May 28, 2008

Salsa for the First Try (and It Burns!)

I'm always a big fan of salsa,
It's like an inseparable companion for my roasted chicken and tortilla chips,
And everytime I go to a Mexican restaurant,
9 out of 10 times I'll ask for extra salsa.
Even during grocery shopping,
I just can't take my eyes away from jars of those red spicy goodies.
But one thing always stop me from buying salsa,
The size of the jars are usually too big,
There's no way I can finish them before the expiration date,
Mmm....that leads to my only alternative,
Make my own salsa!


1 Jalapeno (peeled, seeded, chopped)
1 Serrano pepper (peeled, seeded, chopped)
3 medium to large sized tomatoes (peeled, seeded, chopped)
1 tablespoons of chopped red onions
3 tablespoons of chopped onions
1 small bundle of cilantro (chopped)
1/2 lime juice


Turn on the broiler and char the Jalapeno and Serrano pepper,
Remember to turn the pepper once a while to make sure all sides are slightly charred,
Remove from the broiler and let it cool for a little bit,
Peel the skin off (it should come out easily), scoop out the seeds, set aside.
My hands were burning while handling those spicy little green things,
Even after washing my hands for like 5 times,
I can still feel the heat,
Mmm...use less pepper if you can't handle the heat,
And that applies to both your taste buds and hands.

Prepare a pot of boiling water,
But don't dip your hands in it,
It won't help to remove the burning sensation from the peppers!
Instead of your hands, please toss in the tomatoes and bring to a boil,
Drain out the water and rinse the tomatoes with ice cold water,
Again, peeled the skin off and scoop out the seeds.

Now it's time for chopping,
Chop off the tomatoes, Jalapeno, Serrano pepper, red onion, onion, and cilantro,
Mix them together and add 1/2 lime juice,
Sprinkle some salt,
Give it a quick stir,
Add more salt or lime juice if desired.

Not bad for the first try,
Let's go find some roasted chicken and tortilla chips!

Cindy's Rating: 7

May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend Part I: Black Dumplings!?!

First day of my Memorial Day Weekend,
Decided to go down to San Diego and do some sight-seeing,
But this trip won't be complete without food,
So we found thing weird, bizarre Chinese black dumplings around La Jolla-

The chef must be really good at wrapping dumplings,
Not only the tips are pointing up exactly like a Chinese gold ingot,
*To see what is Chinese gold ingot, click here.
It also got a ripple-shaped design in the middle!
Okok, you got me (I hope so, otherwise you're extremely gullible),
Those are actually wild seals around Children's Pool in La Jolla,
There are many of them on the sand, I mean a LOT-

And those seals sure know how to enjoy a Saturday after by taking a good old nap-

This one was yawning-

And he is my favorite, look at that innocent face-

Besides my Chinese black dumplings,
I also took some pictures during sunset,
Photoshoped this one, lucky me, the birds just flied over when I took the shot-

Wish you all are having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend there,
More scenery pictures to come!

May 19, 2008

Spicy Chicken with Soy Bean Paste 豆瓣雞丁

It's been over 100 degrees for the fast few days here in SoCal,
The heat might cause some severe symptoms such as:
Crazy mood swing,
Couch potato syndrome,
Overflowing sweat problems,
And what's even worse for food lovers!?
Loosing appetite!
*This one doesn't apply to me though, 100 degrees weather is nothing for my monstrous appetite!

So what should I cook for those poor things who lost their interests in food?
Something spicy!
Am I crazy?! Spicy food under a hot weather?!
Trust me,
It surely helps to bring back your appetite!

In order to make spicy food,
I need some help from these tiny red devils-

From there, we'll transform them into spicy chicken with soy bean paste-


1 lb of chicken thigh (cubed, remember to remove the excess fat)
1 palm full of dried chili peppers (or more if you can handle the heat!)
Soy sauce
Spicy soy bean paste 辣豆瓣醬
8 garlic cloves (peeled)
Extra virgin olive oil


Drizzle some olive oil in the skillet,
Toss in the garlic cloves and wait till the edges turned slightly brown,
Add the dried chilies in together with about 2 teaspoons of salt.

After 1 minutes or till the dried chilies turned slightly soft,
Toss in the chicken and let it seared for about 1 minute,
Add about 2 tablespoons of spicy soy bean paste and 2 teaspoons of soy sauce,
Keep cooking till the sauce is all absorbed by the chicken cubes.

That's it, fast and easy!
Bon Appetit!

Cindy's Rating: 6

May 14, 2008

Relaxed in the Sun

One Saturday morning,
One Caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks,
One soothed mind.

