Sake House Miro - A Perfect Watering Hole


Once upon a time, St. Patrick's Day 2006 to be exact, a 100% Korean girl, mutt white Boy, Mexican-Spanish chica, and an Ukranian born and raised went a Japanese restaurant to drink hot sake and cold Kirins and celebrate the Irish holiday.



Sake House is not much of a place to seek out for dining but definitely a great place to hang out. I stayed away from the sushi and other raw fish plates and went for something more safe. The Japanese style fried chicken pieces were delicious dipped in the Japanese mayo. Super crunchy, hot and flavorful, it went perfectly with my refreshingly cold glass of Kirin.


Boy order the Seared Beef Ponzu which was so good! I'm not sure what cut of beef that is but it was really good with the citrusy ponzu sauce. I got my first bottle of ponzu sauce after that dish. :) But yet to be used.

There were a few rolls ordered that I took part in. The tuna roll was okay but the yellowtail was completely inedible. Pretty gross actually. That was the only thing leftover when we left. It was fishy and so unfresh. I can't believe they would serve that raw. At least make fish tempura or something if they don't want to waste it but to serve it raw like it deserved some accolade or something? Not cool.

But the rest of the night was perfect as can be in a bustling quaint watering hole. It's a perfect place to grab a drink, have some munchies, and just have a down-to-earth good time with good friends.

809 S La Brea


LOU on Vine


I've been waiting for something like LOU, well, for all my short little life. It's small, cozy, comforting, tucked away in a strip mall off Vine and Melrose. Apparently if you want me to go anywhere and do anything just mention bacon. Having read Jonathan Gold's explanation of pig candy and completed smitten with the idea of candied bacon, I pretty much took myself and Boy straight over there as soon as possible.


What we were met with was way more than I expected and even a tad bit more valuable than a plate of pig candy. Just a tad bit. LOU pours 25 wines in 2oz, 5oz, and bottles, supporting small producers and even organic wines which make up about 10% of their list. I'm impressed with their philosophy and standards and love the fact that I can taste my way through many many different wines all in one night.


They serve a short list of food including "Prairie Grove pork shoulder slowly braised in milk, garlic & rosemary, with cannellini beans" (does that sound incredible or what?!), salads and some small pleasant bites to accompany their great wine list. We got the Mixed Cheese and Salami Plate, which featured Cowgirl Red Hawk, Cypress Grove Purple Haze and Ewe-F-O sheep and smattering of perfectly thin slices of cured meats from Armadino Batali's Salumi Artisan Cured Meats. And of course the sweet, carmelized, smokey house-made bacon. House made - once again impressive.

Service was also great with our server David being so helpful and friendly even to my obvious questions. He pointed out Lou working behind the bar when I started asking a few questions but I didn't get a chance to chat it up. That will be saved for next time when I go back for that braised pork shoulder.

I found the wine list very stimulating and interesting, running into varietals and regions I've never drank before. I took it easy on my brain for this first time and went for the white flight and Boy went for the red flight. And I ended with a bubbly of course, the Cremant Rose NV Delane.

The white flight consisted of:
*Cheverny Salvard '04 - France/Loire; Sauvignon Blanc, Chard
*Gruner Veltliner Gritsch "Axpoint" '03 - Austria/Wachau
*Valminor Albarino '04 - Spain/Rias; Baixas

And the red flight:
*Mas Neuf "Tradition" '03 - France/Costiere de Nimes
*Montpeyroux D'Aupilhac '02 - France/Languedoc; Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre
*Mas Igneus FA206 '01 - Spain/Priorat; Grenache, Carignan

Since the wine list is to change every 4 to 6 weeks I will do my best to try many of the wines. Yes I promise, myself that is. I'm really looking forward to the Sunday family-style dinners. Bacon? Family style rustic cuisine? Great wine from great people? I am so there.

cool wallpaper!

724 N Vine St

Boudin Blanc with Rosemary Apple Compote & Creme Fraiche Mashed Potatoes

Fabrique Delices Boudin Blanc from Surfas, mashed potatoes with creme fraiche, cream and butter, and rosemary apple compote made with the rome variety. I could use more practice on the apple compote part. I looked up a bunch of recipes and just used the most basic ingredients - butter, apple and sugar. Hmmm, maybe it needed that cider I forgot to buy.

I first tasted boudin blanc while working at the restaurant. The housemade sausage just melted right over my tastebuds. It was pretty amazing. But thank god for Surfas and their icebox chest of various sausages, including the boudin blancs above.

I've seen different variations on the usual boudin blanc gang of potato and apple, whether it be potato cakes with apple gravy or potato gratin. I went the easier mashed potato way although it could have had a more refined texture, maybe put through a sieve or a ricer, or both. But that's way too much work for a simple dinner before going out.


Much to my pleasure Boy (the food eater and beer provider), presented me (the food bringer), with a bottle of Hitachino Nest White Ale made with a "hint of [their] traditional sake brewing method". Delicious to drink and delicious to look at. Its well balanced mellow flavors complemented the also similar boudin blanc dinner nicely. Love that owl!


My Addiction to Yuca's


This is my latest addiction, Yuca's cheeseburger. This is in addition to their carne asada burrito and taco. There is just something crazy delicious about their super thin, crisped-around-the-edges beef patty, in a ubiquitous hamburger bun, with a sprinkling of just classic condiments. So frickin good. Damn, I want one right now. Boy theorizes that maybe the beef patty gets an extra kick of flavor from the carne and other meat drippings on the griddle. Oh hell yeah.



It was recently their 30th anniversary, as the blurry poster in the back announces. The fire department came out to take pictures and all this shenanighan with people coming out to congratulate them. Hence a longer wait for my food! I had a little piece of the celebration cake to keep my hungry self from going insane smelling all them meats white very impatiently waiting for mine.

2056 Hillhurst Ave

Beautiful Maitake Mushrooms


Maitake, otherwise known as hen of the woods and sheep's head, literally means "dancing mushroom" in Japanese. I got to meet these beauties while working a few hours at the restaurant. I found the aroma earthy, even almost chocolatey. The texture was so soft and velvety. It only took a pinch of energy to tear into smaller pieces.


Lucky Baldwins 7th Annual Begian Beer Fest


This post is way overdue. But it is still a very important one... because it's the Belgian Beer Fest! Here is a partial list of which pleasures we put to our lips (and now I can finally toss that rumpled piece of paper that was the menu):

Fantome Saison 8% - delicious!
Foret - delicious!
Saison du Pont - delicious!
DoeDel Strubbe Brewery 6%
Kriek Oud Beersel
Rulles Voeux
Ertvelds Wit
Oud Beersel Framboise
Double Enghien Blonde 8%
Petrus Old Brown
Sloeber Roman Brewery
Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale - delicious!
Craftsman Bier de Blanco
Popperings Hommel - delicious!
Echt Kriekenbier
Biere de Miel - delicious!

An older couple who was drinking near us thought that it was funny Boy and I were writing and starring all over our menus. They asked which was delicious and of course the first one I immediately pointed to was the Fantome Saison (Brasserie Fantome). This beer is available bottled for only part of the year. But at the fest it was on tap! I was ecstatic. Probably drank 4 glasses of this.

Here is what beer advocate says about saisons:
Saisons are sturdy farmhouse ale that was traditionally brewed in the winter, to be consumed throughout the summer months. Close to being an endangered style, though there has been a revival in the US.

Anyhow the couple was chuckling and said "I can tell you like it". This is because I had written "FUCKING GOOD" right next to the beer. That was my professional beer tasting note following my self-created scale at the bottom lefthand corner:

And Boy a few minutes later, coming back with more delicious tasters, not knowing that they had already discovered my sophisticated rating system, and tried to cover it up with his index finger while discussing the finer points of the listed beers' qualities. My rating was completely on point imo. No other beer was stamped with the same title.

nice plate of chips with brown sauce, malt vinegar & ketchup for accompaniment

17 S Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105


Baby Korean Squash


I call these lighter green rounder variety Korean squash. These ones were baby though at only about 3 inches. I wanted to make them a Korean way (dude what can I say, I'm Korean!) with salted baby shrimp but they were nowhere to be found in the vast space that is our home fridge. A jar of salted baby shrimp lasts about forever since they are preserved, which is also why I was surprised we didn't have any stashed away in the bottom doorshelf.

So I resorted to the next most relevant ingredient, Vietnamese fish sauce. I slice the squash on a bias into thick rounds, sauteed them with canola oil, then added fish sauce, tons of scallion and garlic. That's it! Since the squash were fresh and in such good shape not much had to be done to it except for salt to bring out the flavor. It was mucho delicious with my rice and kimchi.


