Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Soy Apricot Lamb Chops - Recipe

I used to have a huge aversion to lamb...the gamey flavor was difficult for me to appreciate. But, I was intrigued how a few of my foodie friends would always order lamb chops and eat it with this immense joy and satisfaction. They would rave at how tender and juicy the lamb tasted. I wondered to myself, what am i missing here? So, I slowly tried to train my palate to appreciate lamb and now, amazingly, I love lamb (although sometimes, if its really gamey, i do not enjoy it). I started myself off with eating gyro meat (which has some lamb). Then moved onto high quality lamb kabobs at lebanese restaurants. Then moved onto lamb lollipops/rack of lamb... 

For my wedding, I chose lamb lollipops in a soy apricot glaze as an appetizer to be served by the New York Food Company. I loved it on the day when we were sampling the food and on the day of the wedding too. Although I don't know how they made it, I figured I would give it a whirl at home with no recipe. All I knew was that it had SOY and APRICOT. 

Here is a picture of the lamb lollipops I made, along with a side of broccolinis

Here is what I purchased:
1. Small Rack of lamb - I purchased it from Whole Foods (expensive yes, but I figured, how often am I going to make lamb? small in size since it was only for me and my hubster)
2. Can of apricot jelly
3. Soy sauce
4. Salt and pepper

Instructions: (all approximations since I made this several months ago)
1. Turn on the oven to broil (ideally i would grill it but i didn't have a grill at the time)
2. I sliced the rack of lamb into little lollipops
3. Generously seasoned both sides of the lollipops with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4. Placed the lollipops into an oven pan that had sides (so I can pour the sauce without it spilling over the sides before it goes into the oven)
5. Took out a little sauce pan
6. Filled little sauce pan with about a little more than 1/2 the jar of apricot jelly and about 1/4 cup of soy sauce (can vary it based on how sweet or salty you want it)
7. Reduced the sauce until thick
8. Poured the sauce over the lamb lollipops
9. Placed oven pan into the oven (on broil) 
10. Remove it depending on how rare you like your lamb -- it broils reaally quickly!! I'm talking about a few minutes each side and it is medium well in my oven....I felt like I overcooked mine.. So next time, I know I'm going to keep a VERY close eye to have it more on the medium rare to medium side... 

And Voila! Tasted pretty darn close to the lamb lollipops at the wedding.

Here's what I purchased for the Broccolini side dish
- Broccolini (can be purchased at Trader Joe's)
- Olive Oil
- Salt/Pepper
- Garlic

Broccolini Recipe - (this is generally how I make my veggies courtesy of Momma)
1. Saute Garlic in Olive Oil
2. Add Broccolinis to pan
3. Add a little bit of water to cover the bottom of the pan...basically only a little bit of the broccolini's should be in the water...(but not enough to boil the broccolini's)
4. Season with kosher salt 
5. Cover the pan 
6. Stir occasionally
7. Remove broccolini when desired crispiness is achieved (i like my veggies extra crispy so I usually take it out after several minutes)

Let me know if you end up trying the recipe...and if you like it. 

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Curry House Review

After church one day, my friend Janice brought me to the Curry House in Cypress. The Curry House is a chain of restaurants throughout California, which offers Japanese style curries and spaghetties (interesting-has anyone tried the spaghetties?). She recommended the Iced Green Tea to go along with the meal, which I fell in love with. So one afternoon when I was craving their Iced Green Tea, I grabbed my hubbie and brought him there for a quick lunch. I ordered the Tofu and Ground Chicken Curry ($10.85) that came with a Green Salad and garlic spinach rice, as well as the Iced Green Tea of course.

I enjoyed my dish -- its not the classic Asian curry that my mom used to make from the curry cubes you buy in the supermarket. It actually had some acidity to the dish (which i believe is from lemon juice), a very mildly spicy undertone, and a subtle curry flavor. It tastes great with the garlic spinach rice--which I'm going to attempt to cook some day. I'll let you know how that goes. I love the salad dressing, which apparently you can buy from the restaurant. My husband ordered the extra spicy Chicken and Ginger Curry ($11.05), which he happily scarfed down. I tried a few bites and enjoyed the flavor as well. Probably a bit too spicy for me (I have a low spicy threshold-I must be an Asian mutant!) but it tasted like a nice cross between Asian curry and Indian curry. Maybe I'll try that next time, but only if they can knock down the spice level a couple notches for me....

