Eating LA #weekendcooking

One great thing about Los Angeles is all that amazing food that’s on offer. I always feel like the Bay Area is so far behind LA when it comes to food trends and such.

So when in LA, it’s important to do lots of eating.

Of course we were also there for Universal Studios but that’s another story.

Mama Lu’s Dumpling House in Monterey Park

153 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park

Confusingly, there are two Mama Lu’s close to each other. You want the one on East Garvey, not West. They’re known as a dumpling house but personally I thought the dumplings were just average. Instead, their other cooked dishes were really tasty (and cheap). We had beef chow fun, pork ribs with Peking sauce, garlicky pea sprouts, salted fish vermicelli and more.

Also, please don’t ask me about Singapore noodles, which sadly, yes, this place offers. Singapore noodles may exist around the world, but we Singaporeans do not eat vermicelli with curry powder. So please don’t go to Singapore and expect Singapore noodles!

 

Thai Patio in Thai Town

5273 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027

We were staying at a lovely vacation rental in the Hollywood Hills, and not far from there is Thai Town. I’d never been before and was pretty excited as I LOVE Thai food. A friend had recommended a place but we were unable to find parking close by. But we did grab a street lot outside Thai Patio, which is located in a small strip mall full of other Thai eateries. Ruen Pair has lots of great reviews and 4 stars on Yelp but there was a wait so we decided to just try Thai Patio which had open tables. But I figured that whatever we ate at Thai Town would probably be better than anything in our own city, which has a few Thai restaurants, but nothing like this.

These fish cakes were the spiciest I have ever had, and they were really good!

The papaya salad was nice and refreshing. I would have preferred it more spicy but we had to keep it to medium heat for my in-laws’ sake.

Tom Kha (like Tom Yum but with coconut milk)

 

Bhan Kanom Thai

5271 Hollywood Blvd

Next door was Bhan Kanom Thai, which specializes in Thai desserts. I really wanted to come here after seeing that they have Khanom Buang, a crispy pancake filled with coconut cream and grated coconut.

It was crispy and coconut-ty and so delicious. The last time I had this was in Bangkok and that was years ago, so I was delighted to be able to eat this again.

 

Ttu-Rak

125 N Western Ave, Los Angeles

Woah the spiciness level here is high. We ordered the octopus galbi stew with a level 3 spiciness and it was definitely spicy. I don’t think I could go to a level 4 and eat it comfortably…but it was just really tasty (and still spicy) at level 3.

 

This was probably the first Korean restaurant I’ve been to that didn’t serve kimchi, instead there was pickled cabbage that wasn’t spicy. How odd.

After you’re mostly done with the stew, they will make a fried rice with your remnants! You can add vegetables or cheese. Of course we had to pick cheese. It was so tasty!

 

 

Exploring the nearby Korean supermarket – a banchan bar!

 

Mimimyunga

450 S Western Ave, Los Angeles

On our last night, we headed back to Koreatown, this time for soba. I’ve only eaten soba at Japanese restaurants so was curious when I found this Korean soba place.

Everyone ordered a cold soba and I wanted to try one hot one just to see what the soup would be like. So this is the mackerel with hot soba.

Tempura cold soba was refreshingly delightful. Unlike Japanese soba where you are given the dip on the side, this soba was immersed in the cold broth. It was really very tasty.

Don’t worry, they also have udon and ramen if that’s what you prefer. Turns out Mimimyunga is the first US outpost of a Korean chain.

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

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If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim

A moving, accomplished debut.

At its heart is a love triangle. There is Haemi, 16. The war has forced her, her mother and sickly younger brother, out of their village and into a refugee camp. There is Kyunghwan. They sneak out together late nights on his bicycle, looking for makgeolli to get drunk with. Jisoo is Kyunghwan’s cousin, he’s more well-off than Kyunghwan and wants to marry Haemi before he enlists.

Haemi eventually marries him, as she feels Jisoo is the best way to ensure that her family is secure, but her decision to forsake Kyunghwan continues to affect her – and her family – through the years.

I loved how Kim effortlessly weaves historical events through the story – the aftermath of the Korean War.

