June 30, 2013
Wow, it's day 20 of Thirty Straight Days of Blogging. It's gone by faster than I thought it would. I might actually be a little sad when it is all over. Well, I guess the only thing to do now is enjoy it while it's here.
What I have for you today is a place I stopped by a couple of days ago. I had never been here before, but some of my coworkers said it was pretty good. I was on my bike and the temperature was around the mid 80's. I couldn't think of any better time to try this place out.
To be perfectly honest, I'm not a huge fan of syrup over ice. Be it an Italian ice or Hawaiian ice, I'm just not that into it. It's just so much sugar! Luckily, this place has lots of options. They have smoothies, banana splits, and all sorts of good shit to cool you down on a hot day.
Even though I'm not crazy about Italian ice, I didn't want to leave there and not try it at all. It just so happens that they have drinks called Joe Smoothies, which are a 50/50 blend of Italian ice and yogurt. As soon as I saw that, I knew that was for me.
I ordered the regular size smoothie in the Bada Bing Cherry flavor. After a couple minutes, this is what I going to drink/eat:
Since it was pretty thick, I decided to skip the straw and just use the spoon.
I took a bite, and what I got was an intensely sweet, rich cherry flavor. The texture of it was really cool. It was creamy from the frozen yogurt, but had a slight crunch from the Italian ice. Really great mouth feel to this one. Another thing is that it was REALLY FUCKING SWEET!
My God, this had to have been the sweetest thing I've had in months! After about 6 or 7 bites, I was ready to walk away. But, I had paid almost 6 bucks for this things. I had to at least get to the half-way mark! The whipped cream on top did tame back the sweet a little bit, but there just wasn't enough of it.
Overall, it was a tasty drink. It had chunks of cherry in it, and it certainly did help on a hot day. My only advice is to drink one of these smoothies with a side of insulin. You are probably going to need it.
Joe's Italian Ice
12302 Harbor Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92840
See you tomorrow!
June 29, 2013
It's Day 19 of Thirty Straight Days Of Blogging, and I thought I would share a little bit about myself this time. For all of my friends and family on Facebook, this is something you have seen numerous times. For the rest of you, it might be something new.
Whenever I want to relax and clear the mind of all the bullshit around me, I'll head to a coffee shop and play a little sudoku. I know that might sound a little boring to some of you, maybe even a bit on the nerdy side. You know what? I could care less. I like it. It's a workout for the brain and it also gives me a small opportunity just to get out the house.
I think I started playing sudoku around 2005 or 2006. I was hanging out with my dad and he would play the crossword puzzles from the newspaper. I suck at those, so I left it alone. I saw that he didn't touch the sudoku puzzle, so I picked it up and gave it a try. I had no clue to what I was doing and had to wait until the next day to get the answers. When I saw the answers and re-read the instructions for the 100th time, I finally started to understand how it worked.
The more I played, the better I got. I'm to a point where I only play puzzles that are at the most difficult level. Otherwise, there isn't much of a challenge.
As good as I think I am with it, I've managed to find a sudoku book I fucking hate!
This book is called Third Degree Black Belt Sudoku. I have considered burning this book because I feel like an idiot trying to play it. Every puzzle, I get to a point with about 20 numbers left and I can't figure out what the next number is. Every time I guess, I'm wrong! They say that there is a logical reason for every number. BULLSHIT! There is no fucking way! I hate looking in the back for the answers because it feels like cheating. There has to be some formula that I haven't figured out yet. I just think the book is full of shit!
If I'm at Starbucks, I usually just order an Ice Coffee with Milk. Nothing fancy here. It's one of the cheapest things on their menu, and the refills are 50 cents. That's tough to beat. I don't normally get any of their food because most of it is overpriced. In my opinion, the best buy is the parfait cup. It's about 3 bucks, but very tasty. And you get a good amount of it.
There are other perks to this coffee shop adventure, like listening to my music(which really is a key part), people watching, enjoying the weather, and little stuff like that. Overall, it's really about getting a chance to chill.
There you have it. I'll probably put up one more post in the next 11 days for you to learn a bit more about me. Until then, take care and see you tomorrow!
June 28, 2013
It's day 18 of Thirty Straight Days of Blogging, and boy do I have something special for you. What you see above will eventually become the new God for those who love all things spicy. Feast your eyes upon the Korean hot pepper paste better known as Gochujang.
