[Food] Thanksgiving Dinner 2013

I hope that all of you had a fantastic Thanksgiving and partook in the gluttony that so commonly happens around this time of year. Here's just a short post sharing how my (big) family celebrated. Hope you enjoy, and happy holidays to you and yours! IMG_8684











How does your family celebrate Thanksgiving? Feel free to share!

[Photo] Adventures in Seattle

I feel like I'm always neglecting my blog and I feel absolutely terrible. Nonetheless, here is a long overdue post on my trip to Seattle this past summer. The moment I landed, I fell in love with this city. There's something so special about it that I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe it's because the weather was perfect while I was there (save for a gloomy day in the middle of my stay), but everything just felt right. The food was delicious, the coffee was amazing, and the people were so beautiful! I may just have left a little piece of my heart out there. Here are some photos from my trip, hope you enjoy!! IMG_4216


















IMG_4468 This is Willi, a baristo that I met at Victorla. This guy is super friendly and is obviously passionate about what he does. He also made me a mean gibraltar.









IMG_4618 I caught this guy celebrating the lack of a line at Paseo, a rare occasion.

IMG_4620 The holy grail of sandwiches, Paseo's Caribbean Roast.

IMG_4621 This thing is amazing and lived up to all the hype (everyone and their mother told me I had to try it) and then some. It's also quite a disaster to handle and quickly turns into a fork and knifer. You can't tell too well in the photo, but my vision was clouded by grease.

IMG_4623 The aftermath.



IMG_4448 I got a chance to see Shane and Shane play while I was there!

IMG_4829 Another gem, Uneeda Burger.

IMG_4826 I had forgotten that burgers could be exceptionally delicious. Then I met Uneeda Burger and was reminded that burgers can indeed be great.


IMG_4822 After striking up conversation with Willi at Victorla, he gave me a list of coffee spots to check out. Milstead & Co. was among them.

IMG_4819 Yep, another fantastic spot that totally fits the hipster coffee-camera lover in me.


Milstead Dipdych A fine cup of Aeropressed Bows and Arrows Guatamela Finca El Tambor to end the post.

Goodbye, Seattle! Until next time.

[Food] TrueBurger

TrueBurger I had been hearing great things about TrueBurger. Some said it was basically Shake Shack on the West Coast. Though I've never tried Shake Shack, I hear great things about them as well. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to go to TrueBurger with some of my friends.

TrueBurger Storefront

We rolled into TrueBurger on a Saturday for lunch and it was packed! The crowd was a good sign. Surely, this had to be a great burger!

TrueBurger Menu

The prices on the menu scared me a bit. But I had just finished finals and was feeling pretty good. I decided to treat myself. I ordered a Cheesy Trueburger with griddled onions, an orange creamsicle shake, and got chili cheese fries to share with a friend.

TrueBurger Kitchen

The place had a very modern, hip feel to it with beautiful wooden counters and a long communal table. The clientele was a mix of everyone from the elderly to young hipsters talking about their newest bands and local, organic foods. TrueBurger definitely had the feel of a community hub that brings Oakland together.


Now, the moment of truth. Is this a burger that lives up to its price tag and all of the hype? We'll see. The burger was on the small side comparable to size. But how did it taste? Well, the challah bun was fantastic. It had a slight crunch from being toasted and was a tad bit chewy. The garlic aioli was delicious as well; garlicky is always good. But the burger itself, where was it? It got lost in the mix of everything. It was kind of like being at a concert with a really bad sound engineer. I couldn't taste the meat, which was disappointing to say the least. I thought I was eating a garlic aioli sandwich with grilled onions on really good bread.

The chili cheese fries were just so-so. The fries themselves were spot on, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. However, I had my gripes with the chili. It had an odd sweetness to it...and it had beans. But I'm a stickler when it comes to chili. My opinions on chili are probably stronger than the average person. Most people seem to really enjoy them.

TrueBurger Shake

This orange creamsicle milkshake was the high point of the meal for me. Think about a liquified orange creamsicle. This took me back to my childhood and I loved every moment of it from the impossible-to-drink beginning to the melted down mess at the end. It was beautiful.

