The (almost) perfect wantan noodle soup

The (almost) perfect wantan noodle soup

I’m a picky eater. That’s long been established. There are some eateries I go to once and never go back and yet there are some that I just can’t resist going back to again and again. Recently I found a place that serves an almost perfect wantan (little dumplings) noodle soup. Great but what exactly is so good about it to a picky eater like me?

The real test of great wantan noodles is in how rich and flavorful the soup is. To that end, it must have a natural sweetness without being insanely salty (as is often the case) or so watered down it’s plain salt water. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been disappointed by soups like that.

To me, the soup is what counts, everything else is a bonus if it tastes good. If I’m ordering at an unfamiliar eatery, the dry version is the one I go for. It comes with a small bowl of soup which makes the perfect test sample to help me decide if I should order the full-blown soup version the next time.

The (almost) perfect wantan noodle soup

So that’s what I did when I first tried out a certain ‘new’ eatery stashed away at the top of a mall. Surprise, surprise! Their soup is pretty darned good, even by the standards of my picky palette. It’s richer than most and flavorful without tasting like it came from the Dead Sea lol.

The (almost) perfect wantan noodle soup

Veggie-wise, there’s definitely more than the usual 2 or 3 sad-looking green slivers you find floating in most soups. These are actual bokchoy stems in their own right.

Their wantans are not the usual pathetic skins with nothing more than a comma of meat inside, so small they instantly get lodged in your teeth. These are stuffed with abundant minced pork and like a whole shrimp? wow! and plump to the point of obesity that you have to eat them in two bites. So good!!

The (almost) perfect wantan noodle soup

Their charsiew (or barbecued pork) is unattractive and boring but I don’t mind that they lack the gleaming glamor of their caramelized melt-in-the-mouth cousins which would usually render them overly-charred and blackened and quite unpalatable to me.

So then, this, to me, is as close to a perfect bowl of wantan noodle soup as it gets. Good soup, plump meaty wantans, real veggies and unglamorous charsiew. This picky eater is laughing and has gone back several times since.

Between a cuppa and a sippa

Between a cuppa and a sippa

So one exceptionally fine morning on the dawn of a new day maybe, I found myself sitting in some corner cafe having ordered myself an early lunch. When it came, I noticed the portion was rather yuge. My lunches aren’t usually this heavy but I had a growling tummy to appease so what the heck!

Not only did I dig in shamelessly, I licked the platter clean! If I’m hungry, I eat. I don’t care if it’s the right or wrong time to be eating like a pauper or a king, or how many “guilt trips” I’m supposed to run round the park afterwards. Bunch of bologna! Our grandparents did just fine before all this nonsense started circulating. So yeah, just do what your body tells ya and you’ll be fine!

Oh yes, and I even ordered a drink!

Which I’m so not in the habit of doing. Instead I’m used to getting the slanted eye for refusing to order a drink. Oooh, I’m so shivering in my shoes! But like it or not, it’s a habit of mine cultivated from when I was that new kid on the office block. A group of us would frequent the cafes and eateries near the office daily.

When most everyone else would order a drink, I would almost inadvertently say no. My logic is really quite simple. Why order a drink when the office is 5 minutes away and all the drinks I could ever want are right there in that pantry? It doesn’t make sense!

But if I’m feeling happy and relaxed or craving a certain kind of drink, I’d certainly pamper myself with one. Like on this particular day when I really wanted something to sip on while settling in to read a book.

A book, you say?! Yeah, this is probably the first book I’m reading in something like 20 years but I’m not ashamed to admit it. Hey, I’ve been busy devoting all of my energy on being the best mom I could be and somehow in the midst of all that rushing around, never found the patience nor the inclination to sit through a book.

What good fortune that I should suddenly find a book in my hand and the time to read it at leisure over a glass of coffee and tea! And that’s got to be a good thing, right? *lifts up glass* Cheers!

Days like this

Okay, so it’s a sizzlin’ 106 degrees outside. It’s been hovering steady at these temps all week. That’s the heatwave for ya, all up and down the west coast of California and the southwest in general. Good thing we’re back from our road trip to Arizona (it’s even hotter there, ouch!) or you’d hear me swearing from way out there (not that I swear. that much!)

Inside the house, however, it’s a different story. We haven’t set foot outside today. Not one step. Yup, best to stay cool even if it may be a little stuffy at times with the windows shut tight to keep out the hot air. Thankfully the air-conditioning is behaving.

So here we are, on this sizzler of a day. The first phone alarm goes off at 5:30 this morning. I stumble across the room in true zombie fashion to swipe the freakin’ thing off and jump back into bed. Mid-dream, someone else’s phone alarm goes off. Who the heck sets the alarm to 6:02 anyways? Okay, okay, it was ME!

I transport said phone to my bedside table knowing it’ll ring again soon and I’m certainly not going to go tripping across the room for the third time. The next time it rings, my arm swings out and I blindly and furiously tap my screen till the music stops. Note to self: I really shouldn’t use a song I like as an alarm. Now I kinda hate that song.

Okay, okay, I’m up, I’m up! If I sound like I really don’t want to get up, I’m lying! Thoughts of that delicious cup of morning coffee sends me off like an arrow, headed straight to ye ol’ electric kettle to turn it on. And that jingle is playing in my head, the same one I learned from the TV commercial during my college days – the best part of waking up is Folgers in my cup!

