Category Archives: Vietnamese

Vacation time…

I took a week-long vacation from work and went home to spend it with my family. We spent a few days at home and then went to Cape Cod for a few days during what was probably the hottest and most humid week of the summer. Perfect timing! I had a lot of fun but I got terribly sunburned, ouch! Here are some highlights:

The first day I returned home my mom had a delicious meal of homecooked food waiting for me. This dish was one of her new recipes that she learned from a co-worker, and it's called cola chicken. It's deceptively easy: place raw chicken chunks in a pressure cooker, add 1 can of Coke, add a dash of soy sauce, and cook until chicken is tender. I know the recipe sounds weird, but I swear the chicken was really good! There were no weird sweet or sour flavors from the soda, it tasted a lot like chicken teriyaki instead, and the chicken was so tender it was practically falling off the bone. Who knew a little can of soda could do all that?

For my dad's 51st birthday, I bought him a mango mousse cake from one of the trendy new bakeries in Chinatown called Bao Bao Bakery. They make some very pretty and intricate cakes, so I thought I would try one and see what the hype was all about. Unfortunately the day I went it was a Friday afternoon and they did not have many cakes left, so I went with a mango mousse cake, which sounded pretty good to me. My dad helped me carry the cake home on the train, but he was not too careful and all the toppings toppled off! We had to reassemble it, but clearly the cake looks a bit disheveled now. The taste was okay, I thought the mango mousse was a bit sour and the sponge cake layers were somewhat dry for a Chinese cake (they're usually super moist). Still, the color was beautiful and the texture of the mango mousse was very smooth and velvety. It wasn't a total flop, so I decided I'd give Bao Bao Bakery another chance the next time I needed a cake…

Okay, so my mom's birthday happens to be just 3 days after my dad's birthday. So I went back to Bao Bao and got a different cake. This time I had them make it fresh on the spot, and it was a chestnut paste cake, which is my absolute favorite kind of cake. What is it? Well it has the normal layers of sponge cake, but instead of cream in between the layers, there is a sweetened creamy paste made from roasted chestnuts. It's a wonderful nutty flavor that is very smooth and goes well with cakes. I've liked chestnut paste cake ever since I was a small child, and coming to America it was difficult to find it anywhere except in Chinatown. The cake from Bao Bao looked pretty good, but I have to say that their chestnut paste was too dry and chunky:

 I think they purposely left it chunky to give texture, but roasted chestnuts in and of themselves are a bit too dry to begin with. I much prefer the chestnut paste cake from one of the bakeries down the street, called Eldo's Cake House. I think I've given Bao Bao enough chances (they did have some really cool cakes like a pig shaped cake and a blowfish shaped cake), and I will stick with Eldo's.

In Chinatown there is a hole in the wall Vietnamese sandwich shop called New Saigon Sandwich, where you can get these fabulous Vietnamese subs (called Banh Mi) for only $2.50 each. Yes, only $2.50!!! My favorite sub is their VN cold cuts sub, which has ham, Vietnamese meatloaf, cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon radish, cilantro, onions, scallions, mayo, and pate spread, all sandwiched in a crispy toasted 6" sub roll. The flavors in a Banh Mi are amazing, it's so different from any other sandwich you've ever tried and it's so much more exciting to eat. Plus, it's seriously dirt cheap. There are also many other variations that you can choose from, but the cold cuts sub is a great sandwich for people who are just trying a Banh Mi for the first time. My one and only complaint is that the bread is sometime too crunchy… it kind of scratches the roof of my mouth and gets crumbs everywhere. But you just can't beat the flavor for a cheap and filling lunch. I bought this one to eat on the train from Chinatown to my house, and it was a little embarrassing having to dust off the crumbs every few seconds, but boy was it tasty :)

More to come later… time for bed!

Summer vacation is in full swing!

I'm sorry that my updates seem sporadic lately, it's not intentional, I promise! There's no point in making excuses, because I am pretty much always "busy", but I have been good about taking all the necessary pictures. So without further ado, I present a collection of things I've eaten, seen, or done in the past month since graduation!

Lunch shared with my boyfriend during a lunch break at work. We both work in the same area, just down the street from one another, so when we have time we try to have lunch together. There is a food court nearby that has the popular Japanese chicken teriyaki lunchbox meal, so we occasionally share one. The chef that cooks the chicken is pretty funny, he has this thick accent and says enthusiastic things when he serves the food. He often says "chicken ready! yummy yummy!" and "yummy sauce! yummy sauce!" It's quite amusing hehe. I try not to eat out too much for lunch though, as it is a money sink.

I've been pretty excited about the delicious assortment of exotic fruit available now that it is summer. One of my favorites is mango, especially when it is fully ripe. I'm not very good at slicing one open and avoiding the large fuzzy pit in the center, but when I finally get around to eating the soft sweet flesh it is an amazing flavor. I also like gnawing on the flesh surrounding the pit at the end, but if I do that then I always have to floss because the fuzzy fibers always get stuck in my teeth. I wish I had a blender in my dorm, because I would definitely be making my own mango smoothies. The ones I've eaten are incredibly ripe and sweet, so I imagine the smoothie would be quite flavorful.

These little babies are what most of my breakfasts consist of this summer. I tend to always wake up too late to eat anything substantial before heading off to work, so these bars are perfect for my always on-the-go schedule. The one pictured above is trail mix flavored, and the others I've bought are honey almond flax, and peanut peanut butter, all of which are fantastic. These are so good for you, and they fill me up for most of the morning too, unlike other cereal bars (ahem, Special K).

Okay, this is one of my guilty pleasures in terms of takeout foods while at MIT. Ankara Cafe was first introduced to me because all the students know that it has amazing frozen yogurt with endless varieties because of their long list of blended mix-ins (see below). One of my favorite dinner items from Ankara happens to be the MIT triple decker, which is a 3-bread-slice sandwich with pastrami, roast beef, smoked turkey, swiss cheese, cole slaw, and Russian dressing. I know, it sounds terrible for you, and I assure you that I am well aware it is. But it tastes amazing, always hitting the right spot after a long day. I usually can only eat half of it at a time (or sometimes I will eat the whole thing and feel too stuffed afterwards), but I find that it will taste even better after I microwave the leftover half. Yum!

So this is the well-known Ankara frozen yogurt with mix-ins. They have a list of over 50 different mix-in options, and I've tried many of them in various combinations, still yet to decide on a favorite. This particular yogurt today happened to be vanilla, with white chocolate and brownie mix-ins. The white chocolate chunks are nice, but the brownie mix-in was not quite what I expected. I was imagining small chewy chunks of brownie, but instead it was more like brownie crumbs (see the general light brown color of the yogurt and the small brown specks? that's the brownie…). Still though, the flavor was quite good. A great dessert to follow any takeout items from Ankara :)

Another lunch option at work is the sushi bar in MIT's Stata center across the street. They make boxed sushi rolls that I can just pick up to go. I usually like to get their salmon avocado roll, which has raw salmon in it, but I also really like their grilled salmon roll, whose texture and flavor is completely different from that of raw salmon. They break up the grilled salmon into small bits so that it's easy to chew, which I appreciate.

I sometimes get a soup to go with my sushi, but the cream of spinach soup overpowered the sushi quite a bit. It was very salty and the spinach flavor was strong, probably because it was frozen spinach instead of fresh. I only had a third of this soup before I had had enough. Probably not a bad soup if you were to have it alone or with a roll for lunch.

Greg and I made Chinese style lettuce wraps one day, using iceberg lettuce as the wrapping and a stir-fried mix of pork, beef, and onions, along with fried rice with carrots as the filling. It doesn't take a lot of effort to prepare, as the meats need very little marinating and cooking time. To make a lettuce wrap, we smeared some hoisin sauce on the inside of a large leaf of lettuce, then topped it with a scoop of rice, followed by a few pieces of meat and onions, just enough to get meat into each bite and give extra flavor to the rice. The purpose of the meat in the lettuce wraps is to add variety and flavor, not to act as the base of the meal. That is the job of the rice! Overall the wraps were pretty tasty though, and I got a second meal out of it too. It was an easy first meal to make with Greg, as we both were a bit rusty on our cooking and kind of lazy too. We always take several meals to settle into the routine of making dinners over the summer, as it is rather inconvenient to cook in my dorm, having to bring everything down into the large single kitchen in the basement.

The Asian food truck that I adore, Goosebeary's, sells these vegetarian summer rolls for lunch. I like to get them occasionally when I want a small lunch in anticipation of a big dinner. The rolls cost $1.50 each, and are usually sold in triples, along with a small container of peanut dipping sauce that I like. The rolls themselves are similar to the ones I previously described from Pho Pasteur, except instead of shrimp and pork, these rolls have tofu, carrots, and shitake mushrooms. The rolls are a refreshing treat for lunch on a hot summer's day, and the peanut sauce enhances the flavors quite well, making this vegetarian roll much less boring than it might look or sound. On the particular day that I bought these rolls, it was towards closing time for the food truck, and I only intended to get two of them. But the lady who was serving me was really nice and charged me $3 total for 3 rolls. I guess they wanted to get rid of their rolls because it was going to go to waste anyway if they couldn't sell them all. Good deal!

I was walking home from work one day and noticed a lot of pretty flowers in full bloom in the garden in front of my dorm. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and I had my camera with me, so I decided to take some pictures. I'm a hopeless romantic, something about beautiful flowers conjures up images of love and happiness that is just irresistible to me. Unfortunately I know none of the names of these flowers, but if anyone knows be sure to leave me a comment so I can change the mundane names of these photos :) You know, when I was taking the last picture of the purple flowers, I heard some rustling in the bushes on the ground nearby, and I ignored it, thinking it was just a squirrel. Next thing I know, I see this HUGE rope-like tail swinging around on the ground right in front of my face, and I nearly had a heart attack as I realized it was a giant RAT not 2 feet from me. Its ratty tail (excuse the pun) told me that it had lived a long life of experiences, and that it was probably not nearly as afraid of me as I was of it. Still, to see such a big rat in broad daylight was a surprise that I'd like to not relive heh.

MIT Senior Week (Part 3)

(6/06) Lunch cruise in Boston harbor! Our class rented out half of the well known Spirit of Boston cruise ship for a lunch cruise in Boston Harbor today. It was to be casual dress, and parents were invited to come along with the seniors if they so choose. I was excited to finally be on that cruise ship again during the daytime, so I could actually SEE the harbor (the last time I was on this same cruise ship for a nighttime cruise on Halloween, called Boo's Cruise). This lunch cruise was to last 2 hours, and would be serving a buffet style lunch with various entrees, as well as dessert afterwards.

Being the food lovers that we are, Greg and I made a beeline for one of the tables closest to the buffet area to be seated as we entered the ship (I'm not even kidding, we passed up tables next to the windows with great views just to sit near the food in the center of the room). Hahaha. The big shiny lids of the food trays were tempting us with their secrets beneath, we could barely wait to see what was inside.

The waiters came around to tell us that since we rented the deck as a group event, there was a complimentary soda and juice bar for the lunch. I didn't feel like getting soda for a lunch cruise (seemed less than classy, and I was feeling more brunch-y), so I asked for juice instead. It did come in a nice glass, with a straw no less. Weird, trying to drink orange juice with a straw.

So then it turns out that they send people up to the buffet area table by table, so as to prevent long lines from forming. They started sending up the people sitting on the opposite side of the room near the windows first, and we were pretty much doomed to be in the second half of the room to be called up. We were both super disappointed that we'd have to wait a long time to get food. The whole point of getting a seat nearby the area was to be able to get up there first, right? So here is my dearest boyfriend looking dejected while everyone in the background is getting the food we aren't allowed to touch yet haha. (Do you see how close we were to the table!!)

