Thursday, February 28, 2013

It All Falls Apart: Pot Roast


When I was a starving college student, subsisting on Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Jamba Juice, and tears, I lived for the Sunday nights I could drive 30 minutes from school to get my Auntie Vee's cooking. Sunday nights at her house meant free laundry, the "Amazing Race", and hearty dinners that felt like home.  My favorite was her pot roast, a meltingly tender hunk of beef braised in Lipton's Onion Soup mix with carrots and potatoes, and served over a pile of white rice doused in gravy and unconditional love. It was her Pot Roast I learned to make for my friends one Sunday night, kicking off a decade of cooking that continues to this day.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Shamshiri Grill


Westwood, CA. "Is it nearby?" I turned to my friend, glancing at my watch, anxiously wondering if we actually had enough time. The plan was to meet for a bite then grab a few snacks for the road - donuts were on my mind and I knew just where I could get some. Unfortunately, traffic didn't permit the indulgence, taking nearly two hours to travel across a 5-mile distance. "Yes, yes, it's right up here." We entered into this eatery off Westwood Boulevard that I've never seen before, nor would I have noticed it in passing. My friend and his unique palate brought us to Shamshiri Grill, a local Middle Eastern restaurant. 
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Unda-Snack, High-Protein

Let's get on board with Unda-style, shall we? As I mentioned in a previous recipe, I came across a rendition of a quesadilla on 101cookbooks and decided to apply the "Unda" style to my own high protein meal. The version I served up on was a simple Salmon Salad. This time, rather than making it a quesadilla and stuffing it with flavored accessories, I'm simplifying it down to my staple high-protein snack. Referred to as the "Unda-Snack," by friends, this is a quick bite I make (and now friends make) that actually prevents me from reaching for the fried chicken, large pizza, cake, etc.. Enjoy!
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Postcard from Las Vegas


Las Vegas, NV.  Ah, Vegas. The Bacchanalian capitol of the world, where excess is revered, sobriety is not an option, the price tags are high, the dresses are short, and the lights are brighter than ever. The recession is over; Vegas is hoppin’ again.  But where to eat?  There’s no such thing as a sure thing in LV, but here are some of the best bets.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Soda Pop's

Los Angeles, CA. I'd like a soda - a banana soda - please. actually have it? As the name suggests this food shop is a purveyor of soda, with a select supply of sweets to join their sandwiches, wraps, and salads. The sodas are displayed in a small case within eyeball distance of the cashier. Cookies and other desserts, baked or supplied, are packaged and neatly displayed next to the register. Side Salads, house-made chips, and more are directly to the right from where orders are placed. Basically, Soda Pop's makes it pretty easy to grab a filling lunch if time is of essence.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Coffee Cake with Mini Chocolate Chips


Nostalgia through food? Why not? Several years ago as a newcomer to Los Angeles, I attempted to recreate the community around food I became used on the east coast. I began making friends through my cooking, meeting new people to share in the eats as I baked my way to the relationships I have today. This particular Coffee Cake with Mini Chocolate Chips is how was introduced to one of my first group of friends, and quickly became the most requested dish. Vary it up by serving it in muffin tins, by adding crumble or fruit…or just stick with the chocolate chips. New and old friends alike continue to favor its flavor: within 8 hours of baking it this time around, all of its slices had been claimed!
Thursday, February 07, 2013

Elabrew Coffee


Hollywood, CA. I was taking a walk in Hollywood, realizing that I hadn't yet had a morning coffee and wanted to remedy that stat. To my right I noticed a narrow food stand in front of the CNN tower off Sunset Boulevard, later identified as Elabrew. I would've kept walking but for the lone woman slowly sipping her 'jo, sitting in the few tables adjacent to the stand's storefront. Wait, they sell coffee here?!
Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Plancha: A Taco Joint

Los Angeles, CA. The inevitable health-conscious question was posed: find me a healthy Latin American restaurant in Los Angeles. Does one exist? Well, there may be one a lot closer than you'd think! Situated in a small plaza along the 3rd Street Shopping District, is Plancha: A Taco Joint, serving traditional choices with the sought-after lightness, cooked on a plancha, their flattop grill. With friendly staff, a simple menu, and late night hours, the little eatery becomes an easy go-to after a exhausting [work/school/.../etc.] day.

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