Cookies galore

My sister baked lots of cookies today: chocolate chip cookies, black tea cookies, and chocolate cookies with chocolate chips and almonds. That’s a lot of baking in one day! They’re so delicious and make the perfect study snacks. I started studying accounting recently (on my own, with my mom helping me from time to time), because I wanted to keep my brain active even though I’m not in school anymore. It hasn’t been easy though because the content is dry, and I’ve sort of fallen into a state of laziness and relaxation… I’m going to keep trying though.

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Melange Cafe – Shinkong Mitsukoshi A11

This past Saturday I attended the ‘Family Day’ event hosted by Meimei’s company with mom and grandma. The event itself was aight. It was supposed to be a carnival, so there were stalls selling food (like dorayaki and stir-fried noodles), as well as bouncy castles. Some company employees also performed on stage, but because the place was so big, there was a lot of echoing going on, which hurt our ears.

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It was held at Nangang Exhibition Centre (the very last stop on the Bannan Line), and it was my first time there. The place was huge, and there was free food, but in terms of entertainment, there were none of interest, so while Meimei had to stay there since it counted as a work day for her, mom, grandma, and I went off to have afternoon tea instead. We decided on Melange Cafe in Shinkong Mitsukoshi’s A11 building (B1), which is located right by MRT City Hall station.

We didn’t make a reservation beforehand, and Melange Cafe was packed. However, the turnover rate was pretty fast and we only ended up waiting for ~20 minutes. Not bad for a Saturday afternoon that was prime time for afternoon tea.

Melange Cafe also has the ‘one drink per customer’ minimum order rule, so we had to oblige, which meant I didn’t end up ordering a waffle like I had originally wanted to.

Some interesting facts about Melange Cafe: The owner of Melange Cafe actually used to work for Coffee Alley (another well-known cafe in Taipei), and decided to leave and start a new cafe. The first Melange Cafe is located at MRT Zhongshan station, and that one is only a few metres away from a Coffee Alley cafe. Talk about competition!

None of our drinks came with added sugar, and sugar came in a separate jar, to be added as desired.

Mommy ordered a cafe ou lait (3.5/5):

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I’ve never seen coffee served this way before! It came in 2 pots: 1 pot contained coffee, the other contained milk. You can choose to pour it in the ratio that you like. How neat!

Milk:

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Coffee:

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The way that the pots are designed, you can even pour both at once!

Grandma’s osmanthus citrus tea:

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She said that it tasted light and floral, with a hint of citrus. She enjoyed her hot tea quite a lot.

My royal milk tea, original flavour (3.5/5):

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I added a bit of sugar to my tea because I like my milk tea on the slightly sweet side. It was good, but I would have enjoyed it that much more if the tea flavour was stronger. I felt like the tea wasn’t brewed long enough so the flavour wasn’t completely infused into the drink.

Club sandwich (3.5/5):

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Melange’s club sandwich with egg, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, and chicken. Tastewise, it was very normal, but made for good finger food as an afternoon tea snack. It was a fun afternoon catching up with Mommy and Grandma. It’s rare to take Grandma out because she doesn’t normally venture so far into Taipei, so I’m glad that I got to have afternoon tea with her that day. We’re planning on a lunch date for this upcoming Saturday at 三本味 (I had previously blogged about that place). Thank goodness I do exercise on a regular basis. Eating is what I do the most in Taiwan!

Pancakes @ Paddington Garden

Today I went out for afternoon tea with some local friends that I met through my internship program. We wanted to go for pancakes at Uzna Omom, but it was packed. In the end, we settled for Paddington Garden. The good thing about where I live is that it is close to many good dessert places and restaurants. Even though the price can get a bit steep, if you know where to look, you’ll find some great eats!

Paddington Garden has many locations; we went to the one that’s right behind MRT Zhongxiao Dunhua station. It was a short wait compared to all the other cafes that we tried going to after Uzna Omom… Coffee Alley, Dazzling Cafe.. They all had insanely long wait times. That’s what happens when you don’t make a reservation on a weekend afternoon in one of the most popular places to eat in Taipei. What can I say? Taiwanese people just love to eat.

Paddington Garden is well-known for their pancakes, even though they do offer other items on their menu such as sandwiches and tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet). For their pancakes, they offer both sweet and savoury options, so there’s something for all moods.

What’s our flavours today?

Mont Blanc pancakes (2/5):

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Berry pancakes (3/5):

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Strawberry and Cream Cheese pancakes (5/5):

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The strawberry one was hands-down the best choice out of all three flavours. The cream cheese topping had vanilla ice cream beneath, and together with the 3-layered pancakes and strawberry sauce created a sweet and salty fusion that worked together perfectly.

The Mont Blanc was disappointing. It was dry, and in my opinion, isn’t that appealing to the eye. The chestnut paste tasted mediocre at best, and I would not recommend this to anyone.

As for the berry pancakes, it was topped with sweet and creamy vanilla ice cream to balance out the sour berries. There wasn’t anything too special about this one, but it wasn’t horrible. Just quite simply as the name suggests: Berries + Pancakes.

CF said he wants to take Milktea and me to the Paddington Garden in Banqiao (in New Taipei City) next time. I can’t wait to try some other menu items! Apparently their savoury cheese pancakes are supposed to be amazing!

Another weekend has come to an end, and even though I’m sad to see it go, I’ll look forward to next weekend, and the next, and the one after that. That’s the beauty of work: it makes you appreciate weekends so much more!

Good night, world. :)

Rainy Saturday Creation

My sister and I baked scones this morning because it was raining too hard to go outside (typhoon is ruining all the fun). I think that scones and cupcakes are two things that are easy and almost fail-proof to bake. Even though today’s scones ended up looking more like biscuits, they still tasted really yummy! We made two kinds: raisin and cranberry.

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Now all I need to find is some Devonshire cream and jam, and I’ll be ready for afternoon tea… It’s already hard enough to find Devonshire cream in Canada. I think the only place that has them here is the supermarket in Taipei 101. Too bad it’s so hard to make your own Devonshire cream. I’ll just eat it plain with butter.

Did you know?

The “high tea” that we have in hotels and tea shops with the three-tiered stands is actually not how it was enjoyed back in the days. For the British upper class, “afternoon tea” is the kind we see today, and “high tea” is actually the dinner of the working class. The “high” does not refer to “high class”, but rather “high noon”, signifying that it was taken later in the day.

Perfume Dance

Last week I went to Perfume Dance for dinner with MilkTea, CF, and Vicky. I think Taiwan restaurants are all so exquisite and cute, and Perfume Dance was no exception. It’s located between MRT  Zhongxiao Fuxing and Zhongxiao Dunhua stations (closer to Zhongxiao Fuxing).

The interior was mint green (one of my favourite colours!), and there were chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. They also offered masks for girls who’d like to enjoy their afternoon teas in style. This place is famous for their unique honey toast boxes and “golden bricks” dessert (variation to toast boxes), so reservation is usually required on weekend afternoons.

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This was my scallop vegetable soup. It was a light soup that tasted fresh but not overly salty.

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Fruit tea that we ordered to share. We chose hot rather than cold, because I think hot fruit teas taste better. I love passionfruit so I was delighted to find passionfruit at the bottom.

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CF’s pumpkin and eggplant risotto. CF doesn’t like eggplants, so he gave them to Milktea and me. Perfume Dance’s risotto are apparently very popular, and I usually don’t enjoy risotto, but this dish was surprisingly good! The rice and pumpkin sauce blended together perfectly, but the portion size is not too filling…

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Milktea’s chicken pasta. I forgot what the sauce was, but it was tomato based and tasted slightly spicy. The chicken was tender, and the pasta cooked al dente.

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Vicky’s matcha and red bean Danish toast box. The Danish toast box is quite unique as most places only serve regular toast boxes. I got to try a bite of this, and I thought it tasted just okay. The bread was a bit on the dry side, and the filling was mediocre at best.

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This was the best dish of the night. It’s called “Golden Bricks” and it’s so named because instead of the conventional toast boxes where bread sticks are toasted then stuffed back into the box, “Golden Bricks” are bread that’s cut into cubes, toasted, and arranged into a pyramid. The flavour we picked was Tiramisu, with vanilla ice cream, and milk and chocolate sauce drizzled on top. It sounds so simple, but it’s honey toast at its best!

Overall, we had a great time at Perfume Dance. The service was good, but I thought the price was a bit steep for what we were paying for. Maybe because I am so used to the cheap eats in Pingtung, and I’m still adjusting to Taipei’s prices. Next honey toast destination: Dazzling Cafe!

Very Gross Discovery

(Warning: the pictures that you are about to see are not pleasant)

Never leave a milk-based drink for a long period of time without finishing it.. or else just throw it out.
A couple of nights ago I remembered that there was a bottle of strawberry flavored milk tea in the fridge that my sister brought home.. 3 weeks ago?? She never finished it because apparently she didn’t like it although I thought it tasted okay. I drank from it 3 days after she brought it home and I thought the texture was a bit like jelly; I didn’t think too much about it and put it back into the fridge. Then, like a lot of other things that we throw into the fridge, we forgot about it till weeks later.
This is what happened to the milk tea:

A sticky blob

The WORST PART is that I actually drank from that a few weeks ago without knowing that it had gone bad!!! I was so lucky to not get a stomachache after.. Michael told me that it was bacteria that had grown inside the milk tea. Ewww.. T_T I think I will stay away from milk tea for a while now..

Blob in sink. X_X