Monday, August 29, 2005

Craving #2...

Watercress Soup...

*** don't DOG it till you've tried it! ***

it's yummy :)

Recipe for Watercress Soup
(requires a food processor/blender)

• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 potato - peeled and cubed
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
• 2 1/2 cups milk
• 1 1/2 pounds watercress, large stems removed
• 1/4 cup whipped heavy cream (optional)
• 1/2 cup watercress leaves for garnish

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the potato and onion, stirring to coat with the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium, cover and heat for 5 minutes.

2. Pour in the chicken stock and the milk, bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Stir in the watercress and simmer, uncovered, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until watercress is just cooked.

3. In small batches, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, season to taste, and ladle into individual bowls. (Note: Place in refrigerator if not serving at this point.)

4. Top each serving with a dollop of whipped cream (I just used the cream straight and made circles in the soup), if desired and garnish with Watercress

Sweet Tooth...

Whoah, I made that Creme Brule French Toast I told you about earlier and boy, was it S*W*E*E*T! I HIGHLY recommend serving this dish with Ice Cream - a nice Vanilla with real vanilla bean is recommended - but really any vanilla will do. Oh - it was too sweet for some of my friends; but it was good none the less.

Another recommendation, serve it HOT. I made it a bit early and had to serve it a few hours later. I warmed the dish up before serving it but it didn't have the same effect as when it's right out of the oven. It was much thicker back at the house after I had just made it. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I'd have let this puppy come to room temperature on the drive over to the party and then popped it into the oven sometime after we all started eating. oh well - an idea for next time.

All in all - it was a cool dessert...I used King's Hawaiian Sweet bread since I couldn't find the round french bread that I wanted. I think the french bread might hold it's thickenss more than the Hawaiian Sweet bread - but I think the Hawaiian Sweet bread tastes better when this is used as a dessert. Cut thicker slices when using the Hawaiian Sweet Bread since my dessert flattened out too much for me.

One of the comments - "its similar to a bread pudding like consistency"...which to most isn't bad. An idea instead of serving ice cream with it is to make a creme anglaise sauce and drizzle generously over the dessert. oh yeah...

Eat for less!

Okay - so I'm cheap...but who isn't?! I mean, if you can save more money to eat more good food later - why not? There is a website that allows you to do just this. I was skeptical at first since not all my favorite restaurants are on this list...but surprisingly some of them are. The website is I've put a link to the right under "dine out for less!" for your clicking pleasure.

One place in particular that we like to go to for Shabu Shabu in the Orange County area is Koji's. Koji's isn't cheap by any means; it's located at The Block. But it's much closer than say, Little Tokyo in Downtown L.A. and there's lots of entertainment and shoppping to go along with the dinner so we like to go there before movies for a really nice dinner of shabu shabu or sushi or BOTH!

One winter - we stopped into Koji's and saw a promotion for gift certificates...the sign said "buy a $25 gift certificate for $10". That's 40% off your meal instantly! We jumped all over this deal. Ofcourse, there's some stipulations. You cannot combine more than 1 gift certificate per visit; One gift certificate per customer and I believe the gift certificate was only valid with parties of 2 or more. (sux for singles) But I could manage to fall into the "table for 2 please" category either with friends or my bf and so I bought several gift certificates. I have since used them all. :( With winter so far away - it was really hard to justify eating at Koji's now. But appeared and to my surprise - had the same deals. I actually think it WAS the same deal - Koji's just chose to advertise the same in their restaurant for some reason.

Long story short - browse the link to the right under the section "dine out for less!" - you might actually find a restaurant you like in there or one that you frequent. This is a good way to save on meals instantly. I also believe there is a 10% discount off your first purchase...if you are a going out foodie - I highly recommend taking a look.

*** READ THE FINE PRINT in the coupons please...some coupons are only good at certain meals and times and have other restrictions. ***

Friday, August 26, 2005

Yay for Google!

Oh thank with more foodie information. Thanks Google!

I luuuv food parties...

So it's that time of year that almost everyone loves...birthday day! I hear some of you moaning, but for some - it's just absolute fun. Especially when it involves Yum-e food! Here is an excerpt from my girlfriend's birthday invitation for tomorrow:

You're Invited!
It's potluck, so bring a dish AND a dessert.
(I'm craving sweets.)

