Thursday, November 13, 2008


When one country wars with another, the most devastating part is that lives are lost, people are displaced, and memories are tainted.
Diaspora is the basis of many cuisines. With the movement of bodies, comes a movement of minds, cultures, and knowledge of food. Greatness comes of this clash of peoples; the mesh of culture and more specifically the fusion of food.
Fusion foods and cuisines fascinates me. It can often be mainstream culture, not as in kitsch, but as in who people are; a representation of what people call home. The best way to experience culture is when it is served to you on a plate, in a bag, with a side a love, and time. The kind of culture that is meant to be injested, to be enjoyed, and to be inspiring.
Though tragic wars do take place, it is because of these wars that the birth of GREAT cuisine is possible!


Don't you just love how food has that comfort property? I do.
It brings people together.
It's part of our everyday lives.
It's part of our after lives. Our family's after lives.
It's universal. It's individual.
Savored. Taken for granted.
Rustic. Strategic.
It's emotional. Sweet. Bitter. Spicy. Sour. Salty.
It's everything.
It's primordial.
It's who we are. What we do.
What we eat.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

An Eggplant With A Thumb?

I was at the supermarket the other day when I came across this strange yet rare find; an eggplant with a thumb! Let's face it, this is just down right hilarious! I have to admit that my aunt, my mom, and I laughed for a good five minutes over this peculiar speciman.
Don't you just love the curve balls mother nature throws at us sometimes? She obviously has a sense of humor too.

No Lava Flows?!

This is kind of late, but after uploading all the images from my Blackberry, I realized that I had left a few details out from my Canada trip.

So, because I am of legal drinking age in Canada, I leaped at my chance to have a drink at a restaurant. What I really wanted was a lava flow, and when I asked the waitress what kind of drinks their bar offers, she told me that it was a almost a full bar and asked me what I would like. And just to throw it out there, I absolutely LOVE pina coladas and lava flows (virgin in the states of course). So I asked the waitress if I could have a lava flow. She gave me a look of confusion and asked me what a lava flow was. I looked back at her with an even more confused look and thought to myself, "You say you almost have a full bar...yet you have not the slightest idea what a lava flow is?" So I told her that it was a pina colada with blended strawberries. And ofcourse she replied that she doesn't think the bar has the ingredients to make that and asked if I would like a strawberry dacquiri or strawberry magarita as a second choice. I opted for the dacquiri. And it was okay, my only complaint would be that the ice was too coarse; and that complaint would be besides the fact that they didn't have my beloved lava flow!

Friday, August 29, 2008


So this has absolutely nothing to do with food, but I thought I would take the opportunity to share just a few pictures of the Rockies I took from my trip. Enjoy! CATHEDRAL


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lake Louise Buffet

Finally, the Lake Louise Buffet. The meal that I've been waiting for since day one of this trip.

To my disappointment, the selection was limited, not as expansive as say... the Wynn in Las Vegas.

Knowing me, I made an effort to try a bit of everything: the potato salad, the shrimp cocktail, the deviled eggs, the roast pork with apple sauce from the carving station, the lox (of's Canada), the chicken, and the snapper; but my favorite of all were the king crab legs (o...but this was all before I hit the desert table by storm of course). They were a bit difficult to crack open since, to my surprise, they weren't pre-crack nor was a nut cracker or shears provided. One can really chip a tooth or two trying to use man power to crack those legs open.
When I arrived back at my seat after filling my plate with a small selection of food, the waiter came around to our table and asked us what we wanted to drink: orange juice or cranberry juice. And being somewhat of an adventurous young lady, I daring asked for half oj and half cran.
"Can i get half and half please?"
"Sure! Of course!" the waiter delightedly replied, "That's a very good choice!"

Now, the meal was okay, not the BEST buffet I've ever eaten (The Wynn in Vegas still remains number one), I'd give it 3.5 stars out of 5. But the most memorable part was the passion fruit mousse. To die for. Tangy, tart, and deliciously sweet passion fruit mousse topped with vanilla bean whipped cream, toasted coconut flakes, and a dot of raspberry coolie in a mini champagne flute. Say what?! Crazy right! This was the single most memorable part of the entire meal. My mouth waters just thinking about it!

