Archive for November, 2007

so sweet, like listening to the beatles for the first time

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

ever since happy together — a torrentially emotional WKW joint featuring our fave smoldering HK hottie — argentina has secured a spot on my wanderlust list. however, it has recently climbed over other destinations on the list and now occupies a position in the top-five tier.

why the heightened desire? well, other than a deep appreciation for astor piazzolla, my growing interest can be attributed to one single thing:

the ALFAJOR, a wickedly sublime confection that everyone deserves to try at least once in their lives. that there golden brown filling in the middle is dulce de leche, and it’s sandwiched between perfectly soft cookies that deliver just the right amount of crumble and chew. i prefer my alfajores to come in a smooth chocolate robe, but they also come in powdered sugar versions, which are often too sweet for me. one bite can induce diabetes.

can you imagine how alfajores would taste with coffee or tea?

two co-workers have brought back these treats from their travels to argentina, and on both occasions i’ve been lucky enough to help myself to them. it’s funny, one time i was greedily grabbing one when i noticed that someone had actually cut one up into little segments for sharing. and here i was, happily wanting to devour half a dozen in one sitting.

the pictured alfajor is from the famous havanna bakery in argentina. isn’t the wrapping so purdy and classy? i’m pretty much convinced that you’re never gonna be able to find an alfajor here in the yay area even remotely close to the stellar ones from havanna. the quality is unbelievable.

on top of how incredibly GOOD alfajores are, i also love them cuz it’s a fun word to say.

so if/when i go to buenos aires (and patagonia in search of dinosaur bones), i will literally bring back a suitcase packed with boxes and boxes of alfajores.

mad for mochi

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

sharing truly is caring.

my coworker graciously bestowed upon me this gem plucked from a bounty of mochi he recently procured from a friend traveling in hawaii. this isn’t just any mochi that you can purchase in japantown or on clement street. according to doug (said coworker), this is the only mochi he’ll ever eat:

chi chi dango, made by honolulu’s celebrated nisshodo candy store.

rui said that “chichi” is japanese for milk. makes sense, since chichi dango is made with powdered milk.

i looooove mochi, but am somewhat apathetic toward the red bean stuffed variety. however, i’ll gladly devour mochi filled with black sesame, chestnut cream, or chocolate. i usually indulge my cravings for these at nippon ya. my absolute favorite though, is just pounded glutinous sweet rice. simple and pure, with nothing inside. this kind — pictured above — is not so easy to find.

not only is the taste spectacular — slightly sweet and almost earthy — the texture is a treat for your mouth: pillowy, soft, and chewy. sometimes i’m not so sure if it’s the unique flavor or the mastication that i relish more. of course, it’s the combination of the two.

one of these rainy days, i’m gonna savor a helping of chi chi dango with a pot of steaming matcha and a movie. does that sound like restorative relaxation or what?!

random photos:
fried mochi (savory and sweet) at japantown’s cherry blossom festival

chinese zhi ma tang yuan (black sesame rice dumplings)

ps – it’s an asian art museum tradition, and for the past three years, a beloved tradition of mine as well: mochitsuki, the mochi pounding party. if you wanna observe the actual mochi-making process in a lively and festive atmosphere, participate by pounding the rice yourself, AND taste the results of all that rigorous activity, then i’ll see you at the museum on saturday, january 5. seriously – it’s pretty damn fun.

it’s the morning after

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

always a pleasant sight to behold at work:

i would tell you how much of this stash i’ve consumed, but you’d lose all respect for me.

last night, bruce springsteen, hobbes, a koala, raphael, hao, hellen, and anthony all hung out and sipped pho together.