Sunday, May 31, 2009

RIP Daisy.

The world's sweetest dog.

Daisy's first day home (8 weeks), after we picked her up from the breeder and immediately shocked her by trying to give her the first bath. She was not what I would call a brave dog, ever. But that water scared the bejeesus out of her. I have never seen a tiny slippery puppy run so fast.

After a few days of completely ignoring her, Jackson finally lets her come snuggle up to him.

Nom. Nom. Nom.

Uncle Flick wrastles.

Learning how to share is a two way street.


Double trouble.

Daisy assumes the position. She would stare through the kitchen window, compelling me to let her inside.

Sunning herself on the patio.

Both Daisy and Jackson love to travel.

Where she slept, every night of her life after 8 weeks.

Wine tasting in Malibu. Helping us to handle the loss of our dear friend Slim.

At the vet, during the Great Sock Incident of 2009.

Home after the surgeries. In her last few weeks she rested happily, retained her beautiful ebullient spirit and ate like the proverbial horse.

You are already missed.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mikawaya: Mochi, Gyuhi, Daifuku. Oh My!


118 Japanese Village Plaza Mall

Los Angeles, CA 90012

A couple weeks back, after a beautiful lunch at Hama Sushi, we strolled through Japan Village Plaza in seek of sweets. Mikawaya is perfectly located for buying one of many quick sweets to eat while sunning yourself in the square.

The main draw to Mikawaya is excellent mochi. Mochi, a Japanese dessert, are made from glutenous rice pounded into a paste then molded into shapes. When I think of mochi, and this may be very hakujin of me, I think of the paste wrapped around ice cream. In Japan this is also called yukimi daifuku. Daifuku is simply the slightly sweet paste wrapped around a sweeter filling, such as red bean paste or crushed melon paste. Yukimi daifuku means "snow-viewing daifuku", or mochi wrapped around ice cream and kept frozen. "Snow-viewing daifuku" is such a poetic way to specify.

Mikiwaya is known for their mochi. They get lots of rave reviews (and some pans) on Yelp. I am simply super happy I have someplace, anyplace, to buy mochi near my house.

In order, Mikawaya serves mochi, in order from left to right: vanilla, strawberry, can't remember what the yellow one was, azuki (red bean paste), green tea and chocolate.

This is a store for people with a sweet tooth. Everyone can find a treat here. The long fridge of gelatos and sorbettos is beautiful.

With a mouth watering array of fresh sounding flavors, Baskin-Robbins this is not. Not that I have anything against BR, I just love flavors that sound more exotic to my American ears.

White peach and pistachio together in one bowl sounds drool worthy this morning.

I would eat matcha green tea or raspberry separately. I love green tea ice has a certain almost lack of sweetness, so slight while that green tea flavor that sits in the back of your mouth.

Another kind of mochi. This is mochi made with yomogi, or mugwort. Daifuku mochi made with mugwort is called yomogi daifuku. So pretty.

The Mikawaya website explains that another kind of mochi, pink gyuhi, "
has a mochi type outside and and a sweetened, smooth, white bean paste inside. It is designed into different shapes to symbolize the different seasons".

The mochi we ate that day were delicious. We both shared a chocolate and I ate a green tea. It was not as gobstoppingly amazing as the mochi we ate in Tokyo, but it was the perfect taste at the perfect moment after a perfect lunch.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer Fun #2: Small Business Owner Driven Insane by The Food Network

Kristine is a small business owner working and employing people in the construction industry. I know from personal experience she loves cooking, dining out, eating other people's food and sharing her own. She always has 20 questions (or more) about everyone else's food experiences.

Reading (does this count as a hobby?) & I'm starting to get into photography.

image courtesy of Now Public

Last meal you ate:

Just got back from lunch and had half a rack of baby back ribs with honey BBQ sauce, corn casserole, cole slaw, and a biscuit. NOM!

courtesy of nommm blog

Popsicle flavor/ice cream treat preference:

Popsicle flavor = A good old skool Big Stick (cherry & pineapple)
Ice-Cream = Chocolate & Hazelnut Gelato (Villa Dolce is a good one that I can get at a regular grocery store.)

courtesy of Go Pug Yourself

Obama is coming to dinner! What would you serve for a 5 course meal?

