Posts Tagged ‘eating’

write up: carmel for spaghetti bolognese

April 11, 2011

Situated in the North District of Taichung City, Carmel is a beautifully designed new cafe/restaurant offering an selection of western-style food with authentic flavours. No salads covered in Thousand Island here and raisins to be seen!

Carmel only just recently opened but has proven popular with the trendier locals. We walked in on Sunday and the place was full, the only seating option available was a table for two on the mezzanine, which actually proved to be a perfect spot from which to take photos and spy on what other patrons were eating.

I wolfed down an amazing spaghetti bolognese which was full of real garlic, rosemary and truly al dente high quality pasta. My lunch companion the seafood pasta which they praised as highly. Portion sizes were just right, not too overwhelming, and the food was presented in shallow white bowls perfect for pasta twirling.

It was lucky the pasta was amazing because the outing could have easily been soured by the fact that everything else on the menu, sandwiches and rissoto selections, had sold out. I know if was Sunday but it had only just passed midday! Oh well, I’ll just have to head back there this week.

Coffees and deserts are also worth mentioning. As we slurped our strong but not burnt iced coffees, my dinner companion and I shared a cheesecake  which reminded me of my mum’s home baked version. So good!

Anyway, here are a few pics so you can see for yourself. Worth a visit!

 

Spaghetti bolognese (near) and seafood pasta (far). Excuse the messy plates. I took the photo after we had started eating!

Yes, I had coffee AND an orange juice. I was thirsty!

Behind the counter.

Carmel interior.

Carmel interior.

I'm a sucker for cheesecake!

They write their table numbers on a teensy little blackboard!

You can sit at the bar and chat with the friendly wait staff.

Carmel exterior.

What: Carmel
Where: Cnr Donghan St & Taiyuan Road (Section 2), North District, Taichung City
Food: Western-style | Pasta, sandwiches, risotto | English and Chinese menu
Price: $70-$400
Map: Get directions here

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News: I’m going to be blogging once a week!

December 31, 2010

Hello!

Image source: flickr.com/photos/fil/

Image source: flickr.com/photos/fil/

Because I’ve been so super slack at posting on this blog in the last half of 2010 I’ve decided to sign up to be part of WordPress’ PostAWeek 2011 challenge. Yes, they sent me an email and I spontaneously decided to join in.

I think it’s a really great way to inspire me to post regularly on all the little things I make and buy and all the restaurants and places of interest I stumble across during my time in Taiwan with, of course, a focus on what’s going on here in Taichung.

Oh, and I’ll be posting more on contemporary art in Taiwan. I’ll talk about the interviews I undertake and the galleries I visit. And about my job with Art Radar Asia. And…

If you want to join in, too, then here’s the instructions as written by WordPress. They’re running a post-daily challenge, too.

How to Join:

Signing up is simple – do the following:

  1. Post on your blog, right now, that you’re participating
  2. (You can grab a sample post from dailypost.wordpress.com)
  3. Use the tag postaday2011 or postaweek2011 in your posts (tips on tagging here)
  4. Go to dailypost.wordpress.com
  5. Subscribe to dailypost.wordpress.com– you’ll get reminders and inspirations every day to help you bring your full potential to your WordPress blog!

So, stay tuned for heaps more content from this little blog. And happy New Year!

reads: mollie’s used books live underground in taichung

October 18, 2010

Friends of ours have been staying with us on their way from Southeast Asia to India. I was out and about with them on Saturday, checking out the early hours of the opening of this year’s Taichung Jazz Festival, and stumbled across this haven of the printed word on Gongyi Road, right next to the 7/11 near the People’s Park.

Mollie Used Books has a good feel to it. Located at basement level it is was a bit of a struggle to find the entrance until we noticed the not-so-clear sign on the glass shopfront pointing it out. It has a cafe with some pretty good-looking food and a decent and varied selection of English books. Of course, if you can read Chinese there’s an enormous selection of books printed in this language. Adding to the excitement there’s also an exhibition space, currently showing photography.

Here are some pics so you can get a feel for the place:

Inside Mollie Used Books, a new second-hand bookstore in Taichung City, Taiwan.

A view of the Mollie Used Books cafe area. The second-hand bookstore chain has just opened a new store in Taichung City, Taiwan.

I bought three books that day. Martin Amis: The Essential Guide (Reynolds and Noakes, NTD80), Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck, NTD60), and The Dharma Bums (Kerouac, NTD150).