Braeburn and Ambrosia and Apple Juice at the Kelowna Land and Orchard

Iced apple wine. A sweet and pungent desert wine.
At the Kelowna Land and Orchard I had a tour on a tracktor drawn cart through the fields of fruit. It was a very interesting experience, but it was the wine tasting and the FRESH squeezed apple juice tasting that I was looking forward to at the end of the tour.

Apple juice is the orchard's main staple product in addition to peaches, blueberrie, pears, plums and cherries and a variety of dried fruits as well. Thier fresh apple juice is the main attraction and a public favorite and I can see why. Its pure and deep brown color suggests that it has not been fully filtered like the apple juice that you see on your store shelves. And because there are absolutely no preservatives added, you must drink fast, because it is extremely perishable. Trust me, you won't have any trouble drinking this juice quickly because it's sweet and rich apple taste is absolutely addictive, the only trouble you'll be having, is trying to stop yourself from purchasing another bottle.

This juice is thicker than your ordinary run of the mill supermarket apple juice, and definitely has a more full-bodied apple flavor thats "of the earth" and to be enjoyed by an all-natural kind of person.

I also took the liberty of trying two types of apple ice wine to compare with that of the grape. The two that I tried were the Ambrosia and the Braeburn. The Ambrosia is a lighter but still sweet wine with a drier taste than the Braeburn. The Braeburn is sweeter more syrupy and more amber in color than the Ambrosia. It has a more pungent apple flavor and is the one that stole my heart. So, it's the one I purchased. (Plus it was MUCH MUCH more affordable than the grape ice wine, but is made in a similar process)

Okanagan Ice Wine

Wine tasting in Canada! I have just had the honor, being of drinking age in Canada, of tasting Canadian ice wine. Canada is only one of three (the others being Germany and Austria) countries capable of producing ice wine due to its winter climate.
In these ice wine producing vineyards, they allow the ripened grapes in teh fall to remain on thier vines and await the tremendously cold weather to freeze the sweet grapes.
During teh winter months, from December to February, when the weather is incredibly cold the sweet and ripened grapes are allowed to freeze on their vines. (Red grapes freeze at -14C and white grapes freeze at -10C). This produces a very concentrated syrupy sweet desert wine known as ice wine.
The red ice wine is a, let's say, delicacy. Each bottle of red ice wine is about 300ml (much smaller than your average wine bottle) costs $108 Canadian here at Okanagan.
But let me tell you, it's well worth it. It's sweet and very tasty; almost like a syrupy grape juice with a little kick. I personally prefered the red ice wine over the white, it was much sweeter and is also more rare.
Let's face it, because of it's unique process and rareness of this product, it's no wonder why the price per bottle is so high. Salute!

On The Road Again: Day 2

Scheduled to board the tour bus at 6:40 a.m. I rushed to get ready in time. I showered, got dressed, took two sips of my hotel provided coffee with one cream and one sugar (and we all know how great that coffee is...even in this four star Raddisson) and headed out the door with my enormous roaring red suitcase.

My tummy is still lingering on the togo Chinese food I shared with my mom last night (this was in addition to my curry). It was actually pretty good. But with the four layered tuna sandwhich (ham, egg, tuna, and cucumber fitting nice and neatly in between flive slices of white decrusted bread) and the 21 fruits and 5 veggies juice I bought yesterday at the Yaohan market awaiting me in a plastic baggy, I'm ready to head towards the Rockies!

A Taste of Hong Kong in Vancouver

Vancouver is known to be one of the hot spots for many Hong Kong immigrants. Home to over 580,000 East and South East Asians (which is roughly 28% of the over all population in vancouver), it's no wonder why the food here is so reminiscent of that in Hong Kong.

Tonight im enjoying just a small piece of it.

As I walked into the shopping plaza call Yaohan, a well-known shopping center in Hong Kong, it brought back nostalgic memories of my past trips to Hong Kong as a child. There was a Chinese supermarket when I first entered on my left hand side, little kiosk stands selling sweat pants, house slippers and other miscellanious items, and to my right was the food court.

