Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hotel Nacho Crock Pots and the Kang Kang Food Court

The other weekend, my friend Jess came to town and predictably, it was a weekend filled with back to back horrors. Like, I reversed 2 months worth of embarrassing myself at barre class in 72 hours. So, if anyone is interested in devaluing their ClassPass membership, I recommend using this post as a guide or maybe just hanging out with me for a weekend.

After picking my friend up from LAX on a Friday night (otherwise known as hell on earth), we made our way to Republique to meet up some friends. Yes, I went there again as it has become my new favorite restaurant, so don't expect me to shut up about it any time soon. This time, we ordered this toast that should be outlawed for being so ostentatiously fat and sexy. Oh wait, California already tried to outlaw this.

Foie gras, oxtail and bone marrow toast seasoned with tears of joy that I harvested myself.

I once brought my friend to the El Flamin Taco truck in Koreatown on one of her previous visits where she tried their deep fried quesadillas and she has not shut the fuck up about them since. I can't really blame her because what they are doing here is taking genius and encasing it in a tortilla and having a sassy Mexican woman deep fry it until golden brown on both sides. We drove to this truck immediately after dinner by the way...

The potato and chorizo deep fried quesadilla from the El Flamin Taco truck. Best consumed after you've eaten a large meal with high butter density.  
The next morning, we woke up and were shocked to find out that we didn't die in our sleep, so we celebrated by hitting up the Kang Kang Food Court in Alhambra. Aside from having the greatest name in  the history of restaurants, they also have bombass dumplings. Celebrity chef, David Chang has been posting a lot of pornographic Instagram videos of himself eating these dumplings and I thought I would wack it to these dumplings in person for a change. 

My new apartment. 

SHEN JIANG BAO aka Pan Fried Shanghai Dumplings.

CAUTION: These are filled with like 24 ounces of hot broth, so wear clothing when you eat this. Preferably something flame retardant that covers your entire body. I learned this lesson the hard way. 
Our actual weekend plans were to go to the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs so that we could get a room with a patio and fireplace so that we could make s'mores while we lay on our asses and drink. We also brought a crock pot so that we could make nachos on the patio, which is probably the greatest idea I've had in last decade. 



Got a jumbo bag of chips and a jumbo can of nacho cheese from Smart and Final. The lady that rang us up asked us if we were having a party. If you call three hungry girls binge drinking at a hotel for one night a party, then I'd say I wasn't lying when I told the cashier yes. 

Our makeshift kitchen. 
The fruits of our labor. 

Definitely the photograph of the weekend. We failed to bring utensils, so we had to stir the cheese with a few skewers instead. It was almost like we were camping. 
The subsequent results of our Palm Springs visit required me to take a "mental health day" on Monday. I used this time to continue our aggressive snacking because I didn't want to seem like a bad host. Our first stop for the day was at Marugame Monzo in Little Tokyo where they make fresh udon noodles. I'm not even huge on udon, but this place is my new noodle boyfriend because they are doing some snazzy shit with sea creatures. 

The Sea Urchin Cream Udon. This is the kind of thing my back fat pines for late at night. I always have to be like, "SHUT UP, BACK FAT! YOU DON'T CONTROL ME!" 

The Mentai Squid Butter Udon. 
We headed over to the Grand Central Market afterwards because we're not fans of letting ourselves digest our food before eating again. Indigestion don't confront us none.

We had some wine and oysters at The Oyster Gourmet, which is a little circular oyster bar in the market.

I can't even deal with tryna rotate this shit right now. 
After having a few beers at La Cita, we decided to grab some ice cream at McConnell's but somehow ended up walking to Belcampo Meat Co. because the beefy scent wafting through the air was too alluring to ignore. 