My girlfriend's cravings are completely justified as she's pregnant with her second little 'puppy' at the moment (puppy=baby for those who don't know my crazy lingo) and her taste-buds for sweet things are highly hightened at the moment. I saw the invite and was super happy when I saw we were to bring TWO things, lol...seriously, I was ecstatic. Man - but what to bring? I think I might actually make that Creme Brule French Toast I mentioned in an earlier post and see how it fares. :P It's kind of inbetween a dessert and main dish for a brunch style lunch. Though we'll be eating at 1p in the afternoon - so this might not be a good thing to make. Who am I kidding, she's preganant and really really wants sweets...who am I to deny her?! Folks I think I have my just to think of a main dish...

uh oh - any ideas?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Damn you Google!

Damn you and your repeating lactose adds!

*sigh* I got to treat myself to some Spumoni last night at the good ole Spaghetti Factory. Yes, not much of the culinary visits that you're used to - but man, I can't get enough of their Mizithra and Brown Butter pasta. yeah! My friend ordered an extra side of brown butter. I had a little of it added onto my pasta...but boy, just looking at that side of burnt butter will give you a heart attack.

Another "chain-like" place I like to go to is Olive Garden. When I go there - I have them make me a special dish...yeah, I know..."high maintenance". But really - you'll end up doing the same thing if you like mussels. It's fairly simple, just have them add pasta (linguine will do just fine) to their mussels appetizer dish (Mussels di Napoli) using the same sauce and whoala! you've got your own mussels pasta dish that would cost you much more if you were to order the same thing in a french restaurant. I can't get enough of it. And top it off with a bottle (or a glass if you're on your own) of their signature Principato Rosso, an 'Everyday Italian Reds' wine. Oh, y'know it's one of the best red wines (in my price range) that I've ever had. It's so good that we go to eat at Olive Garden sometimes just to get the bottle of wine. You see, Olive Garden doesn't have a liquor distributor's license. They can serve alcohol, but they can't distribute it - so they actually have to uncork the bottle - pour you a glass before you can walk out of the restaurant with it. Craziness! But it's the law. Anyway, I don't mind - it's just another excuse to get a chance to order my signature dish. Hmm, I'm sure I haven't been the first to do it ofcourse so I can't really take credit. You've GOT to try this out if you're a mussels lover. Yum-e!

man - think I'm eating at Olive Garden tonight...

(props: wish you were here to enjoy it with me lil' sis!)

Friday, August 19, 2005


I can't wait - on Sunday I'm going to visit with some girlfriends to catch up over breakfast at one of my favorite places, Zov's Cafe! If this restaurant sounds familiar to you - it's no surprise. It was one of my earlier posts on this fairly new food blog. This is the same place that has thee best Chocolate-Strawberry Tarts I've ever had. This tart is so good that I've also listed it as one of my favorites in the "favorite food finds" section to the right.

Though, while looking at the dessert menu - I was a little dissappointed that they didn't have a more dessert oriented French Toast...something like a Creme Brule' French Toast. But that really doesn't matter since if I ate that, I wouldn't be able to eat the infamous Chocolate-Strawberry Tart!'s all good. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Google posted a lactose intolerant ad on my website...that's what I get for making that lactose post...

Monday, August 15, 2005

"Lihing" Pineapple

This is my new favorite snack! And to think I learned this from my vietnamese coworker from work and NOT from a Hawaii local. It's so simple, I'm amazed why I've never had it before. And coming from Hawaii - that's even more amazing since we put lihing powder" on EVERYTHING.

Just what is lihing powder? Lihing powder is exracted from plums and has a Sweet/Sour/Salty flavor. It can be added to almost anything to add a unique sweet sour flavor.

When I first tried making this dessert I took it to a birthday/baby announcement party at my friends' house and their family just LOVED IT! So give it a try if you already haven't.

You only need 2 things to make this refreshing snack/dessert: pineapple chunks and lihing powder. Just add this powder generously to the fresh pineapple chunks until coated. Chill to make the pineapple very very cold and then just serve! It's not so simple if you don't have the powder though. You can't buy this powder in just any store. You'll only find it in stores in Hawaii, in some mainland Japanese stores that sell products local to Hawaii, at Hilo Hattie/ABC store locations across the U.S. or online.

