buyer beware

Oh, geez. I have got to tell what we did last night… maybe someone can shed some light on this situation. A lot of opinions, skepticism and high hopes are floating around, its hard to see!

Alright, so I love enthusiastic people and especially who invite us over to “taste” things! However.. I dont like to go to a “tasting” and then be bamboozled into trying to sell the yummy product in a pyramid scheme. …if at first it all seems too good to be true, it probably is. And if its food? You had me at HELLO. (and duh, I am NOT a salesperson. By any stretch. I hide behind a computer… thank you!)

We went over to this cute, cozy house, watched a lovely little National-Geographic movie about the wonders of the Amazon and acai berry. Then we got it. The sales pitch. (dun dun dun!) I was still pretty pumped about it being about food so I didn’t really see through the thick smog of the sale… but after we got into the car I started thinking about it. I thought about it so much that when I got up this morning, I was milling it over in my head.. almost getting anxious.
I had seen the stupid stickers on people’s cars but I honestly thought it was like Mary Kay and was for make up. I had no idea MONA VIE was a $40 bottle of fruit juice. And! If we forked over $360 to our new friends whom I’d just met an hour ago with the huge TV and nice house, we’d get 3 cases of 4 bottles and we’d be newly minted ‘entrepreneurs’…. in a business where people have already made MILLIONS! I am a Libra, folks, I see (or try to anyway) both sides of EVERYTHING so you could imagine my conundrum. One second I was telling them and Shayne, “Ooo I know people who could benefit from this!” and the next I was thinking, “Why the hell didn’t they just sell this in the stores and be Coca-Cola by now?” I even took the paperwork to the office and showed my coworker and talked it out with him. I mean, really, I respect people trying to get ahead and making a buck but what I don’t like is being tricked into thinking its going to be a tasting (…cheeses! wines! food! drinks!...) and we get put in an awkward position on a strangers couch where we have to make a decision if we’re going to give them $360! I hate saying no…

And we kinda did. We left with pamphlets and dvd’s and one case of 4 bottles of the “Immune” variety – which – is supposed to.. wait for it… BOOST OUR IMMUNE system. Straight off the Mona Vie site, this one is: “Formulated with antioxidant rich MVāo2β„’ a proprietary complex featuring the superfruits aΓ§ai and maqui“…

Huh!

Anyways. We’ll try it out… I think if anything, we may buy some later but I don’t know about you but I cant afford $40 fruit juice. I also went digging for more information on this company this morning and found the greatest little website with only commentary about Mona Vie: http://www.purplehorror.com/
And from what I gathered earlier at work… The quicker and earlier you get involved in these sorts of things and sooner you get out – the better. However, just like Herbalife…Noni water…. these things come and go.

enjoy your… $40 ”ah-sigh-ee” juice.

meals

I got so pumped up about the L.A. thing I neglected to post our weekly menu.

As I sit here nibbling on my appetizer of snack-sized carrots and ranch – staring out at a gloomy, rainy SoFlo day… ugh… I’ll do my best to be enthusiastic:

Last week we got home and we’re so over eating out. I mean, okay, let’s face the fact and last blog entry: the food was phenom and we had fun eating it but after like 5 days eating on the go, you feel like sh*t and 100 pounds heavier …and sleepier.
Not that we ate well, per say, this weekend but I cooked πŸ™‚ So last Friday I made a homemade pizza ‘cuz Friday is “pizza night” (well, it used to be…). Saturday I made fried chicken (and he wanted waffles but we had no bisquick). And side note: We totally went to Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles the last night in L.A. but the pictures are on another camera currently being held in possession by Brandy Burridge so those were not included on the previous entry. Chicken + waffles = ridiculous, awesomeness. Anyway, no waffles. We had corn instead. There’s a real trick to making great fried chicken, I think. Especially if you get those real gerthy pieces that seem to just stay raw no matter how long you cook them. My method? Frying till deep golden brown on medium heat and then baking in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. I also marinated the breasts in buttermilk. Which is fast becoming my ultimate favorite ingredient of all time. I love sour and tangy flavors and buttermilk gives most things (to me, anyway) the most unique flavor. That night, we put it in everything, the corn, potatoes and of course, chicken. Some people don’t prefer and would probably scowl if I served them some of my sour mashed potatoes but… I say YES!

Last night I made shepherds pie – one of my favorites. Comfort food at its *almost* best. Hodgepodge of leftovers nestled under luscious, fluffy mashed potatoes. This time, instead of having our biscuits on the side I thought, “Hmm, why not bake them right on top?” Good thing I did. It was AWESOME. And I didn’t add a pinch of salt to this dish! Can you believe THAT!? I just added tons of seasonings.

