Sunday, February 7, 2010

Square One

Date: “So, do you work out?”

Me: “No.”

Date: “But you watch what you eat, right?”

Me.: “No. Hey, you wanna do the foie gras appetizer?”

This is the point where his eyes narrowed and he began to imagine me obese and middle aged. First dates are fun.

I was really excited to eat at Square One Restaurant in Santa Barbara. Not only is it aptly named for a first date, but I’ve heard lots of good things about the restaurant and its cool cause the head chef is a woman. Also, the online menu seemed interesting and different. One review mentioned foie gras petit fours. I was definitely interested.

Upon walking in, Square One seemed like just another restaurant in SB. The decor was nice and simple, but lacking some artwork on the walls. It was also very empty for a Friday night, especially during the SB Film Festival. But I didn’t let that deter me.

The menu was really surprising. It had a lot of items that you typically do not see on the normal SB menu. There was a good mix of “normal” fine dining options such as mustard crusted pork chops and obscure items such as pan seared foie gras with green apple puree.

For an appetizer we ordered the cheese plate which had gorgonzola, mejon, and humboldt fog cheese with a side of wild flower honey and chopped nuts. The cheeses were really good, but they all were pretty strong. I would have preferred a selection that featured some milder cheeses.

For my entree I ordered the sweet potato gnocchi with braised lamb. I loved this dish. I do wish that the sweet potato flavor was a little more pronounced but dang, it was tasty. I also have to give this restaurant props because its the only restaurant I know of that makes their pasta in house…yes, even the gnocchi. It was a great dish, and the prices seemed reasonable. I definitely want to spread the word on this restaurant because I thought it was really good and I love the creative menu. I was told that they’re constantly changing their menu and I can’t wait to go back again and see what else they have to offer. Maybe next time I’ll get my foie gras! I’ll also try not to drop my knife four times on the floor.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Menudo: The soup, not the band.

Now this entry is going to make a lot of people mad. I just know it will. But it is my duty to write what I think and bash anything I deem worthy of bashing. So here it goes.

It kinda hurts me inside to say this but, I do not like menudo. Its gross. I really wanted to like it. I thought it seemed like one of those dishes that taste pretty damn good, but to my white friends, I would look like a bad ass for eating it. I wanted to bask in the glory of eating offal and liking it. I wanted to be Mexican for a day and get the thumbs up when I ordered it. I wanted it all!

But alas, not all dreams come true. Menudo is just gross. That is the best word for it. The broth is kinda greasy and the tripe serves no purpose except for stinking up the soup. Tripe is a gelatinous blob that smells like burnt skin. And trust me, I know what burnt skin smells like after cooking a Mexican taco recipe and having a problem translating ingredients. I ended up simmering chicharones (fried pork skin) for over an hour instead of chicharone (pork belly). Not good. Anyway, the broth isn’t too bad. Its super spicy and has a ton of Mexican oregano which gives it an herby earthy taste. The worst part is the tripe. It tastes like musty meat with the consistency of congealed fat. It just isn’t good. I rather eat a thousand cow tongues. Sorry guys, not trying it again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


** RETRACTION: I'm super embarrassed to admit that I was wrong. Apparantly SB's Bouchon had the name prior to the Napa restaurant. Forgive me Bouchon! Your food is too tasty to make you mad!!

So I finally made the pilgrimage to Santa Barbara’s Bouchon, not to be confused with Thomas Keller’s Napa restaurant with the same name. Even though the SB restaurant lacked in creativity by naming their restaurant after Keller’s, they did not lack in creativity when it came to the food. It truly is one of the best restaurants in SB and is a pity it took me so long to eat there.

I decided to take my mom to Bouchon since she bought us tickets to see Jesus Christ Super Star. The performance pretty much sucked. They were lip singing about 90% of the time. Nothing is sadder than poor old Ted Neeley teetering around a stage, dressed as Jesus, looking as confused as ever, slightly deranged, and like he is having a heroin induced flashback. Ya…it was strange. Anyway, Bouchon made up for it. For those who don’t know, Bouchon is a SB staple. They focus on local wineries and all of their ingredients come from the local farmers market. We all know how I feel about the farmers market, so its no surprise that I’ve been dying to eat there.

