Two new finds! Stellina Pasta Cafe and Mamak

So I heard you like pasta...

Wait, what?  You don't?  Stop lying.  *Everyone* likes pasta ;)

I also heard that you like pasta from Olive Garden.  Wait, what?  You do?  Stop lying.  

Well, maybe you're not lying, but you will be after you eat at Stellina Pasta Cafe! :D:D:D

Tucked away along The Hill area is a little pasta cafe.

Once inside, the atmosphere is already unique.

And the diners are a mixed crowd, from families with kids to groups of well-dressed grownups

Booths and tables border the small room, and each was set with thick tablecloth napkins and candles

So many restaurants have candles @_@  This photo credit to Danrolllllll :)

Yeah, we definitely feel out of place-- YAYYY! :D:D

Our waiter welcomed us warmly and whisked us to a small table on the side.  We started out with appetizers: the "Za" and parsnip soup.  I'm a soup junkie now (Thanks, Daniel and Josh XD), so of course I went with the soup!  Never have had parsnip before, I asked our waiter what it was.  He seemed taken off guard by such a simple / obvious question (haha, my bad!), but described it as a root vegetable, like a potato.  I thought it was more of a radish, so good that!  :P

The Za- an oblong mini-pizza with sausage crumbles, cheese, and wilted spinach

This was super flavorful!  I enjoyed the bits of sausage, because they really packed in a punch of flavor.  The wilted spinach had a hint of alcohol, so maybe they used wine to cook it?  Not sure, but even with the yucky!! alcohol flavor, this was still super nom nom, yummy :)

Okay, I just woke up from my tonsillectomy (more about that in another post!), so I'm too lazy or blahhhh-feeling to type anymore.  I'll just copy + paste my review from Yelp! :D 

Wow.  I just ate there 3 hours ago, and I just *had* to write a review!

Stellina's pasta is indeed fresh.  I used to believe dried could be as good as freshly made pasta, but now I am a non-believer!

Their dinner menu changes daily, with each day to include 4 pastas: 2 long pastas (with one being a semolina variety), 1 filled (like ravioli or agnolotti), and 1 lasagna.  For those crazy enough to skip their homemade pasta, there are other entrees too, with one always being fish-based.

Dinner started on a sweet note with Honey Roasted Parsnip soup.  Mmm!  The soup is creamy and comforting, sweet with warm notes that really hit the spot.  It was so good that I could be satisfied finishing dinner with the soup.  It came with grilled bread too~

My fellow diner ordered the "Za," which is like long personal pizza.  This version had a variety of cheeses (my unperceptive tastes could only make out mozzarella), crumbles of sausage, and wilted spinach.  On first bite, there was the taste of alcohol, possibly wine on the spinach, but I'm pretty sensitive to alcohol.  He didn't notice it until I mentioned it :P

As for the Honey Roasted Parsnip soup...

Also a delight!  Creamy, thick, rich, and comforting.  It was sweet and the bread really added another dimension of texture.  Omgahhh so delish, I want to buy a gallon of this and take it back home ^_^

Now to the FRESH PASTA YAY (each dish comes with grilled bread)-
He ordered and enjoyed the semolina capellini with smoked salmon.  I thought smoked salmon meant lox, but the salmon was still in its uh, meaty form.  Definitely smokey flavor.  Also, there were quite a few whole olives in the dish, and the olive flavor was so strong, that he had trouble finishing the pasta.

And for me, whole wheat walnut tagliatelle!  Oh my!  This dish looks so much better than it sounds, and if you thought it sounded great, it looks like bliss on a plate.  And it frolics on the taste buds too.  The roasted daikon, cauliflower, and kale were really flavorful and made richer with the butter.  And the pasta?  I'm purring just thinking about it!  After a whole wheat fettuccine disaster at the Macaroni Grill, I was convinced that whole wheat pasta could never be.  But today, whole wheat pasta be.  Uh, well, be-ed.  The shavings of cheese clung to the strands, and the pasta melted in my mouth!  Being whole wheat, the pasta was ever so slightly sweet.  OH SO GOOD.  I couldn't taste the walnut and near the bottom of the plate, the pasta was just a tiny bit on the oily side.  But other than that, this was perfect!  My empty plate, full stomach, and giddy mood agree.

Semolina capellini with smoked salmon.  Each pasta came with grilled bread~

Get some of that pulling action!

Whole wheat deliciousness!!

aka... "Whole wheat walnut tagliatelle" :D

The long pastas were $17 and $14, but most diners ate half and took the rest home.  I was already satisfied with the soup and full with half the noodles and would have done the same, but with such delicious pasta, I gobbled it all up without thought.

I also used to think pasta could never taste as good as Asian noodles.  Don't tell my parents, but I think Stellina's tagliatelle can easily beat out most bowls of Asian noodles.  Stellina Pasta Cafe is one of my favorite STL restaurants.  Will definitely be back!! :D

Stellina Pasta Cafe
3342 Watson Road
St. Louis, MO 63139


Oooh?  What's this?  Asian ladies getting their hair permed?

Only one answer...  Chinatown, baby!!

