Friday, January 28, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The Crunchiest, Saltiest, Most Perfect French Fries in LA
No bliss is so simple as the crunch of a golden brown, crispy yet fluffy, perfect french fry. It is my comfort food of choice, and the only thing I can't fathom ever getting sick of. When I'm sick, I feel like french fries, when I'm celebrating: french fries, when I'm lazy and I hen-peck my dad to cook: french fries. We have a very codependent relationship, that sort of "addicted to food" thing you see on reality TV programs. So if you're in the area, please check out my picks of LA's finest, ranging from oozy gooey chili fries to sweet potato to Belgian double fried. Enjoy the unapologetic deep fried goodness!
1018 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Neighborhood: Santa Monica
Deciding between sweet potato and regular is so hard, so why choose at all? Go with the mixed choice of FO's savory best, served with their delicious house made aioli. These crispy critters go perfectly with the perfectly balanced Mirror Pond Pale Ale they have on tap.
800 E 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Three words: white. truffle. glaze. Paired with the chipotle aioli, these Belgian style double dipped french fries are the perfect balance of fluffy inside, crispy outside, and not too "truffley." And alongside a chicken jalapeno sausage and tall glass of La Choufe Tripel, you can't go wrong.
225 26th St
Santa Monica, CA 90402
This cash-only hole in the wall (literally) serves up simple fare: Rotisserie Chicken, Rotisserie Ribs, and lots of fried stuff. While I usually nosh on the fries al fresco in the Brentwood Country Mart Courtyard, be warned: if you take it to go the fries won't make it home, as you will keep stealing from the bag at every stop sign you hit. The secret seasoning salt it the key, transforming traditional greasy spoon fries into something special.
In n Out Animal Style
Any true Angeleno knows about In n Out's secret menu, so I'd be remise not include it on our best of list. Melted cheese, grilled onions, thousand island sauce, and the extra-super-secret trick of extra crispy fries, makes this the perfect snack stop on a road trip in Cali.
District's Chilli Cheese Fries
6600 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
I love District's luxe take on chili cheese fries, smothered in Hook's aged cheddar and dry aged steak. Ooey gooey and totally over the top, they're the perfect bar food to get your thirst going.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
When the opportunity to make this Marchesa confection came up, I pushed up my sleeves and threw myself into it. Marchesa is one of my absolute favorite labels. Feminine and soft, but with an edge that always keeps you guessing, I practically turn into a five year old dying to play dress up whenever I lustily ogle the designs.
With all the dollycakes I make, the process always starts the same: pick the singular element to make the cake "read" and attack, attack, ATTACK! The obvious centerpiece here are the undulating waves of delicate ruffles, punctuated with lace eyelets. I am by no means a pastry chef, so when I realized sugar sculpture was the best way to go, my soul cried...hard. It cried so hard I watched Seinfeld reruns and ate double stuffed oreos instead.
So I practiced. I busted out the silicone pads, boiled the sugar syrup, and spun my little heart out. It worked like a champ! I molded the sugar into these flowing, flowering, lovely little shapes. The hardest part was over, right? RIGHT?
Well, it was, until I found out my parent's kitchen was being used for a photo shoot so I'd have to decorate the cake at my boyfriend's apartment. Not really a big deal, until you realize that guys in their 20s have nothing, literally NOTHING in their kitchen. So like some nomad on a caravan I had to bring over all of my ingredients, all of my cooking equipment, my mixer, cookie sheets, paintbrushes, the whole shebang.
To save on space, I stupidly brought a roll of wax paper assuming it would work just as well as the sil pads. Well, you could imagine the melted, hardened waxy mess I crumpled into the trash. I raced over to the house, hoping to sneak into the kitchen, snatch some silicone pads, and escape unnoticed, but, as Murphy's law would have it, the kitchen was the first shot of the day.
Eventually I get back to the cake, and started decorating. It was a marathon, but it worked. I spun out the sugar in a Jackson Pollack-y round, molded it when still warm, and put the them in muffin tins to keep their shape; covered them in a little white chocolate, and there you have it: lacy, swirly, pretty ruffles to cover my cake. Not quite the same as getting to wear an amazing Marchesa gown, but hey, it's a delicious consolation prize!
Monday, January 10, 2011
I'm a pretty fickle salad eater. As a starter, absolutely. Give me a plate of the green stuff, as long as something warm is coming afterward. I love bitter arugula, undulating butter lettuce, and delicate mache, but as the whole meal, I'm usually left wanting. Give me something hot, something filling, and good lord let it be easy to make because I'm too hungry to bother. Enter, minestrone. It's basically my garbage disposal because I'm a notorious over buyer at the farmer's market (everything looks so good, I can't help it!). I just toss in every vegetable that I don't see myself noshing on in the next couple of days, and leave it be, so there's a ton of lee way with what you want to include. Consider this a blue print, your starting point for wherever you want to take it. The base of a good minestrone is cooked cannelini beans and their delicious broth, and I stock mine up with chopped tomatoes, zucchini, and tons of super crazy healthy kale. The best part? One pot is enough for a no-brainer lunch all week. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups cannellini beans
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 rosemary sprig
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 large fennel bulb (or 2 smaller ones)
2 zucchini, quartered and sliced into 1/4 thick slices
3-4 tomatoes, cut into eights
1 head of broccoli, broken down into bite size florets
6 oz kale
2 teaspoons oregano, finely chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup basil, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1-2 tablespoons nice balsamic vinegar (syrupy modena style is best)
In a large pot toss in the cannellini beans, 3 cloves of garlic minced, sprig of rosemary, big pinch of salt, and 6 cups of room temp water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, turn down to a simmer, and cover. Then go watch TV for 2 hours. The beans take forever, but it's passive work, so just let them do their thing. You want them to be tender, and not too toothsome. To prep the other vegetables, chop the onion and fennel into equal sizes (about a 1/4 of an inch). Heat a large pot (this will be your soup pot) over medium heat and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, followed immediately by the onion and fennel. Season with a pinch of salt and cook until the onion and fennel are a little browned (about 5-10 minutes). Add the remaining garlic cloves and the oregano. After it's browned a bit (about a minute) add the carrot and celery. To prep the kale, slice out the center rib of each kale leaf, then slice the leaves into 1 inch strips. Add the kale to the pot along with the cannellini beans, their cooking liquid (remove the rosemary sprig, it's ok if the leaves fell off), and the stock. Bring the whole thing to a simmer (about 20 minutes), and add the broccoli, tomatoes and zucchini. After another 10 minutes, add the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. The balsamic gives the whole thing a nice bit of body. Finish with the parsley and basil. Enjoy!