Books bought from Mollie Used Books, a new second-hand bookstore that has just opened in Taichung City.

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finds: new taichung food and art places | part one: elephant

August 8, 2010

In three parts, I will post a feast of images from two of my current favourite places in Taichung. I’ve taken photos inside an old covered market that has been converted into artist spaces and shops, all independently run, and inside Elephant, an awesome teensy restauant with probably the best (and cheapest) Western-style food in Taichung.

UPDATE | 27 February 2013 This restaurant has moved to a new location. It’s now two stories high(!), but thankfully still has the same great food and hole-in-wall atmosphere. You can find more information, including an address, on their Facebook page.

Elephant has everything from risottos to pastas (including a lot of vegetarian fare) to chips with gravy and cheese to fish and chips (yes!). I finally took J there after “discovering” it with a friend last week. Actually, the restaurant has been around since 1999 so it’s certainly not new to Taichung. However, it’s managed to stay relevant with simple architecture and stunningly cheap and tasty food. All pastas are between NT$80-$100, fish and chips are NT$130, you can get a vege, chicken or lamb kebab for only NT$80-$90, the chips with gravy and cheese are NT$100 and they have beer and a variety of soft drinks to wash it all down.

Elephant, near the corner of ZhongMing South and TaiZhongGang roads.

Elephant, near the corner of ZhongMing South and TaiZhongGang roads.

Chips with cheese and gravy, my newest obsession and only NT$100.

Chips with cheese and gravy, my newest obsession and only NT$100.

Lamb kebab, packed with shredded lamb and tons of veg. Only NT$90.

Lamb kebab, packed with shredded lamb and tons of veg. Only NT$90.

Elephant. The menu.

Elephant. The menu.

Inside Elephant.

Inside Elephant.

Elephant. Wall adornment.

Elephant. Wall adornment.

Elephant. Street-side signage.

Elephant. Street-side signage.

Address: 9-1, ZhongMing S Road, Taichung City.

Read part two of this series
Read part three of this series

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write up: the refuge

May 6, 2010

Peace and love is alive and well in Taichung. The city has it’s very own commune complete with militant hippies and music makers, The Refuge.


We visited The Refuge on Sunday, up in the Dakeng mountains, for Scott Cook’s Hobo Happiness, who played with a number of other bands. It started at 2 pm but we got there at about 4 pm. The place is literally a huge old mansion that the current residents took over about 10 years ago. It seems as though it was once a gated community for the rich, but apparently everyone moved out when the big 1999 earthquake struck. There was a lot of damage done to the Dakeng area and people got scared.

The Refuge describe themselves on Facebook as a place that “provides Creative Outlets for both seasoned and budding Artists, Musicians, Bohemians & Truth Seekers to come explore, create and make new connections with others.”

The party was in the backyard, which has it’s own bar and lots of homemade seating and tables. There was a BBQ going on down the back and what looked like the old living room had been made into a stage, open to the backyard. There weren’t too many people there when we arrived and we managed to find a great posy in the trees near the bar. It was a beautiful warm day, perfect for drinking beer in dappled shade and chilling to some rocky blues.

We stayed for a couple of hours, leaving when the music changed from blues to country western. Country music is really not my thing and I gave it a go but ended up having to depart to preserve my ears and dignity. I’ll be keeping an eye out for other chilled Sunday events at this place. Generally I vie away from such 60s revival scenes, but I’ve decided this place will have to be an exception to my rule.

The Refuge hosts a ton of events throughout the year and also organises a number of festivals at other locations. Keep an eye on their Facebook page. Contact them here for address details.

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write up: kiwi kafe is choice

May 3, 2010

I was skeptical when I read about Kiwi Kafe and Angel’s Kitchen. Skeptical because I didn’t believe it could really feel Kiwi.

Long ago, once upon a 2009 Christmas, I gave Jonny a hand-made gift voucher with which I promised to take him to Angel’s Kitchen, the fine dining half of the two restaurants.

So, we went on Saturday night. You have to book in advance and decide what kind of main you would like. Then the rest of the meal is tailored to your preferences. Angel, the chief and owner, hand-designs the menu which you can take home as a souvenir.

The entrees included homemade bread and dips, a seafood chowder and a seafood salad with fresh fruit and a huge, top quality scallop.

I had a main of dukkah coated NZ lamb while my boyfriend had the white fish. The lamb was amazingly tender, but the fish was a little dry on the outside.