Now, I had convinced my husband how great the Iced Green Tea ($2.50) was...but, alas, he sadly disagreed. Hehe. He's kind of an iced tea purist. I, on the other hand, am not. Ok ok, so I know that the Iced Green Tea is from a powder... (I asked the first time I was there, since I thought it was a bit unusual in consistency and rather turbid in color for a pure tea as you can see from the photo). But something about the flavor is pleasing to my palate. Its sliiightly thicker than a normal iced tea drink. Its mildly sweet but not too sweet. So, when I tried to explain to my husband why I liked it so much, I realized that it is because it reminds me of... green tea ice cream. Granted it is not creamy like green tea ice cream, but, it is somewhat reminiscent of the flavor in a drink form. 

Price of food: Moderately priced (average dish about 11 dollars)
Quality of food: 3.5 stars for the price of food (nothing fabulous but worth an occasional visit in my mind for more of that weirdly addictive Iced Green Tea)
Service: Excellent
Environment: Comfortable, clean
Would I go back?: Yes
Recommended?: Not mind blowing food, but worth a try if you're in the mood for some Asian curry...with what? ahh yes...the iced green tea.

The Curry House
Meridian Plaza
10953 Meridian Dr.
Cypress, CA

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Portfolio Coffeehouse Review

Yesterday, my husband and I ventured down to Portfolio Coffeehouse to be studious. Portfolio is a highly rated and regarded coffeehouse in the Long Beach area. We went at a perfect time for studying - moderate amount of people that were all there to do the same thing - work on their computers or to study. The other great thing was the soft music, or was there any music? :) 

I've tried their Iced Chai once. I watched them make it and I realized, I can do that for so much less than 4 dollars! Yikes! (I'll share that easy one in another post). So I figured, the next time I go, I'll purchase something that is at least a little more difficult for me to make at home. I decided to try their Iced Passion Fruit Tea with a few pumps of mango syrup. My husband went with their Illy-brand coffee. Both of us were satisfied with our drinks. I'll have to say though, the caffeine level in those drinks must be crazy because I felt my mind becoming a little hazy from the caffeine (my husband as well!). Maybe its not related to the drink though. haha. After drinking his coffee, he decided to try an iced tea as well, which looked disturbingly turbid, unlike mine. Hmm.....

I also tried a slice of Boston Creme pie, based on a recommendation from a past colleague. I was a little full from lunch, so I admit that I didn't finish it. It was good though. Not the most delicious piece of cake ever, but a nice departure from typical Starbuck snacks. It was a basic 2 layer vanilla cake with a chocolate mousse-like substance and creme (which was kind of like a vanilla pudding) in the middle. 

Portfolio seems to be a great place to go if you want a break from reading at Starbucks or Barnes and Nobles. Although, if you're planning to go study, don't go there on a Wednesday since there's open mic night. 

Next thing to try--a Cappuccino....
Oh, and one more important thing, there's FREE WIFI! Yay!
Friends, let me know if you ever want to go read there! Always love study buddies! :)

Drinks: 4.5 stars (Iced tea, Iced chai) 
Environment: Excellent
Would I go back?: Absolutely!
Still awaiting a trial of their cappuccino, other desserts, and one of their paninis.....
Comments: WiFi!!
Portfolio Coffeehouse
2300 E 4th St.
Long Beach, CA

Charo's Peruvian Cuisine Review

Yesterday, we decided to go to Charo's Peruvian Cuisine with my sister-in-law and her husband, located in the Long Beach Towne Center. It was their first time visiting the restaurant, but I've been there twice and have loved it every time. 

Since I tend to be a creature of habit and crave particular dishes, I ordered the Saltado de Pollo, which has chicken, tomatoes, grilled onions, fries, and cilantro with a side of rice. This is a solid dish that is full of flavor and perfectly done every time. What's not to love about that combination, especially when fries are involved?!

