Weekend at Terranea

My mom and I spent this past weekend at the new Rancho Palos Verdes resort, Terranea. The resort is beautiful and we had a great time. I spent a nice portion of the day on Saturday taking advantage of the spa amenities, hoping in and out of the jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna.
This was the view from our room of the coast (above) and the pool (below).

For dinner we ate at their signature restaurant Mar'sel. It's pretty tough getting reservations here, so we ate in the bar area, which turned out to be perfect. We were feeling indecisive and couldn't chose an entree, so we ordered 4 starters for some variety.
Dinner started with an amuse bouche from the chef, a prosciutto wrapped fig with feta.

Crispy Duch leg confit over sunchokes and sunchoke puree. Definitely a highlight of our meal.
A unique take on a favorite coffee drink, the sweet corn macchiato with petite croque madamme. The top of the macchiato was a fluffy potatoes with sweet corn soup below. This was incredible!Potato gnochi with peas, prosciutto and parmasan in a cream sauce.

We finished with the crudo of white fish with fresno chile, watermelon cubes, olive oil and 4 salts.

Dinner was very nice and overall the resort is nice!


Anthony Bourdain, Eat Your Heart Out!

Welcome the bf- another guest blog for Man & Food:

Lunch time, Northridge CA - So there I was, in Northridge trying to think of where I should have lunch. Several places came to mind but none whet my whistle quite like the Korean market! If you haven't been to a Korean market before let me be the first to tell you that you are missing out!

I have never been to Korea but I feel like once you enter the doors to these markets you are practically transported there. They aren't like a typical American supermarket. Not at all. When you shop at a American market all you really do is SHOP. Korean markets, at least all of the ones I have been to, are like mall meets market. When you enter the "foyer" you are smacked in the face with the waft of a food court. Also in the entry are several retail stores that sell items from jewelry to toilets (yes I have seen toilets and have no idea who buys one at a market) and even perfume counters.

Anyway, even though you know you are in a market most of the signage is still in Korean. It can be quite a challenge figuring out what each dish is really about so after walking by each food vendor I decided to go with the most bland/safest choice: Udon Noodle Soup! It was delish. Although there were a couple of things that were unidentifiable. You can see one of them in the picture. They are rectangular fried rice? squid? fish? I have no idea, but they were tasty. Another thing that came up in the dish was this semi circular something. I can't definitively say what it was because the outer layer was a bright pink, more pink than anything natural. I assume it was rice based but I don't really know what it was.

I would love to know everything that I may have eaten the other day, please let me know with your comments! ** D here. I'll take a stab at it that the unnaturally pink thing was a fish cake called kamaboko.

"Freezer Shopping"

My wonderful boyfriend surprised me tonight with some posts as a guest blogger! This is his very first blog post and I'm so excited to share this. Here it is, Man & Food!

There comes a day in every mans life when it has been several weeks since he has made it to the grocery store. Today was one of those days. It was at about 5:00 PM when I started to get hungry and I didn't really want to head to the market so I decided to raid the freezer. The best things I found were Trader Joes ahi tuna and frozen okra! I knew I could make something work and here is what I came up with:

Seared Ahi Tuna encrusted in sesame and pan fried okra.

Ahi Tuna Ingredients:
2 Ahi Tuna Steaks
1 Tbsp dried powerded wasabi
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tsp honey
Enough sesame seeds to coat each side of the ahi
Sesame Oil

Okra Ingerdients:
1 cup (+ or -) frozen okra
Jalapeno pepper flakes
Sesame Oil
Soy Sauce

In two separate pans, coat one with sesame oil (Fish) and the other with sesame oil and soy sauce (Okra). Heat over medium.

Combine 1/4 cup soy sauce, honey, and wasabi powder and mix. Coat the bottom of a wide, flat dish with sesame seeds. "Dredge"' Ahi in soy marinade and then place into the dry sesame seeds and flip to coat the other side. Place into heated frying pan and repeat for other pieces if necessary.

Thaw and cut in 1/2" pieces. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat pan with sesame oil and soy sauce. Place into pan and stir as needed. Add jalapeno seeds to taste for heat.

For the tuna make sure to get a nice crusted sear on both sides.


My Garden!

In June I planted my very own garden. I'm growing tomatoes, carrots, dill, cilantro, chives, lavender, basil, and mint. My herbs are growing in nicely and recovering from a little caterpillar debacle.

My very first tomato was red and ready to eat to last week. It was the best tomato ever and look how beautiful it is!

