Mitsuwa Marketplace

This is one of my Chicago must go destination. Hubby and I love Japanese food. In this market place, not only you can get food related items and also other japanese products such books, electronic, cosmetic item etc..Be warn, the price are not cheap for sure.

Our trip to Mitsuwa was mainly for lunch. There is a food court in this market place where you can try some delicious Japanese fast food menu. I hope they are as authentic as you can get because some of the menu are written in Japanese language which I have absolutely no clue, thanks to all the sample display on the side, hubby and I manage to order some nice food the try.

I ordered Okonomi-Yaki, A Japanese pizza or pan cake with grated yam, eggs and shredded cabbage top with bonito flakes and Okonomi-Yaki sauce. Cost $3

Hubby order a ramen set lunch meal which come with a bowl of noodle, a bowl of rice and an egg.
The ramen noodle was well decorated with a piece of pork belly, some fish cake, mushroom and a preserved plum for garnish.
The rice top with water crest, scallion and the Japanese rice flavor mix.
Aren't they looks delicious? They actually taste delicious especially the noodle soup. Cost $7.50

For dessert, we ordered the Matcha parfait which start with match jelly at the bottom on the cup, follow by 1 layer of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, sponge cake, matcha and vanilla soft served, a dash of sweeten red bead and some mochi pieces. The parfait cost $3.50. All can I say is Yummy!

After lunch, we went to the Bakery to get some breakfast for the next day. There weren't many choice but we manage to get some cute bakery item.

Strawberry Daifuku - saw this from some blog, they look interested and tasty so we decided to get one to try it out. It turned out quite good, the rice cake were very soft and never know that red bean paste and strawberry go well together.

Japanese Herbs Red Bean Bun - No sure exactly what Japanese herb but i think it just taste like a regular bread with Red Bean Paste filling.
Doraemon Bun - I bought this because of it's cute looking bun. I just blogged about Dorayaki which is Doraemon favourite food, thought maybe this is a great treat to show you what is Doraemon looks like.
Salmon Roe French Bread- as describe French bread top with salmon roe, parsley and some cheese.

IKEA Breakfast

Chowtimes once mentioned about IKEA 99 cents breakfast, we decided to give it a try the one in Schaumburg Chicago. The 99 cents small plate breakfast consist of scrambled Egg, bacon and hash browns. The serving portion seems to be quite small, in stead of the small plate breakfast we opted the regular size breakfast which cost $1 more with a larger portion and additional toast on the side.

The business hour is 10AM to 9PM Monday to Thursday but the Café hour start at 9:30AM with a free Coffee before 10AM. By the time we arrived, we missed the free coffee hours. After all 99 cents a cup of coffee with free refill wasn't sound too bad.

One more thing about Ikea that absolutely blew me away is how kids and babies friendly place you can find in the state. No only they offer the play area for the kids, they also provided a bottle warming station with a microwave and disposable bibs for the baby; free milk and cookies between 3pm to 5pm and they even sell baby jar food in the café for 79 cent each. What else you can ask for?

Aidan is enjoying his breakfast as well and his friend Mr. Panda is patiently waiting for him to finish the food.

Tick.. Tick.. Tick.. Are We There Yet?

The clock is ticking... but I am still in the office reading some blog, check out some website and waiting to get off from work so we can start driving. So I thought maybe I can post my itinerary for the trip :

4:30PM - Start driving to Iowa, hopefully my son will fall asleep in the car
7:30PM - Dinner at some fast food place
9:30PM - Plan to arrive at Des Moise to meet with my friend and stay for overnight

6AM - Start the trip again...
7:30AM - Breakfast at the Tiffany, oops.. actually some place that serve breakfast by the highway
11AM - Another stop for lunch, and no we are not there yet.
3PM - Check in the hotel and get some rest.....
6PM -Dinner at Todai and back the hotel to recharge...

Sunday - Day trip in Chicago downtown and the great lake....

Monday - Shopping Day

Tueday - Heading home.. another day of driving and driving..( are we home yet?)