Back home, we'd always have lihing on dried fruits, don't know why I never tried it on fresh stuff. I wonder what lihing on fresh mango would taste like? I guess I'm buying mangoes from the store tomorrow.

*tip* My friend recommends buying fresh pineapple from COSTCO - they seem to be the cheapest there. But if you're like me and HATE spending the time cutting the "eyes" off the fresh can settle and buy the pineapple already cut from the fresh fruit and deli section of your local grocery store. (not all grocery stores will have this section)

Raise your hand if you're...

lactose intolerant...

*sigh* I just couldn't resist the sale on Frosted Flakes at the local grocery store. And now I'm paying for it. But man, I just love milk! Though I've migrated away from "whole" milk to "2%", it doesn't help much.

I'm gonna try vanilla soy milk as recommended by my girlfriend from work. I smelled soy milk once back in college and I almost threw up. So...I'm hoping that my taste buds have changed after all these years towards soy milk as it has toward other foods I used to hate. But Mom, don't get me wrong...I still hate egg-plant and bitter-melon so don't go making any of those dishes as a surprise for me when I come to visit!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


What I'm craving today:

Butternut Squash Soup

Mmmmmm, and my favorite place to get it is at Sweet Divas Cottage Bistro and Patisserie. It's one of the links to the right. If you're fortunate enough to live in Brea, CA, you can enjoy the ambiance of this cute little cottage. Perfect place for you and your girlfriends. Not so good for your boyfriend or husband unless they're the type that likes tea. (There's a great french dip sandwich for the guys though - if you could only get them to go there) It's not like they have to drink tea, there's other drinks. They just don't have beer. lol.

And for those who can't make it to's a recipe that I tried and it turned out just deeelish:

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
courtesy of Gourmet Magazine

1 medium butternut squash (about 2 1/4 pounds)
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger, optional
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chicken broth
1-2 cups water, as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream for garnish

Cut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Arrange the halves cut side down in roasting pan that has been sprayed with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Bake squash in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until very tender. Set aside to cool. When the squash is completely cool, scoop the flesh from the skin. While the squash is baking, cook the onion and the ginger in the butter in a saucepan, over moderately low heat, for 5 minutes or until the onion is softened, Add the broth and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, covered. Add the squash pulp to the sauce pan. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, in batches, and puree until smooth. Add enough water to achieve the desired consistency, and salt and pepper to taste. Return the soup to the sauce pan and cook over moderate heat until it is hot. Garnish each portion with the heaping teaspoon of low-fat sour cream.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


When the day began yesterday with a migraine headache, I thought I was in for a very very terrible day. Which made me sad because I was looking forward to dinner with a girlfriend of mine visiting from Hawaii later that night. And speaking to all you fellow migraine sufferers out there - y'know how you lose your appetite when an episode comes along so I was REALLY ANGRY. Anyway - I took off early from work to get some quick meds from home and then I was off to fight the L.A. traffic. I still had my migraine when I arrived in L.A. to pick up my friend but it was starting to subside. We then headed straight over to the restaurant since by this time we were both starving. Just talking about the Pork Skewers and Grilled Rice Balls we'd be eating made us even more hungry. We finally arrived at our faaaavorite place: Sakura House. It's a little Japanese Kushiyaki place tucked in the corner of a strip mall on the south side of Washington Boulevard (across from a Costco).

Oh man! Did my headache go away so fast...the smells of the place were grrreat. Restaurants making traditional Kushiyaki (Skewered food) grill all their skewers over REAL coals. Ohhhh - it's so good. One of my favorites is such a plain thing: Grilled Rice Ball. I get mine with Ume (umeboshi: Japanese marinated plum) inside while my friend got Sake (Japanese for salmon) chunks inside of hers. But back to the main attraction of this restaurant...the skewers. We ordered mostly the skewers of the pork variety because we loved what the pork on the skewers were wrapped around: asparagus, enoki mushroom (mmm, mushrooms), garlic sprout and Okra (yuk, but my friend likes this one). I love this leaf called "Shiso" (beefsteak-leaf in english)and so we ordered some chicken with garlic/shiso/ume maki. We also had mashed potato stuffed mushrooms on a skewer, yum-e! There is a miso sauce made by the house to dip your skewers in and ofcourse, there's the soy sauce. The miso sauce is excellent. There must've been more skewers - but I don't remember them all. I also love anything mochi (Japanese rice cake) and so we got grilled mochi wrapped with pork (not on a skewer). We finished off with a grilled banana dessert...though I think we'll try another dessert next time.

