Archive for July, 2008

Baddest Bitches in the Kitchen

July 31, 2008

After the Yo Mamma list we’re turning a bit more aggressive, to the baddest bitches in the kitchen. Gordon Ramsey just missed the top 5:

5. Martha Stewart
Have you ever been to jail? Well Martha has. Not sure if she had to shank anyone with her own brand’s 8-inch Chef’s knife, but next time she fills out a job application she can write a tidy little 4 in the box asking if she’s ever been convicted of a felony.

4. Bethenny Frankel from the Real Housewives of NYC
I haven’t watched this show but anyone on a reality show about rich socialites has to have some bitch in them. She cooks wheat-, egg- and dairy-free baked goods, and delivers custom meals to other camera whores like Brooke Hogan and Paris Hilton.

3. Iron Chef Cat Cora
To be on the same stage as Mario Batali and Masaharu Morimoto, she obviously has survived her share of sexist remarks in the kitchen. She’s one of the more positive role models on this list.

2. Lisa from Top Chef season 4
With a scowl only a mother could love, Lisa became one of the most loathsome reality gameshow contestants to date. Not that I was watching anything except Padma…

1. Competitive eater, Sonya “The Back Widow” Thomas
Although she’s an eater as opposed to a chef, weighing in at 105 lbs with world records that include:
-Acme Oysters: 46 dozen (552) in 10 minutes.
-Maine Lobsters: 11.4 pounds of lobster meat in 12 minutes.
-Zocalo’s Soft-Shell Chicken Tacos: 48 in 11 minutes.
-Hard-Boiled Eggs: 52 in 5 minutes.
’nuff said.

Seated Street Food Marathon

July 29, 2008

The naming of a food marathon is not a simple act. Sometimes geography plays a major role (as with the F#@K the Westside Food Marathon). Sometimes the type of food is the dictator (like the Big India vs Little India Food Marathon).
This time there were a number of factors. It could have been called The Blogger Food Marathon because I was joined by Food GPS and Mattatouille. At one point it was the Gentrified Food Marathon because each place was an upscale version of it’s more ghetto predecessor.
Finally I went with Matt’s suggestion- the Seated Street Food Marathon- because the marathon consisted of street food; hot dogs, tacos, shawarma and Thai street stall fare. The seated part was added as every restaurant we visited was a step above their street counterparts because they had seating- some even took our order and served us. Whether the food stacked up against it’s street-side originators… not quite, but definitely a close relative.
First stop was Skooby’s… on a Sunday in July on Hollywood Blvd. It’s dirty, there’s traffic, there’s hooker stores, stripper stores, electronics shops, tour guides, bums, junkies and all the other crap that crap that Hollywood is world renowned for. I had a chili cheese dog,fries and a lemonade.
The dog was good but small compared to Pinks. Carney’s chili is better but overall it was an enjoyable experience. The fries weren’t crispy enough and their seasoning salt/dipping sauce were good but not amazing. The lemonade was fantastic.
Next was Loteria Grill. It’s located kitty-corner to Skooby’s making it one of the closest one-two punches on any food marathon. We opted for the taco sampler platter
which are basically silver dollar tacos. My favorite way to eat is one bite of each flavor so this was an ideal dish. It leaves you wanting more but can’t compare to a good LA taco truck.
I like the new Loteria and think they’ve done a great thing for their franchise. Hollywood Blvd needs more upscale lunch/dinner places that aren’t aiming to draw the douchebag freeway & canyon crowd.
It’s comfortable and spacious with a full bar, outdoor seating and solid food.
This is where the marathon switched from the gentrified food marathon to the seated street food. 8 oz. is closed on sundays.
And although it could have been the foot traffic food marathon (between the tourists on Hollywood and skaters/shoppers on Melrose), we shifted gears towards Falafel-Arax and Spicy BBQ.
We had a delicious Shawourma sandwich and a lamb tongue sandwich. Both were very good but couldn’t compete with the real thing in Israel. That said the tongue was extremely tender and flavorful- much better than I expected.
How two phenomenal places like Arax and Spicy BBQ can share a wall is a geographically perfect miracle. Before the lamb had even cleared my esophagus we were eating delicious Northern Thai chili sauce.We ordered three dishes that I hadn’t tried on previous visits:
Glass noodles with chilis, eggplant, shrimp and overflowing with flavor,
Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside sausages,
and superb pork patties with fried mint.
This was my favorite dish of the day. The mint is what makes it.
Finally the marathon came to an end and I was quite full. Now that I have some serious eaters on the team we can do some major marathons in the future. Next time Teenage Glutster’s invited too.

Healthy Hip Hop

July 28, 2008

Tomorrow I’ll post about the most recent food marathon. Before that here’s some health-conscious hip hop. After you see what we ate on the marathon, we probably should be paying better attention to the lyrics:

Hood Diet by Loer Velocity featuring Donnan Links

(note this is not me dancing)

Be Healthy by Dead Prez

Yo Mamma

July 23, 2008

Meryl Streep is the lead in Mamma Mia and will play Julia Child in the forthcoming film Julie and Julia. So today I made a list of the Top 5 Mammas in LA restaurants:

5. Angeli Caffe- In terms of motherly figures in food, Evan Kleiman is one of the most positive, loving and dedicated there is. Of course there are chef/moms like Nancy Silverton, Suzanne Goin and Suzanne Tracht, but Evan’s garden-grown meals and cheery demeanor put her a notch above. I don’t know if she has kids of her own, but the way she treats guests on her show and in her restaurant make them feel welcome and loved like only a mom can.

