If you're bold enough to name a place Amazing 66, you better be able to deliver the goods. At Olia's suggestion, we gathered up a group of 10 to test the level of amazement their food would bless us with.
What were the results? Well. We ate pretty much everything, if that's any indication. Before you read my descriptions, you should check out Kathy's entry first. It's much, much better than mine, which probably has something to do with her having ordered everything (she speaks Cantonese, yes!) and that she didn't wait weeks to jot her thoughts down. But if you want food porn, follow me...
How can a simple dish of Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce excel at deliciousness? When it's cooked to just the right point so that it's...well, not raw. They still tasted fresh and crisp and glowed with vibrant green chlorophyll (you know how I love my chlorophyll), but the cellulose has been broken down to an easily chewable degree. In other words, THIS IS GOOD STUFF.
I don't know what bean cake sauce is, but that's what this watercress was dressed with. I guess. To me it mostly tasted like...watercress. "Green substance with good health-giving properties." Like the Chinese broccoli, it was cooked to that "just right" degree. Another thumbs up.
I can't resist eggplant when it comes in the form of tender, creamy nuggets that soak in whatever flavors they're dunked in. Like oil. And...stuff. By this point I don't remember if this was spicy, but it may have been. Each bite of eggplant was like chomping into the succulent finger of a fat angel. There, I said it.
The prawn fruit salad was the most, "WTF?" inducing dish of the night. If I had known the name beforehand maybe it would've been less confusing, but without the name I was just staring confusedly at a pile of fried prawns, candied walnuts, fried wonton (or something else) skins, baby tomatoes. and honeydew chunks dressed in a thick and sweet Cheez Whiz-orange mayonnaise based sauce. What kind of salad is this? A salad on hallucinogens. Kids, don't do drugs.
I don't mean to say that it tasted bad. The fried prawns were awesome—huge, juicy, bursting with the crustacean-laden freshness—but I didn't care much for the rest. The fried skins were too brittle to hold up anything else, or maybe I picked a weak one. Gimme a big plate of those fried prawns and I'd be a happy camper.
The sautéed flounder and vegetables was gone in two seconds. Or more. Another simple dish that was cooked to perfection. Although it was sauced with something that gave it a glistening sheen, I can't remember what the flavors were. Fish? Fish. That's all I remember.
I was blown away (in the non-literal sense) by the roast chicken with preserved vegetables. How often does roast chicken come out with a crackly crispy skin? In my experience, never. The meat was a sponge of chicken juices wrapped in a cracker of chicken fat. Do not resist the chicken juice sponge.
Next was the star of the night: pumpkin with short ribs, aka the dish that Olia had been drooling over for ages and would give up her unborn child to try. It had the most elaborate presentation out of all of our dishes involving a silver pedestal, a precise cutting by the waiter, and maybe an accompanying trumpet fanfare to properly introduce the pumpkin and meat into our bellies.
After the waiter cut around the pumpkin (of the kabocha variety), the slices rolled back in a pool of curry sauce to reveal a heart of BEEF. Not just any beef but fork-tender meat oozing with ...meat. Meat ooze. Yeah. Oozing with meat ooze. And it wasn't just the beef that fill our mouths with win, but the pumpkin too. God knows what magical power had kept it upright considering how puddingly-soft the flesh was. It could've been used as baby food; almost no effort was required to break it down.
Kathy managed to score us free dessert. Because she has magical powers of persuasion...and knowledge of Cantonese. Our reward was hong dao sah, a hot red bean and tapioca pearls-based soup. While I've eaten this dessert before (it's a common Chinese dessert), I'm just taking Kathy's word for it when she says that this soup was of the perfect consistency. It was somewhat thick, definitely not thinned down. While most of us appeared to enjoy it, Jeremiah's bowl was noticeably full. What was his objection to the dish?
"It has hot beans!"
He said more than that, but that's all I remember. And after hearing those two words together I couldn't stop repeating, "hot beans." Yet more evidence that I'm missing a chunk of my brain.
We also received a plate of sliced oranges. That piled on top of a stomach full of vegetables, rice, meat, and other various bits of matter sounds like some kind of digestive catastrophe (not that that stopped me from eating some oranges), but hey, I'm not dead yet. Maybe the orange just trickles down between all the other goo. I don't know much about physiology.
If you want proof that this meal was consumed by more than three people, here's Tristan, Carol, Kathy and Alice. I'll protect the identities of the others. :P (My photos of the other 50% of the table didn't come out so hot.)
Amazing 66 lived up to its name. Besides the food, the service was also up to par. First off, all the dishes came out surprisingly quickly (which was great because we were hongry), but in an order that made sense: vegetables first, then meat dishes, then meatier dishes, thus slowly easing us into a food coma. On top to that we scored the free dessert. Hell yeah.
Why did we torture our engorged bellies with more food at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory? No good reason, really. It's just hard to resist CICF when in Chinatown—even after eating a meal that included dessert—because they have flavors you can't easily find elsewhere.
I was disappointed by the taro ice cream, but the lychee sorbet tasted great—clean, fruity flavor without too much sweetness. I much prefer the taro at Sundaes and Cones, which has a strong starchy taro-y flavor and a thicker texture, presumably from the amount of taro it contains. CICF's seemed to just have taro specks, which didn't lend themselves to a very flavorful ice cream. However, Carol, who is from Taiwan and has probably eaten loads more taro ice cream than I have, said that CICF's taro ice cream tasted authentic. I don't know what to think. I just don't know.
Now, for a very important poll. Which Robyn expression do you prefer?
Whatever the hell this is?
Apologies in advance if my face gives you nightmares.