Archive for January, 2010

Strange combos

I had time to kill before meeting Clearbright for dinner, so I stopped by Century City. I popped into J.Crew to get out of the rain, and was looking to see if anything caught my eye. Nothing was jumping out at me, and then I saw this sweater that looked so strange that I just had to try it on. Exposed zipper, silk trim, ruffled hem, sweatshirt material…strange, right? I expected to hate it. Well, guess what? Almost a week has passed and I still can’t stop thinking about it. Things that make you go hmm…



Today, Pooh and I went on our first NY Restaurant Week excursion to Kittichai for lunch.  We think this may be our first time (ever!) participating in this twice-yearly event.  Located in the Thompson Hotel in Soho, Kittichai features Thai-Fusion cuisine in a warm, dark wood, fabric-draped setting.

Kittichai had been running a $20 prix-fixe brunch/lunch menu and today was the last day (it goes up to $24 tomorrow).  You could choose to do brunch, which featured 1 course and 2-hour unlimited cocktails (lychee bellini, mimosas and bloody marys) OR the 3-course lunch.  We both chose the lunch menu, and ordered all different items – all the better to try a bit of everything!

Make-Your-Own Drink:  Thai Iced Tea and Thai Iced Coffee, with mini carafes of cream and simple syrup

His:  “Meing” Style Salmon Tartare with Limestone Tartlet

Hers: Steamed Mussels in Sour Curry Broth

His: Crispy Catfish, Shanghai Shoots, Pickled Cucumber and Red Pepper

Hers: Braised Beef Brisket, Edamame & Celery Root Puree, Lemongrass Thai Bird Chili Jus

Ours: Coconut Tapioca Pearls, Passion Fruit Sorbet & Banana Spring Roll

I often have a case of “grass is greener on the other side” and will usually think that Pooh’s dishes are better than mine.  This time, I liked both apps but preferred his entree to mine.  The dessert though..I loved mine, though that was largely because it is one of those throw-back, nostalgic desserts for me.  It is actually a really simple homey concoction that would likely never be served in an upscale restuarant in Asia, but is “exotic” here in the States.   Hm, need to find recipe…

All in all, this yummy experience made us resolve to particpate in every NY Restaurant Week from now on.  When is the next one?

Penne with sausage

We had VIP guests (Roo’s parents) come over for dinner tonight, and I was stressing all week about what to make. Saturday morning came, and I still had no idea. Finally, I told Roo to just, for the love of God, tell me what to make, and he came up with the idea of penne with sausage. I have a pasta that I make with sausage and bell peppers, but I decided to google to see if any other recipes jumped out at me. I know it is risky trying a brand new recipe on an important occasion, but since this one looked easy, and the reviews all indicated that it was delicious and there wasn’t much to tweak, I thought it’d be ok.

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Full of Grace

Last night, Roo and I hit up Grace for dinner. My second dineLA meal, but Roo’s first of the “season.” I’ve been wanting to try this place forever, but have never managed to snag reservations whenever Restaurant Week rolls around. This year, when my boss sent me the link to participating restaurants, the first thing I did was book Friday night dinner at Grace!

The cool thing is that unlike the other restaurants that have a set prix fixe menu, Grace lets you choose your own adventure: 3 course meal for $44, 5 course meal for $65. Their whole menu is up for grabs, although some dishes involve a supplemental cost. All three of my courses ended up incurring a bit more, but I figured I’d go whole hog because I’d been anticipating this meal for so long.


Dungeness Crab Salad
apple, celery root, potato crisps, curry aioli

Rabbit Cavatelli
olives, oven roasted tomatoes, san andreas, black truffles


Grilled Filet of Beef
farro, haricots verts, morcilla, Ossau-Iraty cheese, red wine sauce

Grilled Sonoma Lamb
byaldi confit, ligurian olives, tomato demiglace


Chef’s Selection Doughnut Flight
chef’s selection of doughnuts & ice cream

Sticky Toffee Pudding
brûléed bananas, toffee sauce, hazelnut gelato

Again, no food pictures because the restaurant was too dark. Have to settle for these moody atmospheric tablescape photos instead. The meal was wonderful, and definitely worth the wait! My favorites were the rabbit, beef filet, and the doughnuts. Oh my, the DOUGHNUTS – according to the waiter, the flavors were: buttermilk brown butter, bourbon chocolate, and salted caramel. Grace is known all across town for their spectacular doughnuts, and now I finally know why.

