Saturday, December 30, 2006

Du-pars at The Farmer's Market

After shuttering its doors for remodeling nearly two years ago, Du-par's at the Original Farmer's Market is once again open. Why should you care? You shouldn't.

As you can see, I've given this place a new name: Sub-par's. That's because everything we ate was... yes, you guessed it... sub par.

It all started with the magically cooling coffee. You know those self-heating coffee cans we heard so much about in 2004? (until they started exploding, that is)

Well Du-par's coffee is kind of like that, except, in reverse. I don't know how they do it, but within seconds of being poured, the coffee magically becomes lukewarm. I witnessed it three times: three pours from a seemingly "fresh" pot of coffee, three times that the first sip felt like drinking a can of soda that had been sitting out in the sun.

I keep reading great reviews on this place and I just don't get it... the food was fine, but nothing special. For starters, their French Toast doesn't even hold a candle the French Toast at Bread & Porridge, or Hugo's, or most breakfast places I assume.

The tuna melt was a near disaster. Cold tuna salad (update: it's supposed to be a hot sandwich) smooshed between two pieces of poor quality raisin bread (the Sun-Maid brand is ten times better), plus a couple slices of unmelted cheese, leave for one very pathetic sandwich.

Seriously folks. The Farmer's Market is filled with so many great stands: Monsieur Marcel, Loteria, French Crepe Company, Gumbo Pot, Singapore's Banana Leaf just to name a few.

Don't waste your time (or the calories) at Sub-pars.

But if you must...
Du-par's at the Original Farmer's Market
6333 W 3rd St (at Fairfax)

Friday, December 29, 2006

New Year's Rule #1: A Better Relationship with Food

I love rules. Brian thinks I would do well under a fascist regime, so eager am I to follow rules to the very letter. Give me a strict recipe and I'm in heaven... loose guidelines and I'm left wandering with no idea what to do.

Given my love for rules and regulations, I'm a bit surprised that I've never made any New Year's Resolutions until this year.

Perhaps that's because the word resolution is itself rather loosey-goosey: Resolution - a resolve or determination

No, I'm not one to be left to the open-endedness of my own determination. Instead, this year I'm going to make for myself some very strict New Year's Rules.

New Year's Rule #1: Develop a Better Relationship with Food
This is not exactly what you think. I actually have a very healthy relationship with food... I LOVE food (and it loves me back). No, this rule is not about dieting or eating healthy, or whatever. Rather, I want to really get to know my food. Like, what it is and where it comes from. It's time for me and food to take our relationship to the next level:

For the next year, I'll be making a once-weekly attempt at cooking food from scratch. And I don't just mean opening a can of tuna and making tuna salad. I mean going down to the fishmonger, buying a whole tuna, deboning it, and grilling it up myself. Or buying a whole chicken, degutting it, roasting it up whole, and making stock out of the carcass. You know, the stuff other people usually do for you behind the scenes.

We live in a land of too easy, too clean, too bloodless fast food, where chicken magically becomes bite-size McNuggets, where mashed pork gets pressed into McRib sandwiches, "rib bones" and all. They say driving is a privilege, not a right, so I'm applying that same principal to being a carnivore. This year, I'm going to earn my chops.

Week one, as you can see, is chicken. I'm roasting it tonight (yes, I'm getting a little head start), making soup out of it tomorrow. Next week, I think, will be lamb. OK, so I'm not going to go slaughter a lamb, make dinner, and then knit a sweater out of it - meet me halfway here people... it's a start.

*** more New Year's Rules to come ***

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Merry Christmas: I Ate Rudolph

Hope everyone had a very wonderful Christmas filled with family, friends, laughter, love, and good food. Perhaps you sat around the fire singing Christmas carols, or gathered round the tree to unwrap presents. You may have watched a Christmas classic, such as this one:

Or, if you're like my family, you hit the backyard on a beautiful 80 degree December afternoon to barbeque reindeer. Hey, where do you think my dark sense of humor comes from anyways?

I didn't actually know reindeer were real - I tossed them out along with Santa Claus and the Easter bunny as a child. Of course, that left plenty of room for teasing when I proclaimed, "I thought reindeer were imaginary animals, or is that unicorns?"

Apparently they are both real, according to my dad. We'll be having barbequed unicorn next year.

