Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sqirl, Los Angeles



There are quite a few highly coveted brunch spots in LA, and Sqirl is on top of that list. Is it the vegetarian friendliness? Its hipster Silver Lake location? Perhaps the hip young crowd lining out the door? Or the homey menu items and its elevated use of familiar ingredients? Whatever it is, it's also definitely the famed ricotta toast. 

That's right. This thick cut brioche toasted and smeared with ricotta and topped with homemade jam. It was a hefty portion, probably better shared. But it was so good I was totally content with that, my iced cappuccino, and my summer reading (is it really still spring?). I tried both the blackberry meyer lemon and strawberry rhubarb jam. They were both delectably fruity, so I would highly recommend both to my fellow jam lovers. 

Definitely plan on going back for brunch foods and brunch bowls. And will also get another slice of famed ricotta toast.   


Monday, May 29, 2017

Smorgasburg, Los Angeles

There is just an endless multitude of food choices in Los Angeles. Having Smorgasburg out here really showcases the culturally diverse palate of Angelenos. Coming from the south, it was pretty mindblowing to see the extent of Asian and Mexican fusion flavors and ingredients incorporated into essentially every vendor's menus. There were too many choices and too few of us to try it all, but I think we made a pretty hefty dent. 

Stalls I definitely want to try next time but just didn't have the stomach room this time: Lobsterdamus, Porchetta Republic, Mama Musubi, Paloma's Paletas, Amazebowls. 

Shrimp Daddy: What we came for. Hawai'ian garlic shrimp just sounds
so bomb to begin with that even waiting an hour made it all worth it.
Chinese Laundry: Sichuan spicy cold noodle and hong shao pork belly
tacos - you get me with pork belly or taco anything 
Hot Star Chicken: this spicy Taiwanese fried chicken cutlet
is the first thing I've ever eaten in a Singaporean food court.
So good that it was obviously the first thing I bit into at
Smorgasburg also.  
Popdup: Loved my orange thyme iced oolong tea

Churro Boss: It's great how whenever someone says "churros,"
you will start hearing it circulate and pop up in nearby conversations.
I could really use another basket of fresh fried churros. 
Wanderlust Creamery: A sunny day in LA is never complete without ice cream 

Monday, May 15, 2017

One day in San Diego, CA


When I started planning my 24 hours in San Diego, I only had one objective in mind: eat all the tacos. I drove off straight from a job interview and arrived just in time for happy hour. 

I started at Puesto by La Jolla. They serve fancy tacos and delicious margaritas. My favorite by far was the garlicky mushroom veg taco on a homemade purple tortilla. Amazing vegetarian tacos are hard to come by (sometimes it's just plain lettuce), so I always appreciate an extra yummy one. 

After much time admiring the leisurely life of seals, I went to go meet up with Evan for drinks at Bali Hai. It was the most upscale tiki bar that I have ever been to with sweeping views of the San Diego skyline. It was also the first time I had a mai tai, which they're infamous for. Real talk though, that drink must've been straight rum. 

We kind of failed on the dinner part. We took a little too long with the aperitif and by the time we got to Salvucci's, it was 8:45, and they close at 9pm. Apparently that's normal. We instead shared several appetizers at Stella Public House before heading to Half Door Brewing Co. and a walk through the Gaslamp District. 

The next morning I headed to Pacific Beach for breakfast at Kono's Cafe, a low key surf vibe breakfast joint with oceanfront seating. This was simply the best breakfast burrito I've ever had. The tortilla was soft and the eggs perfectly scrambled. Ample portions, perfect for a full day out. 

After enjoying the beach, Balboa Park, and the marina, it was time for the long drive back to LA. I went to the nearest Oscar's for a final meal, and man did it live up to the hype! Those shrimp tacos seem so simple, but I have never had more delicious ones. Succulent shrimp topped with avocado is just the best. 

Next time: Tacos El Gordo! 

Breakfast burrito at Kono's on Pacific Beach



Shrimp tacos at Oscar's is a must





Sunday, April 16, 2017

Case of the leftovers: breakfast hash


Happy Easter! As y'all know, I am the leftover queen (case 1, 2, 3). I hate to see good food go to waste, so in honor of Easter and resurrection, here's a recipe of a bunch of leftovers I had in my fridge brought back to life as this beautiful breakfast hash. 

