Tag Archives: personal

I’ve Gone to GoPago; Meatballs for All!

26 Jul

I am very happy to announce that I am now working with the awesome team at GoPago. This free mobile app combines all of my favorite things: reading menus, restaurants, shopping, customizing, ordering, purchasing, technology, efficiency, community and my smartphone. The community aspect is of the utmost importance to me so please be sure to follow us on Twitter @go_pago, on Facebook and on the app to keep the community expanding and to let me know what you think!

Speaking of expanding, the amount of restaurants offering our services is ever-growing but I wanted to highlight a few dishes at some of our restaurants because I am currently meat and chickpea ball obsessed. I have already written quite extensively about my love for the Meatball Gigante at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. Although, if you can’t order one of the 25 made daily, the regular size are equally delicious and a more manageable ball.

For my vegetarian friends, GoPago has three Sunrise Deli locations where you can try one of the best falafels in the city. The Super Falafel with eggplant and potato included in the pita pocket or lavash wrap is the way to go.

For those looking to combine the best of both worlds and marry the most awesome things together, like GoPago does, I have an awesome Frankenstein-esque ordering  kind of solution. You must try the dish I recently wrote about that combines Italian with Middle Eastern. The Safeehat Falafel at Jannah, which is basically a pizza with a falafel crust and the most delicious toppings: pesto, eggplant, roasted red bell pepper, green and red onions, shitake mushrooms, tomato, feta, and goat cheese.

I want to offer you $10 in credit to try some of the restaurants out, since I am so excited about my new role, the company, the app, and these food selections. Simply download the app and enter my special promo code “Meatball” to try one of these awesome dishes, all under $10, for the next 48hrs. Come over to the new way of ordering/paying quickly and let’s have a ball!

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Israeli Cuisine: It’s Real and It’s Spectacular

1 Apr

I have a dumb habit of the second that I bite into a pupusa saying, “I am getting in touch with my brown side.” My dad is no longer alive but he was a Salvadorean revolutionary and refugee and I feel very disconnected with that side of me. Sure I can so-so speak spanish, but it is the second that I bite into the food that I get in touch with that culture.

Being Jewish is quite different. That I get and I know. I can’t speak Hebrew, but I have my own special relationship with that side of me. Obviously I am a food-centric person, but there is no specific food where I say, “I am getting in touch with my Jewish side.” Pastrami, brisket, and a kosher pickle do it for me, but that feels New York. My Jewish grandma was an amazing cook and we spent a great deal of time in her kitchen, but that cuisine was very worldly. I fondly remember her stuffed cabbage rolls (my favorite “Jewish” food), but we just as often made chinese food, dumplings, curries, spaghetti and BBQ together. I know that a lot of the Jewish culture and holidays take place over meals and yet when I went on a Culinary Trip to Israel in February, I really had no idea what that meant. Sure, I know middle eastern food, but nothing that was “Israeli” specific.

It turns out that much like being Jewish, which has no clear and cut definition: a religion, a race, an ethnicity, a culture; Israeli food is also all over the map. It sounds so cliche but it is an absolute melting pot, not just with the bordering countries, but with the entire word.

Right outside the shuk in Jerusalem, we visited one of the first neighborhoods that was built out of the city walls and there was this great legend that we heard. These neighborhoods often had a central stove outside and each family would have their own special meals cooking and when the sons would fetch the pots sometimes they’d mix them up. The Ashkenazis would get the Iraqis’ food and think it was too spicy and vice versa and the Iraqis would think their food was too bland. Then over time the families would request that their sons would grab the wrong pot on purpose. Thus, the cuisines do meld together and there is room at the table for each place the wandering Jews wandered to make its way back into Israeli cuisine.

During my visit I did hear a great talk by Janna Gur, the Queen of Israeli Cuisine, and learned that some things are strictly Israeli. For instances, Israelis are the only people in the world that eat salad for breakfast, they invented the cherry tomato, and date syrup called “silan” is more popular than honey and sugar.