Chicago here we come

The long weekend is finally here, 1 more day to go and we are outta here. I have been looking forward this trip since January. This is not the first trip to Chicago; In fact, we have been there for so many times. So what's makes the trip so special this time? Traveling with a 9th month old baby. This is my son's first road trip. Without my son, it take us about 9 hours to get there, so I will find out how long it take us to get there this time. Everyone wish us luck when they were told we are heading to Chicago with a baby in the car. I have been hearing all the "horror' story about driving with a baby. I hope I am fully prepared and will try to take it easy.

Our main purpose for the trip is all about food and shopping. Hubby has been craving for Japanese seafood buffet since last year, one place that we definitely will not miss is Todai the Japanese seafood buffet. Next stop - IKEA. We love shopping at IKEA, too bad they don't have any plan to open one near our area, driving 9 hours to get there is quite painful. So I better enjoy myself while I am there.

Dorayaki (Japanese Red Bean Cake)

Have you ever watch the Japaneses animation called Doraemon? Dorayaki is Doraemon favorite’s food. I never had Dorayaki until I came to the US. Since then I am addicted to the cake. You can find this cake from most of the Korean or Japanese groceries store but I think they are quite pricey. I found this recipe from the web and decided to give it a try and they turns out great. They are very easy to make but need a lot of patient when making the pan cake.

  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 tbsp sugar
  • 5 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp Honey
  • 180g self rising flour
  • 400g Anko (Sweet red bean) or enough for the filling
  • Beat eggs in a bowl and whisk it with a hand whisk, then slowly add in sugar and continue whisk very well or until the mixture turn pale
  • Add milk and honey in the egg mixture
  • Add sifted flour in the egg mixture gradually until the mixture becomes a smooth
  • Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and let it stand for 30 minutes
  • Heat a non stick pan in medium low heat.
  • Pour a scoop of the batter in the pan to make it a small pancake. (I used 1 tbsp size scoop)
  • Heat a frying pan and lightly oil it. Pour a scoop of the batter in the pan and make a small pancake.
  • Turn over when bubbles appear on the surface (about 3 minutes) and cook the 2nd side for 40 sec to 1 minute max.
  • The pan cake should have 1 side with coffee color and another side with pale brown color
  • Place the cake on the wire rack and let it cool.
  • To assemble the cake, look for 2 pieces with about the same shape and side.
  • Place 1 scoop of anko (sweet red bean) on the pale yellow side and cover with another cake with the same side
Makes 14 sandwiches.

If you never heard about Doraemon, you might want to enjoy the video of Doraemon Episode 1 below:

Strawberry Sorbet


  • 2 lb of fresh strawberries
  • 160 ml water
  • 135 grams sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan, over low heat, and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Boil the mixture for one minute then remove from heat and let it cold.
  • Place strawberries in a blender and puree the berries until smooth.
  • Add the lemon juice and the sugar mixture and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled.
  • Freeze the mixture according to the instruction provided from your ice cream maker. Usually it takes about 20-30 minutes.

Let's Dish! verdict..

This is a follow up post from the meal I packed from Let's Dish! last weekend. Let's reveal the truth tasting of the dishes...

Rosemary and Mustard Grilled Steak
The marinade consist of rosemary, mustard seed, thyme, garlic and soy sauce.My quickie version to grill the steak is by George Foreman. Placed the marinated steak on the grill and cook for 10 - 15 minutes and let it rest for another 5 minutes before chow in.

Verdict: Quite tasty, better than the plan old grill steak with steak sauce.

Chile Lime chicken with Black Bean Salsa
Chicken breast marinated in lime juice, chili powder and garlic and the black bean salsa consist of black bean, lime juice, roasted bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, cilantro.

Verdict:I am not a black bean fan, but i think the salsa taste quite good even though it has been in the freezer for few days. The chicken tasted great as well and not as spicy as I expected.

Savory Apricot-Crusted Salmon
This is the first dish we made. The fish wasn't as fresh and clean as I wish. The spread consist of apricot preserved, breadcrumb, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce and dill. Rub all the mixture on the salmon fish and bake for 15 minutes with the fish wrapped in aluminum foil and removed the top foil and back for another 5 minutes.

Verdict:This is ok dish for me. I was expecting the crust to be a little crispy. Overall the fish is a little bit too sweet for me. I still prefer the plan old mayonnaise salmon.

