Jinxi

Apr 152014
 

When I was in Encinitas for some errands a few weeks ago, I decided to check out a highly-rated bakery nearby, VG Donut & Bakery.

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At first, I thought that the name stood for something like “Vegan/Gluten-Free”, but it turns out that it’s actually for “Very Good”, haha.

The place was quite busy, but the line moved pretty quickly.

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Bread

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Pastries

Cookies

Cookies

They had all the classic cookie flavors, and in gluten-free variety too.

Continue reading »

Apr 142014
 

Gonna wrap up my Taiwan travel posts now with a couple more restaurants, and some miscellaneous photos of cutesy things…

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Chun Shui Tang (春水堂) is purportedly the originator of the now-famous bubble milk tea. Apparently this is a topic of hot debate in Taiwan, so I’ll try to stay out of the controversy, haha. But the story goes, the product development manager, Ms. Xiu-Hui Lin, created the combination of adding tapioca pearls to iced assam tea just on a whim at a corporate meeting, and it has become the ever-popular bubble tea drink that we know and love today.

Actually, I don’t really like the tapioca pearls. Haha. I just like milk tea.

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The milk tea from Chun Shui Tang is actually better than most others – with the price to reflect its quality. The thick layer of foam that you see at the top is a result of the tea being vigorously shaken, and the foam provides a pleasantly airy texture to the tea.

We also had some dinner here…

Kung-Fu Noodles

Kung-Fu Noodles

Kung-Fu noodles is basically noodles with minced pork sauce. As you can see, portion sizes in Taiwan area quite small compared with U.S. – but that was great for me because I could try more things, haha.

Oolong-Flavored Tofu Curd and Pork Blood

Oolong-Marinated Tofu Curd and Pork Blood

Turnip Cake

Turnip Cake

Taiwanese-style turnip cake is a little different from the Cantonese-style – there’s usually very little filling in the Taiwanese turnip cakes, whereas the Cantonese ones have Chinese sausage, mushrooms, etc.

Taiwanese Sausage

Taiwanese Sausage

Mmm… grilled Taiwanese sausage is so yummy. Continue reading »

Apr 112014
 

Matcha Love is a Japanese café that opened up in the Mitsuwa grocery store. I first saw the signs for the store about a week before the grand opening, which took place on March 28. Well, I couldn’t pass up anything matcha, so on the second day, I gathered up a few friends to check it out.

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Erm, sorry for that ginormous glare spot… Here’s a better photo of the menu prices:

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The offerings here are quite simple: ice cream, hot tea, hot latte, shakes, and boba tea.

Matcha Shake [$3] and Matcha Ice Cream [$3]

Matcha Shake [$2.80] and Matcha Ice Cream [$3]

The Matcha Shake was actually not a milkshake, like we all thought it would be. Continue reading »

Apr 092014
 

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a food truck lunch… As I’ve mentioned in some of the previous reviews, there was a good variety of food trucks that stop by near my workplace. Lately, though, I’ve noticed that some of my old favorites are either gone or have gone down in food quality. Sad. But when Devilicious started coming around my workplace, I was really excited because I love grilled cheese sandwiches, and I had heard good reviews of the food here. 

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The truck itself is pretty adorable (there were too many people around and I didn’t want to take a picture), thanks to the devil logo:

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For my first visit, my labmate and I split two sandwiches (cell phone pics here):

Butter-Poached Lobster Grilled Cheese [$12]: butter-poached lobster tail meat, melted jack & cheddar cheeses, caramelized onion, roma tomatoes on sourdough bread

Butter-Poached Lobster Grilled Cheese [$12]: butter-poached lobster tail meat, melted jack & cheddar cheeses, caramelized onion, roma tomatoes on sourdough bread

Duck Confit Grilled Cheese [$10]: shredded duck confit, caramelized red onions, gruyere & mozzarella cheeses, honey port reduction on sourdough bread

Duck Confit Grilled Cheese [$10]: shredded duck confit, caramelized red onions, gruyere & mozzarella cheeses, honey port reduction on sourdough bread

The bread was grilled to a perfect crisp and quite buttery. Continue reading »

Apr 072014
 

I’ve been thinking about mini donuts for a while – they’re super adorable, and since each one is so tiny, it can’t be all that bad to eat one… or two… or maybe ten, right? Well, my dear sister gifted me with a mini donut pan a while back, and I finally put them to good use and match a batch of cinnamon sugar donuts!

