Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Jayakarta Restaurant (Berkeley)

Just ate at Jayakarta (Indonesian-Singaporean food) on University Avenue. Here is their website/menu.

Yummmmy. Here is what we ordered:

1. Perkedel (appetizer), which ended up being pretty much like Japanese koroke (a.k.a. croquettes, which are fried potato and meat balls). My dad ordered them because of that (i.e., he knew they were going to be similar to koroke).

2. Bihun ayam (sauteed garlic-seasoned chicken over rice noodles with some kind of oyster sauce): good, but not anything REALLY exciting.

3. Some kind of fried rice (probably the nasi goreng Jayakarta). Very flavorful and delicious. It wasn't like Japanese or Chinese rice. Darker and redder in color. I can't really describe the flavor; it was just tasty.

4. Ayam kalasam: a sweet BBQ chicken (not too sweet though!). Also very flavorful and delicious. I guess if you don't like your chicken sweet, you wouldn't like it, but I thought it was wonderful. The meat was tender, and there were very few bones.

5. Some kind of Thai iced coffee-like drink. Wayyy too sweet at first, but once we added some water and more ice, it was good. lol

I liked how each dish had its own unique flavor. I would definitely go back again. I love finding new favorite restaurants. The only thing that makes me worry is this Yelp review (by Lynne G). She said basically that either Jayakarta employees or friends of the Jayakarta owners rated all Asian restaurants on University Avenue with one star except for Jayakarta, which they rated highly on purpose so that potential customers would choose them instead of their competitors. If that is true, that's pretty low of them.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Potato Latke

Here's my potato latke from Saul's in north Berkeley (I went there two weeks ago on a recommendation from a Nikkei Student Union friend). The latke was very good, but it was $3.00 for one small latke, sour cream, and applesauce. I'd like to go back and try their bread pudding or something.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Indian Palace Restaurant and Tako Sushi

* pictures*


Tried a new Indian restaurant today called Indian Palace Restaurant. I actually didn't know the name until I looked it up just now. Hah. Tried the $8...95 (?) lunch buffet. I liked pretty much everything I tried, although I accidentally ate big chunks of ginger, which is really just my own problem; it doesn't lower my opinion of this place. The chai was spicy and good, like my companion said. Although it was very sweet, I actually liked the rice pudding, and I normally don't like Indian rice pudding. I would go back if I were in the area and I felt like eating Indian food. There's also a 10% discount if you're a student or if you bring in this coupon (click "internet special"). And a waiter/busboy/whatever he was who couldn't speak or understand English. The naan was buttery. I prefer my naan more fluffy like Khana Peena's, but this naan was fine too I guess. No complaints. Yay for trying new places!


I had gone to Tako Sushi once before, and I had eaten off of their sushi platters with NSU people, so I sorta knew what to expect. However, I noticed a lot of things I hadn't noticed before...maybe because I was sitting in a different place. I really like how they have a lot of odd (non-traditional) menu options and features. For example, there was a tempura chicken teriyaki roll. I've had chicken rolls before, which is itself abnormal, but never tempura chicken...and certainly not tempura chicken in a roll. Weird, but I would try it. They had a bunch of interesting combinations...very Berkeley-esque with its uniqueness and diversity. I found the kite theme and the restaurant colors random (although in the end I just accepted the oddness of everything). For one thing, what does a kite have to do with Japanese culture? There's a kite on the front of the menu and a supposedly Japanese kanji character on the wall that means "kite." What do the red, blue, and yellow colors mean? The walls were painted with cherry blossom trees, but then the pipes overhead were painted red, yellow, and blue, which matched the menu. Anyways, on to the food. I ordered a chicken teriyaki dinner the last time I was there, which I didn't like because the sauce was too sweet. So, being the stupid person I am, I ordered a salmon teriyaki instead. See the mistake? Why would I order anything teriyaki if I didn't like the teriyaki sauce the first time? ::sigh:: That wasn't even the only stupid thing I did tonight. Anyways, the salmon ended up being REALLY good. So soft and flavorful. After two wonderful salmon dishes (the first at the new Japanese restaurant back at home...that '80s Sushi place or whatever), I'm going to start ordering salmon more often (I have always been too afraid to order fish at restaurants). The salad was good too...and the orange wedge. lol Oh! Another really random thing was that they gave us each a single broccoli floret (small, of course) covered in its own red sauce, which we decided was like some kind of Asian BBQ sauce. SO random. I actually really enjoyed all of the randomness. The service was also fast, and our waiter was really nice. Yum.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Boston Cream Pie & Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Muffins

I've been updating a lot lately, but I won't be doing this as often once school starts back up again. I also don't normally bake this often. I used to only do it for social events, special occasions (e.g., birthdays), and during finals to relieve stress, but I've been baking a lot lately because I have a lot of free time.

* My camera dies every few seconds, but then somehow it revives itself, which is when I quickly snap my if the quality or lighting is bad, that's why. Sorry.

Tonight I baked because I had a major craving for something sweet after making a Boston cream pie for my friend last night (and I was craving something good after the sorta-gross pumpkin scones):

I guess it did get a little brown (it shouldn't have been though because I took it out a couple of minutes before the minimum amount of time)...but at least it's not black!! I didn't like the ugly parts, so I smoothed down the chocolate over them. I'm not sure how this one turned out because I only licked the spoons of the chocolate and the custard. I hope my friend liked it! If it turned out like the one we made for our other friend a couple of years ago, it was good...I think (we used the same recipe). Can't remember. Anyways, HERE is the recipe for that from The Prepared Pantry.