Carmelized Banana and Pecan Waffles

Celebration- I found my George Foreman Grill. It's one of the multi purpose grills with various plates, including a waffle griddle. I was unable to find my grill for awhile, but stumbled across it about 2 weeks ago and knew waffles were in order for the weekend. Once again, thank you Trader Joe's for providing me with your multi grain pancake and waffle mix for me to make the waffles with. Crucial note- when making waffles- butter or cooking spray on the waffle plates is not a step to be sacrificed... messy things happen when you don't do this!

Once the waffles are underway- it's banana and pecan carmelizing time! I took 2 bananas, sliced them into bite size pieces and rolled them around in some sugar. I heated up just a bit of butter in a skillet and in went the sugary bananas. You'll know when they start carmelizing. They get golden and a most heavenly banana caramel smell fills the air. Let them get a golden bottom and then flip them and throw in some pecans. Caramel will fill up in the bottom of the pan and can coat the pecans. Take them out when they are nice and golden.
They tend to get a little disintegrated and mushy, although still delicious, when you leave them in for too long. Spoon them over some waffles with some butter and or syrup and breakfast/brunch is served!

Portabello Mushroom Ravioli

I've spent most of my life with a brutal distaste for mushrooms. It started as a kid, they looked "gross" and hearing that it is fungus doesn't exactly score bonus points for the mushroom. Over the past few years I began developing a taste for these little guys. The crimini was my introductory mushroom. From there I sort of came to peace with having mushrooms tucked away IN my food: IN a sauce, IN lasagna, IN a quesadilla. A few weeks ago, a whole new phenomenon took place: I had a mushroom craving. WHAT? Shocking. Trader Joes, as usual, aided in this quest. I picked up their portabello mushroom ravioli.
After cooking the ravioli, I drizzled olive oil, black flake salt, pepper, and sprinkled some grana padana cheese on top. So simple and so satisfying.. mmm...mmmmushrooms!

Salmon in Lemon Bordetto with pea puree

Giada, I bow down to your culinary prowess. I love watching you on the food channel and now that I have made one of your recipes, I have a whole new respect and appreciation for you. You are not just Italian and have a sweet tooth that can rival mine, but Giada, you know what's up!
This incredible meal is without a doubt a super cheap, quick, and restaurant worthy dish! I love sushi. I love salmon sushi, but I don't always love cooked fish, especially cooked salmon. Until now. Giada's salmon in lemon bordetto with pea puree is my salmon salvation!
I started out by making the pea puree so the flavors could come together. So simple and I think I'll definitely have to make that again whether for this dish or something else. Am I the last to learn how great mint and peas go together? Then onto the lemon bordetto. I would have liked to let the sauce reduce a bit more, but it was still so delicious!Lastly I put the fish on to pan sear. Get a nice golden crust on the bottom for a crisp texture.
This recipe is really for 4 dishes. I shouldn't have poured so much of the sauce into each bowl, so that is noted for my next time with this recipe. After adding some sauce, scoop the pea puree into your dish and top with the salmon. Beautiful and so good!
I was really impressed with the flavor of this dish and took leftovers to work and it was just as good!

Pork Loin with Chimichurri Sauce

Chicken, beef, fish- it gets old sometimes. Pork tenderloins are a nice way to liven up the week.
I found this great recipe for pork tenderloin in chimichurri. Chimichurri is such an easy sauce/marinade to do and packs a flavor punch! The fresh herbs, citrus, and a bit of red pepper go a long way. We don't always do the best job of meal planning, but do manage to pull it off. The next time I make this recipe, I would like to marinade the tenderloin over night for extra flavor. We only squeezed in about 20 minutes of marinading time and it was still very flavorful.
We baked the tenderloin while roasting tomatoes (hello little lovers!) and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. Yes it was a pork kind of night, but who doesn't love prosciutto??

More on Mussels

I love watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay and making any recipes that beat Bobby sounds like a fun challenge to me! My boy brought over some mussels and we found a recipe that beat Bobby and we were off! He brought the New Zealand Green tip mussels, a new realm for both of us. These mussels are slightly larger than the black mussels we're used to cooking with. They do cook a little differently and it was a learning curve for us. We sauteed shallots with bacon in the bacon fat, threw in the mussels, some white wine, salt, pepper, lemon, and the show stopper- roquefort and throw this over a bed of steamed spinach.
They were pretty good! I really liked the bacon and roquefort flavors and thought this was a nice variation on mussels.

Huevos en los ramekins

It's Saturday morning and the man says "What's for breakfast?" Looks through fridge. Thinks. Possibly feels stumped. Ah ha! Revelation! I love mexican breakfasts and was onto a good idea. Baked eggs with enchilada sauce, cheese, black beans, green chiles and some homegrown cilantro. I haven't quite mastered the world of baked eggs. It's tricky to tell when their done, but I go by the gelatinous-ness of the egg. I baked in small ramekins in a pan filled with water about half way up the side of the ramekins for about 20..maybe 30 something minutes. Muy bueno!

