Tag Archives: mylastbite

Twisted Sage Cafe – Scouting Report

If you’re searching for breakfast or lunch near San Dimas, check out Twisted Sage Cafe. My Jonathan Gold scouting report for the L.A. Times.

Jonathan Gold Scouting Report, L.A. Times

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Sunny Spot

An old Virgin Islands Clipping I've said for many years!When I was twenty-two years old, I had the ridiculous pleasure of living in the Caribbean for a few months. It was 1986 and my then-boyfriend Perry (a newly licensed pilot) scored a winter job flying for Air St. Thomas / Virgin Air (no connection to Sir Richard Branson). The small island-hopping airline was based in the U.S. Virgin Islands on St. Thomas, so we made our home above the hills in the capital city of Charlotte Amalie.

Our apartment in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands 1986Our upstairs apartment had a large kitchen (Perry did most of the cooking back then), and just one other room with floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the island.

Mr Wayman, our landlord built a ramp near the back door so our dog Warhol (who moved with us from the mainland) could run up the side of the mountain. We loved our tiny bit of paradise.

Always a photo buff, I spent most of my time photographing and getting to know the island. I loved pretending to be a “local” for those few months, and on Perry’s days off we would rent a small boat and head to the nearby British Virgin Islands.

Me at 22. At the beach, St. Thomas 1986Our favorite spot was Sidney’s Peace and Love in Jost Van Dyke Island’s Little Harbor, just 7 miles northeast of St. Thomas. Once docked, I would pick out a live lobster from a trap near the shore and the cook would grill it on the spot. Perry always ordered barbecue chicken (he didn’t like seafood) and we BOTH drank heaps of rum at the attached open-air bar. It was “serve yourself” at Sidney’s, and also “total the bill” yourself if you weren’t too drunk. An honor system that you just didn’t mess with in the Caribbean.

Heading to the beach. St. Thomas

My favorite shop on St. Thomas was called Sunny Caribbee, where I picked up island spices, oils and trinkets for the kitchen. There was an elementary school nearby and I loved listening to the students pounding on steel drums in the afternoons.

We left the Caribbean when Perry was offered a job with United Express, the commuter division of United Airlines. He now lives with his wife and kids near San Diego. (More about Perry here)

Walking into Roy Choi’s Sunny Spot for the first time made me smile from ear to ear. I flashed back to 1986 and was suddenly transported to my carefree, twenty-two year old, vagabond self.

After several visits (including dinner and brunch) I still get that happy feeling when I walk in the door. It’s a mini-holiday, a few hours of vacation. A delicious and less expensive trip to the sunny Caribbean, that’s for sure.

Sunny Spot, Venice
Don’t Worry… Be Happy!

Sugar Cane Fried Pig's Feet at Sunny Spot
Sugar Cane Fried Pig’s Feet

Muh-F*K*N Mofongo at Sunny Spot Venice
Roy Choi’s take on Mofongo! Muh-F*K*N Mofongo: Plantains, Bacon, Garlic, Black Pepper

Cocktails at Sunny Spot Venice!
LET’S PARTY!
Left: Fleur-De-Lis: Gin, Hibiscus, Honey, Chartreuse, Lemon
Middle: Death in the D.R.: Dominican Rum, Lime, Honey, Absinthe, Champagne
Right: Dry Harbour: Pot Still Rum, Lime, Absinthe, Habanero Pineapple Shrub

Cuban Torta at Sunny Spot Venice
Cuban Torta: Pork Terrine, Prosciutto, Provolone, Pickled Jalapeño, Mustard

"What A Jerk" Wings at Sunny Spot
“What A Jerk” Wings: Double coated, double fried

Bridgetown Swizzle at Sunny Spot
Bridgetown Swizzle: Barbados Ru, Averna, Falernum, Lime, Angostura

Diablo Prawns at Sunny Spot
Diablo Prawns w Rum Glaze, Garlic Butter & Herbs

Yucca Fries at Sunny Spot Venice
Yucca Fries w Banana Thai Basil Ketchup

Jamaican Roasted Lamb at Sunny Spot
Jamaican Roasted Lamb w Lettuce Wedges & Pickled Mango

Whole Roasted Red Snapper at Sunny Spot
Whole Roasted Red Snapper w Ginger Oil, Cilantro, Chili Vinegar

The Silver Goblet at Sunny Spot
The Silver Goblet: Coconut Ginger Sorbet

House-Made Caramels at Sunny Spot Venice
House-Made Caramels w Maldon Sea Salt, Toasted Cashews

The back room at Sunny Spot, Venice
The “bird cage” table in the back dining room

The back room at Sunny Spot, Venice
Dinner in the bird cage: Me, Peter, Evelina & Greg

