I have a craving

For brussels sprouts sauteed in garlic butter.

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The picky eater chronicles

In attempting to pretend to almost clean up one sliver of countertop in the kitchen, I ran across a bowl with one and a half egg yolks in it.  I boiled two eggs this morning for the little girl.  She ate the egg whites an at least tried to eat half of one yolk, but she really doesn’t feel them.  Since she was a baby, she has refused to eat boiled egg yolk.  Now, if my husband makes (ugh) over easy eggs, she has no problem eating the runny center.

I don’t get it.  This girl eats deep-friend shrimp heads, eyeballs and all.  She eats natto like it’s going out of style.  But somehow, in some weird way, boiled egg yolks are gross.

Gasp!

How did I miss the last 3 days? OMG…I could have sworn my last post was on Sunday night. Oh man!

So, some catch up…My neighbor had a birthday party on Sat. night. Mariachis, birria, and lots and lots of tequila. Let’s just say that a few of the guys are covered in bruises from falling, and on Sunday everyone was swearing off tequila and drinking.

Sunday, I took the kids downtown. We actually started going over to The Grove, but their were limos outside, the line to get into the parking structure was ridiculous and so I left. Ran into to police action in my old neighborhood. And (shoot me now!) finally got out of the area in 20 minutes, leaving me thrilled that I no longer live in the Fairfax district. It only took almost 40 minutes to drive the 8 miles to downtown. Then we went home, picked up Adrian and went to Olvera Street for Las Posadas. Interesting…I don’t know about the life-sized wooden nativity scene. That kinda freaked me. Ooh! I finally went to the Iglesia Nuestra Señora Reina de los Angeles. I had no idea that there were two churches there! Pictures will be posted later.

Yesterday, I did some more work in the yard. I went to town and everyone was oohing and aahing. It looks that good. Today, while Adrian’s visiting his mom, I think I’m going to install a walkway. My neighbors across the street (brother to the neighbor who had the birthday party on Sat.) had a party last night. There were tacos and tamales. YUM! And tequila. It was funny because they were making what I’ve always called “sodaritas”: tequila, lime, salt and Squirt. Loads of those were ingested. While we were there, Ilia learned some of her body parts in Spanish from a 12 yr. old girl who just adored her. In return, she taught the little girl some ballet.

So, that’s out weekend in a nutshell, not including the people we’ve had over. Now, we’re getting ready for New Year’s. Last year was so much fun sitting out on the front porch and watching all the fireworks for a few hours. If you’re in LA and I don’t hate you, feel free to come by.

Top Island Restaurant

That’s where we had dinner last night. I highly suggest not ever eating there again. Um…let’s see, we got there a little around 7:40. I went in to be seated and was seated immediately. Right next to the station where the waiters punch in their orders and stuff. About 10 minutes later, I finally caught the eye of a standing waiter and ordered two beers from him. He ran away before I could order drinks for the kids. He came back and we got the drinks. The only kid friendly drinks they have are water, 7-up or Coke. Yeah, the kids got water. In red kegger cups. Swanky.

The menu is big. It’s a seafood restaurant, so naturally you’ll want to try that. In the back of the restaurant you can see the tanks where they keep the huge crabs, lobsters and fish. They have curiosity-making stuff on the menu like Crystallized Chicken Feet and Jellyfish (that’s one dish), or the Live Steam Frogs in some kind of sauce. What looked really good was the Crispy Duck Chin in Meggie Sauce. Lots of frog, shark fin, and bit o’ birds on the menu along with the tried and true. We stuck with tried and true.

We finally got someone to take our order around 8:15 and the food arrived around 8:30. For appetizer, we ordered the Soy Duck:

Soy Duck

Doesn’t that look tasty? That’s fried tofu on the side. Starving and eager to get some duck, I took a bite and was utterly disappointed. I didn’t even know you can make dry duck. It was tough, chewy and just disgusting. Ilia and Adrian ate the tofu and they liked it I guess.

A few minutes later, the waiter put a plate of crab on our table. We didn’t order it, but he said, For you, it’s free.” ??? Now who am I to turn down free crab? Via Chowhound, I learn why we got free crab

Crab

It was fried, with these pepper, garlic, ginger bits all over it. The crispy bits were tasty. The crab was dry. I mean, it was actually drier than the duck. Let’s put it this way, the crab meat tasted like I was eating straight from a shredder. A spicy shredder. Bleeeh. At this point, I’m sitting there thinking, “Now, why do I let Adrian pick places when they suck 95% of the time?” Oooh…our Scallops with Chinese Yevon Chives is here:

Scallops with Chinese Yevon Chives

Not dry. Not exciting either. The best part about this dish was the snow peas. Those were perfectly crunchy, sweet with a hint of ginger and made the other items in the dish that much blander. Seriously though, scallops aren’t that hard to cook. They’re like the tofu of the mollusk world. These were white blobs on my plate. They actually almost tasted just as bad as tofu, they were so dull. What it needed was a splash of rice vinegar, but the waiters were done with us for the rest of the night, so I had to suffer. The crispy bits from the crab with the scallops was pretty good though.

The next dish out was our Kung Pao Prawns. Okay, so like when I see ‘prawn’, I think ‘really big shrimp’. I don’t think ‘shrimp’. This dish was Kung Pao Shrimp:

Kung Pao Prawns

I don’t know…I’m not hep to the Kung Pao when the peanuts aren’t cooked. It all seems so half-assed. I’ve stopped eating kung pao in Asian areas because I’ve noticed that they don’t make it spicy enough for us. This kung pao was weak and way too sweet. The peppers just laid there, like couldn’t be bothered to give us a kick and the shrimp, while not dry were tough and chewy.

The last dishes to come out where the rice. We got steamed rice and minced beef fried rice. Oh glory be, that fried rice was probably the best fried rice I’ve had in a while. Better than the last two Chinese restaurants we at in Alhambra and those places had awesome fried rice. Naturally, I don’t have a picture of it.

Between the bad service and the horrible food, I can honestly say that free crab or not, I’ll not be eating there again.

Green Bean Casserole

Can someone please explain the green bean casserole thing to me? Black people don’t eat that (super-blanket statement here). What I mean is that I’ve never met a black person who’s made it and everyone I know was introduced to it via a friend from college. I mean, it’s not like part of our traditional holiday meals, y’know?

Let me interject a funny story here: So it’s me, 2 Filipino guys, 2 Latino guys, 3 Egyptian guys and a white guy. All of us had spent the holidays with friends. So we’re sitting around talking about our experiences. Everything gets quiet and one guy who spent the holidays with his girlfriend’s family said, “Green bean casserole.” All of us looked up, looks of horror spread across our faces. One of the Latino guys said, “Yeah. What was up with that?” We all turned to the white guy. He said, “Beats me. My mom makes it every year and no one eats it.”

My friends just say, “It like turkey at Thanksgiving. You just do it.” That’s not satisfactory to me. This is a dish that is visually unappealing to me and taste-wise lives up to its looks. I understand that Campbell’s developed the recipe, but it seems pretty strange to me that a large chunk of America eats something every holiday based on a manufacturer’s recipe. It’s just that people get excited over it, but from what I’ve seen it’s always the one dish that mostly untouched.

So, why? Is it the taste? Do you do it just for tradition sake? Do your guest genuinely like it? I’m curious.