TrueBurger Pickles

Their pickles were surprisingly very, very good as well. They were fresh, crisp, and bright. Oh, and did I mention, free? Or at least these sliced pickles at the condiment bar are. I went back a few times to grab more. Don't forget to munch on these with your burger!

Overall, TrueBurger was good, not amazing. Would I ever go out of my way to eat here? Probably not. I'd honestly go to the ever consistent and delicious In-n-Out over TrueBurger any day. I could get a whole meal for the price of a Trueburger and thoroughly enjoy every bit of it - every time. If you are in the area, definitely check it out, maybe you'll have a better experience than me. Just don't forget to get a milkshake.

TrueBurger 146 Grand Ave Oakland, CA 94612 (510) 208-5678 www.trueburgeroakland.com

[Food] Gregoire (or at least their Poutine)

Gregoire Poutine In my opinion, poutine should be a food group of its own. If you don't know what poutine is, it's a simple dish of fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy originating in Quebec. Though simple, it's ridiculously awesome. Poutine in its basic form is also often used as a blank canvas for a plethora of different toppings. In the September 2012 issue of Esquire, Chris Jones is quoted saying, "If bacon ate, bacon would eat poutine." Genius. Now that you know how much I love this Canadian export, you probably have an idea of why I went to Gregoire solely for their poutine.

Gregoire Berkeley

When one thinks of this quaint North Berkeley landmark, one thinks of potato puffs. Oh yes, those lightly crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside treats...a must have for sure. But for the month of February (oh dear, this post is late), they had poutine.

Gregoire Poutine

Upon seeing the poutine, the pretentious foodie in me cringed a tad bit. The fries were yellow. If you know a thing about poutine, you know that the fries are typically orangish-brown. Once I suppressed the monster that resides in me, I dug in. Pretty good. The fries were perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside (seems to be a winning combination for potato based foods). The gravy was salty and peppery, very reminiscent of KFC gravy. That's no insult either. Darn good. However, the cheese curds were a bit disappointing. They were crumbly rather than being solid with a "squeaky" tooth-feel. They also pretty bland. Overall, not bad. There's a sore lack of poutine stateside, so any poutine I can get my hands on is appreciated.

On a side note, the Empire Cola was fantastic. You get the great classic cola taste without all the sweetness.

Gregoire Potato Puffs

An obligatory photo of their legendary potato puffs. Seriously, you have to try these before you die.

Gregoire 2109 Cedar St Berkeley, CA 94709 (510) 883-1893 www.gregoirerestaurant.com

[Food] Sliver

Sliver Pizza There was once a little place in North Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto called The Cheese Board Collective. There, the cooperatively owned shop sold various cheeses, bread, and what they are probably best known for, pizza. However this wasn't your average Joe pizzeria. They specialized in one kind of pizza every day and cranked them out all day (or during their lunch and dinner services). And the pizzas were vegetarian. WHAT!? I know, "How can a vegetarian pizza place make any money?" Well, first of all, it's Berkeley (yay for stereotypes) and second, they were delicious.

Editor's Note: The past tense was only used for story telling effect, The Cheese Board Collective is still alive and kickin'.

Sliver Pizza

Now, a trio of former Cheese Board employees (owners? I'm not sure what the proper term would be here) left and set up shop in Downtown Berkeley. This new place is called Sliver. The first thing that anyone that's eaten at Cheese Board will pick up on are the obvious similarities between the two restaurants. Just like Cheese Board, Sliver makes the same style pizzas with the same practices - one vegetarian pizza a day (albeit, done damn well), at the same prices ($2.50 a slice, $10 for half a pie, and $20 for a whole), in the same weaved baskets or plain brown boxes, with similar salads, live music, and various other similarities. However, that's not a bad thing at all.

[Edit] And don't worry, Sliver also gives out half slices as lagniappes just like Cheese Board!

Think about it as getting two varieties of awesome pizzas to choose from and two locations. Actually, let's just stop comparing the two because that's what everyone will inevitably do on their first visit. Let's focus on Sliver and what makes them so great.

