Tag Archives: cheese

Low Carb Frico (Parmesan Crackers)

I’ve been cooking up lots of frico (parmesan crackers) lately. Mostly to top salads, but I also use them on soups and simple snacking too. These frico with toasted seeds were a big hit at my dinner table recently. So easy to make and low carb too!
Frico (Parmesan Crackers) & Seeds

Step-by-Step
How to make Frico w Toasted Seeds

Clockwise (from top left):
1. Sprinkle seeds in heated non-stick pan.
2. Add shredded Parmesan (Manchego is lovely too) and make sure the seeds are covered with cheese bits. Use a spatula to make a tight circle.
3. When the edges turn brown, gently start lifting with a thin spatula.
4. Turn frico (use two spatulas if needed) and cook until browned underneath. Carefully transfer frico to plate and let cool to harden. Break into pieces for salad topping or just EAT as is.

This works with pieces of herbs or leafy greens too. Frico with toasted baby kale here.

I post low carb recipes on instagram regularly. Follow me @MyLastBite or search #LowCarbJo.

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Cube Café, Cheese Bar & Marketplace

Favorite Bites at Cube Café, Cheese Bar & Marketplace (if you haven’t been yet, it’s a MUST!!!)

Quadrello di Bufula Cheese @ Cube
Quadrello di Bufala

Braised Baby Octopus @ Cube
Braised Baby Octopus: Charred radicchio, Cipollini onions, Marmelata

Spring Crunch Salad @ Cube
Spring Crunch Salad with Spring Beans, English Peas, Asparagus, Watercress, Ricotta Salata, Lenon Vinaigrette and Proscuitto Chip

Fiddlehead Ferns @ Cube
Fiddlehead Ferns with Lemon Vinaigrette

Pork Loin Milanese @ Cube
Pork Loin Milanese with Wild Baby Arugula Salad

Ramp & Ricotta Tortelloni Brodo @ Cube
Ramp and Ricotta Tortelloni with parmesan and ham hock brodo

Above photos taken on 4/29/10 (Thanks Julie Wolfson!).
Below taken 2/5/10 during
DineLA Week.

Cube Marketplace Interior
Cube Marketplace Interior

Maple Braised Bacon at Cube
Maple Braised Bacon, Celery Root Puree, Cipollini Onions

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad: Satsumas, Toasted Hazelnuts, Pomegranates, Pecorino, Hazelnut Vinaigrette

Cube Truffle Burger
Cube Truffle Burger: House Brioche, Taleggio Cheese, Caramelized Shallots

Cheese Board at Cube
They have a phenomenal selection of cheeses

From the Cube website:
Our café menu is based on traditional Italian cooking with a strong Californian influence. We shop at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, use organic whenever possible, and only buy meat that is raised naturally and cruelty free. Our specials menu is based upon different Italian regions with a Californian flair and changes every Thursday.

Our cheese bar boasts over 85 different cheeses from around the globe and changes constantly and with the seasons. We stock salumi from Salumi Salame, The Fatted Calf, Pio Tosini as well as importing our own salumi from the Marche region of Italy.

Cube
615 N. La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90036
323-939-1148, x.1
Website

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Saam (Bazaar visit 9, Saam visit 1)

Dining in the new Saam restaurant makes you feel special. It’s located behind a secured, nondescript door near Bar Centro, at the Bazaar by José Andrés. Each of the twenty courses (one or two bites each) are brought out on individual plates, while you sit at one of the exclusive, coveted tables. To me, it feels like a sleek and sexy modern-day speakeasy.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.comThe service? Impeccable. I haven’t been to Alinea yet, but I’m guessing the experience is close, or at least as close as we’re going to get here in Los Angeles! It’s like flying first class, where you’re treated like a celebrity and you know it. Especially true for an early dinner on opening weekend. We were one of the first to be seated for the Saturday evening service, and at times there were four staff members looking after the two of us.

The food? It was my ninth visit to the Bazaar and I knew the menu backwards and forwards, so I was pleasantly surprised to find each dish “kicked up a notch”, and thrilled to try a few new bites as well. I found myself mouthing “wow” to my husband Peter, especially when we were served updated versions of dishes we tried on previous visits.

