Tag Archives: chocolate

Fran’s Chocolate

7 Jun

Before my doctor-ordered “Survivor” starvation diet, I tried to investigate what caused my allergies through a trial and error process. At one point, I seriously thought it was gluten, the new food enemy. Before gluten, the food enemy included trans fats and complex carbohydrates, but now everyone collectively hates gluten. Recently, Bubby and I had a very profound conversation about the serious effects of gluten.

Me: I think I’m allergic to gluten.
Bubby: What?
Me: I think I’m allergic to gluten.
Bubby: Really?
Me: Yeah, really.
Bubby: No, really as in you’re really telling me this as you stuff cake in your mouth?

And just like that I was all for gluten again. The next food I eliminated was chocolate. Chocolate was not as difficult as gluten to forego since I am not a chocolate fanatic. I do love chocolate cake (the flour kind), but not chocolate chocolate.  People seem to lose their shit when I admit this, I hear responses like “What do you do when you’re on your period? Don’t you crave it? How can you hate chocolate? What’s wrong with you? I’m such a chocoholic! Dark chocolate is the best! The darker, the better! Once you go black …”

I’ve heard it all. Despite everyone’s judgmental and unsolicited opinions, I don’t really like chocolate.  So imagine my surprise when I devoured these bad babies called Fran’s Chocolates (a Seattle staple) given to me as a thank you gift from Mimi.

At first, I was hesitant to try one.  But I have an extremely salty palette, and I love all things salty.  I was strictly ordered by Mimi to place the chocolate square upside down, salt side down flat on the tongue, wait 5 seconds, and then chew.  After hearing the detailed instructions, I immediately thought what a little high-maintenance bitch of a chocolate.  I hate when food comes with instructions, it’s just so bossy.  But fortunately for me, I followed the lengthy instructions and was so glad I did.  The salt lingers on your tongue while you chew into the rich caramel center.  This isn’t your ordinary caramel either.  It’s not the super sticky kind that pulls all 18 fillings out of your teeth. It’s the deeper, richer good shit.  The chocolate is not your typical chocolate either.  It’s darker than milk, lighter than dark but perfectly accentuates the flavors from the salt and caramel.

Fran’s Chocolates kicks every boxed chocolate’s ass like Godiva’s, Russell Stover’s, See’s, Whitman’s.  The real question would be whether it would kick La Maison du Chocolat’s ass.  Because LMDC chocolate is like crack.  Just dirty crack that makes you lose your job, your savings, and relationships.  I definitely will need to conduct a side-by-side tasting between the two.  *Adding to bucket list.

Thank you, Mimi.  You really do give the best gifts.  I ate every square and only shared a few with Blister and Bubby.  In fact, Bubby was looking forward to them as an after-dinner treat but I told him I was on my period and craaaaved chocolate.

Fran’s Chocolates
https://www.franschocolates.com/store/home.php

I left my heart in San Francisco

13 Mar

Since Blister’s in the Philippines for new year’s eve, we couldn’t go to our annual new year’s trip to Glen Ivy. So this year, Bubby and I went to San Francisco, the city where we fell in love. Our first date was at Palomino in Embarcadero. The food was not particularly good, but I was nervous. We were friends for so long and ate together all the time, but on this January 30th day, 7 years ago, I had butterflies in my stomach. After dinner, he held my hand as we walked along the pier. I was jumping on and off of the stoops, and he held my hand for my “safety” so I wouldn’t fall. It was more like a slicker version of the “yawn and reach” technique at the movie theater. Since that day, we just knew we were meant to be together. No DTR conversations, no “where do we stand?” inquiries, no “it’s complicated” relationship status. We just knew we were together and have never broken up since. Sure, there are times when he’s my greatest enemy and I want to punch him hard in the balls, but most days he’s my best friend.

Going back to San Francisco is always a treat. I love walking down the dirty streets of my old hood, the Tenderloin. Stepping on spit, fecal matter, and used needles never felt so good–kind of like an urban version of Dorothy and her yellow brick road. Although my brick road is stained yellow from urine– both animal and human. I also love going back to San Fran for the food. Always for the food.

Our hotel was located in Fisherman’s Wharf, a tourist trap.  The best part of this tourist trap is Trish’s Mini Donuts.  These fried rings are worth the six-hour drive from LA.  Every time I go to SF, I always try to fight the tourist trap traffic just to get my hands on these fried babies.

They are liberally showered in cinnamon sugar which eventually melts into the super hot fried dough.  I have never ordered a tub of these mini donuts, but one day I will.  Cha-longe!!!

On New Year’s day, we decided to go to Brenda’s, the only Cajun restaurant in the Tenderloin.  As a former Houstonian, I love Cajun food.  We decided to go on New Year’s day assuming the crowd would be hung over in bed.  On our walk to Brenda’s, we noticed some stragglers still partying at noon the next day.

I cannot remember the last time I partied until the sun came up. I feel old.

As we walked towards Brenda’s this is what I saw.

Oh hell no.  That line is not cute.  We had to wait for an hour and 45 minutes.  Bubby had been before, and he made me wait for my crawdads.  And dammit, he had me at crawdads.

After watching every crazy homeless person pass by, some familiar faces and some new, our table was finally ready.  The restaurant is packed with tables only two inches apart from each other.  I immediately ordered the watermelon iced tea to ease my anxiety and claustrophobia.

Sometimes sweet tea outside of the south can be way too sweet.  But this watermelon iced tea was perfectly cool and sweet. It reminded me of a hot Houston day and the smell of fresh-cut green grass.