Haemi’s story continues to echo in my head even after finishing the book. She’s not an easy character to like as she struggles to accept this life that she chose. But I appreciate that Kim doesn’t turn her life into a bright shiny happy one and instead leaves the reader wondering, would she really be happier if she had chosen otherwise?

If you’ve read some of my book thoughts on my blog/Instagram, you may know that I’m always interested in books that feature food and If You Leave Me will make you hungry for Korean food. While I do love eating at Korean restaurants, I learnt a lot about Korean food that aren’t found in Korean restaurants here, such as steamed silkworm pupae, hotteok (a sweet pancake with brown sugar and walnuts), tea made with persimmon leaves.

Library Loot (June 12 to 18)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

 

 

Happy Wednesday! It’s the last day of school for my two boys. If I had it my way we’d celebrate by sitting down and reading. But no, of course that’s not going to happen…so think of me while you read this because I’m probably standing by some playground melting in this ridiculous heat that has me hating on summer. Meanwhile, go add your Library Loot link right here:

The Aftermath – Rhidian Brook

I saw this while browsing the Libby catalogue and thought it sounded interesting.

Set in post-war Germany, the international bestseller The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook is a stunning emotional thriller about our fiercest loyalties and our deepest desires. In the bitter winter of 1946, Rachael Morgan arrives with her only remaining son Edmund in the ruins of Hamburg. Here she is reunited with her husband Lewis, a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an extraordinary decision: they will be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower and his troubled daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.

 

The Siren Depths (The Raksura #3) – Martha Wells

Ugh I do not like that cover. But I do adore this series. So if you can get past that cover, you’ll find amazing world building and great characters! Also, a matriarchy.

All his life, Moon roamed the Three Worlds, a solitary wanderer forced to hide his true nature–until he was reunited with his own kind, the Raksura, and found a new life as consort to Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud court.

But now a rival court has laid claim to Moon, and Jade may or may not be willing to fight for him. Beset by doubts, Moon must travel in the company of strangers to a distant realm where he will finally face the forgotten secrets of his past, even as an old enemy returns with a vengeance.

The Fell, a vicious race of shapeshifting predators, menaces groundlings and Raksura alike. Determined to crossbreed with the Raksura for arcane purposes, they are driven by an ancient voice that cries out from…THE SIREN DEPTHS

 

BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts – Stella Parks

I’m not all that fond of e-cookbooks but they are just so convenient – also, not at all heavy tomes.

From One-Bowl Devil’s Food Layer Cake to a flawless Cherry Pie that’s crisp even on the very bottom, BraveTart is a celebration of classic American desserts. Whether down-home delights like Blueberry Muffins and Glossy Fudge Brownies or supermarket mainstays such as Vanilla Wafers and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream, your favorites are all here. These meticulously tested recipes bring an award-winning pastry chef’s expertise into your kitchen, along with advice on how to “mix it up” with over 200 customizable variations—in short, exactly what you’d expect from a cookbook penned by a senior editor at Serious Eats. Yet BraveTart is much more than a cookbook, as Stella Parks delves into the surprising stories of how our favorite desserts came to be, from chocolate chip cookies that predate the Tollhouse Inn to the prohibition-era origins of ice cream sodas and floats. With a foreword by The Food Lab’s J. Kenji López-Alt, vintage advertisements for these historical desserts, and breathtaking photography from Penny De Los Santos, BraveTartis sure to become an American classic.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home – Jeni Britton Bauer

In case you haven’t seen my previous posts, I’ve been making ice-cream at home! And I’m intrigued by these ice-creams from this cookbook which do not have eggs and instead use corn starch.

Addictive flavors—and a breakthrough method for making creamy, scoopable ice cream at home.

Unique flavors, prepared from top-quality ingredients combined with minimally processed milk from grass-fed cows, transformed Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, a small artisanal scoopery in Columbus, Ohio, into a nationally acclaimed (and beloved) brand.