Savory Festival Bread at Sunny Spot (Brunch Menu)
Brunch Menu Festival Bread w Goat Butter, Guava Jam & Rum Honey

Brunch at Sunny Spot
Brunch Menu Bloody Mary: Vodka, Dirty Sue, Tomato, Jamaican Jerk Spice

Brunch at Sunny Spot
Brunch Menu Banana French Toast: Rum Coconut Whipped Cream, Caribbean Spiced Maple Syrup

Brunch at Sunny Spot
Brunch Menu Sunny Spot Egg Plate: Korean Style Baked Eggs, Jerk Seasoned Potatoes, Mo Jo Glazed Grilled Pork Belly

Brunch at Sunny Spot
Brunch Menu Eggs, Sausage & Grits: Fried Eggs, Jerk Sausage Patty, Anson Mills Grits, Maple Syrup

Brunch at Sunny Spot
Take a seat!

Sunny Spot Venice!
Sunny Spot

More photos at Sunny Spot

More photos of the Caribbean

Sunny Spot
Website
822 Washington Blvd
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 448-8884

An old Virgin Islands Clipping I've said for many years!

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Guinness Steak Pie

Jamie Oliver’s
Steak, Guinness and Cheese Pie with a Puff Pastry Lid

If you’re searching for a St. Patrick’s Day supper recipe (or a hearty meal to warm your spirits), this is a delicious alternative to the traditional pot of corned beef and cabbage, especially if you’re a “meat pie” lover like me.

Steak & Guinness Pie, MyLastBite.com

The recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s terrific cookbook “Jamie at Home”, which coincides with his show on Food Network. The episode with this recipe is called “Pastry”, in case you haven’t seen it yet.

This dish is now a St. Paddy’s Day tradition in our house, and it’s always a hit with friends and family.

My changes to the original recipe are noted in orange.

Ingredients

Olive oil
3 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
3 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
1 oz butter plus extra for greasing
Steak & Guinness Pie Photo 2, MyLastBite.com2 carrots peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery trimmed and chopped
4 field mushrooms peeled and sliced
2 1/2 pound brisket or stewing beef cut in to 1 inch cubes
a few sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can of Guinness beer

(Instead I used 2 bottles ofGuinness Draught, 11.2 oz size bottles)
2 heaped tablespoons of flour
7 oz freshly grated cheddar cheese
2 sheets of ready made good quality all butter puff pastry
1 large organic free range egg, beaten

(I also added 1 chopped Jalapeno for heat)

Steak & Guinness Pie Photo 3, MyLastBite.com

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large ovenproof pan, heat a glug of olive oil on a low heat. Add the onions and fry them gently for about ten minutes – try not to color them too much.

Turn up the heat add the garlic, butter, carrots, celery, jalapenos and scatter in the mushrooms. Mix everything together before stirring in the beef, rosemary, a pinch of slat and a level teaspoon of pepper.

Steak & Guinness Pie Photo 4, MyLastBite.comFry fast for 3 or 4 minutes, then pour in one bottle of Guinness, stir in the flour and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and place in the preheated oven for about one (1) and 1/2 hours.

Remove the pan from the oven and give the stew a stir. Put it back in to the oven and continue to cook it for another hour or until the meat is very tender and the stew is rich dark and thick. (I added another half bottle of Guinness at this point).

Jamie notes: “A perfect pie filling needs to be robust, so if it’s still quite liquidy, place the pan on the hob (stove top) and reduce until the sauce thickens.”

Remove it from the heat and stir in half of the cheese, then season carefully and leave it to cool slightly.

Cut about a third of the pastry from the block. Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll both pieces of pastry out evenly with a floured rolling pin to the thickness of a pound coin.

Butter an appropriately sized pie dish then line with the larger sheet, leaving the edges dangling over the sides.

Tip (pour or spoon) the stew into your pastry lined dish and even it out before sprinkling the remaining cheese over it.

Guinness Steak Pie

Brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg.

Guinness Steak Pie

Cut the other rolled sheet of pastry to fit the top of the pie dish and criss-cross lightly with a sharp knife. Place it over the top of the pie and fold the overhanging pastry on to the pastry lid to make it look nice and rustic.

Brush the top with beaten egg then bake the pie directly on the bottom of the oven for 45 minutes until the pastry is cooked puffed and golden.

Guinness Steak Pie

Serves 4 to 6

Guinness Steak Pie

Jamie Oliver’s Official Website

“Jamie at Home” on Food Network

If you have the U.K. version of the book “Jamie Oliver at Home”, it’s on page 342.

I use this Gram Conversion Calculator

Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Originally posted Mar 13, 2009

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Thank you Foodista!

