Friday, June 30, 2006


Tajima Japanese Restaurant

4681 Convoy Street
San Diego, CA 92111
(619) 576-7244

is it just me, or are all SD japanese restaurants closed between lunch and dinner from 2:30 to 5:30? not that i'm complaining. just so you know so you don't drive all the way there to eat dinner at 4:30. then cry at the unlit neon "Open" sign at Ichiro minutes later too. the mexican food place nextdoor wasn't bad though. what was it called? Humbertos? Albertos?

the marinated baby squid started off alright, but then the taste got stronger and stronger the longer it sat in its sauce until it became uneatable. the texture of the raw squid was a bit slimy and goopy, but it wasn't bothersome. the waitress mentioned that most people didn't like it. when she asked later what i thought.. (that it was a little strong) i couldn't think of "tsuyoi aji" (strong taste) so resorted to english. she came back all confused smiles with a "straw".

ikura ochazuke... i hadn't tried (or found) ochazuke in other restaurants before. pleased!

not a sushi place.. and that's why i like it! i'm hooked. thanks for taking me there, you. it would have just been oatmeal again. =)

Mexican pastries

i went walking around Pomona with a friend two weeks ago when we found this mexican bakery called Mercanera or something like that. i wish i had a camera on me.. there were cookies and pastries from floor to ceiling all along one side of the store. we stopped in to share a guava turnover, and a plastic cupful of crema fresa (sp) which turned out to be a rich mixture of yogurt and heavy cream (i think) with diced ripe srawberries mixed in. it was smooth creamy fruity death. the turnover turned out to be really flaky and tasty, and at only 45 cents each, so we went back for more! I ended up buying up all sorts of pastries i don't know the names of to bring to friends' places. forget the asian traditional fruit. dunno exact address, but it's across the street from the Washington Mutual on the corner of Towne and Third. they also sell tamales and some really old looking chicharrones.

all i need is a yurt and some koumiss*

currently enjoying a nomadic existence! just a quick food update until i get settled someplace permanent. it's hard to keep food in the car... now behold the non-aesthetic proof!

i did, however, make some comfort food tonight to curry favor with my benefactors. i remembered my roomate making some Cheeseburger Helper several months ago, and decided to recreate it without having to actually buy that cheesy stuff. bought some generic DELUX shells and cheese (i'm pretty sure it was delux b/c the cheese wasn't in powder form), cooked that up. cooked (that means "All Brown") up 3/4 lb of ground beef so it was still kind of chunky, as opposed to crumbly. Drained the pasta well, threw it into the pan with the beef, then mixed in the cheese sauce packet. Depending on the audience, i'm either being too vague, or too redundant. Please follow cooking directions on the package. It helps, it really does. The stuff tastes like death. We can't stop eating it. gross picture, but that's what i have saved for lunch tomorrow.
a variation on a simple tofu dish my mom makes at home sometimes. steamed tofu, covered in a lil soy sauce, sesame, and freshly sliced shallots that've been quickly tossed in hot oil. shallots are expensive, and i still had that jar of friend shallots sitting around, so guess what my substitution was. it looks 10x more appealing when you don't eat in tupperware on the carpet.

this is what happens when i'm up all night studying and feel productive. not plain oatmeal. but still lazy.

and this is what happens when i wake up late and need to take food on the go b/c i know i'll be starving for hours otherwise. semi-plain oatmeal. and in one of those tins that TheABC ate from in Class 302. i saw a flimsy version of this selling in the school bookstore. i guess it's "cool" and "vintage" now. my parents used this one 30 years ago. still works and not rusty.

here's some garlic + spinach with sesame for the heck of it. doesn't match flavors though. spinach is a pain to clean. too many bugs and mud. there's some of that leftover tofu block i've been hacking away at for a while now.

and no pics of the german sausages i simmered with onions or the garlic smashed potatoes i had them with. it looked pretty gross. the former was all pale and goopy (onions), but it tasted alright.

in an ironic turn of events, i found a job at one of the dining halls again. luckily, it's not the fat camp.

*koumiss = fermented mare's milk

Friday, June 16, 2006 Can Cook!


i love puns, especially bad ones. in lieu of grotesque food, i give you grotesque photoshop! Yanni rocks.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

...instant cup ramen...

that means that it's nigh on finals time and i don't feel particularly energized to cook after coming home from the library at 12am. i caught myself calling Dieckmann condensations "graceful" in there. bad sign. even better, managed to hit up both Chipotle (barbacoa burrito) and Roberto's (some funky tasting jamaica and and nibble of carne asada fries) in one day. those are just two of the college eat-out staples nearby. a little bit gross. i did start out this morning with a big cup of iced "lemon drop" (lemon myrtle and black) tea from Infusions of Tea. that place is a kind of frou frou and new-agey, but the tea is soooo good. it's small and has a really chill atmosphere that just makes me want to sip tea and space out in some odd zen-like way. so refreshing... the starbucks 2 shops down is all hustle and bustle and loud caffiene-filled madness. there's 3 starbucks within a 2 block radius from me =/ gimme Muir Woods any day of the week. they might not make a mocha frappachino, but you can get caffiene, "The Paul Park", and a "Hot Josh". i think i'm just biased b/c i hang out in that area a lot and it's cheap. oh yeah... if you swing by just before closing on fridays, and a certain someone is around... free pastries! bring your own mug and it's even cheaper (and uh, not create so much waste).

Infusions of Tea
8750 Genesee Ave., Suite 258
San Diego, CA 92122
(858) 450-6500

Muir Woods Coffee Shop
in Muir, underneath the Summit dining hall

Monday, June 05, 2006

liver and onions

so i was at the market today, when this little old lady asks the butcher if he's got any beef liver b/c there's only chicken livers all packaged up... turns out he hadn't cut them up yet so i asked for an order too. and that's how i ended up with this delicious fresh bloody beef liver.

yum. (the plate is watery b/c i'm rinsing the livers off)

looking for recipes online revealed two main schools of cooking:
1. liver is sauteed or pan fried
2. it's browned, then baked in an oven
i'm lazy, so i picked the first method. Second, there were recipes that used bacon fat and had onions that were baked, then there were ones that didn't use bacon but had onions carmelized in butter. i, wanting to maximize artery-clogging tastiness, decided to use both butter and bacon fat in my recipe. i call it the Fatkins diet.
here's one and a half sliced onions carmelizing on med heat in about half a tbsp of real butter. it took forever!

removed, and set aside, then added 4 strips of thick-cut smoked bacon to the pan to crisp up and release their fatty goodness in order to cook my liver in. removed bacon. then i dried the liver off with paper towels and dredged them through some flour mixed with salt and pepper. threw those into the pan at med-medhigh heat and cooked each side about 2-3 mins... i think. didn't want anything raw so got it to just the edge of crispness on the outside. which turned out fine b/c it was just done on the inside--cooked, but tender and not tough. dumped int he onions and bacon with the liver to warm back up and let them get friendly with eachother. the liver sucked up the bacon flavor nicely and the onions were soft and buttery.
doesn't that just look like a big mess of heart-attack?

that was accompanied by pasta in a pre-made made putanesca sauce. that's a sauce that contains garlic, olives, capers, anchovies, etc. smelly stuff. the stuff i bought didn't have that much kick to it.. it wasn't bad though.


a splash of fish sauce and half a packet of crushed dried chili peppers from someone's pizza takeout fixed the sauce. kind of.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Gwendolyn's Eggman

"I am the Eggman.."

"..I am the Walrus. coo coo cachoo.."

Beatles - I Am The Walrus

salty, bitter, sour... and tastes like burning

*from over a month ago*

this is, without a doubt, the most dispicable thing i will eat or drink this week. it looks like someone ralphed an orange into my cup. which really isn't that far off from
what it really is. still in that strange food mood and wanting to cure a lack of appetite, i decided to try a tested and true remedy--chanh muoi in the form of a salty lemon drink. i haven't really done any research, but it seems that for chinese food, picking any two out of salty, sour, sweet in combination is supposed to whet the appetite. i can't really prove it, but i point to the various preserved salty orange or lemon peels, plums, and olive snacks out there that claim on the back of their packages to relieve drunkeness, motion sickness, lack of appetite, etc. the phrase for it is 開胃 (hoi1 wai6). (lit. to open the stomach)