Crawfish beignets with cayenne, scallions, and cheddar

Brenda’s serves several different kinds of beignets including plain with powdered sugar, apple, chocolate.  I ordered crawfish because I love crawfish.  The beignets are served hot, fluffy, and they collapsed with the pressure from my fork.  As I broke into the dough, the melted cheese oozed out.  Unfortunately, the ratio of crawfish to dough is off.  I expected large chunks of crawfish, but there were probably three small ones swimming in cheese in each pocket of dough.

I ordered the grillades and grits, and Bubby ordered the fried catfish eggs benedict.

The beef cutlets in the grillades and grits was tough and difficult to chew.  The grits were fluffy clouds perfectly buttered and smothered in cheddar cheese.  Nothing makes my belly smile more than buttered grits and cheese.  Bubby’s catfish eggs benedict was not as good as we imagined, but the biscuit was slap yo’ mama good.  That biscuit was it.   Would I wait two hours for it? Probably not.

Bubby and I needed to burn some serious Cajun calories, so I dragged him to Union Square for some serious shopping.  While in Union Square, Bubby and I always have to eat at King of Thai Noodle.  It’s not fancy Thai food, but serves really good roast duck.

Bubby always orders the duck fried rice with a fried egg on top, and I order the duck noodle soup.

Simple.  Duck.  Noodles.  Soup.  Peppers.  Good.
I haven’t tried the other dishes because there really is no need to.  This is the only dish I order every time.

The next day, I dragged Bubby to Hog Island Oyster Co.  I had a serious craving for oysters.  But once again, we hit another damn line.

The wait was not as bad as Brenda’s, probably 30 minutes total.  I ordered fresh lemonade to prep my taste buds.

We ordered both fresh and baked oysters.  The fresh ones included Hog Island Sweetwaters, Hog Island Atlantics, Sand Isle Kumamotos, Chelsea Gems, and Island Creeks.

These fresh oysters were thick and smooth as they slid down my throat.  The kumamotos had a slight “oceany” tang which I let Bubby enjoy.

The baked oysters were actually as tasty as the fresh ones to my surprise.

The Casino and Tarragon oysters were so flavorful.  The only bad thing about them was that there were only four.

The clam chowder

The clam chowder is not your typical clam chowder.  It’s not thick, but light and milky.  I added a splash of fresh lemon juice which really brightened the taste of the clams.  I loved dipping my grilled cheese into the chowder broth.

The crunchy sourdough bread and the stringy cheese dipped into the milkiness wonder of the clam chowder felt like a perfect hug from the inside on a cold January San Francisco day.  The pickled vegetables, cauliflower and carrots, added a nice acidic note to the entire meal.

As we walked back to our car to head home, we picked up some road trip treats in the Ferry Building.  Miette’s macarons and Blue Bottle Coffee Co.’s cappuccino.

The vanilla was way better than the chocolate.  Even Bubby, chocolate lover, agreed.

And for the last damn time, a San Franciscan line at the Blue Bottle Coffee Co.

Good strong caffeinated drinks.  Too bad it wasn’t strong enough to keep me awake during our car ride back to LA.  I always fall asleep in the car like a behbeh.

Goodbye, San Francisco.  I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for this beautiful city.  Where else could you find an Asian family all dressed in matching puffer jackets?

Trish’s Mini Donuts
Embarcadero Pier 39, Bldg B
San Francisco, CA

Brenda’s
652 Polk St
San Francisco, CA

King of Thai Noodle
184 O’Farrell St
San Francisco, CA

(duck noodle soup only)

Hog Island Oyster Co.
1 Ferry Bldg
San Francisco, CA
   

Miette Patisserie
1 Ferry Bldg
San Francisco, CA
   

Blue Bottle Coffee Co.
1 Ferry Bldg
San Francisco, CA
  

Providence

11 Mar

Last year for annual mistress day, Bubby took me to Melisse. And if you remember, Melisse did not deliver the 2 Michelin stars as advertised. This year, Bubby took me to Providence– the other LA restaurant with 2 Michelin stars. I’ve heard wonderful things about Providence, except that contrary cunt Nibs was the only person who didn’t rave about the food.

SPOTTED: Rich, older lonely boys and the young gold diggers who love them. (Can you tell I just watched a marathon of Gossip Girl recently?) I tried to look for wedding rings on the fingers of both parties and spotted none. Bubby and I tried to discretely turn our backs 180 degrees just to find our favorite couples. Note to self, twisting at that exaggerated angle is never discreet.

Bubby enjoyed a beer while I enjoyed a glass of a delicious medley of juices including lychee, guava, passion fruit, and other exotic treasures that the bartender could muster. It was as delicious as the welcome juice given to the guests at Phuket’s Dusit Laguna Hotel — the most delicious standard for all juices.

This juice was so refreshing but cost more than Bubby’s beer.  Seven dollars of juice.

The amuse bouche

The spoon on the left was a yellow egg-yolk-like version of a screwdriver.  Refreshing and a nice burst of cold alcohol in your mouth.  The square jello on the right was a mojito.  The screwdriver was definitely better than the mojito.

The second amuse bouche

This trio was not as good as the first amuse bouche.  Sipping a luke warm soup from a straw is not a great way of starting a marathon of courses.  I hoped this was not an accurate representation of what was to come.

The bacon brioche

Bubby ate like 8 of these. He described them as bite size wonders that tasted like Jack in the Box’s sourdough jack burgers. He doesn’t even love bacon as much as I do, and he couldn’t get enough of these. I even caught him checking out the size of my purse to see how many miniature wonders I could confiscate safely from the premises. Unfortunately, I carried my small clutch.

