Archive | April, 2012

Birthday cake!

27 Apr

I dunno if you guys were lucky enough to catch this real-time, but man, this was definitely one of the better things I have ever done in life…

As you may know, I went to Australia before my trip to Thailand, to join Brooklyn for her whirlwind movie tour (blockbuster, by the way. Number 1 in 24 out of 26 countries, holy cow. And never before have I cared about how well a movie did until my friend was in it). Erin, Brooklyn and I are notorious for our incessant, and I mean incessant group texting — if I leave my phone at home for an hour, I can literally come home to 55 unread messages. It was late one night when Brooklyn said “Come to Australia!”. Then all of a sudden, tickets were booked. Tickets I am not sure were booked completely sober but we were excited nonetheless. And it was one of the best girl times of my life. (girl’s trip times, not period times which I also call girl times).

Anyhow, just to keep the food blog on the topic of food FOR ONCE, Erin and I found ourselves in a bind when scouring the city for a birthday cake the same day of Brooklyn’s birthday dinner. This girl does not like people making a big deal out of her birthday, or really ANYTHING she has going on life which is why she is so grossly awesome.   So, naturally, Erin and I knew we had to do something a little over the top and completely disgusting.

After being laughed at by numerous bakeries, the last of which I told I was working for Rihanna and had to find Rihanna a birthday cake (“please help me I need a cake for Rihanna and if I don’t get one she will kill me”), a lie to up the urgency level (AND IT ALMOST WORKED), the genius that is Erin remembered screaming “KRISPY KREMMMMMME” on the drive in from the airport.

And so it was done. We ordered 10 dozen donuts through the concierge (Christian. We will never forget dear Christian at the Park Hyatt) and, hours later, we had our donuts. Brooklyn was in and out of the hotel room all day because of work, so Erin and I spent our time googling donut cake towers.

With the help of Brooklyn’s manager, concierge Christian, and bottles of champagne, we stacked up the donuts. Trust me, for a tower that looks like it has no rhyme or reason to its design, it really did.

“Uglier donuts on the inside!!” was our motto. The restaurant drizzled some chocolate sauce on it, and we were good to go. I think it turned out pretty great, right?

Anyhow, if you’re ever in a bind, I highly suggest this crowd pleaser. There was not one person that didn’t laugh as this thing was brought out. And no frosting or toothpicks necessary. Although one questions still haunts me. How do you order over 100 assorted donuts and NOT GET  A SINGLE ORIGINAL KRISPY KREME ARE YOU SERIOUS?

I love these two, I really do.



22 Apr

Ever since I was a little monster, and boy was I a monster (was / is, whatever), my mom has been making this insanely flavorful (msg), super spicy, perfectly sour papaya salad. She would bust out her giant mortar and pestle and I would hear her make it probably 5 times a week, scraping the coarse sides with a metal spoon as she sat on the ground with a towel and just pounded the shit out of it.

As you know, I went to Thailand to go to this amazing cooking school that they have across the Chao Phraya River at the Mandarin Oriental. Hotel cooking schools or classes can be really…bleh, time wasters for couples usually, but this one is 9 – 1 pm, and the instructor is just amazing. My class consisted of  5 Japanese chefs, sent by their own hotel in Japan to study and learn the flavors of Thai cuisine. A french woman, and my mom and I. There was also wonderful couple from Montana that I think will be my mom’s friends for life.

Besides learning, in a condensed experience, soooo much about Thai food, I got to have a peek at what my mom must have been like in school. She literally is so open and fun — she makes friends quickly and people want to be around her. We made kind of a complicated dessert the first day, and the odd flours and use of this fragrant cooking candle (seriously fucking amazing, will blog!!) really threw everyone off. Everyone wannnnnted to make this dish, but didn’t know where on earth they would acquire these odd ingredients. Sure enough my mom came to class the next morning with enough sticky rice flour and candles for everyone.

On these trips to Thailand, I always get to hear random stories from my dad (who is also awesome) about my mom. One of my favorite being the story when my mom was first coming to America with my dad — first time on a plane and long trip. Back in the days when a pretty tasty steak was served in coach (now I believe it is an olive and a piece of scrap metal) my dad looked over and saw my mom had finished hers quickly. She looked up and asked,”what about mushroom is there mushroom?”. My dad was like, gee that’s weird, she thinks this is like a restaurant…but he asked the flight attendant anyway. She of course said there were no mushrooms and my mom sighed heavily and sank back into her seat.

HOURS later, we’re talking many hours, my mom looked at my dad again and said “I REALLY NEED TO USE THE MUSHROOM”.

Then he got it. She had though “bathroom” was “mushroom”. She was ready to piss her pants and thought there was no bathroom on this 15 hour flight.

My mom is awesome. I can’t even put together the words to describe how awesome she is. So here she is, in a 3-part series, making her famous (in her neighborhood) papaya salad:




Spicy Sesame Noodles with Chicken

3 Apr

I won’t ramble too much here….I REALLY want this to be one of the staple recipes in your kitchen. It’s just…perfection. Everyone will love. Unless you’re a vegetarian (what are you doing here) but yeah….just take out the chicken…sigh.

