a collaborative blog for friends who love food.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

mariscos: san diego for fish tacos

In Spanish mariscos means seafood. In San Diego mariscos means the best fish tacos and ceviche tostados your dollar twenty five can buy. At the corner of 28th and Ocean View Blvd sits the famous Mariscos truck hustling their famous fare day and night. My friend Dave and I split the ceviche tostado mixta which is a fried tortilla with shrip, fish and octopus (pulpo), raw red onions, fresh lime, cilantro and avocado slices seasoned to perfection. Octopus is supposed to be chewy and a bit annoying to get down your throat so it seems ironic to say this but this octopus was tender. Instead of a whole pack of gum at once, it was more like two or three pieces. Not to mention the savory flavor relaxed my pallet while the lime and cilantro invaded my noise.


Next up were our fresh fish tacos- fried fish, raw red onions, fresh lime and cilantro smothered in creama simply melt in your mouth. We cracked open a Mexican Coca-Cola to wash it down; the important difference is that Mexican Coke has real sugar (azucar) in it.

After reclining for a digestive moment I knew I’d have to get more. Dos taocs de pulpo sin creama (as I’m lactose intolerant) I ordered in my gringo Spanish. Three minutes latter I was in octopus bliss.

If you’re ever…ever…in San Diego make a stop at Mariscos to enjoy the food. If you're there on a Sunday afternoon you may be blessed by the spirited and out of tune signing of the believers across the street.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Who needs a Fairy Godmother when you have Dairy Godmother?

If you’re lucky enough to taste fresh, authentic frozen custard in this lifetime, you have tasted a piece of heaven. Frozen custard is like the Rolls Royce of ice cream. Its texture is silky—and no I don’t mean soy milk silk. Custard is far from vegan-friendly. I mean the richest, creamiest, softest, edible silk you can imagine. Frozen custard hides under the radar of most dessert connoisseurs, but establishments like Culvers and Ritters are seeking to make this divine dessert accessible to all. The frozen custard culture finds its origins in the Midwest, notably Wisconsin. It takes ice cream to a new level by using butterfat, egg yolks and a slow-churn process that minimizes the incorporation of air, creating a new definition of creamy.

Today we uncovered a foodie treasure in the “Dairy Godmother,” right here in the DC area. The Dairy Godmother is off the beaten path, nestled in the cute, up and coming neighborhood of Del Ray. Each day they serve up fresh frozen custard in chocolate, vanilla and a rotating third ‘flavor of the day’. It was fate (aka my roommate Sapphira) that brought us to Dairy Godmother on the day they decided to feature the flavor kulfi. This may very well be the best fusion food ever known to mankind. Kulfi is an Indian ice cream made with cardamom and almonds, and turning this flavor into frozen custard couldn’t be a more successful blend of East and West! Check out Dairy Godmother’s website for more unique flavors.

Fun Food Fact: Frozen custard won’t be found in the frozen section of the grocery store. It’s made fresh so it can be served instantly, at a warmer temperature than ice cream. This reduces numbing of the taste buds and allows your mouth to really taste the richness of the flavors.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chip Tuesday: Popchips!

Last week, I was in Minneapolis for a conference and by day three, was feeling like quite a heifer. Nothing gets you fat and bloated more quickly than eating three course meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while also sitting on your butt all day listening to panel discussions about the future of religion reporting in the United States. I think we were all really depressed by the current state of newspaper journalism and nothing was stopping us from eating everything the conference folks fed us. I swear to you, after a full mediterranean lunch complete with roasted lamb, hummus, pita bread, rice and salad, the servers brought out a full 5 inch banana cream mini pie for each person.

After that lunch, I decided, enough! I canNOT eat like this anymore. Instead of attending the catered buffet dinner that evening, I opted for a Jamba Juice. I had seen one earlier that day while exploring downtown Minneapolis' SkyWalk system. Probably because of the unbearable winters, every building in downtown Minneapolis is connected via SkyWalks. You can see these walkways above the streets all throughout the city. On my way to peruse the bargains at Off Saks Fifth, I noted the Jamba Juice and Caribou Coffee.

Still stuffed from the lunch before, I approached the Jamba Juice counter with excitement. Fresh fruit! So exciting! And then, out of the corner of my eye, a little bag beckoned to me.

With a name like that, how could I say no?

These were great and almost exactly what I needed for my appetite at the time: they are much more like rice cakes in texture. Imagine very very thin rice cakes that look and taste like potato chips! The seasoning was very mild and pleasing. My only complaint? More chips per bag please! I mean seriously, I could probably eat two in a row which means that your average big eater would be happier with like 2.5 or 3 bags in one sitting.

