Friday, March 30, 2012

New York: Doughnuts for Breakfast is a Must - Day 1

As soon as I got back from Taipei, I unpacked and packed right away since I was heading to New York the next night with Ben, Audrey, Ahrhan, and Diana. It's definitely the most flying I've ever done over a 2 day span, a 10-hour flight from TPE-LAX then 6-hour flight from LAX-JFK.

I gotta admit, I was a little scared how my body and internal clock would react, and even though I only got 3 hours of sleep on the flight to NYC, I felt okay once I got on the subway and hit the streets of NY. Why? Because I was about to have the famous Doughnut Plant for breakfast :]

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand St
Between Suffolk St & Norfolk St
Lower East Side
New York, NY 10002

doughnut plant
We decided to go to the Lower East Side location since that was the original and we planned to head towards Chinatown afterwards. Rainy weather the whole day.


We had to wait in line for about 10 minutes... much better than the 1-hr wait at the Doughnut Vault in Chicago :P Damn those kids eating their donuts already.

They also have churros!

Yum cake donuts all nicely presented in a case.

yeast on racks
Yeast donuts on the rack.

Our donuts! :]

We decided to get 4 things to share.

Mexican Churros. They say it is authentic churros and I gotta say, it's pretty close to the ones I've had on the streets in Mexico. Would've been better if it was hot or warm

chocolate yeast
Valrhona Chocolate Yeast Donut. Yeast donut that's completly coated with chocolate!

Awesome donut the size of my hand!

First bite? Gloriously chocolatey. All the holes in the donut tells me that it is a yeast donut made right!

Hazelnut Yeast Donut. Ben was adamant about getting this one haha.

Nice coarse chopped hazelnut sprinkled on top of a sugar-glazed donut.

pineapple cake
I wanted to try a cake donut as well so went with the Pineapple Cake Donut.

pineapple cake
Actual pineapple chunks!

bite of cake
Very dense, very good. The pineapple-sugar glaze was really good since it was a little bit of tart and sweet at the same time.


Afterwards, we head towards Chinatown but right across from Doughnut Plant is The Pickle Guys! I've actually seen them on TV and Ahrhan marked it down as one of the places she wanted to check out.

The Pickle Guys
49 Essex St
Between Grand St & Hester St
Lower East Side
New York, NY 10002

They were bringing shipments in and storing underground early in the morning haha.

pickle guys
The Pickle Guys!

pickled items
All sorts of items being pickled from cucumbers, peppers, and olives to even fruits! We tried a bit of the spicy pickled pineapple. Daaaamn it was sour and spicy.

Decided to get 3 full sour pickles for $2.

full sour
Full sour pickles.

Definitely looked pickled as the cucumber has lost its bright green color.

super sour
First bite? Holy crap it was sour. We all had that scrunched up look on our face. We later let a few others friends living in NY try it and they all thought it was perfect. I guess West Coast peeps are just too weak sauce for full sour hahah.

Afterwards, we headed towards Chinatown as we searched for some cheap potstickers for breakfast!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Taipei: Ramen Before My Flight - Day 4

Day 4 meant that it was the last day in Taipei for me on this work trip. Diana, Cyeh, Sophia, and I planned to have lunch around the City Hall area since I was gonna be in that general area for work.

We really didn't know where to go for lunch so we ended up walking around a bit and somehow ended up at at ATT Center once again. Like all shopping centers and department stores in Taiwan, there's a restaurant area on the top floors. We got up there and instantly I was drawn to Sanji 三士 because there was a line forming outside! Sanji turned out to be a ramen shop and I've been craving good ramen for awhile so we decided to wait out the 20 minutes in line!

Sanji 三士
ATT 4 Fun Xinyi Store 5F
12, Songshou Rd, Taipei

Outside it says that it is Kagoshima-style ramen. Don't really know if Sanji came from Japan or just a ramen shop with Kagoshima-style ramen. Never had Kagoshima-style ramen so I was very excited to try!

