Pok Pok, Brooklyn, NY

first you notice the area around POK POK

yeah, so good luck if you can afford the area

I mentioned to my husband–one can always dream

nice streets, people outside, clean,  neighborhood feeling

some homes had nice curb appeal

Pok Pok is on the edge of an area and immediately in front is a container area port/storage area

It is on the corner but when you actually go to the back, it looks like it takes up a double lot. Not sure if it really does.  Kind of cool actually. You walk in and it is dark but just enough light and you pass a bar then a galley area which houses rice cookers. You continue to the back and there is a small eating area and then continues sideways to an outside area and there are about 6-10 tables of varying sizes, then a kitchen immediately on the side of that.

It was funny to me as I could not tell if the waiter was part owner etc, or if he was a regular worker. Maybe there just have good staff like that.

So down to the food: we first had some spicy nuts.  That was a good start and when I saw it on the regular menu I almost burst, not free.  Luckily someone reminded me that ours was complimentary.  Then my dad (it was dad’s day) had spicy boar and a salad of a sorts.  My sister and her husband had pork belly  and rice. My husband and I shared a coconut based something with vermicelli, shrimp balls and pineapple. Yummy. I alternated with some of the wild boar my dad offered the table.  Our table had hot wings as well to start.  Here are the official menu items.

Kaeng Hang Leh  18
Northern Thai sweet pork belly and pork shoulder curry with ginger, palm sugar, turmeric, tamarind, Burmese curry powder and pickled garlic. Rich and exotically spiced, a Chiang Mai classic with Burmese origins.

Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings (Available spicy) 16
Natural Draper Valley chicken wings marinated in fish sauce and sugar, deep fried, tossed in caramelized Phu Quoc fish sauce and garlic and served with Vietnamese table salad. Based on Pok Pok PDX cook Ike’s recipe from his home in Vietnam.

Muu Paa Kham Waan  18
Boar collar meat rubbed with garlic, coriander root and black pepper, glazed with soy and sugar, grilled over charcoal and served with chilled mustard greens and a spicy chili/lime/garlic sauce. Northern Thai drinking food.  

Khanom Jiin Sao Naam   20                                                                                                        Thin rice vermicelli with pineapple, ginger, white turmeric, green mango, dry shrimp, Thai chilies and garlic, topped with a sweet/sour dressing and turmeric coconut cream with house made fish balls. refined hot season favorite from Central Thailand.

Everything was good.  The boar meat was spicy and was definitely something to take in strides.

It was about 140 or something like that before tip.  5 adults and one pint size.

 

Would I go there again, of course.  Now that I have tried these few dishes, its time to try some others.  Also, they are supposed to have good drinks, so next time, train is in order.  I hope they have a cover for the back because when the weather is off point, they lose a decent amount of seating. I am sure they have an app or hack for that. 🙂

I would give it about a 7.  I

 

Welcome home Po!!

My day in the life–the play by play!

After staying in the city we  headed up to the country for a few days.  It drizzled and then fizzled.  2 hours later down pours like “what the gulay”(what we taught our toddler to say in stead of “what the hell.”)  We looked at it in amazement, the water hitting the thick of trees.  Oooooo aaahhh.  Then silence for a few seconds. Lights flicker off and then bam, no power.  That was 2 plus hours ago.

Yeah in the 95 degree weather.  No AC, no fan.  No water pressure.  Bucket and scoop.  Bottle of water to brush teeth and wash face.  Oh we are having a party tomorrow.   Challenge is on!  Up later if power comes on.  No power,  early to bed.
At lights off moment, all went ape nutty, no joke. My kid started running around screaming, cousins playing tag and soccer indoors, adults scrambled to find candles and flashlights and to shower before dark.
Here is the kicker -gas stove so we WILL be eating dinner.

Sleepy actually was the next logical thing.  So maybe –this is a catalyst for good sleep. The rain that is. (confirmed what I already knew)

Power returned.

Country Life!!

Philippine Life!

My life at the moment!

 

Singapore’s HDB Blowing my mind

Okay so I was watching this program with my husband while on vacation and the guy was on youtube reviewing products. (unbox therapy??) These are the latest greatest, over the top, top of the line, innovative etc, etc. products.  So he mentioned that he finds a lot of cool stuff but some things really blow his mind so he tries to reserve that phrase {blow my mind}for the select few that really do a number on him.  So that comes to me now, the HBD blows my mind.  In fact it really opens and transforms my mind and thinking.

HDB is the Singapore Housing Department Board housing website

Here are some things that stood out.

“HDB flats are home to over 80% of Singapore’s resident population, with about 90% of these resident households proudly owning their home.

Home Ownership Scheme

In 1964, the government introduced the Home Ownership for the People Scheme to give citizens a tangible asset in the country and a stake in nation-building. This push for home ownership also improved the country’s overall economic, social, and political stability.

