Wednesday, December 29, 2010


There was no better time than this week to indulge in some comfort food given the massive snowstorm NYC had just experienced. After stepping in one too many puddles, heartwarming food was in order.

The laid-back atmosphere, unpretentious staff and friendly service make
The Meatball Shop my go to place. The concept is great and the owners really honed in on what makes a good meatball. They're perfectly sized and the balls aren't simple little things of meat; you can taste the complexity within each one.

The Meatball Shop is a build your own meal kind of place. You are given a laminated menu and a marker and you can mix and match to your heart's content. First, you decide on how you want your balls served: with sauce in a bowl, on sliders or as a sandwich. Then you choose your meatball (beef, chicken, pork, vegetable) and the sauce (spicy meat sauce, classic tomato, mushroom gravy, pesto, parmesan cream). There are filling sides like polenta and risotto as well as light ones, like spinach and a salad. Be sure to check the daily specials on the chalkboard next to the kitchen as they usually have interesting options. The variety here is just another reason why I love this place.

I went with my usual of classic beef meatballs with a spicy meat sauce. The meatballs are so tender, well seasoned and the sauce has just the right amount of spiciness. This combination is my favorite because the flavors of the beef and sauce come together so perfectly in my mouth.

When you're done eating the meatballs, you really want to lick the bowl clean. The sauce is that good. You can't really do that in public though (but I wouldn't judge you if you did) so that is where the strip of focaccia bread comes in handy. It's perfect for wiping every bit of the sauce off the bowl.

Allison ordered the chicken meatballs with basil pesto, the special sauce of the day. She loved the lightness and moistness of the meatballs, its nice even consistency (chewy or chunky meatballs is not something both of us enjoy) and the delicious bread.

The mix and match ice cream sandwiches are not to be missed! The cookies and ice creams are all made in-house so you won't end up with stale cookies. I didn't get it this time (what was I thinking?!) but their caramel ice cream with gingersnap cookies is the ultimate combination. I should know, I've tried them all.

The Meatball Shop has since become my late night eating spot because it doesn't close until 4am on the weekends. On a recent night, I needed sustenance after hours of dancing and found myself craving meatballs. I couldn't finish all of them so I had the rest for breakfast the next morning. You know a place is worth coming back to when you can have their food cold AND a day old and still marvel at how damn good it tastes.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


There are a few recipes that I've been wanting to try but haven't for a variety of reasons. Osso buco? It's expensive to make. Pasta? I don't have a pasta machine or a rolling pin. Red velvet cake? I'd eat the whole thing in one sitting. Bread? It's complicated: making sure that the yeast is activated, the double rising, the kneading... However, after seeing the no-knead bread make its round on the food blogs and reading how easy it was, I decided to give it a go.

The first time I made this recipe, I planned on making it as part of an elaborate meal. There's a general rule that most people follow and that is to never attempt a recipe for the first time when entertaining guests. However, I was determined to make the rosemary bread because it paired so well with the short ribs and rosemary white bean puree that I was making for dinner. The relief I felt when I lifted up the lid and saw a perfect loaf of bread turned into excitement when I heard it sing. There were many comments from the blogs that said the bread sings to you as the crackly crust cools. At that moment, I fell in love with bread baking.

There really is a need to wax poetic about bread. It's one of those things that is perfect alone but does equally well when served as a companion. The well-roundedness of bread cannot be appreciated enough. It's fabulous drowned in good, fruity, olive oil or eaten with ricotta, honey and a bit of sea salt. It is a wonderful accompaniment for dishes that have leftover sauce as the bread can sop it up; short ribs and meatballs work especially well. When a simple dinner is called for, bread, cheese, sliced meat and of course, a glass of wine is the way to go. For something that is this versatile, what's not to love?

No-Knead Bread

Adapted from
New York Times, via Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
(I used 1 tbsp)
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

3 tablespoons rosemary

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt (optional: this is the step where I added rosemary). Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.

Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.

Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal.

4. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


After eating vegetable omelets or Fiber One cereal Monday through Friday for breakfast, the weekends are a time for me to indulge. I like to start off my mornings on the weekends with either something sweet:

Saturday brunch at Belcourt: Vanilla and bourbon French toast with house made ricotta and New York State maple syrup

or savory:

Sunday breakfast of sausage, egg and cheese on a croissant from the deli

Gorgeous innards!

