AVOCADO TOAST

May 28, 2013

IMG 6839 AVOCADO TOAST

Avocados make the world a better place and if I may say so, I do believe they’ve revolutionized the toast game. Toast will never be the same. Buttery avocados mashed onto bread? Nothing beats it. Also, you can’t really mess it up. Top literally ANY ingredient on avo toast and it will taste better than anything you’ve had all day (slight exaggeration but you get the point). And I know we all have our iterations of this infamous toast, whether it be avocado-only or heavily-topped with secret ingredients, but my favorite is Cafe Gitane’s in NYC. They’ve created the perfect balance of avocado to bread to yummy toppings. Although I’ve tried recreating it’s goodness, my replica is certainly not up to par with theirs. BUT it’s pretty dang good so I thought I’d share!

Here is my step-by-step guide to avocado toast:

While your bread is toasting, grab these ingredients:
avocado
extra-virgin olive oil
lemon
sea salt (or any other coarse salt)
chili flakes

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With a fork, mash half of a ripe avocado on a piece of toast. YEAH, go crazy, use a WHOLE HALF.

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Drizzle a spoonful of good olive oil over the mashed avocado.

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Squeeze lemon juice liberally over it as well.

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Sprinkle coarse salt over it. Go ahead, one more dash of salt.

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And finally, the real kicker. A few pinches of chili flakes. Now my chili flakes are pretty tame so I need quite a bit to get some heat. If your chili flakes are hotter, use less.

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And voila! Buttery avocado, tart lemon juice, and that heat from the chili flakes – ahh perfection in a bite. Repeat all steps again for toast #2. (everyone needs toast #2).

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MONTREAL: WHERE WE ATE/SHOPPED

May 23, 2013

Ok now on to the good stuff. We were pretty clueless about where to eat and shop in Montreal and relied purely on recommendations from internet friends, Foursquare lists, and one episode of Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover. What we discovered? Montreal has really good food. I mean REALLY good. Although we ate and shopped a TON, I’ve narrowed down our favorite spots below. The photo quality is reminiscent of blogs circa 2008 so bear with me. I only used my iPhone and at the time, I wasn’t thinking about taking high-quality pics because I was stuffing my face and slipping in and out of food comas. #blogfail. Anyway, the favorites –>

oliveetgourmando MONTREAL: WHERE WE ATE/SHOPPED

Olive et Gourmando
This was BY FAR our favorite place. And by “favorite,” I mean we had lunch here 3 times and I’m not kidding. It’s an adorable cafe with a daily-changing menu of sandwiches/salads/soups and a case full of delicious pastries. I can’t decide what I liked more: the cajun chicken, guacamole, and mango sandwich OR the quinoa salad with chickpeas, haricot verts, snap peas, and tiny peppers. I tried something different each time and couldn’t resist something sweet from the pastry counter after each meal.

MARCHE27 MONTREAL: WHERE WE ATE/SHOPPED

Marche 27
This restaurant calls itself a “tartare bar” so we knew we had to check it out, being that we love tartare and all. It was lively, hip, and we ate some of the best tuna tartare I’ve ever had. My favorite was the tuna with sesame vinaigrette because it reminded me of poke bowls. We also ordered the mac & cheese poutine and easily gained 5 pounds each. Two thumbs up.

JOEBEEF MONTREAL: WHERE WE ATE/SHOPPED

Joe Beef
I was legitimately scared to go to Joe Beef and I can honestly say it was the craziest of our experiences. It was also beyond amazing. Let me explain. This restaurant specializes in MEAT. Lots of it. If you’re wondering why 2 semi-vegetarians (we don’t eat red meat or pork) went here, I have no answer. The menu, which changes daily, is written on a chalkboard wall…in French. Yes, I took French in high school but I can’t read “horse heart” and “sea urchin fried in cornflakes.” We had the waitress read us the entire menu and ended up finding quite a few things we’d enjoy. We ordered burrata with green beans, an egg gelee, lobster spaghetti, and halibut with mussels. Oh and a few glasses of sparkling wine and a bloody mary or two (the bloody mary comes with an oyster and a crab leg, NBD). Everything was beyond delicious. I still have dreams about that lobster spaghetti and I don’t think I’ll have better lobster ever again. Sigh.

AUXVIVRES MONTREAL: WHERE WE ATE/SHOPPED

Aux Vivres
This little vegan cafe is perfect for lunch and we both loved it. I had a tempeh bowl with brown rice, veggies, and a thai peanut sauce that really hit the spot. They also had a full menu of teas which made my heart happy.

tavernegaspar MONTREAL: WHERE WE ATE/SHOPPED

Taverne Gaspar
On our last night in Montreal, we dined at our hotel’s restaurant and I’m so glad we did. There was a band playing, soccer games on tv, and the food was simple and delicious. We ordered fish & chips, a nicoise salad, and a half dozen oysters. It was a perfect meal to end our trip. Plus, they served the best beer of our lives: Kronenberg 1664 blanc.

JULIETTEETCHOC MONTREAL: WHERE WE ATE/SHOPPED

Juliette et Chocolat
We went to this chocolate-only dessert bar one night and split a crepe with nutella and strawberries. Ok why aren’t there dessert bars in Los Angeles? This would totally be my jam on a Saturday night if there were.

