Tag: Asian Grocery Store

Movies, Ramen & Ha Tien Super Market

I’ve been getting over that flu/cold thing that’s been going around the Twin Cities this winter. At least it’s given me time to catch up on TV shows and movies.

Now, The Good Place series finale is how you close out a show. 

Back when my mom passed away, a friend lent me his DVD set of Six Feet Under, an HBO series that chronicles a family of undertakers. Watching it start to finish helped him come to peace with death and he hoped I’d feel the same. Six Feet Under remains one of my favorite series ever, but The Good Place got me closer to where Six Feet could not.

I also watched Booksmart which is a movie streaming on Hulu. It’s painfully relatable if you were also a nerd like me coming to terms with spending your grade school (and college) years like Amy. Now we’re all Lisa Kudrows and Jason Sudeikis’s.

Finally, I curiously watched Midsommar streaming on Amazon. I had already spoiled this movie for myself so I kept my finger on the fast-forward. It’s completely upsetting and creepy, but also beautifully filmed and compelling.

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St. Louis Is Delicious: Seven Favorite Tastes

St. Louis is a delicious city, that’s for sure. When I haven’t been drinking ranch dressing-flavored soda or making pizza hot dish in the crock pot, I’m doing one of many things: Trying to stay cool (It’s so hot here!), job searching, completing Microsoft Excel tutorials, learning about coding on CodeCademy, walking the dog, or eating things.

You can find most any type of food you could possibly wish for in St. Louis. While I used to write posts on most of our restaurant experiences, I share more of these snapshots on my Instagram feed. Here are some of my favorite and most interesting tastes from the past month.

Guerilla Street Food at #FoodTruckFridaySTL
I attended my first Food Truck Friday, a recurring event sponsored by Sauce Magazine. On Friday, the food trucks convened at Tower Grove Park. I’ve seen a lot of posts about and from Food Trucks in my social media feeds and look forward to visiting my first one. In an attempt to avoid long lines, I arrived at the park around 4 p.m.

Street Food Fest

Guerilla Street Food was the truck I was most curious about trying and it was surrounded by the most people. It serves Filipino-inspired food and just opened a brick and mortar store. I placed my order and didn’t have to wait more than seven minutes for my name to be called.

I didn’t read the menu descriptions too closely and found the Fresh Lumpia a surprising take on the Filipino egg roll. It was a crepe wrapped around cabbage-veggie filling, a lettuce leaf, and served with sweet chili sauce. What we enjoyed the most was the Wandering Pig Bowl (also available inburrito). The pulled pork was tender and succulent and the combination of hoisin, Filipino lime, sriracha, scallions and fried garlic made for a very flavorful and umumai-filled combination. It was a hefty portion for only $6. I’ve always wanted to try Filipino food and want to return to try some more dishes.

GS Bowl

I read that attendees can purchase a Food Truck Friday speed pass for $10 (or 3 for $25), which can be redeemed to bypass the line at one food truck. These passes seem like an expensive way to enjoy the event. If you can go when the lines aren’t too long, it’s a lovely way to spend a Friday evening. There were many other food trucks serving everything from gyros to beer to cupcakes. People sat together on park picnic tables and picnic blankets with their families and their dogs.

One friendly tip from me to you is to wear closed toed shoes walking through Tower Grove Park, or follow the paved path. To take a short cut back to my car, I tromped through the grassy field covered in lawn mowing clippings and stepped on a bee.

House of India
One weekend we ordered take-out from House of India, as recommended by several people. It was exactly what we were looking for. The sauces were wonderfully complex and addicting and totally “hot” as requested. House of India distinguishes the terms spicy from hot and the person who took my order politely corrected me over the phone when I asked for “extra spicy.”

House of India Collage

The vindaloo wasn’t our favorite of the three entrees, but the bhindi masala and paneer makhni (reminded us of paneer tikka masala) were some of the best we’ve ever tried from anywhere. When we lived in the Twin Cities, we loved ordering bhindi masala from Surabhi who made it in a similar style. Some restaurants make a saucier version that includes other vegetables like tomato or green pepper. We prefer the dryer, more okra-centric version like this.

