I was fiddling around at work last Friday, probably not doing much actual work, when JJ messaged me asking if I were free for lunch.
HELL YES. [cue dancing robots]
It was back to Egg Custard King Cafe for us where we witnessed men in white shirts and pants bring up endless trays of freshly baked egg custard tarts from some mysterious, underground egg custard tart lair to the display counter where another employee would pop them out of the metal tart molds and place them in paper cups before arranging them on plastic trays for the hungry custard-craving public.
That was a long sentence.
We noticed a tray of freshly baked Portuguese egg custard tarts, so we thought it best to start with those. These are a real health hazard, folks; the consumption of these tarts resulted in achey burnt tongue and mouth syndrome. BUT IT'S SO WORTH IT! Seriously though, wait for these babies to cool down a bit before sinking your teeth into the silky thickened egg-based mixture. I've inflicted all kinds of abuse to the roof of my mouth and it still hasn't recovered.
JJ ordered a spam and egg sandwich ($1.75) while I went for the sweet, condensed milk and peanut butter sandwich ($0.75). You don't get much, but you don't pay much either. I assume that the spam and egg combination is a somewhat old Chinese thing (influenced by...COLONIALISM? Like condensed milk) that I never grew up with. Really, I can't recall ever having eaten spam before.
It's pretty good! I won't dream over the pink, raw meat-colored slabs of processed meat on a regular basis, but I'd eat it again. The egg was cooked much better than how I could do it, which goes to show how much I suck at cooking. To tell you the truth, I like my eggs overcooked. I'm fine eating them undercooked too, but I don't care either way, thus I always overcook my eggs for the easiness factor (well...easy beacuse I don't really give a crap about what I'm doing). My condensed milk and peanut butter sandwich was alright, but would've been much better with twice as much CM and PB...no wait, five times as much. Yes'm, you know you want it.
We also shared an appetizer that we had spied on someone else's table the last time we visted: salt and pepper squid. From the name alone I wouldn't guess that it's deep fried, but apparently "salt and pepper" is code for deep fried. Alrighty.
The dish was tasty as most freshly fried things coated in salt and pepper mooshed with crispy garlic bits would be, but it was definitely tougher than most humans would prefer and not cleaned very well either (the tendon-y things inside the tubes that should've been taken out after cleaning the squid were...still in there). Despite that, we happily ate it all. I'm not going to complain for $5.
I finished my meal with a hot cup of Ovaltine at JJ's suggestion. She was surprised that I had never tried it before (she's been surprised by a lot of things I've never eaten...my god, I'm so not Chinese, it scares me, because then what am I?!) and I figured it wouldn't hurt to try. I think Ovaltine, which is made of sugar, malt extract, cocoa, and whey, could use more sugar and cocoa, but then I guess that would make it hot cocoa. It's a mildly flavored drink that's pleasant to sip, but I can't imagine getting a hankering for this like I would for hot chocolate. Or water.
Our final bill came to $12. Woohoo! Sometime I love being cheap, although no so cheap that I'm living off of ramen and pop tarts. I purposely requested that we not eat much since I had a dinner to go to that night, but it's hard to spend a lot of money at this place even if you are really hungry.
Where did I go that night? Oh ho ho...well, you already know since you read the title. I invited seven friends (Janet, Diana, Nathan, Sarah, Tristan, Patty, and William) to eat dinner together at Alice's Tea Cup on Friday night and thought it best to make reservations. However, I found out that reserving a table for eight or more people meant that everyone had to get the same $25 Mad Hatter platter. I also found out that Alice's is less crowded at dinner than lunch, so we probably wouldn't have a problem getting a table, even as a group of eight. The woman on the phone told me that if we walked in as a group, we could order whatever we wanted...
...But. Um. No. We actually awkwardly got split into three tables (Janet brought three friends, so that worked out for her) since sitting at one table of eight people meant we'd have to go with the fixed price thinger. The table regulation sent Diana, Patty and William to sit at another table that while just a few feet from my table felt more like it was miles away. I was kind of confused, but at least my and Janet's (that sounds grammatically incorrect) combined parties, which ended up being 11 people total, got to take up the whole back room.
