The Adventures of an Epicurious Fat Kid

 

 

 

October 12 2011 

La Granja de Said –  C/de Andrés, 11 Barrio: Malasaña

So I’m just as confused as to why my favorite part of my blog hasn’t been updated in AGES… but it’s probably contributed to the fact that I’ve been stuffing my face like a fat kid at a birthday party… but what’s new? Anyway, now that I’m in Spain, the cuisine has definitely changed and I don’t have the leisure of being able to eat whatever the hell I feel like. And this was ESPECIALLY true when I was staying at the residencia for a month during the Intensive Language Program since I was force fed dog sh*t everyday. Okay, maybe that’s taking it a little too far, but you get the idea, I got pretty sick of it pretty soon. So, my friend and I finally had to stop the gastronomical abuse and opt for a healthier option and where better to go to than Malasaña, a barrio in Madrid in which I currently reside in (update coming soon!).

We wandered around a bit and finally stumbled upon what seemed to be an unassuming little Moroccan  inspired place. As soon as we walked in, I fell in love it was so beautiful inside. Part hookah lounge (woooo!) and part restaurant, the interior was colorful and had a very welcoming vibe and lucky for us, the food didn’t look like it was deep fried gourmet poop.                                                    Beautiful interior

 

                                                                  Hummus

                                                    “Tabbouleh” Salad

                                                               Chicken Kebabs

Although the hummus didn’t taste like the one from my beloved Trader Joe’s, I’m not Moroccan so hey, what do I know? Also, I put “Tabbouleh” in quotes because more than being a cracked wheat-y cucumber-y, tomato-y, minty dish, it was basically couscous with shredded mint and tomatoes, so even though it wasn’t really tabbouleh, it was still fresh and a whole hell of a lot better than the food at the residencia. My dinner partner said the chicken kebabs were delicious and although I didn’t try any, they definitely are making my glands salivate. Overall, the food was a nice change of scenery and our bellies were very happy after devouring everything and it didn’t hurt that we still had enough to get dessert :).

August 23 2011

My my, oh how time flies… It’s already been 5 months since I’ve last posted about FOOD. Bizarre. That’s of course not to say I haven’t been eating, but nothing was memorable enough to elicit a post. However, this summer I’ve been addicted to one crisp and dangerously refreshing beverage: fruity beers; ESPECIALLY of the raspberry variety. Needless to say, my beer belly has cozied itself right back onto my tummy. Fml.

I’m usually not one to enjoy sickeningly sweet alcoholic beverages but something about the warm summer breeze has invoked these fruity alcoholic cravings that are terribly irresistible. Here are a few that I’ve tried so far:

* The following reviews are based purely on my opinions as I am no beer connoisseur – shocking as that may sound.

1. Raspberry Snakebite

Where I’ve tried: Anthill Pub & Grill, UC Irvine

1/2 Bluefin stout + 1/2 Wyder’s raspberry cider = perfection. Honestly.. no words can accurately describe this beautiful work of art. The smooth richness from the stout perfectly complements the sweet yet crisp raspberry cider. One sip, and you’ll understand EXACTLY what I mean. Beergasm at its best. Okay.. I may be a little biased because this blend is especially near and dear to my heart because I’ve spent countless hours (and countless dollars -.-) at the pub on campus with wonderful friends who I’ve left un pedazo de mi corazon with :) BUT, aside from this minor bias… it truly is something that even non-beer lovers can enjoy.Pitchery goodness

2. Lindeman’s Peach Lambic

Where I’ve tried: bought a bottle at Trader Joe’s and shared it with friends on a warm Sunday evening :)

Although not my personal favorite due to my lack of a sweet tooth, this peachy cider was extremely fragrant and right when you open the bottle, you feel like your twirling around in an orchard; the air heavily laden with the tingly smell of peaches.. okay maybe that’s just me…buuut REGARDLESS of whatever your summery fantasies may entail, the cider is well crafted for those who (for whatever reason I can’t understand) don’t particularly enjoy beer. 