A Thank You with a Little Crisp


From me to Boy for a nice thing he done. He's gone Kettle crazy lately. Usually I would protest and tell him to eat more produce. But this time I thought I would indulge him in the crispy goodness that is Kettle Chips. And in flavors he's never tried. Of course he thought I was a miracle worker and asked where I had gotten them (not that they're hard to find). And a mind reader since only a day before he had stated "Kettle Chips are my newest addiction" while I had bought them chips a few days beforehand.

I hope he didn't eat all of em in one day.

Asapargus, Leek & Fontina Frittata; Brioche Tea Sandwiches with Aged Cheddar & Mango Chutney


For this week's menu I made a beautiful frittata with asparagus, leeks, and fontina. I also added prosciutto crisps, that's prosciutto that's been chopped up in to bits and fried until crispy, parmesan, tomato, and a few herbs to brighten it up. The aroma from the browned up parmesan cheese on top was amazing! My car was also completely perfumed with that nutty scent from delivering the food. A perfect air freshener.

I'm really pleased with how the frittata came out. Part of that success I owe to my new non-stick pan I purchased at Surfas. The nicely browned outer layer made me swoon but after I cut out a perfectly neat slice and saw beautiful scattering of green asparagus, specks of browned prosciutto, red tomato bits, and green herbs, I knew it would be yummy and eye-pleasing.

For my second plate I made a simple tea sandwich of brioche, slices of aged cheddar cheese, and mango chutney. I saw these sandwiches on Barefoot Contessa some time ago thought it would be perfect for an evening of nibbling and writing. That recipe calls for brioche that are shaped like dinner rolls and since those are hard to find I thinly sliced up a brioche loaf and made tea sandwiches instead. Perhaps making brioche rolls can be added to my project list. (But probably at the bottom of the list.)

Dessert this week is panna cotta, an Italian dessert whose name literally translates to "cooked cream."

A catered menu for www.writingpad.com

Sauteed Oyster Mushrooms


When I was a wee girl mushrooms were my prime nemesis. I can't think of a food item I hated more than mushrooms. I could detect it in a dish with my mushroom radar before it even hit the table for a meal. I wasn't a picky eater though, having eaten huge raw shrimps that my dad and his friends had caught with just a dip into wasabi-bombed soy sauce, or freshly chopped writhing octopus on the beach while breathing in the salty ocean sea breeze, or eating pickled fish entrails without ever knowing what they were.

However oyster mushrooms, even though on the enemy side, was a more neutral member. When my mom would sautee the oyster mushrooms up I would eat one or two pieces noting that it didn't have that strong nasty "earthy" flavor.

Of course now the story has changed a bit. Now I stand in a restaurant kitchen marveling at boxes of beautiful, and very expensive, mushrooms. Cleaning them gently and tearing them by hand slowly following their natural verticle lines. Chanterelles, king oysters, shimeji, black trumpets, maitake.

Having seen healthy batches of mushrooms at Marina Farms now and then, I picked up these oyster mushrooms for a simple sautee. I used canola oil in this case as my olive oils would overpower the delicate flavors of the oyster mushrooms. A few slivers of onion, a drizzle of soy sauce, and a quick toss of the wrist, these mushrooms were completed and ready to accompany my rice as a banchan.

Make sure you gently squeeze the root bottom of the mushroom to check for woodiness. This didn't cross my mind at the time I was tearing the oyster mushrooms because they looked so clean and soft, but I did get a few chewy ends during the meal and that did not please. Hey, why didn't I add any garlic though?


La Buca Birthday Noshin

Every year Boy and I take each other out to a nice celebratory dinner for each other's birthdays. This year I chose my birthday dinner location, freeing boy of the mental labor that is required for planning of such events. My choices were Angelini, AOC, Lucques, Hungry Cat, and La Buca. So mostly restaurant I've been to and am familiar with the food. I just wanted to be able to kick back a little bit instead of getting all dolled up, going to a restaurant we've never been too, and being formal, in the midst of all my busy-ness lately.

All of em would have been great but I chose La Buca for its charming quaint interior, family-run atmosphere, and relaxed environment with the comforting buzz of Italian conversations flowing out of the kitchen. I grabbed an open bottle of Chateau St. Jean Pinot Noir from home and Boy brought a lovely bottle of Veuve Cliquot Brut Vintage 1998.

