October's Q&A sesh features Debra, a dear friend of mine from my university days. She's no stranger over here at Four Tines -- she's my fellow noodle nommer as we both can't get enough of ramen, soba, and noodles of all kinds. I've had the pleasure of living with Debra for the last three years at school, and much to my chagrin, she has witnessed pretty much every cooking disaster I've jammed myself in until I was able to finally find my bearings in what used to be the culinary wilderness for me. Debra has been the rational, supportive rock that has gotten me through the thick and thin. She is as dependable and loyal as any awesome individual can be, and I am very lucky to have her as my friend. Thanks again to Debra for participating in this Q&A!
Debra and me at the graduation from our alma mater, May 2009.
FAVORITE ALL-TIME RESTAURANT
I'm really bad at picking a single favorite thing...of anything! So I guess I'll have to say that recently I've loved Jin Ramen. Though, if you ask Stefie, I just love ramen – and broth.
MOST REGULARLY FREQUENTED SPOT(S)
Jade Asian in Flushing, Queens for dim sum with my family and various noodle shops in
New York City with Stefie.
DRINK OF CHOICE
Water. Being highly alcohol intolerant I can't have even a sip of any kind of alcohol without ill consequences. I avoid most sodas because they're usually just too sweet for me. But if I'm in a whimsical mood I'll drink a Shirley Temple.
SOMETHING YOU SECRETLY INDULGE
Some may consider it gross but... pickle juice. I love pickle brine and I'll regularly pour myself a small glass of it and hold onto the jar long after the pickles are gone just to drink it.
DISH YOU MOST ENJOY PREPARING
I'm more of a baker than a cook. I love baking cookies, although I rarely eat that many myself. Usually by the time I'm done baking I don't even want to look at them anymore. But I'll bring baked goods to family get-togethers and everyone seems to enjoy it. :]
THE HOMEMADE DISH YOU ALWAYS LONG FOR
My mom is... less than fond of cooking. But she does make one awesome thing: macaroni and cheese. I don't eat a lot of cheese/dairy, but I love it. It's gooey with a crispy breadcrumb top and has Spam in it. Yes, Spam. Should this count as a guilty indulgence instead...? Also, Stefie's aunt's stuffing. I remember when she used to bring me back some after Thanksgiving. :D
GASTRONOMIC GETAWAY/ADVENTURE OF CHOICE
If I could go anywhere in the world... probably
I've always had a thing for Japanese culture in general, and being able to eat
there would be phenomenal.
Bourdain makes me laugh constantly. I'm a little sad No Reservations is ending, as it's just so much fun to watch. (Though, he will have that new show on CNN.) I don't really idolize celebrity chefs in general... but I do like watching Morimoto on Iron Chef America (although I used to watch the original Iron Chef too, with the horrible dubbing.) His knife work on fish is just mesmerizing.
I also greatly look up to my grandfather on my father's side. He ran a Chinese restaurant in Far Rockaway years ago that was locally famous for their “rice cups” (roast pork braising sauce with white rice for $0.25). When I was a child and my grandparents lived nearby, we would see them at least once a week or so for dinner. He'd always make an extra cup of gravy from the beef and broccoli for both my brother and I to put over our rice. When we visit them in
he still does it. It's great.
MEAL YOU WISH YOU CAN REPEAT BUT SOMEHOW CANNOT
My step-grandmother passed away this past February, and we all miss her. She was an amazing cook and baker, possibly the best in the family. She would make these amazing pecan rolls in the morning and sourdough bread that I loved. Although my mom and I got some of her starter, it just doesn't taste the same.
Milk because I'm semi-lactose intolerant; eggs (unless they're in fried rice and I can't smell/taste them) smell and taste really bad to me, I don't know why; alcohol because something braised in wine can be a little headache inducing; Hoisin sauce; Jell-o/gelatin; and if I'm being honest this list could go on forever...
FAVORITE DESSERT OF ALL TIME
A few years ago I went on a cruise up the eastern coast of
One night, there was this amazing cappuccino pie for dessert. I felt guilty
even eating one, and I debated another yet held myself back. I wish I hadn't.
It was just ridiculously good.
And if I can add another... my step-grandmother had this simple recipe for what she called Oreo Delight. It's one package of crushed Oreos, one tub of cool whip, and one gallon of vanilla ice cream. Mix it all together, put in a Pyrex and freeze it. Then you cut it into squares and enjoy the cookies and cream deliciousness.
FAVORITE COOKBOOK/COFFEE TABLE BOOK
I don't really have one. I do like the recipes handed down to me from my mother's mother. They're for various baked goods, as she and my mother were really the ones to turn me onto baking. Her recipe for snickerdoodles is fantastic.
CULINARY WORDS THAT NEVER LOSE THEIR PANACHE
I don't know why, I just love chiffonade. And although it's not technically a “culinary” word – いらっしゃいませ(irrashaimase) is great to hear when you're entering a Japanese restaurant.
FOOD BLOG(S) YOU JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF
I only read one! ;]