Posted by: Chris | 26/04/2011

Sopa, perfected finally!

My mother in law often makes a dish whenever myself and my wife go and visit her and it has become one of my most loved dishes.  She calls it sopa or simply fideo and when I hear those words, I instantly begin to salivate in anticipation!  It is a very simple recipe and pairs well with a variety of other dishes, but it is in the preparation where it can easily be ruined.  After trying several times, I finally got it!

Start with a 12oz package of fideo noodles and crunch them while in the bag to break apart the clusters.  Once you have done that heat a large pot with a few teaspoons of oil and place noodles in.  You want to lightly toast the noodles for a few minutes.  Once toasted, then pour water in just to the top of the noodles and bring to a boil.  Drop 2 chicken bullion cubes and let dissolve.  Once those are dissolved, lower the heat and bring to a simmer.  Pour in 16oz of tomato sauce and stir to evenly distribute.

Now add cayenne pepper to taste.  This was one of the hardest parts for me in the beginning as I love heat but wife is unable to handle it as well as I can and I have finally found a happy medium for us.  Just remember, a little goes a long way.  I also sprinkle a little paprika and ground black pepper.  Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes over low heat stirring occasionally.

As I stated earlier, this dish is easily paired with a variety of other dishes and tonight we bought some sausages from the market.  Cajun andouille sausages go well as the smokey peppery flavor matches well.  Feel free to try this dish yourself!

Posted by: Chris | 16/04/2011

Fideo with Pork

Tonight it’s a short post.  Fideo noodles with tomato sauce, spices and pork cutlet meat cut into strips.  Quick and easy!  Perhaps one day I will actually write down the recipe and do a full post on it.  In the mean time, enjoy the pic!

Posted by: Chris | 11/04/2011

SoCal Vacation Pt. 1

Just got back from another vacation to Southern California not only did we find a surprise down there, but we had also planned on hitting up a spot we had heard about previously as well as hitting up a local favorite.  We also had the pleasure of manning the grill at the family BBQ!  This trip was filled with great food!

First we’ll start with the local favorite that has quickly become a personal favorite of mines.  Unfortunately I neglected to take any pictures of the food there but let me tell you, it is a great place.  It is family owned restaurant with a homey feeling that is always filled with locals.  The food flavorful and the portions are large but the prices are very reasonable!

I made the mistake of adding the biscuits and gravy to my omelet plate and was stunned at how large the biscuits and gravy alone was!  For an added $0.85 I was greeted with 3 large biscuits and a large bowl of cream gravy that alone was enough to fill my belly!  But I had it as an added side to “The Scrambler” which is three eggs scrambled with bacon, sausage, bell pepper, onion, red skin potatoes and topped with cheese.  Needless to say, even this eater with a large appetite went away full!  Next trip I will for sure have to remember I take pictures!

They have multiple locations but we always go to the one in Fullerton since it is closest to where we stay.  Just visit their website to check them out!

Fullerton Location
1605 W. Commonwealth Ave
Fullerton, CA 92833
714.449.1580

http://www.kimmiescoffeecup.com/

Next up is a place we found while walking the sands of Huntington Beach that is open for lunch and dinner and turned out to be a nice surprise:  Sandy’s Beach Grill.  After doing some sight seeing we developed a rather healthy appetite and found this place nestled underneath another restaurant that was closed at the time.

It is a very relaxed and welcoming place with large open views of the beach outside including a large outdoor seating area.  The menu has quite a few different choices and everyone is bound to find something they will like!

We started off with the sweet potato fries which are lightly seasoned and delicious by themselves, but come with a terrific garlic aioli!  We polished those off quickly.  They had just the right texture to them with a nice crunchy exterior but a nice soft interior.  The garlic aioli was the perfect compliment and wasn’t too strong.  It had just enough bite to stand up the fries without overpowering them.

Next up was the lobster tacos that both my wife and I decided to try.  Large chunks of lobster that were in a light beer batter and then deep fried that are served on flour tortillas with cabbage, a Baja taco sauce and a roasted corn salsa.  There was so much lobster that I almost had to just dig in with a fork!  The lobster was perfectly cooked and all the flavors complimented each other well.  Had we stopped there I would have been fine as I was everyone at the table was full.  But then the waiter had to mention a dessert that just intrigued us!

It was an interesting take on a classic dessert.  The classic S’more.  The waiter described it having a graham cracker base with a scoop of chocolate ice cream that was topped with a marshmallow spread.  What arrived was something that looked absolutely delicious!  The marshmallow spread was torched to give it that burnt taste that everyone remembers from a camp fire S’more.  It was a rich and decedent dessert with a great mix of flavors!  Thankfully we shared it as it would have been too much for any one person!

