Friday, March 19, 2010

NomNoms: 99 Things to Eat before You Die in LA (Los Angeles)

Let's see how many I have eaten from things Mr. Gold wants me to eat:

101 Noodle Express’ Beef Roll Gold
Akasha’s Quinoa With Edamame
Ancient Ginger Soup at Noodle Island
Angeli’s Gnocchi
Animal’s Foie Gras & Biscuits and Gravy
Anisette’s Pain au Chocolat
Apple Pan’s Hickoryburger
A-Won’s Al Bap
Banh Mi from Mr. Baguette
Bay Cities’ Godmother
Beverly Soon Tofu
Bigmista’s Pig Candy
Bludso’s Brisket
Bob’s Plain Doughnut
Border Grill’s Green Corn Tamales
Brandt Beef
Brooklyn’s Hearth-Baked Bagel
Bulgarini’s Goat’s Milk Gelato
Campanile’s Grilled Prime Rib
Canary’s Lamb-Tongue Sandwich
Capital’s Hot Almond Milk in Pastry
Casa Bianca’s Sausage-and-Eggplant Pizza
Chantilly’s Sesame Cream Puffs
Chicharrones de Queso
Chichen Itza’s Panuchos
Chili John’s Chili
Chinois’ Sizzling Catfish
Chung King’s Chongqing Fried Chicken
Ciro’s Flautas
Cole’s French Dip
Comme Ca’s Cheeseburger
Cut’s Bone-Marrow Flan
Din Tai Fung’s Soup Dumplings
Donut Man’s Strawberry Doughnut
El Atacor #11’s Potato Tacos
El Parian’s Birria
Euro Pane’s Egg Salad Sandwich
Eva Solo-Brewed Coffee
Eva’s Lechon
Fab L.A.’s Street Dog
Golden Deli’s Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Good Girl Dinette’s Chicken PotPie
Harry’s Seascape Strawberries
Hollenbeck Burrito
Hot Dog on a Stick
Huarache de Cabeza
Huckleberry’s Maple-Bacon Biscuits
Hungry Cat’s Lobster Roll
Ivy’s Corn Chowder
Jitlada’s Fish Kidneys
Kiriko’s Salmon Sashimi
Kiyokawa’s Sashimi
Kogi’s Kalbi Taco
Krakatoa-Blend Coffee
Krua Thai’s Pad Thai
L.A. Galbi
La Brea Bakery’s Country White Bread
Langer’s Hot Pastrami
Lawry’s Prime Rib
Let’s Be Frank’s Hot Dog
Little Dom’s Oyster Po’ Boy
Little Flower’s Sea-Salt Caramels
Ludo’s Fried Chicken
Luna Oysters
Lupe’s #2 Burrito
Mandarin House’s cha chiang mein
Maple Bacon Donut
Matsuhisa’s New-Style Sashimi
MCGrath’s Rainbow Chard
Meals by Genet’s Doro Wot
Michael Cimarusti’s Squid With Piquillo Peppers and Pig’s Ear
Mo-Chica’s Seviche
Mozza Pizza
Musso & Frank’s Welsh Rarebit
Natraliart’s Sprats
Newport Seafood’s Spicy Lobster
Oki Dog
Palate’s Vegetables en Papillote
Paleron With Kumquats and Cream of Wheat
Peruvian Roast Chicken
Philippe’s French Dip
Pho Minh’s Pho Bac
Rajdhani’s Thali
Rivera’s Tortillas
Saffron Silk Ice Cream
San Nak Ji
Sapp Coffee Shop’s Boat Noodles
Shanghai Xiao Chi’s Pork Pump
Shanxi Knife-Cut Noodles
Sherry Yard’s Kaiserschmarrn
Street-Vendor Cheese Enchiladas
The Gorbals’ Dill Fries
THE Grill on the Alley’s Corned Beef Hash
Tito’s Old-School Tacos
Urasawa’s Fugu
Wa Sushi’s Apple Pie and Eel
Whatever Lou Tells You to Drink
Yellow Fish Fried With Hair Seaweed

I got an F. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Fair Country: Nashville

I'm in the initial planning stages of a cross-country roadtrip. I was delighted to see Gwenny Poo gave me an extensive list of things to do in Nashville this morning.

