Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sammie says...


Party On, Wayne!

My family has hosted quite a few parties in our days.  But in my opinion, the best thing about a family party is not the actual party itself, but the time spent preparing for it.  This is the time when all the family members get together and do their part to prep for all the guests to arrive. Usually at my house, we have the uncles grilling and frying out back while relaxing and drinking some beers, the aunties in the kitchen cooking up a storm, and all the cousins hanging around the living room until one of the aunties or uncles calls one of them to help with moving tables, or setting up decorations or chafing dishes. This is a common scene at my house during party prep time:

Cousins lazing about. And this guy sitting on a preteen girl while she harasses my dog.

And oh, what a feast we made!
(Follow the jump for more feasty feastiness.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Edible Vegas

June 7th and June 21st! Words to feast on.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sammie says...


Fork Dis!

A cheap chinese lunch expedition to Rice 'N Noodle that resulted in no chopsticks.

Eating chow mein with a fork? Awkwaaaaard... The food, however, was actually pretty good. I don't mean in that "good for haoles" type of way. I mean, actually good and freshly made. Not that there's anything wrong with the "good for haoles" way.

I need my chopsticks!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bunz Down Low

Sometimes, ya just need some bunz...

TastyBunz is one of the newer food trucks roaming the Vegas valley, and although they advertise themselves as a general "baked buns" truck, what they really are--and what they are really good at--is a filipino truck! Their menu is based on filipino siopao (pronounced "show-pow"), except they're baked, stuffed with things your lola would never dream of, and are so good your taste buds would slap you in da face if they could. Not only that, but they flavor their doughs with things like mushrooms, cilantro, cheese, and jalapeno. Dang, yo!

My favorite thing from Tasty Bunz? The Manny P taco. As in Manny Pacquiao, the Philippine National Hero! It's got shredded crispy pata, tomatoes, cilatro, onion, and a secret sauce that includes some kind of vinegar in a corn tortilla. It was so good my mom had to call up some aunties to tell them about it. 

Another bonus of Tasty Bunz is that they have TOTS!!! I'm a sucker for any kind of potato, but tots are by far one of the top 2 on my list. I mean, who doesn't love tots?? 

The picture above is a shot of the "Me Tots", which is basically like their version of  chili cheese tots. Me Tots are topped with secret sauce, bacon, cilantro, and a FRIED EGG. Not to mention they drizzled it with truffle oil. It's basically a super tasty heart attack in a box. However, paired with the bunz and the Manny P taco, I'd say I totally went overboard with my order. Next time around I will just stick with the regular truffle tater tots to go with my meal. MUCH more sensible, right? :D

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Clear Bowl of Ramen

Cooking can be like a therapy session.  For me, there is no better place to lose myself than in the kitchen. 

Tonight's therapy session?  A trusty bowl of ramen. 

Ginger & onion (for broth*) + eggs/whatever soup-friendly protein you can find (ie, tofu) + whatever soup-friendly veggies you can dig up (carrots, green onion, mushrooms, spinach) + whatever broth flavorings you have on hand (soy sauce, fish sauce, etc.) + any packet of ramen...

Nothing quiets the soul quite like a good bowl of noodle soup.

*My favorite broth experiment so far has been ginger, garlic, black pepper, onion, soy sauce, a little patis, and lemon. Go ahead, try it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why so behind?? Ketchup!!

So let me confess: my relationship with food has never been a healthy one. As evident from this shortlived blog, food has been both my best friend and my worst enemy. But enough about that because what I really wanted to say right now is that I think I have food ADD. I get bored with "regular" flavors easily, and I always want something new to eat. This is to the point where sometimes my boyfriend and I will drive ridiculous distances--arguing the entire way, nonetheless--about where we can eat to satisfy my bored palate.

Ketchup is a prime example of this. I loathe ketchup. It's so boring! However, I do understand the cultural significance of ketchup in American cuisine. It's the go-to dipping sauce for a multitude of vegetables, side dishes, and pretty much anything else one may think goes well with it. I mean I've seen my haole cousin pour ketchup on his rice and adobo plate and eat it happily while my family watched in horror. But hey, whatever floats your boat, you know? 

I digress, every culture has a similar "sauce" like ketchup. I mean, I have seen this many an occasion at my household: 

"ALL PURPOSE SAUCE". WTF is so "all-purpose" about it?!

Don't get me wrong, it's actually really yummy and we use it as a dipping sauce for lechon (see below) but it's basically a murky, brown, mystery sauce that I'm pretty sure is made from liver (which I can't stomach the taste of). Mmm... lechon...

This is how we do pig.

I think what gets me with the ketchup is that it's just everywhere and I grew up with it so the flavor is just worn out on my palate. And yeah, I'll admit that I'll eat it with my fries if there's nothing else around. But even then, if I have some hot sauce I'll mix it in to add some bite. I mean, ketchup? Bleh. But spicy ketchup? Oooohhh. Me likey. That brings me to my latest discovery in "all purpose sauce" substitutes... 

Two words: Korean Ketchup.
And I WILL make this a thing.

What's in it? Well, I think the better question should be "What's in ketchup??"

But since you asked...
Gochujang + Garlic + Honey

For my free-measure version of this recipe, keep reading! 
(Who needs measuring tools anyway??)

Monday, April 11, 2011

California Dreamin'

Made a trip to Orange County last month. The ocean, the agriculture, the sunsets... I am most definitely a west coast girl at heart. We stopped in San Diego first and had that awesomely memorable Surfin' California burrito from Lucha Libre that still haunts my dreams. A weekend full of quality family time is a great cure for when you feel like you need to feel the earth beneath your feet. Plus it didn't hurt that we hit up the farmers market, had some home-cooked filipino food, fit in some salon time, the beach, AND an hourlong, $15 (PG-rated) massage. Good, efficient times. 

More photos and talk about SoCal goodies after the jump... 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lucha Burrito?!

I have been dreaming about this burrito for several days now...

The Surfin' California burrito from Lucha Libre Taco Shop in San Diego, CA. We originally went there because of a Man vs. Food episode, and we totally expected the prices to be sky high because you'd think with TV fame and all, their prices would be higher than a 'mom and pop' place would charge . But you know what? For a burrito that basically is like an ultimate, supreme king carne asada/shrimp burrito ("Grilled Steak, Shrimp, Fresh French Fries, Avocado, Pico De Gallo, Cheese, & Super Secret Chipotle Sauce" according to the website) with Travel Channel acclaim and all that, you would expected it to be like what? Eight, nine dollars right? I mean, this burrito was friggin' HUGE. But no. It was a measley $6.75. SIX DOLLARS AND SEVENTY-FIVE CENTS.  California burritos here at Roberto's are about $5 already, and that's just the greasy kind you get when you're drunk or hormonal. A California burrito at a place even just slightly more upscale than Roberto's? Eight to ten bucks, easy. So for $6.75 for that delicious beast of a burrito? HELL EFFING YES! Gawd, I love Southern California Mexican food.

Unfortunately, my iPhone died right when we pulled into the parking lot and I didn't realize I had my camera in my purse until I had already devoured half of my burrito, so the only photos I have are the two in this post. But, ya know, it's just another reason to make the drive to San Diego and pay another visit to Lucha Libre sometime in the near future. I hear the lines can get super long sometimes, but we walked in on a Friday early afternoon and the line wasn't more than 5 minutes. So I guess it was just luck for us, but if you know your way around SoCal crowds I highly suggest you make use of that knowledge to avoid--the sometimes insanely--long lines (ie, Phil's BBQ or Hodad's). 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mobility Schmobility

I wish Blogger/Blogspot had a native iPhone app so I could post easily on the go. I'm finding less and less time to sit down at my desk. Unless someone bought me an iPad2...

Haha, I know that's not a likely situation but I'm starting to look at Tumblr because their iPhone app looks pretty nifty and the micro-blogging set up seems interesting and more attuned to an on-the-go lifestyle.

Or someone could buy me an iPad2. I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Beware the Bon Bread!

Much more dangerous that is seems.

Quick story of the day.

I stopped by Resnick's Grocery in the Downtown Las Vegas area on my way back to the office to pick up some snacks to munch on at my desk since my late-morning caffeine rampage was starting to wear off. The main reason why I ventured into this teeny-tiny, upscale bodega-type of place was for one reason: Bon Breads. Bon Breads usually only sells their product at various farmer's markets around town, but apparently they have made a regular home out of Resnick's Grocery. According to the guy at the "counter" (it was really more of a computer desk), they deliver every Tuesday and Thursday usually, and considering it was a Friday and their shelves were nearly empty? I was surely in luck. 