We started off dinner with their complementary freshly baked bread and a small ramekin of tomato sauce for dipping. The soft flat bread comes out steaming and hot, which is makes a perfect introduction to the meal when dipped into the zingy tomato sauce that's got a good kick of spice to it.

The last time I had come to La Buca with my friend C for a nice New Year's Eve supper we were blown away by the Burrata in Tavola, which consists of generous spoonfuls of creamy cool burrata, a variety of lovely thin slices of Italian cured meats, and peppery arugula. So simple, so good.

For our main we ordered Tagliata Bene, a Piedmont-style steak, and Gnocchi Boscaiola. The steak was to be cooked to a medium rare but instead it came medium well, which for me is practically a well done fossil. However, the meat was still tasty and not as dry as the color of the slice would suggest and the gorgonzola sauce poured over the steak was delicious. The steak came with a side of squash which was overcooked, but the side of kale was still good.

Now the gnocchi, that is something to be excited about. Large fluffy potato gnocchi with ham, peas, mushrooms, and parmesan. I've never had gnocchi so pillowy before. I could probably fall asleep on it and have some damn good dreams. I thought it was weird though how they gave me the pasta with a little pot filled with grated parmesan.

The pot of pregrated parmesan just brought back memories of pizza dinners back in the day for which diners would be left to their own devices with plastic containers of red pepper flakes and pregrated parmesan. It would have been nice if they brought a chunk of parmigiano reggiano over to the table and freshly grated it into my plate. Or just grated it in the kitchen and make it easier on themselves. I mean this is a bonafide Italian restaurant right? One that some even hold higher than Angelini? I don't know, it was just a bit weird.

Then it was dessert time, tiramisu please. Denied. Oh my god I almost cried. No heavenly light tiramisu for end my birthday dinner?!! My eyes got sadly glossy but I was quickly appeased with the Torta di Pere e Barolo. Their tiramisu is amazing and I'll have to make up this folly very soon.

La Buca is a very small space with very small table, hence quaint but also a bit cramped. It was a bit of a tableware puzzle practice with our six drinking glasses, 1 large bottle of water, plates, candle, etc. But a very nice relaxing birthday dinner with delicious food, drinks, and company.

5210 1/2 Melrose Ave

Gifts From Japan

"herro!" says the japanese shower sponge that is way too cute to use

My friend J just got back from visiting her family in Japan and looky what she brought me back!

There is absolutely no English on this box of Meiji treats whatsoever and J also wasn't sure what it was but suggested green tea? Of course I had to do a little taste test after the photo shoot. :)

The oblong almost-Hershey's-Kisses-shaped treat has a light crispy wafer at the base, a green tea (I think) soft filling on top of that, and then covered with a light coating with chocolate. The dark chocolate coating is very thin, acting as an accent rather than a player in this emsemble. A sweet chocolate probably would not balance well with the delicate flavors of green tea. [green tea + sugar = shudder]. I also taste nutty sesame seeds, perhaps these are lodged in the wafer part of this treat. Very yummy. I actually like popping one of these in my mouth as a breakfast appetizer. Quick little snack, and perhaps filled with antioxidents, happy hormone inducing chocolate, and fiber filled wafers. Yeah right, ;).

Thanks J!


Spring Pea Soup Shooters; Socca Crepes with Walnuts & Orangeblossom Honey


In need of a fresh and green dish to bring in the spring sounded, I turned to Michael Chiarello's Spring Pea Soup. I added some salty prosciutto crisps and tangy creme fraiche to add some spark and contrast.


On the side I made socca crepes, this time flavored just with rosemary. I sprinkled toasted walnut pieces and drizzled orangeblossom honey over the warm soccas. These were only good while very fresh. I really like the nuttiness of the garbanzo flour combined with the mildly sweet and citrusy honey. I've looked up images of soccas and such on the internet but I'm still unsure about how it's supposed to be. I just mixed the flour with milk and water until it got to a watery pancake batter consistency and cooked it until it got brown. If anyone knows where I can get soccas in LA please let me know (not Cobras and Matador)!

Yay for Berry Fool! I love berries. And I also love freshly whipped cream.

This is a writing prompt using the senses. Can you tell which sense this is for?

