Category Archives: zhongxiao fuxing (忠孝復興)

mexican: juanita burritos & tacos

outside of juanita.

date april 15, 2013

contact No. 51-1, Lane 160, Sec. 1, Dunhua S. Rd., Daan Dist., Taipei City/台北市大安區敦化南路一段160巷51-1號/02.2752.7576

hours 7 days a week 11:00-22:00

price <300NT

rating ♥♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

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

All pictures taken with my iPhone 4S.

While sitting at the hair salon with my friend Val, we decided that Mexican food sounded really good. Having seen a post on Juanita Burritos & Tacos on Hungry Girl’s blog, we figured we’d give it a shot.

Disclaimer: Val grew up on homemade Mexican food (as in her dad handmade tortillas as a kid) and I’m from San Diego (basically Mexico); therefore, in terms of Mexican food, we’re hard to impress. With that said, we might be harsher than your average customer.

Juanita’s is located pretty much right in between MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing and MRT Zhongxiao Dunhua. If you get off at Fuxing, you’ll need to head NE out of Exit 4; if you get off at Dunhua, you’ll need to head NW out of Exit 8. In one of the many alleys filled with food, drinks, and clothes in the dongqu (東區) area, Juanita’s is located in Lane 160 off Dunhua S. Rd. (the alley where Sugar & Spice is located).

Upon entering our first impression was, this place is Chipotle. I remember a while back a Mexican restaurant named Oola had opened in Gongguan (公館) that was Chipotle-style as well; however, it has since closed. I never got to try Oola, but it seems like the Chipotle-style Mexican food thing is the way people are going in Taipei.

inside of juanita.

Juanita is pretty new, opened less than a year ago, so everything is still pretty shiny and new looking. Note: the chairs, while they look cool, are terribly uncomfortable. Whoever thought metal chairs with giant holes in them would be comfortable to sit in needs to revisit their idea of comfort.

menu at juanita as of april 2013.

The menu: just like Chipotle you start by choosing whether you want a burrito (波麗多捲), burrito bowl (墨式風味蓋飯), salad (墨西哥沙拉), or tacos (塔可; 1 for 70NT or 3 for 180NT). Then you choose your filler: grilled chicken (碳烤雞肉), steak (碳烤牛排), carnitas (卡尼塔燉豬肉), barbacoa (燉辣牛肉絲), or vegetarian (蔬食). Lastly, almost exactly like Chipotle you get the choices of cilantro-lime rice, pinto or black beans, salsa, cheese, sour cream, romaine lettuce, and guacamole (for 40NT extra).

Comimos:
– Grilled Chicken Burrito (碳烤雞肉波麗多捲) 170NT
– Carnitas Burrito Bowl (卡尼塔燉豬肉墨式風味蓋飯) 170NT
– Juanita Fries (混你塔薯條) 140NT

grilled chicken burrito (碳烤雞肉波麗多捲) 170NT

Val was up first. She opted for the grilled chicken burrito for 170NT. The grilled chicken was described as “free range chicken, marinated in our original Mexican sauce and grilled.”  The burrito itself is a decent size-ish, but Val was saddened by the stinginess of the ingredients: the scoops were tiny and hardly any meat was put in. The grilled chicken itself was a bit dry, which was disappointing. Also, Val specifically asked the guy behind the counter if the black beans were hard, and he assured her they weren’t, but alas, they kind of were. Regardless, Val thought that the burrito was good enough to satisfy her craving.

carnitas burrito bowl (卡尼塔燉豬肉墨式風味蓋飯) 170NT

I decided on the carnitas burrito bowl for 170NT. The carnitas were described as “naturally raised pork, seasoned with various spices, seared, then braised for hours until fall-apart tender.” Like Val, I was disappointed by the amount of ingredients I got. The carnitas were quite disappointing as well…they were kind of tough, kind of dry, pretty stringy, not very flavorful, definitely not “fall-apart tender” as they claim. Basically they were all the things you don’t want your carnitas to be. In terms of salsa, I opted for the spicy salsa, which was rather spicy, which I liked. I also added guacamole, which is supposed to be 40NT, but I was only charged 20NT? I don’t know, I’m not complaining, a little confused maybe, but a discount is a discount? I did quite enjoy their guacamole; it was pretty fresh tasting and rather delicious. All the other ingredients were pretty so-so, nothing was particularly great or terrible.

