Thursday, May 27, 2010

finally five guys

i finally tried a five guys burger. i was meeting a friend down in cerritos, and she suggested five guys, which is a chain in washington, d.c. usually i'm not a fan of the chain restaurant, but i will make exceptions when you hear that it's good.

i ordered the five guys cheeseburger that came with two patties, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, mayo, and pickles for $4.99. if i had known that it was going to be two patties, i would have ordered the little cheeseburger for $3.99.

overall, it was a might juicy burger. each bite melts in your mouth. i thought would be stuffed afterwards, but i was actually completely satisfied. (however, i should mention that i just returned from a 30 mile backpacking trip which depleted all reserves so i found myself eating non-stop.)

we also ordered their fries cajun style. it reminded me of boardwalk fries with a bit of a kick.

i have to say. $4.99 for a burger with all those toppings is a pretty good deal. i would definitely go back again, but i'll probably order the little burger next time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


usually between my roommate and me, i'm the one who mostly cooks, but there are those rare occasions where she has the urge to cook. tonight was one of them.

she made a delicious quinoa and black bean dish. she found the recipe on all (i've pasted it down below). quinoa is a type of grain, actually a seed. to add some color to the dish, she added some chopped red pepper. unfortunately we didn't have cilantro, but overall the dish was very good!

the cumin and cayenne gave it a nice flavor. for those who want more protein, i think you could add some chicken to the dish.

maybe i should let my roommate cook more often.


  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
  2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes,
  3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

crazy for crabs

after being away for a few days, i was really craving korean food, something that usually happens when i travel. this time i wanted to try the spicy crab soup (ggot-gae-tang) at ondal. ( don't worry. if you can't speak korean, you can point to the picture above the register.)

they had a nice selection of ban chan (side dishes). everything was very fresh. but my favorite part was when they brought out the spicy crab soup. everything was covered in deep orange red spices. they cut up the crab for you so it makes it easier to eat. they also top it off with lots of bean sprouts which soak up all the flavor.

you do have to have some patience when eating crabs. it's not a lot of meat, but b/c the crab was so fresh, the meat was so tender. the portions are definitely huge. however, i think my friend and i managed to eat all of the crabs except a few legs. afterwards, you can choose to have noodles, rice, or su-jae-bee (flour dumplings) to the soup. b/c we were both stuffed, i just asked them to pack it to go so that i could make it at home later. a delicious spicy leftover for tomorrow.

eating spicy crab soup always reminds me of comfort food. i remember when my mom used to make it. her soup had a bit of bean paste which added a nice salty flavor. as a kid, i would go through all of the crab, and i would have a pile of crab shells next to my plate.

at the end of the meal, they gave us shik-gae (a sweet cold rice drink) which was totally refreshing. a perfect way to end the meal.

Monday, May 24, 2010

tasty chinese

after returning from a grueling exhausting 4 day backpacking trip through the grand canyon, i was a mess the next day. i became a couch potato catching up with my tivo which faithfully recorded all of my favorite shows.

as i watched a few episodes of castle, i kept noticing the chinese take-out boxes in the show. of course then i developed a craving for chinese food!

so my roommate and i finally got our butts of the couch, and we made our way to tasty garden in arcadia. it was my first time at tasty garden. apparently, the owner used to work at garden cafe which is north of tasty garden, but then he opened up his own restaurant.

tasty garden has an extensive menu which covered the whole gammet of chinese food. we decided on the young chow friend rice, the singapore style fried noodles and the deep fried spicy salted tofu. the servings which very generous. we knew we would have leftovers.

overall, the food hit the spot! my roommate was craving rice and boba tea. i just wanted good chinese. while we were eating i did ask her if she ever craves panda express. she gave me this look, and she told me that she gags every time she thinks of panda express. it's sad that panda express has americanized their chinese food. where's the authenticity? we know that chinese moms don't serve sweet and sour chicken at home. so why offer it as chinese food? it's sad. i don't know how authentic the food is at tasty garden, but i would guess that it's more authentic than panda express.

i was hoping that our leftovers would be packaged in the chinese take out box, but instead we got foam containers. oh well, i didn't get my chinese take-out box, but i did eat some yummy chinese food!