Tai snapper sashimi, sake, caviar, salted cherry blossom

The sashimi was fresh and tasted more like yellowtail than snapper. It lacked that chewy consistency that sometimes accompanies snapper sashimi. The snapper’s texture was soft and the caviar, salty. There was a gelatinous layer that I didn’t even mind. In fact, I liked it. But I really loved the yellow rice cracker balls that added the perfect crunch.

Santa Barbara spot prawns, nori bread crumbs, spring herbs

That prawn looks like it’s on roids. It was perfectly cooked and succulent. I did not care for the random herbs, the bread crumbs, or the cat spit foam. In fact, I hate cat spit.  Why do these upscale restaurants find the need to add cat spit? Stop with the cat spit!  It’s not creative, and it’s no longer cool. But most importantly, it looks like the bile that Miso vomits.

Main lobster, charcoal grilled, smoked black truffle butter

This dish looks like Valentine’s Day. The arrangement of the lobster, the colors of my wedding, is perfection. And it tasted the way it looked. Thick pieces of fresh lobster made me want to cry like Homer did when he ate Pinchy.

I, too, felt that I loved Pinchy the most and should respect him by eating him all by myself. Piiiiiiiinchy!!!!!!!

Foie gras ravioli – a la carte

We ordered this dish separately because of the amazing reviews. Also, I’m trying to eat as much foie gras possible before they ban it in California in July. The waiter even recommended making reservations for a foie gras exclusive menu. I’m seriously considering arranging a small dinner party called a Farewell to Foie Gras. These raviolis made me want to cry.  It was like looking at a boyfriend knowing that it won’t last.  It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday…. Boyz II Men.

The pasta was perfectly thin, the foie gras rich and decadent.  I will have to cross some state lines to get my foie gras kick.  Trust.

Wild New Zealand john dory, foie gras, white port, spring vegetables

By the time we reached this course, I was busting out of my skirt.  The courses were separated by 15 minutes, and it only takes 7 minutes for my stomach to tell my brain, “Bitch, you full.”  I was fighting the good fight, and I had to have a bite of each dish.  The john dory was tender and flavorful, and I really enjoyed the crispy and crunchy skin.  I really regretted wasting stomach space on the amuse bouche trio.  Rookie mistake.

Duck breast, petit pois, pea greens

I love duck.  One of the perks of marrying a Chinese man is having Peking duck on the regular.  I literally sing my song of joy when the Chinese waiter brings that huge plate of crispy duck and its soft pillow friends.  It is on point just like the duck at Providence.  The duck at Providence melts in your mouth.  It felt like buttered bread that melts on your tongue.  I had to chew like three times before it was ready to be swallowed.  And to seal the deal, the fried ball of foie gras.

I love fried balls of anything, but fried balls of foie gras takes the cake.

Fennel, yellow chartreuse, Angelica root, yogurt

The yogurt was enjoyable and provided a great palate cleanser.  The plate in its entirety was just okay.

Chocolate surprise

The Valentine’s day menu included a dessert that was basically chocolate served with chocolate.  Earlier in the meal, I told our waiter that I wasn’t a fan of chocolate, so he brought me a special dessert that was completely chocolate free.

My surprise dessert

This plate of heaven was more than I could ask for with ice cream, meringue, and hints of lemon.  The fact that they substituted the chocolate madness with the perfect treat for me, I couldn’t be happier.  Well played, Providence.  Well played.

Our farewell treat

I left this box as is.  I could not eat another bite.  Bubby had to roll my fat ass out of that restaurant at 11:30 p.m.  Yes, the entire dinner took longer than 3 hours.  I was feeling a mix of emotions … full, sleepy, tired, happy, drunk with food.

Providence is exponentially better than Melisse.  I could also tell the difference of an All Star Chef and Top Chef based on my experience at Ink recently (review soon to come). If it wasn’t for the liberal use of cat spit, I would have given Providence a perfect rating.

Providence
5955 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA

Happy 30th Birthday, Bubby

28 Dec

Bubby is 30 years old.  I remember when he was just a bright-eyed 23 year old law student with rice rocket bangs, braces, and Old Navy dad jeans.  Now, he’s a man with dry wax-fingered hair, Zoom-whitened teeth, and a sturdy pair of Helmut Lang jeans.  He’s the only guy I know who has successfully jumped the ladder from permanent friend zone to “he must be mine” status.  Like a slow growing mold, he managed to successfully be my friend, boyfriend, fancy  fiancé, and husband.  He’s the best.

For his 30th  birthday, I wanted to throw him the birthday party of his dreams with the food of his people, dark chocolate treats, Super Mario Brothers theme, and a beer pong tournament.  I rented out the entire patio and set up a buffet of Chinese dishes.  The space is amazing.  There was an area for food with heat lamps and an area for beer pong.

I ordered the cloud balloons online, and purchased red and gold balloons from Party City.  Imagine me driving in a two-door coupe with 35 balloons.  Not my brightest idea.

For Bubby’s dark chocolate treats, I decided to make centerpieces filled with rice krispy treats, cake pops, and dark chocolate molds.

Rice Krispy Stars

I dipped one side of the star in melted yellow chocolate and used marshmallow fluff as the “glue” to keep the stick in place.  I purchased the star cookie cutter and edible black marker from Surfas in Culver City.  I wish I knew about that place before I got married because they have EVERYTHING!  And they also have a delicious little cafe connected to the store with a lot of tasty desserts.

Mario Dark Chocolate Mustaches

These mustaches were the easiest to create.  I melted black dark chocolate and poured them into a mustache mold that I purchased from Classic Cake Decorations in Garden Grove, CA.

