Thursday, August 31, 2006

California Burritos

Several months ago, I was introduced to a little blog called The Great Taco Hunt. The taco “Bandini” (as he refers to himself) is on a hunt for the most flavorful taco in all of Los Angeles. He clearly has an iron stomach, as he’s eaten off of dozens of taco trucks all over the city, and from little shack-like restaurants that don’t necessarily have “A” ratings in the window. He’s an inspiration to all taco lovers, and his pilgrimage has inspired me to eat off more than one roach coach in the past few months.

I consider myself a (mostly) fearless eater, so as my friend Lindsay described the “California Burrito” on our way down from LA to San Diego, I was both fascinated and horrified. Apparently, the California Burrito is a San Diego specialty available at many taco stands and the occasional drive-thru burrito joint. The contents? Carne Asada, French Fries, cheese, sour cream and guacamole.

My boyfriend and I were intrigued as we pulled up to Roberto’s drive-thru on Garnet in Pacific Beach, CA. We were considering ordering the dubious-sounding “cheese enchilada fries” but with Lindsay hanging out the rear window hollering into the tin-can/microphone asking detailed questions about Roberto’s California Burrito recipe, we knew we had no choice but to go along with her suggestion.

Lindsay has steered me right before, and she’s dragged me along with her on some pretty oddball adventures, but nothing compares to this glorious combination of seasoned skirt steak, greasy fries and fatty sauces wrapped up in a flour tortilla made the right way – with lard. There are no words to describe how tasty it was, other than those uttered by my boyfriend:

“I wish we’d gotten another one.”

Sunday, August 20, 2006

blonde quote of the day

"There's only one sort of natural blonde on earth - albinos."

- Marilyn Monroe

Thursday, August 17, 2006

July Re-cap

Whoops! I totally forgot my July re-cap.

New Restaurants:
Woody’s Boathouse (Lake Arrowhead, CA)
Papagayos Mexican Restaurant (Lake Arrowhead, CA)
Monty’s (Pasadena, CA)
The Rose Café (Venice, CA)
Table 13 (Ventura, CA)
Leaf (Culver City, CA)
Three on Fourth (Santa Monica, CA)

Cultural Event:
The Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl
(Talk about a fiasco: went to my local Whole Foods, spent 45 minutes picking out delicious finger food from the deli case only to have the whole market go dark right as I’m heading to the cashier. We waited another 30 minutes waiting for the electricity to come back on. When it hadn’t turned back on after 45 minutes, the checkers instructed us to abandon our carts in the aisles. It was very sad.)

Woody Allen’s Manhattan
So maybe I fell asleep and missed the ending…happens to the best of us after a couple of bottles of wine.

Uh, yeah…. No.

Recipe: Should Jell-O shots be considered a recipe? Because I’m sure I made something last month, but my mind is too cloudy with memories of the Ligurian coastline to remember. I definitely remember making my always-popular peach schnapps Jell-O shots. These are the best Jell-O shots you will ever have. People look at me like I’m a lunatic when I tell them they’re chock-full of peach schnapps, but taste and see!


1 - 4 oz box peach-flavored Jell-O
2 cups boiling water
½ cup cold water
1 ½ cup peach schnapps

The Woo Woo

While flipping through a tacky '70s bartending guide, my sisters and I discovered the “Woo Woo.” It’s just a Cape Cod, but the splash of peach schnapps makes it so much better. Recently, I've taken those same flavors and introduced them to the wonderfully wiggly world of Jell-O. A word of caution: if you’re not careful that little extra kick will have you dancing on tabletops and singing the shot’s name as loudly as you can.

1 – 4 oz box cranberry-flavored Jell-O
2 cups boiling water
½ cup cold water
½ cup peach schnapps
1 cup vodka (preferably from the freezer)

Follow the directions on the back of the box, substituting the booze for the cold water. As tempted as you may be to maximize the Jell-O shot impact by increasing the amount of booze to two full cups -- don't. You'll only be sacrificing texture. You really do need at least a half cup of water to get that true Jell-O consistency.

Once dissolved, divide the mixture between between the vessels you plan to serve your Jell-O in using a measuring cup. Dixie cups are inexpensive and easy to find at any supermarket or drugstore, but if you're feeling fancy, you can also find 2 oz. plastic containers with lids at most restaurant supply stores.

Place in the refrigerator until firm, at least 4-6 hours, and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Champagne Tuesdays

I know, I know, I’ve been very lax in my posting. But I do have an excuse: I’ve been gallivanting across the French and Italian Riviera with a gorgeous man, drinking pink wine in the afternoon and pretending I’m the spawn of Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren.

However, instead of rattling off the pleasures I experienced on this dream-like vacation, I’m going to collect myself, settle back into my semi-normal routine and formulate the best essays about this trip that I possibly can.

Oh, and I also have yet to get my photos digitized…

So, to keep my faithful four readers satiated, I’m going to post about the genius of Champagne Tuesdays.

My little sister and I were chatting a few months ago about how we wanted to start drinking more sparkling wine. (I don’t think we were drunk when we decided this, but it’s entirely possible that we were.) And so we created Champagne Tuesdays. The rules are pretty simple: we bring out the Riedel glasses, which are usually still drying on the counter from the week before, and then choose a bottle. Recently, we’ve shared a bottle of Laetitia, a great little winery specializing in sparkling wine just outside of San Luis Obispo. Sometimes its Veuve Cliquot or Laurent Perrier. (Most of the time its not.)

Last night was a great edition in the Champagne Tuesdays series. Since my sister is training for her new gig out in Pennsylvania this week and next, the afore-mentioned gorgeous man graciously offered to fill her space.

I’m a notorious Kitchen Nazi, and my sister is only allowed in the kitchen because she pays half the rent. Allowing my boyfriend into my 45 square foot queendom truly tested my ability to "let go and let God" -- not to mention our own compatibility. The end result?

The wine: Paul Cheneau Brut Blanc de Blancs
Appetizer: cold ginger carrot soup
Entrée: roasted chicken and proscuitto borsetti with spinach

Fancy for a Tuesday after the gym, no?

We borrowed the carrot soup recipe from Orangette, but found it bland. We fiddled around with some of the ingredients and measurements and added 1 seeded jalapeno, an additional quarter teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper from the mill. The resulting soup was cold and creamy as described by Orangette, but with the slightest bit of heat touching the back of your tongue. It was especially good with a massive dollop of lime, curry and salted diced avocado.

I have to be honest -- we didn't make our own borsetti. In fact, I didn't know what borsetti was until I bought it from the deli section of my local market, and then rediscovered this frozen fresh pasta hidden within the depths of my freezer. Since the little plastic box hadn't yet succumbed to the freezerburn fungus that plagues most of my frozen foods, I figured it was safe enough to eat. That's when my boyfriend stepped in. While I was fiddling around with the soup, trying to make it palatable for a couple of pepperheads, he went on his own mini freezer dumpster dive. He found spinach and frozen basil squares, sauteed it up in a little olive oil and butter, tossed in the borsetti, topped it with parmesan and then we had a multi-course meal.

Clearly, the man is a keeper. Don't you just love Champagne Tuesdays?