Sliver Pizza

First, the food. Please note, I'm an absolute sucker for pizzas with potatoes. When I saw that the day's pizza had roasted marble potatoes, pasilla chiles, yellow onions, mozzarella, Bulgarian feta, cilantro, Mexican key limes, garlic olive oil, I knew I had to take my virgin voyage to check it out. The pizza may seem loaded, but it was so well balanced. You get starchy potatoes, some slightly crunchy on the edge, sharp feta, and bright cilantro and limes that really make up the bulk of the flavor profile. Everything else plays a solid supporting role to create a symphony of amazing flavors.

Sliver Pizza Sauce

On top of all of that, you have this. They say it's a mild serrano hot sauce. I beg to differ. This still must be loaded with some addictive, possibly illegal substance. Upon trying it, I wanted to squeeze all over anything I ate. Heck, I would put this on white rice and enjoy it. On the front end, you get a super bright, slightly acidic hit with a smooth, subtle heat on the back end. This cut through the big flavors of the pizza while not being overpowering. I would honestly buy this still by the bottle...or gallon.

Sliver Pizza

A few things that Sliver has on Cheese Board (I know I said I would stop comparing the two, but I'm sorry) come in the form of their facility. Sliver has a spacious interior with plenty of seats and tables and a full (though a bit small) bar. I know a lot of people like to eat on the street median at Cheese Board, probably because they're all rebels, but sometimes, you just want to sit at a table and not have to fight for one.

Sliver Pizza

On top of all that, the Geechi Taylor Combo, a fantastic little jazz trio, was playing that night. Good food, good company, and good music. How can you go wrong with that, right?

Sliver is not just a pizzeria either, though they make an amazing pie. They stand for something bigger. They stand for the fight against human trafficking, one of the biggest injustices in our world today. Sliver donates a portion of their profits to organizations and works to spread awareness. Not to put a downer on this post, but according to the U.S. Department of State, there were 12.3 million slaves worldwide in 2010. If you would like to get involved in the fight, there are many organizations out there like the International Justice Mission (IJM) and Not for Sale just to name a couple.

I highly, highly suggest that you all go check out Sliver. I'm serious. Like really.

Sliver 2132 Center St Berkeley, CA 94704 (510) 356-4044 www.sliverpizzeria.com

[Food] Juice Detox

Juice Detox So, as most of you probably don't know, I recently concluded my week long juice detox. "Why the heck would you do that?" you may ask. To be healthy, of course! After 7 days of fresh vegetable and fruit juice, I feel great! This will just be a quick recap of my week away from one of my loves, food.

As with most things of this sort, starting was the hardest part. To be honest, the first three days were grueling. I was hungry and constantly thought about food; it was strange to not be chewing anything. The run I took on the first night was probably the hardest one I took in a while, I felt a complete lack of energy.

The above photo in the header shows what went into a typical meal. I mixed it up between meals and days. Other vegetables I juiced included broccoli, spinach, and bell peppers, among others. Your juices should be made up primarily of vegetables with just a little bit of fruit, usually apple. The apple does a fantastic job of sweetening up the juice and makes the whole detox bearable.

Juice Detox

About once a day, I would take a shot of garlic and ginger juice, cut with just a little bit of apple, and I chased it with my regular juice. That stuff is strong, but healthy. There's plenty of information out there on the specific benefits of different vegetables and fruits, so feel free to do some research.

As I progressed, my body became acclimated to the diet. I was no longer hungry between meals and because my body didn't have to spend energy breaking down food, lack of energy no longer became an issue. I had lost about a pound per day (but that's not the point of the detox, I'll come back to this later) and my blood pressure dropped, though it was normal to begin with. Other people I know that were on a juice diet (much more long term than mine) enjoyed various other health benefits.

Juice Detox Kale Macro

Before going into juicing, you should know that a short term detox like this will naturally cause weight loss. You're probably going to gain most of that weight back when you get back on food. Just don't do this with weight loss being your motivating factor. Also, you're not getting the full nutrients out of the vegetables. You're getting all the sugar water out of them, but missing out on the all important fibers. Don't think you're getting the full benefits of the vegetables this way. Nevertheless, a short detox like this is great every once in a while. Look into it for yourself and consider taking a week out of your year and doing it, but do consult your doctor if you have other serious health issues first.