3. Youngberry Chocolate

Where I’ve tried: Yard House

Like the disclaimer above, I haven’t gone to beer school so the subtle differences between certain beers are extremely difficult to differentiate at times. For example, Young’s chocolate stout with Lindeman’s Framboise (raspberry cider) tastes almost identical to a snakebite. However, I did notice a richer and more rounded taste that can only be attributed to the chocolate aspect of this stout. Overall, I still prefer the raspberry snakebite over this one just because the snakebite has a cleaner, smoother taste.

4. Rosegaarden

Where I’ve tried: Yard House

This beer is another blend where they mix Lindeman’s Framboise & a Hoegaarden. I’m telling you… something about raspberry has thoroughly enticed me this summer. A very light, refreshing, and fruity beverage and a good way to ease into beers!

* Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this one… probably because I drank it so quickly. Nor could I find a photo online :/

5. Purple Haze

Where I’ve tried: Anthill Pub & Grill, UC Irvine

This is a normal variety of beer so it doesn’t have a sweet fruity taste; however, it is infused with raspberry flavoring so the best way to explain it would be that it tastes like a regular beer with a hint of raspberry that you can smell more than taste. I personally really enjoy the purple haze because it isn’t as sweet as the other raspberry beer blends and it still tastes like a good ol’ beer with a delectable twist :).

6. Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat

Where I’ve tried: Yard House

Oh boy… I should have known to err on the side of caution when ordering ANY kind of drink with cherry flavoring because I personally don’t prefer artificial cherry UNLESS its a cherry lemonade from Hot Dog on a Stick. It’s times like these where I question my random outbursts of spontaneous bravery… I mean Sam Adams really failed on this one. The only way I can explain what it tastes like is to compare it to cherry cough medicine…ugh. If cherry cough medicine is something you like, then by all means have a ball – you’ll love this stuff, but for the rest of us normal people, save your money and STAY AWAY!

Found this after google searching “Sam Adams Cherry Wheat” and could not have said it better… even on tap this stuff tastes like sh…crap.

Since the last beer I reviewed ties somewhat into history, I will leave this post with an excellent quote from Mr. Benjamin Franklin himself: “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”. Thus, the only logical thing to do now is.. drink away :).

March 11 2011

So, I’m a bit of a salad freak. I love the crunchy freshness that explodes in your mouth with every tasty bite. With that said, I’ve come to perfect, with the inspiration of my dear roommate, the perfect salad.

For those of you college students, where time is money, this salad is as easy as 1, 2, 3. I’m also a Trader Joe’s ho so all the ingredients I used were from my beloved Trader Joe’s.

Easy Party in Your Mouth Salad

Serving Size: 1

Ingredients:

1. Handful of Sorrento & Champs Elysees salad mixes from Trader Joe’s

2. 3-5 pieces of Trader Joe’s Just Grilled Chicken Strips

3. 1/3 cup of Trader Joe’s shelled edamame

4. 2 tbsp Trader Joe’s Organic Super Sweet Cut corn

5. 1 slice of cheese of your choice, shredded

6. Couple slices of onion

7. 1 egg

8. Trader Joe’s Raw Almond Slices

9. Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing (or whichever you prefer)

*Keep in mind that you can tweak this salad whichever way and it will still taste delicious. For example, if you don’t like cheese you can take it out.

Directions:

1. Gently mix the two salad  mixes in a medium sized bowl

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Gently add the egg into the water. To get a hardboiled egg, cook for about 10-12 minutes. To get soft-boiled perfection, cook for about 8-9 minutes, you DON’T want to overcook this because it turns into a hardboiled egg very quickly! Once done, you can peel the shell off easily by running under cold water. This is convenient because the shel comes right off and your fingers don’t burn from the hot egg (tip from my roommate). Then, chop the egg and leave aside

3. Microwave the chicken strips for about 1 minutes and NO MORE because they will turn hard and crunchy. Once done, leave them out to cool (you don’t want the hot chicken to wilt your salad).

4. While waiting for these things to cook, slice your onion (however many pieces you wish), and shred your cheese.

5. Then, bring about 2 cups of water to a boil and add the edamame and corn and boil for about 3 minutes. When done boiling, leave them out to cool, or for faster cooling results, put in the fridge for a little bit.

6. Once you have all your ingredients cooked and cooled, add the onions and cheese to your salad and gently mix them into the salad. Then, add the corn and edamame on top, then the chicken strips, then the egg, and finally sprinkle with some almond slices.