So, back to poor charred Rudolph...

Dad must have (accurately) anticipated that we'd consider his reindeer games more of a sick joke, not an actual meal. So rather than purchasing reindeer steaks, he picked up a little slab of ground reindeer to make two small Rudolph burgers, serving them up as an amuse bouche to my bewildered siblings.
Reindeer tastes, well... kind of like hamburger, only a little more gamey and drier, probably due to the lower fat content and the fact that reindeer fly (cows don't). I didn't love it, but it tasted better than I thought it would.

I'm betting that next year's unicorn filet will be a whole lot juicier.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Grinch's Holiday Gift Guide: Food Edition

It's less than a week till Christmas, and I still haven't bought any gifts. I don't know how the time got away from me... I've been hearing Christmas music everywhere and diligently avoiding the malls ever since Halloween.

Well, after searching through dozens of "find the perfect gift" guides, I started getting a little sick of Christmas. Gasp! Yeah, that's right, I'm sick of Christmas. In fact, I this close to saying, Burn, Christmas! Burn!! (that's for you honey).

For those of you in the same boat, I'd like to share my own gift guide: Colleen Cuisine Presents the Grinch's Holiday Gift Guide: Food Edition. CCPTGHGGFE for short. Now, this could be considered a list for "the man/woman/child who has everything," but it's more likely to be used for "people you feel obligated to buy a gift for, but really didn't have the time to shop for, and really don't like all that much anyways."


Gift certificates are a great way to show that you're too lazy to shop for a present, while still conveying the "no really, I care" factor because you actually went and visited a store. This year, take it up a notch and give them not just any old retail gift certificate, but the food experience of a lifetime.

Is someone on your Christmas list especially handy? They're sure to love Garnishing for the Beginner. Because no child should be left without a shark made from a cucumber on Christmas morning.

Have someone on your list who loves flowers? Surprise them this year with an edible floral arrangement.

No really, I bet they will appreciate the stinky rotting sticky fruit sitting on their desk attracting fruit flies. Make sure to order a really big one so they're forced to eat it all in one day - better yet, include extra apples for a nice browning effect!

Want a touch of elegance? Just add cheese:

Here's a very informative book for a food lover:

When you open the cover, it simply says, "Don't eat meat. Dummy!"

Want to tell someone they are an enormous fatass without saying a word? Just buy them this:

What's that, you say? It's a crisper, a machine designed to keep snacks such as Oreos, crackers, and chips at their premium "crispness." Just in case you don't eat the whole box in one sitting (but I mean really, when does that NOT happen?)

Share one of the hottest L.A. food trends with an out-of-town pal: Sprinkles MINI Cupcakes!

Yes, Sprinkles has mini-sized versions of their famous cupcakes, perfect for gift giving. Just be sure to scratch off that part of the label that says "for dogs."

Technically, this is not a gift, but it could make for a very special dinner: Spinach and Green Onion soup... the perfect way to show off this year's most notorious crops.

Maybe you could serve this to me for dinner... it would match my Grinch costume nicely.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Am I a Pinkberry Slut or a Pinkberry Whore?

Yes, yes, yes... I know what you're thinking. ANOTHER freakin' Pinkberry article that you're quoted in? What are you, some kind of Pinkberry media whore?

I thought about this a lot over the past few days and you know what I concluded? Um. NO, I'm not a whore. Whores get paid for sex their words, or at the very least, they get free meals. I'm not in the business of eating free yogurt (well, except that one time... oh yeah, and that other time).

No, rather, I like to think of myself as a Pinkberry SLUT. I give it all away for free and I love it. Quotes for your article? No problem. Pages and pages of emails with all the info you could possibly need about yogurt facts and trends? You got it. In fact, I'll tell you just about anything you want to know about Pinkberry, except for their secret recipe, which one of the store managers gave away in this article (think he's fired yet?).

Read the full article here

Want more? I won't charge...
LA Weekly
New York Magazine
Los Angeles Times

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Restaurant Blind Items

OK, so I have a bunch of photos from a bunch of places I really didn't enjoy. Rather than write up a crappy review for each of these crappy restaurants, I'll let you guess where the culinary offense happened.

