Monday, July 30, 2012

Mishi's Strudel

Mishi's Strudel Bakery and Cafe is located at 309 W. 7th St. in San Pedro, California.
This bakery has a multitude of Hungarian specialties including their famous homemade strudels.

Aside from their dessert strudels, they serve savory homemade strudels like cabbage, spinach and beef. Hungarian pastas and savory crepes are also in their menu.

I have tried most of their delicate flaky dessert strudels, including apricot cheese, vanilla cheese, poppy seed, blueberry, and my favorite, chocolate cherry. You can get these strudels in 2 sizes; 12" and 16" and you may get them baked or frozen.

I highly recommend getting the frozen ones.  They do not require thawing; from the freezer to the preheated oven they go.  When you have guests coming for dinner, you can bake it a couple of hours before and just leave it out; you can only imagine the aroma which fills the house...Pictured below is a chocolate cherry I baked. The 12" yielded  six generous slices.

The bakery is quaint and pleasant but on a hot day, it is a bit uncomfortable as it can get really hot in there unless you decide to sit outside wherein they have a a couple of tables and chairs.

Parking can be a problem at certain times. If you get a spot with a meter, don't count on just 10 minutes even if you are just picking up a frozen strudel.  It takes a while to prepare these frozen specialties. Don't give the city of San Pedro a chance to issue you a parking ticket or the strudel may leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

22nd St. Landing in San Pedro

I have heard good things about this restaurant.  Today, after seeing the movie "Intouchables" for the second time with another friend, we decided to try this restaurant.  It was spur of the moment. We were in San Pedro so we decided to check with Mr. Google to see where this restaurant was situated. First thing we did was call to check if they were open for lunch.  As luck would have it, they were open.

It is a nice setting, located at 141 W. 22nd. St. in San Pedro. It's on the second floor and it overlooks the Cabrillo Marina. It was a beautiful day; 2 pelicans were at the dock sunbathing as seagulls flew by. We even spotted 2 seals swimming.

We ordered the shrimp and scallop penne pasta with mushrooms, tomatoes, asparagus in pesto sauce and the crab cake sandwich which was served on a french roll with lettuce, tomato, avocado, chipotle mayo and mixed greens on the side.

While waiting for our order, we noticed one table got some bread. We sacrificed at the movies and didn't get any popcorn so we were starving.  When a waitress walked by, I asked for some bread and she said: "Sure."  The bread came the same time our food arrived.  I made a comment that it should have been served earlier. Her response was, "We only serve it when requested."  How were we to know about that policy?  The proper way would be to ask a simple question like: "Would you like some bread?"

The bread turned out to look a lot better than it tasted.
The penne pasta was good. The shrimps were succulent and the scallops tender. We didn't care much for the salad that was served with it. It was a bit too sour.  The crab cake was  good but I really couldn't tell much since everything else seemed to overpower the crab cake.  It may have been too thin a patty, and with the french roll with everything else, I could hardly taste the crab cake.

Their menu was extensive. It may not be fare to judge the food on 2 orders. I would be interested in having their oysters next time.

I recommend going for lunch instead of dinner so you can enjoy the beautiful view; early dinner wouldn't be bad either so you can catch the sunset.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vegetarian Omelette

Our friend Nako, grows all sorts of vegetables along with a zillion orchids. He gave me some of his tomatoes and Italian peppers. These peppers are not hot and has a nice flavor. I already grilled some a few days ago. My next challenge was what else I could do to these home-grown vegetables.

While my husband was on his daily Trader Joe's run, I asked him to get some eggs and mushrooms.  I cut up some of the tomatoes and peppers, chopped some mushrooms and snipped some fresh rosemary and thyme from our backyard. I then proceeded to melt some butter and olive oil in a nonstick pan. I quickly sauteed the tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms. I added salt, pepper and the herbs. I had some goat cheese so I thought it would be good to add some. It started to look really good.

While still a bit runny, I flipped one side, then the other.  This is where you will agree why I'll never be in a cooking show.  Far from perfect...but not to worry, what matters is the taste.

