By PDLCPayday Loan
Culinary Explorations and Experiences around LA and the Foodiverse
We are proud owners of a new 55mm 1.4 lens for our Canon SLR. It makes pictures look so much more appetizing. We were invited to a sushi dinner at a friend’s house so we brought our new toy over for a test drive. Boy oh boy how I love the way the lens handles.
With only 3 hours of sleep last night and belly full of white wine, I am a little drunkz. So this calls for a photo laden post.
My friend C is one of the best cooks I know. Not only is her food delish, the presentation is unbelievable. When she invited us over for a nice sushi dinner, I knew I was in a treat but I wasn’t expecting a FEAST. Check it!
Fish cemetery! Okay, I’ll stop. Isn’t it a beauty?
Tuna albacore tataki, just like how it’s served in the restaurants but much fresher!
The dinner also included miso with seaweed,shrimp heads and Japanese mushroom and spicy tuna hand rolls and of course, lots of sake. Check out the impressive HOMEMADE spread!
For dessert, C knows that Hubs does not like cake (Blasphemy I know!) so she prepared creme brulee, prepared tableside by C’s MR.
Some strawberries and fresh mint from the garden, powdered goodness and we’re done.
When we were about to cry UNCLE from fullness, C brings out..you guessed it..CAKE! YAYAYAYAY!!!! It’s her famous homemade chocolate cake roll with espresso cream filling. The cake was perfection, not too sweet,not too bitter, not too spongy and not too dense with just the right amount of fluffiness. I thought I could snag Hubs’ portion but before I knew it, he had polished it in a few bites. So there is hope.he can be converted.
Here is our lovely chef C at work. I’ve asked her several times to marry me but she’s already taken.
Thanks so much guys for such a fabulous dinner and wonderful night of pictionary! Should I post up pictures of our drawings? Skydiving? Macaroni?<———- ???
I always say Guangzhou brings out the worst in people. The air quality, the humid climate in the warmer months, the pick pockets, the traffic, the craziness of the city just gets to me every time I’m there. Even the most civilized person will feel compelled to push and shove their way through crowds and not wait in line. Even the most divine being will uncontrollably utter or even scream obscenities while pushing and shoving their way through said crowds. On the bright side, there is an abundance of good and cheap eats in this godforsaken city.
My traveling companions and I decided to venture beyond our hotel and walked into one of the city’s many city centers. After looking at a few suspicious rice and noodle shops, we found a nice sit down restaurant on top of a McDonalds. The restaurant had a special priced menu that offered fares that ranged from US$1 to US$ 3. The lotus root cakes where one of the items that were on this special priced menu and for some reason I thought it would be sweet. However, the dish was savory and delicious. It was made with chunks of lotus root and ground pork and looked like thin slices of pork chops. This dish was RMB 8 which is around US$ 1.17.
Another dish off the cheapo menu was the steamed pumpkin with lotus flower petals. Again, I thought this would be a sweet dish but the pumpkin was steamed in a soy sauce base, kind of like the sauce off of the roast duck at Sam Woo’s. The sweetness of the pumpkin was a nice contrast to the oily and salty flavor of the sauce. This cost a whopping RMB 12 (US$ 1.75).
Next up, THE ROASTED GOOSE, which came highly recommended by our waitress as it is their house specialty.I can never tell the difference between duck and goose when they are roasted because the consistency is the same, a little gamey a little fatty. Eithery way, it was one of the best goose/duck meat I’ve had in my life. It was meaty in all the right places.
However, what I loved most about the goose was that it was hiding a pile of Schzewan style pickled turnips and carrots underneath. The tangy and sour crunch of the turnips was a nice refreshing surprise after digging through all the salty goodness of the goose meat. This dish was the most expensive of the entire meal, a whopping RMB 26 (US$ 3.85)!!!
I had to order something that I knew would be SWEET for sure so I decided on some sort of a green tea roll with crushed peanuts. It was crushed peanuts and crystallized sugar wrapped inside green tea (or green food coloring) infused rice cake. This dessert definitely hit the chewy, sweet and crispy spot that I was looking for to end a nice meal.
After this cheap and delicious meal, Guangzhou almost redeems itself to me, almost.
While Hubs and I were waiting for a seat at Hama Sushi, we spied the Calbi taco truck parked in front of American Apparel in Little Tokyo. We decided to try one pork taco since there was no line and were curious to see what the whole fuss is about.
Calbi’s pork taco took about 15 minutes to prepare. It was overflowing with toppings such as scallions and lettuce. The pork was flavorful as any Korean bbq meat but I wished there was a bit more of it in the tortilla. What stood out to me was the sesame oil which I thought paired very nicely with the tortilla and salad-esque toppings. The taco was good but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it. My thing is, if I want a taco I will visit my favorite al pastor taco stand in Highland Park, if I want Korean bbq (pork), I will go to Honey Pig in Koreantown.
Sorry for the mini hiatus. I didn’t realize that I’ve been neglecting my little ole blog so far. A personal apology to all 4 of my readers. (Hi Jaya!)
