Monday, June 27, 2011

Ximen cheesesteak

So after being tricked into some weird self-help or marketing scheme at Ximen, Yuki and I headed over to the cheesesteak place for a very late dinner. No worries though, no money lost just time. We walked out pretty fast. So we flipped a negative and decided to find a place around Ximen to eat dinner. I was setting myself up to be disappointed though. I mean how can Taiwan make a decent cheesesteak all the way here in Taipei? We'll it turned out to be OK. Not authentic or extremely satisfying but didn't taste horrible bad. I believe they're on the right track but needs some major improvement. The meat, tasty, but not enough. Perhaps thats my big fat american stomach talking, but I just didn't find it packed enough. If they're going to imitate an classic american sandwich, mind as well as pile on a little more meat. Cheese, this was the best. Tasted like cheesewiz, but I didn't see at jars of it. Although I do prefer provolone on my cheesesteak, the traditional cheesewiz works too. This was actually a surprise, I definitely would have thought Taipei would mess it up by putting american cheese or cheddar cheese. Bread.. too soft and it's not a philly roll or a hoagie roll. The skin is just too soft, not lightly crispy like a true philly roll. Fries...awesome! Crispy, golden brown and delicious, just the way I like it. There was also a crispy chicken wrap that Yuki ordered and really liked. They restaurant environment was pretty good though. Clean and plenty of tables, three floors of it. You order first, receive your order then find a seat. I suspect they'll be a return visit. But if I had any control over this place, I'd add more meat, add grilled onions, mushrooms and provolone as an option. Which has inspired me to try to make my own at home. If I do, you'll definitely read about it in the future. Hopefully soon, I'm hungry!

No. 56號, ÉMéi Street, Wanhua District
Taipei City, Taiwan 108

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Yakisoba at home

Yuki and I stayed home tonight and cooked...Yakisoba! Yakisoba always remind me of my grandmother cooking it for me when I was young. Yuki cooked it and I just helped and watched since I've never cooked this before. Seems pretty simple. The correct type of noodle, carrots, lettuce and yakisoba sauce and of course seaweed on top. Seaweed was my job. I had to use seaweed thats not supposed to be used as a topping, but sometimes you have to utilize what you have right? Speaking of toppings, I topped off our dinner with my new favorite beer here in Taiwan. Singha! It's a Thai beer. Kind of tastes like Taiwan beer with more of a spicy kick. Not top shelf beer, but it's damn good value for your buck, literally. $1/can ($1.25 for a bottle). I wonder if there's a place in Taipei that has this on tap? Anyways, I really enjoyed our dinner. One of my favorite japanese dishes with one of my favorite beers. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gone out drinkin'

Tonight I went out with one of my language partners to a bar near the Shida market. It's hidden away in one of the side allies. Turned out to be a really nice looking place. Dark, quiet and a very modern simplistic decor. However I found it too dark and smelled like smoke (they allow indoor smoking) and the music was too loud. Since i'm not a big fan of clubs, perhaps this environment would better suit other people. But the point is, it's not a bar or a club, but more of a lounge. I didn't have dinner, so I ventured into their food menu. They have a few items, but not much.I don't blame them, but I was hungry. Food and drinks start from $200 NT+. Drinks were buy one get one free that night, though. Drink-wize, good but not spectacular. I'm kinda glad I don't remember the name, because I don't think i'd prefer a return trip. Oh btw, they have a stripper pole downstairs and upstairs. Maybe they use it later at night or it's a relic from the previous business held there. haha! I don't know.

close to this address:
No. 19號, Lane 80, ShīDà Road, Daan District
Taipei City, Taiwan 106

Monday, June 13, 2011

The last teacher

So this semester started me off with a teacher I didn't quite agree with. She was very happy and lively but her teaching methods stray from what I'm used to. She spoke too fast and used too many new words I did not understand. Her testing and quizzing methods were far from what I was used to too. Furthermore, she didn't assign homework. So in the end I decided to go exploring for other teachers. I found another one which was much better. She was much more deliberate in her teaching methods and set a comfortable pace for her students. But her testing and quizzing were far too aggressive for me. This may have been a good thing, but I think the amount of hours I would need to put in would have drove me crazy. I need some spare time this semester to look for a job. So my good friend, at the last day for switching classes, told me about a teacher he found. Well paced, gave out homework, interactive, very deliberate teaching methods and quizzes and tests that would be reasonable. So at the last moment, on the seventh day of class, I switched to his class. This would count as the fourth semester in a row I've been with my good friend. From beginning to end! Turns out she has a very happy personality and is very interactive in class, very similar to my first semester. Sometimes we do competitions in class and interactive games. Sounds childish, but it works. My classmates are also very friendly and happy to socialize and help out too. I'm starting to believe the classroom atmosphere really is directly affected by the teacher. I feel a cohesion, happiness and eagerness to learn from my classmates that I haven't felt since my first semester. And it turns out she's best friends with my first semester teacher. Same teaching methods and same ability to create a energetic learning environment. I look forward to going to class. Go figure :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dragon boat races

Yuki and I woke up early to travel to the YingFeng Riverside park (迎風河濱公園) to watch the yearly dragon boat races. Dragon boat races are traditionally held as part of the annual Duanwu Festival (端午節). We went there to support her Japanese friend in the race. Her team ended up winning! She'll have to return later in the day for the finals competition. After watching a few more races, I realized they were paddling upstream. Thats gotta be difficult on the arms! Alas, the day was swelteringly hot and humid, so Yuki and I opted to headed over to the Miramar mall for lunch and air conditioning. I still ended up back home with a sun burn :(

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Eslite mall

Today, Yuki and I headed over to the 101 area to take some pictures for her work article. We stopped by the Eslite shopping mall. I found out that I have never visited this area. How did I miss this? It's not that big, but it's still adds another shopping area to the many shopping possibilities of the 101 area. Not to mention another food court to choose from.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

not Momiji manju

Today I finally opened the box and enjoyed the box of Momiji manju that Yuki's parents kindly gifted to me from Tokyo. They're different from the maple leaf Momiji manju that I remember back in my 2006 Hiroshima visit, but still very good. It is Yuki's mother's favorite and it has bits of crunchy pieces inside. It's different texture than the soft red bean, but it's a really really delicious variation! Thank you!
Edit: These are NOT Momiji Manju, but they're still good and yummy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Business class cuisine

Business class cuisine, yum! Upgraded courtesy of Cathay. Lazy boy recliner, cheesecake and a 17" screen... can't go wrong with that.

Crab salad over asparagus, braised pork and cheesecake.