But guess what? By the the time we got to go up for food, we had realized that most of the dishes weren't all that interesting. They had pasta primavera with marinara sauce, Asian pepper steak beef, pan seared chicken strips with julienned onions and peppers, baked coated chicken pieces, and crabmeat stuffed sole. Sides were green beans and boiled red bliss potatoes. They also had a small salad bar. I of course got a little bit of everything just to try. But as to be expected with a lunch cruise, they tried to cater to as many different types of people as possible, and did a poor job of it. The Asian pepper steak beef was predictably bad and didn't taste Asian at all. The pan seared chicken strips with veggies tasted like chicken fajitas, only with less flavor and more dried up meat. And the baked chicken, which looked beautiful, just like KFC or southern fried chicken, tasted boring and dry. It lacked the punch of spices that makes other fried chickens delicious. The things I did like were the pasta primavera, which had gemelli pasta. It wasn't anything extraordinary, but compared to much of the other items it was pretty palatable. I also enjoyed the green beans a great deal as they were tender and crunchy, with a good cooked flavor. My two favorites of the lunch were the potato salad (white blob of stuff on the right side in the picture) and the crabmeat stuffed sole. The fish itself was overcooked, but I really liked the crabmeat stuffing, which is supposedly Chesapeake Bay style crabmeat stuffing. It had some real crab in it, but also some imitation crab and bread-based filler, which made it nice and savory. It was probably the most worthy item on the menu. They were very small though, smaller than the size of my palm, so most people took multiple servings. The stuffed sole is hump featured in the center front of the picture below. Clearly I got two of these on my plate. The baked chicken is behind the soul, and topped with the green beans.

Can't forget about the scenery! It was really tough to get nice shots of the outside when we weren't sitting next to any windows. Here is a neat ship parked in the harbor. It looks antique, and is so beautiful in black.

Next it was time for dessert. I got the creme brulee cheesecake, which is a slice of vanilla cheesecake that has a layer of vanilla bean custard on the bottom right above the graham cracker crust, and the top ot the cheesecake was caramelized with sugar. Honestly this cheesecake wasn't as great as I thought it would be. There was no creme brulee flavor. They basically just took vanilla cheesecake (this is the same kind, even down to the custard layer, that is sold in the Simmons dorm night cafe) and topped it with sugar to caramelize. That doesn't make creme brulee cheesecake, I'm sorry to say. It was just vanilla cheesecake with a crusty top. And the caramel that they drizzled looked nice, but didn't go well with the flavor of the cheesecake. It also made the caramelized top taste fake, because the fake flavoring of the caramel sauce was too strong. All in all, the dessert satisfied a sweet tooth, but it really wasn't very innovative in taste. I had some coffee on the side to go with it also, but the sweetness of the cheesecake made the coffee taste terribly bitter.

After dessert Greg and I went onto the observation deck to enjoy the view and the beautiful weather for the rest of the cruise ride. I've never really seen this side of Boston, since I'm always looking at the ocean from the city. But this port city is really quite lovely from the ocean, and considering that it is one of the oldest cities in the US, it sure stands up to its fame! Enjoy the following photos:

(6/07) It's the day before graduation, but I wasn't interested in going on the senior week events for today, which were Boston's famous duck tours (really just a tourist gimmick) and a Boston Pops concert. Well, I would have loved to see the Pops concert, but the tickets were extravagant despite being a class event. So I spent the day relaxing, mentally preparing for the long graduation day ahead and just enjoying my last day as a carefree undergraduate.