It turned out to be very good.  I put a dab of goat cheese on top to make it a bit more exciting to look at then served it with toasted sour dough bread I got from L'Amande bakery.  FYI,  if you want perfect omelettes, there's always L'Amande Bakery in Torrance.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Meet in Paris

Fortunately, you don't really have to go to Paris to eat at this wonderful place called "Meet in Paris" at 9727 Culver Blvd. in Culver City, California. The place is not easy to spot as it is small and the sign just says Bistro with a red awning. They have street parking and valet.

We took advantage of the DineLa week and celebrated my husband's birthday last night.  I brought along a bottle of 2000 Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Their corkage fee is $20.00. Mussels are their specialty.  Although they were not included in the 3 course special, I was determined to order mussels to see what the fuss was all about. I asked our server, a pretty young actress named Caroline which of the numerous mussels she would recommend and she right away said "Dijonnaise". So, a bowl of Dijonnaise it was. It came with a tin cup of incredible fries. Those fries were the best I have had especially when I soaked them in the dijonnaise sauce.  We finished the fries and there was still  lot of the sauce....not to worry....more french bread was on the way which took care of most of the sauce. Otto, Erik and I could not get over how really wonderful the sauce was.  I almost wanted to ask for a straw to empty the bowl completely!

Otto and I ordered the French Onion Soup for our first course. It was very good, cheesy, loaded with onions and just the right flavor. Erik ordered the escargot which he liked. I tried it and I thought it needed more flavor. The 8 oz. prime flat iron steak w/Bearnaise sauce served w/ pommes frites was excellent. The steak was so tender I thought I was eating filet mignon. I later told the handsome French owner, Sebastian, that with the wonderful mussels and soup, I expected the main course not to be as good, a little pessimism ...but was pleasantly surprised.

Dessert was profiteroles for me, and creme brulee for Otto and Erik. My profiteroles satisfied me. I tried the creme brulee and it was very good but I would have preferred mine to be more burnt; not everyone has my taste....we can't all be perfect! When they brought out Otto's dessert, it looked like the entire staff came over to sing Happy Birthday. I have never heard it sang by what seemed to be a professional choir! They were good!

I cannot wait to go back to try all the different mussels.  Aside from the Dijonnaise, they have Roquefort mussels with garlic, shallots, chives and cream, Country mussels with leeks, bacon, mushrooms, beer and cream, Baja mussels with chipotle, garlic, shallots,tomatillo, cilantro and Tequila. to name a few. They have 16 ways to serve them.

The great news is:  On Tuesdays, they have all you can eat : Moules Frites (Mussels w/fries) for $25.95. Where else can you find a bargain this good?
I suggest you go to their website, as they have a lot of specials on different days of the week like "Incroyable" which is an all inclusive for $33.95, Tuesday to Sunday from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm....$45 with a bottle of wine for two; includes appetizer, main course and dessert.

Can't wait to see how much mussels I can consume.  Only one way to find out!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bouchon Granola

If you're like me, you can't get excited over granola. I have had some in the past when I tried to eat healthy.  My son, Erik on the other hand likes granola.  When I was at Bouchon last week, the lady had me try some and I must admit, it was very good. If you think you have to eat granola,  I suggest you go for "gourmet" kind. It is made with 2 kinds of raisins, sunflower seeds, almonds and cranberries.

Today, I had the wonderful raspberry croissant from L'Amande Bakery for breakfast and since we are going out to dinner tonight, I thought I should eat something "healthy".  As I looked in our refrigerator, I spotted some left over canned peaches.  I took some of that and sprinkled granola over it.

 Fruit plus much healthier can I least till tonight.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Food Truck Revival

It's been 3 weeks since Sandi and I decided to take a break from the food trucks.  The last time was a big disappointment.  The location was at Narbonne High on Western Ave. in Lomita.  The food trucks are there every Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  Two nights ago, we thought it was time to take a chance and just go for it. We decided to invite another friend; so with 3 people, we could try more and just share everything; that way, if something is really bad, you don't get stuck with the one item and the saying goes: " Misery Loves Company".

