Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Electric Karma Leftovers

Getting to dinner last night was a saga and a half due to crazed holiday shoppers and inadequate parking, but I finally sat down to eat at Electric Karma, an Indian restaurant I had been curious about for a while. I ordered mattar paneer and rice, which were pretty good (this place is on a street that has a lot of places with the hip factor, but not necessarily with great food)!

I'm definitely going back to Electric Karma with Charles to try some of my favorites like chicken korma, naan and mango lassis. The leftovers made for a very late lunch today, which I inhaled before heading out for a couple errands. Now, I need to finish packing. My shuttle pick-up time is obscenely early tomorrow. Happy holidays!

Electric Karma
8222 W 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 653-2121

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dim Sum at Sea Harbor

I love dim sum, but rarely go because of the drive to Monterey Park and its neighboring areas where a lot of the good spots are located. But, before Charles took off for his Christmas visit home, we got our act together and made it out to Sea Harbor. We ate a good deal, but didn't stuff ourselves silly (I'm not that familiar with the Chinese names, so some of the description might be inaccurate):

Har Cheung Fun (ahrimp in rice noodles)

Shrimp and pork dumplings

Spareribs with black beans

Gai lan (Chinese broccoli)

We had a few other things, but I was too lazy/eager to eat, so didn't snap photos of all. Our table, however, was in a side room that was freezing! I really felt like the AC was on. I had my winter coat, though, so it was okay, but a bit bracing for a leisurely Sunday meal! I'd definitely come back for the food, but would just hope to get seated in the main (and warm) dining room.

Sea Harbor
3939 Rosemead Blvd
Rosemead, CA 91770
(626) 288-3939

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Quick Lunch at Mishima

I ducked into Mishima today and ordered a tanin-don, which basically means beef bowl. They offer all kinds -- shrimp tempura, pork katsu, curry... the list goes on. I usually get a bowl and udon set, but those always send me straight into a food coma and I still had some errands to run (plus, I've got plans to have sushi tonight!), so I kept the ordering to a minimum. The tanin-don also came with miso soup, which was very warm and didn't taste like it was from a packet.

I love Mishima, though their parking lot can be a headache at peak hours. But, today I was in early around noon, so there were several open spots. It looked like a couple of the other shops went out of business, so maybe parking is a bit easier these days.

8474 W 3rd St # 108
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 782-0181

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pomegranates Demystified

Considering how cold the house is, a warm breakfast would have been better. But, I couldn't ignore my pomegranate that had been resigned to the fridge all week. I had never opened one of these beauties before, but Jaden's post was very helpful and yielded excellent results (although my hands were freezing)!

And voila, Greek yogurt with honey and a healthy sprinkle of pomegranate seeds. So refreshing and pretty! I also think this unusual fruit would make a gorgeous addition to holiday fruit salads or even a greens salad with a good quality cheese.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Panko Zucchini Sticks

I am on a quest to use up my panko crumbs and thought zucchini would be a good veggie to coat and fry. I got carried away and threw the following into the panko crumbs: salt, pepper, grated parm cheese, Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning and shichimi powder from my udon takeout. Of course, in the end result, not much of these flavors came through by the time the sticks came out of the pan.

Still, for a light lunch/snack, they came out good enough. There was an odd aftertaste to the breading though, which I couldn't quite place; maybe they were just stale? I opened the bag quite a while ago. I have another zucchini in the fridge, but I will probably do a quick saute instead as the zucchini sticks required more mess than they were worth. Also, I think zucchini is at its best when it's cooked simply, no?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Kiss My Bundt

A couple amazing things happened to me on Saturday while running an errand:

1. I found a parking meter on Third Street.

2. I had no change, but there was still 30 min left on the meter.

3. I parked right in front of Kiss My Bundt.

My destination was a denim store, but of course, I couldn't pass up the chance to pop into Kiss My Bundt, which I first heard about through Tannaz. Here are the mini bundts I picked up:

Lemon Drop, Carrot Cake and Red Velvet

They had been slammed that morning, so were temporarily out of chocolate cakes. Next time, I'd love to try their Chocolate with Buttercream Frosting or Cookies and Cream. Since carting these babies home, I've only tried the Red Velvet so far (the Lemon Drop has been reserved for Charles).

Kiss My Bundt's Red Velvet is quite good and not too sweet and I liked the mini size. But, for those with bigger dessert needs, they also offer a bigger Baby Bundt size as well as the traditional large cake. I never considered bundt cakes for celebrations before, but now I think I will! I leave you with an excerpt from My Big Fat Greek Wedding when John Corbett's mom brings dessert to the Portokalos home:

Maria Portokalos: What is it?
Harriet Miller: It's a bundt.
Maria: A bun?
Harriet: A bundT.
Maria: A Bondt?

