Monday, October 5, 2009

Gourmet magazine closes and era ends for foodies

After nearly 70 years of fine eating, the lavish meal known as Gourmet magazine is over.

Conde Nast blamed the tough economic climate Monday when it told its staff it was closing the stalwart of the food media world, long considered the dean of culinary publishing.

"It's the center of gravity, a major planet that's just disappearing," said chef and author Anthony Bourdain, who said Gourmet was the first food publication to give him a chance as a writer. "There's been a lot of speculation about this happening, but I'm still stunned."

Conde Nast also said it was shuttering Modern Bride, Elegant Bride and Cookie, a parenting magazine. Earlier in the year it ceased publication of Portfolio, a business magazine, and Domino, a homes title. Sister Conde Nast publication Bon Appetit survived the cuts, and will likely absorb many of Gourmet's readers.

For those in the food world, the closure is a bit like waking up to find the old Life magazine had closed shop.

"It's certainly the grand dame of food magazines," said Tim Ryan, president of the Culinary Institute of America. "We'll never see the likes of a Gourmet magazine in that form again."

Since 1999, Gourmet has been headed by Ruth Reichl, a doyenne of the food world and former New York Times restaurant critic. Reichl ushered the magazine firmly into the 21st century, overseeing launches of award-winning Web sites and television series.

More than just a cooking magazine, Gourmet explored the culture — and increasingly the politics — of food.

It was that connecting of the dots between policy, the environment and the dinner table that food writer Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma," most lamented losing.

"They were reaching an audience that wasn't sensitive to the political and ecological implications of their eating," he said in an e-mail. "It was largely a hedonistic community that Ruth introduced to some hard issues."

In a memo to staff Monday, Conde Nast CEO Charles Townsend said the company would remain committed to Gourmet's book-publishing and television franchises and keep its recipes on the popular

It was unclear what would become of the magazine's Web site, and Conde Nast spokeswoman Maurie Perl said it is still uncertain whether Reichl will stay with the company. The editors of the other three shuttered publications will be leaving, among roughly 180 employees cut.

Few expect another publication — virtual or otherwise — will fill the vacuum. Magazines that do rise from the rubble probably will reflect the newer trends in food publishing, driven by personalities and brands, such as Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and Food Network Magazine.

The greatest casualty may be the long-form food journalism favored by Gourmet, said Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief of Food & Wine, another of food publishing's Big Three, along with Gourmet and Bon Appetit.

"Ruth definitely devoted a lot more space, time and interest to literary writing and it's a shame to see that go," Cowin said. "You're not going to see that on a blog and when you use a recipe search tool."

Since its launch in 1941, Gourmet weathered repeated upheavals of the American food scene. At its inception, people ate local and seasonal because, well, that's all there was. When processed food supplanted the farm stand, Gourmet marched on.

And when food morphed from meal to movement and Americans ate local and seasonal as a political statement, Gourmet was there.

During Reichl's time at Gourmet, she saw the rise of the locavore movement — people eating locally produced foods — and molecular gastronomy, the art of preparing foods with chemistry and physics instead of traditional cooking techniques. She highlighted both trends in her first issue a decade ago.

But in recent years, how Americans got their food media also changed. Despite Gourmet's robust Web presence, keeping a bricks-and-mortar publication afloat proved too taxing.

"The transition from hard paper to the Internet is not as easy as it should be," said celebrity chef Bobby Flay. "We just take it as a sign of the way things are going to be now."

Gourmet's demise also illustrates the change in how power is held in the food world. The ability of print media to make — or break — anything is waning. Increasingly, it is the viral aspect of social networking and blogging that gives rise to new faces, places and flavors.

And in perhaps a nod to that, Reichl's first public comment after the announcement was made via Twitter.

"Thank you all SO much for this outpouring of support. It means a lot," she wrote. "Sorry not to be posting now, but I'm packing. We're all stunned, sad."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Deep Fried Butter!

by Ivy

Ok, seriously... I'm having a heart attack from looking at a picture. After seeing countless new fried food inventions at the fair each year, I've always joked about it this way too--"What else are they going to think of next? Deep fried butter?" lol. I guess I was right!

full article:

Unfortunately, I'd be willing to try it. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

El Rocoto -- I Ate an Entire Cow

by Jacki

So, I didn’t REALLY eat an entire cow. But upon exiting El Rocoto Peruvian Restaurant in Gardena, it sure felt like I did. I think I could sum it up best if I shared with you the best quote ever, said to my friend Rob by a restaurant server:

“I don’t eat til I’m full; I eat til I hate myself.”