1) What subpar pseudo-trendy restaurant near the Arclight serves low-grade ahi mixed with enough seasoning to just barely mask the spoiled tuna taste? The lotus root chips were the only edible part of this dish. Hint: it's not Hungry Cat.

2) What chain steakhouse is so full of itself for its fork-and-knife ribs (which really aren't all that), that it slips and serves mushy 3 inch tall ahi tuna rolls spiked with jicama? Jicama!

3) What DELICIOUS Thai Bistro recently pissed me off by refusing to deliver to my house because I live on the wrong side of the street accordingly to their delivery map? Seriously, we're talking 100-200 feet here people.

4) In the wake of the latest LA Fire Department scandal, what fast food chain continues to serve dog food in its spaghetti to the offense of rational people everywhere?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Eater LA Emerges!

The much-anticipated Eater LA has arrived in Los Angeles! For those who follow the New York food scene, you're undoubtedly familiar with the original Eater and their infamous *Eater Deathwatch,* *Eater Plywood,* and other trademarked foodstalker items. Now Eater brings its cruel jaws to Los Angeles, albiet late enough to bypass the Pinkberry madness (thank your lucky stars for that!).

Although the site celebrated its soft launch today, there are actually posts dating back several weeks, including many links to all of you fabulous people (Jeni, Pat, Eddie, Jonah, Kirk, Bree, Tokyoastrogirl and others). Because of course, as any good editor knows, the TRUE way to a foodbloggers heart is through their ego stomach.

Welcome to the L.A.foodblogosphere Eater!

Friday, November 24, 2006

If I Did It, Here's How it Happened: Ross Cutlery

Tonight on the Fox News Channel...

Let's say that I... ALLEGEDLY... carved up a small animal last night. I'm not saying I did, but IF I did, it probably would've been a turkey, and I probably would've used a very sharp knife, theoretically speaking.

Now of course, there's absolutely no evidence whatsoever that I carved up a turkey. Well, except for that very sharp knife you see in exhibit A, or possibly those cuts you see in exhibits B and C, which are actually injuries I sustained while golfing. Golfing on a turkey farm.

Now before you start thinking that I have incredibly poor taste (which I do), let me take a moment to explain exactly what my Thanksgiving carving story has to do with O.J. Simpson's latest tell-all.

You see, prior to beginning my Thanksgiving cooking extravaganza, I wanted to make sure I had the proper weapons... I mean, equipment. And nothing wreaks terror in the hearts of turkey carcasses everywhere like razor-sharp equipment.

For razor sharp knives in only 1 hour, there's really only one place to go in Los Angeles - Ross Cutlery downtown. Yes, THE Ross Cutlery where O.J. Simpson purchased a 12" knife one week prior to Nicole/Ron murders, because he most likely had some serious cooking going on that week too.

Ross Cutlery is a phenomenal knife store, not just because they have great prices (as much as 30-40% off retail for some brands), but also because the owners are knowlegable, helpful, and extremely customer-friendly. When I asked for a carving fork to go with my knives, they pulled out the Wusthof, but they also lined up several lesser-known and less-expensive brands and explained the difference between each. Compare that to my experience at Sur La Table, where the only option on the table was the $160 carving set, and they seemed really reluctant to show me anything else.

In addition to great knives, Ross Cutlery also offers a very speedy knife sharpening service. As a Global owner, I generally have a hard time getting same-day knife sharpening because Japanese knives are sharpened at a narrower angle (10-15%) than the more common European knives (20%), and as such, require different sharpening equipment and a more precise skill.

Having your knives sharpened by a professional is truly a treat, and after only a 45 minute wait, I returned to find my knives shiny and razor sharp.

Literally razor sharp.

They say that cooking with a dull knife is actually more dangerous than cooking with a very sharp knife and that's true... until you get to the point where you're washing and drying the knife and it's SO sharp that it cuts through the dish towel and slices open your fingers.

Which is exactly what happened last night, your honor. Exactly.

Ross Cutlery

310 S. Broadway St.
Downtown Los Angeles

Saturday, November 11, 2006

BLD Restaurant: Better Luck Next Time

When Grace first opened several years ago, I was a bit of a junkie. Something about their beef tartare with truffled grilled cheese sandwiches, braised pork shank, and gourmet doughnuts just really hit me right. It felt professional but unassuming, upscale but comfortable - gourmet food without the fuss or the attitude, served in portions big enough to fill you up.

