Friday, October 21, 2011

Toffee Love

Candy lovers are people I can really relate to, ahem, because I'm one myself. One thing about candy lovers—besides their need for dental work—is as much as they get excited by all kinds of candy, there’s usually one sweet in particular that rocks their world. For instance, my sister is drawn to caramels. Another friend of mine loves sour candies. Others love licorice. Candy lovers usually have at least one must-have item in a candy store, and for me that has always been toffee.

No, not taffy or that kind of thing; I’m talking about traditional English-style toffee, with its sunburnt golden hues, slicks of chocolate on one or both sides, and some kind of nut sparingly integrated throughout. Toffee should be lightly crunchy and even a little gritty when chewed, not sticky or gluey as can be the case with peanut brittle. A good toffee is dental-work safe! It will crunch and then soon dissolve once bitten. Overcooked toffee is a sad thing, stuck in a candy purgatory between what toffee should be and peanut brittle, and that's no good.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Danish Red Pesto & Fried Bacon (or Pork?)

While studying in Aarhus, Denmark for three weeks this summer I pondered the possible titles for this upcoming blog post:

"Starving in Denmark" (so expensive to eat there, which is why the photo above is of a cheap meal I made at home), "The Land of Leggings" (de rigueur fashion element for women of all ages), "World Wide Web" (so many spiders and their webs!), or "Allergies my Allergies" (they owned me and my puffy face).

But, since this is a food blog it made more sense for the title to refer to the two regional food items I loved most on the trip:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's Time To Eat the Doughnuts!

A "30 Rock" episode from a few years back really illustrated the show's pulse of the times when Alec Baldwin's character brought Jennifer Aniston's character up-to-date on the latest in New York. He said, "Welcome to New York. Let's see, we're using credit cards in cabs now, all the galleries have moved to Chelsea, and we're off cupcakes and we're back to doughnuts. Would you excuse me for a moment?" (He probably ran off to get some doughnuts.)

When cupcakes hit New York there was some dabbling around in it by all. When doughnuts hit, that was better. People can make a great cupcake in their kitchen, but a doughnut? Nope, when doughnuts were back in vogue Krispy Kreme was the one-stop shop. One tiny bundle of glazed "hot now" did the trick and gently wafted in memories of sugary childhood delight.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Foodie Redemption

This past Friday I had the pleasure of dining at Shahnawaz Restaurant with a group from the USC Office of International Services. It was the last meeting of the OIS Diner's Club for the year, and also the last time one of its leaders—@MarciaonTour from Project Quinn class—would have the chance to host such an event at USC.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Buffalo Wings + A Poem

Last Wednesday I had some Buffalo wings after a four-month wing time-off, which reminded me of a poem I once wrote on the subject for my de facto Buffalo wing partner-in-crime Dan. Wings were first introduced into my life at the infamous Chuck's Spring Street Café in NJ during undergrad. Once in NY some friends and I survived a wing road trip to Buffalo, NY. Our goal was to try four different wing places in a day, and we succeeded...our first bouts of heartburn notwithstanding. These days I still believe any food is best the closer you are to its source, yet I also admit that good wings can be found even in LA if you look around long enough (thanks Hot Wings Café, and ok thanks even to you Hooters). Yeah I think about wings a lot; hence the poem.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Dreaded Vegetable?

There's been a lot of fattening blogging going on around here. That's why this week I'm turning to a more healthy alternative (thanks Steph), even though it's a thing most often met with dread when mentioned. I'm referring to...Brussels sprouts!!! [Sound effects: scary howling noises, people screaming!]

(Something I noticed when proofreading restaurant menus was part of my job description is that the word most commonly misspelled on menus today is Brussels sprouts. I can't tell if this is in direct relation to people's dislike of it, or that it's just a weird thing to spell.)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ben & Jerry's Love Affair

I consider myself an active consumer of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. When I had an NYC job and commuted from NJ, on off-nights I'd sometimes turn to my "vice kit," which equated to some bad take-out, an alcoholic beverage, and a pint of Ben & Jerry's. Funny, back then I could easily eat a pint in one sitting.