Biscuits Atop Shepherd’s Pie
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 12 oz. bag frozen vegetables (ours had white and yellow corn, asparagus and baby carrots)
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (we had this leftover from our pizza)
1 (16.3-oz.) can refrigerated biscuits
*dash of buttermilk optional*
additional 1 tablespoon of butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Preheat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and garlic and let cook until fragrant (be careful not to burn). Add meat, Worcestershire, seasonings; stir. When meat is cooked thoroughly, add frozen vegetables. Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan add potatoes and pour water just enough to cover. Boil on high until fork tender. Strain the water and add the butter, egg and mozzarella cheese (buttermilk, too, if desired). Using a hand-mixer, blend on low until fluffy.

In a 9×9 casserole, add meat and vegetables and spoon potatoes on top. Using the palms of your hands, flatten out the biscuits and lay on top. Brush tops with melted butter. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes, or until biscuits are golden.


(look at this pathetic photo…I’m embarrassed)

So after my bag of carrots is no longer yielding any, my leftovers await!

Tonight: Asian pork lettuce wraps.

enjoy your chicken + waffles!

C

l.a. field triiiiiip

I am so stoked to talk about this sexy food on our recent “field triiiiip” (HAHA, Cuz). I
I would tooootally not do the “inside joke-shout out my friend” thing on my blog but as I was typing I totally sang “field trip” to myself like I did while we were there. FYI – I made up a very short jingle and sang, “field triiiip” in a jazzy kind of way every time we drove somewhere. Its not so funny when I have to type it out. 😦

I am also thrilled that I can actually post real pictures from a digital camera.
Over 4 whole days we ate L.A. I searched Google, City search and past Food Network episodes to come up with the best, most accessible collection of food stops I could. I guess to say I had some of the most delicious fish tacos, avocados and sushi would be not only an understatement but if you’ve ever been to Cali, you know what I mean.

THURSDAY

. breakfast .


The Getty Villa, Malibu

Ahh, probably my favorite day. I love looking at this picture because I had such a great morning. I got us FREE tickets to The Getty Villa in Malibu Thursday morning (Go early! Cannot stress enough. There was hardly anybody there when we arrived!). It was breezy, cool.. the kind of morning that makes you want some tea. Pictured above: a crispy, chewy chocolate chip biscone (obviously perfectly golden) and a piping hot Chai tea latte. (and fyi: please keep off the skylight).

. lunch .


The Reel Inn, Malibu.

Holy crap. First of all, I can’t take credit for this treasure chest of vittles. Shayne’s boss gave him the nudge to go here and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Close to the Villa, I recommend copy-catting us and going to the Villa and taking the scenic drive down the PCH to enjoy some really, amazing, salmon fish tacos:

I love fish tacos and I’ve never had salmon ones. Oh yes I have, I actually made them! (But not as good as these). South Floridians (not that I am one, ugh…) prefer to use Mahi Mahi. BUT I’d say a fatty, grilled, flavorful salmon goes down much nicer with tons of lettuce, tomato, cheese and salsa on top! Can you say GLUTTON!? πŸ™‚ (and the cole slaw seen here was excellent. Although not the tangy slaw I am more accustomed).

Other dishes during our lunch:

Cuz’s chowder. I think the table agreed it was, “okay.”

Jimmy’s scallops. Agreed: moist, tender and flavorful. A hit!
FRIDAY

. lunch .


Philippe’s, downtown Los Angeles

As told in one of my last entries, we saw Philippe’s in a Travel Channel Man v. Food episode. And I overheard a few patrons whispering amongst themselves “..Yeah that Man v. Food show..” Heh. You always think you’re the only one who saw that episode and the only one seeking out the restaurants. No.
But! The french-dipped sandwich, which I had never had, was AWESOME

There was a bottle of mustard on the table and of course I lathered it on… little did I know it was horseradish blow-your-nose-out hot mustard and my sinus cavity was on FI-UH! Luckily, I only put the mustard on one half.

. dinner .

Gordon Biersch Brewing Restaurant – not only brews some mighty fine ales in house but has the best damn garlic fries on this planet! Shayne & I shared a grilled bbq chicken sandwich (not pictured). This is Cuz’s meal… a grilled chicken sandwich with avocado, tomato, lettuce and the gorgeous fries. We all had garlic breath well into Saturday evening.

SATURDAY – Shayne’s 32nd birthday –

. lunch .


In-N-Out Burger

The holy grail of fast food (in my opinion), In-N-Out burger!! I was bugging Cuz to go here until we finally did Saturday afternoon. It was Shayne’s first In-N-Out burger and he LOVED it. I was ecstatic πŸ™‚

Onto Huntington Beach for drinks:


This little glass of hell was a mai tai I got for free for walking back to the car and getting my I.D. πŸ™‚

. dinner .


