Archive for the ‘love’ Category

Guest Post: Rainbow Doodle Cake!

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

My stick figures are as true-to-life as it gets.

While Janet was in Japan getting her cultural heritage on with R2 in tow, I spent my days baking a beautiful cake.   Ok, it was only 2 days, and the cake is by no means beautiful.  But it has a great personality.  Sort of a butterface, or in this case, a butterfondant.  

This seems to happen to me a lot.  I love baking, and the stuff I make tastes really fucking good, but I’m kind of a failure when it comes to decorating.  Case in point: Giant Cuppycake.  That one tasted bad too, but whatevs.  A couple months ago I went crazy for a party Logo and I were hosting and made a shit-ton of desserts and the results were astoundingly lovely.  Alas, that was not the case this time.   

I decided to make this cake after a request from Eggroll to make a glorious dessert for a weekend away in Arrowhead for the Tough Mudder and Lisa’s/David’s birthdays.  For those who don’t know, the Tough Mudder is a ridiculous display of manliness and stupidity under the guise of a 10 miles race with obstacles.  Obstacles like diving in ice water and running through electrical wires charged with 10,000 volts.  SUPER FUN!!!!1!  

My inspiration for this cake was the amazingly beautiful Canuck cake blog Sweetapolita.  That woman makes some gorgeous cakes.  And gorgeous babies, just look at the pictures of her children on there!  And she married a gorgeous man.  Some people have all the luck.  I figured it would be fun to make a fun, surprising cake and have everyone write all over the pristine, smoothly fondant-ed outside. 

Not my cake.

I made the cake part of the cake the Wednesday before the weekend because I didn’t want to bake at high altitude–tried that in Mammoth without making adjustments and the cake was deflated and dry.  Still edible, but this one had to be gorgeous and thus I baked the cakes early and froze them.  The recipe is super easy.  I used cake flour instead of regular flour because I wanted to and mine says it’s expired so I need to use it up.  Apparently cake flour is treated with chlorine so it’s really soft and results in a lovely, soft, light crumb.  I subbed 1 c. + 2 T. of cake flour for each cup of regular flour and it worked out fine. 

Rewind to my initial preparations for this cake.  I went to the only cake decorating supply place in West LA, Gloria’s (silly side note: their URL spells it “suplys” hehe).  I think it was under construction because the right side of the store looked like a bomb had exploded.  Still, the place had everything!  I enjoyed rummaging immensely and spent a lot of time looking at the gel food colors.  SO pretty.  Ended up with the Americolor “school training kit,” so I’ll be set if I ever go to cake school.  AND I got these awesome food coloring markers so everyone could draw on the cake. 

Pretty colors!!

There was no way I was going to make my own fondant so I bought a fancier-looking one than Wilton because Wilton is the cake decorating devil and they’ve taken over everything with their cheapy fondant cutters and shit!  I made a good choice, too, because this fondant was actually tasty instead of tasting like sweet plastic. 

Fancy French name means it’s better.

After making the batter, you have to weigh it and then split it into 6 bowls for dyeing.  I thought this would be pretty difficult but it went quickly, though I used all of our cereal bowls and all of our forks for stirring the colors.  Logo was like “what happened I just did dishes?!” and I was like “Sorrrryyyyyy……”   Good story, huh?  Here’s a picture of the pretty batter.   Some of it, at least.

 Blue + yellow = green.  Lessons in color chemistry.

And here’s a couple pictures of the cakes cooling.  The layers are super super thin so I was glad I parchment-papered the bottoms of the pans to prevent any cake-butt loss.  The blue layer is missing because I had to rescue it from overcooking due its runtiness.  I’m like the mom that pushes aside that baby that won’t make it because it’s too small.  But the purple layer looks blue so pretend it’s both blue AND purple!  Yay! 

I obviously didn’t bake them in rainbow order.

Ignore the finger gouge in the green. 

I wrapped each layer in plastic wrap after cooling and realized when I stacked them that one of my cake pans was actually a pie pan and was slightly less than 9″.  So two layers were littler than the others on top of blue being super thin and yellow having a weird hump.  Not an auspicious beginning.  At least the colors are vibrant, right? 

Always use protection.

Fast-forward to assembling the cake: everyone was at the Tough Mudder except me and Stosh.  We went to breakfast (I had chicken-fried steak and eggs–I won) while the layers defrosted and then I made cream cheese frosting–Lisa’s favorite!–and frosted the cake.  I forgot to take pictures of this part, probably because I was having major issues getting it smooth because the layers were so lopsided.  Eventually I gave up, figuring that it didn’t have to look good since I was just going to cover it in fondant.  That was a poor decision.  Just so you know, fondant will form to whatever shape is underneath it.  Even weird cake lumps and gooshy frosting.  

The P-sug went into every crevice of the wooden table.  Whoops.

I did ok rolling the fondant out because it was very pliable and easy to work with.  But then when I put it on the cake, I didn’t cut off the excess soon enough and the bottom slowly ripped off, leaving a large hole in the fondant.  I tried using the remaining fondant to make another layer, but I didn’t have quite enough. 

First layer.  Not as ugly with flash.

That’s when I got the brilliant idea to make a bow!  It didn’t turn out half bad, but while I was making it the fondant already on the cake continued to settle and got lumpier and lumpier.  Eventually, the bottom of the cake looked like cellulite and when I tried to smooth it, the frosting underneath would squish out around the bottom.  Grossssss and delicious on my fingers nom. 

