May 20, 2022

Dinner under the stars, doggie edition

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We've been meaning to arrange a doggie playdate for our CC Dogcow, but unfortunate it didn't happen last year... so we tried again when Winnie the Chew could join us and bring their little fur baby along. Once again we chose Mian (紅棉) as the location, as it's pretty nice to sit under that pink-and-white shower tree in the courtyard.

As one of us hasn't really tried the menu here, Sankala and I ordered some of the usual suspects to give the first-timer a taste.

Jade lettuce ∙ wasabi (日本鮮山葵玉玲瓏) - always nice to start with something refreshing with clean flavors, especially on an evening like this.

Apple wood smoked bean curd sheet rolls ∙ assorted vegetables (蘋果木煙薰素鵝) - I'd forgotten how much I liked the smoky flavors of the bean curd sheets. Very tasty.

Steamed yellow fourfinger threadfin ∙ Chinese wine ∙ spring onion (花雕雞油蒸馬友) -HUH?! Why did the steamed fish arrive at the table a mere few minutes after the two starters, when we hadn't even finish the first two plates? Well, I guess this is pretty common for Chinese restaurants... where the kitchen just sends out dishes in whatever random order the cooks feel like making. Who cares about what the diners want? I did bitch about this a little to our waiter, who relayed my displeasure back to the kitchen.

I do love this dish, and I do think it bears some resemblance to Shanghainese steamed Reeve's shad (鰣魚). The Zhongmeister can see why. I love how moist and tender this fatty fish is, but somehow I end up having to polish off half the fish again...

Beef brisket and tendon ∙ chili pepper broth (椒香清湯牛筋蝴蝶腩) - my advice to order the version with ox tongue in lieu of beef brisket was ignored as our friend wanted to try the "butterfly brisket (蝴蝶腩)". Tonight the execution was better than last time, but the strands of muscle fiber were still a little overcooked and on the dry side. The flavors of the broth, though, were as good as ever thanks to the chilis.

Baked Japan Kagoshima pork chop rice ∙ organic tomato (有機蕃茄焗日本黑豚豬扒飯) - another dish that one must order for first-timers. I do think this is tasty, as all the ingredients were of high quality, but of course personally Sankala prefers her pork chop rice to be more dry. I wish I had more room in my stomach. The breading wrapping the Japanese pork chop was nice and crunchy, and I liked the combination of two different types Italian cheese. I chose not to have a fried egg this time, though.

Sweet and sour pork ∙ dried pineapple (刁轉咕嚕肉) - we ordered this again after discovering how good it tasted on our last visit. Once again this was a winner, with that crunchy batter and flavorful acidic sauce.

Hawthorne cake (山楂糕), black sesame roll (芝麻卷) - I liked that they put the two of these together.

We took it easy in terms of wine, and only brought 2 bottles.

1999 Maximin Grünhauser Abtsberg Auslese-trocken - lots of petrol and white flowers on the nose. Not too sweet on the palate. It's clear that there is ripeness and the wine was rounded on the palate, but the acidity was still there.

2018 Blanc de Lynch-Bages - pretty ripe on the palate. Huge flinty nose with tons of toasty oak, along with vanilla and cotton candy bringing sweetness on the nose.

This was a pretty fun and relaxing evening out. Even though the doggies did not become besties immediately, they, too, had a good time tonight. I look forward to our next doggie date.

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