Tag Archives: pork

Maui, Hawaii Part 2

15 Mar

During the difficult times at work, I like to fondly think of my time in Maui. At one point during our trip, Bubby and I had a serious conversation about moving to Hawaii and opening a shrimp truck called Miso’s.  But of course Bubby the buzz kill killed my shrimp truck dreams. At least we should try to visit every year. And every year I’m going to eat this French toast at Kihei Caffe (yes, two “f”s).

Banana macadamia nut French toast

This is the best French toast I have ever had.  Thick slices of crispy sweet bread, thick banana slices, crunchy macadamia nuts, drizzled with maple syrup and the house coconut syrup.

All of the components in one bite made me preach.  “I feel good! I feel good, because I know there’s a God somewhere! There’s a God somewhere! You know there’s a God who sits on high and looks down low! Man cannot make it like this!” Name that movie.

Bubby ordered the pork fried rice loco moco.

The pork fried rice inspired me to make a kimchi pork fried rice loco moco, and everything is better with kimchi. But even without the kimchi, this dish was savory and the perfect salty pairing to my French toast.  Kihei Caffe is a caloric dream come true.  While reveling in our food fantasy, we were suddenly disturbed by a gang of birds.

And the king of the bird gang, Rufio! Ruf-i-oooooooooooooo!

We got the hell out of the crossfire of Rufio’s gang, and went to Charley Young Beach so I could rub my belly in peace.

And at this beach, Poseidon summoned me once again. And in true Hawaiian tradition, I donated my favorite Rayban sunglasses to Poseidon.  Every time I go to Hawaii, Poseidon takes what it wants.  Seven years ago, it was my Juicy Couture red jumper and Ipod.  What was my jumper and Ipod doing in the ocean? Or better yet, why the hell was I wearing Juicy Couture?!  It was seven years ago, and it was a cute ass beach jumper.  Seven years ago, Bubby and I placed our belongings in a locker.  Bubby pinned the locker key to his board shorts while we took surfing lessons.  While Poseidon tossed us around wildly, the locker key unfastened from Bubby’s shorts.  Assuming we lost the key and needed the office to open our locker, we noticed our locker was wide open and empty.  Someone had found our key and stole our possessions, including Bubby’s wallet, our towels, and book.  We walked back to our hotel soaking wet with shame, almost nude, pissed as fuck at Poseidon.  Damn you, Poseidon.  I hope you are rocking the shit outta my shades.

Because there was so much to eat and so little time, we went to Foodland –the best grocery store in the land.  While Kroger (I call every grocery store Kroger) sells rotisserie chickens, Foodland sells spam musubi, ahi poke, and my favorite, spicy raw crab!.

Look at this big ass avocado!

You can also see how the humidity in Hawaii is helping my winter’s eczema, too.

For dinner, Bubby and I went to Mama’s Fish House, a very popular restaurant in Maui.  The restaurant faces the beautiful ocean view and provided a very romantic atmosphere.

Macadamia nut crab cakes

I love crab cakes and cannot wait to go to Baltimore to eat some authentic cakes and to take The Wire tour.  These crab cakes definitely had nice chunks of crab, more crab than breading which is essential for a good CRAB cake.  The tomato relish provided a nice spicy and cool hint of flavor to the meaty cakes.

Opakapaka in lime and coconut milk served in a fresh coconut (Tahitian ceviche)

I asked for extra limes and drowned the shit out of the Hawaiian pink snapper.  I scraped the coconut flesh off the shell and mixed the gelatinous shavings with the ceviche.  This ceviche is making my mouth water as I type these damn words.

Bouillabaisse Mahimahi, lobster, shrimp, scallop and shellfish simmered in a saffron broth, with garlic rouille

Isn’t this picture the most beautiful bowl of underwater treasures?  As you can imagine, the seafood in Hawaii is fresh fo’ sho’.  The scallops were the size of silver dollars and as thick as marshmallows.  There was so much seafood in this dish that every spoonful contained several different types of seafood. My only issue with this dish was that I don’t think the pasta is made from scratch.  If Mama made fresh pasta, this dish would be the best dish of the trip especially since I rationed the garlic bread to last throughout the entire meal.