Yoshi Egg Cake Pops

Blister helped create these amazing Yoshi egg cake pops.  We used peanut butter as our “glue” and old fashioned  yellow cake.  Blister carefully painted white chocolate and methodically attached red and green candied dots.  We tried to stick them in a Styrofoam take-out container, but it was too heavy. It didn’t work.

Toad Cake Pops

These were the most difficult to make.  We used the My Little Cupcake mold to create these mushrooms.  Blister carefully painted the Toads with chocolate and put them in the freezer to harden.

The finished centerpiece

We individually wrapped each treat and stuck them in question marked boxes purchased at Party City.  Each box was filled with dry rice and star candies to cover the rice.  I threw in some gold coins, too.

I ordered these napkins online and have tons left over.  I’m not sure when I’ll use them again.  Anyone want them?

The Mint Ice Cream Chocolate Cake from Coldstone Creamery

The cake looks like a hot mess, and it’s Coldstone Creamery’s fault.  I specifically ordered a clean white cake without chocolate shavings on the border and no “Happy Birthday” message.  Look at this font?!  It looks like someone tried to challenge himself and pipe the icing with his non-dominant hand.  What the fuck?  I was really pissed at Coldstone for their inability to follow instructions.  Don’t go to the Coldstone in Westwood.

The beer pong tournament was a blast, and the night was a success.  And like clockwork, I ran into “Drunk Bubby” who makes an appearance once a year on December 10.  Drunk Bubby is a hot mess.  He can’t walk, he slurs, he hugs everyone way too much, tells everyone he loves the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and when I ask if he wants to eat his Del Taco tacos or sleep, he says “both.”  Facepalm.

Christmas Brisket in September

29 Sep

Congratulations, Mexicunnie!!!

Mexicunnie just gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl, Fifi.  She is so tiny, I love her.  I can’t wait to have one, or at least steal her.  There has been so much talk about babies, babies, babies.  My parents are begging me for one.   I recently asked my dad if he had ever changed a diaper in his life.  Completely insulted by my inquiry, he gave an adamant, “OF COURSE!!!”

My mom looked at him with her “bitch, please” eyes, “When the hell did you ever change a diaper?!”
“All the time, especially when you were sick.”

My mom ran into the bathroom, threw a clean towel at my dad, dropped to the floor, and said, “Put this towel on me like a diaper. Let’s see if you know how.”  She is too funny.  What a down ass chick, callin’ people out with the quickness.

People keep asking me about babies now that I’m married.   So much pressure. What if I can’t have one? What if I can’t conceive?  I asked Blister if she would be my surrogate and she said, “Fuck no.”  I asked Mimi, one of my bridesmaids, if she would be my surrogate, and she said she ain’t ruining her body for me.   Where’s the love?  Mimi did say that she would consider the offer if I pay for her vajayjay reconstruction surgery, boobs, and lipo.  I’ll consider her counteroffer.

To welcome Baby Fifi into the world, I made her my Christmas brisket.  Bubby was at a bachelor party for the weekend and was extremely disappointed he could not be around for a taste.  I bought my marbled brisket at Victor’s Meats & Delicatessen.  I’m not sure if Victor was the one who helped me, but Victor sure did have some tasty meats.  He even offered me samples of his brisket and pork.

Victor’s Pork

Victor’s Brisket with Onions

Nothing tastes better than meat at 10 am.  If you’re going to make Christmas brisket, you definitely need to wake up early in the morning because it takes around 5 hours to cook this recipe right.

Christmas Brisket (recipe)

Boiling down the brisket sauce in its own brisket fat juices.

The brisket is so tender that you can eat it without a knife.  Mexicunnie texted me the next day and said it’s even tastier the following day since the meat is all marinated in the tomato sauce.  Even picky-ass El Ninja enjoyed it.  I gave him some brisket since he babysat it while Blister and I went to Bed Bath & Beyond for the 100th time.

Here are some pictures of my cooking adventures over the last few months:

Spicy Korean kimchee pork neck and knuckle soup with squash and tofu

Homemade chili

Fajita Fridays!

Buttered cornbread with corn bits

Banana chocolate bread

I really need to invest in a new camera.  These crackberry photos are not doing any justice to the food.  Let me know if you want recipes to any of these tasty treats.  Bon ape tit.

Victor’s Meats & Delicatessen
10002 National Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
(for the quality of the brisket meat, not the samplers)

Donut Man

10 Jun

After Bubby and I met with our officiant to discuss the details of our wedding ceremony, we wanted to treat ourselves to a nice reward.  Donuts.  Last week was National Donut Day (the first Friday of June) and to me, National Donut Day is the equivalent to Christmas.  And did anyone bring me any presents on my favorite holiday?!!   No.  Fuckers.  So I decided to buy my own holiday gift of freshly fried dough at Donut Man.

Bubby said “Jim” looks like Peter Griffin.  Totally true.

I’ve heard good things about the strawberry donuts at Donut Man.  It’s even on Jonathan Gold’s list of “99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Die.”  I keep a copy of that list in my office and have almost checked off the entire list.  I agree with some of his choices, not all.  I’ll make a list of my own.

After a long drive to BFE, we finally arrived.  Donut Man is located next to a gym which is hilarious.  I couldn’t wait to devour my strawberry donut in front of the fat guy running for his life on the treadmill.  That, to me, is the true meaning of National Donut Day.  We walked toward the Donut Man, and the air smelled like a state fair.  It smelled like fresh funnel cakes.  So happy.

Donut Man is not a restaurant, it’s a walk-up counter with lots of donuts on display.  Immediately you notice the array of sugary treats.

The “world famous” strawberry donuts.

The tiger tails.

The apple cinnamon.

