Wednesday, May 30, 2012

thoughts on pizza

I'm very much of a thin crust pizza girl. I adore New York pizza and had a field day in Italy. Last night, we ordered in Two Boots pizza, which hails from New York but calls themselves a Louisiana-flavored pizza. So, essentially, you get the thin crust with the Cajun flavors. Ridiculously good.

We got the Tony Clifton (mushrooms, onions, red pepper pesto, mozzarella) and the Night Tripper (sundried tomatoes, jalapeƱo pesto, roasted garlic on a white pie). I highly recommend both.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

memorial day weekend bites

Hope you had a fabulously relaxing weekend. We're all packed up and ready to go. We spent the weekend seeing friends and eating at a bunch of our favorite LA spots: A-Frame (insane ribs), 7 Grand cocktails, Bay Cities G-dmother sandwich, Rustic Canyon Wine Bar, and Sweet Rose (salted caramel ice cream is divine). We even celebrated our 1 year anniversary a little early with a trip over to Susiecakes for our wedding cake (red velvet and peanut butter).

Friday, May 25, 2012

j'adore paris

french macarons (image via taste crumb)

Being the type A person I am, I've spent the last few weeks carefully scouring the internet and chatting with friends and friends of friends to plan out our itinerary of activities and eating. 

I've moved on to Paris, and I'm practically dying over all of the amazing patisseries I plan to visit. (I may have to go on a small fast after this trip.)

Check out this website that ranks 38 of the best pastries in Paris. I'm swooning over the Tarte Caramel Sale (salted caramel tart) from Sadaharu Aoki.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

taco truck throwdown

Last night we finally headed over to La Brea for a taco truck throwdown that we've been talking about for years. On countless nights, we've driven past Tacos Leo (La Brea and Venice) and El Chato (La Brea and Olympic) and seen dozens of people lining up for a late night meal.

We grabbed our friends Ashley and Aaron and headed over to do a sampling of the asada (steak), carnitas (shredded pork), and al pastor (both trucks cook it on a spit with pineapple).

We started off with Tacos Leo. Impressive. The al pastor comes with a thin slice of pineapple on top, but it's not overly sweet. The meats are all incredibly tender and the tortillas are oh-so-fresh. Like - hi, we were just made 30 seconds ago. That sort of fresh.

The tacos look fairly small (about 2 bites worth), but are generously packed with meat and sit at the amazing price of $1 a piece. They come undressed, but you're welcome to partake in a serve-yourself salsa bar of onions, cilantro, pico de gallo, spicy salsa, salsa verde, and an avocado cream sort of salsa.

The group was split on Tacos Leo. The girls loved the al pastor, but the boys sided with the carnitas.

Next, we headed over to El Chato. I was sad to see no carnitas on the menu, so we ordered up a full plate of asada and al pastor. Similar to Tacos Leo, the tacos were fairly small but filled with meat, $1 a piece, and came with fresh-to-death tortillas.

Unique for taco trucks, these tacos come fully dressed with a tiny bit of cilantro and onions and a generous helping of special sauce.

At first glance, the sauce sort of reminded me of the looks of the Kogi BBQ truck - a bit thick, bits of seeds, reddish/brownish coloring. This sauce is incredible - a twinge of spice, warmth, and savory tomatoes and peppers. I was proudly licking my fingers.

The sauce compliments the ever-so-tender meat and made for one of the best tacos I've ever had.

Hands down, the winner of the night was the El Chato al pastor taco. It's worth the drive.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

spaghetti and spicy meatballs

I completely forgot about this dinner! And it is by no means forgettable. But, ya know, life and parties happened. And somehow, it never made it up on the blog.

Until now.

Do you like comfort food? Perhaps some decadent and ever-so-salty prosciutto? A bit of a kick of spice?

Good. Me too. We can be friends.

This is the sort of meal you build friendships over. Where people think you slaved over a meal for hours in the kitchen, so you must truly love them. But here's the secret - you bake the meatballs. You don't have to watch them carefully golden in a pan. You just sort of mix together all the ingredients, form them into balls, and pop them into the oven. This recipe is a cinch.

If I make you spaghetti and spicy meatballs one day, it doesn't mean I don't love you! I swear it! I was probably just busy making some laborious dessert for us instead.

Phew. Crisis averted.

Spaghetti and Spicy Meatballs
adapted from the lovely Ina Garten
makes about 8 servings (or 24 meatballs)

3 cups bread cubes, crusts removed (1/2-inch diced)
2/3 cup whole milk
2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 pound spicy Italian pork sauce, casings removed
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
1 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Cooking spray
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 jars marinara sauce (or homemade sauce such as this recipe)
2 pounds dried spaghetti (or homemade pasta such as this recipe)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray 2 sheet pans with cooking spray.

Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes, removing the crust. Transfer the cubes to a bowl with the milk. Let sit for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, sausage, prosciutto, bread mixture, Asiago cheese, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Lightly combine the ingredients with your hands. (Don't overmix - as that will create overly firm meatballs). Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the eggs, stir lightly with a fork.

With your hands, lightly roll the mixture into 2-inch-round meatballs and place on sheet pans. Brush the meatballs with olive oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the tops are browned and centers are completely cooked.

Prepare the pasta and marinara sauce to the packages' ingredients. Enjoy!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Upcoming: Europe and Chicago

(a customized flight of beers at The Bruery Provisions)

Sooo there's a ton of things happening around this part of town. And somehow it all falls back on the word of the year: BEER.

Side note - when we were packing up/starting the move this past weekend, we counted about 100 (yes, one hundred) bottle of beers. Not little individual bottles, but big 750ml (i.e. wine-sized) bottles. Somehow Josh managed to keep them all in boxes in the back of our closet. But 100?! I swear he has Mary Poppins boxes.


You see what I did there? I totally, smoothly mentioned "packing" and "moving," but then segued into some fun fact about Josh. But, yes it's true. We're moving. Away from my beloved Los Angeles.

Okay, melodrama aside. I'm really excited. Like, remember when you were excited for the 1st day of school back in elementary school? That kind of excited. Josh will be attending Kellogg (at Northwestern University) to get his MBA. I could not be prouder!

The beer market in Chicago is sort of absurdly amazing. There's tons of microbrews located in the area. And, Coors has a huge corporate office there. This is all pretty ideal, since Josh is hoping to make a career out of beer one day.

BUT, I'm not done. Before the big move to Chicago, we're heading out to Europe for 6 glorious weeks. And - somehow - our itinerary seems to hit up all the best beer cities in the world (Dublin, Vienna, Munich, etc.)

We'll be posting pictures to the blog throughout the whole trip. Excuse us ahead of time if there's a disproportionate amount of beer pictures.

Since our kitchen is entirely boxed up, we can't exactly cook much. So for the next couple of weeks, stayed tuned for lots of dining out and "Best of LA" lists.