Monday, November 30, 2020

Socalo Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving was unique in many ways, but the gratitude I feel for being healthy, safe, fed, and housed has thankfully been a constant. My favorite day of every year for the past 3 decades has been cooking with my friends the day before Thanksgiving for 30+ people, but to mitigate the spread of Covid 19 this year, we opted to forgo our annual gathering so that we may enjoy a healthy happy Thanksgiving in the future. 

Since Los Angeles has now shut down dining in on patios at restaurants again, a win-win was ordering Thanksgiving dinner from one of my favorite local restaurants, Socalo. Their Thanksgiving feast menu was available for a 2 serving minimum for curbside pickup the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so it was an easy choice to support a local business and forgo the holiday shopping madness of grocery shopping before Thanksgiving.

The turkey roulade included both light and dark meat, and the portions were big enough for me to make 4 meals out of the 2 servings!

with a bright citrus cranberry jam, savory oregano thyme gravy and perky chimichurri sauces on the side.
The lime yams were zesty and delightfully smooth.
The smashed fingerling potatoes and sautéed greens brightened up with some of the chimichurri on top.
I added a chocolate brownie just for good measure :)
About 30 minutes after eating I fell asleep :)


Monday, November 23, 2020

Banana Chocolate Upside Down Cake

I've never tried to make an upside down cake, but when I saw this Banana & Chocolate Upside Down Cake recipe, I decided to try and I'm happy to report my first one was not only lower in fat and sugar than one I could buy, it was delicious warm out of the oven!

It helps to have a glass pyrex baking dish so you can see the bottom after you bake it, and the brownie sized 2 Qt square pan made by OXO (and generously gifted by jean_de_paradis) was perfectly suited for this recipe.

I melted the melted butter and mixed in the sugar on stovetop over low medium heat just until bubbly, then waited for it to cool to room temperature


before adding the sliced bananas. I opted for long slices because that is how it looked in the recipe but it was difficult to arrange the slices to fit the pan without them breaking.
 
After mixing the dry and wet ingredients just until blended with my dough whisk (thanks again jean_de_paradis), the batter was quite runny before I folded in the chocolate chunks to pour over the bananas,


The batter spread very well in the pan, but I made sure the corners were all evenly filled before baking.


The end result was moist, light, and delicious!

The chocolate chunks add a nice surprise in every bite!






Monday, November 16, 2020

Sunday Supper from Lunetta

After cooking and baking all week, it is a nice treat to get prepared food for Sunday Supper and Lunetta provides a delicious menu option that changes weekly for everyone who wants a break from the kitchen.

This week's menu featured grilled organic sourdough with cultured butter,

kale caesar with parmesan, cherry tomatoes, and white anchovy dressing,
market grilled vegetables with red onions, eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper and aged balsamic,
Hugo's Wagyu beef lasagna
and chocolate fudge brownie with whipped cream fraiche.
Minimum order for 2 at $39 per person, well worth it for a the priceless time and energy saved so the pleasure of eating a great meal is the only focus before the work week starts.


Monday, November 9, 2020

Mayura in Honor of Madam Vice President Elect

Mayura is probably my favorite Indian Restaurant in Los Angeles, so the news that California Senator Kamala Harris is now the Vice President Elect, gave me a great reason to order copious amounts of food to be delivered in celebration of the first biracial Indian, Jamaican woman to hold this title. 

I ordered the Tandoori mixed grill of chicken and kebob for $16.95 and every morsel was moist and well seasoned. The lamb had a slight bit of heat, and there were plenty of onions underneath the meat to brighten up the grilled meats.

 One of the main reasons I craved food from Mayura was to get their vegetable biriyani for $11.95. It is a medley of fragrant that could be a meal in and of itself, or serve as a compliment to any of the other dishes.
To add some more vegetables to the mixed grill I got the Eggplant Masala for $11.95 and it was a tender aromatic rendition that is perfect as a main vegetarian course or as a side vegetable dish.
I also got the Chana Palak for $11.95 with spinach and garbanzo beans as a more filling vegetable dish. I could have eaten a completely vegetarian meal with this and the vegetable biriyani and been very happy.
I also ordered a side of Raita with cucumbers, onions, and carrots in yogurt for $2.50, in addition to the fragrant fresh side condiments they provided for the meal. It was a feast of colors and flavors that was both comforting and delicious; a fitting metaphor for the news over the week-end!