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I had never made donuts before, either baked or fried, so I turned to my trusty blogger buddy’s recipe on Kirbie’s Cravings for the donut base. I had cinnamon on my mind, though, so I dipped them in cinnamon sugar as a topping. 

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I was really surprised at just how many donuts the recipe made! I didn’t read it super carefully because I was so excited to be making donuts, haha. I was thinking that I really needed another mini donut pan so that I could bake more at once. The recipe below made about 48 mini donuts, which meant 4 rounds of baking in my 12-cavity pan

I didn’t mind too much, though, because these were so delicious – especially when they were hot – so I kept sneaking freshly-baked donuts while I was waiting for the pan to cool for the next batch! I hope you enjoy them as much as S and I did!

Continue reading »

Apr 042014
 

Amardeen is a Lebanese restaurant in the Towne Center plaza in UTC. Honestly, even after living in UTC for so long, I only had a vague idea that this little plaza existed… haha. My friend I.F. is a big fan of the place and has been asking S and I to try it, and on a recently Sunday, we went to check it out for lunch.

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The place was pretty deserted for Sunday lunch, but I.F. says that some days it can get crowded. 

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The interior was quite bright and clean, and I really enjoyed the simple but cute decor.

The menu was quite extensive (available online) and we had a hard time deciding what to order. S and I were both quite surprised at how pricey some of the entrées were.

Lamb Kebab [$20]: two skewers of marinated cubes of lamb, served with basmati rice, hummus, tomatoes, green pepper, and onions

Lamb Kebab [$20]: two skewers of marinated cubes of lamb, served with basmati rice, hummus, tomatoes, green pepper, and onions

After debating for a long time, S chose the lamb kebab plate. I thought the lamb tasted a little too gamey for my liking, and the meat wasn’t really flavorful. In contrast, I liked the grilled pepper and onions much more than the meat itself. The hummus was quite tasty, too – I guess I liked everything on the plate besides the lamb itself, haha.

I must admit that even though it’s pricey, the portion size was quite generous – in addition to all that’s pictured above, he also had a choice of French fries, salad, or soup. Guess which one he picked?

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French Fries

The French fries were served in a really cute cone Continue reading »

Apr 022014
 

Here’s another easy weeknight dinner recipe – cold sesame noodles! This is one of my favorite Chinese dishes, and I’ve ordered it before at Yes! Pingo and Infini Tea. However, I wanted to try making my own version, and it turned out to be super simple and delicious.

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 For the main ingredients, I used shredded chicken, sliced cucumbers, and sliced carrots – but you can use whatever you like. Some ideas for my next batch are spam, tofu curd, mung bean sprouts, and shredded cabbage.

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The shredded chicken took the longest to prepare. While it was poaching, I also cooked the noodles and put the sauce together. I think it took just over 20 minutes from starting my prep to calling S for dinner – now that’s what I like for my weeknight dinners.

One of the key components in the sesame sauce was rice vinegar – it adds a touch of acidity to brighten up the dish, and also thins out the sesame sauce so that it can coat the noodles evenly. After adding the vinegar, you can actually see the sauce going from pasty to really smooth.

I was fortunate enough to receive a couple of samples of Marukan Rice Vinegar, a premium vinegar brand. Marukan vinegar is slow-brewed for maximum flavor and less acidity, and uses all-natural ingredients. I found out that the company has actually been around since 1649! Crazy. Well, you know their product must be good if it’s withstood the test of time – in this case, centuries of time.

