Category Archives: western.

western: nonzero (非零)

date may 06, 2012

contact No.5, Alley 4, Ln. 27, Sec. 4, Ren Ai Rd., Daan District, Taipei City/台北市大安區仁愛路四段27巷4弄5號/02.2772.1630

hours 7 days a week :: [lunch] 11:30-14:30 :: [afternoon tea] 14:30-16:30 :: [dinner] 18:00-21:30

price [dinner] 900NT-1500NT + 10% service charge

rating ♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT (捷運忠孝復興站)

website http://www.nonzero.com.tw (Chinese and English)

Sorry for the delay in posts. My dad unexpectedly and suddenly passed away on January 26, 2012… I immediately took the first flight back to the States. As a result, I was back in California for the last three months with my mom.

Upon returning to Taiwan a good friend of my mine was getting ready to move back to California. As one of her last meals we ended up at Nonzero (非零), located a short walk from exit 3 of Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station (捷運忠孝復興站) at the Renai-Fuxing S. Rd. intersection (仁愛復興南路口).

The inside of Nonzero is very homey and spacious. The wood tables have mismatched wooden chairs that adds some charm to the place. The decor is also very thrift store-eclectic, which really appeals to my aesthetic.

The menu at Nonzero has three set meals priced at 900NT, 1200NT, and 1500NT; they also have items al la carte. I chose to get the 900NT set meal, which included bread, soup, salad, main course, dessert, and coffee/tea. Ashley chose the 1200NT set meal, which came with the same items plus an appetizer.

First thing out was the bread. There were two types, one of which was a rosemary bread that was the table favorite. Bread was warm and fresh. A good start.

Next came the soups, which were served in these pretty pots. My soup was the Radish with Potato Nutmeg Soup (白玉蘿蔔香料洋芋濃湯) (top right). I thought it was nice and light. There was nice little dollop of creme fraiche on top that added a nice creaminess to it. Ashley’s set came with Chicken Thigh with Chayote and Mushroom Soup (土雞肉佛手瓜蕈菇蔬菜湯) (top left). The broth was pretty good, nice and light. The kind of soup that would be great for a cold winter day.

Following the soups we were presented with a complementary appetizer. The waitress described it as chicken with chicken liver accompanied with pickles and tomatoes. I’m not a huge fan of chicken liver, but this wasn’t bad. Best bite was all three ingredients together.

Salads were next. My salad was a simple Green Salad with Vinaigrette (季節生菜新鮮香草沙拉) (top right). The salad was okay, nothing special. One of our friends thought it was overdressed and a little too acidic. Ashley’s salad was the High Altitude Cabbage Salad with Caraway Seeds (茴香籽高麗菜生菜沙拉) (top right). I only had a little bite and thought it was okay; Ashley enjoyed it.

Ashley’s meal came with Pan Fried Fresh Prawns (煎烤東北角鮮蝦 佐 烤味噌筊白筍). These were very good, nice and tender, kind of melt in your mouth.

The 900NT set comes with two main course choices: pan fried market fresh fish and risotto with wild scallops, tomatoes, and asparagus. I went with the Risotto with wild scallops, tomatoes, and asparagus (加拿大野生干貝蕃茄蘆筍燉飯). I liked the flavor of this, but I personally found the rice to be a little underdone. After watching many seasons of Top Chef, I’ve learned that some chefs (i.e. Sarah from season 9) cook their rice a little more under than others. Two out of three of my scallops were cooked well (not perfect, though) and one was a little over. I’d say this was okay, not great, not bad. I’ve definitely had much better risotto in Taipei.

Both the 900NT set and 1200NT set have Pan Fried Market Fresh Fish (市場現流鮮魚) as an option for the main course. Ashley decided to go with it. The waitress asked what kind of fish she liked, so they must have several options. What she ended up with was a white fish, although I’m not sure what kind. She thought it was pretty good.