HAHA, THE ROOM, IT IS OURRRSSSS.
We spent about a bagillion years trying to figure out what we wanted. The other table started with some baked goods.
I didn't try any of these baked goods, but I assume they were all agreeable. The gluten free cupcake had a sad, hard, hocky puck-like frosting top that Diana chose to not eat, but she did finish the cake. If Diana eats it, it must be pretty good. She's not the kind of person that would eat food just because it's there. That's...um, me.
Diana's chicken salad looked impressive. Even I'd want to eat it, and I'm not a huge fan of salad. She and Patty shared a scone, which you can see comes with cream and jam on the side. Just like scones should be. Hell, other things besides scones should come with cream and jam. Like...all pastries. Even sandwiches. Slather on that cream like it's actually good for your health and not the complete opposite.
At some point, Tristan, Sarah and I decided to order a Mad Hatter tea set to share. $6 per person gets added to the base price of $27, which isn't too bad. Between the three of us we shared four scones, two sandwiches, an assortment of cookies, and a chunk of cake, besides that we all got our own pots of tea. Although everything was awesome (I'll go through some of the items), it was so much freakin' food. As much as we wanted to eat every last delicious carby crumb, we just couldn't do it. And we love carbs! LOVE. WE HEART THE CARBS MUCHLY! It was sad to leave behind such tasty scone morsels behind, but sometimes you have to admit defeat. The tea set destroyed us.
I already knew I liked these scones, but these were the best I had had at Alice's. Why? Because....because. [thinks] Warm. Melty. Buttery. Carb chunks. If you can smell the deliciousness before you taste it, ye know it's gonna be good. Blueberry, vanilla cinnamon, pumpkin, cherry...these aren't the exact flavors (I'm using the receipt, which was written in shorthand, as a guide), but they were something like that. I can't pick a favorite. THEY WERE ALL JUST VERY GOOD, and I hope you trust my judgement enough to use that statement as a reason to eat them. They're pretty huge too; we couldn't even eat one scone each.
The smashed, streaky remains of a dead fly on this pristine windshield of delicousness (worse metaphor ever) were the sandwiches. No, they weren't that bad, but just like my first visit, I didn't really like them, nor could I even finish my 1/3rd portions. I think it's just my preference in that I don't like these kinds of cold, tea sandwiches (which might be why I avoided eating sandwiches for most of my life). We ordered the "curried chicken salad sandwich with red onion, celery and granny smith apple on semolina with golden raisins and fennel" [takes a breath] and "smoked salmon open-faced with lemon-dill butter on black bread". I liked the curry one more, but that pesky tomato slipped out and the whole thing kinda fell apart after I took a few bites (it was a 1/3rd slice after all).
The smoked salmon one in my opinion did not taste like smoked salmon, unless it was some special kind of smoked salmon that was especially hard and...not flavored with salmon-ness. However, it's probably just my taste, as Sarah liked that sandwich. Sarah informed me that it was a CUMIN CARROT SANDWICH, HAHAHAHA...HAHA...OH MY GOD, that makes a lot more sense now. (hangs head in shame)
For me, it's all about the sweets.
Going from top to bottom, these cookies and cake chunk were last in our feast of carby delights after the scones and sammiches. I was too stuffed to fully indulge in these treats, but...I tried. The cookies, which included chocolate chip, chocolate macaroon, gingersnap, and other things I can't remember, were pretty good and I enjoyed the fluffy "mocha chocolate chip cake", which as you can see isn't slathered in frosting. I like frosting, but without it a chunk of cake is kind of like a muffin or other quick bread with more sugar and in slice form...which is totally cool with me since I love muffins. Oh, how I love muffins.
We stared at the remains. Do we eat it? Take home the meager remains? We decided it was best to leave them there since we'd certainly scarf them down against our stomachs' wishes if we did get them wrapped up. Sometimes you have to know your limits.
...Alright, days afterwards Sarah and I were still thinking about how sad it was that we didn't take any leftovers home with us. Oh, the regret.
