Friday, October 21, 2005

Happy BBM2 To Me!

I finally got my hands on the amazing package assembled by Holly of Craving Cleveland for Blogging By Mail II. Of course, it wasn't Holly's fault -- she responsibly sent the package on September 26, about 4 hours before I realized I should tell her that I was moving and give her my new address. (I had remembered to contact all my creditors, utilities, magazine publishers and forgot to pass along the information for my BBM package that would be filled with delicious goodies? Clearly my priorities need some restructuring!)

Fortunately, Holly's package contained all non-perishable items, which are quickly disappearing from my house. Here is a picture of the tasty goodies Holly sent:

BBM2 Package

First off, there was a lovely note from Holly explaining all the items she included and it had pretty cakes on the cover. She included three recipes -- Crockpot Chili, Spinach Artichoke Dip and Spaghetti & Red Clam Sauce. They arrived handwritten on the most adorable recipe cards that all say "kissin' wears out, cookin' don't." I'm excited to have these new additions to my recipe collection to test out -- I'll be sure to report back when I try them!

Who doesn't love chocolate? As a matter of fact, I created a list of the Best Chocolate Shops in New York City pretty much just so I'd have an excuse to try them all out. ("It's my job!" "I'm doing research!") So I was excited to receive a couple of Malley chocolate bars (one almond, one rice crisp) and a box of Malley Ohs!, which Holly said are her husband's favorite. I must say, they are delicious... and I was even nice enough to share one with my husband today, though I'd be lying if I didn't say I was tempted to keep them all to myself.

Holly also included two jars of jam that she made -- one strawberry and the other raspberry, with berries from her in-laws berry farm. We only tried the raspberry one so far, but it took some serious restraint to avoid eating it directly from the jar with a spoon. It was nicely tart with tons of raspberry flavor -- YUM! I think it might find it's way atop a bowl of vanilla frozen yogurt later.

I haven't gotten a chance to try the Bertman Mustard or the peppercorns yet, but I'm looking forward to both. Thanks Holly for such a lovely package of delicious treats! And thanks to Samantha for coordinating BBM2. If you want to participate in BBM3: Home for the Holidays you've still got a few days left to sign up before the 10/23 deadline.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Little Lamb Happy Family Restaurant

Cuisine: Chinese, Mongolian
Neighborhood: Flushing
Address: 36-35 Main St., Flushing
Phone: 718-358-6667
Price: $30 for 2

Never having had Mongolian hot pot before, I don't have much to compare this experience to, but I must say the half spicy/half mild lamb hot pot ($19.95) was delicious. Hot pot is basically the Asian version of fondue, where you cook various ingredients in the boiling broth and finish the meal with a bowl of the cooking liquid, made richer and more delicious from cooking the items.

We were the only non-Asian guests at the restaurant, which I always see as a good sign. The hot pot was delivered to our table, the not-spicy side of the pot was filled with a cloudy white broth (soy milk based?) with red beans, ginger, and whole nutmeg, as well as numerous other spices and the spicy side was a deep brown broth with a thin layer of chili oil floating atop, as well as chili peppers and nutmeg. They brought out a plate with a variety of items for cooking in the hot pot, including bean sprouts, cabbage, mushrooms, watercress, carrots, a whole egg, noodles and what we believe was intestine. When they came back to our table to uncover the now boiling hot pot, they brought out a plate with rolls of thinly sliced raw lamb.

Unsure of exactly how to eat the hot pot, we watched other patrons who seemed to be using their chopsticks and the slotted ladles to cook the items and then bring them to their plate or bowl before eating. We followed suit, enjoying both the ritual of the meal, as well as the flavorful food. The hot side left a spicy tingle in my mouth, while the soy milk based broth was both flavorful and cooling in constrast. Toward the end of the meal, Dan cracked the egg into the spicy broth and we each had several bowls of the now enhanced cooking broth which had a predictably more complex flavor than at the beginning.

We also ordered some pork chive dumplings ($3.95 for 12) which were fine, but not worth having again. Interestingly, the menu featured many items which you could add to your hot pot for less than $5 each (with just 2 of us, we had plenty of food with the items that came with the hot pot) -- including more meats, seafood and vegetables. We'll have to return with more friends in order to sample a wider array of offerings, but it was a delicious meal that would be fun with a group.