Though we really loved the little groups of Rollerskate Kids we saw along the way.
I'm not sure if this was some kind of special event or if this was a typical Saturday kind of thing. Regardless, it was really cute, kids on rollerskates, accompanied by adults, dressed up in costumes.
It really added color as we made our way along the Guadalquivir River. Finally crossing over on the Puente de Isabel II to the colorful neighborhood known as Triana. We stopped again at Mercado de Triana, picking up some Jamon Bellota Iberico Pata Negra. We'd be heading back to Madrid the next morning at it was kind of our tradition to always pack some bread, jamon, and good Spanish Olive Oil for a snack along the way.
For lunch, I went searching for a place I'd read about only once; I really don't recall where....but down the back streets of Triana, on Calle Victoria.....is this place.
Appropriately named Victoria 8. We walked in and were told that there were no tables available, all were reserved. But we asked to sit at the bar.......just wanting to graze on some tapas.
Which was no problem. It was fun watching folks walk in.....quite a few larger parties, all of which seemed like locals.
We placed our orders, got some wine, and something to start us off.
The wonderful slightly acidic tomatoes....the "taste of sunshine" I call it; matched with a nice peppery-grassy olive oil; the jamon ends, salty and chewy adds texture...and who doesn't like a little boiled egg on top of anything? A very nice rendition.
The Missus loves Her callos.
This was an ok version; the flavor a bit too mild for us.....except for that morcilla (blood sausage), which was really good. I ended up ordering that to end our meal.
The Croquetas de Rabo de Toro - "Bull's Tail Crouquettes" were rich and full of flavor.
Glad we only got three, this would have been too much of a good thing. Well mixed, melt in your mouth, beefy goodness. The potatoes were fairly crisp but quite routine.
We decided to try the Alcachofas (Artichokes ). It was the one dish we didn't care for at La Azotea and I wanted to try it again.
This version had Foie Gras and confit scallion and was delicious; some nice acid, but not too much, richness from the foie gras, sweet-pungency from the confit scallion.
The last item might have been the best; such a beautiful dish with a rather long name; Morcilla de Burgos y Piquillos con Manzana Confitada.
Burgos is famous for their blood sausage (morcilla) and this was lovely. Again, it was combination of the earthy flavors and in typical Burgos style had onions and rice. The piquillo sauce had a nice smokiness and light sweetness; the apple (manzana) confit was nicely spiced and added just the right amount of sweetness. This was delici-yoso.
We had a very nice meal and if I recall, with a couple of glasses of wine each was still less than 40 bucks. It was a very nice time, we were satisfied, but not stuffed, one of the things we really enjoy about tapas. We'd gladly, and probably will return if we're ever back in Seville.
Victoria 8 Calle Victoria 8 Seville, Spain
We made our way back to the apartment....it was Saturday and Seville was buzzing. I'll end the post with the requisite photo of Plaza San Salvador, which I've included in many of my Seville posts. As you can see; this is a happening place.
And was not too impressed with the broth. Which while not bland as it had some hints of anise; it was way too salty and barely had any beef flavor. I couldn't bring myself to finish the bowl.
The proteins were decent though and the noodles, while the usual clump at the bottom of the bowl wasn't over done.
This was ok and I wasn't planning on having pho here anytime soon. But that Beef Rib Bones sign stuck in my head.
Curious I returned and ordered a regular sized pho ($7) and them bones ($3). Which turned out to be three good sized ribs bones which I believe is used for making the broth.
This was pretty good; not boiled into a mess; there was still some nice connective tissue; tendon and stuff, with a decent amount of meat. In spite of the pho broth still being way too salty, I scraped the meat off the bone and dipped it into the broth. I had added a touch of lime to temper the saltiness a bit and this ended up being quite good.
In fact, I enjoyed the rib meat had a lot more than any of the cuts in the bowl.
And while I wish the broth here was a bit less salty, richer, with more beef flavor, it was a nice foil for that rib meat. I cleaned "dem bones" up pretty good.
I was rather satisfied with this. Not cheapo at ten bucks, but someone just told me that a bowl at Pho T Cali, which is mediocre at best, set them back twelve bucks! Framed in that manner, this was a bargain.
Pho Duyen Mai 5375 Kearny Villa Rd San Diego, CA 92123
I had made plans after we'd done quite a bit of walking and of course shopping during the day. We'd already done nearly 12 miles and would end up at nearly 15. Of course there was the requisite nap and taking a leisurely walk before dinner.