[Food] Tacos El Gordo

Adobado Tacos Happy New Year, everyone! To start 2013 year off, here's a quick post on Tacos El Gordo. When in San Diego, you eat Mexican food. Seriously. When you're that close to the border, you could get some ridiculously good Mexican food without having to cross over. In fact, Tacos El Gordo came to the states from our southern neighbor.

Tacos El Gordo

The tacos at Tacos El Gordo are reminiscent of the tacos you get when eating on the streets of Mexico. There's a certain charm you don't get with the taco trucks in LA that you do get here (definitely not downplaying those tacos, they're delicious as well).

Adobado Tacos

These are the famous tacos de adobada, basically al pastor. They start with 2 corn tortillas, slice pork off the spit, cover it with onions and cilantro, then top it off with salsa and their creamy green sauce. In all my years of loving Mexican food, I've never really been able to figure out just what's in this thing. My guess would be a crema base with the possibilities of cilantro, tomatillo, lime, and/or avocado. Did I just name the major green elements of Mexican food? Probably.

The big corn flavor from the tortillas, meaty pork, and the sauces give the taco a huge flavor and the onions and cilantro cut through. Everything just works so well in this taco, but that crema sauce is what really makes it. It has a distinctive tang to it. Just writing about it makes me want to make a trip down. I do wish there was a sliver of pineapple on top. That would perfect this taco.

The lack of pineapple is not the only downside. The tacos are $2. Mind you, these are of the small street taco variety. Maybe I'm spoiled with tacos that range from $0.50 to $1, but $2 is a bit steep for what you get. Still, these things are great.

Oh, and for you first timers, the ordering system may be a bit confusing. You walk in past the cash registers, stand in the line for the respective meat you desire, get your food, then go back and pay for it. Usually there's a line for adobada and another line for everything else (asada, cabeza, lengua, etc.).

Next time you're by the border, stop by Tacos El Gordo. There are multiple locations, but this is their most popular one.

Tacos El Gordo 689 H St. Chula Vista, CA 91910 (619) 691-8848

[Food] Christmas Eve Dinner

Merry Christmas to you all! Here at our home, we don't mess around with food. This year, we had filet mignon, twice baked potatoes with bacon, creamed spinach, homemade onion rings, and a slice of my mother's sponge cake with a berry sauce and homemade whipped cream. Again, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Eve Dinner Dessert

[Food] Thanksgiving 2012

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving yesterday! I know our family most definitely did. Here's how our family does Thanksgiving dinner.

One fried turkey.

And one bacon wrapped turkey. We've been doing this since forever. Before those meatheads on Youtube did this "next level" stuff.

Dessert. Also because I didn't get a chance to snag photos of our "American" desserts.

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgivings and are continuing to enjoy your leftovers... I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you, my readers. You all are awesome. What are you thankful for?

[Photo] Fourth of July

Gotta get those coals white hot,

and celebrate freedom with steak and potatoes, and a Mexican Coke.

Because just one barbecue is not enough.

And you're not celebrating freedom without a kid in a Captain America mask...and a piñata.

Two celebrations are better than one.

Hope you all had a fantastic, safe Fourth of July!

[Food] Mother's Day Dinner

First of all, happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful mothers out there! My sister and I decided to do a tag team dinner for our mother.

The main course consisted of a seared Ahi Tuna steak with a soy ginger glaze, wild rice, and an arugula salad with a light citrus dressing.

For dessert, we made individual pies/tarts. I'm not sure exactly what to call them, but they started with a pie crust filled with custard, then were topped with fresh blueberries, bananas, and a slice of candied lemon.

Everything was homemade and delicious.

[Food] The Chairman Truck

On a whim, I stopped by Off the Grid, a Bay Area food truck meetup, in Berkeley. I had heard great things about The Chairman truck and it was at tonight's event. You can't miss it; it's big, bright red, and has a long line of hungry people. The line was long relative to the other trucks, but nowhere near what the lines were like when the Kogi Truck first opened up in LA. I remember waiting at least 2 hours for a few tacos, but that's beside the point.