Friday, May 21, 2010

triscuits and tuna

when you're backpacking, it's a bit hard to have good hearty meals, but i managed to fancy up my dinner on our first night of backpacking in the grand canyon.

we stopped by wal-mart on the way. as i perused the aisles, i wondered, "hm... what can i have for dinner?" then i walked into the tuna aisle, and i found tuna creations from starkist. so i picked up the hickory smoked tuna. i continued down the aisle and came across the cracker section. my eyes immediately found the triscuits with fire roasted tomato and olive oil as well as roasted garlic flavor.

it's not a fancy meal, but it totally hit the spot.

sometimes food is elaborate, but it's the simplicity that can make me happy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

crepes, s'il vous plait

recently, i made crepes on my birthday. i decided that on that day, i wanted to make birthday crepes for myself.

one of the keys to making good crepes is finding the right pan. i have a crepe pan that i bought a few years ago. i use it only for crepes, nothing else. my roommates know that this pan is only to be used for crepes.

another key is a good recipe. i found this one on, and i use it all the time. the recipe only makes about 6 crepes. so if you want more, you'll have to adjust the recipe which isn't too hard.

i recently have been giving a friend cooking lessons, and we made crepes. however instead of sweet dessert crepes, we did savory crepes. what are savory crepes? just change the filling.

we cooked up some smoked sausages with onions and garlic. then added red bell peppers and finally spinach. add the spinach last so that it doesn't wilt too much.

you can easily have a whole meal of savory and sweet crepes.

it's one of my favorite things to make for guests who come from out of town or on special occasions or just b/c i feel like crepes one day.

here's the recipe below. it yields about enough for 2 people (6 crepes).

Crepes recipe


1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

TO MAKE THE CREPE BATTER: With an electric mixer at medium speed, beat together the egg, egg yolk, sugar, flour and 1/4 cup of the milk, until the mixture is well blended. Beat in the melted butter and remaining milk to form a smooth batter. Sieve the batter if necessary. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or the batter may be frozen at this stage.

TO COOK THE CREPES: Drop spoonfuls of the batter on a lightly oiled skillet or crepe pan and quickly spread the batter from the center in a circular fashion, using the underside of the spoon. Cook until the bottom side of the crepes are golden brown. Carefully turn them over to lightly brown the other side. Remove the crepes from the pan, stacking them on a plate.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

can food affect your mood?

i decided to try the korean restaurant, cham, located in pasadena. generally if i want korean food i drive to koreatown b/c it's so close. you get authentic korean food at a great price.

however, i heard of this restaurant, and i decided i'd like to try it. they had a simple menu. i ordered a california bibimbap. maybe the addition of the word, "california" should have been a clue. bibimbap is a korean dish with rice and vegetables like bean sprouts, steamed spinach, carrots, along with a fried sunny side up egg and some kind of protein. then you add a bit of hot pepper paste and sesame oil. i ordered it with the spicy chicken.

well, the presentation was nice, but it definitely was not what i expected. it had sliced red cabbage. but where was the spinach? where was my sunny side up egg? the spicy chicken was tasty, but overall, it was NOT what i expected to taste. reluctantly, i finished my meal, but i felt so unsatisfied. do i even dare say annoyed and angry? what i ordered wasn't what i expected.

what i've always appreciated about korean food is that we don't try to change it up. what you order at restaurants is also made at home. koreans don't have an american version of bulgogi or kimchi chigae. i've eaten and tasted chinese food in a chinese home, and my chinese friend's mom never made sweet and sour chicken or beef with broccoli.

well... i won't be returning to cham again. if i want korean food, i'll drive 20 minutes to head to koreatown and eat something that tastes like authentic korean food. otherwise i'll make something at home. it would have been nice to be able to get authentic korean food in pasadena.

i was so disappointed by my meal that i needed something to make for it. hm... what would turn my frown upside down? dessert! in walking distance was a beard papa!

a fresh beard papa cream papa filled with yummy vanilla cream is just what i needed. these are my favorites cream puffs. the outside is so light and flaky with a tiny bit of crunch to each bite. the cream inside is oh... so heavenly. just the right amount of sweetness and that subtle hint of vanilla. each one is dusted with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

my dinner may have been disappointing, but my dessert made me smile. a big fat kool-aid smile.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


i can easily be swayed by my cravings. recently i've been watching old episodes of no reservations with anthony bourdain. in this one episode he focused on the boroughs of new york, queens, brooklyn, bronx, staten island and manhattan.

in the segment on queens, he and the korean chef, david chang, owner of momofuku, enjoyed spicy seafood stew at a korean hole in the wall restaurant. the metal stew pot was stacked with loads of seafood.

well, after i saw this episode i've been craving this spicy seafood stew. finally, i satisfied my craving when my friend and i skipped going to the climbing gym and decided to head to koreatown for this spicy seafood stew. she took me to dong il jang, one of the oldest korean restaurants in ktown located on 8th street. we found out that it's been around since 1945. it's almost as old as my dad!

we ordered the spicy seafood stew for two. it wasn't as stacked with seafood like on no reservations, but it was piled with crab legs, large pieces of cod, shrimp, calamari, vegetables, noodles and tofu. you cook it at your table while enjoying it keeping it nice and hot.

there's something about sipping a spoonful of this red spicy soup. be careful as you sip your soup. you don't want it to down the wrong tube or you'll be burning.

for now, my craving is satisfied until i watch the next episode of no reservations.