Santa Clarita Food Truck Fest

Today, despite the “cold” temperatures (eek highs in the 40’s!) and a small amount of sleet, Danielle and I took a mini road trip up to Santa Clarita for the Santa Clarita food truck fest.

True Life: I am older than the city of Santa Clarita

Santa Clarita is about 45 mins north of Los Angeles. It was a pretty easy drive north and it was totally worth the trek. For $5 we got access to around 40 different trucks serving everything from sushi to cupcakes to fried chicken and salad.

Danielle is a good foodie and we easily agreed on a basic strategy: no unnecessary beer, bread, or calories that will take up space in our stomachs. For example, we avoided the fry smith truck because its fries and will take up room. If there is a long line, one person will wait in line while the other goes to another truck with a short line. And we split everything. This way we can try more different things before we get full.

Trust us, we're pros

The first place we wanted to go was LudoTruck. For those that don’t know, Ludo Truck is by the same chef as the Ludo Bites restaurant, a pop up restaurant in LA that is super tasty and also super hard to get a reservation to. There truck serves only fried chicken and sides. I’ve been dying to try this truck for months and It was finally in my sights.

Here is the back story on Ludo Truck:

The line was super long so while I held our space Danielle ran to the Clean Street Food truck.

You might have read about that truck on Kaitlin’s blog. Danielle enjoyed some samples and called me asking about what I wanted. I left the decision to her discretion and she choose a winner:

Marinated Steak, sliced Parmesan with Caesar salad and Chopped Tomato. We ordered it “naked” so as to not waste precious stomach space on bread. This was one of my favorite eats of the day. The parmesan was so tasty on the steak and the salad was light and clean. The garbanzo salad was also very fresh and cilantro-ey. I really want to eat from this truck again it was so good! We finished this off quickly which was good because it was fried chicken time!

We ordered chicken strips. They had all white meat and we didn’t order any sides with it (it came with the slaw). Photo fun ensued:

Best. Fried. Chicken. Ever! The skin was very crispy and the chicken was clearly very high quality. The skin was salty and peppery which was perfect. We opted to dip it in grain honey mustard sauce which was a good compliment. We also tried the slaw. It was different than your typical slaw and had savvoy cabbage, celery, red onion, chives, and Italian parsley leaves. Maybe not my everyday slaw but nice and upscale. This was my favorite thing I ate today.

After we got the two most important trucks out of the way we wandered around the festival a little bit and got our barrings. Our next stop was dessert. For dessert round 1 we tried Ahn Joo.

This is another one I want to go back to eventually. Their entrees sound so good!

Bacon wrapped rice? Um, yes! We wanted the apple egg roll but they were out so we “settled” on the Nutella Sammie.

The sammie was grilled with butter and in the middle there was nutella and blueberries. It was dusted with cinnamon sugar and as you can probably imagine, it was fantastic!

To off set the sweet we decided to try some Hawaiian BBQ sliders from Uncle Lau’s.

This was the point where it started sleeting, in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA! Danielle is a fellow defected Midwesterner and we were not amused that there was “snow like substances” following us to So Cal. Luckily we got our food and had something else to focus on.

BBQ brisket and pulled pork with slaw. The pulled brisket mostly tasted like bbq sauce and the pork was light and maybe a little citrus-ey and was light but still flavorful. Overall, very good sliders.

Then it was time for more dessert! This dessert was so good that we took a bite, made an audible sound (lets call it a foodgasm) and a photographer came over and asked what we were eating and snapped our picture. What brought all this excitement on? Loukes Greek to go!

Loukoumades, mini greek donut balls, were the dessert of choice. I tried nutella and peanut butter and Danielle had strawberry. We got way more than we bargained for and I have leftovers!

 

Mine

 

Hers

Like fried dough heaven with nutella smeared on top. Love love love! Can’t wait to break into my left overs.

