Category Archives: good eats

part deux

hanging around
the crab whisperer
into the fire
court bouillon
crab army
The Christmas day followup to Oyster Fest 2010, was Crab Fest 2010. As we did last year, my family and I went over to a local Asian market on Christmas day and picked up a large garbage sack of Dungeness crabs. This bounty set us back a mere $23 and some change. (Boy do I love the availability of fresh seafood in Washington.) We each got one giant crab and gorged ourselves silly. It’s not the most traditional Christmas dinner but I could happily make this a tradition.

11.15: say that five times fast

sticky coffee toffee pudding
Sticky coffee toffee pudding! Sticky coffee toffee pudding! Sticky coffee toffee pudding! A bit of a tongue twister, isn’t it? Taking a quick break from LA vacation photos to tell you about this exciting bit of baking that I did last night. I don’t fancy much in the way of British foods, but sticky toffee pudding is something that I adore. I don’t know why I haven’t made this before, but now that I know how easy it is, I’m sure this will become a regular treat. Delicious!! Go make it NOW! (Sorry for the ALL CAPS. I am perhaps still hopped up on the sugar from the piece of sticky coffee toffee pudding I ate this morning for breakfast.)

Sticky Coffee-Toffee Pudding
Adapted from Marlena’s Sticky Toffee Pudding

* 5 oz pitted dates, diced
* 1 cup hot but not boiling water
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 2 oz butter at room temperature
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 large eggs
* 1 1/2 cups self rising flour

Coffee-Toffee Sauce
* 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup strong coffee
* 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make the Sponge
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Prepare an 8″ square pan by first buttering, then lightly flouring the inside of the tin.
3. Place dates in a heatproof bowl and pour the hot water over them. Cover and leave to sit for at least 20 minutes. After sitting covered for 20 minutes, uncover and cool to room temperature. After cooling, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to date mixture.
4. Using a mixer, cream together the soft butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy, about 5 to 7 minutes.
5. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between until they are mixed in well.
6. Gradually add the flour and then the date mixture until it forms a thick batter.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until it is cooked through. A toothpick or chopstick inserted in the middle should come out clean, no crumbs adhering. Remove from oven and set aside.

Make the Sauce
1. In a heavy saucepan, combine the dark brown sugar with the white sugar, coffee and cream.
2. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring gently until the sugars melt and continue cooking, adjusting the heat lower and higher as needed, for about 5 to 8 minutes. If mixture boils up, reduce heat; if it stops bubbling, raise it. Sauce should be dark and slightly thick. Don’t be tempted to sample it without cooling as the sugars are so hot they will burn your tongue.
3. Remove from heat and with a wooden spoon stir in the butter, salt and vanilla, stirring until the butter melts and the sauce is glossy. Let cool to a warm-hot temperature.
4. Using a paring knife, make slits all over the top of cake and pour about half the warm/hot sauce over it. Leave the cake to marinate in the sauce for several hours, then pour the rest of the sauce over it. To serve, cut into small pieces. Cream fraiche or lightly whipped creme Chantilly are good with this, but to be honest, it doesn’t need anything else.

Serves 6-8 generously.

11.14: oh yeah

options options options
contemplating our options
chicken and waffles!
a thing of beauty
clean plate
You guys know how much I love waffles so another “must do” thing in LA was to have a meal at Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘N Waffles. Lest these photos not be sufficient urging to go, know that this place has the Snoop Dog+Larry King endorsement. I mean really. How many places can boast that?

This is straightforward, no frills soul food. Service is fast and efficient. Portions generous. Judging from all the clean plates, I think you can figure out how much we loved everything here. Delicious!

Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘N Waffles: 5006 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

11.11: oysters, pork, and beer

oh the light
walking in
oyster prep
Yesterday started off pretty crummy. I’m a firm proponent that one should take one’s birthday off but you know, life gets in the way sometimes. Anyone who’s talked to me knows how impossible my work schedule has been lately (15-16 hour days, weekends working, travel, etc.). From the second I walked in the door yesterday, I was running from one thing to the next, putting out fires left and right. I did the best I could given the circumstances. I worked as hard as I could and I kept my fingers crossed that I’d make it to the epic dinner I had planned for the evening. Lately, I’ve had a strong hankering for all things seafood, in particular shellfish. When a coworker (also friend and favorite cranky dining companion) offered to take me to dinner, I knew I had to revisit the Publican. I’d been here once before, shortly after moving to Chicago, enjoyed the food and atmosphere, but hadn’t really tried any of the things this place is particularly known for–oysters, pork, and beer. This of course had to be remedied (although we ended up crossing things off the list backwards).

