Recipe: Thai Waterfall Beef Salad

You ever go to a Vietnamese restaurant and try their lemon beef salad? I’ve found they all make it just a bit different from one another (which is frustrating!) but I like it when they serve it with the thin slices of raw beef. It’s always a guess how the restaurant will prepare it and it gets me majorly sad when the salad arrives with beef that is completely cooked. Ugh. I like this salad because it’s very fresh and refreshing and the acidity in the dressing helps to “cook” the raw beef a bit, almost like a ceviche. So far, the best lemon beef salad I have tried is from Pho 777. It is killer, highly recommended.

Anyhoo, I had the inspiration to make it myself at home. I know the recipe title is Thai Waterfall Beef Salad, but it’s very similar to the lemon beef salad. I actually made this recipe twice and prefer using lemon juice over lime juice and I omit the raw bean sprouts because I personally dislike the taste of raw bean sprouts. Check it out!

The mix of greens in this salad guarantee choke flavor. Here’s what I have in this, romaine lettuce, fresh thai basil, cilantro and sautéed shallots (it can be raw but I decided to cook it up in the steak grease because hello, yum)

The best part about making this salad at home? NO BEEF LIMIT. Go hog wild because you’re paying for it anyway. I seared the beef I had and kept it more raw on the inside. Was so good you guys.

Okay doesn’t look too impressed after it’s mixed up but you gotta believe me, it’s so good. Give it a try! If too lazy to cook, try it from a restaurant!

Thai Waterfall Beef Salad

Recipe: the spruce eats

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 sirloin steaks (depending on the amount of meat you prefer)
  • Marinade:
  • 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • For Salad:
  • 6 cups salad greens
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 handful mint (or basil, fresh, lightly chopped or torn)
  • 1 cup coriander (fresh)
  • 1 cup papaya (fresh, cubed or cut into spears)
  • 1 cup tomatoes (cherry, left whole or sliced in half)
  • Dressing:
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. fish sauce (available at Asian food stores)
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. rice (sticky variety, toasted and ground, OR 2 tbsp. ground peanuts)

Steps to Make It

  1. Mix marinade ingredients together in a cup or bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the steak(s), turning meat to coat. Set in the refrigerator to marinate.https://f79cc301cbc5037578578e9f2671ab8b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
  2. For the ground sticky rice (instead of peanuts): Place 2 tbsp. uncooked sticky rice in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat. Stirring continuously, dry-fry the rice until it starts to pop and is lightly toasted. Remove rice from the pan and allow to cool slightly before grinding it up with a coffee grinder, or pounding into a powder with pestle & mortar.https://f79cc301cbc5037578578e9f2671ab8b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
  3. Combine all dressing ingredients together in a cup or mixing bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves (adjust fish sauce according to your desired level of saltiness). Then prepare your bowl of greens and other salad ingredients.https://f79cc301cbc5037578578e9f2671ab8b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
  4. Grill the steak over a hot grill, turning only once or twice to retain the juices (meat should still be pink in the center).
  5. If oven-broiling the steak: Set oven to broil setting. Place steak on a broiling pan OR on a foil or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place in oven on the second-to-highest rung. Broil 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until steak is well done on the outside but still pink on the inside.
  6. While steak is cooking, toss the salad with the dressing. Taste-test for salt, adding more fish sauce if not salty enough, or more lime juice if too salty for your taste.
  7. When ready to serve, portion out salad onto serving plates or bowls. Slice the steak as thinly as you can and top each portion with a generous amount of sliced sirloin. Enjoy!

Jenny Notes:

  • Didn’t know where to find roasted rice powder so I made my own. I bought jasmine rice and slowly toasted it over medium heat until it was golden brown. After it cooled down, I ground them to a powder in a coffee grinder.
  • Play around with the salad ingredients, I didn’t put like half the ingredients she does. In fact, I named exactly what I put in the salad above. The second time I made this, I added mint and thai basil and it was delicious.

