perfect simplicity

perfectly simple. perfectly me.

Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

:the weekend in review:

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Waiting for friends in front of Pacific Theaters Culver City to watch Inception.  Incidentally, it’s the only movie I’ve seen in the theaters all year and was worth every penny.

Culver Hotel

I don’t know what it is about brick buildings that I adore.  It just seems like the walls could whisper so many untold stories.  It’s also where the munchkins stayed while filming the Wizard of Oz.

Hitachino White Ale

Figs Stuffed With Goat Cheese & Wrapped With Prosciutto

Sweet Potato Fries

FO Burger w/ Fries

Father’s Office II to wait out traffic.  It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t work during the day.  We arrived at 4:30 and the place was packed.  Maybe they’re all teachers….

Costco

Tomatoes from a friend of a friend’s garden

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Written by liveeatlove

July 26, 2010 at 11:02 am

waiola shave ice {oahu eats}

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shave ice. from the place that hasn’t changed since the 40s.

or maybe it has, who knows.  you can’t tell.

and that’s a VERY good thing.

No, it’s not that crunchy ground ice stuff they call ‘snow cones’. Nor is it a ‘slushie’ or ‘slurpie’.  Shave ice, not shaved ice, is a mound of finely shaven ice that, when done correctly, is creamy and fluffy to the tongue.  Waiola’s gets it right.

In an unassuming residential neighborhood of Honolulu, Waiola’s is actually a corner market, selling convenience store goods.  It doesn’t have the greatest of curb appeal, but where it’s lacking in design, it makes up twofold in pure food bliss.  And, on a hot day, nothing is as good as eating this delightfully cooling treat.

Shave Ice with Condensed Milk…don’t remember the flavor

Basically, you go up to the window and choose your flavor(s), toppings and any add-ons.  Then, you wait.  Oh, the waiting.  That’s the worse part.  Especially when you hear the ice machine whirling and teasing you with sounds of ice being cut into perfectly fine shreds of, um, ice.

Shave Ice with Ice Cream (on the bottom)

Once your name is called, you can sit down on the benches lining the side of the store.  It does get fairly crowded, but the line goes quickly, as does the shave ice.  My method to eating is bite first and when it starts to melt, use the straw.  Finally, the spoon comes in to shovel up the ice cream and remaining slush.  I still remember as a little kid trying to eat the shave ice as fast as possible so it wouldn’t melt.  Inevitably, however, my arms would become a sticky mess with fruity syrup dripping down my arms.  Yup, happiness was measured in stickiness.

I usually go with the POG (passion-orange-guava), but really, I haven’t had anything I haven’t liked here.  Their syrup is not too sweet, unlike some other places, which is key.  I also always get ice cream with my cone.  It sounds odd, given you’re eating flavored ice, but the combination is undeniably tasty.  Another good add-on is azuki beans, which are the sweetened red beans used to fill mochi.

I know you usually hear about the North Shore shops when it comes to shave ice, but I’ve left my heart at Waiola’s.  A little dingy.  A little beat up.  A lot of character.

Waiola’s Shave Ice
2135 Waiola Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96805
Open: 8:00-6:00 daily

Written by liveeatlove

May 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Posted in Dining Out, Food, Hawaii

sushilicious

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sushi on a conveyor belt?  yes, please.

I’ve only been to one other kaiten bar and didn’t really know of any other places around the Los Angeles area.  Enter Sushilicious.  I had become twitter friend with Daniel, the owner, awhile back and enjoyed reading about his restaurant journey.  I followed him through his ups and downs, living his highs and lows with him.  It was no question that I wanted to go.  So, a week after its grand opening, my friend and I decided to stop by.

Kaiten sushi, or ‘conveyor belt’ sushi, is not a new concept.  It has been in and out of popularity for the last 50 years or so.  The concept was created out of necessity, when a sushi chef/owner had a difficult time acquiring staff and needed assistance in managing his restaurant.  His inspiration?  Watching beer bottles at the Asahi brewery.  Nice.

These types of sushi bars are generally smaller in size due in part to the necessary proximity to the bar. Sushilicious is no different, with approximately twenty counter seats and six booths surrounding the large free form conveyor belt.  However, with the colorful and modern decor, the space feels much bigger than it is.

The place was already bustling as we entered.  There were many families here, which you don’t ordinarily find at most sushi bars.  However, I could see why it would be appealing.  Kid friendly seating, large spaces and colorful objects going round and round…what’s not to like?  As the night went on, there was a birthday celebration and many other couples and groups. I would imagine they get a big student population as it is located close to UCI & Irvine Valley College.  Daniel has been offering discounts/free meals to students who dine via twitter.

Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice

The theatrical nature of the conveyor belt makes the experience all the more entertaining.  It’s the anticipation of each successive dish that makes it a fun gastronomical game.  I swear, if they sped up the belt I could channel Lucille Ball and the chocolate factory.