The second to last stop on the food truck express was the India Jones truck. I’ve eaten there before and I wanted to have a samosa.

Just like I remembered!

And on the way out I got a small treat to go: Honeydew boba tea.

I haven’t had boba in a long time and it hit the spot for the ride home. I love the chewy boba balls in the bottom!

Overall, the food truck was a major success! The only long line we waited in was for Ludo Truck and it was totally worth it. The eats were all tasty and even though we got sleeted on it could have been way worse (the weather last night was hurricane like). I came home, took care of some essential tasks (like filing my last ever FAFSA!), took a bath and now all my food baby wants to do is lounge and perhaps read some interesting academic articles on high school reform.

What is your favorite food truck?

baked potato pizza

I diligently tried to pay attention on class on Thursday but I had a hard time because all I could think about was my dinner. I had half of a whole wheat Trader Joe’s crust left over from making this earlier this week but I needed a good idea for toppings. And then it came to me: baked potato pizza. It was worth zoning out in Professional Responsibility for. I’m just saying…

Ingredients:

1/2 Trader Joe’s whole wheat crust pizza (this makes about two servings)

1/4 chopped broccoli

1/4 cup sliced red onion

1 clove of chopped garlic

1 tbs. canola oil

4 small fingerling potatoes chopped

generous grating of white cheddar cheese

dollop of extra virgin olive oil

generous handful of flour

salt & pepper

2 slices of bacon

Instructions:

Chop your ingredients and pre heat the oven to 450 degrees. In a roasting pan toss the potatoes, broccoli, red onion with the extra virgin olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Place on one side of the roasting pan. On the other side lay out bacon. Roast in the oven for about 15 mins, or until the bacon is done cooking.

While your veggies, potato, and bacon are roasting roll out your dough with plenty of flour. Once rolled out, brush the dough with canola oil (makes it extra crispy!)

When the roasting is done crumble the bacon and top your pizza with the bacon, garlic, broccoli, potato, onion, pepper and a grating of cheese- as much or as little as you like! Oh and if your cat is walking around crying while you handle the bacon, ahem Izzy, make sure you give her a little piece. I tried to snag a picture but she ate it too quickly. Little hungry hungry hippo.

Return the pizza to the oven for 10 mins.

And viola!

This was one of the most tasty pizza’s I’ve made in a loooong time. We know it’s my favorite post running food (I put in 4 miles yesterday).

The cheese was melt-ey and gooey and the bacon was crisp. The red onion added a little something extra to this pizza. So why baked potato? Because it has all the toppings of a baked potato. Except, or course, sour cream. Can you imagine sour cream on a pizza? I also had plenty of leftovers for today.

It’s another rainy Friday night in Southern California. I got a lot of work done today. With reading, research, and a midterm on Monday I have my work cut out for me this weekend. I did manage to squeeze in a wonderful 90 mins of yoga practice. It left me feeling refreshed, calm and ready to take on my work load. Nothing is better for my state of mind than yoga class! Tomorrow there will be some fun because I’m checking out a food truck fest. So excited!

Do you have exciting weekend plans?

running observations

Source

  • It will always be awkward to run by my professors around campus. Always.
  • Why is it I can easily run 8 miles on Sunday but 3 miles on Tuesday feels impossible?
  • Post 8 mile run I had absolutely no foot pain. None!
  • My toes are looking gross again, it’s a sure sign I’m increasing my mileage. No pedicures for me!
  • I love the above picture for two reasons. 1) Snot rockets, we’ve all done it and 2) it was taken on one of my favorite streets on earth.
  • I have a new running play list and I will break down the anatomy for you at a later time.
  • I’m a total wimp and hate running when it’s under 55. This has been a problem the past few days. I need to toughen up.
  • I need to drink more water, again. That “hungry thirsty” feel strikes again.
  • I pretty much run so I can eat pizza. Stay tuned for “baked potato pizza” tomorrow!

brussels sprouts gratin

As promised, here is the recipe for the dish that I brought to Sunday supper! It is for a bussels sprouts gratin from Cooking Light although I am not sure which issue it is from because it was dictated to me over the phone by my mother. This recipe was almost completely local (except for the bacon and butter) and was oh so tasty. Hope you enjoy!

