Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Saturday Triple Play

Hunkering down for Tropical Storm Edouard prevented me from posting my weekend's adventures. So if you notice the early morning posting time, it's because this is the only thing left for me to do @ 5am Tuesday while waiting for the storm. Hopefully I finish before the power goes out.

All my notable weekend eats occurred on Saturday. So like a hurricane, most the damage happened in one day. But through our meals, it was like we travelled to both Italy and Viet Nam and then was back in Texas in time for dinner.

Saturday Lunch

We had some friends over and prepared lasagna for lunch. We used a Tyler Florence recipe. My wife and I have been fans of Tyler since college when we first saw his show Food 911 where he actually goes to people's homes and show them how to make better food. At the end of the show, he and the aspiring home cook enthusiastically dig into what they've cooked...this activity is also known as my dream job. We only had 2 friends over, making for 4 diners in total, but we made enough for 12. The same happened 3 years ago and we haven't made the pasta pie again until now. And after eating it for most meals over the upcoming week, I have a feeling you might not see another lasagna entry for another three years.

I wish I could say we used an old family recipe, though it would be strange for a Vietnamese family to have its own lasagna recipe. However, this one turned out so well that maybe our future generations will have their an old family lasagna recipe, after we've tweaked to our own liking of course.

All the ingredients for the lasagna

Lasagna is a cruel recipe since it calls for it to "rest" for 30 minutes...too long to stare at a pan of layered happiness.

From the bottom up: sauce, meat, cheese, cheese, sauce, pasta, and repeat.

Saturday Dinner

Some other friends had us over for a backyard cook out. Though I can't really tell you how they prepared everything, I can tell you that I finished everything on my plate. Luckily for the other guests, my father-in-law called just as eating commenced, so we had to leave with just what we could fit on the plate. Otherwise, there might not have been enough for everyone else. Sadly, it wasn't until we left the house did I realize I did not get enough sausage and hot links. Those babies were gone during the 5-minute drive back to our house.

Major props to Rene, Michele and Maddie for always making excellent food whenever we visit.

A BBQ platter of chicken quarters, hot links and sausage.

Smoky beef fajitas on the grill.

Saturday 2nd Dinner

So we were planning to meet her father later that evening. However, he called unexpectedly early cutting short our stay at the cook-out.

As always, we met him over food. We tried a new Vietnamese restaurant called Cafe Saigon. My wife and I had tried it before and enjoyed our experience, so we suggested the place. He was very hesitant and understandably so. This was our first time eating Vietnamese outside Houston's Chinatown. But in the end, he was pleasantly surprised.

The cafe is a cozy counter-service eatery located inside a strip mall; so it already has an advantage since most of our favorite restaurants are in strip malls. The wall colors and decor is warm and inviting. And like most true Vietnamese restaurants here in Houston, they offer a surprising wide selection of dishes, as seen on their menu. Ordering is facilitated by combinations of letters and numbers, e.g., we ordered EB1 and V3.

Bò lúc lắc (shaking beef) is usually comprised of cubes of beef quickly cooked in butter, oyster sauce, soy sauce with garlic and onions over watercrest. Typically, the beef is dipped in a salt, pepper and lemon juice mixture, but thie beef was overly salted.

Snow pea leaves stir fried in oil and lots of garlic. This dish was also overly salted. Though both dishes were overly salty, there was plenty of rice to even out the sodium content.

1 comment:

McNguyen said...

hey, i'm glad that you've started this food blog. the pictures look great.