Friday, March 30, 2012

Son of a Gun

Before I left LA, my meals out weren't only restricted to lunches. Once I packed all my kitchen gear, I was at the mercy of local restaurants, but it was also a good way to catch up with friends. One evening I was able to cross Son of a Gun off that list. Son of a Gun is the seafood companion to Animal restaurant which I had a great experience at about a year and a half ago. I mistakenly thought that because it was a seafood place, the food would be a little lighter. Boy was I wrong.

Son of a Gun Menu

We started with the chips and dip ($10). The largest homemade chips I have ever seen are paired with a pimento cheese dip. The dip is bright and cheesy, but the big homemade chips are so addictive, you almost forget to dip them.

Chips & Dip

For a little bit of green, we ordered the chicory salad with cauliflower, anchovy vinaigrette, walnuts, and parmesan ($9). The greens are slightly bitter which pair well with the vinaigrette, walnuts, and Parmesan, but I wish there had been a bit more of the thinly sliced cauliflower.

Chicory and Cauliflower Salad

At first glance, I was disappointed at the size of the shrimp toast sandwich, with herbs and sriracha mayo  ($11), but one bite and you will see that it is more than enough. This sandwich is incredibly rich with buttery toast, sweet shrimp, and the sriracha mayonnaise to bring it all together.

Shrimp Toast at Son of a Gun

Though Son of a Gun is primarily a seafood restaurant, it seems their most popular offering is the fried chicken sandwich, with spicy bread and butter pickle slaw and rooster aioli ($11). It's a huge sandwich that can easily be shared with two or more people. The spicy slaw cuts through the breading of the juicy chicken. It's messy and so fun to eat.

Chicken Sandwich at Son of a Gun

I miss my friends and some of the restaurants in LA, but I am having a blast so far in Chicago and can't wait to share what I've been chowing down on. Stay tuned!

One year ago: Thai-Style Chicken Biryani
Two years ago: Sticky Meyer Lemon Rolls
Three years ago: Strawberry Galette with Lemon Curd in Thyme Crust

Son of a Gun Restaurant
8370 W. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 782- 9033

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, March 26, 2012

Chipotle-Garlic Edamame

Chipotle-Garlic Edamame

One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday in LA was to hang out with my friend Raul. We'd spend the day catching up on life, and of course drinking wine. I miss him already, even though I have only been gone for a couple of days. I made sure to get one of these lazy Saturdays in before I left and we had a great time watching Ina, drinking wine, and flipping through the recent issue of Food & Wine magazine. This recipe caught my eye immediately and as I was grocery shopping on the way home, I picked up some edamame so I could make it soon. I always keep all of the other ingredients in my pantry. This comes together quickly and has an addictive smoky, garlicky, and salty flavor. I'll be honest with you and tell you I consumed the entire bowl of edamame that you see above about 45 seconds after I took the picture. It was so worth it.

One year ago: Stir-Fried Pork with Leeks and Sugar Snap Peas
Two years ago: Sticky Meyer Lemon Rolls
Three years ago: Tender Greens

Chipotle-Garlic Edamame
(Adapted from Food & Wine, March 2012)

Makes 4 servings

14 ounces frozen cooked edamame in its shell
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Coarse sea salt to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the edamame. Cook for 1 minute and then drain. Pat the edamame dry.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, garlic cloves, chipotle, and cumin over medium heat. Stir to combine. Add the edamame , stir to combine, and cook for about 2 minutes or until the garlic has softened. Add salt to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.

Printable Recipe

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bouchon Bistro

I'm in my last few days in Los Angeles, and the reality of this move is hitting me hard. All of a sudden, my list of things to do in LA is longer and will take more time than days I have left. One of the biggest priorities has been to see as many friends as possible so another lunch was in order. This time it was Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills. I've long admired Thomas Keller and have made some of his recipes, but never dined at any of his restaurants so I enthusiastically agreed when my friends decided this was where they wanted to take me.

We started with the olivade and tapenade ($8). On one side is a traditional tapenade and on the other is a creamy olivade. Both have that outstanding salty, briny flavor and we needed to ask for more of the toasted bread to sop it up. 

Olive Tapenade

Olive Tapenade

Danielle and I both ordered the turkey sandwich (Sandwich a la Dinde, $11.50) which is served on toasted pecan bread with watercress and aged cheddar. This isn't your every day turkey sandwich.

Turkey Sandwich at Bouchon

Matt went with the Salade de Steak ($18.50) with juicy pieces of flatiron, romaine lettuce, Roquefort, and potatoes. He ate the whole thing.

Steak Salad at Bouchon

As an extra treat, we were given a serving of pommes frites ($7). These were the perfect french fries. Hot and crispy and perfectly salted. Good thing my friends had to go or we would have devoured them all.

Pommes Frites at Bouchon

The patio at Bouchon is amazing for Beverly Hills people watching and combined with the good food, it's an experience you just can't pass up.

One year ago: Breakfast Pizza
Two years ago: Mexican Chocolate Cake
Three years ago: Quinoa Cakes

Bouchon Bistro
235 N. Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 271-9910

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, March 19, 2012

Asparagus Mimosa

Asparagus Mimosa

It seems the book Plenty was on many top ten lists as one of the best cookbooks of last year. I've been dying to check it out so that's just what I did..from my local library..on my iPad. God bless technology! There is a reason this book was on so many lists last year. It's fantastic. It's divided by vegetable and has everything from hearty main dishes to light sides. It even has me wanting to try vegetables I normally shy away from, like eggplant. The cover photo with the eggplant with buttermilk sauce and pomegranate was in my mind for months when the book first came out. Since asparagus is coming back in season, I chose this spring-appropriate recipe as the first one for me to try from the book. The original recipe calls for simply blanching the asparagus, but I am so in love with the nutty flavor of roasted asparagus. This is a simple, comforting dish to highlight the flavors of the new season. I'm so in love with it, I've already made it twice in the last couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to the summer bounty so I can make more recipes from this book.

One year ago: Berlin Currywurst
Two years ago: Momofuku's Crack Pie
Three years ago: Samoas Ice Cream

Asparagus Mimosa
(Adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi)

Makes 4 servings

2 eggs, hard-boiled and cooled completely
1 bunch of medium asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt

Black pepper
2 teaspoon small capers, drained
Flaky sea salt or pink Himalayan salt for finishing

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Toss the asparagus with the olive oil and season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Roast the asparagus for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

While the asparagus is roasting, peel the eggs and grate on a coarse cheese grater.

Divide the asparagus among serving plates. Top each plate with some of the grated egg, staying close to the center of the stalks. Season the grated egg lightly with flaky sea salt or pink Himalayan salt. Top the eggs with the capers and serve.

Printable Recipe

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Baco Mercat

During my last few weeks of living in LA, I've become something of a "lady who lunches". I should move out of town more often! It's been a great way to catch up with friends before I leave town and also a way to cross off some more restaurants off the LA bucket list that resides in my head. Recently, I was able to dine at Baco Mercat. It's a newish restaurant in downtown LA helmed by chef Josef Centeno, formerly of Lazy Ox Canteen. Their signature dish is the baco which is a flatbread sandwich. The bread is really amazing here. It's kind of like a homemade pita, but a little thinner and slightly chewy. It compliments the ingredients inside rather than overpowers them.

Baco Mercat Menu

To start, Ben and I shared the zataar and olive oil with lebni ($4). Both sauces are flavorful, but the lebni yogurt sauce was our favorite and we asked for more of the amazing flatbread to sop it up.

Zataar and Olive Oil

For this first visit, we both ordered the "Original" Baco ($8). It's stuffed with pork belly and beef carnitas, salbitxada (a tomato and almond sauce), and smoked aioli. At first glance, it's a bit overwhelming, but you just pick it up and eat like a sandwich. The carnitas are crisp, but tender. The sauce is fresh, and though it's meaty, you don't feel heavy after eating it.

The Original Baco

Restaurants like this show the progress that Los Angeles has made in the ten years since I moved here. The food scene has improved so much and it will be interesting to see where it has yet to go after I leave.

Don't forget, you have through the weekend to enter my giveaway!!

Other bloggers enjoying Baco Mercat:
e*star LA
Amateur Gourmet
Consuming LA

Baco Mercat
403 S. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 687-8808

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

An Announcement and a GIVEAWAY!

If you don't follow me on Twitter, aren't my Facebook friend, or a just living under a rock, you may have missed the announcement that I am moving soon. Actually, there are many other ways you could have missed this information because I've been sort of low key about it, but now here is my formal announcement. At the end of next week, I am packing up my bags and moving to Chicago! I'm super excited to explore the Windy City and all there is to do. I'm still going to blog, but there may be some down time while I am transitioning to my new surroundings. This week has been a frenzy of organizing my belongings and trying to get rid of as much as possible since I am flying instead of driving.

I was recently sent an extra copy of the excellent book Girl Hunter by Georgia Pellegrini. You may remember that I reviewed the book back in December and my previous copy was the preview. Since I'm lightening my load, I thought I would send the hardcover copy to one of my fabulous readers. To enter, just leave a comment on this post. For an extra entry, you can tweet about this giveaway (mentioning me @dishingdelights) and then leave a comment below to let me know that you tweeted. Your comment can be about anything, but if you have any suggestions of things to see, do, and especially eat in Chicago, I will love you even more. Since I'm paying for the shipping myself, I have to limit this giveaway to US residents only. You have until Sunday the 18th at 5PM Pacific time when I will pick a winner using Thanks and good luck!!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, March 12, 2012

Speculoos Spread, White Chocolate, and Pistachio Blondies

Speculoos Spread, White Chocolate, and Pistachio Blondies

I'm trying to clear out my kitchen in preparation for my move. I'm getting rid of almost everything so I can travel as lightly as possible. That meant using up some of my always on hand baking supplies as well as my jar of newly acquired speculoos spread. These blondies are a fun and simple treat. I decided to add a salty crunch with roasted pistachios and it really highlighted the caramel undertones in theses sweet blondies. 

One year ago: Baked Chocolate Donuts with Ganache
Two years ago: Korean BBQ Chicken (Dak Bulgogi)
Three years ago: Vanilla Pistachio Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Speculoos Spread, White Chocolate, and Pistachio Blondies
(Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/4 cup speculoos spread
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 roughly chopped roasted and salted pistachios

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray an 8x8 baking dish.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar together, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the speculoos spread. Let the mixture cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Add the egg and vanilla to the speculoos mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips.

Press the dough into the baking pan making sure to spread it all the way to the edges. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios over the dough and use your fingers to lightly press them in to the dough. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the blondies on a rack for 10 minutes before cutting in to squares.

Printable Recipe

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mexicali Taco & Co

Mexicali Taco & Co used to be a truck parked in a parking lot in downtown LA. A few weeks ago, they opened a brick and mortar location and I could not wait to try it out. Now that it is an actual restaurant, the prices have raised a bit, but it's still inexpensive compared to other options and you can have a great dinner for about ten bucks. The menu is short and sweet with tacos, tostadas (cachetada), quesadillas, nachos, and their famous vampiros. You can add a fried egg to any dish for an additional $.75.

I had a sample of the vampiro ($3.75) back at LA Street Food Fest and I couldn't wait to try a full one. This was just as good as  I remembered with an addictive garlic sauce accenting the cheese and chicken sandwiched in the tortilla.

Chicken Vampiro

Mexicali is famous for their carne asada which I enjoyed in my tacos ($3.25)

Carne Asada Tacos

Kris and I shared the cachetada ($3.00) topped with chicken, cheese, and a spicy chipotle aioli. This was actually quite rich so I found the salsas from the salsa bar came in handy to cut through some of the fattiness.

Chicken Cachetada


All of the dishes come with grilled green onions and beans. The restaurant doesn't serve alcohol, but they have a variety of sodas and agua frescas to go with your meal. With great pricing and hearty food, Mexicali is a great addition to the downtown LA food scene. I hope to be able to visit a few more times before I leave LA.

Mexicali Taco & Co.
702 N. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 613-0416
*Cash only

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, March 5, 2012

Speculoos Spread Chocolate Chip Cookies

Speculoos Chocolate Chip Cookies

I feel like there was a point  last year when every food blogger was raving about speculoos particular, the Biscoff brand. I had no idea what they were talking about so I did a little investigating. I found Biscoff at Gelson's, but I couldn't justify the price. Then a few weeks later, I saw that Trader Joe's carried their own version for much cheaper. I picked up a jar without thinking twice. Now I understand the hype. For those not in the know, the spread is made from ground speculoos cookies. It has the consistency of peanut butter, but contains no nuts and it's gently and warmly spiced with notes of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger. In other words...totally addictive. Though I like to make sweets, I don't usually keep a bunch of sweet things in my house so I needed to find a way to use up some of this delicious spread. These cookies are a little crispy and a little chewy and a lot chocolatey. In fact, I found the chocolate sort of overpowered the gentle flavor of the speculoos spread so to make things more decadent, I sandwiched more spread in between two cookies. Just. Heavenly.

Speculoos Sandwich Cookies

Speculoos Sandwich Cookies

Cookie ingredients
Just a few ingredients to take you to cookie heaven

Making dough
Mixing the dough

Fold in the chocolate chips
Fold in the chocolate chips

Scoop out the dough
Scoop out the dough and bake it

Other recipes using speculoos spread from around the Internets:
Speculoos No-Bake Granola from Cooking Books
Speculoos Spread Cups from have cake, will travel
Chocolate Speculoos Tart from Lemonpi

Speculoos Spread Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Adapted from Kirbie's Cravings)

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup Speculoos spread
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside

In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and the sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, then the vanilla, then the Speculoos.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix just until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop, drop the dough onto the parchment paper. Bake for 6-8 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges. The cookies will be puffy when you take them out of the oven, but will deflate as they cool.

Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, make sandwich cookies by spooning more Speculoos in between two cookies.

Printable Recipe

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tar & Roses

The first thought that came to my mind when I was invited to this media comped meal in Santa Monica was "how the hell am I going to make it to Santa Monica in time for dinner during pilot season?". But by some miracle I made it and what a meal it was. Tar & Roses has only been open for a little over a month, but it already has huge buzz and deservedly so. Most of the food is prepared in a huge wood-burning oven and it's fantastic.

We started with popped corn ($6). This is no ordinary popcorn. It's got a lovely mix of sweet, spicy and salty with bacon, brown sugar, and chili. It's addictive and we left it on our table long after most of the other dishes had been cleared away.

Popped Corn

Short ribs on garbanzo pancakes with pickled vegetables. This was a great little appetizer with the pickled onions cutting through the richness of the short ribs. The garbanzo pancakes had great flavor.

Pork Cheeks on Garbanzo Pancakes with Pickled Onions

None of my dining companions had ever heard of chicken oysters ($7). Apparently they are located behind the thigh of the chicken. These are skewered and come with a tamarind dipping sauce. I think the trip to the west side was worth it alone for this wonderfully seasoned appetizer.

Chicken Oysters on Skewers

Wood roasted English peas are topped with flaked sea salt and mint and are eaten like edamame. The peas are so sweet and I couldn't get enough.

Wood Roasted English Peas

Charred Little Gem Lettuce with Pickled Sardines, Burrata, and Dijon ($10) had a nice mix of bitter, tart, and creamy.

Charred Little Gem Lettuce with Pickled Sardines, Burrata, and Dijon

I was bummed that I got the smallest of the balsamic baby back ribs with fried basil, but it was probably for the best.

Balsamic baby back ribs with fried basil

The charred octopus ($9) was perfectly tender and a little spicy. I'm so glad that people are no longer over cooking octopus.

Charred Octopus

I wasn't a huge fan of the wood-fired duck egg ($10). With gigante beans, tomato, and the thinnest guanciale I have ever seen, I thought there was a bit too much going on to fully appreciate the richness of the egg.

Wood Fired Duck Egg

The braised lamb belly with apple chutney ($9) was tender with a hint of muskiness. We all enjoyed it.

Braised Lamb Belly

I could only eat a bit of the bone marrow with pickled onion marmalade and charred sourdough ($9). It was so rich.

Bone Marrow

The shrimp in the shellfish pot were a little overcooked, but the mussels and clams were done perfectly and the curry broth was addictive. Luckily there was more charred bread to dip into the luscious broth.

Shellfish Pot

I would never have thought to put a little char on cabbage, but now I want to eat all of my cabbage like this with the fennel and caraway thrown in for good measure ($7).

Charred Cabbage

The hangar steak with duck fat potatoes ($23), though cooked perfectly, was a little under-seasoned for my taste. The tomato relish definitely helped add some sweet flavor.



The risotto was a little more firm than I'm used to while dining out, but was creamy and packed a serious lemon punch.

Lemon Risotto

The duck ($24) came out with crisp crackling skin, and topped with crunchy hazelnuts and sweet cherries. It was beautiful as well as tasty.


Potatoes are not my favorite food, but were wood-roasted and paired with a lovely aioli that may make me a believer.


I think our favorite dish of the evening was the roasted chicken ($19). For such a humble dish, it certainly was flavorful and the chicken was moist. The bread in the panzanella stayed surprisingly crispy.

Roasted Chicken over Panzanella

I love the smokiness that the wood oven gave to the whole roasted branzino ($24) that was paired with the meyer lemon risotto above.

Whole Roasted Branzino

All of the vegetable dishes were great, but I think the broccolini with parmesan pudding was my favorite. The pudding added a richness to the dish, but the broccolini was great on it's own too.

Broccolini with Parmesan Pudding

The simple beet salad was elevated by the fact that the beets were also given the wood-firing treatment.


Even dessert gets wood-fired at Tar & Roses. The blood orange and strawberry crostata is paired with an addictive honeycomb ice cream. It's sweet and tart with a hint of herbaciousness from the chopped thyme on top.

Strawberry and Blood Orange Crostata

Honeycomb Ice Cream

Lastly, the rice pudding with marcona almonds and passionfruit is just rich enough with crunchy passionfruit seeds running throughout the pudding. The tart seeds are a great balance for the creamy pudding.

Rice Pudding with Passionfruit
I didn't get any pictures of the interior of the restaurant, but it's cozy and a really cool space, made even cooler by the fact that chef Andrew Kirschner designed it himself. It's a wonderful and reasonably priced addition to Santa Monica and if I didn't live so far away, I would be back often.

Tar & Roses
602 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 587-0700

Stumble Upon Toolbar