The Belcampo Cheeseburger. Somehow, that bread was the most delicious thing about this and the patty was outstanding. It was deliciously confusing. 
The Philly Cheesesteak. So good, but so unnecessary. 
I wouldn't say that mental health day was very effective because it only made me hate myself. Jess is no longer allowed to visit me because I gain 10 lbs every hour that she is here and my fupa just can't take this shit anymore. I don't even think we saw a vegetable at any point. I'm going to have to walk around with ketel bells tied to my cankles for the rest of my life for my body to recuperate from this weekend. Ugh, okay bye.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I Ate, I Farted, I Conquered: LA Weekly's The Essentials 2015

Last weekend,  I had the pleasure of attending LA Weekly's: The Essentials event in Downtown LA's California Market Center. It's an event that LA Weekly puts on annually where they invite 55 of the best restaurants in LA and a bunch of wineries to get attendees fat and drunk over the course of several hours. We went last year and it was the most magical day drinking event that I had ever attended; ate my ass off, drank an obscene amount of wine and blew a 0.2 at the breathalyzer booth. This year's event was possibly better than last years, except they didn't have a breathalyzer booth for me to show off at. I recommend buying the VIP tickets in advance so that you can enter an hour before everyone else so that you can avoid lines and ravage the food tables before the peasants arrive.

Once I was released from the elevator, I made a run for the first table to find some noodles to suck on. Luckily, the Chengdu Taste table was there to provide a suckle of some cold spicy noodles and skewers that I was too afraid to try because I didn't want to prematurely set fire to my mouth too soon in the game.


After spritzing my tongue down with a fire extinguisher and shattering every bone in my face, I moved to the next table where Kiriko was handing out BLUE CRAB HANDROLLS. FUHHH...you cannot just hand things like this out and not expect me to stand there and wolf down at least six. 

HALLELUJAH HOLLA BACK
I couldn't help but notice the display of oysters at the Connie and Ted's table, so I did a couple sets of suicides between the blue crab handrolls and the oysters. I'd never done so much sprinting while consuming sea life before.



I spotted a foxy blonde guy manning the next table, so I wiped the algae from my face and walked over as seductively as I possibly could to see what he was about. It turned out to be celebrity Chef Curtis Stone handing out what looked like a fried brick with foie gras parfait from his restaurant Maude. I just shoved the plate into my panties, winked at him and went on my merry way. 


A prop from the stage production of Harold and Maude, starring Curtis Stone as Maude and myself as Harold.

Got this gorgeous little salmon causa from the Picca table. Snack foods from the land of Peruvia are so elegant.


The favorite bite of the day was this chicken liver mousse crostini from Fathers Office. I'm not huge on chicken liver, but when it's ground up, spiced and run through an aerosol can, it transforms into a beautiful hair product.


I believe this was lamb tartare from Animal? Or somewhere else...I have no clue. At this point, I was so delirious and so full of crostinis with odd variations of flesh on them that I pretty much blacked out. 


And lastly, this Old Fashioned jelly shot almost made me vomit. I don't think I've ever had a jello shot that wasn't chased by an inward barf.

I also met Chef Ludo Lefebvre, Roy Choi and some of the friendliest custodians I've ever met in my life. I also amass a large amount of free glassware whenever I show up to this, so that alone is well worth the price of admission. At least I think it was free...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Sriracha Quesarito and Pie Fails/Victories

The love of my life, Taco Bell took a giant leap this week by incorporating the flavors of the orient into their menu with the Sriracha Quesarito. From what I'm gathering, Sriracha is the new bacon in the fast food community. Jack In The Box has it's Spicy Sriracha Burger and Subway now offers Creamy Sriracha Sauce as a squirt option. As an active Sriracha squirter and fan of the regular Quesarito, I was felt it was my responsibility to investigate this exotic hybrid item. 


Taco Bell really pulled out all the stops with the packaging for this. You know it's serious when they print special faux-foil wrappers instead of just throwing it in a paper Burrito Supreme wrapper. 

  
Much like myself, it's virtually impossible to photograph Taco Bell food and make it look sexy. If I didn't preface this photograph with a long introduction about this being a burrito, you would't even know this was food. It kind of looks like a rag that I used to clean my microwave with after an explosion. Although, I would normally use my tongue for that kind of clean up. 

ANYWAYS, I got heartburn within the first bite of this and I only ate like half of it because I encountered an unnatural amount of rice in it halfway through. I created the 3D pie chart below and am going to send it to Taco Bell to distribute to its employees so that they know how to properly construct a Quesarito. 