I'm not exactly sure when I first started hearing about it. I remember reading something in Bon Appetit about it being the "next big thing". I also remember seeing someone use it on the show Eat St. I was interested in trying it, but never saw it anywhere. It wasn't until my trip to Surfas when I would eventually find it. It was about $10 for 1 kilo. I figured I wouldn't find it any other place, so I when ahead and bought it. Little did I know it would change my taste buds forever.
As you can see, I'm almost done with this tub. This stuff is literally peppery gold! All other hot sauces need to bow down to the awesomeness that is Gochujang. Tabasco is merely a pawn in comparison. Fuck Frank's Red Hot! THIS is the shit you put on everything! And Sriracha....just know that Gochujang is the TRUE heir to the IRON THRONE of SPICE!
All threats aside, this stuff is awesome! It's got this sweet/spicy thing down to perfection. It's a little earthy, a little savory, and a whole of bad-ass goodness. You absolutely must get your hands on this stuff!
What I like to do with this stuff is what I call my After-Work Special. I normally use two packs of instant ramen noodles, but since I had some leftover pasta, I used that this time around.
I'll start off with a pan on the LOWEST heat setting I can get it at. This stuff will burn, so all you are trying to do is just warm it up.
I'll add about a tablespoon or two of Gochujang, butter, sesame oil, black pepper, garlic powder and honey to the pan. I'll stir this up until combined.
When mixed, I will drop in the pasta. In the case of ramen, I will drop it in straight from the water. No strain or rinsing of the noodles is necessary.
Once you get the pasta in the pan, just toss until nicely coated. You aren't going to have a really saucy dish, but it will be enough to coat the pasta well.
At this point, I'm good to go. Since I was making this specifically for the blog, I decided to add a fried egg to it. You know, to make it all fancy!
And there you have it. Simple, spicy goodness. In my opinion, two of the best things to accompany the Gochujang are sesame oil and honey. Both of those ingredients bring wonderful flavor notes to something that is really good on its own. The nuttiness from the oil and the extra sweet from the honey will give that extra flavor that will make your mouth feel like it's having an orgasm. And when your mouth-gasm is over, come back and leave a comment of only "Thank You" down below.
That "Thank You" comment will mean that Gochujang just had its way with your food hole and you will never be the same.
And...uh...you still have a little on the side of your mouth. ;)
See you tomorrow!
June 27, 2013
Welcome to day 17 of Thirty Straight Days of Blogging. Today's post is really a mash up of things that didn't make the cut for the blog or were just for the family.
What you see above is a picture of a chocolate robot. I didn't make it. In fact, I can't stand working with chocolate. Yup, a pastry chef that doesn't care for working with chocolate. I could go on and on with the reasons why, but it's not important right now. What is important is who made it.
Two co-workers of mine named Katherine and Ricky put this guy together. As they were building it, I asked the simple question of whether or not the robot would be evil. They both chuckled and Katherine said no, it wasn't going to be evil. I was like "Why not?!?! All robots eventually turn evil! Look at every sci-fi movie ever made!"
Since it was Katherine's baby, she said no to the evil robot idea. I think it would have been a bitchin' evil chocolate robot. Instead, we have a nice, man-servant chocolate robot.
The next picture is a shot I took off the tv. It's how Peter Griffin likes to stuff his chicken.
This is a ginger bread house they made at my job. It was pretty cool looking, so I took a picture of it.
The next picture is of a Dominoes Pizza box. The slogan they used is a motto I've been using with women for at least a decade now.
The next couple of pictures are of bread that I made. I didn't take pics of the process, so they never made the blog. They were tasty though.
Sometimes, I'll make some sweet treats for the family and just share the pics on Facebook. You know, to brag to the rest of the world that I'm an awesome pastry chef and the rest of you just wish you were as cool as me. First up is churros.
Next up, Lemon Meringue Pie.
And now, banana fritters.
The next couple pics I got from watching Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. I like most of the cartoons they show, and they never fail to get a laugh out of me.
What do you know?!?! Another chocolate piece from Ricky and Katherine. I forgot I had this pic. In any case, I really liked this one. It wasn't 10ft tall, but it was elegant. Good job you two!