My long-time love of Ben & Jerry's—the ice cream brand with a quirky-casual attitude featuring kooky, exciting flavors—instilled a dream in me to some day visit their Vermont factory. One time after moving to Brooklyn an ex-boyfriend swept into the city the week after 9/11 to take me on a road trip. We drove to Canada for a week, and on the way back he surprised me by driving to the place I wouldn't stop talking about when we were together. So we got to visit and take a factory tour! (That's us at the factory eating our free samples above.)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Danish Danish

You know those little fruit-filled round morning disks called "Danish pastry" that are usually found on insipid continental breakfast buffets in this country? And you know how we eat them because of either: 1) casual passivity, 2) they’re there, 3) you’re half asleep, or 4) otherwise you’d starve? Until about six years ago I thought these ubiquitous pastries were one of life’s little tricks because they look and sound good, yet each time I bite into one I’m reminded of how awful they are. Here’s the thing: what we call Danish are Americanized Danish, in the same way that Panda Express is Chinese food.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Little Chocolate Lie

In my last post, "Overdose," I forgot to mention something about the time when I started secretly eating chocolate behind my Mom's back (because she feared it would make me sick, which it didn't). When I was 15, my friends and I ate candy as an after-school activity and when that wasn't enough, I'd sneak some back into my room. One error in judgement—brought on by sheer teen laziness—almost ruined everything. After eating candy in my room, sometimes I'd forgot to throw away the wrappers. My Mom noticed and confronted me. (Guess I wasn't so stealth after all.) My quick reply birthed from mortification and fear was, "Oh I didn't eat those Mom. They're my friends' candy bars...they ate 'em and gave the wrappers to me because...I'm starting to collect them." If my Mom didn't believe me (who would?) she never let on. But because I felt so awful about lying, I figured the best way to fix it was to make the lie true, and that's how my chocolate wrapper collection began.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


An emergency-room doctor told my parents I had a chocolate allergy when I was five years old, meaning I became one of those kids whose Halloween bounty was stored far from reach. During junior high I joyfully discovered at a slumber party that I was no longer (or ever had been) allergic to chocolate, due to the giant bowl of M&M's that slept by my sleeping bag, and my not having to be rushed to the hospital. From sixteen years and on, my small disposable income from working at McDonald's couldn't be used to feed my secret chocolate habit, only because my Mom was still worried that chocolate could upset my asthma. When college started a few years later, I came into a small inheritance. With no adult supervision and money rotting in the bank, my immediate goal was to get my hands on some chocolate, and lots of it. And not just any deli counter chocolate; the good stuff. In the pre-internet days, it's a miracle that something like the amazing "Nestlé's International Collection" catalog fell into my greedy little hands, so I ordered up about $150 worth.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Food Magazine Recipes for Dinner

Last weekend I did one of my favorite things, which btw is why I keep having to go to the gym... I went to my friend Jen’s house to whip up some dinner magic using recipes from a few food magazines I had in the house! The meal was delicious, especially the tart.

The video below is a "vlog," or video blog, created for my Digital/Social Media Lab class. Got me thinking about how fun it would be to be on TV doing something like this. I know, should have thought of this 10 years ago.

Until we eat again,

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sub-Size Me!

As much as I talk about food, I admit there’s more talking going on than eating. With a fairly small appetite, my goal is to experience and taste food, not eat as much as possible per the American stereotype.

For the past several years, McDonald’s has been trying to erase their “Super-Size Me” reputation by going in the opposite direction. First came the dainty little Snack Wrap, a nice Marly-sized portion of protein and starch. Recently they also created a mini-Chicken McNugget meal, since four McNuggets with fries is just enough food to satisfy someone in need of a quick and nutritionally unsound snack.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Plain Old Wednesday Turns Into Ice Cream Shangri-La

[Reader note: One of my classes this semester is a Social Media Lab. We blog for class, and this is my first class post. It's still about the best topic ever (um, food) so belongs here too! More to come through the spring...]

It was a plain old, regular Wednesday when a very special Tasting Table: LA email arrived about Carmela Ice Cream, a company known for selling organic ice cream only at local farmer’s markets. The news? They opened a store! I’d heard of this elusive ice cream, but I’m the type that goes to IKEA over a garage sale because I don’t want to hunt for the things on my list, I just want to buy them! The company website listed retail locations for a quick pint pick-up, though why do that when you can simply visit their week-old “artisan creamery” in Pasadena?? Life on Wednesday suddenly brightened, so I sent a friend the news and she replied, “Wanna go tonight?” We calculated the timing—it was more Sierra Madre than Pasadena—and as they were only open until 8:00 p.m., any thoughts of dinner would have to wait until after our ice cream appetizer.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Aloha! Hawaii Food Adventure


So here I am, back from my first visit to Hawaii & posting my first blog entry in five months (!). All that writing for school in an enforced "less casual way" hopefully didn't supplant my blog voice, at least not in the long term. We shall see :)

School starts up again in a few days, so let's get crackin'. First up, a quiz question:

Which of the following three things did I NOT eat in Hawaii:
A. Crab
B. Pineapple

Hint: One of these things I didn't eat at all, and the other things I ate twice. What is your guess? The answer will be revealed as you read of my various food finds on the islands of Oahu and Big: