Category Archives: Mexican

A Breakfast Burrito in LA + Berkeley Eats

I feel like I need to come up with more creative titles for my blog posts. But then how would anyone know what the post is about without reading it? Or maybe that’s the point.

Um. I have no idea what I’m rambling about.

This is more of a catch-up post than anything, because we are now back in Oxford. *gloom* On a happier note, before we drove up to Norcal, we stopped by at Andy’s Coffee Shop in Pasadena for a breakfast burrito. We chose to split this baby, and hooo boy, were we glad we did. It doesn’t look that huge in the picture, but in real life it was about as wide as my bicep. (Which is really big, btw. Like, Stallone-big.)

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Filled with egg, cheese, sausage, bacon, and hash, this burrito was pretty friggin’ delicious. Halfway through my share, I moaned about being done. I set the burrito down and sipped my coffee (which was excellent, btw). Then I picked it back up. Snuck a nibble. Mmm, gooey cheese. Put it back down. Poked at it. Picked it back up and took a bigger nibble. And so on and so forth, until, for shame, I finished it. That one burrito was enough to fill us up for the duration of our drive to Norcal, which is somewhat scary, come to think about it.

Mike’s always yammered on and on about wanting to do “American stuff”, which is kind of a broad term. So far, I’ve managed to fulfill just one American dream: stuff our faces with ridiculously large portions of everything. But this time, I went all out. I got a friend to take us to a shooting range…

Yay, pretty targets!

Yay, pretty targets!

Me loading the revolver like a pro. Okay, not really. My hands were somewhat trembly and I was convinced the bullets would spontaneously combust and blow my hands off.

Me loading the revolver like a pro. Okay, not really. My hands were somewhat trembly and I was convinced the bullets would spontaneously combust and blow my hands off.

And as though that wasn’t American enough, I got us tickets to see a Cal Bears game. The morning after we arrived at Norcal, four of us headed for Berkeley.

Berkeley’s where I did my undergrad. Sometimes I miss those times so much I could choke a bear. It’s also the place where I gained like 20 lbs. (You’ll soon see why.)

First stop: Cheeseboard Pizza.

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Cheeseboard is pretty much an institution. Whenever anyone slams vegetarian food, I prove them wrong by stuffing a slice of Cheeseboard pizza in their mouths. I love that CP only serves one type of pizza per day, depending on what veg are in season. It forces me to try combinations I would otherwise never bother trying. Some combos I prefer more than others, but I’ve never had a bad pizza from CP.

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After Cheeseboard, we headed closer to campus, where we stopped by at Smart Alec’s for sandwiches and fries. Smart Alec’s is a pretty basic college student eatery. Its portions are large enough so most of their dishes can be spread over three meals. Their chowders are thick enough to withstand the standing-spoon test, but what I missed most from Smart Alec’s are the garlic fries. They’re “air-baked”, which I guess means they’re a teensy bit healthier than their deep-fried counterparts, but they’re also really soft and garlicky. Like my meats and my friends, I like my fries submissive and slightly soggy.

After that, we had enough food for a while, so we went around campus reminiscing and blowing money on Cal paraphernalia. Then we went to every Cal student’s favorite midnight snack haunt: Asian Ghetto. The beauty of Asian Ghetto is the free seating in the central space, which means everyone can get food from wherever the hell they want before congregating at one table. I went for an old favorite: Kimchi fried noodles with shrimp from Bear’s Ramen House.

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Spicy, gooey, slightly sweet. . . with a perfectly-fried egg on top. . .there is nothing better than this at 2 a.m. after a hard night of partying studying.

Then it was off to the game. . .

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Where we lost miserably, so the end. >:-[

*cries into pillow at the memory*

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LA Eats Part One: Yahaira’s Cafe, Porto’s Bakery, and Savoy Kitchen

*Note: Please excuse the crappy pictures. I took my small digital camera with me because the thought of lugging my heavy-ass 5d mkii makes my poor back twinge with phantom pain.

