Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Capital Noodle Bar

The Irvine Asian food scene continues to grow with each passing year.  New eateries are popping up here and there.  A notable addition to the Chinese offerings here is Capital Noodle Bar, which is related to Capital Seafood.  The latter is Irvine's mediocre attempt at dim sum.  Sadly, I've been here many times because, frankly there ain't much else as far as dim sum is concerned.  I've never eaten the dinner food here, but I've not heard great things.  So my expectations for the noodle bar weren't that high.  However, after a couple visits, I think it's a good little addition to Irvine if you ignore the price tag.

Fried Fish Cake
Your standard fried fish cake.  Nicely served with pickled cabbage and carrots

Juicy Pork Dumplings

Not sure why Big Head Talks-A-Lot would order this here, of all places.  Not the best, but decent.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Bestia is one of the hot restaurants in LA that has alluded me for some time now.  It's been open for a few years and many have extolled its solid offerings, especially the pastas.  I've tried to come here not once but twice with Ho Bag.  Once she cancelled on me, and once I cancelled on her.  Maybe it just wasn't met to be?  Come to the rescue The Bear Crew.  Buff Bear, Panda Bear, Luau Bear, Mani Bear (previously known as Little Bear), and myself hiked it to DTLA fighting all sorts of traffic.  Farm Bear was down for the count because the trek from Santa Monica to DTLA was just too ugly to tackle.

I don't think any of the newer restaurants in DTLA understand the concept of quiet dining.  The din of the very busy dining room here and at The Factory Kitchen were both energetic and draining.  The point of dining out with friends is, of course, to eat great food, but also to have great conversation.  It's so hard to do that when you're screaming at the top of your lungs.  But I guess anything is better than the acoustics at Bottega Louie.

Butter Poached Lobster chanterelles, kabocha purée, pea tendrils, pickled shallots, aged balsamic
Wonderfully sweet and supple lobster.  Everything was spot on, but I thought the kabocha wasn't the best pairing with the lobster.

Foie Gras Terrine stumptown coffee, spices, lemon paste, sea salt, brioche
We were so fortunate to come to Bestia just days after the foie gras ban was lifted.  The terrine was simply devine.  The lemon paste was a wonderful complement to the smoothe butteriness.  Why does foie gras pair so well with fruit?

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fish Dinner Party

One of the main reasons to upgrade the camera was to try and do more cooking blog entries.  Sooooo, that has really yet to happen, but then one day my friends and I had a spontaneous dinner party.  It was really great because everyone pitched in and cooked something as opposed to most of my dinner parties where I do all the cooking, which makes picture taking pretty impossible.  

Big Fishy, Fat-Skinny-Fat-Less Fat, and Fairius (previously known as Dairy Queen) woke up at the butt crack of dawn to go fishing at Irvine Lake.  Who knew a man made lake had fish for the catching, let alone the eating?  Contained bodies of water always kinda creep me out and add to that the man made component?  Ugh, what could those fish be eating?  Where is all their waste products going?  Nowhere!  Anyways, no point in contemplating these things since the fish has long since been enjoyed and digested.  So those guys caught some delicious trout which Big Fishy prepared.  Fat-Skinny-Fat-Less Fat manned the potatoes and brought a side of his mother's homemade kimchi.  Fairius roasted the Brussel sprouts, which he never gets to eat in Thailand, his current home, because they are so damn expensive.  I took over the cauliflower.  Sleepy Snoozy and Big Fishy's wifey pitched in and helped clean up.

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Do you ever get small random chunks of butter leftover after cooking or baking something else?  Well I had one of those so I just threw it in to finish the potatoes at the end.  Everyone's eyes bugged out at the amount of butter I just tossed in there, but nobody had a darn complaint about those delicious potatoes.  There's a reason butter and better only different by one letter.  Where is my winky face emoji when I need it?!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Tasting Kitchen

I was doing SO well and totally getting caught up on my blogging and THEN...I moved into a black frickin' hole for a solid 2 weeks.  Some people say it's totally refreshing to be off the grid for a while.  Those people are not just crazy, they are CUR-RAZY!  I burned through my month's data plan in 4 days because all I had was my phone tethering me to the REAL world.  But not to worry dear readers, just because I lived in an internet dead zone doesn't mean I my appetite died off too.  I have the food baby to prove it!

Dinner with the Bear crew is turning out to be great fun these days.  We're all slowing making that transition from overworked and underfed to underworked and overfed.  Buff Bear, Panda Bear, and Luau Bear are soon approaching the end to their terms of indentured servitude.  They will soon join the ranks of Farm Bear, Little Bear, and myself as gainfully employed citizens who get raped in taxes every year by good old Uncle Sam.  Welcome to adulthood!  I recommend easing the sting of reality with a tall glass of wine and new and delicious foods.

Gnocco Fritto salumi, burrata
I recently had a version of fried dough + cheese + cured meats at The Factory Kitchen.  I guess this was a do-it-yourself version.  I liked that the dough wasn't sweet, like it was at The Factory Kitchen.  It was fun to have the meat and cheese this way, but honestly some crusty chewy bread is always a great option too.

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