I love using their green sauce -- which I haven't had a chance to ask what its made of...but its this cold/airy-like textured sauce that is similar in color to wasabi. In fact, it has quite a spicy kick to it like wasabi as well as a cilantro favor to it. Honestly, i don't know what is in it, but it nicely contrasts the saltiness of the dish and a must-have in my mind when eating the dish. 

My sister-in-law ordered the Arroz con Pollo. It is a dish where the chicken is simmered with onion, garlic, spices, "teamed with cilantro". In fact, the whole dish looked rather green and I would have to say that the star flavor of the dish was the cilantro. I am a big fan of cilantro, so from that one bite, I loved it already. Next time around, I'm going to order that dish and see if I love it as much as the Saltado de Pollo. I'll let you know how it is when I have a whole plate of it. 

My sister-in-law's husband ordered this Spicy Pollo dish--sadly, I cannot remember the real name of it. I had a little sample -- it sort of reminded me of an Asian curry -- but not exactly. He loved his dish...can't comment much more on it...

I've also tried their Col Saltado for lunch about a year ago: Chicken or beef (i had the chicken) with cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro served with rice. It's only 6.95 and comes with soup or salad. I remember feeling a bit hungry after that meal since their was not as much protein as I would have hoped. But the flavor was good. If I was going to suggest Col Saltado versus the Saltado de Pollo--i'll have to vote for Saltado de Pollo though if you love fries...(which I do). 

Maybe one of these days, I'll venture to try another one of their dishes, possibly with beef....Why mess with goodness though? hahah.

New Rating System: (I will rate within each restaurant price category, which will be - Very expensive, Expensive, Moderately priced, Inexpensive)
Price of food: Moderately priced (about 11-15 dollars a dish)
Quality of food: 5 stars for the price of food
Service: Excellent
Environment: Comfortable
Would I go back?: Yes
Recommended?: Yes

Charo's Peruvian Cuisine
7563 Carson St. Long Beach Towne Center
Long Beach, CA

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hostess Chocolate Cake with Creamy Filling Review

Last week, I was in the Target snack aisle (of course!) and my eye caught a sale sign for 2 for $5. What was it? Hostess Chocolate Cake with Creamy Filling 100 Calorie Packs. Childhood memories of Hostess snacks...Craving chocolate? Check. On sale? Check. I was not expecting anything that good--i mean...i was thinking...dry, low fat tasting... But i was wrong! 

Granted, each pack is smaaaall. But it is a nice little snack if you're craving chocolate. These little bad boys are actually very moist (which I hope you can appreciate from the picture!) In fact, my only qualm with the product is that it is so moist from the thin layer of chocolate frosting on top, that the chocolate gets all over the place. Every time I finish a pack, I'm finding the need to wipe my fingers in a variety of locations and worried that i must have chocolate smeared across my face somewhere. Not ideal when you're at work but I eat it anyway! I actually liked it so much, I went back and bought another pack. It is the closest thing to a quick chocolate molten cake wanna-be without any work. 

Snack Rating: 4
Would I buy it again?: Yes


New Quaker Crispy Oat Bars Review

Yesterday, I ventured into Target to buy...snacks of course! I was on the hunt for Hostess Chocolate Cake with Creamy Filling and Newton's Fruit Crisps (Apple Cinnamon), but sadly, they were out of the fruit crisps. So, this new Quaker Crispy Oat Bars (strawberry) caught my attention. Next best thing i thought and less expensive than Newton's Fruit Crisps. Only $2.04. 

When I bit into it, i was expecting -- "Crispy" as they advertised. Yes, it is slightly crunchy, but not that satisfying crispy crunch that I was looking for.  It tasted more like crumbly oat bars to me. The flavor was just okay. Thankfully, not too sweet as many of those other fruit bars on the market. At only 100 calories a pop with all that fiber, its ok...but not my ideal snack. Moving on....

I personally prefer the new Kellogg's Strawberry Fruit Crisps (reviewed).

