April 2009

every year when it’s appah(dad)’s birthday, I love to cook for the fam. this is how I show my daughterly lurve.  this year was no different. my family knows I go all out (like the 10 course prime rib feast last christmas which I then ended up in the ER later that evening with pneumonia…uhh yeah…thatstoryanothertime)

so this time they all begged me to just make something ” SIMPLE” or else they threatened we’d all go out and eat (oh-hellz-no)

in my best korean accent I told them ohrye, ohrye!” (translation: alright, alright!) 😛

the game plan: simple, comfort food.

this has got to be my simplest family dinner yet. thankfully, my family is not too picky and not too hard to please.

because korean families love their sa-ra-da (aka salad)


something spring-y– mixed greens, strawberries, asian pear, diced egg, and toasted cinnamon and sugar walnuts (so simple to do and so delicious) tossed with a light balsamic vinegarette

and then the 5 hour beast…I mean, pot roast ( although I followed no conventional pot roast recipe) yeah I know this is more of an autumn dish but nothing says simple comfort like some slowly braised meat and potatoes (and basically everything else in our fridge ).

after seasoning and searing the sucker, I  basically threw in nearly everything in my seasoning cabinet, some jesus juice (of the malbec variety), stuck on the lid, threw it in the oven and crossed my fingers.

3 hours later, I added rustic veggies galore and some more crap. yes, now I had put in everything but the kitchen sink. lid back on dutch oven, threw it in the oven again and crossed fingers one more time.

2 hours later…


voila! yes, somewhere in there is 10 pounds of  pot roast à  la choisauce.

the final plate


simple, comfort birthday plate– buttermilk biscuit, spring salad (from above), and pot roast à la choisauce over a bed of buttered egg noodles and mashed potatoes.


my cousin was sweet enough to make this delicious and adorable cheesecake for appah’s birthday

singing “happy birthday”


singing happy birthday in our family can be quite the comedic scene. starting the tune is usually awkward no matter who starts it. 90%  of the fam is singing it in korean (no, its not just with a fobby accent “happy busssday.” the words are actually in korean lol) and the rest of the fam (or rather just me) is singing it in english. haha don’t worry at least its in the same tune 😛 (I know the words in korean but sorry! it just feels too fobby and awkward even when everyone else is singing it haha)

dadnerintoo cute. appah with my baby niece, erin.  kids adore him and he always loves to hold them/have them sit on his lap. although this looks strikingly similar to a picture of us maybe 9493843 years ago he still sees me/treats me like this *sigh*

it’s okay, I  love u and happy birthday, appah!


jina (the korean name)




maison de choisauce, somewhere in lala land


my quest for a good bowl of nrm (neuro-mien aka taiwanese beef noodle soup) has gone on for years. bowl after bowl, I was never satisfied fully. some past FAIL nrm equations:

meh broth + AMAZING noodles + crappy beef = kam hong garden

meh watered down broth + aiiight noodles + crappy beef = both mandarin noodle house/deli

okay broth + boring noodles + good beef = kingburg kitchen

oily as hell broth + ok noodles + okay beef = dai ho

amazingly flavorful broth + crappy noodles + so so beef = cheng du (and now the broth is just meh. so sad, so sad)

amazing broth + okay noodles + meh beef = friends taiwanese mommy

needless to say, I gave up on the search…


then last sunday (yes, thats 2 sundays in a row for us) we had a hankering for some xlb’s (xio long bao aka soupy pork dumplings)  from dean sin world and made our trek to the sgv to get some of these juicy pork wonders.  little did, I know I’d find my favorite bowl of nrm.

the first time we came to dean sin world was with our sgv guru, kungfoodpanda, aka, our homie, stinky for  some no frills XLB’s (which are fantastic) and shanghai panfried baos (u can skip these).  the kind women working there also brought out a free test bowl of nrm which was not on the menu. it was…well…NOT good. it was horribly sweet and everything else in the bowl left one confused to barely make it out to be nrm.

so back to this past sunday and my hankering for some xlb’s. of course, as ALWAYS, I was also craving soupy. what else is new right?  yes, its true, soup/broth consists of 50% of my meals. I crave it every morning, every every evening. when the weather is cold, when its hot, u get the idea.  good soup/broth is important. we took another stab at the nrm after attempting to pronounce noo-roh-mien about 20 times ( since the women there dont speak a lick of english and finger pointing is useless bc the nrm is not listed on the menu. non-chinese speakers and koreans like us are pretty much SOL)

after the first taste of soup and then slurp of noodles  and bite of tendon….WOW, this was extreme makeover to the MAX

I immediately exclaimed,  this is my favorite bowl of NRM!!



oh what a beauty…

AMAZING broth + good noodles + tons of juicy, delicious beef/tendon = my new favorite bowl of NRM @ dean sin world

the broth is really an amazing thing. it’s rich in beef flavor with a slight sweetness and has almost a velvety smoothness, all WITHOUT being oily. super beefy and brothy does NOT mean it has to be oily (i.e. dai ho) the other extreme is flavorless broth like mandarin noodle house/deli and kam hong garden. this broth is the most refined and balanced  nrm broth I’ve had. it’s not overloaded with spices but still so flavorful. the noodles are not kam hong caliber but they’re slippery with a slight bite that reign above most of the other nrm noodles I’ve had. and then the beef and tendon. WOW. the bowl is LOADED with the most delicious and juicy tendon. love it, love it!!

also, the  most delicious bite I’ve had in recent memory are these morsels of pure comfort and yuminess that can also be found here


these sesame turnip cakes when fresh and pipin’ hot are quite the savory, sweet, doughy, flakey deliciousness in-yo-mouth. flakey outside with warm doughy inside and bursting with sweet and savory turnip. yuummmmyyyyyy the turnip filling reminds me of the korean banchan moo-namul. pure comfort.