Honky tonks, fried chicken shacks and cafes galore
! Woohoo!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NomNoms: Me Jana (DC Metro)

Okay, so I'm not going to lie. I love Los Angeles, and one of the reasons I love Los Angeles is because of the food. There is so much variety and it's all so good no matter the price range you're looking at. DC has disappointed me so far in the food category. Restaurants that I would go back to in DC, I would never dine at in LA.

Me Jana is a Lebanese restaurant that Matt and I tried to go to in January, but it was ridiculously crowded so we wound up leaving. For Valentine's Day, we tried again and this time called before we arrived. Again, it was completely packed and tables were turning over like crazy.

We ordered a variety of cold and warm mezza, which are small plates like tapas. Only a few of the dishes were good. The goat cheese salad and the seared cheese were delicious, although it was difficult to eat more than one piece of the cheese. It was heavy but tasty. I think the dates put the goat cheese salad over the edge, and I have been adding dried dates to my lunchtime salads since. The mozzarella was okay. You would think that figs and mozzarella would be amazing, but I think the dressing was its the downfall. The sea scallops were just awful. An overcooked, rubbery mess. You can tell that they will be awful just by looking at the photo. The lamb was also okay, a little overcooked for my tastes but the flavor was there.

Goat cheese salad with mixed greens, oranges, dates and walnuts with a citrus vinaigrette


Mozzarella, tomato, figs, basil & balsamic vinegar

 Seared cheese with pears and dates


Sea scallops with saffron lemon yogurt

Lamb chops

For dessert, we went out on a limb and ordered the achta. It has the consistency of ricotta, but the taste was the interesting part. Imagine taking a single red rose in one hand and then sticking the entire head of the flower into your mouth. That's about what it tasted like to me. In fact, as I continued eating it, I imagined myself doing just that. It was more palatable when including the pieces of fruit in my bites.  

Achta with bananas and strawberries

Whenever we go out to eat in LA, at the end of the meal, Matt will inevitably ask, "How many stars would you give them?" But in DC, we have learned that the million dollar question is, "If you were in LA, would you eat here?" Me Jana, the answer is "no."

Me Jana
2300 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Oscar Report

It isn't every day that you or I get invited to attend the Academy Awards. I learned that the only way to get your booty into the Oscars is to be invited. The seatfillers have an "in" even. Academy members go through the lottery system and if they are picked, they still have to pay for their tickets. I found myself in a very fortunate situation when my dear friend invited me to attend as one of her two guests.

For nominees, the night is a once in a lifetime experience, but it was also for me since I have absolutely nothing to do with the film industry.The first item of business was to find the dress. I'm on a tight budget and wound up scouring a number of closets to find something to borrow. What I wound up with was a beautiful blue silk Calvin Klein evening dress that was....a size two and a little too tight. I had two back up dresses in case it was still too tight after two weeks but my heart was set on the blue one! Thank you, Lean Cuisine, salads and 24 Hour Fitness! I owe you.

The day of "the show" (as people in the know call it) was spent primping for many hours. First was curling the hair and then driving to my friend's place to pick up the second guest and get our eye makeup done. Then we were off to the Renaissance Hotel to meet up with the benevolent inviter and take some photos before the show.

When the big day was approaching, I wondered several times how one gets to Hollywood and Highland when Hollywood and Highland are both closed for the Oscars. In our ticket packet, we were provided with a handy dandy auto pass and when we approached said closed roads, the nice police officers removed the barricades for us to drive on through. Even at this point, there were a ton of looky-loos standing on the sides of the road, taking photos. When we finally got to the intersection of Hollywood and Highland, we found ourselves in a bit of a situation. Our grand plan was to go to the Renaissance, change and take photos. When we arrived, our car was promptly swept away and we were left surrounded by security guards in the pouring rain. We were dressed casually so these guards started bombarding us with questions of why were we there. Finally, we were escorted to the Renaissance, where we were able to finish getting ready.

We went down to the red carpet around 4:15 p.m., which would give us a good amount of time to leisurely walk the carpet, meet up with our friend again and then make it into the theatre for the cocktail reception. Immediately upon arriving on the red carpet, Colin Firth was being interviewed to my left and Queen Latifah was stepping out of her limo. After Firthy was done with his interview, he stepped into line and somehow wound up with his shoulder next to my face. He is taller than me after all.

