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Monday, May 30, 2011


Nespresso by foodblogz
Nespresso, a photo by foodblogz on Flickr.


No more weak or stale tasting espresso! I had the pleasure of attending the Nespresso event party in Los Angeles and as a coffee connisieur I was excited to say the least. I have had no luck with do-it-yourself espresso machines as they never extract the full flavor of the bean so, like most people, I frequent coffee shops. Well, no more after I was given a shot of the Nespresso grand cru. I was surprised because it had all the kick you need to start your day or to jolt your midday. It had a hint of chocolate, vanilla and caramel and the best thing, I can have this everyday in my home. The Prixie Nespresso is the smallest espresso machine that Nespresso makes.

Not only did I try the espresso this machine makes but I also enjoyed a cocktail made with espresso. I tried the Nespresso mojito and the Nespresso Martini and they were both very good. They are something I could see myself making for parties.

I liked everything about the Nespresso from the pre-packaged capsules to the slick compact design. No more mess with grinding my own coffee beans and I can have an espresso in less than a minute.
Ok so now I have to re-think this whole, “It’s easier for me to buy” attitude. This Nespresso delivers a great espresso with a push of a button and you don’t have to spend lots of money buying out.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Kimchikhan and Kimchi Festival: 'Fermentation Benefits All'

Kimchikhan and Kimchi Festival: 'Fermentation Benefits All'

The movie Kimchikhan is currently being fermented; in other words, it is post-production. Kimchikhan is scheduled for release soon in 2010. Its revelation will be matched with the Los Angeles kimchi festival, where Fermented Food Forum/Future Food Forum/Best Kimchi Cook Competition/World's Special Food Exhibition will all be held together. Kimchi - opening Feb. 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

Santa Monica Gourmet Food Truck Corner

Gourmet taco trucks are all the culinary rage. Now, pop-up lots are springing up so a variety of trucks can park and offer a food court on wheels.
I went to the opening of Gourmet Food Truck Corner at Santa Monica Blvd. and 14th in the city of Santa Monica. The flier claimed as many as 12 trucks would be there but there were only four.

First stop was India Jones Chow Truck. I ordered the Butter Chicken with basmati rice and it had a nice spice to it.
India Jones
Next was Fish Lips where I had the Crunch Set Large. The shrimp was tender and crunchy but the eel had no flavor to it at all.
Fish lips
Fish Lips

My third stop was Barbie's Q. I had the Q Sampler plate which was a open-face sandwich with bbq beef, pulled pork and smoked chicken. This was disappointing as the beef was dry and chewy. The chicken also came with the entire skin of the breast on the plate. The skin was unseemly out of place but worst of all there was no hint of smokiness in the chicken at all. I did enjoy the pork and the potato salad.
Barbie's Q
Barbie's Q


Last stop and in last place was Border Grill. I had the Yucatan pork taco with braised achiote pork, black beans, pickled onion and orange jicama slaw. The pork tasted like BBQ and was sweet. The tortillas were not heated and split in half when I picked it up to try to eat it. If a Los Angeles taco truck claims to have Modern Mexican cusine then the pressure is on them to really showcase authentic flavors. There are so many trucks that have perfected flavors from the various regions of Mexico that a new one can not get away with anything less. Border Grill needs to work on what exactly they are trying to be.
Border Grill
pulled pork tacos

I also ordered their flautas with potato and chorizo.
taquito potatoandchorizo

Gourmet Food Truck Corner
1401 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica Ca. 90404

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ha Noi Avenue

Hanoi Avenue is Northern-style Vietnamese cuisine. A group of us went there for a late lunch/early dinner. We were a large group and were seated quickly as the service was friendly. I had no idea what to eat but Dao was in charge of ordering all the food.

The Bun Rieu Oc;Vietnamese snail noodle soup with mint, basil, spring onion, beansprouts vermicelli noodles in a tomato base. The broth was tasty, however, the snails were tough.
Hanoi Restaurant
Hanoi Restaurant
Bo Luc Lac: Vietnamese Shaking Beef. Luc Lac means “shaking” or tossing of the beef back and forth in the wok after the sirloin is quickly seared. It was served to us on a sizzling cast iron plate with white onions. The beef was seared perfectly making it tender and tasty.

Hanoi Restaurant

Bun Cha Hanoi: Vietnamese Hanoi-Style rice vermicelli noodles with grilled pork patties. We were each served a bowl of grilled pork and grilled pork patties with pickled carrots and onion slices, vermicelli noodles, sweet nuoc mam cham (Vietnamese dipping fish sauce) and we topped it with fresh herbs which included fish mint, perilla and Vietnamese red perilla. This was my first experience trying fish mint and the name says it all as the mint really smelled like fish. This dish had a nice smokiness to it because the pork was grilled over charcoal.
Hanoi Restaurant

Fresh Herbs
Hanoi Restaurant

Fish mint
Hanoi Restaurant

Cha Ca Thang Long: Grilled catfish marinated in turmeric and galangal served on a sizzling cast iron plate with a bed of grilled onions and fresh dill on top. I'm a fan of catfish and while it was a bit tough it tasted good. I just wished they hadn’t overcooked it.
Hanoi Restaurant

Ca Kho To: Vietnamese Braised Fish in a pot. The sauce was sweet, spicy and savory. It was garnished with fresh jalapenos, cilantro and green onions. The sauce was caramelized and gooey which I loved. It would have been perfect if they had cooked the fish a bit more to absorb that sauce.
Hanoi Restaurant

Banh Tom Co Ngu: Fried sweet potatoes and shrimp. The potatoes were crunchy and sweet and the shrimp was tender. I didn’t like having to peel my shrimp as I have not quite gotten used to eating it with the skin on yet.
Hanoi Restaurant
Trung Duc: Baked egg omelete stuffed with crab and pork. This was cooked perfectly with flavorful crispy edges.
Hanoi Restaurant

HA Noi Avenue
8432 Westminster Blvd
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 898-8838

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hamburger Haven

HAmburger Haven
Hamburger Haven in West Hollywood is a place I have passed by many times with the same thought, "Next time I'm in the area I'll give it a try." Well, next time finally came as I was in WEHO looking for something to eat that didn't involve a valet or a menu in my hands. I was looking for an easy meal with minimal wait time. First thing, enter the parking lot on Robertson Blvd. just south of Santa Monica Blvd. The driveway on Santa Monica is an exit and you'll have a hard time trying to slip into a parking stall if you go in that way. Most of the seating is a covered outdoor patio with just a few seats available at the indoor counter.
HAmburger Haven

HAmburger Haven
I ordered the #3 the sassy burger which is a burger with swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and pickles. You then have the option for grilled or raw onions or bacon for an additional charge. A wheat bun can be substitued for free which I did.
HAmburger Haven

The burger tasted fresh and was juicy. The wheat bun gave it a nice texture and taste which I really enjoyed but it left my husband still hungry more.
HAmburger Haven
So he went back after finishing it and ordered another #3 but this time he changed things up. He went with a double and added bacon and grilled onions on a white bun. It wasn't as good as the first burger. I could tell that the bacon had been sitting around because it wasn't hot and felt a little dried out. The bun was bland and fell apart on him after only a couple of bites. He should have just had the double the same way We'd ordered it the first one. The fries were nothing special as they looked an tasted like something out of the freezer. Paying the extra price for bacon and grilled onions also wasn't worth it as it did not add anything to the meal. Next time, a double #3 on wheat is a perfect, inexpensive way to get an all-around solid hamburger. The good thing is that now I know that Hamburger Haven is worth coming back to IF I'm in the area.
HAmburger Haven

HAmburger Haven
HAmburger Haven

Hamburger Haven
8954 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069(310) 659-8796

Fleming's Steak house.