at the bar
beerMost of the seating here is communal (and a bit cramped for my tastes) so we opted to wait for a table while grabbing a drink at the bar. We split a festive bottle of Brasserie Dupont sprl (Tourpes-Leuze, Belgium). Beer. Check.

porky goodness
Then, pork. Check. We couldn’t pass up on the spicy pork rinds. Afterall, they were cited by Chef Michael Symon as the best fried thing he’s ever eaten. I’m happy to report that they did not disappoint.

on the half shell
Finally, oysters. Check. Four kinds: hama hama (Hood Canal, Washington), kumamoto (Humboldt Bay, Cailfornia), island creek (Duxbury, Massachusetts), wellfleet (Cape Cod, Massachusetts). All amazing but the hama hama was my favorite. I was super duper excited about this one.

See? Don’t I look giddy?

brussels sprouts
The food that followed after was equally amazing and delicious–bouchot mussels (from Stonington, Maine) with gueze, bay, celery, butter, & garlic with a tall stack of garlic peasant bread; sweetbreads (from Franklin, Wisconsin) with rapini & tapenade; and brussels sprouts with sesame vinaigrette & peanuts. My only gripe was the pacing. Food took damn near an eternity to reach us and service was virtually non-existent. (Dinner start to finish took THREE HOURS.)

up up and up
make a wish
On the server’s recommendation, we wrapped up the meal with a crostada with quince, housemade farmer’s cheese & pistachios. I wished for a better year, blew out my candle, and dug in. Buttery, rich, and delicious. An extravagant way to end an extravagant meal.

So yeah, the service and stuff sucked but I have a feeling I’ll be back here again someday. The food here is really incredible; it has just the sort of menu that I really adore. Tonight I fly to Los Angeles to see two of my favorite people on the planet. This mini vacation could not have come at a better time. I couldn’t be happier. I was too swamped to schedule posts to pop up in my absence so you’ll have to excuse me from my November NaBloPoMo duties until I return on Monday. I’m sure I’ll have lots of food tales and pictures to share. Until then, happy weekend!

The Publican: 837 West Fulton Market


How is it Monday already? The weekend was here and gone before I could even register it. I got to spend some quality time with my brother before he returned to Seattle. Although I was saddened by his departure (I’d forgotten how nice it was to have family nearby), he left me the most amazing box of macarons from Vanille Patisserie. I have another very grueling week ahead of me before I fly out to San Francisco for work. As with most work trips, it will be stressful and busy but I’ve carved out a day or two to meet up with some people, including long time friends/readers, Ivy and Lynn. I’m excited to finally meet them in person. It will be nice to have that to look forward to.

6 hours in key west

best lunch ever!

enjoying the view

on the half shell

stone crab!

just steps away



What a week! Such a far cry from last week’s rest and relaxation that I have to ask myself if last week was a dream? Thank goodness I have all these photos to remind me that last week did actually happen. I had so much fun! Hyejin was such a great travel companion because she’s laid back and also has different strengths and interests. She can chat up almost anyone (we made a lot of friends on the trip) and always knows where to go to get a good drink. It’s probably no surprise to you that I was responsible for documenting our trip and making sure we ate well. :D

I must tell you about my favorite meal of the trip–our lunch in Key West. After walking through the city, doing some shopping, and touring the Hemingway Home, we were thirsty, cranky, and absolutely famished. I was determined to eat my fill of conch and seafood on this trip, so I’d picked out Conch Republic as a “must-see” place on our trip. It definitely did not disappoint and I would happily go back again if I ever make it back to Key West. We ordered a half dozen oysters, a bowl of conch chowder, a basket of conch fritters, two of the largest stone crab claws I’ve ever seen, and some very stiff mojitos. Right by the water, it was the perfect place to stop and refuel.

Although I was stuffed beyond belief, I insisted we stop by the Blond Giraffe for a slice of key lime pie because surely, no trip to Key West is complete with out that, right? I took a ton more photos in Key West so this will not be the last time you hear about it here. Have a great weekend!


YIP 365.309: love letter to the windy city

with love


Sorry to bore you with more film shots but I’m really excited to be shooting film again. These were some shots from a recent breakfast at Ann Sather–one of my favorite breakfast/brunch spots in Chicago. If you visit me in Chicago, it’s almost a given that we will go there at some point for cinnamon rolls and coffee. I consider no trip to Chicago complete without a stop here.