Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Providence ! Afternoon Tea at The Duck and Bunny

This week is a bit busy for me, but in case you're tired of looking at rice casseroles, I wanted to share with you a little more charm from Diana and my weekend in Providence last year.  Charm, if you weren't aware, is what Providence serves in spades!

After a lovely stroll in a cemetery, which surprisingly had the best display of fall foliage,

Diana and I found ourselves in the back patio of The Duck & Bunny, basking in the fresh fall air with many, many other ladies.  Ladies love themselves ducks and bunnies.  And lots of cupcakes.

Afternoon tea ($18) includes a pedestaled assortment of finger sandwiches, cupcakes, scones, cookies, jams and Devonshire cream in addition to choice of tea.  Theoretically, there is enough food for maybe two dainty women to share, but since Diana and I will never feign to be dainty, we ordered two.

The array of finger sandwiches included cucumber with herb spread, tuna with apple, turkey with dried cranberry, smoked salmon with dill, and sundried tomato cream.

Each was fresh, flavorful and made you feel ever so much like a lady eating such delicate sandwiches.

The cupcakes were surprisingly moist for their size, with a perfect ratio of icing to cake.  Our flavors included mocha espresso and red velvet.  Delightful!

Scones were served warm (as they always should!) and paired well with the cream and jam (chocolate-raspberry and strawberry), but were also wonderful on their own.  Buttery, golden crisp shell, bliss.

Sometimes being a lady is great, especially when it involves being able to laze around on a beautiful day, nibbling on tiny, tasty treats and sipping tea with your best galpal.  Heck, being a lady is always great, right?

Han's Nonsensical Rating: Simply tea-riffic!

312 Wickenden St  Providence, RI 02903

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Wah-tta Food - The World Famous Rice Casserole Dish

Jamie, Thanan, Peter and I met up for a low-key meal at A Wah in Chinatown recently.  Thanan and I arrived early, so we ended up eating most of our food before anyone else arrived.

We shared a plate of roast pork that was salty beyond belief but perfect with

a bowl of congee; the soup was a bit loose, bland, and sparse with bits of preserved egg and mishmash.

We each ordered a rice casserole because it was only $7.  We did not realize the $7 rice casserole can feed a small family.  

Thanan ordered the Chinese sausage, preserved duck and pork casserole.

The dish basically stays freakishly hot the whole time in the clay pot it sits in, and at the very bottom, the rice gets burnt and crunchy and fun to eat.  There's mushrooms in there and some other hodgepodge, but it's fairly unflavorful aside from whatever topping you get.  Add some house special oyster sauce concoction to add a bit of flair to the dish.

I got the roast pork rice casserole.  

The roast pork meat was thick and plentiful, but the skin was gelatinous and gross.  Eat this one if you don't like skin (but also question your priorities later).

Thanan and I worked on our respective claypots for at least a half hour before agreeing that sometimes it's best to share in life, but at least we both had lunch for the next day.

For dessert, we got some fried bread.

You eat it with condensed milk.  We asked for an extra plate of condensed milk.  (Sometimes it's not that great to share.)

Later Peter arrived and ordered some other fried bread thing that turned out to be really flat fish cakes.  Surprises at Chinese restaurants can be so fun !  These particularly fishy cakes would've tasted great with congee also.

The complimentary house dessert is a bowl of slightly warm tapioca rice coconut milk soup with bits of taro.  It's nice.  It's free !

This place had exceptionally good service for a Chinatown spot, with our tea cups being refilled continuously.  I suspect it might be because our waiter was in love with Jamie.  You'll just have to verify if that's true when you go and don't get great service.

Han's Nonsensical Rating: This place is just o-clay - pretty good little bang for your buck.  And word on the street is that if you order this for delivery, they will bring it to you in the the clay pot which is yours for you to keep !  

A Wah
5 Catherine St  New York, NY 10038
A-Wah on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dim Sum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor

There's so many dim sum places in Chinatown.  They all have 3-3.5 stars on Yelp.  They all generally have the same sort of dishes.  And they all basically taste the same too.

Nom Wah Tea Parlor is a tiny bit different than the rest.

First, it has the address of a cool, historical murder mystery that involves a Mock Duck Dealer.  Second, the place is filled to the brim with white people / tourists.  And third, the dim sum is made to order (select your choices off a tally sheet). 

The shrimp rice rolls were good.  The rice noodle crepe was particularly fresh and chewy.

The sticky rice with chicken and Chinese sausage was okay.  The Chinese sausage was served as large half-links.

These were the house special dumplings or something, and they were fine.  Thickish, chewy wrappers and who the hell really knows what's inside?  Nutty, meaty, indistinguishable !

The steamed pork buns were solid, lovely fluffy shell with a meaty sweet porky inside.

The shrimp dumplings taste like any other shrimp dumpling you had in your life (good).  I could always eat 100 of these.

The shu mai was particularly meaty and bigger than your usual shu mai.  Man, I'm insightful and amazingly helpful.

At the end of the day, everything tasted fine.  I'd say this place is probably one of the dirtier dim sum places around (drinking cups caked in someone else's lipstick, a lovely shade though!), the cost is a bit higher (~$4/tray), but hey, the service is just as brusque, and who doesn't crave a good ol' Chinese scowl every now and then?  If you go though, do get the fried crab legs.  They look like giant balls of fried amazingness with a tiny crab leg sticking out.

Han's Nonsensical Rating: Sometimes you lose some, and sometimes you dim sum.  Good for off-hour dim sum, immune system strengthening (from the lack of cleanliness), and a very healthy dose of MSG.

Nom Wah Tea Parlor
13 Doyers St
New York, NY

Nom Wah Tea Parlor on Urbanspoon