i was rummaging around my small stock of odd preserved foods when i rediscovered a dusty jar of vietnamese style pickled lemons. go to any vietnamese place and you'll be able to find a beverage called salty lemonade or salty lemon soda. usually it's a preserved lemon mashed up with sugar and with carbonated water and ice poured over it. tonight.. i decided to make my own version. it was a big mistake. especially with the series of mutations it underwent out of desperation. first off, it wasn't sour enough. and it was kind of bitter. so i added some sour tamarind powder. which made it taste slighty revolting. it now tasted like pulpy sinigang gone wrong. in an effort to make it taste less revolting, i added some cayeanne pepper. it failed to drown out the bitter, acrid, spicy taste. after a few sips (it burned) this nasty concoction went down the drain.

fried rice, "stircook", and egg burrito

fried rice. sliced chinese sausage and broccoli stems with soy sauce and garlic. i like broccoli stems more than the flower/leaf parts. the taste and texture is similar to chinese broccoli, gai lan.

veggie uh.. stircook. ~15-20 mins

assorted fresh vegetables: broccoli florets, green beans, soy beans(ok, frozen), italian squash
minced garlic
small amount of water to cover bottom of pan
~2 tbsp oyster sauce
~.5 tbsp cornstarch mixed with a small amount of water

for wimpy electric stoves without good heat, i sometimes have to drown things in water and kind of parboil a bit or else i could be standing around all day waiting for something to cook. that's b/c flat pan + odd shapes = bad heat contact. cut, chopped, prepared, etc. cooked veggies with garlic for a few mins until the green beans just start to change color, then drained most of the water, and put in the oyster sauce. then added cornstarch slowly, stirring, to thicken up the sauce.

breakfast omelet in a flour tortilla. i had the heat too hot and had to flip it prematurely, so it's all kind of folded up. looks overcooked, but it was actually quite fluffy and soft. ~5 mins.

2 eggs
a few tbsp water
a few tbsp cream (or a good splash of milk is what i use usually)
~1/3 diced italian squash
seasoned with hotsauce.

whisked everything together in a bowl with a fork, pour into hot pan at medhigh heat and flipped it. try for when the bottom just starts to get brown (unlike above = too hot or waited too long). give it a few seconds.. topped with hotsauce. consumed.

bargh, such boring food.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

just a sandwich

flickr photo share
a sack lunch minus the sack, juice box, and fruit snack. aka, just a sandwich. pan broiled zucchini (with some chicken broth 'cause it was starting to dry out), store-bought smoked turkey, avocado, feta cheese on some fresh wheat bread. don't like eating regular supermarket bread like wonderbread or orowheat anymore. you know, the kind you can keep unrefrigerated for 2 weeks in the tropics and still be fine. it kind of tastes funky and has a sour aftertaste.. maybe it's the preservatives and extra sugar? anyhow, it's pretty hearty, and like ~20% day's fiber with the veggie?

oatmeal cookie.. maybe?

i have a hard enough time getting and being able to store ingredients for normal cooking, so i don't usually bake. you know, baking powder, brown sugar, etc. on a lark, i found a few recipes for oatmeal cookies online and adapted them to fit my deficient pantry and 25 dollar a week grocery goal. what a surprise the ingredients are.

1.5 sticks butter
1.5 cup oatmeal
1 cup flour
.5 tsp salt
1 egg
.66 cup sugar
1-1.5 tsp vanilla extract
two handfuls of dried cranberries
juice from half an orange

melted the butter and mixed with the egg, then added that in portions to a big bowl with the dry ingredients and mixed. poured in the almost forgotten vanilla. had half an orange--so why not add that in too? formed into semi-flat lumps with spoons and baked 2 batches at 375 for 10-12 mins until they were golden brown.

the result? a bit moist, buttery and kind of nutty flavored, and more like a mini scone than a cookie. comments received:

"these are really good!" <- she was really hungry
"it's not sweet enough" <- my roommate who bakes. in my defense, i only added half the sugar recommended b/c i don't like really sweet stuff like cake and danishes
"are these Tollhouse?"<- my flatmate who is the queen of all foods frozen and instant.. especially easy mac
" this peanut butter?" <- dubious sense of taste suspected