I made a trip to the supermarket first to buy some breakfast for tomorrow, and to take a look at what they had. It's always fun to explore new supermarkets.
After buying some food for tomorrow's breakfast and road trip, I made my way out to the food court wehre there were a handful of Chinese food stands.

As i made my way around the food court, one stand in particular caught my eye; a curry stand. Well, you ask, how can something so simple as a Chinese curry stand catch my eye? My answer would be, because they were selling curry fish balls with pork skin. Mmm Mmm delicious.
It's a quiet little stand in one corner of the food court. Discrete, white; nothing flashy nothing fancy, just a stand with tubs of fish ball and pork skin curry. One wiff of that mouth watering curry made me salivate like crazy.
White bouncy fish balls and crunchy pig skin soaked through and through with a liquidy curry sauce waiting on a hungry passer-by to stop for a taste.
I asked the lady behind the counter how the curry was sold, she replied in Chinese "one dollar for three fish balls adn one dollar for five pieces of pork skin. What a steal! (Pretty good deal considering the exchange rate is 1 dollar US for 90 cents Canadian, since the US dollar isn't worth anything these days). And it turns out that when they put the fish balls and pork skin in a bowl for customers, they drain off the liquidy curry and pour on a more viscous and more pungent (and SPICY) curry on top. I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into this dish!

When I got back to my hotel room, the first thing I busted out of its plastic bag was the curry fish balls and pork skin, and let me tell you, you really have to try it yourself because words can't even begin to describe how good this was. Very similar to that of Hong Kong. Who knew that I would be taking a culinary trip to Hong Kong in Vancouver.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tacoma International Airport

LAND! Finally. After claiming my baggage --(I'm a small girl about 5'3" and I made the mistake of packing a months worth of things for a six day trip, imagine my trife when I had to literally haul my enormous red suitcase off the carousel. What a site that must have been for on-lookers.) --and grabbing a blueberry bagel with cream cheese and a disappointingly over sweetened spiced chai latte, I settle down upstairs in a brightly lit area near the Hudson News Stand with my mediocre breakfast and what else but my favorite book, "The Nasty Bits" and relax as i wait for the arrival of my tour guide. FYI: I arrived at 9a.m. my tour guide's scheduled arrival is 11:45a.m. You do the math.


So I land here in Seattle after waking up at 3a.m. and a two hour flight on Virgin America. I must admit that aside from the posche magenta and purple lighting adn the personal entertainment screen, the flight was far from ideal. The wait for take off post boarding must have broken a record for longest "not in motion on a plane time", the attendants were less than friendly, and talked way too much, despite having announced that there would be no further interruptions. But overall I guess it wasn't too bad, as i kept myself occupied with my personal entertainment monitor. I played games, watched cooking shows (of course), watched music videos, and stared out the window from my middle seat at the dense clouds below.

(picture still to come)

Back From Canada

So the reason why I haven't been posting anything lately is because I had just recently returned from a trip to Canada. The rockies, more specifically. I have not come back empty handed though. I had been keeping up with a mini journal on my Blackberry of some of my more significant food adventures. I haven't had the time to upload them onto my computer yet, but when I do, I'll be sure to post them (there are quite a few).


Here's a website that a friend of mine found and thought I might enjoy. If you know me, then well, you know that I have a small sweet tooth. Okay, so I have a HUGE sweet tooth but hey who can really blame me when all that sugary goodness is out there in the vast open world just begging me to take a bite. It's a wonder why I don't weigh as much as an elephant, considering the fact that I can never quite stay away from anything that's made from more than 10% sugar.

