Curing Chinese Sand Pot

19 01 2011

I bought a Chinese sand pot last night from Kam Man. I haven’t used one for many moons. When I used to live in my condo, I didn’t own a rice cooker and always cooked rice in a single person sand pot. It just taste so different.. so much better! I literally ate plain rice out of the pot as a snack!

I spent this evening curing the pot for first use. I was heavily debating about making a 煲仔飯 tonight but it’s getting late. I’m still curing the pot so this venture will have to wait till tomorrow.

I didn’t do much beside just soaking it water for a few hours. Now I am drying the sand pot. I even bought a piece of metal thing for cooking this style. Don’t ask me why. It’s just how I was taught. If you don’t separate the direct heat, it will be an uneven cooking and may cause the rice to burn in the bottom center. Also, it’s not a good idea to use wicked high heat quickly when cooking with clay pots. The cooking should be a gradual change in temperature.

There was actually one time that I didn’t listen. I ended up cracking a 20 year old pot. Ooops! I sure was glad that I didn’t get whipped by the duster! Good thing these sand pots are not expensive.

The one I bought was less than $7! The metal thingamajig was less than $3. Now, this is much more affordable than a rice cooker! Ya, I know.. not everyone knows how to cook rice on the stove top. Isn’t it exhilarating to have a yummy bowl of rice?

Sand pot is termed this way because of the exterior texture of the pot rather than the type of clay used. The interior is glazed to keep the moisture and flavor in, as well as for preventing odors from previous cooking adventures to seep in. It is also not recommended to use detergent to wash clay pots because the it can alter the flavor of the food. Keep a box of baking soda handy!


Abby Park, A Modern American Cuisine

12 01 2011

I peeped in Abby Park a few times but never ventured inside this East Milton restaurant. I finally made my way in here only because Ichiro Sushi was closed for dinner. The decor is quite American – woody a flair of red ambiant lighting. You can definitely have an intimate dinner here. How intimate? Of course, that is up to you!

When I looked at the menu, I wanted to try so many things. I picked the Abby Park Burger since my friend said it looked tasty as he walked by the kitchen; and I haven’t had a $12 burger in a while. I topped my prime chuck burger with caramelized onions. It was a pretty good $12 burger.

We also ordered a couple appetizers to start off. The Frito Misto of Shrimp and Calamari was nicely flash fried. Tender and lightly batter without much grease when it’s served.  The other app we tried is the Carpaccio of Beef. They used lemon truffle dressing over the carpaccio. I still can’t decide if that thick dressing goes well with the beef. I love truffle but I think it was a bit too overpowering because it just masked all the beef flavor. I probably will stick with Abe & Louie’s when I have a beef carpaccio craving.

If service makes a difference in your dining experience, this is a place to be. Even the managers were helping running food!  Our server was attentive. He was around to fill our still water. He has pretty good time management and was friendly. Made sure we finished the first course before presenting the second course. He was right on the dime on keeping the table clear.

For those with gluten allergies, Abby Park does have a gluten free menu and parking in the rear of the building.

Dumpling Cafe Inc

11 01 2011

I am committed to say that Dumpling Cafe on the edge of Chinatown is by far the worst Northern Chinese Restaurant in the Boston area. No wonder why they are dead during the dinner rush and there’s a line out the door at the Gourmet Dumpling House. It doesn’t really make that much sense since it’s the same owner. Maybe they don’t share recipes between the two?

You know how much I love 小籠包 (xiao long bao) and my gawd! I had to force myself to finish the one piece I had. My dinner mates said they mixed vinegar in the meat. I say, it’s spoiled. Come on, I’m already dipping the darn bao into a spoonful of vinegar! Get real!

The scallion pancake was too bleh. There is no layerness to it. I’m sorry I don’t know how else to describe what was missing! Not enough salt. Not enough scallion. The dough was too doughy.

The Hot and Sour soup had this weird stench to it. I couldn’t for the hell of me name that flavor. Not a welcoming flavor for sure.

The fried chicken was over marinated. All I tasted was the stringy, sweet, soy, ginger kabaam when biting into it. What happened to the flavor of the chicken? The juice?

There was also Shanghai noodles on the table. I don’t get why it’s so saucy. I haven’t had this dish in a while but I don’t recall it being saucy.

Everyone, please don’t ever invite me to this place again. Well, you can.. but I’m not going to show up. I much rather have a Happy Meal and be Happy!