Check out Sandy’s Beach Grill!

Sandy’s Beach Grill
315 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648-5161
(714) 374-7273

http://www.sandysbeachgrill.com/

Look for part 2 that features our trip to Slater’s 50/50 as well as a snapshot of the family BBQ coming soon!

Posted by: Chris | 28/12/2010

Hearty Split Pea Soup

So tonight it is raining heavily and my wife suggested that I make split pea and ham soup like I did the other night.  Knowing there were some changes that she wanted made to my original recipe (which coincidentally was also my first try at making it) I involved her in the process.  What began as a somewhat basic split pea soup evolved into a hearty almost stew with larger cut vegetables.  Seeing as how my wife absolutely loved this rendition of my soup, I decided to share it with you all!

1/2 Large white onion, finely chopped

2 Cups shredded carrots

6 Stalks of celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 Cups course chopped ham

1 Cup dried split peas

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Saute the onions, carrots, celery, and ham in olive oil just long enough for the celery just to start to soften, stirring often in a large pot.

Then add the split peas and 3 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Let boil for 5 minutes then lower heat and let simmer for 45 minutes while covered, stirring occasionally.


Remove from heat and spoon into your favorite bowl and enjoy!  My wife has told me that from now on, this is how I should prepare this soup!

Posted by: Chris | 25/11/2010

Thanksgiving

This year, my wife wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving with just myself and our two cats.  Therefore a large meal was not on the menu this time however she still wanted her turkey and ham.  So we went shopping and instead of buying a large turkey, we bought a package of turkey tenderloins which ended up being just enough for the both of us.  Also purchased was a small honey baked ham portion as well as the other traditional fixings such as stuffing, green beans, peas and carrots and mashed potatoes.

Everything was prepared the usual way with the exception of the turkey.  The turkey was seasoned and fried, keeping the cover on the pan so that the juices would help steam the meat to ensure that it was fully cooked, as well as keep it tender and juicy.  The drippings were then used to help create a nice dark gravy that had plenty of flavor.

So from my wife and myself, we hope you all have had a wonderful holiday with your family.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Posted by: Chris | 10/11/2010

Open Faced Omelette

So a few nights ago after having friends over, we ended up with a few extra sausages from that dinner.  Not wanting to have the same old dinner, I had to think on the fly and create something that myself and my wife would enjoy.  Slicing the sausages into thin pieces and frying them first, then covering them in whisked eggs to create an omelette.

Frying the sausage slices created a nice textural difference as well as bringing out the flavored fats which would help keep the egg from sticking to the pan.  Eggs were whisked together with ground pepper, chives, and a little bit of Tobasco sauce to add a little heat which compliments the Polish sausages.

After serving them on a plate, shredded cheese was sprinkled over the top.  This dish was very good and turned out better than I had expected, especially considering it was created in a moments notice.

Posted by: Chris | 05/11/2010

Vacation!

So recently my wife and I went down to Southern California to visit her family, something we do often.  Normally our first stop there is In ‘N’ Out as it is a tradition for us, however this trip, her father offered something a bit different from the fast food burger joint.  A stop at Tony Roma’s.  With my wife and I’s penchant for ribs, we had no trouble going there first!  I won’t say that they make the best ribs ever, but they are always very good!

For more information about Tony Roma’s, please visit their website!

During our stay it started to turn cold and actually rained quite a bit so we decided we wanted something comforting that would keep us warm.  Her mother answered with Albondigas soup.  A nice hearty soup that is filled with potatoes, carrots, zucchini, cabbage and meatballs as well as various spices.  After three bowls of it, I was nice and warm and had a very content stomach!

When the weather turned nicer we had chicken taco’s.  Home fried hard taco shells were filled with spiced seasoned shredded chicken and a bevy of toppings.  Lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cheese as well as refried beans were available to compliment the chicken.  I got stuffed after eating six of these large taco’s!

One of our days there we found ourselves at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific.  If you ever get a chance, go there!  Very interesting exhibits with lots of hands on tanks.  My wife and her mother loved watching the Sea Otters play and even I found myself enchanted with their playfulness.  Naturally during the course we found ourselves getting hungry and checked out their cafe.  The food here was actually quite good and very high in quality, preparing it right in front of you!  Ironically I had the fish taco’s.  Rarely do you order from a picture and receive a plate of food that actually puts the picture to shame, but that is what I received.

For more information about the Aquarium of the Pacific, please visit their website!