That's right, I just finished my last Fall semester at WashU! Both of my parents came to pick me up.  Such a spoiled little girl :)

We came home and I had a simple but delicious lunch, which was a pan-fried pumpkin flatbread thing and herbal soup with mushrooms.  there were red jujube berries in there, but I thought they were more black than red, hehe.  Then we went to Chinatown for my dentist appointment.

I slept all the way there, super tired.  The lady who cleaned my teeth today was Russian.  "Priviet" is hello, and "bucca" is bye bye in Russian.  she was super nice, and she also loves eating apples!  She told me that if I eat some sweets like candy or cake, the best thing to do is to rinse your mouth with water and then wait around twenty minutes before brushing your teeth.  That's because the acid will draw calcium away from your teeth, and if you brush right away, then the calcium will also be washed away, eep!  I guess that also applies with my cereal, since it is basically like dessert for breakfast. O_O

Afterwards, Daddy and Mommy got a haircut at Jojo.  It was so fast!  I think both of their cuts took about twenty minutes total @-@. Afterwards, we planned to go to a Vietnamese restaurant in Diho plaza, but ended up going towards Dunhuang for Tofu Village.  When we parked, I spotted a Malaysian restaurant and decided on there instead, haha, so indecisive!  But I'm pretty glad we went, because we walked in and it looked like a really modernized restaurant!

Mamak is right below the KTV Karaoke place~

Okay, being lazy again, because concentrating on words is making me nauseated @__@  Copy and Paste!:

I saw Mamak while finding parking for Tofu Village, and it was the best accident ever!  I never joined the hype for Banana Leaf which is probably fifty steps away, but I am definitely now a fan of Malaysian food-- Yummy! ^^

The interior is spacious and more decorated than the average Chinatown restaurant; it's kind of similar to Cafe 101.  There is even a glass window where the kids (and me!) can peer into the kitchen area and watch them make roti and grill satay meat!  Super entertaining, and the staff is super nice.  Everyone was really warm and welcoming!

Grilling meat :)

Roti-making in action!

Really cool-- never knew how they made this before @_@

He made so many in the 5 minutes that I stood staring at him like a stalker :D:D:D

Mamak's menu offers Chinese and Thai food along with the Malaysian fare (all in English, woohoo!  That means you can bring your non-Chinese friends too :P).  They have descriptions, so no worries for the unversed diner either :D

Food was at the table quickly and came out all at once.  We had the Kapitan noodles (stir fried flat noodles with brown sauce, squid, pork, shrimp, and Asian broccoli).  It was sweet and savory, and there was no pool of oil on the bottom, which is common for stirfried flat noodles.  Delish~

Kapitan Noodles (Haha, I can just imagine someone saluting and saying, "CAPTAIN!!"

There was a vegetable dish with okra, eggplant, and green beans stirfried together.  I've never had this combination before, but this turned out to be my family's favorite!  The okra didn't have that slimy gooey feeling. There was a ton of fried shallots which really added to the flavor, om nom nom :3

Vegetable stirfry with okra, eggplant, green beans

The Hainanese chicken came with a red spicy, sweet dipping sauce.  The meat was juicy and nicely salted from the soy sauce, and overall it was really tasty.  Not dry at all!  There were random cucumbers for garnish (AHH!  I'm not a cucumber fan), but even with those, I was happy we ordered the chicken.

Hainanese Chicken

Lastly, spareribs!  We originally ordered the Salt and Pepper Spareribs, but our waiter recommended another version, saying that the salt/pepper can be ordered anywhere.  Since I'm getting senile already =_=, I sadly can't remember what it was called.  (*edit:  It was the Flaming Spareribs!)  It came wrapped in aluminum foil folded into a swan shape... AND it was on fire O_O  One of the waitresses opened it up at the table, and the spareribs were covered with a sticky sweet orange-brown sauce.  The meat was tender-- so tender that my dad was suspicious that it was undercooked, but I couldn't find anything wrong with it.  Really a delight to eat!

Flaming spareribs came hidden inside... a pheonix?? :P

Mmm, sticky sweet Flaming Spareribs~

The chicken came with a bucket of yellow rice, which wasn't as fragrant as the rice from Banana Leaf, but I would definitely choose Mamak over Banana Leaf any day.  I can't say that I know what *authentic* Malay food tastes like, but the food is darn delicious, the portions here are bigger, the space is prettier, the staff is warmer and check up on you, the crowd is more diverse, and you can watch roti-making in action!   I can't wait to eat our leftovers for lunch tomorrow~  This has become one of my favorite places in Chinatown-- see you soon Mamak!  :D

Even the pickiest of eaters was satisfied ;)

Ahh!  And I also explained to someone what Yelp was!  I was taking pictures of the guy making roti with my chunky DLSR, and a father of a family asked me if I was going to put my pictures on Facebook.  For anyone who knows me, I almost laughed-- Facebook? :P  So I explained what Yelp was and how it allows you to filter through neighborhoods, cuisine-type, etc. to find new restaurants to try and stuff.  Yay, felt like I was doing the great Yelp community some PR-ing :D

And this man learned what Yelp was!  Wooho!

Mamak Malaysian Restaurant
9889 Bellaire Blvd
Ste D238

HoustonTX 77036

Okay, I think I got a little too excited staring at words on the screen.  I need to lay down and hopefully sleep until the world stops spinning =_=   Next post will be about family quality time during the holiday season!  Good night! ^_^