Matsuhisa, Beverly Hills

This was what we were waiting for all week – fresh Pacific coast sushi! Shayne and I ordered Rock Shrimp Tempura (post-realizing we forgot the camera in the car) and a ‘Spicy Tuna Roll’. The shrimp was basically like the bang bang shrimp at Bonefish Grill. The tuna roll was like butta… it melted in our mouths…sooooooo good!

Just LOOK at that:

Here was the masterpiece our double dates got:

Of course, a birthday dinner would not be complete without a sweet ending of banana-chocolate spring rolls & your name written in chocolate:

SUNDAY

. breakfast .

Before heading to Santa Monica and Venice, we drove to Del Mar (I think) and went to Jerry’s Deli. We didnt see Adam Sandler but I’m sure he was about to go that day.. or maybe we missed him. Oh well.

Shayne & I shared these mini pancakes and an omelette : avocado, cheese and sour cream.

We are really retarded and watch movies A LOT and sometimes the same ones over and over again. We LOVE the movie, ‘I Love You, Man.’ We are always quoting it, in front of anyone and everyone…even if you havent seen the movie, much less heard of it. So one part is when “Joban” and “Pistol Pete” go to James’ Beach Bar in Venice…. we definitely did our homework and found it!!! We totally werent sure if it was a real place but it SO is! I have no pictures from our stop here but I will later. Anyways, the character, Sydney Fife, tells Paul Rudd’s character, Peter Klaven that James’ has the best fish tacos in the world. Well, we went to James’ with the intentions of getting the tacos but turned our noses up when on the freakin menu they list “James’ Famous Fish Tacos: as seen on the movie, ‘I Love You, Man'” OMG HOW RETARDED. I was turned off at that point and we ordered oysters and a sushi roll. Which, meh. Matsuhisa sushi is the tits.

Our trip was fantastic, and I know Shayne had the best birthday EVER.

back to realityyyy

I am one blink away from nosediving into my keyboard at work.
We arrived in Fort Lauderdale this morning at 7:15 via the crappiest-airline-of-all-time (but cheapest) = SPIRIT and went straight to work. I am useless. Absolutely grumptacular and so tired and hungry…
BUT! Despite the raging hunger, drowsiness and hideousness I am exuding on the outside, internally I cant WAIT to get some hot food pics uploaded on this little blog and tell some yummy stories about the absolutely, drop-dead glorious food we had over our 4 day weekend in Cali. 4 day weekend in Cali?! Heh, I know.. but it was the longest 4 days of our lives. In the best sense. We arent the weekenders/vacationers or what have you that like to “relax” and “sleep in” when we go somewhere new together. We like to be at it early in the a.m. and see and eat and go and do allllllll day! I feel this is important when only spending limited amount of days in one place.
So, basically we filled 4 days morning and night of tours, food, sunshine, beach and touring SoCal. Cant wait to show some FOOD!

enjoy your….jetlag? eesh…

“all we do is eat”

Our trip to Houston was nice. My dad got married on New Years Day and it was such a great wedding/ceremony/reception. I couldn’t be happier for the newlyweds – Congratulations!


Love you Dad & Lisa! The cake was OUTTA CONTROL AMAZING. Our cake was good but this was the moistest cake. Ugh.

ο»Ώ
I had to try each flavor so they brought me three pieces, special request. πŸ™‚


The plethora of finger foods at the wedding.

Houston is a food mecca. Seriously. Every 10 feet there’s some sort of eatery. So every time we go to Houston, “all we do is eat,” Shayne says. Yes, true. All we do when we go to Houston is eat. It’s a foodie field trip for me. I get to indulge in all things that I miss and love. We had Whataburger, home-cooked BBQ (thanks MIKE!), James Coney Island, Shipley’s Donuts, homemade crawfish etoufee, La Madeleine and House of Pies.

I took Shayne to JCI for his first time and we both got the #1, Houstonian, 2 chili-cheese dogs and fries. As we were both eating our empty-calorie, garbage I asked Shayne, “So, how is it?” He responded, “Eh, its alright.” First of all, Shayne really doesn’t get overly excited about anything. He’ll get stoked if I make something he likes or let him help me cook but… he doesn’t “Mmmm!!!!” at the dinner table. I was trying to explain in so many words that, yeah, the food sucks but its really not about the food. Its just the memories I have there. My dad would pick me up from school and take me to JCI and I’d get the same thing, every…single…time. Hanging out with him after school is what I like to go back there to remember. And that’s really part of the reason why we go to Houston and “all we do is eat.” πŸ™‚

