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Taiwan Cafe and Anna's desserts (long)

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Taiwan Cafe and Anna's desserts (long)

Raconteur | May 31, 2004 10:10 AM

So last night my sweetie and I joined friends to see the current end-of-the-world movie. As it revolved around global warming we then walked to Taiwan Cafe for dinner, furiously debating the scientific and cinematic merits of the film. (As a side note, the effects were spectacular, the science is exaggerated but chilling, the characters predictable (as blockbuster characters usually are) and I thoroughly enjoyed it.)

We were immediatley seated. Most of the tables were occupied by Asian families happily munching away.

Our post apocalyptic feast included:

- Mini steamed buns with pork. wonderful as always, though in my eagerness I scalded my tongue pretty badly. These were the first dish ordered, last to arrive, but as we'd been warned that they would take 20 minutes it was no big deal.
- Boiled peanuts w/ sea salt. Very yummy cold dish w/tender peanuts. They were boiled in salt and 5-spice powder. The 5-spice was mild enough that we could still taste the peanuts, unlike iterations I've had elsewhere. Very good.
- Beef w/ mustard greens and tofu. This dish came out literally 2 minutes after we ordered and was steaming hot. I can imagine the kitchen, full of chopped materials ready to be cooked at a moment's notice. It was very good. The beef was very finely chopped as were the mustard green. The tofu strips were very chewy; I suspect it was dried and reconstituted. This wasn't bad, just a little distracting against the tenderness of the beef and greens. The greens were especially nice, tangy and a little sweet.
- Salt and pepper soft shelled crabs. Oh my. ohmyohmyohmy. Fresh, crisp, tender, well spiced, not too heavily breaded, the taste of the crab still came through against a marvelous melding of spices, very very good, I like s&p style almost anything and this was just superb.
- Pea pod greens w/ garlic. Very good. Fresh, tender greens, big chunks of garlic cooked enough that it was tender and not biting.
- Taiwan style soy sauce duck. About half a duck in a soy/5-spice sauce. Good, but not the best version of this I've had. The duck was a little dry. I think it may have suffered some from being chopped well ahead of time.

Altogether the meal came to $56 not including tip. The tea was oversteeped, but otherwise I was very happy w/ the meal.

We waddled out of TC and made our way to Anna's Dessert House. I had only been there once before for boba tea and was looking forward to trying some of their other stuff. I'm not a big sweets eater, so while I enjoyed these, I'm not raving.

- Mango rice ball. Not too sweet, dusted w/ coconut, w/ a filling of chopped mango and some kind of creamy stuff. Good.
- Grass jelly w/ ice cream (vanilla and strawberry). The grass jelly was lovely, it always tastes like sweetened smoke to me. I found the ice cream addition to be distracting, but the others quite liked it.
- A creamy custard w/out an English name (in the desserts section, one of two items w/out a translation). The very helpful waitress recommended this, and I have to say it was my favorite. Very very rich custard, tasting of cream and lightly sweetened. Not too gelatinous or eggy.
- Thai boba tea. Oddly, this wasn't very good. It wasn't very cold and it was so sweet I could barely taste the tea. The boba were good, a nice consistency.

Overall a wonderful repast.

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