Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Catching up- simple summer meal.
I made honey lime chicken (inspired by the marinade article in Sunset magazine) with a peach salsa and fresh corn on the cob.
Mix 3 tablespoons honey, the juice of 3 or 4 limes (approx. 1/3 cup), small handful of cilantro finely chopped, 2 tbsp olive oil, 3 tablespoons sweet thai chili sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the marinade over a half chicken, cut into its respective parts (if you don't have enough marinade, make more). You can marinate for 1 hour to 1 day, depending on how forward-thinking you are (I marinated mine for ~45 minutes). Grill it on the bbq (alternately I have baked it in a 350 degree oven and sauteed it in a pan, your choice).

Combine in a bowl: 3 just-ripe peaches or nectarines (I used white peaches) diced, 1 jalapeno finely chopped (I remove the seeds and membrane, depends on how spicy you like things), 1 anaheim pepper finely chopped, a couple of tomatoes diced, 1 cup corn, 1/2 tsp srirarcha, 1/2 cup cilantro, juice of 1 lime, salt to taste.

You know what to do.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Zig's: Home of the Bullet
One of my LA stand-bys, Zig's is a diner with a lot of valley "flair". Frequented by a variety of characters (ranging from bikers in leather to goths with mathematical equations tattooed on their arms to old men in Hawaiian shirts) Zig's provides consistently delicious, heart unhealthy American fare.
We got a chocolate shake, fries, a turkey sandwich (delicious, thick deli turkey), and a burger (traditional with thousand island! fab fab). I think the whole meal cost a grand total of $14.00.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Rustic Canyon - Wonderful meal. My first dining experience here was good but I wasn't blown away. On this, my second, visit it was heavenly. Ordered:
- Ricotta gnocchi with duck ragu - generous portion of meat, the ragu reminded me of my favorite from Osteria Mozza.
- Sweet corn agnolotti with caramelized corn and parmesan (or as everyone now feels the need to say on menus, "parmigiano-reggiano") - spectacular. I want a lifetime supply.
- mottled peach with basil and prosecco - fine but nothing special, the peach was not that flavorful but it tasted refreshing and summer-y.
- a niman pork chop with peaches, corn, and basil - a bit disappointing, the meat was slightly overcooked.
- the BURGER !! with caramelized onions, arugula, house made pickles, sharp cheddar and an herb remoulade - I have decided that this is my favorite burger of life, thus far (even better than Spruce). It isn't over the top, they don't try anything too elaborate it is just well seasoned and has great toppings.
- Branzino with roasted artichokes, confit tomatoes, eggplant and a few more veggies - good, straightforward (ordered by the health-minded member of the group who enjoyed it but declared that next time he would be ordering the burger).
If you wanted insight as to how the chef at Rustic Canyon, Evan Funke, prepares his burger click here (although you may prefer to be ignorant re: the fat that goes into making a sublime burger).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Mozza2Go - Another Blackboard Eats inspired meal.
The food was great and the service dismal. Ordered: Roasted red pepper focaccia a la Nancy Silverton, only offered on Monday nights; meatballs al forno (I happily ate the leftovers over fresh pasta as a midnight snack the following night); Mario's lasagna - fabulous bechamel. Almost seems unfair to call it lasagna because it was so superior to anything I have ever encountered that goes by the same name.
Pizzas: squash blossom with burrata and tomatoes (yum); Mozza's version of the 'meat lover's pizza' - speck, fennel sausage, salami, and pancetta (one piece is a meal unto itself, I had three meals' worth).
Click here for Saveur's version of the squash blossom pizza.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Summer Fruit Buckle

Summer Fruit Buckle (aka throw in anything you have around) - adapted from an LA Times recipe. Crumb topping - Sift 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup sugar. Add the zest of two lemons, a generous dash of salt, and cut in a 1/2 stick of butter. Toss in about 1 cup of oats. Cover and chill.
Cake - Grease a 9x9 pan and preheat oven to 350. Whisk together a generous 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg in a medium bowl. Cream six tbsps butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and the zest of one lemon until light. Add two eggs one at a time.

Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture, one third at a time, alternating with (a hefty) 1/2 cup buttermilk (start and end with dry). Once everything is incorporated fold in the fruit - I used two enormous peaches (sliced), two plums (sliced as well) and 3/4 cup blueberries. Pour the batter into the greased pan.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Los Toros, Chatsworth -
Best meal deal of the week. To start: an ample supply of salsa, chips and piping hot bean dip (all you can eat bean dip . . . mexican cuisine at its best). I got the "luncheon special" - carnitas burrito (filled with rice and refried beans), served with rice, refried beans (of course), and guacamole, all accompanied by a blended margarita = $6.75!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Shiro in Pasadena -
We started by ordering the grilled baby artichokes with a light arugula salad (attractive, but weird metallic taste) and also chose a shrimp mousse ravioli with maitake mushrooms in a wild mushroom cream sauce. The ravioli was the best dish of the night with a wonderful mushroomy flavor; although I must say that the shrimp filling was not at all mousse-like.
Main courses: Sonoma duck breast in an orange sauce (very rare but good), black cod marinated in mirin and miso (à la Matsuhisa) with japanese eggplant (tasty but the skin was not quite as wonderfully crisped as the Matsuhisa version. For Nobu's recipe click here), and, for the main event, whole sizzling catfish with Ponzu sauce and fresh cilantro (more about the presentation probably than the actual food). Good not great. Being a starving student I thought the prices bordered on offensive, but with my Blackboard Eats discount it was almost worth it.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Homegrown tomatoes with fresh basil and burrata for an afternoon snack.

For dinner I made fish tacos with mahi mahi and a cilantro-lime slaw.
Recipe: I used two mahi mahi filets to serve 3 people. Season the mahi mahi with salt and pepper, chop four cloves garlic and about 1/2 cup of cilantro and rub those onto the fish. I then put the fish into a dish and let it marinate while preparing the rst of the dish. For the slaw: slice a half head of cabbage toss it into a bowl and add in the juice of 1 or 2 limes, 3/4 cup cilantro, a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper, and sriracha to taste. Mix it all together and set aside. Open a can of black beans and warm them on the stove top. I chopped some avocado and cherry tomatoes to use as toppings. To finish the dish heat a pan with a little bit of olive oil, once warm place the mahi mahi in the pan and sear it for about 4 minutes on the first side and then flip it and leave it on the other side for two more minutes. Remove from the heat and break the fish into chunks. Warm some corn tortillas and pile on whatever toppings you please (I served mine with slaw, beans, tomatoes, avocado and a healthy dollop of sour cream. Next time I might swap in some radishes and queso fresco.).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Vacation - posts from the city of angels

No better place to start than an LA institution.

3 a.m. fries, blintzes and a vanilla shake at Canters. Delish.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Ad Hoc, Part II - Too tasty not to post.
First course - Broccolini Salad with a poached hen's egg (why would they specify "hen". . . as opposed to a rooster's?), radishes, red onion, croutons (actually fried bread fresh-baked from Bouchon), lardons (aka bacon), and (tondo) balsamic vinegar (other worldly).
Main course - a pork porterhouse from Snake River Farms. I got curious about the term porterhouse, having never heard it in reference to pork, and discovered that for a steak to be classified as porterhouse the tenderloin must be at least 1.25 inches thick, I think ours was close to 3.
It was served with sauteed romaine, which I thought would be terrible but was actually pleasant and wonderfully sweet, red quinoa, cauliflower, shaved shiitakes, stewed nantes carrots with a very delicate curry sauce and finally a small drizzle of parsley puree. The cheese course consisted of a sheep's milk cheese, Cana de Oveja, with flavor flav plums, candied pecans, and honey. For dessert they served a peach and nectarine pie with housemade vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.


In continuing to search for warm, comforting foods during this balmy SF summer, I found Katana-Ya, an eclectic Japanese restaurant with delicious ramen that doesn't resemble the dehydrated version that comes out of a vending machine in the slightest. We tried the cilantro ramen in a light miso broth (really good, flavorful, mildly al dente noodles) and the butter corn ramen (the name is no joke, you can see what remains of a generous pat of butter floating atop the ramen).


A Quick Ode to Breakfast - Practicing my poached egg. I don't really want to be a purist about anything. That having been said, I consider myself a bit of a poached egg purist, because I am trying to learn how to poach to perfection. I feel like using one of the many "perfect poached egg" products on the market is cheating. Anyone can buy a silicone bowl and drop it, along with a raw egg into near-boiling water and have the egg cook in a perfect shape, but what if that same person found themselves in the mountains, tool-less needing to poach the perfect egg - s.o.l. It doesn't really matter what they look like it is just an enjoyable quest, not to mention, I like poached eggs and am happy to eat all the ugly imperfect ones along the way (I am even fine if that is all I ever make). Here is a photo of my latest attempt (c/o Mark Bittman's advice in this Minimalist article). I served my egg with cranberry currant bread and crenshaw melon.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Georges - sounds good, tastes mediocre. Ate: Clams with Puttanesca Sauce (we ordered mussels in a white wine broth but this is what we got - it was pretty spicy but with a nice tomato-y flavor), Fish and Chips (the fish was moist but the battered outer shell was very oily, and not crunchy at all, as if they had fried it the day before and then microwaved it briefly right before bringing it out),
"True" cod tacos (the same fish as in the fish and chips, but this time it was at least served with a tangy red cabbage slaw), and the grilled halibut sandwich with arugula, roasted red pepper, and wasabi mayonnaise (good). Sorry Georges, it wasn't terrible it just wasn't worth going back for.

Friday, August 6, 2010


I have been stalking a new restaurant that I pass on my way to work ever since the illuminated Au(which stands for gold on the periodic table) sign appeared. Through my sleuthing (yesterday as I passed by there was a pile of boxes outside and I peeked at the side of one of them which read "sentinel") I have discovered the new takeout nook is Dennis Leary's (owner of Cantine and The Sentinel) latest venture, Golden West. It will serve as a bakery supplying his two pre-existing restaurants as well as offering new lunch items. Looking forward to it. For EaterSF's article about the soon-to-open Golden West click here.

It turns out that Dennis Leary also has another new venture in the works, he just bought the old saloon next to the Sentinel, for more click here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Burma Superstar
Tasted:Samusa Soup - Samusas are Burmese dumplings stuffed with potatoes, vegetables and curry seasoning. The soup, which contained falafel, was nicely thick and velvety.

Tea Leaf Salad - an acquired taste. My mothers' favorite dish, it is made with, yes, tea leaves from Burma, which have been fermented.

Ginger Salad - a simple but refreshing salad that was a welcome complement to the rich spices (and ample coconut milk) in the other dishes. It is made with crispy romaine,sunflower seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, split yellow peas (lentils??),dried shrimp (in flake form), fried garlic, jalapenos, and a heap of freshly pickled ginger.

Nan Gyi Dok - a mild chicken curry served with thick rice noodles, hard-boiled egg, fried onion and split yellow peas. Good but not my favorite, a little light on spices heavy on coconut milk.

One of the highlights of the meal was a mango coconut drink with a thick slice of lime wedged into the bottom of the glass, releasing nice amounts of tang with each sip from my straw.
For the only Burma Superstar recipe I could track down, their Rainbow Salad, click here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Tartine Bakery.
I ate: a currant scone (very good), ham and tomato quiche (very fluffy - best quiche I've tasted), gougere, cake aux olives (a bit like quiche but drier and not as scrumptious), bread pudding (no crispy crusty bits, which to me is a key characteristic), and shortbread (what's not to like).

For Tartine's morning bun recipe (omitted from their cookbook) care of 7x7 click here.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I made sweet corn tamales (recipe tweaked but passed down from friends) with black beans and mango, corn and avocado salsa. I mix up the toppings, sometimes I just put avocado and cilantro, try different salsas, whatever you please. Tamales:

  • Roast three cans of white corn(or yellow, your preference), about 4 1/2 cups, in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Meanwhile boil a big pot of water and once it's boiling turn it off and throw in about 30 dry corn husks, cover and leave to soak.
  • Mix dry ingredients: heaping 2 cups of masa, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Simmer all but one cup of the corn in 1 1/2 cups milk (I use 1% milk, it's up to you) for about 10 minutes and let cool a bit.
  • Whip 1 cup + 1 (or 2) tablespoons butter in a large bowl.
  • Throw the corn and milk into the blender and pulse to combine. Stir in the one cup of corn you reserved (you can blend it all but I like getting whole corn kernels in my tamales).
  • Alternate stirring in the dry mix and the milk blend into the whipped butter.
  • Take your tamale husks out of the water and shake them dry. You need to tear a couple of husks into long strings to use as ties. Put about 3 tablespoons of the masa mix into the center of a flat corn husk; wrap the bottom up, then the left side and then the right and tie the top with a string of husk. Place each finished tamale in a steamer. Once done put it on the stove and cook for 35-45 minutes.