Kiss My Bundt
8104 W. 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 655-0559

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Store-Bought Udon

I was so tired tonight that I did not want to cook dinner and certainly did not want to wash any dishes. So, I picked up this udon to go for $5.55 at the Asian takeout bar at Whole Foods. It probably cost the store 20 cents to make (if that), but I wanted udon and this dinner was great to eat while watching Fringe. The broth was surprisingly flavorful and spinach is something I adore in Asian soups. Definitely better than the instant udon with broth power packets! Oy, I need to take some Tylenol Allergy now.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sausage and Fennel Penne

I love the combination of Italian sausage and fennel for a pasta sauce; it's rich, hearty and the fennel gives it a bit of texture and a good punch of flavor. I'm pretty I was first introduced to using fennel in pasta by Rachael Ray (one of her bazillion pasta episodes, but no complaints here!).

I like fennel a lot (I prefer it cooked more than raw), but it has a slight licorice taste, so some may not be as enthralled (but, try it before writing it off as nature's deranged version of Good & Plenty). I thought this pasta dish would make a tasty workweek supper that I could submit to Presto Pasta Nights! I missed last week's roundup, so was determined to make it this time around. This week, it's hosted by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast.

Best of all, I made enough sauce for lunch tomorrow and another dinner later this week. And with just half a pound of sausage!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pear Epiphany Dinner

I didn't feel in the mood for an actual meal tonight, so just picked up truffle pate, Parrano cheese, Comice pear (my first time eating this variety and I love it a lot) and crackers. I wish to become more knowledgeable about cheese, but I knew I wanted a salty cheese to offset the richness of the pate. And the flavors worked nicely! I need to go back to Whole Foods and pick up more pears, I'm pretty sure I've just picked up a new habit.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Memphis Thanksgivin' - Part Four

This post is the last installment of my Thanksgiving trip, it's been quite a extravaganza of food per usual. I also drank a lot of wine and apple cider, very festive! Here is a round-up of more food that graced our table this week:

Korean seasoned crab

Galbi (Korean short ribs)

Steamed lobster

Braised short ribs

Seafood pancake

I relished my time at home and look forward to the next round at Christmas!

A Memphis Thanksgivin' - Part Three

I spent most of Thanksgiving day cooking and it was time for dinner before I knew it! We do a mishmash of American and Korean food for our holiday meals (I have to admit kimchi and cabernet together was a bizarre flavor combo). Hope you all had a wonderful day of eating and lounging about. Without further ado:

Korean style ribs

Chestnut and apple stuffing*

Cucumber kimchi

Fried chicken

Jellyfish salad (!)

Turkey breast (store-bought)

Yams with marshmallows*

Green bean casserole*

My cranberry conserve I make every year (Ina Garten recipe)*

Giblet gravy (store-bought)

Mashed potatoes*

*Dishes made by me

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Memphis Thanksgivin' - Part Two (or Dos)

I never underestimate my family's capacity for unusual social events. But, a Spanish chef cooking dinner for us was not something I was expecting. Chef Ramon Fernandez-Salgueiro is from La Coruna, Spain where he has a tapas restaurant called A Roda. Every year, he closes the restaurant for about 20 days and takes a vacation. Lucky for us, this year, he was visiting our family friend, James, and was gracious enough to prepare some authentic Spanish tapas for us. The rundown:

Tomato and melted fresh mozzarella

Goat cheese with prosciutto

Spanish omelet with potato

An omelet slice

Brandy shrimp

Garlic bread (seasoned with the juices of the shrimp)

All that with a couple bottles with Spanish white wine made for an immense and very satisfying meal. It was such a wonderful experience and of course, made all of us want to visit Spain as soon as possible. Thank you, Ramon!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Memphis Thanksgivin' - Part One

Whenever I come home, I have grand plans of eating here and making this, but of course, they never come to fruition; I am usually too busy sleeping a lot and catching up on DVDs. But, I'm in town for a bit longer than usual and will strive to do better.

So far:

Mid-day snack at Chick-Fil-A. Waffle fries with Polynesian sauce with sweet tea, of course! I am not a big fast food person (although I guess no one forced me to get a Burger King Croissan'wich at the airport a couple days ago), but I love Chick-Fil-A. And then... mulled apple cider! I used Martha Stewart's recipe as a guide.

The spices were: cinnamon sticks, allspice berries and whole cloves.

I threw in some clementine peel with the cider and brought it to a boil. Then, I let it cool a bit before drinking. Very fragrant and very good! I highly recommend jazzing up your apple cider in some fashion; it really adds oomph and gives you that special something.

Stay tuned for more Mtown fabulosity!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shrimp and Bokchoy Noodles

[UPDATE: I have submitted this post to Presto Pasta Nights, a weekly blogging event. This time around, it's hosted by Soy and Pepper. This submission is my first ever to any sort of blogging thing. How exciting!]

This is not what my dinner was supposed to look like. I had planned on a simple Asian noodle soup to use up some chicken broth that had been unearthed in my pantry. In typical fashion, I came home to realize my chicken broth had expired in November 2007. Whoops!

With my powers of improvisation, I came up with this noodle dish, which had the following: shrimp, baby bokchoy, garlic, onion, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and thin udon noodles. I wish I had grabbed more bokchoy; I had forgotten how much I like it!

Now, I'm watching The Cosboy Show and eating popcorn. Mid-week therapy of champions!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Test Run: Creamed Spinach

I am heading home for a week (!) for Thanksgiving and decided it'd be wise to testing some recipes beforehand. I didn't go home for Thanksgiving last year, so this time around I am even more excited than usual for this gluttonous holiday. After a recent trip to Boston Market (for shame! I know), I become very taken with the idea of making creamed spinach, which is a dish I've never attempted before.

Boy, am I glad I tried this out because it was disappointing. Due to a comedy errors, which I won't go into, I had to settle for frozen spinach (getting enough fresh spinach to yield a pound would have been too pricey for this experiment) and used a Rachael Ray recipe that was too simple to yield stunning results (for the record, I like Rachael and have made her recipes before). The spinach sucked up all the butter and cream instantly, but still stayed very green and refused to give that lovely creamed spinach look we all know and love. I threw in some parm cheese, but unfortch, it did not help matters too much.

Please pipe up if you have any tried-and-true creamed spinach recipes. In the meantime, I will continue conducting my own research!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Twitter, At Last!

After much anticipation and longing, I got a new phone and am now on Twitter. You can read my drivel here or follow me on Twitter. A new day full of possibility and non sequiturs!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pampas Grill

I spent my Sunday at Hollywood Park race track eating $1 hot dogs and drinking $1 beers (I just love the ring of a $1 priced item, but oddly enough, I do not frequent the 99 cent store). By the time dinner rolled around, the prospect of a frozen dinner or canned soup did not "soul-stir," to borrow a term from my hero, Tim Gunn.

I decided on Pampas Grill at the Farmers Market and was happy to find only a few customers ahead of me (this place is very popular and the peak time lines can be a bit long). The set up is a self-serve salad buffet with Brazilian skewer meats handled by the staff. Your plate is then weighed by the pound, I think it was $8.99/lb.

My plate o' delicious (going clockwise): rice, eggplant salad, beet salad, fried plantains, collard greens, half a hard boiled egg and garlic beef.

This visit was only my 2nd and I can't remember which cut I chose last time, but I liked the garlic beef a lot. For me, I prefer just a small portion of meat and a bunch of veggies, but the man behind me ordered "one of everything," which would be at least 6 different kinds (they have chicken, sausage, a few beef options and possibly pork; I am usually drawn immediately to the red meat options and don't pay attention to the others). I'm sure this guy's plate was a sight to behold, too bad I didn't get to take a look.

This quick dinner hit the spot (I desperately needed the veggies; their mixed salads and garlicky collard greens are scrumptious), especially on a chilly LA night. I'm cautiously loving this cool weather. Dare I break out the apple cider?

Pampas Grill

6333 W. 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Looks like they've got a Culver City location now, too.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pizzeria Mozza and BCD Tofu House

Vegas was lovely, but yielded zero food pics. We went to the buffet at Rio, which was good, but we were both disappointed in how little we ate. I guess drinking all day pre-buffet will do that to you. Moving on!

For Charles's birthday, we finally made it to Pizzeria Mozza (sorry, again no food photos!). We started with fried squash blossoms (quite good) and cauliflower gratinate (blew us away and made instant addicts of us). As for the pizzas, I got the funghi misti (mushroom with intense cheeses) and Charles opted for the Gorgonzola and potato (this was good, but we both considered the funghi as superior).

We also enjoyed a very delightful Italian white wine that Brandon, the super nice and knowledgeable sommelier, recommended (I tried to get the name off the receipt, but it wasn't the entire description, so I only have "Falanghina" and the price to guide me next time). And for dessert, we split the butterscotch budino (pudding) with caramel. Gawwwd. A perfect way to end the meal; I will be ordering it every single time.

So, when I woke up today, last night's rich meal had done some damage and I needed some simple comfort food to re-align my food chi. My go-to cuisine is, of course, Korean food, so I headed to BCD Tofu House.

Banchan (the freebie side dishes):

Soondooboo (that's a lot of "o"s... it just means soft tofu) stew:

I felt restored immediately and if not for some technological issues and the warm weather, I probably would have been able to indulge in a nap.

Pizzeria Mozza
6602 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 297-0100

BCD Tofu House
3550 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 382-6677

(Multiple locations - I usually go to the Western one)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sad Lunch... NOT!

This leftover frozen pizza lunch may seem sad to you, but I assure it was not. I was more than happy to eat this meal standing in my kitchen because I am saving my dough and looking forward to this weekend's events of:

1. Jason Mraz concert. The last time I saw him perform was a few years ago right after I moved to LA, which was phenomenal. I am very excited to see him again, he has great stage presence and is so comfortable with the audience (or at least, appears so). Plus, Lisa Hannigan (the girl who sings with Damien Rice often) is opening for him!

2. ZOMG! VEGAS! There is a buffet visit on the agenda, I don't know if I'll carry my camera around with me (it may get in the way of my ravenous blackjack and nickel slots playing), but perhaps there will be a food photo or two I will put up upon my return.

So, don't cry for me (and my lunch), California (and beyond)! Happy weekend, all!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Garlic Shrimp

Oh boy, it's been quite a week so far. I am, at least, getting closer to normal health with each day. As I over-ate at lunch with two slices of pizza and an order of potstickers (no breakfast is really never a good idea), I didn't find myself terribly hungry after work and was able to run to Target and Whole Foods without going out of my mind (which is what happens when I'm hungry, I'm not hypoglycemic, but pretty close in terms of mood). I picked up some shrimp and bagged salad, which turned into garlic shrimp and ... bagged salad. Shrimp cooks up so quickly, it really is a time-saver and perfect for weeknight meals. Try it sometime, although I have to say, keep your shrimp shells in a separate bag and take it out to the trash. You do not want to wake up to shrimpy trash in the morning. Trust me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Penne with Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce (As Promised)

I had a helluva week. I developed a hacking cough, stayed home sick one day and have been drinking more tea than I can last recall. I am on the mend, but still dread bedtime because I never know if my body is going to betray me and cause me to cough intermittently through the night. Tonight, I felt well enough to make dinner.

I hope that the penne will fortify me to kick this sorry cold in the ass. I hadn't taken Robitussin in many years, but I did the other night and it was very unpleasant. I had to use sour patch kids as a chaser (note: using a chewable "chaser" is not the best way to get the vile medicinal taste out of your mouth). Anyway, stay healthy and remember to wash your hands often as the cold/flu season seems to have arrived!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chicken Teriyaki - Work Edition

Because after a while, you cannot eat another frozen meal or a $13 salad for lunch. I made even chicken teriyaki (bottled sauce) tonight for a few meals. Enough is enough! I need to make these take-to-work meals happen, especially with all that holiday spending coming up.

I'm lucky because we have a kitchen at work with a full-sized fridge and microwave. I've worked in an office before that had a mini-fridge, which is hardly accommodating. Later in the week, I look forward to taking some penne with tomato sauce and mushrooms. Woohoo!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Salami and Cheese Sandwich

I made a salami and cheese sandwich last night, but it fell a bit apart when I sliced it and was not photo-ready. I ended up eating it standing in the kitchen, which was very satisfying and no fuss. Tonight, I was too tired to go out to forage for food; instead, I made another salami sandwich, but made it a double-decker, so it'd be more filling. I added thin layers of jarred artichoke spread, but it was a misstep because wet ingredients in sandwiches require key placement to avoid soggy bread. I did not make good layering choices, so the bottom bread slice was mushy and not so fab.

I have never been into double-decker sandwiches as they involve much more bread than I care for. Not sure what came over me tonight (I guess I was feeling experimental), but I couldn't finish the sandwich. I know, I am so weak sauce. On another note, It's going to be a low-impact weekend. I have been theorizing the bad air quality (due to the fires) has done a number on me. I've had a sore throat since yesterday and felt very foggy and tired today. Maybe some homemade soup is in the near future?