SOUS LE CIEL DE PARIS!

Postcards from Paris | London | Nice, I fell in love with the food, the coffee, and the scenery.

Eat. Drink. Share

Painted on the walls of 100 Wines in Hillcrest is my favorite saying that embodies what nomming is all about.

Hamachi Tartare

Every place has their own version of this delightful Yellowtail treat, but I adore how Botero serves the fish over crispy rice.

Good Eats

There are very few things in life, that prosciutto does not taste good with.

Salute, Cin Cin!

Cafe Juanita was well worth the 30 min drive in Seattle. Some of the best home made style Italian food I've ever had.

Monday, March 24, 2014

L.A Adventures: The Soup Dumpling Hunt







Let me preface this all by saying, a good Xiao Long Bao aka soup dumpling aka heavenly deliciousness, should in fact have soupy goodness in it. If it doesn't, and you don't see that liquid goodness through the skin, when they bring it out in the steamer, then you're just eating a glorified bun shaped dumpling.

But don't feel bad, I don't, because sometimes a glimmer of goodness is better than none at all.

Harold and Kumar were on to something, with their journey in search of White Castle, because good food is worth going the distance for.

It was an early Saturday evening in Huntington beach, when we decided that since there was too much traffic to make it back to San Diego in time to watch a fight, that we may as well endure traffic up north and seek out these magical Xiao Long Baos that we had a couple years back.

I won't wait in line or drive 15min for a free movie, but for amazing food, I'm almost always game to go the distance.

An hour later, we find ourselves at the exact plaza, standing at the location of what was the exact store front, except everything looks off. The menu, the look of the place, the lack of patrons and even the name.

After a few text messages, digging around, looking across the street and asking store owners, the original place were were looking for was just a few doors down, renovated and renamed. Once inside, the smells, the menu and the woman hand making the dumplings for each order, became wonderfully familiar.

The soup dumplings we ordered: traditional pork, pork and crab (my favorite) and fermented duck egg (equally amazing).

Also ordered: Green onion pancakes, pig stomach salad, fried dumplings and a bean paste/chilli oil noodle bowl.

How would I describe everything? Well.... Gregg Wallace said it best "That's banging on the door of divine, that is."

--

since the restaurant has moved and been renamed, a lot of the online directories and info are a bit inaccurate.  So here's a link to the google maps of the plaza in which the restaurant is located (first floor)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Postcards 2 from Kauai Hawaii




I've seen beautifully shot postcards, wallpapers and videos that collage the various breathtaking views of Hawaii, but it wasn't until I sat in the sand alone and watched the midnight blue sky illuminate by the golden sun rising, that I got it.

It was recently written that the late Philip Seymour Hoffman most ably "suggested that each of us [are] the sum of our secrets.." that when each of us return alone to our rooms, "all bets are off." 

The camera was off, the phone put away, and that sunrise, for a moment, spotlighted every insecurity, joy, hope, fear, delusion and desire.

I'm never certain what's to be derived from moments like these, life altering decisions? or maybe that moment of clarity and a bit of awareness is its entirety.

 It's like falling in love.


The whole trip was composed with beautiful scenery, adventure, relaxation, laughter, beach escapades and of course copious amounts of eating. My biggest surprise at the end of the trip, were how few photos were taken, in comparison to other trips. 

Though I'm looking forward to where the next flight or road trip takes me to, I think fondly of Kauai and will visit again.


Phillip Seymour Hoffman quote from:
http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/hoffman-junod?src=soc_twtr

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dinner Unplugged



...I go all in: I choose this meal and this order, and I choose you, the person across from me, to share it with. There's a beautiful intimacy in a meal like that. ~ Anthony Bourdain

The Time: 6:30pm on a crisp 15c/60F evening
The Theme: a potluck with beer pairings
The Company: 5 weightlifter/food lovers
The Place: a quaint home near North Park, where a beautiful celebrity cat lives.

Like old school friends, people whom you train (gym) with daily, eventually become people you share intimate aspects of your life with.  Sometimes it's about an incident of indecent exposure, in between sets of squats, other times it's conversations about childhood experiences and kitchen family trade secrets, while sitting across from one another eating.

While a good meal has the power to silence the loudest rooms, bring back the past and humble you all at the same time, it's often the conversations surrounding the meal, that I revel in most........that and documenting the experience.  >:D

On this night though, things were a little bit different.

