Tag Archives: chinese

Happy Dragon: 11161 E rd 70 #102, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202

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stale crunchy noodles happy dragon shrimp roll and shrimp with mixed veggies happy dragon


 When I opened the bag of ‘crunchy noodles’ and found VERY stale ones instead, I was worried that this was a bad sign about the meal I was about to eat. Luckily, this was the ONLY part of the meal that I wasn’t impressed with. This little restaurant has turned out to be a very pleasant surprise in Lakewood Ranch. Most Chinese restaurants around here really stink..but the food served here (except for the crunchy noodles) is SUPER fresh, cooked to order, and quite delicious. My husband and I order take-out frequently from Happy Dragon and have been consistently satisfied with everything we’ve tried. Nothing is drowning in sugary, over-seasoned sauces or oil. They take a lot of pride in serving only fresh ingredients- nothing from a can or frozen….so while you may be bummed that there are no baby corn or black straw mushrooms, I am happy knowing that the ingredients they cook with are the same as the ones I’d choose to use at home. I especially love the shrimp and eggplant in garlic sauce and the Mei Fun with vegetables. YUM. This is a great go-to place when you want Chinese food without the typical ohhh-I-wish-I-hadn’t-eaten-that feeling that usually comes an hour later. BRAVO Happy Dragon..We will see you again soon!

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Ping’s Chinese Cuisine: 5445 Fruitville Rd Sarasota, FL

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I met my dad and my honey here for dinner a few nights ago at my father’s suggestion and was pleasantly surprised. When I first walked in, I found a totally unexciting atmosphere in a strip mall. It looked like a run-of-the-mill coffee shop inside, but did have a very friendly hostess/waitress to show me to my seat.

We sat in a booth and were immediately served ice water and a bowl of VERY crunchy noodles with duck sauce. I find these very hard to resist and must admit that I ate more than I should have. We looked over the menu and decided to share a seafood with mixed vegetables dish and a shrimp with lobster sauce dish. I also tasted a bit of my dad’s wonton soup– and must say that it was better than average. Not too salty, fresh and definitely homemade. The entrees were also very fresh and full of large pieces of lobster, shrimp, scallops and a great assortment of vegetables.

The service was super friendly and fast and had the feel of eating in someone’s home- where they really put attention and love into what they cook. This, along with a few other experiences I have had so far in the area, has already changed my preconceived thoughts about eating ethnic foods in Sarasota. It DOES exist, it does NOT make me miss living in NYC, and it IS a great value and worth a visit.

 

Miss JC Garden: 8310 Market St. Lakewood Ranch, FL

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Gabriel and I moved into our new condo in Lakewood Ranch today! We were so excited to finally get here and settled in right away. Around 9:30, we realized we hadn’t eaten dinner yet and didn’t have any groceries so we decided to see what our options near Publix were. Publix is an awesome grocery store, but we NYers aren’t used to supermarkets that close at 10pm and we had to rush to pick up some things we needed for the next day.

A few doors away from Publix, we found Miss JC Garden. In the window, we saw the sign that they serve Chinese, Thai and Malaysian food with a healthy spin. Wow, what luck! Totally our kind of place.

We were welcomed warmly and seated right away in the empty restaurant. Light, airy  crunchy noodles, mustard and duck sauce were brought out along with ice water and menus. The menus are extensive, and it took us a bit to look through and decide what to order.

We eventually settled on healthy steamed chicken and vegetables with szechuan sauce on the side. We were happy to find out that they don’t use any MSG or chemicals here in their preparation. We also ordered Moo shu vegetables that came with 4 thin pancakes.

Everything that we ordered was piping hot, fresh, full of veggies and high quality ingredients. Our 2 entrees were the perfect amount of food and we quickly ate everything in front of us. Our total came to just over $20, a very reasonable price for the amount of food we were served.

We will absolutely be back…not only because it’s 3 minutes from where we live, but also because the service was friendly and personal, the food was awesome and healthy, and the options are endless.

Bravo Miss JC Garden. You’ve impressed 2 NYers who were worried we’d never find decent Chinese food around here…We are VERY happy to be wrong about that assumption.

Hunan Delight: 1469 York Ave, NY NY

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It is really ridiculous that it’s taken me this long to write up a review for Hunan Delight. I’ve been coming here for 5 years since it’s at the top of the block that I live on and it’s WAY better than average chinese food. The Japanese food is pretty darn good too- but I usually stick with Chinese.

If you live on the UES and haven’t ordered in or dined here, you are truly missing out. My boyfriend and I are regulars for both delivery and dining in- we go almost weekly. It’s best to eat there because you get FREE WINE with dinner. The wine is actually pretty good too! When you get delivery, it’s super fast and hot- but the crunchy noodles and duck sauce are not as good as the ones you get when you eat there. The food is plentiful, inexpensive and reliably good.