Ghett-bow!  Punny.

Everyone else said the cake was lovely, but they’re just nice friends.  They dutifully signed it and drew some fun pictures, including a lovely peen drawn by Eggroll’s brother. 

Complete with veins and hair.

Please compare my decorating skillz to those of my sister-in-law, who made the cake below for her friend’s wedding.  It’s breathtaking–all buttercream!!  Such sharp edges!  But then I learned that it took like 27 hours to do and she ended up crying in the kitchen more than once and I felt better about my 3-hour cake.   I could make it perfect if I spent 27 hours too!   

The story of this cake’s inception would make a good chick flick.

We FINALLY got to cut into the cake after all those hours of labor, and it was truly beautiful.  All the nasty fondant was forgotten and the cake was deliciously sweet and vanilla-ey.  With everyone getting drunker as the evening progressed, appetites increased and the cake slowly disappeared.  Aftermath.  Looks nom.

Ultimately, it was a success.  A delicious, colorful, lumpy success.  Make this shit for a fun time and an impressive reveal.

Squeeze Inn

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Go ahead, look under the skirt.

HELLOOOOO Loyal Readers! It’s been a while and for that I apologize. I’ve been neglecting MTFB; Janet is seriously the busiest person I know and I’ve dropped the ball on filling in for her… even though I am probably less than half as busy. Oops. Onward!

So, what do we have here?! That gorgeous, tantalizing THING pictured front and center is none other than the Squeeze Burger with Cheese from Squeeze Inn in Roseville, California. On the menu, the burger basically reads like your standard burger: “Our famous 1/3 lb. 100% Beef Burger with all the fixins. Mayo, Mustard, Tomato, Lettuce, Pickles, Onions on a Sesame Seed Bun.” You might be thinking, “MEH! The cheese costs EXTRA! Why would I waste my time on this??” Well, if you could get a taste of heaven just by handing over an extra buck and change, would you do it? Because THAT is exactly what this is my friends. Heaven.

I’ll take just a moment to mention that the beef patty, bun, and “all the fixins” are delicious and the burger is big and juicy, but the cheese is what launches it into the stratosphere. Here’s how they describe what they do: “Our famous squeeze with cheese is made in a unique way. After cooking the patty on a flat top grill we cover it with a handful of cheese and the top of the bun before throwing a handful of ice chips on the grill and covering the whole thing is a hood. The skirt comes out perfectly.”

Close your eyes and imagine! Your patty is just about cooked to perfection, and at just the right moment, a mountain of cheese is dumped on your burger and topped with your bun. Immediately after, they toss some ice in and cover it, creating this bizarre atmosphere where your cheese melts and forms a puddle/skirt around your burger, helped along by the steam while at the same time not quite burning it. NOM! I am salivating just thinking back to it. The cheese comes out sorta crispy, sorta burninated, and all kinds of delicious. This is no mini skirt either. It extends a good inch and a half past the edge of your bun.

Just look at it! The hard part is deciding how to eat it… does one tear off the skirt and eat it separately, like oh-so-delicate cheese chips? Or does one politely fold the skirt under the bun so that it can all be eaten at once? The choice is yours, but I guarantee that either way will open your eyes to a new way of burger consumption. The instant the cheese skirt touches your tongue, your taste buds will thank you and sing your praises as the BEST. WING(WO)MAN. EVAR. If you’re ever in the Roseville area (or near the Sacramento or Galt locations) feel free to do some skirt chasing, it’s a sure thing.

Squeeze Inn
106 N. Sunrise Ave.
Roseville, CA
(and 2 other locations)

Top 10 Posts of TWENTY DIME!

Friday, December 31st, 2010

AHA! Thought you’d sneak by and end the year without hearing from me again? Sorry friend(enemy?), but you’re out of luck. Janet is busy doing important work pertaining to the real world so I’ve been asked to step up and close out the year by rounding up the top 10 posts of 2010. I’m drunk with the sheer power of it! Or you know, just drunk. Anyway, I present to you, our faithful readers, Twenty Dime’s top 10 posts!

1. Bootie: Without a doubt the best post EVAR that fulfills the “More Than” part of MTFB, with probably the best aminal pic skills to date. R2 commented, “It’s a quintessentially creative synthesis of two of my favorite things – MTFB and the Boot – and a reflection of my two favorite ladies.” Well said!

2. Fucking ENCOUNTER restaurant: Because when else were we gonna get the chance to eat there?! Verdict: Go for the free short-term parking… stay if you want to miss your flight.

3. Susiecakes vs. Kara’s: Because we understand that choosing the right cupcakery is serious business, and the last thing we want is for our readers to be paralyzed with indecision. Also, because I am unabashedly proud of my/our first foray into macro food pics.

4. Portland Report(land): A giant crab. A City of Books. Voodoo Doughnut. Baby octopi. And The Beginning of the End. I guess Oregon isn’t just about bowling and Chocobeer.

5. Iguanas Burritozilla: Because it’s a story of the future… and the past! More importantly, it’s proof that I actually contribute to MTFB. And because I ate nearly 3lbs of burrito in one sitting. I hurt just thinking about it.

6. Espana Part II: Toledo: Between the two of them, R2 and Janet nominated almost all the parts of the Spain series for top 10 status. I didn’t go to Spain, so what’s a guy to do but pick the one with castles? Because castles are effing cool, amiright?! Seriously though, you should read all of the Spain posts here. Muy Bueno.