You will need:

2 slices of bacon

4 shallots thinly sliced

2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 cup water

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp of freshly ground pepper

1 2oz. baguette sliced and food processed into crumbs (I bought mine from Homeboy Industries at the Brentwood FM!)

3 tbs. butter

1 tbs. canola oil

Instructions:

Set the oven to broil. Place the bacon flat into a large glass casserole dish and put in the oven. Cook until crispy. I would check on it periodically but it shouldn’t take too long. Remove from the oven. Take out the bacon, crumble, and set aside.

In a large pot on the stove heat the canola oil (at med-high heat) and saute the shallot until soft. Keep an eye on those shallots! Once they are soft add the water and the sprouts. Bring the water to a boil and partially cover the pot with its lid. Let cook for about 6 mins or until the sprouts are almost tender. When the sprouts are almost tender, remove them from the heat and sprinkle with half the salt and pepper. Spoon the Brussels into the bacon pan and put the crumbled bacon on top.

In another pot melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the rest of the salt and the bread crumbs to the butter and saute, stirring frequently until lightly toasted. This takes about 2 mins. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top of the sprouts.

Broil for three mins or until golden. Enjoy!

Sunday Dinner

By now we all know that I have a blatant obsession with the cultural juggernaut called “Jersey Shore”. I find the show entertaining for oh so many reasons but some of my favorite scenes on Jersey Shore are when the cast sits down to “Sunday Dinner”

Source

They all come together and dine on some of their favorite foods: penne alla vodka, baked ziti, sausages with pepper and onion, cold cuts and Ron Ron juice. Not to mention, they all have a hilariously good time while doing it.

Monica and her husband Dan were gracious enough to host a Sunday Dinner for me, Amanda & Andy, and Kaitlin last night.

But instead of Ron Ron juice we had red vino (lots and lots of delicious red vino)!

Instead of cold cuts we had veggies with red pepper hummus

AND salami with amazing sweet whiskey cheese, pesto gouda, and crackers. All were provided by Amanda and Andy (clearly they know my affinity for salty meats) 😉

Instead of ziti and penne alla vodka we had two kinds of Brussels sprouts (!) because Kaitlin and I share a brain are clearly obsessed with Brussels sprouts. Mine are a Brussels Sprouts Gratin from Cooking Light (recipe to be posted shortly) and Kaitlin made Asian sesame glazed sprouts. You can truly never have too many sprouts. Mine on top and Kaitlin’s on the bottom.

And instead of sausage with peppers and onions we had Cranberry Barbecue Beef Stew with Socca which Monica made. It was so tasty and included many of my perennial obsessions like butternut squash and sweet potato. This was especially nice because butternut squash is slowly disappearing from the farmers market. This dish was  a tasty send off for an old friend (please don’t judge for my calling bnut squash a friend. You know I’m right). Overall, this was a fantastic dinner filled with some of my favorites.

The one thing that was the same as Jersey Shore Sunday dinners: I pretty much laughed my ass off the entire time. Not only are these people hilarious, they understand working out, racing, foodie obsessions, and blogging. Matches made in heaven. My core muscles are sore today from all the laughing that I did throughout the night.

Then we decided to take a picture. It was an… interesting process which we will call “how many bloggers does it take to take a group photo”…

Take 1:

Take 2:

Take 3:

Take 4:

Take 5:

Apparently bloggers are a massive fail when it comes to self timer and it takes Dan to get a good picture.