Today we shared the moo shi vegetables with pancakes as well as the healthy steamed shrimp option with 6 vegetables (mushrooms, black mushrooms, jicama, carrots, baby corn, and bok choy) and sauce of our choice (garlic). As always, the food was great quality, served quickly and with friendly banter.

We often get the healthy steamed choices with either chicken or shrimp and for the price it’s a great deal.  The lunch specials are also an amazing bang for the buck. I recommend the BBQ spareribs, crab rangoon, cashew chicken and juicy dumplings. Everything they make is really surprisingly good. No need to trek down to chinatown!

I will DEEPLY miss Hunan Delight when we move away from NYC next month. I hope you will continue going there on my behalf. BRAVO Hunan, I wish more restaurants up here were as fairly priced and awesome as you.

Chez Carey: baby shrimp wontons, wonton soup and squid with mixed veggies

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I am on the email list for http://www.hungry-girl.com/ and recently got one that highlighted wonton wrappers as a great low calorie food to work with.  Inspired, I decided to look for them on my next supermarket shopping trip. My boyfriend and I got excited about something new to get creative with and started thinking about the rest of the meal. We picked up a package of frozen, whole, baby squid, some assorted veggies and a few bottled sauces and we were on our way.

This was officially the first meal that we prepared as a team and it was a great success! What better activity than hand-filling and wrapping wontons and prepping tons of veggies? Well, I suppose the ‘eating it’ part was pretty awesome too.

Anyway, here’s the basic idea for the 3 dishes we came up with:

1. Spicy wonton soup

Ingredient list:

wonton wrappers

chicken broth (allow about a cup per person)

red cabbage (about 1/2 cup)

carrot (about 2 carrots)

garlic (a few cloves)

ginger (about a tablespoon)

sriracha sauce (be CAREFUL, don’t use too much- I used about 1 tablespoon)

soy sauce (about a teaspoon)

oyster sauce (about a teaspoon)

honey (half a teaspoon)

celery (1 stalk)

egg white (about 1 egg worth)

mushrooms (about 6 large)

scallions (about 4)

cilantro (a bunch)

a can of baby shrimp, rinsed (or fresh shrimp, cooked and diced would be great too)

Cut up all of the veggies into tiny pieces. If you have a food processor, this would be  great time to get it out. If you don’t, like us, be prepared to chop for a pretty good chunk of time. Put it all into a bowl. Add all of the liquids (except the chicken broth!) to taste. Mix everything really well. Put about a teaspoon of the filling in the middle of a wonton. Wet the edges of the wrapper with water using your finger and seal it up as best you can (we found there were a few different effective ways to do this). Fill as many wontons as you can, leaving about a 1/4 cup of the mixture in the bowl. In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Carefully drop in a dozen or so wontons (3-4 per person) and bring back to a boil for a few minutes. Add the rest of the mixture from the bowl into the pot, stir carefully and continue boiling for another minute or 2.

Meanwhile, with all of the those wonderful leftover wontons, spray a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil with Pam. Put the wontons on it. Spray the top of the wontons with a little more Pam and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until brown and crispy. Let them rest on paper towels for a few minutes before serving. These are also great floating in the soup when you eat the rest of the ones that were in there already and end up with a bowl of broth.

2. Baby squid and veggie dish

Ingredient list:

Baby whole squid, cleaned. (you can find these frozen in asian supermarkets if you can’t find them fresh)

red cabbage (about 1/4 cup, sliced)

bok choy (a whole head, sliced into 1 inch pieces)

garlic (a few cloves, sliced)

ginger ( 1 tablespoon, shredded)

baby corn (1 can)

mushrooms (about 10, sliced)

bamboo shoots (a small can)

coconut oil spray

soy sauce (a few teaspoons)

duck sauce (a few teaspoons)

oyster sauce (a few teaspoons)

apple cider vinegar (a few teaspoons)

honey (a teaspoon)

chinese mustard (a teaspoon)

lemon juice (a few teaspoons)

cilantro (a bunch)

Whisk all of the liquids and the cilantro together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside. Spray a little coconut oil in a wok and get it up to a high heat. Add in the veggies in small enough batches to stir fry them and transfer to a bowl as needed. Re-spray the wok in between batches and continue until all of the veggies are in the bowl. Saute the squid for just a few minutes and then add some of the sauce on top for a few more minutes. Add the rest of the sauce over the bowl of veggies and stir everything together.

Serve over rice if you like, or just with a massive bowl of soup with extra wontons on the side. YUM. (This meal is definitely more fun to make and eat if you prepare it with someone you love.)

Enjoy!

The verdict is that we are most *definitely* going to be buying more wonton wrappers to play around with. I feel like the possibilities are endless and I’m thrilled to have a new ingredient under my sleeve to experiment with. I plan to fill them with crab-stuffed mushrooms next…stay tuned!