Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Creamed Spinach with Bacon

I had a bunch of bacon, half a bag of spinach and some milk on its last day and wanted to make something that would use all those ingredients. After a quick search, I landed on Simply Recipes where this recipe beckoned me. I'm a frequent reader of Elise's site and though I do not cook the dishes featured much, I certainly do file them away in my head as "some day I will make this for me or someone I care about." If you are more organized and have more energy than me, do yourself a favor and check out the vast index of recipes over there. Please be aware, however, that the recipe linked above was the inspiration and I actually used fewer ingredients and made a much smaller amount.

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I consider my attempt a success because the bechamel sauce turned out okay! Although, yes I have to admit, it came out on the very thick side, but that's my amateur fault. Live and learn, though. Next time, my bechamel will shine. I'm so glad I went this route rather than a spinach salad. There's a very good chance I'll be making this dish for Christmas as it would make a rich and very pretty accompaniment for any kind of meat.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Take A Bao

I very rarely find myself over in Century City, so hadn't been able to try Take A Bao until... today! (I can't believe I'm putting this up on the same day the eating actually occurred!) Now, this place is located at the Westfield Century City mall where all the food court restaurants are priced rather high (at least in my opinion -- A&W cheese fries memories from middle school, anyone?). On to the food...

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I chose the Take A Bao combo (two bao and a salad) for $9.50.

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BBQ pork bao: I was expecting Chinese style BBQ pork because I overlooked the "braised" part of the menu description. It tasted like a Chinese-American version of BBQ pulled pork.

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Miso beef bao: while I liked the flavor of the marinade of the beef, the combination of all the ingredients didn't work very well. Maybe miso and bao dough aren't meant for each other? Also, the texture of short ribs wasn't great because it wasn't falling apart, so the beef was a little tough.

Overall, all the food was on the sweet side (and I like salty-sweet taste combos a lot). I was underwhelmed by the salad because it had napa cabbage, which in general I like a lot. But, not in raw salad form; I don't find it very flavorful. I honestly would've been happier with one of those spring mix with mandarin oranges salads.

I did enjoy the pickled vegetables, though, and the ingredients were of higher quality than most mall food. I ordered both white buns, but somehow ended up with one of each; I think I surprisingly enjoyed the wheat one more.

Take A Bao is an inventive and fun concept, which I appreciate, but I wouldn't fork over $10 on the regular for their bao. I'm glad I tried them, though! I've been in a restaurant lull these days because I've been going to the same old places.

Take A Bao
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067-6501
(310) 551-1100

Saturday, October 17, 2009

La Creperie Cafe

Recently I was hit with a crepe craving, which is unusual since I eat them maybe once a year if that. So, imagine how happy I was when my friend Carrie suggested La Creperie Cafe for lunch! She had eaten here before, but it was my first time not only at the restaurant but in the cute Belmont Shore area where shops and restaurants line several blocks.

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We were crepe crazed and got an appetizer of crepes to kick off the meal. Crepe Vendome: you can't go wrong with chicken, brie, apples and caramelized onions. Well, you can, but luckily, this dish was tasty. We were perhaps over-confident in our abilities because that not-so-light starter was followed up with extremely-not-light entrees.

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Carrie ordered the Crepe Carbonara: they sure don't skimp here! That tower of bacon, cheese and cream sauce is probably life-affirming but I didn't try any because I was too busy trying to make my way through my Crepe Monsieur.

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Yowza. The Crepe Monsieur was stuffed with ham and had Emmenthal cheese melted on top. Good, but immense.

I was delighted to have crepes, but I think it's safe to say I am not going to be doing this for another year. I enjoyed the ambience and the many options on the menu. I don't know what a French national would think of La Creperie Cafe, but I had a lovely time.

La Creperie Cafe
4911 E 2nd St
Long Beach, CA 90803
(562) 434-8499

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Seven Stars Bakery

And for the last of my Rhode Island posts, we end on a sweet note. We stopped in at Seven Stars Bakery for a light breakfast on our last day in Providence (sob!).

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My sister got a gingerbread muffin: very gingery in a delightful way. Would be wonderful in the autumn with a mug of cider.

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Dad's apple (I think) danish: so rustic and lovely. I can't remember if I snuck a bite, but it looked like it was flaky and delicious.

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My raisin roll: I know raisins can be polarizing, but I love 'em. Now, it's been a few weeks so can't recall for sure, but I'm assuming I didn't find this overly sweet because I would've had trouble finishing it otherwise.

I was so tempted by all their baked good offerings, which is unusual since I am not one of those people who go crazy without regular doses of bread/pastry. I imagine if I lived in the neighborhood, I would make my way through their different breads. I really adored Providence, so perhaps one day?

Seven Stars Bakery

820 Hope St
Providence, RI 02906
(401) 521-2200