And to remind myself that I’m on vacation, I make sure the following happen.  I don’t wear makeup.  I must consume a fruity beverage with an umbrella  in it.  And I eat dessert after every meal.  Yes, every meal.  Ergo, ladies and gentlemen I introduce you to Ono Gelato.  The best fuckin’ gelato I have ever had.  Yes, I’ve never had gelato from Italy, but I don’t think I’ll have to.

Coconut is the shit.  But add some strawberry into the swirl, and I was immediately doing my happy dance while wiggling my toes.  Bubby even asked, “Are your toes dancing for gelato?”  Yes, Goddamit. Don’t judge me.  Best. gelato. ever.

Okay, I just gained five pounds writing this shit.

Kihei Caffe
1945 South Kihei Road
Kihei, HI

Mama’s Fish House
799 Poho Place
Paia, HI

Ono Gelato
1280 South Kihei Road
Kihei, HI

Ono Gelato
115 Hana Hwy # D
Paia, HI

Ono Gelato
815 Front Street
Lahaina, HI

We went to two out of the three Ono Gelato locations, and I give 5 slow mothafuckin claps.
 

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)

Banh Mi My Tho

25 Apr

I just wrote a review and it got deleted.   I’m about to pull a Lou Ferrigno like right now.

DAMN IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Ripped shorts and shirts!!!!!!!!!!!  Green skin!!!!!!!!!!!!

Must count backwards from 10…..

Okay.  Better.
So I haven’t been able to write any reviews because work has been really busy and it’s been difficult to work and write reviews.  I’m thinking about having some of my friends write guest posts on the places they’ve been to so that there are regular posts.  It should be fun.

Bubby and I enjoy eating sammies every now and then.  We love Schlotzsky’s The Orginal, and some delicious homemade meatball subs.  Meat? Good.  Bread? Good.  Sauce? Good.  We also love going to our banh mi joint in Alhambra.  It’s not really a restaurant but kind of like a Vietnamese market the size of a closet where you can order delicious sandwiches from.  But recently, we noticed that our banh mi closet was in Los Angeles Magazine as the 17 best sandwiches in LA.

Man, we are so ahead of the curve.

But Bubby and I carefully researched the other top contenders so we can judge for ourselves, I shall call it Project Sammie.

Meatball at All About the Bread

Capastrami at Capriotti’s

Ahogada at Cook’s Tortas

Tongue at Attari’s Sandwich Shop

I’ll keep you posted on the status of Project Sammie.

I usually worry that my hole-in-the-wall joints are no longer my personal secrets when the LA Times and Magazine give them a rave review.  But on this particular day, there was no line as usual.  The only thing between me and my delicious banh mi was the $2.50 in my pocket.

That’s right, these long daddies are two-fiddy.  You can probably find that amount of chump change in your car seats.  Two-fiddy is a steal, and I’m worried my closet/restaurant-business friends will realize they can charge $5 per sandwich without losing any business.  I mean, Subway charges “five dollar … five dollar footlong” and has made so much money.

I ordered my usual Number 8: “Chabroiled” Pork.  Bubby ordered the Number 7: BBQ Meatball.

#8 with extra jalapeños

The “chabroiled” pork was nicely grilled and tender in texture.  I prefer mine to be a little crispy on the edges.  The sweet carrots, radish, and cucumbers nicely paired with the jalapeños and cilantro added the extra sweet crunch to the salty and sweet pork.  The baguette to pork ratio was off, too much bread for the amount of meat and vegetables.   The baguette should have been thinner.

Bubby’s meatball sammie was heavenly.