juanita fries (混你塔薯條) 140NT

Outside of the restaurant there was a chalk board with some specials on it. Among them was the Juanita fries for 140NT. We figured anything with the namesake should be ordered, so we got an order. After thinking about it, they kind of reminded me of animal-style fries from In N Out, as they had some kind of grilled onion relish deal, “special sauce” and some “premium melted cheddar cheese”. Okay, let’s be real, people, the “premium melted cheddar cheese” tasted like regular ole’ nacho cheese sauce. Either way, the fries were tasty, would have made great drunk food.

specials and ad.

The overall consensus was that Juanita is okay. If you’re really craving Mexican food, it’s good enough to satisfy a craving, just don’t come with expectations of amazing authentic Mexican cuisine, not that Chipotle is either, but at least Chipotle isn’t stingy with their ingredients, nor is their meat dry. However, on the plus, Juanita is affordable and the food is decent enough. We’ve decided maybe we’ll go back to Juanita and try the other meats, give them a second shot. Until then, Juanita,  you are a-okay, but that’s about it.

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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.

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.

korean: mindong korean gourmet (明洞館)

date september 17, 2011

contact 1F, No. 4, Alley 5, Lane 107, Sec. 1, Fuxing S. Rd., Daan District, Taipei City/台北市大安區復興南路一段107巷5弄4號1F/02.2773.6949

hours 7 days a week 17:30-24:00

price 300NT-600NT

rating ♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

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

website http://www.mindong.com.tw/ (Chinese and Korean Only)

For Michael’s going away dinner he decided on Mindong Korean Gourmet since last time we tried to go we couldn’t get a reservation.

I called on Wednesday night to make a reservation for 7pm on Saturday night for six. They said they were booked, but could get us in at 7:30pm. Needless to say, reservations are kind of a must for Mindong on the weekend, so be warned.

Mindong is only a few minute walk from the Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station (忠孝復興) exit 5. The restaurant called me a few times just before 7:30pm to make sure we’d be there on time. I was about 10 minutes late, but two of my friends had gotten there on time and were told that they had to wait for the rest of our party to get there before they could get seated. Once I got there we were immediately seated; I think just the majority of your party just has to be there.

The menu at Mindong is in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and English, although the English may not be very helpful unless you are familiar with Korean food names, as they are mostly just transliterations of the Korean. For those unfamiliar with Korean food names you’re in luck because every item on the menu is accompanied by a picture.

Between four of us we decided to order a few things to share:
– Small Soon Doo Boo Jigae (小豆腐火鍋) 450NT
– Small So Gee Set Kul aka Assorted BBQ (小燒烤總匯) 650NT
– San Dong Shaw G aka Shandong Chicken (山東燒雞) 280NT
– Dog Bog aka Rice Cakes (炒年糕) 260NT
– Peach Soju (真露(水蜜桃)) 350NT

First thing to come out was the banchan (side dishes). At first we weren’t sure if the meal came with the banchan or if we had to order it because we saw it on the menu for 50NT. I think that it comes with the meal, but if not, it’s only 50NT. The weirdest thing about the banchan was that we didn’t get any cabbage kimchi…this is literally the first time in my life that I’ve gone to a Korean restaurant and not gotten any cabbage kimchi. Anyways, none of the banchan was particularly outstanding or memorable; it was all pretty average.  We ended up getting seaweed, fish cakes, bean sprouts, potato salad, peanuts, some green vegetable, something else I didn’t get to try, pickled radish, and kimchi onions. My favorite was the kimchi onions. It had a good vinegar, sweet, and salty combination although it could have used more spice.

We asked the waiter which of the starters he recommended. He recommended the hae mul pa jun aka seafood pancake (海鮮煎餅) for 280NT, dog bog aka rice cakes (炒年糕) for 260NT, and san dong shaw g aka Shandong chicken (山東燒雞) for 280NT. Mike decided on the san dong shaw g aka Shandong chicken. I thought this was pretty tasty. The chicken was really tender and had great flavor. The sauce was a tasty sweet vinegar and garlic mixture. I really liked the cucumber in it because it kind of soaked up the sauce. I would get this again.