So here's the website:

As the link suggests, this quaint little cake shop is called Vanilla Bake Shop and is located in Santa Monica. I haven't tried it yet but my friend says that in his opinion, it's better than Sprinkles (a high-end cupcake shop). GASP! I know, impossible right? I don't know I guess I'm going to have to find out. I'll let you know once i've tried it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Seafood in a bag? No utensils? Butcher paper on the tables? Absolutely absurd right? WRONG! It's a delicious way to enjoy the fruits of the sea. Here at Claws in Westminster, seafood is served the modest way, an almost down right savage way, but really what better way to eat than with your hands over some paper out of a pastic bag?
I LOVE this place. It has a variety of seafood from clams to crawfish, to king crab legs, to mussles, to shirmp you name it, they've probably got it, and it all comes in a bag with your choice of seasonings and level of spicyness. (When my boyfriend and I go, we get the "cannonball" it's butter, salt, pepper, and some other spices and we like it spicy too!) And all the seafood in a bag is served with a side of lime, salt, and pepper. ( I like to squeeze a few limes into my salt and pepper condiment cup for dipping).
It's a really fun way to eat if you like getting messy! And don't worry about your clothes, they provide you with a bib to prevent any of the splattering (and trust me the sauce DOES splatter) on any of you beautiful clothing. It's a good first date kind of place if you LOVE seafood and if you're into ice breakers and aren't all that into the fancy shmancy stuff. (Plus it's affordable...cha ching!) You don't have to spend an arm and a leg on pounds and pounds of seafood like you would at a five star restaurant.
And for those who are less adventurous and/or less messy, they of course have fork and knife foods too. They have gumbo and jambalaya which are also very good. They also have, my favorite: delicious and fresh oysters on a half shell.
Rest assure that you'll walk out of Claws a happier person; glad that you're full, the people you brought are full, you had fun, you ate a TON of seafood, and you wallet isn't coughing up dust.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The OC Fair

Giant turkey leg, giant western sausage, kabobs, fried twinkie, fried oreo, frozen lemonade, chili dog, shoe string french fries, smoked corn on a cob, apple fries, frozen yogurt, chili cheese fries, hot wings; need I say more? This sounds like a GREAT evening at the Orange County Fair. Did I mention that this was only the beginning?
Sure the fair has a lot of great things to offer: wild rides that defy gravity, water rides that drench you in questionably clean water, ten Chinese acrobats riding on one bicycle, a petting zoo, games, and a mysterious GIANT horse (which I was tempted to see, but wasn't about to pay a dollar to possibly witness a Shaq O'Neal sized horse), but there was one thing, and only one thing that I was interested in: FAIR FOOD. Now you ask, "The fair offers dozens of varieties of foods, how do you propose one girl tackle all the food stands?", my answer "I don't. I go to the fair on an empty stomach (ie: not having eaten for eight hours), I eat all the foods I can in one evening, and save the rest of the stands for another day, the perfect excuse to return to the fair. O and don't forget to bring a friend who loves to eat too, it helps to share the food adventure."

Today, I think I'm going to let the pictures speak for themselves:

Giant Turkey Leg and Giant Western Sausage with peppers and onions

Frozen lemonade

I should probably mention that I had a chili cheese dog, grilled corn and a fried twinkie before indulging in the GIANT turkey leg (which...I have to admit was delicious, but it defeated me), and before washing it all down with a sweet and tangy frozen lemonade. A perfect recipe for a satisfying food coma.

I probably spent about $40-50 on food alone that evening, but it was worth it.

Great food, great company, great evening.

I love the fair!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Taste of Siam

