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!