By far the standout of the night was the dessert. Each set comes with a dessert, chef’s choice. They had three desserts that night, which was perfect since there was three of us, so they gave us one of each. The desserts for the night were a fruit tartcheese cake, and chocolate hazelnut tart. The presentation of the desserts was really nice, very pretty. The fruit tart was pretty good. There was a lemony cake layer that was pretty tasty. The chocolate hazelnut tart was rich and creamy; I liked it a lot. However, the best thing of the night was the cheesecake.

If there are any Friends fans out there, I imagine the cheesecake from Mama’s Little Bakery, Chicago, Illinois to taste like this cheesecake. Light, creamy, and amazingly delicious. Seriously, one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever had, and I’m not just talking in Taiwan. This cheesecake isn’t a traditional cheesecake, it’s much lighter in texture, but it’s creamy, cheesy, and pure awesomeness.

The meal ended with your choice of coffee or tea. I went with a latte (拿鐵). It was pretty standard, but I did like the pretty heart in my foam.

Overall, I’m a little middle of the line with this place. I thought the food was decent, but nothing particularly stood out, except for the cheese cake that is. I don’t know that I would ever crave anything (other than the cheese cake) from Nonzero again. I think the service was good, and the price for the overall meal was okay, but the food itself wasn’t special, not bad, just not memorable.

vegetarian: 舒果 (shū guǒ)

date january 07, 2011

contact No. 65, Sec. 2, Nanjing E. Rd., Zhongshan District, Taipei City/台北市中山區南京東路二段65號/02.2541.2511

hours 7 days a week [lunch] 11:30-14:30 (last reservation at 14:00) :: [dinner] 17:30-22:00 (last reservation at 21:00)

price 398NT (+10% service charge)

rating ♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Songjiang Nanjing MRT (捷運松江南京站)

website http://www.sufood.com.tw/ (Chinese Only)

Sorry being completely MIA for over a month. Complete fail on my part. I should make it a New Year’s resolution to update at least once a week. Let’s see if I can do that.

This was actually my second time to Shu Guo; I took my mom who is vegetarian in December, but forgot my camera. Anyways, my friend Andrew is in Taipei from Berkeley and since he’s a vegetarian (newly a pescatarian) I figured perfect time to go back WITH my camera.

Shu Guo has three locations in Taipei and other various location around Taiwan. We went to the location on Nanjing E. Road (南京東路) near Songjiang Nanjing MRT station Exit 8 (捷運松江南京站). I’ve also been to the location on Roosevelt Road (羅斯福路) near Guting MRT station Exit 3 (捷運古亭站); located on the third floor above the steak house Tasty.

MAKE RESERVATIONS! We originally wanted to eat at the Roosevelt Road location, but when I called in Friday afternoon for a reservation, they were booked for Saturday.

Shu Guo’s Nanjing E. Road location is three stories: the first story is the greeting area, the second story is a dining room, and I’m not sure about the third floor, but I saw people going up and down the stairs.

The inside of Shu Guo is really clean. The tables are a little close together to maximize the number of people that can dine, but it’s not like you’re eating with your neighbor, you’re just kind of close to them.

The menu at Shu Guo is in Chinese only, but luckily there is a picture for every item.

First course to come out is the appetizer course, which is made up of (from left to right) konjac with tomato (蒟蒻蕃茄), water lotus with pepper sauce (彩椒水蓮), and mountain yam with blueberry sauce (藍莓山藥). The first time I was told to eat from left to right, lightest to heaviest in flavor. The konjac has a pickled plum flavor that I’m generally not a huge fan of, but it’s not bad. I really like raw mountain yam for its crunchiness and sliminess; also, I think the blueberry sauce works well with the mountain yam.

The rosemary bread sticks (迷迭香火柴麵包) came out at the same time the appetizer did. They were warm and accompanied with a small shot glass of a ranch dressing-like dipping sauce. The bread was good, but nothing particularly outstanding.

The next course after the appetizer is the salad, which has two choices: seasonal vegetable sticks salad (時蔬棒沙拉) or yogurt fruit salad (優格水果沙拉). I opted for the seasonal vegetable sticks salad. All the veggies were fresh, cold, and crunchy. The sauce in the middle is a thousand island dressing. Best part of this dish is the little lettuce wrap in the shot glass. The dressing in the shot glass is some kind of sesame dressing. It’s delicious. I’d suggest eating the lettuce thing and then using the remaining dressing to dip the other veggies into.

