Monday, December 17, 2007

Merry Christmas to me.

My biggest problem with shopping for others during a season abundant in incredible deals is that I tend to shop for myself even more. A week out until Christmas and I am probably only 30 percent done with my friends' and family's gifts, and yet I have bought many lovely Christmas gifts for yours truly.

A few of my fabulous finds:

6-way opener, Crate&Barrel
Ok, this wasn't on sale, but isn't it fabulous?!

My mother and boyfriend say it's completely superfluous (especially that third use for it), but I am in love with it. It's a multi-tasker for sure! And so cute.

Cooks enamel cast iron cookware, JC Penney
Someday, my kitchen will contain a large collection of Le Creuset enamel cast iron cookware (gorgeous!). But today, my wallet stays (relatively) full and I still get to indulge -- thanks to this amazing find. Cooks' brand enamel cast iron cookware, which comes in a 5-qt. round or a 5.5-qt oval, is a fantastic knock-off of Le Creuset. Best of all -- it'll only set you back $70 instead of $200 or more. AND -- triple bonus! It comes with a trivet, silicone pot holders and a serving spoon.

One day we'll be together, Le Creuset.

In the meantime, I'm going to have a fling with Cooks; I hope you don't mind. But don't worry, you're still my true love. Promise.

Still on my Christmas wish list:

Potatoes t-shirt,
Adorable, no?

With this, I'd be able to use my wardrobe to express my love for potatoes. And also my love for a certain pair of hobbits in a certain trilogy. (I love subtle hints, don't you?)

Happy holidays and happy shopping!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Comfort food at its finest.

If you love comfort food, particularly of the American variety, hearty and delicious, made with love and lots of butter, then Paula Deen's probably your go-to food TV mama for recipes. And if you're also happening to look for a food blog that specializes in down-home cowboy grub, then look no further than The Pioneer Woman.

This weekend I made Pioneer Woman's berry cobbler, a prime example of comfort food in dessert form. The original recipe calls for only blackberries, but I used a frozen mixed berry mix with blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. So it didn't look exactly like this.

But it looked and tasted just as delicious. Moist, sugary and tart, I finished probably about a third of the cobbler in one sitting. And it is SO easy to make.

(More alterations: Instead of 1 cup self-rising flour, I used 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder + a pinch of salt. And I threw in 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract in the batter for kicks.)

Remember, comfort food recipes aren't for calorie-counting health nuts. These dishes are, more often than not, bad for you. But in such a good, good way.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Wish list.

I want this for Christmas, but I don't know who would play it with me. Also, I'm such a newbie foodie, I wouldn't know like, 95 percent of the answers. BUT -- this could be an awesome way to learn more!

Daily Dish, LA Times' food blog, says that it's available at Sur La Table. So... yeah. *wink.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ooey-gooey bubbly cheesy baked tortellini.

Okay. It's another Giada recipe. Yes, you may have guessed that she is one of my most favorite Food Network chefs. I probably print out her recipes more often than any other chef's (second is Paula Deen).

What can I say? Her recipes are simple, delicious, hearty and often very easily adjustable (don't like arugula? Substitute spinach!). Also, they're man-pleasin' dishes. And sister pleasin'. Cousin-pleasin', too.... But not Mom-pleasin', though. She hates cheese.

Anyway, my favorites are the hot and bubbly, ooey-gooey fatty baked pasta dishes. Last weekend was my second time making Giada's cheesy baked tortellini. This time, though, I added creamy goat cheese to the sauce mixture, and served it with Parmesan crisps to boot. I sliced up some ciabatta (focaccia would work, too), slathered it with garlic butter and generously sprinkled grated Parmesan on top. Bake the slices in a toaster oven/broiler, or with the pasta 10 minutes before it's ready.

Giada and I recommend using a simple store-bought tortellini (cheese is best) paired with your favorite marinara -- this time I used a combo of roasted garlic sauce and spinach and cheese sauce.

Now I know this looks like an indistinguishable mess of gooey Italian food, but you must understand that by this time, my hunger had taken over the patience required to get a good shot. So, unless you like the look of indistinguishable piles of gooey Italian food, you'll just have to trust me. YUM.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Broccoli (oOOooh) and cheese (aaaHHhh) soup (wooooo! ow!).

