Wednesday, January 31, 2007

{Mozza in LA Times}

There's a great article in today's LA Times about the hotspot pizzeria that is Mozza. I hear it's still pretty tough to get a reservation at the Los Angeles restaurant (located at the corner of Melrose and Highland). Mozza was founded by Nancy Silverton (La Brea Bakery, Campanile) and Mario Batali (Food Network). Read the article here

There's also a nice recipe for Suzanne Goin's (A.O.C., Lucques) Wild Mushroom Persillade which I couldn't find online, so I'm going to post it right here...

*Wild Mushroom Persillade*

Total time: About 40 min.
Servings: 4 to 6


1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound wild mushrooms (such as a combination of chanterelles, black trumpets, white trumpets, maitake, etc.), cleaned
3 tablespoons unsaltes butter, divided
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped parsley


1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoonolive oil. Spread them on a baking sheet, and toast for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown and crispy. Set aside.

2. If the mushrooms are large, tear them into smaller pieces. Heat two large saute pans over high heat for 2 minutes. Swirl in 2 tablespoons olive oil to each pan and wait 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon butter to each pan; when it foams, scatter the mushrooms into the pans. (Be careful not to crowd the pans. There should be a single layer of mushrooms. It's better to do more batches than to crowd the mushrooms.)

3. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme leaves. Add the shallots and saute together with the mushrooms about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and a little crispy. (The cooking time will depend on the particular mushrooms you are using.)

4. Reduce the heat to meduim-high and use a wooden spoon to push the mushrooms to one side of the pan. Add half the remainng tablespoon of butter to each pan. When it foams, add the half the garlic to each pan. Let it sizzle and then stir to incorporate it with the mushrooms. Add the parsley and toss to coat well. Taste for seasoning and arrange on plates. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the mushrooms and serve.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Top Chef

Did all you foodies out there get hooked on Top Chef too? Here's what Wikipedia has to say...The second season of Top Chef began airing on Bravo on October 18, 2006. Padma Lakshmi took over as host, with Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons returning as judges. Filming began in Westwood, near UCLA in Los Angeles, on August 10, 2006. The number of contestants expanded from 12 to 15. The winning recipe from each week's episode is featured on Bravo's Top Chef website and prepared by Season 1 contestant Lee Anne Wong in a web video called The Wong Way to Cook. Unlike season one, there was no reunion episode.

I can't really write about much without devuldging any spoilers, but I will mention that I think I'm in love with host Padma Lakshmi (supermodel and chef, c'mon). This week is the finale episode. No word yet on a DVD release, but If you haven't seen the show tune in to the Bravo Network, as they enjoy showing their programs over and over and over again. If you want more details or recipes from the show visit the official Top Chef site.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Mattern's Deli (Orange)

This particular saturday I set out to have the perfect sandwich. It's no surprise my stomach led me straight to Mattern's Deli in Orange, which serves up old fashioned no-frills sandwiches at an affordable price. The deli specializes in sandwiches, most notably the Poor Boy (on a roll) and the Rueben (heated). The Corned Beef, Black Forest Ham, or Liverwurst sandwiches are also pretty tasty. Mattern's is also known for their delicious Bratwursts (with mustard and saurkraut). Pair that with any number of the imported beers they have on hand and you've got yourself a damn near perfect lunch.

Mattern's also carries a wide variety of meats, sausage, bread, beer, cheeses, and chocolates that you're not likey to find anywhere else. Note that there are only six small tables located inside and that the lines tend to get long on the weekends around lunch time, however I have no doubt you will find it worth the wait. Mattern's is located at 4327 E Chapman Ave in Orange.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand by Alex Kapranos

The lead singer of the acclaimed, platinum-selling group Franz Ferdinand takes readers on a rock-and-roll culinary adventure around the world. The band has millions of fans around the globe, and their frequent tours bring its members not only to a wide variety of places but also face to face with a wide range of food. Here, lead singer Alex Kapranos collects his humorous and insightful reflections — compiled partly from his column in the Guardian (London) — on his many international gastronomic encounters, both savory and not so savory. From the charms of a donut shop in a Polish-speaking part of Brooklyn to a decidedly less charming pair of bull’s testicles in Buenos Aires to the seductive, almost-vegetarian allure of a heavenly Singaporean buffet, Kapranos always gets the mouthwatering details just right while delivering an entertaining look at rock-and-roll life on the road.

Here's one of my favorite passages (fr: pg. 10):

"Over the last couple of years, this group has taken me around the world two and a half times. Sometimes I eat appallingly. Sometimes I eat phenomenally well. I never eat predictably. I've chipped my molars on tiny pearls from mussels in Brussels. Three days ago, I ate a Sumo wrestler's hotpot in Shibuya, then walked to my hotel through a plague of rats. I've been poisoned by mole from a Mexico City convent. I witnessed the failed taming of the Pacific Oyster in Portland. I realized that the finest fast food in the world is on the streets of Athens. I munched a slice of fishbrain bread from Finland (tastier than you'd imagine, but not as interesting). I've discovered that sea urchin is the only food I've ever put in my mouth and physically not been able to swallow, while sitting in the restaurant that was the setting for the Samurai sword slaughter in Kill Bill. I've walked Cake Lover's Lane in Melbourne and dunked Polish donuts and Key Lime pie in Brooklyn. I chewed alligator sausage in New Orleans, unable to leave the restaurant until the police had finished pouring tear gas into the apartment two floors above us to diffuse a hostage situation. I drank beetroot juice until my sweat ran red. I learned how to toast from Georgians in Moscow and ate blinis in the St. Petersburg dining room that was formerly the offices of the KGB. Yes, food is still an adventure."

