April 5th, 2003


(no subject)

Erik and I went out for dinner to a little but well-known place on College called Nan Yang. I'd been curious about it ever since freshman year, because it is the only restaurant I have ever seen that serves Burmese food. I'd always heard that it was quite good, so tonight since I finished the first draft of my thesis, we wanted to celebrate by doing something different.

Nan Yang certainly lived up to its reputation. Of course I don't know anything about Burmese food, but what we were served was rich with complex layers of flavors, so much so, in fact, that while the general effect was not overly 'heavy,' I ate considerably less than I might have at a different restaurant. We started with a fish noodle soup, hot and flavorful; then Erik had an excellent seafood and vegetable curry while I had a so-so garlic noodles with curried tomatoes and spinach. My noodles were okay, but too sour for my taste.

Because I spent the evening baking a cake I wasn't allowed to eat (for Shra's birthday!), I had been craving dessert. Nan Yang's desserts are not any kind of cakelike concoction, but they are interesting experiences. I had a tapioca pudding, which wasn't like any other kind of tapioca I've ever had. The tapiocas I've had consist of little tapioca beads suspended in a normal pudding base, but this was just a sticky glob of orange tapioca beads sitting in a coconut milk sauce, with golden raisins on top. The first taste seemed strange, but after a short while I really liked my dessert. Erik's was even more fun. I think it was called the Tropical Rose Float. It was something like a milkshake, but full of all kinds of things like ice cream, rose water, tapioca pearls, grass jelly, lichee jelly... It sounds disgusting but it was really good and super refreshing. I think it'd be excellent on a hot day. I especially liked the rose water.

The service at Nan Yang is also very nice; the staff are friendly and helpful.

Since I'm extremely sleepy right now I don't think my description is turning out very well, but I'm definitely going to go back to Nan Yang. Next time I want to try their okra...

(no subject)

A quote relevant to my tapioca pudding yesterday at Nan Yang:

'Tapioca pudding is well known as one of the family of British milk puddings. Like other members of the family, it is sometimes despised by the ignorant, that is to say persons who have no knowledge of how good they are when properly made. Also, when tapioca is cooked in milk it becomes translucent and jelly-like, causing children to detect a resemblance between it and frog spawn. This may have been an additional factor in inspiring distrust.'

Alan Davidson, The Oxford Companion to Food.

(no subject)

We went up to Davis today to visit Shra, for her birthday, which is on Monday. Happy early birthday Shra! :D I baked a cake with truly horrendous amounts of fat in it, which made it tasty and thoroughly desirable though quite rich. A butter cake with mascarpone cream and raspberries in between the layers. It was really fun to be with the family again. We watched The Truman Show just because it happened to be on TV, and Daddo was converted to liking Jim Carrey (I agree. It's one of my favorite movies, and I love Jim Carrey). And I had a great time reading the intro to one of Shra's Asian American Studies books, Love's Revolution: Racial Intermarriage by Maria P P Root. It looks like a great book and I'm very excited about reading the rest of it at some point. It's interesting, writing my thesis all in one night has really solidified in my mind what it is like to write a long paper or an academic book, so I appraised this one in a new way. :) I like this.

We had dinner at Il Fornaio in Sacramento. Il Fornaio is a chain restaurant with locations in San Francisco and San Jose, among other places. My Zagat Guide to SF has little negative to say about any of the Bay Area locations, but I was mostly unimpressed by this one; the food wasn't bad, but nothing to get rhapsodic about. My favorite things were the fact that they had burricotta cheese (a handmade fresh mozzarella with a silky, creamy ricotta center; the cheese itself rates only okay because while I loved the soft center the mozzarella outside was hard), the pleasantly sealike taste of the sauce and filling of my lobster ravioli, and the peach sorbet in the zabaglione dessert Shra got. Oh, and the service was nice, too, but it's hard to get excited about nice service when the food doesn't deserve it. I say I only liked the inside and sauce of my ravioli because the pasta itself was a little hard. But so were Erik's shell pasta and Al's penne, so maybe that's just the way they like their pasta. And the sauces tended to be a little salty, though excess salt never bothers me much. :) It's funny, because we went there to celebrate Shra's birthday, and even though it was only so-so, Shra had all the best food. Her lasagne was the best of the entrees, nicely seasoned and perfectly done, and her zabaglione was the best of the desserts. So in the end it all turns out okay. :)

Pictures here. So you can see the cake, as well as some quite unflattering shots of me. ;b

By the way, does anyone else think Shra's eyes look like Britney Spears'? Mommy will probably post an extremely angry response to this, because she doesn't want any comparisons made between any of her daughters (or probably relatives, for that matter) and Britney, but I think it's true...
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