Most of you probably know that although I adore the Food Network, I'm not the biggest fan of Emeril Lagasse. In fact, I find him overrated and incredibly annoying as a culinary entertainer. I cannot stand Emeril Live. Only a few minutes into the show, I am compelled to change the channel after hearing 50 "oh yah, babe"s and a billion other tiresome catchphrases. And I want to punch his audience in the collective face -- always applauding and ooh-ing and ahh-ing after Emeril slices up some zucchini, adds a pinch of cayenne pepper, or throws in some garlic. Oh yah, babe. Garlic is SOOO exotic. You add that garlic, Emeril.

(I mean, don't get me wrong -- I love garlic as much as the next gal, but come on! He uses it every show! Don't act surprised, people.)

But regardless of the obnoxious BAMs and punch-worthy audience, I have to admit one thing: Emeril's recipes are often pretty damn good. If I just pay attention to the actual dishes, I find myself wanting to cook them. And then I grimace and clench my fist.

I was recently recommended Emeril's broccoli and cheese soup. Although when I make this, I'll probably take the onions down a notch.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's a savory world, after all.

Thanks for waiting patiently as my blog emerges from the depths of the four-day weekend. I'm sure you could barely contain your excitement to hear about how my Thanksgiving went, even though most, if not all, of you (three) readers were actually there to celebrate it with me.

So, I don't have to go on and on about how fabulous it was. But considering I was in the kitchen for a good 10 hours on Thursday cooking enough food to feed a small (Indonesian) colony, I think the menu warrants at least a few words of self-appreciation.

So please join me on my revisit to what I will call: Planet Thanksgiving!

First, we'll soar through clouds of roasted garlic and cream cheese mashed potatoes.

Then journey across a hot desert of sausage and apple stuffing/dressing.

We'll romp through green fields of creamed spinach and corn.

And trek rocky mountains of baked sweet potatoes and apples.

We'll meet a monstrous roasted turkey.

But we'll conquer it, like we do with the rest of the world.


Also, let's not forget the cranberry sauce (its individual photo looks quite murderous, which is why I didn't include it), the homemade turkey gravy (that one I just forgot about), the moist and savory corn spoonbread à la Irene, and a luscious pumpkin pecan dessert perfected by Greg's mom.

Thanks for coming along, and happy leftovers!

Friday, November 16, 2007

T minus six days until the happy turkey dance.

Less than a week away until Thanksgiving.

How did this happen?! I usually have my entire menu and schedule outlined at least three weeks in advance. Such is the woe of taking work home everyday.

So this weekend I am excited to finally gather my menu and ingredients. Turkey and spinach and corn and bread cubes and apples and herbs and potatoes and cranberries and "pumpkings" will abound.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pumpkin "butter" on fresh scones; pumpkin cookies. AKA I love Thanksgiving.

The period between Halloween and Thanksgiving is what I have (just) decided to call "Pumpkin Mania!" It's the time of the year when I indulge in pumpkin goodies and love them so much that say to myself, "Hey, I should make this anytime during the year!" But of course, that never happens. I just forget about it until next Halloween.

So, I better take full advantage of the 2007 Thanksgiving season. Here are a couple pumpkin yummies to start:

Trader Joe's recently introduced Pumpkin Butter to their stock. The label's suggestions for uses include "pastry filling, poultry glaze, ice cream topping, on toast or mixed with fat free cream cheese."

They're also perfect to spread on warm plain scones. A store-bought mix by Sticky Fingers Bakeries will do, but making them from scratch is so easy!

Boxing Day Scones, Sara Perry and Leigh Beisch, Holiday Baking
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk
Strawberry jam (in this case, pumpkin butter), for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease it lightly and set aside.
2. Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then lightly whisk. Use a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers to cut or work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine crumbs.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture, and add the buttermilk all at once. Stir the mixture until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Using lightly floured hands, gather the dough into a soft ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 4 parts and pat each one into a 3/4 inch thick circle. Cut each circle into 4 or 6 wedges.
4. Transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet, and bake in the center of the oven until the scones rise and turn golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a rack. Serve warm, split and spread with pumpkin butter.

These are best eaten freshly baked of course, but if you store them in an airtight container and pop them in a 325-degree oven later for about 5 minutes, they're almost as good as new!

