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Monday, June 27, 2011

Can't go to China? Try Mekong Palce.


Crispy duck skin with chopped duck/water chestnuts and pancakes.


House fried rice and house chow mein (soft noodle).


This picture came from Yelp's website,
in the spirit of full disclosure.
Mekong Palace is located in an indoor mall in
Mesa, where they have other restaurants, stores with clothing,
jewelry and a huge Asian supermarket.


Lychees (from the Asian supermarket) and mango.

After a wonderful afternoon with my mainsqueeze (!) watching Super 8 at Tempe Marketplace, we headed over to Mekong Palace in Mesa for some Chinese food.

Mekong Palace is a superior experience in Chinese dining, in the kitchen wench's humble opinion. The place is full of people, you are served quickly and the food is delicious and reasonable. What could else two foodies ask for?

They are having a Peking duck special right now - where you get the skin (crispy) atop shrimp chips and then they bring you the rest of the duck that has been cubed and prepared with water chestnuts. You get little "pancakes" and lettuce leaves so you can make little sandwiches with the crispy duck and lettuce wraps with the cubed duck. This is so delicious. If you don't try any other item at Mekong Palace, try the duck. Very juicy & rich. Love the crispy skin. All of this for about $13.

It will be time to get back on the treadmill soon. Hanging out with a fellow foodie will do this to you (expansion).

These guys also have dim sum. We're going back for that on the next pass!

I digress. We also had the house chow mein (soft noodles) and the house fried rice. Both have a combination of pork, beef and shimp with a few veggies thrown in for good measure. We also had potstickers (not pictured) which were spicy/juicy and we devoured them quickly.

I have a bento portion of the rice and chow mein to take with me for lunch today, which warms the cockles of my heart (or should I say my tummy).

My mainsqueeze just got his passport (the first one in his life) so he is anxious to explore other lands. Being the compliant companion (especially after a meal like this) I hope to be going to with him soon to try foods from Nogales and Rocky Point. Maybe if we can score some time off work what could be next. Maybe...Thailand?

To be continued!

http://www.yelp.com/biz/mekong-palace-mesa

http://www.super8-movie.com/

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Raspados and other yummies at Sonora Mesquite Grill


I worked a half day yesterday and promised my aunt I would take her to Sonora Mesquite Grill for lunch. We've both become fans, so when the $10 coupon offer ($20 value) via Living Social landed in my inbox, I didn't hesitate to get one. Maybe I should have gotten two.

We both had the barbacoa (tender shredded beef) tacos combo with rice and beans. The barbacoa is very delicious and the rice and beans have just the right amount of heat. The combo comes with 3 types of salsas that I believe are homemade, one is very chunky and a tad salty which I like, the other is a tomatillo and the last is a chipotle (smoky).

The nice lady behind the counter suggested we try a raspado (shaved ice with fruit) instead of our regular choice (lemonade) so that's what we did. My aunt got a peach flavored one and mine was lime. Oh my! It was nice and tart, and very refreshing for our hot summer day (was it 111 degrees yesterday?).

This is going to become one of my favorite raspado places this summer, I can tell.

We saw others file in as we were having our lunch and it looks like Living Social is helping Sonora Mesquite Grill get the word out. Hopefully the restaurant didn't have to take too much of a loss on issuing the coupons. The upswing is that it can be very good for advertising = repeat customers.

Count us in!

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/22/1525848/restaurant/East-Phoenix/Sonora-Mesquite-Grill-Phoenix

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Crispy pork with Puerto Rican rice & beans


Crispy marinated pork cooked on a rotisserie.


Red beans with salt pork.


Rice with pigeon peas and salt pork. Pork fat rules!

I'm in a Puerto Rican coma right now. Seriously.

Last week Jack made plantains. I thought that was the ultimate.

Tonight, he made pork on a rotisserie, marinated with garlic and orange juice. On the side we had rice with gandules (pigeon peas) and salt pork. He also made a side of red beans with pork hocks.

Oh my goodness.

Gravy.

I've always aspired to fall for someone who knows what they are doing in the kitchen. I think that's happening right now. He has capers in his pantry, along with sea salt and manzanilla olives.

¡Dios mío!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

French toast with mango


The kitchen wench has been eating a lot of french toast lately, mostly because...it's yummy.

Some choice phrases/quotes have recently come to mind: do what you do and the money will follow (don't know where that came from), don't be a victim (EST) and, No, I didn't sell the ms. pacman machine because I have known her longer than you (Weeds).

News flash: a guest chef (saucier?) has been in my life the past several weeks, and this is a good thing.

You know how sometimes we don't always feel super creative - I haven't felt bit by the creative bug in quite awhile. Last year I made some nice friends who garden, make beer, paint and write.