It is indeed the city of light, regardless of what the true story behind that nickname.
Just take a look at Invalides, lights shining brightly even on a foggy night like this.
We meandered our way to our dining destination; Restaurant David Toutain in Arrondissement 7. I picked David Toutain because of the namesake's innovation and skill, especially with vegetable dishes, something the Missus is leaning toward these days. I thought I'd save the heavier and more traditional dishes for Burgundy, where we were headed in the morning. I'm not going to make this a very long post, as while we really enjoyed this meal, and found a wine that we kept searching for throughout Beaune and Burgundy, a fabulous and amazing white from the Domaine Alain Gras in Saint Romain (we even went to the Domain), this meal was over shadowed with an amazing meal from Sola that we'd have on the way back.
Still, that is not to say the meal wasn't innovative, starting with the amazing combination of Salsify with White Chocolate.
Earthy tones with a very mildly sweet and creamy "dip".
It was a show of creativity and the presentation was quite interesting.
This brioche was addictive.....
An interesting variety of textures and techniques; a bit of molecular gastronomy here and there.
Yes, there was quinoa, fried, airy pork skin, thin slices of walnut.....
And one spectacular piece of Cod, that had the Missus and I staring at each other. The texture was so decadent and buttery; I'm thinking this was sous-vide.
We're still talking about how amazing the fish in this dish was.....
Another fantastic dish was the Smoked Eel in Black Sesame; not something I'd generally think would go well together.
But the strong, smoky flavor of the eel really stood up well to the powerful nutty flavor of black sesame. The toothsome texture of the fish and the thick sauce complimented each other as well.
At the end, there was dessert.....a lot of dessert.....
The Entremets (palate cleansing course) was another amazing combination of flavors that worked together; Cauliflower Puree with White Chocolate and Coconut Ice Cream.
Dessert is of course, the Missus's thing and She really enjoyed Herself.
I thought the presentation of the Churros was a bit much.....
The staff here was amazing; professional yet friendly and warm. When the Sommelier noticed we enjoyed the Alain Gras so much, he gave us a second glass, and then matched it flawlessly with a few other dishes to display the fine range of the wine. The actual restaurant is quite discreet, no big signs, just a simple "DT" carved in the doorway.
While I'm not sure we'll be back soon; I'm glad we had the experience.
Restaurant David Toutain 29 Rue Surcouf 75007 Paris, France
We walked back to our hotel, quite happy with our time in Paris. Heck, even the Eiffel Tower surrounded by fog looks quite romantic, don't you think?
Except for some additional decorative lamps and paintings of Biàn Liǎn, those "face changing" masks, the place looks the same as on my last visit. Though, those masks are usually found in Sichuan.....so maybe they were just leftover from the previous restaurant?
Speaking of Sichuan....the menu has a mixture of Sichuan, Hunan, some oddball dishes like Lion's Head Meatballs and Egg Foo Young (?!?), and a whole column of totally "ABCDE" (American-Born-Chinese-Dining-Establishment) dishes.
Go figure. There's one soft-spoken, sweet young lady who works here, but everyone....I counted a total of 9 staff on one of my visits is very nice.
On my first visit; a solo affair, I waned two dishes. I went down looking for typical Hunan dishes and they were out of just about everything. I did get something with La Rou. Though it wasn't my favorite La Rou with Suan Do (or even the three smoked meats - La Wei He Zheng ) which is on the menu, but a version with dried bamboo shoots.
In terms of flavor this was much better than what I've had from Village Kitchen. And while some of the pork was on the chewy side, the flavor was spot on; smoky-salty, the rehydrated bamboo crunchy. Peasant food, I took this home and it reminded the Missus of Her grandparents in Hunan.....a bit of salty, slightly spicy La Rou with a lot of rice. The spice level left something to be desired....though we tend to enjoy the heat level at places like Hunan Chilli King.
So I had worked my way through some of the dishes and struck out; so the nice young lady told me to order something called "Pork Belly w/ Preserved Napa in Brown Sauce" ($11.65). Not sure what this was going to be; I chuckled when it arrived at the table....it was Mei Cai Kou Rou; which, correct me if I'm wrong, is more of Hakka dish.
There was one thing fairly true to the Hunan taste. This lacked any sweetness at all. Not much saltiness either....just kind of bland and the mei cai was too hard a chewy. The pork belly had been done decently, it was "chopstick tender", but this was quite bland for my taste. I thought that even Facing East made a superior version of this dish.
Anyway, I took the Smoked Pork dish home and the Missus really enjoyed the left-overs, so not feeling like cooking one evening, we headed back. Looking over the menu for dishes we struck out again. The Missus wanted some Liang Cai - cold dishes, and it was no Bueno; no pork ear, chicken feet, duck tongue....so we ended up with a total routine Bean Curd Skin.
Basically bean curd skin, nice and crunchy, in a decent Chili Peppercorn Oil. Though this tasted like something I'd make at home.
We tried to order the La Rou with Dry Beans again, but still no Bueno and got the version with bamboo, which ironically, is not on the menu.
We wanted a vegetable dish, but after trying a couple of items from the menu that wasn't available; we got the Leek with Shredded Lotus Root ($8.65).
We both enjoyed this simple dish; the lotus root nice and crunchy, though the pungent chives gives the Missus heartburn. I'll probably end up making something similar at home in the near future.
One weekend afternoon, needing a late lunch; like 230pm, Village North was closed so we decided to head back to Beauty Hunan. Where we tried for the Smoke Pork with Dry Beans again....and again ended up with the version with Dried Bamboo, which the Missus enjoyed anyway.
Looking at the menu, I noticed something called "Preserved Egg and Eggplant with Jalapeno" ($11.65). I asked the Missus and She said that yes indeed, this is the same dish that we enjoy at Village Kitchen. Hmmm....I'm wondering.....
This was a fairly large portion size, and while spicier than the version at Village Kitchen, it is not as well executed. Not nearly as creamy, some of the pieces of eggplant were huge and not as tender, and without that nice earthiness of the eggplant and light sulfuric touch of the preserved egg.
Pretty much at a lost, we decided to just get the Dry Cooked Pork Intestine ($12.65) which was much to salty and not very spicy.
The intestine was not cleaned very well and was too rubbery and we did without a doubt miss the "ma" (numbing) sensation of the Sichuan version of this dish. We did enjoy the Chinese celery in this, but that's about it.
So, I'm not sure if or when Beauty Hunan will have it's full on menu. right now it's a "one-trick-pony" for us. The customer demographic is kind of interesting; a lot of guys ordering the "ABC" dishes during my lunch visits, interspersed with young folk ordering stuff like the Dry Pot items. We thought the service was nice, not perfect, but really nice young folk. I'm not sure when I'll be back for a full meal....though I think the Missus is going to want the La Rou from here.....in whatever form the have it.
Beauty Hunan Restaurant 8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92111
Sometimes there are other subjects, but today, mmm-yoso!!! is just about food. Kirk and Ed(from Yuma) are, again, busy; it's Cathy doing the writing.
After a week of rain, winds, gloom, cold and chilliness, along with consumption of way too much chili, stews and soup (which will be in different posts, interspersed in the coming weeks) (because I'm sure that's what most of you have been eating) a bit of 'healthy' eating for the New Year did occur.
The drill is the same, walk in, order, follow the line, maybe watch your own order being constructed, pay and pick up your tray at the end. The 'comfort soups' are now $5 (that's a basil oil and some sunflower seeds floating on top of the wonderful, fresh squash soup). Standard/daily soups are roasted roma tomato and rustic chicken, which are each wonderful and filling for a small meal. Items we've ordered before (and fall back on) include the Tuna Nicoise Salad ($12.50) Albacore grilled rare on top of potato, capers, tomato green beans, a quail egg and olives and greens tossed in a sherry vinaigrette. The Backyard Steak Salad ($12.50) is topped with rare (or more cooked if you prefer) steak. The radishes and beets on top of red and green lettuces are tossed in a horseradish vinaigrette. This was a chicken chili soup ($5) filled with vegetables and deep tomato flavor. There were a few times we've ordered out of our 'comfort zone'- this Southern Fried Chicken salad ($11.50) is a good example. Simple greens, tossed in a dill dressing with sliced radish and cucumber all topped with fresh fried, light and crunchy breaded large chicken chunks, this was a really decadent, fully flavored meal which will be ordered again. We had never ordered anything with chicken (other than soup) here and were so happy with this salad. One of the whiteboard specials was, again, mussels ($11.50) and of course we ordered it. Steamed in a garlicky broth and served with the toasted bread slices, this was another great choice. Of course, my absolute fallback salad here is the Happy Vegan ($11.50). Tender greens in the center, topped with a (fresh!) lemon vinaigrette, surrounded by mounds of four other salads: farrow (wheat berry) with cranberry and hazelnuts; quinoa with cucumber and beets; green hummus; tabbouleh. This is the meal that satisfies and which I would eat daily if given the choice. Once again, trying something new (to me), the Chinese Chicken Salad ($11.50)was a wonderful choice. Shredded (warm, fresh) chicken and crispy wontons on top of a mix of tatsoi, mizuna, yellow pea sprouts, carrots, peanuts, cilantro and green onion tossed in a sesame dressing. We did not expect such a great tasting salad. The thesaurus doesn't have words to describe what was the freshness and flavor in every bite.
