Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Friend to Grow Old With!

April and I have known each other for 22 years now. In all these years, we only had one year living in the same city. The rest of the time, we are separated by the Pacific Ocean. It's amazing how friendship works sometime. That one year bonded us through the time and distance. Words are not necessary or enough for all the stories and understanding between us. I hold her dearly to my heart.

I never baked anything in my life before coming to the United States. I didn't discover my passion for baking and cooking until then. And, it's all due to pure survival. I love food, and I love sweets, and I mostly love food from my home land. I couldn't find things close to that in US. You see, I had no choice than to make my own. April has always been into baking, among other creative things. I got a few starter's recipe books from a couple of lovely friends, then April became, and remains to be, my major mentor on my baking journey. We not only discuss baking together, but also enjoy eating food together whenever we have opportunities. One of my most favorite things to do when visiting home is to spend a day with her. And one of the highlights of our day is eating. You will not believe how much this little lady can eat. This time back in Taipei, I was again reminded and awed by her strength of eating. Come on, we are in our 40's, and I honestly can not believe that she can still put in so much food like she used to. Even back then, she ate much more than average girls, or maybe even guys. (This is a compliment for her. Trust me!) 

She complained that my schedule was too full. Well, the truth is that her schedule was not better than mine. We started our day with little precious caneles. I had heard so much about them before coming home. April has mastered making them. The crusty caramelized outside with the moist and soft inside made perfect harmony. Unfortunately, each copper cannele mold costs US$20. I will make sure to put ten of them on my Christmas wish list this year. 

Our first stop was Smith&Hsu, a tea and English scone place. The variety of tea selections was quite impressive.

We picked black caramel. Surprisingly, it was quite good. However, the scones were disappointing. They were doughy, more like biscuits to me than scones. The lemon curd that came with the scone was not bad, though.

Doesn't this place look like a fashion shop? Well, it's not. It's Salon De The de Joel Robuchon, Taipei. The color choice is something, but it's not for me. We carried out two pastries to try.

This is another famous bakery in the basement of this expensive department store

We finally found a place to sit down and shove in the two delicate pastries we got from Robuchon. 

This guy here was incredible. It's too complicated for me to describe it, but the layers of creations were impressively clear. I loved this one.

By now, I had been eating sweets after sweets. And it was close to 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I needed salty food. She took me to a small neighborhood noodle shop. There are many cozy eateries like this in the city. I love the ease and warmth this little place presents to their customers, something more than just food. The noodles and wonton soup hit the spot on a wet day for us.

More food? That's right! Remember? I was out with April! Honesty, all I could do at this point was to enjoy my coffee, have half of the tart, and give up! I could not possibly put anything more in my stomach!

One day was not enough! Not enough time to talk and not enough room in my stomach. Thankfully, I know there will be next time. I love my old friend and look forward to another 22 years to grow older with her. Thank you, my dear April. 


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