Recipe: Bánh Bò Nướng: Vietnamese Honeycomb Cake

I saw this online months ago and wanted to try it so bad. Remember the steamed Chinese rice cakes that you get from the manapua man? Man, those were my favorite. I’m so sad that Char Hung Sut is closed because they have it there and I would get it when I would pick up my gon lo mein (da best!) from them. I have my fingers crossed they will reopen but I don’t know…so sad. Anyway, this is a Vietnamese version and I loved that it has pandan flavor. I love pandan. I played around a bit with the flavoring, added some coconut extract to make it like a buko pandan cake. Recipe below!

Heat up 200 ML of Coconut Milk with 200g of Sugar until sugar has melted. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

I set out 6 eggs to warm to room temperature, the original recipe doesn’t say you have to but I have made that a habit since I started baking. Gently break the yolks and stir 25 times…without the whisk ever leaving bottom of the bowl. You are merely mixing to get the yolk and whites incorporated, I followed the video’s instructions to a T!

Once mixed, add the cooled coconut milk/sugar mixture and lightly mix.

240g Tapioca Starch and 2 1/2 t of single-acting baking powder (I ordered this one from Amazon). Gradually sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

I even bought a bundt cake pan for this recipe. I am crazy, I know this. Anyway, the video instructed me to grease the pan and then set it in the 350 degree oven as it heated up. I did it as I was mixing the batter.

Once the oven has been pre-heated, take the pan out and pour the batter in through a strainer. There will be lumps in the cake so this step is crucial!

Glorious. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes in 350 degree oven. The video tells you not to open that oven door for at least 30 minutes into the cooking time. I always listen!

This picture makes the crust look a bit mealy, no worries, it wasn’t! I bought a cheap pan so I was afraid of the cake sticking. I used a small rubber spatula to scrape the sides but it came out just fine!

I am so amazed it came out so well. I saw so many comments saying they failed at it…like it wouldn’t have the honeycomb innards or that it would bake up flat. Whew…so glad it was a success! Was a success with my family too, it’s all gone already! I’m going to have to make one more batch really soon because this recipe only calls for half a can of coconut milk. Hello, what am I supposed to do with the other half can. Make another one of these I guess!

Bánh Bò Nướng: Vietnamese Honeycomb Cake

**Inspired by Helen’s Recipes, below is the recipe that was tweaked for my use.

Ingredients:
200 ml coconut milk
200 g sugar
1 t pandan flavoring
1/2 t coconut extract
6 eggs eggs, room temperature
240 g tapioca starch
2 ½ tsp single-acting baking powder (it’s about a single packet of Alsa brand)

Instructions:
Place coconut milk and sugar in a pan and heat until sugar has melted. Set aside and cool to room temperature.

Grease bundt cake pan with oil or butter and place in the oven as it preheats to 350 degrees.

Place 6 eggs in mixing bowl and gently break all 6 egg yolks. Mix gently (about 25 times) until yolks and whites are just mixed together. Add cooled coconut/sugar mixture and mix until just incorporated.

Gradually sift in tapioca starch/baking powder into the wet batter and mix. Add pandan flavoring and coconut extract and mix. The batter will look lumpy at first, just keep mixing!

Once the oven is preheated, take the pan out and pour the batter into the pan through a fine mesh strainer (there will still be lumps). Place into the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

KYM Bento Sushi & Catering (Formerly Akyth) – Kalihi, HI

Remember the old school bentos from Akyth? They hold a special memory for me because I remember them from all the high school fundraisers we used to do. Either fundraisers or these bentos would be what was used to feed us for various events. Some people can be haters but I always enjoyed these bentos. They charged cheap prices for these bentos and it always tasted great. And yes, I am one of the few people out there that does like luncheon meat (I don’t prefer it over spam, I am not an animal).

They are no longer called Akyth, they are called KYM Bento Sushi & Catering. Anyway, I must have seen someone’s post about their bentos recently and had a real hankering to get it. SO I DID. I think in the past, you really had to plan early to get their bentos because everyone orders through them. Well this time, I called early on a Saturday morning and asked to put in a take-out order and they were fine with it! I ordered 4 bentos, maki sushi and a few musubis. Let’s check it out!