However, the real joy about Israeli cuisine is that everything comes together: schnitzel in a pita is the epitome of that. Another example I saw was at Shuk HaNamal (The Port Market), where the slow food movement is very much embraced. We got a demonstration from a chef that showed how an Israeli would make a panzanella salad: a variety of the freshest tomatoes, za’atar thrown on and strained yogurt.

I have never been to Yemen but this Yemenite flatbread that was all of over the country was a personal favorite. This four cheese and mushroom dish I got in the Kabbalah town of Tzfat was delicious.

In Tel Aviv, I dined with friends at a very cool Georgian restaurant called Nanuchka. There was a picture near the stairwell of a man with his very large member showing, after much questioning, I learned that all of its glory belonged to the DJ at the restaurant/louge. However, nothing compared to the warm chickpeas in the hummus at Abu Hassan in Jaffa. The picture of the DJ didn’t ruin all other men for me, but one bite of this warm hummus ruined me forever with the refrigerated packaged stuff.

Another great thing I put in my mouth was a Persian Jewish dish called Gondi, which reminded me of matzo ball soup mating my all time favorite, meatballs. As soon as I took a spoonful of this ball and broth, I grabbed my ipad to tweet this very import message: Gondi > Gandhi.

During my ten days in Israel the highlight was picking carrots in, of all places a tomato farm in the desert, Shvil Hasalat. Later that same busy day, my carrot relationship became even deeper as I found myself cutting pounds and pounds of carrots with the dullest of knives at Nahal Brigade for a vegetable soup my group and I cooked up for more than 350 soldiers.

While at the farm, I heard that carrots were initially from Afghanistan and that they were white. When they were imported to Holland, orange was an important color to the country so they only grew orange carrots and that’s how they became known as orange. I have no idea if that story is true but I like the metaphor for Israeli cuisine and I love that I got to pull out some O.G. carrots from soil in the Middle East. Jews have spent generations living all over the world, taking in cuisine influences and now they get to bring it all together in their own country, which is beautifully delicious!

Carina Ost: On Course in My Mission Fruition

11 Jul

Photo Credit: Henri Matisse. Nude with Oranges. My favorite painting.

If there is one universal truth that I believe in, it is synchronicity. Last year, when I moved from LA after a good solid year and a half of writing about food and a building a young lifestyle company for foodies I was unsure of my direction, identity, and next steps. My move to San Francisco, mainly Noe Valley, brought me to a colorful sign that read “Ripe Fruit Writing.” Hmm, my new life plan was to be a writer and no longer dreams of being a reality tv star or media mogul. Two of the six new domains that I bought were entitled Ripeness is All dot com and Mission Fruition dot com. “Ripeness is all” was taken from Shakespeare’s King Lear and is often used to stand solo because those three words are the meaning of life for me, even if not Shakespeare’s intention. Ripeness is All was meant to be my personal growth blog and Mission Fruition is where I would try and talk about my main passion: food. I have done a pretty shitty job adding to both but I’ll blame the luck of great jobs and opportunities falling in my lap for that one.

Anyway, back to Ripe Fruit Writing. It was a writing class in my neighborhood where we had a teacher, prompts, notebooks, and pens and took breaks with hot tea and ripe fruit. In other words, it was the perfect class for me and only blocks from my house. One of my prompts that we did was trying to recall our first memory. What do we see when our mind transports us back in time to our youngest self? Supposedly, this is what will follow you for your whole life. For me, I was probably nearly three. I was just out of the bath with my mom and I refused a towel. I was wet and naked and specifically remember wet hair. I am at my grandma’s house. There are only white walls and then large pink and orange artwork of Matisse nudes, musicians playing in New York, and Asian women warriors riding lions that she batiked. My grandma and I both loved fruit but she  loved her fruit very under ripe and ice cold, straight from the fridge. I hated that feeling on my new teeth. She handed me a peach and it was so cold that I held it to my mouth like it was my egg and I was it’s mother. I would patiently wait until it was the appropriate room temperature before I took a bite. I then remember juices running down my face and deeply looking at the colors, the oranges and the reds closer to the pit.

