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Long drives, the ocean breeze and George’s by the Cove

Hi Katherine,

I feel like I’m starting to jumpstart my sleep schedule (which was way whack) back on track to a more normal lifestyle. I am awake at a reasonable hour and starting to get my circadian rhythm functioning in Californian time again. For some odd reason, I’ve been operating as if I was on the opposite side of the world. Again, I have no idea why.

Anyhow, I was thoroughly impressed and beautifully surprised at how close the mermaid glass looked like actual sea glass! It looks like a such a sweet and tasty treat for mermaids and mer-men alike. I think I owe my fascination with mermaids to good ol’ Walt Disney, as I’ve been fascinated with mermaids since the release of The Little Mermaid (1989), but Peter Pan (1953) also alluded to these mermaid creatures and featured mermaids in Neverland. Some fans even claim that one of the mermaids in Peter Pan’s Neverland is actually The Little Mermaid, Ariel’s mother. Interesting theory, but with no factual basis. Moving along. Then, as I grew up and began reading Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales (the original story of The Little Mermaid was written in 1836 and actually a lot different than the Disney movie), I learned more about these magical creatures – ranging from Greek stories to Irish and Scottish legends to Scandinavian mythologies – I’ve learned mermaids have been involved in most stories involving the sea. Your ode and homage to these amazing creatures by creating a menu is honorable and necessary. I think it’s mermaid theme time right now and I really wonder why the mermaid (and merman) are not featured as often or as popular in the current listed trends in the “foodie” world? One day, I’d like to throw a mermaid/merman themed party and feature everything you listed on your menu (it’s like a Pinterest dream board) – I feel like we should throw a party; it really sounds like a lot of fun.

Needless to say, I just love the idea of an underwater world such as Atlantis. I’m planning on trying this new mermaid drink and mermaid churro they released at The Loop… but it’s been a bit difficult to find time to get there. I’m certain it will happen this week and I’ll be sure to keep you updated and in The Loop!


George’s by the Cove – The long drive there and an honest review of their plates

Meanwhile, on the other end of the water, this weekend I visited George’s by the Cove in La Jolla, California to celebrate my friend’s 30th birthday (San Diego County, what’s up)? The drive took a total of nearly four hours (thanks rush hour traffic) from Los Angeles to San Deigo, but that gave me the space and time to really think about a lot of things. The drive there was scenic, as you’re cruising down PCH (Pacific Coast Highway 1) you see a lot of the beauty of where the dark blue hues of the beach meets the light blue sky, but I was flooded with a lot of memories too. The further south you go in California, the more relaxed it gets because a majority of my happy memories occurred down south. I guess sometimes you don’t really know how precious or valuable a memory is until after it’s passed. And when you’re cruising along that long stretch of land seeing nothing but highway (and stacks and stacks on stacks of automobiles) a highlight reel of all the good times will start rolling through the highways of your mind. But I digress. When I finally arrived at the venue (after struggling a good half hour for parking) it was nice to see it had a familial atmosphere and a lovely view of the beach and I was starving. Our table ordered several dishes as starters to mains and I have to give an honest review of which dishes not to order and which dishes are actually delicious.

First, I want to state that George’s by the Cove is California-Modern cuisine. They focus on dishes that reflect their location (California coast) and the feeling that you’re cruising in a classy way over the ocean is apparent in their dishes and ambiance. And their service and staff are fantastic.

Secondly, their dishes are what you consider fine dining, but with a casual California twist. For instance, they basically take something you’d normally eat, let’s say like chips and salsa and guacamole, and they’ll dress it up all fancy – i.e. the house made roasted tomato salsa and nacho chips sprinkled with cayenne pepper or some other seasoning for a little kick from the norm of chips & guac to step it up a notch.

Okay, so, here’s WHAT NOT TO GET:

  • Grilled Octopus dish. I thought this would be a different twist on calamari (what I’m used to cooked Japanese-style), but I think they overcooked the thing so that the octopus actually tasted like the texture of a baked potato, which is not great because it should actually have the consistency of a squishy textured squid or octopus. It came with baby potatoes which were undercooked and hard, radish, red onion, celery, parsley, salsa verde, lemon vinaigrette. Overall, the taste was alright, but the texture of the main dish was a disappointment.
  • Yellowtail grilled atop rustic baby potatoes and sliced onions and arugula, topped with some finely pureed avocado and cilantro… this dish tasted terrible. There were just so many aspects wrong with it. At first glance, it looks like a vision and my mouth salivated because I love me some good looking sea food dishes (if/when prepared properly). However, this fish was a facade short of a feast. It was bland, the fish wasn’t seasoned well, the potatoes were not cooked thoroughly and tasted a bit better when mixed with the sauces on the plate. It is a dish that is semi-decent in taste and flavor when you smother it in the sauces presented on the plate, but it does not please the tastebuds.

