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Tasting my way around

My friends were telling me that I should post my food pictures up online somewhere, a place aside from facebook or xanga or yelp, where things are more organized and personalized to my adventures in eating.

I worried about being a "food blogger". I mean, I know nothing about food aside from how good it tastes, how much enjoyment I get out of the experience of going to eat out, and how many more times I will go back to it.

In my experience of traveling around and yelping my way through my hometown, L.A., I've realized that I've frequented quite a lot of of establishments - most of which are deemed worthy to visit by foodies on,,, the famed food critic Jonathan Gold, my closeted foodie friends, and just word on the street.

I love reading food blogs and love that they are mostly really focused around a certain theme of food. Some bloggers concentrate on Japanese food, others concentrate on making food in their crockpots daily, some talk about gourmet food, and some talk about baking. After thinking about what I'm always most interested in, I've realized that I love to frequent the hole in the wall establishments or I like to go all out and hit up a restaurant on someone's top ten list.

I also realized that I'm really into shopping for certain types of food items, research for hard to find products, and search far and wide for the food and restaurants that remind me of home (and by home, I mean Santa Cruz, Bolivia). Hopefully, with this food blog, I can share some parts of who I am through my travels and hand-picked places that make me home-sick, and the things that surprise me about the local places around California.

So with that, I hope you enjoy this blog. I'm not that wordy but love to take pictures of food so I hope you can visually enjoy the hard work the people put into preparing and serving the food as well as the hard work I put into eating them.

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"Cuñape" is the best cheeseballs in the world, and it’s from Santa Cruz, Bolivia. These gooey and addictive cheese balls are similar to the Brazilian "pão de queijo" or the French "gougères" or the Colombian "pandebono" but all of these are different from each other as well. Gougères are lighter and more airy while the Brazilian ones are chewier but drier on the outside. I would say the pandebonos are closest in taste and texture to the Bolivian cuñape but it is slight more bready.

In Bolivia, we use mennonite cheese (farmer's cheese) for this recipe and honestly without that cheese it will never be exactly like the original but you do what you can. I've been hunting down a similar cheese in the U.S. for ages but the closest I can get to it is to use the queso blanco or fresco and add some more salt (or even mix some feta into it).

The history of the cuñape is very interesting. It is a Guaraní word that means "a woman's breast&…

Quinoa Soup

It took me nearly ten years to see Bolivia again. In my mind, I built up Bolivia to be this magical place where not only my childhood took place, but a place untouched by the evilness of industrialization, mass production, and globalization.

(Lomas de Arena: Sand Dunes, Santa Cruz, Bolivia)
Of course, a lot of things have changed.

(La Paz, Bolivia)
When I lived in Bolivia, I barely left my city, Santa Cruz. The cuisine of the altiplano (or the high altitude regions) is pretty different from the cuisine of the lowlands. La Paz, the capital, is dry, cold in the shade, hot in the sun, and you're basically living amongst the clouds. People here eat a lot more quinoa than they do in Santa Cruz. Most of the quinoa comes from the altiplano because quinoa is hardy and it can grow in high altitudes. The andes are the perfect place for quinoa to grow. During our trip to La Paz and the Salar de Uyuni, we had a lot of quinoa soup and cooked quinoa instead of rice. European backpackers rejoic…

Hangari Bajirak Kalgooksoo (or kalguksu)

My Korean friend and I came here a bit early to avoid the lunch rush and I'm so glad we did. By the time we were finished, there was a grip of Koreans waiting to eat. This is one of the best kept secrets of Koreatown right now and most people still haven't quite jumped on the Kalgooksoo bandwagon yet but they will once they have a taste of this doughy hand pulled noodles set in a delicious seafood heavy broth. 

Bajirak means clams and so I ordered the restaurant namesake's noodle dish (written out as "Manila Clam Kalguksu - $9.95 as of this writing) while my friend ordered the Spicy Seafood Kalguksu ($9.95 as of this writing). We also ordered a side of steamed dumplings (was a bit extraneous at $7.95 as of this writing).

My Manila Clam Kalguksu came out piping hot. The steam that rose from it engulfed my senses and I could smell all the wonderful sea creatures that died for me to enjoy their umami flavors. One stir into my noodles and I could see how the noodles were …