The recent sunny, post storm(s) weather had me thinking about Lima again. And then I realized; man, I better finish up those posts.
So what to do after having sanguches de chicharron for breakfast, then walking the pork off at Mercado de Surquillo? Well, if you're with the Missus, you'd understand that She'd be wanting more cebiche. There's a shop in the back of the Mercado that I'd heard about named Bam Bam. And upon finding the little shop; it became apparent that Gaston Acurio likes the place as well.
The place was just opening when we arrived and we had no problem getting seats at one of the tables. The woman who served us was nice and professional; though the chips and the canchita tasted like they were mass produced. Still, we weren't here for those items; we wanted some cebiche and perhaps tiradito....and heck this place is known for the conchas negras, so why not get the combination?
Which is precisely what we did. Not being super hungry, we decided on splitting this; just getting a taste of four different items.
The best by far was the conchas negras; the perfect texture, toothsome, but not tough, the bitterness of the clams muted, with the brininess just perfect, nice acidity, the onions adding just enough pungency. This was very, very good.
The cebiche classico was next.
A nice rendition, we still prefer the version at El Veridico de Fidel, but this was solid; balanced acidity in the leche de tigre, the fish perhaps a bit too stringy for my taste, but a nice even flavor. And of course; the Missus can never get enough choclo.
That scallop in the cebiche mixto was delicious and the texture of the squid was amazing.
But the leche de tigre here just wasn't enough and this came off as being strangely mutes in taste. I even think it could have used some salt....more acidity. But the textures of everything except the shrimp, was fantastic.
I found the fish did much better texture-wise in the tiradito, but found the aji amarilla based sauce to be too thin.
It seemed like the basic house leche de tigre with some aji amarilla paste in it. This could have used a bit more oomph.
While we preferred this to La Mar and Punto Azul, it lagged behind El Veridico de Fidel in our minds. I'd still eat here again in a heartbeat.....man the conchas negras...I've never had them taste so good and the texture so perfect.
Cevicheria Bam Bam y Sus Conchas Negras Jr. Luis Varela y Orbegozo 213 Lima, Peru
In he mood for taking a nice long walk before our standard afternoon nap; we walked all the way from Surquillo back to Parque de Alfredo Salazar.
During the short week between Christmas and New Year, I decided to take Calvin and JohnF out for lunch. We usually eat along the rather close confines of Kearny Mesa....but this was the Holiday Season, so why not relax a bit (even though they had to stay at work even longer on this day)? John is from NorCal and Filipino.....the big joke with him is that when it comes to food, he says, I'm "more Filipino" than he is. He is also a pretty big eater, so I thought a visit to Villa Manila would be fun.
Ordering was to the point; bagoong rice (sorry no photo, though JohnF said his wife loved the leftovers), and of course Crispy Pata (a small portion).
From the looks I didn't think this was going to be as good as previous versions I've had here. But man, this was worth the "meat sweats". The skin was crisp, all that gelatinous goodness was there, the meat was moist, what more could you ask for?
I had to order the Bicol Express....which is not quite what is used to be.
There's not quite the same amount of bagoong alamang, so the flavor while still on the salty side, doesn't have as much of that savory finish. The pork is still tender, though the portion size has gotten smaller.
And then there is the Nilagang Baka, the beef shank soup. Calvin, whose Missus is Vietnamese really enjoyed the beefiness of the broth. You should have seen the look on his face when they came to refill the broth!
Overall, still a nice meal. Even though VM is not quite what it was before.
Villa Manila 500 East 8th Street National City, CA 91950
So, the Missus didn't believe me when I said that Zarlitos made some decent poke. But an interesting thing happened. During the nice Bitter Brothers Anniversary dinner, Candice mentioned the poke at Zarlitos to the folks sitting with us. Turns out it was Keoni Simmons (and yes, his dad is from Hawaii), who confirmed my belief that the poke Zarlitos makes is legit. And so that conversation with the Missus went on as we headed to Hogetsu Bakery. So She relented and we decided on stopping at Zarlitos.