Hate is too strong of a word here, because I know I only stuff myself to max capacity when I’m eating food that truly feels special and unique.

El Rocoto is special and unique, indeed.

I do recommend checking out El Rocoto’s online menu first as it gives you a peek into the dishes you’ll find, and features creative food categories such as “soul warmer” and “from the garden” that are somewhat difficult to navigate on a crowded in-restaurant menu.

For a storefront at the center of a strip mall sandwiched between Marukai and the Burnt Tortilla, the web site is pretty professional and upscale! It made me feel I would be walking into an eatery a little more fancy than El Pollo Inka, my other favorite Peruvian hang out. But upon arrival, you’ll feel more cozy than pretentious at your unassuming table beneath a turquoise ceiling, complemented by simplistic chairs and just enough space to throw out your elbows and dive into the massive-sized plates.

Enough with the tease: let’s talk food.

I ordered a #26: Milanesa de Carne, a beef steak pounded super thin and breaded, then served with salad and your choice of steamed rice or French fries.

ENTER THE COW: this was the hugest breaded beef steak I’ve seen in my life, and I can honestly say I’ve seen big breaded beef steak before! It was served on a plate at least 12 inches wide that could barely contain the amount of food on it!

But the flavoring, the breading, the steak – it was perfect. I didn’t run across any fatty pieces that hat to be cut from the steak. And considering how thin it was I was sure it might be on the tougher side, but I was wrong; it was tender and flavorful. The creamy dipping sauce in the middle of the plate was delicious but subtle, leaving me wondering just what was in it and why I had to keep trying it.

I’m not a big fan of steak fries, but these were cooked well and maintained a nice crunch that complimented the tender steak.

Watch out for the salad: the dressing was nice and refreshing, but the salad itself was laden with celery: one of my greatest gastronomical foes! If you’re not picky about vegetables, you’ll be just fine.

Our server was very friendly and not overly-attentive, which is just my style. They do have an extensive wine list which, because it was a workday lunch, I didn’t tempt myself with so I can't attest to the quality of it. Prices range from $9.00 to $16 (or maybe even a little higher) but if you get a dish such as the Saltado de Pollo (pictured below: lean chicken sautéed with onion, tomatoes and French fries with a ample helping of steamed rice), you’ll definitely have enough to take home for a second helping.

El Rocoto is one of those places were you see dishes being served to other patrons and automatically “oooh” and “aaah,” then want to know what it is so you can order it next time. I’m definitely going back and am looking forward to trying their Chinese-inspired offerings.

I feel lucky to have been referred to El Rocoto, definitely a diamond in the restaurant row rough.

1356 Artesia Boulevard
Gardena, CA 90247

Monday, August 24, 2009

Alinea: Precision, Artistry, Science and Food

by Ivy
SWEET sweet sweet promo video for the restaurant, Alinea. Take a look! Next time I'm in Chicago, I'll have to look it up.

Alinea/Crucial Detail - "Tokyo Taste"

is a restaurant in Chicago which opened in 2005. Its chef /owner, Grant Achatz, is known for his inventive preparations and deconstructions of classic flavors, as well as his rotating menu.

It has included a peanut butter and jelly composed of a single, peeled grape, still on the stem, encased in peanut butter and wrapped in paper-thin brioche. Alinea is known to serve 20 or so small courses over a period of hours. Customers have been known to cry out due to flavor.

Meals encompass all senses. Many entrees specifically are designed to appeal to the sense of smell or feel, in order to enhance the flavor of the food. For example, one dish is served on an inflatable pillow filled with nutmeg infused air, which is to be breathed before tasting the actual food. Some call this style overly pretentious, though the overall effect can be quite appealing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Great Noodle bars of the West

by Ivy

Craving a taste of the East found in the West perfect for hot, Summer days?

Two mind-blowing discoveries as of late... and then some!

each link goes to their Yelp sites. Photos by Yelpers!

Oumi Sasaya / Japanese \ Torrance, CA
Easily the best Udon bar in the South Bay area with an all female staff. Perfect, chewy noodles with the right tensile strength with many variations on udon. I recommend the cold version of udon with Tempura Shrimp & Mochi. Mmmmmm! I also recently tried the very unique Shabu-Shabu like "Suki" Udon where you receive a portable stove along with vegetables/meat that you cook yourself at the table. Cool, sleek and modern decor and ambiance inside with a long bar that creates a focal point when you enter. I've read reviews that it feels very much like the noodle bars in Japan.