Andrew opted for the yogurt fruit salad. He said it was good.

After the salad comes the soup. There are four choices of soup: Italian style stew (義式燉蔬煲), Milan pumpkin soup (米蘭南瓜濃湯), green bean mushroom soup (青漾蕈菇濃湯), and burdock cashew broth (牛蒡腰果清湯). I opted for the Millan pumpkin soup. The soup is delicious, very lightly seasoned so what stands out is the pumpkin flavor. Tasty! Andrew opted for the burdock cashew broth. It was really good and really flavorful. Inside the broth was burdock, cashews, lotus root, etc.

Right before our main course came we were served with the “non-staple item” which is five-grain rice (果香五穀炊飯). I thought this was pretty good. There are also mushrooms in the rice so it has a nice mushroom flavor.

There are a lot of choices for the main course. The first time I went to Shu Guo I got the calzone (卡洛佐尼枕頭披薩), which was delicious and big enough to share. This time around I opted for the king oyster mushrooms with twice baked potato (花香杏鮑菇[佐洋芋盅]). The king oyster mushrooms are served on top of an italian sauce with some sweet potato mash. The mushrooms were really good: tender and juicy. The twice baked potato was kind of dry and not hot…although, still good. The potato is filled with a mushroom and tomato mix. I would get this again.

Andrew went with the baked vegetable cheese macaroni (烤鮮蔬芝士通心粉). This was pretty good. I liked the cream sauce and baked cheese is always good.

Lastly is dessert and a drink. I chose the angel cheese mousse (天使起司慕斯) and chamomile pomelo tea (洋甘菊香柚花茶). I love cheesecake and this cheese mousse is like a really light fluffy cheesecake. It’s pretty delicious. There is a thin layer of chocolate cake at the bottom and some berry flavored mousse in the center of the cake. I’ve gotten this both times I’ve been and will likely get it next time I go. The chamomile pomelo tea is nice and light in flavor, so if you’re looking for something hot and not sweet, this is a good choice.

Andrew went with the sesame walnut milk pudding (芝麻核桃奶酪) and ashitaba aloe vera drink (明日葉蘆薈露). If you’re looking for a dessert that isn’t very sweet I think the sesame walnut milk pudding is a good choice. The milk pudding is really smooth and pretty tasty. The ashitaba aloe drink was interesting. I only had a sip, but it seemed pretty good.

Last time I was here, my mom got the lemon apple pie (香檸蘋果派), which is served warm. It was pretty delicious. I’d definitely get it again.

Overall everything here is pretty great. It’s clean, the service is good, the food is good, and it’s totally affordable. There are a lot of other main dishes that I want to try so I’m sure I’ll be back. If you have a vegetarian friend or family member, or just want some veggies I’d definitely recommend Shu Guo.

western/american: forkers

date september 14, 2011

contact No.8, Alley 10, Ln. 223. Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Daan District, Taipei City/台北市大安區忠孝東路四段223巷10弄8號/02.2771.9285

hours 7 days a week 12:00-23:00

price 300NT-600NT

rating ♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT or Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT(捷運忠孝復興站或捷運忠孝敦化站)

website http://www.forkers.com.tw/ (Chinese and English)

I’ve heard about Forkers and passed by it several times, but just never found a time to go. Since we were in the area we ended up at Forkers to get out of the rain.

Forkers has two stores: the Zhongxiao store (where we went) and the Zhongshan store (No. 15, Ln. 16, Sec. 2, Zhongshan N. Rd., Zhongshan District, Taipei City/台北市中山區中山北路二段16巷15號). The Zhongxiao store is located between Zhongxiao Fuxing (忠孝復興) and Zhongxiao Dunhua (忠孝敦化) MRT stations.

The inside of Forkers is nice and seats a decent amount of people. It has a nice laidback atmosphere. We ended up there on a Friday night and didn’t need reservations.

They have menus both in English and Chinese. They originally gave us all Chinese menus, but Michael was being lazy and requested an English menu, which we all ended up looking at anyways.

