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.