Farewell Dinner for Alex & Cati at CCK

Celinabean is all about the awesome. She surreptitiously arranged a going away dinner for Alex and Cati last week. It was nice to do that for them, and also to say good bye in person, as opposed to leaving “NOOOO!!!111!! You guyz, like, totally can’t!! It will be sux0rz without yooo!” in a comment.
But in all seriousness, Alex and Cati are very awesome people to get to meet and it was sad to see them go.
Celina arranged the whole dinner with Chef Peter at CCK (basically, the re-homed Ocean Palace) for a stellar price of $20 per person, ALL INCLUSIVE. We all gathered around the table, scootchy-scootchy like and got cozy (“Hi Celina!” “Hi Steve!” (I was sitting next to both of ’em, not shouting all over the table)).
Guess what the first dish that came out was? That’s right! Peking duck!!!!! I had some reservations about how good this was, but yo – it was freaking good. Crisp skin, moist meat, and not too fatty.

I really liked these pancakes/rolls. Fluffy and light, and the hoisin was also good. The waitress made these pancakes for us, so we didn’t have to. Phew! I’m used to just eating the whole duck – the pancakes were fuuu-uun! (And tastier than I’ve had in NYC)

And then came… SALT AND PEPPER SQUID! Can you guys tell how excited I was to be a part of this farewell dinner planned by Celina? Everyone really loved this – buttery, soft and lightly breaded. These are one of the things I must order when I go.

And blogger love! Celina ordered this one because she knew I’d flip my shit. Consider it completely flipped. The beef and noodles were so smoky. The rice noodles soft, chewy, unctuous all at the same time. Crisp, crunchy bean sprouts, mmmm.
Whole fish. Flounder, I think. It was soft and buttery and oh so tender. I love steamed fish. It is so good.

Stuffed eggplants! This is another must-order on the dim sum list. Soft, japanese eggplants filled with shrimp. Fried. And covered in black bean sauce. This might be the trifecta of perfect ingredients for me.

Baby bok choy and mushrooms. Meaty, but not too meaty mushrooms (I think shiitake) and tender but still crunchy quarters of bok choy.

They called this a dried mustard green dish, but I couldn’t really taste any mustard greens. Maybe they’re really subtle when they’re dried? There was pork belly underneath the brown stuff (I’m guessing the dried mustard greens) and the green stuff is fresh spinach. Also a good dish. I loved the spinach. The belly was so soft, too!

Thousand year old egg and either fungus greens or pea shoot tips. This time the thousand year old eggs were really soft and creamy. Not too bad. The veggie portion was just cooked enough to make it not taste raw, but still maintained a crisp texture. Yum.

I think at this point, Alex’s eyes glazed over and he mentioned something about “No more” when our waitress said more dishes were still coming out.

OH NO YOU DID NOT JUST BRING OUT LOBSTER!! Oh yes they did! It was so perfect – tender and cooked juuuuust enough, it was bursting with briny goodness. And not too salty either. When Albany John makes Cantonese-style lobster at home like this, it always ends up super salty. But this… oh, this just hits the spot.

And then there was fried tofu! Soft, wonderfully textured tofu with fresh peas and … oh, it was so good.

Oranges were brought out after this dish, signaling ‘Fin’ to everyone. Oh, it was a great spread, to be sure.

And then Chef Peter himself came out with a special surprise dessert – sesame balls! Freshly made! It was so incredibly good having them fresh.

I ate two – they were filled with a peanutty paste in the center, too. And goodness, I cannot resist anything with toasty sesame seeds in it.

Eventually we said our good byes. I like the little gathers we local food bloggers have, but it is sad to see one of our own go (but not stop blogging – hint hint :D). Best of luck to Alex and Cati – I can’t wait to see what new and exciting adventures they have in their new digs.

  1. ellie said:

    I kinda want to eat here. Like now.

  2. Alex said:

    Wow, your pics are GREAT. I guess that’s why you are, and forever shall be, the Albany food-blog BlogMother. We had fun and our adventures shall continue!

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