Where she proceeded to eat a pound of poke. Now, even though I make Spicy Tuna Poke for the Missus, I'm not a big fan. The Missus enjoyed the version here.
First off, the quality of the fish is decent, no fibrous "suji". I think this would do fairly well "back home". These days, I put a bit of wasabi in my spicy tuna poke and that's what the Missus was missing....no major complaints on this though.
The Limu poke was a bit more problematic. The fish was of decent quality, but there was too much sesame oil in this...and yes, it wasn't salty enough...when was the last time I mentioned something not having enough NaCl?
Also, this version of "limu" poke used wakame....I mean, really? Even Poke Etc down the street used Limu Kohu. Still, this was much better than those "Chi-Poke" places that have sprung up everywhere.
Of course the Missus needed some rice; so I ordered the Longsilog.
Kirk and Cathy are really busy right now. Ed (from Yuma) not so much, so you get to read about a meal he and Tina recently consumed. Hope you enjoy.
One of the numerous benefits of marriage is that you have wedding anniversaries – it's like adding an extra holiday to each calendar year. Another cause for celebration.
But Tina and I couldn't figure out where to go for dinner. In addition to dining at the Patio at Desert Hills, we had been to River City for my birthday and Crouse’s Flat Top Grill for Tina's, and currently Yuma doesn't have a lot of special occasion dining choices. So . . . I finally suggested that we try Julieanna's. After all, our last bad experience there was at least seven or eight years ago; maybe that was too long to hold a grudge.
Julieanna's (website) is a large restaurant with patio located on 25th St. among doctors’ offices and other healthcare facilities. On this cool and breezy evening, the entrance was welcoming: We arrived around 5:30 on a Tuesday evening, so there were very few patrons in the two large interior rooms: On this evening nobody sat outside, so the resident peacock stared wistfully into the room, aware that he was not going to get any table scraps:
Our meal started with three fresh warm dinner rolls (Tina grabbed one before I could take the picture):
They were pleasant and were accompanied by two little metal ramekins of soft butter, one garlic herb and one maple cinnamon.
It took us a while to figure out what we wanted, but we finally decided on a salad, an appetizer and two entrées. Our very friendly and helpful server suggested that we start with the salad, which she could bring right away, and then follow with the appetizer. That made sense, so soon she brought over two plates of pear and candied walnut salad:
It was excellent. The tangy balsamic dressing complemented the sweetness of the pear and nuts. We were also impressed by the very fresh and sturdy baby lettuces in the salad.
Then the appetizer, fried calamari, arrived:
The squid was superb. The breading was hard and crunchy and most of it stayed attached. The calamari itself was clean tasting and tender chewy. Really perfectly done. The netting on the lemon wedges keeps lemon seeds out of the food, and there was a choice of dipping sauces – a spicy marinara or honey sesame.
Since we would be eating seafood, and I wanted a meat entrée, picking a wine was difficult, but I hoped that this Château Ste Michelle Riesling would work:
The riesling, which went well with the calamari, was crisp and moderately sweet, the wine bucket was fine, but the stemware was pretty ordinary.
For an entrée, Tina had chosen the crab two ways, with a pair of crab cakes and a tempura softshell crab:
Here you can see one of the cakes and the whole crab more clearly: Tina was pretty happy. The lightly dressed greens and perfectly cooked yellow squash went well with the crustaceans. She also enjoyed the contrast between the two styles of crab. On the other hand, I thought the crab cakes were a little fishy tasting and the deep-fried softshell too greasy. Maybe the riesling wasn't the right wine for this entrée; a drier white like a sauvignon blanc might have been a better match.
I had chosen the pork chop, which showed up looking really wonderful:
Here's another view:
I loved everything on the plate. The mashed potatoes were buttery and mixed with strips of caramelized onion. Rich, creamy, and nicely textured and flavored. The three large asparagus spears were perfectly cooked, tender but not limp. The dark paste smeared on one end of the pork was a medjool date sauce whose sweetness matched perfectly with the umami of the pork.
And the chop itself was outstanding – thick, flavorful, nicely seasoned, and perfectly cooked:
And this entrée went very well with the riesling.
The check seemed reasonable considering the quality of the food, service, and ambience:
The only odd thing on the bill was the “service charge,” an automatic 6% added to the food and beverages. I don't recall ever seeing such a thing in another restaurant.