ROONEY MONTREAL: WHERE WE ATE/SHOPPED

Rooney
Kyle’s a longtime lover of Rooney’s online shop so this was a must-stop for us. It’s a well-curated men’s & women’s store with brands like Gitman Vintage, Saturdays NYC, and they even had some sweet New Balances. I wanted that Apolis market bag SO BADLY, but my mom calls me “bag lady,” meaning I probably don’t need another bag in my life.

LESETOFFES MONTREAL: WHERE WE ATE/SHOPPED

Les Etoffes
This was another great store we visited with a line-up of really unique designers, like Dana Lee and Apiece Apart. I haven’t seen a store so well-curated in a long time. Plus, I wanted their plant stands soooo badly (not for sale, of course).

Alright and because I loved the place so much, two more photos from Olive et Gourmando. That’s cous cous with a tomato-based sauce and roasted veggies, topped with pistachios and minty yogurt. I mean, really? So delicious.

OLIVEGOURMANDO2 MONTREAL: WHERE WE ATE/SHOPPED

Last thing! I haven’t mentioned our Montreal hotel much, but we stayed at the Auberge du Vieux-Port and loved every second of our experience. It was smack in the middle of Old Montreal, the room was beautiful, the staff was so accommodating, and there was complimentary breakfast every day. And I mean GOOD complimentary breakfast, like eggs benedict and waffles. It was nice to save a few bucks each day by eating breakfast in our hotel.

IMG 6335 MONTREAL: WHERE WE ATE/SHOPPED

And lest you think my blog is turning into a travel blog, it’s back to regular programming tomorrow!

HEART PIES!

February 12, 2013

heart pie1 HEART PIES!

heart pie2 HEART PIES!

heart pie3 HEART PIES!

Okay so I’m not really a Valentine’s Day person and can do without all the hearts and flowers if you ask me, but I was baking a pie and couldn’t resist making heart-shaped versions.  I rolled the dough out, mixed the strawberry filling together, and then searched high and low for my heart cookie cutters, through literally every cabinet in my kitchen, and those things were nowhere in site.  Disappeared!  So I did the blogger unthinkable and free-handed those dang hearts.  Some are a little lopsided but for the most part, they turned out pretty decent!

When they first came out of the oven, it looked like a heart pie massacre, what with the strawberry goodness oozing out everywhere, so I almost didn’t even deem them blogworthy enough to post.  But they tasted so delicious, I decided to post anyway.  Pie crust + strawberries is always a winning combination, bad photos or not.  And it’s a perfect treat for the upcoming holiday of love, so make it for your lovers and friends, my little conversation hearts!

Recipe here

Homemade Sea Salt Caramels

December 18, 2012

caramels3 Homemade Sea Salt Caramels

caramels4 Homemade Sea Salt Caramels

caramels1 Homemade Sea Salt Caramels

caramels2 Homemade Sea Salt Caramels

Every holiday season, I try to do at least one DIY project that involves the use of baker’s twine.  I bought like 5309560 yards of it 5 years ago, thinking I would use it every other day and I’ve barely made a dent in the roll.  So I’ve vowed to bust it out for any and all DIY’s until the end of time.  This year, I made sea salt caramels.  Last year, it was homemade peppermint bark, and the year before that was garland for my Christmas tree.  I get an A for effort on my baker’s twine usage, eh?

I made the caramels with this recipe, using the salted caramel variation.  I did 3 different batches and after about 4 hours of cooling time, I cut the caramels and wrapped them in wax paper squares.  It made roughly 120 wrapped caramels total (I cut mine pretty large), just enough for 10 in each of my 12 jars.  By the way, caramels are super easy to make!  Do not be frightened of them.  Just make sure you have a handy dandy candy thermometer.

As for the jars, I used these 1/2 pint wide-mouth canning jars, cut circles out of kraft paper, hand wrote on each one, and affixed them to the lid with double-stick tape.  I tied baker’s twine around each lid and strung a small cardstock circle with a Rifle Paper Co. sticker on it.

They make perfect small gifts for friends and coworkers.  What better way to tell someone you care about them than with a jar full of sugary goodness (topped with sea salt, of course)?

LUDOTRUCK

December 12, 2012

ludotruck1 LUDOTRUCK

ludotruck2 LUDOTRUCK

I usually don’t post giant photos of meat on the blog, but I’m making an exception for Ludotruck.  They literally have the best fried chicken EVER.  PS, it’s the holidays so my healthy-factor has gone out the window and I’m now exclusively eating things like this.  Goodbye kale salads.

Kyle and I got Ludotruck on Sunday at the Renegade Craft Fair, splitting the crispy breast strips and the honey garlic-glazed wings with a side of slaw and fries.  Just typing this out is making me feel hungry, which then makes me feel bad for only liking things that are cooked in deep fryers.  OH WELL.

Plus – and I can’t say this without getting extremely sad about it – word on the street is that Ludotruck will be closing shop for good in the very near future.  Just stab me right in the heart!!!  You better believe I’m going to eat this as much as I can until that truck is no longer.  Long live Ludo!!