6.29.2009

The Truck Stops Here...

... but the line didn't. On Saturday night in Downtown Los Angeles with the sky preparing its change into night we attended Dwell on Design Night at the Movies at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. For the event, Dwell magazine designed a roving food row in front of the museum. There were a few tall tables covered with white cloth facing the different food trucks in the open sun. Represented at the mobile food baazar were Let's Be Frank (hot dogs), Barbie Q's (bbq sandwiches and such), GreenTruck (organic healthy fare), Coolhaus’ (ice cream sammies), Sprinkles (cupcakes), and Icycle (gourmet popsicles).

With few options and long lines we ruminated over what to eat. For our pre-show dinner we opted for a pulled pork sandwich and a braised beef sandwich from Barbie Q's. We accompanied this with herb-seasoned fries and a watermelon fresca from the GreenTruck. The sandwiches were basic but tasty, full of barbeque-y goodness on a french roll. The side dishes of cole slaw and baked beans were unappealing and lacking flavor, but with such a big sandwich we really didn't need them. The fries were crisp, delightfully oily, and fragrant from the rosemary sprinkled on top. The watermelon fresca outshined the entrees. It was refreshing and lightly sweet. It had an almost-thick texture as if you were biting right into the watermelon through your straw. We finished our meal in time for the first screening - The Greening of Southie, a documentary on the construction of the first green building in Boston.




During our intermission we headed outside for a second go at the restaurant truck row, but this time for dessert. Already having been familiar with Sprinkles cupcakes I went straight for the cold stuff. I have read a lot lately about Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches and was eager to finally try one. Again there was a line. It seemed to be the theme of food truck night. Waiting patiently to order I had an opportunity to really study my ice cream and cookie pairing options. I decided on ginger cookies and strawberry ice cream, while R choose sugar cookies with cinnamon ice cream. The ice cream sandwich was good - I will give you that - and I did eat every last bite. But the cookie was a bit too hard and with each tough bite I forced more and more ice cream to squeeze out of the sandwich. The strawberry ice cream was also not what I expected, more icy than creamy. R's sugar cookie was not quite as tough, it crumbled more with each bite. For the sake of research we decided to try the Icycle popsicles after our ice cream sandwich indulgence. Not quite a truck, Icycle is a guy on a bike attached to a little freezer riding around the lines of people. The no line factor of Icycle was a plus. We ordered the mojito flavor and the strawberry lemonade. Upon first glance I thought 'why am I paying $2.25 for this small thing?’ but after one taste the reason it clear- they are amazing. Simple, flavorful, and perfect. This was the clear winner of the evening. I was now content and ready for the second screening- a documentary about the architectural photography of Julius Shulman.


All in all, it was a wonderful summer night. Only a few trucks stopped by, but they were enough to design a tasty and entertaining evening.

6.18.2009

Mint- A Fresh Look at Summer!

So it may seem that June gloom is finally over in what used to be sunny California. This month has been nothing but gray skies so far, so when the sun finally showed it's warm beautiful face yesterday, it began to feel like summer. Dressed in shorts with all the windows open, I wanted something fresh and light to eat. I decided that I was feeling minty! With my star ingredient in line, I thought up the perfect summer dish to cook- Ina Garten’s Chicken Tabbouleh. I often turn to one of my three Ina Garten cookbooks when I need a recipe. She is my go to, always satisfying and delicious guide. The recipe was quick and simple to prepare, with only a few ingredients and of course a hint of mint!





You can prepare your chicken breasts by baking them in the oven or - even better - by grilling them. Some diced persian cucumbers, a squeeze of lemon, a handful of fragrant parsley, some juicy cherry tomatoes, and hot diced chicken breasts all mixed together with perfectly al dente tabbouleh… Presto! Magico! Dinner/and or lunch is served! Pair it with refreshing homemade mint lemonade to tie everything together and you have a fresh and easy summer meal.

I made two versions of mint lemonade- lemonade with chopped fresh mint and Israeli mint lemonade, which is fresh lemonade blended with mint and ice. My minty chicken tabbouleh and lemonade combo was a satisfying summer meal. Don’t skimp on the mint!





INGREDIENTS

  1. 1 cup medium-grade bulgur (6 ounces)
  2. 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  3. 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  4. Kosher salt
  5. 2 chicken breast halves on the bone (about 1/2 pound each)
  6. 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  7. Freshly ground pepper
  8. 1 cup finely chopped scallions (1 bunch)
  9. 2/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
  10. 2/3 cup finely chopped mint (1 bunch)
  11. 1 European seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/3 -inch dice
  12. 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large heatproof bowl, combine the bulgur with the boiling water, lemon juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and let stand until the water has been absorbed and the grains are tender, about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Set the chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Rub them with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until just cooked through. Let the chicken cool slightly, then discard the skin and remove the meat from the bones. Cut the chicken into 3/4 -inch chunks.
  3. Add the scallions, parsley, mint, lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil to the bulgur and let stand for 15 minutes. Add the chicken, cucumber and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and toss well. Transfer the tabbouleh to a bowl or platter and serve at room temperature or chilled.














6.07.2009

Holy Grace!



Doughnut tasting night at Grace... Yes, I said doughnut tasting. Three delicious courses all consisting of donuts.  A total of five glorious fried carb confections in one sitting… holy Grace! 

R and I went to Grace on Saturday, a day after National Doughnut day but just as special. This was my first visit to Grace and what better way to experience this famed LA spot than through its desserts. There is a wine pairing option with the doughnuts, but we opted for coffee instead - keeping it traditional with the ol’ coffee and doughnuts pair.

Course 1: Salted Caramel Doughnuts with Bourbon Pecan Ice Cream


 

After the first bite of this gooey salty sweet treat I had to pause. Or rather, I took a moment of silence. I was wide eyed, sugar crazed, and happy, just happy. It was heavenly. Caramel glazed over a hot doughy mouthful studded with salt crystals. Everything about this salty sweet confection was perfect. How could two more courses even compare?

Course 2: Pistachio Chocolate Buttermilk Doughnut with Marble Ice Cream and Dried Cherries


 

As I feared, Grace got a good start out of the pastry kitchen but quickly lost steam with course two.  The chocolate buttermilk doughnut was covered in sugar and oozed a pistachio filling. It sat atop chocolate ice cream and dried cherries. The doughnut itself was thick and moist but drowned in the overpowering pistachio filling. When I happened upon a dried cherry every few bites my mouth was confused. “What are you doing here cherry? You are not helping this situation. Where is that caramel doughnut? I want that one again! Valiant effort Mr. Pistachio Chocolate Buttermilk but you are not quite as good as your predecessor.”

Course 3: Buttermilk Brown Butter Glazed Doughnuts with Warm Rum Spiced Milk



Now the buttermilk brown butter was delicious, but the warm rum spiced milk? After a twirl with my spoon and a teensy taste on the tongue I did not proceed any further with the rum spiced milk. I didn’t know whether to drink it or dip it, but it’s slimy slick texture was so unappealing I didn’t want to do either. The buttermilk brown butter was like a traditional glazed doughnut with a hint of sophistication.  However, I think I only enjoyed it so much because of its resemblance to the salted caramel in course one.

Overall the tasting menu was good, especially with a strong and memorable first course: the salted caramel doughnut. I think I will dream about that doughnut, it was so divine.  In the end the doughnut tasting menu was a one trick pony but man, was that one good trick!












There was an error in this gadget
Blog Widget by LinkWithin