Saturday, October 9, 2010

So what exactly is Ecuadorian Food? ...chuta!

I have to admit, I have always identified with my Mexican half more than my Ecuadorian half because of the amazing amount of Mexican food that can be found around the city. My dad is Ecuadorian and, of course, he never learned to cook any traditional Ecuadorian dishes besides Tostado. Maiz Tostado is toasted dried corn, which is sometimes toasted in pork fat to give it some really great flavors. We had Tostado and Quinoa at home all the time, but that seemed to be the deepest I ever really dove into Ecuadorian food. As a family, we often visit Peruvian and Columbian restaurants, which share some similarities, but nothing like the real deal.

Ecuadorian Independence is celebrated on August 10th, and this year there was a big Ecuadorian Festival at Elysian Park. This gave me the perfect opportunity to finally get to explore the cuisine my father talks about allll the time! I got a little of everything on my plate from the Cerdo Hornado (Roasted Pork), Maiz Tostado (Toasted Dried Corn), Aji (Salsa), Maiz Fresco (Fresh Cooked Corn), Papa Frita (Fried Potato), y Empanadas de Queso con Platano (Cheese & Plantain Empanadas). I really loved the Cerdo Hornado, which is somewhat similar to Mexican Carnitas. It was crunchy and juicy all in one bite. It was all very delicious, but the Mexican in me kept searching for a slice of lime or some Chile de Arbol! Between you and I, Mexican food is still King in my book. But I am grateful that I had the opportunity to try the food my father loves and misses so much! :D

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Un Limón Gigante!

I really do believe that I love limón more than the average person. I mean, lime/lemon/limón are all sooo great and they pair well with almost everything! They are usually one of the ingredients of many dishes found around the world, and it is rare to find a dish were limon is the star; but today this is the case!

Our good friend Andy has a tree living in his front yard in Silverlake that grows the largest lemons I have ever seen. When he gave it to us, I was convinced it was a grapefruit because of its size, but he reassured me that it was indeed a lemon. I thought it was so awesome that I couldn't just use it as an ingredient for another dish, but make it thee main dish.

All I did was cut the segments out of this enormous limón, added some
Tajin (a good Lucas substitute for you true die-hard Lucas fiends like
me :D), and a little pepper. No mixed greens to make it a salad, no
Saladitos to make it a sour treat; just fresh lemon. Yes, it was a sour
feast, and yes, my face did twitch a little; but it was all worth it! This
gigantic limón did not go down in vain!

Another wonderful and satisfying LA grown limón!

Chocolate & Banana Pancakes!

I love making this quick and easy recipe on a weekend morning. Trader Joe's has a really great Multigrain Pancake Mix that I use all the time. If you happen to have your favorite chocolate bar and some bananas hanging around, you should definitely try this one!

All you have to do is make the pancake mix according to the instructions and the amount of pancakes you would like to make. Chop up your favorite chocolate bar (i usually use dark chocolate) into little 1/4 inch chunks, and mash your banana. Add the chocolate and smashed banana to your pancake mix and get cooking! Finding all the gooey bits of melted chocolate throughout your breakfast will be sure to make you very happy. All you'll need is a vaso de leche!

If you love the flavor of abuelita chocolate, you can add a cup of melted abuelita con leche to your mix in place of your liquid. I've tried that a few times, but I usually end of drinking mi chocolate caliente before it touches the dry mix :D

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Perfect Saturday... In East Los!

There is one area in all of Los Angeles that holds the best Mexican food in the whole city! My husband and I always find ourselves back in this area several times a month because the food proves time and time again to be so amazing. The perfect place to be on a Saturday afternoon is non other than beautiful EAST LOS ANGELES!

If you happen to find yourself on Whittier Boulevard, you have to stop at Chago's Ahogadas and have some Guadalajara style Tortas Ahogadas. It's a little messy, i know, but the homemade Bolillo, Chile de Arbol, and Cebolla Roja make the mess sooooo worth it! You won't be disapointed, just look up while you're there and you'll see that even Jesus gives his sign of approval! Yes, Jesus knows a good Torta when he sees one! :D

This hot mess of a picture is making my mouth water!

After eating at Chago's, we usually make our way over to El Mercado de Los Angeles on 1st Street, also known as El Mercadito la Primera. Here you will find the best Churros known to man! They are soo crispy and crunchy. No dowey nastiness in the middle. I am usually not a fan of the typical churro, and I've tried many, but this churro is different than the others. I guess you'll have to judge for yourself...

And, since you're at el Mercadito, you have to try all the endless amount of little bites or snacks available through all its little ally ways, such as the Limones Rellenos de Coco, Mangos Tiernos, y Elote en Vaso. The Nieve de Nuez y Nieve de Mango are must eats while you're there, which are sooo amazingly delicious! The Nieve de Nuez has little bits and pieces of walnuts, almonds, and pistachios in it's creamy base. The Nieve de Mango taste like a ripe and juicy mango in it's prime! There are so many options to choose from, but these are my fave. :D

If you happen to be cruisin' down Cesar Chavez/Brooklyn Avenue, look out for Raspados. There is no exact spot to find delicious Raspado joints on wheels, but I always manage to find the same guy around Antojitos Carmen between Soto and Mott Street. A Raspado always manages to hit the spot on a very hot summer afternoon in the city. The Raspado de Mango is another delicious find in the endless opportunities for good eats in East Los!

