Field Trip: Emerging from my food rut at Potager Garden 在菠啾花園尋找新想象

On busy days, I tend to eat a lot of bento boxes. There is one conveniently located at work, and I think I may go there a bit too often~ yesterday the lady behind the counter asked:  “The same as yesterday?”

I must have looked a bit surprised,  so she continued:  “and as the day before?”

Thinking back, I realized that I ate the same thing for dinner four nights in a row, and I didn’t even notice. Now that I think of it, unfortunately, I have fallen deep into a food rut with meals that largely look like this:

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Sometimes if I’m not careful, I just mindlessly choose the same type of vegetables every single day.  Also, I usually try to stay away from the meat, because most of is deep fried (fried pork cutlets, fried chicken, fried fish)  but sometimes I experience a moment of weakness, and can’t resist the sweet and sour chicken.

A friend mentioned Potager Garden, a patisserie in Neihu, which serves desserts made out of different combinations of vegetables.  After doing a bit more reading  here,  I decided that this would be just the place to go to wake up my tastebuds.

最近因為工作太忙 所以連續好幾餐都是吃便當。 可怕的是, 好像我一天過一天不知不覺的都是吃一樣的便當。 因為沒什麼選擇我覺得我的味蕾也投降了, 直接傳達我的腦袋  “沒關係。 不要想太多,吃飽就好”  可是到了週末好像傳達系統就會習慣性的故障 而不停的放話 “饒了我 換一個口味吧” 剛好最近有 朋友介紹我去 內湖的 “菠啾花園 Potager Garden” 尋找一些新的 flavors.

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Potager Garden is partly self-service~ you are led to a table, and the waitstaff takes your order for you.  Then you pay for your order at the counter, help yourself to silverware and water before returning to your seat.

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During the start of my visit, I was a little bit distracted by the toddlers at the neighboring tables. One small boy insisted on not sitting down, another mini boy shrieked at the top of his voice that he wanted white rice, not purple rice.  I sensed an epic melodrama brewing, I took a little walk after placing my order at the counter.

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In the outdoor area, there are several beds of plants.  My favorites were the eucalyptus plant and the daisies. Both remind of some of my childhood homes.

在大門口前, 有好多種的 plants. 而且還有可愛的標籤  我最喜歡有注音符號的標籤了 看起來可愛, 而且對我這個 “CSL” 的人(Chinese as a Second Language~ 應該沒有這個名稱~ 是我自己亂編的)幫助很大!

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Daisies are some of my favorite flowers.  As Meg Ryan’s character says in the movie You’ve Got Mail, “They’re so friendly. Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower?” In Taiwan, they are not as common, so I’m always pleasantly surprised to see them pop up here and there.

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After a few minutes of wandering, I decided to head back towards my table.  By then, my fruit tea had already arrived, in a shiny blue enamel teapot. The mug had tiny pieces of apple, kiwi and tomato. Yes. Tomato. (I am always rudely reminded that tomato can also be considered to be a fruit in Taiwan).

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My first impulse was to fish the tomato slices out. But since I’m working on climbing out of my food rut, I resisted my impulse and left them in the mug. I soon regretted it, because even though the tea was a perfectly normal fruit tea, I kept getting distracted by the tomato flavor.

The menu is filled with unusual dessert choices such as tomato cake, corn chiffon cake, edamame sponge cake, yellow pepper with passion fruit mousse,  and carrot chocolate pie.  I ordered the red bell pepper cheesecake.

Out of curiosity, I tried just the bell pepper layer on its own. No surprise there. It tasted just like bell pepper.

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But I soldiered on and tried a bite with the cheese cake layer. Wow. I would have never guessed that those two favors would go well together, but in a truly cosmic way, they did. You just need to get over the voice of reason in your head that says ‘I’m eating bell peppers. In a cheesecake. For dessert” And the flavors will make sense on your palate, even if not in your brain. ( usually it’s the other way around, right?)

在menu 上讓我好奇的點心好多!我猶豫不決  有想吃酪梨起司蛋糕, 也想嘗試卡洛多可可派!終於下定決心點了一片我完全沒想到的組合:紅甜椒起司蛋糕。

第一口  味蕾發出的訊息一定是 “excuse me. 現在是 dessert time. 你搞錯了嗎?” (是的。 我的味蕾也是雙語的) 第二口 會突然覺得, 紅椒跟起司其實可以當一家人! 而是和樂融融的一家人。 味道其實不衝突  紅椒會讓 起司蛋糕顯得更輕爽。

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On my next visit, I’m definitely trying the avocado cheesecake. Avocado is another one of those vegetables with mixed identities in Taiwan. Here, it often blended with milk and sugar, and served as a beverage. But I grew up in California. In my brain, avocados are a vegetable. Preferably served as guacamole, or on scrambled eggs, or in sandwiches. I would also love to try the chocolate carrot pie. I’m curious to find out what that flavor combination would taste like!

On the whole, Potager Garden looks like a great place to meet with a group of friends; the space is generous, the atmosphere feels refreshing, and most importantly, the food is virtuous.

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On my way out, I noticed these beautiful floral arrangements~ I love how a metal measuring cup can be used a planter.  This would look right at home on a kitchen window sill, or make a thoughtful gift for that chef in your life.

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On my way out, I  bought a plant  for my windowsill.  I have no idea what type of plant it is, but I hope it has a strong will to live, because I have probably the brownest thumb in Taiwan (cactuses have died under my care).

I hope that this plant will remind me to be more creative about what I put on my plate each day.

這次的短短的下午茶時間讓我領悟到~食物跟 “吃” 對人生是多麼重要的事情。 其實是代表一個生活的狀態跟態度。 有時候我都是拿 “忙”當藉口 就隨便吃。 當下也沒特別的感覺 但長期累計 就會覺得有一點絕望。 去吃讓人驚喜的下午茶當然也是一種短暫可以讓自己 “wake up”  一下。 可是每天日常生活能讓自己吃到一些新鮮, 有營養, 好吃 的食物是我要繼續在努力的課題。

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Enjoy!

Update:  So far so good! The plant is flourishing under my care.

Potager Garden 菠啾花園  Address: 台北市內湖區陽光街300號1樓  Phone:02 8978 6068

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2 comments

  1. oh my~好特特的cake
    如果是我,應該會跳過,不敢嘗試,haha

    盆栽也太可愛了
    好想放在家裡的桌上喔哈哈

    你形容中文食物的詞彙一點都看不出來你是”CSL”
    hahaha


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