Jul 142014
 

Iceskimo is a summer pop-up store in San Diego, serving snow-shaved ice! I was ultra-excited because I love snow-shaved ice, and my friend said that she visited during the soft opening and really liked it. I saw that there was a grand opening event two Saturdays ago, with free snow ice in the afternoon, so of course I had to go check it out!

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True to the pop-up concept, Iceskimo is located inside Pangea Bakery. It is open for the summer (July-September), Fridays through Sundays only.

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The shop is set up to the right of the cake display case. Pangea actually had quite a bit of space there, I wasn’t sure what was there before they opened up Iceskimo.

Here’s their menu of all the shaved snow flavors:

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I was really intrigued by their “Bubble Tea Deconstructed” snow, which had oolong milk tea snow with honey boba and condensed milk. But, the two free snows being offered that day for the grand opening special were the Fresh Strawberry and the Cookie Monster.

Fresh Strawberry Snow

Strawberry Shortcake: strawberry snow, fresh strawberries, house-made shortcake

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Jan 262014
 

I’m a huge fan of snow ice, a Taiwanese shaved ice dessert made with cream/milk, water, and sugar – sounds like ice cream, but the different is that it’s frozen into a giant block, then shaved into thin ribbons by a special machine. I really like this dessert and was a bit sad that I didn’t get to have any in Taiwan – it was too cold there for icy treats, haha – and there aren’t too many places that make decent snow ice in San Diego. The version at Yogurt Swirl is probably the best here, and my all-time favorite so far can be found at Class 302. However, I read recently on Kirbie’s Cravings that a new snow ice place called Chilly Ribbons had opened up in the Westfield Mission Valley mall, so I planned a shopping trip with S, partly for shopping, but also partly to check out Chilly Ribbons.

After doing a bit of research, I discovered that Chilly Ribbons is actually a Florida-based franchise, inspired to make snow ice by the owner’s experience at a night market in Taiwan. He wanted to introduce snow ice to America – well, he’s a tad bit late since several places have already opened up, but hey, I’m not complaining that there are more snow ice places opening up.

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The Chilly Ribbons stand can be found right in front of the Macy’s in Westfield Mission Valley (not the Macy’s furnishing store, which is on the opposite side of the mall – I first went there instead and was worried that the shop had already closed, haha).

You could see the snow ice makers… the unit in the back is shaving a block of green tea flavored snow.

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S wasn’t interested in the snow ice, so I ordered a “kiddie”-sized one for myself: green tea snow (based on Kirbie’s recommendation) with condensed milk and popping boba. They have both mango and strawberry flavored popping boba, and I chose mango.

Green Tea with condensed milk & mango popping boba [$3.75]

Green Tea with condensed milk & mango popping boba [$3.75]

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Aug 062013
 

Another revisit post… this is when you know that a) I haven’t been anywhere new lately; b) I’ve forgotten/been too lazy/been too busy to upload photos from new places that I have visited lately; and c) I haven’t been documenting my baking and cooking adventures…

Anyway, a couple of months back, I visited Yes! Pingo – shortly after their grand opening. I thought the place had pretty good tea drinks and decent Taiwanese food (albeit on the expensive side), and since then S and I have returned a couple more times, so here are a few more food items that we have tried:

Dan Zai Mian Soup 擔仔麵 [$6.50]

Dan Zai Mian Soup 擔仔麵 [$6.50]

As you can tell, this was a quick cell phone pic. Dan zai noodles was one of my favorite things to eat when I visited Taiwan; it is a type of noodle soup from Tainan, a city in southern Taiwan. There’s a pretty interesting backstory to the dish – apparently it originated back in the Qing Dynasty, with a fisherman who decided to start selling noodle soup during typhoon season, when he could not sail out to catch fish. He would sell the noodles from a “shoulder pole” – hence the name, “dan zai” meaning shoulder pole. Haha. Not sure how credible this story is, but hey, Wikipedia is never wrong! [/sarcasm]

There I went on another tangent. Haha. Anyway, I thought the noodle soup here was actually not half bad; it was pretty light, but quite flavorful. Then again, I’ve never had the real thing in Tainan (only had it in Taipei), so I hope I haven’t offended anyone from Tainan by saying that. :P The worst part about this dish were the noodles… they were overcooked (oversoaked?) and a bit mushy.

Spicy Cold Noodle 麻辣涼麵 [$6.50]

Spicy Cold Noodle 麻辣涼麵 [$6.50]

Another cell phone pic. I want to point out that this dish’s description in English is actually “Spicy Cold Noodle with Shredded Chicken”, whereas in Chinese, it’s simply Spicy Cold Noodle. Well, I ordered in Chinese, and guess what? No chicken. When it arrived I was slightly surprised, but figured I must have misread the menu. But nope, a couple of days later, one of my friends ordered this dish in English, and he got shredded chicken. I was a bit wtf?!? about this… not the first time they’ve messed up a dish, either. (Check my previous post about the beef noodle soup incident.)

Other than the chicken incident, the flavor was actually really good. I love sesame-paste-based cold noodle dishes, and even better when it’s spicy. Their chili sauce – key to this dish in my opinion – was very tasty.

Sausage on Glutinous Rice 大腸包小腸 [$6.50]

Sausage on Glutinous Rice 大腸包小腸 [$6.50]

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May 232013
 

 

I was craving an icy treat the other day (okay, specifically snowflake ice), so S and I stopped by Angels & Hearts Harajuku Crêperie after dinner (unsurprisingly, at Tea Garden). I’ve read about this place from several other bloggers, including Kirbie and CC, and I was looking forward to trying the snowflake ice. The crêpes looked pretty tempting, but maybe next time – I wanted my cold treat.

