July 2, 2022

Taichung hop 2022 day 1: the sweetest day

Pin It

We're taking the Parental Units on a short hop to Taichung for the weekend. I'm kinda surprised that mom hasn't been here since that concert back in 2008 - and they didn't even stay over - so this would be a nice change of scenery for her.

The train ride on Taiwan High Speed Rail was smooth and uneventful. After a 20-minute ride in a taxi, we arrived at The Place Taichung (台中大毅老爺行旅). It was much too early to check-in, so we left our bags with the hotel and went for a stroll. It would be nice to do a short walk on the grounds of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (國立台灣美術館) across the street.

I chose Caffè Firenze for lunch because, in addition to its proximity to the museum, it was the one place among many recommended to me by a friend that was least likely to cause issues with mom's palate. An added benefit, as it turns out, was that we were the only customers for lunch today - a definite plus when one is spending time with one of the top two cities currently with the biggest Covid case counts...

I ordered a selection of antipasti, primi piatti, and secondi piatti. Imagine my surprise when one of the primi piatti showed up first, before any antipasti. I questioned our waitress, and the answer I got was that since the veggies were still being grilled, the pasta naturally arrived first. HUH?!

Handmade king prawns and Burrata ravioli - the only handmade pasta on the menu. Yes, the dough was kinda al dente, and the presentation was kinda pretty, but both mom and Sankala complained that the prawns in the filling weren't fresh. Maybe due to poor business, the prawns had been frozen for too long.

Casarecce with house made tomatoes sauce and Italian pork sausages - this was OK.

Tripe Florentine with grilled, baguette and beef butter - I'm always happy to have trippa florentina, although this version gave us too much soupy sauce.

I think these looked more like focaccia... and not baguette.

Grilled seasonal vegetables - this finally arrived a few minutes after the other dishes. Pretty decent.

Wet octopus with grilled baguette, sweet potato puree, tomato confit - an extra dish that I regret ordering, as the slices were too thick and resulted in this being hard to chew. Didn't quite understand why this was paired with sweet potato purée, but it didn't bother me none.

Sankala wanted a glass of wine so I joined her. Took a glass of this 2020 Trebbiano d'Abruzzo that had obviously been opened for a few days. Very flat and boring.

It began raining not long after we started dinner, so we took it easy and just hung out at the cafe. It was a Saturday afternoon, we sat in a glass enclosure with views of the greenery outside and a glass roof watching the raindrops come down. We didn't have any urgent plans, and the thunderstorm was sure to be over in an hour or so.

When the rain did stop, we walked a couple of blocks to visit an old colleague of mine. After acquiring licenses in diverse disciplines over the last 10 years, the Renaissance Man had opened up shop in his hometown selling low-calorie desserts made without added sugar, and I definitely needed to come visit. So that's how I walked through the cute little garden in front of Jour Doux (日子正甜), pushed opened the door, and greeted my old friend. But I didn't expect that his wife - who is now a professional photographer after leaving her job in finance - would also be in the shop.

We decided to taste through a few flavors of ice cream and frozen yogurt, as well as 2 other items:

Lychee, coconut and rose (夏日回憶) - I guess it's a variation on Pierre Hermé's Ispahan, and indeed there were some similarities in the flavors. The coconut was also there but thankfully did not overpower the other two ingredients. The organic roses come from Grand Blossom Grange (大花農場) in Pingtung County (屏東縣). Mom was pretty happy with this.

Roselle flower and custard apple (洛神釋迦) - I love custard apples so there was never any question whether I would want to try it. This was a little savory thanks to the roselle flowers, which were more prominent than the fruit, and I could still taste the fruit but without the usual sugar high. Very happy with this.

French chestnuts (法國栗子) - made with Sabaton chestnut paste. One of the few chestnut desserts I've had where the flavors were there but the sweetness was on the mild side - perfect for people looking for a low-sugar version.

Classic cheesecake (經典生乳酪蛋糕) - advertised as keto and without added sugar, this ain't your standard New York cheesecake. Texture was very fluffy and light, with the distinct fragrance of lemon. The crust dispensed with the use of flour, and was instead made with crushed almonds... and the toasty flavors definitely showed.

Tiramisu (提拉米蘇) - turned into a panna cotta to lower the calories to just 104 kcal per serving, this is both sugar- and gluten-free. Made with Amaretto di Saronno and Illy Illyquore, I definitely tasted the added flavors of almonds from the liqueur.

I was happy to have caught up with my friend and his wife today. It was obvious to see - and I did expect - his passion and attention to detail come through. Opening up shop just a few months before the arrival of the pandemic had been pretty tough, but thankfully people are able to enjoy his goodies with delivery service. He had very personal reasons for pursuing this project, and I do think there is demand for this type of desserts for people who can't take the sugar or simply just want a lower calorie intake for a healthier lifestyle. Mom was also happy since she didn't suffer any consequences from eating the ice cream here, due to the lack of many chemical additives. I'm hoping that his business will continue to grow so that more people can benefit.

We strolled back to the National Museum of Fine Arts to take a quick look at one of the current exhibitions, then bought a bunch of goodies that I'd been looking for at the museum gift shop. After checking in and collecting our bags from the hotel, it was time to freshen up and wait for the main event of our trip...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map