Monday, March 29, 2010

Broccoli Slaw

Now I know what a home run feels like.

Broccoli slaw

When I cook at home, my expectations are fairly low. Most of the time, I am able to turn out better-than-edible food and once in a blue moon, I make something incredibly good.

This broccoli slaw made my jaw drop. I couldn't believe I made something so awesome. I used Smitten Kitchen's recipe, which nonchalantly introduced me to the best damn version of one of my favorite vegetable dishes (I cannot resist any interpretation of broccoli slaw; you should see how my eyes light up at the very sight of it).

Notes: I have been rather taken with currants lately and used those instead of cranberries. For the dressing, instead of shallots, I used red onion, which is mentioned as a substitute in her recipe.

If you don't know Smitten Kitchen, now you do. She knows what's up, especially if you are a baker (let's not go there right now; let me bask in my glory).

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bricks & Scones

Bricks and Scones sign

Bricks & Scones is located up the street from the busy main part of Larchmont, yet its patio is serene and remarkably quiet.

Bricks and Scones latte

My very enjoyable latte and blueberry scone (with clotted cream) outside. For the record, I had my first good scone here: crumbly, fluffy and delicate. And it had been warmed! These folks want you to love their scones.

Bricks & Scones is civilized, tranquil and with a lot of outdoor flora that makes it very easy to drift away in your thoughts. They've also got free wifi in case you'd rather fall into a Youtube abyss while enjoying your caffeine.

Bricks & Scones
403 North Larchmont Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323) 463-0811

Monday, March 22, 2010

Warm Cauliflower Salad

Cauliflower used to be the overlooked sibling of the veggie tray, but in the last few years, it has, at long last, gotten its due. I've been meaning to make this Epicurious recipe for some time now and finally got around to it last weekend. Sadly, I had to leave out the parsley because the store didn't have any.


Notes: I'd only cook the cauliflower about 3 minutes as my florets turned out a tad mushy. To make it prettier, I threw in some whole capers and lemon zest. Please take a moment to appreciate one of my new ramekins from Williams Sonoma, courtesy of my dear friend Mike!

This salad had two components I really enjoy: anchovies and garlic. However, the flavors aren't in your face because you're using such a small amount; in fact, next time, I'm going to double the pow. I imagine this salad would work beautifully as a side for just about any protein, especially with warmer weather right around the corner (okay, it's pretty much arrived here in LA)!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


kaido 001

Mid-priced Japanese restaurants are grand, aren't they? One such place I've added to my mental black book is Kaido located in Santa Monica in (what else?) a small strip mall.

kaido 002
A girl's gotta unwind.

Kaido edamame
Complimentary edamame.

Kaido seafood bacon salad
Seafood bacon salad ($10): mixed greens, bacon, crab, scallops, shrimp, avocado, asparagus and tomatoes with a bit of the "house" dressing of Japanese restaurants past, present and, most likely, future.

Kaido stuffed tempura shiitake
Tempura shiitake stuffed with "crab" and spicy tuna ($9): I believe this crab was the fake stuff, which was surprising since the salad came with the real McCoy. A good idea in theory, or so I thought, but in reality, it didn't work.

kaido 012
Fried oysters with tonkatsu sauce ($7): loved the crispy exterior, but they lacked briny oyster essence. I know that fried versions usually don't have as much flavor as raw oysters, but there is usually some hint of the ocean. Not the case here.

Kaido eel and cucumber
Eel and cucumber roll ($7): I like rolls. I also like old school purist sushi. The two co-exist happily in my food hemisphere.

I was hiding out from rush hour this time, but I've also stopped by at lunch when they've got some great deals. If you're in the neighborhood, I recommend it as a lowkey spot for those times when you need to satisfy a craving, but don't feel like spending a ton.

2834 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404-2410
(310) 828-7582

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hot Pot , Hot Pot

Last weekend, I had my first Chinese hot pot at the appropriately named Hot Pot, Hot Pot (formerly Little Fat Sheep) and lucky for me, The Roaming Belly was my helpful and game-for-anything-except-spicy-broth guide (read her post here)!

Hotpothotpot broth

How it works: items you want for your hot pot are circled on a sheet and handed to your server. We chose the half and half broth ratio and I ordered what I called "medium" spicy, but I should've given my placemat a closer look since it explained their 1-10 scale. I am guessing my server gave me a 5. Or she gave me a much higher one because she and her Anna Wintour bob were irritated by my lack of knowing how they do things. The Roaming Belly (I considered using TRB as an abbreviation, but it wasn't really working for me) got a gentler, more soothing broth devoid of chilis, which is funny because she is rather feisty in personality and sense of humor!

[Important to note: the broth had a Chinese herb medicinal aroma, so if you think such a scent will put you off, don't say I didn't warn you. Also, wear clothes you can throw into the washing machine immediately after you get home unless you are in a vindictive mood and want to answer the door for solicitors to see how long they can make it in the face of... well, you.]

We went a little overboard with the add-in choices, but at the time, it really didn't seem like THAT much!

hotpothotpot sliced beef
Thinly sliced beef. We were alarmed when we both got our own plates of meat because I didn't know how I was going to roll myself out of there if everything came in twos. Thankfully, the subsequent items were only one plate each.

hotpothotpot cart
Handmade noodles, bamboo shoots (never had them so "fierce" before), fish balls, squid, napa cabbage, shiitake mushrooms and pork kidneys, oh my! All of the above went into the broth at varying times and amounts. You have to keep a watchful eye on the goods to avoid overcooking (especially the noodles).

hotpothotpot 009
I loved the whole leaves of napa cabbage, which got crazy good in the devil water. I am so Korean with my adoration of all things cruciferous.

hotpothotpot tea
I drank a lot of tea. You would, too, if you got chili flakes stuck in your throat.

hotpothotpot scallion pancakes
We also managed an order of scallion pancakes.

We ate hotpot for 2 hours. With tip, we each paid $28 (I think). And then we went to the bakery a few doors down, ha! Thank you to The Roaming Belly! Maybe next time, we can tackle your fear/disdain of Ktown parking!

Hot Pot, Hot Pot

120 S. Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park, CA 91754