Miso Beef Omusubi @ Sunny Blue, Santa Monica
Omusubi. Ohhhh, musubi. What they are: Japanese rice balls filled with your choice of beef, tuna, salmon, you name it, topped with a salty sesame mix and wrapped in seaweed. How it tastes: Like a salty, chewy, meaty taste-punch in the mouth. Order 1 as a snack, 2 for a meal, 3 if you’re greedy like me.
My buddy Ram has been describing in aggravatingly-delicious detail all the things he’s been making in his slow-cooker. Swedish meatballs, lasagna, tender pot roasts ready to eat the moment he gets home…what sorcery was this? Envious and salivating, I knew I had to get in on this slow-cooker thing.
And that’s when my friend Kevin brought me a slow-cooker that he’s had sitting around and never used. It was like winning the gastronomical lottery. I immediately began hounding Ram for slow-cooker recipes, and each conversation ended with, “That’s it? That can’t be it.” It all seemed too easy. I didn’t believe. I didn’t trust it.
But it is that easy.
Take this shredded chicken taco recipe. The chicken takes 10 minutes of prep time and just 3 store-bought items. I know what you’re thinking: That’s it? That can’t be it. It is! And it’s delicious!
You will need:
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 16oz jar salsa
- 1 oz taco seasoning
Since I’m usually in a rush in the morning, I threw all three items into the slow-cooker’s removable pot, covered it and put it in the refrigerator the night before. In the morning, I put the pot back onto the slow-cooker base and set it on low.
About 9 hours later, I had saucy, tender chicken. I carefully shredded it and placed it in soft flour tortillas. (You can squeeze lime juice on top, add shredded lettuce, sprinkle on cilantro and chopped onions…the variations are endless.) The chicken itself was bursting with flavor despite its preparation being so deceptively simple.
I decided to top my tacos with lime and a mixture of yogurt and adobo seasoning that I got from the Savory Spice Shop in Encinitas. Adobo is a mixture of garlic, onion, mild green chiles, honey powder, cumin and oregano. It has a distinct and authentic flavor, and it’s great sprinkled on eggs, too.
If you want to be frugal and/or fancy, I recommend mixing up a batch of your own taco seasoning:
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
This isn’t necessary, but if you have the above spices and 10 minutes to spare, then why not?
What I like best about using a slow-cooker is that it’s not an exact science. At the lowest setting it’s difficult to actually burn food, and it encourages experimentation. Don’t want to add a jar of salsa? Add canned tomatoes next time. Cooking a pot roast but don’t have any beef broth? Throw in some wine. Have an extra can of coconut milk sitting around? Throw it in with chicken, beans, chili and ginger and have yourself a curry! If you have meat and liquid, you’ve got potential for a great meal.
I’ll be picking Ram’s brain for more slow-cooker recipes, which I shall dutifully report. (Thank you Ram and Kevin!)
The landscapes of our memories are dotted with perfect moments. We recognize them when they happen, and yearn for them when we snap back to reality. My evening at Mama’s Fish House in Maui was a series of such moments that were perfect in sight, sound, taste and texture.
I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now, but my words just didn’t do the food justice. How do you describe the way passion fruit, black sea salt and fresh snapper combine in your mouth? Tart, salty and fresh - these words aren’t adequate to describe their Three Fish Sashimi. This dish is more of a vibe that invokes swaying palms, gentle ocean breezes and a blistering sun.
We strolled into the restaurant after a mini hike to Twin Falls. Under normal circumstances we would have been dressed too casually for such fine dining. But in Hawaii, everything is relaxed. Anything goes.
I ordered the Opah with caramelized Maui onions, which came balanced on top of a bed of black rice. In fact, everything about this dish was perfectly balanced. The fish was cooked perfectly and was a good match to the sweet onion. The sweet onion was balanced by the avocado. The tomato sauce was a mellow accompaniment to the whole lot.
Sheldon ordered the macadamia-crusted Mahimahi stuffed with lobster and crab.
When asked to describe his dish, Sheldon compared it to the peak album in a band’s career. I guess the lobster and crab would be the hit songs that take it to the next level, the fish and asparagus would be the personal favorites you play on repeat and the sauce the epic ballad.
We ended our meal with green tea and chocolate cake. We didn’t feel overstuffed or hungry - we were perfectly satisfied. As the sun set and we watched torches being lit in the distance, it occurred to me that this was a rare moment. Here we were in Hawaii, finishing one of the best meals we’ve ever had, and our minds were clear.
We tend to let life get ahead of us with all our lists, plans and appointments. I’m guilty of it often and have to remind myself to slow down and take it all in. When the elements combine to present us with perfect moments, food-related or otherwise, it’s important to pause. Moments like these don’t happen often, but when they do I feel lucky indeed.