Chicken Bento with Luncheon Meat | $6.45
rice, mochiko chicken, luncheon meat, kamaboko, takuan & andagi

I loved the nostalgic taste of their mochiko chicken, I haven’t had it like this in any other restaurant. I love it. It’s a unique taste that is just so comforting for me. Now that I realize how easy it is to pick up bentos from them, I will definitely be returning soon. And $6.45? How can you beat that price??

How the bento looks after slicing and removing the huge piece of chicken thigh! I inadvertently sliced the luncheon meat too, two birds with one stone! Oh and the mini andagi is gone, lol.

Deluxe Maki Sushi (8 pieces) | $7.25
red and green ebi, egg, tuna, kampyo, mushroom, choy sum

Absolutely love maki sushi, especially when they include the ebi. This is sooo good, so full of innards. Maki sushi takes so much prep work, I would definitely prefer to pay professionals for it. They also have a mustard cabbage roll but I didn’t try it, saw from reviews that it’s very good. There’s always next time!

Spam Musubi | $2.65

Yes, it’s just a spam musubi. Nothing special. In fact, the spam isn’t even seasoned with teriyaki sauce (which I actually like) but I liked it! And I like that they give you a piece of takuan with it! I like spam musubi of all kinds so this was great for me.

Hot Dog Musubi | $2.65

Can you go wrong with Hawaiian hot dogs? It’s the best. This is what you get when you order the hot dog musubi. Winners (wieners?)!!!

I updated their Yelp page with the current menu if you want to check out the options and prices…support local folks!

Gomatei – Ward Village, HI

Gomatei been around long time yeah? I remember when I used to go all the time when they first opened. I believe Ward was their first location and it was SO popular when they first opened and I remember how good it was. I don’t know what happened, maybe my tastes changed but I stopped going there but we decided to give it a try again. I think I haven’t been to Gomatei in like over 5 years. Poor things, they have adjusted to the pandemic by offering takeout ordering but each time they answered the phone, they had to clarify each time that they are the Ward location and not the Ala Moana one. I can see why there is confusion, their street address also has Ala Moana in it! So many phone calls ended with no orders…

Won Ton Shoyu Ramen | $11.75

Served with Japanese style Won Ton (with chopped shrimps and minced pork, marinated for 24 hours in our special soy sauce and essence of dried scallop. Then chopped baby bamboo shoots and shredded wood ears are added for an unique flavor) and vegetable garnishes.

Garlic Tan Tan Ramen | $13.25

Served with Japanese style Char Siu (tender pork belly) and vegetable garnishes. And added garlic bits, blanched in oil for a slightly crispy finish.

This my bowl. I love garlic. Have I told you this? LOVE GARLIC. Now that I’m looking at the price difference between a simple garlic ramen and a won ton ramen…do I think it was worth the extra money? Not really.

There is something lacking in their broth now. I remember how flavorful and deep the flavors of the tan tan ramen used to be. And look, this is coming from a person who no like salty food anymore (bland city for me usually) and it just felt underwhelming. One of the fun things about eating there in the past was finishing up the noodles and slurping up some of that good soup…and finding bits of chung choi that helps flavor the soup. No such luck this time. And the garlic? Barely added any taste! How’s that!

Curry Loco Moco | $12.99

Served with Hokkaido rice, Japanese style hamburger, and an egg.

Funny story, we had a hard time figuring out where to eat. I love a curry loco moco and told my friend that if we didn’t share this dish, our friendship would end. Friendship survived. First funny thing, where’s the hamburger?? Well it’s underneath that egg, lol. It was a good hamburger patty but yeah it was kind of small. Delicious dish! I would order this again for sure.

You know, me staking our friendship on a curry loco moco dish could have saved us some stress. I won’t name the restaurant, but we almost went to another place. Well, we made a reservation for the previous restaurant for this week and I got a call cancelling the reservation due to a possible covid case. ALWAYS THREATEN FRIENDSHIPS OVER FOOD. You’re welcome for the lesson.

