Kimbap

boston, savory

A few weeks ago one of my friends decided to make kimbap, a popular Korean dish that basically is a Korean maki roll. I have to admit, I’ve never really eaten any maki rolls that have cooked beef as a main component, but I have to say – it’s pretty good. Go ahead and give it a try – I bet you’ll like it too!

Ingredients:

10 sheets of nori (dried seaweed sheets)

3 cups washed sushi rice

1/2 lb ground beef

2 large carrots, julienned

2 large cucumbers, julienned

1 small package of danmoogi (Korean pickled radish, typically yellow), julienned

1 small package of pickled burdock root

2 large eggs

5 tbsp of sesame oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

3 tsp of salt

1 tsp pepper

2 cloves garlic

1 bamboo sushi rolling mat

To make:

1) Cook sushi rice, add 2 tbsp of sesame oil and 2 tsp of salt

2) Saute ground beef, drain fat, add 1 tbsp of sesame oil, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper (this is Korean bulgogi)

3) Cook the 2 eggs into two flat omelettes then julienne

4) Place a sheet of nori on a sushi rolling mat

5) Top with prepared rice

6) Layer carrots, cucumbers, pickled burdock root, omelette strips, danmoogi, and bulgogi

7) Roll

8) Brush outside of roll with sesame oil

9) Coat sharp knife with sesame oil and cut into bite sized pieces

10) Enjoy!

Ingredients

Preparing

Unrolled

Rolled

Cut maki

* Note that this is only one of the many ways you can prepare kimbap – it’s also commonly made with tuna, cheese, kimchi, and basically anything else you might want to add – the combinations are endless!

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Up – Houston, TX

houston, savory

This year my mom and I celebrated our Birthdays at a new establishment called Up.  The restaurant is located in Highland Village and has views of downtown Houston and the Galleria area. It’s literally “up”, to get to the restaurant which is perched on the 3rd floor, you take a glass Willy Wonka-esque elevator and boom, bam, you’re being welcomed into a Modern- French- 70’s wood panneling – Swarovski chandelier – marble floors – fire place – setting. The decor all seems to come together nicely…

We love coming here for special occasions or any occasion for that matter because they provide great service, food, drinks, music, and atmosphere.  I also love the way the restaurant is sectioned off… the bar area overlooks the dining area and also connects to the outdoor patio which makes for good ebb and flow while being able to  maintain an open concept.

The crabcakes are to DIE for. nom nom. My mom ordered the shrimp tempura, why she did…not so sure, but they were amazing as well. Also, a complimentary marshmallow Birthday cake contraption was included. If you look behind the marshmallow cake you can see an assortment of NUTELLA  flavored goodies. Like, nutella flavored creme brulee. Kill me now.

Up: Highland Village – Houston, TX

Benjy’s in Rice Village – Houston, TX

houston, savory

Benjy’s is a local Houston favorite. There are two locations, each one having it’s own Executive Chef who produces their own menu based on similar concepts of providing fresh ingredients and seasonal flavorful dishes.  It’s a fun place to go anytime of the day. Both locations offer a daily happy hour in their lounge for a post-work escape, on top their traditional lunch and dinner menu, and on weekends it’s a perfect meeting spot for a hangover cure brunch.

The restaurant has a very urban vibe, completely different from what you will find in the typical Houston scence. It’s like stepping into a chic New York City diner. It’s comfy, modern, welcoming with great decor and service!

I ordered the Crabcake Sandwich – bacon + spinach + paoched eggs + topped with a smoked paprika hollandaise. (The things I will do for hollandaise sauce…)

My order was absolutely delightful, especially the poached egg. I’m sucker for a good poached egg. I was confused as to why they called it a sandwich because it’s more like a Crabcake Benedict? Same difference.

Check out the rest of their items on their Brunch Menu

Benjy’s: 2424 Dunstan Houston, TX 77005

Tory Row

boston, savory

For the past six years my friends and I have walked past Tory Row in Harvard Square seemingly overlooking this little gem of a restaurant. Finally after trying their food now realize the error of our ways – it’s good — really good.

We’ve heard the talk about their bacon flatbread before and now we can confirm that it’s in fact worthy of all of the praise it’s gotten. It’s the perfect blend of smoked bacon, vermont white cheddar, baby spinach, and bermuda onion.

Bacon Flatbread

My friends and I can never turn down PEI mussels if they’re on the menu, so naturally we had to order them. *Are you starting to see our dilemma? Always truffle fries, always mussels…etc, etc. – it’s a vicious cycle*  Once again we were not disappointed. Ahh that garlicky broth with a hint of lemon sopped up with french bread…so good.

PEI Mussels

Some of our out of town friends were visiting so we felt compelled to also get the lobster roll. Nothing too special here – it was just okay, but the coleslaw was the highlight for me.

Lobster Roll

Overall we enjoyed our food and are more than willing to go back again. Next time you’re in Harvard Square don’t count this place out.

Tory Row: 3 Brattle Street

Simple lunch sandwich

savory

My version of the BLT sandwich (I just can’t do raw tomatoes). Layer the following: 1 piece of toasted whole wheat bread, a generous handful of baby spinach, sliced yellow pepper and cucumber, another  piece of bread with dijon mustard, bacon, and another piece of bread. Serve with a mixed green salad with a easy french vinaigrette (olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, diced shallots, garlic, and dijon mustard). Simple and surprisingly refreshing for a quick lunch. Enjoy!

Bacon Sandwich

 

 

Summer Borscht (and it’s barely Spring)

savory

Summer Borscht

A meal that reminds you that warm weather will eventually come again (and I just bought a huge bunch of fresh dill)

Ina Garten’s Summer Borscht  (2006, Barefoot at Home)

Ingredients

  • 5 medium fresh beets (about 2 pounds without tops)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 16 ounces sour cream, plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Champagne vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups medium-diced English cucumber, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus extra for serving

Directions

Place the beets in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook uncovered until the beets are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the beets to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve and also set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the beet cooking liquid, the chicken stock, sour cream, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt, and the pepper. Peel the cooled beets with a small paring knife or rub the skins off with your hands. Cut the beets in small to medium dice. Add the beets, cucumber, scallions, and dill to the soup. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Season, to taste, and serve cold with a dollop of sour cream and an extra sprig of fresh dill.

How do you Roll? – San Antonio, TX

san antonio, savory

Imagine a sushi place set up like a Subway or Chipotle restaurant, build your own sushi like how you would a sandwich or a burrito. Well, this place exists, and it’s called How do you Roll? Genius idea, why didn’t I think of it!?! I’m prediciting this chain will start expanding all over the US and soon hopefully all over the world. Also, you can call your order in so you don’t have to wait in line.

I was treated to a wonderful dinner with a friend whose cousin owns the restaurant. High Roller status…get it??? Well, as a matter of fact they do have these “High Roller” cards where you can top up and accrue points kind of like a Starbucks gold member card.

So I built my own sushi…which um I’m not sure if that was a good idea since I piled on all the fixings I love. Extra crab meat, extra spicy mayo, extra tempura flakes…ya get?!

 

 

 

Friend's customized sushi

La Tuna Grill – San Antonio, TX

san antonio, savory

I just discovered a great emerging district in San Antonio called Southtown,which is indeterminately defined around south of the downtown area.  This district is known for hosting “First Friday” which is an art walk that happens on the…well you guessed it…First Friday of each month. The walk attracts a yuppie, artsy, bohemian, carefree type crowd who are both admirers and sellers of local art.

A friend had recommended La Tuna Grill for their quality food/ingredients and atmosphere.  It’s mainly outdoor seating, dog friendly, which makes for a great place to come to when the weather is nice.

I ordered the chicken fried steak (you can never go wrong) while my friends enjoyed the fish tacos and Torta Milanesa sandwich.