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Friday, July 30, 2010

Bottega Italiana (my favorite gelato stateside): Coronado, CA

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ananas (pineapple) and fragola (strawberry) gelato ~ June 2010

Finally a true weekend off. I've been on at work for 5 straight weekends. What am I doing tonight to kick it off? Russell Peters is in town at Humphrey's by the Bay and I got tickets for a birthday present to EHK. We'll be enjoying an evening with one of our favorite comedians and hopefully indulge in tasty food finds the rest of the weekend!

Last summer when  my sister and I were in Seattle, we discovered a gelato shop that we ended up falling in love with and visiting every night we stayed there. Its the closest thing to the velvety frozen crack I found when I studied in Italy a few years ago. They do carry this gelato at some restaurants and grocery stores but its nothing like going to a shop and being faced with the visual challenge of picking from the myriad of flavors. They all call out wanting to be sampled and it doesn't help that I want to sample all of them.

I was super thrilled to find that they have a shop in Coronado so I wouldn't have to hop on a plane to get the same experience.  I'm a little confused with the sign though and haven't gotten a chance to ask the shopkeeper about the disconnect. Its called Nado Gelato on the outside but they do indeed carry Bottega Italiana Gelato inside as well as Chuao Chocolates. Oh well... I'll still be coming back as long as the sell the same gelato. I'm aslo a big fan of the location. Its like across the street from the Hotel Del so it makes the perfect stop for a lovely date. Gelato, a walk around the hotel grounds and beach... I'm sold!

Nado Gelato/Bottega Italiana ~ Coronado, CA ~ June 2010

What got me hooked was the kiwi flavor. It's not overpoweringly sweet and its got that little eye twitching tang like fresh kiwis do (well they make my eyes twitch a little). No kiwi when we visited early last month so I got pineapple and strawberry. Super smooth and bursting with flavor. EHK got the coffee flavor. He's a junkie for coffee anything but ended up stealing some of my gelato since we both agreed that mine was way tastier.

caffe (coffee) gelato ~ June 2010
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Nado Gelato/ Bottega Italiana
1017 C Ave.
Coronado, CA 92118
(619)522-9053
http://www.bottegaitaliana.com/index.htm
(Seattle locations and partners listed on website)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

South Beach Friendly at Sushi Ota: San Diego, CA

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We had a crazy craving for Sushi Ota last week so we headed on over and ordered our usual omakase meal with Robert. I've asked him for a rice-free meal before and it turned out beautifully so we asked him to indulge us again and make up a meal that would be conducive to phase 2 of our eating challenge. Pretty much no alcohol and no sushi rice! Robert was awesome about honoring our request as there were only a few dishes with a small amount of starches. Its been a little rough without our favorite carbs but having an eating buddy going through the same challenge has made it much easier. I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking.... it definitely makes me want to go back stat!

{seasoned mushrooms and cucumbers}
{ankimo over seaweed}
{sashimi platter}
{yellowtail with ponzu sauce, serrano chili and cilantro}
{broiled sweet shrimp head}
{fried fresh soft shell crab}
{fried fresh soft shell crab with snow crab and avocado}
{chilled fish custard toped with crab, edamame and edible gold}
{squid with ikura}
{broiled squid with tobiko}
{soba, ume soba with pickled mushrooms and scallions}
{broiled Chino Farm vegetables with orange clam}
{broiled eggplant with eel and chopped mountain potato}
{miso soup with sweet shrimp head}
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Sushi Ota
4529 Mission Bay Dr.
San Diego, CA 92109
(858)270-5670
M 5:30pm-10:30pm
Tu-F 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm
Sa-Su 5pm-10:30pm

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings at Mandarin Chinese Restaurant: Chula Vista, CA

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{Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings ~ Mandarin Chinese Restaurant ~  
Chula Vista, CA ~ July 2010}
Yes thats 2 heaping plates of salt and pepper chicken wings. We had a craving a few weeks ago when we came across Kirk's salt and pepper chicken wing challenge post. Just about anything salt and peppered tastes pretty good. Thinking about it made my mouth water. So we hopped in the car and headed south for one of the joints that Kirk mentioned in the post. We arrived at Mandarin Chinese Restaurant and immediately ordered 2 orders of the salt and pepper chicken wings. The waitress kinda chuckled and said.... OK. Thats was probably a mistake. There was only 2 of us and we were a little hungry but I don't think we were prepared for what came out. 2 plates of wings, 15 pieces each. We were definitely not expecting so many wings. I'm a light weight when it comes to wings. I can do 6-10 and then it gets to be too much for me. EHK did his best to polish off the rest of my plate but we ended up taking a few home. I thought the breading wasn't bad... nice and crunchy. The seasoning was on the heavy side but I liked gathering all the salty crunchy nuggets with the pepper and garlic bits... ahh MSG. They must be expecting constant orders of these wings. The wings came out fast and a little on the cold side. Slightly disappointing. I think the wings would have tasted way better if hot. Overall, not a bad wing. I think we gotta try the other wings in the post to see how this one stacks up for us.

