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BC Food & Culture Writing

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January 2017

Double Chins and hairs?

JAMIE HAR

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Image 1: ‘Matcha Ma Call It’ Cube Toast

I can safely assume that you know of Chinese New Year which passed last Saturday, but you might not know that this holiday is actually the Lunar New Year that is celebrated by many non-Chinese cultures as well, including Korea’s. Since I wasn’t home this year to eat rice cakes and dumpling soup with my family, I went out with a group of six other girls into Chinatown for some early dinner, dessert, and fun.

The place we went to for dinner was Gourmet Dumpling House, and we ordered spicy beef noodles, spicy chicken, sautéed vegetables, and two orders of — wait for it — soup dumplings! I had never had these before though my friends often raved about them, and I was delighted to find that they were super juicy and savory. I didn’t actually take pictures of the food because we were too hungry already by the time we ordered, but they were perfect to eat family-style. The only downsides of this place were that some foods were a bit too salty and some of the teacups were dirty. Though I am far from an expert on Chinese food, I would go back again and recommend that others go too.

“But Jamie,” you may ask, “what does that meal have to do with double chins and hairs?”

I’m glad you asked. It doesn’t.

My title is, however, related to the place we went to for dessert. Double Chin is a medium-sized cafe on another corner street in Chinatown, a couple blocks from Gourmet Dumpling House. They serve meals, drinks, and desserts, but I was forewarned to avoid the meals by a few local friends. The interior was cute and welcoming, with soft colors, lights, plants, games and books along a wall, and a wooden swinging bench with a photo-booth-like machine in front of it that my friends and I took advantage of (see Image 2).

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Image 2: Photobooth!

Together, we ordered a “Matcha Ma Call It” Cube Toast, which includes green tea ice cream, red bean, fresh fruit, mochi, matcha milk, cereal, and four Pocky sticks stuck into the ice cream, all over a cube of sweet french toast. Personally, I have had similar desserts back home in California, but for some of my friends, it was a glorious new discovery. I would say that it is a good dessert to have with friends because of its large size and variety of ingredients (except that one friend was allergic to peaches). Not to mention that I’m absolutely weak for ice cream.

We had almost devoured the entire first cube toast when — notice I said “first” — we noticed a thin, long strand of black woven into the bread. “Is this… from a banana?” one concerned friend inquired, hopeful. The rest of our heads swarmed inwards with curious, beady eyes. “Uhh,” I exclaimed as I pulled back with slight horror and disgust,”I don’t think so. It’s definitely a hair.”

Both reality and silence fell upon us at once. Suddenly, the dessert wasn’t so enticing anymore as our uncomfortable eyes darted back and forth while our mouths pulled back grimly. Well, darn. Since no one was going to eat it now, my friends dedicated me to report the unfortunate incident to the workers.

I didn’t remember the last time I had seen someone so ashamed, equally disgusted, and as sorry as us. The waiter immediately asked if we would like a new one. Again, uncertain silence consumed us. That is, until my eager, cube-toast-novice friend finally exclaimed, “Yes!”

So that is how we came to guzzle down another *free* Cube Toast that, thankfully, had no hair in it before playing Jenga, embarrassing ourselves by playing multiple rounds of the Pepero Game (two people hold opposite ends of a Pocky/Pepero stick in their mouths and bite inwards as much as they can. The goal is to end with the smallest Pepero piece remaining, and multiple pairs compete against each other.), and taking group pictures until we left, possibly with a few newly-developed double chins. 🙂

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Shabu-Zen on a Cold Night

Caroline Dragonetti

On Friday night I ventured out into Allston for Hot Pot at Shabu-Zen. Getting to the restaurant was easy, as I decided it would be quicker (and warmer) to take an Uber. When my friend and I arrived at the restaurant it was just starting to get busy. We were seated at a booth with a built-in stove top placed between us. Since we had both been to Shabu-Zen several times before we knew what type of beef we wanted to order (we shied away from the $80 wagyu.) In addition to ordering a jumbo platter of the most budget friendly beef, we picked out several side dishes: whole shrimp, shrimp paste (which was new to me,) assorted mushrooms, carrots, baby bok choy, and vermicelli and udon noodles. We opted for a spicy szechuan broth on one side of the pot and chicken broth on the other side. Within minutes of arriving at the table, the pot began to froth and bubble. Shortly after, our waiter delivered us our beef and side dishes. We had learned from our previous experiences at the restaurant that we needed to put the vegetables that took longest to cook in the pot first, namely corn and carrots. We were also given soy sauce, minced garlic, scallions, crushed peppers, and a salty paste to mix together. This became a flavorful dipping sauce that paired well with everything we cooked in the pot. While we were cooking and talking, our waiter delivered the shrimp paste. It was presented as a mound with bits of recognizable shrimp which the waiter broke up with a spatula and dropped directly into the pot. I’d never seen or tasted shrimp paste before, and though I enjoyed it, I still prefer the whole shrimp. By the end of the meal, I had burnt my tongue countless times and made a mess of the table. I apologized to the waiter when he came to clear our dishes, and he was kind enough to reassure me that he has seen much worse. After waiting weeks to go to Shabu-Zen I was not disappointed. Not only was the food delicious, but I also appreciate that the meal is so personalized and that it encourages you to keep a conversation with the person that you’re sharing the pot with. For anyone that hasn’t been to Shabu-Zen or a hot pot restaurant I highly recommend it!

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A Letter from a Real Food Rep

 

Hi Class!

I am so happy that I get to write the “first blog post”. I am writing this to inform everyone about upcoming Real Food Valentine’s Day Dinner. As I have mentioned in day 1, I am a part of student organization on campus called Real Food BC. Real Food BC is chapter of a national organization with three components: cooking, gardening, and activism. Although the national organization focuses more on the activism part, BC’s version of Real Food really tries to incorporate all 3 components. To reflect such spirit of the organization, we hold Valentine’s Day dinner and Thanksgiving dinner every year to share our love and appreciation for food. The food prepared are mostly vegan, seasonal, and sustainable. However, there are some humanely raised meat as well. Following are the menu items from last dinner we had, which was the Thanksgiving dinner:

Sun dried Tomato and Butternut Squash Soup,
“Apple Cracker” Cheese and Crackers,
Baked brie with cranberries,
Quinoa Stuffing,
Chipotle mashed sweet potatoes,
Harvest Kale Salad,
Acorn Squash Dish,
Make your own “pilgrim” sandwiches ,
Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” Salad,
Chocolate zucchini,
Pumpkin Pie,
Apple Pie,
Banana bread muffin,
Apple Cider,

and more

 

We had over 100 people joining us to celebrate (technically “Eat, Drink, and be Thankful,” according to the title) and it was a great dinner. This year, in February, we are going to have another dinner that is Valentine’s themed, and I wish some of you who are interested could join us to celebrate. After all, it’s pretty good free food.

 

Let me know if you would be interested in attending so I can update with more info as the date approaches.

Meanwhile, check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/realfoodbc

and our Insta page at https://www.instagram.com/realfoodbc

Thanks,

Real Food rep

 

Ellie Kim

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