Lilikoi | $4.00
Wild Jamacian and Yellow Passion Fruit

Lydgate Farms | $4.00
Locally grown vanilla bean glaze, cacao nibs, cherry drizzle

Hot Single | $4.00
Tolentino Farms neighborhood honey + flakey sea salt

L&L | $4.00
Lemon and lime baby. Meyer lemon sugar, Tahitian lime curd, citrus caviar

Strawberry Fields | $4.00
Kula farms Maui strawberries and green tea

Hot Single | $4.00
Tolentino Farms neighborhood honey + flakey sea salt

If you’re at Ward, you gotta go to Holey Grail Donuts for dessert. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be dessert, just go there and try their donuts. Look, it’s expensive. $4.00 a piece but you’re supporting a small local business…it’s delicious and it’s donuts. Come on. Well I think I have overdone it so I won’t be going for a while now but it doesn’t make these donuts any less good!

My absolute favorite is their Hot Single…the other flavors always sound so intriguing but in the end, I think the Hot Single is the winners. And thankfully, the hot single is a main stay on their menu. I am usually a huge fan of lilikoi but found it a bit lackluster on this donut. The L&L looks pretty and sounds amazing but eh…tastes just alright. I actually preferred the Strawberry Fields donut more though you can hardly taste the green tea (which is fine with me). Hot Single all the way!

Mixed Plate

Time to bring back mixed plate posts! Happy Aloha Friday!

This is very much part of being my friend. I found this online and had to get it for my friend’s birthday. If you haven’t seen it…the box actually contains air to blow up the balloon (not helium) so you make the giftee press the big red button and it blows up the balloon. Do you know what OLD AF means? One of the waitresses actually asked me what it meant and I couldn’t bring myself to give her the answer…until her coworker came by and said it straight out (Ha!).

So OLD AF means…Old as F**k. My friend and I just love ribbing each other on age. We are the same age but he likes calling me noona when my birthday comes and I am a few months older than him. Haha…I loved embarrassing him in the restaurant. Was WELL WORTH THE COST.

Saw this online the other week and thought it was pretty cool. I guess if you already have these kind spices in your cabinet, you can just make your own seasoning mixes! I also found it interesting to know what is actually in these mixes! Handy key.

Another neat TikTok recipe. Doesnt it sound refreshing? So easy too. I bought a bottle of sprite (either 20 oz or 16 oz) and stuck two tea bags into the bottle…closed the lid and place it in the fridge to “marinate.” I think I did it for two days and yes, the sprite turns into a nice light golden color. No bitterness at all from the tea bags…added some lemon slices and voila…black tea sprite. So good!!

Okay this one is a bit of a tip and secret. I don’t know about you guys but I was sweating it out finding clorox wipes (still hard to find!). I’ve lucked out twice so far at Costco…when I was there and they had a small pallet out.

I’ve been watching Amazon and they sell out of the wipes quite easily too. They sell three bottles (versus the five pack at Costco) for about $12.00, not as great as a deal as Costco but I will take what I can find. Well let me tell you, they sell it in these soft packs too for the same price and amount. For some reason, people snap up the canisters but these soft packs have been available this whole time. Here’s the link to it if you want to purchase some for yourself: click here.

Chicken & Brisket – Honolulu, HI

A new fried chicken place in Kalihi? Okay, yes I am there. Always happy to give business to a new local start-up, especially during such a tumultuous time. No question about what they serve here, Chicken and Brisket – it’s in the title! And let me tell you, boy am I glad I ordered. You can either order delivery or curb side pick-up through their website. I don’t know if the deal is still going but the first order you put in, you get a discount from their online ordering service!

When you order curbside pick-up, they send you an email with the ETA on how long your order will take. Then you will receive a text from the restaurant with directions on where to park and to text the color and make of your vehicle and they will bring it out to you! They are actually using the kitchen of another bar and grill so they don’t have a storefront for you to go pick-up your food right now. What a breeze! Let’s take a look at the food!

