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Is Settebello pizza special?

Yes. The Margherita DOC is the platonic ideal of pizza. But don't overlook the rest of the menu. If you aren't in the mood for pizza, one of their salads (always fresh and never overdressed) and a salumi plate really hit the spot with a cold Moretti. Or pop in for dessert...Nutella pizza tastes a lot better than it sounds.

May 13, 2014
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Fermented Tofu for Vegan Umami

My husband's on a heart-healthy diet, so I've been exploring sat. fat/cholesterol-free ingredients and recently bought a jar of Sichuan fermented tofu (after reading about it in Fuchsia Dunlop's "Every Grain of Rice").

Oh, my.

It tastes like a very pungent combination of blue cheese and anchovies. Very umami-rich and concentrated; a little goes a long way.

I blended a single cube of it with about 2 oz. Veganaise and 2 oz. fat-free Greek Yogurt, and it tastes JUST like blue cheese dressing. So now I'm pondering what to have for dinner with it--buffalo chicken-substitute wings? Wedge salad?

Has anyone else used fermented tofu in non-Chinese dishes? I'd love to hear about other peoples' experiences.

Anyone on a vegetable-based diet really should check this stuff out. If you don't have an Asian grocery store near you, Amazon.com carries it.

May 01, 2014
happycat in Home Cooking

R.I.P. Futami

Thought I'd resurrect this thread. Any updates on Sam, anyone?

Apr 30, 2014
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Hidden gem spots on the way to San Diego from LA?

It's not a planned kind of thing--not on the menu--but a lot of people just tell the chef, "feed me." Don't know about other peoples' experience; I had my fill of seafood (not easy to accomplish!) and a vegetable dish (an off-the-cuff medley) plus 3 draft beers; after tax and tip, my bill was $90.

Apr 30, 2014
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Spring Produce -- L.A. Dish of the Month, May 2014

Looks a lot like my garden! Right now:

lettuce (several varieties)
chicory
arugula
erba stella
stridolo
herbs of many types
beets
chard
kale
spinach
new zealand spinach
carrots
radish pods
onions
summer squash
cherry tomatoes
chile peppers
bell peppers
strawberries
calamondins
kumquats
snap peas
pole beans
bulbing fennel

Wondering what this crazy heat wave is going to do to the garden...

Apr 30, 2014
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Hidden gem spots on the way to San Diego from LA?

I had a great meal and a helluva good time at Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub in Oceanside last week (yeah, you gotta get over the name). Not an authentic sushi restaurant by any means, but very fresh seafood--lots of it local--and a fun, chill vibe. I asked chef Davin to put together an "omakase"-style dinner for me of local seafood, and he treated me like royalty. Local yellowtail and sustainably-farmed (so it was claimed) Baja bluefin toro sushi; half the collar of the bluefin, deep-fried (omg); a huge spot prawn amaebi; live uni; aji sashimi; a couple of interesting clams from Mexico; plus a few other bits and pieces he wanted me to try. Very reasonably priced. It's tucked away inside Bull Taco; I'd say it qualifies as both hidden and a gem!

http://www.seabasstropub.com/

Apr 30, 2014
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Help - Good, Healthy Italian or American Cuisine in Pasadena Area?

Bruce Kalman's new place, Union (in Old Town), does farm-to-table Cal-Italian food; I notice there's a spelt cavatelli on the menu:

http://unionpasadena.com/menu/

Apr 21, 2014
happycat in Los Angeles Area

"Fresh" dried Pinto Beans in Los Angeles?

Suncoast Farms (Lompoc) is a vendor at a number of L.A. farmers' markets. They sell a variey of beans--pintos included--currently $6/2lb bag. The beans are from the most recent harvest and are wonderful; I don't buy my beans anywhere else. They also sell artichokes (they have the little purple ones right now), asparagus, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli, which might make it easier for you to spot the stand.

Apr 20, 2014
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Urasawa- Amazing Kaiseki However, Not the Best Sushi in Town

Thanks for the post, Porthos. I have to agree with your assessment. We were blown away by Urusawa...until we got to the sushi. Yes, it was excellent, but didn't have us on cloud nine the way the preceding dishes did. I'd wondered if it was just me...

Jan 30, 2010
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Fun weird restaurants in LA?

Indian Restaurant in San Gabriel (found it through another CH discussion--thanks, ipsedixit!). It's a Taiwanese beer parlor trying for a Native American theme--waitresses in skimpy Pocohontas outfits, log cabin-style room w/ lots of fake greenery, Native American knick-knacks. Very weird. Lots of fun, the food was fine (and plentiful) and the beer was cold. Good for people watching. We felt very far away from home, in a good way, as the only Caucasians there. I decided I really don't like stinky tofu, though, even though the stuff Indian serves is much tamer than what we tried from street vendors in Taiwan. But a LOT of people were ordering it. Loved the cold sliced pork heart. Go with lots of friends and prepare for a long wait. If cigarette smoke bothers you, hold your nose when you leave--tons of young people gathered by the front entrance smoking while they wait for their tables.

Jan 30, 2010
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Local source for natto miso / namemiso / kinzanji miso?

I saw it just today--for the first time; had to buy some to try--at my local (Pasadena, CA) Whole Foods market. Maybe your WF will carry it too.

Snake River Farms Kurobuta ham in the LA area?

Forgive the late post--but I found it, in "chunks" rather than "slices", at Mitsuwa in San Gabriel. They also had SRF domestic kobe ribeye, sliced for sukiyaki or for shabu-shabu (the former a bit thicker than the latter).

Jan 21, 2010
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Alhambra

Sorry, should have been a little more specific about location--on Main half a mile or so west of Garfield (near the huge car dealership that blasts loud music on weekends).

Jul 27, 2009
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Alhambra

Travel west on Main and you will find Tamaya (north side of street) and Wahib's (south side), good for Japanese Ramen and Middle-Eastern food respectively. Vegetarian choices available at both places and Wahib's has an open-air patio in the back.

Jul 27, 2009
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Where can I get authentic Sichuan Hot Pot?

There's a second Lu Gi now, on the south side of Las Tunas just west of San Gabriel. It's even better. Apparently the owner of the original moved to the new place and makes the (spicy) broth there daily, while a relative is in charge of the original location. I'd noticed that the broth at the Valley Blvd. location had lost a tiny bit of it's magic...but when we ate at the new location, we got that magic back--difference between the two cooks. It was SO good!! The drawback to the new place is that they don't have a beer license yet so you need to bring your own. We didn't know that the first time; but the owner *gave* us beers from his own stash! Made us feel very special.

Jul 19, 2009
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Pasadena Recs

Mr. Gold wrote that "Tre Venizie's founding chef moved on a few months ago" --we all know how the place has slipped in the past year or so--but I thought Chef Minuz was truly talented. Does anyone know where he went?

I'm another very excited foodie anticipating the opening of Bistro LQ! Too bad he couldn't stay local...

Jul 15, 2009
happycat in Los Angeles Area

The Freshest EGGS in Los Angeles ...

Well, there IS a difference between "free-range" and "pastured"; the rules governing what you can label as "free-range" do not require access to actual pasture, just access to the outdoors, which can be a dirt yard or even a concrete one. And although I admit I haven't questioned all the vendors I've encountered, the ones I have talked to do, indeed, meet my perceptions/presumptions, which I don't think are negative (I gladly eat free-range eggs, after all), just realistic. it's much easier to keep free-range or cage-free hens than pastured ones, for a variety of reasons. And "pastured" has become such a selling point that producers who do raise pastured hens, in my experience in other cities, advertise the fact overtly.

Gragegrl, I recently discovered that there's a new vendor at the Thursday South Pas market, Healthy Family Farms, that sells pastured chickens and their eggs (and, yes, advertises them as pastured). Other pastured meats as well. Delicious products all. So, I guess my search is over.

Oh, and I just remembered that Whole Foods (Arroyo) is now carrying a domestic brand of pastured eggs--I think the name is "Vital" or something like that--haven't tried them, though.

Jun 18, 2009
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Over an Open Fire

I love coking over an open wood fire, and my husband and I have some favorites that work well for us. Gourmet hamburgers, of course, and steak a la "bistecca fiorentina" if we're really feeling into meat. The two more unusual ones are paella and cheese fondue. My husband doesn't like seafood, so I make a "mountain" paella and use pre-cooked meats to make clean-up easier (don't want to deal with raw meat juices). Chopped prosciutto, pre-cooked sausage (including boudin noir), duck leg confit, smoked chicken or turkey and/or pork chop, cubed ham, Canadian bacon...all have made it into the paella pan at one time or another. I try to cut up my veggies at home and pack them in ziplocs, make my saffron-and-spice seasoning ahead of time, etc. My paella pan is from Spain and is built to handle open flame (the method for cooking an authentic paella, after all) and the process of cooking the dish is loads of fun. And it tastes so much better than any restaurant I know of...in this country, anyhow. For my fondue, I grate all the cheese (I use a variety, like emmenthaler, fontina, gruyere, etc.--Whole Foods carries them all) at home, toss it with a bit of flour to stabilize the fondue, and pack it in ziplocs. I cook the fondue (adding the requisite white wine, kirsch, etc.) over the fire in two aluminum roaster pans--one nestled inside the other--the double thickness keeps the cheese from scorching, and we just throw away the pans when we're done (otherwise we'd have the clean-up from Hell!). We always eat way too much, and usually don't have the fondue unless it's chilly at night and we've hiked like demons all day!

Jun 18, 2009
happycat in Features

Raised Beds

Thanks for the info! Can't wait to get into the garden now...

Jun 07, 2009
happycat in Gardening

Raised Beds

Hi, modthyrth--Your raised bed is beautiful. I want to put in some raised beds, am leaning towards concrete blocks, but am not thrilled with how they look. Is the stone veneer hard to apply? Thanks and happy gardening!

Jun 03, 2009
happycat in Gardening

DO WE HAVE ANY LOCAL CHICKEN GROWERS?

Will, that's Healthy Family Farms. I was so excited to see them at South Pas--that market is finally becoming something (and I like J&J for their grass-fed beef).

There's a Chinese chicken farmer at the Alhambra market Sunday mornings--free-range (though not pastured; they're raised in a very arid part of CA) and including the black silkies. Don't know about the silkies, but the regular chicken makes some of the best soup I've ever had. Birds are very lean, not huge-breasted, rather chewy in texture (best moist-cooked) but so flavorful. Sold w/ head and feet attached. Expensive. Their eggs are good too.

Jun 02, 2009
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Pho Minh or Golden Deli?

So...where did you end up going, and how was it?

May 18, 2009
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Pho Minh or Golden Deli?

My husband and I go to Golden Deli all the time--it's close to home, reliable, etc. etc. But from what you've said--you should definitely go to Pho Minh. The broth is clean and pure, the quality of the beef seems just fine. I love it. I'd take my husband there, but he'd just add a whole bunch of hot sauce to that lovely broth (like he always does at GD), and I'd cry. Or smack him upside the head.

May 16, 2009
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Breakfasts around the world: sweet vs. savory

Thumbs up to the black pudding! Never quite "got" baked beans on toast--prefer the Marmite. But broiled tomatoes, mushrooms...oh, yeah. Don't even need the meat (though a rasher of good bacon is pretty swell once in a while)

May 10, 2009
happycat in General Topics

Tumbler Full of Wine

I imagine a light, slightly effervescent white wine--like a vinho verde--would be great in a glass tumbler. A small one, so you finish the wine before it's warmed by your hand. And I seem to remember that the Basque white wine txacoli (sp?) is often served in tumblers, isn't it?

May 10, 2009
happycat in Features

Best vegetables?

DU, I am so with you!!! There are nights I'd just like a platter of good veggies. I think nostalgically back upon 750 ml in the early days, the original chef did great veggie sides. I will anxiously await postings on this subject.

May 09, 2009
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Breakfasts around the world: sweet vs. savory

I've always preferred savory to sweet, no matter the meal. I hated Cream of Wheat as a kid because of the sweetness; now, as an adult, I eat it with parmesan cheese and olive oil for breakfast on camping trips. Yum.

I adore a traditional Japanese breakfast. Rice, pickle, miso soup, an egg or bit of grilled fish. And yes, natto!

I think I'm one of the rare Americans who really likes Vegemite and Marmite on buttered breakfast toast. And in Sweden, our hotel breakfast buffet included tiny tubes of preserved cod roe to spread on toast, also several types of pickled herring. And cheese, and sliced meats. All of that was great. I didn't even touch the sweet stuff. Oh, and in Taipei, our hotel breakfast buffet had a Western section--we avoided that (bacon and eggs, pancakes, etc.)--and an Asian section. Congee, noodles, other foods you'd expect to see at lunch. Great way to start the day!

May 09, 2009
happycat in General Topics

What food find still haunts you - that you had once and haven't found since?

Live dungeness crab in Tofino, a crabbing town on Vancouver Island. It was a cozy little restaurant, I sat in the loft watching them prepare the crabs by bashing them in half--still alive, I think--on the center divider of the sink, then cleaning and cooking the halves. I've had a lot of crab, but nothing has ever come close to this. The crab shack was no longer there the next time I visited Tofino.

May 09, 2009
happycat in General Topics

Pig cheese?

I think it's the protein content that's important with cheese--you can make cheese w/ fat-free milk--but it's the proteins that are coagulated when cheese is made.

May 08, 2009
happycat in Cheese

Does anyone else prefer green Tabasco to red?

I didn't know about the garlic. What's the base sauce? The original red, or something else?

May 08, 2009
happycat in General Topics