 

Financial planning

Apart from ensuring that our flats are affordably priced to help Singaporeans become home owners, we encourage financial prudence and forward planning. Since January 2007, flat buyers who would like to obtain an HDB loan to buy a new flat must have a valid HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) letter before purchasing their flat. The HLE letter considers the flat buyer’s age, income, and other financial commitments to calculate the maximum amount loanable and expected monthly instalments to ensure he/ she is not financially overstretched.

Home Protection Scheme

The Home Protection Scheme (HPS) was implemented in 1981 and administered by the CPF Board. This scheme helps to ensure that dependants of our flat owners would not lose their homes because they are unable to finance their loan in the event of death or permanent incapacity of the sole breadwinner. “

__—————-

How can you not be impressed by that!  I mean, they were so methodical about it.  Even in the national museum, they speak about it as its own subject area.  I was just blown away and would like to return to Singapore and stay in another part of the city just to observe.

This is why we travel: to learn while we observe! (besides eating)

 

 

Bangers & Mash

So  I wanted to go to an Irish Pub in Stamford. Yeah I was craving some bangers and mash.bangers and mash So in the past there were some nay sayers about my particular choice of pubs, and in the present there were some absent friends (people who we thought would be available but happened to not be available) and there were always alternative cuisines calling. I was still determined to get my food and maybe catch a football or rugby game as well.

So on this day today why did I not get my bangers & mash!

1st location–no parking, so sad

2nd location—- pub closed (we called the number and the person who answered said that they had been closed for 2 weeks–wtf)

3rd location–end ups being–lets just find any place.

A go to–Do Fu–Korean

Dessert–Sixteen Handles

So to the future, I will just make sausage and potatoes.  Problem solved.

Bangers and Mash Recipe

Ginger and Lemon Grass

So our day started out with music class for my toddler and then we were supposed to go to the Japanese Festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.  Well we got through the music class, then my husband decided to do some detours.  After that and an hour plus time passage, we decided to head to Brooklyn.  Yeah, because we can, and well right before we crossed the bridge, we started to examine our plan.  There was already traffic, it was warm outside (oh late April weather), we were starting to get hungry, and also we knew that it would be at least an hours drive from that point.

What to do, what to do!!  So we racked our brains and decided that going to the festival at that late time would not be that great as all the cool stuff always happens early on as well as we would only get to enjoy a few hours.  Also, it was 30 dollars per person.  That would be 90 dollars just to enter and then if we wanted to buy food, who knows, and parking if we could not immediately find a spot.  It was looking like an expensive and trying day.

So because of the traffic, we had a few moments to think. We turned to Yelp and Trip Advisor.  So we found ourselves in Whitestone, NY.  It is in Queens, off the Bridge.

We came upon this restaurant. We were excited as there were people waiting outside, which is a good sign.

We sat close to the corner and just smelled all the wonderful odors. We wasted no time in ordering. The taste of the curry dish we ordered reminded me of the ones I had while travelling. The chicken curry included bamboo shoots as well as sweet potato–that was great on day 2. I had a stuffy nose so only randomly did I taste the food but the following day, post stuffy head, the food was better. We had one of the spicy short rib sandwiches, which was large and had a strong 5 spice taste. That we liked. We also had the seafood and chicken pancake as well as spring rolls.

I noticed the fake but cool herb garden on the wall. It actually inspired my husband. The restaurant also makes this refreshing drink that includes water, cucumber, ginger and possibly one other ingredient I forgot. (nice differentiating feature)

What everyone seemed to be eating was the broth with a large bone in it. Not my thing but I am sure it was great as that many people cannot be wrong.

The service was decent and the place was nice in terms of decoration. It is a small place, so not much wiggle room and large groups need not apply. Parking can be a challenge but that just means a longer pensive walk from your transportation. The bus does pass by it though. It is in a partly residential area so only if you drive by it accidentally, will you see it. Its not on a main street.

The small menu works well. When I am hungry I am easily frustrated if I have to turn through a book.

It would be a repeat visit but it is kind of far from our normal routes so maybe other people can make it a regular place if they live in the area.

 

Sparks Catering Services–Update June 2017

Hi,

Ever so often I post my offerings here.  Feel free to reach out to me here, at the email attached to my flyer or to my Facebook or linked in, depending where you are seeing this post.

 

Sparks Services Home

I am also offering lunch services.

Sparks Catering Services Lunch

 

Armed with my Instapot, wok and blender I can do most things. If I have not made in the past  I can certainly learn or give it the old college try!

 

Day out Filipino Style

1.  Wake at 530 am (lay in bed and listen to the animals outside)

2. Get out of bed at 6:30 am (pick your clothes and pack up your travelling gear for day-hat, water, sweater for ac in van, toddler gear)

3. Breakfast is being prepared at 6:30 am (the house helper is enticing you with the smell of bacon and rice from the kitchen)
4.  7 am family eats and then gets dressed

5. Leave at 8 am on organized transportation (bus that holds 11 total)

6. Road tripping till 10 am after stops for gas and water.

7. Destination 1- inside/outside church -1/2 hour (it is Sunday and the church throws open its doors and there are literally people congregated on the plaza watching the church ceremony (on big screens)

8. 10:30 am or so drive to destination 2

9. Arrive at destination 2 for 11: am and lunch located in a mall  (make use of the available bathrooms)

10. Lunch from 11:30 am to 1 and 1/2 hour b…sssiing in mall. (Mall life)

11. Quick stop to visit friend (chat and kids play in the park) and leave by 2.

12. Arrive to destination 3, a bday party at 2:45pm. We stay till almost 5 pm. (traditional Filipino bday party with all the bells and whistles-I had muscato wine.)

