I like stuff.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


That's right, I put down my crackpipe for a minute and said "Hey, what
allegedly near-impossible dish have I never tried making before?"

So after scanning one of the books Amanda got me for Valentine's Day, it was
decided: Cheese Souffle.

Actually, the real story was that I wanted to stay around the house this
weekend and as a trade off, I asked Amanda what she would like, so this was
her idea, really.

This is from the Alton Brown "I'm just here for more food" recipe.

I plated this pretty simply, with a small salad (romaine, mushrooms,
avacado, parmesan, a shiitake/sesame vinegrette and a nice crouton)

5 years of watching Good Eats pays off?


Monday, February 20, 2006


So we went to lunch at Rutabegorz the other day.

Small. Cozy, in fact. Been around since the dawn of dirt, as far as things
that substitute "Z" for "S" in the name go.

Amanda got the 1/2 Salami Sandwich (Cotto Salami and Cheddar on squaw bread
(normally comes with tomato as well) and a cup of Cockie Leeky soup. They
fouled up her order, and brought the Chicken Tortilla soup instead. After a
brief inquiry, they brought the Cockie Leeky, so she got to sneak a taste of
both. She seemed to like the Chicken Tortilla better, but was otherwise
happy with the place (especially the pineapple smoothie with orange juice
and the almond joy cookie bar for later)

I got the garlic chicken sandwich, which was basically garlic chicken and
melted cheese, with tomato and avacado on a baguette. Good stuff, though the
garlic chicken was bordering on the too-strong-even-for-my-tastes. Might try
it on the garlic chicken salad that it seems to have originated with.

Got out of there for under 30 bones, but we splurged a bit.
They're very vegetarian-friendly, so if nothing else, be sure to think of
this place when you're hanging out with your veggie friends (or self)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Valentine's Day, 2006

Alright, so nothing new and original here. For the big romantic valentine
day meal, we ended up going to one of our regular haunts: Tommy's Sushi.

Granted, we don't go there with the same regularity that we used to since we
moved to the far north end of the county, but we typically make the drive at
least every couple months, and always make sure to show up to the New Year's
(whew, try saying that out loud) extravaganza (our designated line-sitter
finally made it first in line this year after several years of taking second
place. Granted, he did so by showing up at 9:30am (doors open at 5:00pm),
perhaps we should start springing for his meal (we showed up around 3:30).

But, sorry Tommy, we actually tried going another place first that happened
to be closer (even knowing that we don't like it as much). When they turned
out to have a wait that was surely longer than driving to Tustin and getting
through that wait, we turned tail and ran.

Without going into various sordid recollections of various years past, there
isn't a lot to say about the place. Really good, fresh fish with an ambiance
reminiscent of Bladerunner. As someone that's never been off-continent, I'd
swear the place belongs behind some vaguely-marked door in a Tokyo
marketplace than republican-clad Orange County.

Still no scoring system, so here's another group o' stats:

Typically, we spend about 50 bones for the two of us. That breaks down into
our usual order:
2 spicy tuna cut rolls
2 tuna and avacado cut rolls
1 salmon skin cut roll (split between us)
1 yellowtail (hamachi) and onion cut roll (split between us)
1 order of tuna sashimi (7 pieces, we split that too)
1 order of gyoza (dumplings similar to potstickers, split between us)
1 order of albacore nigiri (2 pieces)
1 order of salmon nigiri (2 pieces)
and occassionally, we'll split another cut roll, often California Eel Roll,
Soft Shell Crab Roll (sometimes known as Spider roll due to all the legs and
whatnot )

(for what it's worth, try to make it to the new year's eve extravaganza
sometime. all-you-can-eat sushi, champagne (not good champagne, but
still...), $25/person. We often do much experimentation then as they lay it
out buffet-style. The only downside is that they don't really identify
things so well, so it's hard to order it ever again)

Sit-down table service. Things get pretty busy on weekend nights, and they
don't take reservations, so if you must, try to sneak in close to opening
time (5pm).

Go a few times, and you'll learn to spot Tommy, the owner. He always says
hello when we stop by. It doesn't translate to discounts or anything, but
how many restaurants do you go to that the owner recognizes you? (cue Cheers
theme song)

Things to watch out for:
-Check out the photos in the entryway. They've been a bit better behaved
lately, but you might note that some of the happy diners depicted are not
only holding up the California License plate with the approximation of
"Tommy's Sushi", but occassionally an um...adult....toy.

-Keep an eye out for when the chefs at the bar start doling out the special
white sauce. I've only spotted it once, so I'm not entirely keen on the
details, but they've got a collection of wooden statues of men wearing
barrels on the shelves behind them. As I've heard it (and as best as I can
tell), they take the barrels off and grate daikon radish over the
anatomically-correct statuettes onto the sushi. I've heard they only do it
for one of their specials, but I can't recall which.

-Hey, while you're at it, keep an eye on the chefs anyhow. They tend to get
a bit inebriated every night, and occassionally they start getting onery. I
once witnessed them dealing with an inexperienced customer that asked what
the wasabi was by responding "green tea ice cream" and offering the
inqusitor a bowlful. Don't get me wrong, they aren't mean-spirited, but it
was humorous.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

California Fish Grill

Hey, in a possibly short-lived effort to force feed some content into this
thing, I'm going to stop the monthly chronicle of "Here's what I made" and
throw in some "Here's where I eat" to go along with it.

Got lunch today at the California Fish Grill with Amanda. Been there a
couple times in the past with some cow-orkers, but this was the first time
she'd eaten there.

Lesson #1: I remember now why I almost never eat breakfast. Eating the Fish
and Scallops Fryer Combo less than an hour after waking is a sure way to not
wanting to eat again the rest of the day. Tasty, but I've felt stuffed all
stinkin' day.

Lesson #2: Be careful about how you sell a place. I'd made some rather grand
overtures about how much Amanda would like the seared ahi because in a past
trip, a cow-orker had ordered it, the appearance was the way one might
expect seared ahi to look: Like a steak cooked rare. Alas, it came out
medium. She still seemed to like it, although we're going to have to be more
specific next time about A) If the menu warns "Served Rare", serve it rare.
B) Do not include any complimentary cole slaw (she's got a phenomenal
aversion to mayonnaise, anything with mayonnaise, anything on the same plate
with anything that might've ever been served with mayonnaise, etc. I don't
get it, but I don't push it.)

So, a decent lunch, and we'll probably be back with some regularity.

And until I get around to perfecting an objective scoring system, here's
some basic stats:
1: Cajun-spiced seared ahi
2: Fish and Scallops Fryer combo
3: Side order of fried shrimp
4: two regular soft drinks
= about $27.

It isn't full-on table service. You order up front, find a table and they
bring your food to you.

They have a limited selection of ales and wines available as well as a soda
drink cell.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Tuna Casserole

Didn't measure anything, so I won't even pretend I did.

-Egg Noodles (about 8oz)
-Tuna (1 7.06oz pouch)
-Grated sharp chedder
-Grated mild chedder
-onion powder
-garlic powder
-black pepper

Cook Noodles. Drain.

Dump noodles into buttered casserole dish. Add tuna. Mix. Sprinkle some
cayenne and cheese on top.

Make a roux with the butter and flour. Add milk. Season with salt, cayenne
and black pepper. Take off heat, mix in more cheese.

Spoon sauce over tuna/noodle mix. Add more cheese. Mix all together.

Top with panko and some butter. Into a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.