So when Grace offshoot BLD opened last month, I was expecting more of the same... only now I'd be able to get Breakfast, Lunch, AND Dinner all under one roof. It's probably a little unfair to BLD that I went within weeks of opening with the intention of comparing dinner there to dinner at Grace. They are pretty different concepts: Grace being more of your traditional fine dining, BLD feeling more like a diner that's trying to be a nice restaurant (or the other way around). One thing both restaurants achieve well is the unassuming vibe: although at Grace it feels intentional, and at BLD, it feels accidental.

Let's not beat around the bush here... the service was accidental, dare I say, abyssmal. Normally I can try to overlook bad service and focus on the food, but here, the service actually interrupted the food too.

Some of the food was good, some was fair, some was almost bad. Among the bright spots was the charcuterie: BLD's cheese and charcuterie selection rivals that of hometown favourite AOC (you know, someone should really put those two together, call it DA' BLOC, throw in some of Grace's donuts, and keep it open 24 hours... now that would be my kind of fusion restaurant).

BLD has about 20 different selections each of cheese and charcuterie. For our platter, we chose prosciutto di parma and a truffled cow's milk cheese. It came out on the slab looking all luscious and provocative, as parma tends to do, and tasted equally great. Nice selection of accoutrements, including a raisin-nut bread, french bread with honey, candied almonds, date cake, and apricot jelly. Yum.

Unfortunately, the "Yum" stopped there. If only the rest of the meal could've been as good as the beginning...

We started off with a fun-sounding tater tots appetizer, which, from the menu, sounded like a gourmet version of school cafeteria tots. When it arrived with a whopping total of just 5 tots, plus greenery, I almost thought we had ordered (or received) the wrong dish. They appeared to be deep-fried shredded potato balls, which sounds like it would taste great, but didn't quite hit the mark. They reminded me a little bit of the fried mac and cheese balls at Fred 62, only not as many of them, and not as good.

Although we had already ordered our main entrees, our waitress came by after we finished our appetizer, but not to pick up the empty plate. "I forgot to tell you, we ran out of the angus beef burger. Would you like to order something else?" Um, how do you run out of a hamburger two hours before closing is my first question. My second question is, couldn't you have told me that 20 minutes ago, before I was starting to envision that juicy beef in my mouth? "People really like the pork burger," she offered. It wasn't what I wanted, but as an indecisive menu reader, I didn't want to put my dining companions through the wait... "Fine."

I didn't want a pork burger at all. I thought about getting up and changing it, but figured it would probably delay things further. So pork burger it would be.

The pork burger was actually quite good, but only if you're in the mood for pork. It tasted like a more savory and juicier version of a turkey burger, fairly light since it's white meat. Unfortunately, the fries were soggy and cold and the bun tasted dry and day-old. I ate the pork patty just by itself and felt a little sad. Grace was nowhere to be found in this restaurant.

Cat had the Self-Constructive meal combo, which gives the diner a choice of one of four proteins (half chicken, hangar steak, salmon, or tofu), plus two sides (fries, asparagus, fingerling potatoes, garlic rapini, grilled mushrooms, etc.) plus one sauce (basil pesto, lemon butter, red wine sauce, etc.). I was expecting a little more of a disaster to come out of the kitchen, but it actually seemed to come together nicely: grilled chicken, french fries, garlic rapini, with a lemon butter sauce. Cat chose wisely...

The chicken and garlic rapini tasted pretty good, the fries, again, were soggy and cold. Not exactly Craft-style execution, but an interesting idea.

Brian had the braised short rib sandwich, which we all expected to be the best thing on the menu. Although it was better than either of our dishes, it still felt underwhelming. Too much coleslaw, dry and tasteless bread, soggy cold fries... hey, the beef can't do everything.

I didn't eat much of my entree, so I was pretty hungry and looking forward to some type of down-home dessert. The waitress brought by the menu... there were a lot of choices, many very yummy looking. I set my heart on the yellow cake with dark chocolate frosting, only to be informed when the waitress returned 10 minutes later: "Oh, we're out of that. We're also out of..." rattling off every item on the dessert menu except for the cookies, ice cream sundae, and crepes. Uh huh... maybe you could have just told us what was available instead. Thanks.

I do want to give BLD one more try. The prices are reasonable and I'm interested to see what they make out of a weekend brunch. But next time, I'll go in with expectations set low.

Who knows, maybe those teeny remnants of Grace will peek out and surprise me.

BLD Restaurant
7450 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
Mon-Fri 7am-12am
Sat-Sun 8am-12am

Friday, November 03, 2006

National Pocky Day!

Hey everyone! Next Saturday, November 11th, is National Pocky Day!

To celebrate, I'll be hosting an Online Pocky Party all week long! What was your first Pocky experience like? Have a special Pocky memory or photo? What's your favourite Pocky flavour? Leave a comment or email me at

Don't be caught empty handed on National Pocky Day - check out Famima!! for a great selection of Pocky flavours. In the meantime, please enjoy these awesome commercials from Japan.

How come we don't get commercials like this in the U.S.?

Despite anything I could possibly tell you, nothing will prepare you for the awesomeness of this next one.

And finally, WOW! Where can I get Pocky G? I've gotta try this!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Shabu Shabu Ya on La Brea

Excuse me please... (taps knife on wine glass). Ting - ting - tinggggg.

I have a question. Why is Shabu Shabu so expensive?

I've pondered this extensively: there is no actual cooking provided by the eating establishment. There is only prep work. They cut up meat and vegetables, bring a pot of boiling water to the table, make you cook it yourself, and charge a 300-400% mark-up on the ingredients. It's twice as expensive as Korean BBQ, and they don't even marinate the meat. What gives?

Before we get started here, I should probably let you know that I've never had Shabu Shabu before now. I've always meant to try it, but never got around to it... there were always these pesky little sushi joints getting in my way. Well, a NEW Shabu Shabu restaurant opened up within walking distance from me, so I figured, why not give it a shot? All the other restaurants within walking distance have proven to be complete and utter dining failures, so maybe this one would seem great in comparison.

Then again, maybe not.

Everything about the new Shabu Shabu Ya on La Brea was right... tasty food, fun eating experience, nice environment, super friendly service. Well, everything was right except one thing: the price. Suddenly you put a price on something and the value of everything else goes down immensely.

$107.25 for 2 people (no alcohol, mind you), is not exactly what I'd call a bargain. Especially when both of you leave hungry, talking about where you'll get "dinner" after having that oh-so-expensive cook-it-yourself appetizer in rather humble environs. I won't lie, I felt a little duped.

If we can ignore price for a moment, I'd like to show you what we ate, because it was pretty good and pretty fun.

Like any down-home Japanese restaurant, Shabu Shabu Ya makes sure to stock "the leading brand in the Marble Soda category," Ramune. Yes, there really is a Marble Soda category, and you really should check out the Ramune fact page for some other interesting translations, such as high techniques and making the bottle into a "hand lantern." Ramune, which is like the Japanese Sprite, is a fun and fascinating drink - the top is stopped with a glass marble that you "pop" open with a special plunger device. The marble then falls down to the bottle's neck, where it rolls back and forth each time you take a sip, making a fun hollow scrapy sound like marbles on concrete. Want more of a challenge? Try getting the marble out without breaking the bottle...

After you play with your drink, it's time to play with your food. Our waitresses brought by a special mortar and pestle filled with sesame seeds: first, you crush the seeds into a sesame powder, then they top it off with a sesame dressing. Fresh!

Shabu Shabu Ya has a couple side dishes, such as edamame and miso soup. The edamame was OK, but actually tasted a little freezer burned. The meat dishes also come with an assortment of vegetables and udon noodles that you can toss into the boiler.

Now on to the meat of the matter. Shabu Shabu Ya offers three types of meat: regular beef, washugyu beef, and chicken. Washugyu beef is a cross-breed of Wagyu beef and Angus beef, and at $54 for a large, one would hope the genetics of such a marriage would create sparks in the flavour department.

It certainly looked nicely marbled...

But as we cooked up and ate each tiny expensive sliver, I couldn't help but wonder if this really tasted that much better than the regular beef, which is half the price. Good, but not life-changing, and certainly not the experience you'd get from real Kobe beef.

After the plate of beef, we weren't just appetized, we were starving. On to the chipper chicken...