The So Gee Set Kul aka Assorted BBQ (小燒烤總匯) comes in either a small or large portion. We asked the waiter what size we should get since we were going to split it between the four of us and get other things as well. The waiter suggested the small portion for 650NT and I think it was a good suggestion. While there isn’t a lot of meat, it’s a good portion if you’re planning on getting other things. I thought all of the meat was pretty good. I kind of wish we would have gotten some galbi or bulgogi, something marinated, but these cuts of beef were pretty good, too. Each of us were able to have one slice of each cut and all was pretty tender, just don’t over grill it. It also came with lettuce, shiso leaves, garlic, and peppers to wrap the meat in.

We also got the soon doo boo jigae (豆腐火鍋). Like the bbq meat this also comes in two portions. Again, on the recommendation of the waiter we went with the small for 450NT. I wasn’t that impressed with this sundubu. I thought the soup itself was not as flavorful as other sundubus I’ve had. Mike and I both agreed that the sundubu at Gyeongju Korean Restaurant was better. When you order the sundubu you can choose how spicy you want it (1-3, 3 being the spiciest). We went with 1 since some of our party can’t handle too much spice. Maybe with more spice this would have been better, but as it was I just felt like the soup lacked depth, not enough seafood flavor or something. Regardless I thought this was still good, just not great.

Since Will was late and we had started without him, we decided to add another dish so Will could get a little more to eat. We went with the dog bog aka rice cakes aka tteokbokki (炒年糕) for 260NT. I’ve never seen tteokbokki aka rice cakes translated at dog bog, but that’s what it is on the menu at Mindong. I thought their rice cakes were pretty tasty. The sauce was pretty standard. I thought the rice cakes were cooked pretty perfectly: nice and chewy, very “qq”.

To end the meal there is a freezer of self-serve ice cream. I went with the mint chocolate chip, but there were 5 or so other flavors as well.

We also ordered a small jug of peach soju (真露(水蜜桃)) for 350NT. They have about 5 flavored sojus on the menu so we asked the waiter which he thought was the best and he suggested lemon or peach. We decided on peach. Generally I don’t like soju. I feel like for as low as the alcohol content is it tastes pretty terrible. This peach soju was okay, but I wouldn’t want to get it again. Maybe if you like soju you’d like this, but for me this was a miss.

Overall, I thought Mindong was pretty good. There were a lot of other things on the menu that I’d like to try, so hopefully I’ll come back to Mindong to try them. I noticed that Mindong has a second location located at No.40-2, Lane 223, Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Daan District, Taipei (台北市大安區忠孝東路四段223巷40號之2). Maybe I’ll try that location, too.

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

swedish: flavors.

date November 17, 2010

contact No. 13, Alley 26, Lane 300, Sec. 4,  Ren Ai Road, Taipei/台北市仁愛路四段300巷26弄 13號 /02.2709.6525

hours CLOSED ON MONDAYS/ Tuesday – Friday 18:00-22:30; Lunch by reservation/ Saturday & Sunday 12:00-14:30 & 18:00-22:30

price 1000NT-1500NT (per person; excluding drinks)

rating ♥♥♥♥♥ (5 out of 5 hearts)

website http://www.flavors.com.tw/

nearest MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT, Daan MRT, or Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall MRT(忠孝復興捷運站,大安捷運站,國父紀念館捷運站)

I have been incredibly delinquent in my food updates. I’ve been meaning to start up again, but I guess was waiting for something worth writing about. Flavors was it. Thanks to hungry girl’s blog I found Flavors, and seriously, one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

A friend came to Taipei from San Francisco and decided he wanted to see what spending more than 100NT on a meal could get you in Taipei. With the help of a friend and hungry girl, Flavors is where we ended up on his last night in town.

Finding Flavors in the dark was not so easy, but after a little wandering after getting off the bus (which is the easiest way to get there. The nearest MRT is really not that near.) we saw the brightly lit up sign for Flavors. We had made reservations, but it didn’t look like we needed to. The atmosphere inside is very intimate. Low lighting accompanied by a great jazz cd mix of some favorites from Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong.

