India Sweets & Spices


Another dash to grab lunch, I drove speedily to my lunch destination: India Sweets & Spices in Culver City. Although considerably smaller than the Los Feliz location, I still got my fill with their #1, which comes with two vegetable dishes of choice and basmati rice for $3.99. I got Garbanzo and Peas, Cabbage and Potato. And yes, I also got a Samosa. Unfortunately the accompanying chutneys were too watery and I got a bit turned off from them. And also I didn't want to risk dripping during driving, a dangerous combination.

While waiting in line to pay for my deliciously smelling food, my eyes landed on the cutest little drink: Frooti. The Cool Mango flavor went perfectly with the very spicy vegetable dishes. It may have been so cute that it was also too small. Perhaps I will grab two next time. Or I wonder if they make Mango Lassi??

The Los Feliz location has a much bigger grocery store and has an attached cafetaria-style restaurant that serves an array of Indian Vegetarian dishes. It's much nicer than the Culver City store but the food at both locations are delicious and very wallet-friendly.

India Sweets and Spices
9409 Venice Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

3126 Los Feliz Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039


Sushi Nozawa...Trust Me


Tucked away in a little strip mall in Studio City, Sushi Nozawa is definitely a haven for serious sushi lovers. Do not expect wine and atmosphere. The inside of the restaurant is stripped down as the mall and is decorated from every angle with Master Nozawa's motto "Trust Me."

The sushi there is the best I've ever had. Everything is so fresh and amazing. There is a story that other sushi restaurants follow Nozawa to the fish market in order to buy the same stuff. The second the fish hits your mouth, you can tell that the fish must be the freshest in the lot. I salivate just thinking about it. Highlights for me include sweet shrimp, red snapper, toro and crab roll. The warm rice is lightly packed into the perfectly sized bite. It drives me crazy when sushi has too much rice you can't even chew it properly and it gets in the way of the fish.

Master Nozawa is really a character. Very serious with barely any expression, I've only seen him crack a smile once and show some warmth. I assumed the customer is a loyal regular.

Do not be an idiot and try to order some roll or get huffy about them not carrying wine or something. This is a bonafide sushi restaurant for serious followers. Go omakase ("entrusting") and you won't be disappointed. And if you are? Well... you can always go across the street to Todai. shudder~

11288 Ventura Blvd. Ste C
Studio City, CA 91604-3149


Colorado Wine Company: Sunday Tasting


Drinking wine is fun. Eating cheese and wine is yummy. Add good music and welcoming hosts. You have Colorado Wine Company's Sunday Wine Tasting!


This Sunday's tasting was entitled: "A Surfboard on a Ferrari: Cal-Italia Tasting." Two whites and two reds, Italian varietals grown in California. I was particularly interested to try the Arneis wine because I had never even heard of that grape before. It was so delicious I had to get a bottle of it. The owners are very friendly, easy to talk to and fun. Various cheeses were set out for us eager tasters including parmesan and gouda. The wine was poured heavy and we even got to get an extra glass at the end of our favorite! All for $10.

The store has a gallery vibe with paintings that hang across from shelves of wine. There is also a small collection of Cole Gerst's band posters, including Yo La Tengo, The Shins and Eels, which gives the place another level of atmosphere and artsy comfort.

It's fun, delicious and cheap! Perfect for me.

Mosby Pinot Grigio 2003, Santa Barbara
Enotria Arneis 2002, Mendocino (my fav)
Chameleon Barbera 2002, Lake County
Mosby Dolcetto 2001, Santa Barbara

Colorado Wine Company
2114 Colorado Blvd.
Eagle Rock, CA 90041

cool stuff


Baby Baking Steps: Coconut Macaroon


Okay so I really don't like to bake. But that doesn't mean I don't like what comes out of the oven. Well maybe not mine. But all that waiting and no peeking, it makes me so antsy! Even when I turn on the oven light I have to stick my face right against the door to even see a semi-blurry image of the blobbly thing I put in the oven. So I crack open the door just slightly and peer over with my curious face. And what do I get? A hot gush of heat and sticky eyelashes.

Baking is such a science. For me it's not that fun to mix a bunch of ingredients in a bowl or make a dough, put it in a dark cave called oven where I can't even see it and hope it turns out right. But that's why it's even more important that I know how to make at least a few easy ones, right?