So far, two for two with Restaurant Week! Can’t wait for next week’s food-venture!!

Can’t-Wait-To-Watch Dramas

There are a few currently airing dramas that I am adding to my Drama Watch List!  In no particular order:

Down With Love (就想賴著妳) – Taiwanese
Starring Ella Chen (from S.H.E) and Jerry Yan (F4).  He plays an expert divorce and inheritance lawyer, and is seen as cold, selfish and ruthless.  After his older brother dies, he takes in his brother’s two orphaned children.  Every nanny he hires is scared off by the kids or ends up mooning over him.  Fed up, he asks his secretary to find a nanny.  She recommends her younger sister, and reassures him that her tomboyish sister will not fall in love with him by lying that she has no interest in men at all.  Heheh, such a typical rom-com storyline but I especially love these types.  Also love Ella (Jerry, not as much but don’t mind him) and will watch anything she’s in!

Pasta (파스타) – Korean
Starring Gong Hyo Jin and Lee Sun Gyun.  This is the story of a young woman’s dreams of becoming a successful chef at an Italian restaurant.   Of course along the way, she clashes with the head chef and they fall in love.  That last part wasn’t in the official synopsis, but how could it be a drama if they didn’t?  I totally want to watch this for Lee Sun Gyun, aka The Voice, because he was awesome in Coffee Prince. I’ve already watched the first episode, but since aja-aja closed, have to wait until subbed versions appear on YT or ViiKii.

Wish Upon A Star ( 별을 따다 줘) – Korean
Starring Choi Jung Won and Kim Ji Hoon.  The drama draws a love story between two co-workers at an insurance company, with Kim Ji Hoon playing the company’s whip-smart lawyer. Because he carries the hurt of having been abandoned by his birth mother, he doesn’t easily open his heart to others. Jin Pal Kang (Choi Jung Won) is a 25-year-old employee of the company who becomes responsible for her five younger adopted siblings after her parents meet with sudden deaths. I’ve been reading the recaps of Wish Upon A Star over at Dramabeans and her enthusiasm about the series has made me want to watch it.  Add in the cold lawyer, plucky heroine storyline (notice the trend?) and the little kids (named after the colors in the rainbow) – this sounds completely like my cup of tea!

Kimchi Bokeum Bap [김치 볶음밥]

Dinner tonight was Kimchi Bokeum Bap, aka kimchi fried rice.  It’s the perfect combination of spammy goodness and fried kimchi.  Yum.

I’m sure everyone has their own way of making KBB, but I use chopped onions, maybe a 1.5 cups of chopped kimchi, the whole can of spam, and add some fozen vegetable mix (corn, string beans and carrots) towards the end of cooking.  Seasoning is sesame oil and maybe a little bit of gochujang (red pepper paste) and soy sauce.  Depending on how much I want there to be leftovers, the amount of rice I use varies from 1.5 cups to 2 cups.  Then I fry an egg to put on top.

The spring onions are optional.  Of course, after I made sure to buy them so the picture would have some green amongst all the red, Pooh asks, “Can you not use spring onions next time?”

Keep Holden on

“Boy, it began to rain like a bastard. In buckets, I swear to God. All the parents and mothers and everybody went over and stood right under the roof of the carrousel, so they wouldn’t get soaked to the skin or anything, but I stuck around on the bench for quite a while. I got pretty soaking wet, especially my neck and my pants. My hunting hat really gave me quite a lot of protection, in a way, but I got soaked anyway. I didn’t care, though. I felt so damn happy all of a sudden, the way old Phoebe kept going around and around. I was damn near bawling, I felt so damn happy, if you want to know the truth. I don’t know why. It was just that she looked so damn nice, the way she kept going around and around, in her blue coat and all. God, I wish you could’ve been there.”

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger (1919 – 2010)