Noodle Reward for Finishing the Taxes

"Noodles" Cedar Park, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO1000
“Noodles” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Here in the States, it’s almost tax day, and of course, I waited until the last minute to do ours. However, over the past few years, the process has gotten less-complicated and faster. Just out of curiosity, I timed how long it took this year and I came in just under two hours, at 1:52. Most of our accounts are able to be imported electronically which saves a ton of hassle, and our charitable donations have been automated as well and easy to track.

So why do I wait until the last moment to do our taxes? Well, I think it has to do with some baggage I am carrying from the days when it was a more manual process. Gathering all of our investment information was super-complicated, and that experience has lodged itself deep in my memory. Maybe next year I’ll listen to the rational side of my brain (and my family) and do it earlier. We’ll see!

Anyway, with the taxes done, I decided to treat myself to dinner (since I am fending for myself today) and I was craving some noodles so I went to a Pho Thanh Nhi Vietnamese restaurant and enjoyed a huge bowl of egg noodles. It was so good! A nice end to the day.


Chinese Noodles for Dinner at Xian Noodles

"Red Braised Beef Noodles" Austin, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO6400
“Red Braised Beef Noodles” Austin, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

This evening I had to fend for myself, as the saying goes, since my wife and kids were all out. I thought it would a nice night for some pho, but then I decided to check out the local Yelp listings for noodles. I almost went to try a ramen restaurant that recently opened, but decided on Chinese noodles at Xian Sushi and Noodle. Despite the name listing on Yelp, the restaurant no longer serves sushi (and the menu just said Xian Noodles on the cover), which is fine since they can devote their efforts on the signature hand-pulled noodles. There were a couple items on the menu that I wanted to try but ultimately went with the Red Braised Beef Noodles, which was highly recommended by Chinese reviewers.

The broth was flavorful and the noodles were chewy and substantial. You can actually choose from perhaps six different types of noodles, but I asked the Chinese waitress what she recommends, and she said she likes the “thick spaghetti”. That sounds like a description that someone might use to describe the noodles to Western diners actually. They were really good, and I would choose them again. There was a good amount of beef in the soup as well, although the noodles were definitely the star of the show, at least for me.

Years ago I lived in Monterey Park, California, which has a sizable first-generation Chinese population and therefore a huge number of authentice Chinese restaurants to choose from. My roommate, who was from Hong Kong, and I used to go out to eat quite often, and the noodles that I had tonight at Xian were reminiscent of the beef noodle soup that I used to enjoy in Monterey Park. That’s definitely a good thing!

The other item on the menu at Xian is the Dan Dan Noodles, so I will need to go back in the future. Maybe next time I can convince my family to join. 😀

"Noodle Menu" Austin, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO4000
“Noodle Menu” Austin, 2019

I hope you had a nice day!


Hot Dry Noodles in Houston

"Hot Dry Noodles" Houston, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO800
“Hot Dry Noodles” Houston, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

When I visited China in September, we spent a couple days in the city of Wuhan (武汉). I learned later that one of the food specialties of the city is Hot Dry Noodles (热干面), but since we had already left the city when I learned of them, I was a bit sad. A missed opportunity for sure.

Fast forward to a couple months later and someone I work with (native Chinese) mentioned that she found a place in Houston that served Hot Dry Noodles, and that they were awesome. I bookmarked the restaurant and made a note to try it the next time I travel to Houston. And happily, that day was today!

I had to pick up Koa and a couple of his friends from a band camp in Baytown this afternoon so I went a couple hours early which would give me enough time to visit Jing 5, which is in Houston’s Chinatown area off Bellaire Boulevard.

When I ordered the Hot Dry Noodles, I was asked if I wanted it mild or spicy and of course, I said spicy! The noodles were very good, with the pickled vegetables adding some nice tang and crunch. I’d rate the spiciness level only a 4, which was a little disappointing, but maybe the cook went easy on me. 😆

The “dry” part of the noodles comes from the fact that they are thick but with very low moisture. I’m not sure how to describe it. They were very soft but resisted soaking up any moisture such as the oily broth at the bottom of the bowl, so it was a strange experience.

I’d rate the dish a 6.5 out of 10, which might seem low, but I’ve heard that Hot Dry Noodles are a bit of an acquired taste. I bet the next time I try them, I’ll rate them higher. Actually, thinking about them now, I’m sort of craving Hot Dry Noodles again!

"Jing 5" Houston, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO800
“Jing 5” Houston, 2019

Along with the Hot Dry Noodles, I ordered Salted Duck Neck. It’s also a special dish, and one that I’ve never eaten before so, why not? They were actually pretty good, but nothing out of the ordinary (other than being neck). They just tasted like duck meat, which is a good thing.

"Duck Neck" Houston, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO1600
“Duck Neck” Houston, 2019

If you are in Houston and want to try the signature Wuhan Hot Dry Noodles, make sure to stop by Jing 5.

I hope you had a nice day!