Friday, October 28, 2011

Snapshot/Japanese: i still strongly recommend SUMIE at SAN WANT HOTEL

shrimp with pea jelly and sashimi

SUMIE NOUVELLE CUISINE JAPANESE
at San Want Hotel, 4th Floor
No. 172, Zhong Xiao East Road, Sec 4
(02) 2781-6909

MRT: ZhongXiao/DunHua or SYS Memorial Hall

website: sanwant.com 

hours: 11:30AM- 2PM; 5:30PM-9PM

$$-$$$

Kid friendliness: high chairs and kids dinnerware available. 

Visit reviewed: 10/27/2011 (all photos from iphone 4G)
Previous reviews: 11/18/2010 and 10/24/2006 and 8/14/2005


steamed fish with daikon and mushrooms

Even though I've been eating my way through Taipei, I still love the business lunch set at Sumie. I can count on the consistently amazing sashimi and lamb chops, and be surprised by the varying artful appetizer courses that change seasonally. Other lunch set choices include eel unagi don, beef sukiyaki, seafood mini hotpot, miso glazed codfish, or a vegetarian set option, and most for under NT$1000 for 8 courses.

It's a splurge for lunch, but trust me, it's worth it especially when I think about a lot of the places I've been eating in the same price range recently for less food or lesser quality and ended the meal a lot less satisfied.

set menu salad, requested without raisins!


I'm still playing catch up with my backlog of restaurant reviews and photos to photoshop, addresses to translate, and dealing with unstable internet connection (boo!), so follow me on Facebook or Twitter for the most up to date eats and random thoughts of mine. And don't just stalk! Say hi, leave comments!

Sumie grilled lamb chops with steamed mushroom rice and miso soup

I'll let the pictures do the talking in this one, or read my previous reviews about Sumie so I don't procrastinate this post too.

Everything was delicious. The end. (Can I write all my posts this way? Haha!)


tiramisu wrapped with mochi

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

afternoon tea: WOOBAR at W HOTEL


WOO BAR
at W HOTEL
No. 10, Zhongxiao East Road Sec. 5
(02) 7703-8887

MRT: Taipei City Hall

website: wtaipei.com

hours: 3-5 PM daily for afternoon tea

$$$

Kid friendliness: fancy lounge area for posh kids

Visit reviewed: 8/16/2011


When Food je t'aime wanted to meet for afternoon tea at the W Hotel, it was the perfect opportunity for me to check it out too. Since the W Hotel had opened in February 2011, I had seen many a friends' Facebook check in there and at the Woo Bar, so I was curious. And I had been to the stylish and modern Yen, the Chinese restaurant at the W. So I expected no less from the Woo Bar.

from wtaipei.com

Full of oversized cherry red plush lounge chairs and a view of the pool, Woo Bar is definitely a prime place to people watch. The menu is presented on bright neon colored cards and I wondered if there would be a day where I would order the million dollar burger for NT$2200 with waygu beef, seared foie gras and tallegio cheese. Not today.

Instead, we oohed and aahed when the angular afternoon tea set for two (NT$1400) was brought to the table. With a black and white theme, it was definitely one of the most modern and pretty presentations for afternoon tea I'd ever seen. Not just simple tea sandwiches here- instead there were lobster cream eggs and black and white gummy bears. Kind of random, but



After sampling the various layers, I preferred the set's sweets over the savory. Our favorite surprise was were the white chocolate bon bons with pop rocks hidden in the center. I also liked the mini lemon meringue tarts and black and white sesame macarons.



But there were a few misses for me- too much cream on stale-ish toast Caviar Crisps and soft apple chips.


And I thought these were dense cupcakes, when on the website I found out later they were Valrhona Guanaja Brownies.


Eye candy for sure, but with so many options for afternoon tea to explore in Taipei, I was hoping to be wooed by more than presentation.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dessert/bakery: i strongly recommend WE LOVE COOKIES


WE LOVE COOKIES
No. 17, Lane 283, Luo Si Fu Road, Sec. 3
(02) 2369-5555

MRT: Gongguan & Taipower Bldg

website: We Love Cookies Facebook page

hours: 5 PM - 10 PM; Closed Mondays





$

Kid friendliness: buy extras for yourself because the kids will eat them all

Visit reviewed: 8/17/2011


In the most random of places, my sister finds the most amazing cookies in Taipei. While waiting for my to-go order at Sababa (the Gongguan one behind Tai Yi Milk King), she wanders next door and we see trays and trays of fat, freshly baked cookies. The store doesn't even look like a store, with random things on the floor in the back. There's no sign, there's no seats, there's no prices on a menu. Just a guy giving us samples of every cookie, some of them still warm.


The chocolate ones dusted with powdered sugar were gooey and rich, like brownies. The one I kept thinking about was the cornflake cookie with an addictive crunch. I also liked the matcha green tea cookies and the chocolate chip cookies made with brown sugar.  There are also cupcakes and cheesecakes available. I had to buy some to take home, even after all those samples- 5 for NT$100, and after I ate them, I wished I had bought more.

We love cookies. Yes, we do.

Monday, October 17, 2011

not Taipei: LA food trucks- LOBSTATRUCK, A ROCKIN ICE, LUDO TRUCK, INDIA JONES CHOW TRUCK



A trip to LA is not complete without the "food truck experience." It's so LA that there's even a reality show about it now. The best is when you get a bunch of them in one spot so you can pick and choose, kind of like a food truck food court, or a night market on wheels (hey, Taiwanese night market food truck, anyone?). It's not just about Korean fusion tacos anymore- everyone with an idea seems to have gotten into the action. I even spotted the spiraled potato chips on the stick that I've seen forever ago at the Taiwanese night market on a LA food truck- for US$7!

