Saturday, February 5, 2011


Really, this should go without saying, but there is one type of restaurant that should be avoided on Chinese New Year.  That would be Dim Sum.  It's like trying to go to a Mexican restaurant on Cinco de Mayo; unless mobs of people and waiting for hours for a table turns you on, I would highly recommend avoiding them at all costs.  So mistake #1 that we made today:  Going for Chinese food on Chinese New Year.  Mistake #2:  Choosing a restaurant in China Town right next to the parade route.  (I'm sure you're just sitting there shaking your head at this.  I know.  I know.)  Mistake #3:  Trying to get a table for more than four people. We attempted to go to Ocean Seafood Restaurant in China Town.  The restaurant takes over the entire upstairs of a building that spans about one fourth of a city block.  And in this huge space, they claimed there were only 3 tables that accommodated a party of five or more.  So at 11:30, they said the wait was 30 minutes.  At noon, they told us the wait was still 30 minutes.  At 12:30, they said the wait was still 30 minutes, and I began questioning the theory that all Asians were good at math.  Sam began questioning the real situation with the tables upstairs, raised some hell, and finally got us seated!  Within 90 seconds, thanks to some overly assertive servers, our table looked like this:
Oh, how we shoveled that sweet, sweet dim sum into our gullets!  The food was excellent.  And speaking of sweet, why is it that those sweet shrimp are just so much tastier with the eyeballs and legs on?!  Oh yes, that's right, they're fried.
May the year of the Rabbit bring you happiness, prosperity, and shorter wait times for delicious food!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


When I was 19, 20, & 21, I hadn't quite learned what great food was, and I had just begun the journey to becoming the foodie that I am today.  Living in middle class Orange County, the only food variety I ever experienced to that point was American, Italian, or Mexican.  Oh, and cheap Chinese every once in a while.  Needless to say, when I attempted to make a good meal, for instance, for a boyfriend, I had very little skill, let alone inspiration, to make much that would impress.
But I had to come up with something, so a recipe that I regularly threw together was chicken with grilled onion & mushrooms.  It always turned out decent, but how could I really go wrong if I added enough garlic?
Well I was feeling nostalgic the other day and decided to make my old go-to recipe, but maybe this time with some skill.  And with steak instead of chicken. Because, well, I just wanted some red meat.

(serves 2)


1 lb Beef Ribeye Steak (or steak of your choice.  Filet would be delicious as well)
8 cloves Garlic  -  crushed
Season Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
4 tbsp Butter
1/2 Yellow Onion  -  Sliced
4 oz Crimini Mushrooms  -  Sliced
1 tsp Raw Sugar
1 tsp Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/3 cup Red Wine


1)  Massage steak with 4 cloves of the crushed garlic, season salt, and black pepper.  Leave at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.

2) Melt 2 tbsp of the butter in a saute pan, then add the onion and other 4 crushed garlic cloves and saute over medium until clear.  

3)  Add the raw sugar to the pan and stir, and then add the mushrooms.  Allow these to saute slowly for about 20 minutes.

4)  In the meantime, cook the steak on a heated skillet or on a heated grill, whichever you prefer.  Grill the steak until it's medium rare, then remove the steak and set aside.  

5)  In the same skillet you cooked the steak in (or in a new one if you used a grill), melt the other 2 tbsp of butter, and add the balsamic vinegar, red wine, and brown sugar.  Simmer until the alcohol burns off and the vinegar reduces by about half.

6)  Add the onion & mushrooms into the balsamic sauce, and cook for about 2 minutes.

7)  Slice the steak, plate, and spoon the balsamic onion & mushrooms over the steak.

If you are a big fan of vinegar, pour some of that reduced vinegar sauce over as well.  But be careful...too much of it can overwhelm the flavor of the steak, instead of enhance it. 
I decided that I wanted some mashed potatoes and spinach on the side, so I wilted fresh spinach in the saute pan that the onions & mushrooms were in first, letting it soak up some of that buttery garlic that was left.  As for the mashed potatoes I totally cheated.  I won't even say how I made them.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Before this ridiculous summer weather hit in January, it was lovely, and cool, and had me in the mood for a hot bowl of chili.  Now a couple of years ago, I used to live off of Trader Joe's turkey chili.  Somewhat healthy, filling, and most importantly, fast, I would have it at least twice a week for dinner.  There was one major problem with it though.  Unless you are exacting revenge on a friend or significant other, or dutch ovens just really crack you up,  the gas that is the result of this chili will put you in self imposed isolation.  It's horrific, and no amount of bean-o will stop it.  Not wanting to plan my meals around weather or not I wanted to hang out with friends anymore, I finally stopped eating it.
So, cut to last week...I figured not ALL chili can have this effect.  If that were the case,we'd be blaming our global warming on chili cook-offs.  So I set out to attempt a fart-free chili recipe.

I succeeded!

(serves 8 - 10)


1 lb Ground Turkey
12 oz Gound Meatless (or other ground meat substitute)
3 slices Bacon  - chopped
1 Red Onion  -  chopped
5 cloves Garlic  -  minced
1 Zucchini  -  chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can Organic Black Beans  -  drained
1 (14.5 oz) can Organic Corn  -  drained
1 (28 oz) can Diced Tomato
1 (8 oz) can Tomato Sauce
14 oz Beef Broth
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
2 Tbsp Oregano
2 tsp Season Salt
2 tsp Cracked Pepper
1 tsp Unsweetened Cocoa
2 tsp Raw Sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Cholula Chipotle Sauce
1/2 can/bottle Beer
Shredded Cheddar Cheese & Sour Cream to taste


1) Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large pot.  Add the onion, garlic, and zucchini, and saute until the onion is clear.

2) At the same time, at the other 2 Tbsp of oil to a large saute pan and begin sauteing the bacon.

3) When the bacon is almost cooked through, pour off about half of the grease, then crumble in the Turkey & Ground Meatless.  Keep separating and stirring occasionally to get the turkey into the smallest bits possible.

4) Once the turkey is cooked all the way through, add it to the pot with the onion & zucchini.

5) Stir in the Black Beans, Corn, Diced Tomato, Cumin, Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes, Oregano, Season Salt, & Cracked Pepper.  Mix well.

6) Stir in the Beef Broth, and let simmer to reduce liquid slightly, about 8 minutes.

7) Add the Tomato Sauce, Cocoa, Sugar, Worcestershire, & Cholula.  Crack open a bottle of beer and pour half of it in.  Drink the rest.  (Some of you might choose a can of beer,  which will work as well, but I am morally against purchasing cheap beer.)  Stir well.

8) Let the chili simmer for 30 minutes uncovered, then another 45 minutes covered.  

9)Remove from heat and allow to cool a couple minutes before serving.  Add some shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream to each serving.


The Chili has some heat, but not so much that you can't taste the flavor.  If you aren't into spice, you can cut the Cayenne, Chili Flakes, & Cholula Sauce by half.
This can also easily be made a vegetarian recipe.  Just omit the turkey & bacon, adding 18 oz more Ground Meatless in their stead.  And replace the beef broth with Vegetable Broth.

So was it using black beans instead of the traditional kidney beans that did it?  Maybe merely cooking with the intention of getting rid of the gas?  Who knows.  I do know that it was damn delicious, and I didn't offend anyone in the process!