Monday, September 15, 2014

Burnt Toast and Beard Papa's?

I burned six slices of bread the last couple days! I'm too lazy to turn on the oven, so I usually just toast my toast on the stove. But more often than not, I forget about it.... and why hello Mr. Burnt Toast!

Lol, don't ask...
Anyways!! My post today is on Beard Papa's. I didn't realize until this summer that this was an international chain. I saw it when I was in Shanghai, and my roommate said she's been to the Beard Papa's in South Korea too! When I checked out their website, I saw they even have locations in Russia, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia. Cool eh?

Earlier this week, my sister bought a Groupon, which gave us a $10 for $16 discount. Since Beard Papa's is best known for their cream puffs, we decided to get $16 worth of cream puffs! We bought three very berry ones and five vanilla ones.

The Making Process:
Seeing them make the cream puffs was really cool. Although the dough part was already made, they add the filling when you order! They stick a tube into the puff and "inject" it with the cream filling.

The Review:
To tell the truth, I was slightly disappointed with this Beard Papa's. I didn't like how the bakery only had two flavors available when I went: the very berry one and the vanilla one. I thought there would have be more options, but I guess they only have strawberry (which they didn't have at the time) and vanilla daily with one specialty flavor each week. Today, it was the very berry cream puff.
Vanilla Cream Puff
Furthermore, the cream puffs themselves weren't as good as I thought. That's not to say I didn't enjoy them, but my expectations were definitely built really high after hearing so many people rave about them. I tried both the vanilla and the very berry one, but I liked the berry one better.

(Sorry, I ate the very berry cream puff before I took a picture!!)

But the reason why I liked the berry one better is probably because the vanilla filling had a slightly more milky flavor, which I'm not a huge fan of. Nevertheless, I loved--LOVED--the creamy, smooth texture of the cream and how the cream puffs aren't overly sweet.

Overall... I'd probably go again, not by myself, but definitely if friends wanted to go. I probably won't get the vanilla one a second time, but I really want to try some of their other flavors. Maybe the green tea one?!

Have you been to Beard Papa's? If so, what's your favorite flavor?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Travel: 12 Days in China!

Wow, I can't believe its already been more than two weeks since I've came back from China and more than two weeks since my senior year of undergrad has started! Time passes so fast! Likewise, my visit to China felt just as fast, especially since I was only there for 12 days. However, it was nonetheless the best two weeks of my summer!
Me and my twin sister: can you tell which one is me in this picture?
My family and I arrived in Shanghai at about 5am in the morning, and basically the first thing we did (after a 2-hour-nap) was pick up my maternal grandpa (外公 “waigong”) and have lunch with almost everyone on my mom's side of the family. That meant about 20 people!

The restaurant we went to was inside Crowne Plaza in Lake Marlaren, Shanghai. It was actually a buffet style restaurant. The buffet style meal was a really cool experience since I've actually never encountered one before in China.

After lunch, we drove about two hours to Jinhua, which is in Zhejiang province to meet with our paternal grandparents (爷爷 "yeye" - grandpa and 奶奶 "nainai" - grandma). The rest of the week, we spent visiting family and my dad's business partners! My life those two weeks basically consisted of food, sleep, and car rides!

I won't talk about all of the details of the trip at the moment since that would take hours for you to read, but here are....

Five Crazy Things I Learned About China:
  1. Most nice Chinese restaurants allow you to book individual rooms (包厢 "baoxiang" or "box"). They'll usually have one large dining table, which will comfortably sit eight people, a TV, and maybe a restroom. Each baoxiang is serviced by one or two waiters/waitresses. Sometimes, high-end restaurants will even a separate room with a couch or even pool table!
  2. My sister in front of a poker table!
  3. To be respectful to your host, don't ask and just eat at a high-end restaurant. During my dining experience in China, I've had delicacies such as sea cucumbers and fish lips soup! Sometimes they take a little getting used to, but other times, the flavor is actually pretty good! You never know until you try~

  4. Fish lips soup!
  5. The fruits I ate were incredibly fresh and delicious! With so many markets along the streets, it's really easy to get fresh fruits and vegetables. It also helped that my yeye and nainai were farmers, so we got a lot of fresh watermelon, kiwis, and corn from them! Delicious :)
    Red-centered kiwis!
    Freshly picked corn!
  6. Driving in China is crazy! Not only is there a lot of honking, but also people drive in the middle of two lanes or even driving on the wrong side of the road just to escape traffic.
  7. Owning a car is really expensive in China! There are A LOT of toll booths along the highways. In fact, I read that Chinese toll roads consist of more than 70% of the world’s total toll roads! Incredible right?
Have you been to China? What are some of your favorite things about China?