We’re in California, aka our favoritest place in the world! *does ten happy jumping jacks in a row*

I did my undergrad in Berkeley and lived in Pasadena for a few of the sunniest, most delicious years of my life. My best friends are all in Cali, and so are my favorite foods, and I’ve managed to infect Mike with enough love for the state that over the past couple of years, we’ve visited twice a year.

The only bad thing about Cali is: there are too many delicious things to eat. Do we go back to our old favorites or look up new places on Yelp? Mike isn’t really a breakfast person, but I’ve been dragging him out to breakfast as often as I can, because that just means it’s one more place we get to tick off our list.

First up is Yahaira’s Cafe.

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We share as many of our meals as we can, since portions in Cali are bigger than our tummies. We opted for the Lomitos Scrambled: Tender pork stewed in tomato, garlic, and scrambled into eggs. Served with guac, home fried potatoes, and tortilla. It doesn’t look pretty, I know, but it’s actually pretty frikkin’ good, especially when you take the time to lovingly shmear guac evenly onto the tortilla before piling the pork, egg, and potatoes to make the perfect bite.

For lunch, we went to my absolute favorite bakery: Porto’s. Porto’s is a must for anyone visiting LA. No arguments about it. The pastries are always freshly-baked and they keep their prices low.

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This is what I literally dream about when I’m not in LA. Seriously, I’ve dreamt of their cheese rolls and woken up with drool all over my pillow. These babies are amazing little pillows of perfection. Creamy ricotta cheese hugged in an airy roll of puff pastry and topped with sugar before being baked to a crunchy caramelized state.

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They are so deceptively light that I used to inhale three of them in one go. At 70 cents per roll, this won’t hurt your wallet either. But now that my metabolism isn’t what it used to be, I have to limit myself to just one roll at a time. One roll that’s always gone too soon. 😦

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Since cheese rolls aren’t like, a sound source of nutrition or whatever, we also ordered a pan con bistek. Marinated steak, potato sticks, grilled onions, tomatoes, and mojo (Cuban garlic sauce) on Cuban bread. Maybe it’s because their pastries are so amazing, but I always find Porto’s sandwiches a bit lacking. Don’t get me wrong, they’re good, but . . . not mind-blowing. They need more sauce, for one. And they’d be better if they were warmer.

Next time, I’m just gonna gorge myself on the cheese rolls and the flan bread pudding.

For dinner, we headed over to yet another old favorite: Savoy Kitchen.

Everyone says the best Hainanese chicken rice is in Singapore, but I sooo disagree. And I’ve eaten chicken rice at more than a dozen locally-acclaimed spots in Singapore, so I know what I’m talking about, dammit. Anthony Bourdain once said that Hainanese chicken rice is regarded with almost religous fervor in Singapore. Ask a group of friends where the best one is to be found and it won’t be long before they devolve into a loud (friendly-ish) argument over the answer. Everyone has their own favorite place and feels equally strongly about it. This is absolutely true. Savoy Kitchen is mine. And if you disagree, I will sit on you.

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The chicken is always perfectly cooked so the meat is fork-tender but not so soft that it has no bite to it. Same with the rice. Richly-infused with garlic, chicken, and ginger, the rice is fluffy, flavorful, and dangerously easy to shovel into your mouth. It comes with dark soy sauce, homemade chili sauce, and homemade garlic/ginger oil mix. I ignore the soy sauce and chili and go straight for the garlic/ginger. This garlic/ginger oil thing is, for me, what pushes Savoy Kitchen into the lead. It’s fresh, savory, and so lip-smackingly good I always find myself picking at it, licking it like Nutella even after all the rice and chicken is gone.

And I wonder why my jeans are always tighter after a visit to Cali . . .

Whatever, it’s so worth it.

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Quickie Post: Homemade Guac on Fried Egg

*Note: This recipe has been stamped with the Slhuang Seal of Approval. BOOYAH.

Hm, I feel like I need to come up with more creative post titles, but never mind. . . this is probably the easiest recipe I’ve posted here. I’m kinda hesitating posting it because it’s so easy to do it’ll make me look duh. But whatever, it’s so effing delicious there is no excuse to not make it. (I’m looking at yew, slhuang!)

