I recently went home to Los Angeles and did a photo shoot with Lucky Bird at Grand Central Market. You know I can’t stay away from fried chicken. Lucky Bird opened in Aug 2018 by Chef Chris Dane and Christine Dane. While they are the new kids of the current wave of new fried chicken restaurants opening in LA, Chef Dane has been planning and building out Lucky Bird since 2016.
I'm not quite sure why I wanted (or had the urge to) to start blogging again. Maybe because I have pretty much stopped posting on Facebook and Twitter. I'm mostly just reading stuff. And so I need a new (or old) outlet for my thoughts. Maybe also because in 10 or 20 years, I would like to know what I ate for lunch on May 1 2018.
Seriously though it's easy to remember the big events in your life. It's quite hard to remember the smaller and mundane stuff. Like having a normal commute with normal delays which nowadays is a miracle. Also feeling great about my decision to have a breakfast burrito and a cortado for lunch. There was bacon in the burrito. And then there was a quick pizza meet up with a buddy that I don't see that often anymore. We love pizza. He's sort of off doing his own thing with his gf, living his life. And I'm doing my own thing with my gf. We have our own paths but I think it's important to hang out and meet up in real life once in a while. And finally my lady and I made a folded cheeseburger in a tortilla. It was inspired by the amazing folded cheeseburger pita from Miznon in Chelsea Market. It was mighty delicious. She saved me half of a cookie from The City Bakery. (*heart) We both agreed The City Bakery makes some of the best cookies in NYC.
Side note, Francis Lam's podcast voice is quite soothing to the ears as you're getting ready to sleep.
Thank you to the crew at Barbuto for letting me photograph them as they were getting ready for dinner service.
I've been a fan of the restaurant and their roast chicken dish ever since I went there for one of my birthday lunches. It was mid March. I ordered the roast chicken with salsa verde and a glass of house wine. The weather was mild for March and I took advantage of it by sitting outside. It was perfect.
Barbuto was opened by Jonathan Waxman back in 2004! I didn't know it has been around for that long. Good for them!
I met Molly Yeh in Sept 2010 at the Vendy Awards. She was the winner of a month long free schnitzel from the Schnitzel & Things truck. Back then I was taking photos for the owners. The owners had asked Molly to help them at the Vendy and that was how we met and have been friends since then.
It's been awesome seeing Molly's journey. 6 years doesn't seem that long but so much has changed. OMG!
Anyways, go buy her book. I have already made this hot dish 3 times in the last 4 weeks. It's SO GOOD. It's like getting a super awesome warm hug when it's super freezing outside.
3/4 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thigh, cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
18 ounces frozen Tater Tots
Ketchup, for serving (optional)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
Enough chicken broth base to make 3 cups broth
Preheat the oven to 400 F
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat.
Add the onion and carrots and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring until soft, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the flour so that it gets evenly distributed.
Add 1 1/2 cups of the milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Repeat with the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk.
Stir in the chicken broth base, peas, chicken, thyme, and a few turns of pepper and simmer, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes.
Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings if desired.
Transfer the mixture to an 11x8 inch baking dish (or other 3-quart ovenproof dish) and cover the bitch with Tater Tots.
Arrange them snugly and neatly.
Bake until the tots are golden brown.
Begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes.
Let cool slightly and serve with ketchup, if desired.
It's cold. It went from a light thin jacket weather to hoodie weather to this morning when I thought about maybe wearing my winter coat. I used to LOVE winter and cold weather.....until I moved to NYC from LA. I never needed a scarf or gloves in LA nor any super thick coats. But now once it dips into the 50s it's all the layers I can wear at one time, knee high socks, thermal undies, two beanies. But you know, it's also comfort food season. It's like gimme all the mac n'cheese, hotdish, beef stew, risotto, congee, lasagna, endless supply of fettuccine alfredo, and butternut squash soup!
My perfect cold day scenario is hugging a bowl of oyakoDON by the fireplace and it's snowing outside and I have a cup of green tea and maybe White Christmas is playing on TBS. Or Forrest Gump, TBS is always playing Forrest Gump.