DO NOT ORDER THESE DISHES BELOW:

 

 

The above dishes were a disappointment, but the following dishes did actually deliver!

The photos above are the dishes that were decently delicious and served well! The bullets below describe the dish and what I enjoyed about it with some photos as well lol. The format is pretty self-explanatory.

  • The Roasted Organic Chicken Breast with fingerling potatoes, broccolini and salsa verde (pictured on the left) was a delight. The chicken was not dry, the broccolini was perfectly cooked and the salsa verde paired nicely with the dish, giving it the balance of what a Californian wants and needs when eating a healthy and well-balanced meal.
  • Sesame Crusted Tombo featuring baby bok choy, oyster mushrooms, leek fondue, miso-soy vinaigrette, carrot kimchi (pictured on the right) could not have been better! It was a dish that gave a nice blend of various texture seasoned with just enough flavor and texture to keep this a light-hearted and healthy dish to delight all the senses.

 

  • Reason number 54,321 to never judge a book by its cover or a dish by how it looks is the Asian Marinated Skirt Steak (pictured on bottom left) with garlic spinach and buttermilk onion rings. It looks like a simple and goofy presented dish, but in reality it packed a punch in flavor and I felt like I was eating a truly Californian dish infused with some Korean BBQ. It was tasty and delicious and I’d order this the next time around.
  • The Fettucine Pasta (photo on bottom right) with broccoli pesto, salsa fresca, arugula, chili mozzarella gave Californian Italian a new meaning. It was a lovely medley of colorful veggies and it worked really well together. The sauce was a bit heavy, but still very tasty. I don’t think you can go wrong with this meal as it’s very filling so packing it to go would work and I think would still be good when eating the leftovers.

 

  • We were excited to see that there was Sticky Toffee Layer Cake present on the dessert menu with salted almonds, caramel, coconut so naturally, it was ordered. I thought it would take me back to Europe – because sticky toffee pudding became my absolute favorite dessert whilst in London and Scotland… however, it did not deliver. It is kind of hard to explain if you’ve never had a truly English sticky toffee pudding, but I’ll do my best to describe it. The original is a soft breaded pudding a bit like Angel food cake, but more moist as if it’s soaked in tastiness! Then, it’s got a layer of hot and sticky melted caramel up top, and it is absolute perfection in your mouth, but you could add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it would be great too. I just have to say, leave it to Americans to ruin what’s already such a good English dessert. The dish that came out looked and tasted nothing like what I expected. They added something of what looked like a pound cake of some sort with creme in between and topped with candied almonds and it definitely made it crunchy, but what I envisioned in my mind and what was presented, although drastically different, it was still a pretty good attempt at taking an English dessert dish and turning it into something very American.

    That’s pretty much it in my review of George’s by the Cove. I’d recommend it as a great place for lunch or dinner and drinks! The drinks are pretty spot on. So go ahead, and have a go. It’s a little on the higher end of the California cuisines (right in La Jolla) so I’d suggest going for special occasions or a nice meal and drink date here is a nice idea. Simply a true California restaurant, which is something to be proud of.

 

I enjoyed dining here and feasting on the dishes and giving you my honest review. Can’t wait to eat and drink and tell you all about the mermaid food and drink~ SOON. Until next time, bon apetit!

Anne

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Tackling the merman & maid: How to bait their traits among the crowded surf of unicorns, galaxies and rainbows

Hey Anne!

I finally figured out how to make my mermaid musings come ashore into a doable and repeatable event theme. The abundant coverage of the unicorn, rainbow and galaxy themed foods was starting to wear on me. I recall I had lamented to you about why the mythical mermaid wasn’t properly being represented. Eventually, we’ve now seen her around Instagram, but still it is nothing like the wave of the unicorn, rainbow galaxy themes. Those three morphed into drinks, bagels, sweet treats, party favors and color palettes for marbleized cakes and icings. From my minimal perusing of social media the mermaid hasn’t received that much creativity and infusion into so many dishes.

If I’ve seen a cake it has a mermaid with a shell bra as decoration with the typical use of turquoise, teal, and seafoam green. Those colors and sculptures/renderings are surely representative of this imaginative creature, but crafters and artists are still missing the boat.

Where is the mermaid donut bra? The incorporation of sea glass, gems and pearls? Mermaid cream cheese for a lox bagel? Trident’s cocktail? The sandy cinnamon bun? Mermaid macaroon? Purple potato and shellfish salad? Mermaid avocado toast?

I had a brainstorm. I began to think what other elements are associated with the mermaid. Water, fish, coral reef, boats, nets, beach, sand, pelicans, crustaceans, shells, sea glass.

