Tuesday, May 31, 2011

// UMAIDO ramen //

Tonkotsu ramen

Honey Miso ramen

You know what a good boyfriend means to an Asian girl?  Someone who drives 45 minutes because you are craving a good bowl of ramen (or Korean fried chicken, but that's another post). In Atlanta I wish there were more options in-town, but it seems all the legit places are up on Buford Highway, which is still a good 20 minute drive at least from downtown/midtown. It'll be another 20 minutes from Buford to get up to Duluth/Suwanee area where most of the home-cooked Korean restaurants are. For me, it's not really a big deal because I grew up in Orlando, FL which means everything is really spread out and you usually drive far anyway. Atlantans get spoiled, though and HATE having to drive outside their 5-10 minute bubble. Anyway, getting off topic here. Ramen is just one of the ultimate Asian comfort foods. Growing up, we always had a case of the instant ramen in all of my family's households. Everyone adds in their extra  fresh ingredients or eats it plain, but it was always a staple. It ends up being something you just crave either late night or during a hangover the next day. My Japanese friends like Umaido's for ramen so I feel it's that much more legit. The owners are Korean but have lived in Japan for over 10 years. Check out their site: http://www.umaidos.com/.

Monday, May 30, 2011

// cute carrots //

Every time we go to my boyfriends parents' house in Deland, FL we never leave empty-handed. It's seriously not even an option. If you say "no", it just takes longer to leave. My family's the same way, but they're even worse because they'll send you back with cargo. I literally had to check-in a box of some Vietnamese pork product once when I was like 10 yrs old to take home from D.C. to Orlando, FL. Of course that was when airlines were not as strict about checked bags. My relatives would just tell me to tell the attendant I was checking in baby food. Really? It reeked of pork. Anyway, the carrots are from my boyfriend's parent's garden. Aren't they super cute? It's actually a smaller colander, too. So, the carrots are actually smaller than usual. Looks fake or something. Here are some tips for starting your own garden...even if you live in an apt like me!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

// oreo-stuffed cookies //

This is what happens when a chocolate chip cookie eats an Oreo. I cheated with this one and did a shortcut version with refrigerated cookie dough. You just wrap enough to cover the Oreo (it'll look pretty chunky) and then bake as instructed. I think one roll of cookie dough made about 8-9 cookies. They're as good as they sound. Here's a home-made version if you want to be all fancy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

// braised chicken w/dried plums //

Definitely one of those dishes that taste better than it looks. This one was done on a whim. I happened to be searching chicken thigh recipes on Martha Stewart's site and noticed I had all the ingredients for this one (leftover white wine, dried plums & onion). Paired it up with mushroom gnocchi (it was a boxed version, on sale at Target) and it was soooooo good! Amazing comfort food. You can also try it with carrots and maybe some kind of potato on the side.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

// bday food //

On his birthday every year, my friend gets a huge Omaha Steaks package sent down from his mom. After watching some show on t.v. about hot dogs, I was craving some. Luckily, in the birthday package are 4 gourmet franks. After going to 3 different gas stations and a CVS (no grocery store close by to their house),  I finally got some buns and chips for our lunch. We crumpled up some potato chips and used it as one of the toppings. Definitely makes a difference and it was inspired by the Colombian style hot dog. Also, had a huge bottle of vodka someone gave me for my birthday and wanted to do something different. We ended up infusing it with fresh pineapple. Just cut it up in slivers and into the bottle it went. It's still way too strong to drink straight up, but it looks pretty in the bottle and mixes well with orange juice. Pretty creative ways to boost up some standards, eh?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

// Grant's Stack @ Homegrown //

If you've never been to Homegrown, it's definitely one of those places that make you feel like you're in a scene from some movie where you're at a restaurant in the mid-west. The typical customer ranges from the following descriptions:
  • hipster chicks that are wearing big shades indoors, high-waisted denim shorts and have big hair that looks like they haven't washed it in days - usually w/some grimy guy who
  • a young parent (usually w/out the other parent present) who brings their toddler in and usually sits at the bar cutting up their kids pancakes
  • old school folk who bring their families and everyone seems to be from another era to me
Basically, I feel like I've stepped into a Vice Magazine diner. 

The food here is pretty reasonable in price and the food is hangover friendly. Lots of grease to sop up last night's shenanigan's for sure.  A good choice would be the Grant's Stack sandwich pictured below. How can you go wrong with bacon and Texas toast? I've also had the Trix/Capt'n Crunch dessert awhile back (which is made like a Rice Krispies treat), but it wasn't around this morning. Although, I did see a huge plastic bag of the cereal mix in the kitchen on the way out. I think I subconsciously peek into the kitchens if I'm walking by (usually do that while I'm waiting for the bathroom). I like watching the chefs/cooks do their thing. Sometimes, they don't like me doing that though. That's when I scurry off.

go check 'em out: http://www.homegrownga.com/

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

// Star Provisions Market //

Star Provisions “Bahn Mi” with Glazed Pork Belly, Pickled Chili on Toasted Baguette $ 13.95

marinated mushrooms $ 8.95/lb.

sooooo thick & crispy!

Have you guys noticed that the Banh Mi (Vietnamese sub) has gotten a LOT of exposure w/in the past few years due to a lot of foodies bringing it to food shows and magazines? Obviously, I'm going to be biased b/c I grew up eating these (homemade) and you're never going to beat our family's recipe.  My parents used to sneak Banh Mi's into Disneyworld instead of paying for overpriced mediocre American food. I used to be embarassed, but if we could do that now, I'd be showing them off! HA! Anyway, I'm glad everyone's embraced this brilliant sandwich, but I have to admit I can be wary when restaurants throw their version of the "Banh Mi" on their menu. It always sounds interesting, but when I try it I'm always disappointed in the taste AND the price. Plus, they're like $2.50 each (buy 5 get one free) down on Buford Hwy in the Viet sub shops and then I go into that mode where I'm converting prices. "I can buy 3 banh mi's for the price of this one!"  I do that when I see the $5 hot dogs at the theater and convert it to the Ikea hot dog prices. Hehe. Ok, back to the main point of this post - Star Provisions Market actually does the Banh Mi some justice! I recently exposed my cousin (who lives  1.5 hours outside of ATL) to this sub and she was amazed at how legit it tasted (and she's SUPER picky about her Viet food) and immediately accused them (not to their face) of stealing her mom's recipe in between huge bites. Another huge plus is that their fried chicken is outta control amazing! I've never had skin so thick and crispy and the meat was juicy and flavored perfectly. I seriously went twice in one week and got the banh mi w/a side of fried chicken aka Nellie combo (only I would consider meat a side). They'll gladly heat up the chicken for you while they make your sub. If you haven't gone, please go. I know it's a splurge, but trust me....it's totally worth it!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

// meatballs & spaghetti //

I wasn't planning on making this dish tonight until I was walking through the fresh meats section at the Dekalb Farmer's Market and saw some stuff that caught my eye. Ground sweet pork sausage and a turkey version as well. Got 1/2 a pound of each and picked up some of their fresh pasta, sauce and parmesan cheese in the refrigerated section to complete my meal. I love that this farmer's market makes a lot of their stuff in-house and it's incredibly affordable. Makes planning meals for the week way easier. Just found this easy meatballs recipe and simmered in the sauce for about 30 minutes on low heat. Now just turn on an episode of Jersey Shore and sit back and enjoy your plate of spaghetti & meatballs!