You know who is also hugging a bowl (well not an actual bowl)? Cynthia of Two Red Bowls and her husband Andy. They recently welcomed their little boy, Luke. So in honor of this, Stephanie of i am a food blog and Alana of Fix Feast Flair put together a virtual welcome baby Luke celebration. They were super cool to put together a nice group of food bloggers (full list below) and we all made things in bowls! Fun! Here's what I cooked up: CHAWANMUSHI!
This is cold weather comfort food times 100. Chawanmushi is steamed egg custard. It's super easy to make. It's basically eggs and dashi and the filling/toppings can be whatever you like. Though I have mostly seen it with chunks of chicken, fish cakes, shiitake mushroom, and ginkgo nuts.
For any Japanese recipes I only trust one source and that's Francis of Cooking with Dog. Have you seen Francis in action?! The recipe from Francis makes 2 bowls but to be honest it all really depends on the size of your bowls. And for obvious reasons I had to tweak the recipe to make 3 bowls. I had searched through the internet, looking at other chawanmushi recipes and the key is the egg to dashi ratio. What you want to have is 1 cup of eggs to 3 cups of dashi. Just scramble the eggs in a bowl and pour it into a measuring cup. How ever much you get times 3 will be the amount of dashi you'll need. Simple!
Happy days y'all!
- I am a Food Blog | Mac and Kimcheese Dolsot Bibimbap
- Fix Feast Flair | Dishoom's Chicken Ruby Murray
- The Fauxmartha | Mom Lunches
- A Cozy Kitchen | Cornbread Chicken + Dumplings
- Cake Over Steak | Salted Caramel Chocolate Crackles
- The Pancake Princess | Stovetop Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- Snixy Kitchen | Chicken Pot Pie with Chestnut Biscuits
- Lady and Pups | Egg Florentine in Pullman "Bowls"
- Betty Liu | Honeynut Squash Congee
- Style Sweet CA | Date Bourbon Cinnamon Rolls
- Warm Vanilla Sugar | Broccoli Quinoa Bowl with Avocado Sauce
- A Beautiful Plate | Coconut Cauliflower Soup
- Girl Versus Dough | Tomato Grilled Cheese Soup
- Fork to Belly | A Big Hawaiian Fruit Bowl
- Wit & Vinegar | Jerk Chicken Chili
- Constellation Inspiration | Salted Egg Yolk Custard Mochi
- twigg studios | Katsu Udon Soup wth Popcorn Chicken Croutons
- Edible Perspective | Acorn Squash Bowls with Pears, Pecans, and Vanilla Bean Cream
- Coco Cake Land | Asian Bowl Cut Sugar Cookies
- Southern Souffle | Sorghum Apple Biscuits In A Bowl
- The Bojon Gourmet | Smoky Sweet Potato & Lentil Tortilla Soup
- Flourishing Foodie | Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Soup
- What should I eat for breakfast today | Little Bowl with Creamy Polenta, Cheese, Onions and Mushrooms
- Top with Cinnamon | Squash & Crispy Kale Bowls with Pomegranate and Miso-Ginger Dressing
- the broken bread | Roasted Celeriac + Fennel Soup
- Fig+Bleu | Cauliflower Harissa Soup
- my name is yeh | Corn Dog In A Bowl
- Crepes of Wrath | Mini Scallion Pancake Challah Buns
- O&O Eats | Persimmon Cobbler
- Chocolate + Marrow | Parsnip + Potato Soup with Crispy Pancetta
- With Food + Love | Caramelized Golden Beet Soup with Fall Roots + Garlicky Yogurt
- The Pig and Quill | Slow Cooker Pumpkin Curry Beef Stew
- Hungry Girl Por Vida | Rice Cooker Oats with Bruleed Bananas
- Cut up the chicken thigh into chunks. Each bowl should get at least 3-4 pieces of chicken. Marinate the chicken with 1 teaspoon of sake and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce. Let sit for 10mins to 30mins.
- In a pot, add the 2.25 cups of water. Put on low heat on the stove. Add hondashi, sake, soy sauce, and pinch of salt. Stir to dissolve hondashi. No need to boil the water, just warm enough to dissolve the hondashi. You can use the microwave also. Take pot off the stove to let it cool.