The Chairman features baos, which are basically Chinese sandwiches on steamed or baked buns. They were out of baked buns, but that was not a problem because I love steamed buns. I was going get straight pork belly, but for the sake of journalism, I also ordered a Coca Cola braised pork bao.

I tried the Coca Cola braised pork bao first. This bao was packed with goodness - braised pork, a cabbage slaw, mustard seeds, and sauce. The pork was moist and tender. The Coca Cola they braise it in definitely lends great flavor to the pork. You get the great savory elements of Coke, but without the sweetness. Everything else in this bao complements the pork nicely and the mustard seeds really brighten everything up. It was good, but quite frankly, after eating the pork belly bao, I don't remember too much about this one.

This bao lived up to the hype. Dare I say, the pork belly was succulently sexy. Not only was it tender as the name says, it had a bit of a crunch from getting finished on the flat top. There was just enough fat left, post-rendering, to give great flavor and juice. Maybe my mind was over exaggerating the greatness of the pork from sensory overload, but this was one of the best pork bellies I've ever had. Everything was perfect from the textures to the flavors, and I was happy. The pickled daikon cut through the fattiness of the pork and acted as a breath of fresh air, not that the pork belly was bad in any way.

Everyone has to eat a pork belly bao from The Chairman. Preferably more.

The Chairman www.twitter.com/chairmantruck (415) 813-8800

[Food] Phil's BBQ

This post has been a long time coming. I'm surprised it took me this long to get it up. But alas, in all its glory, Phil's BBQ. For many Southern Californians, Phil's needs no introduction. The 2 hour waits to get in testify to that. However, if you are not familiar with this San Diego institution, it was founded in 1998 by owner, Phil Pace. BBQ in California? Barbecue purists are probably calling heresy. Calm yourselves, perhaps this isn't "real," but this is good stuff. Really good.

On a side note, there's some great BBQ in SoCal. There's always Bludso's Texas style BBQ in Compton.

Whenever we make a trek down to San Diego, it's usually for our pilgrimage to Phil's. As I mentioned before, the lines get long. However, if you get there before the rush, say, around 4 pm, you'll get your food in no time (relative to the typical 2 hour wait). Just remember, they are closed on Mondays. If you're at Phil's for your first time, you'll have plenty of time to wrestle with your heart in regards to what you'll order. My typical order is the half rack baby back dinner with fries and slaw. Some swear by their sandwiches, beef ribs, or chicken, but I stick to the tried and true baby back ribs. Also, don't you ever dare forget to order onion rings. Just do it.

If you survive the wait, successfully procure a table, and wait a little longer for your food, you'll be greeted with something like this. As I said, this is my typical order. And it's perfect. You have your mesquite grilled baby back ribs, fries, and some sort of vegetable, if you want to call it that.

The cole slaw is essential. You need some cool, creamy veggies to cleanse your palette between mouthfuls of tangy, slightly spicy meat and fried potatoes. The slaw is actually not too heavy like some other slaws you'll have. It's light and refreshing. Perfect. The fries are the quintessential carbohydrate. They aren't particularly crispy at Phil's. They kind of remind me of thicker In-n-Out fries. Don't let that drive you away, I know some people hate In-n-Out fries (I don't). The fries are perfect for sopping up all that extra sauce. Oh, and the portions. Dear lord, the amount of fries and slaw you get is almost scary. You'll be more than happy.

You didn't forget those onions rings, now, did you? These are some of my favorite onions rings. Ever. They have a light, crispy crust with a sweet, tender onion on the inside. Absolute perfection (I'm using that big word quite a bit here). Maybe I've developed some unhealthy affection toward Phil's onion rings, but I don't care. They are some of the best I've had. Please do dunk these in the buttermilk ranch they serve them with. Moving on.