Yuchun / Korean \ Koreatown Los Angeles, CA
Easily the best Nengmyun house in Koreatown/Downtown LA area. They import the noodles all the way from Korea so you know you're dealing with authentic stuff! Highly recommend the combo of cold, summery noodles with Kalbi(Korean marinated short-ribs). Lines actually form at this place on weekends. You can have the noodles two ways: Arrowroot, the noodles look black but pretty much taste as the Clear ones with two styles: Mool, in "watery" broth, or Bibim, with a spicy sauce.

Tried and true...

Ma Dang Gook Soo / Korean \ Koreatown Los Angeles, CA
Jonathan Gold of LA Weekly and Pulitzer fame loves this place. Try their Kal-guk-soo, "Knife noodles". I think this place is pretty good. They have a variety of downhome, modest Korean noodles--and notably, awesome, friendly service.

Sanuki No Sato / Japanese \ Gardena, CA
Yes, an old favorite of mine and a favorite of many, including Japanese celebs and even baseballs players as noted by the photos near the entrance. They are known for their udon. Nice, perky noodles in a delicious, clear broth. Everything here is great. Try their Tempura and other a la carte items. Always a favorite.

Otafuku Noodle House / Japanese \ Gardena, CA
Handmade "Seiro" soba noodles and udon. This too was also beloved by Mr. Gold. The noodles here are served naked: Straightforward, noodles and accompanied tsuyu sauce and traditional grated radish and scallions. The taste is in the noodles. Make sure you're in a simple mood and not a sexy one--the ambiance is pretty straightforward with hardly a decoration on the wall.

Oumi Sasaya:
2383 Lomita Blvd. Unit 101., Lomita, CA 90717 (310) 530-4661

3470 W 6th. St. Ste 11.,
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 389-1200

Ma Dang Gook Soo:

869 S. Western Ave., Ste 1
., Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 487-6008

Sanuki No Sato:

18206 S. Western Ave
., Gardena, CA 90248
(310) 324-9184

Otafuku Noodle House:

16525 S Western Ave
., Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 532-9348

Sunday, July 26, 2009

aye yi yi yi yi Porto's

by Jacki

Sometimes my mouth is faster than my camera...
This weekend, I helped clog the on-ramps of our freeways to attend Cinespia, an event that could sound mildly morbid upon first hearing of it: cult movies are shown on a huge wall as you picnic on the well-kept greens of the Hollywood Forever cemetery.

The goal of the evening was to gather with two other couples, watch The Muppet Movie, drink some wine and have a picnic amongst the dead. That picnic would include 2 Buck Chuck and Five Shakes Macaroni and Cheese. Nooshi’s co-worker, friend, and thumb-sucker extraordinaire Rebecca (inside joke) and her husband, Nick, would be bringing sandwiches from a little place called Porto’s Bakery.

It would be my first time sampling the fare of this Los Angeles institution but I was already jazzed. Always liking to know what I’m getting into, I had perused their lunch menu on Thursday and requested a Cuban. I couldn’t wait to try it…which of course, if you’re familiar with my gravitational pull on Murphy’s Law, meant I would have to.

After standing in an atrocious line with a wait-time of over an hour while hampered by picnic baskets and the eclectic actions (and fashions) only Angelinos demonstrate without shame, the grounds of the cemetery reached maximum capacity. We weren’t getting in – and were left with food that was cooling and wine that was warming.

Time for Plan B: Rebecca and Nick graciously opened up their home to me, Eric, Nooshi, and Nooshi’s Eric, as it was just a short drive up the road. Soon, I would have my Cuban, and one of the most entertaining evenings I've had in a long time!

I’m going to skip over a lot here that’s actually really important; such as how stunning, cozy, and full of soul their home was, the fact that I should have let Rebecca reheat my Mac and Cheese, and my viewing of the most awesome bathroom tile I’ve ever seen. I’m even going to give mild details on the Cuban, which was incredibly good! Roasted Pork and Ham over Swiss cheese with a spread of mustard, mayo and just the right amount of pickles on Cuban bread…what could be more satisfying?

Apparently, dessert.

I bit into a big section of heaven that Porto’s calls the Refugiado™. Yes, heaven has been officially trademarked in this Guava and Cream Cheese pastry that’s listed as a top-seller.

Me, post-bite. I can't remember when I've taken such a happy photo!

