Saturday, October 3, 2020

Oolong Tea Boba Ice Cream Bar by A-Chino

 "Wow", was the first word my son said after opening the plastic wrapper revealing an ice cream bar on a stick. Creating the powerful first impression was the tea aroma and, indeed, the lower (or brown) part of this bar had a pleasantly strong tea flavor.

In two of the bars, though, we didn't find any boba in the top (or white) portion. And, in two of them, we did. Either way, what you do get is great vanilla ice cream, which is the perfect way to start this dessert. 

The kids liked the boba but didn't love it. Their main complaint: The boba was slightly frozen or crystalized. While true, that didn't bother me at all.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Old Greenwood BBQ at the Gold Rush Saloon

 Although slightly charred more than I would have liked, my family of four enjoyed the ribs from Greenwood. My older son and I shared the rib pack (below) which came with three pint sides and four corn muffins (though they only gave us three) for $45. The brisket was a lean cut and a bit salty. The My younger son got the cheeseburger and found fault with the fact that the cheese wasn't melted. 

But, the ribs were delicious and they will have me coming back. Greenwood BBQ has outdoor seating and is open as of this writing. 

Monday, September 7, 2020

Red bean buns from

My wife recently made red bean buns using the recipe found at . It was unusual in that this recipe did not call for an egg in the dough, but it still came out well! The dough in the photos below was made from scratch. We got the red bean paste from 99Ranch. 

We let the dough rise first before filling the dough with red bean. To do this, Jenny left the ball of dough outside in a bowl in the summer heat with a towel on top. 

Jenny let the dough rise a second time after making the buns (below) before putting them in the toaster oven at 400F.

Jenny finished with some egg wash to give the buns some color and a thin, crisp shell.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Blueberry pancakes by Stonewall Kitchen

I make pancakes for my family just about every weekend. And, when it comes to breakfast I can tell you they're a tough crowd to please. The blueberry pancakes from Stonewall Kitchen accompanied by the brand's blueberry maple syrup, however, won them over this morning. So much so, in fact, that today we even ordered some for relatives.

First of all, as soon as you open the can of mix you're hit with the delightful smell of blueberries. This takes slightly more work than the usual instant mix--it requires melted butter, milk, an egg and 15 minutes for the batter to sit--but it's worth it. My wife enjoyed the natural texture of the pancakes and my kids loved the syrup. Indeed, all were in agreement, that to fully enjoy the pancakes, the syrup is a must.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Hawaiian Style Chicken by Naples Kitchen

For all the churn at Costco, this one is a regular. With chicken thighs of any sort harder to come by during COVID-19, I brought this home. The meat's tender but the sauce is sweet. Really sweet. Like, almost candy sweet. So, you'll need to eat this with a lot of starch (I can't imagine this going well with anything except for white rice).

Don't worry about the fat content--the entire container has only 15 grams of saturated fat and 70 grams of fat overall. It's the cholesterol (43% RDA per serving) and sodium (21%) you need to worry about. Nutrition information is in the photo below.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Sourdough Batard from Firebrand Artisan Bread--Oakland, CA

My family's munching on this bread and we enjoy it especially with cheese. We had it delivered through Good Eggs (more on that in a later post).  Yes, the bread is fluffy soft. But, for me what stands out is the flavor--it's truly sour and I love it.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Tres Leches by La Gruta del Sol

Our family enjoyed this hard cheese which, although stinky (like a teenage boy's feet in the summer), had a rich creamy flavor. The "tres leches" refers to the different types of milk involved: sheep, goat and cow. If you told me it takes no fewer than three animals to make a cheese so delicious, I'd have no choice but to believe you.

Photo below: About one-third pound of Tres Leches cheese at $23.99/lb.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Safe and Fair Birthday Cake Granola

Yes, the boys and I truly enjoy this product. After all, who doesn't like the flavor of a birthday cake, which this cereal does an adequate job of mimicking? This should be thought of as more of a treat, though, rather than a truly healthy breakfast. Maybe it's an attempt at trickery, but the nutritional information is for a serving size of 1/3 cup. So, the total 27 grams of sugar per cup is about double that found in a cup of Frosted Flakes from Kellog's.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Mochi donuts at J&J Street Kitchen in Cupertino, CA

If you're into the super-sweetness offered by, say, a glazed donut but with the fight and chewiness of mochi, then mochi donuts could be for you. It's an unusual mix and, at $2.25 per ring, not necessarily a cheap one either. I recommend trying it for the experience but you wont' find it addictive.

