Monday, May 24, 2010

Pasadena Burgers: Rick's Drive-in

Rick's Drive-In in Pasadena has found a special place in our hearts thanks to the Amazing Spuderito. But in addition to that tortilla-swaddled wonder, Rick's serves up some pretty good burgers.

The beef is never frozen and the lettuce and tomatoes are fresh. All of the sauces are made in-house. The patties are flavorful and nicely charred, but they are pretty thin so you probably want to order the 1/2 pounder over the 1/4 pounder. And you probably want grilled onions. Yes, you definitely want grilled onions.

The "French Burger" is like a grilled sourdough burger but served on grilled French bread, and the "Taco on a bun" is exactly that, taco fixings on a burger bun with unexpected addition of mustard -- strange, but it works.

This little mom and pop stand, which has occupied this location since 1964, was recently in danger of being torn down for condos. According to owner Ralph Fonzo, the housing slump has earned them a temporary reprieve. Ralph, proudly (and charmingly) adds that people come from all over the world to visit Rick's and that original customers are now bringing in their grandchildren.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Keep on Truckin

The trucks just keep on coming. This weekend we were able to sample a few newcomers and a few old favorites. At the LA Weekly Weekend the Rock & Roll Pizza Truck run by "real New Yorkers" delivered a very authentic New York slice.

People are predicting that trucks are on the way "out". True, the novelty is waning. But ice cream trucks and taco trucks aren't exactly extinct. Trucks are convenient, and for the most part, the food is delicious. Remember the crappy plastic-wrapped sandwich trucks of just a few years ago?

I think the issue is that there are more and more trucks every day. They are reaching maximum capacity. And not all of them are good. So, according to the law of natural selection, only the strong will survive. In a few years the trucks will still be rolling, and the ones that make it will be goooood.

The promoters at Silverlake Jubilee were savvy with their choice of food vendors. The ever-popular Dim Sum Truck, Buttermilk Truck, The Flying Pig, and Dosa Truck were joined by a dozen other trucks, including the unfortunately-named Mister Coolie Ice Cream Truck which actually had fantastic dipped cones. Is it ok to not be politically correct if it is innocent? People still buy Spic n' Span and Cheese Nips, right?

The butterscotch dip was very thin but had a nice crack and it was so sweet a thicker dip would have been overpowering.

OK, I thought it was strange to order fries from another truck 2 trucks down from Frysmith.

But she offered me some of her garlic fries, so who am I to say?

Our darling Dosa truck was there, sharing masala fries and the Slumdog Dosa with the world.

Speaking of politically correct, whereas Dosa is all peace and love, Fatburger went a little over the edge here. God damn, they ruthless.

The Flying pig managed to make a sandwich wrap out of bao dough that was exactly like a bao but slightly airier. Delicious! bob preferred the tacos.

The truck of the moment, the Dim Sum Truck, was closing down, but gifted us with their very last bao, siu mai and shrimp har gow. We savored them all, and yes, we shared.

Everyone loves trucks. Even little puppy dogs.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mmmmmmm Tangy!

I cannot resist old 1950s and 60s recipe disasters. They are even more amazing when they are modern disasters.

My cat just stepped on the keyboard and this pop-up actually came up.

It's fate.

what you need

3 Tbsp. MIRACLE WHIP Dressing 2 tsp.
GREY POUPON Hearty Spicy Brown Mustard
4 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
15 stuffed green olives, cut in half
21 TRISCUIT Crackers

Make It

MIX dressing and mustard in medium bowl.

ADD eggs and olives; mix well.

SERVE with the crackers.

Kraft Kitchens Tips


The eggs and olives make this a very flavorful entree. Enjoy one serving with a side of baby carrots.

Make Ahead

Keep a few hard-cooked eggs on hand in the refrigerator for this easy-to-make egg salad.

Jazz It Up

Sprinkle with black pepper just before serving.