I testified I would pay at least $3 for this delightful, buttery, flaky treat with a bonanza of sweet and tart tropical fruit and bite of flattering cream cheese flavor; but you can get them for 0.85 cents each.

From the two selections I’ve had from Porto’s, I believe you could go there, order anything, and find yourself satisfied in the way only truly simple dining selections with an affordable ticket can. Porto’s is just one of those magical places that strikes like the Midas touch, and caters to a neighborhood of happy clients who know how lucky they are to live so close.

*As always, sorry for the non-professional photos!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The new kid in town: Ramen California

by Ivy

For Ramen purists, the new kid in town may be a bit appalling. He's got a new organic swagger that will fend off the loyal tonkotsu/shio, AKA porky broth fans. For the one's who are a bit more open-minded to new flavors and flavor combinations, Ramen California could be your new friend that shows you how to strut in skinny jeans and skip class. This interpretation isn't as deeply rich, creamy and heady as the original version, but it's not trying to be anything like the old and tried--it's daring to be different. Everything about this place bursts with creativity and even touches upon a bit of molecular gastronomy(he's friends with Ferran Adrià) as innovative chef Shigetoshi Nakamura offers you his culinary adventures.

“One day, I want people in Japan to think of this as California-style ramen.” Love or hate the results, what Nobu did for sushi, Sean might well do for the slurpy stuff.
-Rameniac on Shigetoshi "Sean" Nakamura

Here are some shots from two different visits. Sorry for the quality--I used my camera iPhone on both occasions.

Original Ramen California with 20 varieties of vegetables.
For the Vegetarians, you can get this without grilled chicken.
It comes with an intensely focused and clean chicken broth--
instead of the usual pork broth ramen is known for.
It also comes in 3 sizes(small, regular, large)

My first reaction before seeing it was, "I don't think I even know 20 different vegetables". Now I know! The bowl is filled with nibbly bits of edamame, carrots, cauliflower, baby corn, squash, beets, radish, arugula etc all either fresh, blanched or steamed to perfection--it's feels like a ramen with salad thrown in--oddly enough it works for me.

After all, an artist needs quality materials to work with and not only a great concept--the chicken broth is incredibly clean and pure--a standout base for all its dishes at Ramen California.

The 2nd visit for dinner, which was last night...

We were given complimentary Rosemary Kashi bread. This was pretty damn farkin' delicious. BUTTERY with an all-around crunch, sea salt mohawk on top, fluffy... Somehow they surprise you more by the texture within, more bread twirled on the inside. I could just come back for the rolls. Mmmmm

Here's the next ramen I tried.
I've heard this one sells out alot...
Reggiano Cheese-Tofu Ramen.

After my friend ordered the Reggiano Cheese-Tofu as a Tapas dish, we realized the tofu and cheese had been blended together to form a sauce.

Based on friends' reactions, I think this dish wouldn't go over well with somedue to the yogurt-like texture who ordered it tapas-style. However, I liked it.......... inside the ramen. I was confused whether to mix the sauce into the soup or dip the ramen into the cheese-tofu sauce--I ended up doing both. Also, there was an edible flower in my soup which I found to have a definite citrus taste to it(pic: see the orange spot in the greens?)! Quite original and summery.

But after comparing the two, I still prefer the original Ramen California with 20 vegetables sans cheese-tofu sauce. However, the cheese-tofu sells out the most.

Overall, I really liked it and definitely would go back--I still can't turn my back on tonkotsu or shio broth ramen. I like what it's trying to do--but I know it won't replace the good old hat. For the uninitiated, I wouldn't go in with any expectations of what ramen should taste like but go to experience a new culinary branching and artistry with, well, ramen! Their concept lies in "organic"--so they also have an offering of organic wines and lighter, brighter healthier ramen. Everything about this place feels fresh! I'd still like to go back and try their heirloom tomato ramen and Masala ramen and various proposals of Japanese-inspired tapas(carpaccio, oysters!).

Other related links worth reading:

Ramen California
24231 Crenshaw Blvd. Unit C
Torrance, CA 90505
(310) 530-2749
Tuesday - Sunday, closed Mondays
Lunch: 11:30am - 2:30pm
Dinner: 5:30pm - 10:00pm

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Utthapam at Udupi Palace

by Nidhi

The few times we make it out to Little India / Pioneer Blvd in Artesia, we end up at Udupi Palace for South Indian food. My interest in finding good South Indian food is mostly because I can't cook most of those dishes nearly as well or at all at home. I can cook decent enough North Indian food that fulfills the craving for mom's cooking.

