Saturday, April 24, 2010

Semi-Homemade Salsa

Corn, green peppers, and black beans in salsa make me happy. Easy adjustment. Look--I'm following Sandra Lee's advice by going semi-homemade. Except I didn't make a cocktail at the end.

Add as much as you want...and add different fresh ingredients too.

El Pollo Loco

Consumed 3/29/10.

El Pollo Loco is one of our favorite fast food restaurants. So good.

Chocolate Crush [almond] Pocky Sticks

I can't believe I haven't done a post on regular Pocky sticks. Well, this link will have to do for now: See pictures here. They have funny/weird Pocky commercials here too.

These almond-covered sticks are good! I still like the original best, and I probably always will, although the green tea , pumpkin, and "Men's Chocolate"/dark chocolate (lol) ones made me very happy.

My co-workers really like the original Pocky sticks and have asked where to get them. You can get them at Japanese or Asian grocery stores (R-N Market...Central Fish Co., Mitsuwa, etc.) UC Berkeley's on-campus food places (haha! Shows how many Asians there are). I got these almond ones at Central Fish, a favorite for local Japanese-Americans (well, Asians in general...and there's a lot of Mexican foods there too. Regular Pocky sticks are usually around $1.99, but I've seen them for more and, occasionally, on sale for cheaper. They don't always have cool flavors, by the way. Big places like Mitsuwa do though!

Julie's Imagawayaki

I can never remember the name of these things. It's like... Imananji desuka Wakabayashi. lol That last word is a real last name, and these things always remind me of it.

Anyway, Julie has an imagawayaki maker now, so she gave us some an-filled ones and some filled with some kind of shrimp paste. It was cool how there were sweet and savory ones.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Famous Levain Bakery Cookies

Visited 2.23.10
Levain Bakery
167 W. 74th Street - Another location on Long Island
New York, NY 10023
Website here. - You can order online...but they're pretty costly. I do have to say, however, that my friend's friend loves these so much that they spent a lot of money just to have these cookies shipped to them. I think that says something. good. My friend, Steve, and I are in love with these cookies.
Learn about them here. Copycat recipes here (I dunno why so many came up with soft cookie versions...The real things are NOT soft)

I was in NYC for grad school interviews. What a great opportunity for a foodie to go exploring! I wanted to go everywhere and taste everything! But...there are, of course, way too many things to try, and after interviewing and walking around in the rain and being nervous and excited and everything, I didn't feel like going anywhere when I got snowed in. Good timing I guess.... Bad for travel plans though. My flight back home was delayed and everything.

So tiny! I almost missed this little closet of a place. It's weird 'cause you walk down stairs to enter.
Don't ask why I didn't get a chocolate chip walnut cookie. For some reason I could have sworn a good a non-chocolate-base one, but apparently I just got those two dark ones. Dang! Stupid! Oh well...parents thought they were pretty darn good too (brought a couple home with me).

Based on the recommendations of Steve and The Food Network, I traveled to the Upper West Side of Manhattan in NYC (in between grad school interviews back in February) to get my hands on some of those famous 6-0z cookie globs (perfect word for them). $4.00?! Yes. But so worth it. You get what you pay for: A HUGE, dense, delicious cookie with good-quality flavor. Steve said that the dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookie was the best cookie he's ever had. It is pretty damn good. It's so dense it's almost like a scone (but not as dry), and it's as heavy as a rock. haha. Watch them make cookies here. They also sell bread and stuff (see pics below).

Dark chocolate chocolate chip cookie:

Pastries From The Unofficial Little Italy of The Bronx

*Note: I asked Morris Park Bake Shop if I could take pictures, and they were all really sweet about it. Probably thought I was crazy. Description of this tri-color cookie below.

I went to The Bronx for a grad school interview back in February and saw all of these little Italian pastry shops and restaurants. I'd actually been there before for a pre-interview meeting (to see if I was even going to apply) with my mom back in December, and then during a real interview in Albany, one of the other applicants talked about all of these little Italian food places in The Bronx (and other areas of New York State..It was really fun talking with NYers/East Coasters about NYC food). ** She might actually read this someday 'cause she has my link. If you are, please leave a comment!! Anyway, I was dumb and took the subway up to Morris Park (DO NOT DO THIS if you're trying to get to these little shops (or Yeshiva University) and you're walking all alone in the rain without an umbrella. Seriously. I had to guess where I was going, it was a looooong walk, and it was pouring. Stupid, stupid little girl. I got there by taxi the first time I went to this school, and then I failed again and took the subway the second time. You're supposed to take a subway up to somewhere in Manhattan (depending on where you are) and then take the BUS to The Bronx. I knew this...I was just being dumb that day. On the way back I almost cried too because I gave the bus driver the wrong free-rides-all-day ticket (it was the expired one I hadn't realized I still had), but luckily someone gave me his card, and I gave him $5.50 or however much it was. He and that older man who offered me his umbrella while I was walking umbrellaless in the rain were SO sweet. I didn't take the umbrella...oh no. But his kindness made me so happy. Sorry this paragraph got so long. See pictures below!

See? It even has an Italian flag on the street!

Morris Park Bake Shop:'s what I bought. I bought the peanut cookie and rugelach from Morris Park Bake Shop and the tri color from a smaller place.

(1) Chocolate rugelach (2 or 3):

(2) The Italian tri color (that's what the girl called it) cookie - not from Morris Park Bake Shop. Got this because I was determined to try something new that I could only get from a place like this. The girl said it's one of their most popular cookies, so what the heck? It was good but not my favorite. I did appreciate all of the work that must go into making these things. So many layers! It was almondy-flavored with chocolate, marzipan, three layers of cake, and jam (raspberry...and there's supposed to be apricot too). Apparently kids love them and call them "rainbow cookies." Very fitting.

Yummy peanut pastry (crunchy):

Friday, April 16, 2010


My cousin, Ashley, browned up a mochi for me on Christmas Eve 2009. I seem to be going backwards in time with my posts (my last one was about New Year's 2010). Yum. And SO good with shoyu/soy sauce and sugar. I'm not sure who made this mochi, but a lot of Japanese/Japanese-Americans do around Christmastime. I'm not sure why they make it around then...maybe because that's when family's home? Go HERE for pictures and descriptions of the mochi-making process.

New Year's 2010

I can't believe this was from New Year's and I'm just now posting this. I've realized that I really need to narrow down what I post on this food blog. I'll leave out the meh/gross stuff. I used to think that it's nice to include everything because life is full of goods and bads...but I just don't have the time or desire to keep posting about every little thing. SO, from now on, I'll just blog about interesting things, things that I like/love, and things about which I think you should know (like cool food events, cultural traditions, and where NOT to eat due to sanitation conditions or awful service or something).

Anyway, my family had yet another (but smaller this year; didn't invite friends this time) New Year celebration with a few Japanese traditional foods. I'm probably supposed to describe each little piece on my plate (FYI, I ate much more than what's pictured below!), so I'll try: The fried wonton is made of pork, green onion, shrimp, water chestnut, and I'm not sure what else in it. That's just a family tradition; it's not really a Japanese thing. The green thing at the tip of the fork is a tofu & spinach dish with green onions, sprouts, and a delicious garlic-y, oily, soy sauce-y sauce that my mom and my aunt (Aunt J) make. Chow mein I assume most people recognize (again not Japanese). The flat, dark green thing is nori, or dried seaweed. You usually wrap that around rice, but it's also so good in soup (I'm not sure what it's doing by itself on my plate... Maybe it's covering a tiny pile of rice). The sushi has cucumber, sweet egg, and eel in it. The orange thing is raw salmon, the roundish thing with holes that you can't really see is a renkon/lotus root slice, and that brown thing is inari sushi (pronounced "ee-nah-ree zoo-shee"), which is sweetened & vinegared rice covered by a sweet, puffy deep-fried tofu sheet called age ("ah-geh"). For the longest time I just knew inari sushi as "footballs."

Grandma H slicing the sashimi (raw fish). She doesn't really approve of others' methods of slicing, so we always have her do it to avoid the conflict/hurt feelings. heh heh

Auntie J's delicious lemon bars. I believe she made these with Meyer lemons. To lots of foodies, that's significant. I'm not quite sure what the big deal is though. I guess I'm not THAT obsessed with food. I have, however, switched from regular butter to unsalted butter when I bake. :D

Mint Moose Tracks (& Triple Vanilla) Ice Cream

This was really good. I love chocolate with mint!

Other sections had more chocolate than what's shown below:

A mint/chocolate chip up close:

Isn't it cool that you can get three types of vanilla ice cream at once? Vanilla, vanilla bean, and French vanilla.

Pumpkin Smoothie

Pumpkin puree + vanilla ice cream + ice in a blender. YUMMMM.

The Rest of the Ethel's Chocolates

See more posts about Ethel's chocolates here (American Pop flavors) and here (Chicago Food Planet tour - Free samples & inside store). Was omiyage from Uncle J and Auntie J.

From a Mexican Bakery

Dad got these from the only Mexican bakery on Main Street in Fowler, California. I couldn't find the name on Yelp or Google. Sorry. We usually get a few loaves (they're small) of their jalapeno cream cheese bread there. YUM! They come in those plastic bags, by the way. haha

Not the best picture of the outside. I'll get a better one of the bread when it's whole.

These sweet things below were okay. I liked the apple one better than the custard one.

Apple-filled pastry. Like a mini apple pie/hand pie. I like how you can see my brother eating pho in the background.

Custard-filled thing: