Sunday, November 26, 2006

Nook Bistro

Who doesn't like a restaurant with a sense of humor?

Nook Bistro in West LA redefines "hole-in-the-wall." Like Lou on Vine, Nook is virtually impossible to find. I always think I know exactly where it is, but as I drive east on Santa Monica Blvd, I always find myself slowing at each strip center I pass, craning my neck to see if this one or that one is the right one.

While I've only been there twice, both visits have justified a return trip. I believe the menu changes fairly regularly, but the chicken paillard and the Nook burger seem to remain popular items. I've never had the burger, but I did salivate like Pavlov's dog every time one exited the kitchen. (Curse you, Weight Watchers!)

To quickly summarize Nook Bistro: the food is well-prepared, the portions generous and the price reasonable. That's reason enough to go back to a restaurant or to recommend it to a friend. However, I'll go back to Nook Bistro because on both visits I've gotten great service.

I cannot stress enough how rare it is to get good service in Los Angeles. Blame it on the overabundance of actors/comedians/dancers/writers/mimes all trying to make it big in Hollyweird. Blame it on the heat, blame it on the rain. Just whatever you do, don't put the blame on you.

I'm sorry, I got distracted for a moment.

Back to eating at Nook Bistro. On my first visit, the place was packed and my friend and I could barely get in the door. After forcing our way in, we were standing somewhat near the wee little bar, which was 5 people deep with diners and drinkers waiting for tables. The bartender grabbed two wine lists and found us, and spent just a few minutes going over the list with us before making a couple of suggestions and taking our order. Is that remarkable service? Not really. But it is good service to ensure that customers that are waiting an indefinite period of time are at least happy. My second visit was similar. No long lines this time, but still the same cheerful, friendly waitstaff that took the time to go over the menu with us, make suggestions and not hurry us along. It makes for an altogether enjoyable dining experience.

But then again, what else would you expect from a guy who's "stage name" is Red Fang?

Monday, November 13, 2006

blonde fact of the day

Facts about being blonde taken from

The word blond was first attested in English in 1481 and derives from Old French blont and meant "a colour midway between golden and light chestnut".

The French (and thus also the the English word) has 2 possible origins. Some linguists say it comes from Middle Latin Blundus, meaning yellow, others say it comes from Old Frankish *blund which would relate it to Old English blonden-feax meaning grey-haired, from blondan/blandan meaning to mix. Also, Old English beblonden meant dyed as ancient Germanic warriors were noted for dying their hair. The linguists who support the Latin origins however say that Middle Latin blundus was a vulgar pronunciation of Latin flavus, also meaning yellow, the word was reintroduced into English in the 17th century from French and was until recently still felt as French, hence blonde for females and blond for males.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Roasted Spiced Cauliflower

I, like a lot of young, employed singles who enjoy cooking but frequently lack the time, have a refrigerator full of rotting food.

Oh, that is so gross. No, I don’t! (It’s only half-full.)

Deny it if you want, but if you’re a single soul shopping in a world designed for 4 person families, you occasionally end up overbuying. 5 lb of zucchini for $5? I’ll make a tart! Buy two get one free? This week only? Who wants chocolate cake?!

And then there are the pantry items. The hollow Greek noodles that you saw at Surfas and swore you’d find something to make with, spices that you needed for a recipe that you only made once. The list of less used, but not useless, pantry items continues to lengthen and the shelves clutter up with tiny bottles and decorative jars.

And that’s how recipes like this come about. The cauliflower was on sale, and the turmeric left over from an old recipe that I made once and never again. There have recently been several studies stating that turmeric is a wonder-spice in regards to preventing Alzheimer’s. I just like the color. And once again, please excuse the miserable camera phone photos. This one makes the whole dish (which really is delicious!) look like monkey brains.

Roasted Spiced Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ½ teaspoon turmeric
1 ½ teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
large pinch of cayenne
Salt and pepper
¼ - ½ cup olive oil

Note: As always, these amounts are mostly guesstimated and depend upon your own personal tastes. This is especially true with curry powder. Curry powders all differ in flavor and the brand that I use has a lot of cinnamon in it, which is why I add the cayenne.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the cauliflower and olive oil in a re-sealable plastic bag and shake. Add a good amount of salt and black pepper, then the spices and shake again. Pour the contents of the plastic bag into a baking dish and cover. Roast in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until tender.

Friday, November 03, 2006

blonde quote of the day

"It isn't that gentlemen really prefer blondes, it's just that we look dumber."

- Anita Loos, American screenwriter, playwright and author (1888 - 1981)