Sweet Hawaiian Chili Chicken – Very Spicy & Sweet | $15.00
Breaded & Deep Fried Chicken Thighs Tossed in Sweet Hawaiian Chili Sauce with Choice of Dipping Sauce.

Okay they’ve changed some names and prices on their menu but I posted the new names and prices. This chicken was GOOD. The chicken is fried to perfection and the skin is so light and crisp. The seasoning is great and I love how they just throw the fried chicken skins in too. They forgot my dipping sauce but it’s okay, the chicken is so good on its own anyway!

Spicy Brisket Chili Bowl | $10.00
Spicy. House brisket chili, steamed rice, sour cream, house cheese sauce, onions and jalapenos.

Not bad, not great. I think it’s sweeter than I would like but I don’t know, maybe I am just biased towards Zippy’s chili. I wouldn’t order this again.

Loaded Fries | $9.00
Sour cream, green onions, house cheese sauce and bacon.

Good, it was thoroughly enjoyed. Was it worth $9? Eh…I’m not big on fries so I wouldn’t say it is. Can I just go Teddy’s and get cheesy tots? Hahaha

Brisket Fried Noodles | $12.00
Wok Fried Noodles with Brisket, Char Siu, Kamaboko, Cabbage, Onions, Green Onions & Carrots.

Okay, I don’t know if I have proclaimed this before but I am a huge fan of noodles. I can’t resist getting noodles. I didn’t resist getting these noodles. I was so excited. Was it good? Well…sorry to say it was just basic to me so I didn’t think it was worth the $12. It wasn’t like the brisket in it was that good…in fact, it was like full of the hard pieces that I am not a fan of.

Okay I talked up this place but realized I didn’t rate 3 out of 4 items that great but the chicken for sure is GOOD. Go order that at least!

Recipe: Japchae

Japchae is one of my favorite Korean foods and it’s so easy to grab from Korean supermarkets…though I never order it when I’m at a restaurant. Sure, I’ll add it to my Korean BBQ plate but never as an ordered dish. You know? Well during the pandemic (I know we’re still in it, but this is more towards the beginning of the pandemic), I had a real hankering to make it myself. Well let me tell you, it’s no easy feat in terms or prep. Check it out.

Great marinade recipe for the beef, it was delicious!

Not that I go looking for this but it was so nice to find fresh shiitake at the Korean market! I think I prefer fresh over dried.

I have one of those mandolins but I am so lazy to take it out and then have to wash yet another dish. Forget it. You can tell I chopped this by hand, the different sizes shows it was homemade with love (or with me, probably in anger but angry love)

Red bell peppers, a must have! And it gotta be red cause you want all the pretty colors!

Sliced Onions

Man, if I knew I needed spinach…I would have gotten the big bag from Costco. Here’s my puny bunch from the Korean market haha

Just a plan omelet, nothing special here. And not even cooked yet.

For inquiring minds, this is the brand of noodles I bought.

Noodles ready to go at the bottom…look at how pretty the veggies and eggs are layered on top. See why you need the red bell pepper??

Can’t really pretty up brown and brown. I just dumped the meat and mushrooms on top lol.

All mixed together and ready to eat. It’s OH SO GOOD. The marinade in the meat makes this dish all the more delish. I would definitely make and eat it again! Check out the recipe below!

Japchae (Seonkyoung Longest)

INGREDIENTS

For the Beef
½ lb beef, cut into 3″ long thin strips (such as sirloin, chuck, short ribs or tri-tip)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
½ tbsp sesame oil
½ tbsp mirin (Seasoned rice wine, if you don’t have it, leave it out)
1 clove garlic, chopped

For Vegetables & Egg Omlet
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ medium size onion, thinly silced
1 ¼ bell pepper, fine julienne
½ large size carrot, fine julienne
5 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (You can substitute to any other mushrooms)
12 oz spinach (1 large bunch), cleaned well
salt and vegetable oil

For the Noodles
14 to 16 oz Korean sweet potato noodle, Dangmyun
For the Sauce
⅓ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup sugar, honey or agave nectar (if you are using agave, add additional 1 tbsp soy sauce)
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS
Combine all ingredients for beef in a medium mixing bowl. Let marinate while preparing other ingredients.

