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Every once in a while, we will head out to Anna’s Polish Cafe. I love their pierogis and their red borscht. But Chris, what he really likes is the papal cake.

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It’s like his crack.

Whenever they have it in, we order one to eat, and then one to take home. And yeah, I did share two papal cakes with Chris today. How we aren’t shaped like Jabba, I’ll never know.

It’s a layered cake that’s made of puff pastry and egg creme and covered in sugar. I mean, who wouldn’t like a dessert like that?

The reason why it’s called papal cake is that it was made famous by Pope John Paul II. He had a great love of this childhood dessert. Before that it was called krem√≥wka. So glad it’s been renamed because I can’t pronounce that.

What’s your favorite dessert?

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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Several months ago, I went to Atlanta for work and I was able to eat at a very lovely southern restaurant called South City Kitchen. I went with a couple of coworkers and we decided to sit outside. The weather was actually quite pleasant. I enjoy sitting outside when I can. Most of the time, I don’t though because that’s usually the smoking section. Luckily, we were upwind, so that wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately, we were downwind of a large dumpster, so when the wind was just right, I smelled rotten food. I suggest sitting inside.

South City Kitchen is actually quite small, so you may want to make reservations. We went early and we sat outside. Which is probably how we managed to get a table.

Having said all that, I would highly recommend going if you’re going to be in midtown. I ordered the caesar salad to start. Instead of croutons, they used fried cheese grits, which I wasn’t so sure about. But since I don’t usually eat the croutons anyway (I find them too salty mist of the time) I figured I’d just pick them off if I didn’t like them. I tell you what though, they were soft, with a nice crunchy outer layer and it was just so silky and smooth. Omg. Give me a huge plate of that please!! Who knew grits could taste so delicious, but I suppose I’d you mix it with a high quality cheese and fry it, it’s bound to be good, right?

For the main course, I had the fried chicken. I love fried chicken. I don’t know why I love southern food so much. It’s not like I grew up in the south and it’s not like California has a lot of places serving southern food, and it’s not like my mom made it.

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So I ordered the fried chicken thinking it’ll be pretty decent, but omg, so good. It was nicely fried and crunchy on the outside and so moist on the inside. The mashed potatoes were also good and even though I usually find collared greens to be too bitter, it worked quite well. I cleaned the whole plate like a fatty. And I didn’t have any room for dessert sadly.

If you’re ever there, I suggest you go forth and eat!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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After our walk around Santa Barbara, Jenn suggested we eat at a place called Umami Burger. She’d heard great things about it and since The Hubs and I love burgers, we were all for it. We couldn’t actually find it at first. The closer we got to it, the more office space we saw. I even busted out the iPhone GPS unit and we were like, it’s supposed to be RIGHT HERE. OMG, there are no signs. The only thing we saw were these lip looking things on the window

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There was nothing saying Umami Burger anywhere! But luckily, there were people already standing around waiting for it to open. But because there was no name, I thought, OMG, what kind of place is this that they ONLY have this icon. Like they think they’re so awesome that they don’t need to pub their name anywhere. But you know, in an attempt to not judge things before I try it, I refrained from poopoo-ing it.

(As a total aside that is not connected to anything about my trip, there is a video called “Everybody Poops” that I found insanely funny. It’s a Bad Lip Reading song based on Black Eyed Peas’ Boom Boom Pow. Make sure you have earphones on if you’re not alone. It’s nothing bad, but they do say poop a lot.)

So Umami Burger in Santa Monica felt like it was uber trendy. You know I hate places like that because I always feel like the food is too expensive and not good at all. There was butcher paper on the tables with the log stamped on it and you know, I was just put off by the whole lips with no name thing.

I asked the waitress which burger she liked and she said she liked the truffle burger, so I ordered that. The Hubs ordered the SoCal Burger. Jenn ordered the veggie version, which she talks about on her blog. Chris East got (I think) the Port and Stilton burger. All their burgers are cooked to a medium rare, but they were a little bit more on the rare side. I asked for mine to be medium well and it turned out perfect. So make sure you do specify or it may come out a little bit more rare than you’d like.

We also ordered two different kinds of fries because we were fry monsters! We ordered the thin fries as well as the smushed fries. The smushed fries are these little round potatoes that they basically smash with the spatula and fry. They are very good. The skin is still on them. I would suggest this one if you want the fries. We also ordered umami ketchup and garlic aioli for the fries. They don’t have regular ketchup, but something they made on their own. It’s got a nice kick to it, so I suggest this one. The aoili didn’t have enough garlic for me.

As for the burgers, I’d skip the truffle burger as there wasn’t enough truffle flavor to be worth the extra $2. But the burger was good nonetheless. I enjoyed The Hubs’ burger though, so next time, if we get to go again, I would get his burger. It was nice and juicy without it dripping with grease and it was just yummy.

So this is a good lesson for me. Don’t exnay something just because it looks uber trendy because you might be surprised. The food might actually be good.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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After the Getty, Chris East took us on a scenic drive down Mullholland Drive, a street that allows for beautiful views of Los Angeles, is totally famous and is also totally windy. I became a little nauseous after the first fifteen turns or so and we had to take another road to Mann’s Chinese Theatre, which we had already agreed that we weren’t going to get out of the car to see. We were only doing a drive-by, you see. There were just too many people there and I was totally ok with that. But while waiting in traffic near Mann’s Chinese Theatre, we saw a glimpse of Danny Bonaduce who looked like he was doing some sort of reality show.

On a side note, while were on our way from Mullholland to Mann’s we also saw a dude dressed as Jesus, long hair, white robe and all. It had something to do with the Rapture, but since I am a heathen, I didn’t know what that meant.

After our scenic drive, we arrived at Daichan, a Japanese soul food restaurant. I, of course, forgot to take photos, so I Googled some links.

Daichan doesn’t serve what we normally associate with Japanese food. They serve what your Japanese Mom might make (if you were Japanese). Jenn ordered us a series of appetizers that I just gobbled down. One of them was a fried tofu dish and you know how I love my tofu.

One of the appetizers that I loved so much that I had to make it at home. It was a Japanese cold spinach and it was super easy to make.

All you need to do is wilt the spinach.

And make the sauce.

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The sauce is one tablespoon of everything above except for the sugar. You only need one teaspoon of that. Make sure you squeeze out the water from the spinach and put in the sauce and you’re done! Even I could do that! And it is delicious. I must have needed something in spinach in my diet. Because I made a lot and I ate it all!

The only thing was that my spinach was much more bitter. I’ve read that sometimes that happens due to the vitamins in the spinach. So some people boil it, but that also removes some of the vitamins.

But I digress. Daichan was delicious. I think if we return, I’m just eating appetizers!

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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Since we had such good luck finding food using urban spoon, we decided to try a new restaurant. El Cerro is in the same plaza as Anmol and Jeremiah’s. 78% of the people liked it, so that’s plenty of people. I mean, some people have to not like it. If everybody liked it, I would find something wonky about the restaurant. Like people came out of there hypnotized or pod people.

El Cerro is in it’s own little building that looks super small, but there’s enough space for several tables. When we went there, only one other table had anyone in it. That’s ok. Anmol had absolutely nobody in it when we visited that first time. Chris ordered tacos and I ordered carne asada.

Well, mine came overcooked and over spiced. Carne asada isn’t the best cut of meat, but I never had any problems chewing it. My jaw was tired by the third bite. Chris’s taco was blandtastic. It was cheap though, so I suppose that’s why all the college students like to go there. The beer is cheap too.

I don’t know if they get so drunk, they don’t know what’s good or maybe they’ve just never had good mexican food. Whatever the reason, they love this place. But I will never go back again. My jaw still hurts just thinking about it. So much chewing. I should have sent it back, but I think I was overly tired or starving, I ate it, but I didn’t enjoy it, if you want good Mexican food, don’t go there. You’re better off making tacos at home. They’ll taste better.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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tandoori chicken

I think I’m going to call this week food week. Today, we are going to talk about Anmol an Indian restaurant we found via urban spoon. The reviews said that it was good and 83% of the reviewers liked it. I think that’s a goodly amount of people.