Napoleon Dynamite Roll

Once seated, you can immediately begin taking plates.  Plates are color coded by price, ranging anywhere from $1.50-$4.00.  If you aren’t in a sushi mood,  they also have a menu that includes appetizers, bento boxes, and dessert.  All you have to do is contact a server.

Seared Salmon

They offer the standard nigiri (sake, maguro, hamachi, hirame, hotate, ikura, etc.) as well as the more Americanized rolls (philly, spicy tuna, soft shelled crab, etc.)  They also have a few vegetarian options.  The rolls had such cute names.  My personal favorite was the Napoleon Dynamite.  If only it had tater tots on it…

Hirame

I’m a sucker for hirame (halibut) and we ended up wolfing down three plates.  If you prefer ponzu sauce over shoyu, they have it available by request.

Medusa Roll (aka Soft Shell Crab Roll)

I don’t eat very much and my friend eats even less than I do, so we didn’t get to try a lot.  Next time, I’d like to try some of the appetizers and a bento.

The staff was very friendly and attentive, a definite positive in my book.  Not only that, as the line became longer, Jeromy (head of the house) really took care of waiting parties as well.  Anyone who offers me a beer while I wait is an automatic friend.

Sushilicious is my kind of candy store.  Fresh sushi, affordable prices and a great staff?  Willy Wonka doesn’t have anything on you.

Sushilicious
15435 Jeffrey Rd.
Suite 119
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 552-2260
@sushilicious

Written by liveeatlove

March 18, 2010 at 8:22 am

Posted in Dining Out, Food, Japanese

umemura

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umemura.

I have vivid flashbacks of trips to Umemura as a small child.  Our family didn’t go out to eat a lot and, if we did, it was to any number of local Hawaiian restaurants in the area.  However, I always looked forward to the day my mom would announce a trip to their favorite ramen shop. I was never one to protest, as the only thing I did like as a child was ramen.

I distinctly remember gazing at the vintage Taco Bell architecture from my counter seat, eagerly awaiting our meal.  When our food arrived, a gigantic bowl of steaming ramen bigger than my face was placed in front of me.  I sat, happy as a clam, slurping up the goodness.    At that moment, nothing was better.  Ah, memories.

Somehow, I ended up neglecting this place for years.  With the multitude of ramen joints in the area, I just never got around to going back.  So, I made it a point to revisit this classic.  I’m glad I did.  It was just what I needed to rejuvenate the soul and cheer me up.

Umemura has an extensive menu including ramen, rice, and fried noodle dishes.  Ordinarily I order the umani ramen, but wanted something with a kick. I went with the hoi-koh-ro ramen which is a shoyu ramen topped with a spicy pork and vegetable stir fry.  The stir fry was a mixture of pork, carrots, cabbage, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and green onions.  Alone this would have been fantastic, but its addition to ramen created a harmonious blend of flavors.

There are places you go to for the scene, some strictly for the experience, some for the food and hopefully some that can deliver on all levels.  Then, there are those, like Umemura, that brings you back to a perfect time where life was a little bit easier.  It wouldn’t have mattered if the food or service was horrible because at that moment, I became that little girl again.

Umemura
1724 West Redondo Beach Boulevard
Gardena, California 90247

Written by liveeatlove

March 8, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Dining Out, Food, Japanese

afterschool snack :: roasted chickpeas

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i like chips.

In high school, I used to eat a whole bag of potato chips in one sitting.  Granted, this was when I played basketball seven days a week and my metabolism was at its peak.  But suffice to say, it was a pretty gross habit.  And, although my days of eating a whole bag are gone, my obsession with chips has not wavered.  Unfortunately, I can’t eat the way I did, nor is there a desire.  I’ve been trying to monitor my sodium intake as of late,  trying to find healthier alternatives to chips and snacks.

Roasted chickpeas are quick to make and pack an obscene amount of flavor in each little bite.  They are also a good source of protein and fiber.  And best of all, they are easy!

:::

spicy roasted chickpeas

  • 1-14.5 oz. can of chickpeas
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 5 dashes cayenne pepper
  • garlic salt
  • cumin
  • coriander

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2.  Rinse off chickpeas and pat dry.

3.  Place in bowl along with the rest of the ingredients.  Toss to coat.

4.  Put on rimmed baking sheet.

5.  Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes until crisp.

note:  watch careful during the last 10 minutes of cooking as they have a tendency to burn.

Written by liveeatlove

February 26, 2010 at 7:36 am

Posted in Food, Recipes

la street food fest

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shhh.  i’ve never been to a gourmet food truck before this weekend.

I was probably in the minority up until two days ago.  I know that the food truck craze has been around for awhile now and I’ve kept up with things from afar, though never had the opportunity to track down any of these mobile restaurants.  In my defense, trucks do not come to the South Bay very often and I only have 45 minutes for lunch (which includes travel).

When I first heard about the festival via twitter, I was ecstatic.  Twenty some odd vendors in one place at one time?! SCORE! I’m all for consolidating my time and energies.