The evening didn't include a camera, adjusting settings to the lighting or fidgeting with the food for better composition.  In fact, we were so immersed in eating, talking about our dishes and laughing over silly things, that even phones were no where to be seen on the dinner table.

Eventually, we did realize that it might be a good idea to at least snap a picture of some of the beers with each dish, so that we could compare in the future.

The food:
Zuni Cafe's caesar salad (Thank you Cellar Door for this one!)
Glass noodles with Haricot Vert (longer thinner green bean), Chinese sausage & grilled onions
Hot & Sour soup (nothing like the typical restaurant style, much meatier and amazing layers of flavor)
Sisig (pig ear, jowl & belly grilled, then cooked in butter.)
Roasted Brussels tossed with Kimchi
Chili
Flourless chocolate cake

The beers:
Modern Times Fortunate Islands hoppy wheat
Hess Ficus saison, Bootlegger Far Out IPA
Full Sail Old Boardhead Barleywine (2008)
Dogfish Head World Wide Stout
Brouwerij Van Steenberge Cherish Raspberry Lambic.

So while the photos aren't too pretty, and a lot of the details are missing, it was nice unplugging a bit for the night and just eating and drinking to our heart's content.

Thank you K. for opening up your home!


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Flight of Great Expectations: Farewell 2013




Most often, traveling to me is a lot like teleporting.  While the particles of my being stay in tact, I get on the plane, fall asleep and miraculously wake at my destination, as the wheels touch the ground.

Other times, like tonight, I wake for a brisk moment to look out the window, and just like that, for the next many hours, my mind is captured into a whirlwind of thoughts, intentions, memories and moments of silent awe.

Taking in the sight of one of the last sunsets of 2013 and then looking to a single star in the night sky, the inevitable end of year reflection begins. 

I find myself mentally flipping through the past months, not just relishing in the joyous experiences and wonderful memories created, but also finding appreciation for the subtle moments in between. 

The moments, that if presented within a highlight reel, may appear banal, but in actuality, were quite defining and pure. 

When I think of 2013, some of what I remember most, are the conversations I’ve been able to have with people.  Stories of survival, happiness, inspiration, life, youth and age.
So in these last moments of 2013, rather than rebelling and making intentions of setting no intentions, what I hope for most in 2014 is just to appreciate and remember “La Joie De Vivre… the Joy of Living.”

Wishing all of you a beautiful New Year! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Serendipitous Encounter: L'Epicerie




My Canadian Asian Cowboy friend, who can annihilate a giant mud pie in a matter of seconds, has been telling me for the past year, how wonderful bakeries are in Calgary.  So on a free moment between work emails, packing and unpacking, we took an afternoon to find a bakery, have some coffee and catch up with our brains.  

After double checking with the maps,  a few wrong turns, we finally found the parking lot and I ran out and did a little hop and dance outside this cafe.  I ran in, yell out "I'm so happy I found you...." then looked around and asked oh "where are your croissants?" The person working, who I would learn to know as Ryan, shyly says "oh, I'm sorry you have the wrong place, that bakery is closed."

My face for a split moment, turned into one of a daydreamer yearning for croissants, that is until I saw the espresso machine and noticed a selection of cured meats, Foie Gras and other French eats.  

He was gracious enough to let us sample various types of pate, salmon gravlax and foie gras, before ordering and we added some salami, jambon, house toasted crostinis as well.  

The cafe, though small and a bit unassuming from the outside, is incredibly inviting, cozy and charming.  I love the outside dining style details in the decor, like the awning, and the open kitchen.  

We ended up sharing stories about food, learning about how they cure their meats and make the pate, and once he handed us the baguette he had just taken out of the oven, I'm quite certain I sniffed it like a creepy addict of sorts.  I complimented the crust, Ryan gave the biggest smile, held two fists together like victory and joyously said "I made it!" 

I cannot express enough, how much I love meeting people who love food! 

It was wonderful, and almost like being back in France, where time kind of didn't matter, stood still and the most important things were the conversations and good eating taking place.  

We also discovered, a little foie gras is never enough, so always order more :) Ryan gave a couple apple tarts as parting gifts and fortunately there was two, so we wouldn't have to fight.  

C'est si bon!