7. Drizzle your dressing of choice on top and dig in!

I like to use a combination of two different types of salad mixes. Half Sorrento and half Champs Elysees

Mixation

All things Trader Joes. Starting with the onion and going clockwise: sweet yellow onion, light havarti cheese, frozen shelled edamame, frozen cooked chicken breast strips, frozen corn

Corn, edamame, chicken left to cool before putting it in the salad

Perfectly soft boiled egg. MMMmMMmM my favoriteeee!

Finished product! It was hard for me not to start digging in before taking this picture

If you're craving the taste of Asia in your mouth, then, no need to go to the far east, this tangy, sweet, and spicy dressing is the cherry on top of your yum yum salad

Lately, I've been craving a clean tangy balsamic vinaigrette, so I used this. Gasp, but it isn't Trader Joe's! In my defense, the Trader Joe's bottle wouldn't open so I had to use my roommates'.

And to top it all off, sprinkle some almond slices

March 4 2011

My friend once told me that he couldn’t wait to go travel because he needs to lose some weight. Am I smoking crack or does that sound wrong to you? I always manage to put on a few pounds when I travel because who can resist a little yum yum in the tum tum from cuisine that differs from your norm? I admit, I love my Taco Bell, but sometimes it’s nice to stuff my face with something that isn’t processed till you’re not sure if the chicken burrito actually has chicken in it or not.

Yes, I realize that it’s three months past Thanksgiving, but I would still like to share my wonderful epicurean adventure in one of the most antiquated cities in our beloved country. Anyway, if you know me at all, you know  that I live to eat – not eat to live. I know I know, it sounds gluttonous, but one of the greatest satisfactions in life is the pleasure that comes from eating delicious food.

Boston is a culinary hotspot, but unlike New York, not many people know that there are many secret yummy places tucked away in this quaint little town.  The cuisine here reflects the coastal location of Massachusetts so, much of the food is very seafood based. Since I only had roughly two days (not including Thanksgiving of course), I was not able to adequately cover all that Boston has to offer; however, I was able to hit up a few places that I deem worthy for another visit!

I flew in Thanksgiving morning, so of course, that day was the traditional turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potato-ey palooza that I always eagerly anticipate every year. After unbuttoning my pants and taking the customary food-coma slumber, I was ready the next day for my food adventure.

My first day out, I went to L.A. Burdick, a chocolate cafe  in Cambridge. They handcraft their chocolates with premium cocoa and their iconic chocolate is the little chocolate mouse – it’s so cute that you don’t want to eat it. Supposedly, this place serves the BEST hot chocolate in all of America… that is a pretty loaded statement, but in my humble opinion, this statement was validated after my first sip.

L.A. Burdick

The infamous jaw dropping hot chocolate... I know people's preferences are different so the only way to see if this truly is the best hot chocolate in America or not is to go try it!

"Luxembourgers" otherwise known as macaroons. They weren't the best macaroons I ever had, but the pumpkin one definitely gave me a run for my money.

Me with some goodies outside of L.A. Burdick

Afterwards, I had dinner at Russell House Tavern and it was AMAZING and very reflective of the typical Bostonian cuisine. Normally, there are long lines and it is recommended that you make a reservation beforehand; however, my parents and I lucked out and were able to get a spot right away – a HUGE blessing when temperatures are freezing outside.

Customary dark brew to complement the meal. I got the Peak Organic Nut Brown Ale on tap. To be completely honest, although I love dark beers, this was not one of my favorites, but still better than nothing, right?

My dad ordered the Ozark Heritage Pork Trio. This savory dish came with three different portions of pork including the loin, belly, and shoulder all served on top of a bed of creamy grits and topped with a zingy sauce. The tenderness of the meats and the smooth texture of the grits complemented each other so perfectly. Just thinking about it makes my stomach growl.

My mom and I ordered the Andria Pizza which had figs, creamy burrata cheese, and sweet garlic. Figs are an integral part of Bostonian cuisine and I'm not complaining :) I know many people don't like this heavily seeded fruit but I love the sweet nuttiness and slight crunch you get from eating a fig. Of course I grew up eating Fig Newtons so that may be a reason as to why figs are near and dear to my culinary heart. Needless to say, I really enjoyed this pizza but the only minor drawback is that there is no meat on this thing! Some proscuitto would have been the cherry on top!

Crispy poached fresh farm egg on top of a toasted brioche with mixed greens on top of a pecorino aioli. Probably one of the interesting jumble of textures because you have the crispiness from the fried outer crust and the gooeyness of the poached yolk... really, words cannot describe the creativity of this dish!

Although I'm not a huge fan of oysters, I felt obligated to try it since Boston is known for its fresh seafood. To put it simply, my osyter-deprived life has been changed. It was so fresh I tasted the Atlantic Ocean in my mouth. Okay, I know that might not sound too appetizing, BUT I can money-back guarantee that you will at least like the oysters from Boston.

Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square - probably the classiest tavern I've been to, but what can you expect when you're dinin' with the Haaahvaahd (insert British accent) collegians?

On Saturday, I headed to the Fenway/Northeastern University region to visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Of course after a long day of public commuting and art appreciating, your stomach begins to whine for attention. So, after Yelping some restaurants in the region, I settled on The Squealing Pig – a tavern (this seems to be a trend….) that many Northeastern students frequent. After half an hour of wandering around, lost in the freezing windchill, I finally found the tavern nestled in a small, cozy alleyway. The rush of warm air was an unbelievable relief and already, the place had won over my heart. It was warmly lit and had a very cozy and unassuming vibe.

FINALLY FOUND IT! Very colonial-looking and Boston-esque exterior.

MY type of restaurant! Look at that bar :) beauty at its finest.

To warm my frigid body (aka not sound like an alcoholic drinking at 3 in the afternoon), I ordered the Spaten Franzeskaner Hefe-Weissbier while deciding what to eat. If you want to experience a beergasm, this Spaten Franzeskaner Weissbier will give you multiple beergasms. According to the description, it has hints of spicy apple, cloves and bananas. Personally, I didn't even taste these subtleties because I went into immediate nirvana. OH MY GOD.... I have been a die-hard Stella Artois fan, but friends, this beer is just out of this world, and on draft.. it's heaven in a cup.

To complement my beer and satiate my starving stomach, I ordered the Tuscan Fries which were french fries fried in black truffle oil and topped with sprinkles of parmesan cheese and slivers of porcini mushrooms - the perfect pairing to my orgasmic beer.

Being the selfish beerstard that I am, I ordered another beer. I was extremely tempted to order the Spaten again, but I decided to venture out of the comforts of my delicious beer and try a different one. I ordered the Rapscallion Honey which is an extra-pale ale infused with local wild-flower honey. It sounded interesting, but it was probably a bad a idea to order this AFTER the fantastic Spaten because this poor sucker did not stand a chance. It wasn't a bad beer, but needless to say, I was disappointed.

The two beers and huge plate of fries did not satisfy my fat ass so I ordered the fish and chips (once again, since Boston is notorious for their seafood). At this point, my stomach felt like it was going to explode, so that may be a reason why I did not think that these fish and chips were anything special. It was overpriced at $11, so I probably won't be ordering this again, but it was a good experience overall

I wish I had more time to try more foods, but I’m sure I’ll be back! Until next time Boston <3

November 24 2010

You know you’re truly a fatty when someone says to you:

“Hannah, you’re really not picky with food. Anything I suggest, you say ‘OHHHH that sounds good!’”…..

-______-

October 7 2010

Jiggly wobbly sexiness

As much as I love the Bay Area, I’m glad I don’t live there because if I did, I’d start looking very rubenesque –>

Luckily, I visit enough times throughout the year that I’m not too far off from being as lovely and voluptuous as the women (or men) of his time. For this new school year, my customary Norcal trip took place this past weekend and what do you think was our main agenda? EATING! Our first stop was Sushi House in Alameda. Apparently this is the go to sushi place for Berkeley students and I know why! I’m not a huge fan of rolls but, this place definitely slightly changed the way I feel about them. These golden tempura battered, baked, creamy deliciousness smooshed into one perfect roll started a party in my mouth and left my stomach wanting more.

