Originally I was going to Ivy's Deli for some soup dumplings and maybe some fish skin dumplings after visiting Mom for Mother's Day. Lo and behold, it was an empty shell, with no forwarding note. I have since found out that they moved to a strip center behind the Ikea in Round Rock. BUT, since I was there already, I hobbled into Asia Cafe for a couple of my faves. Chicken with Beech Mushrooms has an amazingly rich chicken flavor, which pairs perfectly with the nutty flavor of the beech mushrooms, Hypsizygus tessellatus. They are commonly called Shimeji, and come in brown and white versions.Think of them as thicker, meatier, crunchier enoki mushrooms. The dish is also loaded with slices of fresh garlic. A great chicken stir fry, made even better with some of Asia Cafe's chile paste with Sichuan peppercorns.
Dish number two was an old standby, Shredded Pork with Dry Tofu. I'm a sucker for this dish, and they do a great version of it. The pork is tender and sweet, the dry spiced tofu is meaty and nutty. Throw in some sliced garlic and scallion, a dab of soy sauce, and copious amounts of chile paste with Sichuan peppercorn and you've got yourself some big flavor. The thing about Asia Cafe is that you don't have to get a super spicy dish...it's all good. Get something with no menu peppers and then you can spice it up as much as you like!
Mick Vann ©