The meatball was tender and juicy.  The baguette was smaller than the pork one and so it was the perfect ratio with the meat and vegetables.  The mayo sauce was nicely drizzled all up on them balls of meat.  LA Magazine should have featured this meatball banh mi rather than the pork.  This sandwich was perfectly crafted.

To wash down the delicious meat on a hot LA day, cafe sua da.

The iced coffee at Lee’s Sandwiches is definitely better because the crushed ice is what makes it above and beyond your regular iced coffee.  I will always prefer Coffee Bean iced beverages above Starbucks iced beverages because of Coffee Bean’s crushed ice.  It’s key.  But this iced coffee is legit and was so strong it made little hairs sprout on my chest.  Strong like bull.

I always have and still do enjoy my banh mi sandwiches at Banh Mi My Tho.

Take a seat in front of the “B” rating …

… eat a banh mi and enjoy the view.

Banh Mi My Tho
304 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, 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

Din Tai Fung

7 Mar

For the next few months on every Sunday, Bubby and I will attend pre-marital classes.  Our classes are very educational and provide insight to our relationship and upcoming marriage.  We recently found out that we have the two personality types that are the most compatible.  After hearing that, Bubby and I mentally high-fived each other during the lecture because we’re awesome.

As an after-school treat, we decided to go to Din Tai Fung.  Before meeting Bubby, I never had xiao long bao (steamed soup dumplings) before.  He introduced me to these wonderful pockets of delicious meat and soup.  We have had them at several different places, but the best, juciest, and handmade ones are at Din Tai Fung.

Din Tai Fung has 2 back to back locations in Arcadia.  The original is smaller while the newer one has 2 floors.  I prefer the original, it seems the food is fresher.  When we arrived, this was the line outside the restaurant on a Sunday at 1:30 pm.

I like to go to the store next door where they sell a lot of Asian goods like really good black eyeliner.  They actually changed the store and there’s a huge section of several different “claw” machines.  You know the machines that have stuffed animals you grab with a claw? But this store has really good prizes in addition to the stuffed ones.  They have a PS3, an Ipad, a Louis Vuitton purse.  In order to win these expensive prizes, you have to pick up a rubber ball with the claw.  I’m really good at this game but unfortunately lost $5 trying to win the damn Louis Vuitton bag.  As a consolation prize, I almost won a stuffed “Toad” from Mario Brothers.  I just needed 4 more quarters to push it over the edge.  I had prepped it and was ready to go.  As I walked to the counter for change, this high school punk lurked my machine, and stole my Toad.  Fuuuucker.  He totally  swooped.  I was so pissed, but by that time, our table was ready and I no longer cared about the pre-pubescent punk.

On our way to our table, I noticed the hard working Latinos making my authentic handmade dumplings.

We ordered our food, and the waitress said, “That’s a lot of food for the two of you.”  How dare she judge us.  As my response, I told her to add a Sprite.

I love the chopsticks at Din Tai Fung because these chopsticks have instructions on them.

Bubby immediately said, “I don’t agree with these instructions, specifically step 4.”  Step 4 says to “Take a nibble on the dumpling skin and sip the juice.”  (Click on photo to enlarge) Bubby disagrees with this step because he believes that step 4 should be blow on the skin of the dumpling to cool the soup inside slightly and pop the entire dumpling in your mouth to enjoy the dumpling skin, pork, and soup all at one time.  I agree with Bubby, this is the best technique. But we burned the roofs of our mouths on several occasions to perfect this technique.  You’re welcome.

Look at these bad boys.  Pork dumps.

These pork ones are the juiciest.  We usually order 4 trays of them.  I always forget that the pork ones are the best and order the shrimp and pork ones, too.  Damn amnesia.  But I dip my dumps into my sauce consisting of soy sauce, black vinegar, ginger, and chili sauce.  Bubby hates the black vinegar … BUBBY, DON’T FORGET TO BRING YOUR RICE VINEGAR WITH YOU WHEN WE GO TO DIN TAI FUNG.  YOU ALWAYS FORGET.