on the road…

We are on the road (or in the sky, I guess) again! This is our last (hopefully) trip on a plane outta state for awhile. Our next vacay will be in May.. and hopefully we will be gone longer than just 4 days. *hint, hint* πŸ™‚
The husband and I will be on our way to sunny L.A. after work tomorrow evening to soak up some beautiful SoCal sun and eat some delish West coast fare. This will be his first trip out west and we are soooo excited to celebrate his birthday with one of our bestest friends.
I have picked out some yummy spots to eat, of course πŸ™‚ On our last flight home from Houston we were watching the Travel Channel, Man v. Food. He was in none other than, L.A., getting his eat on at some ridiculously awesome looking places. He stopped at a place called Philippe’s, famous for their French dip sandwiches….. I am dyyyyying to go. I have linked the website so you salivate right along with me. (…and they have the baddest little website!) We also have The Reel Inn, in Malibu, set in our sights after our Getty Villa museum tour Thursday morning. Check that place out, fish tacos, yes please!
I would also like to make it to Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills (although their website seems to have been hacked – so I will not include linkage here….), Nobu Matsuhisa’s restaurant in Los Angeles. Matsuhisa has restaurants with actor Robert De Niro worldwide. I am hoping to score a table for four this weekend. πŸ™‚ Wish us luck!
We will also be grubbing down on the local favs…ya know.. In-N-Out….:)
Hopefully I will have tons of sexy food pics when we return. Except… I took my dead camera (ya know the one I HAVENT been using… instead you’ve been squinting at mobile uploaded pics?) to Camera Clinic this morning and they told me to order the new lens it needs and repair the damn thing, it would be $250. 😦 Kinda not worth what the camera was to begin with so I dont particularly think I’ll be using that camera anymore………… which means I need a new one………… which is too expensive, as well. Which means I will have to stoop to the lowest of the lows and commit pure blasphemy and buy a Kodak one-time-use camera. 😦 …and attempt sexy food pics with that??! Ugh.

Be prepared.

Once again, we are in travel mode and no good eats to report this week.

OH, but however! I have a food FAIL from last night. I was totally disgusted with what I made… let me tell the tale. Sunday morning we woke up in our friend’s time share and right in front of me was a big TV with cable! I, of course, immediately turn on the Food Network. (OK, has anyone seen that crazy restaurant chef lady with the blonde spikey hair, who always tastes her food and says, “mm, beautiful!!” HA. What a goon. Ok so the next show was this girl who makes 5 ingredient meals. Hm. OK… She started making this Antipasti salad of romaine, julienne basil, chopped marinated artichokes (with oil), Italian salami and cubed mozzarella. I was toooootally into. Loving all the ingredients. So, that is what I attempted last night, minus the basil because I forgot to buy some. Basically, I hated it and didn’t eat it. I am blaming the artichokes because we bought a small little jar of them for 1.99….. I’m assuming those weren’t ideal. I didn’t even take a picture, I was pissed. So we then went to Publix and bought some Key Lime pie and I ate a piece of pie and had mango-passion fruit tea for dinner. (BTW – for you’re pissed that dinner sucked, definitely go get a pie from Publix) πŸ™‚

Here’s to sunny days in Cali! Adios!

simply bean burritos

I should just start naming these entries: Last night’s dinner (but thats boring) because I always start off with the same phrase. Whatevs…

So for last night’s dinner I was in the mood for something quick…veggie….easy on the prep… Welllll bean burritos is what I came up with! Ha. Yeah, I went to culinary school and I am still making bean burritos. But what-ever! Let me clarify something before I proceed with further embarrassing entries that include me putting together a simple salad: I am so not one of those and was not one of the competitive, molecular scientist, foie gras-loving culinary students. I like the food I like and it just so happens its not very fancy. So there – bean burritos it is!
I got that Rachael Ray MYOTO recipe book for Christmas and started nosing through it.. looking for inspiration. I found a fab recipe for Turkey & Bean Tomatillo Burritos. I 86-ed the ground turkey and just used pinto and black beans to supplement the protein.
Try this version for a quick & easy, filling,vegetarian twist on RR’s recipe.

Mucho Beans and Green Rice Burritos
2 12-inch flour tortillas
1 15 oz. can pinto beans
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup tomatillo sauce (use any extra for dipping)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 bunch of cilantro, rough chopped
1 jalapeΓ±o, seeded and diced
1 bunch of scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lime, for juice
2 tablespoons light sour cream
1 pouch boil-in-bag rice (Publix brand:))

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and warm in oven until all ingredients are prepped.

Green Rice
Bring a small saucepan 1/2 full of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon of butter, squeeze of lime juice and salt for the rice. Add the pouch, turn down the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the rice from pouch, add back into saucepan over low heat. Add the jalapeno, cilantro, scallions and 1 clove of garlic to rice and combine. Season with salt and pepper. While the rice is cooking, heat both cans of beans in a small saucepan with the other clove of garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble
Lay one warm tortilla flat and spoon beans, then cheese, rice, tomatillo sauce, sour cream and finally avocado. Fold up any way your little heart desires and enjoy!

The picture may not tell the true yummy tale of this burrito, but it sure was tasty πŸ™‚

enjoy your beans!