So the other day while I was Yelping for restaurants in the Tustin, California area (yes I use Yelp, and am crazy about it), I came across a restaurant called Siam A Taste Of Asia in Santa Ana, California. It had recieved and overall five star rating by fellow yelpers and had reviews that raved about the food. I had to try it for myself.
This discrete little family owned restaurant is located on a corner of a small strip mall; it's one of those restaurants you have to keep your eyes peeled for. From its exterior appearance, you would never suspect that delicious, home-cooked, Thai food lies beyond its doors. Upon entering this restaurant I was greeted a black, wood carved room dividers (very asian-like), but just beyond that was a small room with a capacity of about 36 people. The walls are adorned with delicate and detailed wooden carvings and other art work. My admiration of the art was broken by an extremely welcoming petite Thai woman who offered my boyfriend and I a seat under one of the beautiful art pieces near the entrance.
As I browsed though the menu, the steak salad caught my eye. Earthy cilatro, ice berg lettuce, carrots, shredded red cabbage, a spicy chili, fish sauce, lime dressing all topped with a perfectly tender medium rare skirt steak (or it could have been flank steak I'm not too sure) made for an amazing combination of food. It was one of the best Asian salads I had ever eaten. Although the spicyness (which I had regretfully asked for VERY spicy) kicked my butt, the intense and pungent aromas of the sweet, spicy, and savory flavors chili, fish sauce, and lime, (one of my favorite combinations) had my tastebuds screaming for more.
For an appetizer we ordered fried tofu. Now, I have to admit that I am already a huge fan of tofu, but when you fry silken tofu and throw fried garlic bits all over it and serve it with a side of a sweet chili fish sauce then you have me SOLD. The contrast of the crisp and cruchy exterior with the steaming hot silken tofu center dipped in a tangy, sweet, spicy, and savory sauce was a texturally and flavorfully pleasing combination.
(The picture here makes the dish look...well...half eaten, and it's because it was half eaten. See, I have a tendency to indulge in delicious looking food when it's put right under my nose before I come to the sudden and rude realization that I had forgotten to take a picture, so as a scramble for my blackberry with a mouth full of fried tofu, this is what I managed to capture before the dish was savagely attacked my my boyfriend and I. And did i mention that we love this dish? Infact we went back a second time just for the fried tofu.)
The second time that we went back (which was only about two weeks later, I decided to try the tom ka gai. This chicken based soup is made with green onions, chilis, cilantro, straw mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, lime leaves, lemon grass and galangal (which if you're not familiar with galangal, it's a root that looks similar to ginger but has a very unique flavor). The same petite Thai woman that sat us down during our first visit took out order. She gave me the option of having the soup clear or with coconut milk. "COCONUT MILK?! YES PLEASE!" Anything with coconut milk makes my ears perk up. She also gave me the option of a bowl or hot pot, and knowing me ofcourse (with my eyes being bigger than my stomach and all) I asked for the hot pot, which was about 3-4 servings and was only about 3 dollars more than the bowl.
My goodness was this soup delicious! It was tangy, spicy, savory, and sweetness, not the sugary kind of sweet, but more like the sweetness that comes from making chicken broth when the bones are cooked for hours, made the soup so delicious. The balance of flavors and variety of flavors hit all the right notes on my tongue. It was the best tom ka gai I had ever tasted.

Here are some other things that we ordered during our visits:

Green Curry (straw mushrooms, egg plant, bamboo, asparagus)

Mango and Sticky Rice (brown sticky rice, mango, and condensed milk)

Steamed rice (fancy container, no?)

Pad Thai (bean sprouts, cilantro, peanuts, lime, chicken, scallions)

Thursday, June 26, 2008


So when I was half way through my previous posting on Anthony Bourdain, and watching my daily dose of No Reservations online, I got a little craving for TACOS! And not just any kind of taco; not your run of the mill, chain restaurant flour tortilla taco. O no, no, no, I wanted a taco that hit a little closer to real deal. (Plus I'm an advocate of corn tortilla anyways...)

It really is a shame that there aren't street food vendor's on American streets. I think the closest thing we get to street food would be taco trucks...and believe me it's a lot better than your local taco bell...A LOT BETTER and it's affordable! And let's face it, half the fun of eating at a taco truck comes from sitting curb-side with maize tortillas filled with lengua (cow tongue) or whatever kind of meat you like, salsa verde, onions, cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a side of radish for a buck twenty five each to brighten up your day. Yes folks, I did say "a buck twenty five", did your jaw drop or what!? And this place that some friends of mine discovered on a late night snack run (yes, it's open 24 hours) has tacos that are reminiscent of taco trucks and worth the travel.

I decided to take a little 4 mile drive to one of the best taqueria places I've had since I've been living in Orange County. Taqueria De Anda in Santa Ana. YUMMMM!!! Now, I grew up with taco trucks in San Francisco and if you love taco truck tacos, man is this the place for you. Sure Taqueria De Anda looks a little drab on the outside...and sure, it's definitely not your five star restaurant on the inside either, BUT C'MON it's a taqueria for Pete's sake and all that's on my mind when my stomach is roaring "TACOS!" is this place.

