How To Gain 10 Pounds In One Day

1. I woke up early, skipped breakfast and drove down to Long Beach for the Long Beach Street Food Fest where I was on a field surrounded by popular food trucks such as Buttermilk, Calbi, An-Joo, Grilled Cheese Truck, Lomo Arigato, etc.

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2. For the sake of being adventurous or just for the sake of being a fat ass, I gorged myself with food that actually turned out to be not so good. For example:

a. Lomo Arigato’s Lomo Saltado + Inka Kola. After a 20 minute wait for the food, I was expecting deliciousness. However, I was presented with cold fries, cold rice and tough beef. At least the green sauce was good (and SUPER SPICY), but not good enough to make this worth $10!

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b. An-Joo’s Korean Fried Chicken. $7 for 3 pieces of chicken and a side of daikon. Not exactly a good deal and not the best chicken I’ve ever had either, but I would eat it again…

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c. Buttermilk’s Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Bites ($3), Buttermilk Brick ($4) and Cake Donut Bites ($2). The chocolate chips were completely unnecessary, the rosemary over-powered the Buttermilk Brick and the donut bites were nothing exciting.

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d. Calbi’s Shrimp Taco and Beef Taco ($1.99 each). Despite the 10 minute wait to order and the 25 minute wait for food, this was the first truck that produced good food. I wish I ordered more food from this truck!

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e. World Fare’s side of Truffle Mac & Cheese Balls ($3.50?). BEST THING AT LB STREET FOOD FEST!

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f. Don Chow’s Taco Sampler ($6). I don’t remember anything about the tacos, except that after a couple of bites, I did not want to eat them anymore.

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3. I left LB Street Food Fest unsatisfied, but with a full stomach. I took a food coma induced nap in preparation for the next event, LA Street Food Fest.

4. I attended said LA Street Food Fest and ate my heart out. Forget the pictures, I just focused on eating everything in front of my face.

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Lessons learned:
– LA Street Street Food Fest > Long Beach Street Food Fest
– Not all food trucks serve good food
– Long lines do not necessarily equate to good food
– Paying extra $$ for VIP is worth it
– Keep hydrated throughout the day, but drink as little as possible during the actual event in order to save room for food
– Sunscreen is my friend

I eat: Griddle Cafe

Griddle me this. Griddle me that. Griddle me up some delicious flapjacks!

Eating at Griddle Cafe takes a lot of patience. For those who live in or around the area, screw you! For those, like myself, who drive about 40 minutes, spend 15 minutes looking for parking and another 25 minutes waiting outside to be seated, I feel your pain. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Whoever came up with “good things come to those who wait” must have been talking about Griddle Cafe.

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At Griddle, the good things come in the form of ginormously thick pancakes, filled and topped with sweets that would make your dentist cringe. We ordered the “Time to Love” – streusel, butterscotch chips, caramel, pumpkin filling, topped with powdered sugar, whip cream and caramel. Given the filling and toppings, you would think that the pancake would be overwhelmingly sweet, but it totally wasn’t! It was PERFECT!

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I wish I could say that we demolished this baby, but shamefully, we only finished slightly more than a quarter of it; We had filled our bellies with other, unmemorable items on the menu. I ordered the “Gone Shrimping” – egg whites scrambled with shrimp, basil pesto, scallions, tomatoes, topped with capers. Sounds good on paper, but not so much in my mouth. It was very bland and I’m not a big fan of frozen shrimp since they usually turn out rubbery when cooked. Henry ordered the “Chicago Charlie’s” scramble – Italian sausage, potatoes, bacon, bell peppers, mozzarella, garlic, basil and lots of onions. A lot better than my shrimp scramble, but still bland overall with pops of flavor from the sausage and bacon. It kind of reminded me of a pizza with no sauce. Now I understand why a lot of people just ordered pancakes and nothing else.

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Next time the game plan is to share one order of pancakes/french toast and another breakfast dish. I’m thinking… “Addicted to Noisella” – nutella stuffed french toast.. or how about “Black Magic” – oreo filled flapjacks topped with more oreo cookie pieces?? DAMN.

Verdict: 4/5
Griddle Cafe
7916 Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90046

I make: Steak & Potatoes

I’ve been working 12 hour days lately so I haven’t had the time to cook the meals that I’ve wanted to cook; I haven’t had the time to try new recipes and be creative. All my meals for the past two months have been my favorite repeats that I’ve stored away in my quick, easy and delicious file.

Since things have finally started to ease up, I had a chance to try out a new recipe this weekend. I found this recipe to be a nice breath of fresh air from eating A LOT of chicken and fish.

Adapted from Cuisine for Two Magazine

(yields 2 servings)
Ingredients:

Steaks –
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 steaks (any cut)
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Sauce –
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup port wine
1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. light butter (I like “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Olive Oil Light)

Sides –
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup grape tomatoes
8 cups spinach
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. light butter (I like “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Olive Oil Light)

Directions:
1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into cubes. Place in pot of water and bring to a rolling boil until sweet potatoes are fork tender.
2. Combine brown sugar, salt, paprika, chili powder, and pepper. Press the spice mixture onto both sides of the steaks.
3. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add steaks and cook to desired doneness (~2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare). Remove steaks and keep warm.
4. Do NOT wipe skillet and turn down heat to medium. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
5. Deglaze pan with port wine, scraping up the bits on the bottom. After liquid is reduced by half, stir in broth and Worcestershire, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2 minutes. Whisk in butter, honey and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove sauce and keep warm.
5. Clean out skillet to cook spinach. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and cook until blistered (they will pop and juice will ooze out!). Add spinach and cook until wilted.
6. Drain potatoes and mash while incorporating butter and honey.

The original recipe called for chili-spiced potatoes, but since Henry wanted to be “healthy”, we substituted Yukon gold potatoes, buttermilk and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce with sweet potatoes and honey. I thought this change would work well since the spice rub had brown sugar, but just to make sure, I added some honey to the port sauce to kick the sweetness up a notch.

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Bon appetit!

I Exercise When I Want To

And during 4th of July weekend, I wanted to.

We rented some bikes and rode from the Santa Monica pier to Marina Del Rey. I wanted to go further, but we didn’t have enough time. The bike path at the beach is pretty cool to ride on, if you don’t mind people blatantly ignoring the “BIKE ONLY” rule. Either people think “BIKE ONLY” means anything with wheels (i.e. baby strollers) or they just don’t give a shit and think it’s a free-for-all walkway. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to suddenly break in order to avoid hitting people who decide to leisurely cross the bike path, oblivious to the fact that I’m less than 50 feet away.

Even though I was extremely sore from bike riding (note to self: adjusting the seat prior to riding is a MUST), I hiked a small part of the Mt. Wilson Trail the next day. This was my first time hiking this trail, so when I heard that people use this trail to train for Half Dome, I almost peed in my pants.

Because we started so late in the day (about 3PM), we had to turn back after the first stop. First Water Junction is located about 1.5 miles from the trailhead with an elevation gain of about 1000′. I found this to be a moderate hike given that it was pretty much a steady incline the whole way with some areas being steeper than others. What made this more challenging was the heat! I’m actually glad we didn’t start earlier since the sun would have been blazing down on us the entire time. Next time, I’m planning to hike to the summit of Mt. Wilson (7 miles, 5000′ elevation gain). I hope I live to blog about it.