I had the mixed vegetable utthapam which is a thick pancake with spices and vegetables. The staple sambhar here is delicious and so is the coconut chutney. Nikhil had the spinach masala dosa where the dosa was coated with a thin layer of a spicy spinach mix inside and stuffed with potatoes. I am getting so hungry as I write this.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


by Emi
Sorry for the lack of pictures but I lost my camera this weekend in a freak accident involving a drifting boat and a port-a-potty on the lake in Mammoth. The camera was 3 years old so I guess it was time for a new one.... I digress....

So, upon my return from said trip to Mammoth I went with my cousins to my first Michelin starred restaurant, Providence in Hancock Park. I was really excited since one of my favorite food bloggers, KevinEats ( has visited this restaurant FOUR times!!

So typically when I go to dinner with my fellow foodie cousins/friends we order a bunch of stuff and share it family style (in true Asian fashion!). However, upon ordering 3 appetizers and 2 entrees for a party of 5, the server taking our order scoffed at us saying "that's it?" RUDE!! I guess they were hoping they would sucker us all into ordering one of their 12 course chef tastings for $160 each. Not this group sorry buck-o!

So we ordered the following:

Maine Lobster Risotto (carnaroli rice, rosemary, shimeji mushrooms, lemon)
Foie Gras Ravioli (italian summer truffles, aromatics, parmesan)
Shitake Mushroom, Polenta, Sunny Side-Up Egg and Endive
Prime New York Steak (Mc Grath farms baby broccoli, tomato compote, bone marrow, sauce bordelaise)
Liberty Farms Peking Duck Breasts (Weiser Farms globe carrots, black trumpets, duck jus)

Overall I would say the best part of the meal was the Bacon Brioche Rolls and the Foie Gras Ravioli. It's definitely a special occasion restaurant as their portions are kinda small but the food is so rich you don't need much to be satisfied.

Btw, only one drink was ordered and no desserts it cost about $50/ person. Not too bad.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


by JeeRemember to buy local strawberries. Just try to buy local produce, period.

For this simple recipe go to:

It's HOT, let's go get some nang-myun.

by Jee

It's officially summer time. That means it's officially time to enjoy some nang-myun, which is korean cold noodles. I don't really know why that spoon is there as we Koreans like to just drink the cold soup straight from the bowl. Don't forget to add the vinegar! Mo' vinegar mo' better.

(the picture is of homemade nang-myun that my friend, Ester's mom made. You can get nang-myun from most Korean restaurants as it is the staple meal for summer.)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My 4th of July present to you.

by Jee

Vanilla ice cream with raspberries and blueberries in a brownie sandwich.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Top Chef Tour : Los Angeles : Hosea and Fabio

by Ivy
Last Friday, I went with my friends to check out the Top Chef tour in their last stop... Los Angeles! They were set up on the corner of Fairfax and 3rd street near The Grove.

Here's the tent that they were set up in.

Season 5 winner, Hosea Rosenberg(left) and fan favorite, Fabio Vivianni(right).

Hosea Rosenberg
I'm going to sauté peas with a Ginger sauce. Amazing. Little crunchy. Bright colorful dish.
If you fry things for the right amount of time they don't hold the oil. Cook at 350.
Shallots won't make your eyes burn, the have a nice and sweet flavor without the strength of the onion.

What is Hosea making? He mixes a little red curry with chopped mangoes.
From what I can see there are sugar snap peas, coconut, cooked jasmine rice, shrimp, cilantro, and along with some other ingredients on the table.

Fabio Viviani
The two things I hate most: cilantro and peanut butter
He's using cilantro. I hate cilantro!
Why do people cook with this herb that looks like parsley but tastes like perfume!

Hosea Rosenberg
I'm going to make peanut butter and cilantro sandwiches for Fabio since he hates both. :)

However, since Hosea won Top Chef, Fabio concedes that Hosea can use cilantro or anything in his dish for the demo.
Fabio is hilarious as he is on TV, he reminds me of real life Mario from Super Mario Bros.

Hosea Rosenberg
What surprised me most about being on Top Chef... It's a lot harder than you think! And there's cameras everywhere!

Fabio Viviani
I love my wife, but it's hard to concentrate with Padma around

Hosea Rosenberg
Padma is a little intimidating. She's beautiful!