Pictured: strawberry in the foreground, matcha in the background. The four of us found both flavors to be equally inviting. At J&J this is also available in lychee flavor.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Vampire Penguin--Cupertino, CA

The Vampire Penguin in Cupertino sits in a mall in the midst of renovation. As such, it was largely empty when we went there last weekend and there wasn't a line. We got a couple of shaved snow desserts including the Green Snow Thaiger shown here and the S'Mored, which features marshmallows and chocolate-flavored snow. The large version here is $10; the small is $8 at about half the size.  I enjoyed the tea flavoring of the Thaiger, my son thought the best part was the crushed Oreos with condensed milk.

Perhaps due to the size of the dessert and the presentation--thick, honest-to-goodness ceramic plates--we liked the snow here more than at Teaspoon.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Joy Dumpling--Cupertino, CA

At the site of the former Shanghai Dumpling and then Rasa Sarang, Joy Dumpling is in the midst of a soft opening right now. The xiao long bao are good, but not great. The flavor is there, but not the soup and the skin is a bit thick. Still, the loofah xiao long bao (pictured) was a hit with everyone.

I liked the Mongolian Cumin Lamb, but it came with too many red peppers for our table to be comfortable. 

The beef roll was popular and it's the one dish we ordered again.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Tan Cha---Cupertino, CA

We waited 20 minutes for the Japanese Fluffy Pancake last night. We're still debating whether it was worth the wait. (By the way, you can add upwards of 10 minutes waiting in line just to order.) This dessert is certainly fluffy and eggy, and it's this texture that really stands out. We tried the strawberry version of this, too, and don't recommend one versus the other.

What is worth the wait (about five minutes) is their Royal Ceylon Milk Tea with Tiramisu Puff Foam. My goodness, that smooth, rich, coffee-flavored foam might be reason alone to come back.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Bare Bones Broth

I got a bag of 16 Bare Bones Broth "sticks" at Costco on sale for $11. You mix each stick, which has 50 calories and 20% of your sodium RDA, with eight ounces of hot water. My family found the flavor a bit bland. However, I did find the drink staved off hunger pretty well. Overall, though, this is a drink we got excited about to begin with (it's packaged well) but now no longer want.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Daeho Kalbe Jjim & Beef Soup--Milpitas, CA

Monday the four of us went to Daeho for the express purpose of getting their braised short rib with extra meat. The pot shown here is about eight inches in diameter and priced at $62. We also got a beef rib soup for $16. Though we left full, eating ribs in both dishes was a labor-intensive, messy affair using chopsticks. Be prepared for a lot of splatter.

The beef rib soup was in many ways the greater pleasure, though not the featured event. We liked the flavorful broth, as it helped complement the heavy sauce in the Galbijjim, and the meat was just as tender.

We got there when it opened at 11:00. By about 11:20 the restaurant was full.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Kreuz Market--Lockhart, TX

What made our trip to Kreuz Market special was two things: The sausage links and the live music. We had the brisket there also but it was dry, even for a lean cut, and certainly not as enjoyable as that found at la Barbecue or Black's BBQ nearby. Both the regular and jalapeno sausage, though, were perfectly spiced with a fine texture. I'll never find their equal here in the Bay Area. But, what made the experience most memorable was the live string music featuring the Hot Pickin 57s. Look them up.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The Pigpen--San Antonio, TX

I can't think of a better value than The Pigpen Sunday brunch. For $16, you'll get your fill of delectables such as mac and cheese (my kids are the harshest critics when it comes to this dish and they say The Pigpen serves some of the best), brisket (lean and fatty), fried fish (my favorite of the bunch) and other staples (fried chicken, sausage, scrambled eggs, delicious watermelon).

One bit of advice: Get there within half an hour of opening (buffet starts at 10:00 am). There's picnic bench style seating. So, after about 10:30 seating four together becomes a challenge.