Hot Dog Steamer

I bought this hot dog steamer as a party prop a few weeks ago. As you may (or may not) know, I’m sort of obsessed with hot dogs, and had planned a birthday dinner with a “carnival food” theme. The party was cancelled after my beloved pup Maxie was injured, but I still wanted to try out the hot dog steamer.

My Hot Dog SteamerLuckily, I had a freezer full of my favorite hot dogs from Let’s Be Frank. They’re delicious, uncured, grass-fed, beef franks made without nitrates, hormones or steroids. I first tried them at their hot dog cart in Culver City and was thrilled to learn I could order them for home as well.

The hot dog steamer was easy to set up and honestly, it just looked so cute on my kitchen counter. Just fill the water basin on the bottom, arrange franks in the drawer and set the timer. The buns go on top.

Cooking instructions via the Let’s Be Frank website noted it was best to steam the franks for five minutes, adding the buns for just one minute. They turned out GREAT. It’s all about that “wiener snap” for me, and the steamer warmed the buns through very quickly. Great fun!

I purchased the hot dog steamer on Amazon (under $50). Details here.

Let’s Be Frank Hot Dogs

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Scouting Report: Bowery Bungalow

Read my scouting report for L.A. Times here. Do order the lamb belly!

Bowery Bungalow

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Bashu Fish

The Bashu Fish at Fang’s Kitchen in Monterey Park is wonderfully numbing and spicy. Jonathan Gold (L.A. Times) wrote, “The fragrance of chiles, garlic and pickly spice is overwhelming. But the flavor is impossibly mild, a bit of tingling from the Sichuan pepper and a bit of heat from the red chiles…” (full review here).

I’ll be going back to enjoy it again SOON. My lips are already trembling…

Fiery, Sichuan Bashu Fish

Read Jonathan Gold’s review of Fang’s Kitchen here.

Fang’s Kitchen
306 North Garfield Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91755
(626) 988-5219

 

 

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Hoe Cake

I admit it. I have a Hoe Cake problem.

Ever since Barrel & Ashes opened a few blocks from my house, I cannot get enough of chef Timothy Hollingsworth’s masterpiece (seriously, it’s THAT GOOD). It’s sort of like a thick (fluffy) pancake combined with cornbread and bread pudding — not too sweet with a savory finish, and it goes perfect with a side of smokey brisket. Peter and I often order just that (1/2 pound of brisket and hoe cake) to go. The hoe cake is best served at the restaurant though, piping hot in a cast iron skillet.

Barrel & Ashes recently began serving brunch, and YES the hoe cakes are on the menu. I cannot wait to go in and try the “Hangover Hoe Cake”, which comes with fried egg, chili, cheddar, green onions and Fresno chili.

Go get ‘em!

Hoe Cake at Barrel & Ashes

Barrel and Ashes Website

Chef Timothy Hollingsworth on Twitter

Barrel and Ashes on FaceBook

 

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Josef Centeno Crawl

4th & Main Downtown L.A.Peter and I both love chef Josef Centeno‘s cooking. With four restaurants in downtown L.A., we often have a hard time deciding which one to eat at. There’s Baco Mercat (home of the bäco) and Bar Ama (with the best queso in town). High-end Orsa & Winston is currently offering a fantastic Yakitori-Ya menu (through March 2). Josef’s newest eatery, Ledlow, recently won a rave Jonathan Gold review. All the restaurants are within walking distance of each other at 4th and Main, and all are simply fantastic.

After twenty years together, it’s not easy to surprise my husband of 18 years. But for his birthday last month, with the help of Josef and his fiancee (my friend) Betty Hallock, we did just that. I joked to Betty that I wished I could take Peter to all of Josef’s restaurants for his birthday and she said they had actually been thinking of organizing a restaurant crawl.

I was thrilled when Josef offered to select the evening’s menu, which included two dishes and a drink at each location. To make things easier, since it was four different kitchens and staff, I paid for the evening ahead of time and left a tip at each (45 minute) stop. Many thanks to Betty and Josef for helping me surprise Peter!

Photos from our December 2014 “Centeno Crawl” below:

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
STOP 1: Bäco Mercat
Peter was shocked and so thrilled to find the first “Happy Birthday, Peter” menu waiting at our first stop, which was Baco Mercat.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
The Moxie Cocktail at Baco Mercat: Bourbon, cynar, lime juice, agave, mole bitters.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Caesar Brussels Sprouts with Pecorino, Anchovy, Garlic at Baco Mercat.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Hamachi Crudo, Avocado, Hash Brown, Abkhazian Chile Spice at Baco Mercat.

STOP 2: Orsa & Winston

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
The menu waiting at Orsa & Winston.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Breakfast In A Shell with Coddled Egg, Pancetta, maple syrup at Orsa and Winston.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Satsuki Rice with Parmesan Cream, Geoduck and Uni at Orsa & Winston.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Clos du Tue Boeuf Chenin Blanc at Orsa & Winston.

STOP 3: Bar Ama

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Peter’s birthday menu at Bar Ama (stop 3).

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
The Nacho Cocktail (tequila blanco, chile-lime shrub, campari, citrus, honey) at Bar Ama.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Slow Roasted Beef Belly with Pomegranate, Cotija and Tomatillo at Bar Ama.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
“Mom’s Green Enchiladas” with Tomatillo & Chicken at Bar Ama.

STOP 4: Ledlow

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Final stop for birthday cake & soufflé at Ledlow.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Grand Marnier Soufflé at Ledlow.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Pastry chef Margeaux Aragon made a birthday cake too! Chocolate Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting at Ledlow.

December 2015 Selfie
20 Years Together (we met in Nov 1994). Happiness Selfie (Dec 2014).

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Thank Goodness I LOVE Hot Dogs!

10 Over-The-Top Hot Dogs in L.A.
My report for the L.A. Times
10 Over-The-Top Hot Dogs, L.A. Times

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Butchers & Barbers in Hollywood

Comfort food and killer cocktails.
My report at the L.A. Times here.

My L.A. Times piece on Butchers & Barbers 12/19/14

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