March 24, 2012

La Maison du Chocolat: Hot chocolate so rich it could be in a bank

Caracas Hot Chocolate
Caracas Hot Chocolate rich intense hot chocolate

We made a visit to the La Maison du Chocolat boutique on Madison Ave.  With our love for sweets, we decided to have lunch there!

When we walked in, it was quite an amazing sight!  Their chocolate was displayed like jewelery, all lined up beautifully and sitting there like rings and pearls.  Hey, but don't worry, we didn't eat chocolate for lunch.  Instead, we had French Macarons and hot chocolate in their café.  Which is, of course, all the healthier!

La Maison du Chocolat cafe Interior
La Maison du Chocolat café interior

Guayaquil Hot Chocolate
Guayaquil Hot Chocolate rich chocolate with a subtle note of Madagascar vanilla served with whipped cream and a milk chocolate square

They offered two types of hot chocolate and both sounded delightfully delicious.  When we asked the waitress the difference between the two she asked "Well, do you like sweeter or not as sweet?" (verbatim) She explained that the Guayaquil was a bit sweeter than the Caracas hot chocolate.  Jocelyn chose the Caracas and Cathy got the Guayaquil.  

(And oh our goodness [since there's two of us], the names of the hot chocolate are so hard to remember/pronounce/type.  Instead of Caracas hot chocolate, Jocelyn keeps saying carcass hot chocolate (which is morbid and very unappetizing).  And Cathy thinks Guayaquil sounds like the Pokémon Cyndaquil.)

We also have to mention that we didn't actually try any of their chocolates that were sold in the pretty displays, which we regret.  But we did try the chocolate squares that came with our hot chocolates!  The chocolate squares were silky smooth and the milk chocolate wasn't too sweet.  It had more of an actual milk taste instead of sugar, which was fantastic.

Dripping Caracas Hot Chocolate
Look at how thick it is!

And when we said liquified chocolate, we meant it.  Both hot chocolates were so thick and decadent, it was as if we were drinking pure chocolate!  And it was AMAZING.

And for the main course...a plate of French macarons!

French Macarons
Quito dark chocolate, Guayaquil chocolate vanilla, Romeo chocolate coffee, Chocolate Pistachio, Salvador chocolate raspberry, and Rigoletto chocolate caramel

French Macarons

Salvador Raspberry Macaron innards
Salvador innards

The French Macarons had a thin crispy shell with just the right amount of filling.  We think the best term to describe the flavors would be "bright".  The flavors almost had the same effect as the sun, and it kind of just filled your mouth! 


On the way out, we passed by their display of éclairs and realized we had totally missed them!  So to set things right, we bought one to take with us. 

Eclair Marron Box

Eclair Marron
Éclair Marron rum-infused chestnut

Eclair Marron innards
Éclair Marron innards

The éclair marron was not quite as satisfying as their French macarons.  It tasted fresh and the pastry part was light and fluffy.  The filling did have a nutty taste, but it reminded us of the taro flavor used in Asian bakeries.  Not saying that's a bad thing, but the taste was too familiar to us to be a real treat.

But if you ever have the time or end up near a La Maison du Chocolat, you must try their hot chocolate!  You will never have anything as rich as that cup of good stuff.  And you should also try their chocolates on our behalf -- we're sure they're just as wonderful!

Eaten by Jocelyn and Cathy.

They have three boutiques in Manhattan, New York
The one we went to:

La Maison du Chocolat
1018 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10075
(212) 744-7117 

La Maison Du Chocolat on Urbanspoon

March 16, 2012

Café Sabarsky: Dessert for Breakfast

Marzipan - Guglhupt marzipan ring cake served with rich whipped cream

We wanted to get the most out of our New York trip, so we got to Café Sabarsky right when the doors opened at 9 AM.  We were presented with a menu filled with toasts, eggs, bacon, and other delicious breakfast entrées.  

But funny thing, we walked about half an hour to get to the café and that somehow sparked our sweet tooth.  And since airplanes nowadays only allow one carry-on, we had no choice but to leave our healthy eating habits behind in California.  (Hahahaha, we so funny.)

As we were sitting down, we walked past a beautiful display of delicious looking cakes.  So we kind of flipped to the end of the menu to their cake selection. 

Marzipan - Guglhupt

The Marzipan - Guglhupt was made with the right amount of sweetness and the marzipan bits were a real treat!  The cake had a bit of a crumbly texture which could be easily confused with it being dry.
We would like to point out that the whipped cream was the same size as the slice of cake, or perhaps even bigger.  It was a tad expensive ($7.00).

Sachertorte classic viennese dark chocolate cake with house made apricot confiture served with rich whipped cream

The Sachertorte ($9.00) was topped with a smooth layer of chocolate ganache, which nicely contrasted the moist chocolate cake.  Each bite left a faint apricot aftertaste, which was quite delightful!

We're slowly eating our way down 5th and Madison Avenue, this being our first stop!  We have a feeling we'll be very sweeted out when this is all over.

Eaten by Jocelyn and Cathy.