A catered menu for www.writingpad.com


Edamame Hummus & Crab Phyllo Shell; Rosemary Polenta Cake with Herbed Gorgonzola Creme Fraiche


The above dish, Edamame Hummus & Crab Phyllo Shell, was inspired by I guess a need to propel myself into spring. Although none of the ingredients are distinctly spring it was to serve as a refreshing bite of crispy phyllo, nutty spring green edmame hummus warmed with a touch of white truffle oil, and lump crab meat simply seasoned with lime juice, lemon juice, and mint. The simple crab salad part I grabbed from a Barefoot Contessa episode (I can't find a reference to the episode but it was one of her girl friends that was visiting - I guess that's all the episodes, huh?). The edamame hummus isn't technically hummus since that necessarily requires chickpeas, but it's the same idea using soy beans as a substitute but still adding tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil. "Puree" and "spread" aren't always such pretty words to use.


The second plate showcased once again the humble but versatile polenta. If you want to work out your arms make polenta (not instant), which you need to cook for about 20 minutes. I don't last that long but I try. This time I used rosemary in the polenta cake along with a good pinch of red pepper flakes for some pleasant heat. I herbed some creme fraiche with parsley, chives, and thyme, and added some tang and sharpness with a chunk of gorgonzola.

A catered menu for www.writingpad.com

Yanusa - To Go Please!

hwae-dup-bap ---> sashimi rice

I love sushi and sashimi and am willing to pay a chunk of change for pleasures at a sushi master's domain. And I avoid discount or just badbad sushi places, i.e. Sushi Mac and California Roll Express, which serve highly inedible fish forcing you to buy "specialty" rolls that disguise the bad fish instead of serving it as sushi or sashimi and letting the fresh flavor of the fish play center stage. If your plate of sushi costs only a few dollars you are definitely paying for it in other ways, like freshness. But that is not to say I don't partake in less expensive, but fresh and delicious, raw fish concoctions to fix my sushi cravings.

Yanusa, located in the small front corner of the HanNam Chain market in Koreatown, is a perfect place to get an inexpensive box of spicy tuna roll, spider roll, california roll, or udon, to-go. The place is really small and in open corner of the market, which is why it's better for takeout or catering. But their fish is pretty fresh and whenever I go they have good business, which is indicative of a good turnover. It's a Korean run place, so along with the yellow pickled daikon they also give you red pepper marinated shredded daikon to act as the very necessary kimchi of the meal. I usually go for a box of filling spicy tuna roll ($7) or udon ($5?) which are both delicious and very good deals.

It's also a great place to get the distinctly Korean raw fish dish, hwae-dup-bap, which is served at many Korean restaurants, non-sushi and sushi alike. "Hwae" means raw fish, "dup" means to cover, and "bap" means rice. So it's basically sashimi covered rice, a bowl of deconstructed spiced up sushi if you will. I love love love this dish. The spiciness comes from cho-jang, which is gochujang diluted with a liquid and a tinge of vinegar. It's what Koreans usually eat sashimi with and I find it most delicious paired up with fresh cool slices of halibut.

I like to add spoonfuls of cho-jang to my hwae-dup-bap but taste as you go along so it doesn't to become too salty or spicy. With shredded carrot, crispy green lettuce, thin batons of refreshing cucumber, and a colorful mixture of fish, this sashimi bowl is one of my choice comfort foods. And of course don't forget to sip on the warm miso broth that comes with every meal.

2740 W Olympic Blvd


4 things: the LA edition

The lovely santos of "the scent of green bananas" and "meet me at the corner of third and fairfax" tagged me for my first meme ever! An LA one at that. Yay!


Four Jobs I've Had In My Life in LA:
*accounting assistant for publishing company
*currently: financial "research analyst" in culver city
*currently: caterer for writing pad
*currently: intern/volunteer at AOC

Four Movies About LA I Could Watch Over And Over:
*the player
*la confidential
*swimming with sharks

Four Places I've Lived All Over L.A. (With Food Memories of Each):
*pacific palisades - bad tuna sandwiches on bad wheat bread from school cafeteria with taco hot sauce
*downey - butterscotch candy from the cabin-like market down the street; one of my first addictions upon moving to the states
*koreatown - machaca burrito from burrito trucks en route to high school
*hancock park/koreatown adjacent - back in partying days, always some sort of korean soup and mexican food; now - everything

Four LA-Themed Shows I Love(d) To Watch:
*curb your enthusiasm
*24 (until it got stupid)
*the fresh prince of bel-air
*six feet under


Four Places I Would Vacation At In LA:
*a small beach house in venice/abbot kinney - eat cheese at stroh's, afternoon tea at jin patisserie, then good beer. anywhere.
*the mondrian in west hollywood- hear it's a really nice hotel. room service please!
*viceroy in santa monica for a nice ocean breeze
*ocean view modern malibu beach house with decked out kitchen. party time!