After looking at this, I'm realizing that the unit of measurement of the values are unknown and this is in no way helpful to anyone, but I'm too lazy to fix it because it took me like 30 minutes to even make this because I don't know how to convert the one I made in Excel to a jpeg. I resorted to using an online graph generator and it doesn't let me display the values as percentages!! Ugh, should I delete it? No, I'll leave it up as a lesson to Microsoft to show them how impractical it is to not let people save pie charts as jpegs and as a lesson to myself to never make a pie chart while I'm hungover again. Or possibly ever because I clearly don't understand them and I can't believe I had the gall to make it a 3D chart. All it's done is display how retarded I am in 3D. 

FUCK MY LIFE. 

Well, here's a pie that I understand all too well...


I've been constructing the most glorious pizzas via Pizza Hut's Flavor of Now options. You can pick all kinds of sauces, drizzles and powders that they can dust on the crusts. I believe I've created the most addicting and delicious possible combination and have elevated myself to becoming a VIP Pizza Hut customer by ordering this pizza so much. If you have any kind of respect yourself, you will order the following combo: 

PAN PIZZA CRUST
GARLIC PARMESAN SAUCE
PINEAPPLE
PEPPERONI
HUT'S FAVORITE CRUST EDGE

The Yum! Brands corporation does not commission me to promote their products, I am just a creepy consumer of all of their products. In fact, I am pretty sure all the complementary and constructive e-mails that I routinely send to them have placed me on some sort of government watch list of creepy people. 





Sunday, February 22, 2015

Republique and Bar Ama

I've been fancy as fuck lately and have been eating at places that don't have drive-thru's. Although, I would like to take this opportunity to challenge high-end restaurants to explore the idea of drive-thru's because I think the industry has underestimated just how many people want to eat things like bone marrow or escargot in their 2005 Prius'. Why should I be limited to eating chicken nuggets from my lap and/or center console, when I can enjoy a nice handheld tomahawk instead? The idea of  sitting in traffic, waving around a tomahawk and yelling at people from my car is so elegant to me. So please, to all the hoards of James Beard award-winning chefs that read this blog- you need to bulldoze the businesses next to your restaurants to accommodate room for a drive-thru if you want to maintain any sort of edge in this town. 

 So my friends and I went to Republique on La Brea the other night and we had one of the most arousing meals I've had in a long time. I make this claim around twice a week, mostly after any meal where I've consumed carbs, but this time I really mean it. Not just because dinner was expensive as shit, but because it tasted expensive as shit. We also saw Common and John Legend here, so that could have been the source of most of our arousal.


Escargots en Croute. Yes, bugs sitting in a hot bath of butter, parsley and garlic beneath a heap of pastry crust. If you come here, make sure you order this and use the butter concoction as a condiment for everything else. My friend opted to just take shots of it throughout dinner and barked like a dog whenever someone tried to pry it from her hands.


This is the Eggs on Toast, which is uni (sea urchin gonads) and scrambled eggs (scrambled chicken abortions). In a perfect world, this would be my daily breakfast and would be AVAILABLE AT A DRIVE-THRU. 


I would like to welcome foie gras back to California. I mean, I get why you left because I care about the well being of live ducks, but at the same time I suppose I don't because I ate this and seeing a roasted duck carcass hanging from a window in Chinatown results in me bartering in Cantonese and waving around a wad of cash. Basically, I'm sorry you're so delicious. Oh yeah, pour escargot butter on this. 


" I know things get hard
But girl you got it, girl you got it there you go
Can't you tell by how they looking at you everywhere you go
Wondering what's on your mind, it must be hard to be that fine,
When all these motherfuckas wanna waste your time
It's just amazing, girl, and all I can say is...

I'm so, I'm so, I'm so, I'm so,
I'm so proud of you

- Drake on this Black Truffle Risotto 


IT ARRIVED WITH A FUCKING CHEESE SCROLL!! Like how regal do I gotta be to have cheese scroll announce my arrival!? 


Beef Short Ribs. This was so tender, all you need is a fork and spoon to pull it apart. In fact, we all just whispered encouraging words to it and it fell apart on it's own. 