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Mandarin Chinese Restaurant
945-A Otay Lakes Rd.
Chula Vista, CA 91913
(619)656-8080 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Recipe: Miso Marinated Chilean Sea Bass

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{Miso Marinated Chilean Sea Bass ~ July 2010}
We decided the watch the World Cup Final between Spain and the Netherlands at home yesterday. Wow was it a physical game! And we were craving a snack at halftime .... so we whipped this up since we had a few fillets marinating in the fridge and its always satisfying. Odd snack to be eating while watching a game but always one of our favorite meals.


Baring any seafood allergies, this is the dish I'd always like to make for dinner guests. I've made it several times and never fail to get ohhs and ahhs. Its such a lovely fish thats seems impossible to mess up and the marinade is incredibly fragrant when married with the fish. My brother being the adaptive college kid has used this marinade on chicken since its a little more fitting for his shoe string student budget and has reported good results... but of course not as great as with the Chilean sea bass.


Sometimes I play with the measurements of the miso and mirin depending on how strong I want the vinegar and sesame oil to stand out. Nevertheless it always comes out excellent. EHK has been great about staying on South Beach with me so we ditched the rice that we'd normally have with this and instead had a side of steamed bok choy. Still.... every bit as delightful!


Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup saikyo miso
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1 tblsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tblsp sesame oil
  • 4 fillets of Chilean sea bass
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sliced scallions
  • Chopped cilantro

  1. Mix miso, mirin, rice vinegar and sesame oil till smooth
  2. Marinate with Chilean Sea Bass fillets at least an hr or overnight for a stronger flavor
  3. Turn on oven to 500 degrees 
  4. Broil in oven for ~ 11 minutes.... a little longer if you want a darker caramel color on top
  5. Toast sesame seeds, slice scallions and chop cilantro. Sprinkle over fillets
  6. Serve with vegetables and or rice

Friday, July 9, 2010

Weekend Wish List

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{Morning fruit platter ~ Hidden Garden Villa ~ Legian Beach ~ Bali, Indonesia ~ June 2009} 

I had just come back from Bali this time last year. I went with a few girlfriends and we decided to rent a villa in the beach town of Legian. We had a wonderful experience with the villa and I'd definitely recommend considering renting a property over staying at a hotel in Bali if you are going with a group... the savings on taxes proved considerable for us. Our villa had 3 bedrooms, 2 indoor baths, 1 outdoor bath, a private indoor pool and a kitchen/living area. There was a crew that came in every morning to tidy up the place, make sure our water cooler was good to go for the day and prepare breakfast. They were really cute with the fruit presentation and would cut up the melons in shapes like the heart shaped watermelon above.

Wow its the weekend already? Its not quite yet for me since I'm working tomorrow. But that doesn't stop me from having a wish or two for the weekend.

-Wishes-
* Browse at the Hillcrest Farmers' Market if weather permits
* Find a Dutch oven (we've got the braising bug)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What has Liz been having for dinner?

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{Pan fried pork chop with salt and pepper and steamed French beans ~ July 2010}
I'm so glad I'm done with phase 1 of South Beach. It does wonders especially after the holiday season but I could really go for a plate of beef pad see ew right now. Why am I doing this? Well there are a few reasons. I've got 2 weddings to get ready for... one of which I'll actually be in. Then there's the health reasons. I actually feel more energetic when I stick with a low carb/"good carb" eating routine and of course there's the elevated risk of Diabetes since I'm Asian-American. I don't try to think about it as just a diet per se but as a "life style" adjustment. I'm actually on phase 2 for most of the year but every now and then I jump back onto phase 1 to get a little jump start again.

So I've been eating a lot of meals like the one above for the past 2 weeks. Looks tasty huh? I think things will be easier now that I can enjoy the good carbs again like low glycemic fruits and brown rice. I'll be relishing my bounty of white peaches tonight... so juicy that the sweet nectar keeps running down my hand.

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