Immediately I can see how this first memory has continued in my life. First, I still take ridiculously long baths and my mom and I normally are simultaneously in the bath in our respective homes when we talk on the phone together.  It is our bonding time. I also get made fun of for not knowing how to dry myself off. I don’t blow dry my hair and barely use a towel. The most comforting thing for me is getting under the covers wet and taking a 10 minute nap after the exhausting bath. Secondly, my grandma’s asethetic is all over my apartment and embedded in my style. Granted, I have a ton of her artwork but even the pieces I choose are very similar. Asian influences with female subjects and reds, pinks, oranges and yellow. Lastly, on to the peach, fruition is my favorite word and has been since I was 12 and fruit follows me in all that I do. When I was in this writing group we read these aloud and my classmates commented on how sensual that was and it was no wonder that writing about food is what brings me the most pleasure.

Which brings me on to me next subject, did I find what I am supposed to be doing? I don’t know yet. However, I do know that the other day I was looking through my closet and stumbled across some old school  papers. Among them was an alphabet book that we had to make. For my subject, I chose food and while flipping through the pages I discovered that I have been writing about food and taking pictures of food for far longer than I ever imagined. I also remembered in Jr. High doing a presentation where you were supposed to teach the class a skill and I did cake decorating. It was a complete and utter diaster, but again food was my beacon.

Anyway, I can’t describe how good it felt to connect the line in the map of my life from the past to the future and realize that there is a reason that I am doing exactly what I have always done and representing the person at my core. I mean, it’s impossible to ever really go off course, at then end of our lives we can clearly see the path and it will make sense but I really felt so lost just a year ago: new career ambitions, new city, new friends, and new life.  My college application essay for undergrad was called “Why I Deserve to Be Like Merv” about Merv Griffin. First, I wanted to own hotel. Later I wanted to be Martha Stewart and made a brand plan that looked identical to hers. Now, I can say that I am paving my own way and it is more true to myself than I could have imagined. As someone who grew up reading nothing but biographies there is something so profoundly liberating about filling up my own pages instead of reading and following along to someone else’s.

The P Mack and Its Babies: The Pub at Ghirardelli Square

18 Mar


Fortunately, I have never been pregnant but my taste-buds and cravings would tell you otherwise. I have been known to go from pickles to gummy candy to frozen grapes on many a nights. I love craving stories almost as much as I love insider restaurant stories and on a recent visit to my new favorite stomping ground, The Pub at Ghiradelli Square, I heard a story that combines both. I have become friends with the owner, Scott Broccoli, as I do some projects for him, and he told me this story that I am about to share with you. Scott is a new first time father and when his wife was pregnant she was really craving a Big Mac. He worried for the love of his life and his unborn child and said, “You can’t eat that, you’ll kill our baby!”  I am a huge Mickey D’s fan (nothing makes me happier than boot-shaped chicken nuggets in sweet and sour sauce) but I appreciated the sentiment.  He attempted to create his own bigger, better, Big Mac that was healthier because he knew exactly what was in it. His wife approved and he added it to The Pub menu. Now it is the must-have item for pregnant women throughout San Francisco. He named it the P, for pregnant, mack. Well, that is great and all, but I have only ever experienced food babies and this burger satisfies my every craving. Also, their kitchen is open til 1:30A, something all Baby Daddys -and all of my future boyfriends- need to know because I foresee this midnight craving. I first ordered it with salad to try to be “healthy” and within seconds I traded it in for french fries to get the full effect (you can also get it with tots!)

The end of January brought Scott’s first child and the P Mack also gave birth. Along with the real life baby Lucca, came Lil Luccas to The Pub’s specials: a twin slider version of the P Mack. I will admit it, I tried both, and I preferred these cute little babies. They were more manageable, I could hold one in each hand (double fisting, yo) and didn’t get as messy. In case you’ve been living under a rock since 1950: the Big Mac secret ingredient is thousand island dressing. I love the sauce at The Pub; all of my fries were dipped into the delectable sauce oozed from my burger(s). The crunch of the pickles was so nice that I asked for an extra side of pickles. Again, I am not pregnant but at The Pub I can eat like I am.

