One meal leads to another

Dear Daisy,

Last night, I had an amazing meal with my family, and it is all thanks to you! My cousin and her husband have sort of seen it all when it comes to eating Chinese, but as you pointed out, there are some interesting new places opening up with really creative energy. I wanted to try Mission Chinese (especially after seeing your recent post), but it was too late in the game to get a reservation, and it was packed when we optimistically stopped by right after they opened. Luckily, you had also mentioned Yunnan Kitchen, a place that my cousin’s husband Bill also knew of.

What a meal! There were a few things on the menu that got me really excited — tofu ribbon salad with cilantro, which was amazing, and rice cakes with shiitake mushrooms. I love rice cakes. I have practically lived on them. And these were mighty.

The fried pork belly (translation: bacon!) was delicious, beef rolls with cucumber was refreshing, and the chrysanthemum salad, although one of the simplest dishes, was also one of the biggest surprises

I had eaten chrysanthemum in hot pot before, but I never had it raw. Well, suffice it to say that edible chrysanthemum is on my list for the garden now. I think I even have some seeds hiding out somewhere…
One of the specials was a wax bean salad with pepper relish


It looked simple, but that relish was spicy in a lovely, tongue-tingling way. Towards the end of the meal, my tongue had that characteristic numbness that you get from Sichuan peppercorn. I have to say, it’s not a feeling I have often, having grown up eating straight up Cantonese food!
And to think that this all started with breakfast at Il Buco Alimentera e Vinera. Our meeting was a real first for me; I never imagined when I started this blog as an open letter to my friends and family far away that it would lead me to actually meet new people and make new friends. I found myself quite uncertain whether it was even a good idea to cross the line between the virtual and the real. However, you made it easy. If you hadn’t been so friendly and enthusiastic, I would have beaten a hasty retreat, I can assure you.

I told my mom all about our meal, of course, and she is dying to try that insanely crusty bread.

Bread Baked Egg and Breakfast Sandwich, with fellow blogger

I love going out for breakfast. It is so much more decadent to me than going out for lunch or dinner. It’s like eating dessert, I guess, because anyone can manage to throw some sort of breakfast together, but when you go out for it, you’re saying, “No, I want to be fed this morning, and fed well.”

And I double love to have someone to share breakfast with.

What better way to start the day than with good coffee and someone to share it with? And with brioche and pistachio cake to sweeten the deal, no less!

I will definitely always ask you where to eat when I am in the city. And I look forward to sharing another meal with you some time soon!

Keep in touch — I will sic my mom on you when she gets back from Turkey to seal the deal.


P.S. — I have a nice photo of you, but didn’t post it because I didn’t know if you were camera shy, like most bloggers seem to be. Or is it just that we are always the ones holding the camera? I’ll email it to you to do what you will with.

Happy birthday Kaya!

Kaya turned one today, and we had a little party. His friend Manolya came over, and the two babies played together while Baki and Manolya’s elder sister ran riot.

I’m still not giving Kaya sugar, so I made him some carob brownies, from Cynthia Lair’s cookbook, Feeding the Whole Family. I actually really like carob, but I think that they main thing about it is that you can’t think of it in relation to chocolate. It’s just a different thing.
Since the adults were not going to be as happy to eat the carob brownies, (I mean, let’s face it — children’s birthday parties, even with a limited guest list, require something more decadent to make them worth it) I made some other treats. Chocolate was in order, so I tried Smitten Kitchen’s world peace cookies . Intrigued by Yummy Chunklet’s recent postabout a new way to make shortbread, I decided to give it a try. It is a lot of fun — you freeze the dough and grate it into the pan so that the shortbread is all pillowy. And Jell-O (except it’s vegetarian, because when I think about gelatine, I get grossed out) because you need colorful desserts for a birthday party. Kaya and Manolya were pretty colorful, come to think of it, once they got their hands on the strawberries.

Can you spot the carob?

I must be getting old because birthdays have started to make me morose. It’s just too much time passing too quickly. I guess I should just take the hint and enjoy it all while I can, before the boys move out and forget to call or write. Maybe they’ll have blogs…