For dinner I went out with Greg to one of our favorite cheap eats place, Pho Pasteur in Harvard Square. It's a semi-trendy Vietnamese restaurant that caters to the American crowd while maintaining the authentic flavor of good Vietnamese food. Recently Pho Pasteur changed its name to Le's, which I find to be an annoying and unattractive name for a place that I am so fond of. So don't be alarmed that I continue to refer to it by its former name. Pho Pasteur is a quick bus ride down the street from MIT, and is located in the heart of Harvard Square in a cluster of stores called the Garage. The food is amazingly cheap for the quality and quantity, as long as you enjoy Vietnamese cuisine. A bowl of pho that is enough for me to eat costs only $5.25. Last time I went with Zheng I showed you the pho and summer rolls that I got. This time I decided to get something different for the sake of variety. Greg and I started off with an appetizer of Vietnamese spring rolls, which have a ground pork mixture inside, served with a side of fish sauce. These are delectable to start with, because they are fresh and crispy, and their small size (similar to a cigar) makes them easy to eat. Unfortunately the waitress misheard our order and brought us both the spring rolls as well as an order of summer rolls. Oops. At least they were both appetizers we liked haha.

For entrees, Greg got a big face bowl of pho (the bowl being bigger than his whole head), and I got a traditional Vietnamese rice dish whose name is "Com Suon, Bi, Cha" (I'm sure that is just a description of the dish rather than a real name). It is a plate with steamed white rice, a honey-grilled pork chop, julienned pork skin, and tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce. The plate comes with a side of fish sauce as well, which goes really well with everything on the plate. I know julienned pork skin sounds pretty weird, but it's a Vietnamese thing and it's really good. It's not strips of fat, it's the actual skin, which has a lot of collagen, so it's a little bit like eating small strips of tendon dusted with some sort of powdery seasoning. The pork chops are delicious too. They are thin and juicy, with lots of sweetness from the honey. I generally dislike American steak-house style pork chops, but these are so fantastic I pick up the bone and try to get off all the meat at the end haha. This dish usually also comes with a steamed ground pork, egg, and vermicelli meatloaf square, but sometimes it doesn't get served, and no explanation is given. Why???

After dinner, Greg and I wandered around Harvard Square for a while, and went into CVS where I bought myself a bottle of Olay Regenerist daily serum (I heard it works wonders… and it cost me $17 for 1.7 oz or so… so let's see if it really does make my skin look beautiful). Then it was time for dessert! :) We had a coupon for a buy any sized ice cream cone or cup and get one of the same size for free. So we got 2 medium cones, one in strawberry cheesecake flavor, and one in vanilla heath bar flavor. The strawberry cheesecake (in the picture below) was pretty good, and not too rich. It tasted more like vanilla and strawberry ice cream mixed together, with some chunks of graham cracker crust. The heath bar flavor was much sweeter, with indulgent pieces of crunchy heath bar in vanilla ice cream. Yum! Greg and I shared the two cones, but I'm pretty sure he ate more of the heath bar one before giving it to me to finish off. Grrr!!

Wednesday, May 16th

9:40AM Dorm Room
I know it sounds weird, but I had sushi for breakfast… yeah haha. The Philly roll that I bought yesterday, I was going to have it for lunch today, but then I got an email from my postdoc telling me to eat before coming to lab because there was no lab meeting. So I ate my sushi for breakfast instead haha. The Philly roll has smoked salmon, cream cheese, and cucumbers in it, which I have decided tastes a heck of a lot like a bagel with lox and cream cheese. I didn't have a whole lot of time to sit and savor the flavor, but it does actually work as a breakfast item hehe. The only thing that worried me a little bit was that when I was watching the guy make the Philly roll yesterday, he reached into a huge bucket of cream cheese that was half empty, and scooped out a little bit for my roll, using his gloved hands that had been handling all this raw fish. So I am kind of thinking that the bucket of cream cheese must have lots of raw fish bacteria in it that could make it quite unsafe to eat… right? Well I guess I'll know soon enough haha.