 
The Pub at Ghirardelli Square
851 Beach St
San Francisco, CA 94109

(415) 351-0500

www.thepubsf.co

Omnivore Books on Food: Just Devour It!

28 Jun

I have now lived in San Francisco for a little over a week. I have been on two dates, tried countless new restaurants, and I have already fallen in love. This isn’t a crush this is a full blown love affair. It all began a few days ago when I was driving to meet someone. Side Note: I am trying so hard to lose my LA car tendencies but it is so hard. I just heard the fact the other day that any place in the city is within two blocks of some kind of public transportation, so my driving is unnecessary and has proved to be dangerous. When you are as big of an eater and shopper as I am and in a new city, every drive is a prowling. I turn my head to one side and then to the other and I forget to look at the road. There is a Thai restaurant to my left and a wine bar to my right. I need to remember these names and yelp them later, they are in my hood and that means they are now mine. On this particular day, I drove past a bookstore that looked adorable. While I was being honked at to do my main job of driving, I registered the words “Books on Food.” I imagined the best. I just discovered an entire bookstore based on food writing, cookbooks, and everything else a gourmand would need. I didn’t know a place like this existed and I was pissed that I didn’t think of this sooner. I had places to go but I made a note to thoroughly investigate later. I kept remembering the time when I was in Europe and I tried Magners (Bulmers in Ireland) for the first time. I was in heaven. That drink was something I never could have imagined and yet it combined all of my favorite things. There was a fruit component, there was alcohol, it was nice and vinegary, and I was able to drink it fast unlike beer. It was a drink that was tailor made for me and something that was impossible to find in any LA bar. However, blocks from my house, at the Valley Tavern in Noe Valley along with bars all over San Francisco it is on draft. I thought that was my favorite thing in Noe Valley and then a better suitor  and  combination came along.

After a night at Bourbon & Branch I had my first San Francisco sleepover. Unfortunately, it was not with a man but perhaps even better it was with my best friend d’Auria. After a night of strong cocktail drinking, I was thrilled that I was waking up next to her. We grabbed bagels (that were boiled and not baked) at Holey Bagel and then as I was going to drive her home without the awkward morning-after-nonsense I asked if I could take her somewhere that looked amazing but I wasn’t sure. She was her normal agreeable self and I drove by memory to the site of my near collision. Ceasar Chavez and Church and there I found Omnivore Books on Food. I was relieved. I wasn’t making it up. It really did exist. I still didn’t know what to expect as I only had a relationship with the sign. As we got to the door we first saw the sign with Oscar the Oyster. d’Auria is big on design and aesthetics and is currently helping me redecorate my life: from my new apartment to my new websites. I knew instantly that if she had all the time and money in the world she would make a bookstore that looks exactly like this.

We were two girls in our version of a candy shop. Bourdain was in front of us and Ruth Reichl to the left of us. There were farm fresh eggs at the counter and a converted meat locker. This old restaurant space seemed like a shrine to all that encompasses food. The woman at the counter was my favorite kind of store owner, she is in her element and she loves what she does. She wasn’t pushy at all and I could see her smile when I talked trash on chefs and food writers. Perhaps I felt too at home here, but this is now my neighborhood and this store held everything that I value: food and words. I asked d’Auria if she could make Indian food because she is a woman that is a Jill of All Trades and she said that she wants to but would rather learn from an expert. Later when we talked to the owner she said, “I heard you mention Indian food and we have one book that is fantastic because it is all built off 5 spices and the author walks you through it.” She knew the whole backstory and I was so captivated by the store she told, I bought the book. I told d’Auria that we would be working through it as soon as my kitchen is unpacked and d’Auria helps build me  a cabinet for my appliances and cookbooks in my kitchen. She easily agreed and we spent the whole car ride marking recipe pages. I will let you all know how the Indian cooking goes.

