Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Eatery - Dirt Dog (CA)

Dirt Dog LA on Urbanspoon

2528 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90007 (Neighborhood: University Park)
Pricing - $ | Dining - Casual, To-Go | Cuisine - Hot Dog

One of the iconic food items of Los Angeles when it comes to street food is the bacon-wrapped hot dog, a meal that has wound its way through the communities to even appear on television as the indulgent, underground meal of choice. Bacon lover? Why wouldn't you want that extra touch to your hot dog? There are plenty of other street food options found in the carts that move around LA too, and one spot that recently opened in University Park is looking to be home to those dishes. Dirt Dog is a newly opened eatery that focuses on the "dirt dog," the creators' own name for the bacon-wrapped dog, and the occasional sides (only "dirtified"). We decided to stop in one evening to check out how they spun the typically-on-the-street food into restaurant fare.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Recipe - Chili Lemon Almond Shrimp

Spicy, sour, nutty, and savory - how could these not sound good? How about together? We had picked up a bag of chili lemon almonds from a farmers' market to snack on but they got me thinking about what we could incorporate them into. You're likely to see these tasty nuts sold in several places - they are the tangy, chili-coated ones that make your mouth water when you think about them (my mouth is going right now!). With a little bit of crushing, they became perfect to cook with and paired off with shrimp, they shone. To complement the spiciness that was added to the shrimp, I put together a lime-cilantro rice. Try out this recipe!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Eatery - Crab House (CA)

Crab House on Urbanspoon

203 C Pier 39, San Francisco, CA 94133 (Neighborhood: Fisherman's Wharf)
Pricing - $$/$$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Seafood

San Francisco, San Francisco - I dream of you and your dungeness crab often. When I had my first taste of that sweet sea-meat, I fell in love with the crustacean and could not find another crab to compare. Therefore, when I knew I was returning to San Francisco this summer, I actively sought someplace that would have great crab. My other mission was to expose myself to cioppino again, a San Francisco-born dish that I had had once before by FIsherman's Wharf but wanted a different opinion. Searching online resulted in this gem on the tourist-filled Pier 39, and my friend and I were quite pleased with the visit.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Test Kitchen - Pumpkin Butter Apple Tart

Who knew that tarts could be so simple to make? I've never worked with puff pastry before but after making these apple tarts, methinks I ought to use the magic sheets more often. This dessert/pastry came from the brainstorming all of you did over our Test Kitchen ingredient of pumpkin butter. Shari B. suggested on Facebook to use the delicious stuff in an apple tart; we thought it was a fine idea and thank her for the inspiration! These lovelies use the pumpkin butter a base and seasoning for the apples atop the flaky crust, and topping everything off with honeyed pecans just added a little more pizzazz to the whole thing. Since I'm not suggesting you make the crust from scratch, this recipe will take just 30 minutes of your time which is not really that long! Make a few and force people to love you once you had them a tasty tart.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sapphire Laguna Shines Every Season

The allure of Laguna Beach is often too strong to deny for visitors to Orange County and even residents who seek breathtaking sunsets and iconic southern California. It is also a city rife with art galleries and interspersed with culinary destinations; the restaurants here are typically phenomenal (or at least that's what I hear). Sapphire Laguna is no exception. I had visited once before with a few other people and was thoroughly impressed but upon invitation to explore the summer menu, I realized that the global cuisine by passionate Chef Azmin Ghahreman does not falter in any season. Though my first visit was in the spring, I had enjoyed my visit then and still did with the season's change. The internationally inspired cuisine fits right into Chef Azmin’s motto: “When you travel through the world’s markets with your palate, you don’t need a passport.”  We certainly got a taste of that during our lunch visit.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Recipe - Potato Sausage Rigatoni

Your dinner does not need to be "gourmet" to be good. It just need to have elements you enjoy and give you pleasure while preparing it! This potato and sausage rigatoni takes a step a little out of some people's comfort zone by adding potato to pasta. I, however, made sure that these were small dices and crisped on every side, giving an interesting texture to the whole dish. Of course, the sausage was the star of the pasta because it was a basil pepper type but you can choose your hero yourself. This recipe is an easy way to find a balance with different food groups and make something delicious in practically no time at all!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Eatery - Ritter's Steam Kettle Cooking (CA)

Ritter's SKC on Urbanspoon

1421 W Macarthur Blvd, Unit G, Santa Ana, CA 92704
Pricing - $$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Cajun/Creole

I feel as if I will be lambasted for the comments I am about to make in this post or even if people do not read them, they will look at the 2.5 star rating out of a possible 5 and seethe at me. Why is that? Well, all that I have heard from everyone that has been to Ritter's is the highest of praise for the food. They wax on about their favorite dishes and how flavorful everything is but yet, our experience there was much different. Finally tackling this restaurant from our list of places we *had* to try, Duc and I came in right at the opening one weekend, hoping to catch some good attention due to a smaller crowd. We had heard that it gets quite busy inside the spacious restaurant and wanted to beat any rush. We also figured that less chaos in the kitchen would hopefully yield a more thought-out product.