They ask that you cook the chicken for 15 minutes, and to help pass the time, you get this cute little chicken-themed eggtimer. Unfortunately, they took it away before the buzzer went off - I was hoping it cock-a-doodle-doed, or chirped, or something. The chicken was pretty tender and tasted good in the sesame sauce, but it was also, pretty plain. I guess that's the point.

After the chicken, yep, you guessed it, still starving.

I don't have anything against Shabu Shabu Ya - it's a nice little place with very friendly people. But given my first experience, I can't imagine myself going back to Shabu Shabu Ya, or back to Shabu Shabu in general.

By the way, my debit card receipt showed up as "Sake House Miro," which means Shabu Shabu Ya is probably owned by the same people who own Sake House two doors down. If only they could apply the reasonable prices of the former location to the new digs, I might actually consider giving it a second try.

Till then, you'll probably just see me swinging by to pick up another bottle of Marble Soda.

Hungry Cat Redux

Have you ever done something silly, like try to drink your way through the entire Hungry Cat cocktails menu in one night?

I tried... once upon a time... and then I forgot to write about it. Most of these drinks aren't even on the menu anymore, but the Blood Orange Negroni (far left... R.I.P.) was particularly good. The other ones involved limes, mint leaves, lemon slices, and, yeah, I'm cheating. I don't remember.

While the food is still up for debate, the drinks rule. Old school, hand squeezed, not afraid to give you a bite of bitters when you're least expecting it. Cheers to H.C. for still keeping a little sophistication in a land of lycheetinis.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

PiNkBeRRy iz kEwL! Colleen Cuisine makes the LA Weekly

I don't know what's more flattering, the fact that Jonathan Gold compares me to "a 13-year-old MySpacer obsessed with Orlando Bloom," or the fact that Jonathan Gold read my blog. wOOt! lOl! rotfl!

Mr Gold - U R so KeWl!!! CoUnteR InTeLligEnce iZ a waY AwEsOmE bOOk! I FoUnD my FaVe ReStauRaNts cUz of U! ZaNkOu, sUsHi gEn, Sasabune, sOOt BuLl jEeP (hAHa LOL! jEEp liKe a cAr! O:) lOlrOtFl!). wOOt!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Angelini Osteria: A White Truffle Birthday

Let Friday, October 20th, forever be known as "The Day I Died and Went to White Truffle Heaven."

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who categorize people, and those who don't. As one of the categorizers, I think of people in two categories: those who love truffles, and can justify spending nearly three digits for a sprinkling of them, and those who don't, and can't, and won't. For those in the second category, you may want to stop reading.

When Brian asked me where I wanted to eat to celebrate my birthday this year, only one restaurant popped into my mind: Angelini Osteria. Not just because Angelini is one of the best Italian restaurants in Los Angeles, but because my birthday falls at the peak of white truffle season. White truffles, of course, are best served in their natural environment, over Northern Italian food. Or over anything really...

[If you didn't know there were two kinds of truffles, white and black, or if you thought I was talking about chocolate, here's a quick little primer. White truffles are generally considered superior in taste to black truffles, and because they are rarer and cannot be cultivated, they're also much more expensive]

So when our very gracious waitress handed us the specials menu, my eyes lit up when I saw fresh white truffles served over pizza, agnolotti, tagliatelle, risotto, scrambled eggs, and a few other dishes I'm now forgetting. And when the table next to us snickered... $85 for a pizza! how big is it?!... I just sat quietly and placed them in the above-mentioned don't/can't/won't category.

Two things about Angelini's truffle specials: disappointingly, they shave the truffles back in the kitchen, not in front of you at your table. They seem to be missing some free advertising, as the scent and spectacle of live truffle shaving is rather spectacular (not as spectacular as live lobster sashimi, but close). However, they more than make up for that by giving not a sprinkling, not a shaving, but a generous drowning of fresh white truffle flakes. We picked the agnolotti special and got more truffles than I ever expected...

If you're a truffle-lover, you know the smell is amazing. Even just truffle oil or truffle cheese or truffle butter smells amazing. But having a plate of them freshly shaved is borderline overwhelming... in the most wonderful way. Just lean in slightly, take a deep inhale, and you could nearly pass out from the musky, heady aroma that somehow graduates from your nasal passages directly into your brain. I don't know if there's a science behind this, but they seem to spark a near-instant serotonin release, the result being a woozy, giddy, I-think-I-need-a-cigarette sort of feeling.

After finishing off the plate of agnolotti, Brian and I looked at each other and giggled. "Do you want to get another one?" he asked. "Don't you think that's a little obscene?" I responded, secretly hoping he would say no. So we asked for the menu again, scrolled down the choices, and settled on risotto. And we got even more truffles than the first time...

So how did it taste? Words cannot describe... either you get it, or you don't. Things like "lick the plate" and "bathe in it" come to mind.

If you decide to embark on this adventure yourself, I'd recommend going for the absolute simplest dish possible. While the agnolotti was delicious, the cheese-filled pasta just barely stole some attention away from the main attraction, whereas the risotto pushed the truffle flavour into full view. Were I to make the choice again, I'd probably go with the scrambled eggs.

Yes, we ate other things besides white truffles, but does that really matter? For those of you who fall into the "yes, it does matter category," here you go...

First of all, we had a fantastic red wine: Nebbiolo, which hails from the same region as white truffles, the Piedmont region of Italy. Angelini has a fantastic collection of Italian wines, with some of the best served by the glass, at very reasonable prices.

Brian had a huge and delicious Bistecca alla Fiorentina, which is a porterhouse, Florentine style. At nearly 40 ounces, this is not a steak for the faint of heart or small of stomach (Brian is a champion eater, and even he took home more than half of it).

I had the swordfish special, which was served over a bed of steamed broccoli rabe. The broccoli rabe was bitter, as it tends to be, and not my favorite. I'd probably substitute it for another vegetable if I order this again. The swordfish, however, was outstanding, a thick steak grilled to perfection, garnished with pesto olive oil and dried cranberries.

And now, I've run out of words. Can't stop thinking about the truffles...

Angelini Osteria
7313 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Pinkberry Sporked Me

My Pinkberry patience is wearing thin. A loyal customer since they first opened in spring 2005, I've withstood the lines, the parking tickets, the controversy, the much-too-long-wait for stores #2 and #3. Now that the buzz has softened and the crowds dispersed, here I am back at Pinkberry with no line, no parking hassle, just wanting to get a medium plain yogurt like the good ole' days.

So I did. And Pinkberry served it to me with... a spork.

A spork!?!? Why?

Sporks are good for two things: KFC coleslaw (where sporks were first used in mass foodservice), and Taco Bell mexican pizzas. Oh yeah, and prison. That's it. When I'm eating my plain Pinkberry fro-yo with NO toppings, I don't need or want those stupid fork tines scraping and poking my upper lip. It RUINS my yogurt chi! It would be like eating sushi with serrated chopsticks!

I'm not sure if sporks are the new delivery method at Pinkberry, or just a temporary replacement, but I do know this: Pinkberry's sporks were three-pronged (exhibit, right), whereas the KFC and Taco Bell sporks are four-pronged (exhibit, left). So it's not like someone went out and gathered up a bunch of fast food sporks because they ran out of spoons. This was intentional.

Go to Pinkberry: Bring your own spoon.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I Will Buy Anything Pink

Dear Mr./Ms. Brand Manager of [every major CPG company in the world] -

Please continue to make pink products in support of breast cancer awareness. Even if it's not in support of breast cancer awareness, please continue to make pink products. I will buy anything pink. Seriously. ANYTHING.

Take for example, this pink can of soup I bought yesterday. I was really hoping the soup itself would be tinted pink, but no such luck. Still, it's so pretty and cute, I'm just leaving it sitting out on my counter admiring it, and consequently, admiring the Campbell's soup brand.

Or perhaps this pink yoga towel from Yogitoes. Best invention ever. It's a $50 towel for goodness sake, and I already had the blue one, but then you had to go and make a pink one and I love you for it.

Le Creuset, please bring back your pink limited edition line. I was a poor college student when it first came out, but now I have disposable income for which to buy ungodly amounts of pink products, and I would buy your entire french oven line if it came in pink. Every single piece. Even though I only cook once a year.


Must! Have! Pink! Stuff!

What else is available in pink for this oh-so-special month of October, also known as my birthday month? LOTS. For some reason, this site has a campaign against pink breast cancer awareness marketing (why?), but they were kind enough to provide a full list of pink products... I'm going out tomorrow to buy them all!!!