Monday, June 8, 2009

More Fun Lunching With Jo-Mel (and Friends) at Chengdu 1

I first blogged about Lunching with Jo-Mel at Chengdu 1 last year. Jo-Mel is the handle for the wonderful lady who first immersed me in Chinese food and culture. This year, we convened at Chengdu 1 in Cedar Grove NJ on May 29, together with Duke Geological Laboratories friend Steve and several EGullet friends - Tracy and Kurt, and Rachel and her mom. The restaurant is located at Pilgrim Shopping Center, 89 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove NJ 07009, (973-239-7726). Although Cleveland has a respectable Asiatown, one thing we still do not have is a genuine Sichuan restaurant, so I greatly enjoy a meal at Chengdu.

To aggravate me further- I'd had a rather emotional discussion with my mom right before we left for New Jersey - so I left my camera there. Thank you to Tracey Zisa Dutschmann for the use of your photos - the balance of the photos are from my cell phone camera, which I don't even know how to use!

Though the servers initially brought us the standard fried wontons and duck sauce, once they realized who we were (lovers of the "real deal") spicy broccoli and peanuts appeared on the table.

We started with the amazing Baby Wontons - this photo is from 2007:

Next up - spicy lamb:

Tracey Zisa Dutschmann

My favorite dish of the day - from the "specials" menu - Ma Po Tofu with Fried Fish - perfect!

Tracey Zisa Dutschmann

Shredded potatoes with chili. Yum.

Tracey Zisa Dutschmann

Stir Fried pea leaves with garlic. Delicious.

Tracey Zisa Dutschmann

This is a dish that Jo Mel taught me to make - steamed spare ribs coated with rice powder (which can be purchased in the Asian grocery, or simply made from rice with a food processor). This version was so tender that the meat fell off the bone - fantastic!

It was served with chunks of potato.

Tracey Zisa Dutschmann

This dish was from a wall special - "baby" eels with yellow chives.

The taste of this dish was incredibly good - but I just could not get over the visual of the little eels and only ate a couple of them.

Jo Mel recommended a "new" book for use in deciphering Chinese menus and getting the best food at any American-Chinese restaurant:

This is on my list to get.

Since we had eight people at the table, we actually avoided having a huge bag of leftovers to take back to East Northport - in fact, other than a few eels, we pretty much demolished everything on the table. We look forward to returning, to play with great spicy food with good friends.

1 comment:

  1. the mapo tofu looks so delish!

    this is really one of the simplest dishes to make anywhere in the world so long as you can get hold of tofu and sauce package.

    Here I bought a sauce pack so as to skip all the seasonings! and i will try this friday after work.