Sunday, September 24, 2006

Coast Weekend pt 2

Dinner time at the coast...

M and I hit New Seasons on the way out of to town to stock up on some provisions. The house we are staying at has a grill, and she wanted grilled flank steak. Who was I to refuse? She marinates this steak in a secret family marinate recipe (of which all I can divulge is a lot of garlic). Oh, and we pop the cork on tonight's wine to let it breathe, a lovely 1999 Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

We brought up a few sprigs of rosemary, but it is clear we didn't get enough. Luckily, while getting glasses of wine (Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio) and a pre-meal snack at Vino Manzanita (just around the corner) our anti-pasta plate arrived with a few sprigs as garnish. We sneak them back to the house for the potatoes.

M prepares the sides (roasted potatoes with rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and oil) and green beans, raw at my request, with lemon wedges and salt.

Meanwhile, I run to the nearest gas station to fill the propane tank. Yeah, yeah, I know, propane is no good, but you have to work with what you've got. I get back and re-assemble to grill, light it, and get it cleaned and ready. When the potatoes are 15 minutes away, I throw the meat on the grill, 5 minutes per side and 5 minutes to rest before cutting.

We sit down with some good music on the iPod (M chose Quantic), a great bottle of wine, and some killer food.

After, we put on a DVD of Arrested Development and eat the hell out of some chocolates from Sahagun (truffles included lavender, jasmine, rose, the 'morning pill' with espresso, and a liquidy caramel centered sea salt one. Oh, and some bark with puffed corn, nuts, chiles, and sea salt). Damn!

Perfect end to a perfect day.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Coast Weekend pt 1

M and I are at the coast this weekend. We got a bit of a late start, and had snacks in the car last night on the way out, finally arriving at 10 or so. Got into the house, and promptly fell asleep after a long and stressful work week.

This morning, we woke up and took a walk to the ocean. On the way back to the house, we stopped at Bread and Ocean to pick up a bottle of bubbly Lurisia and a brioche with dark chocolate, orange, and walnuts.

Back at the house, we boil up a kettle of water and make Stumptown's Columbia La Virginia in my French Press. I'd say a good first meal on our coast trip. Watch for more...

#1 - Yep, that's an electric burner on the stove in the first photo. Everything else was perfect. And really, this wasn't a huge deal, water just took a bit longer to boil that I'm used to.

#2 - A photo of my camera falling into food as I am trying to take a picture. This happens more than I'd like to admit, usually it's not caught on film (or, I guess a digital camera's flash card).

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Trip to LA - Part 1

So, little weekend trip to LA with M.

We leave Friday afternoon. Pick up sandwiches at New Season on the way to the airport. Running VERY late, and I begin to panic a little as we hit traffic and I-5 and I-84. We make it in time to inhale our sandwiches before boarding the plane. Apparently, a little mayo and mustard on a sandwich can still make it through security. I had roast beef and swiss on sour dough. M had turkey and swiss on sour dough.

We get into LA, and catch a cab to get M's mom's car. Then, over to Father's Office for a little snack. Nice beer selection. We get fries. They come in a cute little shopping cart. Here's a photo someone else took. These are sweet potato. We go the plain ones. Thinner and crisper, just the way I like 'em. Served with garlic herb aioli. These guys don't have ketchup (don't even ask), but you can apparently bring your own, if you are thinking ahead (and if the TSA would let you carry on tomato based liquids).

Somewhat satiated, we head to M's mom's place to unpack and relax a bit. Although we only made coffee and bagels in the kitchen, I've put a few photos here 'cause I like it so much (especially the labeling).

We pick up M's mom, and meet G at Le Petit Bistro. We get a 375 ml bottle of some tasty little 2001 Bordeaux. I start with celery soup while M gets endive salad with candied walnuts and hearts of palm. Salad was great, reports M. I wish the soup had more celery essence. As for the main course, we get a lot of [insert name of meat here] frites. I get what's listed as baby lamb chops and frites (aren't all lambs babies?). They are a little undercooked for my taste. M gets roasted chicken and frites, perfect. M's mom gets steak frites, again, for me a little underdone. G gets a Moroccan roasted halibut with harissa. All in all, good, but not exceptional. If nothing else, certainly filling and satisfying. I am tired and full, and nap a little on the way home.

Saturday AM, we have coffee and bagels. We brought Stumptown's Columbia La Virginia down to share, and onion bagels (from Vicente Foods) with Pulgra salted butter.