“Saam: The Chef’s Tasting Menu” is printed on top of each take-home menu (rolled up and tied with a little black ribbon), a great souvenir to remember an elegant evening. But throughout our wonderful dinner, I couldn’t help but feel there was something missing. The food was the best I’d ever had at the Bazaar, so that wasn’t it. Our server Charlie was attentive, engaging and throughly knowledgeable. Carolina was nearby in case we had any needs or questions as well. Managers William and Felix stopped by to ensure that we (and later, each and every table) were enjoying the evening, but my dinner still felt incomplete. Why?

Because “Saam: The Chef’s Tasting Room” was missing the one thing I love most about the Bazaar (besides the food), it was missing the chefs.

My favorite tables at the Bazaar are one of the two “Tron” tables in the Rojo room. They’re not officially called “Tron” tables… that’s just what we call them because they have cool laser-like red lights beneath the surface. The few times I’ve been lucky enough to have a seat facing the open kitchen was at one of the these tables. I loved watching Chef Voltaggio warm up the “smoking” gun to finish off the salmon dishes. And as a fan of the show “Top Chef”, could there be anything better than seeing Chef Marcel Vigneron working the foam? By the way, I think the show portrayed him as an arrogant nitwit, because in person he’s a real sweetheart. 

After we finished our evening at Saam, we made our way to the Rojo kitchen where the kitchen staff was in full swing. It was busy, crowded and the room was filled with the frenetic energy that I missed. It sort of felt like I had been at the wrong party earlier.

Do I recommend Saam? Absolutely. Especially if it’s your first visit to the Bazaar. It’s quieter and more focused than either the Rojo or the Blanca room, and you’ll be carefully guided through a palate pleasing, high-flying experience. Heck, it’s not that I don’t like flying first class (the few times I’ve experienced it), it’s just that I like watching the crew even better.

Tasting Menu is $120 per person.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #1: Salt Air Margarita. Delicious as always.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #2: Sweet Potato Chips and Yogurt Dip. I love the anise flavor in the yogurt.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
 Caviar Steamed Bun. Using the steamed bun makes for a nice twist on a classic.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #4: Olive Oil Bonbon This was such a treat!! I first saw this being made on “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” by Chef Andrés and his Minibar Chefs: Ruben Garcia and Katsuya Fukushima. It’s like a candy shell filled with olive oil. Into your mouth and it crumbles. SO AMAZING.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #5: Bagel and Lox Cone. Delicious as always.

Foie Gras Cotton Candy, MyLastBite.com
Course #6: Cotton Candy Foie Gras (foie gras rolled in corn nuts). Still a favorite and so good I forgot to take a photo before eating! (photo from previous visit)

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #7: Olives Ferran Adria. My first love (and why I started taking Molecular Gastronomy classes last year!)

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #8: Jose’s Ham and Cheese.  I LOVED the Jamón Ibérico with the soft La Serena cheese inside the “air bread”. This was one of the “kicked up” dish updates, similar to “Philly Cheesesteak”. La Serena is a creamy, aromatic (aka really stinky which I love!) cheese from Extremadura in Western Spain.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #9: Sea Urchin Conservas. Fantastic flavors AND presentation.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #10: Boneless Chicken Wing. Delicious as always.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #11: Shrimp Cocktail. The updated cocktail sauce was richer, almost creamy.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #12: Nitro Gazpacho. I always love when the Liquid Nitrogen cart rolls up! Gazpacho “cooked” in the nitro.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #13: Blufin Tuna Toro (and Norwegian Lobster). Both AMAZING.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #14: Norwegian Lobster.
Perfection in one bite.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #15: “Smoked” Salmon. Another favorite, the dish is finished using a “smoking gun”.

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #16: Not Your Everyday Caprese (top). I recently learned how to make these liquid mozzarella balls!

Course #17: Tournedos Rossinii 2009. Wagyu beef, truffle and foie gras. MORE PLEASE!

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Course #18: Dragon’s Breath (caramel popcorn “cooked” in liquid nitrogen). Currently only served in the Saam room, we’ve enjoyed it several times before. It’s FUN!

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Felix Meana making Dragon’s Breath

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Coconut in a “Half Shell”. Peter loved all three desserts. I was too full!

Saam at the Bazaar, MyLastBite.com
Chocolate Biscuit Coulant Michel Bras (above) and Petit Fours: Tablets, Bonbons

Saam, at the Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
 465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 9004
(310) 246-5555
Dining date: 4/11/09

Mentioned above:

Tron, the movie

Tron, the table

Alinea (someday!)

Top Chef

Smoking Gun

Molecular Gastronomy Classes

Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie

Watch the episode with the Olive Oil Bonbon!

