Cleveland Coffee Love

There is a Starbucks on the same block as my building.

Like maybe 100 yards if I had any idea what 100 yards looked like. I’m not so good with the distance thing. Either way its there. Right there! I realize this is not a big deal to some people but to someone born and raised in the suburbs this is like a whole new exciting world of caffeine addiction has been made suddenly and gloriously available to them. There’s also a Starbucks freakishly close by that I walk past every time I go to class. Then there’s a university coffee house in a cool old house on campus, larger servings, but their iced coffee just doesn’t have the same Starbucks zing.

I’ve tried a Peets Coffee Shop on campus, super strong dining hall coffee that keeps you awake for hours (I’m currently buzzing on that), and a really cool place off of Coventry Road called Phoenix Coffee. That’s probably my fav so far but it requires driving so I may not be there as often as I like. I’m kind of liking this whole walk everywhere thing. Let’s not forget the delicious Vietnamese coffee that I had at Superior Pho off of Superior Road, original name I know but it makes it handy to find. Yum. A little more condensed milk than I prefer but an afternoon of steaming hot pho and crisp Vietnamese iced coffee was like being at home. Mmmm. I may need to hit that up again next week.

Awesomely enough I have made friends with a fellow coffee enthusiast so I have a buddy for caffeine fueled adventures. The point of the matter is we’re taking Cleveland by coffee storm and so far its been amazing. :)

My delicious Vietnamese coffee.

In which I attempt my first Julia Child’s recipe

I do most of my cooking on weekends when I have the time to actually experiment and try new things. Recently (like last year kind of recent) I came into a very old copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Like any good little newbie foodie/possible food blogger wannabe/scourer of the Internet for yummy recipes I have seen and loved the movie Julie and Julia. (I would like to do a little parenthetical hero-worship for a second. Meryl Streep is amazing in the movie as Julia Child. I highly recommend this film.) This book wasn’t actually in my possession until this past July, nearly a year after I first got it so I was a little overdue for my first attempt at a Julia Child’s recipe. So there I was with this cookbook that I’ve technically owned for a year but never actually read, the memory of Julie and Julia swimming around my head and a newly founded blog of my very own.

I think we can all see where this is headed.

Compound this with the fact that I had a leftover frozen pie crust after making a Strawberry Rhubarb pie that I recently found on Tasty Kitchen ( http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/desserts/strawberry-rhubarb-pie-with-streusel-topping/)and no desire to bake another pie.  I have a bit of an aversion to baking sweets because I know that I will then eat them. As much fun as they are to bake I am not a gym rat, I am an office worker. Eating pie all weekend and then sitting on my butt for a week? Not the ideal health philosophy. So here I was with a second Kroger’s (it’s a grocery store for any non-Texans out there) frozen pie crust and Julia Child’s masterpiece within my grasp. The logical response, in my mind anyways, was to attempt an easy, delicious, crowd-pleasing favorite and make a Quiche. Not just any Quiche, Julia Child’s quiche. Yes, cinephiles, that is a mash-up of a movie quote. Guess from where? ;)

I like bacon, eggs and cream, so I decided on a Quiche Lorraine. I do not like the idea of boiling bacon so I skipped that step and went straight to frying it. Sorry Julia. And I cut back significantly on the half and half. Julie, baby, I love you but seriously? I already drown my coffee in half and half; I have to draw the line somewhere. Then again I guess I shouldn’t complain considering all the bacon and butter that went into this recipe. I did add some at the end though because the skim milk wasn’t quite cutting it.

Anyways all of that rambling was to bring you to this point where I show you my photos and tell you about the wonder, the delight, the glory of making Julia Child’s Quiche Lorraine.

The recipe.

I love these things.

Until I read JC I had no idea that pre-baked or semi baked pie crusts even existed. This explains a lot of gooey crusts in my earlier pre-JC Quiche making forays. Basically you stick the pie crust in the oven for a few minutes and let it semi bake so that it firms up. This is a picture of the pie crust pre sticking it in the oven, not after.

JC suggests using beans as pie weights to keep the pie crust from rising up and getting all poofy. My words not hers. I’d never heard of this before but I also don’t make very many pies.

Ready to go in the oven.

