I had the pleasure of attending the LongHouse Food Revival this past fall in Upstate New York. Created by Molly O’Neill, this annual gathering has been called the Woodstock of food—an intense day-long symposium designed to raise the bar on how food stories are told and to connect generations of food-inspired artists, writers, and the like.
Every year, LongHouse focuses on a single story to create a multi-media “Pop-Up Food Magazine”. This year’s theme, Chop Stick Nation, explored Chinese American food stories through a variety of mediums including spoken word, film, and live cooking.
Saturday began bright and early with a foraging walk led by Ava Chin at the Huyck Preserve. Autumn in Upstate cannot be beat.
Ava introduced the crowd of mostly city mice to things like garlic mustard, burdock, and wood sorrel. We tasted a bit of this and that as we walked. Continue reading ‘LongHouse Food Revival 2015: Chop Stick Nation’
Word of made-from-scratch, hand-pulled noodles at China Tasty lured me away from my cubical and to Alhambra for lunch the other week. While hand-pulled noodles are easily found throughout mainland China, noodle pulling specialists are surprisingly scarce in the San Gabriel Valley. Props to the L.A. Times’ Amy Scattergood for unearthing this gem.
China Tasty makes four different noodle shapes. There’s “standard round” (like spaghetti), “small flat” (like linguini), “medium flat” (like papperdelle), and “triangle noodle” (like no other). Amy describes the lattermost as “kind of like the noodle version of laminated dough, pulled into layers and cooked until beautifully chewy.” It was my favorite of the varieties we sampled.
First up was the “Szechuan Dan-Dan Noodle” ($5.99). We requested the triangle noodles to pair with this dish.
Continue reading ‘China Tasty – Alhambra’
Since June goes to bed before the sun sets these days, The Astronomer and I celebrated our anniversary over lunch rather than dinner this year. Not quite in the mood for a fancy kind of fete, we headed to Honey Badger Noodle Shop in Alhambra for a casual, noodle-centric meal. The couple that slurps together, stays together.
I first visited Honey Badger last October with Louise. While the food we tasted was very good, it arrived painfully slowly. Not to mention, nearly half the menu was unavailable for one reason or another.
Fortunately, the restaurant was firing on all cylinders when I lunched here with The Astronomer. Service, pacing, and food were all on point.
Continue reading ‘Honey Badger Noodle Shop – Alhambra’
I procured some Sichuan peppercorns following our Chengdu travels two Septembers ago, but left them untouched in the cupboard until stumbling upon this recipe for Sesame Noodles with Chili Oil and Scallions in the June 2013 issue of Bon Appétit.
What made these noodles something to talk about was the chili oil made from scratch with fresh scallions, crushed red pepper flakes, and tongue-quivering peppercorns. Mixed with tahini, rice vinegar, and soy sauce, the chili oil packed enough heat to make us sweat and imparted the kind of nuanced flavor that kept our chopsticks coming back for more.
I prepared these noodles to accompany a Chinese Wood Ear Mushroom Salad, because man cannot survive on fungus alone. Sharing similar flavor profiles, the two dishes complemented each other and made for a perfectly satisfying vegetarian lunch. Note to self: add broccoli, eggplant, and tofu to the noodles next time around for a well-balanced, one-dish meal.
For the chili oil
- 4 scallions, whites and greens separated, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons Sichuan pepper, coarsely ground
For the noodles
- 24 ounces Chinese wheat noodles (or spaghetti)
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 6 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
Cook scallion whites, vegetable oil, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and pepper in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until oil is sizzling and scallions are golden brown, 12–15 minutes.
Let chili oil cool in the saucepan or in a bowl.
Continue reading ‘Sesame Noodles with Made-From-Scratch Chili Oil’