Saturday, November 6, 2010

Look, guys! No meat!

I made this, myself. It is the first meal that I have cooked since moving to the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. Ironically, this dish has no meat and meat is the stuff of my dreams.

Last week, I did try to incorporate some veggies into my diet. My previous roommates teased me about my preference for meat -- and there you go: no meat! Granted, that experiment lasted for maybe 3 days? It was so long ago, who can remember?

-- Michelle

I'm OD'ing on Asian cuisine, I know!'s just so good!

I'd been feeling a bit under the weather this week...a non-chatty Cathy. I wandered around Central Park taking pictures of the foliage, watching street performers entertain the audience, and observing New York Marathoners.

The pretzel I bought did not do ANYTHING for me except make me gag on the copious amount of salt, so I chucked it and took the subway all the way to Chinatown. Originally, I wanted some Wonton soup but decided against it. I hadn't eaten pho in a while, so I "yelped" some restaurants and looked forward to more appealing food.

I decided to go to Nha Trang, which is close enough to the subway to not be a long journey and far away enough to let you walk through the chaotic scene that comprises Chinatown. Did I mention that a hearty bowl of pho with beef slices is only $5.00? Score! This definitely brightened up my day.

-- Michelle

You know the feeling where you're just so hungry you need to eat, no matter what kind of food it is, where you are, or how much it may cost?

This is one of those situations.

Thank goodness my friend and I were in Georgetown and had some snazzy options to choose from. We stopped at the first restaurant we saw, which happened to be a Vietnamese restaurant complete with a bar, a TV, tablecloths, and wine glasses.

I ate vermicelli noodles that could not have been more delicious, partly because it helped me recuperate from writing my midterm paper and partly because it was a legitimately good meal.

I can't help but feel that Washington, D.C. -- while it has a plethora of great Ethiopian restaurants -- is somehow lacking in authentic Asian cuisine. By authentic, I mean cheap, quickly delivered, and easily accessible. I looked for some Japanese restaurants on Yelp and found that the highly-rated ones are only accessible by bus and not the Metro. Instead, Washington, D.C. has a lot of Asian fusion restaurants. They're delicious for sure, but the amalgamation of different cuisines creates a different palate and psychological shift -- at least for me! That's why I opt out of eating at P.F. Chang's, just FYI.

Regardless of the nitpicking that I've been doing, I admit that the Vietnamese restaurant definitely feeds its customers well. The portions are huge, and the company was fantastic. We even watched a part of the World Series on the TV. All in all, it was a good experience!

-- Michelle

Brunch in Washington, D.C.

One of the cool things about the East Coast is that you can travel for a couple of hours and arrive in a completely different state. California's too big to really do that, unless you go to Vegas. That's a different story for another time.

During my weekend in the nation's capital, I met up with some good college friends...and pigged out, as usual. :)

Scion Restaurant is a really nice place to just hang out and catch up with friends. The ambience is chic and classy without being all "black-tie". Plus, the staff set up a complementary fruit bar with grapes, apples, oranges, and kiwi! We sat at a table in the patio with a good view of street traffic. We met up on Halloween, and in mid-conversation, I saw a toddler in a bumblebee outfit, wings and all. So cute!

As per usual, I ate meat. Yay! But before you judge or tease, just know that I also ate fruit AND got eggs. Unfortunately, these healthier options were overlooked because Scion served some awesome fries. Flat, round, salty and scrumptious!

-- Michelle

Burmese food with good company in Maryland!

I visited a good friend of mine over Halloween weekend. She's the adventurous type! She's been to Egypt, Syria, and is just damn smart! Anyway, her friend took us out to eat Burmese food at this place called Mandalay Restaurant & Cafe. Neither she nor I had eaten Burmese food before, and I loved it!

According to the menu, I ordered the "KyetThar PinSane/NanNanBin Hin." It had stuff I really liked...chicken, curry, basil, white rice, more chicken....

If you're ever in Maryland, check this place out!

-- Michelle

The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Ramen that's worth waiting a whole hour for

Justin and Phil took me to this Ramen restaurant that Justin had been raving about for...maybe 2 or 3 weeks. Of course, other people also heard good things about this restaurant whose name I can no longer remember. I would like to think that the reason I can't remember the name is because we went to eat there on a Saturday night and had to wait a whole hour to get in. The wait was longer than the meal, but the meal was worth it.

I had been craving noodle soup. In college, I loved digging into a bowl of soupy noodles at Asahi Ramen. This place suffices.

So for one whole hour, we bummed around the vicinity of Columbus Circle talking about anything and everything. We occasionally glanced at the wait staff, hoping we'd get to finally get inside the restaurant. Maybe getting into The Ivy is just as hard? J/K...