And it is best served cold or room temperature. AKA NOOOOO TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS NECESSARY!

I first had this when I had the “Baby Shower On One Floor, Football Party On Another” party at my friend Melissa’s house. I INSTANTLY fell in love.

My only change? I added a bit more spice. A lot of cayenne, along with the chili oil. Oh god it was good. Please make it and share how much you loved it. I could talk about this dish forever…

Recipe here!


Update: Love when people add ideas / suggestions in my comments. This sounds great! From Dave…

Love this recipe. It works almost as well with creamy peanut butter in place of the tahini. It’s also yummy with a tablespoon or two of minced ginger in the sauce, and some shredded carrots and Napa cabbage (in case you want to offer your guests the illusion of health!).


3 Apr

God. I love noodles. All kinds. Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Italian (pasta, as the fancipants say).

They’re just…amazing. That word is completely overused these days, but I don’t know how else to describe them. The things you can do to them, the different flavors you can make, every country that considers them a staple. Plus they’re a comfort food like NO. OTHER.

Back in my high school and (coughcommunitycough) college days, I used to try and see how many different ways I could “do up” ramen. What else in the entire world can you get 10 of, FOR ONE DOLLAR! We’re talking a full meal here.

I had the ‘boil and strain” recipe for Top Ramen, tossing the cooked noodles into a bowl of sriracha and green onion, then tossing them onto my (formerly) grilled-cheese-only skillet (was my pride and joy) to “pan-fry” them. That was my favorite. When I was extra super hungry, I’d add “chicken steamers” — frozen, cooked chicken in bags that you tossed into the microwave for 2 minutes. Those were the days.

I then discovered Cup O’Noodles “Creamy Chicken”, which changed my world. I was never into regular Cup O’ Noodles. The broth was clear and yet yellow all at once, odd meat pieces bobbing on top….oddly inverted peas that would ruin ANY bite they were a part of. But oh. Creamy Chicken was my shit. The creaminess countered any awful pea / chicken puff flavor while only enhancing those of the dried, chewy corn.

Then I discovered pho. Well, rediscovered. My mom and I used to drive my dad to the airport every single monday morning before school. EARLY. Sea-Tac airport was about an hour’s drive from my house in Snohomish, Washington. Why did I go? Well, I LOVED my dad, of course. But I REALLY FUCKING LOVED sausage and egg mcmuffins from McDonald’s. On the way out to the airport, I’d sleep, because even freaking McDonald’s wasn’t open yet. I’d sleepily kiss my dad goodbye as we pulled up to the terminal, then I’d park my ass in the front seat, ready for McMuffin time.

Some days, the flight times would change, and my mom, sister and I would find ourselves in Seattle, shopping and ready for lunch. Lunch for us meant NOTH-ING but noodles. Lunch WAS noodles. Our favorite was a place on Martin Luther King Blvd (the one in Seattle proves to fit the Chris Rock joke of the irony of Martin Luther King Blvd’s being the most dangerous streets in any US city). The waitress had disgustingly long hair. To the back of the calves, long. But oh, the noodles were good. So flavorful that I preferred them “naked”. No sugar, no chili paste, no fish sauce. JUST NAKED. I still prefer my pho this way today. There are some great pho places in LA that I do love, but the broth is just…too clean. I don’t want new broth. I want the kind of broth that sits on the stove ALL day, with those icky beef bones causing all sorts of gross foam on top. Then I’d prefer it to sit on the stove even another day after that. I can always tell when a pho place is too…clean and fresh. I prefer my noodle places with a B grade. I’m sorry. Same goes for burrito joints. I know other things come along with that B grade (animals / urine hands), but I’m willing to deal with it as long as I get an aged, amazing broth. I have a pretty good immune system.

Then came a trip to Japan. I credit all my noodle knowledge to the few days I had in Japan with John, having the most wonderful, milky ramen I could EVER IMAGINE. I compare EVERY bowl of ramen I have now to the ramen I had in Japan.

I don’t know why this poor man could be so angry while eating noodles. That’s the face I make when I do NOT have noodles.

In my older age, I have now fallen in love with Thai noodles. I often hit up Thai Town in LA (the stretch of Hollywood Blvd between Normandie and Western) and sit down, solo, to enjoy a rich bowl of Thai boat noodles. The broth is dark and almost swamp-like. Like you kind of can’t tell what the hell they used to make that broth. I truly wouldn’t be surprised to see a human foot or 8 in the back. I don’t care. And god dammit, what’s up with all my most delicious spots taking only cash? It should be ILLEGAL for any functioning business to only accept cash. When I see a “cash only” sign, I think “shady”. I mean, ideally EVERYONE pays with cash, always. That’d be nice. But you’re a business! I would prefer if you had enough seriousness in your business to willingly have a paper trail.

Where was I going with this?


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