Four LA-Based Websites I Visit Daily (maybe not daily but frequently!):
*la weekly
*franklin avenue


Four Of My Favorite Foods Found In LA:
*carne asada burrito at yuca's (cheeseburgers also delicious)
*kebabs & baba ganoush from maroush
*pasta at angelini osteria
*kimchi fried rice at dong il jang at the end of a ribeye (ross-gui) bbq throwdown


Four Places In LA I Would Rather Be Right Now:
*at Boy's apartment, eating yuca's, drinking a belgian beer, watching tv (sans commercial)
*surfas - shopping, browsing. more shopping
*lucky baldwin's in pasadena with ipod and good book
*cooking in my kitchen




Birthday? Time for Champagne!

It was my birthday over the weekend. Yay. Everyday is a good day for champagne but it's always better when shared with a group of friends or family. Especially when it's frickin delicious like Moet Chandon White Star. But I won't be too hasty to forget to give credit to the delicious starter beverage of the night, Brasserie Dupont's Saison Dupont - always something to get happy about. Pleasantly sour, fruity, lightly carbonated with a beautiful hue. Do try it, you will be pleased. :)

A few dishes for the night...
*Sherry Vinegar Marinated Sardines with Avocado & Spring Onion*

Who better to ask how to eat sardine than Brett of In Praise of Sardines? This was my first sardine ever, canned or fresh. I got this particular French canned Sardines from Surfas although I've seen cans from Portugal, Spain, and Italy. I followed Brett's suggestion and marinated the fillets in a vinaigrette of sherry vinegar, olive oil, and parsley, and got avocado and spring onion to go with it. Since I didn't want to preassemble the avocado and sardines before the guests came, I placed the sliced avocado in a separate dish with a good squeezing of lemon juice, olive oil, and sliced scallion. It was soo good. I would probably make some crostini next time though instead of using crackers because there is more juice and oil that would be easily soaked up by the porous crostini.

*Zucchini Carpaccio with Lemon Juice, Olive Oil & Mint*
*Cheese Plate of Gorgonzola & Grano Padano*

Originally I wanted to serve homemade rosemary focaccia with roquefort, walnuts, and orangeblossom honey but I kind of messed up. It came out really pretty, but bland and too crispy. I threw it out to the horror of Boy but there's always next time. It wasn't that hard to make, just a little time consuming.

So I had to make a replacement dish, which is where the zucchini carparccio came into play. A while back I saw Tyler Florence make this dish and thought what an easy and refreshing dish to make. The lemon juice, fruity extra virgin olive oil, and mint really brought some spring freshness to the zucchini. It was yummy topped on top of a cracker and a piece of parmesan. If the zucchini was sliced lengthwise very thinly and grilled just for a few seconds, to get some nutty attractive charring, and dressed with the same ingredients, it would have been better. It's too bad I have an electric stove though. I tried to buy a grill/griddle once but it said "do not use on electric." Pooey.

And with the lonesome "cave-aged" gorgonzola (Trader Joe's no longer carries roquefort!!) I made a cheese plate with some grano padano I chunked off with a pairing knife. The blue cheese - eh. The grano padano - yumm. The grano padano is "similar to Parmesan Reggiano made in the Parma region... produced north of the river Po and is matured for less time than Parmesan cheese. The result is a slightly milder cheese." [http://www.foodforfood.co.uk/cheeses.html]

Roasted Dates with Bacon & Parmesan

I also tried to make one of AOC's well-known dishes, the bacon-wrapped parmesan-stuffed roasted dates. I cannot express how good this is! But all the mejool dates I've seen around town has been huge, and I could not locate any that were small like the ones used at AOC. Also when I got bacon from Whole Foods, and requested them thin-cut, it came out too thin and fragile. The dates didn't turn out as pretty as they were supposed to and I overcrisped the bacon on one side, but taste wise it was still addicting.