7. Segway Tour of San Francisco: Because you haven’t experienced San Francisco until you’ve seen it from atop a Segway named Special Sauce.

8. Raku: Because you know it’s good when Janet spends an entire paragraph describing just the tofu. And because it’s apparently the first time “Janet = warm & fuzzy & feeling like a real blogger.” Taste the happy!

9. Lemon Blender Pie: Because what good is a food blog if we don’t occasionally throw in a recipe now and then? This one is SUPER easy!

10. Alembic: Because it’s the top post that should have made the top 10 posts of 2009 but was written in 2010. And because not everything goes right in foodie land, no matter how much you love the pink quail eggs.

There you have it! Please remember that today is the last day you can refer to the current year as “Twenty Dime”, so try to drop it into every sentence you use. I’ve found that whispering it creepily at the end has been astoundingly effective. Rumor has it that we’re going to make a push to call next year Twenty Chop (because the 11 looks like a pair of chopsticks), so keep an eye out for that, too. And now Janet and I (and the rest of the MTFB team of contributors) wish you a safe and happy New Year!

Happy Hatch Day MTFB!

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

We missed it last year but not this year! September 5th is www.morethanafoodblog.com’s hatch day, and we are celebrating by torturing animals, and, failing that, using inanimate objects more amenable to photoshoots.

In case you want to torture your own beloved pets, Daniel has made this downloadable hat! Download it here.

Payback obviously hates it (see top). What about newcomer pet to MTFB, Tinx’s brudder‘s genetically defective (giving him long hair even though he’s a bulldog squeeeee!) puppersons Panda!

I like the four hands/arms and half of a toe that were required to make this photograph happen. Thank you Tinx and your family lol.

Anyway, some new embellishments to MTFB that you might notice and like. First, let’s get them out of the way. Ads. Click ‘em if they strike your fancy. Second. The randnom button! Speaking of Buttins, here she is, with her favorite munch target monkey:

She is SO PROSH she looks just like the How to Train Your Dragon dragooooon!

As you are clicking the randnom buttin, you might be confused. You might happen upon old posts with broken picture links. I’m working on fixing those. Also, you might stumble on references to Consumermachine, which was the old name of this blog. Don’t be scared it’s no big deal.

Another new thing is the tag cloud, to the right. If you are one of my friends, just click on your name and you will be taken to all (or almost all – also working on that) the posts of which you were a part. <3 Mouse over and it will show the number of posts you have been tagged in. Feel free to start wars with people.

Thank you to Daniel for instituting all of these changes.

Happy Second Birthday, MTFB! Happy fourth birthday to my self-indulgent little corner of the interweb, and thank you to all MTFB readers. I better click publish before midnight!

NY: Elizabeth and DBGB

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

After an intense business-ey week in our nation’s capitol where I had to prove to my benefactor foundation that I was worth all the money they were paying me, I trained up to New York City to go to my dear friend Frau’s wedding.  I met up with other dear friend Cara, maid of honor, and R2 joined us late late on Friday…

AND SURPRISED ME WITH A NEW CAMERAAAA!  One that actually takes pictures when I push the button, which is a new thing for me.  I named it The Kraken so we can say “RELEASE THE KRAKEN” whenever a picture is necessary.

What do you think?  It has SUPER MACRO!  And…a PET SETTING~!

The wedding was Tasteful with a capital T – so posh.  I expected as much from a friend who discovered Cynthia Rowley a year before she hit.

For example, I’m going to get ahead of myself a bit and show you her centerpieces:

Her reception was at Elizabeth (also the bride’s middle name) in…the Lower East Side?  Is that an area?  Despite going to college in New York state, I don’t really know the city and I haven’t been there since before 9-11.

Wait.  I forgot to tell you that Frau lives in DC, and her new hubby lives in London.  So she had to plan a destination wedding, and then fucking MOVED to the UK the DAY AFTER her wedding.  She crazy.

And she knows food.

This is her favorite dish at Elizabeth.  It’s organic chicken with curried cous-cous, dried fruit, and coconut sauce.  R2 got it and I promptly stole it from him.  The best part was akshully the cous cous, with big raisins in many colors throughout.  Not surprising, since I’m anti-fowl.  In fact, my kitchen is currently a biotoxic zone from chicken that I picked out of a burrito before I departed for DC and left it on the counter in direct sunlight.

Here is what I ordered and donated to R2.  It was a double cut pork chop with grilled pineapple chutney, asparagus (which caused as-pee-ragus) and garlic mashed potatoes.

Cara got a burger.  It looked amazing (foreshadowing!):

Good job The Kraken!  Now let’s see how you do with low light settings.

Sunday: DBGB Kitchen and Bar

Do you know DBGB, casual restaurant of the master, multiple-Beard Award recipient Daniel Boulud?   I think the history of the resto is that he built it on the space of the famed NY music club CBGB, and named it what he named it as an homage.  I also heard that he got sued by some person or another for stealing the name, which is just dumb IMHO.

OK, so this picture looks slightly horrifying.  Is it due to The Kraken attempting to do a low-light photo and getting the color temperature wrong, and then my bumbled attempt to fix it in iPhoto?  Or is it just that rillette (from our charcuterie plate – taste of pâté, saucisson, rillette, & fromage de tête with sourdough toast) always looks like chopped up brains?  Delicious, fatty, smooth, meaty brains.

It was the brunch menu, so there were a variety of sausages that you could eat with your choice of egg preparation.  Here is Cara’s Tunisienne sausage - spicy lamb & mint merguez, lemon braised spinach & chickpeas.  Sooo soft and like someone had distilled an entire lamb down into a five inch poo thing, except like much more delicious-sounding.  Much better than R2′s Polonaise sausage - smoked pork & veal kielbasa, cabbage, beets & apples, which tasted good but nothing spesh.

I was craving a burger for some reason and got one.  Oh man.  Listen to this: THE FRENCHIE - 6 oz beef patty with confit pork belly, arugula, tomato-onion compote & morbier cheese on a peppered brioche bun with cornichon, mustard & fries.  Try to get your mind off the fact that the plural of cornichon is cornichon (which majorly distracted me) and think about how good that sounds.

Unforch, The Kraken did not do a good job here:

What the heck The Kraken?  If I remember correctly my beautiful brioche was not soaked in blood, jyerk.

The taste itself was also disappointing.  It should have been dripping and decadent, and instead it was little and dry.  I’m officially over pork belly, too.  I like crispy bacon so why would I like pork belly?

To cope with this disappointment which I suspect you also share, I will tell you  a story, even if doing so may compromise my friends’ anonymity.  One of our fellow lunchers was named Janet just like me (!!!! – once when I looked up my name in a baby book, it said “like most names from the 50′s, this name is now out of style” so it’s surprising to meet another one).  And then we realized that ALL FIVE of us had names that start with “J.”  So Janet #2 flagged down our server (named Mr. Lucky, for real) and said, “I have a question.  Two of us have the same name and all of our names start with the same letter -” and without missing a beat he said, “OK!  Guessing!  Which half of the alphabet is it in?” and we said, “…the middle?” and then just gave him J to make it easier.  He would go over to a corner of the restaurant, clasp his hands, look up, and think really hard, and then come over and offer some guesses.

He got through eleven wrong guesses (Jessica, Jennifer, Jamie, Julia, Jocelyn, Julianne, Joelle, Joel, Jeremy, John, and Jacob) before he came over and guessed Janet, and then deftly fingered which two of us were named it!  As a reward we told him the names of the others: Jo-

-WAIT!  You almost got me there.  I may take the lord’s name in vain (and fail to correctly capitalize “Lord”) but I do has a moral code, shoot.

Congratulations, Frau!

Elizabeth
265 Elizabeth Street
NY NY 10012
212.334.2426

DBGB
299 Bowery
NY NY 10003
212.933.5300

Portland Report(land)

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

I heart it when conference organizers choose proper cities that (a) are walkable and (b) are a random foodie oasis.  I was recently in Portland for exactly such a conference, with my dearest friend and OG Foodie Sharisa, and found my new favorite restaurant…

Ping

Ping was named Rising Star Restaurant of the Year by the Oregonian’s Diner Guide.  I was excited about their Baby Octopus Skewer (marinated in lime, chiles, garlic, fish sauce, and cilantro).

Mostly I was enticed by the price – TWO BUCKAROOS for all you see above!  Loverly.

Our server was the cutest hapa girl, which Sharisa appreciated as she is a hapa herself.  She guided us to good cocktails and handled our frantic and impassioned ordering with style.

In addition to the octo-bebehs, we ordered a red potato skewer (salt roasted and grilled, served with spicy mayo sauce – $1!), a salapao (thai-style steamed bun stuffed with sweet shredded pork, fried shallots – $2.50!)…

deep-fried tiny fish ($2!), chinese tea egg (steeped in black tea, soy sauce, ginger, star anise, & cinnamon – $2!)…

…house-made pork meatball skewer (Thai-style, dipped in sweet chili sauce – $2.50!), house-made fish ball skewer (same), yam yai (Thai-style green salad with lettuce, boiled egg, peanuts, onions, prawns, chicken, bean sprouts, pickled garlic, scallions, cilantro, cucumber and tofu topped with a peanut dressing)…

And THESE.  Quail egg skewer (wrapped in bacon, with spicy mayo sauce).  Every neuron in my noggin was trilling with joy.  We ordered another as soon as the first hit our respective mouths.  Think smooth plus crunchy, shot through with spicy cream.  Not that I chewed to register the crunch.  I gulped them down cartoon-style – a delicious Adam’s apple!

We should have stopped there, but the fucking curiosity killed the cat (‘s palate).  We spied chicken butt - brined with fish sauce, garlic and sugar, grilled and served with sweet chili dipping sauce and ordered it.  Two thoughts, both related to R2, popped into my head.  (1) R2 told me that the a bird’s butt-al area is called its “vent” which is gross and reminiscent of wormy farts; and (2) no one loves a slanted rhyme more than R2, so I promptly texted him “What’s up?” and he texted back, just as promptly, “Chicken butt.”

Excellent.

Chicken butt is fucking disgusting.  Think of the gristliest bit of chicken that you’ve ever accidentally eaten, then shoot it through with sickly-yellow chicken fat, and then genetically hybridize it with  bouncy ball and that’s what you get.

Thinking about the chicken butt is bad.  Thinking about chicken butt while watching the episode of Man vs. Wild where he…well actually, any episode will do, but this one is the one where  he drinks his piss (which he has deposited into the skin of a rattlesnake) and then he’s eating skunk that he’s recently beheaded and describes it as “steak rubbed in dog feces…” anyway yes blogging chicken butt plus Man vs Wild is making me green about the gills.

Despite the chicken vent, I was so happy to be full-up with good food and hanging out with Sharisa again.  In fact, it was this very conference, six years ago, where Sharisa earned her nickname from our ESL Chinese friend who could not pronounce her real name and called her Sharisa (“Sharisa I have your wine!” she said about the vodka and champagne we had purchased to pregame – every kind of alcohol is called “wine” to her apparently) and called me “Janeee.”

My happiness was shot to berserk levels of happy when our server set down our check and we discovered her name was Charissa.  ”HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE YOUR NAME!!” we shrieked at her, and she said “Sharisa.”  More shrieking!  What a perfect end to the night.

Except it didn’t end!  Because we next rolled ourselves over to…

Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo Doughnut is a Portland mainstay.  The guy behind the counter was a burly, bearded, world-weary Portlandey dude who would periodically sigh “Can I get anyone anything.”  I had, natch, the bacon maple bar, which I thought I could handle being the sweet-savory queen.  No.

Others got the apple fritter, which was a triumph.  Crisp, light as air, and the size of a large frisbee.  Many grabby grabby hands tearing off shreds and nomming with gusto.

The next day we went to…

Navarre

Navarre also had glowing reviews, so we went.  I don’t know what to say about this place.  It does everything right (local, organic, la la la, small plates big plates etcetera).  Ambiance is cool, good wine list.  But none of the dishes sang.  Good, not great.  Not always due simply to underseasoning, per se, just…boring.

Save for this one dish, which was off-limits to cheese-hatin’ Sharisa.

Pardon the awfulness of the photo.  Did I even need to show it to you?  It’s basically a huge thing of fried cheese.  We manhandled this shit like there was no tomorrow.  Shattery, sticky cheese that squished out pleasing salty grease liquid, oh lord.

At more than twice the cost of Ping and with less than a tenth of the elation, NOT WORTH IT.

The following day I went for lunch with an old advisor to…

Veritable Quandary

VQ was a medium-schmancy joint where everyone from the conference ended up for lunch.  Sharisa showed up, too, with her advisor.  I could only take a couple quick pictures because I do NOT want any of my former advisors to know about this little blog overflowing with f-bombs.  Anyway, here it is:

Vegetarian biscuits and gravy with mushrooms and poached egg.  I am laughing to myself as I look at this photo, because I could not have (a) inhaled this faster; or (b) paid less attention to my advisor.  I hope I am still shiny in his eyes after this lunch.  I couldn’t help it!  The biscuit was perfectly crisp at the edges, and the yolk that yin-yanged into the extremely rich gravy was just so drop-dead fucking (see? f-bomb!) scrumptious. Lickety lickety.

Sharisa and I ditched the rest of the conference and went on a walk of Portland that moved me to exclaim, more than once, “This is like the fucking ODYSSEY!”

We started out walking along the river, where we happened on a huge fair.  Apparently this happens every week?  But it covered several blocks and I counted three different live bands!  Sharisa and I lamented that we were both full and couldn’t partake in any of the lovely fair food, fun stuff like bentos, gyros, curry!  Also, there was a cool artist who painted with numbers.  Not by numbers, but with numbers.  From far away it looks normal, but up close it’s like 1′s and 2′s and 3′s (well, you know what numbers are) that, like pointillism, from far away comprise a picture.  Pretty nerdy cool.

We kept walking and stumbled upon a city block that was crowded with loud people in wacky wacky costumes that walked that line between jolly and frightening.  A little too loud and drunk and homeless-looking.  Sharisa and I stood on the edge of the block, breathing hard and gathering courage to walk on.  We did, and encountered a guy dressed as the Last Supper (he was Jesus in the center with cutouts of the others, with a full-on table with bread and stuff on it slung around his neck.  Then a crusty looking guy ran up, grabbed a baguette from the table, and started wacking cardboard Judas with it, causing Jesus to get pissed and yell HEY HEY HEY HEY at increasingly menacing decibels.  Sharisa and I scampered right out of there.

Next, we passed Cupcake Jones.  Donuts are the new cupcakes and we had been there, done that, but we stopped nonetheless to pick up a baby cupcake each.  She: vanilla (flecked through with real vanilla bean and topped with a preshus edible pearl).  Me: red velvet (topped with a darling edible flower petal).

Blood sugar restored, we went to the world’s largest Anthropologie, which was a bit meaningless because I can never find anything that looks good on me there and Sharisa already owns all of it.  Next to Anthropologie was…

Powell’s City of Books

Goodness Gracious.  Truly a city.  I stepped in and I was shell-shocked.  I was on a hunt to find a used Edgar Rice Burroughs book for R2, who is collecting all the ones with Ace covers.

Usually he’s lucky if he can find any ERB books at a used bookstore.  Here, there was not only one book, not only one bookshelf, but three and a half bookshelves FULL of ERB books!  I breathed “Ohhhh he’s gonna die…” and whipped out my phone to call him and gloat.

I picked up two books to add to his collection, read through a Bon Appetit that said photographing one’s food was rude and should be outlawed (gulp!), texted Sharisa to find her, and left in search of a cocktail.

And I spied this thing!

EEEEEEEE!

