Saturday, May 23, 2015

Recipe - Slow Cooker Mushroom Meatloaf

I don't know how it started but Duc's been on a slow cooker kick lately in terms of egging me on to use it more and more. We were in possession of several pounds of ground beef one week and much too many boxes of mushrooms. What to do? Well, let's combine the situations and make a meatloaf! I have never made a meatloaf before but it didn't seem too difficult. It's also a bit comforting to have, right? After looking around a few places for their recipes and suggestions, I realized that we should start with simple. The basic composition of a meatloaf is easy enough so we packed them together, topped it all of with a slightly spicy sauce of Kickin' Ketchup (mixed with other things), and had a good ol' few meals. I love how you can just set it and forget it when using a slow cooker; maybe this can be your next weeknight meal after a long day at work?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Mother's Love Carries on Christakis Greek Cuisine

L-R: Michael O'Hare Wallace, Sarah Wallace Rasmussen, Vasilis Tzoytzoyrakos
"What I love about this place is the warmth. We're sincere and don't fake that. It comes from my mother."
The moment you walk in through the doors of Christakis Greek Cuisine in Tustin, you notice the endearing photographs of a family's many generations from their travels, all emoting love for each other. Italy, Greece, and other places have their spotlight in the shots but constant is the everlasting happiness the family members show for one another, and it is that bond that has helped fuel the restaurant since it opened its doors April 1, 1996. With the recent closure of Nieuport 17 in the same plaza, we were interested in seeing what else around had withstood the test of restaurant time. Christakis reached out about their recent 19th anniversary so we went in to meet the owners, siblings Michael O'Hare Wallace and Sarah Wallace Rasmussen, and taste their authentic dishes.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Eatery - The Pasta Shoppe (CA)

The Pasta Shoppe on Urbanspoon

38 W Victoria St, Ste 122,  Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Pricing - $$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Italian

When in Rome, eat fresh pasta. When in Santa Barbara, eat fresh pasta as well. Wait, what was that? There's fresh pasta available? My friends and I salivated and bit into several plates of the stuff when we visited the Santa Barbara Public Market one trip (hats off to one of my friends who researched the place ahead of time) and were quite pleased with the results. Italian has long been a cherished cuisine of mine, and any chance I get to partake in some fresh pasta indulgence, I will. The Pasta Shoppe makes it easy by being the first stand to your left when you walk in the doors to the Santa Barbara Public Market. Bags of dry pasta sit on a shelf waiting to be taken home as well as a glass display of their fresh varieties. If only Santa Barbara were home, I'd gladly take a few pounds back to a kitchen to play with but since it was not, we were grateful for the chef's counter to dive into some dishes!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

110+ Wines Featured at Harrah's SoCal Latin Food & Wine Festival 2015

Last Saturday, May 2, 2015, Harrah's SoCal hosted its second annual Latin Food & Wine Festival at their Events Center, featuring 110+ wines, Latin foods, lively entertainment, and other activities. The resort itself, established in 2002, sits less than an hour north of San Diego and about two hours southeast of Orange County. Owned by the Rincon Band of LuiseƱo Indians, the property is more than just a hotel resort; it also features a casino, several in-house restaurants, and constant events. This second annual Latin Food & Wine Festival showcased the vast amount of varying wines in Latin countries and featured restaurants in the surrounding areas, including Orange County's own Tempo Urban Kitchen in Brea, that push menus which include Latin cuisine!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Recipe - Teriyaki Glaze

The problem with shooting any pictures of a sauce or glaze is that it needs to go on top of something be it food or otherwise. Though, why would you want a picture of sauce on something else? Teriyaki on a sullen cat's head? So I decided that my teriyaki glaze would go atop a crispy piece of pan-fried chicken thigh. Should I include the recipe for the chicken because it was absolutely delicious? Perhaps. Perhaps you could just coat two pounds of chicken thighs with heaping tablespoons of garlic salt and pan-fry. Perhaps you could also make this tasty sauce not only as a glaze but a dipping sauce! It's fairly simple and tastes positively lovely on some crispy chicken bits so give it a whirl yourself and let me know how it goes.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Learning Dory Deli and the Art of Sandwich

We've talked about Dory Deli before, having previewed their menu before the official opening, but a preview on the consumer's end can't beat an in-depth look at the back of the house, standing in the kitchen, and inquiring into the mind of the executive chef. My own interest (and practice) in cooking has spilled over into a curiosity about what components make up the commercial side of this art form and what drives people to invest their time and efforts into the culinary world. Recently-turned Executive Chef Giovanny/Gio Bolivar of Dory Deli, previously Sous Chef, has seen great, rapid success in his career, and this new venture with the new, well-received restaurant is another step in that direction. We met with him one evening to learn more about his history and to help make one of their most popular menu items - the Rocky Balboa.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Kansas City BBQ Whirls into Los Angeles at Charcoal

Hot and slow, warm and low, smoked or open air - so many factors go into making the perfect BBQ but once you think about it, the perfection is subjective. There are variations of barbecue depending on region though you may only be familiar with the ubiquitous Texan-style. When we learned that Silverlake (Los Angeles) recently became the home of Charcoal BBQ Bourbon and Beer in February, a barbecue spot that is based on Kansas City style, we were curious. What exactly does that mean? A talk with Chef Jeremy Zimmerman cleared the air about the technique, and a tasting by invitation placed that flavor profile onto the palate. Whereas Texas-style is direct heat through a pit with screen door resulting in the hottest section being the middle and the involvement of a spicy tomato-based sauce, Kansas City style involves an enclosed smoker with indirect flames and a dry rub start (and tomato-molasses sauce end!). The BBQ is different but still great in its own way, and during our visit, we got to explore what that panned out to be like as well as what other wonderful dishes Charcoal had to offer.