These shrimp and pork dumplings taste like har gow that you order at dim sum. They don’t contain as much soup as the pork ones.

We also like the noodles here.  The noodles with minced pork.

These noodles are really flavorful.  You don’t need to add chili sauce or anything which is a surprise because I add chili sauce to everything.  Once you add it, you can’t taste the minced pork.

The beautiful string beans sautéed with garlic and soy sauce.

Crispy. Crunchy. Goody.

And finally, our egg fried rice with pork chop.

Bubby says that the best fried rice is when every kernel of rice has an equivalent egg bite.  This fried rice is like that.  Totally eggalicious.  And do you see the crispy fried pork chop?  I gnawed on that pork chop bone like a ravenous beast.  Definitely not my most attractive moment, but totally worth every bite.

I give the pork dumplings 5 slow claps out of 5.  A perfect rating is given when that dish sets the standard or when a dish redefines what I previously thought about a particular dish.  And for me, Din Tai Fung’s pork dumplings is the standard for all future xiao long baos.

Din Tai Fung
1088/1108 S Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, 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

Glen Ivy Hot Springs

3 Jan

Happy New Year.  2011 will be a great year.  This year I will turn 30.  This year I will have a husband.  This year I will bear a new name.  This year I will be with child.  This year will be great.  I feel blessed.

For the first day of this amazing year, my family and I went to Glen Ivy Hot Springs.  I heard great things about this place, especially Club Mud — the red clay mud bath.  You stew in mud water and spread red clay all over your body.  Drrrrty.

I love hot springs.  I love hot tubs.  I love sittin’ in hot bubbled water.  Loves it.  A few years ago, I invited all my friends and Blister to go to Wilbur Hot Springs in the bay area.  I thought it would be a fun experience … not a naked one.  Basically, it was one big pool with 3 small mineral baths which smelled like rotten eggs.  Not only were you offended by the smell of rotten eggs but we were offended by the sight of old naked people walking around.  This one old man had a horrible infection on his dong and Blister, the doctor, diagnosed him right then and there.  That’s how naked he was.  At one point, my friends were playing in the pool and a naked woman bent down spread eagle like the Nelly “Shake Ya Tail Feather” video and scolded them for being too loud.  It was so bizarre.  Many people were forever scarred from that experience.

I had to make up for the failed Wilbur social experiment and suggested we go to Glen Ivy.  Glen Ivy is nothing like Wilbur.  First of all, bathing suits are required.  Luckily, the geriatric infections were hidden underneath lycra.  Second, there were way more options at Glen Ivy.  There were mineral baths, saline pools, regular pools, outdoor hot tubs, and even the red clay mud bath.  The red clay mud bath was my favorite.  I looked like I should be on the cover of National Geographic, but my skin felt like butta’.  So fresh and so clean clean.  My parents loved it.  They kept saying how they’ve never been to a hot springs like this before.  Old people love hot tubs.  Even Blister loved it.

Blister:  We should do this every new year’s day.  It’s like we’re washing ourselves anew.  Do you get it?
Me: Uh, yeah.  I get it.  It’s not that deep, Sylvia.

The food was better than we expected.  My parents ordered the Glen Ivy Sandwich and chili.  No picture because it was a plain old sandwich.  I ordered the pulled pork sandwich with the side of homemade coleslaw.

I layered the side coleslaw onto the sandwich.  It was so perfect.  The soft warm bread, crunchy slaw, and sweet bbq sauced shreds of pulled pork made the perfect sandwich.  Too bad my dad stole half of it.  Damn, that man can eat!

Blister ordered the Greek gyro with tzatziki sauce.

The lamb/beef wasn’t too lamb-y like some gyros I’ve had.  It was a great blend.  The thick feta cheese crumbles were smooth and melted with the tzatziki sauce into the creamiest blend.  But the best part of this gyro was the pita.  It was warm and soft but had a chewy bite that lasted for the entire gyro.  I claimed dibs on Blister’s final 3 bites.  It was that good.