Now I have a soft spot for bread. I love well made bread that you can tell is made by someone who cares just by the way of squeezing the crust a little to see just how much crunchy, soft yumminess you'll get. My stop at Resnick's got me the White Chocolate Batard, which was also the only thing left they had in stock. My coworker made mention of some amazing Bon Bread loaf that she ended up eating in one sitting, but I didn't put much thought into it until I bit into mine. It was A-MAZING. 

In fact, it was so amazing that I started eating it while idly crunching some numbers at my computer. I looked down and lo and behold... poof! I had crunched on more than half of the loaf! WHICH WAS NOW IN MY TUMMY!! 

What's left of my amazing disappearing bread loaf.

I am so thankful that they only had single batards instead double sized batards I usually procure at the farmer's market. Otherwise the already insanely dense food baby in my stomach would have probably been much bigger. And let me tell you, working out at the gym with a food baby in your stomach is NO FUN. For who, exactly? I'll leave that for you to figure out.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Adventures in Late Night Fridge Digging

Quick thought (between prepping my office for a move, and applying to premed programs)...

Picking through the leftovers in my refrigerator and found the following:

Sinigang (filipino sour soup), baked sweet purple potatoes, giant roasted turkey leg..?

Took a piece of beef, some beef marrow and cabbage from the soup, threw in a piece of the potato and voila! Sour, sweet, meaty, savory, fatty yumminess. The turkey leg remained largely untouched. Maybe next time, turkey leg. Maybe next time.

I didn't take a photo, but I will post this for now. I'm so jealous of my dog.

Yeah, Sammie's got the life.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cold, won't you go away...

The past few days have been really hectic for whatever reasons I somehow can't figure out, so I need a few days to regain some sanity and better health. However, this past weekend was a food-filled one so I will post a few photos so I feel less lazy about myself in the upkeep of this blog. Go me!

Homemade kimchee FTW!

Food pr0n...?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Molto bene, amici!

Molto Farmers Market has been seeing some licensing trouble lately that has caused them to move to a temporary spot in an empty parking lot. But that hasn't stopped them from providing farm-fresh produce to community foodies, cooks, and chefs. I haven't seen a lot of the usual vendors since their temporary relocation, so I hope once the market moves back into their regular facility they'll all come back and I can restock my kitchen with dates, pistachios, and locally roasted coffee beans.

Over the years, farmers markets have been slowly creeping up around town. I know one doesn't expect a desert oasis like Vegas to have a huge farmers market scene, but it surprisingly is a lot larger than most people know. It may not be as large or bustling as somewhere like, say, the San Francisco or Orange County areas, but the trend is starting to take root and is even becoming more sustainable year-round. To name a few, there's Las Vegas Farmers Market--which as multiple locations and days of operation during the week, Fresh52 Farmers and Artisan Market--Sundays 8:30am to 2:00pm in Silverado Ranch, and Molto Farmers Market (aka Bet on the Farm)--Thursdays 11:00am to 1:00pm inside Mario Batali's dry-aging facility on 7485 S. Dean Martin Dr., Ste. 106.

I love cooking with farmers market produce because it kind of becomes a game of "what can I make with this?" and really lets you get creative with the ingredients you have on hand. For instance, the other day I bought some really gorgeous, ruby red tomatoes at Molto and when I cut into them, I saw that they perfectly red from inside to skin. We don't normally buy all our produce from the farmer's market because my family is challenged with feeding--at minimum--one ravenously hungry 17 year old boy who literally has a wrestler's-sized appetite and cares more about quantity than quality, so we usually get our produce in bulk whenever convenient. I was content with eating the tomatoes with just a bit of sea salt, but my parents wanted to try it differently. 

So I made a caprese salad with some of the basil we also purchased at Molto, adding mozzarella pieces and drizzling some olive oil over everything. And I saw that we had leftover Peruvian purple potatoes from last week's trip to Molto, and even though I didn't know what else to do with them, I boiled them til tender and cut them up and threw them in the leftover olive oil, basil, and tomato juices from the caprese salad. 

I don't normally get do an experimental, play-it-by-ear meal at home because of my brother's eating schedule, so it was a treat to be able to do whatever I wanted with these veggies. Since spring is coming up soon,  I think it'll be a good time to maybe take a drive down the Southern California and see what their local produce has to offer. 

More farmers market goodness after the jump...