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The snowflake ice here is called Snow Angel. I suppose it fits with the cutesy theme… hehe. There are quite a few different flavors and a good selection of toppings.

 

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Green Tea Snow Angel with mango jelly & whipped cream [$3.75/reg]

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Jan 252013
 

Ever since I had snowflake ice at Class 302 in Irvine, I’ve been craving good snowflake ice. Then, when I saw Kirbie‘s posts about Yogurt Swirl, the weather was getting too cold for frozen treats (at least according to S… I’m always up for ice cream). Finally, after lunch at Original Sab-E-Lee in Rancho Penasquitos with some lovely bloggers, I suggested Yogurt Swirl, and the others jumped on board (after expressing surprise that I haven’t been there yet.. haha).

I finally remembered to take a photo of the outside! Haha. It’s a terrible photo though :P

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It’s tucked away in the plaza across the street from Lucky Seafood, on Black Mountain Rd. I would not have expected that this place would serve good snow ice (let alone snow ice at all) – too many froyo places popping up everywhere but don’t serve good froyo (insert sigh). Anyway, I am glad that Kirbie found this place :)

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There are two types of “shaved ice” treats – Hawaiian shaved ice and shaved snow. Be sure to get the right one! (By right one, I mean shaved snow which equals snowflake ice.)

It took us quite a while to decide on the flavors. In the end, we went with a large order with taro and sesame. CC says that the small is served in a cup, which doesn’t look as pretty. And of course, we wanted it to look pretty!

Here is the shop owner (who was super nice!) shaving the block of taro ice. I’ve never seen the snowflake ice machine in action so it was quite exciting for me.

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This is what the final plate looked like (it includes 2 free toppings that you can choose from the froyo toppings bar. We picked strawberries and mochi):

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Dec 122012
 

I recently visited Boiling Point in Irvine with some friends for Taiwanese hot pot. And since we were already there… of course we had to go to Class 302 for snowflake ice! I didn’t get the snowflake ice last time I visited Class 302, and I was determined to make up for it this time.

We arrived around 9pm, and there was still quite a line for dine-in – we waited about half an hour for a table of five. By then, we had already decided what we wanted to order. The five of us decided to share two orders of snowflake ice, since we were actually pretty full from hot pot. (But we always manage to make some room for dessert. I love my friends.)

Super cute apple-shaped bowls

I’ve only had snowflake ice once before, at Liang’s Kitchen. According to local snowflake ice expert Kirbie, the version at Liang’s Kitchen pales in comparison with the ice at Class 302, which tops her rankings. I was super excited.

There were quite a few varieties, and it was hard to choose, but in the end, we decided on the green tea snow and peanut snow.

Green Tea Azuki Bean: green tea snow, azuki beans, mochi, milk pudding, condensed milk

When this arrived, I realized immediately why this is good snowflake ice – look at those thin, loose layers! It was very fluffy and soft, definitely reminded me of catching snowflakes on my tongue when I was little. I loved the texture and the green tea flavor. However, I’m not a big fan of azuki beans, so I didn’t eat too much of this one (although I did work hard to dig for the pudding hidden inside).

Peanut Mochi: roasted peanut snow, mochi, honey boba (served separately), brown sugar syrup, condensed milk

All of us actually liked the Peanut & Mochi snow better. As you might have noticed, the snowflake is shaved into thin, flat layers, whereas the green tea snow was shaved into longer pieces. The flat layers lingered a bit longer on your tongue, so you get a slightly stronger flavor. I loved the peanut flavor, intensified by the peanut powder sprinkled on top. I was also very impressed with the mochi in both of the snowflake ice’s – despite being served with such a cold dessert, it remained chewy and soft. It was really good with the peanut snow.

I was very happy with the snowflake ice experience at Class 302 – it was just as good as I had expected. If only there were one in San Diego! Thankfully, other friends and bloggers have recommended some good snowflake ice places in San Diego, so hopefully I’ll get to check those out soon.

Class 302 (Irvine location)18090 Culver Dr., Irvine, CA

Hours: Sun-Thu 11am-12am; Fri-Sat 11am-1am

Oct 022012
 

Every once in a while, S and I crave Liang’s Kitchen. I learned something interesting about the cuisine style recently: it is called “juan cun” (眷村), which refers to the villages that housed Chinese Nationalist soldiers during the Chinese Civil War. So “juan cun” cuisine started with the food served in these villages, with all sorts of mainland Chinese cooking styles. Over time, the dishes were incorporated with Taiwanese flavors, and now “juan cun” is sort of a Chinese-Taiwanese fusion. In particular, there are many flour/noodle-based dishes, which are traditionally northern Chinese. Interesting tidbit.

Anyway, it has been a while since we last visited. They seem to be offering some new specials now:

The first thing that I noticed from this sign was the 雪花冰 – they translated it to shaved ice, but the Chinese actually means “snow shaved ice,” which is a totally different experience. I was pretty stoked to try out the snow ice here.

But dinner first…

Complimentary app: spicy pickled cucumber

We were given a complimentary small dish of spicy pickled cucumbers. The cucumbers were nice and crisp, tossed in a vinegar/sesame oil/chili oil sauce. Nice and refreshing.

Stewed beef luncheon box 紅燴牛肉飯便當

S picked one of the “luncheon box” meals: rice, “main” dish, a couple of side items. The beef stew was pretty standard in flavor. The side veggies were not bad but not too memorable, either.

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