Here is the main attraction. These are the tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs you hope to have when you eat BBQ. Yes, great. But do you know what's better? The sauce. The sauce really brings these ribs to life. It's definitely a unique sauce in the world of BBQ. It has the viscosity of a Kansas City BBQ sauce, but with a flavor akin to a North Carolina BBQ Sauce. Thick, vinegary, and a slight bit spicy. Oh, and Phil created this sauce when he was 15 years old... You have to try this. It's really that good.

On our trip in December, the table we were sitting at had these awesome sticker labels on the malt vinegar. The Korean in me was proud and a slight bit embarrassed. Who even thinks of doing this?

Anyway, there you have it. If you live in San Diego, are visiting San Diego, or don't live anywhere near San Diego, you have to go to Phil's. Please. For me.

Phil's BBQ 3750 Sports Arena Blvd San Diego, CA 92110 (619) 226-6333 www.philsbbq.net

[Food] Avocado Ice Cream

We had a bunch of avocados sitting at home and couldn't finish them all before they over-ripened. So, my sister and I decided to make some avocado ice cream.

We used Alton Brown's recipe, which can be found here. It's very simple and we found that it is similar to many of the other recipes for avocado ice cream that we found.

The ice cream was spectacular. It tasted like avocado (a big duh) with an ever so slight hint of sweetness to it, which was great. The texture was smooth and silky, probably thanks to all that fat in the avocado and heavy cream. To further bring out the sweetness, we finished the ice cream with some salt. It really brings the ice cream to life and makes the flavors pop. In my opinion, the salt is absolutely essential.

Here's the lighting set-up I used for the shots. I had a LumoPro LP120 camera right shooting into a reflective umbrella at 1/4 power as my key light. For my fill, I had a LumoPro LP160 camera left in a softbox at 1/64 power. I shot with a Canon 7D and a 100mm f2.8 Macro at 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 200.

[Food] Sushirrito

This will be a rather short review because there's only one thing to talk about, the Geisha's Kiss Sushirrito from...you guessed it, Sushirrito. What is a Sushirrito? Basically, it's a novel lovechild of a sushi roll and a burrito. It's honestly a supersized roll that you eat like a burrito.

I heard horror stories of ridiculous lines, but because we went during off hours, there was no line at all. Nice! Just remember, don't go during the lunch rush.

After gawking at the menu, I finally decided to go with the Geisha's Kiss. All of these Sushirritos have a long list of fillings. The Geisha's Kiss has chunks of yellowfin tuna, tamago, piquillo peppers, yuzu tobiko, lotus chips, cucumber, avocado, green onions, sesame seeds, and white soya. Talk about a mouthful (pun intended).

There are so many different elements to this roll that some flavors get lost in the mix. There are definitely certain flavors that are more pronounced than others. Overall, you get a nice vinegary sweetness with delicious chunks of raw tuna. I've heard many complaints about this particular roll being to bland or mild in flavor, which is true to some degree, but I still enjoyed it.

The tuna is definitely the star here. I absolutely love raw tuna. It's really a thing of beauty, but too often, it has a terribly fishy taste. That was definitely not the case at Sushirrito. There were only chunks of awesomeness in this roll.

Much of the vinegary flavors came from the sushi rice and from the pickled cucumbers. Pickled cucumbers? Don't you mean pickles? No, these are definitely still cucumbers but have a ever so slight tang to them. They also provide for a nice coolness toward the end of every bite.

The last star player in the roll was the lotus chip. It was the sole source of textural contrast that saved the roll from being a mushy mess. And who doesn't like fried food?

Like I mentioned before, everything else was lost in the mix of flavors. I'm sure they helped in the overall experience of the roll, but I'm not sure how big (or small) of a role they actually played.

I would like to go back to try their Mayan Dragon, which contains chicken katsu, purple peruvian potatoes, julienne carrots, pickled red cabbage, avocado, shaved jalapeños, green onions, and Japanese curry.

At $11 and change for the Geisha's Kiss, Sushirrito is definitely on the pricey side, especially considering that I was just barely at the point of satisfaction (as far as fullness goes). But if you're in San Francisco and want to try this novel creation for yourself, definitely go for it! Make sure to keep in mind that they are only open Monday through Friday from 11am-3pm.

