Monday, April 14, 2014

Persian feast in Jasmine's Kitchen

Each Sunday I look to make a meal that the family can eat for our Sunday Dinners. I opened up one of my all time favorite cookbooks, Jamie's Kitchen to get inspiration. I opened up the book and there it was! Growing up in L.A. Persian food is a must and its becomes apart of your diet just like Mexican food. I decided to make Cherry Basmati Rice, with a yogurt salad (garlic, plain yogurt, lemon, fresh dill, cucumbers, salt and pepper), a lemon Hummus, roasted tomatoes and for my meats I googled a Lula Chicken Kabob recipe to get the basics but put my own twist with saffron and curry, salmon skewered in rosemary and rosemary flank steak with just salt and pepper. Dinner was a success!! For recipes you can always contact Jasmine's Kitchen by subscribing or emailing Jasmineskitchen@gmail.com

Drago Centro

The word of the day is: PERFECTLY! Had a very great meal Saturday evening at Drago Centro. I read a few mixed reviews but not sure how anyone could complain. I had one of the most solid meals here in L.A. After the 3rd attempt to go to this place (I had to cancel due to rain lolol) I finally made it. We ordered a simple apple and bacon salad that was dressed perfectly as a starter. We decided to split the Pheasant Pasta with morel mushrooms. MMMMMMMMMM!!!! I enjoyed every bite and if I could have licked the bowl with the sauce I would have but I had to show class. It was perfectly seasoned and the pappardelle pasta was perfectly soft with a little al dente to it. For our main entrees I had the branzino (fish) with crispy polenta, asparagus, capers, tomatoes. Again, the fish was cooked to perfection with a salty crispy skin (the way I like it). The best surprise was the crispy polenta that looked like a wrapped piece of yummy-ness. My guest ordered the duck breast with heirloom risotto cake, beets, cauliflower, snap peas. Lets just say I am going to learn how to make crispy risotto. Its on my to-do list this year. For dessert we had the La Terrine -chocolate and olive oil terrine, salted caramel gelato, almonds. It was the perfect way to end a meal because this dessert had me over than darn moon. When you combine all the ingredients together it was like a perfectly salty, a bit of crunch Neopolitan flavor you could think of. At this point I was ready to forfeit going home and going the nearest friends house to crash. Ok okay I can't forget the ambiance... It's what L.A. has been missing for quite some time. I am not into the whole Gastro Pub feel. I love elegance and I loved that most of the men wore Sports Coats and all the ladies had dresses on. I decided to go for a goddess look. As you can see I posted a picture taken on my porch before I left.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lazy Ox Canteen ~ Little Tokyo.... Do not waste your time

I have never really given a bad review but unfortunately my food experience at the Lazy Ox Canteen was horrible. There are many times at a restaurant where there may be 2 or 3 likeable items but not even salt and pepper could come to the rescue of these unsavory, bland, terrible dishes. The funny thing about it is that earlier in the day I had this funny gut feeling that I would not enjoy this place. I never have a hunch like this but I decided to have a positive outlook and give it a try. So here is the skinny, I am not a big fan of recommendations from co-workers (I know I sound snooty)but 10 times out of 10 I'm better off doing my own research or asking my fellow foodie friends what they recommend. When my guest and I first arrived (I drove past Baco Mercat and really wished we were stopping there lol) the decor looked amazing. It was hip and had that LA downtown feel to it. I thought to myself... this place looks like Restaurant Impossible came in here and did a make over. Well they need a food makeover!! I opened the menu and first thing I saw on the wine list was Roussanne!!?? Oh My Goddesses was I excited. No one carries Roussanne (wine). This place has to be delicious as I told myself. Wrong!! For an appetizer we ordered the Japanese Turnips with wild vegetable tempura and Lamb Meatballs. Sounds simple right? NO!! The Japanese Turnips were sour and had a pungent smell. All I kept thinking was this stuff is going to coat my tongue and everything will be ruined. The wild vegetable Tempura had no flavor. Tasted like flour that was deep fried. How can this be?? I actually rolled it in salt and it still had no flavor. Next came the lamb meatballs ($18) that were the size of a quarter (if that) that tasted like sugar and had a very bad after taste. I know lamb is gamey but geez this taste like OLD LAMB. At this point I was ticked off to say the least. Next came our entress.... Beef ragu with an over easy egg and Salmon (my guest dish). The ragu was worse than Chef Boyardee. The sauce was tangy and old and just had the jar taste to it. The Salmon had absolutely no flavor served with barley and rice cooked in water. Just gross. Yes its true you eat with your eyes but this was the first time I have ever been deceived where the food looked amazing, the decor and ambiance was amazing but the food was absolutely disgusting!!! At this point we spoke to our waitress who was just adorable and sweet. She offered me french fries because she knew I was hungry and deep down she knew the food was nasty. She also offered me dessert. Thank God for that dessert. I would never go back or recommend anyone to go here and Booooo to the co-worker (not my co-worker) for the recommendation.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Culinary Institute of America Greystone

Does it really matter that every time I go to Napa I blog about it?! Lol. I have an obsession.  The school is always doing something different so every time I go its like a new relationship starting all over again. Did you know a new cafe was opened indoors? Probably not because I was definitely surprised when I walked in. Of course I had to buy the chocolate truffles.  My new favorite is the lavender honey truffle. I suddenly fell out of love with the mango truffle.  I think the recipe was changed?!!! Mm either way I'm still happy when something new comes about.

Trinchero winery

I think this is probably one of the most picturesque estates I've been to in Napa Valley. The funny thing is that I have driven past this place more than a dozen times. Glad I did.... I was able to purchase 1 of the 8 bottles left of a really yummy merlot. Im not even a Merlot fan but this one caught me off guard. He (yes I said he) had a beautiful aroma and flavor of French oak and was light on the palate. I'm rarely into deep tannins that are often associated with merlot wines. What I also enjoyed was the cheese pairing with the wine tasting as it brought out all that their wines had to offer. I wish more wineries would do that. It makes the experience much better!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cauliflower soup with truffle salt and crispy sage

I've blogged, tweeted on the restaurant Lemonade several times. By far one of my favorite gourmet homemade food spots. My favorite location is in Pasadena (not a fan of the one in Westlake Village). Anyway... or any who... the Cauliflower  soup is one of my favorites besides the truffle mac n cheese.
Today I decided to Google the recipe and was able to find it. Yay for me. I followed the recipe to a T but decided to put my own finishing touches to it. I added truffle oil (1 tablespoon) and fried fresh sage in olive oil. I didnt think it could get any better than the original recipe but I took it to another level.
Delicious!  Delightful! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Farmstead~Napa

I've seen this restaurant more than a dozen times while driving highway 29 but never stopped because it always looked crowded.  Luckily it rained Saturday because I finally got my chance to check them out and see what this adorable restaurant looks like in the inside. This restaurant really envelops what a farm to table restaurant should look and feel in a very upscale chic way. Its a very open and lit restaurant which gives you a very nostalgic feeling (for those of you that grew on a farm). :-)
I ordered the steak carpaccio but somehow a steak tartare came out. Im not complaining because it was really tasty!! I love how it was served with an open egg yolk and finishing salt. The argula was dressed perfectly which balanced out the entire dish.
I also ordered the sole fish served with a butter lemon sauce over smashed fingerling potatoes and sauteed spinach. My main entree was recommended by my server Emily. It was a great light recommendation since the gnocchi with ragu beef was sold out.
I cant wait to return.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Palm Springs Get Away with the Girls ~ Restaurant Johannes

This restaurant came highly recommended by my girlfriend (who was with us) that had a great experience a few months ago at Johannes. Unfortunately my experience wasn't so grand! I should have listened to her as she had the duck. Her meal was the only near perfect meal of the evening. I decided to order the Sea Bream which was a disaster. I'll get back to that in a few..... For an appetizer we decided to order the tuna tartare.... It tasted like tuna fish from a can. The smell and taste was so pungent that I just couldn't stomach it. After ordering our appetizer our food came out an hour and half later. Talk about service!! So after our meals were brought to us.... my fish had a million bones. It was supposed to be served on top of lobster which turned out to be langoustines. So they charged me $40 for this c_ _ p.????!!! Not only was it a bad conceived dish it had peas and cream sauce. Just ugh!!! My other friend ordered the scallops which were nearly alive. At this point we were all irritated. I felt really bad for my friend because she had a really good first experience which turned out to be a food bust.

The Chop House Palm Springs

Since our first evening of dining was not a success (for me) we decided to go with a restaurant where we couldn't go wrong. The Chop House was the perfect place to have a solid surf n turf meal on the main boulevard in Palm Springs. The highlight was the oysters on the half shell. My girlfriend Tiff and I were able to convert our friend Miko into an oyster lover as we prepared her oyster with the classic minonette', lemon and horse radish additions. I ordered the king crab legs and made my concoction of lemon, salt, pepper and Tabasco. Boy was I happy! If you're looking for a place where you cant go wrong in Palm Springs.... this is your place.

Monte Carlo Deli - Burbank

I forgot about this gem nestled in Burbank as I was contemplating making home grilled pizzas. However,  if you're looking to buy the best sauce, burrata cheese, sausage, pepperoni and anything authentically Italian this is your place. I also purchased some imported prosciutto and lets just say I will never buy the domestic stuff again. I realized the domestic stuff is chewy. The imported prosciutto melts in your mouth.

Unfortunately I ate the canoli and dont have a picture but it was pretty good. I must admit its not as good as my friends husband mother Chef John Leone. She just has that special touch! But I'm not shunning it all.

The next time I come I plan to have the gelato. Mmmmm

Below is my finished grilled pizza with burrata , kalamata olives, pepperoni and fennel sausage. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Corned Beef Hash

Well for you last minute folks out there needing to make an Irish meal (hopefully you're off work) but run over to Whole Foods and grab their pre marinated corned beef package.  All you need to add is water, carrots, potatoes and cabbage.  I also purchased some sauerkraut and mustard. You can use a crock pot or dutch oven. Mmmm I cant wait!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Jasmine's Kitchen Sunday Brunch

I decided to have Sunday Brunch at the house. As you all know my friends and family are my guinea pigs. So here are a few tips from my trials and errors that turned out fabulous. My brunch menu: Fried Chicken, Waffles with vanilla bean, fruit salad with habenero-sugar,  apple tartine with creme fraiche, rosemary potato hash cake, bacon and goat cheese quiche with Pico De Gallo, black forest bacon and a cheesecake from Chef Ryan.

Cizano Asti has the best Sparking wine that makes the best Mimosas. You can purchase at Bevmo for $20 or Whole foods for $9.99.

Apple tartine. Only make with golden delicious apples or heirloom.

Do not over crowd the pan when making potato hash or you'll end up with mushy potatoes. I had to make them into cakes and fry. Yes they were delicious! .... but a little time consuming to say the least.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pictures on Jasmine's Kitchen

I'd like to apologize for all the missing pictures that were linked to this blog. A lot of hard work has gone into making sure that there are pictures with every review and recipe.  Unfortunately I didnt know that Google Plus connected to my blog and linked to Picassa web albums through my phone. I deleted these pictures permanently because I needed room on my phone not knowing that all of these entities linked together. I'll do my best to repost as many pictures as I can.

Xo

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Twist ~ Vegas

Twist by Pierre Gagnaire was recommended to me by Chef Ryan Rodeno. First lets just say the service is definitely first class. The restaurant was beautiful with a world class view of the strip.
Again we decided to do the Valentine's Day menu which was a successful choice.
I got to finally taste Venison. I have always been reluctant to try as I wanted to make sure it was done right. It was tender and beautiful and I have no future plans of tasting it anywhere else.  We also has the baby veal with an ice cream sauce. Yes a savory ice cream sauce!! When you say Twist this is the true food twist you expect.  The unexpected tasting of the night was the oyster with a banana chip on top. When you close your eyes... it was like being in the south of France on the beach.
Unfortunately I have one complaint about the pastry department.  The eau Claire was hard and burnt. I was really looking forward to what I've tasted in Paris.
Other than that my visit was worth every penny.  ★☆★☆★