Do yourself a favor and go here. I need to go back because I saw waiters carrying around charcuterie/cheese boards that were the size of ski's and I need to experience a cheese ski ASAP. 

For Valentines Day, Juls and I went to Bar Ama in DTLA because I'd been stalking it on the internet and sending him creepy e-mails about it for months because I thought it was necessary for him to get in touch with his Mexican heritage by eating here. I thought Valentines Day would be an opportune time for me to force this upon him, so I did. 


We actually started off with the puffy tacos, which were off the menu. My instincts were to shove them in my mouth whole as soon as they were placed on the table, so I didn't take a picture. SOOO GOOD.  Anyhow, here we have the Cauliflower & Cilantro Pesto, Pork Belly Chicharron and the Snake's Blood cocktail. 


The Seared Lengua. By far, my favorite lengua (cow tongue) that I've ever had in LA and that's saying something because lengua is my go-to taco meat whenever I visit any taco truck or table. And no, that is not a safe life choice. 

Everything went gorgeously together and hat's off to the waiter for stopping us from ordering a family sized portion of lamb in addition to all of this. I don't like to be told what to do, but I do like it when people are kind about calling me fat, saving me money and saving me from looking like this...



Monday, February 9, 2015

Szechuan Impression and Fruity Pebble Donuts

Sometime last year, I noticed a new business called Szechuan Impression had opened up in my neighborhood in Alhambra. I spent the next few months enjoying this fobby comedic gift from god when I drove past it everyday, never really realizing that it was a restaurant and not a Sichuanese photography studio. I thought to myself, "You mean to tell me that these impressions are AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE and EDIBLE?!" From that moment on, I was determined to Yelp it as soon as I got to work. After five minutes of diligent Googling, I discovered that this restaurant was hot shit and was even my arch nemesis, Jonathan Gold had been reveling in its delightful impressions.

Well, I finally made it there last week and my first impression was, "THE FUCK IS HAPPENING TO MY MOUTH?!" Apparently, the key ingredient in all Sichuanese dishes is a murderous cocktail of three parts capsaicin and the rest is some kind of numbing agent normally reserved for dental anesthesia. 



Do not get me wrong, everything we ate here was DELICIOUS. Here we have the Honest Authentic Dumplings (I shit you not, that is the name...LOL, I know!) and the Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce. And yes, they are both sitting in pools of magma. 


While ordering, there was a pleasant, beefy aroma wafting from the table next to us. We asked the table what it was and it was their Oxtail Soup. We demanded it be brought to us immediately and when it arrived, we all held hands and cried. This was by far, my favorite impression. My second favorite are behind the soup, which were the Lamb on Toothpicks. They are much more delightful than they sound...


It's customary to bring Asian babies to Sichuanese restaurants because  everyone knows how fond Asian babies are of hot chilis. That is my niece, Gwen or Gwenjamin Franklin as I like to call her. Despite her throwing major shade in this photo, she told me she thought everything was phenomenal. 


I had a photoshoot with my favorite donut the other day when I noticed it matched my new rug. This majestic creation is the FRUITY PEBBLE DONUT from Cafe Dulce in Little Tokyo. When I was in college, I was on a strict diet of Fruity Pebbles, Capri Sun and Hennessy, so you know this donut takes me all the way back. I wish someone would make a Henny donut already...



Went to L'Asiette Steak Frites on Melrose and it was theeeee SHIT. They specialize in steak frites and it's practically the only thing on the menu, much like Le Relais de L'Entrecote in Paris. I went there when I was in Paris and I saw a rat, but instead of being grossed out, I screamed, "RATATOUILLE!" and almost fainted from excitement. Unfortunately, there were no gifted rats at L'Asiette. Although, what they do have is buttery, melt in your panties steak and sorrel soup. 



Had a Superbowl party, so I decided to flex my entertaining nuts by frying up some buffalo and lemon pepper wangs (and a freeze cup). Check out that sexy ladle of nacho cheese from the nacho crockpot. I also curated a charcuterie platter featuring the finest of cured meats and cheeses from the nearest Fresh and Easy refrigerator. 


I'll leave you with this disturbing photo of a toothless cat swallowing prosciutto whole. He may or may not have choked to death. Just kidding...I wish. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Don't Ever Buy a Scale

At the tender age of 28, I just bought my first scale at Target for $7.99. I ripped it open, tore off all my clothing, jumped on, screamed at the top of my lungs and threw it across the room. I am currently trying to decide whether I should return it to Target for being vulgar or surrender it to the nearest fire station, swaddled in a blanket with a Post-it note that says, "I can't even."

Yes, the struggle is still very real for me.

I was sloppily attempting to diet for most of last year because I was a bridesmaid in two weddings and didn't fit either of the original dresses that the brides intended for me to wear. In short, I am now in possession of four bridesmaids dresses, one of which is permanently stained with pork gristle and am writing a step-by-step guide on how to let back fat ruin your life.

So once wedding season was over with, I really decided to do me and let that back fat fly. After all, bears store fat for the winter, why wouldn't I? Have a look at my dark descent into a path of destruction...

After seeing Bachi Burger in Las Vegas featured on my favorite show, Diners, Drive-In's and Dives, I've had it on my list of restaurants to ugly-cry in while eating. To everyone's dismay, this is precisely what happened.


OXTAIL chili cheese fries. This was the go-to dish I used to make with the remains of my oxen when they would die while traveling along the Oregon Trail, so this dish really brought me back to a special place.


 This Kalbi Burger was truly OUT OF BOUNDS as Guy Fieri would say. The flavor jets were on full blast in the flavor Jacuzzi, so much so that I smeared the contents of the burger onto a flip flop and wore them around for a little bit before enthusiastically shoving them into my yap. I now understand why Guy is so adamant about using delicious foods as condiments for flip flops.


Tsujita Artisan Noodle Annex on Sawtelle is my favorite ramen on planet EARF (and outside of my animated fantasies set in Japan.) I think I blogged about their tsukemen before, I'm not sure. I'm too lazy to look back at it. Shout out to my digestive system for enduring the parade of unchewed noodles that march through it every time I come here. Honestly, who has time to chew?

I went home to the Bay Area for the holidays because my mother requires it. It is also my favorite time to visit because DUNGENESS CRAB is in season at this time.



On Christmas Eve, my family and I feasted on Salt and Pepper Crab at R&G Lounge. And no, I did not go to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas because I am Jewish. We went because we are lazy and this crab shits on gold, frankincense and myrrh and whatever other weird minerals/essential oils those "wise" men decided were proper gifts for an infant.

Saw my friends...that's always a disaster.


During our annual Christmas potluck, I slaved over a stove to make clam chowder with my friend, Jess. I stole the recipe from Hog Island, which is why this looks so elegant.

On another occasion, we decided to reserve a day to sit around and marathon eat with the help of some herbal refreshments.


When I walked into my friends house, she had this gorgeous spread waiting for me. This was breakfast...a dozen donuts, two buck Chuck, E-40's own Sluricane, a cheese and pate platter, Trader Joe's cookies and my the first four books of my new favorite graphic novel series, Saga. Saga is like Star Wars for derelicts.


For lunch, we made crab and garlic noodles served with a side of melted butter and swishers.


For dessert, we begged my brother to go to the store to get ice cream so that we could make donut sundaes. Our creative juices were really flowing when we concocted this beautiful mound of blueberry donut topped with vanilla ice cream.

This day ended with five grown women (two of which were allegedly working from home) eating five bags of gummy bears, getting foot massages at an Asian massage parlor and eating tacos from  what looked like an abandoned shipping container with a makeshift kitchen inside. 


Oakland was never the same after that glorious day.

And I will leave you with some revelations I had about beer the other weekend.


This Belching Beaver Brewery is brewing up some magical stuff. I don't know where their beaver dam is located, but I can only guess that it's located either in Heaven or Tijuana. The Peanut Butter Stout tastes exactly like JIF, with the added bonus of getting you drunk. The Horchata Imperial Stout on the left kind of just tasted like a good stout, not so much horchata. But fuck it, I'll drink whatever a beaver tells me to drink.