Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao (Flushing)

Friend J (not pictured) took us to Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao in Flushing, it was pretty good!
The titular Xiao Long Bao.
Shanghai Pan Fried Noodles.
Mapo tofu.
Scallion pancake with sliced beef. This one was really amazing!
Sweet soy milk. I really liked it, although N and friend J didn’t seem to agree. I’d come back just for this.
Lotus leaf sticky rice. Unfortunately it seems like the restaurant forgot we ordered this one, and when we asked about it they rushed it out while it was still frozen. But we took it back and had it for breakfast later. Still pretty good.

Free food!

I discovered a neighbor was moving out when I discovered trash bags full of dry goods (gasp!) outside their door. I couldn’t keep myself from asking if it was fine for me to take what I wanted (the answer was “yes” and I was even offered my pick of furniture), so I ended up with this haul:

Let’s see, from left to right, there’s cereal, spaghetti, butter, cornmeal, cashews and almonds, water chestnut flour (used as an alternative to cornstarch, I think?), a “string” of fig “buttons”, various Indian spice mixes, salsa, jaggery (unrefined sugar), olives, chickpeas, cooking oil.

I love getting stuff I wouldn’t normally buy. It’s a treat 🙂 I especially enjoyed the salsa.

The day the neighbors moved out, I dug through the apartment dumpster, and additionally got a chair (for putting my “in use” clothes on), an apparently never-used yoga mat, laundry detergent (never get Gain original scent… On the plus side, I hear Gain is super strong), and a single handkerchief.

NYC+Boston Trip

N and I had an exciting trip to New York and Boston just recently. I flew in from the Bay Area and N took the train from Pittsburgh. Friend J very generously let us stay at his place in New York (thanks Friend J!).

I’ll try to post pictures about the places we visited over the next few {insert unit of time here}.

To start, here’s some photos from SFO.

I flew JetBlue this time around and got to see the international terminal at SFO. Turns out there a newly opened (in 2019) food court area with a sampling of hot SF restaurant destinations.

Kamin is a spin off of Kin Khao, a popular Thai place in SF (1802 reviews, 4 stars, wow). I was going to eat here, but unfortunately they closed while I was being indecisive about ordering.

Instead I got a pork bowl from Tacos Cala (a spin-off of Cala), which was pretty good!

There’s also a Tartine here (I’m sure you spotted it in the first picture). And the line is a lot shorter than in the Mission District.

Wow, look at those affordable prices. Only $8.29 for a matcha latte! (but don’t forget the oat milk)

Hot cross buns

For Hot Cross buns, use the cinnamon roll dough recipe. Add some amount (just eyeball it) of candied fruit and currants when you are ready to shape the dough and make about twelve rolls.  For Hot Cross buns, the egg wash is very important to give the right look.  Whisk together a whole egg with a bit of salt; this is brushed on just before baking.  You can use the other half of the egg or a previously saved egg white can be used.

Cinnamon roll recipe

Dough for a small batch:
  • 1/2 package of yeast (this would be 1 1/8 teaspoon but my mom uses 1 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 1/2 Tab water
  • 1/2 cup milk (can be whole or low-fat)
  • 2 1/2 Tab butter
  • 1 1/2 Tab sugar
  • 1/2 of a large egg
  • 1/2 teas salt
  • 2 cups (or a bit less) bread flour
  • 1/8 teas cinnamon
  • 1/16 teas nutmeg
  • 1/16 teas ginger
For cinnamon rolls:  
  • 1 Tbsp (or maybe less) softened butter to spread on the dough
  • Cinnamon and sugar mixed — heavy on the cinnamon
  • nuts — preferring pecans and preferring cookie-size pieces
  • currants
For icing:
  • 1 teas butter (this keeps the icing soft)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp milk or cream
Pan:

Well-buttered (glass is good) baking pan about 7×11 inches.

Use a standard bread maker mix cycle to make the dough, or without a bread maker:  Make the dough and let it rise until doubled, the punch down and shape.  Once the dough is ready, roll it into a rectangle about 14×12 inches.  Butter the dough with the softened butter.  Sprinkle on the cinnamon-sugar, then the nuts and the currants.  Roll up and then slice off the cinnamon rolls.  Nine or twelve rolls is about right but this can vary quite a bit, depending on your preference.  I like to refrigerator overnight so that the rolls are ready in the morning.  In the morning, warm the oven to a low (not yeast-killing) temperature, turn off the oven, and put in the roll pan.  I like to cover with a cloth.  When the dough is light and the pan warmed, remove the pan from the oven.  Then heat the oven to 425°F.  (If you like the look of an egg wash, see the Hot Cross bun instructions.)  Bake for 15 minutes. If the rolls start to get too dark, make a foil tent to protect them.  

After the rolls are done, swirl on icing and serve.

Frankie, one of my favorite musicians, has a new song about ghosting, “breaking off a relationship (often an intimate relationship) by ceasing all communication and contact with the former partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate”. The song is really good, plus the music video is a gender-swapped allusion to Grease 😀 Enjoy (and listen to Frankie’s other songs)!

Extended Producer Responsibility, etc

Here are more resources related to corporate responsibility and extended producer responsibility:

The Electronics TakeBack Coalition “promotes green design and responsible recycling in the electronics industry”. They write various articles on green electronics, including how to recycle and proposed laws.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics campaigns for the removal of toxic and harmful ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products. The website includes information about what ingredients to look out for.

The Environmental Working Group does a lot of different stuff. Broadly, EWG monitors ingredients and contaminants in products that consumers use, including food, water, electronics, etc. The company promotes safe and sustainable products, and they produce many different consumer guides to help do this. EWG is most famous for their extensive Skin Deep cosmetics database, which includes extensive ingredient information and safety ratings.

The Bottle Bill Resource Guide compiles information about regions of the world with current or proposed bottle bills. Bottle bills (or container deposit laws) require consumers to pay a small, refundable deposit for every bottle purchased. When the bottle is returned for recycling or reuse, the deposit is returned. Bottle bills significantly boost recycling rates. Here’s a cool history of the switch from reusable to disposable bottles and cans.

Christmas presents :D

I got: local beeswax, local honey from bees that ate yaupon (a plant native to Texas, and the only caffeine-containing one native to North America), a stainless steel soap dish, multi-colored peppercorns, and a gift card to Blue Apron (that meal kid company).

Of course, there was also the casting kit for last-making!

And for my birthday a couple months ago, I got….

US-grown purple popcorn! I sometimes have popcorn as a low-effort dinner.

US-made scrub brush. The fibers are tampico (made from agave), so I figure they’re from Mexico. The brush sheds a little; hopefully that dies down as I use it more.

Heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo! An essential part of my diet 🙂

What did y’all get for Christmas?

Superhot

Went to Superhot this weekend with Friend A (pictured) and Friend B (not pictured).

It’s a new hotpot+kbbq+dimsum restaurant that just opened in Downtown Mountain View. The restaurant concept was carefully crafted for maximum popularity. The first time I tried to go, there was a really long (2+ hour) wait. This time we arrived at 11:30am to avoid the wait.

$30 all you can eat in 90 minutes. Max 10 items ordered at a time. The waiter only comes once every 30 minutes unless you flail around excessively. Strategize accordingly.

100 items to choose from. Friend A really liked the unlimited dumplings.

Chinese fried donut.

Xiao long bao. Unlimited xiao long bao.

Friend A got tripe and pork blood. I’m not such a fan but he liked it.

Premium steak. Looks pretty premium.