Rosemary Garden Bistro – Làng nướng Vườn Hồng

Nothing in the Rosemary Garden compound quite fits the name “Bistro”, there’s a chapel, a few stores across the parking lot with signs too far for me to read, a bakery that only takes order for wedding cakes, birthday cakes and Christmas cakes, and a restaurant big enough to host a small wedding banquet. Little Mom saw its ad in the local Vietnamese newspapers, and grilled alligator sounds good enough to make a trip across town. My vegan intention was quickly thwarted, as expected in any Vietnamese or Korean restaurant, the few non-meat things available are all related to stir-fried bokchoy or eggplant. Little Mom eyed a few courses in the 9-course fish ($29.95), but you can’t get one without getting all nine, and she’s against fish spring roll while I’m against fish congee, so we flipped to the next page. Since Rosemary Garden is a làng nướng (grill village), it’s only appropriate that we meat-out and ignore the rice/noodles altogether (they don’t grill tofu). Besides, rice comes with alligator. Lots of rice, which took me by surprise for a split second. Guess I’ve been in the Bay for too long… Continue reading Rosemary Garden Bistro – Làng nướng Vườn Hồng

In the Eye of Tea

After a 5-course afternoon tea, the three of us felt our stomachs’ calling. The wind blew chilly moisture from the sea. A hearty dinner of noodle in hot broth would hit the spot, one that was saturated with oolong. Quite appropriately, we walked into O Chamé, meaning “eye of tea”(*) literally and “playful little one” colloquially. It’s Mother’s Day, no reservation, we couldn’t be any luckier that the guy found us three seats at the end of the bar. Of course, who would skip the appetizers. And of course, we couldn’t decide on just one appetizer, so we ordered three. The potato and snow crab croquette ($8.50), buttery but mild, tastes ten times better after a dip in the plumier-than-usual-and-not-too-sour tonkatsu sauce. Usually I don’t dip my stuff, but the sauce is a must here. The grilled, caramelized eel ($10.50), Kristen’s choice, is great. Little Mom loves eel, and she would love this. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! 🙂 A bite into the crisp endive releases a burst of sharp, almost minty air to balance the eel’s fatty sweetness. Continue reading In the Eye of Tea