1:30PM Harvard Square Pho Pasteur (I can't stand the name Le's, so I refuse to acknowledge it haha)
I came here with my friend Zheng for lunch, because having no lab meeting meant that I got my lab work done early in the day and had free time in the afternoon. When we first got to Harvard Square, Zheng had the brilliant idea to go to Alpha Omega to look at expensive watches (mind you, I was in my school clothes and had my backpack on, while he was wearing a t-shirt with frayed jeans and flip flops), making us both feel terribly out of place. It wasn't just the several hundred dollar watches either, he went to ask the salesman to show us $4000 Rolexes. Hahaha I was so embarrassed, you just know what those nicely dressed salespeople were thinking when we sauntered into the store.

At Pho Pasteur we got summer rolls for an appetizer. Zheng particularly hates seafood, so we got the summer rolls without shrimp (they didn't seem to have given us extra pork to compensate though). The summer rolls are filled with rice vermicelli, shredded lettuce, mint, and boiled pork, and is wrapped with soft rice paper. They come with a side of mildly spicy peanut sauce, which was a bit excessive for dipping, but still tasty. I had the pleasure of watching Zheng's summer roll explode onto his plate when he took a bite in just the wrong location haha. Sorry pics are not great, the dimness of the restaurant made it difficult to take a clear picture. Too bad my arms make a terrible tripod.

I ordered a small bowl of beef pho for lunch. (Pho Pasteur numbers their dishes, so I call it the small #14). It comes with rice noodles in beef broth, and is topped with beef brisket, thinly sliced rare eyeround, flank, and tendon chunks. It also usually has tripe (beef stomach) in it, but I can't stand the plasticky chewiness of tripe, so I always ask them not to include it. I really like the rest of the beef contents though, they're all quite different and give the soup variety. The beef brisket is always well-done and practically falling apart, while the rare eyeround is tender and pink since they immerse the eyeround into the hot soup in your bowl to just barely cook it. And tendon is fantastic, I love cartilage for some reason, and tendon just has this perfect chew that is so different from meat. Flank is not particularly interesting to me, but it's not bad either. I usually add raw mung bean sprouts into my soup while it's still hot, to cook the sprouts a little, which lends a wonderful and refreshing crunch to the soup. I have to always ask them to not add cilantro to my pho though, I think its flavor is too strong and overwhelms the soup. Scallions and onions are quite nice in it though.

If you have never had pho before, it's really quite interesting to learn to eat it. I myself only learned during senior year of high school, and made quite a fool out of myself for a while before I got the hang of it. You eat with an Asian soup spoon in your left hand, and a pair of chopsticks in your right hand, simultaneously. Some people prefer other methods of eating their pho, but the way I learned it (from a Vietnamese friend), you use the chopsticks to pick up noodles and beef, and nestle it into your soup spoon so that it forms a mouthful. Then you dip your spoon carefully into the soup to get the soup into your spoon of goodies (without losing your noodles and beef!). Finally, you can dip your chopsticks into a sauce on the side and transfer it to the top of your heaping spoonful (I prefer to use hoisin sauce or peanut sauce, but other options exist), before sending it all into your mouth for a yummy and flavorful bite. Delicious! No need to slurp or have noodles flopping around splashing everyone around you. It's quite the art to eat.

2:30PM Herrell's Ice Cream Shop in Harvard Square
Zheng was craving Herrell's brownies n' cream ice cream, which is like cookies n' cream except with ground up brownies, but they didn't have it today. So he decided he would substitute by getting a brownie sundae haha. I shared it with him, because we were both pretty full from lunch. We got a scoop of cookies n' cream, and a scoop of strawberry ice cream, with hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry on top. The brownie sundaes at Herrell's are really good (I get them with my boyfriend whenever I can find an excuse hehe), they heat up the brownie square so that it's nice and soft, and it's so sinful, melting the ice cream on top of it into a lovely puddle of sweetness. Unfortunately the people in the store today seemed new, and while one guy was confused when we asked for a brownie sundae, the girl who went to make ours melted the plastic bowl as she was heating the brownie, which we didn't realize until we had gotten our bowl and finished eating, only to find a big puddle of ice cream on the table that leaked out from the hole in the bottom of the bowl haha. Scary to think that I probably ate melted plastic, ick. Still, the sundae was very yummy.