It started out high and ended low. I attended the one-night event special dinner called "BYO wine dinner."Tonight's menu:Hors d'oeuvre-Lump Crab Crostini with Tropical Pineapple and Prickly Pear Vinaigrette. It was nice refreshing with hint of lemon and a nice tangy crunch from the pear. Yeah! A great start so I thought.
Flemings Steak house

Salad-Baby Arugula and Spinach Salad with Tea-Smoked Duck and Goat Cheese Foam. Nice, smoky tasting and tender duck cooked perfectly. There was no arugula in the salad and the spinach was water-logged. This was a 50/50 dish, not great but also not bad.
Fleming's Steakhouse
Here is where we started sliding down the slope.Entrée-Broiled Filet Mignon Poached in Butter on Roasted Parsnips Topped with Mushroom Caponata and a Pomegranate Glaze. How can you go wrong with a filet mignon? It was topped with a super-sweet simple syrup pomegranate glaze which was unbearably bad. The mushroom tasted like they came out a can. I expect a mushroom caponata to have an acid and a slight sweetness to it. This had no acid as it was drowned in the pomegranate syrup. The roasted parsnips were good but again everything seemed to have this syrup all over it. This dish had the dinner really picking up speed as it was going downhill.

Dessert-Sour Cream Pound Cake with Poached Pears and Blue Cheese Crumbles drizzled with Rosemary-Infused Caramel Sauce. Everyone loves dessert right? Wrong. Here is where we hit the bottom. The sour cream pound cake was cut nicely in a square and topped with a poached pear. As I went to eat a piece all of the sides of the cake were hard and when I tasted it was so dry I had to wash it down with water. The poached pear was not thoroughly poached and it was hard to bite into.

I could not eat the remainder of the dish. I would rather a meal start sluggish and get better as it goes on but that was not the case in this situation

Fleming's Steakhouse
6373 Topanga Canyon Blvd
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
(818) 346-1005

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Flaming Clam Grill of Cheongdamdong

The restaurant's name, Bultaneun Cheongdamdong Jogae Gui, translates into English as "Flaming Clam Grill of Cheongdamdong". , Cheongdamdong is a fancy suburb in Seoul nicknamed the Korean Beverly Hills as it has upscale boutiques and art galleries.

Don’t look for any English here as everything is in Korean even the menu.
We chose the 59.99 option for our table of three

The nice thing, though, is that the menu has pictures so you know what you’re getting.
Flaming Clam Grill


I was invited by a friend and upon reading the L.A. Times review I knew I was in for a real treat. This is a place that offers fresh seafood and they cook it for you tableside. Oh yeah, I was in. As soon as we all sat down the feast began. The first item to come out was the Gyeran jjim AKA the Korean steamed egg casserole which you spoon out. It has the texture of a soft custard. Alongside that was the ddukboki spicy rice cake.
DDukboki/ egg eoup


Next, the banchan was spaced all over our table to be shared and eaten with our main course. What I love about banchan is that it is constantly replenished. My favorite banchan is kimchi and even though I know it’s not a main course I treat it as such. Banchan is different at every restaurant depending on the chef but the one constant is kimichi as no meal is complete without it. The banchan served tonight was kimchi, quail eggs (which were cooked perfectly nice and creamy), marinated vegetables, congee, fried rice with nori, vegetable pancake, tempura fried sweet potato and noodles.

Tempura fried potato,noodles and korean pancakes.
fried potato
Fried rice.

Salad and congee.
Salad/ Congee
Clam soup
Clam Soup

Next, our seafood arrives consisting of shellfish such as shrimp, scallops,clams, oysters, abalone, conch and mussels.
Top View of Seafood

Oysters placed on fried rice.
Mussels with rice/Nori
The seafood was arranged neatly on our grill and the server knew exactly where to place each item depending on how fast it would cook. The server opened up each clam and placed it on the grill.

As each item was cooked it was arranged at the perimeter of the grill for us to start eating.

Grilled Shrimp

Don't look for any type of seasoning on your seafood because there isn’t. The reason you have all the various banchan is so it can be eaten with your meal. I like the idea that the seafood is served in its natural state. This way you know what you’re eating is fresh and not covered up with spices and sauces. The experience for me was like one big seafood bake without getting sand in my shoes. I will definitely be back and bring more friends.

We did pretty good eating everything.

Bultaneun Cheongdamdong Jogae Gui
3465 W. 6th Street, Unit 20
Los Angeles, CA 90005