What we also find out is that the "Quickfire challenge" actually is a 4-hour long process. When the judges finally arrive at tasting, the food ends up being cold because of the time it takes for them to record the initial snapshots of the dishes along with the judges reaction and comments. It's pretty infuriating for the contestants.

Macadamia & (Quaker) Oat crusted shrimp with coconut cilantro rice, ginger snap peas and mango red curry sauce. This was a nice summery dish.
Quaker Oats was the sponsor of this event, so Hosea made it a point to make a dish using oats.

I end up sticking around for Demo 2, too curious not to stay--really wanted to check out Fabio's dish! He's one of my favorite people from the show because of his humor and crassness. He's starting to cook a pasta dish here using San Marzano tomatoes, red onions, lots of garlic. He effuses how he "loves a saucy sauce!"

Fabio Viviani
"Pancetta is the side belly, rolled and salt cured, bacon is the flat belly. Pancetta is NOT bacon."

He stressed this multiple times throughout the demo.

Fabio Viviani
My favorite challenge: Foo Fighters. We got pretty drunk after we won.

Orecchiete pasta with bacon I mean pancetta. This was pretty good too. I love pasta especially in marinara.

Here's a video I took of Fabio on "monkey ass"...

Fabio Viviani
They're asking about my monkey ass comment on the show. I've never actually cooked monkey ass.

Can't wait to try Fabio's restaurant! A lil luv for his Fabioness: Cafe firenzi

They were really happy to sign on a guy wearing this T-shirt.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Japanese Snack Review: Cheetos "Honey Fondue" + Doritos "Wasabi Mayo"

by Ivy
I saw these at Mitsuwa Marketplace and couldn't resist buying them.

"Honey Cheese Fondue" Cheetos

Picture credit: DarkChunsa

Honey and Cheese.... hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. What is in this picture exactly? Cheese pizza with honey squirts? I'm already a little suspect that this won't be too tasty. I guess it makes sense if you like Brie accented with honey but on Cheeto cheese, I gander, it would be like crunchy bits of candied foot rot.

Picture credit:

The outside is really powdery, more powdery than a regular orange Cheeto. I don't like it. Wtf. I can't figure out whether this is sweet or savory. 0/5
I will never buy this again.

"Wasabi Mayo" Doritos

This version of Dorito is part of their "Gourmet" line of flavors. Here are other flavors I've quickly googled to see what else is out there in Gourmet Doritoland: Fried Chicken and Green Onion flavor and Sausage. Well, no surprise there! The Japanese are no strangers to interesting or odd snack food flavors.

On first inspection the Dorito is quite shiny! It looks deceptively unflavored--yellow corn tortilla chip with a nice sheen on it. They even look a little more sophisticated in size and shape compared to their American counterparts. Think isosceles rather than equilateral.

At first taste, it has savoryness with undertones of mayo with a wasabi kick. The wasabi heat was just the right amount for me. Any spicier I might have complained.

I would definitely buy these again. 3.75/5

If you're still curious here's a video review from J-list on wasabi Doritos

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Slurp-tastic Herb Noodles (101 cookbooks)

by Nidhi

I needed a little comfort food for dinner today so I made another Heidi Swanson recipe involving spinach pasta, thai-ish curry sauce, lots of herbs and tofu. It's quite a striking dish to look at and very easy to make. The tofu just dissolves into the curry sauce. The herbs are refreshing and compliment the coconut milk, yellow curry mix perfectly. Slurp-tastic indeed!

Grilling Around the World

from Recipezaar | May 16, 2009
Spain: Canary Island Style Pollo En Adobo
America: Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Chicken
India: Uncle Bill's Barbecue Tandoori Chicken
Indonesia: Indonesian Grilled Chicken
China: South China Morning Post — Authentic Chicken Satay Skewers
Hawaii: Huli Huli Chicken or Ribs
Canada: Montreal-Grilled Chicken Salad
France: Chicken in Parchment With Thyme
Greece: Garlicky Chicken or Pork Souvlaki

The Perfect Marinade for Grilled Steak
Photo by Susie Chen

Ireland: Flank Steak With Whiskey Sauce
Israel: Shishlik (Israeli Skewers)
Tunisia: Tunisian Beef Pinwheels
South America: Flank Steak Churrasco With Chimichurri Rojo
Australia: Aussie Burgers
Mexico: Marinated Grilled Beef Fajitas
Korea: Korean Barbecue - Bulgogi
America: Grilled Crusted Steak With Lemon Butter
Japan: Japanese Steak With Sunomono

Venezuela: Venezuelan Barbecued Pork
America: Coffee-Marinated Grilled Pork
South Africa: Pork Loin Chop Marinade, Old South African
Cuba: Grilled Cuban Style Pork Shoulder
America: Beer Grilled Pork Chops
Germany: Spiessbraten, Idar-Oberstein Style
Japan: Japanese Style Pork BBQ - Pork Yakiniku
America: Cajun-Style Spiced Pork Chops
Jamaica: Jamaican Jerk Pork

Honey Ginger Grilled Salmon
Photo by Derf

Australia: Australian Shrimp on the Barbie
America: Grilled Mahi Mahi
Thailand: Thai Grilled Sea Bass - Pla Pao
America: Grilled Glazed Salmon
France: Grilled Tuna With Herbed Tomato, Garlic and Lemon Sauce
Hawaii: Grilled Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa
Ireland: Barbecued Blarney Salmon
Italy: Italian Grilled Shrimp Scampi
Japan: Wasabi Grilled Tuna

Thursday, June 4, 2009

You're so welcome.

by Jee

Someone should "America's Test Kitchen" this bacon cheddar cheese muffin.
Please let me know of your progress.

Food for Thought:
My brother thought of this.
thick cut bacon, crumbled sausage, cheddar cheese, hashbrowns,
and a soft cooked egg in the middle of the muffin.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Zip it good

by Jacki
Cooking with fresh ingredients is best -- of course. But fresh ingredients don't "keep" well.

One of my favorite ingredients is ginger. I purchase it from a local market in Torrance, CA called Randy's Market on Sepulveda Blvd. If you've never been, grab your reusable bags, cash or checkbook, and get there NOW. This place offers the best produce and the best prices: Granny Smith Apples cost me anywhere from $1.49 a lb to $1.99 a lb at the grocery store. At Randy's they cost around $0.59 cents a pound (maybe even less!).

Back to ginger...

Ginger just doesn't keep well. The second you slice into it and get what you need out of it, you may as well toss the rest. However, a Thanksgiving 2008 discovery has allowed me to sustain fresh ginger in my apartment for 2 weeks!

The ginger inside the bag with the air sucked out. Please accept my apologies for the bad photo...

This magical discovery is the Ziploc Freezer Pump and Bag. As someone who covets all modern kitchen technological advances but has no place to store them, you can imagine my excitement when I found this somewhat archaic version of food storage at my Vons. (In case you can't imagine my excitement, picture a blonde jumping up and down on the foil and saran wrap aisle, channeling my inner Monica Gellar as I repeated over and over again "This is the coolest thing ever!")

What it is: a very affordable version of those vacuum seal food storage systems on infomercials.

How much it costs: if I remember correctly, the starter kit, which comes with a pump and 3 bags, clocks in at around $9. (It might be a little more...)

How it works: the special bags have a "hole" in the upper right hand corner that acts as a valve. Once the pump is placed over the hole, pull the pump up and down to suck the air out of the bag.

Down side: if you're sealing something to be left out on the counter, sometimes air will re-enter the bag after a day or so, and you'll have to "re-pump" the air out. This doesn't seem to happen with stuff put in the freezer or refrigerator.

Definitely don't: use with a liquid marinade. The pump will pull the liquid out of the bag and it gets a little messy.

If you're totally over throwing away perfectly good food just because it's not filled with preservatives that keep it fresh, MAKE THE INVESTMENT IN THESE BAGS TODAY. I've used them in various ways: freezing turkey meat, keeping cream cheese and regular cheese fresh and mold-free in the refrigerator, and most recently, keeping my ginger in good standing!

The bags also came in really handy at Thanksgiving when I wanted to save myself some time: I pre-chopped onions and leeks the night before, and the next day when it was time to add those ingredients to my stuffing, they were fresh and ready to go!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

And now there's the "Marked5" truck...

by Ivy

I had some fun tonight walking about downtown LA on a Friday night...

Some of the local color you see in LA.
That monstrous camera in the back was mounted to this Audi A8.

After our drunken stumbling out of the Crocker Club and having attempted to watch a burlesque show by The Feminine Oddities at the Hive Gallery, we ran into "Marked5", yet another food truck riding the trend of asian-inspired fast eats. This one like Kogi BBQ, sees Twitter as a valuable marketing tool to create a legion of followers and intensify hype(see: my personal kogi making experience at home).