When they finally called us, I could understand why we waited so long. The restaurant is reputable, BUT it's possibly the size of my room. I took five steps from the street to the interior, and I made myself at home on the barstool. This restaurant is so tiny that people put their belongings above their heads, on this net, as if we're all about to go on some Disney ride. The chefs were literally flambe-ing things in front of our eyes! Very cool.

-- Michelle

New York pizza

It's about time I did a post about pizza in New York. Once, I saw this episode of "Man vs. Food" on the Travel Channel that devoted a whole hour to pizza. People in New York and Chicago squared off on which city produced better pizza. It's hard to compare; Chicago has deep-dish. New York has thin-crust. Whatever!

I think the important elements of a winning pizza involve a crispy crust and hella cheese. That's right; HELLA cheese. Not just a smidgen of cheese. A helluva lot of cheese.

Thanks to Nora and Trevor, I've found my go-to pizza place that's conveniently located near campus. This hole-in-the-wall shop is called Koronet Pizza. I like this place so much I'm dragging other friends to it and insisting they try the jumbo.

If you ever get a chance, go to Koronet and get a jumbo slice. Sit there and eat it until you're finished. It doesn't taste the same after you pack it into a ginormous box and cart it home. Believe me; I've tried. Inclement weather does strange things to yummy pizza, you know what I mean? Just enjoy it while the cheese oozes off the paper plate and onto your fingers. Better yet, watch the grease seep through the plate and onto the table top before you take a bite. ;)

-- Michelle

Wedding food is always impeccable.

Okay, so it's a little hard to see exactly what I'm eating. Blame it on the quality of the camera-phone and the lighting at the venue.

Regardless, it's my favorite! Prime rib (medium rare) drenched in au jus with risotto! Goodness, that risotto had butter up the ------. It made me feel a little queasy, but that's why there's meat to go along with it! Meat cures all (except for stomach rolls...I'm learning the hard way).

At least New York's a good walking city. I can walk around, get some exercise, grab something tasty to eat, and the cycle just perpetuates itself.

-- Michelle

I went to New Jersey. Deal with it.

What's in New Jersey, you ask? Pretty trees with leaves that change color...and Coach House Restaurant & Diner. It's a really comfy, family-style restaurant (that I went to with my family). They have really good breakfast and brunch. I think a lot of East-coasters love their bagels, and Coach House definitely takes advantage of this.

I stocked up on my carbs (thank you to the cheese bagel) and my protein (thank you to the scrambled eggs)!

This would have been a great meal in itself, but I also attended a cousin's wedding that evening in Long Island and basically gained a hell of a stomach (coming up next)!

-- Michelle

Amy Ruth's in Harlem, New York

This restaurant serves delicious fried chicken! And sides. The Zagat-rated restaurant has a variety of cool names on the menu, such as "The President Barack Obama". The image on this blog post is of honey fried chicken, corn, and mac n' cheese. The portions are ginormous. I really regret having eaten lunch because Amy Ruth's is the kind of restaurant where I should have skipped it.

If you have been to L.A. and eaten at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, you'll LOVE Amy Ruth's! Thanks so much to LiAnn, Justin, and Phil for recommending this place. :)

-- Michelle

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cafe Provencal

You know it was a fabulous meal if I forgot to take pictures for half the night and spent two months figuring out exactly how I would describe it. And still...I should be arrested for the injustice my words are about to commit.

Through the gracious invitation of one very awesome Mr. Randy Farber (my Mr. Miyagi of the food world), I had the good fortune to eat real, bonafide, amazing, FANTASTIC FOOD. Actually, you can't even really call it food. Edible art. Yeah...that's better.

First, let me set the scene. We ventured to Sherman Oaks to attend the Farber family's 8th annual donor dinner to fund a new generation of awesome ASCers!

The dishes were themed. THEMED! Four elements: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire!

Here's the rundown of the awesomeness that paraded its way into my stomach:

Hors d'houevres
stuffed mushrooms
wine: wycliff california champagne NV (which I learned stands for non-vintage)
Verdict: Yes! There's not a stuffed mushroom I've met that I haven't loved, but this one was particularly scrumptious! Also, the champagne was bubbly, flavorful, and in my limited experience, the best I've ever had. My favorite cup of the night!