Probably something simple and hearty. I am learning to be a better cook but one thing but when I entertain I usually stick to my tried-and-true menu.

1st Course: A simple salad. Probably with some bleu cheese, dried cranberries/cherries in a balsamic vinaigrette

2nd Course: Baked/broiled shrimp dish I make with olives, olive oil, salt & pepper. The oil is great for dipping bread into, as well.

3rd Course: Filet Mignon with sauteed green beans or asparagus, I make a good mac & cheese with caramelized shallots and goat cheese, too.

4th Course: (Damn, I don't think I've ever cooked a five course menu at home. It's always been 3 or buffet-style). Hmmm ... If I'm trying to be fancy I guess I could serve a sorbet of some kind. Maybe something a little tart like lilikoi/passionfruit.

5th Course: a fig tart with a cheeseplate! :)

image courtesy of Martha Stewart

Desert island 3:

You mean a 3 course meal on a desert island? Are we doing this Les Stroud-style? ;)
1st: Some kind of ceviche with fresh fish, shrimp, citrus.

2nd: Some kind of grilled/broiled fish with a simple rice and local veggies

3rd: A simple platter of fresh fruit from around the Island

Cooking mishap?
I focked up on my first Thanksgiving turkey (but who doesn't) ... it's like a rite of passage in the kitchen, right? LOL

image courtesy of Bay Area Bites

Ethnic/culinary heritage? Do you cook anything traditional to this heritage?

100% Korean. I have tried my hand at Korean-inspired meals but I leave the true Korean food to my mom.

image courtesy of kaman's cep 416 blog

How did you learn to cook?

Come to think of it, I never really spent too much time in the kitchen with my mom. I recall stirring the pot or cutting some veggies when she asked but we never bonded too much in to the kitchen. I've learned (and am still learning) to cook on my own. Actually, when the DH and I first moved into together (we were 21), I went through a crazed Food Network phase and got a lot of inspiration from all the cooking shows. My fave FN personalities are Giada & Tyler Florence.

One thing you will never eat.
Shark. As much as I admire a lot of aspects of Japanese culture I think it's fucked up how little they regard the shark.

image courtesy of Shark Divers Blog

Monday, May 25, 2009

Second Chances at BoHO: Hits & Misses But Overall Redemption

6372 W Sunset Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 465-8500

This weekend a large number of my posse gathered in Los Angeles for one of our semi-annual events. We meet face to face, talk, drink, and bond while enjoying all sorts of activities in the early summer sunshine. There is such an immense amount of group love among these people, that although I always end these weekends feeling physically depleted, my insides feel nurtured for a long time to come.

Staying in a house in Beachwood Canyon, we needed somewhere to dine conveniently located but also offering very good food and a certain amount of flexibility. One obvious choice was used at a previous LA meet up to unsatisfactory affect, and one other easy choice only offered a prix fixe option for a party of ten. I decided on BoHo, not just despite the Mother's Day incident but partially because of it. The service issues on Mother's Day brunch 2009 got BoHo a pretty bad, but accurate, write up at Food, She Thought. Because I loved the atmosphere and my food tasted fantastic, I thought they deserved another shot at my business.

One member of the posse commented on my level of forgiveness despite Mother's Day. I don't consider this an act of forgiveness, I consider it an act of fairness. After reading and agreeing with the major tenets of Food Woolf's Food Blog Code of Ethics, I thought more than twice about my original review of BoHo and have been wanting to go back again. Here are the results.

We arrived 10 minutes late for our reservation, but all 10 of us were in tow. Funnily, they had the reservation under the wrong name with the right phone number and the hostess handled it with good humor and grace. We were shown to the family table in the middle of the main dining room and were well taken care of. EKD and I ordered a beautiful Alabarino at the extremely reasonable price of $36, served ever so slightly too close to room temperature and promptly put in an ice bucket.

In very early reports of the change from Charcoal to BoHo, Food GPS commented that the plan was to have no menu item priced higher than $19. Although some of the initial plans changed, Suaya ended up calling the spot BoHo not Circa 19 and Guerrero is cooking standard style menu instead of family style, the items on the menu illustrate the initial concept. Pulled pork, pizzas, pork chops and so on. The food tastes good.