All of their burgers come with two sides and a drink. They have a list of sides you can choose from on the menu that range from a garden salad  to cajun fries to macaroni salad. Between the four of us we ordered:
– The Hack Burger (海客漢堡) 290NT
– The Monster Burger (漢堡怪獸) 270NT
– The Mexican Burger (墨西哥漢堡) 270NT
– Creamy Bacon Burger (酸奶培根漢堡) 280NT
– Dijon Dill Potato Salad (蘿勒馬鈴薯沙拉)
– Hawaiian Pasta Salad (夏威夷沙拉麵)
– Salad of the Day (每日特製沙拉)
– Cajun Fries (紐奧良薯條)
– Hand cut Fries (手工薯條)
– Garlic Fries (蒜味薯條)
– Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake (草莓巧克力起司蛋糕) 140NT

First things to come out were the “salads”.

Michael got the Dijon Dill Potato Salad (蘿勒馬鈴薯沙拉). No one really got any hint of dijon at all, but we did all get a lot of dill. Like, a lot of dill. I personally liked that there wasn’t much mayonnaise in it since I don’t like mayo, but other than that, this was mostly just mashed potatoes with dill.I decided to attempt the Salad of the Day (每日特製沙拉) which ended up being some sort of beet and green bean salad. I don’t generally like beets, but this salad wasn’t bad. It tasted like it had been tossed in some sort of creamy dressing, but I couldn’t really pin point what kind.

So the dijon was missing from the dijon dill potato salad, but it was not missing from the Hawaiian Pasta Salad (夏威夷沙拉麵). Nothing really made this “Hawaiian” except for the random pineapple thrown on top. This wasn’t great.

Michael ordered The Hack Burger  (海客漢堡) for 290NT and got Cajun Fries. The Hack Burger is described as “Crazy like the man. This burger is topped with cheese, chicken finger slices, bacon and smothered with honey mustard sauce.” This burger looked intense. I didn’t try any, but Mike said he liked it. I liked the cajun fries the best of all the fries. Salty and seasoned, but that’s kind of how I like my fries.

Kelvin opted for The Mexican Burger (墨西哥漢堡) for 270NT with regular fries. The Mexican Burger is described as “Fajita spices, sauteed onions & peppers, guacamole, cheese, jalapenos, salsa and FORKERS burger sauce.” Kelvin said he liked it, but that it was spicier than he expected, which I’m guessing was from the jalapenos.

Will went with the Creamy Bacon Burger (酸奶培根漢堡) 280NT. This burger was described as “A flavour explosion with cheddar cheese, bacon, crisp onion strips, sour cream, lettuce, onion, tomato and Forkers burger sauce.” The description sounded pretty good and Will said that he thought it was pretty good.

I got The Monster Burger (漢堡怪獸) for 270NT with garlic fries. The Monster Burger was described as “Spicy Red Hot sauce, blue cheese, fried onions, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and creamy ranch dressing.” What ultimately made me get this burger was that it was supposed to be spicy, had blue cheese, and fried onions. I thought this burger was okay. I actually don’t remember there being ranch dressing on this…which is sad because I love ranch dressing. This burger was in no way spicy at all, which was disappointing. Also, I could have used more onions. I did like that they use wheat buns, but overall I found the meat patty itself to be rather average. It wasn’t as juice as a good burger should be. The garlic fries were not really garlicy. I was hoping they’d be more like garlic fries you’d get at Gordon Biersch with minced garlic. Instead I think they just powder on some garlic salt/powder.

Will and I decided we needed to order dessert, so we decided on the Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake (草莓巧克力起司蛋糕) for 140NT. I’m kind of always on the search for good cheesecake, unfortunately this did not fall into that category. I found the cheesecake to be dense and dry. Also, if you describe something as strawberry cheesecake I want more than tiny specks of strawberry in the cake itself. They put two sauces on the plate. STAY AWAY FROM THE GREEN SAUCE! When we got it we were like, what is this. Mint. It’s mint sauce. Personally, I don’t think sweet minty sauce goes with strawberry chocolate cheesecake at all, and my friends agreed. I think the other sauce was a raspberry sauce, which I like, but the raspberry completely overpowers the already light strawberry flavor of the cheesecake.

