Tuesday, December 25, 2012

sqirl kitchen is da jam

my dogs like to chase squirrels. their mother (me), like to eat AT sqirl. sqirl kitchen that is. it's just a hop, skip, and a jump away from where i live and jessica koslow, owner and jammin' jam maker makes some darn good food...and it doesn't suck that G & B coffee is there as well. nope.

space is limited so we went early and snagged a little spot to the side. although it was cold, a nice hot cup of latte ($4.50) made us feel real toasty inside.

the hubs ordered an old skool breakfast ($9). it's a basic egg, bacon, and toast plate.

he also got the chicken, vegetable, and rice soup ($7) which was soul warming and hearty. not a bad way to combat l.a. cold weather...and yes, i'm freezing at 53 degrees.

i ordered the B4 santa rosa plum chutney, baserri sheeps cheese, with an egg ($8). OMG. if you enjoy savory sweet flavors, you should really get this. i would totally order this again, and again, and again.... *sigh*

and of course, i had to bring home a jar of freshly made wild blueberries and tarragon jam ($12). nothing like a little sweetness to slather on some boring toast when you're home.

great job jessica! i've been a fan of your food since your guest appearance at canele. much congratulations to your successes!

Sqirl Kitchen
720 North Virgil Ave #4 
Los Angeles 90029


price:  $$
verdict:  tasty, try it!

Monday, August 6, 2012

heywood melts my cheesy heart

if you worship melty cow excretions between two slices of carbs, then let me point you towards a temple built for grilled cheese sandwich worshipping in silverlake....say "hey" to heywood peeps. although relatively new to the neighborhood, it is a delightfully cheesy addition to the silverlake food scene and caters wonderfully to cheese lovers, vegans, and those with gluten free diets.

each grilled cheese sandwich order comes with a side salad and a small container of their house spiced tomato soup which is creamy, crunchy, and superbly dippable. they should really consider selling the soup by a cup or bowl. totally tasty.

the first sandwich we consumed was the heywood ($11) which consisted of 2 year aged english cheddar, carmelized onion confit spread, and sourdough bread. it was deliciously buttery, had explosive flavors and a beautiful crunch. i really loved dipping the sandwich into the tomato soup.

but dear lord, the bon appetite brie ($11) will make you weak in the knees. this sandwich has triple creme french brie, cinnamon infused raisin bread, organic fig jam, and is topped with raspberry sugar crystals. it is definitely on the sweeter side, but is fragrant as heck and the brie cheese addition makes it a luscious bite. this is a definite must order if you love brie and sweeter flavors.

i'm looking forward to more pilgrimages to this grilled cheese temple. and since it has really late hours particularly on fridays and saturdays, i can worship there till the cows come home.

A Grilled Cheese Shoppe
3337 1/2 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 667-1522

price: $$
verdict: omg, i love it!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ración in pasadena for some sweet lovin'

dating can be an exhilarating experience for some and just plain awkward for others. i mean seriously, trying to decode the signs given by the opposite sex and their level of interest in you without a manual can be difficult...unless you're one of those panty droppers of course and dating is as simple to you as breathing fresh air.

but if you're anything like 99% of the population, dating brings about butterflies and lots of questions. will we hit it off? what should i wear? too much or not enough boobage? and if you're the dude, you definitely want to conceal that beer gut and manscape a little just in case you get lucky. with all the questions and worries swirling around your noggin as you get ready for your date, here's one worry you can eliminate if you schedule your date at Ración in pasadena...the eats are solid and the ambiance is sexy. there. go make reservations now.

their basque inspired menu is divided into four sections: pintxos (served on bread), manos (bar snacks), tenedor (tapas), and cuchillo (larger entrees). everything is shareable of course and when you're on a date, it is best to share and let's face it, you're trying to create an intimate moment here over a tiny table sans ripping off each other's clothes.

to set the mood for your date, don't forget the libations. the sangria had a nice sweetness to it but won't get you buzzed at all so if you want liquid courage, order something else.

the meal started out with a complimentary amuse bouche. shhhh...it kinda tasted like crispy wanton skins to me :0

house-made bread with dots of raisins. a perfect platform to swipe up juices from various plates coming your way.

the escabeche ($9) marinated mussels, shrimp, and calamari with peppers was a zingy tangy bite. soft in the right places, chewy in others. i'm soooooo not talking about your date right now.

soldaditos de pavia ($6) salt cod fritters with lemon cream. quite a hit these balls were with our group (hopefully a theme that will extend to the rest of your date). the light batter encrusting a savory soft fish flesh is a must order.

lengua on bread ($7) braised beef tongue, pickled spring onions, and honey aioli. you can never go wrong with some good tongue action and this was some good action.

calamar a la plancha ($7) caramelized calamari, melted onions, and lemon aioli. really tender pieces of calamari on bread. messy to eat as the calamari starts flopping all over the place, but the flavors are strong and savory.

arroz con gambas ($18) crispy whole prawns, lobster rice, bouillabaisse was hands down MY FAVORITE bite of the night. great flavors, prawns were cooked well, but the over the top detail for me was the crispy, crusty rice scattered intermittently in the dish reminding me of the hard, crusty rice you find adhered to the bottom of old school rice cookers. get this.