One morning Sheldon declared that he was going to make a “special breakfast.” And I got unreasonably excited.
I love breakfast. I love to be made breakfast. But to be told that I was going to be made a special breakfast? Something that had never been made in my personal history of being made breakfasts? I immediately hovered creepily close to him and documented each step. I even recorded slow-motion footage of chives being chopped for no apparent reason whatsoever. (If you’re curious what that looks like, it just looks like someone chopping chives painfully slowly. It’s not dramatic enough to actually warrant slo-mo.)
This special breakfast was comprised of scrambled eggs and fried tomatoes. It sounds simply in theory, but it was not simple in execution. The method for making the scrambled eggs is a bit unusual, but it resulted in the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had. Sheldon adapted his recipe from Gordon Ramsay, and here’s how it all went down.
First he chopped the chives finely. Then he heated some olive oil in a pan over medium heat and placed tomatoes still on the vine into the pan.
Next, he cracked 3 eggs into a small pot with a small pad of butter, like so:
Over low heat, he stirred constantly until the butter melted and the eggs just started to solidify. Then he removed the pot from the heat and continued stirring, so as not to overcook the eggs. He once again placed the pot back over the heat, then back off again, stirring as he went along. Towards the end of this on the stove/off the stove process, he threw in the chives. This took longer than cooking scrambled eggs in a pan over medium heat, but it resulted in superb scrambled eggs - fluffy, soft, buttery and just slightly wet.
Once the tomatoes were cooked and starting to brown on the bottoms, he plated the whole lot and served it with small toasts that were drizzled with olive oil and placed in the toaster oven.
Fancy, right? A special breakfast, indeed!
I like making snack collections. It’s not about each individual snack as it is about the collection as a whole. Think of it as digestive ADD.
Today’s group of snacks consists of cucumber pickles, smoked salmon and small crispy toasts that I made by drizzling olive oil and sprinkling salt and rosemary over thinly sliced sourdough bread before sticking them in the toaster oven.
The final snack components are dates stuffed with plain goat cheese and sliced almonds. It’s a fine grouping to tide me over until dinner.
Our need to Upgrade is growing at an exponential rate, what with the new releases of this and new versions of that. It’s a technological incline that’s both exciting and daunting. Can we ever keep up?
It’s a double-edged sword. I went to a concert about a month back, and it struck me how the cell phone has replaced the lighter. Instead of me looking at the stage, the experience has shifted - I’m looking both at the stage, and at the tiny views provided by the cell phones of people trying to record an experience. I have to wonder - do they even look at those videos later? Was it worth missing out on the complete experience of a show in exchange for capturing a lower quality version of that same experience? Yet at the same time, I got excited looking out at the sea of cell phones clutched in the air - I felt like I was truly living in the future.
Which brings me to this, my humble blog. I’ve had the same layout for under 3 years, and I’ve been happy with the aesthetic. However, seeing my blog on the newer retina displays has been, well, disappointing. In just under 3 years, my blog has gone from sharp and clean to, well, a little blurred. The lines aren’t as sharp as I thought. The text isn’t looking so crisp after all. The pictures aren’t as large as I would like them to be.
So a re-design is in order! In the coming weeks I’ll be doing a site overhaul. I’m excited to see a fresher, cleaner, more delicious-looking Delicious Chip. And I hope you are, too.
This guy. Check him out.
These are his friends:
They’re residents of the Surfing Goat Dairy in Maui, Hawaii and I got to meet them on my honeymoon. At the Surfing Goat Dairy, you get to take a tour of the farm, feed some goats and sample some of the best goat cheese you’ll probably ever have.
It’s seriously good goat cheese.
To get to the dairy, which is located in Kula, we took a breathtaking drive along the coast from Kahana, followed by a journey down a narrow road that cuts through a seemingly endless sugar cane field.
At the start of the tour, you get a small bag of hay and you’re free to feed any goats you encounter.
This kid’s pants were pretty cool.
Of course the best part of the tour was the cheese. We sampled 6 different flavors of cheese as we sat out at a large wooden table in a covered patio. A couple large, mellow dogs padded about and we could hear the goats bleating in the near distance. It was a pretty cool vibe.
My favorite cheeses were the “Maui Secret” and one called the “Ole!” which was infused with jalapeños, artichokes, lime juice and cilantro.
So fresh. So creamy. All in all, it was definitely one of the highlights of our trip! And if you live in the U.S. and can’t make it to Maui, the cheese can come to you - they ship to the mainland. I plan on ordering a bit around Christmas as a special treat.
I’ll be posting more about our culinary adventures in Hawaii in the weeks to come!