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 tsp oil; swirl to coat. Add beaten eggs swirl skillet to egg covers surface in a thin layer. Cook until it’s just set, about 2 to 3 minutes, then flip over and cook for another minute. Slip omelet onto a plate and let it cool.

Heat the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp oil and sliced onion. Season with a pinch of salt, sauté 4 to 5 minutes. Remove onion from pan, keep warm. (Place on a plate or a bowl where you are going to mix whole entire japchae.)

Add 1 tsp oil to the pan and red pepper with a pinch of salt. Sauté 1 minute. Remove chili pepper from pan, keep warm. Add 1 tsp oil to the pan, carrots and a pinch of salt. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Remove carrot from pan, keep warm.

Wipe off excess oil from the pan and add mushrooms. Sauté 2 tp 3 minutes. Remove from pan, keep warm.

Add 1 tsp oil and add marinated beef to the pan; sauté for 2 to 5 minutes or until beef is cooked through and all moisture has evaporated. Remove from pan, keep warm.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add generous amount of salt. Add the spinach, cook about 10 seconds, not much longer. Move spinach from the boiling water to ice water immediately. Squeeze out water from spinach gently. Set aside with other veggies.

In the same water, cook the Korean sweet potato noodles. Boil noodles according to package directions or 6 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile the noodles are cooking, whisk all ingredients for sauce in a bowl, set aside. Slice cooled egg omelet into thin ribbons and set aside. Drain the cooked noodles and place in a large mixing bowl.

Cut the noodles as needed, if you prefer. Pour 2/3 of the sauce into the noodles and gently mix until noodles absolve all of the sauce. Add the noodles into the vegetables and beef, toss gently to combine everything with your hand or/and tongs.

Garnish Japchae with some additional sesame seeds as desired. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Sushi Izakaya Gaku – Honolulu, HI

Sushi Izakaya Gaku has been around for a long time but somehow it has never become a mainstay restaurant for us. I don’t know why, we always eat Japanese food and this is a good restaurant. One reason could be because of the parking…not a huge fan of the limited parking in the area. Second reason, the prices. I think some items on the menu are pricier than other restaurants. And so sorry! I forgot to take note of the prices for this meal. 🙁 I guess you just have to enjoy the pictures and my somewhat limited memory of the food…

Dashimaki Tamago

We are always on a quest to find the best tamago. Sounds silly right? But here’s what I prefer, dashiyaki tamago that is more savory than sweet. A lot of the tamago served in Hawaii is on the sweeter side, I prefer more on the dashi side. Gaku serves one of the best! The best still goes to Imanas Tei.

Otoro and Salmon Sashimi

The otoro sashimi costs about $40.00 here, that’s the amount you get. It’s a bit costly but it is good quality. My favorite otoro still is hands down Izakaya Torae Torae.

Spicy Negihamachi Tartar

I can never help myself, no matter where I go, I like try the restaurant’s version of spicy tuna/hamachi/salmon. This one is good, and yay for no rice. Delicious!

Seared Wagyu Beef Sushi

Homemade Steamed Pork Dumpling

Tokusen Ochazuke
gaku’s special yokubari chazuke (salmon, mentaiko & ume)

Yummy, just felt like a warm soothing dish. Loved it!

Hiyashi Shiratama Zenzai
cold sweet azuki beans with mochi balls

Warabi Mochi Maccha Ice Cream
fern mochi with green tea ice cream

Another dish I always order if I see it on a menu, warabi mochi! Love the warm soft mochi…this was a perfect pairing!

