Back in Houston for a bit

Before going off to take my last final, I brought my suitcases up into my room from the basement and set them in a corner.  Debra used my scanner for something, and I found her nestled cozily in a corner.  I thought it was so weird...   I had such a huge floor space where she could sprawl over / roll around in as she pleased, yet she was content being squished between my bookshelf and luggage.  Haha!  XD


Well, as long as she's happy ^__^

I took my final and came back to send her off to the airport with the others.  She and Josh flew off into the sunset together (aka going back to California), so the rest of us headed to Emperor's Palace for dinner.  Actually, we drove to Kim Son, but I apparently fell asleep in the backseat of Daniel's car (Ahhh, I love his double moon roof!!  <3) and didn't realize they discovered Kim Son closed for the day.  So I woke up at the buffet.  Awesome.  Haha!  :P

It was really empty, since it was Wednesday.  I remember I went with TSO on a weekend, and the place was packed!  We had reservations, but there were patrons who had to wait for seats.  But that day there was like... NO ONE.  It was like eating in zombie land!!  Well, maybe not that bad; we got the special pagoda seating thingie, tee hee~

Special seat!

Everyone ate relatively well--  Elaine and I delighted over their DELICIOUS mushrooms, which were sweet and savory at the same time (MSG, yeah?  Haha!), and I loved their sauteed spinach, nom nom!  I never realized that people fried sushi, but the boys all had some :O  Anna and Sean had some fun experimenting with the fondue.  Who thought of dipping grapes and pineapple in chocolate?  ... Obviously Josh, ha ha ;)

Very full :D

The buffet was $15, but with tip my bill was $17.50.  Is that expensive for a buffet?  Also... are you supposed to tip less or something for buffets?  Because everyone else thought so, but the waiter refilled my water 2398293 times.  Very nice :)  Or secretly evil if he's trying to make me eat less of the food ;)

The selection at the buffet is pretty good on weekdays, but on weekends it's even bigger!  While we were there, there was a noodle, sushi, Mongolian stir-fry, Western, fried, Americanized Chinese, salad, dessert, fruit, and chocolate fondue area.  @_@  I think everything tasted pretty good :)  So if you're in the mood for a quality buffet, check this place out!~

Emperor's Palace
17360 Chesterfield Airport Road
Chesterfield, MO 63005

We went back to our apartment, and I packed for an hour before drooling over random recipes on the Internet with Book and Daniel.  How can Daniel never had dim sum before?!  *hyperventilates*  Book went back to his apartment, and Elaine went off to meet some friends and later brought Michael back :)  I was starting to fall asleep, so I said good night to everyone and got ready for my last night in Saint Louis!! ... for ten days.  :P  

The next day, Anna took me to the airport in the morning (Thanks Anna! ^^), and Elaine went to school for some event.  I slept on the flight to Houston and called my parents at the airport.  They picked me up and took me to a magical place called... Chinatown.  ... Oh how I love thee <3  Tee hee :3

This time we went to OK Cafe, which I previously blogged about here.  They have good big-portioned food at relatively cheap prices ^^b  (Dad's favorite type of restaurant, haha!)

They serve *fine* Taiwanese dishes, not your plain Taiwanese food!

Well, they sell a lot of street eats like fried dough sticks 油条 with soy milk and oyster omelets.  I like their rice dishes <3  They also serve slushies and tea~ 

We came during their lunch time, so there's a special where you get an entree and a drink for $5.  My dad chose hot tea, and I chose milk tea to give to my mom (water for me, yum!).  Although I'm not fond of milk tea in the US, I have to say OK Cafe's milk tea is quite delish!  There's a nice balance of tea and coffee/caramel flavor :)

ANNNND no tapioca!  Yay!  (but might be a minus for some other people) :P

Food has arrived!

Omgah.  I was so happy when those bowls hit the counter.  I ripped the paper covering of my wooden chopsticks and barred my teeth, preparing to stab my dish with gusto.  Well, that's what I imagined myself doing, but I took the paper covering off and folded it into a chopstick holder.  And THEN I planted my face into the bowl :D

Chili bean fish rice dish (it has TOFU too!!)

Tofu dessert 豆花 (served hot or cold)

My parents ordered this hot, but I like it cold.  It's basically super soft tofu served in a sweet ginger soup.  Mmm!  Love how it slides down easily~

And as usual, my mom leaps at any opportunity to eat oyster omelets:

Oyster omelet

She said it was pretty good, but obviously not comparable to Taiwan's.  But apparently it's one of the best she's had in the US :)

And I cannot believe I didn't take a picture of what my dad ate.  I totally forgot ._.''  Durr...

Any how, we brought back an order of Zha Jiang Mian 炸酱面 from OK Cafe for my dinner, because I cannot resist trying every zha jiang mian dish I set my eyes upon <3  But when I got home and unpacked, my dad presented me with this little guy:


Actually, more like a huge bowl of them.  They're plums!  And they're from our backyard-- super sweet and juicy.  Wow, I'm drooling while typing this, haha!  They're really delicious cold, and it was a great "welcome home" treat!  Daddy just kept on talking about how they were organic with no pesticides and nurtured with his love and care~  he he~

And in case you're curious of the zha jiang mian, here it is in its mighty splendor:

OK Cafe-style zhajiangmian

It was really interesting, kind of sweet and with beans inside.  The black color made me think it would be very salty, but I loved it!  My parents both looked at it with doubt and tried it themselves.  They thought it was okay but couldn't understand why I was saying "Oh my gosh, so good!" every five seconds with my mouth full.  :D  I wouldn't mind eating that again sometime soon!

Also, my dad made some type of Korean side dish.  It's like kimchi but with daikon.  And super legit:

Daddy's daikon :3  Nom!

The next day, Mommy and I went to visit Connie.  She had to go work out soon, so I dropped off a few cupcakes I had made and talked briefly.  

A snapshot of what's outside her back porch.  So tropical!

And then Mommy and I ventured to Chinatown (again!)!  YAYY!  We visited this little tea shop called  Twinkle.  Hm.  So appropriate for my SNSD-fan friends, eh?

I had the hardest time deciding what to order, but decided to stick with my favorite: mung bean slushie!  Woo!  Soooo goooooood.  Creamy!  I actually ordered taro, but I asked if they used real taro or powder and sadly heard that it was the latter.
See the real bits of mung bean?  It's going INTO MY TUMMYYYY

On the way back home, we passed by this modern building with a... cow thing.  There were tons of people inside and some lined up outside the door.  I snapped a picture and later looked it up on the internet.  It's Jerry Built Burgers, which is a burger place with only two locations in Houston!  They focus on local / organic ingredients, and it looks pretty legit.  I want to see what the inside of the building looks like!  :)

And then at night I was up to no good:

Dun dun dunnnn...  (mehhh the lighting D:)

What evil creations am I concocting?  I'll post about it next time ;)