my new happy, happy  place, dean sin world

dean sin world, 306 n garfield ave #2, monterey park, ca 91754. (626) 571-0636.

sorry been mia for awhile. I’m back…kinda


still got the writer’s  block so let’s do a photomontage and just a few words to describe the perfect saturday matthew and I had a couple of weeks back

*cue radiohead‘s “nice dream”*


santa barbara farmer’s market


lilacs are my absolute favorite flowers (technically a shrub but whatever)





had fun munching on this delicious monster as I walked around the market.


discovered the most delicious fruit on earth- the cherimoya, the juices that come out of this is indeed nectar of the gods


feast at la super rica

grilled marinated pork, roasted chile pasillo, covered with oozy gooey cheese *tear*


special of the day: taco de calabacita- marinated pork, peppers, zucchini squash, its not conventional but I dont care it was damn delicious


this tri-tip and bell pepper wonder even had bacon. ’nuff said


the most amazing tamale ever-  tamal norteno de puerco, fat corn tamale packed with tender pulled pork and covered in a creamy fresh tomato sauce.



the most gorgeous (and delicious) tasting room at saarloos & sons

as we walk in I immediately notice they’re playing my FAVORITE radiohead song “bulletproof” (they played radiohead the entire time we were there ommahhggaaaahttt)


they even have cupcakes on saturdays


the goods



keith is the man



as I’m sitting outside of saarloos, I wonder to myself, “can life get better than this?”

then radiohead’s “nice dream” plays



the perfect saturday



oh what a dream…


santa barbara certified farmers market- santa barbara st and cota st, santa barbara, ca 93120. (805) 962-5354. www.sbfarmersmarket.org

la super rica taqueria- 622 n milpas st. santa barbara, ca 93103. (805) 963-4940

saarloos & sons– 2971 grand ave. los olivos, ca 93441. (805) 688-1200. www.saarloosandsons.com

last night at susan feniger’s brand spankin’ new restaurant, street….



I swear our sever encouraged me to do so…



in a single picture, this was what I thought of more than half the dishes we had last night.  the highlights being:  saang paneer, kokum dal, and rice plate, cuban stuffed potato cake (don’t worry, worlds away from porto’s), vietnamese corn and omaahhggaahhhtt the kaya toast!!!

in a nutshell, there were many hits (above), some that were good (but just needs some fine tuning) and only one major miss (yes, I swear we wanted to like it was but it was the $16 pho. so bad, please, just take it off the menu, susan)

this menu is extremely ambitious covering so many countries and spices/ingredients all on ONE menu. I highly commend feniger for bringing this menu to their highland/melrose location in los angeles and introducing many  new flavors to angelenos palates. definitely a great starting place to introduce these new flavors/dishes to the people of la.


it was such a pleasure speaking susan feniger with her about her concept and food. she even gave us a tour of their ridiculously small kitchen and crazy woodfire oven. u will have a whole another level of “wow”ness and awe when u see the closet of a kitchen all the food comes out of (its literally half the size of mine at home)

it was so nostalgic coming back to this space since I used to frequent it every thursday for open mic night when it was highland grounds. the space is revamped but I really love what they’ve done with it. the staff and especially our server, minda were outstanding.  we will definitely return in the next coming weeks…



susan feniger’s street, 742 n. highland, hollywood, (323) 203-0500, Eatatstreet.com

this ain’t no april fools. I ain’t playin’. this shizz is FO REAL.

wish I could take credit for originally creating this masterpiece called the mcgangbang (it actually originated from daytona beach mcdonalds restaurants)

well, in case u aren’t in the know:

“The McGangBang ranks up there in the holy pantheon of WTF. It’s a sandwich made from a double cheeseburger and a McChicken sandwich — where you put an entire McChicken sandwich inside a double cheeseburger. It’s a creative manipulation of existing menu items, and an exercise in frugality: taking two items off of the Dollar Menu and creating an entirely new sandwich for a total of $2.16. Truly, it’s a sandwich that’s more than the sum of its parts.”  read more about it here

to make a long story short, it has become an internet sensation.

it was a sunday, bloody (mary) sunday after the cha where they had $2.50 bloody mary specials (which btw, are in the runnings for the best in the city complete with pickled haricot verts. oh yum) I had a hankering for some fries and a burger, el ghetto, mickey d’s style (yeah this foodie still loves her mickey d’s, WHAT).  we had some time to kill before hitting up our new favorite cocktail spot, rivera, so we decided to stop by the nearest golden arches.

I wanted fries and a mcdouble (bc double cheeseburgers are no longer $1 BOO) but then remembered this “holy pantheon of WTF.”

oh yes, its mcgangbang time!

I still wanted fries and then brilliance struck as I nostalgically remembered my california burritos days in san diego.

we’re supin’ this mcgangbang up with fries!  killa kali style!


for a mere $3.45, this california mcgangbang can also be urs (original mcgangbang $2.37)


the original players plus the new kid in town


double cheeseburger, mcchicken, and small fries




the original gangster: the mcgangbang






I think I love u


now let’s supe this bad boy up


the essentials must be added (what I would’ve done for even one of these suckers at father’s office earlier that day :P)






yes, this bad boy just got even badder




I present to u, a choisauce original…


the california mcgangbang






yeah he’s a frontin’ badass. this bad boy is fierce.



but in the end we’re happy homies 🙂






don’t try this at home, kids


mcdonalds restaurant, locations everywhere