I got excited when I saw the truck "El Burger Luchador",  we have had this the first time we went to this location.  If you recall, this is the burger with peanut butter and jelly in it. I remember how I loved it (even if I don't like peanut butter).  I immediately told our friend that he HAD to try it so I pretty much ordered him to get one.

Sandi went to the Gravy Train truck and ordered the crispy fried chicken with fries and cheese smothered in white gravy. This looked better than it tasted. It just didn't excite any of us. She also got the deep fried cheese curds in tempura batter then deep fried. Those were very good except some of the balls hardly had any cheese. I took a picture of that but was accidentally deleted.  This happens when I'm in a hurry taking pictures and notice everyone else eating as the food is getting cold. Oh well, you can't win em all.

I went to the Garlic Escapes Truck and got the Gar-licious garlic fries tossed with feta cheese and served with a sauce. This was the best thing we had. I also got the fried artichoke with feta with a nice sauce, also delicious and semi-healthy. My mother always told me to eat my vegetables; she never specified how to eat them!

All these fried was time for dessert and the only one that looked promising was the Sweet Wheels truck.  I had talked to the lady from the truck as they were setting up and she explained the beignets to me. I was skeptical at first since I've always thought no one can top Cafe Du monde's beignets.
Got an order of their "signature" Beignets and Ricotta Puffs with tangerine cream. 
The ricotta puffs were again deep fried and dusted with powdered sugar. They were very good. The beignets were just as good if not better. They were lighter that Cafe Du Monde, plus it had a very thin line of custard inside. I would definitely have this again, but will be sure to ask for extra powdered sugar.

We are still waiting for My Delight Cupcakery to come back to Harbor City, even if they would never have my favorite fried chicken cupcake because they only make those on Wednesdays.  I could use some bacon cupcakes anytime soon. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Royce at the Langham Hotel

I was always impressed with this elegant restaurant in the beautiful Langham Hotel in Pasadena. The restaurant critic Irene Virbila's review a year ago was right on the money. A 5 course tasting menu for $85 was indeed a bargain.

I previously blogged about Royce: and I had nothing but high praises on everything.

I took my brother there to celebrate his birthday along with my son and cousin. The tasting menu was now 6 courses and the price went up to $125.00. We all had the tasting menu; I thought this would be a good introduction to David Feau's cuisine.

There were only 2 dishes that stood out from the amuse bouche to the dessert. The fish soup with the red mullet fillet and potato emulsion was truly outstanding. The soup was thick, and the salty fish was magic when mixed with the soup. Our main entree which was the roasted duck with cherries and turnips was also very good.

The first course was impressive. Impressive I say because of the presentation. The Shima Aji (fish) was served on a carved block of ice.. The fish itself was pretty , tasteless.  The fifth course, a fromage frais/ herbs, again had a nice presentation. This raw cow's milk cheese with garlic herbs served with sourdough toast was nice to look at and I'm not saying it was not was good but nothing special.

I must mention that the service was excellent. Our server, Andrea was so attentive and even if she had several tables, she made us feel like we were the only ones dining at that time.

I am hoping for a change in menu in the very near future. Chef Feau has to go back to his roots to make Royce stand out like it once least in my eyes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gourmet Mochi

My niece Aimee brought me some gourmet mochi that her "foodie" friend Mia,  forced her to buy from the Korean Plaza Market in Koreatown. They are on 928 S. Western, Suite 300 Koreatown in Los Angeles.

These mochi (s) had 3 flavors: milk chocolate, white chocolate and green tea. They apparently have many other flavors but these are supposedly the best.

I have been having them the past few days and they are still soft and light as cotton balls. I do not refrigerate them as these delicate cotton balls would turn into golf balls! They all have just a little bit of red bean in the center. Nothing is too sweet, none of the flavors overpower the red bean and vice versa. In other words, they were perfect mochi balls.

She also brought a box of Meltyblend (Royal milk tea chocolat) that is made in Japan. These can be purchased at most Japanese Markets. They are an imitation to the famous Royce Nama Chocolate. They are pretty good but not quite the real thing.

Thank You Aimee and Elliot and I thank Mia for the gourmet discovery.