13.  5:00 pm on the road again.  All 11 of us tired, laden with gifts and bellies full.

14.  Reach home at 645pm.   Food is prepared already.  Too full.  Skip dinner.

Day is done, gone the sun, from the lakes from the hill from sky.  All is well, safely rest,  god is night.

 

That’s how it went down.

Time gets away!!

So much time. We left the house at 430pm, reached airport at 515.  We checked in then waited to waste some time till 830.  Lol and that we did: non fast food, bathroom  break, stroll, Halo Halo.  We are outside of check area. Hey its 745 as we wait for customs.  Oh yeah,  our flight is 820.   8pm we clear.  Oh we have to rush.  20 min to take off.  Too many people on fast walkway, we sidestep that,  too many things,  can’t run.   We near the gate and WTF gate change.  We take another fast walkway.  Oh its at least 820 by now.  We are nearing gate and a list of names is read and that sounded like ours.  Oh snackers,  are we the last to board. When is the plane supposed to leave.  We feel less like idiots when they continue to announce names.   We get on plane and all the eyes are on us.  Infamous almost.  Hmmm.   Sunday strollers!

Time.

My favorite time is eating time!!

Instant Pot Does it Again-Lamb

This time I thought I would try lamb.  As we know, lamb is not fast cooking and if not done right, well its just not done right.  So I embarked on finding lamb.  No stop & shop for this or little market.  I went to the source–Costco.  I found lamb pieces (w/bone, cut like oxtail) about 10 per pack.  I immediately searched for a recipe for lamb chops and then I remembered Lamb Tagine and it was on.  This is the recipe I found and as usual I edit a little to work with what I know and have.

4 lamb chops

1 tsp cinnamon,  1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp of ground ginger (I uses fresh)

1 tbsp olive oil, 1 small onion sliced (about 1 cup), 2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 cup dry wine (I had vodka so I used that), 3/4 cup chickpeas, 1/2 cup dried apricots (I used raisins and then on the second round a mix of raisins and dates)

I added two small shakes of turmeric

At the end I added some rice flour to some of the sauce and made a roux to add to the pot for some thickening.  The sauce had an oily slick so I diminished it with the roux

So the end product was good.  I made it twice and I am thoroughly enjoying eating my lamb tangine with some rice.

 

My process–I added all the seasonings and the vodka to the meat with about a tsp of olive oil and let it sit. The following day I sauteed the  meat in the pot and then cooked it for about 20 minutes. (oh I should warn that I did not follow the process that came with the recipe)

After the first pressure cook I added the chickpeas and the raisins and let it go for another 6-8 minutes.  Presto-dinner made.  My rice cooker was going at the same time.

Lamb and me happy together. I thank thee Costco.

 

 

 

 

taro turnoff

Taro Turnoff

In my quest to be better and to speak up I embarked on being someone else for a little while. So my family and I made a plan to walk on a known trail as a way to pass time with each other and to see all the interesting things you see when you are just wondering.

Being a frozen yogurt person, I stumbled upon a place close to the start of the trail. I had already planned to get yogurt earlier on but this was a calling. On the way in we saw an advertisement for bubble tea. We have tasted bubble tea in a few places but never in a yogurt and crepe shop. yogurt shop

So I tried taro, cookies and cream,  and European tart frozen yogurt. My husband opted for the taro bubble tea. Well we watched the girl make and an realized that it was a powder and she made it  with milk plus crushed ice. When we got outside and my husband was drinking it he made the comment that it was severely watered down and he could barely taste the taro. Well, my taro yogurt it was strong and familiar. So I kept telling my husband that if it is bad he should say something. He kept saying no it was okay but I could see him sulking with his lightly flavored ice milk. So I made up my mind to let them know and also to satisfy my husband with the taro yogurt.

I went in to the place got the replacement yogurt and then barked into my complaint. I asked them if it was supposed to be strong and the guy muttered something about it being kind of strong. I told him that my husband was disappointed and that I am getting the taro fro yo to replace the drink and to get a proper taro flavor. Well the girl looked at me with some weird disbelief and the guy apologized and he said the taro fro yo was on the house. I told him that I was in the food business and was a little bit of a critic. (unnecessary but it made me feel like king of the hill.) So I went outside and presented the taro fro yo to my husband.

So now we were out to just walk around the town, so much for the trail. We walked to the main area and saw bubble tea again and this time it was in a Chinese restaurant. So we indulged and we were satisfied. It was the almost real deal. 12 dollars plus my spending.

 

if you are going to do it, go full tilt (no half a… here)