Foodista Blog of the Day, MyLastBite.com

Featured Blog of the Day

About Foodista

Bacon Wrapped Breadsticks Recipe

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[CLOSED] Susan Feniger’s Street

I loved watching the recent “Street Food Special” episode of “No Reservations”. It brought together my very favorite Anthony Bourdain clips; the scenes when he’s out and about eating “real food” with the locals, and also recapped Tony-visits to Singapore hawker (food) centers. It really made me wish we had something similar here in Los Angeles.

As Bourdain so eloquently stated: “Whereas in America the food court is the nexus of all things generic and awful, in Singapore these open-to-the-street food centers, coffee shops and hawker centers offer a near limitless variety of Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes”.

In a 1991 LA Times piece, my favorite food writer Jonathan Gold wrote: “The closest thing to a hawker center in Los Angeles is, of course, the Grand Central Market downtown… Among the fruit stalls and the poultry stands, there are 10-odd places where a hungry person can get something to eat”. I haven’t been there in years, and look forward to rediscovering the Grand Central Market again soon, but still it’s not exactly what Bourdain calls, “a ONE chef, ONE dish vast food court”.

It’s true that our multicultural city is filled with delicious strip-mall eats, and I personally plan to spend more time searching them out (hint to my foodie pals). But the large food courts I’ve been to (at various local shopping malls) would never be a destination dining trek of sorts. Well, except for “Hotdog-On-A-Stick”. I’m a sucker for any type of food on a stick.

Susan Feniger’s Street Food

When I first read about Chef Feniger’s new restaurant, I envisioned it to be a sort of miniature hawker center. An enclosed space filled with individual street carts from the around the world. In my mind, I even imagined individual cooks (in traditional attire) selling the dishes at these tiny indoor food stalls. I don’t know WHERE I came up with these ideas, but reading Jonathan Gold’s description in LA Weekly certainly added to my fantasy:

Street, MyLastBite.com“Street is a virtual museum of world street food, snacks and savories from every part of Asia — Korean-style mung bean pancakes studded with bits of anise-braised pork belly; hollow, potato-stuffed Indian ping-pong balls called paani puri, moistened with a bit of spicy broth; a juniper-laced salad of roasted beets and crumbled walnuts; even a take on the classic Singaporean breakfast dish of toast with coconut-jam kaya and a runny egg. There are dense dal fritters, a delicious version of the do-it-yourself Thai bundles of roasted coconut, bird chiles, peanuts, tamarind jam and minced lime, among other things, sensibly wrapped in bits of collard instead of the traditional betel leaf.”

So no, Susan Feniger’s Street is not the culinary “It’s A Small World” experience that I fantasized about, but it is a wonderful, exciting (and fun!) restaurant that brings my dream just a little bit closer.

What we ate:

Street, MyLastBite.com
Amuse-Bouche: A very exotic (savory) version of a Rice Crispy Treat! Millet Seed Puffs, with Marshmallow, Fennel, Curry, Coriander,Cumin and Black Currant

Street, MyLastBite.com
Spinach Varenyky: Ukrainian dumplings stuffed with spinach and cheese. Served with sour cream and lemon marmalade

Street, MyLastBite.com
Paani Puri: Chef Susan Feniger first tried these on a street market in Mumbai, India. Filled with potato, chutney, beans and topped with yogurt cilantro

Street, MyLastBite.com
Cuban Stuffed Potato Cake: Filled with spiced beef, raisins, and capers; with tomato mint salsa and poblano crema

Street, MyLastBite.com
Scandinavian Beet and Apple Salad – Slow roasted beets with apple, black currant, watercress, toasted walnut, and millet croutons in a juniper vinaigrette

Street, MyLastBite.com
My FAVORITE bite: Kaya Toast, a uniquely Singapore experience; toasted bread spread thick with coconut jam; served with a soft poached egg drizzled in dark soy and white pepper (link to recipe below!)

Street, MyLastBite.com
Marinated New York Strip Steak, skewered and roasted in the wood oven, served with Wild Mushroom Spaetzle and Rapini with Creamed Onions and Bacon

Street, MyLastBite.com
Top Photo: Vietnamese Corn – wok cooked medley of fresh corn, spring onion with glazed pork belly.
Bottom: Saag paneer with Kokum Dal and Rice Plate – A South Indian spinach dish stewed with homemade paneer cheese, tomato and spices; served with dried plum dal and yogurt rice.