Café Sabarsky
1048 5th Avenue  
New York, NY 10028
(212) 288-0665

Café Sabarsky on Urbanspoon

March 14, 2012

Shake Shack: Our first meal in the concrete jungle

We can't believe it either but WE'RE IN NEW YORK CITY!  We're going to be across the country for a few weeks and in one of the greatest cities.  Ever.  And being here in person is freaking amazing.  The two of us are going to eat our hearts out and become big fatties.  But since we're in the city, we'll be walking off all the burgers, cakes, and whatever comes our way!

Actually, today we walked more than 80 streets! And that's not including avenues, getting lost, or back-tracking. 

Our first legit meal in New York was at the famous Shake Shack.  And my god IT WAS GOOD.  We can never look at a burger the same way.  Especially our school's burnt and dry burgers, don't think we could ever eat that stuff again (or even look at's too pitiful.)

We hadn't really eaten all day, so we were starving.  We're very indecisive when we're presented with any type of menu so everything sounded so so good and we were so so hungry.  We ended up getting two different burgers and splitting them: the Shack Burger and the 'Shroom Burger. Plus an order of their fries.

New York is freezing!  We were unprepared for such harsh weather!  The Shake Shack we went to was in Madison Square Park, which is located, well, in a park, which is, well, outdoors.  They did provide four heat lamps but there were more than forty tables.  FIGHT TO KEEP YOUR TOES AND FINGERS WARM!

Shack Burger medium cooked beef patty with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and Shack Sauce.

Shack Burger innards
Look at that pink, juicy meat!

'Shroom Burger crisp-fried portobello filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheese, topped with lettuce, tomato, and Shack Sauce.

They were like burgers from heaven!  The muenster cheese in the 'shroom burger was a refreshing change from the burger world.  After this experience, we finally understand what a real burger is.

They were soooo good, it got us thinking "Hey!  What if you were combine the two burgers into one ultimate, amazing burger?"  And thankfully, Shake Shack beat us to it with their Shack Stack!  And, we thought, "While we're putting on these thousands of calories, why not go all out and add on a thousand more with their shakes?"  And so we went for a second round. 

Two wonderful Shack Stacks, a black & white shake, and a strawberry shake

Shack Stack innards
 Shack burger and 'shroom burger topped with lettuce, tomato, and Shack Sauce.
Nom nom nom nom...

After the 8753467 calories, we were stuffed like 'Shroom burgers.  But it was all worth it!

In fact, 12 hours later...


And it was even worth the half hour wait.

While we were waiting in line, we were provided free amusement from the local squirrels.  Like us, these squirrels were also eating their hearts out.  They were being fed fries and were stuffing their mouths with napkins (which was convenient for the Shake Shack employees.) If no one fed them, they jumped on the trashcans and picked out fries.

The squirrels were so obese and their tails were shedding...too much fatty, unhealthy food.

This time, we knew what we wanted right away: the ultimate, amazing burger, the Shack Stack!  But you know, the thousand calories wouldn't cut it, so we also got their yummy shakes.

Shack Stack

Strawberry shake & vanilla shake

And we're going to end this post with a gratuitous picture of this heavenly burger.

Eaten by Jocelyn and Cathy.

Shake Shack
E 23rd St Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10010
(212) 889-6600

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon


March 9, 2012

How to Make Dorayaki

Let me introduce one of my childhood friends to you.  He is a cute blue robot cat, and he can fly with a propeller coming out of his head.  Can you guess his name?

Yup, it's Doraemon! And no, he's not a Pokemon.  C'mon.

Doraemon is pretty much the epitome of a cool cartoon character.  He has pockets which whip out the coolest items from the future, such as magic doors and flying propellers.  His only weakness is that he loves dorayaki.  He's pretty much addicted to it.  And he has good reason to. They are just so delicious!

I had a lot of red bean paste leftover from making taiyaki, so I thought, hey, why not make dorayaki?

I used the recipe from Cooking with Dog (video recipe here), but made a few changes.
Here are the ingredients you need to make this addicting dessert:

2 Eggs
80 g White sugar
1 T Honey
1 t Baking powder
130 g Cake flour
~3 T water
1 can Red Bean Paste

1)  Lightly beat the eggs.  (Use room temperature eggs.)  Add in the white sugar, honey, and baking powder.

2) Add in the cake flour through a sieve.  Lightly mix by folding the batter.

3)  Cover the batter with plastic wrap, and let it sit for 30 minutes.  You can go watch an episode of Doraemon if you want!

Letting the batter sit for 30 minutes.

4) Add water 1 T at a time, to get the desired consistency.  It should be toward the thick side, but still flowy.  

5) Oil a non-stick pan very lightly, and heat with medium-low heat.  You only need to oil once.

6)  Drop the batter with a ladle.  Getting the circle shape is actually very easy.  Just drop it from a higher height, and the batter should flatten naturally into a circle.

7)  When bubbles start forming on the top, flip the pancake, and let it bake for about 20 seconds.

8)  Remove from heat, place on cooling rack, and cover your pancakes with a moist towel.

Dorayaki buns

My recipe made 10 buns, but it depends on how big you make your pancakes.
Now, just scoop red bean paste into 2 buns, and you are done!

