Monday, September 29, 2008

Look What the Squid Dragged In!

We were preparing four our monthly sashimi feast the other day and my mom started cutting up the squid... when she noticed there was something inside the squid! Guess what came out of this squid?! A WHOLE sardine! I guess the squid swallowed the poor fish whole! The fish was almost as big as the freakin' squid. We debated on whether or not we should eat the sardine but decided not to. It was just kind of gross...
I just wanted to share this with you because I thought it was pretty neat. I've never seen anything like this before! :D Rad~!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Photograms


I started taking a photography class last month and our last assignment was to make a photogram. A photogram (also called rayograph) is a photographic image made without a camera by placing objects directly onto the surface of photo paper and then exposing it to light. So basically, this was the first time I've ever stepped into a darkroom and made a camera-less photo. I did a photogram with cassette tapes, a cut up shopping bag and my wedding rings. I made a positive photogram and a negative photogram. cool huh?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Il Fornaio, Beverly Hills

We ate out at a lot of great places while the father-in-law was in town. He left last week and I'm still not done blogging about all the food we ate! One of the restaurants we hit up during his stay was the local Beverly Hills, Il Fornaio. Il Fornaio is a popular chain of Italian restaurants and we decided to go there for dinner. They start you off with a basket of warm bread with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. We began our dinner with with lots of tasty appetizers including this crispy calamari.
We also had some melon with prosciutto...
Beef carpacio with salad and Parmesan cheese...
Caprese salad with mozzarella cheese and olives... All of the appetizers were pretty good considering that Il Fornaio is a "chain" restaurant.
I had the lobster ravioli that was highly recommended on Yelp. All of the other main course plates were HUGE but the lobster ravioli was a perfect portion and it was delightfully yummy. I would go back to Il Fornaio just to have some of their ravioli. Sis-in-law got the penne arabiata, but it was very mediocre and it's a bit of a turn off when so much pasta is sitting on one plate.Otousan and hubby stuck with the pasta in Bolognese sauce which was very tasty as well. All in all, Il Fornaio is a great place to dine on a weeknight to have a simple meal of Italian.

Il Fornaio
301 N Beverly Dr.

Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Tel: (310) 550-8330

Monday, September 22, 2008

Urth Caffé, Beverly Hills

Our house in LA is right around the corner from Urth Caffé in Beverly Hills. Although our place is within walking distance from the cafe I have only been to Urth Caffé once to pick up a cup of tea. I've read some great reviews about dining at Urth Caffé so I decided to have breakfast there once and for all.
Inside and out, Urth Caffé is like a little house and the atmosphere of the place makes you feel right at home. I kept reading on Yelp how the Spanish Latte is amaaaazing, so even though I'm not a coffee drinker I decided to try it. The baristas draw beautiful patterns in the lattes... too pretty to drink! This place is definitely a much better alternative to Starbucks.
Sis-in-law is a boba freak, and this place even had boba. This is the iced green tea blend with boba.
Hubby and outousan had the hot apple bread pudding. You pour warm cream over it and eat it hot. I recommend this bread pudding, it warmed up my tummy and was scrumptious.
Sis loves ham and cheese so she had the ham and cheese croissant. They have a great variety of fresh baked goods at this cafe and everything looked wonderful. I had to try the pumpkin pie with a molasses cookie crust. I looove pumpkin pie and I always look forward to eating lots of pumpkin pie in the autumn. The pumpkin pie at Urth Caffé was huge but delicious!

Urth Caffé
267 S Beverly Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Tel:(310) 205-9311

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Last BBQ of the Year

The nights in SoCal have become cooler and summer is slowly but surely coming to an end. Every summer, my family indulges in backyard BBQs and last week we had yet another one. As the BBQ went on into the evening the night air was nippy and we decided that this will be the last BBQ of the year. We will have to wait till the weather gets warmer again in the Spring.
At this BBQ we decided to do it Japanese style with yakitori. My favorite was the asparagus and bacon kebabs. The yakitori was coated in terkiyaki sauce and grilled to a crisp on our propane BBQ grill.My dad is always in charge of the grill and he makes the meanest steaks. To accompany our yakitori, we also had a seafood marinade salad.And also, soy sauce and miso glazed rice balls cooked on the BBQ grill. I love yaki onigiris!Our 3 doggies loooove BBQs too, they get to feast on everything that has been dropped. The dogs must be pretty disappointed about having to wait months before our next BBQ. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Blue Fin

Blue Fin is a small Japanese restaurant owned by Chef Takashi Abe in Newport Coast. This place serves sheek, contemporary and fresh Japanese food and my mom really loves this place.
Dinner can be expensive but we like to come here for lunch because the lunch menu is very affordable and tasty.
All of the lunch menu items come with a fresh green salad to start off with.
I ordered the bento box which was a beautiful array of colors and a nice variety of small dishes.
It came with teriyaki beef, yakitori, ebi shinjo, sushi, pickles, and miso soup. My favorite part of the bento box was the ebi shinjo, prawn paste sandwiched between two slices of lotus root and deep fried. mmm... This is one item I really hope to re-create in the future.Dad and hubby ordered the sushi platter with spicy tuna rolls. Simple, elegant, and delicious!

