Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Golden Cafe & Ireland's Potato

From the steep narrow street, there are well marked signboards guiding you to the El Dorado let say Golden Cafe & Tea. The highlights of the restaurant include its beautiful European style atmosphere.
Spacious seating room with natures view, you can almost see hill and overlooking the Keelung Islet and Badou fishing port the scenery even more beautiful at night but fortunately we experienced some rainy showers.
The ceiling is exposed with wooden beams across following the Tudor style and rustic English charm.
With regard to the quality of food versus the cheap price, perhaps I should not be too critical to comment  and here the highlight.  The cream soup came out quickly.
Me and my husband we ordered both the braised pork ribs it serve with some vege and rice in bento style. The ribs is tender and delicious, the rest it was inedible.
Teriyaki chicken was average. My daughter said to me just like you are eating a bento food box.
My boy had a seafood spaghetti in tomato sauce which extremely bland. Well it was nothing but seafood marinara mix with batchoy.
The only winner on our table is the coffee and milk tea. The coffee was awesome, I would probably to come back here if we will re visit Juifen again.
Food and service was stream of efficiency but unprofessional. The male owner with long finger nails touch the bottom of the spoon and so we soak the spoon on the water glass. The atmosphere might be good for drinks they offer great coffee. One of the delights of visiting Golden Cafe & Tea is the opportunity to explore the splendors of nature by hiking up hill of Juifen. And get yourself prepared a pair of good comfortable shoes.
 Golden Cafe & Tea-黃金之鄉
Juifen Rueifang Township, Taipei County
Contact No: 02-2496-0611
It was a bad time of day for dinner in Juifen. We hit Taipei City for a shoe shop at ECCO in Shinkong Department Store. We had a late night meal or night snack at Ireland's Potato before headed home. An appealing sidewalk fast food and bar provides outdoor seating that’s always busy. The place fills up quickly with people of all ages. Ireland's Potato is a kind of potato fries, made with a wide variety of flavors, some baked, some cheesy-creamy and spicy, some not.
The first time we ate here, I really liked the Potato fries in honey mustard sauce. Its' a pity that they had running out of the mayo-wasabi and so we ordered potato fries with sour cream. We couldn't finish and it was a little sour for our linking.
The honey mustard sauce it goes well on the fries and so we go for another cups and you cannot possibly eat without a classic bottle of coke. I always think about eating junk food and high calories for such things but their delicious. Good place for junk food its the perfect place for young-adults and movie goers, shoppers or you just hanging around this area.
Ireland's Potato
No.18 Songshou Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Summer Flower

We was here 2 weeks ago just last saturday afternoon. I almost didn’t want to share my experience with you and a bit busy this past few days. This summer flowers Italian Restaurant located in Hsinchu, Dong Da Road. It serves a variant of Italian cuisine and plenty of pasta to choose from on the menu.
The interior of the restaurant is littered with a modern, relaxing minimalistic intimate feel with comfortable chairs. We had the standard high tea, and the family staff quickly attended to us, offering water and a bit of time to look over the menu. Then took our order, we waited a 35 minutes and the lady got back to us said soon your order will be arrived shortly. It was annoying for 2 person who are handling a few order it takes time to prepare. We never had this kind of experienced in any other restaurants. Most of the restaurants here in Taiwan they moved quick with efficient service.
Then after another 10 minutes our three tiers, and a plate of sandwich, pizza, bread and cake showed up with the wild berries fruit tea for the price of NT$500.
The sliced of tossed baguette with garlic and olive paste and tiramisu was ok.
 The seafood pizza was dried out!
The tuna, egg and ham (spam) with cucumber and vegetables salad was disappointed.
The tuna were not perfectly fresh. I suspect they had been prepared from the can and left on the fridge, and some of had a distinctly day old. The sandwich fingers were weak and tasteless.
I do love hot fruit tea, especially when the weather turns cooler. Tastes full-bodied, mouth-watering dark red infusion with the piquancy of hibiscus, rose hips, apple, elderberries, strawberry-blackcurrant leaves, bilberry natural flavor. This fruit tea reminds me of my favorite Wild Berry Fruit Tea from Germany that we always buy several times in Hola.
This a tad of Royal Vienna Coffee it takes 1 hour to make (imagine!) This normal drink isn't Vienna coffee but ordinary coffee.
Then another 15 minutes more after serving the high tea tray my kids milk tea was arrived on our table. They consume a lot of time and we wait with patient. The milk tea was smooth however it was definitely not the best milk tea.
The foods was bland and the service it was very slow, we waited for 1.5 minutes. It's dark when we finish it was a disappointing dining experience and not worth to wait. This is a common failing we wouldn’t go back otherwise. All in all a nice try by the Summer Flower but definitely a miss. There are much better afternoon teas to be had in the other place.
Summer Flower-夏朵
No. 8 Dongda Road, Hsinchu City
Contact No: 03-531-8111

Friday, November 19, 2010

Inner Bay Tea House

We eventually stopped at a Hakka restaurant and had lunch after snack. When we enter on the first floor it's full of customers. Good thing we sat in the second floor and it's empty. But then once we were seated another individual groups of customers next to us. It’s chaotic and crowded, but so much fun, and really worth the experience. The decor of the place from the outside seemed nothing special, but inside of the shop had a nice authentic Hakka atmosphere, small and rustic with simple wooden and bamboo furniture. We ordered the set meal in 8 dish for 4 person included the fatty and oily pork long beans soup that no one wants to try.
We started with their stir fry leafy vegetables such as baby cabbage are crunchier than regular cabbages.
We also had a small plate of slices of pork belly with layers of melt in the mouth fat served with garlic vinegar.
Despite the low cost, this is the perfect portion size of noodles are stir fry chopped meat and vegetables. The noodles is a bit overcooked but nonetheless it was flavorful.
The next dish to be brought to the table, was a stir fry vegetable dish that were mushrooms, carrots, scallions, stir fried with aromatic oil and garlic. This stir fry mushrooms  was pretty dense and maintaining their bright, fresh texture.
Vinegared pork intestines with ginger strips, pickle mustard and soy beans. The intestines was a bit too chewy but soft and quite sour. Recently I've become a huge fan of this Hakka dish since I had this vinegared pork intestine at Emei old street. I loved the tartness-sour flavor of this dish, it reminds me the Filipino cuisine. Again, the amazingly unexpected flavor got me hooked. It's definitely been added to my favourites. It was seriously good stuff! If you are from old world Europe or old Western civilization it's definitely you'll gonna love this vinegared pork intestine as much as I do, ok maybe not!
Now it came wit my favorite, steamed chicken with tangerine or orange dipping sauce. Cooked just right, the meat was smooth and firm.
Homestyle omelet had strips of dried radish and chopped scallion it cook beautifully golden added a nice crunch to the dish.
Hot lei cha are the surprising include of our meal.
An extra order of iced lei cha for my daughter, a filling tea made from a paste of different seeds with green tea mixture not mint leaves, it is refreshing. This drink are specialize for the Hakka people in Taiwan.
Great place for Hakka food cravings, service just promptly and meals came quickly and the price was not expensive.
Inner Bay Tea House-內灣茶堂
No.271 Chung Cheng Road, Neiwan Village, Hengshan Township, Hsinchu County
Contact No: 03-584-9362
After lunch we drove around the mountain spa villa, taking a slightly different route through mountain village. Then we took the road back down the Neiwan. And we stopped at coffee shop and restaurant are specialize in making a good coffee called tree house coffee, I forget the exact name. Our table was near a live band stage excellently placed at the back of the restaurant with river view, suspension bridge and surrounded mountain in the background. For me, this place is just a one time thing, and something that is a must do in Neiwan, just drink their coffee.
I ordered the hot espresso con panna was I think they use some type of coffee beans, melt it down with a gourmet whipped creme and chocolate. Tic tac what a nice coffee!
For my boys had both cappuccino, again it was good a cup of coffee. The well extracted coffee beans blended well with milk that was lovely and creamy and at the right temperature.
My daughter always go for her favorite drink. The green tea is less sweet, while the milkshake is very milky.  I strongly recommend this place for the sake of their good coffee!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Neiwan Street Foods

Neiwan old street its streets are filled with Hakka home-style eateries and some traditional shops. There is amazing street food everywhere, and it's all so cheap. Upon arrival at the village, you will be immediately dazzled by breathtaking mountain views of Hsinchu Country hills and the old Japanese-style train stations.
As we reached the movie theater it's now has an eatery and souvenir shop a cast iron gorilla statue are always a fun stop. Apparently the local young tourist like to take a pictures and make fun on it!
As gourmand and a food lover we look for good food everywhere we go, upon arrival  we try and ate from one end of its famous snack foods. Our gastronomic adventures began with grilled suasages.
There are also some stall that sell some unusual smell for foreigners. These pickles are being displayed in the market. And the bottles of orange sauce is used for the steamed chicken trust me it's delicious!
You also may find anywhere on this place is the famous stinky tofu is an exotic taste and also turned off by others. This dish is one of my favorite snack and second to fried oyster omelette. It is deep fried and crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. It was served and topped with Taiwanese kimchi a kind of sweet  and sour pickle cabbage and chili sauce. It's taste is far better than it's smell.
You don’t often find street food as good and tasty as this without finding corn. It's just boiled yellow corn coated with Taiwanese bbq sauce and then grill over coal and it was moist, sweet and smoky.
So, in searching for snack we go on and we find our favorites is the deep fried king mushroom are crispy on the outside and has juicy inside. I think I'm missing the shing bao ku at the road in Cing Jing Nantou.
Along the street we came upon this ice drop shop that has a variety of colors and flavors. Wait! what it taste like? Last time I had this yummy cold on stick I was on my teen age life.
Sticky rice dumpling vendors are everywhere.
Wonderful, soft, sweet, velvety gelato. Of course, there were lots of options for dessert from ice cream, mochi, moon cakes and etc etc. We was purchase the steamed sweet brown rice and it was dely taste like heaven!
One of the interesting things about Neiwan is that almost anywhere you can find a variants of dried fruits and simply veggies snack are an excellent healthy, crunchy, filling and tasty snack!
Moving on, my husband he was looking for a rice dumplings zongzhi or bak chang. We stopped at Erjie Yejianhua Rice Dumpling one of the best zongzhi stall. Where they specialize in sticky rice-based on glutinous rice steamed in bamboo leaves and stuffed with various types of ingredients.
We thought America had perfected greasy of fat saturated corn dogs, here in Neiwan you can purchased this Korean style corn dogs wrap in french fries and tosses it in a deep fryer. Ketchup and mustard are complimentary.
And popular all around the street another is the flaky and crisp pastries filled with red beans, taro root, sweet potato, and green bean. mochi and salted egg yolks.
Beautiful color of jelly candy, they’re a soft pink, both in texture and color.
Not to be missed is the shave iced was popular in Taiwan it comes with different flavours and toppings. We find this mango shaved ice and it’s loaded with tons of fresh sweet mango top with ice cream.
Unusual fruit from Taiwan called aiyu and produced another popular drink found in many street food markets.
Aiyu is a gelatin-based beverage it's very light yellowish jelly substance mix with lemons or lime juice. I will continued this post later on, about our Hakka cuisine adventures. Anyway, not so much thing to do, but Newian is pretty much a food lover's paradise and great place to spend during weekends.