So that is it, this is my love story. I love Omnivore and can’t wait to devour more of it. Like any good love affair, I am getting so excited about being able to introduce this place to my family and friends. The owner gave me great restaurant and book recommendations but, perhaps more importantly, she also gave me a place that I naively feel was made for me. I know this sounds corny (I can even make that punny) but this little place showed me that Noe Valley is my neighborhood and home. Finding this gem was more significant and grounding then my new mailing addresss and apartment keys. Anyway, I will gladly take you here at any point and don’t forget to check out their awesome events. I am most excited about Frank Bruni on July 25th. In it’s perfect omnivorous fashion you can find new, vintage, and signed books throughout the store.

3885A Ceasar Chavez St
San Francisco, CA 94131
Neighborhood: Noe Valley

(415) 282-4712

www.omnivorebooks.com

Contigo Kitchen + Cava: Let a Great SF Meal Be With You

23 Jun

My 4 years of spanish in high school taught me that “contigo” means “with you” and  last Thursday night Contigo was most definitely with me. I had officially moved in to my first SF apartment only hours before my dinner. The moving truck had been returned, my new apartment was stacked full of boxes, and I had my newly appointed best friend Tony with me. He had been more than awesome: He helped me move. He drove the truck from LA. He endured me and my neurotic family and he did it all expecting nothing. The night before there was a very funny encounter with Tony and my family. First, Tony dominated my 9 year old brother at a game called sting pong, which is like ping pong but if you lose you remove your shirt and the winner gets to peg you with the ball. Let’s just say my little brother went to sleep with welt marks. My mom then made a joke that she never would have guessed that Tony would have been a finance major instead of an anthropology student. Tony was now several vodka and cranberries in and responded, “Finance, are you kidding me? I am moving your daughter, who I have never slept with, for free” Anyway, Tony is fantastic and after all he had done I really wanted to buy him a nice meal. We explored my new neighborhood, Noe Valley, until we found THE place. Have no fear, we first grabbed a beer and while it was the final Lakers game the only cheers heard in my neighborhood pub were from Celtics fans. Tony was annoyed and we walked more finding numerous cheese shops and bakeries in my charming stroller lined neighborhood. I read “Cava” and Tony and I determined that this was the place. The front window looked into the open kitchen and a hot chef with tattoos (a sign of any hot chef) was chopping vegetables. The place was so cute with a modern decor and although we didn’t have reservations we were seated right away at the only empty table. We ordered the Jamon Serrano, which was aged for 18 months, and the Patatas Bravas.

We also, of course, had several glasses of Cava. The potatoes were far too salty for my taste but the ham was perfection. Super high quality that literally melted in your mouth. The concept of this place was Spanish and Catalan and the name was chosen to connote “connection, community, collaboration, and convivialit.” As with most San Francisco restaurants this means local, organic, and humane ingredients. However, the restaurant’s mission went far beyond this, there was actual interaction with the other tables. We found out that the table next to us was a newly wed husband and wife from DC and they were visiting the wife’s daughter. Tony and the husband, who both had retirement in common, discussed the game that Tony was checking on his phone. Tony has lived in LA for the last ten years and was saying, “Of course, you are rooting for Boston. The rest of the world hates Los Angeles, but everyone loooves San Francisco. Let me guess, if it was the Dodgers and the Giants in the world series you would choose SF.” The man shrugged and Tony nodded. Tony just turned 31 and is a Boyle Heights resident, a part time professional mover, a member of the Mo-Odds and an anthropology student at East Los Angeles Community College. This man kind of rules at life, he bakes all of his own bread, gardens, and drinks good beer. He enjoys being mildly annoying and interrogated the waitress on the menu that changes daily based on what is available and in peak season. When he asked where Watson Farm was, where the lamb was from, the waitress didn’t skip a beat when she replied Marin. He ordered the roasted spring lamb and I ordered the cod with fava beans. My dish was good, although I wasn’t crazy about the sauce, but Tony’s dish was much better. He deserved the better entree, after all, he did all of the heavy lifting. The lamb was phenomenal and caused the foodgasm of the meal. After he finished the lamb, I went in and dug into the perfectly roasted turnips.

