Tag: food

Sketch 41

Well I am more or less settled into my new apartment.  Most everything is unpacked and with the addition of a new dresser from IKEA on Saturday, things are pretty much put away.

The weekend was pretty busy and full of food.  On Thursday night, dinner at El Cholo.  Friday was dinner at Pizzeria Mozza.  Breakfast on Saturday at The Griddle (I had a 2-Stack of the “Tis the Season” pancakes…which are made with pumpkin pie filling in the batter).  Dinner on Saturday was my first trip to The Counter, a build your own gormet burger place.

Mozza was excellent.  Fried Squash Blossoms filled with Ricotta for an appetizer.  I had a pizza with house made fennel sausage, bacon and salami for the main course and then the Butterscotch pudding for dessert.  It was my second trip to Mozza, and I think the pizza is really good, however I think Apizza Scholls in Portland still gets my vote for best pizza.

The Counter, was ok, but I wasn’t that impressed.  Basically you get to choose your toppings on your choice of patty (beef, turkey, vegetarian).  There is a wide variety of toppings to choose from and the price of the burger isn’t that outrageous (though still on higher end of things – $8.25 for a 1/3 lb burger with 1 cheese, 4 toppings, and 1 sauce).  On paper, pretty good idea.  In practice, I found the toppings to be over done (as in too much).  I got the beef patty with blue cheese, mixed baby greens, sprouts, and honey mustard and bbq sauce.  It was good, but there was too much blue cheese on it, which kinda overpowered the rest of the burger.

On Monday, I finally replaced my mobile phone with the new Blackberry Pearl Flip.  I was a little torn about getting an iPhone 3G, but decided that the cost of the service on AT&T was too much, especially when I could get a Blackberry on T-Mobile for about $30 less a month.  So I stayed with T-Mobile.  So far I like the phone.  I’m still getting used to the Blackberry software…and its definitely not an iPhone in terms of its media and web handling…but it’ll work for me.

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Sketch 37

Oh my…its been a busy week.  Which explains why I’m a couple days behind this weeks sketch.

Most of the business comes from having to find a new apartment.  In the end, I saw nine different places.  I liked four of them (well I actually liked a fifth place, but the other people wouldn’t have been a great fit).  I’m moving into a place that is Mid-City, so pretty much right between the current location of my office…and the future location of the office.  I’m not sure exactly what there is within walking distance to it…but its pretty centrally located otherwise.

Saturday, my friend had a birthday celebration at her house in Whittier.  We were celebrating a bunch of us who had birthday’s at the beginning of the month (including me).  There was scuba lessons, football watching (Oregon pulled out a squeaker), lots of conversations, and millions of bubbles.  It was a great time (and totally worth the drive to Whittier).

After church on Sunday, I had lunch at Papa Cristo’s, an LA institution that has been open since 1948.  Another LA landmark crossed off the list.

Tuesday, I went to a screening of Rachel Getting Married.  By the time I got there, the line was pretty long and I ended up sitting pretty close to the screen.  That ended up not being a good thing.  The movie featured lots of hand held camera work, which made for some jittery shots.  By the end of the movie I was feeling pretty nauseous.  This coupled with the fact that it could have used to be about a half hour shorter (at least) meant that I bolted as soon as the film was done (again skipping the Q&A session).

I took my car into the shop on Wednesday morning.  My car is interesting, because it has a vacuum system that controls the “power” locks as well as the engine cut of switch.  Well somewhere in the system there was a leak, which was causing the engine not to shut off when I turned off the car and removed the key.  This wasn’t a huge deal for awhile, as there is a cutoff switch on the engine itself, so I only needed to pop the hood and press the switch.  At least until the little tab that helped un-latch the hood broke over the weekend.  Suddenly opening the trunk involved a little more work (and needle nose pliers).  Anyway, I took it in to see what it would take to fix it and get an oil change.  Well it turns out, that I also needed new brake pads and rotors.  So that was almost $450 I wasn’t expecting to be spending.  But again, I can’t really complain, my friend did give me the car.  Picked up the car this morning and the car shuts off as its supposed to do.  Right now the “power” locks don’t work on the right side of the car, but I can get that fixed later.

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Sketch 25

From the 17 – 24th I had a friend visiting from out of town.  So basically we spent the week playing tourist in LA.

After picking my friend up at the airport, we headed straight to the beach (Manhattan Beach).  Spent a little time there and then headed back to my neighborhood.  My friend was craving mexican food, so we walked over to the taqueria that is near my house.  After that we just kind of chilled out for the rest of the evening.

The next day we did some more exploring around the neighborhood.  We walked down Melrose, to about halfway between Fairfax and La Cienega.  The plan was to check out some of the stores (even though neither of us had money to spend).  However, we left a little early in the morning, and a majority of the stores weren’t open.  In the end, we got some coffee and did about 7 miles of urban hiking getting there and back.  Needless to say, after that much walking in pretty warm sun, we didn’t do much else the rest of the day.

Thursday, we got day passes for the Metro and did some exploring public transit style.  We had an early lunch in Little Ethiopia, went to the La Brea tar pits, and in the evening went a saw a sneak preview of the movie Finding Amanda in Beverly Hills.

Friday, we got up early and headed downtown to check out the LA Flower District.  They claim its the largest flower market in the world.  It’s basically 2 big warehouses full of venders selling flowers (and other accessories).  It’s mainly geared towards the wholesale market, but they have public hours each day as well (though some of the vendors shut down by then).  After that we went up to Griffith Park and walked around the Observatory for a bit. I’m pretty sure we went to the beach at some point as well.

Saturday, my friend wanted to visit another friend in San Diego.  So we headed down south to do that.  I dropped my friend off at her friends and headed over to one of my friends place to hang out with her and her husband.  They decided to take me to Coranado Beach to check out that area.  We first went to Mr. P’s Irish Pub for lunch.  Mr. P’s is a big Navy hangout (my friend’s husband is in the Navy.  I had a pretty good corned beef sandwhich.  Then we walked over to the beach and hung out there for a few hours.  My friends husband and I spent a significant amount of time body surfing.  It was pretty much a great time (and I managed not to get sunburned).  Later I met back up with my visiting friend and her friend for some dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.  After dinner, we started our journey back to Los Angeles.  But on the way, stopped at Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido.  We got two beers to split between the two of us, a 2006 Double Bastard and a Cali-Belgique IPA.  Both were good, the cali-belgique was a really interesting hybrid beer.

Sunday, we went to church and then to the beach all afternoon.  I think we got there a little before noon and didn’t leave until after 6pm.  It was great (and again…no sunburn).

Monday we got up late, had some breakfast and had a somewhat lazy day.  We went and saw the new Incredible Hulk movie at the Arclight.

Tuesday, we went to Doughboy’s for breakfast and then it was time to drop my friend back off at the airport.

It was a great week…and fun being a tourist in my own town.

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Sketch 24

Posting early this week, because I have a friend visiting for a week starting tomorrow.

It’s been a pretty slow week event wise.  Mainly I’ve just been job searching.

I did ride my bike to Pasadena last week, which was a significant ride for my out of shape self.  I did cheat and take the Metro train home.  Baby steps with the getting into shape.

I’m slowly starting to get in the swing of cooking again.  Tonight, I’m going to make my first attempt at homemade pasta.  We’ll see how things turn out…but it’ll be fun just to try.  I’m liking getting back into cooking…and who knows…maybe I’ll even start blogging about it soon like my friend Nicole at Pinch My Salt.

For those of you reading this in a feed reader…I tweaked my design a little bit over the weekend.  There are more tweaks to come, so check out the actual site every once in awhile and let me know what you think.

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Whole Wheat Couscous with Feta, Sun-dried Tomato, Porcini and White Truffle Honey Asparagus

Because my favorite food blogger, Nicole at Pinch My Salt, hasn’t been posting much, I thought I’d do a food related post tonight.  Since I’ve been in Los Angeles, my diet has definitely deteriorated and I haven’t been cooking near as much.  So when I was thinking about my Lenten discipline this year, I thought it would be good to break a bad habit.  So I decided to give up fast food.  For the most part, its been pretty easy so far, however it does mean I’ve also given up In-N-Out for the course of lent.  Sad.  Anyway, one of the things I hope the breaking of the fast food habit would lead to, is more home cooking.  I haven’t cooked at home as much as I would like so far, but I’m getting better about planning time into my busy schedule to do it.