Snack Rating: 2 stars
Would I buy it again?: No

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bouley Review - New York

My husband and I recently traveled to New York. My trips are all planned around food. Upon the wonderful recommendation of my foodie friend, Olivia, we decided to splurge on a famous restaurant in New York, named Bouley. Bouley is owned by the famous Chef David Bouley. He owns a number of restaurants/shops, including Bouley, Bouley Upstairs, Bouley Bakery, etc. We went to the one called Bouley.

When you walk in, you are greeted by a wonderful wall of apples. It smells wonderful!

We decided to do the tasting menu for lunch and boy were we in for a treat! They tell you its 4 courses for 48 dollars but they were so many extra surprises along the way! You can't beat this price for the service, the portions, and the quality of food. 

Here is what was in my tasting menu:
Amuse Bouche: Compliments of the chef, we tasted a trout mousse with caviar and vanilla oil. Nice little surprise! :)

First Course: Porcini Flan with Dungeness Crab and Black Truffle Dashi. This was absolutely delicious. It was served in the rustic pot that was rich in flavor from the black truffle and filled with giant pieces of crab. I'm starting to salivate thinking about it again...

Second Course: Roasted Baby Skate with Seasonal Ramps Dressing and Fricasee of Green Asparagus. Tender piece of fish, nicely flavored, not too fishy.

Third Course: Long Island Duckling with a Balinese Pepper Crust
White Truffle Honey, Julienne of Snow Peas, Tahitian Vainilla-Glazed Turnips, Verjus, Ginger Dressing. I loved the duck as well. Sometimes, duck can be chewy, but this was perfectly done and they very generous with the portions again. I thought I tasted something funny in my salad--I asked what it was...apparently it was duck gizzard...ehh not my thing. 

Fourth Course: Coconut Soup, Passionfruit, Pineapple Granité, Organic Yogurt Sorbet. 
Nice palate cleanser and not heavy. Quite refreshing! 

Fifth Course: Snowball of Crisp White Meringue. Pomegranate Granité, Pistachio White Chocolate Sauce, Ten Exotic Fruit Sorbet. Yummmm......Inside the snowball, was sorbet filled with jellied kumquats. I think that was my favorite part of the dessert, as well as the pistachio white chocolate sauce....In the background, you can see my husband's Hot Valrhona Chocolate Soufflé with Vermont Maple and Vanilla Ice creams, Chocolate Sorbet...

And then you think you're done, but SURPRISE! The waiters bring out this 3-tiered tray of desserts from the Bouley bakery. Chocolate truffles, pistachio macaroons, and a variety of little cakes...How wonderful! Of course, because of that, we walked across the street to the Bouley bakery and purchased some of those yummy macaroons! Clever ploy Bouley!!!  

Oh and how could I forget to mention the bread?!! The waiters would come around with these baskets filled with different freshly baked breads: apple, fig, garlic, pistachio, you name it...YUM! Loved the apple bread and the fig bread....

The service was top-notch. The place was a bit "stuffy" buuut, it is an upscale restaurant. The servers were incredibly professional. It looked like they were constantly scanning the room, subtly watching your body movements, sensing when you needed anything. They would also always politely ask if they could take the plates away... (love that! pet peeve: waiters taking my plate away without asking, or asking if they can take it away as they are taking it away).  

Rating: 5 stars
Service: 5 stars
Would I go back?: Absolutely!
Recommended?: Absolutely!

163 Duane St.
New York, NY

Website link:

A little about myself....

Hi everyone! Welcome to my new blog! One of my favorite things to do is to eat. I loooove food, as anyone who knows me can attest to... I love trying new restaurants and sometimes return to my kitchen to try and recreate the scrumptious meal. My goal will be to share with you my love for food, inspire you to love food as much as I do by trying the places I go to, and sharing some recipes that I/friends create and maybe ones that I find online/TV. In other words, I would love for you to join me in my "chase" for great food ("chow"). haha. Corny? Thats ok! Anyways, I recently moved to the Long Beach area so I am currently exploring this area and look forward to blogging about this soon. 

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