ANYWAYS, here's what this post is mainly about:


* bad flash/lighting...I know...

I found the original recipe at, one of my favorite food blogs.

Here is my recipe (the only changes were that I used semi-sweet choc. chips and I cut down on the brown sugar):

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar (a little less)
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled (actually, I used part of a margarine bar)
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 cup non-fat milk
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth. Pour into flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Divide batter into muffin tin, filling each cup to the top.
5. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the top of the muffin springs back when lightly pressed.
6. Cool on a wire rack (or just on a plate or tray).

Makes 12. * It really did make 12 full muffins; the picture is misleading because I ate the 12th one.

* I love these because the muffin base itself isn't too sweet and the tops are PERFECT for muffin-top lovers (they're nice and big!). They were easy to make too! I would definitely make them again. I like the little bits of peanuts too. AND they smelled wonderful. I think the peanut butter flavor could be stronger, but since Nicole, the creator of, says that peanut butter tends to make baked goods dry and dense, I'm not sure if adding more peanut butter would be a good idea. I think anyone else would like the peanut butter flavor though...I tend to not be able to taste pumpkin in pumpkin foods, so maybe there's something wrong with my taste buds. Also, I had trouble whisking the peanut butter in with the rest of the ingredients because the peanut butter kept getting stuck inside the whisk. Had to use my (clean) finger quite a bit. Overall, YUMMY. I plan on freezing these and saving them for when this semester starts stressing me out.

Friday, January 11, 2008

POPOVERS & Chicken Parmesan

Popovers! (I made these because Martha Kent on Lois and Clark offered Lois Lane's mom one in one of the last episodes.) I didn't have a popover tin so I just used a muffin pan, but they came out just fine.

* Chicken parmesan, which turned out PERFECT...the chicken was perfectly tender, and I had plenty to eat for days:

Here's the REALLY EASY recipe:

* 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
* 2 beaten eggs
* 1 cup Italian bread crumbs (I just used Japanese panko--browned a little with a tiny bit of olive oil in a pan first)
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1 jar spaghetti sauce (15.5 oz)
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Dip chicken into eggs and into bread crumbs
3. Heat olive oil
4. Cook chicken in oil until well browned on both sides
5. Pour spaghetti sauce into 11x7" baking dish
6. Place chicken on sauce and top with cheeses
7. Bake 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned

New Year's: Part II (The Desserts)

* I realized I have a LOT of food pictures to put up here. Maybe it's not such a bad thing that I can't find my camera's battery's not like I'll run out of pictures anytime soon.

Pistachio cake (Mom made the cake; I frosted it):

Our traditional fudge tortes (SO good and rich):

Mascarpone cheesecake (with a blueberry swirls) from Vons, which was quite good (nice and creamy...with a soft cake on the bottom instead of a crust). Last year we bought a Boston Cream Pie from them, and it was REALLY good, so this year I tried getting one again, but they didn't have any so I got this instead:

Sunday, January 6, 2008

New Year's: Part I

Tonight I made those vegan whole wheat chocolate chip pumpkin muffins again today without paper cups (so much better without the cups), but I think they're too sweet...even the ones I made without the chocolate chips. So next time I'll cut some of the sugar out. Might have something to do with me using just brown sugar.

Okay, my family's Japanese, so we always have a lot of traditional (as well as non-traditional) Japanese food on New Year's day (New Year's is big in Japan). Being a fourth-generation Japanese American, I don't know much about Japanese I can't tell you exactly what everything is called or what certain things symbolize or whatever, so sorry in advance!! Here are pictures of SOME of the food:

Of course, ya gotta have sushi of some kind... cucumber rolls, raw tuna, uh....pickled pink thing (?), and unagi (eel) with tamago (egg), cucumber, and...I forgot what else was in those big ones:

Salmon (this was the first type of raw fish I learned to like because it's not too fishy-tasting):

Won-tons made of shrimp, pork, water chestnut, green union, and I'm not sure what else (my dad made these...this isn't even a quarter of what he made though):Dad cutting the tako (octopus), which I don't like:
There was more food than what's pictured in this post.
Oden, a traditional soupy dish that my grandma makes ever year. It's made of stuff like kamaboko (fish cake thing--the pink and white objects), daikon radish, and a single boiled egg. I'm simplifying it...I really don't know what the rest is, but Wikipedia has a nice description and list of ingredients, although this particular oden doesn't have a lot of the things on that list...
Of course...SAKE, which I still think tastes gross:

These aren't Japanese...haha. spinach and cheese fillo triangles:
I'll post the dessert pics later.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The 3-Layer Chocolate Cake

Mom and I made this cake (the recipe was in a magazine...I don't know the name of it) for our family friends (and yes, I washed my hands repeatedly in order to take these step-by-step pictures):

The Frosting:

This cake tasted fantastic. Both the cake and the frosting were rich and wonderfully chocolatey. It wasn't too too difficult, although it takes extra time because you have to make three layers and then frost the whole thing. You also have to be careful not to put too much frosting in between the layers because I had JUST enough with which to cover the top. Perfect. If only it were low in sugar and fat. Haha.