Overall, I thought Forkers was okay. I love a great burger, and I don’t know that I’d classify Forkers as great, but it’s not bad either. Just average I guess. It would not be my first choice for a burger in Taipei, but at the same time I wouldn’t be opposed to coming back to Forkers.

western/dessert: melange cafe (米朗琪咖啡館)

date august 31, 2011

contact No. 23, Ln. 16, Sec. 2, Zhongshan N. Rd., Zhongshan District, Taipei City/台北市中山區中山北路二段16巷23號/02.2567.3787

hours Store 1: Weekdays 07:30-22:00 / Weekends 09:30-22:00 :: Store 2: Everyday 09:30-22:00 :: Last call 40 minutes before closing.

price <300NT (10% service charge)

rating ♥♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Zhongshan MRT (捷運中山站)

website http://www.melangecafe.com.tw/ (Chinese Only)

For a mini reunion dinner with out of town friends we decided to try Melange Cafe outside of Zhongshan MRT Exit 2 (捷運中山站2號出口). I had never heard of Melange before my friend suggested it, but as soon as he said waffles I was sold.

We didn’t get to Melange until about 8pm. Apparently this place is really popular and usually has a really long wait. On Wednesday night at 8pm there was no wait for a party of 4. Melange has two stores basically next door to each other. They originally asked us if would mind sitting at an 8 person table and sharing with another group. We didn’t care, but luckily when we walked into store 2 a party of 4 had just left.

The menu at Melange is in Chinese, English, and Japanese. There are pictures of some of the items, but not all. It looked like all of their entrees are under 200NT, but they have a 100NT minimum drink order per person. We decided we’d share a bunch of stuff so we ended up with:

– Smoked Chicken Sandwich (燻雞肉三明治) for 130NT (?)
– Egg Salad Sandwich (蛋沙拉三明治) for 120NT
– Smoked Chicken & Ham Pizza (香燻雞肉火腿比薩) for 130NT
– Strawberry Cream Waffle (草莓奶油鬆餅) for 150NT
– Caramel with Ice Cream Waffle (焦糖香草冰淇淋鬆餅) for 130NT
– Cold Green Tea au lait (冰宇治抹茶歐蕾) for 120NT
– Chocolate Calda alla panna (歐式熱巧克力) for 170NT
– Mango Soda Float (芒果蘇打) for..I don’t remember.

The guys both got the Mango Soda Float (芒果蘇打). They seemed to have differing opinions about whether or not they liked it. Wes said he thought the ice cream was good, but the soda was blah. Eddie thought it was okay. Both agreed that it was unnecessary to have ice in an ice cream float.

Debory got the Chocolate Calda alla panna (歐式熱巧克力) for 170NT, aka hot chocolate. This hot chocolate was really rich and thick. It tasted like dark chocolate because it was pretty bitter, but I actually liked it better that way. Really an entire cup of this might have been kind of intense, but a few sips was nice.

I ordered the Green Tea au lait (宇治抹茶歐蕾) for 120NT. I thought this was not bad. You can get it hot or cold. Might have better hot. I found the green tea flavor to be kind of light. I would have preferred it to be a bit stronger.

Eddie decided to get the Egg Salad Sandwich (蛋沙拉三明治) for 120NT. It looked like there was a piece of ham, tomato, cucumber, egg salad, lettuce, and mayonnaise inside the sandwich. I did not have any, but the other members of my party all decided that it was pretty bland.

Wes ordered the Smoked Chicken Sandwich (燻雞肉三明治). I thought it was funny that the sandwich came with four Pringles stacked in the center of the plate. The sandwich itself had smoked chicken, scrambled egg, ham, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, and mayonnaise. Everyone agreed that this was the better sandwich. The chicken was pretty tasty; it was tender and had a slight sweet flavor, almost like a teriyaki.

