May 19, 2022

Spicy peanuts

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No dinner out means the Peanut Gang could not catch up at all in 2022. In fact, I haven't seen these guys together for about 11 months. After multiple rounds of delays - and the relaxing of social distancing measures - we finally sat down around the same table at Deng G (鄧記) tonight.

The service staff couldn't find our booking, but we managed to grab a table regardless. Knowing that one of us was going to be very late, the rest of the gang began ordering up small dishes in multiple rounds while waiting for big bro to arrive.

Mouth watering chicken (鄧記口水雞)

Sliced cucumber with garlic (蒜泥拍黃瓜) - I didn't think this belonged in Sichuan cuisine but... I'm pretty happy to have it any time.

Ox tongue and tripe medley (招牌夫妻肺片) - this is, of course, pretty classic Sichuan cuisine.A And I love offal.

Sliced pork with garlic and chili (名廚蒜泥白肉) - this was OK, but I would have preferred the thin slices of kidney in the same sauce... which they didn't have today.

Small tomatoes in plum sauce (話梅車厘茄) - the marinade was very, very sweet thanks to the salted plums, which also delivered a nice and almost floral scent.

Razor clams in fresh chili sauces (鮮椒馬刀貝) - crunchy razor clams.

Jelly fish marinated in vinegar (陳醋海蜇頭) - always love the crunch from the head of the jellyfish.

Sweet and sour pork (糖醋里脊肉) - meh. Not particularly interesting.

Twice cooked pork, Chengdu style (成都回鍋肉) - one of my favorite dishes from Sichuan cuisine. Love that they used lots of garlic greens.

Mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐) - taken with a couple of spoons of rice, because it makes no sense to have this on it own.

Sichuan salt and pepper stuffed duck (椒鹽八寶鴨) - I remember loving this dish on my only previous visit, so we ordered it up as it supposedly takes 90 minutes. It did arrive about 20-30 minutes early...

Underneath the crispy skin and a layer of meat, the duck has had its insides hollowed out and stuffed with a combination of glutinous rice, lotus seeds, and other goodies like diced sausages. So, sooo tasty... but so filling!

The great thing about the dish is that it comes with a side of marinated cabbage, where the combination of vinegar and sugar makes this feels refreshing and helps cut down the grease.

Braised sliced mandarin fish in red chili broth (水煮桂魚) - knowing that this is traditionally very spicy and packs a lot of heat, I only took in a slice of fish and one strand of flat sweet potato glass noodle. Didn't try to drink the soup. That was OK. The others felt the dish was really spicy, but... DUH.

Dry pot stir-fried cabbages (乾鍋手撕包菜) - I really enjoy the way they spice up cabbage in Sichuan, but I had forgotten that they also add a good amount of pork. Pretty good, still.

Ice jelly with fermented glutinous rice syrup (醪糟冰粉) - this is probably the only dessert I would enjoy. Love the muscovado.

I was pretty surprised at how little wine we ended up getting through, but we weren't gonna bring anything realy nice to go with the spicy food...

Frederic Savart L'Ouverture, dégorgée en mars 2021 - yeasty nose, with bigger mineral nose. Good depth on the palate.

2019 Occhipinti SP68 Rosso - simple and one dimensional at first, opened up more about an hour later, showing more woodsy notes.

2015 Maison Leroy Bourgogne Blanc - flinty, a little tropical stone fruit.

This was a pretty fun evening, and I'm glad we got a chance to catch up and chew the fat. It's also the first time in months that we've been able to stay out in a restaurant past 10 p.m. That made me feel... so adult.

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