fideua negra ($9) spanish pasta, mussels, poached quail egg.

calamares rellenos
($15) duck sausage stuffed squid with brava sauce. let me tell ya, one step short of being a dainty version of a turducken. all kidding aside, it's very, very tasty and another favorite of the night.

almejas con chorizo ($10) littleneck clams, green garlic, and vino blanco.

pulpo a la gallega ($10) beer-braised octopus, fingerling potatoes, pimenton.

cochinillo ($16) the daily pork prep which turned out to be dry as hell. not the best savory dish to end the night, but the other fine dishes more than made up for it. lesson to self: pork should not always have an automatic green light.

sweet cubes of marshmallows to round out the night.

so there you have it. zone in on a potential date, make reservations at Ración, eat lots, drink lots, and have yourself a jolly good time. dating can sometimes be awkward and uncomfortable but if you find the right match...boy is it worth it. and if you're a great husband who's planning out a date for his lovely wife to celebrate a special occasion, i suggest Ración for dinner and then a short walk over to tiffany & co....which reminds me i have to send the link to this blog post to my darling husband. :P

119 W. Green Street
Pasadena, CA 91105

(626) 396-3090


price: $$$
verdict: tasty, try it!

Monday, June 11, 2012

go KINGS go!

major CONGRATULATIONS to the L.A. Kings!! Such a great achievement for the organization and the win was a long time coming. if anyone ever says hard work and perseverance is overrated, then do show them this picture of dustin brown hoisting up the stanley cup!

#8 seed knocking off #1,2,3 and then winning it all at home....the word PROUD hardly describes the feelings welling up inside me. thank you l.a. kings for an epic season! AND thank you for making my huge kings fan hubby so darn happy.... we're already looking forward to the next season boys as DEFENDING CHAMPS! :P

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

dragon beard candy 龍鬚糖 cuz i like my candy wispy

i love awkward translations of things. especially the asian ones into english...or how about this one?! not asian, but still awkward, right??

it's a real disservice to the original language because the wording probably sounded pretty rad before its massacre into english (literally). take this 龍鬚糖 (lóng​ xū​ táng) or dragon beard/whisker candy. in chinese, the wording connotes images of strong, majestic dragons with long flowy beards....in candy form. so purty, so delicate. but in english, you just think, wtf?? candy whiskers?! candy beards?! what is this edible hair follicle that you speak of? can it even be tasty?

when i saw edythe's tweet about dragon whiskers/ beard candy at the hawaii supermarket in the sgv, i got so excited that i almost peed in my pants. my last taste of this unique chinese candy was about 20+ years ago and never once did i run across it again till now.

not only is this a tasty concoction, it is also steeped in ancient chinese traditions, a confection served only to the chinese emperor and his court back in the days. the fine hair-like strands are created by constant pulling, stretching, folding of a sugary "dough" made of maltose, sugar, corn syrup, or in this case, honey. i liken it to savory hand pulled noodles, but of course this is a more delicate, sweet version. normally, the strands harden after a day, but the addition of honey keeps this candy soft.

alex goh practiced the art of dragon beard/whiskers candy making for over 20+ years. he might even look familiar to you if went to that night market fiasco in pasadena not too long ago.




the strands double up in minutes.

a sweet beard indeed.

then he pulled off sections of the dragon beard and filled each piece with loose chopped peanuts, sesame seeds, and/or toasted coconut.

he carefully folds the "beard" over its peanut innards.

a sweet, silky looking cocoon is the result of all that labor!

for $5, you get a box of 8. although they are on the "smaller" side and not as sweet as i remembered, i do appreciate rediscovering them again. it is just a unique candy with an interesting history and totally worth a try especially due to its rarity. if you want your fix of some sweet hair follicles, alex is at the hawaii supermarket in san gabriel during the weekends. thanks again edythe for the lead!

Alex Goh
Dragon Whiskers Candy
(919) 597-9325

Hawaii Supermarket
120 E. Valley Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 307-0062

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

the jeremy lin of taiwanese breakfasts at huge tree pastry

my obsessions take many odd forms. sometimes they are material, sometimes it's a thought, and lately it's been about jeremy lin, during and after LINsanity. although he is currently not playing and is recovering from knee surgery, I DON'T CARE. i am still LINsane in the membrane and i eagerly await his return. first off, let's give this brotha a big hand for being a bone fide asian american basketball player in the nba. woot! he was a breath of fresh air in a sport that i deemed as a Nothing But Assholes league. come on, how many baby momma collecting, racial slurring, overpaid, egotistical thug mugs do i want to watch? zilch, that's what. if i'm going to root for anyone, it will be a player with integrity and modesty just like lin who is just 100% awesome and fun to watch.

in fact, you might say jeremy lin is to the nba as a fan tuan is to taiwanese breakfasts. omg, the fan tuan.....

can i count the ways that i adore thee? perhaps it's the sticky rice, the crunchy youtiao (chinese cruller) hidden inside, or the slightly sweet yet savory flavors from the pork floss (not the kind of floss for your teeth yo), or possibly the pickled veggies...but something, SOMETHING about this combo just dribbles pure flavor across my tongue leaving me clamoring for more....and at huge tree pastry in monterey park, there's a lot more. for a mere $2.75, you too, can taste the jeremy lin of taiwanese breakfasts (that sounded dirty).

or perhaps you'd prefer black sticky rice fan tuan for $3. if you've never had black sticky rice before, it is UNBELIEVABLE. sweet and chewy, but unfortunately, not suitable for those with dentures. consider you toothless people, warned.

and by all means, do order their cold soy bean milk ($2.25) to wash down all that sticky rice. the hint of sweetness in this styrofoam cup is a must order for me when the weather heats up.

or perhaps you prefer the salty hot version of the soy bean milk with floating pieces of youtiao? personally, since i prefer the youtiao to be crispy, dunking it into hot soy bean milk and making it a soggy mess was not a slam dunk for me.

did you say beef? no, i think i did. here's a baked wheat cake with beef and pickled mustard ($3.25). it's slightly dry, but that's why you douse your thirst with that soy bean milk yo.

the bun with pork and pickled mustard was a hearty bite for breakfast. a tad salty, but AGAIN, nothing that a cold cup of soy bean milk won't cure.

another taiwanese breakfast starter of note is this green onion pancake with egg ($2.95) and should be ordered hand in hand with the fan tuan...a slam dunk combo in my book.

so basically, while i wait for jeremy lin to recover from his knee surgery, i'm going to eat copious amounts of fan tuans and drink gallons of cold soy bean milk at huge tree pastry because as i wait for one obsession to reappear, i'll have to feed my appetite by consuming another.

Huge Tree Pastry
423 N. Atlantic Blvd.

Ste 106
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 458-8689

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!
*cash only*

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

L & E Oyster Bar for a non doggy related silverlake experience

you don't have to be a four legged pooch or a skinny jean wearing hipster to enjoy the stroll down silverlake blvd towards the dog park. in my opinion, the neighborhood around the reservoir and the poochy playground is THE gem of silverlake. come on, what isn't there to love about doggy friendly facilities, a meadow for kite flying and picnic enthusiasts, a basketball court for the next up and coming jeremy lin, and just an overall chillaxing environment for walkers, runners, and people watchers alike. BUT if you catch your belly grumbling as you strut your stuff in the area, then you may find yourself wrestling with limited dining choices. let's see, there's lamill, reservoir, leela thai restaurant, and if you're desperate, 7-eleven for their hot dogs and a slurpee. not a lot to choose from unless you want to drive out of bounds that is.

however, dustin lancaster and matt kaner of bar covell recently gave the neighborhood a 5th option, L & E Oyster Bar, an oyster haven for those of you who like it raw....and in a shell....and on ice. methinks not a bad choice following your 7-11 slurpee appetizer.

they have a nice wine and beer menu which covers the basics so unless you're looking for very specific libations, i'm sure you can find something tasty to sip on while you're there. i settled on the lambrusco ($11) which had sweet, fruity notes with a slight fizz to the tongue while my sister settled for a glass of cold abita ($6).

the meal started with complimentary sweetened hush puppies with whole corn kernels nestled inside.

then we moved on to the daily dozen ($28) which is a must order when you're here. you get 3 types of oysters at 4 oysters each for a total of 12. if you were a third grader, i would explain, 3 groups of 4 oysters equals 12. 3 x 4= 12 but divided by 2 big mouths equals zero. you get my point yah? the oyster selection varies daily and that night, our daily three were the kumiai ($2/per), shigoku ($3/per), and my favorite, the marin miyagi ($2.50/per) which was nice and meaty. the oysters were served with cocktail sauce, "vinegar," and horseradish shavings. man they were good!

we also ordered grilled oysters, the rockefeller ($12), which was hefty in flavors. the ricard, bloomsdale spinach, lemon zest, and cream weighed down the oyster, but was still fetching in taste. obviously, if you're an oyster purist, you may want to stay away from these oyster renditions which does a great job in masking its oystery essence.

the cajun crawfish pie ($15) with itty bitty bits of crawfish tail was pretty to look at but awfully sweet and not at all spicy. i definitely wouldn't order this again and i highly suggest that you don't either unless you enjoy living regrettable moments.

the fries with aioli ($6) was yummy, as all fries are meant to be. thin, crispy, with slivers of fried garlic nestled in a tuberous mound makes it great nibbling fodder for all nibblers.

overall, my oyster eating experience at L & E was positive. i think the oysters are absolutely fresh and tasty and i will most certainly come back for more. i do, however, think they need to step up their dinner menu so they can offer their patrons a more complete dining experience unless sucking down oysters is all you need to eat for dinner. due to the limited space, they are also over eager with turning tables which may or may not bother you especially if you're trying to woo a lady and need a few more minutes to hit a homerun. anyways, come here and have a glass of wine and order the daily dozen and then head off to dinner somewhere else...that would be my game plan.

L & E Oyster Bar
1637 Silver Lake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 660-2255

price: $$$
verdict: tasty, try it!
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