Tada! Quiche Lorraine a la Julia Child.

It was kind of amazing.

This was a great recipe. I’ve been a fan of Quiche for a while thanks to my high school French teacher’s love of French food parties and this one was definitely awesome. My parents and sisters loved it, the only complaint I had was that they wanted another one. We had ours for a late Saturday morning breakfast but I’m sure a Quiche would taste good for lunch or dinner too. Thanks to having such a great recipe in front of me I learned about the beauty of pre-baked pie crusts and pie weights, two things that I’d never heard of before. It didn’t take that long to make and the ingredients were all things that I had on hand. My Quiche was probably a little more peppery-er than it needed to be but that’s because I used peppered bacon. Also, Julia suggests using a spring form pan as a Quiche is supposed to be able to stand on its own without a pan. I don’t have a spring form pan or a pie pan for that matter so we just ate it out of a regular cake pan. Pretty sure that didn’t hurt the flavor. All in all, I highly recommend trying Julia Child’s Quiche Lorraine. It will make you and your family very, very happy just be sure to make two if you’ve got a hungry family.

Sinh Sinh Restaurant, or yummy Chinese food in the heart of Chinatown

This  past winter after a late night showing of Casablanca at Rice University my friends Gem and Paul introduced our hungry group to the incredible Sinh Sinh Restaurant in Chinatown. Since then Sinh Sinh has been my go-to idea of great, authentic Chinese food. The prices are reasonable, the food is plentiful, and it’s always a fun experience and opportunity to try something new.

Our most recent trip to Sinh Sinh took place after my sisters and I met Gem, Paul and their cousin Mark at 429 on a Saturday night. 429 is an incredible service for college students and young adults held at Grace Church (Shepherd and 48th) Saturday nights at 8. It’s real, alive and it makes me happy. More on this later. We normally like to hang out and get something to eat after 429. Since we usually don’t get out until 10 pm we have to get a little creative with our food choices. This particular week we elected to go to Chinatown and eat at Sinh Sinh. Getting here was a little hairy as it involved following Paul as he barreled in and out of lanes, swerving at dangerously high speeds across multiple freeways and executing hair pin turns. Ok not so much the hair pin turns but the rest is pretty much Paul. After we pulled into the parking lot Paul gave my sister a high five for being able to “drive with him.” Apparently this is a big deal.

Walking into Sinh Sinh is a little like walking into a zoo, a zoo where you know you’re about to eat some delicious animals that may or may not have been walking/swimming/crawling around a few moments prior. Immediately on either side of you are big glass fish tanks full of prawns, lobsters, clams and super disgusting looking but probably amazing tasting fish. I am not kidding when I say disgusting looking fish. See below

I told you it wasn’t pretty.

We decided that the six of us would try family style dining, each of us ordering something different and passinig it around the table to share. This is one of my favorite ways to try new foods. You don’t like my Sweet and Sour Pork (first of all you’re crazy because it was awesome and I could have eaten the entire giant plate by myself. Seriously, don’t put it past me) try someone else’s Chicken and Scallops or Moo Goo Gai Pan.  Sharing food this way also creates more of a community feel as if we really were just one big incredibly hungry family. The servings are large enough that one plate could probably be split between two people with a little left over. All our entrees were served with white rice so we had plenty to go around.

Our server wasn’t super chatty but this may have been because of the language barrier. She was very friendly though and refilled our water glasses frequently. Call me crazy but I usually take this as a good sign in restaurants. The food comes out as it is finished so things may arrive at different times. Since we were all sharing this wasn’t that big of a deal. The prices are reasonable especially for the amount of delicious food that they give us. Overall I highly recommend going here. The food tastes great, it’s open late so you can stay until 2 or 3 in the morning and it’s a great place to try new things.

Sinh Sinh Restaurant

9788 Bellaire Blvd.

Houston, TX 77036

(713) 541-2888

http://www.sinhsinh.net/contactus.html

Normally I will try to remember to actually take pictures of the outsides of places. Their website has some pics of the exterior just in case you’re dying to know what it looks like. On this trip however I didn’t even think about exterior shots as I was kind of distracted by the tanks of crazy looking fish. More beauties below:

This one kinda looks like a frog.Prawns!