Chai Tea & Ham and Raspberry Jam Biscuit at Half and Half.
Half & Half is an often-mentioned breakfast/brunch/lunch cafe located nearby.The restaurant includes some communal tables, an open kitchen, and more mason jars than I could count. On two visits, what stood out is that the food is cooked with a lot of care. My family member’s fruit bowl side was not some wintermelon-filled afterthought and the crispy breakfast potatoes were lovingly sprinkled with finishing salt. I’m especially fond of their little biscuit filled with ham & raspberry jam. It’s the perfect, compact breakfast.

Half and Half Collage

Blueberry Cake Donut at Vincent Van Doughnut
When we first moved here, I spun into a donut frenzy. There weren’t many places that sold donuts that didn’t arrive at the store pre-packaged. And the one time I bought a package of donuts from the farmers market, they were so soaked in fishy-tasting grease that I threw them away.

There are many donut shops here! One of my favorite local bloggers Whiskey & Soba recommended Vincent Van Doughnut. When I had arrived on a weekday by 10 a.m., they had sold out of most of their donuts. Fortunately, I’m the most un-picky donut fan. This blueberry donut was my jam. The texture was similar to the cake donuts I’ve tried in the past, but with more bite and a crisp crust. The glaze was tart and naturally fruity, and its spicing almost reminded me of Chef Shack’s Indian-spiced mini donuts. I loved the donut’s delightful, state fair fried food essence.

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Jake said the flavor reminded him of his Norwegian grandmother’s donuts. He preferred their other style of raised donut that remind me of a beignet just as Whiskey & Soba described.

Fortune Teller Manhattan, Fortune Teller Bar
The Fortune Teller Bar caught my eye for several reasons: Recommendations from friends, tales of a roaming palm reader & mention that it served Lunchables. When we visited, we had just eaten dinner but noticed the bar has a full kitchen. I did not see a fortune-teller and wonder if he or she is present on certain nights or later at night than 7:30-8 p.m. Getting my palm read seemed like an amusing thing to do, but after reading about a blogger friend’s terrible palm reading experience I’m a little relieved & $20 richer.

Unless I’m dining at a Mexican restaurant or chain, I go for less sweet cocktails. This Fortune Teller Manhattan ($8) made with J.J. Neukomn whiskey, Byrrh Grand Quinquina, Angostura bitters and dark cherry was strong & delicious with the tiniest hint of sweetness.

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Sugarfire Pie Gooey Butter Cake. I’ve tried baking gooey butter cake twice with varying degrees of success. One was too dry and the other, too gooey. “My gooey butter cake is too gooey, ” is a St. Louis problem. Until I master the art of baking gooey butter cake, I’ll let someone else do the honors. We have many versions to try, but so far, our favorite is from Sugarfire PieI hear we need to try Russell’s on Macklind. 

Seafood City Supermarket, Fish Cake: There are many Asian restaurants and grocery stores along a street called Olive Blvd. Seafood City is probably the largest. I can’t tell if it’s part of the Seafood City Supermarket chain since its website does not list a St. Louis location. Seafood City is similar in size to United Noodle in Minneapolis. However, it has a large selection of fresh seafood, smaller produce section and no in-house deli or restaurant.

When I was paying for my purchase, I noticed plates of some type of still-warm food sealed in ziplock bags at the end of the register. I asked what was inside the packages, and an employee who described it as fish cake started offering samples to customers and employees, alike. It had a golden brown crust and savory flavor that wasn’t at all fishy. I did pass on purchasing the plate since it contained too much food for Jake and I, but would consider getting it again if we could serve it fresh to a small group.

At the end of this week, we’re hosting more family members who are coming to visit St. Louis for the first time. Our Missouri adventure continues. . . 

Trayse yawn

Trayse says, “Hello,” and “Why is it so hot here? I’m a Minnesota doggie.”