After a week of healthy eating, it's nice to treat yourself to a delicious, carb-y breakfast... or two ;o)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I'm a nerd. I love calc, I went to orchestra camp for six years, I play chess and one of my favorite places to be is in a bookstore.

This pretty much sums me up: "It's pathetic how much significance I attach to the Times puzzle, which is easy on Monday and gets progressively harder as the week advances. I'll spend fourteen hours finishing the Friday, and then I'll wave it in someone's face and demand that he acknowledge my superior intelligence. I think it means that I'm smarter than the next guy, but all it really means is that I don't have a life." David Sedaris. "Solution to Saturday's Puzzle."When You Are Engulfed in Flames.

Why the discussion of being a nerd? Because it follows me into the kitchen. Prior to baking or cooking for someone, I have to research whatever it is that I plan on making. I look at recipe after recipe and it must include pictures to justify making that recipe. Then I read food blogs and to find the best techniques and methods. This won't satisfy me though and I will repeat the process one more time to ensure that I have a foolproof recipe that will be mastered based on my acquired knowledge. With that said, meatballs: I will conquer you.

After reading many recipes and tips, here is what I learned:
  • The beef-veal-pork trifecta is key. I feel bad for the baby cows, too...but not bad enough because including their goodness in the recipe helps ensure that the meatballs are tender
  • Overhandling the balls when you're forming them will make them tough so use a light hand
  • Using a panade (bread soaked in whole milk) will keep the meatballs moist
  • Just use the egg yolk to help bind the mixture. The egg white makes the meatballs gummier
  • Add parsley and pecorino romano to the meat mixture for flavor
After reading many blog posts on meatballs, I went with the recipe on Use Real Butter, who got it from Lorna Yee, the author of The Newlywed Kitchen cookbook and the blog, The Cookbook Chronicles. I found that recipe to be the closest to recipe that my friend Rob uses. Rob's recipe comes from the best source, his Italian grandmother, and he recently made some for me. After eating them, I knew that I had to add Italian meatballs to my list of go to comfort foods. I've made Asian style meatballs but never Italian so I wanted to use a recipe instead of using Rob's "a little here, a little there" method for my first go around.

I love to eat comfort food. Give me heavy, warm food over something light any day of the week. Now that the nights are getting colder, there is something to be said about the joys of comfort food. When you combine it with a glass of wine and a friend, you get nothing less than a perfect fall evening.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Someone once tried to help me diet by giving me this tip: Treat cookies and desserts as if they’re the devil’s cocaine and you’ll drop the pounds! Obviously this friend had never tried Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies because if she had, she’d know that no will can fight the deliciousness that is the World Peace Cookie.

Here’s a little background on the origins of such a divine treat: Pierre Hermes developed the recipe and called his creation the Korova Cookie. After a neighbor tried Dorie’s attempt at the Korova the neighbor exclaimed, "a daily dose of Pierre's cookies is all that is needed to ensure planetary peace and happiness." Hence, Dorie renamed the Korova the World Peace Cookies in her latest book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Diet be damned because world peace takes priority over thin thighs.

When I saw a floor mate at work hobbling down the hallway on crutches, the baker in me screamed, "make him some cookies!!" Nick is recovering from hip surgery so I had to bake something above and beyond the typical “get-well-soon” cookie. I pulled out my two binders of recipes and searched for those that I had put a sticky on. I only have a few recipes that are worthy of a sticky. Given that Dorie's cookies had one, I knew this would be a real treat for Nick.

I didn't have much success the first time I made these. The cookies were crumbly and wouldn't hold their shape. These structure issues are the main reasons why I don't like to make "slice and bake" cookies. However, the cookies were so amazingly tasty that I couldn't help but give the recipe another attempt.

My second try produced cookies that turned out exactly the way I wanted them to. Given that there are no eggs to bind the ingredients together, allowing the butter to completely come to room temperature is the key to producing cookie dough that will hold its shape when baked.

The World Peace Cookie throws everything at you; all at once it's salty, sweet, buttery, sandy, rich, and delicate. My favorite treats are those that are both sweet and salty. When done well, there is nothing more satisfying to eat than something that hits both taste buds.

