Monday, June 28, 2010

Figs on a Plate

Roasted black mission figs with some olive oil, sea salt, and a wedge of creamy chevre

It's no question that I love summer produce. One of my favorite things to do is to just walk around Berkeley Bowl without an agenda and pick up whatever looks radiant and inspiring. Let the eye-rolling commence!

You really can't beat heirloom tomatoes with olive oil and sea salt (did not have basil on hand). I also had a lot of leftover yolks so I whipped up some ice cream using stuff I already had. The sad-looking quenelles that mostly resemble pieces of poo: Dunkin Donuts on the left, and mexican chocolate with a dulce de leche swirl on the right.


Monday, June 21, 2010

We Jammin

My parents have a lot of fruit trees in their backyard, and the loquats were at their peak a few weeks ago. As I learned last year, picking fruit is not an easy task but at least there weren't any thorns this time (just tons of bugs and spiders gah). Loquats go bad incredibly quickly, so I thought I would make jam to get the most of the harvest.

My dad has two types of loquat trees: one with a darker orange fruit, and the other with a lighter yellow/whitish flesh. My dad thought it would be cool to keep the jams separate, one from each tree. Peeling loquats is the biggest pain EVER. I've prepped all kinds of fruit, and I think this was the worst. You can't eat the skin, so my method was to cut the loquat in half around the pit, remove the pit, peel the skin off, then peel the pit lining out. Each piece of fruit is small and multiply that by a huge bag of each, plus fast oxidation... back-breaking! This is work for a team, not a sad, sad individual.

If I were trying to sell this, I would call these "locally foraged fresh all natural organic loquat preserves." I think the only keyword I'm missing is sustainable. Ah, I almost forgot tree-ripened (which it is)!

I had a lot of leftover puff pastry from a wedding a few weeks ago, and I wasn't about to waste all those hand-rolled layers! I made some poptarts, inspired by MGFD.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ramen Report

First days are always rough. I generally try to avoid them, but the hype was getting to me. Got there before 11:30am and still waited about 45 min. Felt lucky after getting our food as I weaved through the snaking line that soon rivaled that of RoliRoti. Small portions (maybe half the amount of a bowl at Santa Ramen for the same price), and no chopsticks (had to nab some from Slanted Door). The bowls were also styrofoam which makes practical sense, but isn't everything in the Ferry Building market supposed to be green?

Chicken was fried to order, but it tasted a bit under-seasoned and lacking in flavor. I saw linecook tasting some of the noodles for doneness which is always a good sign, so I was expecting good texture. They turned out to be gummy - probably rushed them out too soon because of the pressure.

Aside from these blips, I thought the pork was very nice and the broth rich and fatty, somewhat similar to Daikokuya's kotteri broth. The sous vide egg was a great touch and the snap peas had the perfect crunch. It'll take some time to work out the kinks, but there's definitely promise here. I might return on a cold rainy day when there's no wait, which won't be happening any time soon.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Day in the Life: South Bay Edition

A lot of my friends live in the south bay and have been talking up a few places. It was just a matter of time before they let me in on their recent finds....

Korean bakery - what?? I didn't know such things existed. Paris Baguette is like a Guppy's/85 Degrees but Korean-owned although you wouldn't be able to tell. They have a lot of modern/westernized Asian pastries, some more traditional Korean buns, and of course, shaved ice. There isn't any point of reference in the photo, but our "mini" size could feed like 5 people.

A green tea cream cheese pastry, and a pastry filled with sweet potato mochi (very interesting and unexpected, texture-wise)

There's also an older Chinese man who sells roasted sweet potatoes in the same Korean plaza. Brings me back to China! Too bad it's freaking hot, or else I would've gotten some.

And then there's Mama Chen! Apparently this is the place to be for Taiwanese cuisine, and you can tell how popular it is by the availability of their dishes. Even at 7pm, they had run out of cucumbers and beef noodle soup. I will just have to go back another time! Mama Chen is also sporting a new 'do, much more chic than her previous stylish perm.

A glutinous rice bun filled with meat and stuff, doused in ketchup sauce. A little too chewy for my taste, but interesting (I can see why Cynthia likes this stuff). Lo mien, refreshing cold noodles with a touch of sesame oil.

Pork chops, flavorful and tender. Taiwanese sausage is much sweeter than its Canto counterpart, and Jess had to get popcorn chicken in the foreground

Ketchup fried rice with an omelet on top. Tofu skin filled with meat and onion, then deep fried (served with ketchup sauce of course).

We capped the day with some "roti" bread from Honeyberry, this yogurt shop that also sells other random sweets. Roti bread has absolutely no relation to the flaky, fried roti of southeast Asian cuisine. It's pretty much a Chinese pineapple bun, but the draw is that it comes in different flavors (plain which is mocha-ish, butter, and green tea) and they warm it up so it's nice and toasty right out of the oven. Really nothing special, but the craze is really impressive in itself.

Thus concludes my south bay day. It was really like being in a foreign land.


Friday, June 04, 2010

Bienvenido a Miami

TOP 5 Items on Memorial Day Weekend To Do List

1. Say hi to Shaq at the pool (check)
2. Imagine punching Chris Brown in the face as he walks by (check)
3. Unsuccessfully get into P Diddy's party (check)
4. Go to South Beach every night and marvel at the hordes of people (check)
5. Almost die of parasites after eating raw pork (check)

Didn't have high expectations for Miami except for MGFD - James Beard winner for Best Chef (South) 2010. R: kimchi benedict

Their pastry chef is also known for playful twists on nostalgic comfort foods like the puff pastry "pop tarts" (L) and cutely plated biscuit-like scones w/ lemon curd (R)

Quick bite at La Sandwicherie

Trip to Little Havana was unexpectedly far from Miami Beach, and a bit reminiscent of east LA. Calle Ocho, the main drag, stretches far and wide with everything spread out; not the cute little neighborhood I had romanticized in my mind. Versailles is an institution there, but when we arrived their power had just gone out, so we went down the street to their sister restaurant, La Carreta.

Classic sampler with yuca, some fried ham thing, tamale, ground pork, and of course plantains (L). Cuban (R) was OK, but I don't really have a gold standard

We also ate at Joe's Stone Crab (crab is the only thing that is good) and Talula (good except for the raw pork incident).