I read a very informative article in the March 05 edition of Organic Style magazine touting the differences between the types of coffee that we drink. I knew all about the differences in fair trade, shade grown, and organic coffee BUT what I didn't know was how bad conventional commercial coffee really is. They say it's "one of the most chemically doused crops in the world" and the workers are paid pennies per pound for their work. Good god. Of course, I flew into an internal rage and starting researching alternatives to coffee all together. I like the caffeine high that coffee gives me and just the thought, the smell, the flavor, and the idea of it makes me happy in the morning. But, come on--I can't be tossing all that crazy stuff into my system every day. So, I discovered the black tea called Yerba Mate Tea. I just ran on over to Whole Foods, bought a pound of it and have been drinking it like crazy ever since. It has this slightly sweet, cocoa flavor and has all the punch of coffee without the crazy jitters and upset tummy that coffee can give you. The Argentinians (the jungles of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay where the tree is harvested) treat this tea just like coffee and rarely add any sweetener to it, but of course, I add in a heaping spoonful of honey. Most importantly, it has tons of health benefits and makes me happy in the a.m. Coffee is out and mate is in, done and done. Plus, look how beautiful it is...coffee never looked this good!
Super cool. This article that I wrote about the most delicious tres leches cake in Chicago was just in this Thursdays edition of Red Streak (2/25/05)--this is the baby paper for The Chicago Sun Times, which is kinda neat. I also took the photos and I could literally just eat them up, they look so delicious. If you want to find the cake, check out the article online at this link. You won't regret it~yummy!
Trader Joe's has this awesome pizza crust that comes in a wet dough ball for less than a buck per bag. Most pizza dough that comes packaged like that is pretty heinous, but TJ's (God love 'em) has found the perfect pizza crust mix---when baked, its crisp, chewy, and moist all at the same time. You can literally toss anything on it---I love Bianca style---with olive oil (no sauce), lots of leeks, buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomato, garlic and tons of basil--all topped off with fresh cracked pepper and fleur de sel (which puts plain 'ole salt to shame). Sorry, this crust even beats my other non-homemade fave Bobloi.
There is this super cute little restaurant and bakery down in Pilsen called Kristoffer's. Crazy name for a Mexican style cafe, but who cares! They seriously have the best little tamales every day. Just $1.50 each and I could eat them by the hundreds (the one I had today was filled with peppers and cheese). Now, of course, I am going to have to hunt down a place that maybe specializes in tamales. Where to go, where to go???? A few years back, I helped some friends make 50 lbs. of homemade tamales. I swear we made that much and they were just so delicious and addictive. All the farmers markets in LA have little stands that serve only homemade organic tamales, filled with peppers, goat cheese, chorizo. YUM!!!
The Early Bird Gets the Pork
The South Side rules when it comes to carnitas.
Is this the new Italian?
The Mighty Crepe
Eat like a Moroccan king.
Tacos so good you'd swear you were south of the border.
You'll spring for these Vietnamese spring rolls.
Chocolate Croissants, and Other Favorites
Raving about the eats that got her through the year.
The Canons of Chili
Ditch the kidney beans and pile on the cornbread.
Custard Buns, An Asian-Style Addiction
Going bakery to bakery in the search for the best bun.
Eats for the Faux-Veggie
Where to go when the carnivore calls.
Chicago's Best Hot Chocolate
...straight from Spain.
There is this tiny little restaurant on the south side of Chicago called La Michoacana and when you walk in, not only is the place packed with Mexican families chowing on huge platters of pork, there is this cute little butcher up front whacking away at tender, falling off the bone pork...that has only been cooked in LARD! (He is also very generous with the samples, loading up a little paper boat with the juicy meat and just grinning away.)
The state of Michoacana in Mexico is renowned for their authentic way of cooking an entire pig in a huge vat (with nothing but lard) for hours and hours. It is usually served up on a platter loaded down with melt-in-you-mouth pork, stacks of steaming tortillas and bowls of fresh limes. For about $120 bucks, you can get a pan full of chopped pork, dripping in grease and it will feed 40 super-hungry people. I know I have said it before, but I will say it again, I LOVE Mexicans!!!!!
So, I guess I've never made caramel before. Well, I guess I've never made a lot of things (including cheesecake), but you would think that caramel would not be one of them...seeing as how I have that insane sweet tooth raging all the time. So, I decided to rock out this dessert that I found in the back of Food and Wine magazine, a salted caramel cheesecake (with fleur de sel)--little individual ones. YUM! Seriously one of the best things I have ever tasted and that feeling was reciprocated all the way around.
Here's the recipe.
I know, I know---who can stand LA? Ah, but there is a perfect part of LA that is honest-to-goodness paradise. It's called South Bay and here's the deal. About 14 miles south of Santa Monica is this little patch of heaven that is what everyone dreams of when they think about Southern California. The area is right on the Pacific Ocean and is made up of super-cute little villages like Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach. I happen to keep my sailboat in Redondo Beach at King Harbor Marina...it is the best marina in Southern California and literally blows Marina del Rey away! My boat is at the end of the dock and there is nothing like waking up there and being 2 seconds from the Pacific Ocean, as well as The Strand (beachfront path that runs for miles and miles---through Malibu). Of course, I already need an upgrade on the boat (um....40'?) but even when I do that, I will absolutely keep my boat in the same location. This area is just minutes from LAX (much needed, for a quick getaway!), and when you are there, you don't even remember the patches of severe depression that riddle Los Angeles.