Sunday, December 4, 2016

Life Updates and Recent Eats

Happy holiday season friends! This has been an inconsistent year for me with regards to this blog, but I really appreciate the few who stop by to check in on my new posts. I've been traveling a lot recently for interviews, but I really wanted to put this out there because I haven't posted a summary post like this in I don't remember how long. So here's some food to drool over:

Recent Cooking Projects

Tyler Florence's The Ultimate Paella recipe. I skipped the lobster tail since I wasn't making it for a special occasion and I can't afford to eat lobster on any regular 'ol day, but otherwise I followed the recipe exactly and it was extremely delicious. I've always liked the concept of paella but I had never ordered it at a restaurant so I didn't know if this tasted legit or not when I first tried it. A couple weeks after making this, I finally ordered a paella while dining at Barcelona Restaurant, and my dish was pretty similar to theirs so I think Tyler Florence is right on the money and his recipe is definitely worth making again and again. 

Pasta With Vodka Sauce, Prosciutto & Arugula from The Financial Diet. In contrast to the last recipe, this one was more of a flop for me. I can't tell if it's genuinely not tasty or if I just don't like prosciutto served like this. However, it's a worthwhile dish to attempt since it's quite simple and looks very impressive, and Khoi said that he loved it (was he lying? I'll never know...)

Mango Sticky Rice. I'm not linking the recipe for this because I hated the one that I used, but let's admit that the finished product is beautiful. This is one of my favorite desserts to order at Thai restaurants because it's just so fruity and creamy, and when prepared properly each bite feels like I'm on vacation. It's one of the dishes where I'm planning to try several variations to hopefully find the perfect one. Sadly, mangos are out of season now but perhaps a spring/summer project? 

Thomas Keller's Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb (I'm pretty sure our version looks better than the photo on the James Beard Website ehehehe). This was actually Khoi's project and I think that he did a stellar job with the execution. It also really made me realize how truly talented Thomas Keller is, and how much I would love to return to Ad Hoc again. 

Pork Belly Eggs Benedict with the pork belly prepared in the sous vide (sorry I don't have a better photo of the food so you get my stupid smile instead).  I've been traveling so much recently so Columbus hasn't been my home base. Before I left, I hosted bunch for a bunch of friends and ambitiously decided to prepare eggs benedict for a crowd of 10, and it turned out surprisingly well. Fantastically actually. The pork belly did not need to be cooked in the sous vide, but it's so incredibly delicious because it just melts in your mouth when made this way, and it was definitely a crowdpleaser.

Turkey pot pie with Thanksgiving leftovers. There was no recipe since I just threw the filling together from ingredients that I had on hand, and the dough is Pillsbury. But as someone who doesn't like leftover turkey, I think this is the tastiest thing. I made it for dinner last weekend, and my mom served it with stir-fried clams and chicken feet lol. 

Best Things I've Eaten Out Recently

Cerdo (pork chop) from Barcelona. They really outdid themselves with this dish, because as someone who has tried a wide variety of cuisines, I genuinely think that this is the best preparation of pork chop that I've ever eaten. It was just so...tender and delicious and beautiful, and I fell more in love with it with each bite. I don't think this is something I'd be able to recreate myself, and I would totally order this again. Now pretend you didn't read this, dine there tomorrow, and order this. If you don't have insanely high expectations, this dish may change your life. 

Lobster Mac and Cheese from Kona Grill. I've eaten at other restaurants where I paid $30+ for lobster mac and cheese, and was disappointed with how little lobster I got for my money. And then Kona Grill gives me a $16 lobster mac that was swimming with lobster chunks. This was after Khoi and I went there and didn't make it in time for their happy hour food discount, but I still left feeling full and happy. 

Shrimp and Grits from Wolf's Ridge Taproom. I'm a shrimp and grits fiend, and I don't really have much to say. Each time I get shrimp and grits at a new place, I say it's now my new favorite, and this time was no different. Also this dish is insanely pretty (the phone picture does not do it justice).

Tea and treats at Cambridge Tea House. I found this little gem of a restaurant and had to scope it out. While none of the food was unique, it was all very well executed and so stinkin' cute. A+

And finally...

Completely unrelated to everything else but I got a kitty!! Her name is Nala. I love her dearly. My friend is taking care of her currently (thanks Kashi!). And hopefully she'll make more guest appearances in Jan/Feb when I finally make it back to Cbus :D