We’re married! It’s difficult to put into words how enormously grateful and blessed we feel to have had our family and friends surrounding us on our wedding day. After all the planning, meetings, tastings and fittings, I’d think I would have minded if something didn’t quite go as expected. Yet when we were in the moment, it just didn’t matter. What mattered was the people around us. It was fun, emotional and one huge blur. I wish I could attend my own wedding as a guest, just to be able to really experience every detail. Everything went better than expected - it was like a dream.
Here are some pictures taken by our super-amazing photographer Matthew Lin (which shall include, in foodie fashion, some pictures of our awesome menu). I’ll link all our vendors below.
After our ceremony we retreated to a back room where we had a few brief moments to compose ourselves. Our coordinator Yoleine (truly the best at what she does) thought of every imaginable detail and made sure some hors d’oeuvres were laid out for us. Our wedding was catered by the Pakistani restaurant Shahnawaz, and the broiled shrimp and kebabs were so good. But the samosas - oh my, the little crispy samosas. Best samosa I’ve had, and I know what a bold statement that is. The kicker is that I only had time to eat one. Just one! I still dream about those samosas.
Everyone who made our day possible:
Perched high above downtown L.A. lies a retreat away from the general hustle, bustle and hoi polloi of the streets below. WP24 - WP for Wolfgang Puck and 24 for the number of floors the surprisingly fragrant elevator shoots you up to get there - is an Asian Fusion restaurant with a prix fixe menu that features Korean, Chinese and Indian inspired dishes.
I’ll admit I normally scoff at a place that calls itself “Asian Fusion.” What I seek out at Asian restaurants is authenticity, not some confused mash or deconstructed version of a curry. But WP24 is Asian Fusion as it should be - a variety of Asian dishes that remains true to the original versions in formula, but with the highest quality ingredients.
And so begins this photo tour of one of the best birthday dinners I’ve had, thanks to my brother Aman.
Let’s start with the Spicy Assam Prawns:
The scent of curry leaves and cardamom hits you the moment it’s plated, and it smells divine. It’s also not too spicy, with the pieces of garlic, onion and peppers sliced thinly - each bite lets you taste how complex the flavors are without being overpowering in heat or texture. Assam curries I’ve had before have been either too soupy or too oily, but the texture of the masala in this version was just right.
The lobster and prawn spring rolls come tied like crispy gifts:
There’s no filler in these rolls - it’s literally just huge chunks of lobster and shrimp wrapped in a packet.
The lettuce cups were refreshing and light - perfect starters for a heavy meal:
And then there’s the kabocha squash hot and sour soup. Undeniably, this was the star of the show, the reason for coming. It felt like it was my destiny to meet this soup. I’ve never had a thick, creamy hot and sour soup like this, and I plan to make a very humble attempt at replicating it:
The vinegar : pepper ratio was balanced perfectly, the basil and crispy ginger were the ideal compliments and the texture was like no other hot and sour soup that has come before it (that I know of, anyway). How do I go back to soups thickened with cornstarch when I’ve had one thickened by the power of squash?
The lighting, which emulates a nighttime downtown skyline:
My brother looking debonair:
For the finale, a cherry blossom dessert with matcha cookies, pistachio and lemon frozen yogurt and a very happy birthday, indeed!
The universe is unimaginably vast, with an unfathomable amount of possibilities and outcomes. It makes you wonder if unlikely events happen more often than we think. Are miracles rare, or just an eventuality of living in an infinite universe?
Nope, I’m not stoned. And this isn’t some sort of existential crisis, either. This is my way of declaring that I have found love. Love!
Whether it was fate or a random collision of two entities, it certainly feels like winning the cosmic lottery. I found someone who, for some bizarre reason I don’t try to understand, manages to put up with me and sees not just who I am, but who I want to be as well. It’s a good feeling.
The universe is nuts…
Which brings me to an explanation of where I’ve been these last 2 months. I’m getting married. I’M GETTING MARRIED! And we’ve been deep in wedding planning. And when I say deep, I mean Mariana Trench deep, sitting in a tiny submarine James Cameron-style surrounded by delicious tastings and florists and rentals and stationers and to-do lists. Luckily we have a good team of people working with us, and we’re getting to the point where we can stop coordinating and start anticipating. At the end of the day it’s all about our family and friends who’ll surround us when we take those final steps, and it’s been emotional and exciting.
Twins separated at birth living almost identical lives, lightening striking the same place twice, or the fact that you and I evolved over billions of years from single-celled organisms, something that never would have happened if this giant rock we’re on hadn’t existed in that narrow habitable strip around our sun - all of it unlikely. All of it highly improbable. Yet here we are.
Updates, photos and more to follow. But for now, back to food!
(Photo by Bryan Miller)