In any case, major thank yous go out to Monica and Dan for hosting a fantastic Sunday dinner! Personally, I think it was way better than a Jersey Shore Sunday dinner! 🙂

the secret to deliciousness

Its really simple…

The Flour cookbook went for the win again yesterday. This time I made browned butter and vanilla rice krispie treats during a mini baking party with Danielle. These were basically your run of the mill rice krispie recipe with two important alterations. 1) brown the butter and 2) while browning the butter, add vanilla bean.

Holy yum.

I grew up on Rice Krispies and my Mom makes a killer rice krispie. This was just like hers but with a little something extra. Seriously. Browned butter is sent from heavens. I’ve already had three.

Izzy has had 0 but I caught her trying to climb on the counter top this morning. Looks how angry she is at being denied treats. It’s a frustrating life for this cat.

I’m enjoying a lovely 4 day weekend. Friday was all about yoga and cleaning, Saturday was all about being social, Sunday is all about food and Monday is all about my upcoming Remedies Mid Term. Do you have a three day weekend? How are you spending it?

perfect asparagus risotto

When I was in college I had two “favorite” dining hall meals: potato pancakes and risotto. I don’t know what it was about Bartol’s (the dining hall) risotto but I couldn’t get enough. I think the key to what made it awesome (besides lots of oil, because let’s face it, everything in Bartol was doused in oil) was the creaminess. I’ve been playing around with risotto recipes for the past two years and I think this is the perfect risotto. It’s creamy, has vino flavor and features farmer’s market fresh asparagus. Plus, it’s relatively quick and easy to make!

For success you need:

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

¼ cup yellow onion, chopped

Small handful of pine nuts

    ¼ cup of white wine

    1 cup of water

    1/3 cup of arborio rice

    1 bunch of asparagus with the tops and stems sliced and separated

    1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

    1 spoonful of crème fraiche

    Generous grating of parmesan cheese

    Sea Salt

    Freshly ground pepper

To start, heat the EVO over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, and pine nuts with salt and pepper until softened, about 5 mins.

Maintain the medium heat and add the rice. Stir the rice until fully combined with the onion/garlic/pine nut mixture. Once integrated, pour in the white wine. I used a Sav Blanc in this dish, but any dry white wine will do.

Stir the mixture until the rice has absorbed the wine. Then add the water and raise the heat to medium high. You need to monitor and periodically stir the rice. Observe the rice. Once the water has reduced by half, add the asparagus.

 

Look how green! After yesterday, all I wanted was something green to nibble on. OK, back to business!

Continue to monitor and stir the rice until it is almost all absorbed. Leaving a little bit of water in the rice will enhance the creaminess later. Once the water is nearly absorbed take the rice off the heat and grate parmesan into the rice. You can add as little or as much as you like. I like to add a little, stir it in, and then add a little bit more ;). Overall I added a little bit less than ¼ cup.

Once the parmesan is stirred in, you add the magic ingredient and the secret to the creaminess…

Just a spoonful! If you add anymore it gets a weird white look but too little and you don’t get the desired creaminess.

Stir in the crème fraiche and serve with a light grating of parmesan on top.

I don’t want to toot my own horn but this is a pretty awesome risotto. It’s quick, easy and packed to the gills with asparagus. I think the key to the success of this dish though is the parmesan and crème fraiche combo. Unbeatable!

What was your go to dish in college? Besides potato pancakes and risotto I also loved stir fry with heavy sauces. Clearly, I was a picture of good health.

the grilled cheese truck

I have been very good this semester at bringing my lunch to school (or eating at home). It’s not that hard because there are very few appealing options at school (Carl’s Jr? No thanks!) Today I had a lot of reading to do in the morning and I didn’t have time to make lunch. After class I decided to wander over to the area where the food trucks congregate and boy am I glad I did.

Look what I found:

!!!

I’ve been wanting to try the grilled cheese truck for a long time. The line for the grilled cheese truck is infamously long. It took about an hour between ordering and waiting but it was so worth it. On the plus side I had plenty of time to plan what I wanted to eat.