*Chocolate Dipped Strawberries*

And I made dessert too! Fresh and ripe fruit desserts are my favorite - its sweetness derived from perfect ripeness instead of an injection of sugar. Another favorite fruit dessert of mine is simple balsamic-macerated strawberries with whipped cream. I got super juicy, healthy, beautifully berry-blushed strawberries and dipped them in a melted mixture of bittersweet chocolate, sugar, butter, and heavy cream. I didn't use measurements but tried to get the chocolate to be drizzley. Didn't happen but the strawberries still came out good. Everyone loved the fact that the chocolate was soft and not shattering and falling apart like many chocolate-covered strawberries. I used bittersweet chocolate because that's what I had at home. In case it might turn out too dark and bitter I added a small spoonful of granulated sugar. The chocolate didn't turn out shiny like I had wished. Maybe more butter?

Goat Cheese Mousse Crostini; Roasted Grape Tomatoes & Pipparas


Thomas Keller's recipe for this goat cheese mousse is so simple! I previously made this back in November for my brother's dinner party, and it was one of the guests' favorites of the night. Just goat cheese, cream, parsley, salt and pepper.

I packed the mousse in a small ziploc bag, cut a small hole and gently squeezed it out onto freshly baked crostinis. It squeezed out kind of funny actually - looks a bit fake. I think I got too exuberant with the cream. I do go off the path of the recipe sometimes for no good reason at all, except "I think it needs more." So less cream next time. Smooth tangy goat cheese with crunchy nutty crostinis - good contrast and simply delicious.


The last few time I stopped by at Marina Farms in Culver City, I've noticed these huge grape tomatoes. They had a nice color to them and smelled really sweet. So I simply roasted these off with olive oil and a sprig of rosemary. When they came out of the oven I gave them a tiny drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Sweet and juicy, the leftover few made a great addition to my linguini puttanesca the next day.


I also served a side of Matiz Vasco Pipparas peppers, which "are a traditional Basque pepper with a mild sweet flavor and a fine texture." I drizzled some very good California olive oil over these and sprinkled a pinch of kosher salt.

Marilyn's dessert - Baked Apple with Caramel Sauce.

A catered menu for www.writingpad.com

Chickpea Salad with Mint, Basil & Greek Feta


I had some leftover herbs and usually have a can of chickpeas hangin out somewhere in my pantry, so why not a salad? I rinsed and drained the chickpeas, then dressed it with red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, chiffonaded mint, torn basil, thinly sliced red onion (could have been thinner), and chunks of Greek feta. I forgot to add the Spanish canned tuna before I took the picture, but all together it made a really delicious lunch with akmak crackers. I think next time pita, red leaf lettuce, tomato and cucumber will be delicious too. And involve less chickpeas rolling off akmaks.


My Idea of Chips & Dip

Gumbo Pot's jambalaya (doused with louisiana hot sauce) scooped up with their super crispy sweet potato chips.

Unfortunately the jambalaya was good but not as good as I remember it. It just wasn't as flavorful enough, one bowl of jambalaya was way drier than the other, the shrimp was overcooked, the sausage wasn't spicy enough. I don't think I'll be going back to Gumbo Pot. Except for their sweet potato chips, cornbread or beignets.

6333 W 3rd St #312


Oh Shite! Pain In My Arse

The office kitchen sink is "out of order"!!!!! That means the water heater will probably remain empty all day and I can't have my daily morning Twinings Lady Grey Tea. I am going to shrivel up and die. I mean it. Good bye world.

Kitchen Additions & My Addiction

new additions in the last week:

*12 baby blue stoneware square plates/shallow bowls

*16 ramekins [12 white and 4 green]

*26 stoneware round plates

*11 glass jars

*1 pot
*2 olive wood boards

Okay okay, I admit it was a bit overboard. But what if I have a 26-people party?! What if i need to make 12 creme brulees? What if I want to serve the most delectable cheese on the olive boards which I plan to season and make beautiful? What if i want to oven-dry tomatoes and marinate them with olive oil in the glass jars? What if, what if?

And you thought the purchases weren't justified. And I even got those green Le Creuest ramekins for $0.99 each! :) Now all I gotta do is find more room in the kitchen. I hope I can fit all my stuff into my new kitchen when I move out. Yikes.