Thursday, November 27, 2014

where can you find... thanksgiving turkey in Taipei 2014?

photo by Pig and Pepper

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Even though no one gets the day/weekend off in Taipei for Thanksgiving, my stomach still starts to crave a little turkey with candied yams this time of year. There's nothing like a plate of a pile of homemade sides with juicy turkey, but the next best thing is a hot plate with no need to clean up in the kitchen.

This year I made salted caramel apple pie pops for the first time! It wasn't as difficult or as time consuming as I thought it would be, of course since I used some short cuts like boxed pie crust and a pink pie pop machine I picked up last summer back in LA when it was on sale. Warming myself up to making a whole apple pie.


Here's a few places to call up if you decide you want to have some turkey today in Taipei. If you have a restaurant or know of one that's also doing Thanksgiving, please include it below and I'll include it on my next list!

PIG AND PEPPER (02) 2708-7899
https://www.facebook.com/pigandpeppertaipei

WHALENS (02) 2739-3037
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Whalens-味鄰/320813964677441

SHAFFER's KITCHEN (02) 8789-4088
https://www.facebook.com/ShaffersKitchen

BABA KEVIN's BBQ 0800-887-427
https://www.facebook.com/88kbbq

DAN RYAN's (02) 8780-9393
https://www.facebook.com/danryans.taipei

CARNEGIE's (02) 2325-4433
https://www.facebook.com/carnegiestaipei?rf=114277051920753

ON TAP (02) 2741-5365
http://www.ontaptaipei.com

ED's DINER (02) 8502-6969
https://www.facebook.com/EdsDinerTaipei

GRANDMA NITTI's KITCHEN (02) 2369-9751
https://www.facebook.com/grandmanittiskitchen

GRAND HYATT HOTEL BUFFET (02) 2720 1234
https://www.facebook.com/GrandHyattTaipei

AMERICAN CLUB
https://www.americanclub.org.tw/news/

The last few years I've been ordering whole turkey to carve at home and make my favorite sides like candied yams and cornbread. If you want to order a cooked whole turkey or ham for Christmas, please check out my round up from a few years ago.

And even if you don't have turkey this year, take a moment in our crazy lives to think about who and what we are grateful for and share a meal with your loved ones.

Monday, November 24, 2014

korean: TOFU VILLAGE



TOFU VILLAGE 豆腐村
at In Base
No. 68 XinHu 2nd Road, Neihu
台北市新湖二路68號
(02) 2792-4989

MRT: no MRT in walking distance to this location in Neihu

website: Tofu Village FB page

hours: 11AM - 9:30PM

$$

Kid friendliness: non spicy tofus available, many meats and appetizers and tofu ice cream at end

Visit reviewed: 9/8/2014


Tofu Village holds the prize for being the first (and only) restaurant that I've seen in Taipei that has galbi jjim on the menu. For those of you who have never had galbi jjim, it's a delicious beef short rib dish that is steamed or braised in a sweet soy sauce until it is fall off the bone tender. The pureed Korean pear, onions and kiwi in the recipe tenderizes the meat as well as adds layers of sweetness, so the sometimes tough short rib becomes melt in your mouth goodness. My standard for galbi jjim is from a little restaurant in Koreatown LA called Seong Buk Dong, which charges a small ransom for the homemade dish, but I still pay it because it's that good. I even begged a friend for crib notes of their family's recipe and made it with a thinner cut short rib that was pretty amazing.

So back to Tofu Village- was their galbi jjim worth ordering?



Korean soondubu tofu stews have become quite popular in the last few years in Taipei, so we've seen the opening of a lot of sit down restaurants, whereas before I could only find it in the mall food courts or localized Korean spots. (That's actually one reason I was surprised to see that Ari Tofu House had closed down).

The menu at Tofu Village has a couple pages of appetizers- Korean pancake, pork fried kimchi, spicy Korean rice cake (tteokbokki) which they call rice pasta, and japchae - as well as meat dishes- spicy chicken,  spicy pan fried pork and vegetables, bulgogi, and galbi jjim. There's about 13 tofu stews on the menu, including vegetarian, kimchi, clam, mushroom, seafood and ham & cheese.



Panchan that day included potato salad, kimchi, seaweed, dragon beard veggies and spicy fish cake.



I ordered the Seafood Beef combo tofu stew (NT$279) which came with shrimp, clams, oyster and beef, in a mild spiciness as well as a bowl of purple rice. Good amount of tofu, soup and stuff inside- I finished it.