Which is how I ended up waiting patiently in line at 10:00 a.m. for the first annual L.A. Food Fest.  When I got there, only about 15 people were ahead of me.  My friend questioned the need to be there an hour before the event, but I, being the always punctual, always early person thought it would be best to err on the side of early.  And, I’m glad I did.

waiting to open

The doors didn’t open up until about 11:30 a.m. due to the fire marshal inspection.  I think people were just eagerly anticipating the event and everyone seemed, for the most part, to be in good spirits.  Some of the vendors came around and gave out stickers, menus, and cards to the waiting crowd.  There was even a scary clown making balloon animals, who we saw as we left three hours later, still botheringpeople.

Our group had a simple plan of attack: hit up the Ludo Fried Chicken Truck.  It was spurred on by my intense desire to taste chef Ludo Lefebvre’s delicious fried chicken which we had the pleasure of sampling at LudoBites 3.0 late last year.  There were other trucks on the list, but this was special and deserved top billing.

LudoBites Fried Chicken Truck

When we got to the truck, there were only about four people in line.  We barely had to wait at all.  However, by the time we got our food, the line was about 20 people deep.  And, from what I heard, only got worse as the day progressed.

Look who greeted us at the window!  None other than Krissy Lefebvre, who graciously posed for a picture.

There was only one thing on the menu, not that it mattered.  I would have gladly trampled down the door and taken the whole lot, but I restrained myself.  Kind of.

Ludo Fried Chicken with a sweet and spicy piquillo sauce

Just the tantalizing aroma of rosemary and herbs was enough to want to rip these little ‘nuggets’ apart.  The dark meat chicken was moist and tender and created a nice balance to the crunchy exterior.  The side of piquillo sauce was an excellent counterpart to the richness of the chicken, creating just the right amount of sweet and spicy.  I loved every morsel.

We then headed two trucks down to the FrySmith truck for some french fried goodness.

I loved the stainless steel design of the truck.

I believe there were six different items available.  Our group decided to try two, the kimchi and foie gras fries.

French fries are wonderful as is, though can also be the perfect backdrop for bold and spicy toppings. The kimchi fries were my favorite of the two.  The fries were generously topped with kimchi, pork belly, cheddar cheese, and green onions.    I could put kimchi on anything, so there isn’t much more to say about this.  Although the foie gras fries seemed like a great concept, I don’t think it was aptly executed.  Our particular order was soggy from the get go which was a let down.

From Left to Right: Dogzilla, Yakisoba, and Karai Furikake

Next up was Dogzilla hot dogs.  These Japanese inspired hot dogs were a big hit at the Nisei Week Festival last year and I was glad to had a chance to try it.  The Dogzilla is their signature dog, topped with avocado, bacon, grilled onions, furikake, kewpie (Japanese mayo) and teriyaki sauce.  The mesh of flavors really worked and the toasted sweet roll was a nice choice.  The second was the Yakisoba dog, with spicy sausage, yakisoba, okonomiyaki sauce, ginger and nori.  I know it sounds odd, but it’s not a new concept.  At Japanese bakeries, you will usually find a yakisoba pan which is bread filled with yakisoba.  The addition of a hot dog gives it heft and catapults it into a meal-in-one.  The karai furikake had grilled onions, spicy mayo, furikake, nori and teriyaki sauce.  My favorite ended up being the original dogzilla because of the perfect balance of ingredients.

At this point, we had been eating for an hour and a half straight, but decided to try the Grilled Cheese Truck.  This ended up being the longest and slowest line.  I think we ended up waiting a good 45 minutes.

Plain and Simple Melt with Cheddar, Tomato and Bacon

I only had a bite of this, but it was definitely comforting.  If it weren’t for the 80 degree temperature, I would have wanted tomato soup as well.

Cheesy Mac and Rib with Sharp Cheddar, Pulled Pork and Carmelized onions

By this time, we were pretty tapped out.  The combination of the crowd, heat and constant eating had us lounging in the shade watching lines snake this way and that.  I still wanted to try Coolhaus but decided against it as my expanding stomach had already reached its limit.

The Crowd

For a group that did not purchase presale tickets, we ended up passing most of the crowds and were able to sample most of the trucks we had wanted.  Getting there early was key in our pleasurable experience.  By the time we left, there were considerable lines for every stall, which wasn’t necessarily the case for us.

Thanks to Shawna and Sonja for putting on a great outing! I can finally say I have been to a food truck!

LA Street Food Fest
500 S. Beaudry Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90017

Written by liveeatlove

February 16, 2010 at 10:34 am

Posted in Festivals, Food

carlsbad aquafarm- santa monica farmers market

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Carlsbad Blondes (background), Luna (foreground)

Hello.

Nothing says “eat me” like an oyster.

:::

Carlsbad Aquafarm
4600 Carlsbad Boulevard
Carlsbad, CA 92008-4301
(760) 438-2444‎
Available Saturdays at the Santa Monica Farmers Market & Sundays at the Hollywood Farmers Market

Written by liveeatlove

February 15, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Posted in Food