The chocolate dong donuts.

Bubby and I ordered one tiger tail, one chocolate dong donut, one apple cinnamon, one cinnamon crumble, one glazed, and one world famous strawberry.  I wanted to order the cream cheese donuts, but they were sold out.  Rats!

The tiger tail donut was actually really good.  Soft and chewy with swirls of chocolate in it.  I don’t really like chocolate donuts, but this is the perfect amount.  I didn’t eat the chocolate dong so Bubby should leave his review in the comments section.

The apple cinnamon was way too sweet for me.  Bubby loved it, but I was not a fan.  It was overly gelatinous.

I loved the cinnamon crumble donut.  When I bit down into it, the top and bottom layer of the donut touched which shows how soft and chewy the dough actually is.

The golden child: the strawberry donut.  This donut is more like a pastry because you have to eat it with a fork.  The strawberries were fresh and the glaze wasn’t too thick or gelatinous.  It was pretty good … world famous good?  Not really.  But definitely worth trying.  Now would I drive all the way to BFE for it, probably not.

And finally, the glazed donut.  I can’t accurately judge the glazed donut because Bubby nuked it in the microwave for 25 seconds which is way too long.  Everyone knows there’s scientific proof that the perfectly nuked donut takes 9 seconds.  I still ate it, but I can’t recommend it since it was tainted evidence.  Blame Bubby for his rookie microwave skills.

I give Donut Man 4 claps.  Had they been freshly fried, I probably would have given them a perfect score.

Donut Man
915 E Rt 66
Glendora, CA

Araki’s Japon

12 Apr

Work has been so hard these days.   Sometimes work can be fun, like the best work day of my life. What’s the best work day of my life? Well, Cellmate and I went to our local snack shop and asked if they had Smirnoff Ice so we could “Ice” Nibs.  To “ice” someone, you have to secretly present a Smirnoff Ice and the recipient has to get on bended knee and chug it.  If the recipient has an Ice and blocks you with his, the original Icer has to down 2 Smirnoff Ices.  Not only did our snack shop have Smirnoff Ice, they had Mango flavored Smirnoff.  Gross.  So I hid one of the Ices in Nibs’s tissue box and another in the spine of his legal reference guides.  I walked into Nibs’s office and pretended like I had to sneeze, and instantly he grabbed his tissue box for me and … ICE!  He chuggged it in his office right then and there.  NICE!

For the second Ice, I had the file clerk go into Nibs’s office and ask for his reference guides for updating.  Nibs grabbed the reference guide and felt the unusual heaviness of it and muttered, “Fuck.”  ICE!  He chugged his second Mango Ice of the day.  Now, we were hoping for 3 Ices but the third didn’t work out as planned.  We had Nibs’s boss hand him a file with an Ice in it, but Nibs refused to accept it because he knew an Ice was in there.  I think he owes us a Mango Ice.  What a sore loser.

But that’s considered an awesome work week, and last week was not awesome so Bubby said we should have sushi for dinner because I’ve been so busy with work and billed a record of hours for the month of March.  He always uses food to reward/manipulate me.  He suggested we go to Araki’s Japon.  A small sushi restaurant in a strip mall with neon lighting located next to a Coldstone Creamery in Foothill Ranch, California.  I’m sure I was in for an authentic Japanese treat.

The restaurant was full of white people and the only seats available were at the sushi bar.  Usually in LA, when an ethnic restaurant is full of white people, my natural instinct is to leave.  But this is South OC, all restaurants are filled with white people so we walked towards the sushi bar.  The menu is like a Japanese Cheesecake Factory menu, never ending.  Right when you think you know what you’re going to order, you look up and notice more writings on the wall.  Bubby loves to analyze the menu and asked, “Honey, what’s sylup?”

What a smartass.
My expectations of this restaurant were pretty low and since I was starving, I was slightly annoyed when they “ran out” of a lot of my favorites like fatty toro, aji, scallops, hama hama oysters.  So instead of fatty toro, we ordered chutoro, a medium fatty tuna.

Chef Araki instructed us to dip the ginger in his homemade soy sauce and brush the sauce on the fish.  Wow.  This is fantastic, even better than fatty tuna because sometimes fatty tuna could be a little too fatty.  But chutoro was a perfect amount of fattiness.  Amazing.  But fatty toro is pretty hard to fuck up, right?  It doesn’t mean this restaurant is good.

Yellowtail in yuzu sauce with cilantro and jalapenos.

These slices of yellowtail are so thick, like two inches thick, fresh and tender.  With the crunch of the cilantro and fresh jalapeno bathing in a yuzu sauce, this dish is ridic.

Wagyu beef seared sashimi.

Chef Araki prepared the thin rare slices of wagyu beef with thin slices of green onion and ginger.  He poured sizzling sesame seed oil and olive oil over it to lightly sear it.  Praise Him.  This is amazing, and better than the wagyu sashimi at Matsuhisa.  In fact, Chef Araki trained with Nobu for 9 years before opening his own restaurant.  The student has become the master.

Ikura with quail egg.

One of the quail eggs busted, but it was still creamy and cold.  I love cold, fresh ikura.  Both for me, Bubby hates ikura.

Pork belly “kakuni”.

Kakuni is thick cubes of pork belly simmered in dashi, soy sauce, mirin, sugar and sake. This broth is so light like a soup.  I expected it to require rice because it seemed salty, but it’s not.  The pork belly flaked off with my fork, and Bubby devoured the layer of fat.  I would throw in spoonfuls of rice and a fried egg on top, and mix the shit out of it.  Good comfort food.

Chef Araki: What are you doing?  Why are your eyes closed?
Me: I’m praying for your hands.  May they be strong and never get carpal tunnel.

Sushi.

Left to right: Albacore, Spotted Shad, Yellowtail

These were Bubby’s fish.  He ordered a lot more, but they never came out.  I asked him to use one word to describe each.
Albacore: Solid.
Spotted Shad: Interesting.
Yellowtail: Good.

We couldn’t stop calling each other a shad.  It just sounded funny.

I was waiting for my sweet babies, my sweet shrimp.  Here are my friends swimming in their fresh tank.

Chef Araki asked me if I wanted the live shrimp sashimi style or if I wanted it “his way.”  Uh, “his way” please.

Live sweet shrimp “his way.”

“His way” means there’s a sprinkle of yuzu, cilantro, chili sauce, sprinkled with sea salt.

The yuzu slightly cooked the top of the live shrimp and when I popped this baby in my mouth, a tear fell down my cheek.  I stood up and slow clapped.  He thought I was crazy but this was it.  This is the dish that pushed this restaurant from 4 clap-territory to 5.  This was it.  And the heads were lightly fried that every bite was crunchy and delicate like tempura.  Dissolved in my mouth unlike many fried shrimp heads.

BEST LIVE SHRIMP I HAVE EVER HAD!

Salmon Kami Shabu in Miso Butter.

Chef Araki:  Dip the salmon in the miso butter for 10 seconds for the perfect medium rare.

The perfect medium rare.

Holy butter.  If you love butter like Paula Deen and I do, miso butter is like butter on Asian steroids.  It’s not too oily but still coats that perfect buttery flavor all over the salmon.  This was so fantastic that we had to share with our neighbor at the sushi bar.  She was so grateful.  Good food should always be shared and I hope one day someone else will pay it forward to me and let me eat their food.  One day.  But we weren’t done.  Chef Araki dropped sweet white rice into our miso butter.

Haaaaallelujah!  Halleluhah! Halleeelujah!  Are you fucking kidding me?!!!!!  This is the ultimate comfort food in a paper coffee filter bowl.   It’s warm, subtle, buttery, savory and rich.  Chef Araki said he was going to take it off the menu because summer is approaching and I insisted he keep it on his dinner menu.  You’re welcome, everyone.

I told Chef Araki that I was giving him a perfect rating on my blog because it was obvious I was into him.  Little does he know that like 3 people read my blog and 2 of the 3 are vegetarians, but he gave us free desserts.

Creme brûlée in three ways.

Left to right: Yuzu, green tea, ginger

The creme brûlée was ok.  Nothing special.  But the cooked pear in chocolate sauce and ice cream was amazing.

As Bubby rolled me out of this place, I couldn’t believe I found such a gem in Foothill Ranch.  Where did this man come from? Why is he in Foothill Ranch?  Is he lost? Why is his food so amazing?  Why am I in love with him?  Even days later, I kept thinking about his food, his hands, his well-being.  Is he thinking of me?  I’m obsessed with him, his hands, and his food.  Urasawa is still one of my favorite restaurants in LA, but Araki has caught me by surprise.

Araki’s Japon
26612 Town Center Dr, Suite E
Foothill Ranch, CA

Cool Haus Ice Cream Sandwiches Truck

1 Apr

The food truck this week was Baby’s Badass Burgers and the Cool Haus Ice Cream Sandwiches Truck.  I’ve had Baby’s before, but I was ready to have some ice cream for lunch.

You first pick your cookie and then your ice cream flavor.  But how is a girl to choose on such a hot LA day of 80 degrees? Yup, that’s right I had to flirt with the hippy high on weed scoopin’ ice cream for some free tasters.

Thai iced tea

This definitely tasted like a delicious glass of Thai iced tea.  This was really refreshing on our hot LA day.

White Russian

Hello?! I’m drunk.

Nutella

This had some chocolate chunks.  Bubby would love this one.

After conducting my thorough research and realizing that my flirting with the hippy was useless because he was giving everyone free samples, I decided on the ricotta and sour cherry ice cream on snickerdoodle cookies.

The ricotta made the ice cream texture so rich and creamy and the cherries were dried cherries with a tart tang to it.  The cookies were soft and chewy and the cinnamon was fresh.  A beautiful combination.

With my ice cream sandwich, we walked to the mall and my ice cream melted in the LA heat.  And the fresh cinnamon on the snickerdoodles left a mark.

I probably consumed like 1,000 calories but it was totally worth it.  I could eat ice cream for lunch every day.  I’m not sure how to rate this ice cream because ice cream is always good.  There’s no such thing as bad ice cream unless it has freezer burn.  The ricotta and sour cherry ice cream with snickerdoodle cookies was as perfect as an ice cream sandwich can be.  Nibs wanted to know if it was better than Diddy Reese, and I’m going to say yes because Diddy Reese’s snickerdoodle cookies are not as soft and the serving of ice cream in the sandwich is not as large.  Also, Diddy Reese is tailored for chocolate lovers and Cool Haus caters to all.  Cool Haus for the win.