In true beauty pageant style, I hope that the devil’s cocaine (….I mean these cookies) will miraculously nurse Nick back to health at breakneck speed and bring the world peace.

World Peace/Korova Cookies
Smitten Kitchen via Paris Sweets, Dorie Greenspan

Makes about 36 cookies

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons or 150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (120 grams) (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

Turn off the mixer. Pour in the flour, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek — if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)

Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Working with a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you’re cutting them — don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about one inch between them.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

Serving: The cookies can be eaten when they are warm or at room temperature — I prefer them at room temperature, when the textural difference between the crumbly cookie and the chocolate bits is greatest — and are best suited to cold milk or hot coffee.

Do ahead: Packed airtight, cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days (Deb note: not a chance); they can be frozen for up to 2 months. They can also be frozen in log form for months, and can be sliced and baked directly from the freezer, adding a coupld minutes to the baking time.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


"The 30-Second Rule, A Decision Tree" by Audrey Fukuman and Andy Wright

I think it's more like the 3 second rule because eating something that has been on the floor for 30 seconds is rather frightening... but I'm not judging.

The flow chart was in an article titled, "You Dropped Food on the Floor. Do You Eat It?" Do I eat it?! I don't need to consult a decision tree because the answer is so simple: always eat it - ALWAYS! (this rule especially applies to medium rare cheeseburgers and all things containing chocolate).

Monday, September 20, 2010


Crack pie. Two simple words that cause many brows to furrow when I mention what I had baked and consumed. I can see how people who aren't New Yorkers, don't read food blogs or aren't David Chang fans would be confused by it. Crack pie? As in pie made of...crack? Its name comes from its supposed highly addictive nature. I've had this recipe printed out for awhile and hadn't had the chance to make it or even try it at its place of inception, the Momofuku Milk Bar. When I searched for something to bake for my friend Allison's birthday, I thought this would be perfect - especially after hearing her rave about the pie.

It's a simple pie with only a few ingredients in the filling.
  • butter
  • sugar
  • heavy cream
  • egg yolks

The crust is made of ground oatmeal cookies mixed with even more butter and sugar.

This is a perfect example of how even when things don't work out in the process, the end result can still turn out quite well. Where do I even begin? My food processor was broken so I had to use a blender to pulverize the sheet of oatmeal cookie that is used for the crust. However, the blender had no interest in helping me out so I ended up with a very chunky crust. The rack in my oven was, unbeknownst to me, on an angle so the filling overflowed. This left me with a very uneven pie: 1/4 of it was just the crust! Thankfully, I put the tart pan onto a baking sheet prior to putting it in the oven so it caught the filling. In the end, I covered the naked part of the pie with the spilled but cooked filling. At the end of the pie's baking time, it wasn't even close to being at the "jiggly stage" that it was supposed to have been at. I planned to turn off the oven and leave the pie in there. The residual heat would bake the pie a bit more without overdoing it. Well, I forgot to turn off the oven and only realized it when I went back to check on the pie ten minutes later.

The verdict? Surprisingly, crack ain't wack! Despite all my mistakes, the pie was still good. Not great but good enough.

Maybe my "modified" version created my bias but I don't understand what all the fuss is about. Perhaps I gave into the hype and expected the world. I liked it but thought it was too sweet. The sweetness was overpowering to the point that there weren't any other discernible flavors in the filling. I'm all for simple but there needs to be some complexity to a dish that is so dense. It desperately needed another flavor to balance out the intensity of the sugar. However, I did like the oatmeal crust and I would use the it again for something else, like oatmeal ice cream.

This is such an intense pie that you won't want more than one slice. The birthday girl ate a slice along with her breakfast, lunch and dinner. Clearly, the pie earned its name for some. I'm glad I made the pie but it is definitely a one-timer for me...or until someone else requests it for their birthday.

Happy birthday, Allison!

Crack Pie Mini Recipe

adapted from
momofuku LA, from The Los Angeles Times


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup oats
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Bake on a quarter sheet pan at 350F for 25 min. Cool to touch. Crumble and blend together with items below in food processor.

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Divide evenly amongst 8-10 5" pie platters. Prepare filling.