It was the perfect meal in my new city and my new neighborhood. Yes, I live in San Francisco now. And yes, LA has a bad rap when you leave the area but, truth be told, I love LA and I still have some excellent LA gems to write about. While I had to leave behind great people, restaurants, and food to make the transition to the next phase of my life I was so excited to be welcomed by such open arms and to have a restaurant that was “with me.” I dropped off a well-fed Tony at the airport an hour later and was alone for the first time in my new place. I have so much to explore and I couldn’t be more thrilled! Contigo was a perfect introduction and due to their close proximity and daily menu changes, I have feeling that I will be with them for a very long time.

1320 Castro St
(between 24th St & Jersey St)
San Francisco, CA 94114
Neighborhood: Noe Valley

(415) 285-0250

Taste of the Nation LA 2010: Tasty & Fruitful

7 Jun

I am not sure about what I believe in but, without doubt, I know that I believe in synchronicity. I wrote in my UG and LA Goodbye post that you could see us, Josie and Carina, the OG UG girls at Taste of the Nation LA. However, then I had no idea how significant this event would be. For the last week, I have been up in Nor Cal apartment hunting and trying to get my new life in order. What I have really wanted to do more than anything is write on this site about all of the fantastic LA food that I have had in the last few weeks. I have been busy but on Friday night I finally completed and then accidentally deleted an entire post I wrote about the last night LudoBites 4.0. I was livid but had no time to fix it or rewrite it because I had to be in bed by 10:30P and out the door of my family’s house in Santa Cruz by 5:30A to make it to my TOTNLA volunteer duties back in LA. I was tired and after a very caffeinated Venti Chai and 44oz Diet Coke (which oddly enough was cheaper than the 24oz at the gas station) I was wide awake but with the need to pee every 20 minutes. I made it to the beautiful Media Park in Culver City just in time for my shift. I grabbed my volunteer shirt, went to the station, saw Josie and within minutes we were back to our old antics. We “worked” and, of course, began the day with the most healthy offering at the event…red velvet cupcakes from Sprinkles.

If you really want to know how bad I am, I went directly from those to a St. Germain Cocktail. It was my drink of the day and what I kept drinking even on into the after party.  Champagne, St. Germain, club soda, and a lemon peel was exactly what I needed on a sunny day after driving for 6.5 hours.

After some sugar, a drink, and the realization that I was no longer in a car with the need to pee, I was finally ready to delve into the food portion of the day. Just like last year, the food was beautiful, abundant and definitely did not disappoint. Some of the first dishes I had were actually my favorites and I don’t know if it was just me but I noticed a big crispy rice trend in many of the dishes and frozen adult slushies, both of which I loved immensely. The first dishes I tried were from a Culver City restaurant called K-Zo it was spicy tuna over crispy rice and then a spicy albacore roll. There was also a marinated albacore sashimi with radish and carrots that I loved. It was fresh, fatty, and oh so delicious!

Patina had a beautiful hamachi dish but I think it was a tie between K-Zo and XIV for the better sashimi.

Another common dish was meat and a starch or as Mattatouille said on Twitter, “Nice to see so many familiar faces at @TOTNLA. Food was good though too many beef/mashed potato the like dishes on a hot day.” Several  restaurants did it several different ways. Hatfields had short ribs over mashed potatoes with crispy rice, caramelized onions, and sea salt sprinkled on top. XIV had beef cheek with liquid corn on the cob. Tavern had a really nice piece of meat on a crostini with cheese on top. Lastly, there was the BLT Steak short rib tortelli that was another winner, it was delicate and well seasoned with fresh corn and mushrooms. Tavern was probably the most tender and delicious piece of meat, XIV had the most interesting side, and Hatfield’s was just a nice and solid dish. In fact it was really funny at the Hatfield’s tent because there was a huge line and the chef was thoughtful plating each dish an ingredient at a time. As soon as the meat was atop the mashed potatoes a guy in front of me in line was being polite and told me to take a plate. I said, “Thank you, but I don’t think he is done plating.” After we waited for the last three additions to be added, I happily took my plate first and this man in line with me looked very defeated. Thankfully this well put together dish cheered him up.