Bouchon Bakery in Beverly Hills

For those not lucky enough to have been to Pierre Herme in Paris; my favorite bakery, you can have a taste of Paris at the Bouchon Bakery in Beverly Hills. I am particularly talking about the Kouign-Amann. This wonderful flaky pastry is made out of dough, butter, sugar and then laminated with more butter and sugar.  How can anything this basic be unimaginably this good?  You will have to take my work for it as I put my reputation on the line. It is best of course if you can get it fresh in the morning; but when I was in the area one later afternoon, I stopped by to see if they had any left over Kouign-Amann.  As luck would have it, they had a few left.

The following day, I was in a hurry to eat my breakfast, so instead of  properly  preheating the oven,  I just popped one in the toaster, upside down, so the sticky side was on top.  It was just as delicious.  For the purist, this is it!  One Kouign-Amann with a strong cup of freshly brewed French Roast with a dash of whipping cream ....what more can one ask for? The picture shows the top, bottom and the inside of the Kougin-Amann.

They also had something else that caught my eye. It was a bacon cheddar cheese scone.  I got one of those to try. I had it the following day, for my lunch.  I heated it and had it with some orange juice.  Wow! this was very good as well. You couldn't see the bacon on top  since it  was covered with the cheddar cheese. You could just taste it..this scone was also flaky and crisp outside.  It had some chives and more cheese and bacon inside. This type of scone would go well with champagne instead of your usual tea!

So Kouign-Amman for breakfast; Bacon Cheddar Cheese Scone for lunch and Fresh Trout for dinner is what I would call a  GOOD DAY!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Crispy Trout

Our friends Nako and Amy gave us some trout they caught in the High Sierras.

I marinated them in lemon and scored them like I've seen Gordon Ramsay do it on one of his videos. I then added some sea salt in between the slices and added quite a bit of chopped fresh rosemary and thyme inside and all over the trout.  I heated a big non- stick pan; once heated I added some olive oil and butter.  After about a minute, I put in the trout. I checked it in 4 minutes and it looked ready to be flipped.  I cooked it an additional 5-6 minutes and it was ready.

I had left over mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese.  I gave my husband the potatoes and I had the macaroni and cheese.  I steamed some cauliflower and added butter, salt & pepper. They all complemented the very crispy, tasty & tender trout.

There's really nothing like fresh trout compared to the ones you see in the market on ice that's been there for who knows how long.

Thanks to Nako and Amy....when is your next fishing trip?

Dine LA Scarpetta Menu

I have previously blogged about this restaurant and have not forgotten the incredible polenta.

Dine LA Week is here once more and it is exciting to go the the website to look at the participating restaurants. For those who are not familiar with DineLa Week; A bunch of restaurants participate and posts set menus for lunch and dinner. Lunch varies from $15-$25, and dinner from $25-$45. It's a great opportunity to try them out. Too many restaurants, so little time. You can even click on the menu to see what they are offering for a 3 or 4 course meal. Most of the restaurants are "fine dining"

When I saw that the Polenta was the 1st course and the 3rd course was the Budino dessert, I figured they could have had oatmeal for an entree and I still would have gone. It was an opportunity to celebrate Cynthia's  birthday.

For anyone who has not tasted polenta before, I promise it to be "love at first bite." If you have had polenta before, this will be your "first affair". This was served with a fricassee of truffled mushrooms.  It truly was just wonderful!

For our entree, all 3 of us decided on the Short Rib Agnolotti cooked with brown butter, hazelnuts and horseradish. We have had the cod before which was good but not outstanding. These little pasta filled short ribs were need for parmesan.

Dessert was a no brainer...we all decided on the Vanilla Caramel Budino with chocolate sable cookies. We also have had this dessert before and remembered how good it was, with the combination of sweet, salty, crunchy and just plain sinful.

I had made this reservation through with a note to the restaurant that we were celebrating a birthday.  I called on the day of our dinner to ask if they did anything for celebrating a birthday and they said, " Yes, we have it down, and we normally put a candle on the dessert."

Budino came and went and there was no candle.  Does this mean my friend is still the same age?  She can only wish.