure next year. We'll see...

Sam: They were some kind of Chinese bread thing, yes! But...I think they suffered at the hands of time and didn't taste so good after sitting there for long. :[

Simon: I just read about that! OMG. Exciting!!! But I suppose it'd be mobbed most of the time. Eek. And if it's not in a convenient location for me, I don't think I'd go...in the Phoenix area you have to drive everywhere, In-N-Out is never that far. Yumyum.

Posted by: roboppy at August 14, 2007 3:10 PM [#]

Auntjone - If for some unexplainable, freak-of-nature reason you are ever in South Bend (meaning don't come unless you must), there's a Chinese buffet downtown (another reason not to come -- downtown, not the buffet) that sells tapiloca (boba) drinks.


Riiiight, I didn't remind myself to eat something while I read your blog this time (because it wasn't something I plan on doing, which is stupid, I should plan it) but luckily I am eating something. I know they say it's wrong on many levels to eat while watching TV or... doing anything else besides eating but I don't care.

All the food you had from the Shaffer family looks incredible, as does the cookie tart and meat buns. I've never had a good meat bun before, but I keep reading about them and staring at the pictures in Martin Yan's Chinatown book, so I imagine it must have been stellar food you ate.

I've never been to In-n-Out but I was at a Whataburger somewhere in Texas (nearish El Paso-ish) the last time I was there. Unfortunately, that was when I didn't like meat much (still don't, but if it's on the rare side I'll make an exception) so I ordered the chicken tenders which I do remember as being really good. The milkshakes...

That reminds me, what you said about milkshakes, "being milk-thin, which is SAD and WRONG and SHOULD BE PUNISHABLE BY 50 WHIP LASHES TO THE BACK.", I haven't had a milkshake in so long but the last one I tasted was on the thin side, and the ice cream had this texture that I can't describe and I couldn't eat anymore of it. Basically I agree with milk-thin milkshakes being punishable.

Whoopee! Three more dayz!

Posted by: Christina at August 14, 2007 3:18 PM [#]

I want to try the In-N-Out burger! I sorta want it to come to NYC since it's much cheaper but I'm cringing the thought that their lines would be as long as Shake Shack's. Eeek.

Posted by: Tina at August 14, 2007 10:34 PM [#]

Ah, my in-&-out memories are going home at 11 pm after a long slodge at work and school, pulling into the drivethrough, ordering my double double and chocolate milk shake, and then eating it in the parking lot. Bad habits. But tasty!

As for chinese congee, in Manila, we have a soup similar to that, but made with chicken soup and lots of garlic and ginger (arroz caldo), probably some spanish-chinese influences tossed in. Good for fevers, colds, sort of like our own version of chicken soup and matzo balls. But I learned to like the bland congee in Taiwanese restos, where you order one bowl of the soup to go with the savoury dishes like sauteed oysters, spicy vegetables, and fried meat.

Posted by: Mila at August 14, 2007 10:34 PM [#]

Christina: I eat while doing other things a lot. Not that I'm proud of it, but..meh..!

I'm not a huge fan of meat buns, actually! I don't know if I could identify a good one. For some reason I prefer vegetable buns. I love a good veggie bun...mraah...

Death to the thin milkshakes!

Tina: I'm scared of possibly mile-long In-N-Out lines too. Totally wouldn't wanna wait for that. But it's so much cheaper than Shake Shack. Kinda makes me not wanna go to SS anymore... :[ (Not that I go much now or anything!)

Mila: Mm, parking lot meal...

Chicken soup/garlic/ginger combo sounds really tasty! I don't know if I've ever eaten Filipino food...wah.

Posted by: roboppy at August 15, 2007 12:50 AM [#]

How have you never been exposed to the joys of giant cookies? Back when I was young, I denounced the sugar-infused, flavorless, sludgy frosting of traditional birthday cakes for...BIRTHDAY COOKIES.

No, I kid you not. They make birthday cookie cakes that are just huuuuuuuuuge deliciously chewy-soft chocolate chip cookies with frosting. Mmmmmm.

Posted by: Pammeh at August 15, 2007 3:57 AM [#]

In-n-Out...yum. Only an occasional indulgence though. I'm not thrilled with their fries even well done but I like the fact that they're not reformed potato sticks. My fave combo: cheeseburger, animal-style, well done fries, and a neopolitan shake.

I *heart* congee of all sorts.

Posted by: Manda at August 15, 2007 2:17 PM [#]

Even though I'm from CA, you've inspired me to savor In-n-Out tomorrow! I bow before thee. HOWEVER. I'm sad that you may not have had Filipino food before :( If I knew how to say "sad" in Tagalog, I'd say it to you 10 times!! Go on a mission to find some good Filipino food! And what a better place to start than dessert. Normally, I'd recommend a trip to Goldilocks, but since there aren't any in NJ, I scouted and found you Red Ribbon. They only have one on the East coast, and it's in JERSEY CITY! :O Like it was meant to be or something! Go now please :)

Red Ribbon, JERSEY CITY. 591 Summit Ave. (corner Newark Ave.), Jersey City, NJ 07306. Tel. (201)795-1988, (201)795-1989. Store Hours: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

Posted by: Krizia at August 16, 2007 3:55 AM [#]

Pammeh: My birthdays were just filled with cake! Ah, what a fool I've been. One year I got an ice cream cake...not like one whole ice cream cake but a cake composed of smaller slices of all different flavors in their own separate containers. Behold the joyful creations of Taiwanese bakeries! That was fun. I like..ice cream...

