Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vietnamese food in Pittsburgh

There is arguably a dearth (scarcity that makes something dear, I had to look it up ;) of asian restaurants in Pittsburgh, but we found this one at The Strip, a block from Lotus that is clean and pretty good. The food is fresh, there are enough prawns and herbs in the fresh spring rolls, the place does not smell like bleach (unlike another vietnamese joint that we've quit going to), and the service is decent (see previous comment).
 The first time we went, I peeled the roots off the bean sprouts before dipping them into the boiling hot beef soup (I just don't like them), and was pretty impressed that today, they had peeled the bean sprout roots off for us. Business looked pretty good today, so we're glad..we want them to stay open! some hp photos...
Vietnam's Pho
1627 Penn Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4303
(412) 281-8881

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chamomile tea

A lovely friend sent me some "Egyptian Chamomile", and it came un-bagged and close to its original form, which I thought was very cool!
I have never seen real chamomile anythings before (not that I was ever looking).

It has a tinge of sweetness when you sniff it, kind of like honey, but of course the tea doesn't come out sweet in taste...and a strong flowery scent, not flat. it definitely tastes different from processed chamomile tea in a teabag. These flowers yield a tea that tastes less bitter and less grassy... perhaps this is what you call fresh-tasting tea? I'm no tea connoisseur, but it tastes much better and "gentler" than ones I've had before. Its a nice end to the evening, especially when its chilly! It reminds me to be thankful for the kindness of good friends, and also encourages me to take time to reflect on the day ;)

I put the flowers and bits into empty satchets because there are tons of little bits (which I'm sure are edible anyway). The satchets are some japanese brand (I only recognise the word ''tea" on the packaging) and I never got a chance to use them properly until now!
The tea comes out a strong, clear yellow.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Books, Carnegie Library of PIttsburgh

I love the local library here!
It's a great place to hang out, there are lots of community programs taking place there- learn to read programs, book clubs, story time for kids, people milling about...

Things I love about it :

1) The marble steps that are worn down by the many decades of use. It is a historic building, and feels like it (while having modern amenities).

2) Free internet  ( a modern amenity)

3) "crazy mocha" cafe - italian sodas and coffee :)  (see above)

4) glimpses of antiquity- the ornate sitting well with the modern

5) helpful, friendly staff - one of whom gave me a quick tour when he saw me photographing, and showed me the "original' tile floor they found (and have now preserved) while doing renovations at the library.

6) great book selection - new stuff old stuff , books are well-featured on tables

7) lots of comfy chairs, loungers, comfy leather arm chairs, rocking chairs... and good reading lights placed next to them (how considerate is that!) ..did i mention its comfy?

8)  borrow 50 items - DVDs, CDs, books, magazines...

The only thing missing now is a library cat! Such things do exist  http://spencerlibrary.com/deweybio.htm
Gotta love the CARNEGIE LIBRARY!
Visit or donate soon!

Many other great nooks, but I decided to let people read in peace. Shhhh...

Feel free to share YOUR library experience!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

beautiful sunset of today

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Best Crepes in Pittsburgh

I think these are also the only crepes in pittsburgh I've seen. Fortunately, they are also one of the best crepes I've eaten. Hooray
I usually have the ham and cheese crepe with some creme-y sauce... and when there's enough company, share a dessert crepe with dark chocolate oozing out, topped with mixed berries, nuts and fresh cream.

Found at Craig street, near Carnegie Mellon and U. Pitt.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

What to do with healthy grains?

Recently, in a bid to add more fibre and minerals to our diet, I bravely purchased a small bag of mixed grain/rice.
I mixed it with our daily ration of white rice, much to the dismay of my man. We had it for about a week, when he finally broke down and asked for white rice instead. The best compromise we came to was once a week brown, mixed grainy rice, and even then, I should not tell him when it was coming. For this reason, he sighs with relief after he sees whats in the rice cooker/ rice bowl when we went back to white rice. I decided not to "torture" him and now we have white rice again.
Now I know how my parents felt when they tried to make us kids eat brown rice when we were growing up. And we either ate very little, or ate very slowly. (My brothers still don't eat brown rice I believe)

Fragrant white rice sops up the flavour and sauce of the asian dishes you are eating, brown rice + grains changes the taste of the meal in a different way. So, what do I do now with 3/4 pack of healthy grains... my husband suggests feeding it to the birds. 


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Sunday, November 8, 2009

this funny life : Holy Day

Had a great day at church and decided to have pizza for dinner... after giving thanks for the food, we noticed that even the pizza was holy.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

note to self: eat more fruit

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Recipe for Iri Iri pan Pan

Just for u Denvy ;)  I thought of posting recipe with the photo but was lazy .. lol.
I usually cook this with miso soup cos the meat/vege/eggs are generally sauceless (but still tasty)

Recipe from Naomi Moriyama's book "Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat" --an interesting read !

serves 4, but easily halved.
This dish comprises of rice with 3 different "toppings"- eggs, minced meat and vegetables.
1 tbsp oil
6 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1 tbsp oil
1 lb ground beef
2 tbsp sake
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
8 snow peas, trimmed.
4 cups of cooked rice
Mix the eggs and sugar and salt,
Fry in oiled saucepan on medium heat.
Keep scrambling the eggs in the pan for 2 mins, or until eggs are cooked and in small pieces.
Add all the ingredients into a saucepan on medium heat.
Saute till thoroughly cooked.
Boil on med- high for 1 min or till just cooked.
Drain and cut into small strips.

Divide the three "toppings" between 4 bowls of steaming hot rice, as neatly as possible... nice home-cooked meal in less than 30 mins (depending on how fast u like to cook ;)
eat well and be healthy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Iri iri Pan Pan

This is a new dish I tried recently. The recipe came from a book about why Japanese women don't get fat or old. It was a pretty simple recipe with easily available ingredients, tastes pretty nice and looks interesting too. I put more 2X more veges than the recipe called for, in the name of our recent household campaign called -  "Eat 5 servings of fruit and vege daily." This campaign was prodded by some bathroom difficulties, of course ;)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The next Crocs

Eco-friendly. Recyclable.
These are my husbands new shoes.
He broke his toe and these are the clinic 'shoes' given by the foot doctor...
I guess they are also sterile.
These would make a great kid's project - decorate your own house slippers!