Now, a little explanation of the red carpet is in order. Even at an exclusive event such as the Oscars, people are still STILL separated into the somebodies and the nobodies. At the security tent, the somebodies get quickly swept away by pretty young things in headsets while the nobodys slowly trudge their way through. Then the actual red carpet is separated into two lines, the press line and the nobody-wants-to-see-you-on-tv line. At points, everyone would get mixed together, but in general, it was pretty segregated.

On the red carpet, I spotted Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, Sandra Bullock and Jesse James, Miley Cyrus, Meryl Streep, Gabourey Sibide, Lee Daniels, Tom Ford, Stanley Tucci, Jason Bateman, and Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Saarsgaard with Seacrest, Billy Bush and Mario Lopez doing broadcasts.

As we were entering the theatre, Meryl Streep was next to me and Woody Harrelson a few people back. Once we got inside the Kodak Theatre, we enjoyed champagne from Moet & Chandon. There were also hors d'oeuvres from Wolfgang Puck but I was only able to get two. I spotted Wolfgang Puck a few tables down talking to a strange looking man with a scruffy beard. Then I realized it was Antonio Banderas and next to him was his wife, Melanie Griffith. As I said, we weren’t very lucky with the cater waiters, but we spied one not far away from us so we went after him. Then I realized who he had stopped to serve. It was Mayor Villaraigosa! Robert Duvall was wondering around a lot and I must have passed him four times at least. With about fifteen minutes left until we needed to take our seats, my friend said, "Look it's Matt Damon!" When I turned around, he was right in front of me, looking very cheerful. She claims that he smiled at me, but I hate to brag.

I'm sure you saw the ceremonies so I will just highlight a few things:
- The stage was absolutely beautiful no matter what color it was.
- Duckie! Did you see Duckie?
- Rachel McAdams' dress
- Love that Hurt Locker kicked Avatar's butt (I didn't watch either of them)
- The "Kayne" moment was much more awkward in the theatre than it probably was on television
- I love Gabby Sidibe! She is so adorable. Here is more proof:

The remainder of the night was a bit of a nightmare that I don't want to get into, but we managed to spot Gerard Butler and Samuel L. Jackson as we were leaving the Kodak.

I suppose attending the most exclusive and prestigious event in Hollywood should make you feel special and I did. I was excited to be there and loved the chance to dress up and be part of the event. But the truth is that I wasn't part of it. I was just there and it still made me feel like anyone else watching from their living rooms. Yes, I love movies, and yes, I will remember that night for a long time to come and am so grateful that I got to go, but I still felt like a voyeur.

Friday, March 12, 2010

SeeDo: Manifest Equality (Los Angeles)

You've heard of pop-up shopping. Now, there are pop-up art shows. For one weekend only, Manifest Equality took over the site and parking lot of a former Big Lots! store on Vine Street in Hollywood to present a diverse showing of artwork for a good cause: promoting full and equal rights to all Americans. Lots of famous artists were represented such as Gary Basemen, Shepard Fairey, and Ron English but also a fair share of up and coming artists.

The last dreary Saturday was a nice time to enjoy some works indoors. 

Manifest Equality's logo in yarn

Side view of the yarn heart
This poor chalk bear looks so sad, and then he got rained on.
Some of the installations:

The art show also gave us an opportunity to search for some pieces for our new home. We actually found a piece we both loved, but it was already sold. We looked at the price list anyway and discovered the piece to be extremely affordable. I emailed the artist the next day and now we are in the process of purchasing a few pieces of her work!

All in all, it was a successful outing. Plus, they had an awesome photo booth and free buttons!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

NomNoms: Westside Tavern (Los Angeles)

Do you ever dream about certain foods and constantly find yourself thinking about them? I had been dreaming about Westside Tavern's chicken liver mousse for weeks and weeks. When Matt unexpectedly appeared in town, I begged him to go there with me.

The chicken liver mousse is so rich and thick and there is so much of it. Smear it on some perfectly toasted slices of bread and add a little sweet apple chutney and delicious-ness occurs. 

Since I was planning to bogart the mousse to myself, I only ordered a half dozen oysters for the rest of my meal.

Jar of chicken liver mousse

The horseradish seafood sauce was ridiculous. I wish I hadn't even wasted an oyster trying the other sauce. I don't even know what it was. 
Half dozen oysters

I only tried a bite of the pot roast and don't remember much about it. It looks pretty though. I couldn't try more because Matt was sick and I was preoccupied by the mousse.

Beef short rib pot roast

10850 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90064