For desert, we were treated to a richly chocolate slice of cake and a hand constructed almond wafer with apricot Haagen Dazs ice cream.

We were nearly the only ones in the tiny upstairs seating area. The service was wonderful; our waiter was warm and attentive, answering our questions about the food, although he was a little nervous about having to speak English.

We meet with owner, Angel, after our meal and had a good chat. She spent 15 years in Chirstchurch, in the South Island of New Zealand, where she studied cookery, and was more than thrilled to meet some fellow Kiwis. It’s obvious she misses the place.

Altogether, the meal cost us NT$2,200. Not bad for such high quality food coupled with a jovial and relaxed atmosphere. Dining at Angel’s Kitchen is by phone appointment only.

And, just to make it even more special, my boyfriend of eight years surprised me with a proposal. Yes, I’m engaged. Ah! He presented me with a ring taken from a key ring. A friend in Australia, who works for this art gallery, will get a ring designed for us. I am a very lucky lady.

The downstairs Kiwi Kafe is open during the day, for breakfast, lunch and snacks. It has been decorated by the owner and is immactulate. Much of her produce comes from New Zealand and her paninis are only just over NT$70. You can visit every day of the week bar Thursday.

And yes, it really, really feels Kiwi. In fact, it made me more than a little homesick.

Kiwi Kafe and Angel’s Kitchen
Taichung: 471 XingAn Road, Section 2 (興安路2段471號)
(04) 2243-7171

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baking teensy: edition 6 (the NZ lolly cake disaster)

April 30, 2010

Well, my streak of bad luck seems to be never-ending. I should have known from the beginning that my attempt at participating in an extracurricular activity would be thwarted. I have never really had much success with group activities.

You know how I wrote here about making some sweet NZ treats to sell today at the International Food Festival at Feng Chia University?

Well, I decided to only make lolly cake. I asked a creatively inclined friend and fellow teacher to draw a cutesy border on a piece of paper within which I was going to print the recipe to give out with each piece of cake sold.

I bought all the ingredients from Jasons. I couldn’t find Malt Biscuits so used Digestives. I also couldn’t find anything like eskimos so I used some tiny marshmallows my mum sent me from NZ and some soft jelly lollies. It’s pretty easy to make, you just put everything in a big bowl and stir it together.

With very sticky hands, I made the mixture into a log shape and rolled it in the coconut flakes. I covered it in plastic wrap and went to put it in the fridge. The fridge didn’t seem very cold, though. Then, I looked in the freezer. Everything was melted: the ice in its trays, the (no longer frozen) peas, the ice cream…

Our fridge had broken down.

So, at 11.30 pm at night, we had to throw out all of our food, of which we had a lot, and it meant that I couldn’t set the lolly cake. I admit to shedding a tear or two over the incident. I’m really not good at dealing with disappointment.

In a desperate attempt to salvage the situation I decided to place the lolly cake (not)-to-be in the freezer which was still a little cold. I left a quickly softening ice pad (the blue thing in the picture below) in there to see if that would keep it cool. It didn’t. Don’t you think the cake looks like a giant poo?

I went to bed, hoping for no nightmares of being crushed by giant lolly cake logs.

When I woke, I checked on the cake. Not set, still squishy. It’s now in the bin.

So, with my hopes dashed, I went to the food festival anyway, expecting to be cheered by the sites and smells (and purchases) of global flavours. However, the event which I thought began at 10 am actually didn’t start until 12 pm. I had to leave at 12 pm for a Skype meeting at one.

Was today a good day? No sir, it was not. I am now waiting for the electrician to arrive to fix the fridge. Our land agent promised one would be here before 4 pm. It is now 3:44 pm.

Does any one else have any group activity nightmares they want to share? If so, post a comment. It might make me feel better to bask in other people’s failed attempts at participating in extracurricular activities.

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baking teensy: edition 5 (chocolate and crunch Kiwiana)

April 21, 2010

I made these today.

Afghan Biscuits are, as far as I know, a solely New Zealand invention, first appearing in the iconic Edmonds Cookery Book. They are basically chocolate cookies with the strange but truly wonderful edition of Skippy Cornflakes to give a crunchy texture. I, however, used Special K because I couldn’t find cornflakes.