After I got back to my dorm, the sky start looking really scary, with huge dark clouds rolling in very quickly. It was like the whole sky was covered with a blanket, and you could see the last bits of light being pushed out of the way as the blackness swallowed the highrise buildings in Boston. Of course, minutes after I took these pictures, it poured like mad. I'm so glad I was indoors :)

8:15PM Baker Dining
Eating a late dinner because I wasn't very hungry after eating lunch. Baker had roasted pork loin with rice and mixed vegetables, so I got that and ate the pork and veggies (no rice because I've definitely eaten enough refined carbs for the day lol). The pork was okay, though not nearly as tasty as the maple-roasted loin Baker served earlier in the term. It wasn't too tough, but also not that tender, even though I got a center slice. It came with a garlicky gravy that was definitely necessary to help the pork taste moist. My favorite part of the dish was the vegetables though. They had the usual mixture of broccoli, peppers and squash, but today they also had boiled spinach and mung bean sprouts. I absolutely love the silky texture of freshly boiled spinach, so I really enjoyed eating the vegetable side.

Monday, May 7th

1:00PM Goosebeary's Food Truck
Cambodian seafood, again. This stuff is good! I got one for my boyfriend also to convince him that it's good, but he thought it wasn't salty enough for his taste. He liked the fried fish in it though, which is actually my least favorite part of it lol. He also picked up some random mini-danishes from his lab and shared them with me. There were three different fillings: almond, banana, and chocolate. Not sure which one I liked best, it would probably be a tossup between almond and chocolate.

6:15PM MIT Faculty Club – Biology Senior Dinner
Glass of white wine (Chardonnay) while chatting with friends and professors.

Dinner started at 6:30pm, and it was a buffet style serving (this dinner was not as fancy as the one I had at this place last week with my boyfriend's class). Here is my plate of food, including some Caesar salad, a roll, some green beans, a few mushroom stuffed ravioli with mushroom cream sauce (the striped things), and a small piece of grilled chicken teriyaki. By far my favorite entree item was the ravioli, which were flavorful and moist, without being weighed down by lots of cream sauce or too much ravioli dough. The chicken was far too dry. The rest of the sides were okay, though the roll was a bit too dense.

Afterwards we enjoyed dessert and coffee while an acapella group performed for us. I had half a cup of coffee mixed with half a cup of milk and 2 Splendas (I really don't like coffee, so I dilute it a lot to make it bearable haha), and a slice of lemon custard tart. The tart was okay, but I think they overdid the lemon custard, which came off too sour at first but then too sweet at the end of a bite, which also effectively made my coffee taste bitter the whole time haha.

Not terribly satisfied with our desserts, my friends and I decided to share another dessert  (we were getting really full now but still wanted to taste the other offerings). We ended up trying the "Carribean mango colada cake", which was actually really good! At first I thought it was baked alaska, because the top was a creamy merigue and the middle was a cold layer that I thought was ice cream. Turns out it was just still half frozen haha. The bottom of the cake was a soft sponge, and the middle was a layer of mango mousse that was infused with pineapple flavor, then topped with a light meringue flavored with coconut, then a thin layer of some sort of tropical fruit glaze. It was pretty refreshing for a dessert, and if it wasn't for the fact that we were all getting really full I'm sure we would have eaten more of it. Sorry the picture looks a bit gross, the cake was falling apart because we cut it funny. Just trust me that it was yummy :)

After the dinner me friends and I took home the flower centerpiece from the tables, because everyone else was doing it and they were awfully pretty! I had a bit of trouble trying to carry mine home but it sure is a nice addition to the room. Mmm I love pretty flowers.

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