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I was sent both their original rice vinegar and the seasoned version. For this recipe, I simply used the original. I’ll be featuring the seasoned gourmet rice vinegar in a future post! Definitely try out Marukan rice vinegar if you haven’t before! It has a really nice taste compared with other brands that I’ve tried before, much less pungent. In fact, S – who is normally really sensitive to the acidity of vinegar – said that he really enjoyed the flavor and said that I could use even more vinegar next time, haha. Well, maybe I will try it out for the next recipe, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy these cold sesame noodles!

Continue reading »

Mar 312014
 

‘Lette Macarons is a popular macaron chain shop based in Los Angeles. Recently, they opened a stand at the UTC Westfield Mall. I have been really happy with the changes that have taken place in UTC throughout the past couple of years – new shops such as Free People and the Sony store, and even a Tesla showroom, restaurants like Craft Pizza Company and Tender Greens, and dessert shops, including Bottega Italiana and now, ‘Lette.

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I’ve had ‘Lette macarons once, when a friend brought them back from LA. My initial impression was that they were quite sweet, but I only had a couple of flavors wanted to try some more.

I felt really shy about taking photos of the stand, but they had some really adorable macaron display stands. You can see more photos of them on Kirbie’s Cravings.

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An individual macaron is $1.95, and a box of six is $11.

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Salted Caramel; Coffee; Lemon; Earl Grey; Sweet Almond Wedding; Pistachio

Sadly, as you can see, the Sweet Almond Wedding macaron cracked a bit in the box… sob. Continue reading »

Mar 302014
 

The SDSU “College Area” Neighborhood is a part of San Diego that I don’t frequent, since it’s pretty far from where I live. But I am always interested in exploring the food and flair of new neighborhoods. Now, there’s a chance to check out the dining scene through the College Area Taste event! The event is a self-guided tour through the neighborhood, where you can sample various offerings from the participating restaurants (see list on attached flyer). It will be held Sunday, April 13 from 11AM-3PM.

The tickets are $25 per person in advance, or $30 at the door – click here for ticket ordering information. Or, keep reading for a chance to win a pair of tickets!

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Courtesy of McFarlane Promotions, I will be giving away a pair of tickets to the event for one lucky reader! The giveaway will run until Wednesday, April 9 at 5:59PM. I will draw a winner using random.org and notify them via email, and they must respond within 24 hours with their name and the name of their guest. (If they do not respond within 24 hours, I will draw a new winner.) Good luck!

You can have up to four entries:

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me which restaurant you’d like to sample the most.
  2. Like this post on Facebook and leave a separate comment on this post telling me that you’ve done so, and include your Facebook name if it’s different from your comment name. Make sure you are leaving a comment here and not on the FB post, and please don’t comment without liking the post because I will check.
  3. Tweet the following message: “Enter for a chance to win 2 tickets to College Area Taste via @jinxieats! http://wp.me/p2G77a-1rh” and leave a separate comment on this post telling me that you’ve done so, and include your Twitter handle. Please don’t comment without sending the tweet because I will check.
  4. Follow my Pinterest page and leave a separate comment on this post telling me that you’ve done so, and include your Pinterest username. Please don’t comment without following because I will check.
Mar 282014
 

Craft Pizza Company is a fast-casual pizza place that recently opened in UTC Westfield Mall, and Eater San Diego made a really big deal out of it so I had to check it out. S isn’t a huge fan of pizza, but I got my friend J to accompany me for a lunch time excursion one day.

(It turns out that J had already tried Craft Pizza when it first opened, so he gave me some good tips for what to try. Yay!)

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Pizzas on display

Look at that one sad piece of pepperoni pizza left. Well, someone ordered it shortly after I took this picture, and they replaced the pepperoni with another type of pizza – I took a photo of the display case from another angle:

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You order by the slice what you want ($3.49 for cheese, $3.69 for any slice with toppings), and they will fire it up in the oven to heat it up.

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Carnitas: all-natural mozzarella, roasted pork, organic tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, poblano chiles

Carnitas: all-natural mozzarella, roasted pork, organic tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, poblano chiles

I chose two slices, Carnitas and Truffle. Continue reading »

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