I’m not sure if you can see in the picture above but there are two different colors of icing. That’s because the icing is actually pure cooking chocolate, and because the first batch I made I melted it in a bowl in a pot of water. I managed to put too much water in the pot and some of it leeked into the bowl. This makes the chocolate go all weird and dark and bitsy. It still tasted like chocolate though, so I used it anyway. The next batch I made I took out some of the water; problem solved.

While I’m admitting to my baking errors, I also managed to burn the bottom of the biscuits and had to spend about ten minutes scrapping the burnt off with a serrated knife. Does anyone have any tips on how to not burn the bottom of biscuits when cooking in a toaster oven? Please post them here because I’m not sure if I can work it out.

I will be making these Afghan Biscuits and New Zealand Lolly Cake to sell at the International Food Festival being held at Feng Chia University next Friday. Come along, bring your friends. At my stall alone there will be food and drink from New Zealand, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia, and there is a whole floor of stalls!

Actually, a quick side note, my Thai classmate just made me aware that there is a small Thai market somewhere near Tunghai University. When I find out more, I’ll pass it on to you.

The International Food Festival will on from 9 am to 3 pm on Friday 30th April. Come to the fourth floor of Administration Building II, Feng Chia University, No. 100, Wenhwa Rd., Seatwen, Taichung. Here’s a campus map.

I just realised, this is the first baking teensy I’ve posted on something sweet. Weird.

To make your own Afghan Biscuits, here’s the recipe I used.

To make your own New Zealand Lolly Cake, here’s the recipe I will use.

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JoB likes: HUNTING FOR WATERFALLS

March 30, 2010

I had spent most of Sunday morning studying Chinese, so by the time 3pm rolled around I was ready to road trip it to the mountains for some fresh air and greenery.

I found this video on YouTube about a waterfall supposedly 30 minutes outside Taichung City, called Siannyu Waterfall. My boyfriend and I decided we must find it as summer is just around the corner and it would be great to have a place to swim and escape the crazy Taiwanese summer heat.

So… off we went.

The Bat Hole (Toubiankeng Bat Cave) – a series of very narrow caves that you can climb through. We didn’t go into the caves because we didn’t have a torch and my shoes were too precious to me to risk them being covered in bat s*&t, but we’ll go back another time better equipped.

Some locals were swimming in a large waterhole in the river below the caves. One kid was contemplating jumping from the cliff into the water  but he backed out in the end.

Carrying on down the road we saw this sign. We were on our way!

Plantations of fruit trees and betelnut palms covered the hills either side of the road. Each piece of fruit was individually wrapped in a white paper bag, giving the hillsides a polka dot pattern that you can’t really appreciate in this photo.

We made a quick detour from the task at hand to climb the hill and check out the view. Amazing!

Found it! After a dodgy drive down a crazily small and ill-kept road we finally found the start of the waterfall. Very remote and surrounded by amazingly steep mountain peaks.

There are tons of potential swimming spots downstream from the start of the waterfall.

A secretive cafe just up from the waterfall, filled with pottery casks of… something. We didn’t try it out this time but it looks like the perfect place to relax post-swim. Bring on summer!

How to get there: Take Highway 136 from Taichung City and follow the Siannyu Waterfall signs. They’ll take you past the Toubiankeng Bat Cave. The waterfall is in the Taiping Wine Cask Mountain area. The drive should take you between 30 – 50 minutes, depending on which part of Taichung you are coming from and how comfortable your scooter seat is.

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write up: match cafe

March 26, 2010

Today, my lovely friend and work colleague introduced me to Match Cafe, a comfortable and  eatery near the corner of TaiZhongGang Road and Wenxin Road here in Taichung.

The cafe is full of designerly ambience: the book shelves are filled with literature on design (and other topics) which you can browse while you sip. You can also browse a number of different hand-designed/made items for sale, from stationery and clothing to biscotti and computer accessories.

There is an English menu with a small but satisfactory selection of bagels, sandwiches and sweet things, and an extensive selection of coffees, chocolate drinks, juices and teas. I had a smoked salmon sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mustard on brown walnut bread. Yum. The hot chocolate was more than decent, too.

My friend likes to visit the store because of the free wireless internet access. The shop apparently has a meeting for Mac users once a week, I can’t remember which day though and I think you’d need to speak Chinese or go along with someone who can.

I recommend you try it out. It’s one of the best cafes I’ve had the privilege to relax in here in Taichung. So thank you lovely friend and work colleague – you know who you are!

Match Cafe, 60-3, TaiZhongGang Road, Sec. 2, Taichung City

http://www.match-cafe.com/

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