3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tablespoons milk powder
1 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg yolks (from large eggs)

Measure all dry ingredients in bowl. Whisk to incorporate all and break up any light brown sugar lumps. Whisk in melted butter. Whisk in heavy cream/vanilla mixture. Whisk in yolks, being careful not to incorporate too much air. Divide evenly over 8-10 5"pies. Bake at 325°F for 15 min, turn down the heat to 315°F and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until filling has just set, it should still jiggle a bit. Sift powdered sugar on top.

Cool on rack and refrigerate. Serve COLD!

Monday, September 6, 2010


French toast with bananas foster and maple butter at The Smith: one of the best brunch dishes that I've ever had.

"It's so fluffy I'm gonna to die!"

I really need to go see this movie:

Cafe Falai: I'm a sucker for the bread basket but unfortunately, the entree wasn't even good enough to warrant a picture.

Waffle topped with strawberries and whipped cream at The Smith. I know, I live at this place.

Pillowy, stuffed brioche doughnuts at The Dessert Truck

Can I have everything stuffed with nutella?

Weekend review: It's evident that I consume a ton of carbohydrates. Now, I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing to have carbs compose 90% of your diet but perhaps I should at the very least throw in something green.... Actually, let's just save those veggies for the weekdays. The weekends are the times when I get to catch up with friends and eat whatever I want because I'm going to enjoy life by eating with abandon.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I could live on a diet of frozen treats. Preferably this meal plan would consist of Ben & Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk, Phileo taro flavored frozen yogurt topped with red bean followed by cake batter flavored frozen yogurt topped with graham cracker crumbs, Ryan’s Homemade Ice Cream praline and cream ice cream, and Il Laboratorio pistachio gelato. In college, I gained the Freshman 15 by eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every other day. I don’t regret a single pound of it-- most of the time.

I grew up eating Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream and what I loved about Breyer’s is that their ice cream had actual vanilla beans in it. I thought I was so much cooler for having ice cream with black little specks in it than my other friends who, I was sure, had pedestrian vanilla ice cream in their freezers. Now that summer is winding down, I don’t see that as a reason to start segueing into fall foods. Let’s celebrate the end of summer with more ice cream!

I hadn't had vanilla ice cream in awhile so I decided to try David Lebovitz's recipe since his recipes are so popular with the food blogging crowd. This one called for a vanilla bean, which was perfect given that I wanted black specks in my ice cream. There are few things better than fresh churned homemade ice cream. The texture is creamier than the store bought version, and it's richer. The addition of vanilla bean adds a robust flavor and I will add another one the next time I make this to give it an even more pronounced vanilla flavor.

This was my first time making a custard base ice cream and here are some things that I learned:
  • Temper the eggs slowly. In my excitement to have homemade ice cream as soon as possible, I poured too much of the hot cream into the eggs. I highly recommend starting off with a tablespoon or two in order to avoid scrambled eggs.

  • Alcohol is essential to achieve a soft consistency so I added a tablespoon of vodka. Without the alcohol, the ice cream will be rock hard.

  • If you don't have an ice cream maker (or if you break it like I did), you can simply pour the chilled custard into a shallow baking pan (I used an 8x8 and put mine in the freezer overnight) and stir every half hour. The key here is to break apart the frozen pieces which will give you a smoother consistency. Otherwise, your ice cream will be icy so be sure to mix thoroughly. For this recipe, it took about an hour for the ice cream to freeze.
Now that I've finally tried David's recipe, I'm certain that I will give the rest in his book, The Perfect Scoop, a try. Here’s to the “Quarter Life 15” I’m sure to gain; I’m going to revel in every pound.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Yields one quart

1 c. whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 c. sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 c. heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.

2. To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.

5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.

6. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I'm a restaurant groupie. If I hear that the owner of a favorite eatery is opening a new restaurant, I stalk that spot like a fat kid stalks the cake at a birthday party. I will read up on any leaked details, follow the planning process and mark my calendar so I can go during the first week it goes public. Eddie Huang's latest endeavor, Xiao Ye, opened while I was away in China. Luckily, my friend Diana suggested we go there for dinner the week after I returned to the States. I was thrilled at the prospect of trying Xiao Ye’s take on late night food found at Taiwanese markets.