We were instantly greeted by a very kind woman, who I am going to guess is Stephanie (co-owner of Flavors). Noticing that I was speaking English to my friend, she asked if it would be better if she introduced the menu in English, which my friend greatly appreciated. She was incredibly knowledgeable about the menu, yet not at all pushy, which I loved. Flavors only does set menus, the cheapest when we were there was for 890NT and the most expensive being around 1500NT. Each meal comes with bread, soup, salad (that can be upgraded to an appetizer), main course, dessert, and coffee. The salads and desserts can be upgraded for 300NT or 180NT respectively. For wine they only had by the glass a house cabernet sauvignon and pinot grigio (I think). We opted for a bottle, and per Stephanie’s recommendation ended up with a cabernet sauvignon (the Chef’s favorite) from Kilikanoon (Australia) (NT1500). The wine was perfect, and well worth the wine headache that I always inevitably get.

In the end I decided to go with the smoked salmon for 890NT (which was pointed out to be smoked in house) and my friend with the lamb chops for around 1200NT. We upgraded our salads to the rosemary scallops and swedish meatballs, and upgraded one dessert to the chocolate cake.

Right after we finished ordering, a platter of freshly baked bread was brought out to us. There was a roasted garlic and an olive tapenade to accompany. The bread was fresh and warm. Both tapenades were delicious. The garlic was not at all over powering, and the olive was the same.

Next was the soup, wild porcino mushroom. This soup was amazing. Very rich and creamy, but not too salty or heavy. I loved the texture of the soup, there was something very silky about it, but you could still taste the chopped mushrooms. Stephanie came over to us and asked how we liked it. We said we loved it. She seemed surprised, she said that many customers had said that the mushroom taste was too strong, but we told her that was what made it so good.

After the soup was an amuse bouche that we were not expecting. We’re pretty sure the waiter said spicy yam, but not completely positive. Either way, this perfect one bite was delicious. The yam (?) was well seasoned and well cooked and the little dollop of what tasted like sour cream was the perfect accompaniment.

So in reality these were only the second swedish meatballs I’ve ever had, and considering the only other ones I’ve ever had came from the Ikea food court, I don’t know that I can fairly judge these. Regardless, I thought these were great. We were advised to make sure we got some meatball, sauce, and lingonberry jam in each bite. The sauce was perfect creamy saltiness with the sweetness of the jam and the meatball. The meatball had a subtle sweetness and kind of just melted in your mouth, in a good way.

The rosemary scallops were amazing. It came with three, but the photos I got of all them were all a little too dark, so here is one. A few nights prior we had an over cooked scallop at Shintori-Shadow and were disappointed. These scallops were cooked perfectly. Wrapped in what looked like bacon, or some other salted cured meat, and skewered with a sprig of rosemary, these scallops were perfectly seasoned, and cooked just right. The rosemary was powerful enough to be noticed, but subtle enough to not be too much. The scallop was tender and juicy and kind of just melted in your mouth.

Finally it was time for the main courses. My salmon was cooked perfectly. Juicy , flaky, and delicious. There is nothing I hate more than over cooked fish. I’m not sure how much of a smoked flavored I got from this, but the dill sauce with the potatoes, was more than enough to satisfy me.

While I am not personally a fan of any gamey meat, I must say that if I were a fan, I would love this dish. The lamb was melt in your mouth tasty, however, still, too gamey for my taste. If you like lamb though, I feel like you would like this.

When it came to dessert time, we opted to keep one of the apple cakes that the set meal usually comes with. It was described as their “signature apple cake” and it was so tasty. I’m not exactly sure what the cake is served in, it’s almost liked melted vanilla ice cream or some sort of cream, but it’s perfect for this small piece of apple cake. The crust is flaky, even in the cream sauce, and the apples were warm and sweet without being too sweet. This with a cup of coffee was a great way to end the meal.

The dessert we opted to pay extra for was the chocolate cake with raspberry sorbet. We were instructed to taste the sorbet first, then some of the cake, then eat them together. The raspberry sorbet alone was great. Very flavorful, tart, and not too sweet. The cake alone was not impressive. It was kind of dense and a little dry. Together it was okay. The melted sorbet with the cake made it less dry, but overall we were not impressed with this. Maybe we should have tried the rhubarb dessert.