Bubby ordered the chili in a sourdough bowl.

His response: Eh.

I give 3 out of 5 slow claps for the Glen Ivy culinary experience.

After Glen Ivy, we stopped by the farmer’s market called Tom’s Farms.  Now this place looked like a place where they would lynch Koreans and a Chinese.  But Bubby spotted an Indian family having a good time and said, “We’re good.”  This place was not a farmer’s market.  It was a weird Twilight Zone episode with people mining gold, drinking cases of beer, and playing bootleg versions of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”  We walked around and ended up at the candy store, naturally.  I bought the most delicious strawberry licorice.

They tasted better than the Trader Joe’s strawberry licorice.  I ate the entire box.  So good.

After an exhausting day relaxing in hot tubs, my mom refused to make dinner.  Her words: “My kitchen is closed … bitches.”  She didn’t say “bitches,” but her eyes did.  We made her feel guilty so she boiled some pork butt in miso and garlic.

This is the ultimate combination:  miso and garlic pork, with fresh homemade kimchee, and salt and pepper in sesame seed oil.  The fatty flavorful pork is soft after boiling in miso for hours.  The kimchee is crunchy, spicy, and tangy.  The sesame seed oil is rich and coats the pork with the salt and pepper.  All together, it’s heaven.  Fancy restaurants like Animal try to imitate this pork belly/kimchee combination, but this is the original.

The perfect bite.

An up close and personal view of delicious pork fat.

My mom is a good mom.

Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa
25000 Glen Ivy Road
Corona, CA  92883

Mom’s Pork Neck Bone Kimchee Soup

22 Dec

My mom’s signature dish is her pork neck bone kimchee soup.  The pork necks were and still are the most affordable part of the swine so we had it all the time growing up.  Sometimes she cooked her dish with pork neck bones, and sometimes she cooked it with pork fat.  Straight up fat.  80% of the pork slices was fat and the rest white meat.  My sister would always cut the fat off the meat and discard it.  My parents never gave us rules or disciplined us, but my dad would give her the look of death when she wasted pork fat.  You could see the disappointment in his eyes.  He would always lecture her for wasting the best part of the dish.  He still lectures her for wasting pork fat.

It’s been raining for days in LA.  After viewing several outdoor wedding venues in the rain, I came home to a big bowl of this.

My mom loves to put potatoes in her soup.  I hate the potatoes and never eat them.  And like clockwork, she tells me to eat the potatoes.  And my dad always chimes in, “Eat the potatoes, they’re good for you.”  And it doesn’t have to be potatoes.  He thinks everything is good for you.   “Eat the pork fat, it’s good for you.”

My mom’s soup is so hearty.  She boils the bones for hours and the meat shreds off the bone with a spoon.  And the tendon-like, cartilage pieces break off and are so juicy and soft.

Now this dish is special to me for many reasons:  (1) It’s my family’s favorite dish; (2) I’ve eaten it my entire life … before I even had teeth, sucking on the bones; (3) This dish was waiting for me after landing from the airport for every visit from college; and (4) This is the dish that made Bubby fall in love with me.

During law school, I made this soup with sliced pork, silken tofu, and squash for Bubby.  After he ate it, he wanted to be more than friends.  I made this soup for Bubby with pork neck bones.  He started talking about marriage.  I then made this soup with pork neck bones and pig’s feet.  He proposed.  He thinks I, the student, have surpassed the Jedi Master, my mom, with this recipe.  But I think he’s trying to butter me up so I will make it for him everyday.  He even tried to nonchalantly ask me what goes in my recipe and how to bring all the ingredients together.  I’m no fool.  This dish is Bubby’s Kryptonite, I’m not going to hand it over to him.  I know how much power is in this recipe.  If he had it, he may leave me.  Nice try, Bubby.  Nice try.