Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Gluten-Free


I love a good challenge in the kitchen, especially when it crosses over into the realm of unfamiliarity or physical health. Keeping this in mind, I decided to make a batch of Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies seeking out only gluten-free ingredients. When I couldn't find almond flour, I made my own. And yes, I checked and cross-checked labels, ingredient lists, and warnings, all to ensure that the final product was both tasty and edible to those with gluten allergies. After some tinkering, the resulting cookie reminded me of a chocolate chip cookie from a local cafe I enjoy - cookie success!
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mama D's Italian Kitchen


Newport Beach, CA. A friend and I came across a locally celebrated restaurant serving up everyday Italian, or rather, every day (I wish I ate) Italian cuisine.  Mama D's Italian Kitchen, in Newport Beach and Manhattan Beach, offers up some kitchen favorites with the friendliest of friendly servers. True to their claim, a heartfelt reception and a basket of freshly baked bread greet their guests whilst waiting for a table. As the kitchen opens its doors, a line begins to form, and soon enough you're befriending the nearby sitting parties sharing in your mutual goal: Italian feasting.
Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spicy Garlic Hummus


"I feel like having a dip...but not sure what, maybe hummus?" I said on the phone, weighing my options. I continued my thought and the response was "I can grab some before I head over, does that work?" No, no it does not, especially since hummus is so easy to make. "No, don't worry about it, I'll make some." With that, I ended the call, pulled out the ingredients, and set to work. Ever wonder why this dish is such an entertaining standard? No? Neither have I, though I have seen the packaged Spicy Garlic Hummus often and my mind wonders why not just take the few minutes to make it fresh, and make it better!
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nonna's Empanadas


Los Angeles, CA. If you're looking for handheld pockets of flavor, an afternoon venture across the world, or a simple stop, share, and sample, Nonna's Empanadas may offer up some satisfaction. The Argentinian eatery, located just off the 3rd Street Shopping District, opens up one family's kitchen and experience of food to its patrons. Try not to get overwhelmed by the available choices but be sure to give them a look: each waiting empanada is branded by its filling, golden to the eye, and seemingly limitless. Make the choice. Pick-up the order. Take a seat and let the tasting begin!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Deviled Eggs, Made Simple


Remember the tangy flavor of a Deviled Egg, sitting on a serving platter at a barbecue? Remember trying to figure out who made them? Remember thinking 'wow, that either seems too hard or too easy'? Well, whatever the memory is, hopefully the ease of these Deviled Eggs make it worth a revisit. Deviled eggs are as simple as you want them to be, and to be honest, I have never put too much time into making them. I prefer mine creamy with a subtle tang AND a spicy kick. Sure, I could get more impressive by crisping bacon with a maple brown sugar and topping each egg with a nice little square, but a little paprika (classic to most barbecues I've attended) keeps with the simple theme and drives up the nostalgic ring. Enjoy!!
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cheech's Pizza


Los Feliz, CA. I left the neighboring Cafe Los Feliz stuffed. In fact, I specifically went to indulge in a Breakfast Croissant after a solid Sunday hike. Yet in simply passing by Cheech's Pizza, my friend and I stopped and stared like hungry puppies at the pizza in the window. A personal pizza, fully-loaded, was just served to a gentleman whose glasses fogged over from its steam. The toppings were heartily embedded even as he lifted the first slice. With no words we agreed that we had to check it out, even if it meant sharing one.
Thursday, May 09, 2013

Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus


When a friend asks "what should I bring" - if it's easy enough, just buying the ingredients can make for a great social experience. A while ago a friend brought over Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus which became a hit for my dinner party guests. On another occasion I bought some low sodium bacon and created the essence of the same plate. As before, everyone loved it. Bacon-wrapped Asparagus can be a quickly made and quickly eaten appetizer that seems consistently favored to that otherwise lonely asparagus spear. Pair the two side-by-side, and you can see why: I'm already splurging with this mound of food, and this is both a veggie and a protein, so what's the harm? Whatever the choice justifying words are, invite a friend over, make a batch, test it out, and enjoy!!
Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Ta-eem Grill


Los Angeles, CA. I was sitting across the street at Neveux Artisan Creamery when a couple of friends walked over with two stuffed pitas. When I say stuffed, I mean they were brimming with flavor and ingredients to the extent where people stopped to ask what they were so they could order the same. They had walked over from Ta-eem Grill, an energetically run Mediterranean shop across the street that is apparently known along the Melrose shopping district. (Referenced by the number of "Oh I love that place" by friends who have seen me going).
Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Koffee Klatch

Laguna Beach, CA. It was a bright sun shiny day when a friend pulled off in a tight-fitting alley and walked me down a path of circular tables and oversized patio couches. I wanted a cup of coffee, and having just been at the beach, he thought of The Koffee Klach, a nearby coffee house. Narrow seating led up to the counter and more over-sized couches lined the front window. A small display case housed a few slices of sweet confections and a cashier stood manning the espresso machine. He turned with an awkward smile, "What can I get you guys?"

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