I am sorry if I am infringing on a copyright, KRAFT, but you popped up unbidden on my computer, not the other way around.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Top Chef Masters Viewing Party

This week my friend, Eddie, of Deep End Dining was a guest judge on Top Chef Masters! He and co-judge Bill Esparza of Street Gourmet LA hosted a viewing party at the Edison. It was fun to see everyone. I mostly hung out with Eddie, Valentino of Trippy Food and photographer Pai Wei. (Photo by Pai Wei)

The Edison is one of LA's more elaborate bars, a cross between Frankenstein's lab and a real Edison Plant. I asked the bartender to give me whatever he wanted, which seemed to throw him. He gave me a nice whiskey cocktail in a martini glass, not too sweet or too manly. Valentino went for the elaborate absinthe for which they are known.

We ordered sliders with gouda and fish and chips. It was the biggest dichotomy of dishes yet. The sliders were plump, juicy, flavorful perfection. The fish were oily and fishy. My fingers looked like I had dipped them in a bottle of Wesson oil after touching them. One bite was enough. The server was super chatty and friendly and deserves a 10.

It was nice to see Esther and Brian of Eatours and the couple from the Dim Sum Truck. Julie Wolfson, Michel Neve and I got into an excited conversation about our younger days and creative parenting. When Michele is excited about the conversation he grabs my hands to shut me up. I think it's adorable. My husband said, "Somebody finally found the OFF button." The party in sensurround by PaiWei:

The sound wasn't working so the Edison brought out complimentary champagne to make up for us watching the show captioned. And not just any champagne. Perrier-Jouet. Swank.

I like how Eddie psychs them out by saying things like, "This is the first time I have ever had duck tongues (pause for effect) that were not braised." He is also very good at looking interested in what other people are saying. Another favorite moment is Bill Esparza saying one dish looked like "a teenager went through a buffet line and it was not good."

Bloggers take pics of everything

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Birthday Party Love!!!

So by the way, I LOVE SLAW DOGS! What a perfect place to hold my birthday party! I started thinking hot dogs - picnic! I had fun picking up flower and butterfly-themed decorations. Luckily I already had picnic tablecloths. Ray was so cool he had a special hot dog in my honor, based on the Japadog, but with a special Ray twist. He made up little baskets with a half-dog, onion ring, and half fries half sweet potato fries. Sooo cute! Thanks to Valentino Herrera of TrippyFood for the great pics!

Zach Behrens caught the soy bomb and birthday dog up close and personal.

As you may have seen in my other post, these are my intense centerpieces. I had YummyEarth organic lollipops and gummi bears.

Thanks to Polkatots right next door, we had dozens of mini cupcakes. The cupcakes are so moist. The red velvet cake was especially popular.

We couldn't resist getting into the cupcakes that we had arranged on a 3-tier tray before the pic, but Eddie Lin got a cool photo of me breathing fire:

Thanks to all my wonderful friends and to Slaw Dogs, Polkatots and YummyEarth!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rivera: The Specials Tonight....

Word is out, a second Rivera will be opening up in the space that was Grace, as Grace moves into St Vibiana'a Cathedral. There can never be too much Rivera. We had a nice quiet meal at the "sushi bar" at Rivera before covering a Specials show at LA Live. For long, luxurious meals I prefer the "Sangre" room in the back, but this meal was a quickie.

The beet salad, which I believe was the Sevilla Flamenco Salad, had a Mediteranean flair with the spicing and addition of chickpeas. Then to add sweetness and acid and throw you for a loop blood oranges were added to the mix.

We had our usual piquinillos, which I didn't bother photographing because I have like 8 million photos of it already. For only $3 we sampled little shooters of Chef John Rivera Sedlar's take on tortilla soup, a duet that harmonized with intense tortilla flavor without the little crunchy bits of chip to ruin the smoothness.

Bob tried a flight of tequila infusions -- his favorite was the orange-habanero. We didn't order the relleno, but it was such a touching homage.

The lobster uhhh head and what looked like gelees is a kind of surreal dish. Pieces of succulent lobster are accompanied by an empty shell for fun. The green squares are poblano chile, and the colorful squares are carefully cut melon.

But we had a big night ahead of us so we said a shorter than usual hello to John and walked over to LA Live to see The Specials. The show was amazing and crazy and just a little dangerous. I came home soaked in beer and Red Bull. Check out Bob's review.