I thought of all these things because when I look at something I always like to break down the main fixture into its simpler components. You can read more about my thought processes on my Inspreneur blog. When I dove deeper into pondering sea glass, I decided to make some because that would be a lovely compliment to a mermaid theme. Before I go over board, my mind raced with making sea glass hard candies with chocolate pearls and containing them in crocheted twine goodie bags…what a cute accessory to a party.

Here’s how I made the edible sea glass.

At first I only considered using blue and green to make the glass, but when I realized the blue had all dried up. I resorted to try and incorporate yellow and I thought I could make orange with the red coloring. Then the coral reef popped into my head and I intended to make a yellow/red or orange sea glass pieces. That concoction didn’t quite happen as I frivolously added red and yellow to one of the sugar mixtures. It returned this reddish brown color, and immediately, I thought of beer bottles.

I realized that so much sea glass is from broken beer bottles. Dark browns and deep reds sunk into my mind as beer bottle sea glass is crafted into soft shards and I was so far away from the pretty blue hues of the magical mermaid. My beer bottle thought slope led to me think of men and that led me to the merman—and how that #beefcake has been totally neglected!

The merman is an integral part of the mermaid culture. How else would we have merpeople? I mean mermaids were never billed as Amazons, and King Trident was a handsome, burly, slightly lumberjack-esque, beaut. Now that I’ve laid the evidence for the existence of mermen (at least from my childhood mind), I’d like to detail how to make the merculture a coveted food theme.

My focus is on elevating the merman to at least the level of the mermaid. (Maybe Jason Momoa, Aquaman, would help us out…) I’ve thought of some ways to incorporate him and her into the oversaturated themed foodie world. The below is inspiration—I was really just spitballing. I have not experimented with these ideas.

Desserts/sweet treats:

Cupcakes: Icing that is swirled with blue, green and red-brown topped off with.

Cakes:

  • Bachelor/bachelorette, engagement, bridal shower, wedding affairs.
  • Cake carved into mermaid/merman body.
  • Mermaid, merman sculpture on top—together or separate.
  • For bachelorette parties—don’t forget his spear.

Icing/glaze: Any base of buttercream or cream chase with swirls of purple, green & blue.

Toppings:

  • Candied or fondant pebbles,
  • Sea glass,
  • Chocolate pearls,
  • Graham crackers,
  • Nilla wafer sand crumbs.

Ice cream:

  • Vanilla colored blue or green or both with chocolate pearls, sandy graham cracker crunchies eaten with spoons shaped like fins.
  • Mermaid mint chocolate chip with chocolate pearls.

Pie: Mermaid meringue.

Meat:

Merman burger: Beef hamburger with a crab slaw and a pearly poached egg inside.
Merman sandwich: Crab cake wrapped in bacon.
Merman fish ‘n chips: Beer batter and with sea salt.

Drinks:

Merman Manhattan
Craft brew named after the merman. Bottles could be made with recycled sea glass…
Mermaid cocktails…easy to think of. Mermaid Mary with a garnish of a crabcake?

Condiments/sides:

Mermaid salt: Rock salt, sea salt and/or have the salt stained with blues, purples, greens.
Merman marinade.

Should we even attempt big foot, the yeti or Nessi?

Ciao for now,

Katherine

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How to: Edible sea glass

Instead of throwing myself overboard, I decided to pick one element of the ocean that could help highlight the mermaid and her people. I decide sea glass is a great vehicle to evoke the calmness of the beach. It would be great as hard candies and as decoration on cupcakes or cake. Plus, it was fast simple and easy with minimal clean up because hardened sugar dissolves in water! All you need to do is soak all your used pots, pans and utensils.

The sites I used for research and inspiration were Leaf TV, The Spruce, Fancy Edibles, Something Turquoise. These four were great starting points as I had no compass about how to begin making sea glass. I used advice from each one and then manipulated the recipe to my needs. Below is what I decide on.

I decided to not use cornstarch. I also wanted to flavor the recipe with natural ingredients, so I choose honey and lemon/lime.

I made small batches to play around with. I had a thermometer on hand and allowed each mixture to reach 300 °. Then I poured the sugar onto wax paper to cool and harden.

Foundation recipe:

I used equal parts sugar and water. Once the mixture reached 300°, I added the color, took the saucepan off the stove, gave a quick stir and poured.

Once the mixture cools and hardens, you will be able to start to crack the brittle. When you break down the brittle into the appropriate sizes, you can keep them shiny and translucent or add sugar or flour to get a matte and more weathered and softer look. I experimented with all three finishes.

I rubbed flour onto some broken pieces to see how it would stick. I though it turned out pretty nicely. I would probably not put these out to eat as candy.

I didn’t have confectioner’s sugar as some of the blogs where I drew inspiration from mentioned, but I did try granulated. I threw the granulated sugar in a bag and dropped in a few broken pieces at a time and shook and rubbed the heck out of them!

