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?