Mother's Day Menu

The day started with home cook comfort food Abalone Chicken Porridge serve with some pickle mustard green for lunch.
Follow by Chinese herbal soup consist of Dong Quai aka female ginseng, goji, red dates and chicken. This soup is a special treat for myself.
It was a hot sunny day, spending all day out site working on the fence were not fun. So I made hubby a glass of icy cold limeade with preserved plum. This is my favorite drink. Adding the preserved plum and honey balanced the sourness from the lime.
For dinner, we cooked the dish we prepared from the meal center- Southwest Chicken Wrap. All I need to do is place everything in my multiple purpose rice cookers and set the timer to 5 hours.

The sauce is a little salty taste, so I added some lettuce and cheese on top to kick it up a notch.

Viola.. Dinner is ready.

Let's Dish!

My mother's day celebration started on Saturday May 12. In stead of the usual celebration meal at some restaurant, my husband suggested to try the meal assembly centers found in town and maybe pack for a whole weeks of meals, so I can have a weekend off from preparing and cooking lunches and dinners. Loves this idea as I can take a break from spinning my head trying to figure out what's for dinner. Besides, we also started our summer home maintenance project - re-staining the fence and windows fixing, we may not have any time to cook this weekend as my hubby will be spending most of the time outdoor washing and painting.

Before the weekend, hubby has been doing some research for menu and details about the meal assembly center information. There are plenty of centers near by our house: Social Suppers, Let's Dish!, Meal Makers and Super Suppers. Since we are new this thing, we didn't know that we have to sign up for a certain session to prepare the meal. After all the last minutes of scrambling due to the fact that the center that we planed to attend was closed for the whole month of May, we managed to find an open spot at Let's Dish!.

Wasted no time, we hopped into to car and headed to the center. My son Aidan fell asleep in the car while we trying to figure the location of the center. Made a couple phone calls and finally we arrived in the center. We registered the 4 meals menu. According to them, each full size meal can serve up to 6 individual and we can split them into half if we like. We decided to take the split version and start dishing.

The process begin by selecting a recipe we would like to dish then go to the station with the recipe displayed on the counter.
All the ingredient were cut and clean (I assume) and all I have to do was pack them according to the instruction listed on the recipe.
Once all the ingredients are mixed, pack them into a freezer bag or aluminum bowl depends on the dish you order. Label them with you name and the cooking instruction and put them into the designated fridge and continue to the next menu.
It took me about 1 hour to finish 4 dishes + 1 free dish with an online coupon. Total cost $90 + tax. Overall, it was a pleasant experience and I was having fun packaging the food as you can see below.

Mommy's day Gifts

My first mother's day gifts from my family.A lovely pictures card that showcase all my son's picture from birth to 8th month, a hand print we did together at his school (day care) and a birthstone bracelet from my son's birthstone - Peridot. Roman call this stone as Peridot mean "Evening Emerald" because it's green color did not darken at night but was still visible by the lamplight. Some people believe that wearing this stone will bring success, peace and good luck to the wearer.

Coming up next... the series of my first mother's day celebration.

Cranberries Pistachios Biscotti

This is another keeper from my old baking collection. This recipe comes from Giada De Laurentiis - one of my favorite foodnetwork stars. The red color from the berries and the green color from the nut make this a perfect backing for Christmas. I made this as my Christmas gifts to my friends 2 years back and they all love it. I know that we are not even close to holiday's season but I think this biscotti taste good with a cup of cappuccino at anytime of the year.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend.
  • Beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend.
  • Beat in the eggs 1 at a time.
  • Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended.
  • Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.
  • Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes.
  • Cool for 30 minutes.
  • Place the log on the cutting board.
  • Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices.
  • Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

Recipe provide by FoodNetwork

Silk Tofu in Brown Sauce

Another simple recipe from old my recipe collection. All you need is a block of silk tofu and 30 minutes to spare.