Nathan ordered "alice's BLT with blue cheese spread on toasted black bread". I think he finished it, so it must've been pretty good. I hope his sandwich eating experience was better than mine.
I forgot to mention the tea. In all honesty, I am so not a tea person. It's not just tea though; beverages don't really capture my heart in any way. I love water, but I think that's because I truly need it for my body to function. My description of tea (well, unsweetened and un-milked Chinese tea) is that it tastes like dirty water. Some people might be aghast at such a description (please don't shoot me), but...come on, you leave a bunch of leaves in water and that's supposed to taste good? I don't feel like tea is something you love from day one, but rather force yourself to like by drinking it excessively or from the necessity of needing some kind of simulant/relaxant (which are two functions of tea...depending on what kind it is and how its brewed, methinks?).
Anyhoo, I got tea because we were at a tea place. Also, it came with the tea set. I ordered Phoenix Dessert something or other (can't find it online) that was listed as having a bunch of flavors that I couldn't really discern. After adding three packs of sugar, it transformed from "tastes like tea" to "tastes like awesome"! Haha! Cream probably would've made it more awesome. Sarah's chai tea was really tasty (sugar and cream, hooyeah) but Tristan said his tea was tasteless. I didn't try it to confirm, but I'm probably not the best person to do that. Tristan actually likes tea. Actually, just about everyone I know likes tea, coffee, or both
And then there's me. Sitting in the corner. Along. With a pointy hat that says, "WARNING: THIS GIRL DOES NOT <3 THE TEA, APPROACH WITH CAUTION."
Diana loves taking photos of people (as opposed to food, which is my thing—it's kind of funny how we both love taking photos, but with very different purposes in mind), so...she did. She staged the photo of Patty and William, but at my table we just happened to look like that. For better or worse. Sarah is on my right, which is why you can't see her. MY GIRTH COMPLETELY BLOCKS SARAH! Or maybe that's just the angle.
I didn't realize until I saw Diana's photos that I didn't take any photos of just people. Scones? Yes! Cookies? Of course! Humans? WHA? Not just any humans, but some of my favorite humans! How did I forget? Maybe it's all in here [taps brain].
Or not. I like taking silly staged photos of people ("STUFF THIS COOKIE INTO YOUR FACE!!!"). Seriousness and things of high artistic quality are not my strong points (yeah, can you tell?), which was apparent to me in photography class when we had to present our work to our peers. I noticed that many other people had...messages behind their photos. I told the class that any of my photos that come out good are probably out of luck. Other people had the same idea about their photos too, but really, luck is key. I wasn't trying to portray any deep messages in my photos. I'm not deep. I'm a mere puddle.
...And that was very apparent last weekend. If you think I'm silly on a regular basis (I am, kinda), then mutiply that to the hundredth power and you'll end up with however I was over the weekend. Tristan is a very dear friend of mine from out of town that I first met about one and a half years ago through his best friend Stephanie, whom I've actually been online friends with since 8th grade (and I think I met Stephanie through another longtime online friend who I may meet for the first time this summer!...whoa, is this getting complicated?). Our friendship is mainly online based, so for anyone (like my mum) who thinks two people can't get to know each other really well or develop a strong friendship online...just stop. Most people reading this probably have formed strong online relationships, but there are people out there who are still skeptical that such a thing could happen and it drives me insane.
Oh well. Sucks fer youuu! I'm very lucky to have Tristan as a friend, but didn't realize that until we spent three days together communicating through the power of silliness. What is the power of silliness? It's...it's...you'll know if you've done it. It's not having to second guess anything that you say. It's knowing that you can say the stupidest thing in the world and no one will care. It's being able to poke someone in the nose at random times for no reason besides that it's funny. It's knowing that you can repeatedly make insulting remarks as a joke. It's being comfortable no matter what the situation.
...Except tickling. No one tickle me, okay? Unless you want to be kicked or punched by my lack of muscle power. Good.
Just a random note, I've noticed that this wee blog has been getting a lot more hits lately. Not enough to be uber-impressive (or else I might reveal my stats), but...more than before. Thanks for coming by! If you've read this far, I'm happily surprised.