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Showing posts from January, 2014

Lessons from the Kitchen at Al Bacio

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Unfortunately this restaurant has closed.

"A bottle of red, a bottle of white   It all depends upon your appetite I'll meet you any time you want In our Italian Restaurant"

Scenes from an Italian Restaurant - Billy Joel

*Photo by Al Bacio Ristorante Italiano

My friend and fellow food blogger @backyardbite invited me to an Italian cooking class by Chef Christian Simionato at Al Bacio in West Hollywood.  Usually on Grammy day, I'm busy cooking at one of the after-parties.  But this year, wasn't feeling like making 1,200 servings of something and without hesitation gladly accepted Amy's invitation.  
About a dozen of us arrived at the restaurant on Grammy Sunday around 11 am.  Chef Christian welcomed us and after putting on aprons, we all headed to the kitchen.  

First up was dessert Chef Christian setting up the apple tart for the oven
I can't believe how simple this apple tart recipe was and turned out to be wonderful dessert.
Considering that I don't bake, I leave…

The Saga Continues... I mean, the Sriracha Continues

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At least for now...
I'm not sure if you've heard, the maker of Sriracha WILL continue to produce this magical sauce, at least for now.  Some may know it as rooster sauce, the hot sauce with the green top, Asian hot sauce (funny, I've seen Sriracha in many non-Asian places too), etc.  Whatever name you know it by, many were caught off guard by the halt on production.  
The back story in a nut shell, Huy Fong Foods (the maker of this Sriracha) has received complaints from their Irwindale neighbors about the strong odors coming from the factory.  With these complaints came an injunction to halt production that could cause the odors from the chills used in their famous sauce.  

Huy Fong Foods' Sriracha

As of the week of January 6, 2014, a spokesperson for Huy Fong Foods' stated that they "plan to resume shipments at the end of the month."  
I'm not choosing sides and I haven't experienced what the neighbors were experiencing, but I can say that I've be…

San Diego: Tajima Ramen

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I don't get down to San Diego much these days.  For some reason on this trip, I wanted ramen.  After confirming with my ramen friend, Keizo Shimamoto of GoRamen.com, I headed over to Tajima Ramen to try their tonkotsu ramen with Kakuni pork.  

See What Jay Eats...
Tajima Ramen House Tonkotsu Broth
A rich pork broth, served with 1/2 an egg, bbq pork, green onions, and seaweed.
A nice rich taste,
not really pretty to look at,
but a good taste to it.

Seared Tuna Tataki with fried garlic chips and ponzu
I wanted to try their seared tuna,
I wished that the ponzu had a bit more
of a citrus punch to it, but that's
how I like it.
(Thanks to Sushi Nozawa)


The Kakuni Pork 
The pork was tender, it was slow cooked and had good flavor

Gyoza
Housemade pan fried pork dumplings




The service was attentive, the food was pretty good, AND they stay open late. I would go back again.

Tajima Ramen 4681 Convoy Street San Diego, CA 92111 (858) 576-7244 www.tajimasandiego.com
Monday - Friday:  11:30 am - 2:30 pm 5:30 pm - 10:30 pm Sa…

My Favorite Manapua

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There are dim sum places in Honolulu that are really good, but I prefer heading over to the manapua shops.
Manapua is similar to a steamed bao with bbq pork, but not found in dim sum restaurants.
There are many manapua places, such as Char Hung Sut, Royal Kitchen,  Island Manapua Factory, or Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory, just to name a few.
All are good, most people have their favorite place, mine is Libby's Manapua Shop in Kalihi.

See What Jay Eats...
Pork Manapua, Pork Hash, and Half Moons 
The Pork Manapua is a steamed bun with a
sweet pork filling, just like a Chashu Bao.

Pork Hash are steamed dumplings filled 
with a denser pork filling, similar to Shu Mai.



 Half Moons

Half Moons have a Ha Gow type of skin,
filled with the same filling as the pork hash.
(Hawaii friends please let me know if
I've got this one right) 

No styrofoam food containers here, old skool style box...
Don't forget the Chow Fun Noodles! (sorry no pics)
Libby's Manapua is a takeout only place, you even help yourself by fil…

Luscious Dumplings and Noodles

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When I was in college, a friend invited me over to his house, his grandmother from Taiwan was here and she was making her family's favorite beef noodles.  The broth was very light, not like the darker broth beef noodles that I've had around town.  OK, so I've been out of college for awhile now and recently tried Luscious Dumplings with some friends, thanks @KristieHang (you'll see why later).  It's has the same light broth and very similar to what my friend's grandmother made many years ago, but she used more ginger.  The winner here is combining a bowl of noodles with dumplings, see combos below.
This is my kind of place, they don't mess around with every kind of protein and different varieties of dumplings.  They have 7 kinds of dumplings, 7 different soup noodles, baby bok choy in oyster sauce, stewed bean curd, and 3 soup and dumpling combos.  That's It!
They have 2 locations and both are small restaurants, the dining room holds about 20 people (or so…