It's a great place and I highly recommend you give it a try. Though at $2.60 a skewer - this might not appeal to the hearty eaters. But if you're the type willing to pay for a new experience and you like grilled food - this is the place for you. We were surprisingly full afterwards. However, we both had our doubts to whether our boyfriends would feel the same satisfaction. But this is an interesting side of Japanese cooking that is rarely seen in your typical Japanese fact it isn't seen in your typical Japanese restaurants.

The address for Sakura House and thier phone number is:
Phone: (310) 306-7010

Parking is fairly tough due to the limited number of stalls in the small strip mall area and I would definitely recommend making reservations if you're not getting there early due to our observation of the long line of patrons that developed throughout that Monday night. Yes, a MONDAY night. They are closed on Tuesdays though - so don't go tonight. :)

I'll have pictures posted later...and boy, are they Yum-e!

Sakura House on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 08, 2005

My first Taco post...

I know some people, one of them being my good friend Jenn, who just luuuuuuuuuuv Tacos. I mean these people are crazy for Tacos. So when I had some awesome fish tacos a few weeks ago I went straight to their blog to go see what they've written on the place. To my surprise, it wasn't listed. So I'm going to make my first post to the infamous Taco blog and see if I can't convince the taco addicts there to try the fish tacos at this new place. What's this place you say? It's called El Taco Nazo. They don't have a fancy website - so you gotta just look up some locations near you on the web. Everyone, including me, luuuuv them Ensenada-style fish tacos. They're so cheap so get a lot cuz 2 wasn't enough for me! Enjoy! (for those of you out of Southern Cal...I apologize if there isn't any near you.)

p.s. Thanks to Pokeroot for the Taco experience

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tea anyone?

Do you like Zen? Do you like Tea? Do you especially like tiny little desserts and professionally flavored chocoalte? Do I have the place for you! Or rather, does my friend Jenn have the place for me that I'm recommending to you. LOL - I gotta give props where it's due. You'll recognize this place if you've clicked on my favorite links on the right hand side for's called Jin Patisserie and if you're near Venice, CA...please give it a try. Though pay attention to the parking signs! We got a big fat ticket since we parked in the wrong place. *boo!* But despite the parking, this place is worth the visit.

Monday, August 01, 2005

"btw, have you eaten a beard's papa puff yet????"

JustJenn and her family is visiting relatives back in Hawaii right about now. Though I'm not jealous of the crazy heat and humidity she's experiencing at the moment, I am crazy jealous of the fact she's got access to Beard Papa cream Puffs. Sweet! If you haven't heard of them yet, here's an excerpt from an old blog I once wrote about my experience with them deeeelish cream puffs...

I just went to Japan in January of 2005 and on the way back to my brother's family's place I passed one of these stores (a counter really) in the train station. Actually...I SMELLED something...and it was so good that it made me follow my nose like a dog to a fresh meaty bone. It was crazy - I followed the scent around a corner and right into the back of a line, supposedly for whatever I was smelling. How convenient! I just had to get whatever this great smelling thing was and bring it back to my brother's family. When I got the front of the line, I discovered it was a line for these great big looking cream puffs, yay! I luuuuv desserts! I bought a 1/2 dozen with a separate single puff on a sheet of wax paper for me to eat enroute. was soooooo good! It was torture to not tear into that box of 6 puffs on the way to my brother's. I was so excited to show the family my culinary discovery. When I had arrived back at the house with a box of these cream puffs, the family went crazy! They were like, "Oh! We LOVE these!" Luckily - the family is a family of 5 - so I got to eat another puff (not sure if I told them I already had one or not, hehe). Anyway...long story short, I ran into an article in the Honolulu Advertiser saying that these things will soon be available in Hawaii now! These things are sooo good, Mmmm! So keep an eye out for them in gotta try some!