BLUE FIN
7952 E Pacific Coast Hwy.
Newport Beach, CA 92657
Tel:(949) 715-7373

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Spago, Beverly Hills

It's about time for an update! I've just had so many photos in my camera that I've been spending a lot of time organizing my pics. Okay, nuff' with the excuses and let me share with you my experience at Spago in Beverly Hills.
The Spago Beverly Hills has been a very popular restaurant ever since it opened in 1997. Stepping into this restaurant I felt like I was in a time slip. Everything from the restaurant sign, creepy bronze statue by the entrance, interior, and furniture screamed 1990's! Don't get me wrong, the restaurant was gorgeous and well kept but very 90210...
We sat at a booth near the kitchen but I believe the best spot to sit is in the Garden's romantic patio, shaded by tall pepper trees. Sitting by the kitchen was really neat because I was able to see the chefs working in the kitchen through the big glass windows.
Spago's cuisine is a combination of French, Asian, Californian food. Their wine list is as thick as a bible and their menu is a small novel. While you are deciding what you want to drink or eat, they provide you with limitless amounts of a variety of bread.
I opted for the olive bread and Parmesan lavash bread. They were both really yummy and I kept getting seconds and thirds of the crunchy lavash.For the first course I ordered the sauteed Maryland Crab cake with marinated tomatoes, basil aioli and micro-green salad. The presentation was beautiful and the crab was so juicy. I really enjoyed this dish. Otousan had the marinated Japanese hamachi and tuna sashimi with sticky rice, wasabi, soy-yuzu sauce and pumpkin seed oil. Otousan is quite the sushi connoisseur and wasn't very impressed with this sashimi dish.
For the main course I had the pan-roasted chicken with wild mousseron mushrooms, goat cheese, and yellow finnish potato puree. The chicken was huge! It was bigger than my foot. It was cooked very well with a nice crispy skin, but it was a tad too thick for me. It tasted nice, but I think it's a crime to charge so much (over $30!) for CHICKEN.Otousan had the pan-roasted Alaskan halibut with caramelized corn, wild chanterelle mushrooms, bacon confit, puree of white corn and mascarpone-mushroom emulsion. Again he was not impressed with his dish. I had to agree with otousan that his halibut (although plated beautifully) was bland and flaky. Hubby and sis-in-law had the Prime "cote de boeuf" grilled over charcoal with baby swiss chard, roasted cipollini onions, armagnac-green peppercorn sauce and pommes aligot. This was probably the best dish of the night. The meat was cooked very well and the cheese mashed potatoes that came with the dish were delicious! Hubby and his sister really loved the steak. We were quite full after eating the first course and the main course but we could not go home without trying the dessert at Spago. Sherry Yard is one of the most famous pastry chefs in Los Angeles and she is the pâtissier at this restaurant. Sis-in-law ordered the apple strudel which was pretty tasty... but I still think the apple struel I had in Prague was the best ever.Hubby ordered the cookies and confection plate that included macaroons, brownies, and lots of different little cookies. Although very cute, everything on the plate was mediocre. I'm sad to say that Mrs. Fields cookies at the mall produces better cookies than the ones that were on my hubby's plate. Otousan ordered the peach cobbler and was completely shocked... at how disgusting his plate looked. Just look at the picture for yourself! Does that look like a pricey dessert that would be served at a Michelin 2 star restaurant? My sis-in-law said it looked like chunks of chicken. Even the flavor of this chicken cobbler was questionable.The waitress recommended that I order the kaiserchmarren, a crème fraÎche soufflé pancake with sautéed seascape strawberries so I decided to try it out. I was so looking forward to dessert at Spago but I was severely let down. When my dessert was brought to the table I thought that they brought me something that was half eaten. It was flat out ugly. Look at the photo above... they brought the dessert out to me just like that. I took a bite, and it was mushy, soggy, and overly sweet. Nothing I expected from an award winning pâtissier. Overall, or meal at Spago was a let down. The food was boring, the desserts were ugly and the entire meal was definitely not worth the price of the hefty bill.
After dinner, while we were waiting for our car at valet a homeless man said he was hungry and was asking for money so I offered him some of our left over dessert. Even he didn't want to eat any of the Spago dessert, but he reluctantly took a brownie as he waked away. Bottom line is don't give into the hype, don't eat at Spago.

SPAGO
176 N Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: (310) 385-0880

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gonpachi Revisited

I've blogged about Gonpachi before so I'm going to make this short and simple. Sit at the bar. The sushi chef is awesome and Gonpachi is one of the best places to have authentic Japanese sushi in LA. I got to watch the chef cut and prepare a fresh aji (mackerel). And of course I didn't forget to have my favorite pumpkin zensai for dessert!Gonpachi is the new and improved Miyagi's on Sunset. It's a fun place to go for the food and the atmosphere. The architecture is really something to behold, $18 million was reportedly spent on the construction of this grand restaurant. yikes.

GONPACHI
134 N La Cienega Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Tel: (310) 659-8887

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