Cool Haus Ice Cream Sandwiches Truck
http://www.eatcoolhaus.com/

Mélisse

15 Feb

I hate Valentine’s day.  I love the day, but I hate dining out on the day.  Several years ago on a Valentine’s day, Bubby took me to Michael Mina in San Francisco.  I love Michael Mina.  The food was incredible at the Michael Mina in Las Vegas, so I was extremely excited to try the Michael Mina in San Francisco for Valentine’s day.  When we got to the restaurant, the tables were so closely placed, that the couple next to us was basically sitting on our laps.  I understand restaurants are trying to seat as many tables for their overly priced prix fixe menu but this was absurd.  But for some delicious food, I don’t even mind having another couple sit on our laps.  The main reason I hate dining out on Valentine’s day is because I cannot stand the lovey dovey couples making out at dinner.  It’s inappropriate and makes me lose my appetite.  I understand it’s the day of love and a little bit of hand holding and public displays of affection are the norm.  But if you are sitting side by side with your legs weaved together and making out, I hate you.  (Side Note: I love asking couples how they sit at a table in a restaurant.  If couples sit side by side, the man is into the woman’s body.  If couples sit across from each other, he’s into her mind.  If she sits on his lap, they’re just horny.)

So for Valentine’s day, I love going out on February 13, National Mistress Day.  February 13 is National Mistress Day because everyone has to celebrate Valentine’s day with their husbands and wives.  Since the actual day is reserved for legitimate partners, February 13 is the next best thing for adulterers.  I love going out on this day because I love to judge all the adulterers.  It’s like being in a live version of a telenovela.  I’m also praying that one day, an angry wife will storm into the restaurant and catch her adulterous husband feeding black truffles and caviar to his mistress.  Hasn’t happened yet, but it will.

For our mistress meal, Bubby took me to Mélisse –one of the two restaurants in LA with 2 Michelin stars.  The other being Providence.  The Michelin ranking system is that one star indicates a “very good cuisine in its category”, a two-star ranking represents “excellent cuisine, worth a detour,” and three stars are awarded to restaurants offering “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”.  I don’t give Michelin stars much thought because they are not alway accurate.

Our meal took two hours.  The service was slow and the wait time between courses took a long time.  I think the restaurant wanted us to enjoy the moment but I just got really sleepy.  The bread man finally arrived and provided an array of breads including olive, sourdough, dinner roll, brioche, among others.  Bubby loved the brioche.  He ate like 5 of them.  I asked for some brioche and gave it to Bubby.  He said, “And that’s why I’m marrying you.”

The amuse bouche: Red grapes covered in goat cheese and pistachios

These pictures are really dark because they sat us where there was no lighting.   I love grapes and cheese so this was a nice refreshing starter.  Bubby hates goat cheese, so I ate two.  More for me, I win.

The second amuse bouche: Orange slice with olives and some kind of orange and pistachio gelée

This was served warm.  I did not care for it.  I do not like the gelatinous texture.  The flavor was okay.

While waiting for our first course to be served, the couple sitting next to us was definitely having an affair.  Bubby leaned in closer to their table and reported, “… they’re talking about adultery… something about a marriage’s vitriol … yeah … definitely … other woman.”  Homeboy was leaning so close to their table that he almost fell over.  And I said, “And that’s why I’m marrying you.”

First Course: Bubby ordered the “Hot and Cold Foie Gras” Artichoke, Mandarin and Lavender

The foie gras on the left is the cold version and the foie gras on the right was the hot version.  This dish was blessed by little baby Jesus.  He walked from heaven on his baby legs and blessed this dish.  The cold foie gras was creamy and the hot foie gras was succulent and warm like a hug from the inside.  I cried a little.

For my First Course I ordered the Blue Fin Tuna Abalone Gelee, Shiitake Mushrooms, Fennel and Fingerlime

This dish was super gelatinous and oceany.  I do not like the smell or taste of the ocean in seafood.  If I did, I’d be a lesbian.  This dish was not for me.  I had one bite and gave the rest to Bubby.

Second Course: We both ordered the Maine Lobster Bolognese Fresh Capellini, Truffle Froth

Why must they ruin a good thing with froth? Every time Marcelle from Top Chef adds froth, it looks like cat spit and makes me want to flip the table like a New Jersey housewife.  I don’t care if it’s truffle froth or liquid gold froth, it looks like Miso’s vomit when he throws up on an empty stomach –just pure bile.  Besides the froth, the pasta texture was soft and really good and the lobster should have been cut in bigger pieces. But overall, this dish was so salty.  Super salt lick salty.  I had to down 2 glasses of water after I ate it.

Third Course: We both ordered the Filet of Beef and Braised Cheek Crushed Potatoes, Morel Mushrooms, Béarnaise, Natural jus

The upper left corner: crushed potatoes
The upper right corner: braised cheek
The lower right corner: filet of beef on a bed of morel mushrooms in natural jus
The lower left corner: fried Béarnaise

The braised cheek and filet of beef were so salty.  And in the corner of the plate? More salt.

You know when food is so salty it cuts up the sides of your tongue?  I felt that.  It was like a salt bomb exploded in my mouth.  And by this time in the meal, I had already drank like 6 glasses of water.  The crushed potatoes were bland and Bubby said, “It’s like the potato salad you get at Ralph’s.”  Ouch.  The braised cheek was tender and flaked off with a fork and the filet was perfectly medium-well just like I requested.  I enjoyed the texture of the mushrooms, too.  But the best in show was the super fried Béarnaise.  Once you cracked it open, the sauce oozed out.  So creamy and dreamy.

Love.

Dessert: Assorted Mélisse Dessert

The dessert theme was chocolate and strawberries.  How fitting.  In the foreground, was a pastry of gelatinous strawberry and chocolate layers.  Back left is more strawberries in chocolate with chocolate ice cream next to it with liquid nitrogen blasted strawberries.  The strawberries were good, the chocolate? I’m not sure.  I don’t like chocolate.  Bubby ate the chocolate so ask him how the chocolate was.

On the other side of our table, was douchebag‘s sister.

Why are all these Asians bringing their big ass cameras into restaurants?  When did this become okay?  Her pictures are probably better than mine so maybe the joke’s on me.