It's not delivery...

It's my favorite "semi-homemade" pizza! Trader Joes is an invaluable resource in my kitchen. They make great pizza dough and pizza sauce that I like to use for making pizzas. One of my favorite pizzas to throw together is with prosciutto, asparagus, shallots, roasted tomatoes (obsession!) and for the purposes of this pizza, goat cheese. YUM!
This is such an easy pizza to throw together. I roasted the tomatoes with the shallots in olive oil, salt and pepper at 400 for about 30 or 40 minutes. While that is in the oven, I sliced some prosciutto, chopped asparagus, sliced goat cheese, and prepped the dough. The dough is pretty self sufficient. You take it out of the bag, let it sit for about 20 minutes, roll it out, top it off and enjoy after about 15 minutes. This is a great quick and cheap dinner. Enjoy!


Happy August Friday!

This was one of those very long weeks. It seems that everyone I talked to had a long week. Well kids- the week is winding down and it's Friday! It's not just any Friday though, it's the 1st Friday in August. If you live in LA, swing by Abbot Kinney tonight for 1st Fridays on Abbot Kinney. All the shops are open, lots of wine around, good people, and beautiful Venice weather. More info here. Enjoy the sunshiney weekend!

Picture Courtesy of El Fotopakismo on Flickr.


Anthropologie- How I Love Thee!

My ultimate weakness- worse than brownies, is Anthropologie!
I had a return to make the other day and I shockingly left with NOTHING. I suppose I wasn't in the mood to try things on, because it definitely wasn't that nothing caught my attention. It's a win win situation- now I have the credit back and that's always a little nice.
My Anthro wishlist is constantly growing longer and longer for the lovely items of which I yearn to own! I want a closet full of the evolving Anthro catalog. Oh yes, someday this will be achieved!

The window displays are always eye catching and I literally dream about the clothes, shoes, accessories and home decor items. AH-- Love it!


Surfas is a (not so hidden) Culver City gem. Surfas has everything you need for your kitchen. It's an amazing store and I have the hardest time limiting my purchases, let alone leaving without anything. They carry everything you need from baking molds and fondant to industrial ovens and chef's quality knives and jackets. Surfas also carries a variety of gourmet food featuring fresh bread, pates, specialty ice creams and pastas. Their salts and spices are impressive, and their olive oil selection is not to be missed. God bless Surfas!

They remodeled the store around the end of 2008 and it now not only includes the cafe, but also has a top notch cheese counter. The staff is very helpful and will offer you samples until you've created the cheese board of your dreams! Below is the cheeseboard (literally the board and the cheeses) that I got from Surfas to bring to a friend's New Years Eve bash to ring in 2009!
Extra perk- They accept the KCRW Fringe Benefits card for a discount on non-food items.


Wishing a Very Happy Birthday to a Very Special Gentleman

Mr. President- Happy Birthday to you!


The countdown is on- my very first Campanile experience is this coming Sunday! Any suggestions of what to order are more than welcome! Pics definitely to follow!



Move over Franzia, there's a new boxed wine in town..and this 1 is actually great! My boyfriend recently picked up a box, yes a box, of Wine 4 White Sangria from Cost Plus World Market for about $15. The box holds about 3 liters of Sangria and lasts for about a month in the fridge. With a little research we found out this wine is bottled by Trinchero Family Estates. Not only is this Sangria a great value, but it's actually delicious! It's fruity with the right amount of sweetness. A very refreshing summertime drink.


Tea Lattes

Ahhh summertime!!! Swimming pools, watermelon, bbq's, the beach, ice cream, and tea lattes. Tea Lattes? In summer? Sure! They are sweet, frothy, satisfying and so delicious!
I kicked my coffee habit when I brought in 2009 and am a full fledged tea devotee! I've always been a big fan of tea, but I used to also drink quite a bit of coffee as well. These days it's green tea every morning during the week and the occasional tea latte. I find Coffee Bean to really excel in the art of the tea latte. They use non fat milk and you can request a sugar free vanilla/chocolate powder that is blended in with the tea for a fairly guilt free treat! I'm slowly making my way through their tea menu and prefer a hot tea latte to the cold, but both are so delicious! So far, I would recommend Coffee Bean's pomegranate blueberry, tropical passion, honeydew oolong, toffee roibos, of course the classic chai, and my personal favorite the moroccan mint (which is mixed with a chocolate powder and tastes exactly like a thin mint cookie)! If Starbucks is more your cup of tea (hehe!) they do a better green tea latte. Check this out at smaller, less commercial coffee/tea houses as well. I think you'll find they are too good to be true...and easy on the waistline as well!