May 8, 2008

Fraiche ( Pronounce Like "Fresh" )

Free dinner!
What? why?

My friend usually works around Orange County,
But due to her company project, she has to work in Calabasas for two weeks,
*Calabasas is on the north of Santa Monica, and it's about 1 hr and 30 mins away from her usual work site down in Orange County.

In order to make it up for her,
The company gave her two weeks hotel stay (for free) and meals compensation,
All that goodies also benefits her friend,
Cindy Lo.
*Yes I got free food too!

So I picked this restaurant "Fraiche" in Culver City,
Which is not that far away from her recent work site.

A shot of their restaurant logo on the menu-

I've been trying to dine here for so long,
Last time I had to cancel my lunch reservation at Fraiche due to unexpected event,
*Ok...fine...I overslept that day!

A shot from the patio facing towards the restaurant-

Appetizer Boudin Noir-

"Marinated lentils, Dijon-creme fraiche."
You can also learn more about boudin on Wikipedia.
I love their Dijon-creme fraiche,
It adds an extra kick for this dish.

Monkfish Francaise-

Sorry for the blurry picture,
It's really hard to hold my camera still when my stomach is rumbling at the same time.
The dish is composed with "spinach, white wine, potato puree, shallots."
I like the texture of monkfish,
It's chewier than sea bass and softer than salmon,
The sauce is a killer also,
Wish I can ask for more sauce and pour it all over my potato puree!

Pasta alla Chitarra?-

I can't remember the actual name here,
Argh, should have ask our waiter about it,
Since I mentioned it,
Our waiter was wonderful,
Overall service was great, only the hostess was "ok,"
She bumped into us without saying anything,
Lead us to the table, quickly put down the menu and left,
Without any greetings,
I dont' know about you, but I think it's unacceptable.

Blackberry sabayon?-

It was their special dessert of the night, wasn't on the menu,
And I was too excited for this dessert so I totally forgot its name..
So how was it?
Absolutely loved this sabayon,
The flavors just goes on and on,
For sure you'll notice that it's very creamy, moist, and fluffy,
Then all the sudden there's this hint of honey coming out from the mixture,
Scoop deeper then you'll find blackberries on the bottom,
Eat it together with the crunchy nut sticks,
(Again, I wish I ask the waiter for more details about those sticks!)
Man I was in heaven.

Cindy's Rating: 8!

As we walked out the restaurant-

Will definitely come back again!

Overall Rating: 7

9411 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 839-6800

May 5, 2008

Amano Artisan Chocolate

This happened last week,
As I came back home from lunch,
I saw this little box laying right next to my door-

What is it?
On the label it says "Amano........receiver: Cindy Lo...,"
What! Amano!
Wow I got free dark chocolate!
It's the first time I receive free goodies in the mail,
And it ain't ordinary goodies,
This is what I got from participating in Blake Makes' Sooper Hero all day sign-up claim up!
Thank you Blake Makes, thank you Amano!

Let's open the box and see what's inside-

As I carefully unwrapping the foil,
My body temperature on my figer tips left a few fingerprints on the chocolate,
Maybe I was too excited!?-

Time for chocolate tasting,
Let me grab a bottled water first so I can rinse my mouth after trying out each different dark chocolate.
Before biting into the chocolates,
I've decided not to read anything on the labels till I try it.
Thinking that it'll be fun to see if the flavors bouncing back from my taste buds are similar to the descriptions later on.

1. Madagascar premium dark chocolate~
My tasting result: Strong citrus aroma, with a slight hint of fruity sweetness.
Chocolate description: "Strong fruity flavors that include hints of citrus and berry."
*Man I'm pretty accurate on this one!

2. Ocumare grand cru dark chocolate~
My tasting result: Slightly sour taste, but not as strong as the first one.
Chocolate description: "The Ocumare bar has rich chocolate overtones, as well as well-balanced fruity component that includes hints of plums and other red fruits."

3. Cuyagua limited edition dark chocolate~
My tasting result: Smoky and very strong dark chocolate aroma, this one is by far my favorite among the three.
Chocolate description: "Rich chocolate overtones with notes of spice that produce an incredibly complex flavored bar."

*I need to work on developing my taste for chocolate, so I can differentiate every little flavors coming from a chocolate bar.

Here's Amano's website,
You can learn more about their dark chocolate and numerous awards they got in the past few years.

So what am I going to do with those dark chocolates?
Mmmmmmm how about making them into chocolate mousse? or chocolate souffle?

Any suggestions?