While I was enticed by the brie and fig melt (!) I decided to go with the signature sandwich: the mac and cheese melt with rib meat and caramelized onions.

I sipped on this while I waited:

And then I waited and waited. It actually wasn’t that bad, thanks to my smart phone.But finally it was ready…

This sandwich is what it sounds like: cheesy mac and cheese with rib meat. It was pretty tasty but very heavy. Not only was the mac and cheese cheesy, but there was additional cheese. So much cheese. I’m not complaining, we all know that I love cheese. You’d think that eating a sandwich with pasta in it would be weird but the mac was very soft, it didn’t seem like I was eating pasta at all. The rib meat was shredded and had a sauce which was slightly tangy. It didn’t over power the cheese but it cut the super cheesiness.

In my opinion the mark of a good grilled cheese sandwich is the bread and how it is cooked. This bread was perfection. Not over cooked but buttery and crisp to offset the cheesy center. This sandwich makes me never want to buy grilled cheese from anywhere else ever again (except Clementine).

I also ordered a half order of tots on the side. I can’t help myself. I am weak before the prospect of tots.

In my opinion, nothing will ever trump Umami’s cheesy tots but these did the trick.

I had a massive cheesy food baby after finishing this meal. In fact my food baby almost put me to sleep in remedies. I fought through it and went on a 4 mile run after school. It should be noted that grilled cheese and tots are not proper fuel for runners. The second half was faster that the first half which is always good but my stomach was kinda queasy the entire time.

And finally: The street artist Banksy has been in LA recently. “Through the Gift Shop”, his documentary, is nominated for an Oscar and is fantastic! I saw it when my brother visited me last summer and thoroughly enjoyed it. You should see it if you haven’t already. While Banksy has been in LA his work has been cropping up in the city. Some was spotted on Sunset but one popped up in Westwood! This is pretty cool because no offense to this corner of the city, but it’s not really all that hip. I’d expect to see Banksy’s work in Hollywood or Echo Park but not Westwood.

Of course, I expect it will be gone shortly so I stopped by this afternoon to snap some photos.

It’s in Westwood on Kinross between Westwood and Glendon (behind Urban Outfitters) but hurry up if you want to see it, I hear they’re trying to paper it over already!

The grilled cheese truck was an awesome truck. Do you have an idea for a great truck? I think a macaroon truck would be pretty sweet (salted caramel from Tavern obvi) or a Susie Cakes truck, OR maybe a bacon truck.

Can’t win them all

The saying “can’t win them all” has served me well over the years. I wish that I could take credit for it (credit goes to my friend Carolyn). Admittedly it is short, brilliant, and applies to numerous situation.

One such situation happened recently. I tried to make this:

but instead of Russet potatoes I planned to use sweet potato. I know. It sounds fantastic.

However, my first batch hit a small snag. The flour to egg to seasoning to potato to butternut squash ratio was off and the “pancakes” never formed. Instead I was left with butternut squash and sweet potato…hash? It was almost like shredded hash browns. I emptied the “hash” into a Tupperware, refrigerated it and adjusted my ratios appropriately. Luckily, the second batch turned out just fine but I was still left with a conundrum about what to do with the ill fated “batch 1”.

Today, in my rush to find and eat something lunch appropriate, I happened onto a delicious variation. I call it can’t win them all latke salad.

I’m not going to act like this is an act of culinary genius, but it kind of is. I simply reheated the “hash” (equal parts butternut squash and sweet potato, cooked with EVO, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and cumin) and placed it on a bed of fresh farmers market arugula. How good is farmers market arugula? SO GOOD! It’s crispy and spicy and delicious. I am so glad I didn’t buy spinach this week, I don’t think it would have been as good. This mistake ended up being pretty tasty, no where near as bad as that time I forgot to add flour to cookies! That was an epic cooking disaster!

Have you ever had an epic cooking disaster?