That's it for this one. Hope you liked the pics. See you tomorrow!
June 26, 2013
Day 16 of Thirty Straight Days Of Blogging is upon us. To celebrate this wonderful day, I have a sweet treat for you. The name of this eatery is Choco Fruit, and it located inside the Outlets at Orange Shopping Center.
I had actually gone to this place about a week ago. I was out with a friend and had noticed that they had a new shop there. When we walked by, you could see three chocolate fountains displayed in the front window. Me, being the jaded pastry chef, saw the fountains and just said "Meh". But, I do understand that they can be pretty cool to most people.
With the name Choco Fruit, I thought it would be a straight up chocolate shop, kind of like See's or Godiva. Instead, it's closer to a cafe'. They serve a variety of drinks such as smoothies, tea and coffee. They even have Turkish Coffee, which is something I don't see outside of middle eastern restaurants.
Two of their main featured items are crepes and waffles. After a quick discussion, we decided to go with the waffle. It would be served with fresh fruit and drizzled with white and dark chocolate.
After a short wait, we got our waffle and headed outside. This is what we were looking at:
I know it's a little tough to see. Here is one more shot.
As a pastry chef, I rarely drizzle something this heavily in chocolate. In most cases, you don't want that much drizzle because it starts to take away from the dessert itself. BUT, in this case, it actually worked for it.
My friend and I got our forks and dug in. And guess what? It was really fucking good! Honestly, I never really crave waffles. I think they are ok, but that's about it. This waffle was really good though! The fruit was fresh, and the chocolate added enough sweetness to make it a dessert, while not being overly sweet. It was just right.
At the time, the young lady working there said they had only been open about 2 weeks. If they keep making treats like that waffle, they should be around for a long time. I do wish them the best of luck.
Before I go, here is a picture of my friend. Her name is Michelle, and I told her I had to put a picture of her on here since I was taking all these other pics for the blog.
100 City Blvd W
Orange, CA 92868
See you tomorrow!
June 24, 2013
It's day 15 of Thirty Straight Days of Blogging. I'm halfway through this funky little adventure, and, I can honestly say that I'm tired. Not of writing the blog, I'm loving every moment. I'm tired because work has been giving me a spanking that I did not request. I try and refrain from bitching about work on here, but lately, it's really been starting to grind my gears. People don't show up and I have to pick up the pieces. Ugh...I guess I should be happy that they trust me that much, but extra work loads just don't seem like fun to me.
OK, enough of me crying about work. What I have for you today is a little french fry stand located in the Main Place Mall. Hot Fries is their name and pickles is their game! I'm just kidding. With the name "Hot Fries", what do you think they specialize in?!?!
I had mentioned in an older post that I'm always on the lookout for good chili cheese fries. Seeing that this place is all about fries, it seemed like a no-brainer.
I ordered the basic chili cheese fries. They had other options with all kinds of shit covering up the fries. I figured I'd keep it simple for the first go. What I got was canned chili and processed cheese over good fries. We have all had that chili and cheese before, so I don't think I need to go into detail about how it tasted.
Don't get me wrong, I got no beef with canned foods or processed cheese. My problem is that I was expecting more than that. Then, I looked back at the employees, and realized that those two items are simply the safest bet. Would you want to give some brain-dead teenager who can't let go of their cell phone a 20 ingredient chili recipe? Yeah, I wouldn't do that either.
That's it for this one. I wish I had more to say, but work has burned me out today. Don't worry, tomorrows post will be a lot better.
2800 N Main St
Santa Ana, CA 92705
See you tomorrow!
June 23, 2013
It's day 14 of Thirty Straight Days of Blogging. The title of this post really says it all. I'm going to sit here and rant about something that's been bugging me for quite sometime. I was originally going to call this post "Reigning in the chefs", but I didn't like that title. I guess the closest thing to sum up what I'm about talk is this: Chefs Going Too Far.
In this day and age, being a talented chef can mean a lot more than just running a kitchen brigade. A new dish can get your plate of food pictured and shared on every social media outlet. A twist on that classic comfort food can get your face in a food magazine and have you hailed as a virtuoso. Next thing you know, you have a restaurant with your name on it. The place is yours and you are going to run it your way, and nobody is going to tell you what to do. Even the customer.
More and more chefs these days aren't catering to anyone but themselves. So many chefs want to do these "pop up" dining events simply because they take away the option of a menu. There are numerous food truck and food cart owners who openly tell customers they serve their dishes one way only, no exceptions.
While I'm sure telling a customer "No" must feel great, you have to remember that they are the ones keeping the lights on. If the customer feels like they can't get what they want, they'll find another place they can.
One new trend that is really bugging me is restaurants charging people for not showing up to their reservation. That's right, if you make a reservation and don't show up, the restaurant will still charge you a fee. In my opinion, that is pure bullshit. How are you going to charge me when you didn't even cook me a fucking meal?!?!
I understand that restaurants lose money on large parties that don't show up. They have extra people working and extra food ordered. But to charge a party of 3 or 4 for not showing up is just being an asshole about it. The whole idea of charging someone because they didn't step foot in your restaurant just really pisses me off.
Of course, if you don't want to charge them, you could go on twitter and cry like a little bitch about it. That's what Noah Ellis of the restaurant Red Medicine did. He went on twitter and named a bunch of people who no-showed on their reservation. Instead of crying about it, he should have been asking himself some serious questions.
Why didn't they show up?
Was it the food?
Was it the service?
Was it the prices?
What can I do to get them in here?
At this point, giving that asshole any advice is a waste of time. And I'm not going to waste anymore of my time on him or his restaurant.
I can try and understand how getting all the accolades from cooking could be very exciting. I can understand how when you do finally get your own place, you don't want to take shit from anyone, let alone some "foodie" trying to tell you that you didn't cook something properly. Every cook out there has at some point wanted to scream at a customer and say "IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, YOU GO BACK THERE AND COOK IT YOURSELF!". I understand all the frustrations and the angst to take control.
What I also understand is that I'm in a service industry. As a cook, I work to make food for others, not myself. The customers are showing up and paying money for food to feed themselves and the ones they are with, not me. While I may scoff at someone ordering a steak well-done, I'm not the one who is going to eat that shoe leather, they are.
While it's impossible to cater to every need of a guest, you should be willing to work with them at every turn. To start taking away their options and trying to make the guest feel lucky to get their food from you just seems wrong.
That's it for the rant. What's your take on these topics? Are chefs going to far, or is that customer are getting spoiled and wanting too much? Let me know what you think.
See you tomorrow!
June 22, 2013
Thanks for showing up to day 13 of Thirty Straight Days Of Blogging. What I have for you today is a movie review. While the name "I Like Killing Flies" may sound a little odd, this movie shows you a side of the food industry that few people see and even fewer truly understand. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Kenny Shopsin.
The film is centered around restaurant owner and chef Kenny Shopsin. For 30 years, he ran his restaurant in Greenwich Village, NY before his lease ran out and had to move to a different location. The premise of this documentary is straight forward, but what you see and hear from Shopsin, his family and his customers, will paint a picture larger than you would ever expect.
When you first meet Kenny, you see a man getting ready to open his restaurant. When he gets to the kitchen, you quickly realize this isn't what you normally see in the movies. You see a tiny, hole-in-the-wall kitchen that is held together with duct tape and bubble gum.
As the movie goes on, you see the kind of colorful character that Kenny Shopsin is. He's sarcastic, funny, foul-mouthed, blunt, and sometimes, just a cranky old bastard. He knows it, too. He never shies away from anything that might be considered a fault.
During the film, you meet his family that pretty much confirms everything Kenny said about himself, good and bad.
Along the way, we learn about the "Rules" of his restaurant. We hear from customers who say that you aren't a true regular until Kenny has kicked you out of the restaurant. All the while, you see how much everyone in Kenny's life loves and adores all that he has done.
You might be asking yourself why you would want to watch a movie about some cranky old man in New York. Well, you want to see this movie because he's a lot more than a foul mouthed cook.
When you get past the attitude and curse words, what you see is really quite simple: A hard working man. You see a man cooking in a tiny kitchen who makes no excuses and doesn't let anything stop him. You see a man, who by his own children's accounts, doesn't take any time off.
From a chefs standpoint, it's amazing seeing this guy crank out that level of food in such tight quarters. I watched him use a technique that really threw me for a loop. I don't want to spoil it, but it's really cool, and a bit dangerous!