We started our meal with the appetizer of the day which was locally caught spiny lobster on a puff pastry with a saffron butter sauce served on a bed of frisse lettuce and mushrooms. It was paired with a glass of Flying Goat’s sparkling Rose. SUCH a good combination. The rose brought out the sweetness of the lobster. It was delectable… like spoon licking good.

The menu was filled with awesome and creative dishes. I really wanted to taste them all. I’m greedy and gluttonous so I couldn’t decide what to eat. That’s why god invented good waiters. Seriously, I develop intimate relationships with my waiters. I told Daniel (waiter boy) that I couldn't decide between the venison, pork chop, or the rack of lamb. He sold me on the lamb which was an EXCELLENT choice.

I love lamb. I frequently order lamb. Problem is, most restaurants use the same type of sauce (cherry or pomegranate) on lamb and it all just ends up tasting the same but good. Not so with Bouchon. Bouchon served their rack of lamb with a blood orange and mint demi glace. Oh. My. God. To me, this was a perfect pairing between taste and texture. The velvety texture of the demi glace mixed with the bitter-citrusy flavor of the blood orange and balanced with the soothing taste of mint. Wow.

The lamb was also perfectly cooked. I felt like such a bad ass when I ordered it because when Daniel asked how I wanted my meat cooked and I said medium rare, he replied “The chef would love you.” SIGH. That is my dream. I want to befriend a chef and have someone to get all food nerdy with. But I digress…

Anyway, if you happen to find yourself in the SB area anytime soon, make a reservation here. Bouchon should not be missed. Do your mouth a favor.

Click here for Bouchon Santa Barbara!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Problem with Vegans

Ok, so my two weeks are almost up. On Sunday I will celebrate my 2 week detox with a cold beer and a grilled cheese sandwich. Anyway, in these two weeks of eating like a rabbit, I have learned a couple things about vegans and why no body likes them.

First thing is that you are always cold. I think its because you’re not ingesting enough fat, although I have my reserves! ;) Anyway, since vegans are always cold, it makes sense why they wear weird hats all the time. They're fabsolutely freezing! And since they can not experiment with food, they have to get their cheap thrills by wearing weird hats.

Second thing is that no one would choose to be vegan if it didn’t make them lose weight. Seriously, vegans are not super ethical people, they are super into being skinny. Ask a vegan this: If the vegan diet for some weird reason made you really healthy and clean inside and out, but also made you put on 10 lbs, would you do it? Guarantee you wouldn’t find ANYONE who would. Vegan is a posh word celebrities use for anorexia, which all leads to my next point.

Vegans want to eat like normal people. Seriously. Open any vegan cookbook and its all a mash of fruits and nuts to assimilate normal food. Its all faux lasagna and faux carne asada burritos. They don’t have their own menu. Its no joke. The weirdest thing I found was vegan cheesecake. That just proves to me that these poor vegans are craving good shit and are mashing food together to trick themselves into thinking that vegan eats are good. It breaks my heart.

And on the flip side, I did enjoy this diet. I do feel lighter and clean and I lost about 5lbs. Problem is, its incredibly boring. Its very repetitive and not very exciting. Sure I’ve only been doing it for 2 weeks, so by no means am I an expert, but sheesh, I am SICK TO DEATH of the food. I don't want anymore tofu or Asian or Indian food. I just want some variety and most importantly, I want cheese. I could care less about pork, chicken, or beef. I just want something warm and smothered in cheese. I think I could easily be a vegetarian, but there's no way I’m giving up dairy. Actually, there’s no way I’m giving up meat either. What's a holiday without meat?

So to cap it all off, I will continue to juice every morning, and I will eat less dairy and less meat, but I'm not taking it out of my diet. So do not fret, the blog will still feature lots of fatty foods and gluttony. Till then, happy eating!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sweet, Sweet Nectar.

Ya gotta love the Farmers Market. I can always find something new, something crazy, or something special. This last trip to the FM I discovered the best little treat: the pineapple guava. Holy shit that’s good eats! Its like nectar of the gods. They look like mini blue avocados but they smell like heaven. I don’t think I even have the words to properly describe how they smell. I would love to bottle up the scent and splash it all over my body. It smells floral, and sweet, and super tropical.

The taste is pretty hard to describe as well. It tastes like pineapple, cherimoya (custard apple), and guava. The skin is thin but a bit bitter so I advise not to eat the skin. I sliced it in half, like an avocado, and scooped out the middle with a spoon. They're awesome because unlike typical guavas, there are no seeds! Its just all fruit. The fruit has a creamy consistency like a cherimoya and is really tropical tasting. I cant stress enough how freakin tropical it tastes! Its like biting into Hawaii! I'm not sure how to make a meal out of these yet. I'm just eating them raw at the moment. But I'm sure a sorbet out of these would be amazing. Anyway, has anyone else tasted these?? Write me a comment.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Years Resolutions

Well, another year has passed us by! It definitely feels weird to write 2010. I feel like I should be wearing an all silver spacesuit-dress thingy. Anyway, with the joy of the new year comes the joy of being totally obsessed with yourself and making a self righteous New Years Resolution. I have two this year. The first being to learn Spanish a LITTLE bit more. I like claiming “a little bit more” that way I can’t fail. I can learn one new Spanish word and I already accomplished the goal. Nice and lazy!

And for my second resolution, I decided to detox for two weeks. Its not really a detox at all, its just me being on a semi diet for two weeks but claiming it as a detox to make me sound posh. Fun,right? Anyway, this so called detox is one I made up on my own, so there is no scientific rhyme or reason to anything but in my mind, it is amazing. For the first week I am going vegetarian or eating fish, tons of fresh veggies and fruit, and every morning and night I will make a fresh squeezed juice. Yup…I’m juicing. I pulled out the old juicer and went to town. I'm also not going to eat dairy and TRY to not eat any gluten. I love this diet because I'm still eating a ton of food but I get to be all pious and act healthy. I’m going to start claiming shit like, “I wouldn’t eat a cookie if you paid me! My pallet is so clean that apples taste like candy to me.” Or stuff like, “Are you really going to eat that? Do you know how toxic that is for your body?” Ya, its gonna be fun.

So here is a sample of what I have eaten so far. Yesterday I had two soft boiled eggs and a piece of rye toast and coffee. For lunch I made a juice of carrot, celery and kale which isn't as gross as it sounds. It was a bit chunky but after you got over the texture it tasted fresh and clean. And for dinner I had lemon and thyme poached salmon, broiled squash, fresh tomato and quinoa. For dessert I made a smoothie with avocado, banana, apples, fennel, blueberries, lemon and agave nectar. It tasted mostly of blueberries and banana. The fennel was a nice touch because its a super detoxifier and it gave it a slight liquorice twist.

Today, I started off with two soft boiled eggs and carrot apple juice. Carrot and apple juice was a little too sweet for me in the morning but it was still good. For lunch, I'm eating applesauce and a salad of the poached salmon with capers, lemon, tomato and feta. Its delightful. I feel really fresh and I'm still eating a lot. So far, this detox I invented is great. And I LOVE juicing. I can taste the nutrients. I'm slowly turning into Jay "The Juice Man" Kordich. As long as I don't get his eyebrows, I’m happy with this 2 week diet.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Some SERIOUS Baklava

So I just love Baklava. I discovered I liked it because of Trader Joe’s. Yup, my first piece was from TJs. I know that’s not very “cool” or “foodie” of me but it is what it is (that has to be the worst saying ever). Anyway, soon after eating my first Baklava, I started buying it everywhere I could just to try it out. I discovered I like the Mediterranean version with walnuts and hazelnuts more than the middle eastern version with pistachios. But honestly, its all delicious.

So we had a roll of phyllo dough in the freezer and a shit load of nuts in the house so I decided it would be fun to make Baklava for Christmas. I scoured the internet for the best recipe and I totally found it. Now, if you follow the same recipe as I did, definitely cut it in half! That recipe makes a SHIT load of Baklava. Anyways, the recipe is pretty simple and easy, but just time consuming because of doing all of the layers of phyllo dough. I also jazzed up the recipe by using extra brandy in the syrup and also using fresh grated orange peel during the last 5 minutes of baking. Next time I make this I might use some orange liqueur and amaretto instead of brandy. Anyway, be prepared to be amazed at how yummy this is.

Click here for Baklava Recipe