Typical complimentary miso soup while we wait for the good shtuff

The glory that went straight to our stomachs

The "Lambada" roll includes both tuna and salmon who apparently "fight" for the approval of our tastebuds all topped with avocado and a yummy spicy house sauce

The "Island" roll on the left which which is stuffed with tempura-nated crispy prawn and REAL (gasp!) crab with salmon, lemon slices, and special house sauce. The roll on the right known as the "Spider" roll which has deep-fried soft shell crab; not my FAVORITE, but still good nonetheless.

Now this warm creamy fatty deliciousness is called the "Bay Scallop" and it is a baked california roll with scallops on top. YUM

Whenever you hear "The Lion King", you think what a good movie.. but you would never expect to think "How YUMMY!". However, this baked roll called "The Lion King" is another california roll baked with a salmon filet on top...sooo good that it's making me hungry!

And now, you might think this post is over, but you are VERY VERY wrong. I’m apologizing beforehand to all you hungry people who are reading this. I suggest you fill your stomach with something delicious before continuing on.

The next day, we made it to “breakfast”, if you could even call it that because we ate at 2 in the afternoon. My friend james had been harping about eating at this place in San Francisco called Dottie’s True Blue Cafe or “Dottie’s” for short. Now, I LOVE breakfast – it’s one of my three favorite meals (ha ha..) and to be honest, I genuinely thought “How good can breakfast possibly be?”. I mean, it’s delicious but there’s only so much you can do, you know? Boy, was I SOOOOO wrong. I was feeling really unwell, but this place blew me out of the water. I know on Yelp! this place only has 4 stars but it’s only due to the looooong-but-so-worth-it wait. Apparently if you get there right as it opens bright and early at 7:30am, there’s hardly a wait. Either way, this place deserves a visit if you go to SF.

Menu!

Cute, homey, cozy and busy and bustling even at 2pm!

Lamb fennel sausage & goat cheese omelette served with the most delicious potatoes and fried cornbread YUMM

Jalapeño jam served with the cornbread. Sweet and spicy and strangely addictive.

The chipotle beef scramble that Christina INHALED -- no joke. The guys got their food before us and she finished before them. Her excuse: "I was hungry!"; my opinion?: "Embrace your identity Xtina <3"

The piping hot Zucchini Cakes... SOOOOO good with a side of fresh fruit.

Now, I know you hate me, but a meal is never complete without.. DESSERT! So after our 2pm breakfast, we popped on over to Berkeley to appease our tastebuds with Ici’s ice cream. Why this place is so popular, delicious and fitting in Berkeley is because it is homemade ice cream that uses only certified organic products (so Berkeley, right?). Aside from these “feel goodie” facts, the ice cream tastes downright delicious. They have generic flavors such as chocolate and vanilla, but the really special ice creams that make you scream inappropriate words are the interesting flavors unique to Ici’s. Everyday, they make different flavors and the day we visited they had an array of interesting flavors such as orange rosemary toffee, and stuff with cardamom, and milk flower kiss or something. You get to try up to 3 flavors, which really make if difficult to only get one scoop. So all of us got 2 scoops each :) HAPPINESS achieved!

Luckily we got there before the "rush hour" line

I couldn't resist so I got 2 scoops (I don't even like sweet things that much) and I ordered the "orange rosemary toffee" and the "candied cacao nib". The cacao one was probably the best there because all of my friends got this on top of whatever other scoop they ordered. AND, I suggested this flavor to my other friend and after he ate it he screamed (and I'll quote the more G-Rated version): "Oh my F*cking ______________ (female private part)". Yeah.. it was THAT good.

Really friendly cash register girl who also agreed that it's impossible to only get one scoop and that the cacao nib is SOOOOOOOO bomb-diggity

OKAY! I’m finally done and I’ll leave you guys in peace… until next time :) (I have a lot to updateee)

September 21 2010

I know they say “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, but I can’t keep my mouth shut for this one. On my last night in Vegas, we met up with a friend who is also a local of Sin City and he introduced us to the best burger place I’ve ever been to in the U.S. This tantalizing asian-style burger was and is too good to only keep it to myself, so I’ve made the decision to break the oath of secrecy and tell you all about the best kept secret that Vegas has to offer.