Tea Time at the Bazaar at the SLS Hotel

Welcome to the Patiserrie at the Bazaar at the SLS Hotel! You made a reservation for tea, congratulations! You are in store for a host of delights and surprises for all your senses.

To get started, we offer you world's tiniest scone with strawberry preserves and honey. Ready, set, you only get 1 bite...and....go! We'll also give you a pot of tea...pick your poison and sip wisely as refills are not on the house. Pull out your microscopes folks and you will find a plate full of luscious savory treats! On the far right we have a cucumber roll with cream cheese and tomato seed caviar. Moving on to a beet meringue...pop it in your mouth and feel it dissolve...wow, just like magic! What's this I see, a steamed bun with caviar?? We like caviar, especially with creme fraiche..mmmm. I didn't know you could get white castle in Los Angeles...oh silly me..it's a bun with marmalade and foie gras..well, a sliver of foie...and just like that...you open your mouth and it's gone!Oh but we have 1 more savory treat for you! Are you ready for this, it's salmon roe and cream cheese in a tuile cone...mmm..this we like! It's salty and delicious and gone in 3 bites instead of 2.
In Los Angeles, us ladies who take tea must watch our figure. We prefer small bites of savories and sweets. We can taste and try with all the fun and none of the fat! That's why today's your lucky day ladies! We're treating you to our version of the after eight mint...a puddle of chocolate with a fresh mint leaf waiting for you in the center. Followed by a chocolate hazlenut volcano cookie. Why do we call it a volcano cookie? Because it has a pumice-like texture silly! No molten centers here..that's so 2006! However, we'll give you this very special saffron jelly candy with, you guessed it, melt in your mouth rice paper wrapper! Ta-da! Last, but by no means least...we'll finish your most satsifying meal with a lemon white chocolate.

We sure hope you enjoyed your tea at the Patisserie! Please help yourself to ogle our vases full of candied rose petals, pearls, chocolate sculptures, fantastic Stark design mastery, and all our lovely furniture. We're not shy about how fabulously girly it is here...soak it up!

Yes, I mock my Tea experience here a tad. It really is a lovely space and a visual feast. The food was all quite tasty and unique..more of a treat for my eyes and my tongue..but I won't lead you wrong...grab in n out or something before you head in because you'll still be hungry after!
I took a friend here for tea as an homage to the tea parties of our youth. We had been throwing tea parties for ourselves for more than 10 years...but after a far too long hiatus, it was time to get back on the tea wagon! I had been dying to scope out the hotel and dining spaces at the SLS so figured this was just as good a time as any to do so. I was not disappointed in the least by what I saw. However, when I want tea, I want to be treated like a princess and the only true place to do this is when you go for tea at the Penninsula. So all in all, I enjoyed our tea time...it was hip and unique and I'm glad I can say I have finally been. Back to the ritzy hotels for tea the next time I want to be pampered.


Here Comes the Ibride

Ibride is a great line of mostly whimsical graphic home decor items, including trays, wall panels and serving pieces, with a very cool website as well. I had been eyeing these trays for some time at a local shop in Culver City, Lundeens (which you must swing by and try, I dare you, TRY to leave empty handed), and thought I had resolved to keeping these on my wishlist. I was lucky enough to stumble across a sale featuring a few Ibride items on Velocity Art and Design and snagged a serving tray of my very own! I'm celebrating it on a shelf in my bedroom, but I look forward to serving tea and scones on it at some point.


Ludo Bites

I love girls nights out and had a really great one a few weeks ago at Ludo Bites at Breadbar on 3rd Street.

My love for Bravo is unwavering, well maybe not unwavering because I could really do without Law & Order and West Wing, but as far as the Bravo programs go Top Chef is a favorite. Naturally Top Chef Masters would be right up my alley as well. After seeing the episode with Ludo, a girlfriend and I made a reservation to check out Ludo Bites.

The concept is based around small, shareable plates. We started with the polenta over oxtail beef with black truffle.
To satisfy my insatiable tomato craving, we devoured the heirloom tomato salad with feta mousse.

And then took down 2 little shrimp with rosemary and sweet and sour emulsion and daikon slice.

I'm eating up as much foie gras before it is illegal in CA in the next few years. We had the seared foie gras with cornbread cake, passion fruit and verbena.My favorite dish of the night was definitely the mighty scallop perched atop potatoes crowned with carmelized bacon and port creme. Really a standout.

As all goodthings come to an end, we finished up with chocolate mousse 2 ways. The darker scoop had a jalepeno finish and the other was a nice dry chocolate mousse.

It was a top notch meal! Ludo even makes the rounds to say hello to all the patrons.

Better hurry to catch him before he leaves Breadbar next month!
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