So I made Barefoot Contessa's Coconut Macaroon. It was so easy to make! Which made me very very happy and relaxed. And they come out so cute and pretty too. A pretty big payoff for very little work. I even wrapped some up and gave it as a lil gift. Chewy, sweet, coconutty...

Coconut Macaroons
(Ina Garten)

14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or 2 teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.


Penne & Castellane with Spicy Italian Sausage & Pecorino Romano

Ever just have bits of ingredients left in the fridge and pantry? Hungry but too lazy to go grocery shopping and whip up a fabulous meal? That seems to be the story for me a lot. Usually I'll settle for a small mound of rice and some bahn-chan (Korean side dishes) and watch a
bit of Food TV, but today... today was the day to do something useful with all those lonely leftovers lying around. And what better to make than pasta.

about 1 lb penne + castellane
2 spicy italian sausage
1/2 red onion
2 cloves garlic
red pepper flakes
pasta seasoning
pecorino romano

1. Bring large pot of water to boil. Add a good amount of kosher salt. First put in pasta that will take longer. Wait __(the difference in cooking time) minutes and throw in the other pasta. Or go easy on yourself and use one type. But hey, that was what I had left over. I wouldn't try to mix long pasta with bite-sized ones though.
2. Chop onion and garlic and saute with a few drizzles of olive oil for few minutes and season. Squeeze sausage out of casing and saute with onion and garlic, breaking it up with a spoon or spatula.
3. Add 1/2 jar of tomato sauce, pinch of red pepper flakes and pasta seasoning (I used Trader Joe's). Taste and reseason as necessary.
4. When pasta is done, strain and place in sauce pan. Toss a bit to let the pasta soak up some of the flavor Add a handful of grated pecorino.
5. Optional: Break out your fanciest olive oil and pour a light drizzle over the hot pasta and a sprinkle of parsley.

Flexible and easy, Leftovers Pasta is my style. Now only if I can use up the roasted red pepper and goat cheese. Do I hear salad? Omelet? Sandwich?


Annapurna Cuisine

Yay, I found another eatery to satisfy my weekday lunch hunger: Annapurna Cuisine, an Indian vegetarian restaurant. It did take me about 40-45 minutes to get the food during my measly 30 min lunch... but oh well. C'mon, what's more important, sticking to my 30 min lunch everyday or indulging myself with tasty nourishment? Next time I'll call in my order, although I was very entertained by all the Bollywood videos playing on their flatscreen during my wait. Hmm... tough call.

Annapurna has a lunch buffet which I figure is probably similar to their menu items. (I didn't want to poke around their buffet food like a spy). I ordered some Vegetable Samosa. I just cannot pass up samosas. Crunchy on the outside, soft goodness on the inside. One dip in tamarind chutney and one dip in mint chutney. Happy.

masala dosa


I also tried a few South Indian dishes. The Vegetable Uthappam is a rice and lentil pancake topped with tomato, onion, peas and carrot. Very airy, fluffly and light. The Masala Dosa is a rice and lentil crepe filled with spiced potatoes. The crepe was thin and slightly crisp. I couldn't stop myself from tearing off just one more piece of the crepe and grabbing a small scoopful of the potatoes even when I was so full from the huge samosas.

10200 Venice Blvd.


Roll 'Em Up! Fresh Vege Spring Rolls


I've been trying to load up on more veges lately to be more healthy and get more greens into my diet. However, rolling these lil suckers wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. The rice paper kept breaking and it was hard to get a good roll. But taste wise, it was very fresh. After all, it's just a bundle of lettuce, basil, cucumber, enoki mushrooms and scallions.


You can see that these rolls are a bit loose. Any advice from veteran spring rollers? Maybe I am stuffing too much. I get greedy sometimes...


Silverlake Hop: Glendale Blvd.