MiniBar

In the kitchen with the chefs

<< Bazaar Visit #8

Bazaar Visit #10 >>

All my Bazaar photos on Flickr

Saam at the Bazaar By José Andrés on Urbanspoon

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The Bazaar by José Andrés [8]

Sunday night at the Bazaar with Phil from “My Life As A Foodie”, his wife Katrina, and fellow food-lovers Dean and Stephanie.

When we were seated at the “Chefs Table” in the Rojo Room, Peter and I made sure that he and I were the two diners facing AWAY from the open kitchen. We had four eager “Bazaar Virgins” with us and for them to get the most of the experience, they faced the chefs, giving them first-class seats to the “show”!

We shared many of what I now call “essential” tapas from both the Blanca and Rojo menus. These are dishes we get every visit and include: Jamón Ibérico, Chicken and Béchamel Fritters, Sea Urchin with Avocado in a Steamed Mini Bun and Philly Cheesesteak Air Bread (photo links below).

This was my eighth dinner at Bazaar. Had I tried everything on both the Rojo and Blanco menus? Well no, to be honest there were still a few vegetable dishes I’d been avoiding. It’s not that I don’t like veggies, it’s just that when presented with a choice between plump butifarra (sausage) or brussel sprouts… I’m going to always insist on the meats (or seafood or foie gras) first.

Our evening was made even more delightful when Chef Voltaggio presented a NEW, elegant salmon dish that he wanted us to try. The “Smoked” Salmon was cooked sous vide (French for “under vacuum”), served with cucumber “noodles” and set on top of a small potato blintz. This was all presented under a glass dome and served on a piece of black slate. Before leaving the kitchen, the dome was lifted slightly and Chef Voltaggio “smoked” the salmon with a culinary *smoking gun. When the servers brought the salmon to the table, puffs of smoke gently wafted from under the glass as the domes were removed. It was cool (and tasted heavenly).

General Manager, William Douillet, seemed to always “magically” appear when there was the slightest inquiry.  Thoughtful and courteous, he always makes each visit a “special” occasion. Our four friends, no longer “Bazaar Virgins”, still haven’t stopped talking about the experience.

Tapas we tried on this visit:

Ajo Blanco, MyLastBite.com
Ajo Blanco: White Gazpacho, Tomatoes, Grapes, Raisins, topped with Tomato Granita $5. I loved this savory dish (sort of like a panna cotta), especially the texture of the granita on top.

Cauliflower "Couscous", MyLastBite.com
Sautéed Cauliflower “Couscous”
: Cauliflower puree, harissa, pomegranate $8. The tiny, crunchy bits of cauliflower were terrific mixed with the pomegranate.

Brussel Sprout Leaves, MyLastBite.com
Brussel Sprout Leaves with lemon purée, apricots, grapes and lemon “air” $8. I hated brussel sprouts as a kid, so the fact that I actually liked this was a nice surprise.

Buñuelos, MyLastBite.com
Buñuelos (Codfish Fritters) with Honey Aoli $8. I liked that I could really taste the fish in these fried balls. Usually with deep-fried fish, all I taste is the “fried” part.

Quesos, MyLastBite.com
Cheese from right to left: This was my first taste of 
La Serenaa creamy, aromatic (aka really stinky which I love!) cheese from Extremadura in Western Spain. Valdeón is a rich, creamy, intensely-flavored cow and goat’s milk blue cheese, saltier than Stilton and not as intense as Cabrales. Idiazábal is the national cheese of the Basque country, is made from sheep’s milk and is usually smoked. Served with Picos (Spanish crispy bread) and Quince jam. 3 Quesos $15

"Smoked" Salmon 1, MyLastBite.com
The “Smoked” Salmon arriving at our table…

"Smoked" Salmon 3, MyLastBite.com
The
“Smoked” Salmon, cooked sous vide with Cucumber Noodles, then “smoked” with a smoking gun, served over a small Potato Blintz. The flavors and textures were OUTSTANDING… perfectly cooked salmon, with faux cucumber noodles on crispy potatoes.

Wild Mushroom Rice, MyLastBite.com
Wild Mushroom Rice with Idiazábal Cheese, $10. A creamy, savory tapas version of the rice dish Marcel surprised us with on visit #4 (sans truffles).