As previously mentioned, the other trend that I loved and supported were adult style slushies. They were refreshing on this hot day and alcohol is always a fantastic accompaniment to food. I had The Bazaar nitrogen Caipirinha and the cucumber adult slushie aka “Brain Freeze” from Marcel at Bar210

In attendance were some famous Top Chef Alum from Marcel to Michael Voltaggio. Michael did a live cooking demo for the event and I was unbelievably impressed by his dedication. He could have easily shown us an amazing and decedent dish to prepare but instead he really promoted the cause and did something much more meaningful. He made a healthy and delicious meal for 8 using $10 worth of ingredients. Also I never noticed it before but Marcel looks an awful lot like Ryan from The Office, although he is not this Michael’s crush. This Michael, Michael Voltaggio has another crush and that is ending childhood hunger. He was so impressed by TOTNLA and Strength that he got their famous apple logo tattooed on his calf, that my friends is dedication.

If you want to know about dedication, then I am the wrong person to ask as much as I was volunteering I was more interested in food. Josie and I had “Talent” on our name tags that wasn’t because we were the talent but rather we worked that station. It was our job to make sure the talent made it to  the stage and that the stage area was clean. The very funny Sklar brothers were the hosts and we offered to walk with one of them to hoard food for his wife and child who arrived late. While we were walking the tents, I ended up only getting food for myself. Side Note: the brothers had a funny bit about the TV show Hoarders and how they couldn’t delete any episodes of the show from their DVRs because they had so many memories of watching each of the episodes. Anyway here were some more of my favorites and even some Mission Fruition worthy dishes.

This one bite dish from Church & State totally allowed me to reach the elusive foodgasm. It was eggplant on the softest most delicate chickpea pancake. As soon as I took my first bite I reacted by saying “Baba Ghanoosh, that is good!” Another dish that I loved was no surprise, because I loved it last year as well. The miso ginger black cod in butter lettuce from Nobu West Hollywood is quite simply one of the greatest dishes ever. It is always perfect on hot days and Nobu has been doing this dish for years and way better than everyone else.

Another perfect dish that I loved was the Burmese melon salad from Susan Feniger’s Street. There were nuts, sesame seeds, fresh melon, and delicious coconut shavings that made this dish perfection. I love fruit and this dish brought me to fruition at first bite. Another sweet and seductive dish was the vanilla bean panna cotta from Mozza that came with fresh berries and a brittle. It was the creamiest panna cotta I have ever had and I loved that this dessert was not too sweet.

By far the most filling thing I ate was the hot dog from Fig. I had the one with pork belly and Fritos but I preferred the taco dog that Josie had with just about every taco topping smothering it. When we realized that we needed a picture of the two of us we each had a hot dog and I also had the lamb burger from Ford’s Filling Station (where I ended up last night at the unofficial after after party) in my hands. It was synchronicitic and something about yesterday just felt like old UG times.

The last Taste of the Nation LA event was an entirely different experience, for me, from the event this year. Both events had beautiful weather, delicious food, and both times I was overwhelmed by familiar faces and new tastes in my mouth. Last year, Uncouth Gourmands was just starting to make a name for itself and everything was exciting and new. I met new people, famous chefs, and reached multiple mission fruitions in my mouth. This year I arrived and it was more about closure. Yes, the food was fantastic and it was a good cause. But I really wanted to see old and new friends and say goodbye before I make my move. I rushed for that aspect of the event rather than just the food. I really feel that in going yesterday it made me more ready and able to move on. I have had a ton of amazing LA restaurants experiences, many of the restaurants were featured at this event, in the last few weeks to share with you and perhaps I needed this closure to start the ball rolling on this new site, more blogging, and my new life. I have already proved that I will drive down from NorCal in the wee AM morning hours and trust me a move to SF will not stop me from attending Taste of the Nation LA 2011…this is THE food event of the year! Just to tie it all together and prove that life really is synchronistic as I was downloading photos of the event on iPhoto I hit the Last 12 Months folder and this picture of Josie and I was taken exactly one year ago yesterday. We are still girls eating hot dogs but we are eating our own dogs and heading in two different directions.