Street, MyLastBite.comSusan Feniger’s Street [CLOSED]
742 N. Highland
Los AngelesCA 90038
(323) 203-0500
Website

Street on Twitter

Dining Date: 5/30/09
with Peter, Julian & Wendy 

Mentioned Above:

More about Singapore Hawker Centers

Kaya Toast Recipe via LA Times

My love for Kaya Toast (on LA Times)

Jonathan Gold’s LA Weekly Street Article

Jonathan Gold’s L.A. Times Food Stall Article

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Official Site

“Down on the Street” (Bourdain street food) episode

Grand Central Market

Hotdog on a Stick


Susan Feniger's Street on Urbanspoon

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Chimichurri “Air” – Adventures in Molecular Cooking [7]

After learning the simple recipe for making flavored “air” at Molecular Gastronomy Class, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to aerate first. Multiple visits to the the Bazaar by José Andrés had me familiar with Bar Centro’s “salt air” topped margaritas, and my favorite “new way” martini with spherified (Ferran Adria) olive is topped with a tangy brine “air”. 

Peter and I love grilling flatiron steak, and I make homemade chimichurri sauce at least once a week. But in our house it’s not just for beef. We also add it to eggs, quesadillas, pastas, and even tuna salad.

Chimichurri "Air" photo 10 by MyLastBite.comTo make the “air”, there are actually only two ingredients needed: some sort of liquid and the lecite (aka lecithin), a natural soy-based emulsifier (links below).

Traditional chimichurri is usually made with two liquids: olive oil and acids, usually limes or vinegar. To make my chimichurri air, I left OUT the olive oil and just drizzled the oil on the steak directly, BEFORE adding the “air” on top.

I like my chimichurri REALLY spicy and wasn’t sure the heat would remain after straining and aerating, but it did. The light (and well, airy) texture was a refreshing change from the standard sauce. 

I certainly don’t plan on going crazy with the lecite (although I do think a Heinz 57 “air” would be an awesome return to my childhood). To me, it’s simply about learning yet another delicious (and fun!) cooking technique at home.

My Recipe for Chimichurri Air:

Chimichurri "Air" photo 2 by MyLastBite.com9 oz liquified chimichurri sauce (recipe follows)
1.5 g lecithin (aka lecite), food grade
Olive oil (to drizzle on steak) 

To make the chimichurri sauce:
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 medium jalapeno chilies (or more if you like it spicy)
8 oz of fresh lime juice or red wine vinegar
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
Fleur de sel (or sea salt) 

Place all ingredients in a mini-chop or food processor and blend until liquified.

Chimichurri "Air" photo 3 by MyLastBite.comMeasure 9 oz of liquid (add vinegar or water if needed). 

Then pour the liquid through a fine strainer to remove any large pieces.

Make sure it’s 9 oz of liquid to 1.5 g lecithin (again, add vinegar or water if needed).

Place the chimichurri sauce and lecite into a large bowl and blend with a stick-blender until foaming. Note: I have a large, plastic container that I use for this. It can get pretty messy in a standard bowl, so wear an apron!

Chimichurri "Air" photo 9 by MyLastBite.comPrepare the steak:
Grill steak to desired doneness and let meat rest for at least ten minutes.

Cut and plate then drizzle olive oil directly on steak.

Add salt then scoop out whipped “air” from bowl and gently place on meat.

If the “air” becomes watery, simply blend again (not too long) until foamy. Serve immediately!

Chimichurri "Air" photo 11 by MyLastBite.com

Mentioned Above:

Bazaar’s Martini w/ Brine “Air”

About Texturas (in English)

Albert & Ferran Adria Textura site (spanish)

About Texturas – Lecite (airs)

Where to buy molecular ingredients

Molecular fun at home

My ChimiTuna (tuna salad with chimchurri)

My visits to the Bazaar

Ferran Adria’s “Liquid” Olive

El Torito’s Deep-Fried Ice Cream photo

Adventures in Molecular Cooking 6 (Trisol)

Adventures in Molecular Cooking 5 (Class)

Why I call it “Molecular Cooking”

All my chimichurri “air” photos on Flickr

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I’m a Twit

Seriously, I’m a twit for not posting all week! Even though I have at least twenty stories (including many restaurant visits) to share.

After downloading Tweetdeck (for free) and realizing I could actually organize my Twitter subscriptions (aka friends), I decided to search out and “add” as many tweople (twitter people) as I could in one week. I didn’t want to add just anyone, but instead wanted to take the time to search out twitterers with common interests.

Using Tweetdeck, I can now organize the people I’m following into various groups such as: restaurants, L.A. restaurants, chefs, food writers, home cooks, music, publishing, travel, krav maga, entertainment and friends.

I currently follow 1288 people on Twitter and plan to keep on adding more, but will get back to the writing first. If you’re on Twitter and haven’t tried Tweetdeck yet, it will make your experience so much better and definitely more organized.

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck

Twitter

My Twitter Bites

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