  • 1 block Soft Silk Tofu
  • 1 clove of garlic - chopped
  • 1/4 tbsp soy bean paste
  • 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/4 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 tsp corn starch diluted with 1 tbsp of water
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • Place Tofu in the steamer and steam for approx. 3 minutes
  • Remove Tofu from the steamer and cut into cube size
  • Mix all soy sauces and water in the bowl
  • Heat 1 1/2 tbsp of oil and sauté garlic and bean paste until fragrant
  • Add tofu and soy sauce mixture
  • Let is simmer for 20 minute or until the sauce reduces
  • Add in cornstarch mixture to thicken
  • Garnish with some scallion and coriander

Nutella Frosted Cupcakes

I love cup cake. They are so cute and I think they are perfect for kids' birthday party. As plan for my son's 1st birthday party this August, I decided to bake some cupcakes as his birthday cake. I have never bake cup cakes before, with my baking skill, I think it is probably a good idea to practice now.

Here it goes.. My first cup cake creation Nutella Frosted Cupcakes from

The cup cakes looks overflow to me. According to the recipe, I should able to make 12 cup cakes from this measurement, and here it goes 12 overflow cupcakes :( I am quite disappointed with the look of the cake but the cake does taste good. The cake is very Soft and light, very rich buttery flavor with a touch of nutty flavor. Yummmm no wonder for those who tried this recipe gave it a thumbs up.

I guess it's going to be a Cupcakes Summer for me this year. Stay tune for more Cupcakes adventure.

Malaysian Style Steam Sponge Cake (Ma Lai Kao)

Malaysian steam sponge cake is one my favorite dim sum. I have to order it every time we went for a dim sum brunch. But here in USA, you can find all different kind of Ma Lai Kao, depends on which dim sum restaurant you went. Most of them taste like a regular steam sponge cake rather than the Malaysian style.

I found this steam cake from Kuali that taste pretty close to Malaysia Ma Lai Kao that I made last week and would like to share.


  • 150g self raising flour (if use all purpose flour add 3/4 tsp baking powder and 1/8 tsp salt)
  • 1/2 tbsp custard powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 50g margarine
  • 137.5g soft brown sugar
  • 70g canola oil
  • 2.5 eggs
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3/8 tsp vanilla essence
  • Some walnut ( Use melon seed you can you get)
  • Sift flour and custard powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl.
  • In a mixer bowl, cream margarine, sugar and oil until light and creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  • Stir in honey and essence. Add in sifted flour mixture to blend into a smooth batter.
  • Pour batter into greased pan and sprinkle over some walnut. Steam over rapidly boiling water for 30 minutes or until it's done.
  • Use a toothpick to check when the cake is done. The toothpick should come out clear.

7up Pork

I got this recipe from my ex-housemate back when we were study in college. This is a very simple and easy recipe; all you need is a can of 7up and some pork. The original recipe does not call for chilies pepper flake, I like my food a little spicy so I sprinkled some chilies pepper flakes at the end to kick it up a notch and I think it taste wonderful with a little spicy flavor in it.


  • 2.5lb of pork cut into bite size
  • 8 fl.oz of 7UP
  • Light soy sauce
  • Dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of oil to brown the meat
  • Salt and chilies pepper flakes to taste

  • Mix all soy sauces and meat together and let it marinate for 30 minutes
  • Heat the pot with oil and brown the meat
  • After the meat turned brown but not filly cooked, remove the access oil and add the 7up
  • Turn the heat to medium and let it simmer until the sauce is thicken
  • Add salt and chilies flakes to taste

Farewell Potluck

A friend of mine is moving to Colorado this month and we decided to through a potluck farewell gathering for her. She and her husband was originally from Colorado, moving back to Colorado is like returning home to her plus she is planning stay home with her 9 months old son for a while.How envy is it..I wish I have the options, staying close with my family and stay home with my son so can have more time to blog.
Anyway, Today I would like to share some of the foods we prepared for the gathering.

My creation #1: Chipotle Shrimp Kabob

Before grilling

Ready to eat

My creation #2: Mayonnaise Grill Salmon

Bryan's signature potluck dish: Devil Eggs

Karin's Assorted Pepperidge Farm cookies (I love it!)

Veggie Platter from Karin

A colorful yet refreshing dish Eric and Josephine: Mix Fruit salad

Last but not least, the grilling in progress pictures

It was a great get together before they leave and i wish them all the best and i am sure they will enjoy the nice city and accompany from all the family remember.. and hope we can visit them sometime in the future.