Ooh I know what I want, GIANT ICE CREAM SAMMICH CAKE. With frosting.

Manda: Yeah, the "real potato" thing is nice to keep in mind even when I'm not head over heels about the fries. It's not MOOSH!

Oh yeah, I was interested in trying a neopolitan shake. If only I had gone back that second time..doh!

Krizia: I've been close to eating Filipino food, but it hasn't happened yet. :( I should make my way out to Queens sometime. Yea..h...gah...

Ooh, BAKERY! Okee, I will keep that place in mind. It's pretty close to the Journal Square path station. I know there are other good Filipino eats in Jersey City...if only someone could bring me to them, hehe.

Posted by: roboppy at August 16, 2007 10:21 AM [#]

auntjone,

that tapioca or rice flour's sticky and slippery texture is not one very typical to western foods. In fact, I can't think of one non-Asian food item that has that specific texture. As an Asian growing up in Ohio, I was always surprised as a kid that most of my non-Asian friends found that chewiness absolutely intolerable. I always thought the chewy texture was rather fun. It provides a neutral flavor component to a cool, milky tea, or a sweetened red bean paste. It even holds its own in spicy, savory dishes like the Korean "duk bok gi." Then again, like Robyn, I'm pretty used to it being Chinese and all. I guess you have to grow up with it. Just think: It's just flour and water. I hope you give it a try if you come across it!

Posted by: Nancy at August 16, 2007 3:38 PM [#]

Oh boy...that description of In-n-Out makes me want to get on a plane and leave this sad place behind...I have this fear that if one opened in NYC it would wind up being a let down and then no more would ever open...how sad.

Posted by: BackyardChef at August 16, 2007 7:49 PM [#]

You are coming here? Awesome! Where abouts will you be? If you have time and are interested I would love to go eat somewhere w/ you...even if its just bubble tea with boba. Lemme know.

Posted by: whitney at August 18, 2007 12:49 AM [#]

The boba drinks originated from Taiwan right? They're called bubble tea in Singapore and the ball things are tapioca! I get you on how the balls totally hamper the drinking experience, but they provide bite HAHA.

Posted by: Magdalene at August 18, 2007 1:44 AM [#]

BackyardChef: NOOO IT WOULDN'T BE A LET DOWN, it would be BEAUTIFUL.

Magdalene: I think they're from Taiwan. The first time I had it was in 1999...never had it the years I had spent in Taiwan before then. And I think I really liked it at first. "WHOA MY STRAW IS HUGE, THIS IS COOL, CHEWY THINGS!!" That was exactly how I thought in 8th grade, yes.

Posted by: roboppy at August 18, 2007 3:35 AM [#]

i hope you got poore brothers chips in jalapeno flavor. the best!

Posted by: louanne at August 18, 2007 5:37 PM [#]

Louanne: I DID! That, and salt and vinegar. Both quite yummy. :D

Posted by: roboppy at August 19, 2007 2:27 AM [#]

Yeah. I've got that raw onion love/hate thing, too. By the end of the day you're so ill from the onion "urps" that you could kill someone...possibly with your breath.

Oh, oh, oh! That Fruits of the Forest and Dark Chocolate...think they'll ship to PA? Puleeze? I guess I could ask my friend. She lives in Fountain Hills.

Boba. Looks kind of neat.

Posted by: Laurie at August 20, 2007 6:37 PM [#]

uhm, so,
first time reading this blog and you are my other half.
food+photography, what more could you want?

GET TUMBLR. im already following you on flickr :D

Posted by: vicky at December 22, 2010 2:57 AM [#]

Vicky: Thanks for reading! :D I have no plans to make a tumblr version of this blog, but I do have a personal tumblr that I don't update much. And a manatee tumblr that I update every now and then. Too many blogs!

Posted by: roboppy at December 22, 2010 11:41 PM [#]

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» 05/29/16: This Taiwanese food-themed deck of playing cards is my favorite souvenir from Taiwan (plus here's a map and list of the foods in the deck)

» 04/18/16: Over 50 places I'd want to eat, shop, and visit while on vacation in Taipei

» 03/26/16: My 12 favorite places to eat in Shida Night Market (plus 12 honorable mentions)

» 02/20/16: Houtong Cat Village: Of course Taiwan has a village full of cats

» 02/05/16: Favorite Taipei Things: Late night bike riding along Xindian River (plus midnight breakfast)

» 01/24/16: My 15 favorite cafes near Shida (and a bit of Taida) in Taipei

» 12/11/15: You should make Dominique Ansel's banana bread, plus these other recipes

» 12/09/15: How to watch Star Wars, plus JEDI DANCE FIGHT

» 11/18/15: I got married! And I moved to Norway!

» 08/18/15: My 80-something favorite places to eat in New York City

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