Tonight’s dinner was something that just came together in my head while grocery shopping last Monday.  I was thinking about how I could prepare the couscous I was planning to buy.  While in the produce section I noticed that the organic Asparagus looked pretty good and was a good price.  Remembering the White Truffle Honey I have in my pantry, the dish began to come together in my mind.  I don’t really have a recipe per say for dinner, I just did things by personal taste preference.

Whole Wheat Couscous
Feta Cheese
Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Dried Porcini Mushrooms (Rehydrated)
White Truffle Honey

Pan-steam Asparagus for approx 5 minutes.  Drain water.  Put some butter in pan (being careful to only brown, not burn the butter) with asparagus, add white truffle honey to taste.  Cook approx 2 minutes longer, making sure asparagus is fully coated with butter/honey mixture.  Remove from heat.  Prepare couscous.  Stir in Feta cheese to taste.  Stir in porcini and sun-dried tomatoes to taste.  Put couscous mixture on plate and top with asparagus.


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A Few Weeks in LA

I’ve been in Los Angeles almost three weeks now and it still really hasn’t sunk in that I actually live here.  I don’t know if it is a result of my only furniture being a borrowed Aero Bed and a small bookshelf or the fact that I don’t yet have a car.  Whatever it is…it still just feels like a long vacation or perhaps more correctly business trip since I have been working since the 15th.

Not having a car in LA is definitely a much tougher thing than in Portland.  There is public transportation but for some reason it just doesn’t feel as accessible.  Perhaps that is more of just the general mindset of the city around me.  I do have a lead on getting a car from a friend, but currently that’s on the back burner.

I’m living a few blocks from USC in a pretty nice townhouse.  The rent is pretty much double what I was paying in Portland, but for the area, its proximity to the University (and therefore less need of a car)…its a pretty good deal.  The neighborhood is pretty interesting.  The immediate area is largely the college crowd, however a few blocks away the neighborhood becomes largely Latino.

Most of my explorations of the city so far have revolved around food.  There has been a lot of eating out these first few weeks.  The highlights are the biggest burrito I’ve ever seen at La Barca (in the neighborhood) for under $9 and some amazing ramen at Daikokuya in Little Toyko.

I’ve been to the beach (and got the resulting Norwegian Sun Tan…ie redness).

I saw Diana Krall at the Hollywood Bowl, which was a great show at a great venue.  Probably the best sound at an outdoor venue I’ve experienced.

I’ve been to a club in Hollywood (for DJ Heather & DJ Collete @ Deep)

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Pork Stuffed Pork

Pork Stuffed Pork, originally uploaded by rhinoblues.

For Nicole:

My infamous pork stuffed pork, served with seasoned potatoes.

1 Thick Rib Cut Pork Chop
1/4 lb Country Sage Pork Sausage
Fresh ground Pepper (to taste)
Seasoning Salt (to taste)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut a slit in the middle of the pork chop. Stuff pork sausage into slit on pork chop. Season the top and bottom of stuffed pork chop to taste. Place in oven. Bake for 1.5 hrs (or until correct temperature is reached in middle of stuffed pork chop).

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avocado pie?

One of my friends is “stuck” in Sicily as her husband is stationed by the Navy there.  Since she seems to have all the time in the world…she has started a blog of her culinary exploits.  Her blog is called Pinch My Salt.  Anyway, about a month ago she posted a recipe for Jagger Pie.  Now you may be wondering what exactly Jagger Pie is…or you may have guess by the title of this post…that it is a pie made with avocado.

Not many of my friends have fully appreciated the logic of “Well, I like avocado, and I like pie,” statement I was prone to say when I spoke of this experiment.  But I set out to test this recipe anyway.  The ingredients are pretty simple.  It is just one avocado, a can of sweetened condensed milk and some lemon juice, all in a graham cracker crust.

When I finally cracked out a piece, I was pleasently surprised in how good the pie was.  Both of my friends that were brave enough to try the pie also enjoyed it.  I ended up not having any whipped cream on top (as Nicole’s recipe called for), however I’m sure it would be good that way as well.  The pie is actually quite sweet and goes well with a tall glass of milk. 

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