Monthly Archives: April 2010

Panini Cafe

I always forget about Panini Cafe. If you want a salad, and I mean, a good salad–a big salad–and a good cup of soup, Panini is there, just waiting for you.  It’s unassuming, it’s delicious, it’s hearty, and it’s worth every penny. And, almost more importantly, it’s the perfect place to take someone when you don’t know where to take someone.  It’s got a plethora of options; from salads, to sandwiches, to meat plates, to veggie plattters.  And the portions are huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge. Even if they don’t look like it here.

 

Lentil Soup

Chicken Panini Salad

Salmon Salad

 

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Din Tai Fung

I thought I didn’t like Chinese food. I thought I didn’t like dumplings. I would now like to go back in time and slap the &%$* out of myself from 10 years ago for making me waste all the time I could’ve been eating dumplings.  Because, done right, they are SUBLIME. I mean, have you ever had soup dumplings? Because if you have, and you know me, and you didn’t come up to me and say “AK, soup dumplings are the most amazing food in the world. I mean, if you haven’t eaten them, you should slap yourself in the face, and immediately go eat ten of them.” If you did not say that to me, and you knew this secret amazingness, don’t tell me, because you will be dead to me. DEAD. So is the salty, sour, vinegary, gingery, warm, amazballs essence of Din Tai Fung in Arcadia

People, THIS SHIT IS GOOD.

Evidence:

Every week, there’s a different vegetable.

GET THESE green beans if they’re available.

The Wonton Soup is perfect with soy sauce and chili oil.

Steamed Pork Buns. Just…sigh…delicious…

The money shot: Juicy Pork Dumplings.

Vinegar, ginger shreds, chili pepper flakes, and soy dipping sauce.

Get out of my way, I will eat your fingers if they’re in my path.

Pork and Shrimp Shu Mai…soupy in the bottom, shrimpy on top. 

Perfect all around.

So good, I don’t want to eat anywhere else, ever.  But I’ll suffer through other meals, just to survive, until I get to go back.

THAT’S how good it is.

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La Cita

 

If ever you need a Bloody Mary around…oh…say, 5pm, then you’re in the mood for one place, and one place only.  That place is La Cita in Downtown LA

 

Sure, you’ll have to push your way through the seedy, rabble-rousing, nearly elderly group packed like cattle in the inside, dark as black-ink bar. But once you make your way to the bolted-down-tile-floored patio out back, you’re in a different world, baby. Just don’t start a fire, because the exits don’t work, and the fences are decorated with barbed-wire. For a reason that has nothing to do with hipster-chic.  

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Langer’s Deli

 

Believe it or not, I’d never been to Langer’s before yesterday. I wasn’t sure what to order, so our fine waitress suggested the #19, the most popular sandwich–a pastrami with cheese, coleslaw,  and Russian dressing. Sure…sounds good…but I was in the mood for something hot, crunchy and gooey.  So a grilled pastrami with sauerkraut it was. 

    And, it was one helluva sandwich, let me tell you.

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Javier’s

Not often enough, but about twice a month, our Sunday Fun-Day crew ventures out from the far Eastside border of LA, piles into an SUV, and heads out to the land called Orange County. To an oasis of gourmet Mexican food, crispy, over-inflated cougars, and an all too thoughtfully stocked bar.  Perfect for a day of sitting back, getting blurry, swallowing down salty delights, and people-watching. This place, my friends, is Javier’s, in Crystal Cove.

We’ve been there enough that when Orlando spots us shuffling in, he clears our seats at the bar and lays out our usuals before we even slide into our spots.  Mine: A Don Julio Anejo, neat. In a snifter, please. Yes, I am an 82-year-old Latin man. And then, before you know it, the goodies, crunchy, gooey, cheesy, salty, start arriving…

Perfect beef taquitos

amazing shrimp enchalladas

And my favorito, the wet bean and cheese burrito. O to the MG.

We sit, we chat, we eat, and we DRINK. Food comes, plates are taken away. There’s an out of this world ceviche, a secret Habanero salsa that will rip your taste buds right off your tongue, and a steak picado that will make you forget your mother’s name. It’s all amazing, from the food on your fork, to the bleached out 57-year-old 36-quadruple-D’s winking at your husband. And, if you’re like me, it’s a Sunday Fun-Day you’ll want to have over and over and over again.

 

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P.S., I Love You.

Last weekend was a Palm Springs kinda weekend.  Well, actually, it really was a Palm Springs weekend. Literally.  I mean, we went to Palm Springs.  And we went with a horde–16 in total, spread between two houses with 8 beds.  It was an old-school, high-school, spring break throwback.  And food was an issue. 

  

Bristol Farms kept our fridge stocked, and between breakfast, deli snacks/spreads/crackers/cheeses and crusty breads for lunch and mid-day snacks, there was nothing we were without. But, the king of our culinary cravings, was the massive 17lb, bone-in prime rib roast that somebody’s genius husband (mine) decided we’d cook for dinner. 

He tried and tied, and moved, and maneuvered, but could not get that behemoth into one pan, so as much as it hurt him, he had to cut the sucker in half.  Which, actually worked out nicely for all those end-cut people out there. And there they sat, warming up to room temp, salted, dusted, and at the ready, while I layed out, oiled, greased, and charring by the pool…

                            

For a side, the man in the kitchen whipped up a pan of his amazing potatoes au grautin with a touch of gorgonzola cheese…

and once those hunks of steak came steaming out of the oven, we were all in hot, sticky, Palm Desert, overcrowded, drunken mobbed-up heaven.

      

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President’s Curried Eggs

Last night, while I was away at a westside spinning class, and nomnomnoming at A Votre Sante with my girlfriends, my family ordered my favorite takeout: President Thai. I’m hard pressed to pick a favorite dish, but the one I have to eat until it’s gone, or until I want to vomit–either from the spice, or the sheer gluttony–is the Green Curry with Shrimp .  I was stuuuuuuuuuufed from my own dinner, so even the smell of coconut milk, red chile, and happiness couldn’t lure me into another meal so soon.  Lucky for me, my big giant man of a husband tucked my tub of tastiness wayyyy back in the fridge so the ravenous pack of hyenas in my kitchen, howling at the burn in their throats, had no idea it was there.

I stayed up as long as I could, hoping, waiting, almost praying for a tiny tiny twinge of hunger to tap me on the tummy, to no avail. So, I went to bed, full, happy, and excited for Thai in the morning. But when I woke up, I wanted eggs. I wanted curry. But, I wanted eggs. …do I dare…? Should I try…? It sounds gross…but I wannnit. So, I did it.

I separated the egg whites, because egg yolk and curry sounds sickeningly heavy first thing in the morning. Then, I grilled the shrimp, whipped the curry with the eggs, and,  took a chance on life….

And, believe, you, me: I will be doing this a lot more often.

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