So one evening we decided to head out there. The restaurant is in a plaza across the street from U.C.F. I call it the U.C.F. Food court because in the same plaza is a sushi place, Thai, Jamaican, pizza, a fancy sandwich shop,vietnamese, McDonald’s, and about half a dozen bars.

Anmol is a mom and pop shop which I totally like. Orlando is,unfortunately, full of franchises that are not very good. So it was good to see a place who’s recipe wasn’t developed in some kitchen and taste tested by people who’s idea of flavor is a fistful of salt. It’s not a fancy place. You won’t see waiters with tuxes and a pristine white towel delicately laid over his arm. What you will see is a hard working family. Usually, You’ll see Mom or Dad, sometimes the son and an uncle or two.

We’ve been there several times and we have never been disappointed. (I’m sorry I keep forgetting to take pictures.) Our favorites are the tikka masala and vindaloo. I also like ordering a full chicken tandoori because I like leftovers. And their garlic naan is good for dipping in tai sauces.

One thing I would caution people about is that the spiciness changes from day to day. They use actual peppers and in nature those vary from plant to plant. Chris and I usually order everything medium spicy, but on certain days it is clearly hot spiciness. It will make your nose run.

Chris tells me that I should enjoy this as much as I can now. We discovered the restaurant during Summer vacation. Once school starts again, it may get too busy. We may not be able to find parking. I told him, I’d shank someone for a spot.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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This is uber late, but better late than never, right?

Way back in April, you remember April, back when the weather was still pleasant and you could go outside without fear of being burned alive. You know, April, like three months ago? Beginning of spring?

Well if you do remember April, you might remember that I was in Laguna Beach again for my work. Last year, we had a horrible experience with restaurants there. They were all horribly overpriced and totally snooty. This year’s experience was a little better, though some places were still hella snooty, but not all. There was a cute little coffee shop near the hotel that we went to with Jenn and Chris E. that was very friendly. Sadly, I didn’t get photos of that place. And totally don’t remember the name. But I’m getting sidetracked again.

We decided to go down a block and check out a place called Mozambique. The food was still a little bit pricey, but there was really nothing to be done about that. Our hotel was on the beach, so we were going to be gauged either way.

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Surprisingly, the food was pretty decent. I had a curry dish and Chris had the burger. He said that the burger was too big. We ended up eating at the peri-peri bar, which was not a bar at all, but a hallway between the front door and the main dining area. The dining room had been rented out for the evening.

I know that sometimes I can be really critical of people who try too hard or are like a homogenous bunch. But this group of people wore the same clothes in different colors. The men all wore faded jeans, sandals, and a fancy button-down shirt. The women were all wearing strapless, tight mini-dresses. I think that had just one of them come in with any sort of individuality, I might not be so critical. This sort of different sameness makes me cringe. It makes me think of pod people and all those dystopic science fiction futures. I really can’t blame a restaurant for that. A restaurant for that.

peri-peri bar. It’s just the kitchen!

We went back for brunch a few days later. The prices were comparable to the Cheesecake Factory. I had their special, which came with too much food. This time we were seated up stairs in the covered patio section. I really enjoyed eating outdoors with the gentle ocean breezes caressing my skin.

I did not eat all this food.

All in all, I enjoyed Mozambique and would return again. Another restaurant l would suggest is La Ranchita. It’s a decently priced Mexican place. I have no photos, so I don’t remember what we had there. But I do remember that it was decently priced and the food was good.

They had maccaws outside and this one really liked Chris. It kept following him around.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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Very very late on Saturday night, Chris wondered if Columbia’s was going to be open for Easter. We hopped online and discovered that not only was it open, but there was space for two at 12:15 p.m. So I said, why not? It’s not like we had anything planned.

So we went and it wasn’t extremely busy, but then we had gotten there before the church got out. There was still a vast amount of eggs in the front of the one church in Celebration.

The last two times that we went to Columbia’s, I didn’t find the experience to be all that much fun. For Valentine’s Day, all our food came out all at once. Appetizer, salad, entree, all one right after, and somehow my steak had been forgotten. And, we got this shot glass for our glass of water.

I called the manager over and he just seemed harried. He apologized, but he was just trying to get me off his back.

The previous time we went, we still didn’t get enough water, but at least our food came out at an appropriate speed.

So this time, I told our waiter that we couldn’t get enough water previously and I’d appreciate it if he could keep an eye on that. He looked a little put off like he was a better waiter than that. But my theory is to head them off at the pass so as not to encounter the same problem. Our waiter came back with huge glasses of water that they normally reserved for sodas, plus two glasses of Arnold Palmer’s (the drink I ordered. It’s half lemonade, half iced-tea.) I proceeded to suck down those glasses of liquid as though I’d been in the Mojave Desert all week. And as soon as I finished one glass, the water placed a new glass on the table. I thought it was funny.

The 1905 salad I got was ok. Problem with the 1905 salads is that it’s made by different people each time. The waiter comes out and makes it for you. And depending on how good the waiter is, how enthused he is, you get a different salad every time. This time, it tasted a little meh. Chris’ Palomilla tasted good as well as the empanadas and dessert.

But since the last three times I’ve been there, I’ve felt a little bit average about the place, I don’t have any rush to go back. The drive over is nearly fifty minutes. I think if I’m going to take two hours out of my day to find something to eat, it better just orgasmic. Orgasmic it was not. I wasn’t even turned on.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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Kashmir’s is a nice Indian restaurant nestled on Newbery street. They were a little hard to find for me because they were below street level.

Indoors was a little muggy at first. But it could have been that it was freezing outside and every heated room inside was stuffy. After I thawed out, the restaurant was a comfortable temperature.

The tandoori tikka that I got was somewhat bland. I wanted some sauce or something with it, but I have a feeling I got the wrong dish. I got a dish for beginners. Chris got vindaloo, which was much more flavorful. Garlic naan was devoured before it even hit the table.

I absolutely loved the rice. It was fragrant and flavorful. I could just order a huge bowl of rice and be fulfilled by that.

The website says that there was outdoor seating, but we weren’t offered any and I didn’t see a space for it. Could have been under construction or something though because we saw some scaffolding.

On the whole, it was a decent enough place, but I don’t think that I’d go back to dinner. It’s a bit pricey. They do have a buffet style lunch that I saw when we were making reservations. That might be better for your money.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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Because of my work schedule, I couldn’t get to Boston until after 8, but we went to dinner anyway. Chris’ dad had made reservations to Atlantic Fish, which is a restaurant near the hotel on Boylston Street. We had a nice stroll down there for dinner.

Since I was in Boston, I was determined to have clam chowder. I love clam chowder, but I don’t usually get it because it’s a creamy soup. And it came in a bread bowl, so I couldn’t resist. It was so good that I slurped it up like a giant cup of red Icee. Even though it wasn’t a dinner portion of soup, I was quite satisfied with my meal. I highly recommend.

Chris got the fish and chips, which he normally loves, but found it a little lacking. The fish part of that meal is usually a large piece of fish that they batter and deep fry. But the one at Atlantic Fish are little pieces that ate battered and fried. The problem with this is that it ends up being more batter than fish. Chris was highly unimpressed.

For dessert, we got the peanut butter ice cream pie because the waitress said that it was delicious. She lied. It was vanilla ice cream with broken pieces of Reese’s peanut butter cups. I can get that at Dairy Queen for half the price.

I would definitely go back and get the clam chowder again. They say it’s won awards, but I really don’t care about that. It was super yummy. Quite definitely the best that I’d ever had.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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One of the restaurants that we always go to, but I never talk about is Thai Singha. It’s obviously a Thai restaurant and it’s at Waterford Lakes. It is also attached to a sushi restaurant next door named Kirin Sushi. When you sit at either restaurant, you can order food from either place.

I really like the chicken lemongrass soup with a side of rice(Thom Yum Gai), massaman chicken, and panang curry. They only offer a limited menu at lunch so they can get you out in time for you to get back to work. I see a lot of Lockheed Martin people there. You can tell them apart because they’ve got the tan slacks and polo. Plus, they wear their badge everywhere!

At night, I like spicy bamboo shoots! We don’t normally go for dinner though because I like their Thai iced tea and I can’t have that in the evenings. I won’t be able to sleep.

Theydo have a few dishes that aren’t that great though. They are the dishes that look like they would appeal to people who like bland food and don’t want anything that sounds funny. Anything in a brown sauce is avoided. They’re just noodles drenched in soy sauce!

It’s also the place that I get my miso soup fix! I can’t find miso paste here. Come to think of it, I’ve never noticed any tofu at the grocery store either.

Well anyway, Thai Singha is a good place to eat for a quick lunch! I highly recommend.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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We were also able to eat at a restaurant (work fed me the rest of the time). We ate at 230 Forest Ave. I found it overrated. The thing with expensive food is that you expect it to be better. If I spend $24 on stroganoff it better be better than the $5 microwaveable pos I buy at the grocery store. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. The only thing making it fantastic is the truffle oil and I can live without that.

The seats are also super close together. You might as well make friends with the people sitting next to you. It’s an extremely loud in there and you have to yell to talk to the person sitting across from you. You will be eavesdropping and people will be listening to your conversations.

These dogs were laying around outside the restaurant. That is the biggest black lab I have ever seen. I think it is obese.

Besides that, the hostesses are snobs. They don’t like you. It’s a privilege to eat there and they’re deigning to let you in. Also, don’t bother asking them for directions. They don’t know how to get there. You’re better off asking the hotel staff. The hostess told me to get a cab. I’m sorry if I don’t want to pay $15 to go a mile. And it was only a 20 minute walk. More than easy enough for me.

And the worst part was that the food gave me a stomach ache. I didn’t sleep all night. I thought my tummy would explode. I wouldn’t go back there again.

I think the problem with isolated resort areas is that the food is overpriced and more than mediocre. And that is definitely the problem with this place. Skip it!

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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Every weekend, we got to Toojay’s for brunch. Some of the food they make is really great. They have a turkey dinner that’s usually reserved for Thanksgiving. It’s got stuffing and mashed potatoes along with a smothering of brown gravy. They have really good matzo ball soup and chili. And some of their sandwiches aren’t bad. They even have a tongue sandwich if you like that sort of thing.

Some other things they do horribly. Like their vegetables are covered in about a stick of melted butter. Their salads are aren’t fresh and they haven’t been chilled. I often wonder if they keep their salad supplies in the refridgerator or if they just leave it out in big bins after they’d chopped them up. Every time I’ve had a salad there, I’ve always encountered at least one piece, if not more, of browning lettuce. I always lay these pieces out for them to see, but they don’t seem phased by it.

Their brunches are generally pretty good, which is why we go every weekend. But today, I was sorely disappointed by them. I ordered a Toojay’s Benedict, which is a poached egg on top of tomatoes and ham over an English muffin. Unfortunately, if you let heat touch tomatoes for too long, all the fluids come out of it, therefore making the English muffin completely soggy. The poached egg was more like soft boiled. The yolk was already solid when it got to me. I had to ask for a replacement English muffin because there’s no way I could deal with soggy bread like that. It was all mushy and slimy. How could it get slimy?

And then I found an egg shell in my poached egg. I can understand a small little piece, but this thing was the size of a nickel. It’s not the first time that I’d had such a large piece in my poached eggs. The waitress said that it was because they used to get eggs that were pre-shelled. But that was too expensive and now they’re going to real eggs that they’re cracking themselves. So they’ve been having some problems with the shells being in the eggs. But I’m rather skeptical of that. You know when a nickel sized shell falls into the food that you’re preparing. You can’t miss that. I can crack eggs without getting shell into my food, I’m sure someone who does it for a living cracking several hundred eggs a day can do it too. They’re just lazy.

But the manager took my dish off the bill, so I really can’t complain too much. I just wish they were better.

Originally published at Samantha Ling. You can comment here or there.

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August 2013

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