The galbi jjim (NT$480) looked promising when it arrived at the table, but the meat was so tough, it was impossible to take bites of the beef. Either they didn't marinate it with the right tenderizing recipe or they didn't cook it long enough? After we showed the server, they offered to replace it and whisked it away. But the replacement dish was even worse than the first time, with a sauce and meat being too salty to eat and the meat was still rubbery. So unfortunately, I'm going to have just make it at home until I find another place that makes it. Thanks A for the recipe tips!!





And at the end of the meal, you can opt to get some ice cream made from tofu. I thought it had a weird flavor, but it's complimentary so you can give it a try. Tofu Village is decent enough that I'd come back for the tofu stews and try a few other of their dishes, but I wouldn't go out of my way eat here unless I was nearby. This particular location is in the middle of a ton of shopping centers- there's Carrefour (Taipei's Kmart), RT Mart (which has a Nike outlet), HOLA (Taipei's Bed Bath and Beyond), B&Q (hardware store, reminded me of Home Depot), and last but not least, Costco, all in walking distance from each other.  


OTHER LOCATIONS

Bellavita
No. 28 Song Ren Rd. B2, Xinyi District
台北市信義區松仁路28號B2
(02) 8729-2733

No. 50 ZhongXiao W. Rd, Sec. 1, 3F
台北市中正區忠孝西路一段50號3樓 
(02) 2371-4989

Friday, November 21, 2014

snapshot: new things spotted at Costco, November 2014



Things spotted on my recent Costco run- skillet bake it yourself cookies (tempting!), sun dried tomatoes, bacon mac and cheese, bulk fortune cookies (LOL! can you imagine a restaurant in Taipei serving these?), Snyders Honey Mustard pretzel, soft baked chocolate cookies, bottled frappucinos, and Christmas in full swing- trees, wrapping paper, decorations, candy and gifts. 












Monday, November 17, 2014

new in town: i recommend ATT4FUN 4TH FLOOR CAFES



ATT4FUN 4TH FLOOR
12 Song Shou Rd
XinYi District, Taipei

MRT: Taipei 101 or Taipei City Hall

website: ATT4Fun's FB page

hours: 11AM - 10PM

$$

Kid friendliness: lots to eat and see, surprisingly roomy walkways for strollers and families

Visit reviewed:


It's exciting to that a retail space in Taipei can redesign and innovate its space into an entire floor of eateries and Instagram worthy corners. Note to other malls- Why not have a little fun with it? Instead of just plopping a bunch of restaurants on one floor, they created a whimsical walk into a wonderland full of cafes and dessert shops.

I've seen hints of the Alice In Wonderland theme before, at Love Lovely, but here it's in full scale with rabbits guarding entrances marked Midnight and Afternoon, white Roman numerals marching along the tops of the hallways near the ceiling and even a projection of a blond haired, blue dress wearing Alice upon a misty steam, creating a hologram effect usually seen after hours at Disneyland.

This is the entrance to Midnight-






After each entrance with a black or white rabbit, there's a centerpiece display. On the Midnight section, it's a cascade of champagne glasses under a ceiling full of bubble glass lights, with a slightly creepy dressed in black mannequin in a canoe that you might see at Venetian or some new hotel in Las Vegas. The first time I walked through the fourth floor, I just looked and looked, in awe of all the details and so many things to take photos of.

New cafes and restaurants in the midnight section include- Opa! Greek Cafe, Movenpick, Cupid On, Carousel, La Mere Poulad . In the afternoon section, NOLA Kitchen, Cutty Sark, Love One and more... Here's a little peek.

Tommy's waffles


OPA Greek Tavern 




Carousel Cafe 




La Mere Poulard



Movenpick Cafe




Afternoon entrance with the white rabbit









NOLA Kitchen






Cutty Sark



Love One



Cool little layout map I spotted on a different floor.






With so many cafes and restaurants on one floor, it's a good destination for when you can't decide on what to eat, so if one places is crowded, you just wander to the next one until you find one that looks good or has seats, if you are in a hurry.


On the 6th floor, Belgian Beer Cafe closed before I had a chance to write it up (some good dishes, but uneven service and expensive for the portions, especially the ridiculously small appetizers), and was replaced by Fat Angelos (which moved over from Bellavita and looks like Belgian Beer Cafe except with a new sign and red checkered table cloths).

The 5F also went through a revamp, with the closure of BANNCHAN and San Yuan (so sad. no more chocolate xiao long boas with the 101 view) to make room for a Mr. Onion, Dubu House and Bite 2 Eat. A lot to shop and eat at ATT4Fun, with Gap and Zara Home to browse downstairs and the new Quiznos and Pizza Denise to grab a quick bite.

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