Debory and I decided to share the Smoked Chicken & Ham Pizza (香燻雞肉火腿比薩) for 130NT. Although they call this a pizza, this is obviously not a pizza. However, there is a picture on the menu so we knew what we were getting. This is basically a thick piece of toast with tomato sauce, cheese, smoked chicken, ham and tomato on it; it also came with a side of egg salad. The “pizza” was pretty good, for what it was. It tasted like a pizza, but on toast, which is what it was. The egg salad was pretty much just mashed hard boiled eggs; it didn’t really seem like they added anything to it, which is probably why the Egg Salad Sandwich was so bland. I think I would get this again.

The main reason that people come to Melange is for the waffles. I had read reviews online prior to coming and every single review talked about the Strawberry Cream Waffles (草莓奶油鬆餅) for 150NT. Reviews said that the waffles were tasty; thick, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. I agree. I thought the waffles were pretty good, but at the same time, because they were so thick, they were pretty dry if you ate it alone. The strawberries and cream were pretty tasty. The strawberry sauce was little sweet, but the cream was pretty light, so together they balanced each other out. Best bite is a little of everything: strawberry, sauce, cream, and waffle. This is definitely something to be shared. The four of us shared two waffles and still ended up taking some of it home.

The second waffle we got was the Caramel with Ice Cream Waffle (焦糖香草冰淇淋鬆餅) for 130NT. I think I might like this one more than the strawberry one. The Caramel with Ice Cream Waffle came with drizzled caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream, walnuts, almonds, and some kind of sweet powder. Something in this tasted like coffee, but I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. The only downfall of this waffle is that again, like the Strawberry Cream Waffle, if you don’t get a little of everything it’s pretty dry. The best part of the waffle was under the scoop of ice cream because it had soaked up the ice cream.

Overall I liked this place. The menu says that there is a two hour limit, but since there was not wait, they let us stay for as long as we wanted. Compared to other waffle places in Taipei, or so I’ve heard, you definitely get more for you money at Melange. I liked the waffles even though they were kind of dry alone, but the entrees were only okay. I would come back for the waffles, maybe not the entrees though.

western/pizza: wa pizza (義磚義瓦)

date june 08, 2011

contact No. 126-1, Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Taipei City/台北市忠孝東路四段126號之1/02.8772.8774

hours Monday-Friday 11:30-14:30, 17:00-21:30/Saturday and Sunday 11:30-15:00, 16:30-21:30

price 100NT-250NT per pizza

rating ♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT or Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT (捷運忠孝復興站或捷運忠孝敦化站)

website http://www.wapizza.com.tw/

First, thanks to my friend Angela, for taking pictures for me since I left my camera at home.

For Angela and Alice’s last night in Taipei, we ended up at Wa Pizza between Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT and Zhongxiao Dunhua. The majority of us had a hard time finding the restaurant as it’s located on the backside of a large building and is very small.

The inside of the restaurant is teeny tiny.  We were all surprised to see how small it was considering they took a reservation for nine (they do accept reservations, although they don’t hold tables for you…). Either way, they were very accommodating and let use move around all the tables so we could sit together.

The menu at Wa Pizza is in Chinese. It is written on the wall, but they also have menus with details of what is on the pizza. All their pizzas, except for one, come in 7″ and 9″; the difference in price is only 20NT-30NT. We decided to eight 9″ pizzas between the nine of us.

First pizza we got was the 9″ Wa pizza (瓦比薩) for 130NT. The Wa pizza is simply a cheese pizza, but a good cheese pizza. It came out nice and hot, and the waitress helped us by cutting all our pizzas into eight slices instead of six so that it would be easier for us to share. There was a nice thin crust that wasn’t too crispy, good amount of cheese and just enough tomato sauce.

The 9″ Countryside Fresh Vegetable pizza (田園鮮蔬) for 170NT had tomato sauce, mozzarella, black olives, red bell peppers, asparagus, pineapple, and mushrooms. Like the name of the pizza says this pizza had a bunch of fresh vegetables and pineapple. This was one of their recommended pizzas and it was pretty good.

The 9″ Smoked Cheese with German Sausage pizza (煙燻起司香腸) for 210NT was another one of the recommended pizzas. On it is smoked cheese, mozzarella,  mushrooms, german sausage, and black pepper. I don’t really remember getting a particularly smokey cheese flavor, but this pizza was good either way.

