vietnamese watercress salad

zoom in of watercress salad with

Another of my favorite vietnamese dishes. Instruction below courtesy of my sister-in-law, with a slight modification. I had to go shopping for olive oil, vinegar, and filet mignon for the first time in life too.. only because previously they have always been handled by little sister who either had the ingredients or used the former hausmate’s.

1 bunch of watercress
1/5 to 1/4 kg of filet mignon
20 grape tomatoes
1 small white onion
3-4 garlic cloves
fish sauce 🙂
extra virgin olive oil
black pepper

1. Thinly slice the beef
2. marinate with some sugar (1 tsp), fish sauce (1 tbsp), black pepper, minced garlic for 1 hour
3. At high heat, stir fried the beef for about 1 minute, add white onion, turn off heat
4. remove meat from pan to prevent over cooking the beef.

Dressing: (this one I follow strictly her measurements… had to sort out those tsb and tbsp…
In a container: add
– 2 tsp sugar
– a tiny bit of salt
– 2 tbsp of vinegar
– 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
stir until all is well mixed.

Put in the watercress, cut approximately 1/2 length of finger in length (we measure things with finger length in Vietnam), cut grape tomatoes in 1/2, put meat + white onion on top, then add dressing to taste.

First picture was from my sister 6 years ago. BElow is mine. super tasty!

lovely seattle

Greetings from *very warm* Berkeley! After a full week visiting frozen Seattle.
I always say (to self) you can get a good impression of a (livable) city first by its airport, second by transportation from such airport to the city center, and finally by access to Vietnamese food :-). Given my connection to the North I have indeed been to SEA-TAC many times and enjoying its diverse food collection.. but nothing prepares me for how wonderful, vibrant, and accessible the city really is until this official visit. There will not be too many photos to share as it was an intense week where my first photo was the fancy room i stayed at after arriving at 2am and next batch was only the day just before leaving. And in mis-judging the timing of bus/train (more on this soon! read that again, bus + train!!) I won’t offer photos of the absolutely vibrant and beautiful UW campus either.. But here are some impression in case you have time to visit some day: Read more of this post

boston: food

things are winding down here, i back in the office after an eye-opening food tour with experts, aka asians who live for fine nourishment.  Actually i didn’t join them for last night festivities, but generally our day involved late noon gatherings + walk + bakery + cafe + girls watching + superb dinning + passing out at nice ice cream shop.  So, in case you find yourself in boston, these are the places i recommend:

Yankee Lobster Fish Market, highly highly recommended.
Rod Dee Thai,
Pho 2000 in Dorchester, super cute waitress who kept calling me cưng (translation: pamper, cherish, dear, …)
Christina’s Ice Cream (and next to it is Christina’s Indian Spices shop)
Diesel Cafe, aka dyke cafe shop. there’s a darn starbuck opening right opposite of it, boo.

so, if you read reviews of these places, it seems people who have problems are those expecting shiny service! we vietnamese have this way of saying: the shinier the restaurant, the worse the food.  I am there to eat and enjoy the high quality food, not the damn shiny tables + shiny services!   Let’s take Yankee Lobster Fish Market for example: BEST lobster, YUMMMM.  and for $20! did i mention fresh?? can’t believe i have lived in Boston for so long without knowledge of this little hole in the wall.  Read more of this post

happy thanksgiving

if you celebrate such a thing :-).  otherwise, hope you have a very pleasant rest of Thursday and weekend coming up.  i wasn’t quite prepared for it except suddenly EVERYONE was traveling and now the town is COMPLETELY deserted! being asian, i think turkey isn’t quite my thing either, so we’re gathering for some vietnamese cá đút lò (baked catfish) and bò 7 món (7-course beef) instead.  i also promise to bring along Alcina and Clemenza di Tito for the after-party ;-).

anyhow, some nice music for the sunny afternoon, from Kasarova’s recent trip to Moscow, as shown on russian TV and recorded by the nice Deoniz:

edit: hooray, more mozart (note how drastically the sound is from the pocket-camera-recorded sound back in Sept, those little recorders just simply missed loads of subtlety) :

argh!! it was removed!!! vhy?? argh argh, i really liked it!!!

vietnamese feast, part II

little sister is here, which means i’m super well fed.  not much to describe.  She asked for a menu (what I wanted to eat), i provide a list, and here we are.  Still more to come of course.  but this post is all about picture.  Some of the ingredients I’m not sure about the english translation, but all in all, very good!


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vietnamese feast

the charming smorgy braved the public and private transportation system in southern california to visit me in LA just in time for a special invitation from my best friend for a vietnamese feast early this week.  there are few people i would show up on the spot when they cook, little sister and best friend are on this short list.  In fact, they were fully acknowledged in my thesis:

“Many thanks to my younger sister XXX and older sister YYY who have helped keeping me sane through all the good and bad times, and for the occasional cargos of food delivered in person or by mails. …Lastly I’d like to thank my best friend ZZZ for her great companionship and superb cooking.”

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