Last weekend, my cousins brought me to eat at the Original Pantry Cafe in DTLA (Downtown Los Angeles). It's one of those very old school menu on the wall, pay at the door, cash only, 24 hr joints that's just a LA staple. Let me tell you how the thick cut buttered sourdough toast just blew my mind away. It was just inexplicably good. And yes, it was just simple thick cut buttered sourdough toast. That's it. Needless to say there are none of those leftover, but I couldn't finish my bacon and homefries because sourdough toast. 

A few evenings ago, my niece and I spent the afternoon exploring the Arts District and after what seemed like endless miles of meandering, we finally made it back to my place to whip up a quick dinner and some necessary fresh mango margaritas. I bought a rotisserie chicken, which I shredded the breast and tossed it with homemade pesto, arugula, cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella balls. It was delicious, and we even made it in time to get taiyaki (fish shaped cake traditionally filled with red bean) soft serve sundaes. 

Which finally brings us to this hash. Part Pantry, part chicken salad, all delicious. As always, feel free to free style. 

... how do you all feel about my recent slew of no-recipe recipes? Just got to go with the flow always. 


Breakfast hash (serves 2)
1 cup cooked potatoes
1/4 cup cooked chicken, shredded
2 slices bacon, minced
1/4 cup mozzarella, sliced or shredded
2 sprigs green onion, diced 
2 eggs, beat 
1 tbsp olive oil

Optional: serve with Crystal hot sauce (my favorite) or balsamic vinegar 

1. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add bottom half (white portion) of green onion and bacon. Once sizzling and browning, add chicken and potatoes 
2. As everything in the pan becomes a nice golden brown color, turn the heat down to medium low and immerse the pan with egg
3. As the edges of the egg start to crisp, top with mozzarella. 
4. Dare to flip! 
5. Sprinkle with green onion tops and serve immediately over arugula



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Papaya lime fruit salad


Not going to lie, one of the main reasons I've been slacking on the blogging (in addition to picking my life up and moving across the country for a second time) is Mardi Gras. It's not just a day or a holiday; its a lifestyle. This time around, my krewe had it so together because we are all in our mid 20's and so good at adulting and because the Dinner Club Squad just knows how to throw down. Gone are the days of gas station fried chicken and biscuits (except Ash Wednesday because real life was just too real that day), and in are the impromptu daily brunches and crawfish boils. Just call us over and there will be strata, bacon, french toast, fruit salad, mimosas, rum fruit smoothies, and frozen Irish coffees in no time. 

So here's a recipe for a perfectly refreshing fruit salad that will take you no time to put together and can serve a crowd. As a dietitian, I always feel obligated to bring the fruit or salad just in case no one else does. As a human, everyone loves fresh fruit, so it's the perfect addition to any pot luck. Feel free to improvise! 

Papaya lime fruit salad (serves 6-8) 
1 large papaya, cut into chunks 
1 apple, diced
1 cup green grapes, halved 
1 lime, juiced 

1. Gently toss fruit together in a large bowl with lime juice
2. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve

Optional: pineapple, blueberries 




Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bowls in Los Angeles

We got so much catching up to do.

Acai bowl and veggie empanada at Ubatuba

I've been going through some life transitions in the past few months, mostly picking up my life in New Orleans and moving it to Los Angeles. Let me ask you, do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? Though I can no longer get a shrimp po-boy, fried catfish, or cheesy grits whenever I want, there is quite an abundance of acai bowls, street tacos, and specialty desserts. It's not the belly filling soul warming comfort food that I got used to, but I can get used to this too.


My first pokebowl during my first week in Los Angeles from Sea Salt. Not
gonna lie, there's a bit of a learning curve for building the ultimate bowl!
Now I know to go for the grains + greens and of course ALL the toppings.

A gorgeous and delicious granola bowl at Republique. Highly recommend
brunch here. Everything from the mushroom toast to the shakshouka and
creamfilled doughtnut holes... I can't wait to come back.

Cava just came to Culver City, and it is my homie's favorite. It's a build your
own bowl Mediterranean style with so many veggie options! 

Accidentally stumbled upon my friend photographed in LA Downtowner, so
had to visit him at work for some Taiwanese street food. I will definitely be
back for Lao Tao's Rub a Belly braised pork belly bowl and oyster pancake.
Don't forget the limeade! 

And last but not least, the first thing I cooked in my new home! Of course
it's a shrimp fried rice bowl with garlic sauteed bok choy.