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Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

Who doesn’t love chicken noodle soup?  Well, maybe not vegetarians.  This recipe can be amended easily: swap chicken for tofu, chicken broth for vegetable broth, and fish sauce for soy sauce.  It’s a noodle soup good for everyone… even those who think they don’t like coconut.  If someone you know doesn’t like coconut (like August), you might get them to like it at least in this soup (she does).

coconut chicken noodle soup

coconut chicken noodle soup

Makes 4

2 14-oz cans of coconut milk

3 cups of chicken broth

1 lb (or more) of udon noodles

3/4 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breast

1/4 cup of fish sauce

The juice of 1 lime

2 tbs. of peeled and grated lemon grass

2 tbs. of sriracha

1 tbs. of grated ginger

1 tbs. of peanut oil

1/2 tsp. of turmeric

Mung bean sprouts, minced cilantro, and lime wedges for garnish

2 coconuts halved for serving vessels, if you want to make it cute

Thin slices of Serrano peppers, if you want to make it spicy (not pictured)

Heat the oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat.  While the oil is heating, slice the chicken in thin strips width-wise.  Saute the chicken in the sauce pot for 3-4 minutes, until lightly golden brown – it doesn’t have to be fully cooked.

Add all the ingredients except the noodles and the garnishes.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the noodles and continue simmering for another 3 minutes.  Serve immediately, garnished with a large pinch of bean sprouts, a sprinkling of cilantro, and a lime wedge.

Flipside, Oakland CA

It’s National Hamburger Day!  Clearly a celebration was in order.  Zach did the research to find Flipside, a comfortable joint serving burgers, fries, shakes, and more.  Besides beef on your burger you can also choose chicken, turkey, garden burger, and portabella, and the three meats are all natural and hormone free.  However, despite the tasty patty selection, we came here in honor of the day and just had to get traditional beef burgers.  The beef is Certified Angus and never frozen, and the quality is noticeable.  Next time, though, we’ll try some other varieties (and yes, there will be a next time).

chili cheese fries

chili cheese fries

Zach is picky about chili.  Very picky.  It’s a “he’s won a couple of cookoffs” kind of picky.  The chili cheese fries were a special today, and Zach asked to try a bite before ordering.  We were happy when he nodded his head in approval!  The fries may be frozen, but the chili makes up for them.  The cheese whiz complemented the rich, meaty, beanless chili, which was very bold in spices but not overly spice-y.

the hangover

the hangover

All burgers are served on one of three breads: Texas toast, 9-grain, or signature classic.  We both stuck with the signature which is a giant, soft brioche that held together through the end of the meal.  For his burger, Zach chose the “Hangover” for its combination of toppings including a fried egg, American cheese, applewood smoked bacon, french fries, and tabasco mayonnaise.  To this he also added jalapeño jack cheese and grilled ham, calling it a “Zachover.”  The fried egg provided a nice richness when the yolk was broken, blending with the spicy tanginess of the tabasco mayonnaise.  We agreed that the beef on both our burgers was thick, well seasoned, and tasty, and Zach’s particular pile of toppings made his burger memorable.  He says, “Meaty, cheesy, extremely filling, and all-in-one, this burger is hard to beat.”

the california sensation

the california sensation

The burgers come with choice of french fries or a house salad, and for a small upcharge you can switch to sides like sweet potato fries, garlic fries, curly fries, and beer battered onion rings.  The rings, like the french fries, are frozen, but the person at the fryer really knows what (s)he’s doing to make these taste fresh and maintain great texture.  August enjoyed her onion rings with the “Californian Sensation” burger, featuring avocado, Swiss cheese, sprouts, and “flip sauce” (the house’s version of thousand island).  She’s always liked sprouts but has rarely had them on a burger, so this was a nice change of pace from standard lettuce.  The green taste was deep and earthy.  Having an extensive history with avocado (it was her first food, after all), August appreciates more than anyone can know the importance of fresh, ripe avocado.  She was very happy here with how the avocado was ripe enough to spread itself out and be a part of nearly every bite of the burger

Like we said, we had burgers today because it’s National Hamburger Day, but there’s plenty of other items to try from Flipside’s menu.  Salads, a “kids’ corner,” and fountain-style shakes and malts, plus vegetarian options, make this a place suitable for all ages and all tastes.