“Essential” Bazaar Tapas that we get on every visit:

Sea Urchins, Avocado in a Steamed Mini Bun

Jamón Ibérico (Iberian Ham)

Chicken & Béchamel Fritters

Philly Cheesesteak Air Bread 

‘Pa amb’ tomaquet (bread with tomato in Catalan)

Mentioned above:

My Life as a Foodie
(with many more Bazaar dinner details)

The Smoking Gun

More about Sous Vide cooking

Chef Michael Voltaggio

Manager William Douillet

My Bazaar Photos on Flickr

Bazaar by José Andrés, SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5555
http://www.thebazaar.com

Dining Date: 3/29/09

<– Bazaar Visit 7

Bazaar Visit 9 –>

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Corndog Hangover

I woke up with a teenie-tiny hangover this morning. One too many martinis while listening to a friend’s punk band last night. I know classic martinis and punk rock don’t usually mix, but the bar was sort of grungy cool, and to my surprise, they made killer Martinis. I’ll write about the bar and band soon.

Lying in bed this morning, my head wasn’t spinning and my tummy wasn’t upset (signs of a major hangover), but I definitely felt dehydrated and extra hungry. My favorite “hangover cure” meal is Yoshinoya Beef Bowl. I love the thin slices of beef, with starchy white rice and pickled ginger, but sadly we don’t have one nearby. There is a Yoshinoya about 20 minutes away, but that seems like hours when you’re too dizzy to walk across the room. My next choice would be Denny’s country-fried steak and eggs (and a side of grits), but again, even with a to-go order, it’s about a 45 minute wait for food.

The only thing that got my sleepy butt out of bed this morning is when I remembered that today is “National Corndog Day”. I didn’t even know we had a day to celebrate corndogs until I read about it on LATimes.com, and immediately went to the market and bought a box of “State Fair Extra Cheesy Mini Corndogs”.

After this morning’s breakfast of bite-size corndogs, bacon, sausage, oozy cheese, and eggs, I have to say… I actually feel 100% better, so Happy Corndog Day!

Hangover Breakfast, MyLastBite.com
This may be my new favorite hangover breakfast, even though on a regular morning I wouldn’t dare touch it! It looks gross but it was just perfect (and yes I shared it with Peter)!

Corn Dog Bites, MyLastBite.com
I prefer mini corndogs to the original size, crisped in the oven or deep-fried. One Bite Heaven!

Hangover Breakfast, MyLastBite.com

http://www.CorndogDay.com

L.A. Times

Dennys

Yoshinoya

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My Valentine Wiener

Peter and I celebrated a different kind of Valentine’s Day this year. Instead of our usual fancy “schmancy” dinner out, we opted for an afternoon trek downtown to Wurstküche, the “Purveyor of Exotic Grilled Sausages”.

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.comThinking there would be no traffic, we hopped on the 101 freeway a little before noon. What should have been a fifteen minute drive to Alameda street, took over an hour in the heavy traffic. I really hoped these exotic meats would be worth the trouble, especially since we skipped breakfast and were by then, really hungry. I wanted my wiener and I wanted it now!

After we parked (conveniently right out front of Wurstküche Restaurant), we walked in and quickly went over the menu. The sausages are broken down into three categories: “Classics”, “Gourmet” and “Exotics”. I ordered the Duck & Bacon with Jalapeno Pepper Sausage and Peter went for the Rattlesnake & Rabbit with Jalapeno Peppers (both from the “Exotics” list).

Along with sausages we also ordered Belgian Fries with Truffle Oil, which came with a dipping sauce. Choices were: Sweet and Sassy BBQ, Blue Cheese Walnut Bacon, Buttermilk Ranch, Thai Peanut, Tzatziki, Chipolte Ketchup, Sundried Tomato Mayo, Chipolte Mayo and Pesto Mayo. We selected the Blue Cheese Walnut Bacon.

As we continued ordering, I looked around and was shocked at how small the restaurant was. There was bar seating in front of the order counter and kitchen, and two small bistro tables outside. I’d heard great things about Wurstküche and wondered “where are all the eaters?”. Was I at the wrong place?

Like most folks, Peter and I rarely drink alcohol during the day (unless we’re on vacation of course), but this being a Valentine’s lunch and all, we decided it was a must. The list of beers (draft and bottled) were a little intimidating because, honestly, we’re not really into beer, so basically we blindly chose one each. Both draft beers, I selected the Chimay White and Peter ordered the Houblan Chouffe which was an Indian Pale.

