Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Quickies #23: Milk, Tequila and Carbs

Open House @ MILK: It was a no-brainer publicity event, with the folks from Got Milk? pairing with the bakery & ice creamery MILK to get the word of mouth out to consume more milk, either straight up or in preparing foods and drinks. But the "well duh" connection is also what makes it so effective (esp. for an event), it's easy to recall and remember--just like all those generally-funny commercials.

Anyways, at the MILK open house that other foodbloggers, journos and I was invited to, we got to sample the assorted dairy-packed recipes that exec. chef Bret Thompson put together for the campaign. The delicious goods included a creamy-rich butternut squash soup, an arroz con leche macaron cookie with rice krispies, miniature banana dulce de leche ice cream cones, fresh-from-the-oven cornbread with raspberry-jam centers, milky way malts and ice blend tea latte drinks (and of course, straight-up milk to drive the point home). Most of these items are still offered at MILK, and you can always make them yourself as most of the recipes are pretty easy-to-follow.

I also picked up a few cool knowledge tidbits from talking Steve James, exec. director of California Milk Processing Board, at the event: 1) Got Milk? is California-centric (I thought it was a national campaign, but that's the milk moustaches) and 2) They only support fluid milk consumption (which explains why the cheese folks have their own campaign) -- sidenote, how cool would it be for the latter to do something similar @ Meltdown, etc. or some other cheesy joint?

Of course, the coolest part of this was meeting up with fellow LA foodbloggers - including the faces behind Best of LA, Teenager Glutster, Oishii Eats, What's to Eat LA and Deep End Dining. Also heard that Pleasure Palate and Mikey Hates Everything were there too but, alas, didn't get a chance to connect with them, since I took off early to head to . . .

Eat, Drink, Learn Tequila Tasting: Co-hosted by Citysearch, Malo and Los Abuelos "tequilery" (which makes premium-priced tequila sold around $50, $60 and $80 for blanco, reposado and anejo, respectively), it was a packed event on the second floor of the popular Mexican restaurant and bar (and one of my sobering up options to after imbibing the dangerously potent drinks @ Tiki-Ti.)

Lots of good margaritas (though some guests lamented at the lack of lime wedges & salt) with mini-tacos and tortilla chips with Malo's well-known salsas (they run out fast even with the regular refills!), followed by a powerpoint on tequila making and their distillery and agave ranch and a tasting of their three tequilas - all of them are pleasant (I was particularly surprised by the smoothness of the blanco, which I ususally find too astringent and raw-tasting) but I like the reposado the best. I also met Citysearch LA's editor Tara de Lis and talked a bit about the dining/nightlife scene in L.A.

Pointers for upcoming carb fest?:
I am doing a my first half marathon on memorial day in Laguna Hills, and will definitely need a carb recharge in the O.C. later that day. Haven't picked out any place yet -- but I'm definitely open to suggestions.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Quickies #22: Waffle, Meltdown, Vegetarian Thoughts and Five-Year-Old Party

Recent madness at my full-time job meant less foodventures for me :( -- but now that things are settling back to normal mode, I hope to have more time to dine, drink, cook and blog about it all :)

More meh-ness at the Waffle: So I gave this place another go, and I stand by my original opinion ~ not really a destination restaurant, but an OK go to sober up after drinks or to grab a quick bite before movies/clubbing. My dining companion was unimpressed with her waffles, whereas I felt the french toast breakfast was something that I could grab at any old diner (the bread did have great flavor from being soaked in vanilla custard, but it was pretty soggy-soft and not crispy at all.)

First impression of Meltdown, etc.: I've only been here once and Yelped about it, but I definitely liked what I had there. The sandwich bread was crispy w/o being too burnt or greasy, and the filling combo of sharp cheddar, moist ham and tangy apple butter was near-perfect (the ham did some slipping and sliding though); I only wish this place had longer hours -- Saturday lunch is the only time I can actually go at the moment.

More vegetarian thoughts: Even though I'm merely flexitarian now, whenever I opt meatless eating out I still get assaulted with all sorts of crazy remarks; appropriately enough, recently published an article about the same topic debunking myths (yes, it's perfectly OK for the rest of you to eat meat, we aren't judging you--really!) and expressing concerns (likewise, don't judge us!), it's a good read, for omnivores & herbivores alike.

Five-year-old Party: Much thanks to Caroline on Crack for the tip off, it looks a fun event when you can enjoy glammed-up version of childhood favorites -- such as kobe-style beef sloppy joes and mac 'n cheese with lobster -- along with plenty of juice (wine) to wash it all down. Also, as Caroline noted -- goldstar is selling event tickets for a discount (normally $60/person, but ~$45 with goldstar)! I got mine already :)

And finally, while I've enjoyed Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma -- I am so not feeling his In Defense of Food, he comes off as so frickin' preachy, not to mention a bit hypocritical (he goes at length talking about how nutritional science propagate diet myths, but then debunks them using more recent nutritional science findings!)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Recipe Time #13: Simple Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons

A quick and easy baked goodie that even I can handle - they are great as last-minute homemade gifts or potluck contributions.

Ingredients (makes about 30 bite-sized macaroons)

2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
3 egg whites
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
6-8 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar (optional for stabilizing egg whites)


1. Preheat oven to 350F; line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
2. Combine egg whites, sugar and the two extracts - beat until soft peaks
3. Put about two teaspoon of flaked coconut in your hand, lightly dip in egg white and roll into a ball. Place on parchment paper and repeat (make sure they are at least 3/4-inch apart), the egg whites may need to be re-beaten, depending on how fast you can make the rest of the macaroons (alternatively, you can stabilize it with a bit of cream of tartar)
4. Put in oven and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Bring out, let cool and gently pop them from the parchment paper with your fingers or a spatula.
5. While macaroons are cooling, melt down the bittersweet chocolate on a double boiler (or an improvised one like me, a glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water).
6. After chocolate is melted, dip the macaroons in (I prefer the half-dipped look but if you are a chocoholic who don't mind messy fingers feel free to dunk the whole thing in) - set back on parchment papered cookie sheet.
7. After all the macaroons are dipped, place the sheet in the fridge for the chocolate to harden again. Serve, store and enjoy!


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