Our table started with lots of appetizers. My choice was the charcuterie, because I loves. For $16 we were served generous portions of the following...

Whiskey chicken liver mousse. Delightfully flavored, it was way too smooth. I would prefer this a little thicker. But just a hair.

Rabbit rillette, fantastic. Perfect texture, light flavor.

Pork rillette. Probably my favorite item on the plate. Grainy, a little salty like it should be, meaty.

Two kinds of cured ham and a salami. All very nice, sliced paper thin and falling apart slightly as we shared them out. Toasty ciabatta (methinks), olives and cornichons accompanied. Everyone was delighted.

This was my favorite dish of the evening. This could be a destination dish. People are chattering about this on Chowhound. Fried oyster Po' Boy sliders. We ordered a couple plates of these and we could easily have done another couple more.

Succulent oyster lightly breaded and deep fried. Served between a gougeres, with arugula, a swipe of tartar sauce and a little applewood smoked bacon.

Absolutely divine.
French fried perfection. Medium sized, crispy on the outside, soft, warm and potatoey on the inside. Served with a very BBQ sauce tasting housemade catsup and a garlic aoili.You can't really tell from the photo, but I thought the size was far more generous than the photo shows.

This messy looking dish is the burrata and heirloom tomato dish. With red bell peppers, eggplant, and basil in vinaigrette on a crostini. I thought the texture all around was a bit mushy, I would prefer to see the tomato in larger chunks. The flavors were fresh, bright and acidic. It was good., despite the textural issues.

There was some debate at the other end of the table about the flavors in the three bowls of piping hot French onion soup that came out. CT thought it was too sweet, and a couple people thought it was perfection. SP said it had too much cheese. Is there such a thing? She is a self proclaimed cheese whore. Too much cheese? She may get demoted to cheese slut. HM loved all the cheese and I am pretty sure all the bowls went back to the kitchen empty.

The beets were universally adored. Dark red and golden beets that turned hot pink from being baked with the red beets with lots and lots of goat cheese and a lemon onion confit. Served hot, this was earthy, goatey goodness in a cast iron pan.

Next came the entrees. I caved on the oxtails even though VV right next to me ordered them also. Very generous portion, I couldn't even finish half so I shared mine with HM. Oxtail Catalana, with roasted peppers, peas, sherry vinegar that added a lot of sweetness to the juice, simple boiled potatoes and baby carrots.

Really worth eating, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys this level of luxurious fatness in their meat. Oxtails aren't for everyone, but I love them.

HM ordered the short ribs, and luckily for me she loves to share. Braised in Rogue chocolate stout and guajillo chiles, this had just a trace of sweetness, much less than the oxtails. I loved the pearl onions and carrots. In the back of the photo you can see the buttered spaetzle making an appearance. Yum.

GJB just had the Caesar salad with ciabatta croutons. We were a little disappointed in the lack of zing in the dressing. Not enough garlic, and not enough anchovy. Happy with the generous shaving of Reggiano-Parmesan, though.

EKD & JTD were sharing the garlic spinach. Simple and done well.

JTD and CT both had pizzas for entrees, and we all agreed they were undercooked. I am not the world's biggest pizza fan. But when I do like pizza I like it constructed like this, with a low topping to crust ratio. Crusted thinly with a nice puff of crust at the side. But the bottom needs to be brown and crispy. Above is JTD's Delux pizza with mushrooms, sausage and salami.

Above is CT's Margherita, with tomato, basil and mozzarella.

Above is the sadness that is the underbelly of the undercooked crust.

I am not a blogger who gives stars or ratings of restaurants. I prefer to share what I eat and what I/we thought and let readers come to their own conclusions There were a few small misses and some differences of opinion on a couple dishes. All in all though, I would call this redemption for BoHo. I would eat here again, not because they deserve a second chance but because I want to eat their food again. I will know better what to by-pass, definitely considering the charcuterie and most likely never ever passing on the Po' Boy Sliders.

PS: The chef was very amiable about SP's intolerance to gluten and prepared the pulled pork sandwich with no bread and/or gluten products. She was happy, and that pulled pork, while sadly unphotogenic, is delicious.

Boho in Los Angeles