Tag Archives: food

Labor Day Thoughts

6 Sep

Hope you’re all  having a great Labor Day weekend!

I’m being a bit of a homebody, but it’s nice to get the day off.

I recently stopped by a new restaurant and even though I’ve only been there once, it’s comforting. Time moves slower and I can breathe easier. It’s strange that a restaurant can be a place of solace, but this one is just that. Life can be pretty crazy and sometimes, restaurants are the few places that feel inviting and welcoming.

They kindly ask how you’re doing, how you like the food, and they don’t rush you out.

When I look around, I notice that I’m not the only one who feels this way. There are people alone with nary a soul to help carry their troubles and they lay it all out when they’re sitting at the table. Some seek to connect and chat away with the wait staff as if they are long lost friends. Others lash out, their pent-up frustration explodes on the nearby busboy.

I don’t pretend to know why people do things, I only know myself.

For me, there are moments when being alone isn’t as bad as being lonely. This video pretty much sums up what I think.

It’s not always lonely.

Birthday Dinner at The Bazaar

20 Aug

I mentioned that I wasn’t planning on doing anything for my birthday and that was somewhat true until my boyfriend surprised me with an amazing dinner at the SLS hotel…The Bazaar by José Andres. We went there before for afternoon tea, but we never tried their dinner so it was a totally different experience.

My boyfriend is awesome.

This place was definitely a hotspot where people wanted to see and be seen. I didn’t notice any celebrities, but it didn’t matter because the atmosphere was electric. There were plenty of trendy scenesters, older wine-lovers, and a slew of European guests that made this place kind of random but it was still sophisticated, polished, and so LA.

The food was visually interesting and delicious too. I’m adventurous with food, so I’ll pretty much eat anything, but I love figuring flavors and unique combinations of ingredients. The Bazaar fulfilled my little foodie fantasy.

Enjoy the food porn at this tapas bar! =)

Tortilla De Patatas “New Way” * potato foam, egg 63, caramelized onions

King Crab Raspberries, Raspberry Vinegar

Foie Gras quince, toasted brioche sandwiches

Sautéed Wild Mushrooms Hazelnut Praline

Chipirones En Su Tinta Baby Squid * with own ink

Ottoman Carrot Fritters apricots, pistachio sauce

Jicama Wrapped Guacamolé micro cilantro, corn chips

Apple And Fennel manchego cheese, walnuts, sherry vinegar

Baby Japanese Peaches burrata, hazelnuts, arugula

I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday dinner!

My faves:

  • Tortilla de Patata
  • Chipirones En Su Tinita
  • Jicama Wrapped Guacamole
  • Baby Japanese Peaches

Everything at The Bazaar was very tasty but those four items really stood out in terms of taste, presentation, and inventiveness.

A great end to a good day.

Happy Friday everyone!

Foodie-Ville: June Budget

2 Jul

This month, I paid more attention to how much I was spending on groceries.  In May, I spent a total of $391.01, with $130.61 on groceries and $260.40 on eating out.

This month, I did better on the grocery budget. I made a wheat brioche that tasted pretty good.

I bought cheese and two bottles of wine and was only about $5 over budget. Though, my sister left me with a bag of food from her apartment so that cushioned me for a few days.

June Total: $330.69

  • Groceries:$104.84
  • Eating Out: $225.85

Overall, I am $80.69 over budget, but it was due to two unexpected dinners.

First of all, one of my best friends broke up with her longtime boyfriend and I had dinner with her to make sure she was alright. So that was a an extra kick in the bucket, but it was necessary.

Second, I had an impromptu invite to my friend’s going away party since he’s heading off to law school. We went to a place he always wanted to go, Fogo de Chao, all-you-can-eat Brazilian BBQ. It cost me $73 just for myself, but perhaps the highlight of the evening was having Barry Bonds sitting next to us.

Here’s my friend’s surreptitious shot:

The food and service was amazing, but I wouldn’t really return again since it’s so expensive.

Next month should be better and I’ll need to scale back on the eating out once again. Another friend is leaving for medical school soon, so there will be another going away party…I hope it’s not another $70+ meal.

Foodie-Ville: Anisette Brasserie

24 Jun

I don’t usually eat at the Santa Monica Promenade but since I made a chain restaurant ban last month, my friend and I decided to stop by Anisette Brasserie for a bite.

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Foodie-Ville: Budgeting Update

17 Jun

It feels like summer…sort of. And it makes me hunger for cold dishes like somen, potato salad, and spring rolls.

Lately, I’ve been watching too many episodes of “The Naked Chef” a.k.a. Jamie Oliver. He has such simple recipes but he always tells you why certain ingredients are used to get the most out of it. It makes me want to be better at cooking and to better understand flavor combinations and profiles.

I cook quite regularly but it’s difficult to come up with creative dishes when you’re making it for yourself. And to minimize food expenses, I try to stock up on ingredients instead of products. I’d rather buy fresh tomatoes instead of purchasing tomato sauce. To me, it’s cheaper, healthier, and tastier. Plus, when I have fresh tomatoes, there’s more flexibility than a can of sauce.

Though I do have a food budget, I haven’t been keeping track regularly and it shows. I finally sat down and worked out the numbers for the past three months and they haven’t been pretty. My food budget is divided into two sections: groceries and eating out. Ideally, I would want to spend $100 on groceries and $150 on eating out.

How did I fare?

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Foodie-Ville: Jin Patisserie

8 May

I have been waiting FOREVER to go inside this cute little patisserie.

After several weeks of pining, I took a quick detour down Abbott Kinney to pick up a box of Parisian macaroons to go since I didn’t have much time to spend there. I have tried macaroons twice before and both times were disappointing. Either the crust was too hard or the macaroon was too sweet…I was desperately hoping that Jin Patisserie would turn it all around.

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New Year’s Resolution Part II

21 Feb

So, continuing on from the previous post, here’s the rest of the update on my New Year’s Resolution. (NYR)

My food budget is reining in my eating out expenses and helping me stay healthy. My stomach is weak in the morning, so multi-grain oatmeal is the only thing I can have for breakfast. I’ve been baking a lot more and making things like bread, pound cake, cupcakes, etc. I can’t eat them all at once, so I send them off to my friends.

Instead of eating at chain restaurants, I want to support the local neighborhood and find awesome neighborhood gems…so I’ll keep fast food to a minimum. So far, I’ve found some great places: Le Saint Amour, Ford’s Filling Station, and Cafe Brasil. When I eat at an independent restaurant, it feels special, especially if the chef physically works there!

Overall, I’m doing well on all fronts except shopping. It feels like I’m cutting expenses in all areas of my life in order TO clothes shop, which is not what I had in mind. So, I’ve re-vamped my goal to make it more realistic in the next couple of months. For my closet, I am limited to 30 pairs of shoes with a max budget of $100 per pair. Also, I can purchase clothing that fills the “holes” in my wardrobe such as slim-fitting trousers. As for accessories, I need a more substantial collection that does not consist mostly of Forever 21 wares. The rest of my clothing will adhere to the “one in, one out” rule.

Here’s a quick look at some recent nautical purchases:

Details: Madewell Navy Breton Tee XS, Martin + Osa adjustable belt S/M, Forever 21 fish necklace

All this budgeting, waste-reducing, healthy-lifestyle maintaining effort is not for nothing. I want to be more conscious of my purchases, where it is clothing or whether is it food. We’re so accustomed to fast-food and fast-fashion that I think we all need to take a step back. Sometimes, we’re so wrapped up in ourselves that we seldom take notice of how quickly the world is changing.

At the airport, I noticed that out of 50 passengers, half were hooked up – on the computer, listening to their ipod, or fiddling with their smartphones. Only two groups, less than 10 people in total, were having a physical conversation/social interaction.

Has technology made us socially isolated and awkward?