We had a great time in SoCal and we did eventually get our In ‘N’ Out burgers, but we also enjoyed a lot of other foods as well!  We also heard a rumor of a restaurant that serves all sorts of alternative meats such as alligator, buffalo, ostrich and others.  Next time we go back south, we are going to hunt for that place!

Posted by: Chris | 27/10/2010

Deep Fried Pickles

A dear friend of mines who runs her own blog told me she was going to the Mid-State Fair and that she was going to check out some of the food there.  Needless to say, I had have to check it out for me, and if she found anything interesting, to please write a guest post.  Well she didn’t disappoint!

California Mid-State Fair: Fried Pickles

When Chris asked me to write a “guest blog” for his food site, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. He and I both share a love for the “Food Paradise” specials that the Travel Channel runs on a regular basis. Each time we watch them, we always find ourselves mentally planning our when-we-win-the-lottery roadtrip to experience these paradises ourselves. My personal favorite (much to the chagrin of my cholesterol level) is “Deep Fried Paradise”, featuring the most unique and mouth-watering display of fried foods in the United States.

In July our friend Aminta and I traveled to Paso Robles, CA for the California Mid-State Fair to see Keith Urban and Kris Allen perform. We made sure to get there early so we could experience all of the amazing things that a fair has to offer: the carnival rides, the animals, the vendors, and of course, the food. And during our wandering about I stumbled upon one of Chris and my most talked about items from “Deep Fried Paradise”, Fried Pickles. Needless to say, I immediately texted him about it because I knew I had to try it.

Instead of the pickle chips you can get at places like Hooters, these were made with full pickle spears and you got six with your order. Pretty thoroughly breaded and deep fried, and served with a side of ranch dressing, I could feel the Southern blood in my veins bubble with excitement. The first bite was all sorts of confusing, as so many different textures and tastes blended together in my mouth. Despite being fried the pickle spears still had some snap, yet also had the crispy feeling of normal fried foods. The pickles also retained their sour bite, and the combination of dill, batter, breading, and the ranch dip was a little overwhelming at first.

However, once I got past that first bite and took my second, I realized that along with being overwhelming, it was also amazing. Definitely one of the most flavorful and intense foods I’ve ever tried because there was so much going on. I enjoyed my first spear to the fullest. I enjoyed most of my second one, but that was also when I started to see what the one drawback to this food is. Like most Southern cooking, the fried pickles were extremely rich and a little heavy since my body isn’t used to it. More so than I had been expecting, and by the third spear it was one of those “I can feel my arteries clogging” moments. Thankfully I didn’t have eat all six of them myself, as I think I would have had a heart attack before even getting to the show I had driven down there for!

Final verdict, Fried Pickles are definitely a winner. Not a food I would recommend for eating solo, but as an appetizer when out with friends, I don’t think you could do any better.

–Shannon

Special thanks to Shannon for writing this entry!  Be sure to check out her music blog “Make A Sound“!  Tell her I sent ya!

Posted by: Chris | 05/09/2010

Jeffries Hamburgers

Jeffries Hamburgers.  If you have been to this place, then you know instantly what I am talking about.  For those of you who haven’t yet been, then you are missing out on some of the best hamburgers around.

They offer quite a few different hamburgers, from the Avocado Burger (which is a favorite of my wife and I) to the Mushroom Burger.  The hamburgers are cooked to your order and placed on a grilled bun.  Lettuce, tomatoes, onions and other toppings are not placed on the burger but instead are at a self serve bar.  I normally shy away from self serve food items but Jeffries keeps it so clean that I have no issue going up and picking out a great piece of tomato and lettuce to top my burger.

Jeffries also offers, Hot Dogs, Salads and shakes.  The shakes themselves are large enough to be almost a meal in themselves topped with a large amount of whipped cream and offered in Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate.

This is a classic food joint and offers great food at a low price, while offering a clean and friendly environment.

Jeffries Hamburgers
42 South B Street
San Mateo, CA 94401-3938
(650) 348-8698

Posted by: Chris | 17/07/2010

SF Chefs 2010!

“SFChefs 2010 presented by Visa Signature®, is a food and wine event celebrating the unique flavor, diversity and bounty of Northern California. The main tasting tent will be in Union Square, where chefs, wine makers and distillers will offer an exploration of taste featuring local products. Classes and seminars will offer interactive opportunities for the public to participate with local farmers, ranchers, chefs, winemakers, distillers, media, luminaries, authors, vintners, mixologists and culinary experts in an entertaining forum.”

Be sure to check it out!

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