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Ingredients:

– 1 avocado, mushed-up

– 1/2 lime, juiced

– 3 cherry tomatoes, diced

– a small handful of cilantro, diced

– scallions (as much as you like), sliced

– 1 egg

– salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Mix everything except the egg up. Divide guac into two piles.

2. Put a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. When pan is hot, crack the egg and immediately turn heat down to low.

3. Season egg with salt and pepper. Snack on one guac pile while you wait for the egg to cook. I like my yolk runny. . . which means by the time I finish the guac pile I set aside, the egg’s usually good to go.

002Yea. . . this was scarfed down in a very unladylike manner. And since it’s a cloudy Sunday afternoon, I am curling up on the couch with a well-loved Pratchett book and a mug of Chai tea and dozing off. . . hope you guys are having a good weekend!

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Badassery and Turkey Fajitas

Last night, Mike and I went to see Monsters University, which was really cute. The movie, I mean, not us. Anyway, we had the bad luck of sitting behind two really annoying high school girls. Throughout the movie, they alternated between talking to each other, talking on their cell phones, going “RAWR!” at each other and giggling, and standing up. Seriously, who stands up and stretches in the middle of a damn movie? I ignored it until she started banging on her armrest like a caveman.

Leaning over, I said in my sternest voice, “Can you stop doing that please.”

When she turned around and glared at me, I did this: (Minus the “hur hur” bit. That came later.)

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Apparently, my scary face. . . isn’t. She immediately went back to banging on her armrest, at which point I kicked her chair. She turned around again and snapped, “Can you not kick my chair??” to which I snapped back, “Can you stop being noisy??” We glared at each other for a few seconds, and then. . . she backed off. That’s right, people.

Me > Two high school girls.

There are no words to describe how badass I felt. I wanted to beat my chest and roar, “THIS IS SPARTA!!!” But I didn’t, because I’m classy like that. Also I was too busy sweating, trembling, and hiding my face in Mike’s arm. But for that one minute, I was a GLADIATOR. Woe befall those who dare cross my path!

*ahem* Aaanywho. Turkey fajitas! Fajitas are awesome because 1. They’re like an explosion of yum, and 2. If you order them at a restaurant, you can pronounce “fajitas” the way Seth McFarlane does and watch the waiter’s reaction.

Recipe for Turkey Fajitas

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Ingredients:

– 500g boneless, skinless turkey (I used leg meat, but you could be all lame and healthy and go for breast. You could also use chicken or beef.), sliced into strips.

– 1 onion, sliced

– 2 bell peppers, sliced

– 2 limes, juiced

– a good pinch (using all five fingertips) of paprika

– an equally large pinch of cumin (I still don’t have cumin, so I used Jamaican jerk rub)

– 1 jalapeno, finely minced (seeded or not, it’s up to you)

– salt and pepper

Directions:

1. If you have a griddle plan, get it screaming hot. How hot is “screaming hot”? This hot:

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Phwoar.

If you’re like me and don’t have a griddle pan, a regular frying pan would do.

2. While your pan’s heating up, mix all of the ingredients except for half of the lime juice in a bowl. Once the pan is hot enough, fry the crap out of them.

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My pan’s not big enough to fit everything, so I cooked the meat and veg separately. Stop judging me.

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3. Fry until meat’s cooked through and the onions are caramelized. Pour the remaining lime juice over it. Set aside and try not to eat all of it while you make the salsa.

Salsa ingredients:

– 250 g cherry tomatoes, diced

– 1 clove garlic, minced

– 1/4 red onion, minced

– 1 jalapeno, minced

– 1 lime, juiced

– 1 small handful (like a baby’s grip) coriander, chopped

– Salt and pepper

Directions:

. . . Do you really need directions? *looks at you with judgy eyes*

You can serve your fajitas with as many toppings as you want. Guac, sour cream (or yogurt), and cheese would work just fine. I served mine with fresh lettuce and a nice sprinkling of mature cheddar and it was good enough that Mike and I fought each other for every last bite.

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O little packet of deliciousness, throw yourself into my open maw!

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