I take, oh maybe, a half hour over my bowl of oats and coffee, savoring the still and quiet of the morning as I potter around the house and the internet before anyone else is awake. That, for me, is the best part of waking up with the sun.

Soon the house is awake with sounds of Hip2bDaughter2 concocting her potato soup from scratch in the kitchen. By this time, I’m hungry. Again. I need to eat. But with lunch time technically 3 hours away, what am I supposed to do to assuage a growling tummy?

Thank goodness for leftovers. But is the single serving of rice and braised pork ribs from last night enough for us? Clearly not! So should we have the potato soup now? The answer is, why not?! Potato soup and crackers it is! That’s how we end up finishing lunch at 9:30am.

And needless to say, by the time the real lunch time rolls around, we’re famished. Poking my head into the refrigerator, I find the last bit of banana cake we baked last week for our Arizona road trip. Whew! I’m glad someone thought to defrost it.

By mid-afternoon, the naughty knotty tummies are a-calling yet again and this time, it’s some sun chips, dates and a half grapefruit each. By dinner time, it’s really beginning to feel like we haven’t stopped eating since breakfast, which is technically true.

Still, dinner is certainly not to be missed. Soon ’em chicken wings be in the oven (on such a hot day?! you better believe it!) and a whole pound of ’em asparagus (which is in season at $1.99 per lb so it’s been asparagus 3 nights in a row!) be saute-in’ in the skillet.

Man, I love me days like this, just hanging out at home chillin’ and drinkin’ (lots of water!), with no place to go and nothing much to do and piles of unwashed dishes in the sink, that make life in the hometown so cool. Did I just say cool?!

 

Long days and the deception of work

When my morning alarm goes off, I jump up with a start thinking that I’ve overslept because the sun’s shining so bright it’s like high noon outside. I stumble across to my cell phone at the other side of the room and whew, it’s only 6-ish. To those of us who’re constantly complaining that we don’t have enough hours in a day to get everything done, these unseasonably, incredibly long summer spring days are a dream come true.

Getting an early start knowing you have a full 15 hours of daylight ahead of you is a great feeling. While it’s technically not quite summer yet, Summer seems intent on elbowing Spring swiftly out of the way. And if our air-conditioning weren’t acting up so often, that great feeling might easily be a superlative. Except the darned thing keeps blowing hot air instead of cold.

So between toasty temperatures and cranky AC, we figured we really must do something about it. We did the next best thing: jump in the car and drive to San Francisco to escape the heat. Well, okay, the heat was one thing but our real excuse was the Memorial Day sales. Now if you’re a serious shopaholic, you don’t just stand there doing nothing when it’s raining discounts and promos out there.

Two productive days of retail therapy later, I’m happy to report we have a few, not many bagfuls of spoils to show for our hard work. Shopping is work? You’d better believe it! Do you know how many pairs of jeans I had to try on before I found my one true love? And don’t even get me started on the shoes. Sifting through rack after rack, shelf after shelf, hunting down your size, waiting in line for the fitting room clutching armfuls of clothes, yeah!

But it’s only when you get into the fitting room that’s when the real work (or workout, depending on how you look at it) begins. You’re doing countless squats trying on a pile of jeans and your ankle socks keep coming off with your jeans and you’re doing countless bends to get them back on. At some point, I hear someone saying, to heck with these socks, I’m leaving them off. But not me, I hate stepping on the cold, sandy floor and getting my bare feet dirty… so I keep on keeping on with the battle of the socks!

So yeah, it would seem, and I’m not even going to fault you for thinking, that it’s been all play and no work around here lol. If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you’ll know that around here, the term ‘work’ often takes on meanings that are worlds away from how others may view it.

Peace out… uttered with tongue in cheek.

Music uncringed, maybe

I’m watching a miniseries where a guy walks into a night club grimacing at the cringe-worthy music that’s blasting away. It seems the regular DJ is away so he decides to jump in and set things right.

He figures this DJing thing can’t be that hard even though he hasn’t the faintest idea what a epiphone les paul studio at guitarcenter.com even means. Next thing you know, he starts fiddling with the buttons and gadgets driving everyone and their eardrums into a frenzy.

What happens next? I don’t know, guess imma keep watching to find out!

A weekend of baking

I was baking some bread in the kitchen when I heard thunder. What? Thunder? It’s been weeks since we had rain over here so naturally I was surprised. The rain usually comes in quiet until you hear it pattering against windows. I rushed over to the window to see for myself. And there it was! Huge raindrops starting to form on the pavement!

While waiting for my homemade bread to rise, I watched a bunch of Youtube videos on Mediterranean cooking on my phone and received a text from my friend about Musicians Friend ultimate support. My timer went off and I went to check on the bread. Needless to say, it was beautiful! Even more so when it was out of the oven!

I just couldn’t help but make two more loaves of bread the next day. It was just too delicious and the weather was perfect!

People on planes

After weeks of rain and cold winds, it’s nice to step outside and find that the sun is out and shining brightly! I like that the weather is getting warmer so I don’t have to think about struggling with big coats and layering.

It seemed like a pleasant day to call up my good old friend and ask her how she was doing after her recent trip to Australia. She said she met a guy on the plane back home who wouldn’t stop talking about how he bought
bose soundtrue around ear at Guitar Center for his two nephews. The only time he stopped talking, she told me, was to get a cup of noodles. Then he was back to talking again. I can’t imagine how that must’ve been like for her!

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