Anyway.. onto the comparison. :)

Kogi: Korean inspired tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc.
Japanese inspired burgers and bites, etc.

Great menu. My initial impression is very good. At first glance, readability is clear. Their menu is straightforward, concise in a legible, san-serif font. Good descriptions for the food and clear pictures of the food.

Drat. Tofu looked yummy. They ran out of Tofu. Wow, Tofu is the most popular one! LA is quite the health conscientious city.

Our friend Kenny hears the pangs of hunger and is the first to take the plunge even though he wasn't totally hungry. He goes ahead and orders the "Torakku Beef".

Nice! We note the goods filled in the refrigerated part of the truck up for purchase: Pocky, Arare(Japanese rice crackers), Green Tea, Pocari Sweat, Wasabi Peas, Calpico, Mr. Coffee, Grass Jelly and various other asiany items, mostly Japanese. Of course, being that Kenny just ex-patted from the U.S. to Shanghai last year, orders the Grass Jelly in true Commie fashion. Chairman Mao would be proud.

The adequate amount of cooking time passes. No complaints there in speed and delivery. Not crowded though. The people who work there were nice and friendly. Kenny receives his order hot and fresh. After the initial bite, he expresses, "Ooh, this IS really good!", so Rena and I decide to order our own to share. We order the "Torakku Beef" and our other companions order the "Shrimp Spring". Like Wendy's burger patties, the sticky rice buns are shaped into flat squares.

Tastes Great! It's like a Japanese Hamburg steak with some carmelized onions, lettuce, secret sauce with rice in a convenient sandwich form. The secret Torakku sauce was really good except that it was starting to drip all over the place. Bread is a good medium for absorption but I don't miss it--the rice works well with all the components. I still don't like the drip factor and I feel like I'm in one of those Carl's Jr. commercials where I'm a saucy wench. As for the Shrimp Spring, I don't have a picture of it, but duuuuude... they were light, crispy, airy which really brought out the savoryness of the shrimp nestled in its bubble of fried goodness. Pretty freakin' delicious.

Slight downside. It started after the Kogi phenomenon. Kogi has a cult following, it has more brand influence and reach. I've noticed at Taco festivals around Los Angeles if it features 20 Mexican taco booths, at least one Kogi truck will be there to represent fusion tacos. On the up side, with a good product people will come--Marked5 is keenly aware of sprucing up their identity with a logo, twitter site, and street team who are passing out business cards with their website.

"Torakku Beef" A tasty mess

Sticky Rice buns fall apart even though they are ever-so-slightly toasted on the outside. My suggestion in making the "bun" hold together might be resolved by making the outer sides of the rice buns super crispy, cracker-like--take for example Korean

Overall Rating:

Kogi: 4/5 stars, I like it. However I still would not chase this moving restaurant and wait in a mile long, one-hour line. Especially now that I can make these suckers at home.
Marked5: 3.8/5 stars, work on the bun and I would rate it much higher. Good flavor and product. I would definitely eat this again if we crossed paths again. I definitely want to get those Shrimp Springs again.

I really like these asian-inspired food trucks. It offers variety and carves out a new food niche that's distinctly Los Angeles. Even LA Weekly Pulitzer prize winning food critic, Jonathan Gold gives them a shoutout:

Not since Pinkberry has anything captured the local imagination as quickly as Kogi, the Korean taco truck whose owners went from giving tacos away on Hollywood Boulevard to becoming rock stars of cuisine in little more than a couple of months — which is to say, 10 times faster than it took Guns N’ Roses or System of a Down to break out of the tyranny of small clubs. The Doheny, the swankest membership tavern in town, has arranged tasting menus of Kogi food paired with their exquisitely balanced cocktails, and the crowds that form when the truck rolls up to UCLA are big enough to disrupt traffic. In the parking lot outside the Brig in Venice, Kogi becomes an impromptu nightclub, a taco-driven hookup scene as perfervid as anything with a $40 cover charge. Last Saturday night outside the Brig, Kogi swarmed with customers, while the Green Truck, the high-quality organic purveyor that was the first of the gourmet trucks, stood by an empty sidewalk just one block away.

Rena also had dinner at Pete's Cafe before meeting up with some of us, somehow they ended up meeting this super nice guy named Tom Gilmore. Apparently, he owns half of downtown LA. No fucking joke. He was nice enough to hook us up with free entry into the Edison Bar nearby. He wrote on his business card for us to give to the bouncer, "Please let these people inside -[signed]Tom".