Monday, April 30, 2007

Brownie Cupcakes

See the original post here.

This time around, I just put them in little cupcake tins for portion control. The cooking time shortened to about 15 minutes.

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They're so cute.

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So instead of eating a piece of brownie, I ate two cupcakes at a time... which doesn't really work for portion control.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Best, Movie, Theatre, EVER

It's official. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is a dream come true. An outdoor theater with food and BEER! It's the greatest ever!!!

Explore for yourself

We haven't been there yet because it's in Texas. But one day, we will head to Texas... just for this theater.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Sorry about the lack of updates lately, but life has been hectic with my final defense, comp exam, certification exam and interviews coming up.

So here are our latest youtube/culinary amusement...

It's like "mmmm" "mmmm" "mmmm" ... "ugh" "mmm"

Is that a saw?
From the Clinton Station Diner?

Will be back when we can.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares

I have to admit to my obsession of Food Network during my college years. O the glory days of Iron Chef (the original Japanese version) and Mario Batali, how I miss you so. However, lately I find myself changing the channel because of shows like the semi-homemade hilarity. That aside, here is something (brought up by my brother and he has a good point) that always bothered me about Food Network:

On the food tourism shows like "$40 a Day", there is absolutely no food criticism.

Sure, I am open to the possibility that maybe Rachel Ray or her staff are just that good at finding hot spots... but what are the chances that they are always right? And, we never really get to see her finishing a meal after taking a few bits.

My beef with this is probably why I enjoy this new series...

From Wikipedia,
"Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares is a Channel 4 television program hosted by British celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay. In each episode, Ramsay visits a failing restaurant and acts as a troubleshooter to help improve the establishment in just one week. Ramsay revisits the restaurant a few months later to see how business has fared in his absence."

The guy curses all over the place and is really fun to watch. Apparently, there will be an American version of the show called "Kitchen Nightmare" starting this year.

Click here for Gordon Ramsay's homepage.

Lastly, Ramsay also hosts Hell's Kitchen, which I have not seen yet. I am planning to start after I catch up on this series...

Spring World Restaurant

This restaurant serves Szechuan and Yunnan cuisine. I frequent this place with J or my family. In fact, this is the only restaurant in Chinatown that my youngest brother willingly eats at. However, if you cannot stand spicy or greasy food, I would suggest you to stay away.

2109 S China Pl
Chicago 60616
Information from Centerstage

Monday to Thursdays 11AM - 10PM
Saturday and Sunday 10AM - 10PM

My family mostly orders from the dinner menu. You should be aware that this restaurant does have a lunch menu on weekdays that is more affordable (ranges from $3 to $5 per set meals).

This is what I order when I'm with J:

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Beef Fried Rice $5.95 - I usually tend to stay away from fried rice, but this isn't bad and J NEEDS this

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Scallion Cake $3.95 - I usually stays away from this too, but J NEEDS this as well

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Spicy Preserved Pork $8.95 - this place makes its own preserved pork and it's some pretty good stuff

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Boiled Beef in Spicy Szechuan Sauce $8.95

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Pork with Garlic Sauce and Napa with Dried Shrimp - this is a lunch set (our rice and soup came separately)

Other memorable items:

Across the Bridge Rice Noodles $ 6.95
Sea Bass Steak $14.95
Preserved Pepper Style Fish $12.95
Lam Stew & Fish w/ Sour Pickle Casserole $11.95
Chicken w/ Hot Pepper $ 8.95
Szechuan String Bean $ 6.95

There is plenty of other dishes that we haven't tried. In my opinion, this is one of the best authentic Chinese restaurants in Chicago.

Return to Utica

We ALWAYS start our day at the Beehive (see previous post).

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Greek skillet! I was dreaming about this the night before... mmm...

After a bit of shopping and bumming around before check-in, we hung around at the Starved Rock Lodge. We didn't get to go out on the trails thanks to the heavy rain. So instead, we hung out at the back door lounge (aka BAR) before, during and after lunch. J loves their cherry cheesecake martinis and I usually enjoy the local draft beers. For lunch, J ordered the chicken parmesan sandwich on garlic buns (the daily special recommended by our cute waitress) and I ordered the fried grouper. Basically, lunch was great and we never expected any less. Afterwards, we fooled around the pool... and back to the bar! A warning about the long island ice tea though, it was the strongest I've ever had. The following are our dinner selections:

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The Rock Pot Pie. J proclaimed this "the best chicken pot pie ever!" The fluffy pastry piece on top is super-fluffy.

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Crispy Cajun Catfish. I couldn't believe that I ordered this for dinner after I had the fried grouper for lunch. The fried seafood here is just that good and I can't get enough. Both fish were incredibly fresh, and the seasonings were perfect. Even though they were fried, not greasy at all.

I'm not sure why we like eating in the bar area. Well, there's the alcohol, the view (of the river-ways of Starved Rock National Park, we always giggle at the people running inside from the rain), and the service (always friendly and efficient). Other items that we tried on other trips:

Sweet Potato Fries - nothing makes beer go down smoother

BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs - tender, finger-licking good

Pot Roast of Beef - average, the beef was a bit tough

Roast Turkey Platter - very comforting, reminds me of Thanksgiving without the chaotic cooking

See here for the complete menu. I think we are going to try the Buffalo Shepards Pie and Walleye Saute next time.

Friday, March 30, 2007


1445 W. Taylor St.
Chicago, IL
(312) 226-2408

Monday to Sunday 11:30am - 9:30pm

The reviews on Centerstage were all positive and we were feeling adventurous this day. And, I forgot to bring the camera because I was starving and my brain ceases to function when I'm hungry.

When we first walked in, the waitress (the only one around) shot us the dirtiest look. There was only two other couples in the restaurant. A little unnerved, we sat down by the window and proceeded to order. First of all, the review said none of the entrees exceeded $10 which was absolutely wrong, because the special of the day was tender lamb shanks and costs close to $20. This was the first time I've been to a Middle Eastern styled restaurant so I was a bit overwhelmed and asked the waitress for advice. Other than the lamb shanks, she had no other suggestions and I was not in the mood for lamb. We ordered two appetizers in addition to our entrees. I can't remember what we ordered specifically because everything was bland. Even our hunger can't make the food taste good.

Was it because it was the restaurant's downtime (Saturday night around 6)? Did we order the wrong things (falafel and breek with beef)? Was it us? I have no idea, but it will be a while before I trust Centerstage for eatery advice again.

Lastly, the glimpse of the kitchen we caught from the cashier's desk looked like sanitation might be an issue.

UNSAVORY EXPERIENCE! Not coming back, ever.