(Stir-Fried) Water Boiled Fish

"You'll like it." These were the words that I was told the first time I tasted the Sichuanese dish known as water-boiled fish. That phrase may just be the most epic understatement in the history of my life, up there with descriptions of me such as 'a little competitive' and the usual elementary school report card 'can be bossy.' For once, I had found a Chinese restaurant that 'got' me. That didn't dumb dishes down when they saw my skin color, that didn't come running with a fork and a glass of ice water at my pronunciation of Chinese words. No, Chiang's Gourmet had made a dish suggestion … [Read more...]

Down and Dirty: Hole in the Wall Restaurants in the Greater Los Angeles Area

When I visit friends around the country and the world, I fear I sometimes frighten them with my lists of places to try. Often I've scoured the internet (and the brains of fellow foodies) for the so-called 'hidden gems'. I say so called, because they're never hidden from the people who love them, those to whom this is the food of their homeland. Partamian's Armenian Bakery--also, it seems, known as F & J, is just such an example from my recent trip to LA. We hit a number of great holes in the wall, and the first one embodied so much of why I love to eat at these places. Partamian's … [Read more...]

Feasting like a Princess in Queens

"But where in New York can one find a woman with grace, elegance, taste and culture? A woman suitable for a king?" "Queens!" If anyone else grew up in a household with two brothers and only basic cable, you too have probably seen Coming to America over a thousand times and when the New York City borough of Queens is mentioned, this line is all that you can think of. No? Just me? Again? Alright, this is enough already. Seriously though, we did a food excavation of Queens on our most recent trip to New York. We had overlooked the boroughs on our last … [Read more...]

Alterna-Thanksgiving: Peking Turkey

Somehow, somewhere I got the idea that I needed to make a Peking Turkey for Thanksgiving this year. It was extravagant, cross-cultural, a project. It was perfect. Most people just looked at me sideways as I excitedly described my plan. I even found evidence that someone had done it before and was able to use their recipe to guide me. My parents left town for Thanksgiving, and left to my own devices, I took over their kitchen (nicer than mine--and there's a dishwasher), and created a feast with my friends. I was also lucky enough to have the amazing Valentina at Thanksgiving dinner, so she is … [Read more...]

Beijing Part 5: Regional Chinese Food

As I finish my summary of eating in Beijing, China for eleven days last fall, I contemplate the irony of the fact that an 11 day trip took me 11 months to finish writing up. Yet, the impact that the food of Beijing made on me is fully worth the patience of my readers and time I've spent thinking about what was so amazing about it. While I've already written about the foods from two regions, Sichuan and Xinjiang, as well as Beijing's Street Food and own cuisine, the thing that truly floored me, amazed me and made me feel as though I knew just so little about the cuisine of such a vast … [Read more...]

An Event, A Thought on Cheese, A Product and A Recipe

There is a back log of things I want to post on and I'm just going to let them all go right here, for your enjoyment: a fun event this weekend, murmurs of what is being called a 'burrata crawl', a new product I love and the recipe for a dish that I've eaten for 4 straight meals. Farm to Table Food for Thought The Kitsap public library was kind enough to invite me out for this 'gourmet picnic' and I'm actually really excited about it. In addition to talks by a number of local food writers (Molly of Orangette, Shauna aka Gluten-Free Girl and Lorna Yee of Cookbook Chronicles), there will be food … [Read more...]

China Part 4: Beijing Foods, Hot Pot and Miscellany

Oh, what? I went to China? Oh, yeah, last December! And I’m still within the one year limit of when I returned from the trip to get all the posts up. After this there is just one more! So without further ado: Beijing-style food and other delicious miscellany. Peking duck is pretty much the most symbolic dish of Beijing, being as it shares the name with the city. Whole meals of a single roasted protein aren’t normally my thing, but I couldn’t leave without trying it and my wonderful friends directed me towards a new-ish place not far from where we were staying that would do a great job while … [Read more...]

Pescatarian/Gluten-Free Daikon Cakes

Daikon or radish cakes are often a favorite at dim sum. My old co-worker J loved them so much that he categorically denied the existence of pork in them. The first time we went to dim sum together he tried to order them and I asked "I thought you didn't eat pork?" He muttered something in response that indicated he had no idea there was pork, in the form of Chinese sausage or ham in them. The next time we were at dim sum we had a large group and everyone had been laughing as I helped J sort out what had pork in it--virtually everything but the chicken feet! He started to reach for the daikon … [Read more...]

Why Bad Food Can Be Good For You

To eat truly terrible food every once in a great while can actually be a blessing in disguise. As I unloaded my treats and treasures carried from New Orleans this weekend into my fridge last night, I gave thanks for all the great food I eat. I very rarely eat really awful food anymore. I'm not talking McDonald's French fries, to which I'm morally opposed, and which are terrible for you, but let's be honest folks, taste amazing. I'm talking food that tastes, looks and if we're on such levels, acts in such a way that you expect it to come from a child's diaper. People eat bad food for … [Read more...]

Beijing Part 3: Sichuan Restaurants

"I wish you hadn't told me that" B said, after I informed him that this dish we had just eaten was Dan Dan Mien. We order a perfectly good dish which shares the same name from one of our favorite restaurants at home. It's a great dish, thick chewy noodles and a sauce that seems to be made from pork and peanut butter. These were different. These were crafted dishes, delicate sauce made with layers of flavor. A hint of vinegar here, Sichuan peppercorn there. A totally unrelated dish. Now that we'd had the true version, that serviceable bowl of noodles back home didn't seem as interesting. We … [Read more...]