You can add $65NT to make your ramen into a combo, so I figured why not. Picked the chasu bowl with Calpico as my drink and they came first!

pork rice bowl
Chasu Rice. Very big bowl of rice... much bigger than the ones I'm accustomed in the States. Nice flavor on the pork but there should be more :P

I've drank so much Calpico on this trip... yet still not sick of it!

deluxe ramen
I ordered the Deluxe Ramen 華麗三士拉麵, which was #1 on the menu. Comes with 4 slices of chasu, soft-boiled egg, and a bunch of toppings. Kagoshima-style ramen has a tonkotsu/seafood-based broth with thicker noodles than normal ramen. Soup is very nice although it is a bit salty. I can see why the thicken curvy ramen would be popular since it gives it "Q" and gives it a nice bite!

I think Santouka is still up there for me, especially the one I've had in Japan, but this is definitely one of the better ramen I've had in Taiwan! Over the past 2 years, I've noticed more and more of these specialty ramen shops opening up. Gotta make an effort to visit a few more the next time I am in Taipei.

soft boiled egg
Great soft-boiled egg. Perfectly cooked.

Chasu. Good mix of fatty and lean parts.

Others' Longma Ramen 龍馬拉麵, which is essentially a simpler version of mine. Less toppings with two slices of chasu and only half an egg.


Afterwards, said bye to all and went back to work. Of course I stopped by Ten Ren again since it was at ATT but didn't take a picture of it this time. Let's just say... I've had over 10 milk tea in 4 days in Taipei :P

After work, decided to head to this street near the Da An MRT Station and the post office since there's a bunch of food vendors there! Michael Lin's favorite beef noodle soup stand is there as well.

The street with all the food vendors. It's sorta like... a nightmarket except during the daytime! This picture sums up the trip pretty well too. Rained the whole time. I didn't see the sun once the whole time in Taipei haha.

da an fry stand
Somehow I always end up at this fry stand, 老K雞排. They also have steamed items here but I always get chicken here. The boss lady is crazy! She can speak English VERY WELL. I ordered in Chinese but when a Philipino lady came up, she was speaking English fluently!

chicken steak
Fried Chicken Steak. Dark meat flattened a little, breaded, they sprinkled with chili powder and white pepper seasoning!

egg cake
After I finished that, saw an egg cake 雞蛋糕 stand so decided to get that!

egg cake
Ahhh I miss egg cakes so much. Glad to get it this time around. I actually got a machine so maybe I'll try to make some one day.

Fluffy and doughy.

Before I left for the airport, decided to grab an Assam Milk Tea from 7-11 for the road.

beef noodle soup
Once again, beef noodle soup from the China Airlines VIP Lounge. Still the best lounge food ever.

dim sum
Dim sum items: dumplings, glutinous rice balls, xiao long bao, glutinous rice 粽子 (Chinese tamales), and shaomai.

glutinous rice
The glutinous rice 粽子 was my favorite out of all.

First time I sat in the China Airlines's new business class! Bigger screen!

Generally food is better on the leg from TPE to LAX... but it was whatevers... food came all at once rather than one course at a time like the LAX - TPE leg.

thai curry fish
Thai Curry Fish. Again... didn't care for it.

Very bland looking garlic bread. What happened???

Went with the Chinese-style breakfast cause they had some weird omelette on the menu again.

side dishes
Side items were better than on this leg! Bean curd & egg pancake.

side dishes
Pickled cucumber and pork sung. The pork sung in Taiwan is sooooo good. It's the pork or something... so much better.

mango bread
So this was a loaf of bread that I sneaked back from Taiwan: mango bread from the famous Pasadena Bakery 帕莎蒂娜烘焙坊 in Kaoshiung! The bread was ridiculously good. Sweet Taiwanese mango chunk baked into an artisan loaf of bread. The texture and the aroma when I heated in the oven was amazing.

award winning
This is the bread that made the bakery famous: dried logan wine loaf 酒釀桂圓大麵包. A loaf of bread with dried logan and nuts that's made without any eggs and oil. The dough is infused with wine. Amazing aroma with notes of barley! The head baker actually placed in several international events, including first in the Asian competition then 2rd in the world competition!

So I got back on a Wednesday and as soon as I unpacked, I began to pack for New York since I was leaving the next night!