NO!  Not enough red bean paste!

YES!  Red bean paste galore!
I am pretty much a red bean addict, so any dessert with red bean in it automatically gets +10 red bean points.  I mean brownie points...hehe

Made by Cathy.

March 5, 2012

Tea Time just never ends!

There are some places where you wish that time would freeze so that you could chill for as long as you wanted.  Places on my list include:

 1) Disneyland - the happiest place on Earth where dreams come true;
2) Vegas - the grandiose place where you can forget your worries;
 and 3) Ten Ren's Tea Time - the humble tea cafe where you can eat and drink your heart out!

Kung Pao Chicken 

Sizzling Spaghetti spaghetti topped with meaty marinara sauce and a fried egg, served on a sizzling plate

And now, the drinks!  Like I've said before, I think Ten Ren's has the best boba tea drinks ever!  Ten Ren's is actually split into Ten Ren's Tea Station and Ten Ren's Tea Time, but their drinks are equally wonderful.  I think Tea Station tends to be more family oriented, while Tea Time attracts a younger crowd.  But, I love both!

Boba and Pudding Snow milk tea ice with boba and pudding, drizzled with molasses

Today, when ordering drinks, I had an eye-opening experience (kind of) that made me realize that I needed to improve my Chinese skills.  Here's what happened.
When I went with my friends, they both ordered their drinks in Mandarin.  When it was my turn, I instinctively defaulted to ordering in English.  Here's how it went:

Me:  "Can I have the boba and pudding snow, with uh...molasses?"
Waitress:  "Uh......"
Me: "Uh......"
I was at a lost of words!  Luckily, my friend came to the rescue and translated.

Anyways, on the menu, the syrup is called "molasses."  MOLASSES.  I mean, technically that's what it is, but MOLASSES is not a common word, so the waitress was super confused.  If only I was confident enough in my Chinese skills, I could have avoided that awkward "uh..." moment with the waitress.

closer look at the pudding

My Chinese skills (or lack thereof) aside, the drink was well worth it!  It was like SWEET HEAVEN in my mouth.  Perfectly chewy boba and silky egg pudding, mixed with icy milk snow, and topped with sweet sugar syrup! I mean, uh...MOLASSES.

Eaten by Cathy.

Ten Ren's Tea Time (for the drinks)
18423 E Colima Rd
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
(626) 854-6045

Ten Ren's Tea Time (for the food)
515 N Grand Ave
Ste F
Walnut, CA 91788
(909) 839-2665

March 2, 2012

There are shrimp swimming at ABC Seafood Restaurant

Have I mentioned that I don't like shrimp?  No, I don't think I have.  I don't like looking at them alive and I don't like eating them when they're dead.  Or I mean cooked.  Either way, shrimp is just no good.

Actually, there's (kind of) a story behind this.  I loved shrimp as a child but that all changed within a seconds.  I was eating a bowl of sticky rice which had shrimp in it.  My mom was chatting with my dad and I wasn't paying much attention to them.  

"Blah blah blah bloop blah shrimp blah..." 

And that moment, I just all of sudden lost my taste for shrimp.  I don't have the slightest idea what happened!  Some psychological thing or witchery?  But anyways, I still blame my mom for my dislike for shrimp.

I think one of the main reasons I don't like shrimp is because the texture.  When you bite into a shrimp, it kind of has a crunch to it and it feels like I'm  biting and popping veins!

So we ate at ABC Seafood Restaurant again for dim sum.  My grandfather's fangirl wasn't here today so we didn't get any free dishes. 

Shrimp Dumpling (Har Gau)

Look, shrimp!  We ordered so many shrimp dishes that day.  It was like a shrimp fest!  But a fest I couldn't join...

Golden Shrimp Dumpling

Mango Shrimp Roll

So we got the shrimp steamed, deep-fried, and rolled!  We got to cover all the bases!  I haven't tried any of these dishes but my family loves the Mango Shrimp Roll.  My mom swears it's the best dish at ABC.
I ended up ordering a few dishes myself.

Deep Fried Taro Dumpling taro filled with minced meat

Started the lunch off with some good old deep fried food!  And these delicious dumplings sure did it well!  The meat inside is a bit salty but in an amazing way because the taro helps balance it out and the deep fried outside adds a nice crisp shell.

Steamed Vegetarian Dumpling

Next, I decided on something healthier to help squeeze the oil out of my pores.  I know I already wrote about these vegetarian dumplings the last time but they're my favorite dish here!  And this time, they put different colored vegetable on top which makes them the perfect food for photos.  

Minced Beef Ball

As I said before, my grandfather's girl wasn't in today, so we didn't get the free Sesame Rolls like last time...But I really wanted something sweet to end my meal and I was really craving mango pudding.  Technically, you could make mango pudding at home with one of those boxes of mango pudding mix you buy from the supermarkets.  And you could probably make ten servings of it with the money you pay for one at ABC.  But hey, technically you can make anything at home!  So my sister and I ended up splitting one.

I "heart" Mango Pudding!

Eaten by Jocelyn.

ABC Seafood Restaurant
782 Barber Ln
Milpitas, CA 95035