The evening took off at Gingergrass where we started off with Fresh Tofu Summer Rolls accompanied by a sweet, pungent dipping sauce. The Shaking Beef, which is filet of beef sauteed with chilies and onion, was set on a fresh bed of watercress and perfectly delicious jasmine rice. The marinade/sauce reminded me of Korean bbq but kicked up with loadsa chilies and herbs. I got a few chopstickfuls of my boy's Pho which was also delicious. I like my Pho with a mountain of bean sprouts and a few bites of chili. Ooh, yummy spiciness. Their Fiji Green Tea was refreshing and the Vietnamese Coffee pretty addicting. I get impatient often waiting for all the coffee to drip down that French filter. Gingergrass was very fresh, in food and decor. A nice casual place to grab a bite.

Then off we hopped across the street to the Silverlake Wine Company. I like how this store is designed. All the wines are easily accessible by region and price on what looks like self-made shelving/storage units. The store itself just looks very cool and very modernly organized. No wine tasting when we went but wine by the glass was available. I tried the Chateau de Pinet "Picpoul de Pinet" 2003 France (my first with the picpoul varietal). I liked. Even with a lack of wine experience such as myself, the store is entertaining and the guy (maybe the owner?) very informative. The place has tastings left and right, lots without rsvp and such. Definitely something cool to check out.

Finally we hopped back across the street to the mighty German bar, Red Lion Tavern. The Spaten Optimator was smooth and nutty, perfect to round out the evening. Then we snuck a pretzel and a sausage plate in. After the first bite of the pretzel I realized this is a proper pretzel. I've only had Auntie Something's and nasty ones at festivals and such. The sausage platter was piled high with at least three types of sausages. It was hard to stop myself from grabbing the toothpicked pieces of juicy meat.

The downstairs bar is mellow and filled with lots of booth seating. There was a lady piano singer there when I went who would get drinks between songs. Just a nice relaxed atmosphere. The upstairs has additional interior seating for diners, a small bar inside and a beergarden outdoors with its own bar. Alledgedly a "meat market" on the weekends, I saw no such activity when I was there early Friday (yip I'm an early bird) but I can definitely see a potential. It's a fun place to go, hang out, eat a lot of sausage and of course, drink tall glasses of German brews.

Red Lion Tavern
2366 Glendale Blvd.

2396 Glendale Blvd.

Silverlake Wine Company
2395 Glendale Blvd.

Tito's Taco


Working in Culver City, there are a limited number of choices for lunch. Having a 30-min lunch in the southwest most part of the city can be hard for a hungry girl. Good thing Tito's Taco is reasonably near. The hard-shell tacos are filled with moist meat, lettuce and grated cheddar. When you pick it up you can see some of the fat and juice dripping out. Yumm.

I also got the Enchilada which had so much cheese I probably could have transferred some over to the taco instead of paying separately for it. Your order will come with a decent sized container of salsa (not those super small ones that won't even hold 1 jalapeno. i hate those). And of course I can't pass up a side of guacamole.


Sanamluang Cafe

I had noodle in mind the whole day. I heard about the General's Noodle: thin egg noodles with bits of pork, duck and shrimp in a clear, garlicky broth. Yumm. Pretty sure about my choice I went to Sanamluang just to have this noodles. And then I buckled.

The menu had so many items and pictures (like any other Thai menu). Actually one of them was pretty funny: "Satae Served with Triangles of White Bread." Weird and so ghetto looking.

Anyways, I got distracted and orded the BBQ Pork Over Rice. It was okay. Definitely not something I would order again. The dish was half BBQ pork and half chinese sausage over some jasmine rice. Arg, I knew I should have gotten some noodles. Next time.

bbq pork

sanampad thai
vege pad thai

The Beef Balls On Sticks appetizer was okay too. I would prefer to have the sweet and sour sauce served separately rather than on the same plate. I'm not a big pad thai fan of pad that but their Vegetarian Pad Thai was good. One flaw was that the peanut bits and bean sprouts were served on one side of the plate making it very difficult to mix.

I think all the dishes together were a little too sweet. I wanted some of that crazy Thai spiciness

Sanamluang Cafe is a good place to go to get a cheap meal in cheap style (plastic plates and cups). But make sure you try some good noodles and not the above-mentioned items. Pad Kee Mao is supposed to be very good. Any other recommendations?

Sanamluang Cafe
5176 Hollywood Blvd


Barebone Service at Barefoot

Saturday was a beautiful Southern California day. Perfect weather, light traffic and no work. A perfect setting for a great weekend lunch with friends. The only ingredient missing was the great weekend lunch.