I always read reviews on Yelp prior to going to a restaurant. I like to know what people did and didn't like and I like to get an idea of what to expect in terms of food, service and atmosphere. Unfortunately, the reviews weren't too stellar. At all. I must admit, after reading them, I was a bit apprehensive about going to Xiao Ye. A few discontent eaters would be understandable, but if the overall consensus is more “ehhh” than “yay!” ? I looked at Eddie's blog and read this, "I won't put out food that isn't 100 and when we do open, I guarantee it'll be perfect." Then reviewers be damned because as a frequent diner at Baohaus, I know that Eddie can produce delicious food.

Diana and I went on a Thursday night and the restaurant was packed. The place is tiny and hip hop is the music of choice. Personal photos adorn one side of the wall and I laughed when I saw a few FOB-y childhood photos because I could totally relate. There's nothing quite like growing up being first generation and having Asian parents. I'm sure Eddie could relate to my childhood: my parents left the plastic on lampshades, we had a vinyl tablecloth on the kitchen table, the stove was covered with tinfoil, and our Tupperware consisted of old margerine tubs and jam jars. I grew up eating chicken feet and fighting with my brother over who got to eat the fish's eyeball. There wasn't any fish on the menu so I wouldn't have to fight with Diana over the eyeball but... she probably would be more than happy to let me have it.

Forget Yelp. Let’s review my choices here:

First, the Brick Sit on Wall Tofu: The deep-fried tofu's crunchy exterior, its silky innards and the combination of sweet chili sauce and peanut powder made me wish that Diana and I weren't sharing everything. Note to self: order this as my appetizer next time (emphasis on my).

Next? Help U Poo Poo Greens: Snow pea leaves with garlic. At first I thought, $9 for veggies? These better be dericious (chinglish speak, according to Eddie, for delicious), I better get more than just a few leaves and it best help me poo. I won't comment on the last criterion but the first two were definitely met.

Then, Big Trouble in Hainan Chicken: When Diana suggested ordering this dish, I wasn't too enthused. I've had horribly dry chicken at restaurants way too many times to order it anymore. Furthermore, I thought back to my experience in China three years ago. My aunt has a maid whose daily market run involved buying groceries and a chicken that I would, imaginatively, name Chicken Little. I'd say hi to the it as I passed by during the day and, come dinner time, what do I see? Chicken Little dead and completely naked on the kitchen counter! I gagged when I saw her gorgeous feathers in the trashcan and could not eat chicken that night or for the rest of my month that I was there. I made a mental note to never name and acknowledge any living creature that I would possibly eat.

The method used to cook Chicken Little is essentially the same used to cook Hainan Chicken. I'm not one to pass up trying any kind of food so I put that horrible memory behind me and tried a small bite. I then proceeded to eat most of it even though Diana and I were supposed to be sharing it. The chicken was incredibly moist without a dry piece in sight and the dipping sauces were so good that I wanted to drink the house made red chili sauce. And the rice! Oh, the rice! I normally don't care for rice. I never order it. I never make it at home or eat it when I'm at Chinese restaurants. I know; I'm Asian so I'm supposed to eat rice like it's crack. It just does nothing for me. That all changed when I had the chicken rice that is served with the Hainan Chicken. The large bowl of rice is so ridiculously flavorful that I want to eat it at every meal from now on like what a good Chinese person should do.

Diana, ready to dive into the shaved ice.

For dessert? Taiwanse Shaved Ice. We were pleasantly surprised when we were presented with dessert on the house. It must have been obvious that I was a restaurant groupie and the obvious way to my heart is via food, specifically dessert. The mountain of fluffy shaved ice served as the perfect complement to the strawberries, tapioca balls, and mango flan. The condensed milk that is drizzled on the top of this concoction adds the necessary element that really makes this dish a dessert. The shaved ice isn't your typical tiny two scoops of ice cream; it's huge. Given the humidity that evening, it was a refreshing and light way to end the meal.

Due to the Yelp reviews I left my high expectations at the door and hoped to leave Xiao Ye satisfied and content. Instead, I left in bliss from experiencing food that exceeded my expectations and I left dreaming about my next visit, knowing that I'd have to come back to eat Chicken Little's brother sooner rather than later.