Archive for January, 2010

Meat Week 2010

January 28, 2010

This is appropriate. Some geniuses created Meet Week leading up to the Super Bowl. I will be doing my own pre-game Pigskin Food Marathon, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime join these guys, starting January 31st at Spring Street Smokehouse downtown, for a week of hearty Bar-b-que.


Ultimate Foodie Earthquake Preparedness Kit

January 22, 2010

Haiti didn’t see it coming because they haven’t had an earthquake for 60 years. LA, on the other hand, should not only expect a major earthquake but should handle it with style. Don’t suffer beyond the initial shock and any residual injuries due to falling debris- get prepared with this Ultimate Foodie Earthquake Kit.

First, you’ll need your flashlight and radio and water and all the boring stuff. That’s a given.

But the real important things are:

Salumi Cured Meats

Like most meals, your post-earthquake eating should be based around meat- pork whenever possible. Salumi’s mole salami is made with chocolate, cinnamon, ancho and chipotle peppers. In times of crisis these can be used as currency to barter for shelter, batteries or water.

Matiz Gallego Sardines

Spain’s popular sardines will last for a long time if you can resist opening them. They provide protein, are healthy compared to some other canned products (yes, I’m looking at you Spam) and spice up the rice, crackers and other starches that tend to fill earthquake kits.

Solar Powered Messenger Bag

This bag generates 15 watts to charge your laptop on the go. There’s adapters for every kind of computer, even Macs. Because even after an earthquake, you’ve still got to blog about what you’re eating…

Tamaki Gold Rice

Honestly I don’t know that much about cooking rice, but this one seems good.

Goya Chickpeas

I really like garbanzo beans, so this is a no brainer in terms of canned beans. You really can do any kind (lima, kidney, black, white, pinto, etc.).

Ichiban Ramen

At $1 per pack, invest in a few cases of ramen and store in a cool, dry place.

They cook in three minutes

and you really don’t need a whole packet of seasoning- so save it for the aforementioned rice and beans.

Not only do they provide sustenance, they’re damn tasty.

I hate earthquakes. The Northridge quake was horrifying and I hope to never experience another one. I’m realistic though, and I know being prepared is the most important part or surviving an earthquake.

Visit the California Emergency Management Agency’s website for more information.

I’m Back From Hawaii

January 19, 2010

(Photo by Food Marathon.)

I’m In Hawaii

January 13, 2010

(Photo by Food, she thought.)

Della Terrible

January 12, 2010

Della Terra just opened on Beverly Blvd near Fairfax. Angeli Caffe, Amarone Kitchen + Wine, Angelini Osteria and a number of other Italian restaurants within three miles of this place away blow Della Terra in terms of food.

(photo from Blackburn and Sweetzer)

It actually bothers me that they have such a prime location with a nice patio and it’s squandered.

If you’re gonna keep your menu simple, you better nail it. To the contrary, the food was under seasoned, some was undercooked and overall it lacked inspiration and soul.

The guy at the helm (the owner? manager? he never introduced himself or tried to converse with us) made us uncomfortable- more akin to Paulie Gualtieri than Artie Bucco.  Our waitress did her best, and I’m sorry she’s stuck there.

Instead of Della Terra, go to Amarone Kitchen and Wine.

The Health Food Marathon

January 10, 2010

Everyone’s doing it- following up December’s butter and meat-filled holiday posts with healthy recipes in January. My new year’s resolution is to go on more food marathons. While running real marathons is healthy, driving food marathons isn’t. The notion, however, that food marathons have to be mobile grease fiestas is not true. Case in point, The Health Food Marathon:

Inspired by 13.1 LA, the inaugural half marathon in Santa Monica, I laced up for a marathon of my own. Unlike the runners, I would not chafe, blister or be sore from my marathon because I would be in a car- chauffeured actually because I didn’t even have to drive this time.

The food marathon kind of started Saturday night at Border Grill.

Though it wouldn’t go all night, this was the pre-marathon carb-load for the real runners (Caroline on Crack, Food GPS, Diana Takes a Bite). Those athletic freaks and their running- we agree to disagree that it’s an enjoyable hobby.