Nestled just beyond a set of railroad tracks in Santa Ana California, this place serves some of the most authentic tacos I've had thus far. The large dark beige building with a children's play train at the far right of the building makes it look somewhat like a McDonalds, and the interior isn't that far from it either. The large white trimmed windows light up the red tile floors and the plastic booths and tables inside the dining area. The lengua, cabesa, pollo, and carne esada are put in metal tubs that are heated with boiling water beneath it; similar to the way food is kept warm at a buffet. Each taco is made with two small maize tortillas and stuffed with meat, cilantro, onions, and salsa. Nothing fancy, nothing frilly; strictly practical. To the left of the cash register is a salad bar with two different types of salsa, radishes, key lime wedges, cilantro, and onions (I myself, opt for a TON of limes) And as a refreshment order up a nice big 'ole cup of Horchata (rice milk).

Taqueria De Anda I would say is more of a Mexican food "joint" rather than a "restaurant". I know, I know, "joint"? YES! That's right. A food "joint". Although the word makes this establishment sound unreliable and disgusting (and it may seem so when you walk in) I believe you have to EARN the title of a food "joint". I associate the word with "authenticity" and "deliciousness"not to mention "affordability". When a taqueria serves lengua and cabesa (tongue and head, usually of a cow) and cooks it properly, it's worthy of five stars from me, and this place has go it!

The picture I supplied isn't of a taco from Taqueria De Anda, I nabbed it from
Disappointing I know. It looks similar, a little more dressy and styled than the real thing, but I was already 3/4 of the way done with my last taco before it even occurred to me that I should take a picture...but next time I go...I'll make it a point to remember!

Humble Beginnings


I think it only proper to mention where I got my inspiration for food writing from. Anthony Bourdain. Chef, author, and traveler. What person wouldn't want his job right? This now 52 year old leather jacket wearing, author of Kitchen Confidential and The Nasty Bits, television show host of Food Network's A Cook's Tour and the Travel Channel's No Reservations, and not to mention having been a chef at top restaurants in New York like Brasserie Les Halles; Bourdain has made quite a name for himself in the culinary world. He has also made appearances as a celebrity guest judge on Top Chef.
This guy tells it like it is, his brashness and and witty comments can cut through you like a hot knife through butter. Not to mention his sarcasm makes him really enjoyable to watch. I would have to say that he's the only reality bad ass on TV that can pull off drinking, smoking, vulgarity, traveling, and eating, and have millions upon millions of people love him and bow down at his skill and knowledge for food.
Something that Anthony Bourdain has taught me and is something that I really appreciate is that some of the best food comes from "hole in the wall restaurants" and home cooked meals; although the occational meal from Daniel Boulud's Le Cirque, Gary Danko's, or even Thomas Keller's French Laundry never hurt anyone (only your wallet), fine dining isn't the only kind of good food out there. Inexpensive doesn't always mean poor quality, and expensive food doesn't always mean fantastic quality. Put into consideration that the idea of great food can mean simple and inexpensive food comes from a man who's been through the classic trainings of the Culinary Institute of America and can cook dishes worth $30-50 a pop; I'd say, it's a reliable souce.
And seriously, is there anything that this guy won't try at least once? NOPE! From beating cobra hearts in Vietnam to raw seal eye ball in Alaska; the most disgusting thing he claims he's ever eaten is a Chicken McNugget (although the warthog rectum in Nimbia is a close contender). Though I'd have to disagree, I've had more disgusting things than the Chicken I guess the fact is, is that if the most disgusting thing that Anthony Bourdain's ever had were McNuggets...then all the other slimy, ooey, gooey, eight legged things he's eaten can't be that bad...right? RIGHT!
So this is where my journey begins...from the inspiration that comes from Anthony Bourdain, I've come to fall in love with finding the humble settings, and eating the food that is reminiscent of a home cooked meal brought to me by chefs from all over the world.