59 New Montgomery St San Francisco, CA 94106 (415) 495-7655 www.sushirrito.com

[Food] Frysmith

I know I haven't posted in a while, but now that I'm starting to settle into the new semester, it's time for another post! While I was back at home for winter break, I made sure to stop by the Frysmith. If you don't know, Frysmith is a food truck that uses French fries as a canvas to paint a culinary masterpiece on. I swear I thought of something like this before them, but I was young and not ready to start a business. Oh well (:P). As you read this, keep in mind that I made this visit about a month ago and I can't seem to find my notes. I'll do my best to remember everything as accurately as possible.

They had different kinds of poutine throughout the month of December. If you know me, you know I love poutine, but being foodies, we needed to try a variety of their offerings. We got the Rajas Fries, Kimchi Fries, Sweet Po Fries, and their special Holiday Poutine. Also, they switched from their old boats to oval-shaped platters. This switch definitely helps get the toppings more evenly distributed on the fries. It made for a more pleasant eating experience than when they used the classic boat.

The Rajas fries were excellent. You get giant strips of shawarma-marinated steak with caramelized onions, fire-roasted poblano chiles, cilantro, and jack cheese. These fries are MEATY! Seriously, how can you not like something with strips on strips of steak? Oh, and the steak is perfectly cooked, tender, and full of flavor.

The fries are of the thin variety and they sit in the perfect spot between soggy and crispy. For something like this, you don't want a very crispy French fry; and you never want a soggy, limp French fry.

I'm going to go ahead and say this now, these were my favorite. As a Korean, how can the Kimchi Fries not be my favorite? These fries are topped with kimchi, Kurobuta pork belly (삼겹살), onions, green onions, and cheddar cheese. The brightness of the kimchi cut through the fries and pork while the pork and cheese provided the hearty element of the dish. There was a great balance of flavors. It also proved to be an excellent palate cleanser in-between eating all the other fries.

The Sweet Po Fries are sweet potato fries topped with chicken in a tomatillo-tamarind sauce, jack cheese, and cashews. The flavor profile on this one was sweeter than the other fries we had; the tamarind in the sauce is definitely a prominent flavor. The cashews lend a great textural contrast to the rest of the dish as the sweet potato fries aren't as crispy as the regular fries. I thoroughly enjoyed these fries, especially in-between bites of the other fries.

The Holiday Poutine was topped with bacon, cheese curds, and holiday gravy. Remember how I mentioned that I love poutine? Well, this one was sadly disappointing. First of all, the cheese curds weren't as melty as I like them. I know cheese curds are supposed to have some bite and "squeak," but these were pretty firm - the gravy could have been hotter. On that note, the gravy was this dish's greatest downfall. Because it was a "holiday" poutine, they flavored the gravy with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and orange peel. The flavor of the spices were too strong and overpowered everything else. We all came to the consensus that the gravy just didn't work with the rest of the dish.

Overall, this trip to the Frysmith was a very pleasant one, as my other visits have been. They are always experimenting with new dishes and specials. For example, for a week (until yesterday), they turned into the Soupsmith and served soup instead of fries. Everything from the food to their truck sets them apart from most other food trucks. Their custom made truck runs on fry oil! Go check them out some time. Fries never fail.

Frysmith www.twitter.com/frysmith www.eatfrysmith.com (818) 371-6814

[Food] Pepero Day (11.11.11)

First of all, I want to say sorry for the lack of posts for past couple weeks, I've been extremely busy. Anywho, onto the post. As you all know, last Friday was November 11, 2011, or 11.11.11. Not only was it the last binary day of the century, but the most epic Pepero Day for a while. For those of you that don't know, Pepero Day is a Korean "holiday" of sorts where people get Pepero for their friends, family, significant others, etc. You can learn more about it from the folks at Eat Your Kimchi. It's basically a day for snack companies (Lotte) to make tons of money...

What do you do on a cold, rainy Pepero Day when you don't want to buy Pepero? Make some, of course! Some of my friends and I got some pretzel sticks, chocolate, and various things to coat the sticks in. It's probably the simplest thing ever, and it's fun when you make them with people you love! After you're done, you can either give them away or eat them all yourself. If you eat them all yourself, you're probably pretty lonely anyway (joking, but true...). Note: these photos were taken with a friend's camera because of the spontaneity of the happening.