Another perfect day in this paradise we call LOS ANGELES! :D

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ate away July like a true LEO...

July has been pretty awesome to me. Not only is it my birthday month, but I was able to try a lot of awesome food! The city of Los Angeles never ceases to amaze me with it's culinary vastness. I went from Peruvian deliciousness to coastal Yucatan to Oaxacan favorites to Yucatan food found inland to Chinese hand pulled noodles and meat rolls to funky fruit yumminess to Spanish Empanadas to Oxtail to Deer Tacos...

I finally ate at Mo-Chica at Mercado La Paloma, and it was more than delicious. I almost jumped out of my seat to do a little happy dance! You know you're eating South American food when you are served Tostado as a starter. I grew up on Tostado, so that was a huge plus for me! If you love seafood as much as I do, be sure to try the Ceviche del Dia and the Causa del Dia. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the Agua de Chicha Morada!

While at Mercado la Paloma, we also tried some tacos and panuchos at Chichen-Itza. The Cochinita Pibil Panuchos are worth trying. I also had Tacos de Venado, but I couldn't stop thinking of the family of deer I see at work on a regular basis, or my familia dancing to "..el venado, el venado.." The ice cream at Oaxacalifornia is also located at Mercado la Paloma. Through their ice cream is more like snow cones, it was still a good way to end a really big lunch. I had the Nieve de Tuna and Nieve de Nuez! :D

Alhambra's promising good eats made me very happy too! Hand pulled noodles in an intense beef broth, beef rolls, and chilled seaweed salad can all be found at 101Noodle Express. Then move over to Phoenix Dessert for some delicious Mochi or Raspados con Mango. I also tried a dessert with the very funky Durian fruit, which takes some courage to eat, but it was pretty good once you get past the smell.. :D I think I grew some chest hairs...

This post is getting way too long, so I'll just fill you in on some bay area travel food tips and let you go on living yo life! July was a great month of delicious eating! :D

San Francisco also had some amazing food to offer us hungry travelers! If you happen to find yourself in the bay area on a Saturday, be sure to stop by the farmer's market at the ferry building. Primavera's Tostadas de Tinga were so good I could have eaten at least a five and then brought some back home to LA in my pocket! (not because I'm a pig or anything..)

Speaking of puerconess... Boccalone's Meat Cone is pretty tasty, but definitely share one with a friend. It seems like a few slices of fatty filled meat, but it became too much too quick!

I also had Oysters on the half shell at SF Fish Co. They were fairly priced at $1.50 because they were sooo big and delicious. All I needed was some Tapatio!

Then we headed over to the Mission Dolores district to try some homemade ice cream and enjoy some fun in the sun. The Bi-Rite Creamery is definitely a must eat in SF. I had Sam's Sundae, which is super chocolety chocolate ice cream with fruity iridescent extra virgin olive oil drizzled over and topped with coarse sea salt. I know it seems really weird, but trust me, it will make you want to slap someone's mamma! :D

I have to start taking pictures of my LA Eats!! I was a total tourist in SF so I had my camera handy. More LA food fotos to come! :D

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lemon Roasted Chicken y Vegetales

So this is my own recipe of lemony and juicy deliciousness. I started making it because I was always too scared to roast a whole chicken because it might be too dry or too fuchi, but then i thought "Jocelyn, you got this!" I love lemon on almost anything in sight, so this had to be good. I was right, I hope you agree! :D

1 whole roasting chicken
6 large lemons
3 cups of your fav potatos
4 large carrots
5 celery sticks
6 garlic cloves
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Dried Oregano
Chicken bouillon
2 bay leaves

Now throw everything in a large oven dish, well almost...
Peel and roughly chop potatoes and carrots. Chop celery and peel whole garlic cloves. Take some zest off of your lemons for flavor. Cut the top and bottoms off all of your lemons until you see some juiciness. Thinly slice two lemons and cut the others in half. Throw your potatoes, carrots, celery, three garlic cloves, and zest into your oven dish and add your olive oil, salt, pepper, one bay leaf, and some oregano. Squeeze two of the halved lemons into the mix without letting seeds in (did your mom ever tell you that a tree would grow in your stomach if you ate any seeds?!) Anyway, throw the squeezed lemons in the dish. Now for your new friend, the chicken. Give it a good rinse and pat it dry with some paper towels. Make a little rub mix in a small bowl with salt, pepper, oregano, chicken bouillon, and paprika. Rub it all over your chicken and throw some in the cavity too (don't be stingey). Squeeze two lemons into the cavity and leave the lemons in there while it cooks along with three of your garlic cloves and the other bay leaf. Lay your chicken, breast side down, over your veggies and cover it with the thinly sliced lemon and cover with a lid or foil. Throw everything into a 425 oven for about an hour and fifteen, then uncover and take the lemon slices off the top. I like my chicken kind of crispy, so i put the oven on broil for about another 15 and flip it in between to crisp up both sides. Take it out, eat, and thank me later. I know it seems kind of complicated, but it's actually super easy and you can write a blog post while it cooks! :D

Free yo mind and your fork will follow!

okay..okay... so i finally gave into creating a blog after several friends pushing me to share my L.A. food insight with others. For those of you who are reading this, I hope to open your taste buds to the awesome world of flavors available in this great city I call home! :D