While sipping our beers and waiting for our food, Peter noticed there were people coming from up the hallway. He asked one of the waiters where it led to and he motioned me to follow him. There we found a dining hall filled with smiling, happy people feasting on glistening sausages. The room was really large… probably 2,000 square feet, with communal tables and another bar along the back. A very relaxing “bier garten” indeed.

Speaking of which, both of our beers were delicious. My Chimay White was crisp and a tiny bit bitter (in a good way). Peter’s beer (the Indian pale, Houblan Chouffe) was amazing. I kept sipping it trying to figure out the flavor I was tasting, and I swear there was a hint of passion fruit.

Between the two sausages we shared, we both really loved the Duck, Bacon with Jalapeno and will definitely order that again and again. Next time we’ll have to try the Alligator & Pork or Green Chillies & Cilantro as well.

Note: The Rattlesnake & Rabbit with Jalapeno Peppers was good, but the Duck, Bacon with Jalapeno was “make your eyes roll back in your head” good.

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
Hooray, the food is here!

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
Duck and Bacon with Jalapeno Pepper Sausage $7.75

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
Rattlesnake and Rabbit with Jalapeno Peppers $7.75

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
Belgian Fries $3.50 with Blue Cheese Walnut Bacon Dressing (AWESOME). Truffle Oil +$1.50

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
Chimay White $8, Houblan Chouffe $8 (note the communal tables in background)

At Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
Two groovy chairs in the back bier hall/dining room. Comfy but too low to eat at, so we moved to one of the communal tables.

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
The almighty sausage case.

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
Order counter and beers on tap (upper left photo)

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
mmm… nothing beats the smell of wieners on a grill.

Wurstküche
800 E 3rd St,
Downtown Los Angeles
213.687.4444

Dining Date: 2/14/09

Website

We had our Valentines McFlurry! MyLastBite.comOn our way home the freeway was clogged (again) and pretty much a parking lot, so instead of trying to fight it we took the side streets. Driving along, every time we spotted a McDonalds, Peter and I started laughing because of the most recent episode of “30 Rock”. If you haven’t seen the “Valentines” episode then this won’t make sense to you, but we just had to stop and get a McFlurry! I hadn’t had a McFlurry in years… actually I’m not sure if I’ve ever had one. I definitely remember Dairy Queen Blizzards when I was younger, but this may have been my first McFlurry. I had the Oreo flavor and Peter had Snickers. It was definitely a sweet ending to our kooky, fun Valentine’s Day. Thanks Tina Fey!

Mentioned Above:

30 Rock

McDonalds

DQ


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Patina

Each year around the Christmas holidays, my husband Peter and I spend an evening at the L.A. Philharmonic. Instead of giving each other Christmas gifts (since we have everything we need), we share a nice dinner at Patina (which is next to the Disney Hall) and it makes for a special yearly event. This season we had tickets to hear the Count Basie Orchestra, and it was a lively evening filled with jazzy holiday fun.

Count Basie at the Phil, MyLastBite.comThe show started at 8pm, so we had an early 5:45 reservation at Patina. This was on December 22, which coincidently fell in the middle of their famous truffle dinners. The Black and White Truffle dinner was held a few days before our reservation (on 12/19), and I knew there were upcoming truffle dinners scheduled. I was hoping there were truffles leftover from the event because I’d never tasted a WHITE truffle.

No such luck! We did get to feast on some beautiful black truffles though and I made sure the rolling cheese cart never left our table for too long. It was another wonderful holiday celebration that included our two favorite things in life … food and music.

Patina Truffles! MyLastBite.com
Black Truffle Risotto

Patina Cheese, MyLastBite.com
The LOVELY Cheese Cart

Patina Cheese Course, MyLastBite.com
Cheeses 

Soumaintrain (on the left) is a really stinky French cheese with a taste that is both sweet and salty. It tasted similar to Epoisses but was actually creamier. It was my favorite cheese of the night. more info

Whisky Cheese tasted like whisky and cheese! I liked it. more info

Toma Bleue was a sharp blue cheese.

Ski Queen (the brown cheese) is soft and sweet. more info

Monte Enebro (far right) is made from goat’s milk and very pungent. Rolled in ash, it was really soft and spreadable. more info

Patina Fish Course, MyLastBite.com
Saint Pierre for Two. Saint Pierre (aka John Dory) baked with a grilled sage, sunchoke-sesame puree, wild arugula, toscane extra virgin olive oil jus.


Patina
141 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 972-3331

http://www.patinagroup.com/patina/

http://www.countbasie.com/

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