Monday, May 17, 2010


The Joy of Cooking :) I really do love to cook. It's like chemistry or wood-shop, putting things together, using heat, and hoping everything comes out alright.

I think the kitchen is quite possibly the most important room and heart of the home. We gather around it, chat, eat and live from the kitchen. I have very fond memories of hanging out with family around the kitchen island, chatting, cooking and being fascinated with how things are made. My mother never cooked, so this only happened at big family gatherings like Christmas or Thanksgiving, so we celebrated food along with time together.

I didn't actually start cooking myself until a friend of mine started showing me how to cook things from scratch. I'd watch in wonder how easy she made everything look and how awesome delicious her food was. She gave me The Joy of Cooking cookbook as a gift, and it's one of the best gifts I've ever had.

One of my favorite things to make is bread. It's not that hard, but it takes a long time to wait for the bread to rise before you bake it. I love the smell of baking bread and the work your hands do kneading it. Yes I knead with my hands and without a machine. It's actually rather therapeutic. Anyway it's been years since I've made bread from scratch, and I did so last weekend and it was a lot of fun.

There are a few kinks to work out in the recipe and the process, before I start making it for other people. My brain and hands are a bit rusty for cooking, and I'm still getting used to the gas burners and oven in our kitchen. But overall basically a success. I'd give my bread a passing C or B.

With my cooking, this is one of those things where the journey is much more important and interesting than the destination. I love to eat, of course, but making bread is just way more fun than just eating it. I hope one day I'll perfect some recipes, and possibly inspire someone to start cooking from scratch too.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Empress Pavilion - Dim Sum!

As a foodie, and fan of dives and food trucks, we planned on going to the LA Street Food Fest downtown LA Street Food Fest LA this past weekend. It looked really cool, a bunch of gourmet food trucks getting together and you can try various trucks all in one place. Unfortunately it was in a very small venue in downtown LA, and way too many people. We were there around 11:30, it started 11am, and the line was around the block and around a parking lot - approximately 2 hours. Also once inside, it looked like a crazy line zoo, and we weren't interested in lining up for 3-4 hours just to eat. Turns out it was a good idea, as later on we found out it was a bit of a disaster with too many people and not enough food trucks or space.

So we brought our hungry stomachs to somewhere even better, DIM SUM! As the day before Chinese New Year, we went and had delicious Dim Sum at Empress Pavilion, a local favorite Dim Sum place in Downtown LA. Dim Sum is cool because you sit down, women with carts of various food roll around and you point and say "I want to try that". We had an assortment of things including pot stickers, pork dumpling shiu mai, shrimp har gow, steamed and sauced Chinese broccoli, roast duck, pork shao mai, deep fried something, and other delicious delicacies. For dessert we had sesame rice dumpling balls. So yummy! The whole time you are also served a very nice hot tea.

One really really cool incident. As we were walking out, I swear that Michael Voltaggio - winner of Top Chef Las Vegas was there. We walked by him and I was like, he looks familiar. Then he sat down to eat and I could see the tattoos on his arm and it looked exactly like him. I was seriously debating to go over there and bug him and say "are you Michael from Top Chef? Can I get a photo with you?", but I chickened out plus I really didn't want to bother him or be an annoying fan, so I didn't. I just thought it was awesome that he was there and really wanted to take a photo with him, but didn't. Who wants to be bothered while about to eat. So 2nd celebrity sighting of all time. Pretty cool.

Anyway, afterwards we had Lollicup Thai iced tea boba and walked around Chinatown for a bit. Then we got some dim sum to go for my mom and sister (pictured here too). A pretty awesome afternoon.

We plan on going back quite a few times and trying different things. The white guys we were with enjoyed the food as well, especially the pot stickers and other items they didn't know what it was but thought it tasted really good. We'll have to plan more trips with more people so we can try more things :)

Life and food are good - eat up!