Now with her debut cookbook, Jeni Britton Bauer is on a mission to help foodies create perfect ice creams, yogurts, and sorbets—ones that are every bit as perfect as hers—in their own kitchens. Frustrated by icy and crumbly homemade ice cream, Bauer invested in a $59 ice cream maker and proceeded to test and retest recipes until she devised a formula to make creamy, sturdy, lickable ice cream at home. Her recipe for a milk-based American-style ice cream contains no eggs, which allows her amazing flavor combinations to shine. Filled with irresistible color photographs, this cone-tastic book contains 100 of Jeni’s signature recipes—from her Goat Cheese with Roasted Cherries to her Salty Caramel to her Bourbon with Toasted Buttered Pecans. Fans of easy-to-prepare desserts with star quality will scoop this book up. How cool is that?

The kids’ loot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

Moon Rush: The new Space Race by Leonard David #TLCBookTours

 

I’ve read many works of fiction that are set in space, watched many movies and TV shows set in space, but I’ve never really read much nonfiction about space.

And you can rest assured that you are in good hands here with journalist Leonard David, who has been reporting on space-related news for over 50 years.

The race to the moon began in the 1960s, between the Soviet Union and the US. But today it is a very different landscape – in January, the Chinese landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon; a spacecraft from an Israeli nonprofit crash-landed on the moon in April; India’s moon-lander is scheduled to take off later this year; or how about Japan, which plans its own lunar rover to land next year? The race to space is definitely back on and this book is published just at the right time to tell us all about the history behind it all, as well as what’s upcoming developments that we can expect in lunar exploration.

 

Some fascinating tidbits of information were gathered from my reading of this book.

Such as:

“Three sealed samples, one each from Apollo 15, 16, and 17, remain unopened, intentionally saved until technology and instrumentation has advanced to the point that investigators can maximize the scientific return on these unique specimens.”

I couldn’t help wondering when exactly that would be. How, for instance, could anyone decide, oh we should open this year, when who knows what kind of scientific advancement could happen next year? It’s not like science and technology is going to stop improving (or at least I hope not) so who makes that decision and how do they make such a decision?

Reading this book made me wonder, would I go to space if that were an option in the future? Would I want to go to the moon? I don’t know if I would. I don’t think I like the idea of hurtling up in a spacecraft powered by rockets (that’s probably why the first astronauts were pilots). How about you? Would you want to be a space tourist?

 

I received this book from the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review

 

Pick up a copy of the book: National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Top Books From My Favorite Genre #toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

 

Books From My Favorite Genre

Favourite genre is a tricky one! Is there any genre I don’t really read?

I ended up going with speculative fiction which is kind of an umbrella genre encompassing a variety like science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, dystopian and more.

So here are my favourites!

 

The Earthsea series – Ursula K Le Guin

One of the first more serious fantasy books I ever read. It’s such an important book to me that I brought it with me from Singapore to the US. When I was a kid, someone (I wish I knew who!) bought me a copy of The Wizard of Earthsea, the first book in the series. And I read it over and over, not realizing that it was a series. So it was only when I was in…maybe my late teens or so that I read the rest of the books. In fact, because the book I bought was just the first four books, I didn’t read The Other Wind until maybe about 7 years ago.

 

  • The Wizard of Earthsea
  • The Tombs of Atuan
  • The Farthest Shore
  • Tehanu
  • The Other Wind

The Chronicles of Prydain – Lloyd Alexander

Another series I loved as a kid! But this one is more of a children’s book so I never saw it as more serious ‘fantasy’.

 

 

Temeraire series – Naomi Novik

Novik may have become more well-known thanks to her latest books Uprooted and Spinning Silver, but my favourite of hers is still the Temeraire series which I am still very slowly making my way through. There are 9 books in total (I think?) and I’ve read 5 so far. It’s a great setting – the Napoleonic wars but fought with dragons!

 

The Lady Astronaut series – Mary Robinette Kowal

You may have already read my review of The Calculating Stars but in case you haven’t, this is one fun series (just two books though!) that isn’t set in the future but in a slightly different past. The race to space takes on a different, more significant purpose.

The Inheritance series – NK Jemisin

The world building in this is exceptional. And it was also one of the first few speculative fiction series that was far more diverse than those I used to read. Loved the strong main character and the fascinating world of gods and mortals.

 

What are some of your favorite speculative fiction reads?

 


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

 

 

 

#AsianLitBingo 2019 Wrap-up!

 

I had a fun time reading books for this challenge

 

Here is what I read:

Edinburgh by Alexander Chee LGBTQIAP+ Asian MC #ownvoices

Emergency Contact by Mary H K ChoiRomance with POC love interest #ownvoices

River of Stars by Vanessa Hua Asian Immigrant MC #ownvoices

Not Your Sidekick by CB LeeAsian superhero MC #ownvoices

My Brother’s Husband Vol 2 by Gengoroh TagameGraphic novel with Asian MC #ownvoices

Bad Friends by Ancco  – Poor or working class MC #ownvoices

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay South Asian MC #ownvoices

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo East Asian MC #ownvoices

Gula Melaka coconut ice cream #weekendcooking

 

 

Over the long weekend, we picked up an ice-cream attachment for the KitchenAid mixer. We’d been toying with the idea of buying an ice-cream maker for a while now, I argued for getting an attachment, since my mixer sits on the counter already,  too heavy to move around. I wasn’t ready to commit to a proper ice-cream maker, the bigger machines which do not require pre-freezing of the bowl, and which are of course more expensive. There were some reviews of the KitchenAid attachment that didn’t seem that great, about the liquid inside leaking. But so far it’s been ok. We will see how it goes later in the year. Meanwhile, it was at a really good price at Target ($45) compared to list price which was about $71. So we went for it!

And after freezing the bowl for about 15 hours, we made our first vanilla ice-cream (recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Leibovitz also available on his website) and it was so good! The real vanilla beans make a difference plus that custard was just lovely and silky and rich.

So far so good.

I wanted to also try a coconut ice-cream recipe. My in-laws are visiting from Singapore and they always buy this ice-cream from the Philippines when they’re here. There are some speciality Filipino grocery stores here that carry it, unlike in Singapore. But it is expensive!

I found a recipe that uses coconut milk and coconut cream (no egg yolk custard). And decided to try it. But it never churned up properly. Was it because there was no custard? Instead we froze it into popsicles, which were really delicious but also kinda icy. I decided that I had to look for a recipe which did use the egg custard and try that instead.

The recipe is below. I found that the coconut taste wasn’t very strong in the way I adapted it. I may experiment with substituting some of the heavy cream with coconut cream, although I’m unsure of how that would work, if it has enough fat in it to make a good ice-cream. Stay tuned for a future coconut ice-cream experiment!

 

(I adapted this recipe from David Leibovitz‘s Toasted Coconut Ice-cream from his book The Perfect Scoop. In his recipe, he doesn’t use coconut milk but regular milk which he infuses with  toasted shredded coconut.)  

 

1 cup (250ml) coconut milk

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream

50g gula Melaka (palm sugar)

100g brown sugar (or regular sugar – I only had brown sugar in my pantry)

Big pinch salt

5 egg yolks

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

 

Warm the coconut milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, palm sugar and brown sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Do not boil.

Pour the remaining one cup of cream into a large bowl and set a large strainer on top of the bowl. Also get a bigger bowl that the bowl of cream fits into, so you can create an ice bath.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks together.

Now this part is important, don’t skip it! You need to temper the eggs, so pour the warmed milk and cream mixture into the egg yolks really slowly. In the original recipe, he says to pour it all in, but I don’t think you need to. Pour enough so that the eggs warm up and don’t become scrambled eggs when you pour it into the saucepan. Now scrape the warmed eggs into the saucepan (on medium heat) and keep stirring often. The mixture should thicken and coat the spatula. I run my finger down the spatula and if it leaves a distinct “trail” then it should be done.

Pour the custard through the strainer and stir into the cream. Add vanilla extract. Let cool in an ice bath for a bit. Then stick it in the fridge until it’s cold enough.

Then freeze the mixture in your ice-cream maker per your instructions. In my Kitchenaid ice-cream attachment, it took about 20 minutes to get churned and cold. It wasn’t however as ice-cream-like as the vanilla ice-cream I first made, the husband said I seemed to have made soft-serve ice-cream.

But once we stuck it in the freezer for a few hours, the texture was just nice.

 

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs