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Showing posts from November, 2008

Thanksgiving from the past

I was looking through my pictures and found the origins of my big Thanksgiving extravaganza. I've basically become the Turkey master in my family. Every year, my family comes over to my house to get a taste of my awesomeness.

My first turkey was in 2005. Look how happy I look that I didn't burn the apartment down. As you can see, the turkey was the traditional type, and needless to say, it wasn't that popular.


As soon as this Thanksgiving was over, my family members came forward to tell me how dry the turkey tasted. I did some research and found that stuffing a turkey takes away all the juice, plus it's not that sanitary.

So I vowed that the following year, I'd make the juiciest turkey ever. This got me started on a quest. The internet was full of tips from all over the world to make the most tender, juicy turkey. Everyone thought their idea was the best. So, I combined everything I read into my own special "Juicy turkey" recipe.

For Thanksgiving 2006, I …

Skaf's Lebanese Cuisine

If you've been keeping up with my entries, you know that I've been obsessing over hummus lately. Not just ANY hummus, but the kind that usually has other shizz on it. I'm not about the plain hummus - whatever, I can make that at home. When I go out and pay for hummus, I want them to be worth my money. That usually means I want some meat with it. When I first discovered the hommos kawarma at Sunnins Lebanese Cafe in Westwood, I had hope that this might be something that is served elsewhere. After the last trip to Sunnin, I told myself I needed to find myself a better Lebanese place preferably closer to me, that is more spacious and has better service.

I yelped about this and of course within an hour, someone messages me and tells me to check out Skaf's Lebanese Cuisine. I actually heard of this place before but I had thought it was in N. Hollywood. Apparently, a second location opened up in Glendale. YES! That's like, off my uncrowded freeway on my way home! This is …

The Bolivian Battle

Mi Bolivia
(says "International Restaurant" outside)
Neighborhood: Queens/Sunnyside
44-10 48th Ave
Woodside, NY 11377

vs.

Tutto Bene Italian Restaurant
(Bolivian food served on the weekends)
501 N Randolph St
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 522-1005

vs.My Bakery(always Bolivian, all the time)
3508 Courtland Dr
Falls Church, VA 22041
(703) 933-7332

One of the most important things on my east coast trip was to be able to hit some Bolivian restaurants. Sadly, there aren't any Bolivian restaurants in Los Angeles (the closest being Peruvian if they don't specialize in seafood - like Pollo Inka, etc).  *edit* There are a couple Bolivian restaurants in Los Angeles but most of them serve food traditional to La Paz, the capital, and not so much the foods I get homesick for, the food from the low lands. However, they are still great in a pinch and I know I can get some salteñas in when I am in dire need of them.

When my best friend told me that she found a Bolivian restaurant in Queens,…

The LA International Tamale Festival

The LA Int'l Tamale Festival on Sat, Nov 1.


The Jalapeno-cheese tamale with salsa from Mama's Int'l Tamale


The elote (sweet corn tamale)


The sweet corn (top) and the chilean humo (bottom), undressed.
The best thing about going to this festival twice (Sat Nov 1 & Sun Nov 2) in sketchy MacArthur Park area is finding out that there is an official name to my favorite sweet corn tamale. It's called "Elote".
The reason why I love Elote so much is because this is the only kind of tamale available in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where I grew up. Of course, the ones I had in Bolivia were much better, containing not only ground sweet corn, but ground hominy as well as bits of Menonite cheese to give the masa some stretch. It's the best balance of sweet and salty. In Bolivia, they just called this "tamale". They also had tamale del horno, which was a drier version wrapped in banana leaf.
The other tamales were okay. I was never a fan of tamales with meat. I think I …

Hummus on Steroids

Behold the hummus as an entree:

(Hummus Place: mushrooms in the middle)

(Hummus Place: classic)


I admit that I didn't try that hard to find the best hummus in LA county. All I really wanted was a hummus that was on par with the hummus I had at Hummus Place in NYC (pictured above). If I even found hummus that was considerably better than the supermarket-bought Sabra brand that I have sitting in my fridge, I would have been okay with that.

One of the most annoying things about me is that I will search for something until I find the exact ingredient or taste I was craving for, and then eat it continuously, almost like an addict, until I get sick of it. I've been eating hummus non-stop since I got back from NYC and I couldn't stop because I was still searching for a hummus that beat out the ones I had in NYC.

So I asked some yelpers and researched chow hound for a place where they served hummus as more of an entree than as a side. I didn't feel like driving all the way to Glend…