Following the truck stand-esque trend that has seemed to explode all over Southern California, the Fukuburger truck stand offers an array of mouth-watering, deeply satisfying asian-inspired burgers. At $5 a burger, this place is perfect for those who’ve met with misfortune at the casinos. They also have crispy golden french fries that complement the drunk and hungry stomach. But the best thing they can give you is a small cup of their “crack sauce” (and this is what it’s literally called) where you can dip your deep fried goodness or even your delicious burger to add a little kick. The sauce is tangy yet sweet with a hint of a spicy kick and it’s so good that you can’t help but to lick your fingers in hopes of any left over sauce. But what made this experience go from great to phenomenal was the friendly workers who sat down to chat and eat with us. Of course, we were given the lovely opportunity to meet the guys behind this savory operation because we were the last customers there and our native Vegas friend was friends with the workers, but nonetheless, they provided us with laughs and their friendliness only added to my already positive view of the place

I would be lying if I told you that every moment from the time I first bit into that burger, I wasn’t thinking of Fukuburger. Even when I fill my stomach with food, I feel unsatisfied because I want a Fukuburger resting in my tummy instead. My stomach is literally crying because it’s hurting for one right now.

I ordered the Tamago Burger that had an egg cooked over-easy

Long lines even at 3:30am!

The 'Tamago Burger'. I'm not sure what was in it exactly since I inhaled the thing. Taking this picture was almost torture because I wanted to bite into it the moment I saw it. The patty was marinated and tasted kind of like a Korean 'bulgogi' burger (Korean BBQ). Although a little messy because of the egg, it was delicious and I can't wait to come back!

This place is run by word of mouth so you can visit their websiteto check where they’ll be during your stay in Vegas!

September 13 2010

I love summer (even though it’s almost over :/) because you have copious amounts of free time to… COOK! This summer, I can’t say I’ve been utilizing my time wisely…but, I’ve been on a recent semi-productive binge and today was one of those days. Since I’ve been shoveling mini heart attacks down my throat, I decided that a change of pace was needed so I made something healthy, yay (note the excitement in my voice, not). Ever since Argentina/Brazil all I want is fried unhealthy goodness and anything that sounds “lite” or “healthy” makes me cringe. But, today’s meal was actually enjoyable and maybe, just maybe the healthy me is coming back. Here’s to hoping:

Lemon Pearl Couscous

Ingredients:

1 cup Israeli couscous

2 tsp oil

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Zest from ½ lemon

1 cup water

1 cup chicken broth

Salt (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan on medium and add the dry couscous
  2. Stir for a few minutes until the couscous is thoroughly covered in oil and lightly toasted.
  3. Add the water, chicken broth, lemon juice, zest, and salt. Let simmer and stir occasionally until all the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Cover once finished

The recipe I followed made the couscous have a risotto-esque consistency which I liked :)

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast filet (cut in half)**

2 tbsp olive oil

½ lemon, juiced

2 sprigs rosemary

½ cup white wine

¼ cup chicken broth

1 tbsp garlic

salt and peppa to taste

(I also used Korean herb salt used on meats)

The Korean herb "flavor" salt I used. Korean 101: "herb" is pronounced "huh beuh", everyone, repeat: "huh beuh"

Directions:

  1. Pour the oil in skillet on medium heat. Then place the chicken in the pan
  2. Pour in ½ of the wine and chicken broth and add the garlic, rosemary, and lemon juice.  Also, add the left over lemon peels into the pan.
  3. After fully cooked on one side (about 10 min) flip over and add the rest of the wine and broth.
  4. Add the salt and pepper.

** Cooking tip: make shallow slices in the chicken breast so it cooks thoroughly

Final product: I plated the 1/2 chicken breast with some couscous and spinach, which I sprinkled with lemon juice and NOT salad dressing (SO HEALTHY I'M GOING TO SCREAM). So yummy.. okay, I admit healthy food can taste good and to be honest, I actually like healthy food a lot, but Argentina turned me into a fatass who only eats the worst kind of food known to mankind.

And of course, no meal is complete without a nice refreshing (alcoholic) beverage. Leftover sangria.

Because we are mature adults, we are allowed to play with our food and make them into animals, in this case, a bird; courtesy of Erica. O, couscous eyes and lemon wedge beak, how you toy with my heart, I cannot resist your delicious charm.

September 12 2010

Today, I brunched with my friend at one of my favorite breakfast restaurants, The Original Pancake House. Although this place isn’t your trendy cutesy hole-in-the-wall breakfast place, it serves delicious breakfast items. Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge creature of habit and when I go with my family, we usually get the german pancake and a vegetable omelette, and occasionally, I let myself order the corned beef hash (YUMM) aka heart attack in a bowl. Today, though, I went for a new creative way to injure my heart – I ordered the BACON PANCAKES! hahaha! For those of you who know me, bacon is one of my greatest weaknesses. I’m not a huge pork fan, but give me the unhealthiest part, and I’ll devour it. Fat fat fat kid strikes again. So, my inspiration to order the pancakes originally stemmed from a book that I recently read: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. After I discovered that bacon pancakes existed, it was game over. By chance, I found out that The Original Pancake House has the bacon pancakes and after trying them, I’m excited to try to make them myself.

Before...

...and after. It's disgusting the amount of food that can fit in my stomach. One time, I went to Home Town Buffet with my parents when I was younger, and I ate so much my stomach almost ripped. I cried and cried and my mom tried to make me go to the bathroom so I could poop out some of what I ate... sigh... what' worse is.. I haven't learned my lesson.. and I continue to stuff my face day after day.

September 12 2010

This weekend, I went down to SD. Being home always inspires me too cook or make something because my kitchen is so nice (good job mom and dad). Anyway, I’ve been craving a refreshing, deeply satisfying sangria since.. well I have no excuse, I just wanted to get my drank on :). When I was in Argentina, I tried a white sangria, also known as cleríco and since I already had a glass of red wine the night before, I decided on attempting to make the white one. Technically, you’re supposed to leave it overnight so that the fruit and the alcohol really infuse into one another, but it was good nonetheless. I improvised between 2 recipes that I found.

Ingredients:

1 bottle white wine (I prefer sparkling)

½ cup of Peach Schnapps

1/2 Peach, roughly cubed

1/2  Nectarine, roughly cubed

1/2 Fuji apple, roughly cubed

1 cups white grapes, sliced in half

2 cups of strawberries, blueberries, boysenberries, and raspberries

1/2 Orange, roughly cubed (leave half for slicing)

2 Limes, squeezed (leave half of one for slicing)

1 tbsp granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Put the fruit into a large jar/pitcher (prettier if you use glass so you can see the colorful fruits)
  2. Pour in the bottle of white wine and ½ cup of peach schnapps
  3. Add the sugar and stir the contents and put in the fridge overnight, or if you’re like me and can’t wait, drink up!

    Horrible IPhone quality/lighting, I'm almost too embarrassed to put this up. But, I know I'll be making this again and next time around, I'll have a camera that can take better photos.

    Pair with some colby cheese and sesame crackers and you have a party in your mouth!

September 11 2010

Lately, I’ve been craving simple, traditional, yet comforting foods. One of the things I’ve been dying to eat is a hearty vegetable soup, but I wanted one that wasn’t loaded with salt and one that was relatively oil free. So I decided to try my own version.

Fresh Vegetable Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

2 cups cauliflower

1/2 onion (sliced)

1 1/2 cups pasta noodles

1 chicken breast filet

1 whole carton of low sodium vegetable stock (you can use water, but I like the subtle vegetable flavor broth)

salt, ground black pepper, and garlic to taste.

Directions:

1. Pour the vegetable stock, pasta noodles, and garlic into a pan and boil on medium.

2. Cut the chicken breast into cubes and boil in water in another pan until almost fully cooked, about 10 min and put aside once done cooking.

3. Cut up the celery, and carrots and add to the pan of vegetable broth. After about 20 min, add the cauliflower,onions, and chicken. Add the salt and pepper and Keep boiling for another 10-15 minutes (I personally like my vegetables and noodles to be really soft so I cook it for a wee bit longer).

And voila!

I was pretty pleased with the final result. YUMMM!!

I bought all of my ingredients at Trader Joe’s. Find a store near you!

September 10 2010

Last night I went to Villa Nova in Newport Beach for Christin’s birthday dinner. I arrived a little early, so I got to look around and read the stuff posted on their walls. In the ’30s and ’40s nothing on the menu cost over $2 except for bottles of wine which cost.. are you ready? $4. Try to find a fine dining restaurant with prices like that and I’ll give you $100. You can find delicious bottles of wine in Argentina for $5 or less but you have to pay for a pricey flight ticket out there. Anyway, today of course the menu reflects more current prices with main dishes ranging from $15-$30.

I’m not a huge Italian food fan because sometimes it’s a little too heavy for my taste. But, with an empty stomach, I’m down to eat anything. I will be the first to admit that I’m a creature of habit; especially when it comes to ordering food. I’m not a picky eater, but if there is a dish I feel comfortable with and enjoy eating, you can bet that I’ll order that dish. Sometimes, when I’m in a daring mood, I choose something new, but that doesn’t happen very often. So, without fail, I decided to order a meaty, decadent lasagna dish. But in a moment of impulsiveness, I decided to order the gnocchi with meat sauce. In keeping with my current longing for everything Argentine, I chose gnocchi because when I tried it in Argentina, I was deeply disappointed and I wanted to give it a chance to redeem itself. So, when the steaming hot plate of pasta was placed in front of me, I was eager to dig in. For those of you who aren’t familiar with gnocchi, its a pasta made from potatoes so the consistency is chewier and softer than most other types of pastas. With my first bite, I was wonderfully surprised. Aside from the gnocchi being a perfect texture, the sauce itself should have been given a prize. I’m sure it was loaded with butter, but still it was loaded with many other flavors too. I was pleased that the “meat sauce” did indeed have a lot of meat in it. It had a little spicy kick and wasn’t too salty. I highly recommend eating here, because it far exceeded my expectations of an Italian restaurant. Also, it’s a cute date spot especially for 50+ couples, so if you like watching old people dance, this place is the perfect place for you.

Villa Nova menu

Horrible lighting, but this is the gnocchi with meat sauce

September 9 2010

So, due to many different contributing reasons, this part of my blog has been the most bare. Some of the reasons being: I have no camera, I’ve had no REAL place of my own this summer, and I’ve been plain downright LAZY.

I also realized, I don’t like to blog too much about what I cook because I usually just eyeball certain measurements (which could be potentially dangerous) instead of using exact measurements, so I can’t really put up a recipe and I’m too lazy to write down all the steps. So, the inner fat kid in me, still wanting to blog about food, has decided to utilize this section for both my own cooking experiments as well as the places I go to eat. I have changed the title of this section to reflect this new decision of mine :).

Today, I have a little surprise for everyone: PICTURES!

I’ll start off with my extremely belated birthday surprise from my beloved friends. We spent the day in Pasadena/San Marino/Glendale. Starting the day off with a trip to the Huntington Library/Gardens, we quickly were overcome with hunger and went to do what we do best: EAT. We ate at a cute brick restaurant in Old Town Pasadena called Cafe Santorini. We each ordered a different dish and shared.

Trusting the name of this pizza (as it was same of that of the restaurant), Santorini, I ordered this yummy to my tummy pizza which was topped with: Mediterranean beef sausage, tomatoes, onions, goat cheese, mozzarella and fresh mint.

Larissa ordered the Red Curry Risotto with Seafood that pleased our taste buds with black mussels, clams and shrimp over risotto with spinach, red onions and a creamy red curry sauce.

Camille ordered the Roasted Boneless Half Chicken topped with topped with porcini mushroom Marsala cream sauce and served with roasted potatoes and sauteed vegetables.

Erica ordered the Insalata Frutti di Mare which had sauteed black tiger shrimp, bay scallops, calamari and salmon and it was served over mixed field greens with a creamy lemon dressing :)

And of course, not to disappoint, we were given a complimentary, birthday tiramisu with raspberry sauce.

Overall, it was a delicious meal at a reasonable price, spent in wonderful company :)

Obligatory group photo

For our last stop, they took me to Porto’s Bakery in Glendale, a Cuban bakery famous for their baked goods! Sadly, the goods were so good that I forgot to take pictures because all I could think about was how to stuff my face in the most efficient manner. However, I do remember what we got, so next time I’ll probably get the same thing since I’m a creature of habit and I promise to take pictures and describe both my first and second time experiences.

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