That Darn Bon Chon

7 01 2011

Bon Chon - Fried Wings and Drumsticks

Fried Wings and Drumsticks

Boy Bon Chon, you should learn how to use your resources better. You tell me when I sat down that it takes 30 mins to cook the Korean fried chicken. That’s cool.. only if it came out hot! If you make me wait that long, there should be steam coming out when I bite into those famous Bon Chon Korean Chicken Wings! Why are you so famous? I don’t get it. Bon Chon, I don’t know if you realize that there are a few people that can taste how old your oil is. You need to recycle that oil in your fry-o-later more often. I’m sorry but your sauce cannot mask that taste from my sensitive tongue. Also, if you’re not going to time the chicken combo to come out all around hot, why don’t you bring out what’s cooked first? You know, bring out the wings when it’s ready instead of it just sitting there for the drumsticks. OK, you’re not the one eating it, but I am! Maybe you should go over to KFC and see how they keep all their meats hot at the same temp.

Bon Chon - Hotate Kaiyaki

Hotate Kaiyaki

Oh, and please tell me what type of cheese you use for your hotate kaiyaki. You told me it’s suppose to taste like spoiled food so now I’m curious if it’s the type of cheese that you use. Maybe it’s an acquired taste? Majority of the peepz at the table thought there was something wrong with it too though. So be honest Bon Chon.. what is it?

I do have another question for you Bon Chon. Do you fry your Hamachi Kama? Is it not true that this appetizer is suppose to be grilled? It sure came out quick. Something is wrong when it comes out quick and DRY! There was no juice in this yellowtail collar what so ever. You totally destroyed this delectable dish my dear! When this all cooled down, guess what Bon Chon – that narrow section was hard as a rock. Who are you trying to fool?

Come on Bon Chon, did you intentionally not put much on your website so that I can’t find the names of the dishes that I can’t remember the names to and smack talk about? I do thank you for at least putting up your address and phone number.

OK fine, you don’t want me to talk about your food anymore. Then, can you explain to me why you have to fire all the food at once? Do you like playing Tetris and see how you can put all the dishes on the table without me having to hold my plate to eat? I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. Thank you for allowing me to lose my etiquette to stack dishes so that everything will fit on the table. Actually, why didn’t you tell us that maybe we ordered way too much food? Is all you care about is racking up the bill and have us doggie bag the leftovers? Then again, if we didn’t order that much, I wouldn’t be so firm that Bon Chon have lots of room for improvement. Till then, don’t expect me to come visit you Bon Chon. There are other Korean restaurants in Boston that I can go to, you know, for better Korean food.

A&E in

5 01 2011

I am for certain now what section of Boston. com is popular amongst my friends and the friends of friends!

“Is this you?”

“You are in”

“So and so forwarded me this link”

My first reaction was, “Why would I be part of any news?”

I just laughed when I saw the picture and the topic. I have no idea why the Globe dug up pictures from 2009. At least, now I know that any pictures of current articles may not be current pictures.

The picture is from a fundraiser by Joslin. I was doing volunteer work for Changsho that was donating to this foundation. It was a great time to do something for a cause. I don’t do a whole lot of volunteer work. Shame on me since I believe in giving back to the community. Certainly, when there’s an opportunity and I can find time, I will participate. Perhaps, part of my New Year resolution is to partake in more volunteerism. You can never give too much!

Wings Kitchen

3 01 2011

How many times have Wing’s Kitchen in Chinatown changed hands? At least, the Chinese name changes as the hand changes. With the latest hand, I’ve been here not more than 5 times.

Lettuce Wraps

The lettuce wraps are suppose to be a signature dish here. If they are so good at it, why can’t they at least cut the lettuce in the shape where it can be wrapped and eaten without making a huge mess? I seriously made a huge mess beyond the boundaries of the plate. Too embarrassed to take a picture and post it!

Garlic Spareribs

Another signature dish in this tiny Boston Chinatown hole in the wall is the Garlic Spareribs. It’s deep fried and then tossed in garlic. I basically love to eat anything that is garlicky and fried. This is a perfect combination for my taste bud.

Empress Chicken

I will mention another signature dish. This dish baffles me. Why? Every time I had it here, it sucked for one reason or another. Tonight’s reason is because it was like leather. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not overcooked. It’s just a wicked old chicken! Converting chicken years to human, I would say this Empress is 90 years old. This Empress sure didn’t impress anyone at the table. Since we’re Chinese, we still devoured this OLD Empress Chicken to the last piece. I certainly burned more calories per piece than consuming.

On a Monday evening, our table was basically the scene in the restaurant. If it wasn’t for us, the wait-staff would be bored to death! I heard that only Fridays and Saturdays are busy here. If that is the case, how do they cover rent and utilities?