After making bunch of them, I ended up receiving some! I felt so loved until I read the note attached to them.

Threatening, right? I decided to not take any risks and follow their instructions.

I must say, they were a lot more colourful than the ones we made. They did melt a bit, so excuse that in the photos, I'm sure they were beautiful before. Off the record, I think ours tasted better, but they still made for a great pre-San Francisco trip snack! More on that SF trip in later posts to come. But really, they were great! Chocolatey, crunchy goodness, with a hint of salty from the pretzel sticks, not to mention full of love! Food is always better when it's made with love, and I think anyone can testify to that. So, next November 11, make (or buy) some Pepero for the people you love!

[Food] Langer's World Famous Pastrami

Langer's Delicatessen-Restaurant is located right by MacArthur Park is Los Angeles, CA. Langer's is a Jewish style deli that serves pastrami and corned beef the right way. If you think pastrami is that thin-sliced, salty luncheon meat you get in your sandwiches, you're mistaken. Langer's has a rich history that you can read more about at their website. My cousin describes it as the Katz's of the West (he's been to both). Katz's is probably one of the most well-known Jewish style delis and is famous for being featured in When Harry Met Sally... Anyway, back to Langer's.

Langer's conveniently has their own parking lot just down the street, which makes life so much easier. Once you get to the restaurant, expect to wait, especially during peak hours. When you step inside, you'll feel like you stepped back in time to the mid 1900s. Even their menu offerings have an old-school flair to them.

When I saw that they had a chocolate egg cream on the menu, I just had to get it. For those of you that don't know, a chocolate egg cream is a drink that was popular back in the day. It is basically seltzer water, chocolate syrup, and milk whipped up real well (there was more head in the photo, but it had deflated). It's not for everyone, but I enjoyed it. My sister and my cousin both got cream sodas, which are also delicious. I'd definitely recommend getting the cream sodas if you're not as adventurous.

Now, here is the pastrami and corned beef I was talking about. [Insider Tip: They'll bring you a sample if you ask.] Notice how the meat actually looks like meat. The meat actually tastes like meat too. Oh, and it's not overly salty. In fact, it's not salty. It really just tastes like meat. I know, this may be revolutionary to some of you.

When I saw this, I knew that we were meant to be...with some modifications. I subbed the Nippy Cheese (American) for Swiss and added some Russian dressing on the side. Pastrami Reuben what up!? Also, note the prices. Quality don't come cheap. The prices are high, but this is not somewhere you go every day.

We got an order of fries to share. They are just your typical crinkle cut variety. Nothing too special. They were great; perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

No. 44 sub Swiss, add Russian. Behold glory. Everything about this sandwich was perfect. The rye bread was buttery and crisp. The cheese was melted nicely. The pastrami. Oh the pastrami. Thick, handcut pastrami fit for a king. The sauerkraut lent just the right amount of brightness to cut through the meat and cheese. The Russian dressing I got on the side brought the whole thing together with a hint of tang in the midst of it all. Seriously guys, it's hard to top this. Reubens are my absolute favorite type of sandwich and this one tops my list (thus far). My cousin may chastise me because I haven't eaten at Katz's yet, but for now, I'm more than happy.

Here's an obligatory cross section shot. Through all that greatness, there was one thing I didn't enjoy too much: the pickle. I love pickles, but I hate cucumbers. This pickle was a pickle that wasn't sure of it's state of being. It straddled the line between cucumber and pickle. It had too much of that fresh cucumber taste and not enough of the salty, vinegary, pickley goodness. That's just my humble opinion though. I'm sure there's plenty of people out that would love this pickle.

If you didn't catch it in my post, the bottom line is simple - go now. Unless you've experienced Katz's or Carnegie, this is something you don't want to miss out on.

Langer's Delicatessen-Restaurant 704 S Alvarado St Los Angeles, CA 90057 (213) 483-8050 www.langersdeli.com