Overall, this was by far one of the best meals I’ve ever had for the price. Pretty much everything was delicious, and the service was great. Our water glasses were always full. Our wine glasses were always full, and nothing sat around on our table empty for no reason. Accomplishing all that without being annoying, to me, is impressive. No one was in our way or overly attentive. Basically, Flavors is definitely a place worth trying. For the money you will get more than you pay for.

japanese/sushi: sashimiya (三四味屋)

date 12.06.09

contact 3F, No. 1, Lane 126, Fuxing South Road, Section 1, Daan District, Taipei/02.8773.4888/台北市大安區復興南路一段126巷1號3F

hours 7 days a week lunch 11:30am-2:30pm/dinner 5:30pm-11:00pm (11:30pm on Friday and Saturday)

price depends. 300-1000NT

rating ♥♥♥♥♥ (5 out of 5 hearts)

website http://www.sashimiya.tw

Best sushi I’ve had in Taipei up to this point. I had seen Hungry Girl’s review for sashimiya a while ago and wanted to try it, so for our one year anniversary my boyfriend decided to take me.

inside sashimiya.

Sashimiya is big. Two floors, a full bar and they play movies while you eat. We went on a Sunday night and it was pretty empty, so we were promptly sat. On every table there is a small appetizer, be waned, it’s not free. We didn’t touch ours because it looked weird, but when the waiter came to take our order he asked if we wanted the appetizer, we said no so he took it away.

the menu.

The menu is awesome and extensive. There are pictures for every item on the menu, along with Chinese and English descriptions. Sashimiya is an Izakaya restaurant, so they have lots of small dishes to choose from so you can try lots of different things. I went straight for the sashimi and sushi.

smelt egg hand roll 120NT (蝦卵手卷)

I love smelt egg/masago, so when I saw the smelt egg hand roll (蝦卵手卷) I had to get it. Everything tasted fresh. The seaweed was crisp and they didn’t put too much rice in it. Definitely made me happy.

salmon belly nigiri 70NT (鮭魚肚握壽司)

Each order of nigiri is one piece, so be aware of that. The salmon belly nigiri (鮭魚肚握壽司) was great and only 70NT per piece. The fish was really fresh tasting, the cut was great, and there was a perfect amount of rice. They put a little bit of wasabi on the rice under the fish, so if you don’t like wasabi make sure you tell them to not put any on.

special sashimi combo 980NT(特級盛合生魚)

I can’t even tell you how amazing this was. We were deciding between the special sashimi combo and the large sashimi combo. We ultimately decided on the special because the cuts were better and there was more. You get 4 pieces of 6 different types of sashimi: salmon belly, tuna, sweet shrimp, hokkaido scallop, cobia, and mackerel. The waiter told us that the special combo cuts were mostly belly cuts, and they did taste pretty fatty and delicious, so we assume he wasn’t lying. Everything was amazing and fresh. The sweet shrimp was delicious. I’m always afraid that sweet shrimp will be slimy, but these weren’t. Overall the fish was fresh and the slices were the perfect thickness.

soft shell crab roll 280NT (軟殼蟹壽司)

I was excited to see a roll that didn’t have 肉鬆 (dry pork) in it. The soft shell crab roll (軟殼蟹壽司) was pretty good. I loved the big chunks of avocado and the lettuce and cucumber were nice and crisp. I also liked that there was a good amount of soft shell crab inside. My only complaint would be that there was a little too much rice and because of it, it made me full faster. Overall though, I would get this again.

agedashi tofu/fried tofu 80NT (日式炸豆腐)

The fried tofu (日式炸豆腐) was amazing and was is only 80NT. It looked like they had dipped it in benito shavings before frying it which is awesome. I love benito and the the crispiness of it after being fried made it even better. It was also topped with some seaweed shavings, daikon and chili powder. The sauce was great too and everything together made it perfect. Would highly recommend this.

chocolate shake (巧克力冰沙)

Lastly we ordered a chocolate shake. I was hoping this would be a little more chocolaty, but it wasn’t. For some reason it tasted like Bailey’s Irish Cream to me, even though it was non-alcoholic. It was good, but not great.

Overall our experience at Sashimiya was great. The service was good, people kept our table uncluttered, and our glasses were never empty. The quality of the food for the price is also great. For two people our bill was under 2000NT and we were full. You could definitely eat here for much cheaper if you wanted, but seeing how we love sushi, we couldn’t resist, besides everything we had was really fresh tasting and wonderful. Bottom line: Sashimiya is a must for sushi lovers in Taipei.