Friday, February 24, 2012

Palo Alto: Patxi's Pizza

I returned from Shanghai to NorCal on December 30, and celebrated the start of 2012 with Andrew in Palo Alto.  On New Year's Day we had dinner at Patxi's, which serves Chicago-style deep dish pizzas.  I'd had Patxi's once before, as dinner during my IHUM's movie screening of "Battleship Potemkin" back in 2006 (can't say I found it a fabulous film, but I am a fan of Russian literature).  However, I'd never eaten at Patxi's proper, so it was fun to finally eat there instead of just walking past it on my way to the gelato shop next door.

The restaurant was pretty empty when we arrived around 5:30, but tables gradually filled up, as did the entryway with people picking up to-go orders.  I had a glass of wine - I can't remember whether it was Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon, but it was quite good - and Andrew got  a "Pliny the Elder" beer.  Deep-dish pizzas take up to 45 min to prepare, which is something to try and remember for next time (the couple on our right ordered and then pulled out Kindles, haha). 

Here's our deep-dish pizza with sausage, peppers, and black olives:

Ready for consumption:

This was (not surprisingly) delicious, with a satisfyingly solid cornmeal crust and a good balance of cheese to sauce to toppings/fillings, and we had plenty of leftovers.  Patxi's and Applewood Pizza (in Menlo Park) would probably be my favorite pizzas in the Palo Alto area.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Shanghai: Nanxiang xiao long bao

The zigzag bridge in Yu Yuan, with the lotus pool decorated for the holidays

Last year, I posted my "guide to eating Nanxiang xiao long bao" (soup dumplings) in Shanghai's Cheng Huang Miao (Old City), and I'm happy to report that not much has changed.  The one difference I did notice was that the book-like menus with prix fixe options are no more, having been replaced with a simple paper listing of the classic dumplings and other dim sum-like items.  No matter, because those dumplings are every bit as fantastic.

The table at which my family and I have sat for two visits in a row, one year apart:

Flaky pastry dumplings with black and white sesame:

Curry pockets in the back, and shao mai in the front:

Egg soup:

Soup dumplings!

Inside one of the shrimp dumplings:

To finish with an ironic juxtaposition of old and new, this was a strange sight inside Cheng Huang Miao.  Why, oh why?!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Qingpu (Shanghai): Xiao Ge Lou

I realize I haven't posted in about 1.5 months - my apologies!  Block 3 has been busier than Block 2, and block exams are approaching once more, but I decided this evening that "blog post" had been on my to-do list for far too long.

As a result of my blogging break, there is quite a backlog of food photos for me to work through, starting with meals from my winter break trip to Shanghai with my mom.  I was there for a little less than a week, spending time in both Shanghai proper and in Qingpu, on the outskirts.  The first family meal I photographed was at a restaurant called Xiao Ge Lou, which translates to "Little Attic," but comically underplays the restaurant's size and decor.  Details will be lacking since I neglected to add helpful captions for myself when I originally imported these photos into Picasa, but rest assured that, as with nearly every meal I have in Shanghai, this dinner was delicious.

Smoked fish (rear), duck tongue, and pressed ham (I think).  The highlighting of duck tongue as a delicacy is something I simply don't understand.

Another kind of smoked fish, with some black bean sauce/garnish:

Tripe and jellyfish, or something similar.  Note the pretty botanical sauce garnish at the lower right edge of the plate.

"Bai zan" chicken:

Bok choy with enoki mushrooms:


Spare ribs with some sweet-and-sour flavoring:

Chicken soup:

Wheat gluten with vegetables:

Steamed shrimp:


Scallops with garlic and mung bean noodles.

Lotus root with chewy, chickpea-sized "ji tou mi," which I can't identify in English.  The texture was very much like firm tapioca.

Whole fish:

Braised eel with garlic cloves:

I'm not really a fan of duck tongue or smoked fish, but definitely enjoyed all the other dishes.  I'll have one more Shanghai post (on my favorite steamed dumplings), and then I'll get to stateside meals from January and February.