Our final stop in Portland, recommended to me by a Portland native, was…

Clyde Common

The new home of noted mixologist Jeffrey Morgenthaler, we were excited to try some weird cocktails.  First we cooed at the impossibly cute dog outside, who looked like a pig and cow and puppy rolled into one.  No picture, sorry.  I suck at taking animal photos, remember?

We got one Copper Penny: Old Overholt rye, Clear Creek pear brandy, Punt e Mes, apricot, one B.M.O.C.: bourbon, raw ginger syrup, Angostura, soda water, one Tonga-Tonga: Smith and Cross Jamaican rum, lime, grapefruit, Trader, and one Beginning of the End: Boca Loca cachaca, lime, amaretto, egg whites, apple butter.  The latter was my favorite due to my intense love of egg whites which was further thickened with the apple butter – captivating!

And thus, we said goodbye to Portland in the best possible way – slightly-beyond-tipsy.

New Year’s Resolutions for Twenty-Dime

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

I believe we have all agreed on “twenty-ten” as how we will refer to the year 2010. R2 is on a mission, though, to start “twenty-dime” which sounds silly and a bit forced but also sounds just Mad-Men-ey enough to maybe be cool.  [I have never seen the show.]

Anyway, here are my akshully quite modest resolutions for twenty-dime:

1. Finish Dogs That Should Be Named Oreo post.  This has been a work-in-progress for over two years.  It got pushed (a) onto and (b) to the top of my resolutions list because I just met the most blatant violation of this – a perfect specimen of an oreo dog (black everywhere except its belly) named…Brownie.  So much wrong there. The fact that it was the quintessential oreo dog and you didn’t name it Oreo is just the beginning.  Why are you naming a black dog after an entirely different color??  Further, you got SOO close with the cookie/pastry-themed name, and then veered off into “Brownie.” WTF. My animal photography skillz will need to sharpen in order for this resolution to come into fruition, as will my charmingness skillz so I can go up to strangers and ask to take a picture of their dog (and, breezily and completely off-handedly, ask, “What’s its name?”)

2. Wake up when the alarm goes off.  Ever since I moved to SF, I have lapsed into a bad habit of hitting the snooze button many many times; to the point where I have to set my alarm a full 1.5 hours before I actually want to be anywhere in order to wake up.  Untenable. It’s because my apartment has the coziest of cozy sleeping nooks that puts me into hibernation mode every night no matter the season; and while I enjoy peeking out of the nook every morning and announcing “I’m a prairie dog!” to an empty apartment, it’s making me feel like a lazy person.  I could revert to cuteness like the Nanda, but I want to do this the hard, self-improvement way of using sheer willpower to do it.

I think that’s it.

How did I do on my 2009 resolutions? Let’s see…

1. Become a Locavore. Pretty much done!  (A) I got my CSA box, and (B) when I made strawberry cupcakes in the dead of winter it was associated with a large amount of guilt for not eating seasonally. Check.

2. Be able to do a pull-up. I have been working with a trainer exactly for this goal…next Tuesday is when we’re doing the big test of whether I can do it or not.  Stay tuned.

3. Spend less time online looking at cats. Epic fail.  Not only do I still do this, I’ve added several more cat blogs to my RSS feed, including Pokke (see below), who just slays me with his all-pupil eye action.

4. Blog at least 5 times per month.  Well, I count 72 posts in 2009, which is definitely in keeping with this rez, but the whole point was that Daniel would ALSO blog that much, giving our dearest darlingest readers something to read every three days or so.  Instead, Daniel blogs at the rate of once per 9 months, which is enough time make a fucking baby.  While blogging with charm and crass like we do at MTFB can be effortful at times, I don’t quite think it requires as much time as making a fucking baby.

Happy New Year!

Favorite 10 Posts of 2009

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

1. Bazaar gets 4 stars~* Because the pictures are pretty, and there are a lot of them.

2. The evolution of my animal photography skillz~* Because our darling hammie Cheeto died [RIP<3] on December 28th, and this is how I want to remember her – all piratey-eyed.

3. Four Winds II: Snorkeling in Molokini~* Because I enjoy mild sexual harassment.

4. The many uses of Otter Pops~* Because this was a joint venture between me and Daniel, and represents my happiest 5 consecutive days in 2009.

5. Pole Dancing Aerobics~* Because it had the most “likes” of my imported notes on Facebook.

6. icanhascheezburger launch party~* Because every time I look at my Top 5 lolcats I lol.

7. My CSA box~* Because this fucking post took an inordinately long amount of time to execute.

8. Bibleopoloy~* Because I was able to play it without bursting into flames.

9. Fleur de Lys~* Because it was the foodiest meal of 2009.

10. Victoria’s C-Face~* Because no other posts from 2009 are worthy of being on a Top 10 list, here’s one from 2006 that people seem to like a lot – an expose chronicling the time I spent working at a certain lingerie hocker.

Things I Ate. (in a Crepe)

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Spinach, Onion and Sun-Dried Tomato Crepes with a Lemon Cream Caper Sauce

I’m back! Well, to be completely honest, I never went anywhere. Janet once made a joke that she had to eat a lot before she posted here on MTFB and I responded that I need to wait six nine(?!) months before I posted on MTFB. But that I also had to eat a lot. Without both, nothing happens. Win? I think so. Now I’m here to make it up to you with a nice, leisurely post.

So what have I been up to that’s been keeping me so busy that I can’t even post regularly? Surprisingly, nothing really. A few months back I became part of the unemployed statistic. 11.9% in July in California! Your intuition may be screaming that this means I should have had enough time to post hundreds of posts by now, almost as often as a certain Mr. Kutcher on Twitter, but without the 140 character limitation. Fail? Possibly. But I haven’t been completely useless: I’ve been practicing being a proper house marm (haha, but seriously what is marm anyway?), mainly by cooking lots of food. Um, also I have been looking for a job.

Available for birthday parties and weddings too!

While I’m planning to eventually post on such culinary adventures, I wanted to include you all in my next adventure, which I am lovingly calling “Things I Ate. (in a Crepe).” Catchy right? I was excited about the possibilities and quickly told Janet.

Me: I finally have an interesting blog series idea! I call it Things I Ate in a Crepe. You can practically eat anything in a crepe!

Janet: Is this a CHALLENGE? You can’t eat everything in a crepe.

Me: I meant you can probably physically put something in a crepe an-

Janet: a STAPLER?! Can you eat a STAPLER in your CREPE?!

Yes.  As you can see, she thought it was genius. Who am I to deny genius? Using my awesome research skills I settled on a crepe recipe from the one and only, Julia Childs! Fitting since this movie is probably going to have lots of people making crepes and other kinds of delightful (and alcohol-laden) French cuisine. Here’s the recipe:

Julia Child’s Crepes Fine Sucrees
Batter for about 18 dessert crepes, 5-6 inches in diameter
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup cold water
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoon orange liqueur, rum or cognac
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (measure by sifting directly into dry-measure cups and leveling off)
5 Tb melted butter

Either whirl all ingredients at top speed in an electric blender for about 1 minute; or gradual work the liquids into the flour with an electric mixer or wooden spoon, beat in the dry ingredients, and strain through a fine sieve. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, allowing flour particles to swell and soften. Cook the crepes in a 5- to 6-inch no-stick or cast-iron skillet. If batter seems too thick after you’ve tried your first crepe, beat in a tablespoon or so of water. If made in advance, stack crepes between layers of waxed paper or foil so they will not stick together.

To cook the crepes:

  • Immediately remove the pan from the heat, and, holding the handle of the pan in your right hand, pour with your left hand a scant 1/4 cup of batter into the middle of the pan. Quickly tilt the pan in all directions to run the batter all over the bottom of the pan in a thin film. (Pour any batter that does not adhere to the pan back into your bowl; judge the amount for your next crepe accordingly.) This whole operation takes 2 or 3 seconds. The batter should be a very light cream, just thick enough to coat a wooden spoon. If, after making your first crepe, it seems too heavy, beat in a bit of water, a spoonful at a time. Your cooked crepe should be about 1/16-inch thick.
  • Return the pan to heat for 60 to 80 seconds. Then jerk and toss the pan sharply back and forth and up and down to loosen the crepe. Lift its edges with a spatula, and if the underside is a nice light brown, the crepe is ready for turning.
  • Turn the crepe by using two spatulas; or grasp the edges nearest you in your fingers and sweep it up toward you and over again into the pan in a reverse circle; or toss it over by a flip of the pan.
  • Brown lightly for about 30 seconds on the other side. This second side is rarely more than a spotty brown, and is always kept as the underneath or nonpublic aspect of the crepe.
  • Slide the crepe onto the plate. Grease the skillet again, heat to just smoking and proceed with the rest of the crepes. As soon as you’re used to the procedure, you can keep two pans going at once and make 24 crepes in less than half an hour.
  • Crepes may be kept warm by covering them with a dish and setting them over simmering water or in a 200-degree oven. Or they may be made several hours in advance and reheated when needed.
  •  

    Practice. Sometimes it makes things perfect.

    It’s actually really simple, though the first few crepes are usually practice since you are messing around with the batter to make sure it is the right consistency. Make sure you also grease the pan before each crepe. The name of the game here is to make the thinnest crepe you can, so while most recipes will recommend you pour 1/4 cup of batter into your pan, depending on the size of the pan, adjust it so your crepe doesn’t become a boring old pancake. With patience and some practice you’ll get a stack of crepes ready for your wildest flavor experiments.

    Crepes cooling on the rack.

    Which brings us to my first experiment, pictured at the top and directly below. I decided to test my savory crepe mettle and threw together what I’m calling Two Face, because I hadn’t actually named it and now we’re here.

    Look at all the TASTY!

    Imagine this and drool to your heart’s content: a crepe filled with sauteed spinach, onion and sun-dried tomatoes mixed with ricotta, complemented with a lemon cream sauce with capers and basil. The sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes is countered perfectly by the saltiness of the capers and the acidity of the lemon flavor. The ricotta gave it body and united all the flavors into one creamy explosion in your mouth.

    But let’s not stop there shall we? My ultimate creation of the day was the S’more Crepe: A generous helping of jet-puffed marshmallow creme toasted with a hand torch and wrapped in a crepe, then smothered in a vanilla and amaretto flavored milk chocolate sauce, finally dusted with crushed graham cracker crumbs.

    S'more Crepe!

     The vital thing with this one is to make sure you toast the marshmallow cream and get a nice thin caramelized crust of flavor to add a little bit of texture and a hint of caramel. For the sauce I merely melted milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate (a ratio of 2:1) with heavy whipping cream (ratio ends up being 2:1:1 respectively) until it was smooth, then added half a tablespoon both of Amaretto and Vanilla extract. If you are a texture fiend, I urge you not to skip the crushed graham crackers, because finding the crunchiness of the crumbs in the sea of chocolate is like when you wear your favorite jacket and find $20 in the pocket.

