All posts by Monica Tham

Sona Creamery in Capitol Hill Closed Down For Good

Just in case someone hasn’t heard about this, a family-owned restaurant Sona Creamery Wine and Bar in Capitol Hill has closed for good. The cheese-maker’s Facebook page announced the closing and wrote “[the restaurant] was paying rent for space that wasn’t supporting itself.” This, of course, comes as a bad news for all DC cheese  lovers.

I was just planning to try their grilled cheese anytime soon but too bad they’re closed now. Anyone has recommendations for the best grilled cheese or mac-and-cheese in town?

Top 10 Jewish Delicatessen in the US

In light of our class topic regarding gastrodiplomacy, I attached below a link about top 10 Jewish delicatessen throughout the US, featuring places with pastrami sandwich and matzo ball soup. Hope you might want to check this out if you are (or will be) in any of these cities.

I’ve never tried any Jewish delicacy before, and would love to try one soon. But is it possible if we can make it at home?

Mercury in Fish Study to Strengthen Government Guidelines

A study by nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that the 2014 draft recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the varieties of low-mercury fish that pregnant women can and/or should. The draft suggested that pregnant women could eat 8 to 12 ounces (or 2 to 3 servings) of low-mercury fish, such as salmon, tilapia, and cod per week. However, EWG just released a report stating that 254 women of childbearing age from 40 states were reportedly eating “as much or slightly more fish than the government recommendations over a period of two months.” Exposure to mercury during pregnancy would negatively affect the fetus’s developing brain and nervous system that could end up causing lifelong deficits in learning, memory and reaction times.


Should the government revise the draft guideline? And should the doctors also be specifically informed about what types of fish (especially those with potential higher mercury exposure like tuna) that pregnant women can and/or should eat?

Matcha Custard Pie for St Patrick’s Day

Matcha Custard Pie

Matcha Custard Pie for St Patrick’s Day

In celebration of St Patrick’s Day, the owners of Four & Twenty Blackbirds bakery in Brooklyn shared the receipt for this delicacy.


  1. Heat the oven to 235F
  2. Whisk ⅔ granulated sugar, 1½ tablespoons flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons matcha powder
  3. Stir in ½ cup of melted unsalted butter, then beat 3 eggs and 1 egg yolk at a time
  4. Beat a couple of minutes more, stir in 2 cups heavy cream and ½ teaspoon vanilla, and strain into a par-baked-10-inch pie shell
  5. Bake about 50 minutes, rotate it 180 degrees after 35 minutes, until the edges are set but the center is still wobbly
  6. Cool it down and adorn the whip cream

Does anyone know how to make gluten-free or bake-free (if possible) custard pie? It would be interesting to try though!

Kraft Classic Sour Cream Banana Bread Recipe (by Monica Tham)

While banana bread is pretty common, this is my first time knowing that we can also use sour cream to make one. This special recipe by Kraft is ready to serve in 1 hour and 15 mins for 16 servings! Happy baking 🙂 

Kraft Sour Cream Banana Bread Receipt

What You Need:

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Breakstone’s or Knudsen Sour Cream
  • 1 cup mashed fully ripe bananas
  • 2-¼ cups flour
  • 1-½ tsp. Calumet baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup chopped Planters walnuts

Sour Cream Banana Bread


  • Heat oven to 350F
  • Beat butter & sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add eggs and sour cream; mix well. Add bananas and combined dry ingredients; mix just until moistened. Stir in nuts.
  • Pour into greased and floured loaf pan (usually 9×5)
  • Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 5 min. and remove pan. Cool completely before slicing.

Discussion Question: I’m wondering what’s the difference between bread without sour cream and the one with it? Does sour cream only add flavors to the bread? Or does it help with the final product texture?

Your Choice of Mandarin Oranges by Monica Tham

Mandarin Oranges

Mandarin oranges or tangerines are native fruits from China and northeastern India with (amazingly) eight different kinds of varieties. This citrus is one of the five kinds available in the market along with pummelos, citrons, kumquats, and papedas. However, there are (amazingly) eight different tangerines out there (namely W. Murcott Afourer, Page, Daisy SL, Dekopon, Ruby Tango, Seedless Kishu, Pixie, and Gold Nugget). The link above best sums up the characteristics of each orange.

While this article provides an interesting insight, I’m wondering if the FDA or grocery stores have any certain allocations in their fruit sections in terms of different types of (for example) oranges that they sell? Or do grocery stores choose which types of specific fruits they want to sell? OrangesMandarin Oranges