Would I give Mélisse 2 Michelin stars? Absolutely not.  I would barely give Mélisse one fat Asian Michelin baby.

Yes, that’s me in all of my roll glory.

I give Mélisse 3 slow claps + One fat Asian Michelin baby because of the foie gras.

Mélisse
1104 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA

Gordon Ramsay at The London

26 Jan

I’ve been to London before, and it was one of the scariest vacations of my life.  The food is obviously bad.  The people are not so friendly.  One time, I whistled for a cab, a cab pulled over, I opened the door, and the fuckface inside of the car slammed the door shut as he pulled out his pounds out of his wallet.  After handing the money over to the cab driver, he walks out of the cab and gives me the stink eye from hell.  I looked at him and said, “Fuck you” with the harshest American accent I could find in my accent bank.

In London, I stayed with my friend, Maymay, who was living in London at the time.  She had invited another friend for some New Year’s Eve debauchery.  That friend had a mental breakdown, and I ended up stuck in the attic like a bad V.C. Andrews novel.

For my birthday dinner, Bubby made reservations for us at Gordon Ramsay at The London.  Interesting choice.  One Michelin star, I agreed to go.  Coincidentally, this week is Dine LA.  Dine LA Restaurant Week allows you to explore new restaurants with a prix fixe menu for a fixed price.  They are excellent deals and usually offer the best off of the regular menu.
http://discoverlosangeles.com/play/dining/

The Dine LA menu seemed tasty so we opted for that.  Bubby and I selected different appetizers, entrées, and desserts.  We are very competitive in our ordering skills.  We try to select the best meal and sometimes Bubby is super awesome at ordering and sometimes not.  Let’s see who ordered best.

Appetizers:
My choice: Prawn and Lemongrass Soup with mint, basil, and udon noodles
Bubby’s choice: Braised Shortrib Risotto with root vegetables, mascarpone cheese

vs. 

I definitely expected some fat prawns in my soup.  No prawns.  Not even skinny ones.  Bamboozled!  The broth was nice and was Thai-inspired with the lemongrass flavor. The udon noodles were like the instant packaged kind that Blister loves to buy at Ralphs.  I did not touch the mint or butter lettuce, which was completely random.

Bubby’s selection was amazing.  The risotto was rich, creamy, and full of mascarpone cheese.  The shortribs were soft, tender, and glazed with the perfect amount of sauce.  This would be the perfect dish for a cold rainy day.

For the win: Bubby.

Entrées
My Choice: Caramelized Sea Scallops with Saffron and Manila Clam Chowder
Bubby’s Choice: Braised Pork “Osso Buco” Style with Cheddar Cheese Polenta, Trumpet Royale Mushrooms

vs.       

The sea scallops were nicely seared.  I couldn’t stop laughing while eating them because of Fabio’s comment to Jamie on Top Chef, “Dees eez not Top Scallup, deez eez top chef.”  Jamie totally sucks.  The scallops were fresh and the clams were soft and well cooked.  I really enjoyed the deconstructed clam chowder.  The braised pork was slightly gamey and needed more sauce to glaze a lot of the dry pieces of meat.  The polenta needed more cheese, a lot more cheese to be considered cheddar cheese polenta.  I definitely thought my dish was better until I bit into sand.  Yes, sand!!!! I don’t know if it’s from the clams or the scallops but there was sand in my mouth.  And when I told the waiter, I had sand in my dinner, his response was, “Oh, that’s weird.”  What?!!! You better take something off my bill for that sand, give me another dessert, or at least give me some more bread.  Nothing, but a “Oh, that’s weird.”  Ass.  Fuck the discount, dessert, or free bread.  Give me your Michelin star.  Are they just giving these stars away like condoms outside an RA’s room???  For shame.

For the Win: Bubby.

Dessert
My Choice: Raspberry Vacherin and Vaniila Bean Ice Cream
Bubby’s Choice:  Valrhona Dark Chocolate Crunch

vs. 

My dessert was fantastic.  The cream and the hidden vanilla bean ice cream inside with the fresh raspberries felt like summer in January.  The crisp meringue was a little too hard and I expected it to soften from the ice cream.  The meringue was the only thing that remained on my plate.  Bubby said his dessert was the “best dessert I’ve had in a long time.”  He said it was a great interpretation of Ferrero Rocher chocolates on a plate.  He slow clapped it after he was done.

For the win: Bubby.

Bubby won this round in the fine art of menu selecting.  But we’ll see who wins in Vegas this weekend.

Although the food was mediocre, the restaurant was nicely decorated –modern chic.  A lot of Asians were dining on this night which Bubby so astutely observed.  Bubby said it’s because Asians know how to find a good deal.  True.  And there was this Dbag seated at the table next to us.  The tables are placed so close to each other that I could hear everything he was saying.  Instead of discreetly taking pictures of his food with his phone like I do, he busted this out:

It was hilariously ridiculous.  And then he upped his douchebaggery by passing out his business card to his two female companions.  He had a body shot of himself on his business card.  Bubby said, “He looks like a real estate agent, why would he need a body shot?”  What profession would require any kind of body shot on a business card?  And then, he started making bullshit comments about the wine and his knowledge of wine.  He is so fucking LA, I want to punch him.

After conferring with my attorney, Nibs, he informed me that none of the 11 people who read my blog will sue me so here is the photo of Dbag.  Enjoy.  And if you know him, tell him his pretentious ass makes me want to pull every single hair out of his Fu Manchu goatee.


I’ll give Gordon Ramsay 3 slow claps out of 5.  I’m feeling generous today.

Gordon Ramsay at The London
1020 N. San Vicente Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA