Back to the Goose

Yung Kee Restaurant, which I raved about 5 years ago, is actually three restaurants in one. This time the ground floor was closed for renovation, and we weren’t dropping the big bucks for the VIP room this time, which put us this time in the middle tier, literally on the second floor. A typical nice Cantonese banquet hall greeted us.

Immediately my in-laws started asking me if I wanted the beef or the pork. Like I would get anything but the goose, the dish that made this place famous and earned the Michelin star.

Even though this wasn’t the most formal restaurnt, the presentation was still beautiful. Even dime vegetables with tofu skin, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and ginkgo seeds was presented immaculately.

 Next, my sister-in-laws’ favorite, a perfectly grilled filet mignonette, sliced thin and stir fired in a sweet sauce with onions. It was sweet, smokey, savory, and the beer amazingly tender.

When our plates were dirtied after the beef, the staff replaced them with clean ones and brought out a beautiful fried rice presented in wrapped leaves. Perfect texture, light flavor, and lots of little chunks of meats and shrip to keep you satiated while we waited for the main event…

 The roast goose – crispy skin, flavorful meat, and not nearly as fatty or oily as duck. This was a total different presentation than the last time we were here. Instead of the Peking duck style wrappers, it was served with a gravy poured over the top, and a sweet tangy ginger sauce on the side. Yet still, this was as delicious as I remember. 

Super-cheap Sunday breakfast

Early on a Sunday morning there isn’t much available. Even Sha Tin boasts the 2nd largest mall in Hong Kong, most of the shops and dinig are closed. We stumbled into a modern diner chain called Fairwood featuring a strange breakfast fusion of food combos like macaroni noodles with grilled got dogs or vermicelli with fried eggs and toast.

I went with what turned out to be essentially steak and eggs. Black Pepper beef, 2 fried eggs and a thick piece of toast. The beef was tender and the black pepper sauce had the perfect level of spice. The eggs were simple but perfect temperature. Also came with coffee which had milk and cocoa added already. Delicious!

Pearl desperately wanted congee, the rice porridge she is so fond of complete with her favorite 1000 year egg and minced pork. It was part of a meal as well, with fried daikon cakes and coffee as well.

  1. Both meals were pretty good, and the pest part? The entire meal was 52.5 Hong Kong dollars – that’s only US $6.75 total!!

High-altitude air fare

How jaded are we that the incredibly avanced technology that lets us hop around the globe in less than a day leaves us complaining about the quality of the food en-route.

Remember when airlines used to feed you? Well they still do on international flights. Here’s Cathay Pacific’s LAX to Hong Kong economy plus lunch lineup. A roll, some microwaved veggies, half a grilled potato and a small piece of steak. The beef had decent flavor (if a bit dry and overdone) and the veggies aren’t worth writing about. The shrimp and quinoa salad was different and reminiscent of tabouleh.

The Mrs. had a lactose free special meal which was mango chicken over rice with grilled veggies and a side of pineapple. Her salad was a basic one but with more grilled chicken and a vinaigrette. I guess they assembled her meal from others? I think she got the better meal.

The best part was real silverware, including this cute little demitasse spoon for our coffee. Oh, I almost forgot. Ice cream! And since the wife is avoiding lactose, I get two individual servings of Haagen-Daz vanilla!

7 hours later we picked up with dinner. I had a spicy pork and tofu dish with rice. A side of fruit and a red bean mousse finished it off. Not the most visually appealing dish, but it was tasty.

What I didn’t understand was my wife’s meal. Agains it was specially prepared and was items not on the regular menu. An excellently prepared fish dish with a spicy salsa served on mixed rice. What’s weird is that she easily could have had my meal – no dairy except for the desert. Either way it was quite delicious and worthy of being a regular item.


What’s growing in your greenhouse?

I quizzed the local coworkers on the best dining options in downtown Cleveland, and second after Lola was The Greenhouse, a modern-eclectic gastropub. It has two floors of drinking, generous patio seating for nice warm summer nights, and a dark interior decked out with reclaimed wood and stacks of HVS tapes, and a fleet of hipster bicycles hanging from the ceiling.

After an extravagant culinary orgy of bacon two weeks ago, I’m still wary of pork, but I’m glad I ventured into the territory. I started with “Devils on Horseback”: Soft bacon-wrapped dates are lusciously stuffed with bittersweet chocolate. Salty and sweet and rich all at the same time. As if it could get more interesting, it’s served with a rich light onion sauce and a smokey red pepper paste. Overall it paired amazingly well with my single-malt.
For the main course, a small, but thick cut ribeye steak. Perfectly brined and cooked, it has a rich pan-drippings sauce am served on a bed of the most amazing creamy smooth mash potatoes that taste exactly like pirogues, which are a polish potato dumpling commonly found in the area. This being the land of meat and potatoes, there’s also a generous helping of fries and a tangy house-made mayo. With a mayo like this, I can actually enjoy it on frites without feeling disgusted, which I don’t think I have ever enjoyed before.

20140731-201520-72920812.jpgFor desert, a luxurious corn-flavored custard, topped with a light fresh caramel and just a sprinkle of sea salt to enhance the flavors.

20140731-201521-72921314.jpgSo if you ever find yourself in Cleveland, check out The Greenhouse for a popular bar scene and great food.

SLO down for a quick bite

Last time I visited Firestone Grill was the night of the farmers market, and so it was overcrowded and rushed. Tonight, a Monday night after the spring semester is over leaves San Luis Obispo quieter and more relaxed. A cool summer evening for a perfect outdoor setting.

As well as they can handle crowds, Firestone is even better on a quiet night. Tender, juicy tri-tip piled on a buttered flame-toasted roll and a sweet BBQ sauce has just the right balance of soft savory glaciers that make for an excellent example of this Central Coast specialty. With a side of huge hot onion rings, this is a great stop for a quick casual dinner, or am afternoon of watching sports. Either way a win.20140609-191657-69417921.jpg