The 9″ Spinach with Crab Meat pizza (菠菜蟹肉) for 220NT was my favorite pizza. Topped with spinach, garlic, crab, and chili powder, this pizza was delicious! The garlic was pretty strong, but I happen to love garlic (so much so that I went to the Gilroy Garlic Festival in 2008). There is a chili pepper next to this pizza on the menu, but I don’t remember it being spicy at all. Also note that the menu says that this is a seasonal pizza. This is also another one of their recommended pizzas and I would highly recommend this pizza as well.

The 9″ Kimchi Bacon pizza (泡菜培根) for 180NT was pretty good. Again, this was a recommended pizza (we ordered most of their savory recommended pizzas). I happen to love Korean food and really love kimchi. This pizza was topped with kimchi, bacon, green bell peppers, and chili powder, and also had a chili pepper next to it on the menu. Again, I don’t think this pizza was really spicy at all, but it was good.

The 9″ Mexican Chili Pepper with Smoked Chicken pizza (墨西哥辣椒燻雞) for 200NT is topped with mozzarella, jalepenos, red bell peppers, onions, smoked chicken and B.B.Q sauce! I love B.B.Q chicken pizza in the states, so I was excited for B.B.Q chicken pizza. I really liked this, probably because I love jalepenos, onions and B.B.Q sauce. The B.B.Q sauce wasn’t that strong, which was a little disappointing, but the jalepenos were great. This pizza has two chili peppers next to it on the menu and actually had a kick to it. Definitely one of my favorites.

The 9″ Salami Carnival pizza (臘腸嘉年華比薩) for 200NT was topped with salami, jalepenos, mozzarella, mushrooms, black olives, and black pepper. This also had two chili peppers next to it on the menu and had a decent kick to it, although was that spicy for something that has two chili peppers next to its name.

I’m not sure what the name of this pizza is. As the eight of us were finishing, the ninth member of our party joined in and ordered this last pizza with black olives and bacon.

Overall, all the pizzas were pretty good. They were all baked just right and had a good balance of ingredients. To recap, my favorites were the Spinach with Crab Meat pizza (菠菜蟹肉) and Mexican Chili Pepper with Smoked Chicken pizza (墨西哥辣椒燻雞). Everything seemed fresh and the service was good and fast. They have a pretty nice deal where you can get two pizzas, a salad, and two drinks for 399NT. I would go back to take advantage of that.

Wa Pizza has two other locations to visit: one on Yong Kang St. (永康街) and one one Dun Hua Rd. (敦化南路).

Wa Pizza (Yong Kang Store): No. 8, Alley 12, Yong Kang St., Taipei City/台北市永康街12巷8號/02.3322.5520

Wa Pizza (Dun Nan Store): No. 59, Alley 233, Sec. 1, Dun Hua S. Rd., Taipei City/台北市敦化南路一段233巷59號/02-2731-7499

american/western: rock sauce bistro and bar (味子餐廳)

 date may 29, 2011

contact Space 45, No. 1, Sec. 1, Chengde Rd., Datong District, Taipei/台北市大同區承德路一段1號45櫃/02.2552.6836

hours [weekdays] 11:00-21:30/[weekends] 11:00-22:00

price 250-400NT (+10% service charge)

rating ♥♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

nearest MRT Taipei Main Station MRT (捷運台北車站)

A large group of indecisive people is how we ended up at Rock Sauce Bistro and Bar located on the first floor of QSquare mall at Taipei Main Station. After trying to figure out what to eat for 30minutes, Gary and I decided to take charge and just picked the nearest restaurant to where we were standing that looked decent. Rock Sauce is located outside of exit U5.

When you first walk into Rock Sauce, it doesn’t look that big. There is a bar to the right and a few tables to the left. We were initially worried that they wouldn’t have room for our party of 10. We were wrong.

There is a whole back seating area with plenty of seating.