If you cook for a living, or are thinking about getting into the biz, this movie is a must watch. If you just enjoy good movies and foul language, this is worth a watch.
I was able to stream this movie on Netflix.
See you tomorrow!
June 21, 2013
It's Day 12 of Thirty Straight Days Of Blogging. What I have for you today is special. In fact, "special" isn't a good enough word for this post. I think the most appropriate word would be "Amazing". Get ready for the culinary adventure known as Dinner With Mariah.
Dinner With Mariah is a cooking series on Youtube hosted by the sexy Mariah Milano. If you are a perv like me, then yes, it's THAT Mariah Milano that I'm talking about. If you aren't a perv, let me explain.
Before starting this cooking series, Mariah Milano use to work in the adult industry. Or, you could just say she was fucking on film. Whatever you prefer. In any case, that's where I first saw her. I knew then that she had some special talents, but I didn't know she had interests in cooking.
Don't worry, none of the links on this page are to anything XXX.
I'm not sure how I stumbled upon her cooking videos, but when I did, I was a bit surprised. It's not everyday you see someone transition from porn to cooking videos. When I watched one of her cooking videos for the first time, I ....how about you see it for yourself.
Here is one more video for you to enjoy!
I HIGHLY recommend you watch the videos, otherwise what I'm going to say in the next paragraphs won't make any sense!
My first words after watching one of her videos for the first time was "What the fuck?!?" Then, after getting my jaw off the ground, I found another video to watch. And another. And another! It was...crazy! This chick was cursing up a storm. Her big tits were bouncing around and the camera man would zoom right in on them! And there was food, too!
I wanted to laugh, I wanted to drool, I even wanted to watch one of her old videos. But, in a crazy/insane way, her videos rock!
As a chef, I can be quite critical when watching cooking shows. I see a flaw, I yell at the TV "That's not how you do it asshole!". And to be honest, I've seen numerous things in the videos that aren't technically sound when it comes to cooking. She says the word "Amazing" way too much. And the camera zooming in on her boobs....I have no problem with that at all. :)
The fact is, Mariah makes these videos the way she wants to and doesn't give a single fuck what the naysayers are talking about. And that is part of the magic of it all. She's having fun the whole time, and it comes through the camera. Especially when she takes a bite and almost has an orgasm on the spot. You gotta love it!
I know some of the women reading this might think "I'm not watching some slut cook!". First off, there's no need for name calling. Second, I can honestly say that a good number of my female friends that have watched the videos like her.
Sure, sex appeal is the name of the game here. So what if her big, luscious, caramel colored boobs are bouncing around. Don't worry about it when she takes a bite of something, and those juicy lips...are...uh...mmmmm. Enough of this blog shit. I'm gonna throw some plastic wrap over the keyboard and "enjoy" some of her pre-cooking work.
See you tomorrow!
June 20, 2013
It's Day 11 of Thirty Straight Days Of Blogging. I'm glad you could stop by for another exciting post. What we have today is a place I almost walked right past, The Iron Press.
The Iron Press is located in the same shopping center as Portola Coffee Lab and Surfas. I discovered this restaurant as I was getting ready to leave. I had just finished a coffee and croissant from Portola and was taking a little stroll to see what else was there. Just when I decided to head back home, I happened to glance through a store window and saw someone wearing a shirt that had "Beer and Waffles" written on it. For me, anything mixed with beer is usually a good combo. Adding waffles to the mix just sounds delightful.
The picture above is pretty much the first thing I saw when I walked in. I have to say that's kinda cool. I'd like to see the place when they are busy. As I sat down, I just looked around and checked out some of the art on the wall and the overall scenery. Kind of a swanky place. It has to be with all the hipsters in that shopping center. In any case, I was digging the vibe. Good music playing and Sportscenter on the TV. You can't go wrong.
When the server handed me the menu, I looked it over and was slightly confused. Don't get it twisted, I wasn't staring at it and drooling all over myself. It's just that the way they have the combinations set up is different than the standard. One size combination means you don't get a side. Another means you do. A special combo might get you certain sides. Not the most straight forward, but it made sense after the server broke it down for me. Maybe I just left my brain at home that day.
Since I rode my bike there, I chose to go with a half-waffle sandwich with tater tots and a beer. The sandwich had prosciutto and cheese with arugula. The server recommended a fried egg and avocado. She was a cutie pie with pretty eyes, so I went with it. Hey, I'm a sucker for pretty eyes. :)
They have a ton of beer on tap, lots of them being micro-brews. I forgot which one I got. It was some beer from Belgium, and it was tasty. I just didn't like the size of glass it came in. I wanted to get a little more beer for my $6.
When my food came, this is what I was looking at:
Let me remind you, this was a HALF ORDER! I was relieved I didn't go for the full. They would've had to wheel my ass out of there!
I cut it in half and was able to pick it up at that point. After tearing through this plate some, this is what it looked like:
For real, this was a great plate of food. The tater tots were dope. I got to try 3 different sauces with it. A maple-habanero, regular maple, and a salsa...I think. I really need to take notes! In any case, I learned that dipping tater tots in maple syrup is almost sinful. It took a little restraint not to lick my fingers to get every last drop of that sweet, sweet goodness. The spicy maple was good, but I preferred the regular.
The sandwich was well put together. The waffle was good and held up well. It wasn't tough at all, yet it held everything together. I don't order prosciutto that often, but I could tell that it was of good quality. The fried egg was good, as it usually is. Overall, just a really good sandwich.
When I finished the plate, I thought "Fuck, I still need to ride home!" I was ready for a nap at that point. But, I knew I had to get to home eventually. So, I got my big butt up on that bike and slowly made my way home.
That's about it for this one. On a side note, I have to say that last picture of the half-eaten sandwich is my favorite. In my opinion, I think it came out great. Probably one of my best, if that's saying anything. I'm no artsy-fartsy photographer, but for some reason I really like how it came out! What do you think? Good pic or just whatever? Let me know!
See you tomorrow!
June 19, 2013
We are 10 days in with this Thirty Straight Days Of Blogging adventure. I haven't hit the point of worrying about what to post, but I could see that happening around day 20. Let's hope I can manage to get off my ass and whip something up for this blog!
What I have for you today is something that I see as being extremely trendy right now: Roasted Bone Marrow. Every gastropub and hipster joint from here to New York is putting bone marrow on their menu. And really, why not? Fatty is the way to go these days. Pork fat, duck fat, hobo fat, bacon, it doesn't even matter anymore. Want to kick up a dish? Add fat! And when all the fat from every mammal on earth has been rendered down, that's when you break the bones and get down and dirty with the marrow.
As a blogger and a foodie, I felt it was my duty to try this out for myself. My local grocery store was selling a pack of bones for about 4 bucks. It wasn't going to break the bank, but then again, you are only getting a few ounces of something edible.
I bought some french bread and shallots to go with it and headed home.
After checking a few recipes, I found one that seemed about on par with what I had seen on the food shows. All it said was to roast in an oven at 425F for about 15 to 20 minutes. All I did to it was sprinkle it with kosher salt and black pepper, with a tiny drizzle of olive oil.
While it was in the oven, I sliced up the french bread and lightly toasted the bread in a pan.
After that, I sliced the shallots and sauteed those until they got a good amount of color to them.
At this point, the bones were ready to come out of the oven. I had checked them first at 16 minutes, but felt they needed a little more time. At 20 minutes, they were done.
From here, I knew I had to get moving fast. I needed to take my pics for the blog and get eating before this stuff cooled down. There was no way in hell I was going to eat cold, fatty marrow!
So, with after taking a bunch of pics I would later delete for being crappy, it was time to eat!
I got a tiny butter knife and spread some across the toast. It has a jelly-like consistency, but looks like animal fat. Not exactly pleasing to the eye, but not too scary either.
I took a bite without the shallots first. Biting into it was like warm butter. You can feel it sort of coat the inside of your mouth with the natural fat. The flavor is, to say the least, rich. Very rich. This isn't something you want to eat a whole lot of. But, it does taste good. I honestly liked it. But, because it's like eating pure fat, you can't do too much of it. I highly recommend sharing this with someone else.
The shallots added a nice touch of flavor and texture. If you don't like onions, just make sure you bring some kind of crunch to the party.
That's about it for this one. See you tomorrow!