Border Grill owners Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger were part of the first wave of Food Network celebrity chefs. This was before the high ratings, fancy studios and contrived drama. In 1981 their tiny restaurant City Cafe was doing for the LA dining scene what someone like Ludo is doing now- combining cuisines from different regions, executing to rave reviews and mugging to the camera every now and then. They’ve come a long way since the 1980’s, and Border Grill remains crowded to this day. The portion sizes (enormous), combined with their reputation and solid cooking, keep Border Grill above average.

Border Grill’s appetizers included Green Corn Tamales
sweet corn • sour cream • salsa fresco

Plantain Empanadas
roasted plantain • black beans • poblano chile • cotija cheese

delicious • avocado • mmmmmmm

My entree was the Grilled Chicken Chilaquiles
grilled achiote chicken • skillet tomatillo chilaquiles • manchego, panela, cotija cheeses

For dessert we had an assortment of Banana Cream Pie, Aztec Chocolate Cake, Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie and Flan.

We all retreated back home to rest for the night as Sunday morning was gonna involve some serious healthiness.

Sunday, 7:10am: The runners took their marks. I slept.

Sunday, 8:10am: The runners passed the six mile mark. I still slept.

Sunday, 9:10am: The runners finished their half marathon.

Sunday, 9:30am: I lazily drove up and shot some pictures (including the Border Grill Truck which fed the runners after the race).

We then got our exercise in, walking the half block to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.

We scoured the beautiful produce, before choosing some tiny, juicy tangerines.

On our way back to the car we stopped for coffee at Groundwork.

I had a yerba mate lemongrass ice tea. The flavors were subtle but distinguishable and refreshing. (That is not me holding said tea.)

Next we drove to Better Life Cuisine. (See those healthy people in the picture? They’re everywhere.)

This raw/vegan cafe is an easy, healthy Santa Monica option for take out or dining in after yoga. You can see Bay Cities from the window, so keep that in mind if you’re a carnivore- the temptation is strong.

We kept it simple with their broccoli salad and kale salad. The portion sizes were good, the flavors were clean, pronounced and the satisfaction level was surprisingly high.

Next we passed Planet Raw (because you can’t go twelve feet in Santa Monica without hitting someone/something healthy). Instead we opted for Golden Mean Vegan Cafe.

Keeping with the theme, they had a kale salad, but we went with the kelp salad as our side to the Garden Vegetable Wrap. It didn’t break any barriers in creativity but it was as good as I’ve had anywhere else. Hummus of the day, avocado, tomato, all fresh tasting and balanced. Good portion size again. It seems when you’re paying for vegetables the restaurants know they better give you a lot.

(I didn’t drink that kombucha. Those are gross.)

We continued heading east towards the new M Cafe de Chaya in Beverly Hills.

(I think we got progressively less healthy the further we moved away from the ocean.) We ordered shiitake-avocado rolls, tuna tataki inari and baked tofu. I always like what I get at M Cafe and this was no exception.

To end the marathon I thought it was appropriate to try the foolish new diet craze- Taco Bell’s Drive-Thru Diet. Although the definition of “dieting” usually relates to achieving lower weight, in Taco Bell’s case it’s for those people who diet to get fatter. It’s all semantics to me. I love Taco Bell.

I tried their 150 calorie Fresco Crunchy Taco. They swapped the cheese for pico de gallo and called it “fresh.” Tastes the same as a regular taco to me- delicious. I had a second one just to confirm that I was “drive-thru dieting” properly.

And so Taco Bell served as a fitting ending for The Health Food Marathon. Overall it was kind of expensive for vegetables, fruits and whatever animal Taco Bell pretends is beef these days- $47 total for two people over 4 hours. We did, however, explore a number of healthy restaurants, some of which I may even return to. I won’t be returning on the next food marathon though. The next one’s gonna be the Pigskin Food Marathon, in honor of football and all the unhealthy pastimes it embodies. Take that, healthiness.