I'm not much of a gardener (my loofah seeds just died). I have painted (the inside of my Mom's house) and I enjoy drinking beer. I'm not sure if this blog qualifies as writing. It's a fun outlet, though.

It was tempting to put chamoy on my french toast this morning - it would have been a pretty garnish. That reminds me, I need to get over to Oasis Raspados' new location at 32nd St./Greenway for a chamoyada.

Un toque al día...I think that means something like "do this once every day." I will apply this to french toast and chamoyadas, maybe.

And ping pong.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Abrazos Rotos and chorizo


Pedro Almodóvar's films put me in the mood...for Spanish food.


Who knew that Cost Plus would have such
great chorizo? Economical, too.

Lately I've been enjoying Netflix courtesy of a good friend - tonight I found Abrazos Rotos and watched it with a bocadillo de chorizo (chorizo on a baguette). The chorizo is from Cost Plus. I highly recommend you go and get some. It is pretty authentic stuff, with a nice "chew" and flavor I remember of Spanish chorizo, even thought it is made here in the U.S. A good effort!

Most folks know I have a bit of a girl crush on Penelope Cruz...and for good reason. I mean, what talent (and what a body). Also the wine is courtesy of Cost Plus, Marquise Phillips granache. The winery is going out of business but you can still find a few bottles at Cost Plus and AJ's.

When I watch Pedro Almodóvar's films, they take me right back to the culture of Spain. Such amazing food, architecture, history and culture. Wanderlust.

I was telling my friend Nora from Peru that it's kind of pretentious to go back Spain without even visiting so much of my own continent. I mean, America (North, South and Central) is so vast and there is a lot to discover still.

Still, Spain beckons. To be continued...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Frozen treat: Oatmeal chocolate chip pecan ice cream sandwiches


The finished product...frozen goodness.
My mom and brother are
going to go bonkers over these.


Mmm pecans and chocolate chips...


What a great ice cream sandwich cookie looks like.

It is warming up in Phoenix, folks (like this is news to you). This time of year I have a yen for all things frozen and sweet, mainly ice cream bars like Dilly Bars (my favorite) and Eskimo Pies. They made Eskimo Pies one year with cherries in them covered with dark chocolate. Has anyone seen these lately? I need a box, bad...

In the meantime, I was thinking since it is warming up, and there was a line going out the door today almost at my favorite shaved ice joint Oasis Raspados, that it is time to start making some of these frozen treats in-house. I also like the idea that these yummies won't have all of the preservatives other frozen goodies have....so in theory you can eat more of them (right?). I'm not going all the way and making my own ice cream (yet) but there is Breyers Vanilla in the freezer and it will do nicely.

I think that chocolate chips/oatmeal and pecans is a nice combination in a cookie - sweet and savory. Recently I saw a recipe that made me think I could add pecans in place of cranberries (thank you Ocean Spray for the recipe below).

Oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chunk cookies

2/3 c butter
2/3 c brown sugar
2 lg eggs
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups craisins dried cranberries (you can use pecans for this)
2/3 white chocolate chunks/chips (I used semi sweet)

Combine butter and sugar, add eggs and combine. Add dry ingredients and combine. Stir in craisins and chocolate chips. These bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 12 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 3 dozen.

When your cookies have cooled, take one cookie and place a generous scoop of ice cream on top of it, then add another cookie. Wrap in tin foil and repeat until all of your cookies are gone. If there is an odd cookie, eat it right away.

If you want a decadent dessert (I am borrowing this from Ed Debevic's back in the day) pull out one of these ice cream sandwiches and serve it on a pretty plate covered with chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Mmmm.

Make sure you have enough ice cream... more than one large container - I ran out. I was able to use 22 cookies = 11 ice cream sandwiches. Will have to buy more, or make a supreme sacrifice and eat them solo with a nice earl grey tea or latte. haha.

On a separate note, my aunt gave me a bag of pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and I have no idea what to do with them except maybe crush them and put them on the sides of a chocolate frosted sponge cake. If you have a recipe that includes them, please shoot it my way. ¡Gracias!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Slice of Sicily


What's for dinner tonight (reprise of last night).

Slice of Sicily in Phoenix is one of those great mom & pop pizza places in my neighborhood...in fact, it's my favorite. Last night Jack and I picked up a medium meat lovers pie that had Italian sausage, ground beef, Canadian bacon and pepperoni. This pizza is so flavorful, I'm glad we had leftovers (see picture) for my dinner tonight!

We also had a dozen hot wings which were very tasty. I told Jack that they make a Sicilian crust pizza too, you just have to order it 2 hours in advance.

Now, that's a homemade pie!
Get yours tonight at 37th St./Indian School.

http://www.allmenus.com/az/phoenix/4466-slice-of-sicily/menu/