First Course
frog legs vol au vent
escargot in basil polenta
wine: arcadian 2006 dierberg pinot noir, Santa Maria Valley
Verdict: Interesting, and delish in a way I've never tasted before! When I initially read the menu, I was gearing to chew on some straight-from-the-pond, intact frog appendages. But as it was vol au vent, the legmeat was cooked into a puff pastry. INCREDIBLE! It tasted heartier than seafood, which I appreciated! And I like escargot. But the best part about the first course was the presentation. Just look at the colors!

Second Course
jumbo scallop, sweet chili sauce
clam chowder profiterole
wine: arcadian 2006 sleepy hollow chardonnay, santa lucia highlands
Verdict: My favorite dish of the night. The taste of the sweet chili sauce (the ice cream-looking white bit in the wine glass below) had the best, but most indescribable taste that has ever danced across my tongue. Just looking at the picture makes my mouth water! And the clam chowder was, like the frog legs, a hearty flash of yum!

Third Course
oven-roast bison, black truffle bourbon sauce
duck magret, pink peppercorn and cherries
wine: arcadian 2005 stolpman syrah, santa ynez valley
Verdict: Definitely the most interesting combo of the night. To be honest, I didn't know which was the duck and which was the bison. But they were both cooked to perfection, and so incredibly savory! So, if you go to Cafe Provencal, order the bison...or the duck. With the truffle bourbon sauce!

baked alaska flambe
chocolate wine
Verdict: Flambe to the max! They poured...I think it was bourbon...around the dessert and set it on fire! But the focus of the dessert was the chocolate wine. Once again, in my (as of then) extremely limited wine experience (like...1, maybe 2 cups ever in my life before), I'd never, ever tasted anything quite like it. I wouldn't even say it tasted incredibly like chocolate, but there was a sweet, sparkly? quality that cleared my nose up real quick! :) Try it!

Check out that egg shell!

To say I recommend Cafe Provencal would be like saying I recommend, I don't know, cookies. Go, please. You'll be a better eater for it.

Also, if you're a wine buff, check out the Arcadian Winery in Santa Ynez. They provided all the drinks for the night!

Great food, better people!

Thanks Serge and friends!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Spain: Dispatches from the Edge

Hello foodiesphere!

This is Stephanie, coming to you jive and alive from Granada, Spain. Life has been pretty insane since I arrived on September 23rd. Namely, the culinary experience. I feel as if I am little Red Riding Hood, except rather than creeping cautiously through the woods to Grandma's dilapidated cabin, I am skipping merrily through FunFoodland Forest, where the trees are filled with fresh bread, the roads are lined with tapas, and a babbling creek of Spanish wine leads to the way to Grandma's house...which overlooks a Paella garden.

What is the best way to describe Spanish cuisine? Imagine that steamy, rebellious culinary college drop-out, who suavely threw his poofy, white chef's hat to the wind when those stuffy administrators told him that good food didn't excuse poor presentation.

"But ze food should speak for eetzelf," remarks our crooning culinarian, as he slams the door behind him forever.

AKA, spanish food preparation is spent on maximizing flavor, at the expense of presentation. But is so, so, very delish. Feast your eyes on the photos that do absolutely no justice to Spain's food scene...but still look pretty tasty!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Hello food world!

SF promises we have not abandoned the online foodie circles. Michelle is currently amidst her first month as a grad student and Stephanie has left her memory chip chalk full of summer culinary photos...somewhere in the mountains.

Thus, food blogs shall resume shortly. Be prepared! We will be back, better than ever, as Michelle debuts dishes from NYC, and Steph blogs from Spain!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pomodoro Trattoria

On the advice of one very wise Randy Farber, the co's and I decided to head south of Wilshire to Westwood's Pomodoro!

I ordered (second photo) the gnochi alla vodka. Wait. Let me correct myself. I ordered a piece of heaven, with a side of happy, garnished with culinary artistry. I don't like pasta...but I LOVED this dish.

A++++++++++ Reasonably priced, dangerously delicious!

Hometown Buffet

It's not fine dining...nor is it the cutest restaurant in the world. But if you're hungry, have a big group, and need lots of food for your is so very glorious.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Messob Ethiopian Restaurant

Video review!

Messob Ethiopian Restaurant in Little Ethiopia, Los Angeles (Fairfax). :D

I ate on a half-full stomach, which wasn't a good idea, as the food is pretty dense. But my co's LOVED it!

A- (but A++++ for service and clear explanations by staff of Ethiopian culture!)

Manna Korean BBQ

Starring Michelle, Steph, Brenda, and LiAnn!

We ordered the unlimited meat...option? It was SUPERBLY AWESOME. Again...Korean BBQ is NOT vegetarian-friendly.

A layman's explanation of the food:

Additional footage of how to get 'er done!


Versailles Cuban Restaurant


Michelle's Fambam treated us to Versailles Cuban restaurant in Culver City after the English grad ceremony. The menu in this place is as big as the portions!

I'll wait for Michelle to upload her pic and review, but here is what I got:

The dish was arroz con pollo (chicken with yellow rice). The rice was valencian, with seasoned chicken garnished with peas and pimentos. I still crave it. A lasting flavor...and a beautiful plate!

Warning: Versailles, and Cuban food in general, is NOT vegetarian-friendly.

Stinking Rose...part deux!

So...the next day, after Michelle and I had that lovely dinner at SR...I came back! But with our roomie Brenda (another graduate) and her crew!

And what I had was BETTER! GARLIC FISH AND CHIPS! Mmmmmmm!

My Garlic Fish and Chips

Bart...garlic braised boneless short rib...I think?

Alice's pesto salad with sundried tomatoes!

Brenda's Silence of the Lamb Shank!

Ceasar salad! :D

And of course...GARLIC ICE CREAM!

Another A!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Very Special Dinner: The Stinking Rose

I got the roasted rabbit with cooked olives and an extra virgin olive oil Garlic sauce! I liked it a lot...especially the roasted, crispy olives!

Michelle and I decided to end her tenure at UCLA with a special dinner at The Stinking Rose, the most unique (and probably best value) restaurant on Restaurant Row (La Cienega off of Wilshire).

The first thing that must be said is THE DECOR IS AWESOME! Oh, and garlic is the name of the game for every crevice of this place. EVERY CREVICE. The tables come with garlic and olive oil. The restaurant smells like garlic. Garlic bread rolls. GARLIC ICE CREAM. Super awesome.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Stones Jamaican Cuisine

Video review at UCLA's Jazz Reggae Festival 2010 from my Unicamp co, Donkey!

The Calbi Truck!

Of all of the kitschy to-dos and fads in L.A. (and boy, are there many), the best and most popular has got to be the slew of food trucks that are canvassing the streets of our fair city. Among the most notable: GastroBus, Calbi, Kogi, LA Fuxion, the Flying Pig, and of course, the Grilled Cheese truck. At UCLA, in lieu of the under-construction South Campus center, food trucks have been coming every weekday to quell the insatiable hunger of our science-oriented area of campus. This week:

The Calbi truck!

Now, I've ordered Kimchi Quesadillas multiple times from both the Calbi and Kogi truck. The trick is to order at a nonbusy time, when they have the time to properly grill the sucker. The above quesadilla was the best KQ I've ever had!



The thing about BJ's is that you know what you'll get: something big, something delish, and something undeniably in the "eat with extreme moderation" portion of the food pyramid.

The above is Nimmie and I at Michelle's grad party. As per the BJ's site:

Tender marinated chicken breast, grilled and topped with avocado, roasted green chilies, pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayonnaise and ranch dressing on grilled sourdough bread."

Review: super awesome! Not as heavy as other BJ's options, but lacks nothing in the flava department!


Dessert at the at Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown L.A.! No review necessary.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Street Food is the Best Food

As a part of UCLA's SWC Health Fair, several cultural organizations on campus congregated to serve...FOOD! Lots and lots of food!

For lunch today, I grabbed some tandoori chicken and a zefir (a Russian marshallow treat!) There's no restaurant recommendation to go along with this...more of encouragement to try new foods...especially Indian and Russian!

- Steph

I've got folic acid, how about you?

A finally-realized desire to be healthy, coupled with a very opportune Spring quarter course in Community Health Sciences, has got me on this creative dark-greens kick. Thus, I present to our readers the salad du jour: the Rockstar Mix (catchy, right?)!

I call it the rockstar salad because like us, rockstars don't have large amounts of time to prepare food! This is a quick and easy recipe, worthy of even Mick Jagger.

Literally everything that went into this dish, except for the plate, was bought for suuuuuper cheap at Trader Joe's!

I started off with a base of baby romaine lettuce leaves. Then, I added a homemade vinaigrette (learned two weeks ago from a live demonstration by Alice Water!). The dressing is half (extra virgin Spanish) olive oil, half white balsamic vinegar, and just a little table pepper. The trick is to get the dressing into the lettuce with your hands. None of that spoon and drizzle nonsense.

Then, I went over the dressing with a few squeezes of a fresh squeezed lemon. Afterwards, I added the contents of 1 1/2 Mandarin oranges (Cuties!) and a handful of fried fruit. I really enjoy that play between sweet and sour. Mix this all together (with your hands!), and add a mini sweet bell pepper on top, and as our French friends say...voila! Also...j'aime manger!

- Steph