Archives for the month of: February, 2011

Hey there Cookie Crumbles, sorry I’ve been really lazy about posting recently. The good news is that I’ve been spending my time eating and cooking, so I have lots of foodie fairy tales to share with you.

Last week I had the good luck to attend the launch party for the brand spankin’ new Michelin Green Guide Taiwan. Hosted by the Taipei Economic and Culture Office in Midtown East, the event celebrated both Taiwanese culture and Michelin’s standard of excellence. Let me begin by admitting that I was raised on Michelin travel guides, am an unusually rabid fan, and was very impressed with the Michelin representatives’ ability to handle my unbridled enthusiasm for their product. I went on to guzzle several flutes’ worth of Veuve and stuff my face with five different kinds of dumplings, pictured below. It was a great night.

Though Green Guides focus on the cultural, historical, and tourist attractions (rather than the restaurant and hotel focus of their sister Red Guides), there is a section in every Green Guide about the cuisine of the region in question. So I got extra titillated when I read “The people of Taiwan have a fascination with food. People today will greet each other by saying Chi bao le mei or ‘Have you eaten?’ as often as they will say Ni hao or ‘How are you?'” These sound like my kind of people.

Taiwanese cuisine, according to Michelin, represents culinary traditions from all across China, as well as Korea, Japan, and the West. Here are my favorite bits about Taiwanese food that I gleaned from the guide:

Sausage Bun Sausage Let’s be honest: Any dish that uses the word “sausage” twice must be pretty tasty. Literally translated as “big sausage wraps small sausage,” this street-food favorite is a sticky-rice sausage sliced open length-wise with a grilled pork sausage, also sliced open length-wise, placed inside. This can be dressed in a number of different ways, but the most common toppings are garlic, chilies, and fresh basil. Forget the disgusting and dilettante-ish Double Down from KFC. Taiwan has known for ages that the fastest way to our gluttonous hearts is to replace carbs with meat. Yumm-o!!

Hakka Food This is the rustic home-style cooking of Taiwan and it excites the very nerdiest foodie living deep within my soul. From the cucina povera of Italy and la Cuisine de Misère of France to the Hakka food of Taiwan, every culture in the history of the world has come up with a particular cuisine and style of cooking that is more economical, more humble, and, in many cases, more satisfying than formal cooking traditions.. I love exploring these cuisines because they remind me that even in the hardest of times, people do not forget the power of a thoughtful meal. To taste this particular breed of comfort food created by relocated Han Chinese centuries ago, head southwest of Taipei to the county of Hsinchu. Here will you find the best examples of the salty and sour stews and creative uses of pork and preserved vegetables that are the hallmarks of Hakka food.

Night Markets Taiwan is known for its night markets and many tourists view them as one of the main attractions of the island. Stalls sell everything from light snacks to full meals, desserts, fruits, vegetables, and various proteins. Street food excites me personally because of its varnish of authenticity and New York is already ripe with food trucks, so I would love to go shovel all kinds of bizarre street foods into my mouth in Taiwan. The Green Guide also points out that night markets serve as social epicenters, particularly for Taiwan’s younger population.

Some things about Taiwanese cuisine are less exciting to my palate (such as the “signature dish” oyster omelet and the infamous stinky tofu), but after reading the Green Guide my mouth is watering and my imagination is running wild. For the past week I’ve spent much of my free time obsessively researching flights from JFK to Taipei International. So on April 16 pop out there and pick up a copy of the guide; if you weren’t planning on visiting Taiwan, I promise that you’ll want to after flipping through this book.


Welcome Readers! This is The Infinite Table’s very first guest post and I could not be more excited about it. So read this post and love it!

Gabriel Kussin lives and works in Durham, North Carolina. He is the Membership Coordinator at El Centro Hispano, a Latino advocacy organization and is always searching for new and exciting recipes.

I recently started working at a Latino advocacy organization and the first two questions that my colleagues asked when they discovered my Puerto Rican heritage were, “What can you cook?” and “When will you cook for us?” There was an automatic assumption amongst these Ecuadorians, Mexicans and Colombians that not only could I cook, but I could cook well.

The connection between being Boricua (the indigenous Taino name for Puerto Rico and its inhabitants) and Puerto Rican food is representative of the rich diversity of the Caribbean island. Our music, our people, our landmarks and our food are mixtures of African, Spanish, Taino and, more recently, American influences. In Spanish, Puerto Ricans refer to their cuisine as comida criolla, or literally “Creolefood.” While each Latin American country possesses its own distinct culinary flavor, Puerto Rican food has the greatest range of tastes, styles, ingredients and dishes. Yet even if you are eating chicharronde pollo (a breaded, garlic chicken) or a traditional Puerto Rican Octopus Salad there is something that reminds you of La Isla. You may not be able to describe it, but it will leave you wanting more.

In an attempt to represent that diversity of flavor as well as experimentation that is quintessential to Puerto Rican food and culture as a whole, I decided to make several trademark Puerto Rican dishes withsome small twists: salmon filled pastelillos, or miniaturized empanadas, fried plantains and asopao, a Puerto Rican gumbo.

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I know, it’s a day late. Traditionally, I hate this holiday. However, as I’ve become older and wiser and better at buying wine, I’ve come to realize that Valentine’s Day is a very important holiday for a girl and her most favorite bottle of sparkling Rose. I hope all of you, dearest readers, celebrated in whatever manner you see fit.

A few pieces of information:

1. Last week was Social Media Week, and I love social media. I had the good fortune to go to two of the week’s events, both about food. On Friday morning, I attended the panel discussion “Almost Good Enough to Eat: Food Communities and Social Media, Presented by AOL” featuring:

I’m not sure how interesting this session would have been for those of you not obsessed with food AND social media, but the panelists were all great food personalities. I would encourage everyone to check out their websites and Twitter feeds. In the afternoon I attended another panel discussion “The New Open Kitchen. Panel & Happy Hour hosted by Zagat and Edelman” with the panelists:

Oleg Voss was quiet, but hilarious and I cannot wait until his West Village brick and mortar opens. Amanda and Jake provided great insight from both the restaurant and social media platform perspectives. Soraya might have been my favorite panelist of the day. I have checked out a lot, but sadly can’t use it because I’m still waiting for the Blackberry app. However, I was highly impressed with her penetrating industry vision in both the food and web worlds. If you haven’t checked out FoodSpotting I strongly recommend it. If you like Food Porn Daily and drooling into your keyboard, you will love it.

2. I have very exciting news for everyone: tomorrow will feature a guest post by the fabulous Mr. Gabriel Kussin. A Brown University alumnus, Gabe and I have been friends for many years and shared a passion for food and all of it’s culinary and cultural features. I recently invited him to write a guest post and he kindly obliged. His post has a lot more substance than mine usually do (so they don’t consist of me says “I ate something and it was delicious yum!”), so be sure to tune in tomorrow and check it out.

3. Not getting enough of The Infinite Kitchen? Just a reminder to check out our Tumblr, join our freshly pressed Facebook Page (image coming soon, I promise), and follow me on Twitter!