Lunch. Langer's Deli. Right across from MacArthur Park. This is the sandwich I'd been hearing about for months. Juicy hot pastrami (by their definition, "HOT PASTRAMI is a select cut of beef, sugar-cured and seasoned as corned beef, then slowly smoked for tenderness and tantalizing taste and flavor, then covered with choice and costly spices."). It's good, but it is still (in my opinion) just a sandwich. Pastrami, swiss, slaw, and Russian dressing on rye. M gets and egg cream (which has no egg and no cream, can someone please explain this to me?), and I get Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray (celery) soda. We also get a side of pickled tomatoes, crisp and vinegary. M is a little disappointed that the 'hot' pastrami is merely warm, not nearly hot enough to melt the swiss. We get a loaf of rye to take with us (it's sitting in my freezer right now).

I get a nice driving tour of the City of Angels. We make a brief stop into Amobea Music (I'm trying to track down Destroyer's "Theives," no dice here), buy some shoes, and the head to my pals Mike and Debbie's place.

I haven't seem Mike for a year and half, and I haven't seen Debbie for like 5 years. And, I'd never met their adorable son Ben. Ever. They know of a little Oaxacan place within walking distance. M and I are a little skeptical, as this place is in a strip mall. Boy were we wrong. The food was AMAZING!

To start, we get 3 kinds of tamales: tamal de mole (leaf wrapped tamale with chicken and black mole sauce), tamal de salsa (chicken with mint salsa, corn husk wrapped), and tamal de rajas (veggies and cheese, also cork husk wrapped).

Main courses include mole negro (chicken with black mole sauce made from 30+ spices, peppers, chocolate, and seeds), chilaquiles (tortillas in a tomato sauce with chicken and cheese), enfrijoladas con tazajo (same as chilaquiles, except with a black bean sauce in place of the tomato sauce), and ceviche (which is quite spicy). Ben gets a grilled cheese and chicken quesadilla.

I wish I had gotten photos of the food, the place, anything. I can't seem to track down any images save the generic pic of mole on citysearch. If you are in LA, you should check this place out.

And that ends days one and two of my LA adventure. Part 2 of the report (days three and four) should appear here soon...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Yep. They re-opened the stand yesterday, the 11th of September. And yep, I was there. The food was as tasty as ever. I really missed it.

I got my usual, an order of Khao Man Som Tam (Papaya Pok Pok served with steamed coconut rice, sweet shredded pork and fried shallots) and an order of Muu Sateh (pork loin skewers marinated in coconut milk and turmeric, grilled over charcoal and served with cucumber relish, peanut sauce and grilled bread). Oh, and to wash it down, Cha Manao (Thai iced tea with fresh lime juice). YUM!

Watch this space, hopefully I'll be able to compose a post about my eating adventures in LA with the lovely M.

Oh, the photo? It's the first thing that showed up when I googled Pok Pok looking for images. It was too funny to pass up.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Pig's Tail at Le Pigeon

M and I headed back to Le Pigeon (yep, third time this week, we LOVE it there). We get a half liter of some southern French rose (delightful).

M orders up the burger (which I had last week). It still looks fantastic, with it's heirloom tomato, slaw, and pickled onion garnishes. Mmmm. Instead of the potatoes, M gets a little salad. Cornichons, capers, and the like. Very nice.

I'm not terribly hungry, so I order up the pig's tail. Yep, sounds crazy, but everyone there said it was great, Gabriel, Leif, the whole crew. It came with the same salad M got with the burger. I was warned, but also ordered the buttermilk dressed mixed greens too. It ended up being an excess of lettuce. So, the pig's tail was breaded and then pan fried in butter. The base (the part that would have been nearest to the pig's body) was very fatty, but as I got toward the tip, less fat and more meat. The skin was there too. It was an amazingly tasty gelatinous pile of food. Gabriel said I should just dig in to it with my hands, and he was right. I tore the segments apart, vertebrae by tiny vertebrae, and nibbled all the goodness off each piece.

For dessert, we got our fave, the apricot honey cornbread with bacon and maple ice cream. We also tried that night's new dessert, the peach upside down cake. Very good, but it was no match for the cornbread. We had a 375 ml of Moscato d'Asti as well.

Again, a truly fantastic meal. If you haven't been, do yourself a favor and check it out.