A Few of My Favorite Things (mostly food-related)

I take pictures here and there of things I consume and of the simplest things I enjoy and/or find amusement in. There have been so many of these recently that I’ve lost track of which ones I wanted to dedicate an entire post to and which ones I wanted to mention briefly. Bottom line is, I just wanted to share them with you. And since I love lists and photographs and believe that the combination of both is highly entertaining, here is a photographic list of things I’ve been enjoying recently:

1. Korean Food
Although I’m 100% Filipino, I thoroughly enjoy Korean food way more than I enjoy Filipino food. It’s probably because my mouth always craves spicy, tangy, bold and fresh flavors. That may or may not describe Korean food, but regardless, I am in LOVE with Korean food. It may have started when my mom lived in Korea for 6 months and the rest of our family visited her and brought back with us a newfound love — kimchi. It gradually progressed as I met my longest, oldest and one of my best friends in 6th grade and we’d have play dates where her mom would feed me kimchi bokeum bap. Then in high school, I hung out with more Korean girls who lived in Koreatown and…the story goes on. My friend recently took me to a “dank” (her words, not mine) naengmyun place in K-town called Yu Chun Chic Naeng Myun where I discovered my current favorite Korean dish pictured above, bibim naengmyun. Yeah go look it up if you’re curious about what exactly it is. All I know is that it’s spicy, semi-sweet, cold, delicious, and has gochujang in it (which you could also google ;)).

2. Sushi
Sushi is definitely on my list of top three favorite foods EVER (which includes ice cream and…other things, I promise! :D). And when I say sushi, I’m not talking about rolls dripping with mayo, deep fried crap and teriyaki sauce. No no. That ain’t real sushi. That’s fake Americanized sushi that I DO enjoy from time to time, but I love sushi mainly because I love raw fish and other sea creatures. Yep, that’s right. I prefer my fish as sashimi, fresh and left alone for their subtle, yummy fishiness to shine. (Uni, hamachi, toro and spicy tuna are some of my faves!) So for this year’s dineLA Restaurant Week, I coerced a friend to join me for a sushi lunch at K-Zo , an apparently popular, mid-price range and decent sushi restaurant. Read my yelp review here!
(***Fun fact: In my 8th grade English class, each student was required to write a 20-50 page research paper throughout the year on a specific topic and to prepare a 10-minute presentation on it. My final two choices were anesthesiology and sushi. Can you guess which one I did? I totally went around LA interviewing sushi chefs for the paper and put on a chef hat and made sushi for the entire class. Yup, I seriously thought I’d be the first legitimate female sushi chef. Now please go watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi and make a reservation with me!)

3. Brunch
Eggs benedict, french toast, waffles, bacon, fried herb potatoes. Need I say more? I’ve been slowly compiling a yelp list of breakfast and brunch places that I’ve tried in the Los Angeles area. These eggs benedict pictured above is from my most recent brunch-place discovery, Blu Jam Cafe, which I think is slightly overhyped but still pretty delicious.

4. Caramelized onions
On my pizza, in my sandwiches, in my omelettes, toast, soup…seriously I can go on forever. (New ice cream flavor? Okay maybe not) I especially love caramelized red onions, which I believe are a bit spicier and sweeter than regular onions.

5. Whole food discoveries
A friend shared this kale and white bean stuffed sweet potato recipe she found with me and it was actually REALLY delicious! I LOVE kale and sweet potato (because of its lower glycemic index than regular potatoes). The beans make it a bit too mushy and the dish could use more crunch (from bacon, perhaps? just kidding!) and I altered the recipe to make it more acidic and spicy. I think I’m starting to get predictable here. Beatriz loves sour and spicy.

Oh and then theres this quinoa, butternut squash, chicken stew that I made pretty recently that was DELICIOUS, hearty and totally healthy. I topped it with a savory Greek yogurt (aka Greek yogurt with a splash of horseradish and Tabasco). I totally meant to write a whole post about the process of cooking this dish, which was let’s say…pretty darn exciting and was going to be titled “Kitchen Battles.” Let’s just say I almost lost a finger, sliced my hand open and ignited a fire. Whoops.

6. Fruit. Cakes. White chiffon cake with mixed fruit!
Lately I’ve been buying pretty exotic fruits like kiwi and mango. Well they’re really not that exotic. But they’re not as ordinary as apples and bananas (no offense, apples and bananas!) They’re also the fruits that come in Angel Maid Bakery’s (the bakery I work at) famous cake, the white chiffon cake with mixed fruit. It also comes with strawberries, pineapple and peaches!
It was pretty darn good. Definitely could’ve used more whipped cream frosting, but otherwise really good. I used smitten kitchen’s white chiffon cake recipe and pretty much winged the rest.

7. French Macarons
Macarons are totally taking over the cookie world (if you even want to consider them a cookie!) and they’re EVERYWHERE from Paris to Malaysia and Hong Kong and most recently, at Angel Maid Bakery! I definitely bought myself a box after work one day and though they aren’t the best I’ve had, they hit the spot and are much cheaper than say, Bouchon or Bottega Louie. Oh and by the way, macarons with one O is different from macaroons with two O’s (the coconut based cookies). Is it snobby of me to get kind of annoyed at people who pronounce french macarons like “macaroons”? They’re extremely different! Stay tuned for a post about my journey to find the best macarons in LA!

8. Pizza
As you can see from my previous post, I kind of LOVE pizza. I’ve recently rekindled the desire to actually make them since I haven’t enjoyed pizza in LA as much as I’ve enjoyed it in the Bay Area. So why pay for ’em when you can make ’em? (I still have to try Pizzeria Mozza though!) I recently tried to make pizza using phyllo dough as the pizza dough and it was pretty…weird. My friends were probably just being nice when they actually ate it, but yeah it tasted really odd.

9. Jin Patisserie // Abbott Kinney Boulevard
There’s this small patisserie in Venice on Abbot Kinney Blvd. called Jin Patisserie that I accidentally discovered with my family back in high school. We were looking for a cake for my birthday and stumbled upon this little gem that serves tea and desserts out on a little outdoor Japanese-style patio. They make really delicious individual cakes, like this “passion” cake above. It’s a meringue-based cake with a passionfruit cream and mangoes inside. Um, those are only three of my favorite things in one CAKE, which is another one of my favorite things. Win x4. They also make the BEST lychee macarons I have EVER tasted. But then again, how many places actually make lychee macarons? Check them out before they move!

10. Monopoly Deal… + Beer & Wine
Lately I’ve been playing a lot of monopoly deal with my friends and it always brings me back to some wonderful memories in college of playing the game! I played it a good amount in college and it was the perfect break from studying. Whether it was on a patch of grass or inside a car, it was/is always fun! If you feel like adding some over 21 drinks like wine or beer, do so in moderation! I’m really into pear cider and have recently discovered Shock Top Lemon Shandy and Riesling. These are probably the least alcoholic-tasting alcoholic beverages ever, which is totally my thing!

And that concludes my first ever favorite things list, which actually really revealed a lot about me…hehe. Stay tuned for more!