Product Review: Kracie Popin’ Cookin’ Happy Sushi House DIY Japanese Candy Kit

I first learned about DIY Japanese candy kits reading Liz’s reviews of Japan Crate on her website My Subscription Addiction.

I don’t even subscribe to any subscription boxes, but love following her reviews and the latest subscription box drama. It’s like my soap opera. Anyway, after seeing some of the cool candy and cookie kits she was receiving in her Japan Crates, I decided to order some to try home.

Since we’re Amazon Prime members, I ordered two kits from their selection on April 6th. Unfortunately, I clicked the wrong shipping preferences, opting for free shipping instead of Amazon Prime shipping. One kit arrived two and a half weeks later while the second from seller JAPAN-SUBCULTURE arrived today, so I can only assume it arrived from Japan by pony express.

The good things about these candy kits is that they’re relatively inexpensive and are designed in fun themes such as sushi and pizza. I bought the Kracie’s Popin’ Cookin’ Happy Sushi House and Happy Kitchen Pizza kits for about $5 each. The Happy Kitchen Pizza kit creates a savory instead of sweet product. You can find more brands of kits on Blippo, but they charge $9 for the same Happy Sushi Kit.

United Noodles, my favorite Asian grocery store in Minneapolis told me that Kracie’s Happy Sushi House and Happy Kitchen Cake kits arrived this morning but are hard to keep on the shelves due to their loyal following. United Noodles added that they do carry sushi, ice cream and cake kits. Here’s a Youtube video example of someone preparing the Happy Kitchen Cake. I love how all of these kits are so happy 🙂

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I took one glance at the instructions and decided I needed some help. After a reader suggested I search for Youtube videos, I found a short & long tutorial that easily walked me through the process.

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Once you cut off the top and bottom ends of the kit’s plastic wrapper, it forms a sushi place mat on which you can place the candy.

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The kit contains everything you need, except for water.

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Since this kit is more complicated than the ones Liz has found in her Japan Crate boxes, I’m not sure I could have figured this out on my own. But, with the video tutorials, using the kit really was easy. My only goof was making four rice balls instead of six.

Each packet corresponds with one of the container’s sections. You simply fill the proper compartment with water up to the indicated line and mix in the corresponding packet with the little shovel. The red and yellow strips solidified and formed the fish and tamago (Japanese omelet).

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The most fun part was making the little fish eggs with the dropper. Once the thick orange solution hit the blue liquid, candy orbs formed. Prepare for some molecular gastronomy!

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The most difficult part was making the seaweed wrapper from a green cube of candy that had the texture of bubblegum. I broke the cube two and tried to press the halves into long, thin strips. The kit’s wrapper includes a life-size illustration of the correct size. One must work quickly because the substance becomes sticky and fragile as it warms in your hands.

sushi eggs Collage

To finish the sushi, I scooped the fish eggs from the solution and placed them on the rice balls wrapped with seaweed. They stuck to the candy surprisingly well. Then, I used the little scooper to gently lift the yellow and red strips of candy from the mold. I cut each in two, and placed half on the last two rice balls. If I had six rice balls total, I would have been able to use the rest of the tamago and fish strips.

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I was happy with how my final candy sushi. The bubbles, tamago, and fish tasted inoffensively tutti frutti. However, when I took a bite of a whole piece of candy, I wasn’t fond of the rice ball flavor or texture. The bubbles and colorful gels tasted more like fruit, but the rest of the candy reminded me of dry bubblegum. More fun to make than to eat, for me at least.

In summary, I had a lot of fun making this kit and can see how they have a cult following. It’s amazing how the kits provide everything you need to easily make the cutest, almost lifelike versions of candy sushi. Depending on where you order these kits from, they’re relatively inexpensive. I can see these being a fun activity to make with kids. As a kid, I would have gone crazy over these kits. I was always on the hunt for unique and unusual candies and loved when my dad brought back candy from his international work trips.

As minuses, the kits may be difficult to prepare if you can’t read Japanese and don’t watch an instructional video. Depending on your tastes, you may also enjoy making the candy more than eating the candy.

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