It's crazy that my Thanksgiving break has gone by so quickly, I cannot believe it is already over! Even though this was the first year we had an entire week off, plus two days, it seemed to go by quicker this year than the last. Tonight for a "farewell" dinner my parents and I were craving Thai Food. After much research on Yelp and Google, I decided on Thai Pepper, an eatery on Lancaster Ave. in Ardmore, PA. After studying the menu online, I was anxious to get to the restaurant and order! At around 7 PM, we headed to the restaurant. It was chilly in the restaurant because they are sharing the space with another adjacent restaurant. We were seated promptly - and looked over the menu, although it was different from the one online, I was so hungry it didn't matter. After a few minutes, we placed an order for appetizers. I chose the Tom Yum soup, one of my favorites. The soup came out in a small bowl, steaming hot - equally as hot as the spiciness of the ingredients in the soup. I picked up my hollow spoon and spooned the broth into my mouth, as my lips tingled from the spiciness of flavors. The main protein of the soup was three pieces of pink shrimp, cooked to a plump perfection, tender and juicy. The scallions added bright pops of green dots to the bowl of orangey liquid. The long brown strips to my surprise were mushrooms, they looked identical to strips of chicken, but tasted very different! The soft and squishiness of the mushrooms were easy to chew, they added a nice element of surprise to the dish. After all the individual elements of the soup were eaten, I finished off the bowl of peppery broth as my tastebuds were left in flames. The mixture of flavors were all so different and distinct, but when combined together they formed a bowl of (tom) yummy goodness.
After 3 long but glorious months away at school, I was ready to come home for Thanksgiving break. I was looking forward to the three f's: family, friends and of course, food! I was so excited just to eat real food and tonight was no exception. Since I am one of the firsts of my friends to come home for break, I've been enjoying quality time with my parents. We decided for their "date" night, plus one we would go out for sushi. My mom suggested, O-Toro, a Japanese/Tapas restaurant out in Wayne, PA. We arrived in about 25 minutes and walked into a dark restaurant with filtered red lights that gave it an elegant essence. The menu was limited, but filled with tasty options. We started with a spare-rib tapas appetizer. The spare ribs were cooked to perfection, dark on the outside, with a bit of redness on the inside, glazed in a gingery-hoisin sauce. The sweetness of the tender meat was finished off with a peppery flavor of Arugula leaves. The bone of meat was somewhat of a tease, it filled me for a quick couple seconds before the main dishes arrived. We ordered four different rolls of sushi - a Harvest roll, Mango, Pacific Rim and White Tiger. The Harvest roll was a white ball of rice filled with avocado, asparagus, cucumber and carrot - simple and fresh, a tasty classic. The Mango roll was one with orangey-pink salmon, cucumber and avocado with a thin slice of yellow Mango on top - the sweetness of the Mango mixed well with the saltiness of the vegetables. The Pacific Rim roll was sprinkled on top with a layer of dark green seaweed salad with tiny brown Sesame seeds, the cucumber, shrimp tempura and avocado were squished together in the center. This roll was full of flavor, especially from the creaminess of the avocado and the crunchiness of the tempura. The White Tiger was a different type of roll, one that I was not used to. I am not a big fan of fish, but don't mind it as much in sushi, because the real taste is somewhat hidden. The White Tiger was a roll filled with spicy Tuna and cucumber, topped with a pale white sea scallop, black tobika (fish eggs) and green jalapeno peppers. If these rolls were in a Sushi contest - the White Tiger would be at the top, coming in at #1. The flavors were undeniably the best, the spiciness of the jalapeno peppers left my mouth in a sea of smoke, the cucumbers were crisp. "It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the [meal we had tonight]".
I've been to a lot of restaurants in the surrounding college town of Bloomington, Indiana so when my parents told me they were staying in a "bed and breakfast" type place for my Sorority family weekend, I was ready to try something different. I decided on cooking a meal ourselves rather than going to restaurant because you can always go out to eat, but there are only so many opportunities as a college student to have a home cooked meal. After a long day filled with a rainy tailgate, we were in the mood for some comfort food - a sizzling hot, spicy stir-fry. At our "neighborhood" Marsh supermarket on Kinser Pike, we invested in the goods: fresh green stalks of Celery, whole white Mushrooms, bright yellow and red Bell Peppers, translucent bean sprouts, large orange Organic Carrots and frozen Shrimp. We arrived home in 5 minutes and got right to work. I chopped the Peppers into tiny pieces, sliced the Mushrooms, cut the Celery into halves and then into smaller chunks, circle-cut the Carrots and peeled the shells off the Shrimp. One handful at a time, the vegetables were dumped in the pan and flipped over and over again. Once it was cooked and seasoned, the Shrimp was traded in for the vegetables and they were poured onto a large serving plate. The Shrimp cooked quickly, as the baby orange pieces rose to the top in the large pan and finally the finished dishes were combined into one, doused in a dressing of Soy Sauce. I unhooked my chopsticks and anxiously dug into the meal. The first bite was crunchy and full of flavor. The vegetables melted in my mouth, as the Garlic-Pepper spice left my mouth full of a zesty spice. I could not stop eating, this meal tasted like home and it was absolutely delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about it and I just finished eating about an hour ago. A homecooked meal in Bloomington, a dream come true.