The menu at Rock Sauce is in English and Chinese. The names of the dishes are in English, but the details are in Chinese. The average dish is about 250NT. Note that there is a 10% service charge. Also note that the English description isn’t exactly the same as the Chinese. The menu has things ranging from pasta to burgers, to salads to western style breakfast. Another thing to note, according to our waiter, they don’t serve pancakes on the weekends…yeah…I ended up getting the Norwegian Salmon Sub (挪威燻鮭魚堡) for 280NT.

I love smoked salmon so I figured why not. This is not a sub, obviously from the picture. The Chinese said 堡 (burger), so I’m not sure why the English said sub. Anyways, all the burgers come with french fries, but not a lot. All of the burgers also come with a flag…me and two other people got the Denmark flag and my other friend the Canadian flag. The burger was pretty good. The bread was nice and fluffy, lightly toasted. The salmon was pretty standard smoked salmon with capers wrapped in it. All together, this made a good sandwich. Taste-wise I would probably get this again, but price-wise it’s a little on the steep size for what it is (308NT total).

My friend Daniel got the Hawaiian Beef Rice (夏威夷排飯) for 260NT. According to him, the beef was flavorful and tender. From the looks of it, it looked pretty decent. I didn’t have any, but he seemed pretty happy with it and as a fellow food lover, I trust his opinion.

Mike and I were originally both looked at the Norwegian Salmon Sub. Then we both looked at the Club Sandwich. Result, I got the “sub”, he got the Club Sandwich (總司令三明治) for 280NT. It looked like a classic club sandwich, although I’m not so sure about the lunch meat…

A few people got the Black Pepper Burger (黑胡椒牛肉漢堡) for 240NT. Everyone seemed to like it. It looked pretty good.

Overall, this place is okay. Are there better places for burgers? Definitely. Would I come back? Maybe. I don’t know that I would ever be like, OMG LET’S GO TO ROCK SAUCE, but if someone wanted to go, I wouldn’t be opposed.

dessert/cafe: mövenpick cafe (莫凡彼咖啡館)

 date may 29, 2011

contact B3F, No. 1, Sec. 1, Chengde Rd., Datong District, Taipei/台北市大同區承德路一段B3/02.2552.3089

hours 7 days a week 11:00-21:30

price <300NT

rating ♥♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Taipei Main Station MRT (捷運台北車站站)

I always have room for dessert. After the discovery of the B3 floor of QSquare last week, I ended up there again with friends looking for some dessert.

After looking around at all the choices, the cheese brownie (起司布郎尼) for 75NT at Mövenpick Cafe is what caught my eye. Once I pointed out the cheese brownie, my friends and I looked at all the other “cheese pies” on display and decided to get a few things to share. We also ended up with the green tea red bean cheese pie (抹茶紅豆起司派) for 75NT and cinnamon apple pie (肉桂蘋果派) 75NT.

Chocolate and cheesecake are easily two of my favorite things in life. So when I saw a cheese brownie I was really excited. This particular brownie was okay. Overall, I thought it was a little dry. The brownie part was pretty good: had a good rich, but not too sweet, chocolate brownie taste. The cheese part, however, was disappointing. I was expecting something almost cheesecake like, but instead it was kind of dry and over-baked. Honestly, I was hoping for more, but this wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t great.

The green tea red bean cheese pie was unique, in a good way. It wasn’t so much a pie as it was a tart. The cheese taste was pretty subtle, which was a little disappointing. But, the green tea taste was pretty good. This dessert was not very sweet, very catered toward Asian tastes. Red bean and green tea is always a good combination. The crust was pretty good. Kind of thick, but it had a good flakiness.

In December, my friend and I bought a pumpkin pie from Costco and shared it with our friends for Christmas dim sum lunch. Our Australian friends had never had it before and ended up loving it, so when we saw more pies at Mövenpick, he wanted to try something else new. We went with the cinnamon apple pie. This pie, which was also more like a tart, was probably the best of the three. Very moist, very cinnamony, not too sweet. I have a really high standard for apple pie because my mom is known to make the world’s best apple pie, so obviously this was not anything near that, but it wasn’t bad. Flavorful enough and moist.

For a dessert place, this is okay. I don’t know that I’d actually get anything here again, but it served its purpose as a place to get dessert.