Nonetheless, we had a great time, and maybe Tina and I should make celebrating our anniversary at Julieanna’s an annual affair.
Julieanna’s Patio Café, 1951 W. 25th St., Yuma, AZ 85364, (928) 317-1961.
Almost two months since I first visited Village North, it remains a somewhat quirky enigma. I've visited and they've been closed....seems they are closed on Tuesdays. They don't have hours formally posted.....just scribbled on the portable grease board. And what's with the "Soft Opening" sign still up? I asked if they were still in their soft opening period and got an interesting answer; seems that their permanent sign hasn't arrived yet....so they are still air quotes, in "soft opening" mode.
Still, I really like the young folks who work here....they are friendly and very nice. And the décor is no shrinking violet; though the Chinese Rap music can be a bit much and there was the time one of the guys was on the small stage trying out VR gear.
After having me pick-up the Suan Cai Hot Pot to go a couple of times, the Missus finally decided we should drop by for dinner.
Which turned out to be a nice meal. This time we ordered the Stir Fried Version of Suan Cai and Pork; simply called "Sour Cabbage" ($12.99) on the menu.
Man, this was good. The textures and seasoning; with garlic and star anise was just the way the Missus likes this dish. It was pleasantly slightly gooey and comforting. These guys really know how to stir fry. The Missus had a new second favorite.
I say second favorite because She really enjoyed the Pork Intestines in Dry Pot ($12.99).
I really hesitated in ordering any Sichuan here; but man, this was really good. Every ingredient had been nicely prepped and seasoned separately. The intestine had been expertly cleaned and even had that inner "fatty" layer. I've never had them ask me "how spicy" here; something I like and respect. This was nicely "ma-la". The Missus immediately said that this was a level above Sizzling Pot King in prep and execution. I've now had this a couple of times with other folks and they all agree; this version is quite good.
Lily and I decided to take "YZ" out for a celebratory lunch and they (as usual) let me pick. My choice....Village North. We had some of the usual suspects; but also ordered a couple of more traditional Dongbei style dishes. Starting with one of the classic dishes; Dongbei La Pi; mung bean sheets in sort of a salad, Multicolor Clear Noodle ($11.99) on the menu.
Again very nice prep; everything from the thinly sliced vegetables to the pork and egg was seasoned separately. The dressing; a sesame paste black vinegar concoction; with a touch of wasabi tasted like a lighter version of what I make at home; though without as much sesame paste. It's a nice combination of nutty-sour-sweet. Pretty good overall; this will go well during hotter weather.
We also tried something simply called "Stewed Assorted Delicacies" ($18.99 - 农家一锅鲜) on the menu.
Basically a dish of stewed/braised pork ribs; which is then stir fried with corn, potatoes, and green bell peppers. This wasn't very good; it was basically too salty; the pork ribs were on the tough side. The best items were the corn and potatoes.
Still we'd had some of the other dishes and both Lily and "YZ" really enjoyed things....especially the suan cai.
Hearing that this place had the Missus's approval; my "Food Gang" decided we should have dinner here. We ordered a bunch of stuff I'd had from previous meals; the suan cai, intestine dry pot, guo bao rou, di san Xian, and a couple of new ones. Our young server recommended something simply called "Flank Steak" ($15.99) on the menu. It arrived looking all the world like Chinese Black Pepper Beef.
The was another winner. The beef wasn't tender per se; it was toothsome without being tough, with a nice display of the stir fry skills, which in this case seems to be velveting.
We also ordered some chuan'r (skewers), which were fairly sub-par.
The lamb really needed much more cumin....the mantou....was topped with sugar...if this were Beijing; I think it would be brushed with a sweet bean sauce. I know this is what Xiāngjiāo was hoping for. Alas, it was not to be.
During one of my take-out visits; the really nice young man who works here named "Victor" told me his favorite item on the menu was the Fried Shrimp with Dried Red Pepper ($14.99). So when I recently dropped by for lunch; I ordered it.
This was pretty good; crunchy shells, the whole numbing-hot ("ma-la") thing going on. Nicely prepared....like I said...these guys do real well with a wok.
Though in terms of seasoning; the Zi Ran Yang Rou - Cumin Lamb ($14.99) left much to be desired in terms of cumin-spicy-salty tones.
So, in the end, we have a nice new option. I'm still not quite sure of everything on the menu.......but perhaps that's the fun of exploring. I think there are dishes on the menu to entice the beer-drinking, young crowd.....but then again, there's some serious cooking skills on display with some of the dishes.