But in the name of health, I suppose everything should be taken in moderation, even delicious Popchips.

'til next time!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chip Tuesday: Kettle Brand Lightly Salted

On my personal blog, I posted about my newfound love of disposable cameras. I recently bought a simple, cheap Kodak 24-exposure disposable camera, used up the film during a trip to nyc, dropped it off to be developed at Target, and picked them up the next day like we all did in the olden days.

The photos turned out fantastic (take a look). I love the nostalgic feel of the color saturation of the photos and I had almost forgotten the thrill you get when you go to pick up your film and open the envelope to view your photographs for the first time. It's enough to make me want to get a film camera!

Which brings me to the topic of today's Chip Tuesday post: The Classics. Nothing beats the classics. A simple black dress with an up-do will always remain the chicest ensemble a woman can don. Give me Mark Twain over Dan Brown any day. And I will value a handwritten note over the longest, email far more and for far longer, no matter the content.

A friend recently sent me a note typed on her new vintage typewriter. The thought of her rolling her paper into the teeth of the typewriter and clicking out every letter of every word tickled me to the innermost! The Classics! Nothing beats them!

That's why no matter how far I venture to the furthest reaches of chip flavordom, I will always find myself drawn back, like Odysseus longing for Ithaca, to the classic Kettle Brand Lightly Salted potato chip.

A bag of these suckers always reside in my desk drawer so that at any given moment, in a fit of hunger, fury or desire, I can grab a perfect potato chip at arms reach. Much like the aforementioned classic black dress, these babies go with pretty much anything: sandwiches, soup, salad, hummus, chili, burgers, hot dogs, etc. So if you're looking for a chip flavor that will last, a flavor and brand that you can pass down to your kids for generations upon generations, I highly recommend this brand and this flavor. It will never ever disappoint.

**apologies for the generic photo. I didn't have a digital camera on hand.

Craving coconut?

So I’ve been craving coconut rice for DAYS…

I have been trying to make it to the local African foods store to purchase my oversized canvas bag of basmati rice that will last me months, but have been too busy (lazy) to make the trip.

Tonight, nothing was going to stop me from getting my coconut fix. I had some brown rice just hanging out in the cupboard and even though brown rice is not my favorite, I was going to make this happen.

Now, when I make coconut rice, I reduce the amount of water by a ¼ and replace it with coconut milk. Well for those who use coconut milk enough know that over half the can was left.

What was I to do with the remaining coconut milk? Put it in the fridge and let it spoil as usual? No! Not this time.

I reached in the fridge and brought out my produce from this weekends Mt. Pleasant farmers market trip. I diced up red onion, green pepper, cucumber, a delish orange tomato, green beans, and of course garlic.

I tossed the garlic into a skillet, (a wok would also work) with a little garlic infused olive oil. Sautéed lightly, then added my remaining can of coconut milk to a pan. Now I chopped up too many veggies for the amount of milk that I had, so I opened up another can. Oops! :o) Then came the veggies. I gently placed my fresh produce into the pan.

Since I eat little to no meat, my concerned roommate (Vintage Jeannie) thought it was essential to add a can of chickpeas, and she was absolutely right, it added tremendous flavor to the curry!

Then came my favorite part, SEASONING! I grabbed my preferred seasons out of the cabinet and went to town. Using primarily red pepper (berbere to be specific), curry powder, and homemade masala from my friend’s mom, I created a spicy yet satisfying flavor. BAM!

Now I don’t really measure. However, I would say I added about 1-2 Tb of red pepper, because I like spice. Probably another 1 Tb of curry, and 2 t of masala. I let it all simmer for about 20 minutes. Then poured over my brown coconut rice and enjoyed a sassy curry that will make your mouth water. Literally, from the spice. Delish!

Friday, September 4, 2009

fried, fatty and fabulous: state fair 101

I am insanely proud of my home state and can boastfully declare that I have only missed two years of the "Great Minnesota Get Together", aka the Minnesota State Fair. Over the 20+ years I've been a state fairgoer, I have seen many changes. However, there are a few things which I have come to rely on:
  1. It is always twelve days long and closes on Labor Day, signaling the official end to summer.
  2. I will see at least five people that I know among the masses (and four of them I will avoid by ducking into the nearest booth or building).
  3. I will eat fried, greasy food until I cannot breathe.
Yes, the key to an enjoyable state fair experience is overindulgence. But hey, the fair only
happens once a year. So bring on the hydrogenated oils. I'm downright ritualistic when it comes to foods I consume at the fair, and here's a sampling of my faves:

Cheese curds: These blazing hot, stringy and gooey cheese morsels are fresh nuggets of goodness. They are dipped in batter and fried, served in a little paper basket and best eaten immediately. Some deranged fairgoers douse these dairy delights with ketchup, but this is not a mainstream practice. Pure, unadulterated indulgence.

The wacky "new foods" of the fair: Each year I feel the need to investigate what the buzz is all about when a new food is introduced at the fair. A sampling of past years' bizzaro foods: pickle dog (pickle spear smeared with cream cheese and wrapped in pastrami), fried Oreos (friedfoodfail), and "pig-lickers"- a cone of chocolate-covered bacon.

Fresh cookies: Melty, gooey Sweet Martha's chocolate chip cookies served in a plastic pail (about 6 dozen in a bucket, but who's counting?) and all-you-can-drink milk for $1.00. Heavenly!

I could go on and on, but I'll save my other fair food musings for future posts. Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

oh where have all the malts gone?

Why are there no vanilla malts in the mid-atlantic? And why do people always seem to think of their grandparents when I mention malts? After a malted milk powder search of several grocery stores near my WDC home, I came up empty handed. I had to travel all the way home to Michigan to find this tasty treasure. To my surprise, I not only found the regular old malted mix but rows full of chocolate and strawberry too! Is the malt a food particular to only certain regions of the country, or is it a vanishing product of the 50’s soda fountain shop era? Well whatever the case, I say bring back the malt!

What is malted milk anyway?
Malted milk powder is a mixture of grains (barley and wheat) combined with whole milk and evaporated to form a powder. The powder used in the frozen treats we know of as malted milkshakes is referred to as non-diastatic because it has no enzymes. However, diastatic malt powder, with all its enzymes that break down starch into sugar, can be used in baked goods to help them rise or in fermenting beverages. Nutritionally malt powder is neither here nor there, but it deserves a place in everyone’s diet nonetheless. Try mixing it in baked goods for a flavorful sweetness and extra shine. Sprinkle it over your ice cream sundae as a topping. Or…try a malted milkshake.

Classic Vanilla Malt

  • 2 large scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 1 tbls malted milk powder
  • 1/3 cup milk

Blend above ingredients and enjoy!

*Fun Food Fact: In America we know malted milk balls as Whoopers, but in England they’re called Malteasers (teehee)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chip Tuesday: Boulder Canyon Balsamic Vinegar & Rosemary

This weekend I ventured up to New York to take in the sights, eat the food, and attend one day of the U.S. Open. On Sunday night, in preparation for the tennis festivities of the next day, le boyfriend and I went to his local corner market in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn to pick up some sustenance. Being the tennis nut that he is, Christopher has attended too many U.S. Opens to count, so he knew all the tricks to having the best experience. One key step? Packing your own food. The food on the grounds is insanely overpriced, not that good for you, and not worth waiting in long lines for, so instead, we opted for ham and cheddar sandwiches, fresh melons, peaches, granola, and, of course, chips.

There's one corner market in Ft. Greene that I love. Not only is it run by Koreans (gotta support my peeps!), but it is insanely clean, has one of the best tea collections I've ever seen, and also carries an impressive selection of chips. Knowing Chip Tuesday was approaching, Chris and I carefully scoured the bags to find the next contender for our running tradition. As soon as I saw this bag, I knew it was the one.

Now having been burned by exotic flavored chips before (sweet maui onion, anyone?), I was a little nervous about these. Frankly, one little potato discus can only handle so much flavoring, you know?

Willing to take the risk, we decided to pay the $2.79 and try them. We got home, quickly ripped open the bag, and popped the first chip.

It - was - delicious.

The scent of rosemary hits you first. It's strong, but not overpowering. The chips are surprisingly light in flavor. You let the rosemary and salt, oil and potato impress you for a little bit. And then you realize that this is also a frou frou kind of salt & vinegar chip, but the balsamic is just a little more refined than the aforementioned low-brow, absolutely delicious guilty pleasure that leaves your nose and eyes watering for its strong flavor. Instead, the balsamic is mild with a slight kick at the end.
All in all, the chips made for a complex, tasty, pungent addition to our ham sandwiches, which we ate before watching a rousing match with my new favorite tennis player, the 5'5" Belgian pro, Olivier Rochus. He may be short but he packs quite a lot of punch and heart in that frame of his. And the same could be said of a Boulder Canyon Balsamic Vinegar & Rosemary chip.