Monthly Archives: July 2010

LA Street Food Fest

Last weekend, I went to the LA Street Food Fest! It was pretty fun, a bit warm and a bit too crowded for my taste. You can see me below, standing on the field at the Rose Bowl.

That’s right, the festival was on the field at the Rose Bowl. Maybe this is only strange to me because I went to the University of Tennessee, where the field of Neyland Stadium is worshiped as a minor deity. NO ONE is allowed on that field. The grass is grown with the blood of those who have tried. And failed.

But there we were – 5,000 food fest attendees tramping all over that field in front of god and everyone. No kidding.

I had a pretty awesome celebrity sighting too! For a good while, I was right next to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Susan Feniger (co-founder of Border Grill in Santa Monica and recent contestant on Top Chef Masters). She’s not in the picture below, that is just the Mayor of Los Angeles with his recently broken elbow.

I don’t have any food pictures. There was a lot going on.. I was by myself, standing in lines, carrying around food trays, avoiding hipsters. It was a busy day. I ate a couple of amazing things: deep fried shrimp tacos from Mariscos Jalisco and something fried with cheese in it from Antojitos Carmen. I was a big fan of both. There was also a lot of great looking stuff that I missed. I left about an hour and a half early because my feet were killing me, I had to drive home from Pasadena still, and because I desperately did not want to miss the finale of Doctor Who (I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool.)

All in all, it was not a bad afternoon.


Chocolate Pound Cake

I found this photo the other day, and I realized that I totally forgot to blog this! A few weeks ago, we decided to have a dessert party at work. A few people chipped in, and I made this chocolate pound cake. The recipe is not for the faint of heart. It is from Paula Deen’s The Lady and Son’s Savannah Country Cookbook, and you know how that goes. I ate only a couple of very thin slices, but it was really good. The color was a little strange I thought, but no one seemed to mind.

I was pretty sure this wasn’t going to come out of my bundt pan for a while (I don’t have a tube pan, I just use the bundt pan interchangeably). However, after a bit of zaniness (insert cake montage here), it all worked out fine.

Chocolate Pound Cake
Serves 16 to 20 (at least)

3 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
1 stick margarine
5 eggs
3 cups cake flour
4 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Mix sugar with butter and margarine; add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Mix together dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk to butter mixture, beginning with flour and ending with flour. Add vanilla. Bake in a greased and floured tube pan for about one hour.

ICBC: Goat Cheese + Red Onion

Last week I neglected to complete the challenge, due to some forgetfulness while grocery shopping combined with laziness. So, this week I decided to combine last week’s and this week’s ingredients into one delicious recipe. I settled on: pizza! The pizza contains: baby portabello mushrooms, spinach, red onions, goat cheese, and mozzarella cheese. It is drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I thought the pizza was okay, but it needed the following:

1. more salt
2. onions to be caramelized
3. garlic
4. mushrooms possibly pre-cooked a bit? I’m not sure about that one.

Other than that, it was pretty tasty.

Travis did not eat any of this. In fact, he was pretty disgusted by what I had done to the poor defenseless pizza crust. He made a grilled cheese with fresh mozzarella and colby jack. It smelled fantastic. I was a little jealous.

ICBC: Blackberries

I’m going to be really honest here. I did not make this blackberry recipe during the week of the blackberry challenge. I had recently made it but just had not posted a blog yet. And, I was so proud, I decided to use it for this week’s challenge.

I made this yummy looking pie! It’s probably the best pie I’ve made yet. As you can see below, it actually thickened properly and didn’t ooze apart after being cut! I realize that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I was super proud.

I don’t really have a recipe, but I do have some pie tips that I followed from The Lost Art of Pie Making Made Easy, which is my favorite pie book.

Use 5 cups of fresh fruit, 3/4 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons of cornstarch or tapioca. Start off in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 350, bake another 30-45 minutes. Allow the filling to totally bubble for a few minutes in the innermost part of the pie to insure a filling that “sets”. That’s where lattice crust comes in handy. Plus it looks so yummy when it bubbles over. Delightful.

Food Trucks!!

I had a pretty big food truck week last week. It actually took me a while to remember what I ate on Tuesday, which is pretty sad. Dim Sum on Saturday, Nom Nom on Monday, Vesuvio on Tuesday, Border Grill on Friday. I don’t have pictures of all of it though. I keep forgetting to take photos of the Border Grill tacos, but oh my gosh that fish taco is divine. So, here is what I do have:

Nom Nom Truck

I have never had authentic Vietnamese banh mi, so I don’t know how this sandwich holds up in comparison. I only know that I love this sandwich. I had it a couple of times and passed it up a couple of times at the Century Blvd truck lot because I thought it would always be there. Then they went off the road for a couple of months, which was rough. But, now they’re back!

There are a variety of meats you can get on your banh mi, but I always go with grilled pork. It also includes: cilantro, marinated carrots/daikon radish, cucumbers, jalapenos (which I leave off), and some sort of mayonnaise spread. I don’t even like cilantro, but I don’t mind it on this sandwich for some reason. The marinated vegetables are amazingly tangy, the grilled pork is to die for, the baguette is perfect. I really do adore this sandwich.

As a side note, I got curious about the origins of banh mi – turns out it’s a remnant of French colonialism in Indochina. Hence the baguette!

Dim Sum Truck

Also last week, I finally found the Dim Sum Truck at Santa Monica College. From left to right above, there is a peking duck taco, shrimp har gow dumplings, and steamed chicken and mushroom buns. The dumplings were amazing. The taco was really good too (but not as good as the duck taco from the Flying Pig truck). The buns were okay too but not my favorite. However, the problem here could be more that I don’t love buns than that they weren’t good. A bit too starchy for my taste, I definitely prefer dumplings.

Again, I haven’t really had authentic dim sum (I find the ordering process overwhelming), so I don’t know how this truck compares. However, I have heard that it is really good dim sum (particularly for Westside Los Angeles).

Since we got an origin story for banh mi, here’s one for dim sum as well. Did you know that dim sum originated from tea houses that opened along the Silk Road to provide food to travelers? It’s true.

ICBC: Puff Pastry

For the ingredient puff pastry, I really wanted to make some sort of meat wrapped in pastry. Mini beef wellingtons sounded best, but I ultimately opted for Chicken Wellington instead. You can find the recipe here.

It’s basically a mixture of cream cheese, mustard, and herbs, some pulled rotisserie chicken, and a sweet onion/mushroom/garlic mixture seasoned with some salt and pepper. You layer all that in a square of puff pastry and I loved it, although it was way too hot to heat when first cut open. The only strange thing was that the recipe said you only needed one sheet of puff pastry to make four of these, but for the life of me I could not get the dough to roll out enough. I think my puff pastry had been partially thawed and then refrozen before I purchased it, so it wouldn’t unfold properly.

For the sauteed onion, mushroom and garlic mixture, I used walla walla onions and cremini mushrooms. The mixture was so amazing that I ate the leftover straight out of the skillet. (I only ended up making two pastries, and I left this mixture out of one of them because Travis hates mushrooms). All in all, it was a successful and not that difficult of a dinner. A perfect start to a holiday weekend.

the Habit Burger Grill

This was a while ago, so I must say that I don’t remember a ton about this meal. I liked it quite a bit, but not as much as I like In N Out. Michele F and I went for dinner one evening. The hamburger was nice and charred on the outside, and the patty is thin so it got sort of crispy, which I do like in a hamburger from time to time. So, in the chronicle of California hamburger chains, I place this one in second. Honestly, I just wanted to post this because I’m fond of the photo for some reason. It looks so yummy.