Monday, November 2, 2020

Pho Hue Oi Redondo Take Out

I've missed going to many places since Covid 19, but as places adapt to take out and curbside, I now make the drive to satisfy my cravings :) Pho Hue Oi in Redondo Beach was always my favorite Pho outside of Orange County and like any drug addict, my yearnings made me do whatever it took to get satisfaction!

I didn't know how well Banh Beo Chen A5, the steamed rice cakes for $9.95, topped with fried garlic, green onions, ground shrimp, and pork rinds would travel, but they held up very well.


I love their filet mignon rice plate C1 for $14.95 with onions and bell peppers, with rice and delicious spring green salad, and I added an egg roll as an extra indulgence. I love that they give you seasoned salt and lime with the dish to go!


The star of the place is their Pho P1, for $10.50, with a bit of everything from rare filet mignon, brisket, flank, tendon, and beef meatball. They make the best pho broth outside of Westminster!!!! Their take out is packaged perfectly, with the soup separate from the meat and noodles, the bean sprouts, basil, and chili pepper in another bag, and finally condiments like hoisin sauce and sriracha! 
It's the next best thing to eating there during these Covid 19 times. I am grateful for their diligence and flexibility as they make it work with their menu!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Ugly Drum Curbside

I used to love going to Smorgasburg to get Ugly Drum pastrami. After my first visit, I always came with tupperware so that they could pack my to go order in a sturdy travel safe container. Now that Covid 19 has changed the business models for everyone, I was thrilled to find that I could pick up curbside at Bludso's, which I must add has great BBQ. If you would like to kill two birds with one stone, order from both Ugly Drum and Bludso (ordering is separate, although pick up in front is the same). Even better for those too far away to pick up or get delivery, Ugly Drum now ships nationwide with Goldbelly where you can order 3 lbs of pastrami brisket for $139 with free shipping!

I got extra meat on my sandwich for $21 total, made with Bub and Grandma's fabulous bread.
A pint of their caraway cole slaw was my vegetable for $9 ;)
A side order of my favorite, the uglies, or burnt pastrami ends for $8.50
I also ordered one of their home made pickles for $2 so that I could have plenty of sides for my plate. They gave me a large container of their wonderful mustard that rounded out the richness perfectly. I only ate half my food at lunch, so time to eat the other half now....

Monday, October 19, 2020

Marie Curie


Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

Marie Curie

Monday, October 12, 2020

Simpang Delivery

I appreciate having the option of delivery from my favorite restaurants during Covid 19, especially when they are a small one location operation like Simpang Asia. Some dishes are better for delivery than others, so I focused on items that would travel well as opposed to things like fried calamari which was great eating in (see my previous post). 

The driver was so appreciative of my tip that he thanked me profusely; please tip when you order delivery or pick up, especially nowadays. The safety that delivery and curbside pick up orders offer you by the people serving you should be appreciated with as much as you can afford, e.g., 20% + , every bit helps.

They offer a Traditional Meal for 2 for $27.95 which offered a choice of the Indonesian chicken that was so tender and flavorful that it did not need any of the sauce that came on the side. The sauces are SPICY here, so even the mild soy based sauce chili sauce may be beyond your heat tolerance, as I quickly learned after pouring it generously over my chicken!


I love their garlic string beans
and rice noodles, Kwetiau, both of which come with the meal in addition to the rice. There are many options for customization when you order, and you may make your meal entirely vegetarian.
In addition to the traditional meal, I also ordered the Rames for $14.50 which included lime turmeric chicken, coconut beef steak, fried noodles and garlic string beans.
Hmmm that was enough food for 3, so who wants to eat with me?

Monday, October 5, 2020

Blueberry Lemon Scones

I love trying recipes from Sally's Bake Blog, so when I decided to try making scones for the first time (I've eaten many, just never made my own), I chose her Lemon Blueberry Scones recipe. I love that she offer options for freezing before baking, freezing after baking, the option of using cream or buttermilk, and the unusual and very effective method of grating frozen butter to get the tender flaky texture of a perfect scone:) 

I recommend grating the frozen butter first because it is time consuming and a bit of a pain to grate frozen butter by hand with a box grater, especially during a heat wave in Los Angeles. I ended up putting what I had grated into the freezer and refreezing the butter I had not yet grated back into the freezer 3 times before finishing the process. The grated butter is beautiful, but it melts rapidly in 80F weather, so be forewarned that simply grating the butter may take you 30 minutes if you live in a hot climate. 
The rest of the recipe is easy and fast, especially if you have a microplane or rasp to get the lemon peel zested.
The texture of the grated butter incorporated with the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter should resemble this:
After adding the wet ingredients with a Danish dough whisk, it comes together quite nicely without the need for much more flour. Don't over mix, and add fresh or frozen (unthawed) blueberries at this point.
Shape the dough onto parchment paper or a silicone mat on a quarter sheet pan or jelly roll pan.
Cut with a pastry cutter or knife into wedges and brush with buttermilk or cream and a little sprinkle of sugar (I used my homemade raw vanilla sugar).
The only changes I made in the recipe was instead of refrigerating for 15 minutes, I put the scones in the freezer for 15 minutes, and I baked for nearly 40 minutes. 

They were delightfully tender, flaky and delicious!











Monday, September 28, 2020

Broad Street Oyster Company

I have been wanting to try Broad Street Oyster for months and I am so glad I finally did! Their drive through is currently under renovation, so I was driving around in circles looking for it, before I finally parked and walked towards the sign and saw the line (the drive through will reopen in about 2 weeks). My intent was to drive through and drive home, but since I had to go wait in line, I opted to at least taste some of the food while it was hot in the car!

Their fish and chips for $19 was so light, tender, crisp, and well seasoned, that I could have eaten two of these! It comes with packaged malt vinegar and homemade tartar sauce, but I opted for extra lemon.

Their fried calamari steak for $12 with spicy marinara sauce was a hearty portion that was so tender and balanced with crunch, tangy tomato spice, and perfectly cooked calamari, that this could easily be a meal instead of an appetizer.
I got two side orders of cole slaw for $4 and could have easily eaten 2 more!
I came for the lobster roll for $22 and was absolutely astounded by the amount and quality of the lobster meat! I've eaten several versions in Los Angeles and NONE top this for the price/quality/quantity ratio! The side of Old Bay homemade potato chips is addictive, and you will want extra lemon and napkins for the messy process of devouring this roll! 
There are several outdoor picnic tables, but since no one can eat with a mask on, and I saw several people maskless walking around, I opted for a private car picnic with air conditioning and music :)

Monday, September 14, 2020

Dine LA Lunetta Lunch

I look forward to Dine LA every year, and this year is no exception. Since every restaurant is now offering either pick up or delivery, an added bonus for 2020, you can literally order enough for 2 meals and eat restaurant quality food all day at home!

Lunetta now has three patios, but I am not ready to venture out to eat yet. I've become such a regular for curbside pick up that they automatically recognize the car when I call in to say I've arrived for my pick up :) 

Their Dine LA lunch, for $30 per person, includes heirloom tomato soup that is good warm or cold,

three cheese grilled cheese with more of those fantastic heirloom tomatoes,
and a choice of either the crispy chicken chopped vegetable salad (you may modify it to be grilled, but go for the fried!) with a lemon basil vinaigrette,
or local fish with vegetables and fries. You also have the option of steak as your main course, but I ordered a full brisket from Snow's BBQ that I am still savoring (post coming soon).
Of course no menu is complete without dessert, and their chocolate fudge brownie with mascarpone cream is the perfect treat to cap off the meal (and perhaps a nap)!