Hubs and I have been venturing out of our comfort zone of SGV, Silver Lake, and Santa Monica for our breakfast/brunch ventures. So after a nice long run at the Rose Bowl one sunny Saturday, we decided to try the breakfast/brunch at Auntie Em’s in Eagle Rock.
For some reason, I was really hankering for a sandwich all week so I decided to order the black forest ham and eggs with mustard see gouda on grilled pretzel bread. I thought the pretzel bread was going to be hard like well, a pretzel but the texture was a cross between sourdough and white bread. The black forest ham was not overly salted and the gouda added a nice fragrant touch to the sandwich. Although the sandwich looked like a monster overfilling with eggs and schtuff, it was actually not too heavy or too much. I finished the entire thing.yes I did.
Although I prefer more sour cream cheesy frosting on my red velvets like the ones from Lark Cakeshop in Silver Lake, Auntie’s Em’s red velvet cupcakes were moist and the frosting was nice and sweet. The chocolate cupcake was also tasty but I’m not really a chocolate person so I can only vouch for the nice cakey texture and not for the taste. The best part was when the bill came, we were not charged for the cupcakes or our drinks. Did I mention that I love Jody! By the way, it was my first time having Intelligentsia coffee which is self serve here. I am hooked! Love the dark roasty and smooth flavor of their coffee.
Okay, I admit that I actually went to Auntie Em’s again the following week. This time I was craving waffles or pancakes, one of the daily specials was pancakes with fresh berries with shaved coconut and real maple syrup. However, I was informed that they were out of pancakes. I was BUMMMMMED. The server (not Jody this time) suggested their french toast which was comparable to the pancakes. Being a french toast disliker but craving something carby, I succumbed to the suggestion but was later disappointed.
I have never been a fan of french toast so again, I probably can’t really accurately asses this dish. I just thought it was bland and had a crunchy shell. Looks pretty though no?
Hubs lucked out on the biscuit with eggs and turkey sausage gravy. We were pleasantly surprised and delighted at the sight of this dish! Look at it! Isn’t she a beauty?! Yes, those are Auntie Em’s homemade biscuits that was almost as big as my face! Hubs and I thought it was just going to be a regular biscuit with regular gravy and side of eggs. The biscuit was fluffy and the gravy was not over the top heavy.
Although I was disappointed with the French toast, the biscuits and gravy redeemed it.
Auntie Em’s “cooks by the season” so although they have a regular menu, their specials are what sets them apart because they take advantage of the items in season and cook accordingly. I am curious about their veggie and salad items and abundance of pastry items so I will be back soon.Auntie Em’s Kitchen 4616 Eagle Rock Blvd.
For the 10 years that I have been traveling to Hong Kong for work, I never had a chance to actually tour the city. It’s always hotel, convention center, fishballs stall, hotel and repeat. This past trip, a free day was presented to me and I took the opportunity to finally be a tourist. My coworker and I decided to to to Lantau Island in the New Territories of Hong Kong to see the Giant Buddha.
It was a national holiday in Hong Kong that day so the place was packed with tourists as well as locals.
Right under the Giant Buddha.
We had originally planned to have the vegetarian meal here but since it was a holiday, the restaurant was packed and the wait seem days. I was bummed because I was looking forward to having lunch at the restaurant on the temple grounds. However, we discovered a walk up and order cafe next to the restaurant. We were hungry and the line was short so we ditched our place in line at the restaurant and headed over. No meat was served on temple grounds so everything at the cafe was vegetarian. I was delighted to the case of [crispy] pastries!
They had a “prix fixe” menu for the price of HKD 25 per person (around USD 3.50) which includes a plate of vegetarian vermicelli or noodles, 2 pastries and hot or cold tofu (the sweet kind that you get at dim sum) We also ordered a plate of vegetarian meat (veggie pork, veggie squid,tofu) for HKD 20. So our entire meal only cost us USD 9! A steal even in Hong Kong.
For the pastries, we ordered vegetarian egg roll, mochi with sesame filling covered with coconut shavings, cream of mushroom tart and veggie barbeque chicken pastry.
Hmm.sweet tofu. We ordered one hot and one cold. Since the weather was warm that day, I preferred the cold tofu. The consistency was also less jello-y like the hot tofu.
Of course there were street vendors selling food such as dried squid so we stopped to grab a quick bite. You pick out the dried creatures and the ladies will grill them over an open flame. It’s like a mobile yakitori on a cart!
Before grilling it over the coals, the ladies brush the dried squid with some sort of teriyaki sauce.
Taste like squid jerky.
What is the facination with things on sticks in Hong Kong. Here is something that I had to get because it was on a stick. Can you guess what it was?
Another example of food on sticks, molasses sandwiched between crackers.on a stick.
As a resident of Los Angeles and an extensive traveler, Nanciful’s tastebuds have been around the block and then some. This blog will focus on my reviews of local and international dining experiences. These will range from restaurants that break the bank to delectables that can be bought from change found in the couch. The blog will also include my musings of the world, her travels, her wishes and desires and everything else.
I am also trying my hand at cooking. So stay tuned for adventures and experiments from the kitchen.
Some of my interests include spending time with the Hubs, yoga, running, Sweaty Sunday, traveling, eating, reading food blogs while eating, and perusing a menu or cookbook before bedtime.