Olive Garden – Honolulu, HI

Yes, Hawaii finally got their own Olive Garden and I don’t know what the big whoop is. Never have. I’ve tried Olive Garden on a few trips in the mainland and just never understood the appeal. I don’t know how the lines are now, but if you know Hawaii…Olive Garden is located in Ala Moana where the old Bubba Gump’s was. Now if you can imagine that, imagine the line going from the restaurant all the way down to Macy’s. It was that busy when they first opened! In a pandemic no less.

Anyway, we decided to do a take-out order which they actually made pretty easy to do. They have a separate door/entrance for take-out orders specifically. No online ordering so I just went in to order, they are so busy that they can hardly answer the phones anyway. I placed my order and was told the food would be ready in 30 minutes. Great, I knew it would take a bit of time so I headed over to Target for some browsing.

So how was the food? To me? Blah and overpriced! The amount they charged for a regular fettucine alfredo is outrageous. But…I have a few family members who have never tried Olive Garden before so we had to give it at least one go. Here goes…

Calamari | $12.99
lightly breaded and fried. served with marinara and spicy ranch

Calamari was good, hard to screw up this dish. Would I order this again? Yes.

Fettuccine Alfredo | $17.99 (!)
our signature sauce is made every morning. served over fettuccine

Ugh, I can’t bear to look at that price. Can you believe a dish of plain fettucine alfredo costs that much? I mean, alfredo is actually so easy to make at home too! We actually decided to get this cheaper dish and cook up some steak to top it at home. Thumbs down.

Lasagna Classico | $20.99 (!)
layers of pasta, parmesan, mozzarella, pecorino romano and our homemade meat sauce

That piece of lasagna before your eyes is $21. Is it worth it? Well, I just went Sam’s Club last night and bought a family sized pan for $15 so I say no.

Chicken Alfredo | $22.99
sliced grilled chicken and our signature alfredo sauce over fettuccine

Okay at least this dish has a bit more stuff to it. But $4 bucks for some grilled chicken breast on top? You’re killing me smalls. It was enjoyed so I guess that counts for something.

Shrimp Scampi | $22.99
shrimp sautéed in a garlic sauce, tossed with asparagus, tomatoes and angel hair

Okay this was my dish, I wanted to go just a bit healthier even though it’s pasta. I like when menus tell you the calorie count with the items. Yes, I have become one of those people. Was it good? Sure, it was! The portion is a bit puny and I don’t know if you can tell but get a few of those asparagus thick stalks (the ones you supposed to snap off and throw out).

So each entrée does come with either a soup or salad. The salad I think is a better deal, the soup was just alright. They are also supposed to give you free breadsticks. I don’t know how you are with take-out orders but I always try to check everything before I leave because they often times mess up. Well this time, they forgot one our soups so I asked for it. They brought it out and also brought out the breadsticks. So…they forgot the soup and the breadsticks! It’s alright, I got all my food in the end and paid a hefty price tag for it. Would I return? Probably not anytime soon. I would suggest Romano Macaroni Grill across the way if you are at the mall and hankering for some Italian.

Recipe: Origami Onigiri

How do I title this post? This is quite embarassing. I am huge on TikTok videos and I have been making choke recipes based on videos I have watched. I don’t really want to name my posts after TikToks so I’m just going to cop to it when I’m writing out the posts. This one is old now but if you have been on TikTok, you saw the origami posts. First it was with a tortilla that you cut up and then fold strategically.

I didn’t take step by step photos of my folding up my tortillas but this is what I have been packing up for lunch almost daily. It’s so much easier to eat right when I have food ready to go. It’s much too tempting when I have to go out to eat.

Well, before you know it, Asians came through and came up with the origami onigiri which of course is superior. Check it out.

Yes! Okay, I go show the step by step with this one.

I don’t know if you can tell but you cut a line in the bottom middle of the nori…

Fold the left bottom section up…

Then you fold the left part to the right…

And then fold it down and you got em…ready to eat. I’ve learned since then as I mastered this for tortillas that it’s actually better to fold both bottom sides up and then fold them together.

Play with the ingredients! Who wouldn’t want egg in their spam musubi? Enjoy!