Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lunch at ARC Oak Cafe

I love to eat out at American River College's Oak Cafe.  They prepare with top notch fresh ingredients and turn them into wonderful dishes.  When it comes to going to restaurants, I am the most timid of all.  I am quite scared to step into a restaurant and order a dish and get disappointed.     Sometimes, it's not the food, but what the servers do to the food or the plate get me scared.   Have you experienced it?   So unprofessional.  They should not work as server if they don't have the respect for their important role in representing the restaurant and for themselves.    Here at American River College's Oak Cafe, the culinary students prepare the selected menu for the semester and serve them to the public on Wednesday, Thursday, and on Friday.  Check out their facebook:  This photo journal is from my visit on February 22 with Chinese cuisine theme.  Dishes were amazing.  I was surprised by all the combination.  For me, I thought, it was prepared a bit in nontraditional way, but I was delighted with aroma, sight, and taste.   and Of the following Menu, I tried the Spicy Scallops, Buddha’s Delight – 18 Ingredient Vegetable Stir-fry, and Chinese Peanut Cookies with Ginger Ice Cream.     Youtiao – Fried Crullers. <<< Youtiao for dessert?  that's very interesting, I thought.  But, I wished I tried it instead. 

Heng Yang -Spicy Scallops or
Hongshao Rou – Red-cooked Pork Belly

Buddha’s Delight – 18 Ingredient Vegetable Stir-fry or
Peking Beef with Yangzhou Chao Fan – Fried Rice

Youtiao – Fried Crullers or
Chinese Peanut Cookies with Ginger Ice Cream

This Buddha's delight had so many fresh ingredients in it.  It was so good and delightful in every bite.

Peanut is not my favorite, but I gave it a try as it is Chinese New Year week celebration still for the good fortune of "PHA"-SEN. 
This is the Youtiao -Fried Crullers - Nice!

The week after on March 1st - after viewing TV series on PBS - Downton Abbey, I wanted to try ARC Oak Cafe's Downton Abbey Upstairs Cuisine.  I did not know what I was getting into, but ARC Oak Cafe is the best place to find out anything about "International"cuisines.  The menu was

Watercress Soup or Kedgeree
Grand Marnier Glazed Duck or
Pork Loin with Mustard Red Wine Sauce and Turnip Puree
Apple Charlotte or Earl Grey Chocolate Mousse

Trying to be brave and adventurous without any of my family member present, whose palate are far more trained and have tasted and experienced all sorts fine cuisine, I ordered:
Kedgeree and Grand Marnier Glazed Duck. 
Amazing Kedgeree.  I can eat another one!  And finally the duck.
I bravely tasted every bite of the Grand Marnier Glazed Duck.  They were delicious.   Contrary to the Peking duck that I've only tasted twice in my life, and the last ones was during my visit to China in Beijing at its famous Peking Duck restaurant, this Grand Marnier Glazed Duck's texture was like moist pork and chicken, but the taste of its own.  I was quite happy, and patted myself on the back for eating all of them.  The Grand Marnier Glaze was a perfect match. 
And, to complete my lunch - Earl Grey Chocolate Mousse.  
I know how long it will take to prepare and work involved in making these dishes, and I really enjoy sitting and served so courteously by the student staff.  Kudos to all the future chefs at ARC Oak Cafe.

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