- Scramble the eggs.
- Heat a pan up on medium flames on the stove. Add oil and brown the pieces of chicken. Don't worry about cooking them all the way through since you'll be steaming them later.
- Slice up shiitake, fish cakes, and scallions.
- Make sure the dashi broth has cooled down, you don't want to cook the eggs. Add eggs into dashi broth. Then pour the mixture through a sieve. This ensures a smoooooth custard.
- Place few pieces of chicken, shiitake, fish cakes, and scallions into each bowl. Pour in the egg/dashi broth.
- Get a steamer ready.
- Before putting the bowls into the steamer, wrap each one with plastic wrap.
- Put the bowls into the steamer and steam on high for 5 mins. Turn the heat down to low and steam for 13-15mins or until the custard is ready. Use a skewer or toothpick or chopstick to poke a hole in the custard. If the liquid is clear, it is done.
- Sprinkle extra scallions or your favorite furikake or shichimi togarashi.
1 chicken thigh
Handful of shiitake mushroom
Few slices of your favorite fish cake
2.25 cups of water
2 teaspoons of hondashi
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of sake
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
Salt + pepper
Walking around Toronto, it felt like I was walking through Boston, Chicago, Philly, Brooklyn all at once. I guess in some ways it felt like another generic big city and maybe why people kept questioning my decision to go to Toronto instead Montreal. But once I dug deeper into Toronto, it became more. Especially walking through Kensington Market and down Queens Street West. Oh....how I regret not going into a Tibetan restaurant for momos. Literally, blocks and blocks of Tibetan and Indian and Vietnamese restaurants. I DID, on my last night, get some pork/chive dumplings and a bowl of beef noodle soup. Gotta get my Chinese food.
So why did I pick Toronto? It was mostly to eat the hot chicken dish at Parts & Labour. After watching all of Matty Matheson's Keep it Canada on Munchies, I began to follow him on Instagram and one day I saw a picture of his hot chicken dish and that was it. I had to go eat it......well and also one of my all time favorite photographer/food blogger, Tara O'Brady, lives near Toronto.
Pie....and bakeries. They are usually the first things I search when I'm doing research. I just love baked goods too much to not find good ones in every city I go to. And I found two good ones in Kensington Market. Wanda's Pie in the Sky makes a killer Ontario sour cherry pie that tasted just like Dr. Pepper! It was also a great spot to just sit and people watch. Just a block over is Blackbirds Baking Co. I couldn't help myself so I got three things. The croissant was good but I could definitely eat more of the brioche cinnamon roll. That roll and a cup of coffee and a quiet airbnb morning, magical.
Of course it wouldn't be a Toronto trip without a visit to St. Lawrence Market. It kind of reminded me of Pike Place Market in Seattle. Definitely a tourist destination but it's filled with lots of local vendors and residents and has loads of history. Peameal bacon, peameal bacon, peameal bacon. I got myself a peameal bacon sandwich and also a custart tart from Carousel Bakery and.....also........a Montreal style bagel from St. Urbain Bakery. Haha...I know I know. But I really wanted a bagel and St. Urbain Bakery is the OG in Toronto.
And sometimes you eat two bagels in two days. Went to Simit & Chai Company for their Turkish bagel. I filled it with cream cheese and smoked salmon. The cortado was delightful too!
If I could write a love song, I would write it to Canis Restaurant. The...THE biggest surprise of my whole entire Toronto trip. Canis was not on my list but I randomly walked in for dinner on Saturday night. It had the perfect amount of people in the restaurant, it was clean/spacious/airy, and the menu looked good. Literally, from my first bite to my last bite, it was all so fantastic. The bread, the butter, the chicken liver mousse, the grilled pork jowl, the scallop cream, the grape granita, the buttermilk ice cream..... *sigh. Oh Canis. You're just an hour flight away.
All in all, it was a great trip. I did a lot of walking because I was tooooo lazy to figure out the street car/subway system. Also, I would suggest taking the ferry over to the Toronto Islands to catch the sunset. It's pretty darn nice.