At just 132 pages this is perfect light reading, just don't read this before bed otherwise you might be tempted to raid the fridge. I should also mention the book also features illustrations by Andrew Knowles. Order Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand by Alex Kapranos here.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Lasher's (Long Beach)

This was, quite simply one of the best meals I've ever had. Upon arrival it's easy to spot that this restaraunt is actually a converted craftsman style home with a very comforting feel inside. After being seated next to the fireplace with a view out the front window I ordered a glass of wine and pondered my options. I decided to start the night off right with Lasher's famous Fried Green Tomatoes (lightly battered, fried and topped with andouille sausage and a creamy Cajun butter sauce). I then moved on to their Award Winning New England Clam Chowder, which was rich, creamy, and stocked full of tender clams and potatoes. For the main entree I tried the special of the day, which was a succulent Sea Bass topped with fresh Lump Crab Meat accompanied with Asperigus and Couscous.

Somehow I even managed to save a little room for dessert. I had a hard time deciding but opted for the White Chocolate Bread Pudding With Two Chocolate Sauces, which was also delicious. Not too sweet and ever so moist on the inside. I had a hard time trying to pinpoint what I liked most, as everything I tried was damn near perfect (except for the Couscous, which I've just never been a big fan of). Visit Lasher's Site to make reservations and plan your next great dinning experience.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Carney's (Los Angeles)

I woke up this morning deciding to head to L.A. for lunch and put a dent in the ever expanding list of the best burger joints L.A. has to offer. After some research and seeing how many awards (and general raves) Carney's had for not only their burgers but also their hot dogs, I began to plan my route to West Hollywood. As of now, I have just returned and as I write this my hands still smell of the chili that graced my Carney's Chili Dog and Carney Burger (with chili) just over an hour ago.

Now, it's difficult to decipher what the absolute best burger joint is but this unique landmark is definitly one of the top ones. Serving patrons out of a vintage traincar Carney's cooks up some great greasy Chili Cheese Burgers (with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and dressing) and messy Chili Cheese Dogs (with chili, brown mustard, and onions). The New York Dog is aslo especially tasty (with mustard and saurkraut). You'll notice the great snap the weiners make when you bite into it 'em as well as the generous amount of saurkraut.

Celebrities like Gary Owens (Laugh In), John K (Ren & Stimpy), Sergio Aragones (Mad Magazine) and Jay Leno (Tonight Show) have all freqeunted the joint. If you drop by on a weekday they have daily specials, but I don't know if I'd be willing to brave the weekday traffic from Orange County to L.A. So you might just wanna save it for a weekend trip (but even then youll probably still hit some traffic!). Carney's has two locations in Los Angeles, one in West Hollywood (on Sunset Blvd.), and another in Studio City. Visit their Official Site for more info.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Dona Tomas Cookbook

We got a few new cookbooks for Christmas and this was one of the one's we were most anxious to cook from straight away. So the next morning I ran to the grocery store and purchased all the necessary ingredients for the Chilequiles with Guajillo Sauce...and were very pleased with the outcome.

The Dona Tomas cookbook comes from Thomas Schnetz and Dona Savitsky's recipes from their Oakland, CA restaurant of the same name (located in the Temescal Distrcit). The Lima Soup (almost identical to their Tortilla Soup) is especially delicious. The soup is not quite as flavorfull as my variation of Rick Bayless' Tortilla Soup, but it is far easier to prepare (perfect for a weeknight) with no blending or frying required. We're looking foreward to trying our hands at some more recipes, as of yet the only other thing we've made from the cookbook are the Tacos De Camarones Al Mojo De Ajo, which were also excellent with a tomatillo salsa. Here's the recipe for the Sopa De Lima. I like to tweak the recipe by adding diced avacado, queso fresco, corn, and extra jalapeno for flavor.

*Sopa De Lima*


1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 white onion, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 jalapeno chile, chopped
2 heirloom or vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch dice
juice of 2 limes
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
about 6 teaspoons kosher salt
2 to 3 cups loosely crushed tortilla chips


Place broth in a large saucepan over medium heat and bring to simmer.
In a sepearate soup pot, heat the oil over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until translucent, stirring with a wooden spoon to prevent burning. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, stirring constantly until the aroma is released. Add the jalapeno and tomatoes, and lightly saute for 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and half of the cilantro, then remove the pan from the heat.

Pour broth into the pot of sauteed vegetables. Place the pot back on the stove top over high heat until it boils. Add a few pinches of salt, reduce heat to medium, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, until the flavors completely fuse. Add half of the shredded chicken (reserve the remainder for another use) and simmer for about 5 minutes, adjusting the seasoning with salt if necessary.

Ladle the soup into large bowls and top each with 1/2 cup of tortilla chips. Divide the remaining cilantro among the bowls. The garnish must be crispy and fresh and sized so that it fits on a soup spoon and provides appropriate contrast.

The soup can be refridgerated in a covered container for up to 3 days and reheated as necessary, but the tortilla and cilantro garnish should always be added at the last minute.

See Dona Tomas' site for more info.

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