My favorites this summer?

-LOBSTATRUCK



Lobster rolls for $12, filled with tender chunks bathed in mayo or butter (or both!) and a buttered up, warm, toasted roll. Can't go wrong. Get 2 if you're really hungry or a crab roll, since they take credit cards!

-A ROCKIN ICE


Shaved ices the size of a puppy dog- these were seriously huge and melted faster than we could eat it. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream at the bottom, you could suck up the sugar water from the rainbow shaved ice like a float, or scoop up the ice up top.

-LUDO TRUCK





I know the Ludo Truck is famous for the fried chicken (wings or balls, your pick), but what I really love is the honey lavender biscuits. They are seriously addictive. While the chicken is not cheap (3 pieces for $9), it's cheaper and easier to get than a Ludobites dinner. I made my own chicken and waffles combo by getting the chicken from Ludo Truck and the waffles from 

-WAFFLES DE LIEGE


Liege waffles ($4.50) are made with pearl sugar which carmelizes when they are made, so you get a crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, sweet waffle that doesn't really need additional sauces or ice cream that are also offered. The wait for these took longer than Ludo Truck, but once you try these waffles, you might not be able to eat any other kind.

-INDIA JONES TRUCK



Chicken tikka masala is my favorite kind of curry and India Jones served it perfectly sweet and creamy with tender chicken and basmati rice. They also serve frankies and paratha, (rotis rolled up with meat or vegetables). I am drooling looking at this picture and might have to go eat some Indian food tomorrow.

Follow them on twitter to find out their next location and times!
@lobstatruck
@arockinice
@ludotruck
@wafflesdeliege
@indiajonesCT

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

new in town: ATT 4 FUN



ATT 4 FUN
No. 12 Song Shou Rd.

MRT: Taipei City Hall



Does the Xinyi district need another mall or more restaurants to eat at? Apparently it does. In addition to the now iconic Taipei 101, there's the Vieshow Theaters complex, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi malls (A9, A11, A8 and A4), Eslite Bookstore mall, Bellavita and the Hankyu mall- all in walking distance from the Taipei City Hall MRT exit and newish mega Taipei Bus center.



And remember that building next to Viewshow/across from 101 with the faux Statue of Liberty in front of it- New York New York? It's closed last year, went under renovations and opened recently as ATT 4 Fun.


It has a lot of the old tenants from the old NYNY- McDonald's, Starbucks, Mr. Donut, Coldstones and Ireland's Potatoes- are back and a bit jazzed up. And a glance at the directory and walk through the mall shows that there are quite a few new restaurants and dining options to explore as it opens up, as well as new locations of familiar names like the Diner and whiple house for the area. There's also going to a club and sky lounge for the late night crowd.


Just a glance at some of the restaurants spotted on the 4th and 5th floors- Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, desserts....





Gelato and coffee and waffles from Glacio...




This one I thought was funny- if you're looking for shabu shabu, pizza AND yogurt, it's your one stop shop.


Snacks galore...



I stopped by the 6th floor, but it was still in a phase of construction. It's kind of exciting to have new options besides the food courts, though I still have to check out a lot of the new stuff at Neo 19 too. With all the tourists to Taipei 101 and visitors to the various conferences and shows at Taipei World Trade Centers, I'm sure ATT 4 Fun will get crowded in no time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

not Taipei: LUO DONG NIGHTMARKET in YILAN




LUO DONG NIGHT MARKET
at Chongcheng Rd. and Xindong Rd.
Yilan, Taiwan




I LOVE night markets. It's something that you must try if you're visiting Taipei and it's something that I don't get to do often enough now that I live here. It's usually the case right? There are tons of people who live in LA that don't go to Disneyland or to Mann's Chinese Theater. How often do we get to play tourist in our own city? It's something that we should do more often.

I often get asked, where else can I go to besides Taipei? And now I can include Yilan and Luo Dong nightmarket on the list. Sprawling and packed like many other night markets, Luo Dong night market is quite large with lots of food vendors, and one section that has rows of numbered stalls. At the center of the night market is the Luodong Chungshan Park, which some people take their food to sit and eat at.



I saw a line and I had to stand in it. But it was a bit confusing- the vendors said, there's no need to stand in line, just tell us what you're ordering. So I ordered 1 box of takoyaki and waited as they poured the batter and intricately cooked up rows of octopus filled balls.


Topped with mayo and wasabi...



and bonito flakes... 



Not as mind blowing as the airy and crispy takoyaki from Japan Boat at the Gongguan night market, but a good rendition.

I also was fascinated by the guy making the oyster omelettes and was mesmerized at the assembly line production while I was waiting for my order. Imagine the number of eggs he goes through every day.







And no visit to the night market is complete without some shaved ice. Snowflake ice is creamier than the regular shaved ice and this was mango flavored ice paired with fresh mango and condensed milk.



Another thing to look for is a stall selling tapoica balls with red beans stuffed inside with shaved ice topped with honey and condensed milk. It was too crowded for me to get on this night, but I loved it when I tried it at their other location, in the food court at the Luna Plaza mall.

Wander around, explore and eat until you can't eat anymore.

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