For me it was a little difficult to soften the sides. A dish towel did not work, so in the plastic bag with the sugar I took a longer time to rub down each piece and all its sides. They came out softer.

Lemon/Lime sea glass:

For the lemon/lime flavor, I went to my refrigerator drawer and picked the smallest lemon and lime then cut both in half and used one half of each. I squeezed the two halves into the saucepan, added the sugar and water and boiled over low heat. I then made two glasses of water and squeezed the lime half into one and the lemon half into the other to stay hydrated. For the dual color effect, I added green to one side of the pan and yellow to the other. I didn’t mix the colors together; I mixed each within its side. I then poured the mixture (green side first) onto wax paper. The yellow quickly runs into the green but as you spread the sugar brittle out you can see the yellow pop through the green.

Honey sea glass:

For the honey flavor I added I tbsp. of honey per ¼ cup of sugar and water. As I mentioned, I made very small batches and used ¼ cup of water and ¼ cup of sugar. I did burn this mixture a little to give it more of a brown look. I can still taste the honey, but if you want to give this as a favor to be eaten and not as pure decoration to a cake or centrepiece or something, I would add a touch of green to get a brown color.

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Martha and the four “B’s” of summer

Anne,

I know summer has begun when I first turn on Dancing in the Streets by Martha and the Vandellas. I love her style and the song. She sings a catchy, summery tune that unites the whole U.S. Though it is through dancing and singing, I think the principle is perfect to apply to our concept. I know we are getting hype about which state has the best plates, but first we have to garner some camaraderie, goals and pride so we can have healthy competitions and conversations.

One of Martha’s lines is “This is an invitation across the nation, the chance for folks to meet.” I would change meet to eat for our purposes, Anne, but I’m not about to butcher this lovely song with a rendition Weird Al would be proud of. I’m simply inviting you and all the others out there to take a chance and bet on us and help us discover the best plates these U.S. states can dish out, and they all make a statement when it comes to summer food and fun.

As she belts “calling out around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat?
Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street. They’re dancing in Chicago, down in New Orleans, in New York City,” it reminds me that the USA houses and supports quite the range of creativity, rivalry and unity.

It is the height of summer and we have yet to address the best summer pastimes—BBQ, baseball, buns and beer. With Martha in my ear telling us to unite, there is no better way to do so than with the four B’s.

She continues: “There’ll be laughing, singing, and music swinging, dancing in the street. Philadelphia, P.A., Baltimore and D.C. now. Can’t forget the Motor City.”

We’ve all got our own rendition of the best BBQ, we all have a team to root for, we all have buns in hand and on the sand and we all have some craft beer too.

She concludes: “Way down in L.A. ev’ry day, they’re dancing in the street. (Dancing in the street.) Let’s form a big, strong line, get in time, we’re dancing in the street. (Dancing in the street.) Across the ocean blue, me and you, we’re dancing in the street.”

We are meeting is Austin soon. I’m excited! It’ll be my first post away from my coast.

Ciao for now.

 

-Katherine

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Matters of the Heart & Home – Cooking up thoughts

Dear Katherine,

Oh how I’ve missed thee! And apologies for the silent spree! I’m a bit slow, ya know.

On the posts I’ve been slacking, but have been thoroughly hacking the thoughts part of my brain – and I’m severely NOT lacking in the snacking, whilst grappling with information that’s packing into my mind like the lyrics LL Cool (whip) J is rapping and tapping the pen to the table and everybody should be clapping at the words that i’m snapping. Ya feel me? **mic drop**

Anywho, all raps n’ rhymes aside… I’ve been thinking about food lately. I mean, like, really thinking about the different types of foods and how it affects us and society as a whole. Some people view it as mere sustenance, and others have an emotional relationship with it. I know we’re part of the latter, but even amongst “foodies” or those who truly love to eat good foods, we are separated. There are better names than “foodies” but “food lover” and “food snobs” just didn’t catch on, you know lol. All those indifferent foodies who don’t care to be labeled as “foodies” per se are just lying to themselves. Well, I did a bit of searching and this is what I found. Let me attempt to explain.

