Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Last Minute Visitor

Found out a few days ago that my big brother is coming today to visit form Japan! I wish he told me a few weeks in advance, but nevertheless, I am excited to see him! Right now in Japan, Gold Week is going on. It's a week containing a few public holidays such as the Emperor's birthday, Greenery day, Constitution Memorial day, Children's Day, etc. hence many vacation during this week. I'd like to think that my brother is coming to visit his family because he misses us, but the reality is, he misses the infamous American fast food :P

This morning, after going to yoga, I decided to make French Toast since I had sourdough bread from Le Boudin bakery (pretty rare occasion). I also have a lot of banana to get rid of. So I decided to make French Toast with a banana instead of an egg! Not only was it one of the easiest things I've ever made, it was SCRUMPTIOUS! I gobbled it down in a flash. Surprise. Recently, my good Pentax camera's battery died and I caved in and bought an iPhone 4, the I'm trying out the new iPhone camera (The recipe is below.)

After sitting through 2 hours of lecture, I met up with my brother! My, did he gain weight! I sort of teased him about it (it's called karma. My brother called me fat my entire life. And I was never really fat!). Since it was lunch, we decided to head to downtown and eat at Phillipe's French Dip Sandwich shop. My brother has been dreaming of this place for weeks it seems. I've personally never heard of it, but it's supposedly one of the best sandwich shops in the whole of the US and also the original founder of the French dip sandwich!

Located in the outskirts of Chinatown, I ordered a lamb French dip, while my brother also got a lamb French dip AND a beef with swiss French Dip. The atmosphere reminded me of an old diner, which would make sense since it's been around since the 20's!

The sandwich literally melted in your mouth and the lamb had lots of flavor! I am definitely a fan of the French dip sandwich! For those of you unfamiliar with French dip, as I was until today, the bread used is a French roll dipped in the gravy of the roasts (that is freshly oven-roasted!). It is a must-eat before you die! So if you're in downtown LA, head over to Phillipe's (unless you're vegetarian/vegan), you won't be disappointed!

I remembered that my beloved Urth cafe opened a new coffee shop somewhere in downtown. Looked it up on my new iPhone and discovered that it's only a 6 min drive away. It's a really cute Urth Cafe, but I would have to say a really random location. This Urth attracts the business crowd, I think. Stuffed from eating our sandwich's like crazy, we only ordered coffee: I got the small Honey Vanilla latte and my brother got the Large Italian Cappuccino.

Checked into his room at the Hilton, I watched a rerun of Top Chef as he passed out. Jetlagged. We headed back to my school early (to beat traffic) since I had rehearsals to get through. The last stop for food for the day: Chipotle. Of course, my brother will get better stuff once he's in San Diego tomorrow, but the craving was too strong to hold off! Japan has a lot of good food, but when it comes to Mexican food, it's not the same. I don't think Japanese people really like spicy, and that's the component that seems to be missing (claims my brother, anyway). He got meat burrito of some type and I got a vegetarian bowl. Stuffed. No more food please :P

Although, it was a short visit, I got to catch up with my brother on many things, find out the situation in Japan, and also found out some interesting news which I won't post just yet! It was a fun day and couldn't have asked for more :)

Eggless French Toast

Four slices of sourdough bread
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup of vanilla soy milk (I use Silk's Vanilla flavor)
grease for pan

1/2 cup of sliced strawberries
Agave Nectar
Anything you desire, really

1. Puree banana and soy milk in a blender. Pour into bowl.
2. Grease pan and heat on med-high.
3. Dip slices of bread into banana batter, soak up as much as possible. Bread will crumble easy so I did it two at a time (you can do four at a time if you're gonna cook them all together immediately).
4. Place on hot pan and fry for 3mins, or until browned on each side.
5. Place on plate and serve with strawberries and necar!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mini Pizza

A perfect snack/mini lunch: Whole Wheat English Muffin Pizza. Nothing fancy, but quite fun and easy to make and pleasing to the eyes! It's a no brainer really, but here's the recipe:

1 Whole Wheat English Muffin
2 Tbl of spaghetti sauce (I used Prego's mushrooms, garlic and onions)
2 Tbl of shredded Mozzarella
4 Cherry tomatoes
Dash of Oregano
Dash of Pizza Seasoning

1. Slice English muffin into 2 and toast.
2. Spread a Tbl of sauce and cheese on each slice.
3. Slice tomatoes into halves and place on top of slices.
4. Season with herbs.
5. Microwave for a minute.
Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Life Doesn't Go the Way You Plan It: Oatmeal Pancake

Woke up at 6am this morning togo for a run. Yeah, didn't happen. What did happen: oatmeal pancakes! I got this recipe from bicycle Built for Two - A Blog About Food, Healthy Living,… Modified it for myself since I didn't want that much. I lovely start to the day! Enjoy!


1/4 cup oat flour (just process 1/4 cup of old fashion oatmeal in a food processor or blender)
1/2 cup cooked oatmeal (cook 1/4 cup old fashion oatmeal)
1/2 Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tbl sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
1 Tbl melted butter/margarine

Makes 2 serving of 4 small pancakes

1. Set large frying pan on stove and turn on high. When pan is heated, turn off heat and remove pan. Allow to completely cool.
2. In bowl, mix dry ingredients (oat flour, wheat flour, sugar, baking powder). In another bowl whisk together cooked oatmeal, egg, milk and butter. After whisking, transfer wet ingredients into bowl of dry ingredients. Mix well.
3. Reheat pan on med-high heat. Pour preferred amount of batter onto pan and let cook. After about 3-4min's, you should see the pancakes start to bubble. Flip and cook for another 3mins.
4. Serve and eat! I drizzled some honey and chopped toasted pecans on my pancakes. Agave nectar, cinnamon, peanut butter, berries, bananas, etc are also pretty yummers :) Bon appetite!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lunch at Damon and Pythias

Back in school (-_-)

But what's the best way of starting another daunting school week? Grabbing lunch with a good friend! As much as I despise the Westwood Bubble, this quaint village does have a good handful of places to eat. For instance: Damon and Pythias Food for the Gods. I fully agree with "Food for the Gods."

I've been here once a year ago and had their Kobe burger with garlic and sweet potato fries. I don't recall any negative feelings, only positive :)

Since my friend wanted to try somewhere new in Westwood, I took him to this little treasure trove. With the help of a very good waiter, we ordered the LA Cheesesteak and the Wild
Strawberries Steak Salad, both their most popular item on the menu. On top of that, we split a 12oz beer and Chocolate mousse cake. Behold the feast:

Most satisfying meal (^^). And it's only lunch time on a Monday.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Recently, I was in Torrance and went to a La Patisserie called Chantilly's. Here at Chantilly's, they serve Goma-Shu, or Black Sesame Cream Puffs, among many other goodies! Food Critic Jonathan Gold actually mention this place and its Goma-Shu on his 99 Things to Eat in LA Before You Die.
It was delish and made me miss Japan so much! I also had a black sesame macaron (I'm a bit
obsessed with kuro-goma/black sesame these days).

Some history about cream puffs.

Inspired, I decided to make my very own Goma-Shu's! I also made white sesame and luckily, they were a success!

Here's the recipe! Enjoy!


Cream Puffs (about 12 shells):
1/2 unsalted butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 cup flour
3 eggs
1 Tbl Black Sesame grounds
a pinch of sugar

Cream Puff instruction
1. Preheat oven to 400 F and line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Boil butter, milk, and water in a sauce pan. Once boiled, lower heat and add flour at once. Mixture should thicken.
3. Once flour is well mixed, remove sauce pan from heat. Add 1 egg and mix. Add second egg and mix. Mixture should be thick and slowly runs and breaks off spoon. Add half of last egg if needed.
4. Pipe onto cookie sheet and bake for 20min. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake for another 20min.
5. Let cool and cut open to fill.

Custard Cream:
3 egg yolks
1 cup milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup flour
half vanilla bean stick

Custard Instruction
1. In a saucepan, combine milk, a 1/3 of the sugar and vanialla beans and mix over med heat.
2. In another bowl, beat remaining sugar and yolks till white and frothy. Mix in sifted flour.
3. Combine egg mix with mixture in saucepan and cook till thick and lumpy.
4. Remove from heat. Prepare a dish lined with plastic wrap and pour custard into contained and wrap. Put in fridge for about 30min to an hour.

Sesame Ingredients
1.5 cup Heavy Cream
1 Tbl granulated sugar
1 Tbl Black sesame paste
1.5 White sesame paste (I used grounds)

1. Beat cream and sugar till whipped and set aside.
2. Take out custard and place half of it in a bowl. Beat with black sesame paste and pipe into 6 puff shells.
3. Pipe half of whip cream on top. Place shell top on top.
4. Mix remaining whip cream and white sesame paste/ground into remaining custard. Pipe into remaining shells and top off with shell caps.
5. Dust with sesame seeds and powdered sugar if desired.

(Black sesame up front and white sesame in the back)

Monday, April 4, 2011

La Provence Cafe on San Vicente

Went to a new cafe for a change! Still love Urth, but I should really take in all that LA has to offer. La Provence is a French style cafe that is primarily known for their macarons. Definitely had to try this place! They were apparently in Cupcake wars and are considered one of the best cafe's in Beverly Hills.

So one of my partners in crime tagged along and we had tea. We both ordered Rose tea and split two macarons (rose and salted caramel) and a chocolate raspberry mousse.

The rose tea was nice. I liked how I had my own pot, but then again, that's typical at cafes. I just don't drink a lot of tea when I go to cafes, I guess. The mousse was light, not too heavy, with a nice hint of raspberry. The macarons were amazing! The cookies were probably the one of the best I've had! Perfectly crunchy on the outside (but not too crunchy! Phew!) and soft and moist on the inside. The rose flavor was nice and buttery and produced a cool feeling in the mouth like mint would. It's hard to explain, really. The salted caramel was a bit chewy. It was good, but I definitely prefer the rose more! Will definitely make a trip back!

Thai Lunar/Curry Festival

Second time going to Thai Town's New Year's Day Songkran Festival! Actually ate food this time around :P The event is also called Los Angeles Curry Festival, but I did not see any curry at all this time... I'm not sure if the curry comes out/ends at a certain time?

Regardless, it is a very beautiful festival! So much color, food, people-- it is definitely an overload to the senses! Parking is ridiculous, but I guess the gods were somehow pleased with me and allowed me to find a randomly open spot that was literally a walking distance of a minute to the festival! A good start!

So, we start out by walking down the street, scoping out what there is to do. There was a Singha Beer garden full of drunken men watching the kick boxing event right across from them.
Walked past a plethora of beautiful art work such as carved fruit/vegetables, silk flowers and dessert displays. Very intricate works.
Now for the food! Definitely started off well with a nice plate of Mango and Sticky Rice. I have been dying to try this for a well and I was pleasantly surprised at how yummy a simple dish can be! The texture, sweetness, visual were all wonderful! Following this are the BBQ Beef, BBQ
Chicken and Fish Ball Skewers. Yum yum :)
And lastly, I got a "Today's Special" plate that consisted of BBQ Beef, Egg roll, fried rice and stir fry noodles. A.k.a. a plate of happiness. Definitely did some grocery shopping after since the
food at the markets here are so much cheaper than the grocery stores!

Overall, it was a fun event, I just wish there was curry, as the name insinuates. Guess you can't have it all. Happy Thai New Year!