    Anyway, that’s it for this chapter of “Things I Ate. (in a Crepe).” If you’re looking for recipes or more detailed instructions, let me know and I’ll add them as requested. The plan from here is to post again soon, but as Janet recently noted to me, she could have had a baby in the time between this post and my last. If any of you want to race, the timer starts now. I’ll try to have the next post before your baby gets here. If I do, I think you should name it after me.

    8 oz Burger Bar

    Friday, May 22nd, 2009

    I was being suuuuuuper lazy today (on account of the whole “I-got-a-Ph.D.-now-I-be-lazay” thing) and was watching some Top Chef reruns (PS – how amazing does Top Chef Masters look?!?  And with a hot EAST Asian chick host!?!) and the episode from the one-balled CJ season came on with Govind Armstrong as the guest judge.

    Which made me think “Oh shit! I really need to blog my visit to 8 oz Burger Bar…” and prompted me to open iPhoto to dig the pictures out, at which point I remembered why I hadn’t done so – because the pictures were kinda shitty.  Oh well.  The story behind my trip there is worth a couple blurry shots getting out there and ruining my limited photo cred.

    They do not take reservations, but the chick on the phone assured me that the wait would only be 10 minutes at most.  I said REALLY?  On a Friday night?!?  And she said yes.

    So we rolled up at around 8:30, and the hostess said it would be about a 25-minute wait.  Ugh.  Everyone was roaming around the entrance so I told her we would be at the bar.  She said great.  I said “Will you remember that we’re over there?  We’ll be at the bar.  Will you remember?” and she said yes.  Alrighty then.

    We waited and waited, and, being cognizant of the time crunch given the show that Christopher and I were going to, we decided to just eat at the bar.  Pictured top are the Fried Olives Stuffed With Chorizo, which I found heavenly but C said they merely tasted like fried olives stuffed with chorizo.  And the problem with that is…?

    We also ordered the Suds & Slider Sampler, which came with three 5oz beer pours and one each of Triple Prime Beef Slider, Wild Boar Slider, and Niman Ranch Lamb slider.  I have long forgotten what kind of beerz they were, but all were either super hoppy or dark.  The boar was on the dry side but had really nice flavor, and the lamb slider made me say, muffledly, “Oh! Oh! Oh!” and shove the other half in Christopher’s face so he could eat the deliciousness, stat.  He, however, was continuing on his Scrooge train and was like, “Meh.”  Meh?  MEH?  [After heated discussion, he came around to the much more defensible viewpoint that perhaps he is just not a sliders kinda guy.  I understood.  He's very large so it would be as if I were forced to eat a burger the size of a truffle - how good could that be?]

    We both, however, could get behind the yumminess of this monster – the 8oz Burger, consisting of their house blend of sirloin, tri-tip, short rib, and chuck cured in their Himalayan salt-tiled locker (schmancy!), iceberg, tomato, pickle, white onion, and 8 oz. special sauce.  We rehashed our lettuce sheaf conversation but otherwise I loved the dark toast on the bun and of course whatever magic the salt-tiled locker imparted into the patty, which, like a zit (in a good way), gushed out juice when you squeezed it.  Mmmm.

    I was midway through enjoying my burgers when the bartender went CLANK! and spilled a full glass of water onto the bar, which drizzled a bit into my lap.  Boo hiss.

    Then the hostess came by (now a full 65 minutes after we had arrived) and said, “Oh, THERE you are!  I’ve been looking for you guys!  Your table is ready.”  I told her we had long since given up on our table and that we were (clearly) already eating.  She seemed miffed but jeez – you saw how I had anticipated this problem and made SURE she knew where we would be, right?  Dummy.

    So I took a big breath, re-tousled my hair to look pretty, shot the rest of one of the 5 oz suds, and snagged the arm of the guy who I thought might be the manager.  I said, “Are you the manager?” and he said, “Yes” and I said, “I’m so sorry to bother you, but we were told our wait would be 25 minutes, and the hostess just now told us our table would be ready, which is FORTY minutes after she said.  We have tickets to a show so we couldn’t wait so we just had to eat here at the bar.  And on top of that your bartender just spilled an entire drink into my lap, and I was just wondering…” and he said, “Oh, yes, I talked to the hostess and she said she couldn’t find you guys,” and I dug in my heels and said, “NO, I made certain that she knew we would be waiting at the bar.  I told her three times that’s where we’d be and this place is not that big” (it really isn’t – it’s miniscule).  And he said, “OK, well I’ll see what I can do to accommodate you.”

    GOOD JOB JANET!  Especially as an AZN who has been brought up with the Japanese adage “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.”  I was proud of myself.  I turned back to Christopher, who was nomming away at the big burger and had missed everything.  I was hoping for our drinks & app to get comped.  But when the bill came, the balance said ZERO DOLLARS.  Our entire meal was comped?!?  Chalk one up to the American adage “Squeaky wheel gets the grease!”  This made me instantly love Govind Armstrong, and I vowed to give him a nice review here on MTFB.  Sorry that it’s seven months later, Govind…chalk it up to another American adage – “Better late than never.”

    8 oz Burger Bar

    7661 Melrose Ave

    323.852.0008