A recent PhD who loves adventure, eating, and adventurous eating -- and who loves to talk about it all!
we're still on for this saturday in case any of you were wondering!! :D
any updates, maureen? :)
maureen -- you are a GEM. thank you *so* much! i know my friend will be thrilled to get a chef's list!!
tusti -- too much work to grill up road kill. ;)
ranch 99 and lucky seafood are where my brother picks up all of our asian ingredients, as well as fresh fruit, veggies, meats, and seafood! :) inside ranch 99, you'll find hot chinese foods to check out, including a dim sum section and a chinese bakery. right next to lucky seafood, you'll find a great pho shop. rudy's taco shop near solano beach is the place to go for delicious and dive-y tacos -- and menudo on weekends! and there are a ton of cheap and delicious asian places in kearney mesa and clairemont mesa.
any sort of dark chocolate truffle. mmm....
ed, i feel your pain! i've totally had that happen, where a friend who was visiting saw me get on my scale, and walked right up next to me to see the result! i'm thinking "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! HOW RUDE!" and i think i literally said something to that effect, albeit nicer and not so dramatic. in this day and age of weight management and sensitivity, i'm surprised when folks aren't a little bit more thoughtful about such things. *sigh*
i absolutely ADORED my lemon poppyseed muffin from Craft LA.
i used to enjoy caramel, mocha, and green tea frapps, but after finding out how many calories are in them, i decided to stick with my: tall 1/2 caf-1/2 decaf w/a bit of whole milk, or tall nonfat mocha w/no whip & a bit of splenda. when they're in season, i'll take tall nonfat gingerbread or pumpkin spice lattes. :)
let salt and sugar
meld together on the crest
of the perfect rib
@olddad: LOL = laughing out loud (when something's particularly funny or hilarious), CSA = community-supported agriculture (i.e., produce in boxes that people purchase directly from local farms) :)
hi! my name is linda -- or at least that's the name that i give out to every starbucks since my real name's too ethnic for my own good! pronunciation and security-wise. *sigh* ;) at any rate, i'm chinese-american and i grew up in new york until i went to college in hanover, nh. after being back in new york for a few years, i decided to head out to LA for a phd in education. now i'm finishing up my dissertation in the 'burbs of SD -- and hoping to get back to urban life ASAP.
i grew up in a very chinese household, where we went to chinatown every weekend for groceries, and the thought of eating chinese takeout (or anything takeout) was horrifying to my family. what i thought was more horrifying was being on the subway with my mother, who always wanted to buy live chickens and bring them home to kill. needless to say, i sat very far away from her -- on the subway and at home. that being said, she, my dad, and my grandmother (who lived with us) were all pretty good chinese cooks. sadly, we were rarely allowed in the kitchen. even though my brother and i still found our way to cooking, we've had to call home more than a few times for recipes over the years.
i'm not sure when i became a foodie (and i'll totally accept that term), but i do remember watching the early days of the food network, and starting to enjoy non-chinese foods in college and post-college. i've always loved cooking, especially preparing banquet-style meals for large groups of friends. i took amateur classes for 9 months at FCI in new york, which was one of the highlights of my food life. i learned so much about knife skills, flavor combinations, pastry techniques, and it was my first time cooking and eating a piece of steak not well done. yes, seriously. (i blame my mother.) i especially love cooking (and eating) sweets, since i'm more of a recipe cook by preference.
i also love to travel and eat in new cities. i'll eat almost anything, even insects if they're fried. but i avoid bread, pasta, and potatoes so that i can save room for chocolate, fruit, and pastries. it's a trade-off, but a sweet tooth is a sweet tooth. i'm headed to atlanta soon for a top chef food tour with my best friend and his wife -- we're headed to woodfire grill, pura vida, and flip burger boutique. we're also planning to check out some of SE's recs for yummy pie places, and i'm sure i'll be "dragged" back to the flying biscuit for the best brunch. but if anyone else has recs, please feel free to share!
looked right at suzanne tracht in CVS in beverlywood (in LA)! and saw govind armstrong buying produce at the farmers market in culver city (also in LA)!
@dbcurrie: i was going to make a similar comment as *joyyy about the use of "asian" vs. "oriental" (again from an asian perspective!), but i decided to google first and i found that a lot of the asian markets in the midwest actually do refer to themselves as "oriental markets" so i suppose the name is the name! as long as the word isn't used to reference people, i think you're safe. :)
if you have access to fresh fish or meat at the market, the prices are definitely cheaper (per *terbithia's comment). i was also going to mention "ma po tofu" sauce if they have it. the sauce is great w/a bit of tofu, a bit of ground beef, and a hint of chiles -- one of my favorite dishes. last but not least, the mango and lychee jellies are great for a quick snack. i second the pocky recommendation!
with latin markets, i'd look for tortillas, salsa, masa, banana leaves, mole sauce, cotija cheese, guavas, mangoes, papayas, cheriymoyas, tomatillos, nopales, ancho chiles, serranos, chipotles, jalapenos, fruit nectars, and horchata. i suppose you can get tortillas and salsa anywhere, but i think the ones from the latin markets are particularly good. the masa and banana leaves would be great for tamales. good mole sauce is hard to find, and takes a million ingredients, so i love having a solid jar of it around the house. nopales is one of my favorite mexican eats, and chiles are always a good way to go with latin markets. the fruit nectars tend to be a bit sweet, but it's nice to have every so often.
with asian markets, i'm an obsessive *lee kum kee* sauce fan. growing up in a chinese household, we literally had a ton of bottles and jars from just that brand alone: oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, plum sauce, chicken marinade, char siu (asian bbq) sauce. there's a ton to choose from, so browse through everything if you have the time. i'd also look for fish sauce, black bean sauce, and garlic sauce. my mom is a big fan of *pearl river* for her soy sauce. re: spices, i'd suggest: chinese five spice, white pepper, curry powder, sesame seeds.
i'm not a big noodle fan (ack!), but that's one of the best aisles for most people: rice noodles, egg noodles, vermicelli noodles. and dried shredded meat (pork or beef) that go really well on top of noodle dishes or inside steamed buns. you can also pick up rice paper that you can use to make spring rolls (they just need to be moistened and wrapped around your filling!). jasmine rice, sticky rice, nori, steamed buns, filled buns, tofu, bean curd, and soy milk are also good picks. in terms of sweets and snacks, i love picking up packets of black sesame porridge (just add water!), coconut cookies, and shredded squid (random but delicious!).
and in terms of produce, i'm a big fan of bok choy, choy sum, and gai lan. one of these is referred to as chinese broccoli, but i don't know which one! :( also, winter melon makes delicious soup. my mom is also a big fan of using dried mushrooms in her soups! they reconstitute fairly easily and they last forever. my brother enjoys bitter melon, but if you haven't ever tried it, it's a bit of an acquired taste. fruit-wise, i'm not sure what's in season these days, but i'm a big fan of even the canned lychee and longan fruit. i also love asian pears, star fruit, and rambutans.
p.s. i'd avoid all of those low-carb/south beach bars made of soy/whey protein. i think i felt sick eating them after a while. and they simply weren't natural! however, the fiberfuls at trader joe's were healthy and filling, and not too high in sugar from what i can recall. :) good luck!
i was on an atkins and a modified atkins diet for several years, and even though i lost quite a few pounds of what was essentially water weight in the beginning, i eventually plateau-ed and didn't lose much more. i stopped keeping myself on a diet a few years ago, and i think it's actually been a lot less stressful focusing on working out and keeping a balanced diet instead!
as a fitness professional (and actually having recently lost 10 pounds), i'd definitely recommend keeping up with the cardio. and i'd second dmcvanagh's suggestion of weight training. cardio burns the calories and the fat while you're working out, and increased muscle mass means increased metabolism even when your body's not moving. your additional class sounds perfect (i teach step & strength!) -- any class with intervals will improve your cardio capacity and allow you to work out longer w/o fatigue. make sure to stretch extensively post-workout and your periods of fatigue will become even shorter. (apologies to everyone for the fitness comments, but exercise is really the best way to go!)
as for the food suggestions, i second the moderation comments, though i personally veer away from pasta, rice, bread, and potatoes. i tend to save my carbs for dessert! so again, moderation works best. however, if you'd still like to keep some of those elements in your diet, i'd suggest: shirataki (one kind of low carb pasta - http://www.house-foods.com/Tofu/tofu_shirataki.aspx), quinoa (filling and a good source of protein), double fiber bread (filling and a good source of fiber), and low-carb/high-fiber tortillas. the biggest thing is to watch the servings. i hated eating some low-carb items, and then feeling hungry b/c a single serving was a single skinny slice, or worse yet, half a single skinny slice.
also, be aware that fresh fruit can have a lot of sugar, depending on the kind of fruit you choose. bananas and citrus are really high on sugar, so i'd recommend apples, which at least give you more fiber that'll fill you up faster. i also look for low-sugar versions of fruit juice and jams. tropicana has a great light OJ, ocean spray offers several light cranberry juices, and smuckers has low-sugar jams. low-fat tends to equate to high-sugar (and vice versa) for some brands, so i think the most important thing is to scan for calories.
i don't have the best recs for potato substitutions, though i've found that broccoli, cauliflower, and squash work fairly well. pumpkin, squash, and anything in that family tends to have high fiber that'll fill you up but won't be as high on the glycemic index. i think anything that helps you achieve that full feeling in the same way that pasta, rice, bread, and potatoes does will be really helpful in keeping everyone satisfied so that they don't get hungry and want carbs to munch on.
i'm also *very* new to the community, but as i'm sure you've been able to tell, the variety of personalities is what makes the discussions so informative, interesting, and fun. you can see who's sarcastic, who's protective, and who's just out there with their comments. and it makes for great reading. :) especially since everyone is generally pretty helpful!
the one thing i'd suggest is to make sure to do a good skim of comments before adding on. every so often, i'll read through a stream and notice a whole bunch of repetitive comments. sometimes, that means the group is generally advocating *one* particular action. other times, comments seem a bit superfluous. so i think it depends on the topic.
either way, welcome!! and enjoy the experience!
melbourne is one of my absolute favorite (food) cities! but when i went, it was kind of to splurge. in terms of amazing cheap eats though, i would say the best place i went to was the queen victoria market. it was a foodie heaven and there was so much variety. i even went on the market tour, and i got to meet a lot of the vendors and try a ton of samples. delicious and diverse! if and when you'd like to splurge for a special occasion, i loved TAXI (which is right by the water) and EZARD (which has the best tasting menus). i believe ezard also has lunch specials, which may give you the chance to try some of their amazing food without spending too much! have an amazing time. :)
i absolutely love love love my cuisinart, and i'd definitely second catboy's suggestion of getting an extra freezer bowl if you're planning to do more than one batch of ice cream at a time. when i first got it, i was literally making a different ice cream a day for a week. it's really easy and the ice cream turns out delicious. my brother and SIL aren't huge sweets eaters, but they were eagerly waiting for new batches!
any one of big wong's meat and rice dishes. or a bowl of congee. can't beat it. super cheap. (big wong on mott street in chinatown.)
tom colicchio has craft restaurants in both cities.
as for thomas keller, i'm not positive about the bistro, but i believe the bar is open. just got a note from tasting table about it.
on top of my omelettes!!
another shout out for the oyster bar!
i'm out in SD, and my brother's family and i started out with a bi-weekly large CSA box, and we recently switched to a bi-weekly small box. mainly b/c we were getting way too much lettuce and not enough interesting variety for the rest. it all ended up in the small box!
we usually supplement with items from local farmers markets and henry's (which is like a supermarket-style farmers market out here). but my SIL has been investigating another CSA, that has now recently added local/artisanal cheeses/breads as well. so we may pick that one up during alternating weeks.
we think the CSA is great b/c of who we're supporting, but also b/c it keeps us on our toes (yet with enough time to prep our weekly menu) and it keeps us creative. plus, we probably spent that much on produce anyways before we signed up!
i took the quick pig class with richard ruben and i LOVED it. he was hilarious and it was a great couple of hours. i was with a college friend and we managed to run into a couple who went to our alma mater! the rest of the class was really nice, and richard was helpful as well as entertaining. overall, we had a really great time. plus, the recipes were delicious, so i'm sad i can't find my folder with them.
in terms of actual cooking, each pair only got to prep a portion of each recipe. yes, everything came together in the end, but we only got to work on something small, so the class wasn't as involved or thorough as i would've liked it to have been. i would've preferred going through fewer recipes if i'd gotten a chance to actually do more. also, the space was somewhat small for the group, so it probably would've been better with fewer people and more room to maneuver. and their waiting area upstairs was like an animal pen! i felt like i was a calf being prepped for my veal destiny. a bit claustrophic, i must admit.
in terms of techniques, this class definitely didn't focus on them. in fact, i was trying to teach my friend how to hold a knife while we were cutting vegetables! i suppose it would depend on how long the class is, and whether it's a series or not. most of my skills lessons i learned from my 9-month amateur class at FCI. i second @resolute that knife skills take a while to build, but i suppose a class could give you some tips. then again, so could food network for cheaper! i think the single classes are a great way to get some new recipes, meet some new people, and do something you wouldn't otherwise learn how to do, like thai cooking or something like that. the techniques would hopefully be simple enough so that you could reproduce them at home. and look snazzy in front of your friends. :)
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