4. Jitlada- The matriarch of Thai Town, Jazz Singsanong lovingly welcomes everyone like their her own children (a few of which also work in the restaurant). I don’t know if she even does that much cooking but she regales patrons with stories of Steven Spielberg and Jonathan Gold loving her kua kling Phat Tha Lung. Matt Groening gets name-dropped more often than the delicious phàt lûuk tàw gets ordered, but no one would ever call into question Jazz’s passion for food. She just has a little Hollywood in her, just as she brings a little southern Thailand to east Hollywood.

3. Crustacean- Helene An has been cooking in the kitchen for years. Coming through San Francisco from Vietnam she melds Chinese, French and Vietnamese influences to create superb and health-conscious dishes. Did you know that Crustacean has a secret kitchen where only family members can cook in order to secure the secrecy of their recipes? When she’s not cooking she can be found bestowing infinite thank you’s on everyone around her.

2. Osteria La Buca- The once tiny, familial location of La Buca has since expanded, but Lora Donna Cecchinato still (wo)mans the kitchen like she’s cooking at home. Her hearty pastas and best-in-LA tiramisu transport you to her home kitchen in Italy. She was wandering around the grand opening of her newly renovated restaurant in the same old t-shirt, track pants and clogs. Bless Mamma and her namesake hat.

1. Yuca’s- To me, Socorro Herrera is the original mamma in LA. For more than 15 years we’ve been ordering carne asada burritos from Yuca’s, and still reminisce about eating at those old rickety tables when we were teenagers. Not to be messed with, mamma once banned my friend from the restaurant after he accidentally flicked a piece of steak that fell from his burrito onto another diner. She yelled “You want to play, you go to the park!” Sorry mamma…

Eat and Drink for Billy Walsh

July 15, 2008

Last night’s Balshstille Day event at the Foundry was fantastic. Great cocktails, good food, fun crowd and all to raise money for Billy Walsh (he was hit by a car).You should help Billy too. Donations can be made via PayPal through Matt Wise at wisemc@mac.com.

No Brits Allowed

July 7, 2008

I spent the 4th of July without any British people. By the 5th they were back, but at least I had one day of freedom.
Starters were plentiful, including a delicious anitpasto plate overflowing with vegetables and meat (and a delicious jalapeno or two).Artichokes,a salad with toasted almonds, strawberries and cheese,and corn on the cob (of course).
Salmon two ways:
one with smoky wood chips and cumin,
the other with rosemary and lemon.
Meat two ways: sliced tri-tip,
and requisite hot dogs.
More Americana in the form of mac and cheese,
apple pie (with blackberries),
and a healthy bite of fruit for dessert.
Unphotographed items included homemade cream soda, chips, salsa, and double stuffed Oreo cookies. It was a gourmet meal that required several trips to and from the pool.

Hour of the CHIPwreck

July 3, 2008

It’s been a while since my last chip post, so today I bought Doritos new mystery flavor.The snack has gone interactive in this “Quest” to guess the flavor. I opened the bag and they looked like regular Doritos, but such is the nature of our new chemical food culture. Read Fast Food Nation to find out about the flavor experiments taking place along the New Jersey turnpike.
So the chip immediately tastes sweet. At first I thought it was mango, then lime, but those seem like pedestrian choices for Doritos (considering they’ve already ventured into Hot Wings Blue Cheese territory).
So there’s definitely a salty and sweet thing happening, which I love. (Kettle corn, chocolate covered pretzels, bacon and maple syrup- all genius combinations in my opinion.) There’s something about them, however, that isn’t perfect.
I cheated and looked online to find the answer. The result is synergy at its finest, cross promotion that breaks previously untried taste combinations… the flavor in question is MOUNTAIN DEW?! (Yes, both chip and soda are owned by PepsiCo).
Because I have no self control I ate the whole bag, but I definitely won’t buy them again. Perhaps if they were Dr Pepper flavored…

Even Better than the Real Thing?

July 2, 2008

From the annals of the Top Secret Insider’s Recipe Master Edition Cookbook I present the recipe for the:

Taco Bell Chalupa Supreme
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1/2 cup water
Flat bread (pita will work)
Oil for deep−frying
Sour Cream
Shredded lettuce
Shredded Cheddar/Jack cheese
Diced Tomatoes
Mix dried onion with water in a small bowl and let stand for five minutes. Combine ground beef, flour, chili powder, paprika, and salt. Mix well. Add onions and water. Mix again.
In a skillet, cook beef mixture until browned. Stir often while cooking so no large chunks form; it should be more like a paste. Remove from heat and keep warm.
In a deep−fryer (or you can use a skillet) deep fry the bread for 30 seconds. Let drain on absorbent towels.Build Chalupas starting with meat, then sour cream, lettuce cheese, and tomatoes in that order. Top with hot sauce or salsa if desired.

Something makes me think this just won’t have that same flavor as the real thing. It takes a special kind of deep frying love to recreate such a masterpiece.

Drive Thru Coming Soon

July 1, 2008

One of the original food marathoners is currently driving across the country. I guess eating across the country would be a better description. He will be guest posting once he arrives at his final destination in San Diego. In the meantime he directed me to this must-have He’s in the heart of the red states so you can imagine what’s to come…


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