What is a foodie? Almost everyone knows a foodie; that person who loves food and has a stronger than average interest/desire in food/drinks. Someone who is a foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger. According to etymologist Barry Popik, former New York magazine food critic Gael Greene appears to have first coined the term “foodie” and used it in print first in a story on June 2, 1980, and then used “foodie” several times in 1982 and 1983. This was interesting to me, mostly because the term seems to have blown up the past five years and in recent times, everyone is somewhat of a “foodie” in one way or another in something, but the term “foodie” is viewed sometimes negatively. Anyway, I dug deeper to find that those who enjoy finer high-end cuisine, specifically are called gastronomes, gourmet or an epicure. This is interesting because then they’re separated from the common (trendy) foodie. A gourmand is someone who enjoys eating, but it implies that they eat too much. I think most “foodies” or people who appreciate and enjoy eating food can suffer from gluttony and become a gourmand, but it’s just a matter of attempting to practice restraint and discipline. I would say I’m a mix between an epicure and a foodie/gourmet… I’ve also heard the word “culinarian” thrown around here and there, but hardly anyone uses the term. I don’t think it’s caught on. I suppose we could start calling ourselves culinarians? A culinarian is someone who is seriously interested in food/cooking. It’s not as trendy of a word as “foodie” and it isn’t as elaborate as “epicure” or “gourmand” but it gets the point across. A “culinarian” knows their stuff in and out of the kitchen (recipes, ingredients, taste, etc.) in that anti-trendy way so there’s that. If we want to label ourselves into society, we may as well be classy about it, eh? What do you think, my fellow Culinarian? Eh, yay or nay?

So now that we know some terms, back to my thoughts! We recognize that everyone has to eat to live, but now, it isn’t about survival anymore; it’s either about abundance and aesthetics or simplicity with aesthetics (in everything). Nowadays, even in the realm of food (especially in the food world) everything has to at least appear aesthetically pleasing – or else, what’s the point? Would we still want to eat something that looks ugly, but smells and tastes delicious? Yes, but it would taste better than it looks and smell-a-vision hasn’t been invented yet, so until then… aesthetics it is. We all know that there’s the high end of cuisine, then the average, every day food that’s still delicious, and then there’s the cheap stuff, the food stuff that’s still delicious and then there’s just straight up junk food that’s good and greasy, but makes you feel alive and dead all at the same time – it’s wonderful in the consumption portion of it and terrible in the aftermath. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m torn between my need for all of the greasy and deliciously seductive foods that are so high in both sodium, oils and fats (and calories) and my need for really good food – food that’s both healthy for my heart and hips and still tasty to my tastebuds. I’m constantly, consistently salivating (me=obliterated) over these food flicks on the Instantgram and have trouble deciding whether it’s that I’m obsessed with the plating, food content, ingredients, texture, colors or just the overall idea of how tantalizing all these dishes/meals/foods look online. Needless to say, I’m a mess of ooey gooey melted cheese on a plate. This is just the beginning of it.

I swear I have a point in all of this, but it’s not all black and white. My point is, I’m right there with you when it comes to cuisine and cooking… but despite differences in taste, a classic is still a classic because it remains a tried and true dish time and time again. It’s timeless. I want to delve into the recipe and cookbooks I’ve been reading, but I think I’ll save that for another post. For now, I’ll leave you with some dishes I’ve been whipping up lately. I’ve added quick recipe below and I’ll address more on the cookbooks I’ve been reading as of late – there are two – one of them has to do with packing as much nutrition into your meals, without sacrificing flavor – I like how straightforward and real it is, but I wish it had more details into different dishes to make (more on this, another day) and the other has some solid recipes in the no-nonsense method. I think I like that approach. Ingredients, directions, and descriptions. That’s how I like it. Because that way, it states what you need, how you need to do it, and what it’s supposed to look/taste/smell like; and that’s pretty much all I want to know. Short, sweet and simple. I guess what’s lacking is the personable part you mention in your cookbooks, but I figure I’ll be the judge of the dish and see if it speaks to me. I would like that story behind the dish though. It’s always nice to know where the origins of a culinary concoction came from… 🙂


Anyway, here’s a chicken I roasted at home.

  1. First, I cannot stress enough the importance of preheating an oven! It’s so important so the heat is evenly distributed etc. Anyway, PREHEAT the oven to 350 degrees F [or to 450 degrees F to preheat, then lower it back to 350 F – it cooks the chicken and burns the skin nicely].
  2. Place the chicken in a roasting pan, and season generously inside and out with salt and pepper. I seasoned it with garlic salt & pepper & some herbs mixed seasoning and threw it in the oven. I covered it in foil (so as to keep the juices inside) and the meat was so tender and flavorful. Sprinkle inside and out with onion powder too – throw on some fresh rosemary if you have some, it will be nice and fragrant if you like.
  3. Bake it uncovered about an hour and or so in the preheated oven, check to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F and then add some chicken stock and cover it again in foil for 30min or so. Check and slice the chicken – I always test to make sure that it’s nicely cooked.
  4. When you bake it to perfection, there’s really not much else you need to eat with it other than some spinach or rice… you could even add some mashed potatoes or steamed veggies like carrots or broccoli. The possibilities are endless, but I literally just threw it over a bed of fresh spinach. Enjoy the photos. 

half chicken seasoned spinachhalf chicken seasonedchicken savory leg spinach

I was happy with this dish. It was a simple chicken (it provided protein) and I cooked it myself **beams proudly** so it was healthy, but it still had the tasty skin which I loved because it was still fatty/greasy, yet a bit crispy so I could eat it with the tender fleshy meat of the chicken and it paired perfectly. It wasn’t dry, it was juicy thanks to the chicken stock juice and foil covering! Remember to cover in foil as it keeps the juices in.

I cooked up a couple of other things, but I’ll share those with you another day.

Here’s a teaser mosaic of just some of the dishes (spinach ravioli with ricotta cheese and yellow carrots, breaded pork chops – with secret two-part outer crusted covered coating and steamed veggies; and baked mackerel, which isn’t particularly my favorite fish, but it was one Asian dish my parents have been eating for ages, and it’s super healthy, so I did it and it wasn’t half bad) I suppose you could eat rice with all three of these dishes too:


I’m still grappling with the question you posed about if there are any recipes, techniques, cookbooks or just piles of recipes crammed in a binder that I bake up inspiration from? I do have some recipes I put together in middle school (I was around 12-13-years old then). I took a home-economics class and we did a lot of cooking and baking. I loved it so much, but I have some hilarious stories I’ll have to share another day.

I hope we can try and share/swap recipes here! It would be fun to cook our favorite dishes and I’m excited to explore new tasty foods!

Until next time, my fellow culinarian,

Anne

 

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Causing friction between the states

Anne,

Are you ready?! I’m asking if you are ready to go bite for bite??

I’ve been “having a think,” and we need to turn this Plate by State concept up a notch. Heck, I think we have to turn it up multiple notches.

I know you’re a busy bridal bee being a fabulous assistant, activity coordinator and cat herder, so when you’re done and have slept, let’s brainstorm in the coming week.

I’ve got some more thoughts and follow through to add to all your great ideas we chatted about via Facetime a couple weeks ago. Video, t-shirts, business cards, content calendar—the ideas are rolling around in my head. I’ve started thinking about what we need to do for our viewers and how they want to be involved.

I think our viewers want some food drama—a little friction between the states. I think we can make that happen with our honest, punny and personable foodie POV, fusion recipes based on rival states/cities and wearable/useable products.

I’m going to hit you back with a spotlight on some defining moments of my early years that made me a “foodie”. (I need a better label. Foodie is such an expansive label.) I also want to hit the greasiest and best roadside joints in the dirty jerz. Do you have any rivals in that health-conscious, green juice state? (I do love my green smoothies though…)

You’ve been warned! Start brainstorming and gear up for the food feud that is heating up. It’s time to throw down like McGregor and Mayweahter.

Get ready for the KO, baby! #feudingfoodies

I also just purchased a GoPro…YouTube we’re coming for you!

Ciao for now.

-Katherine

cookbooks that rendered my imagination and inspiration
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To read is to cook. Anne, what recipe books have you read?

Anne,

Your last post about your meat dishes finally sparked me to write this post. Sometimes it is hard to write the content ideas I have because I feel as if our readers will think some posts are coming out of left field!

Imagine if I had asked what your favorite cookbooks were after you had posted about The Loop churros or classic Cali burritos? I think at this point I’m not that creative to come up with a topical/meaningful segue to counter your boasting those west coast churros with my own Koreatown churro journey and then bring up my favorite cookbooks. I think the transition would be a little wonky, but this is the time to test our letter-themed blog post workflow.

It is something for me to work on, so thanks for keeping my writing skills sharp! Now, back to the regularly scheduled programming: what cookbooks have you read that influenced your foodie habits today?

I can tell you that three books were instrumental in developing my culinary curiosity. I have learned some techniques, awesome flavor combos and most importantly what not to do when cooking.

The three books happen to be from slightly different regions of the world. Two are (of course) Italian and one Jewish.

img_0803

Northern Italian Cooking, The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia and Mama Leah’s Jewish Kitchen all have influenced my interest and passion for cooking and baking.

The encyclopedia reference book not only has great recipes, but also informative techniques and reasoning as to why things are the way they are. The encyclopedia feeds my inquisitive nature. I always find myself asking why does this *”roni” fit best with this sauce and why? These types of questions.

*Reference: Roni is short for macaroni. Anne, we never say the word macaroni. It is always what ronis are we having with the bolognese or what pasta do you want? Also, pronounce like how you would the end of the word macaroni, just drop the maca.

The Northern Italian book simply has the most insanely delicious recipes that leave you mouth watering. In some of the recipes you can definitely taste some of the southern France and Provencal influence.

The Jewish cookbook always made me laugh. It is comprised of homey concoctions employing simple techniques that are easy to follow. Included in it are various versions of the same recipe from different cultures/lands because the Jews are (or were) nomads. In two pages you can experience different versions of braised meats and noodle dishes like kugel from the Mediterranean, German and Middle Eastern cultures.

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There is also one more feature that no blog post, online community, cooking website or printed cookbook (that I have seen) include. This feature is what I truly love about this cookbook. Mama Leah adds a personal story to each recipe. The anecdote is no more than a paragraph—unlike modern blog posts that write for days and include the recipe in the last three sentences.

I hate when I come across that! I came to that site for the recipe not a hard to digest diatribe on whatever. I always scroll immediately to the bottom because I know that is where the goods are hiding. I do find this a hassle, and sincerely hope we don’t end up caving to this cheap tactic.

When I share recipes, I’m going to follow the wise format of Mama Leah—short, sweet, simple and personable.

There are two more books at the top of my reading queue. They include Joy of Cooking and The Edible Garden. I want to improve my cooking techniques and also learn about gardening because you know how badly I want to cultivate a magical fairy farm/garden whenever I can afford it. I assume when I exit my 401K early those earnings will go toward my garden…

Anne, I could keep going, but at this point the post is growing too long. I leave you with the question: are there any recipes, techniques, cookbooks or just piles of recipes crammed in a binder that you bake up inspiration from?

Next post I want to share with you some life moments that definitely were red flags as to how I became the foodie I am today.

I’ll hit you back on Sunday.

-Katherine

 

 

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Meat. It’s what’s for dinner.

Hey Katherine,

Tried making some tasty homecooked meats this week!

  • Tri-tip seasoned and seared in a pan
  • Pork ribs seasoned + bbq sauce + Pilsner beer as a base; slow-cooked in croc pot!

Below is the Tri-tip seasoned in simple garlic salt and garlic pepper; seared to perfection. It just sizzled in the pan and I covered it and then threw it atop some string green beans.

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Below are the pork ribs, slow cooked for six hours for best results! The meat literally falls off the bone and the beer tenderizes the meat and sauce and seasonings flavor the entire thing with goodness… I wanted to faint and die from how delicious this dish was. See the process/steps in the slideshow below.

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Check out some sizzlin’ videos below!

The tri-tip was simply seasoned with some himalayan salt and garlic & black pepper. Simplicity truly is the ultimate sophistication, and this dish proves it.

 

The pork ribs in the croc pot were originally set for three hours, but then to six hours for the best, savory and mouth-watering, meat-falling-off-the-bone deliciousness I’ve tasted!

 

I hope you can try these meat dishes. It’s so easy and so so delicious when you really want to eat meats and pack your proteins! I like to call myself an om-nom-nom-nivore rather than be either a carnivore or a herbivore lol. So OM (nom nom) NIVORE it is! 🙂

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A tasty churro, redefining savory snacks and DIY taco shells

Hi Anne,

I made it to the churro place in midtown Manhattan. It was quite delicious, but I wasn’t able to finish it because it was a lot of fried dough and sticky sweetness that clung to my stomach. I have to say I think that was my first time consuming a churro outside of “fair” grounds. Usually, I just think of a churro of another cultures version of fried dough. The beignet, zeppole, funnel cake–you name it–I’ve tried it while putzing down the boardwalk, but I do like the churro’s ridged edges. I think it allows for extra crispiness. I just taking a guess here, but maybe more surface area within the ridges allows for more crunch?

Well, before we get into math/chemistry class, I’d like to note that I had an affogato ice cream and dipping sauce accompany the churro. I couldn’t not get it! I had to because of you! The young lady who helped me order suggested I get the matcha flavored option because it would take a better picture for the blog, but my gut was telling me to stick to what I knew I should do.

Since you know I have some (BASIC) skills in the kitchen, I have been cultivating plans to experiment more based on my knowledge. I have been really curios to crate taco shells out of cheese, and I finally attempted it. My dad was a fan and I used the leftover burger meat, tomatoes and other toppings we had for the taco. It was like a cheeseburger taco leftover brunch. On top of that, I decided to experiment with sweet hummus.

I made a “foundation” sweet hummus and from that one I split the batch with different sweet additions. I choose to do cinnamon for one and dates for another. Both were quite delicious and I hope I can blend some up for you soon. 🙂

Until the weekend when i experiment more.

-Katherine

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True California classic style burritos, burgers and the beach

Dear Katherine,

It’s been a good week since I last posted and it’s because of local travel (wedding shenanigans LA to SD), busy-ness of small business (OC to LA) and just my crazy life (all over the place right now lol). I promise to be better about posting, I’ll get into the groove of things. I’m glad I have you as my accountability friend to write letters to and bounce back wonderful thoughts and ideas to too! 🙂

[Real quickly, that image up top is a large $5 burrito delivered straight to starving me at a wedding, thanks to Uber Eats! I know, I cannot believe that massive thing drenched in sauce and cheese is only five bucks and it was delivered straight to me because I was so hungry during my friend’s wedding. Because the day was filled with bridesmaid duties, it was pretty busy and I had no time to eat so I snuck a burrito in to eat. It was shredded beef and beans and cheese encased inside this whole tortilla smothered in pure heaven. It made me appreciate what UberEats is doing for humanity and hungry people all over]. LOL THANK YOU UBER EATS – UBER EATS – UBER EATS!]!

First off, I love that you enjoy wine as much as I do. And your wine tasting from your last post sounds a lot more sober than my own fine wine time at my friend’s bachelorette wine tasting session. Also, that homemade hummus sounds incredible. Do you recall back in London when you made some homemade hummus for us girls with those chickpeas of yours?! I remember devouring it all within one sitting because luckily Colleen or you saved some for me… I just know I was the last one to try it, but there was just enough and I was so grateful to have a taste. I’m so thankful to have tried that hummus of yours! Can we say, #BLESSED!?! Haha. Lastly, after seeing those images of that burrito with all the cheesy gooey goodness spilling out of it, I need to try that. Rockin’ Raw is now on my bucket list of places I need to go and food I must taste.

In other news. I have to tell you about this place called Chandler’s in Carlsbad. I highly recommend it. It’s right by the beach and we had two free food vouchers, so naturally, we took advantage of this and indulged ourselves. It’s either eat from the breakfast menu or get $10 off the regular menu meals so we had one of each. Directly below is the breakfast menu medley I picked and chose myself. The Cali breakfast burrito for brunch was off the regular menu; it was worth every bite of savory and delightful burrito-ness from the beaches of California. **They also have live music (real cool band)!**

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My medley of foods I plated for brunch is pictured here. I wanted a combination of both sweet and savory, so I grabbed the custard pastry with fruits along with a bagel and lox with capers. I also grabbed the gluten free coconut chia pudding with blueberries which was smooth and very neutral tasting, but deliciously nutty in its coconut flavor. 

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This is the California breakfast burrito for brunch. It’s got a tasty medley of things that bursts with flavor when you bite down on it. It’s got spinach, eggs, guacamole, tomatoes and of course, it wouldn’t be a California burrito without the classic french fries. 

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I loved these plates. I love white plates and this one just spoke to me. I have something similar to this design/style of plates at home too. CR stands for Cape Rey – That’s where Chandler’s is located. It’s local, coastal and 100% delightful.

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The Cali burrito came with a spicy salsa with roasted potatoes and a side of fruit. 

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Just look at this close up of the texture of this phenomenal creation that is the Cali burrito. 

After our beautiful breakfast/brunch with a view of the beach, we walked across to the beach and caught some waves and swam in the warm water. Everything screams summer in California. I got super tan. It was really perfect. I’ve deeply missed the sunshine and the surf and the burritos so much whilst living abroad in London. It just felt so good to be back home and it really made me appreciate the meal that much more. Ya feel me?

When we returned back to Los Angeles from our weekend in San Diego, we had to grab some old school burgers and fries from The Apple Pan!

So, I don’t know if you have one of these kinds of restaurants, but LA is known to have some really old timey food joints like The Apple Pan. Its been around since the late 40s (opened in 1947) and has been around ever since. It’s one of LA’s oldest operating restaurants under the same management since 1947. Their cash register is literally one of those old registers – and it’s a cash only joint because they don’t have card readers. It’s so old school that people have to stand and wait for seats at the counter. It’s in a U-shaped counter and the food is prepped in the center arena.

They have the best apple pies (and pecan pie) and the burgers are to die for. It’s like, the classic juicy burger… basically what an all-American burger should be – tasty and savory and dripping with everything mouth-wateringly delicious. A lot of celebrities dine here too.

 

Pictured below is both the Hickoryburger and the Steakburger (two of the most popular burgers served here at The Apple Pan). The Hickoryburger features a special hickory sauce, while the Steakburger comes with a trademark hamburger relish.

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Steakburger and fries with a classic Coca Cola in a can

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Close up of the juicy meat that is the steakburger

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This is the Hickoryburger

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The Hickoryburger glistening in all its glory, smothered in homemade sauce in the sun

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Hickoryburger catching some California rays

Not sure if that was overkill in images of my food, but I really want you to see the crispness of the lettuce and onions mixed with the ooey-gooey cheesiness of the American cheese along with the juicy goodness of the meat and classic burger buns. This place is the real deal. It’s such a toss up between this place for a classic burger, old school style, versus In In Out (which is also a classic burger, old school style)… but their burger sauces are both so drastically different in taste and flavoring, that there can be no comparison. They’re equally delicious and equally amazing in burger quality and caliber – and I’m awfully proud that they’re both Californian (CALI PRIDE).

Anywho, those are the two main places I wanted to tell you about. And I can’t wait to share more on some super meaty recipes I tried (both on a pan and in a croc pot) which I’ll share soon. Until then, I can’t wait to hear your adventures in the east coast beast/feast coast! Keep nom nom nommin’ on.

Talk to you soon,

Anne 🙂