Ah yes, it's now time for the pumpkin cookie. There are basically two kinds: iced/frosted and chunky. I used to fancy the chunky kind, chock full of dried cranberries and pecans or walnuts. There was a recipe I used to have back in seventh and eighth grade -- as a library aide for my middle school, I had a ton of spare time on my hands and explored the stash in the storage area and found a kids' holiday cookbook with a recipe for the best pumpkin cookies I've ever tasted -- perfectly spiced, with a balanced pumpkin flavor and great texture, more cookie instead of cakey.

I wish I could share that recipe, but unfortunately, I lost it and can't remember what the book was to find it again. Even today I haven't been able to find a suitable replacement for chunky pumpkin cookies, but I was recently recommended a killer recipe for the kind slathered in frosting -- browned butter frosting, to be exact. Courtesy good ol' Betty Crocker.

Perhaps later this month: pumpkin cheesecake..?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Red velvet scandal.

The first time I had a red velvet cupcake, I wondered where the red color came from. Blood red strawberries? Overripe raspberries? I remember thinking. And then I looked up a recipe.

Oh, it's just food coloring. Lots and lots of red food coloring.

This didn't wig me out, oddly enough. I continued happily indulging in red velvet cupcakes whenever I got the chance. And finally, I decided to try making my own.

Now this recipe, by Elisa Strauss in The Confetti Cakes Cookbook, calls for a whopping 6 tablespoons of red food coloring for a 3-layer, 9-inch cake, equivalent to about 3 1/2 dozen cupcakes.

While I was collecting the ingredients, I pictured myself buying a bunch of those tiny little food coloring bottles that are readily available in any grocery store. Then it came to me -- a cake supply store, duh.

I arrived at Orange Novelty Cake Decorating and asked for a bottle of red food coloring.

"Do you want the airbrush food coloring or the gel paste?"
"Um.. what's best for red velvet cake?"
"Probably the gel paste, since it's more concentrated."
"Okay, I'll take that, then."

I should have also asked, "What is the gel paste to liquid food coloring ratio?"

(.... Yeah, I'm sure any pastry chef or red velvet cake veteran reading this can imagine what happened next.)

So later when I started making the cake batter, and when it came time to add the red, I thought, Okay, since the recipe calls for 6 tablespoons of liquid food coloring, 3 tablespoons of this stuff will probably be good.

I started with a single tablespoon. And then another.

Hmm. This batter doesn't look dark red enough.

I hate it when red velvet cupcakes are pink. They're not called PINK velvet! I like dark red velvet cupcakes. So I start to squirt more food gel in, a little at a time. When I decided to stop, I still wasn't satisfied with the color and felt that it was too light. But by that time, I was becoming disturbed at how much artificiality was going into these cupcakes.

(My pastry chef cousin later told me as I was telling her this story, "Yeah, the baked cake is always much darker than the batter." That would have been nice to know before I had started dumping gobs of red into my batter.)

Anyway, so I baked the cupcakes and was delighted to find that the cakes were moist, sweet, and a deep red color. It was one of the most delicious cakes I had ever made and tasted.

But as time went on, I became increasingly worrisome: What are the health disadvantages to artificial food dye?? My paranoia prevented me from thoroughly enjoying my cupcakes, which is very sad to me.

Later I found out that I used something like 6 times the amount of red food gel that I actually needed. Needless to say, I've had my fill of red velvet for probably the next year, and next time I will be making just "velvet cupcakes." Without the "red." Because the red is only used to dye the cake and not add to the quality of it, the cake will still be luscious and tasty.

But here's the now infamous recipe:

Red Velvet Cake, Elisa Strauss, The Confetti Cakes Cookbook
3 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch-processed)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups canola oil
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons (or 3 ounces) LIQUID red food coloring OR start with 1 teaspoon red gel paste at a time
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.
2. Place oil and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two patches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.
3. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.
4. Divide batter among 3 round 9-inch layer cake pans, or fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way full. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes for layer cake or 12-15 minutes for cupcakes. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.

After going on and on about the cake, I haven't even mentioned the icing. This delectable marry of whipped cream folded into mascarpone and cream cheese is what saved the day. Thanks to the New York Times (Feb. 14, 2007) for coming up with this killer combo. I recommend using an electric hand mixer to whip the cream, and a food processor to combine the other ingredients.

Red Velvet Cake Icing, John Doherty with John Harrisson, The Waldorf-Astoria Cookbook

2 cups heavy cream, cold
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
12 ounces mascarpone
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

1. Softly whip cream by hand, in electric mixer or in food processor. Cover in bowl and refrigerate.
2. Blend cream cheese and mascarpone in food processor or electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, pulse briefly, and add confectioner's sugar. Blend well.
3. Transfer cream cheese mixture to bowl; fold in whipped cream. Refrigerate until needed.

And there she is. Naked, violated, and bleeding.

And yes. This baby stained. Everywhere.

* * *
Orange Novelty Cake Decorating
3625 W. Macarthur Blvd. #305
Santa Ana 92704

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Eco-friendlier and fashionable.

I admit: I'm far from being as green as I should be. But there are two things I try to be consistent at. The first is recycling. The second is bringing my own bag to the grocery store.

This Trader Joe's canvas bag was the first I bought:

Despite its petite appearance, it actually fits a relatively large amount of groceries -- you'd be surprised. (A general rule of thumb: it will comfortably carry an almost-full basket of groceries.) Just don't spill maple syrup on it and accidentally shrink it in the dryer like I did.

I forgot my canvas bag one day and saw this hanging on the wall:

It's not uncommon that I walk out of Trader Joe's with more than a single bag of groceries (or my single canvas bag overstuffed and bulging), so I thought, why the hell not? And hello, just LOOK at it. Cute, no? Here's the other side:

And even though I reuse Target's plastic bags for multiple purposes, I was on a roll:

These reusable bags are inexpensive (each of the above was under $3), sturdy and generally hold more groceries than your standard plastic or paper bag. AND they are adorable, people (because let's focus on what's really important here -- I mean, plastic and paper bags are SOO five minutes ago).

In conclusion: there's no excuse! USE REUSABLE BAGS!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bouche full of Boule.

I realize I'm a little late in hopping on the Boule-bandwagon, as there have been a million other reviews on the little Los Angeles pâtisserie, but here are my two cents anyway:

French macarons (from left to right) -- rose petal raspberry, lemon meyer, and the seasonal pumpkin. Crispy and delicate, you have to get one of each (unfortunately the selection was rather limited when I got there late in the day).

It's like a rainbow of mini hamburgers! ... Except sweet, and not meaty. The lemon was my favorite.

Next: Boule's famous chocolates (clockwise, starting at top left) -- "Flora"/passion fruit-jasmine, "Li"/lychee-pistachio, "Jade"/green tea, and "Fatale"/scotch bonnet pepper.

"Flora" and "Li" turned out to be very fruity, as you may have guessed, while "Jade" gave me a subtle hint of green tea breath, only after I finished it. Surprisingly, I found my favorite to be the hot hot "Fatale." At first it fools you into thinking it's just an innocent piece of dark chocolate ganache, and then it gives you a right kick in the pants.

I should have been a little more prepared when I entered -- the sight of the chocolate display nearly overwhelmed me, and I couldn't think properly. Upon walking out I realized how much I wanted to try the curry gianduia and the lavender, too.

Oh well. This definitely gives me a reason to come back. And hello, there's sweet corn ice cream, too??

Have I mentioned that I adore corn?

* * *
Boule (Note the new address, a couple stores down)
408 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles 90048

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The highlight of my evening.

Mini phyllo cups baked with caramelized onions and goat cheese. Mmmm... you know you want some, too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hooray for Italian wedding soup and fried ravioli!

Okay well, I didn't make morning glory muffins this weekend, but I cooked a fabulous dinner (if I do say so myself) consisting of Italian wedding soup and fried ravioli (both recipes courtesy Giada De Laurentis and Everyday Italian).

First up: Fried ravioli.

I hold a fairly strong belief that most everything is better fried. Why else do you think I love fairs? Fried Oreos, fried Snickers (mmm.. similar in taste to the Indonesian martabak), fried Twinkies, fried avocado, fried Coke, even -- which is what I should have gotten at the L.A. County Fair instead of that Krispy Kreme chicken sandwich (blech.. but more on that another time perhaps).

So when I tried this insanely simple recipe, I began to wonder why we hardly ever see fried ravioli on restaurant and fast food menus, or at least at fairs. I mean, they're incredibly easy to make and they're like Italian fries -- with marinara posing as ketchup.

* * *

Italian wedding soup: Another fabulous recipe. The meatballs are the star -- a mixture of beef and pork with onion, garlic, fresh Italian parsley and Parmigiano Reggiano? What's not to love? Just make sure you don't go blind from grating the onion -- ouch!

Also, I like pasta in my soup, so I boiled a cup of orzo (a little underdone) and added it right near the end.

Cuuute. Suuuuper cute!

Oh my gah!! How f'adorable are these Munchlers by Built NY:

I want to buy one of each and maybe save one for my kid when I grow up.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Corn > pomegranate.

Pomegranates are such a hassle. They are messy and they make your fingertips all stained and sticky. The seeds are too big to swallow, but too small to spit out relatively non-disgustingly. I've been eating one for the past couple days and I think the acidity of the juice actually burned a blister into my tongue and throat. So why do I keep eating it?

Because it's so damn fun. I love popping or peeling open a new section and finding the juicy red jewels of fruit all huddled together, in their feeble attempt to hide from me. They're so cute. And after I've plucked the little fruits individually from their pods, I sometimes like to crush them on a napkin or in a bowl to see the sudden burst of soft fuschia color... and I think, "That is the perfect shade of lip balm!" Also, the fruits remind me of kernels of corn.

Too bad they don't taste like corn. I love corn.

Monday, October 15, 2007

"What is a morning glory muffin?"

Disappointingly, I didn't know the answer. But it does sound intriguing. In a healthy, fruity, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of way.

Morning glory muffins, from I love this site.

I think it's a must-try for breakfast this weekend. Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hi Pinkberry. So nice of you to show up.

Pinkberry finally opened their first Orange County location at Bella Terra in Huntington Beach this week.

FINALLY. Where the hell were you, Pinkberry, in the peak of the summer heat when I was craving tart frozen yogurt and fresh fruit almost every single day, so much so that I was seriously considering trekking to Long Beach to get my fix? Why'd you make me wait this long for you, my swirly and fluffy exquisite dream!?

Sniff. I'm bitter now. I wonder if I'll even drive to Huntington Beach for you (I'll probably just wait for Irvine and Santa Ana).

... Aww. You know I can't stay mad at you. Who am I kidding, I'll still drive to Rancho Cucamonga almost every weekend to get the best, creamiest you out of any Pinkberry around. Humming the jingle all the way there.

(Okay. I'm done now.)

* * *
Pinkberry, Bella Terra
7811 Edinger Ave., #116
Huntington Beach 92647

Pinkberry, Victoria Gardens
7873 Monticello Ave., #1017
Rancho Cucamonga 91739

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My digital camera smells like everything.

I accidentally left a forgotten Bruegger's everything bagel in the same bag my digital camera was in over the weekend. And even though I threw away the bagel two days ago (so sad, I love everything bagels), my camera still reeks of delicious onion and garlic. It's so fragrant and savory-smelling now.

I want breakfast.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Oh yeah, my blog!

A freak occurrence of erythema nodosum over the past few weeks caused my fingers and knuckles to swell so that they looked like giant chubby baby hands -- a valid reason, I've determined, as to why I haven't touched my blog in forever. But the swelling and pain has since subsided, so now any further delay in blogging will come solely out of laziness.

And because I'm lazy and sleepy (somehow my body got used to sleeping bizarrely early while I was sick), I'm not going to blog about food. Essentially this is an entry that previews future entries. Wooo... exciting.

My to-blog list:
Donut Man's fresh peach donuts
Dark chocolate dipped Altoids
Yogurt yogurt yogurt
L.A. County Fair

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sun, sweat, and Street Fair.

Although I've been an Old Towne Orange resident for more than five years, Labor Day Weekend 2007 marked only my second time at the annual Orange International Street Fair. Friends are always shocked and appalled when they learn this about me. As they should be.

But I have now come to accept that this is the time of year when I gain 10-15 pounds within a two and a half day period by munching on various fried, grilled, skewered and/or sauced international delicacies. (The weight gain would have probably been more if it weren't for the 20 pounds lost in the form of sweat, thanks to the sweltering heat.)

* * *
Mexican Street:

I admit: Last year, I shied away from Mexican Street because I thought, "I live in Southern California - why would I want to eat from Mexican Street when I can get really good Mexican food at any other time?"

But I was so wrong.

I've determined that Mexican Street is really one of my favorites. Many food items to choose from, tasty AND cheap.. It can't really get much better than that.

Mmm.. Mexican-style corn. After reading this review of El Rey de el Elote Azado, I've been meaning to try corn prepared in this manner for months but haven't found the chance. Although the one at street fair uses boiled corn instead of roasted (which means I will still have to make a visit to the truck of the "Roasted Corn King"), I don't think I'll ever top my corn any other way again: mayo, butter, lime, cojita cheese and cayenne pepper.

Deluxe nachos: topped with guacamole, pinto beans, steak, sour cream and cheese.

And finally, the carne asada tacos and quesadillas with homemade corn tortillas. I didn't get these for myself, but they certainly got multiple rave reviews from my friends.

Next year Mexican Street must-try:
Homemade chicken and pork tamales.

* * *
Greek Street:

Another favorite street! First, the delectable gyro:

And this is how I really ate it:

.... What..? I don't like huge pieces of onion and tomato in there. Just give me the tender lamb patties, toasted pita bread and tzatziki.

The baklava's been a hit in the past, but for some reason the ones I got this year were a little bitter. But the chocolate trigona in the background there, that was amazing.

I also got a beef souvlakia, but I had them drench it in tzatziki, so that the steak was drowning in a white mess.. Not very appetizing to the eye, but very (dare I say?) yummy for my tummy.

Next year Greek Street must-try:

* * *
Miscellaneous Streets:

Fried lobster balls from Japanese Ginza (/Asian Street, I guess). Although I have doubts of whether these contained very much lobster at all, I love fish bakso, so it was hard to screw this one up. I found specks of masago in there, which made me happy.

Fish and chips
from British Street. Tender cod in fried beer batter (a wild guess, actually), "spritzed" with vinegar and garnished with lemon and fries.

I would have also tried the "Belgian fries" in this vicinity if it weren't for the lack of variety in dipping sauces.

Finally, fresh fried mini donuts sprinkled with cinnamon sugar from American Street. So crispy and warm. Because of these, I was too full for aebleskivers. But I don't regret my choice at all. And look at them, they're so cute (there's my pinky for a size comparison)!

Yum yum yum! (And phew! No wonder this post is five days too late..)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Because this wouldn't fit in the "About Me" section.

I love reading restaurant reviews in the food sections of both the local (LA Times, OC Register) and non-local (NY Times) newspapers. (Yes, those of you who know me well, I do collect these sections primarily for the recipes, but I do actually read the articles and reviews on occasion.) And I would love even more to visit the actual restaurant to check it out for myself, but I am unfortunately still unable to afford the fancy decor, 87-page-long wine lists and gold-flecked menus. I'm po', and I'd like my couple hundred bucks to go toward my car payments, not my dinner bill.

Thankfully, there's OC Weekly's Gustavo Arellano and his "This Hole-in-the-Wall Life" column. Every week, Mr. Arellano reviews affordable OC restaurants and casual dining places of all different cuisine types: Indian, Japanese, Mediterranean, Hawaiian, Mexican, American. This is so totally awesome for people like me, who love -- and love to sample -- all kinds of food, but who don’t mind paying up front and using plastic (or biodegradable -- thanks, Whole Foods) utensils when eating said food.

Over the past few months, I’ve sampled a handful of the reviewed restaurants and have been encouraged to seek out other yummy places and food items even without Mr. Arellano’s recommendations. And since I (1) have been trying new restaurants and different kinds of food, and (2) love to eat/watch/talk about/hear about/read about food, I thought it would be enjoyable to write about it as well. Plus, it would be a method to help cure random boredom and also keep track of the tasty stuff I eat (I forget, sometimes).

And so marks the (delayed) birth of my food blog.

I’m not sure yet if this name will stick, or if I will even keep it up in the coming weeks or months. But I’d like to think I will somewhat nurture this blog baby and feed it once in a while (hmm, I sound like a bad mom already) with deliciously interesting tidbits. Well, interesting for me, at least.

Here's to a journalistic multiple-course meal: so tasty... so wordy.

Monday, August 27, 2007

And now, dinner.

After having my fill of Garden Salsa Sun Chips and a makeshift mango juice popsicle, I can no longer ignore the desperate pleas of my stomach for sustenance.

I've made my choice:

(Okay, I had one set of those. I'm not a complete pig!)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The end to a quest for corn popsicles.

I didn't even know I was searching for such a treat!

But I know now that I always have been.
Thank you, L.A. Times.