Barefoot popped my weekend bubble. Our waiter was horrible, my plate was dirty, no one would clean up the previous party's trash, the patio tables were very scratched up, my dish and my boy's dish were not great and our mimosas were too orange juice heavy. Whew.

I had Brioche French Toast. The french toast came topped with sauteed apples which were cold. That didn't make sense to me at all. Warm french toast + cold sauteed apples=good? It seems common sense to serve warm apples on top of warm french toast. My boy's breakfast burrito came adorned with an ugly piece of grilled scallion. It was draped over the burrito like a wilted weed that's been burned with a lighter. The burrito was okay but not recommendable. The eggs were overcooked and the burrito lacked that soft, sort of mushy unity burritos usually have.

I can't trust a place that sells sushi without a sushi bar and jumps around the menu from pizza to sesame seared tuna to breakfast burrito.

8722 W. Third St.


Mungbean Cakes

Lately, I have had the itch to start cooking Korean food again. There always seems to be handful of variations for each recipe and very little measuring, at least when I cook Korean food. It's always a dollop of this, a spoonful of that or a light pour of this. However, here is one of my attempts to get a dish on paper.

I made Nokdoo Bin Dae Dduk (Mungbean Cakes) for the first time. I tried to make an accurate recipe but it was kind of hard. I eyeballed a lot of stuff. And my mom, who was helping me, never gives measurements.

Mom: You should put a lot of kimchi in. That's what makes it good.
Me: How much? How many cups??
Mom: Mix some rice with the mungbean.
Me: How much? How many cups??

And on and on. Here is the recipe I came up with. The cakes turned out really frickin delicious. I'm addicted to them now. I may have to make more.

my mom said this is too browned. so fry a bit less than i did. ;)

Mungbean Cakes

1.5 cup peeled mung bean
0.5 cup white rice
very little gosari (fernbrake), maybe less than .25 lb (optional)
0.5 lb ground beef (or half beef, half pork)
1 bag green bean sprout (mungbean sprout)
1.75 to 2 cups kimchi (sliced and water squeezed out)
5 green onions

1. Soak mungbean and rice in warm water for at least an hour. Steam green bean sprouts in pot with water barely enough to cover. Cover for few minutes then drain. When cooled squeeze the water out.

2. Slice kimchi and squeeze the water out. Total kimchi should measure about 1.75 to 2 cups. Chop green onion and gosari into 1/2 inch pieces.

3. Drain mungbean and rice and process/blend with some of the soaking liquid (just enough to allow the mixture to blend smoothly).

4. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl with a pinch of salt.

5. Fry in a non-stick pan with olive oil over medium heat. Place about two spoonfuls in the pan and pat down the highest point gently. You can fit 3 cakes into a pan. You want the cakes to have some thickness without being too dense so don't put too much pressure on them. Brown for few minutes, flip and press down gently. Another few minutes and voila! Mungbean cakes.

**Serve with seasoned soy sauce: soy sauce + green onion, sesame seed, sesame oil, korean pepper flakes. Sambal is also very yummy with the cakes.
**The cakes should measure about 3 inches or less. Smaller is better. The mixture may separate a bit while you are waiting on the frying ones. Just mix it up again and you should be okay.
**You can make this vegetarian by leaving out the meat.


Bahn Mi in Silverlake

KP’s Deli has been open only twelve weeks. The owner, Khoung Pham, is a native of the Los Angeles area. The spot is little and you have to enter through a common door shared with a travel agency. There are interesting books about Vietnamese culture and packaged products on sale, such as spring roll wrappers and shrimp crackers. I tried a sample of the coconut butter cracker while I hungrily waited for my bahn mi.

The pulled chicken bahn mi is delicious, full of flavor and texture. Crispy baguette with chicken, pickled carrots and daikon radish, cucumber, cilantro, Maggi sauce and mayo. The Chopped Salad is refreshing and also delicious. It has shrimp, pork, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, sesame seed, mint, cilantro and fish sauce reduction. The menu is pretty compact but everything sounds great.

KP’s: A Vietnamese American Deli
2616 Hyperion Ave. Suite B