Thursday, November 29, 2012

Raspado de Nuez

I've been meaning to try my hand at a few different things I've eaten around town.  Finally, I got around to making one such thing.  This walnut raspado was on my to-do/to-attempt list for quite some time, so I thought I'd give it a go.  The recipe is a simple one that I think both kids and adults can enjoy.  

I used to have similar things as a kid when my dad would take us to the park to roll around in the grass for a few hours (what else was I supposed to do - not like we brought balls with us to play with) while he read his newspaper (Holy shit! It still exists!).  

Anyway, if I was lucky there would be a baseball/softball game going on.  Being that I was bored, I'd wander off to the snack shack because I knew they would be open when league games were being played.  I don't remember if I ever bought anything other than a snow cone there and if I did, it probably wasn't any good.  Hell, I doubt the snow cone thing I bought was much better!  But as a kid, who was denied all the junk food normal kids eat growing up, I loved the sugary treat!

Well, fast forward 30 years or so and here I was, having a childhood treat again.  Different, but the same.  It was still sugary sweet and bad for me but the flavor and color were natural this time.  It didn't taste artificially flavored and it didn't stain my lips (and face, for that matter) this time.  

Ya, that was then and this is now.  Ya, that was a snow cone and this is a raspado.  But I still see many raspado-peddling-peeps that still make em with the Kool Aid/Skittles/Starburst/Jolly Rancher looking liquid.  Trust me, fresh ones are better.  Way better.

Raspado de Nuez.

To make a walnut snow cone, toast ½ cup minced walnuts.

Dump the walnut pieces into a pot with 2 cups milk and 1 cup sugar.

Simmer til the mixture is reduced by a third (I reduced mine by half and thought it was too sweet) and allow to cool.

Shave some ice or wack the hell out of ice cubes til pulverized and dump that into your cup or glass.  Pour some of your cooled walnut mixture over the top and serve with a wide straw or spoon.  Wanna add a lil extra pizazz to it?  Something befitting of an adult palette?  Any brown spirit will do!      

Guerilla Tacos (Los Angeles - Arts District)


Guerilla Tacos in front of Handsome Coffee Roasters.

One of each, please.

Thank you.

Shorty Hash with fried egg.

Chorizo con Papas.

Romano Beans Scramble.

Their salsas are great but they're not really for you to apply yourself.  Bummer. 

Their menu changes daily so to find out what they're cooking up and where they are setting up, check em out on twitter.  I usually catch them in front of Handsome Coffee Roasters on Wednesday evenings and Friday mornings.  I liked the tacos a lot although the tortilla used was another story.  Then again, I ate my food after a short drive to work so that might explain that issue.  The filling, on the other hand, is packed with flavor and as I had already mentioned, the salsas are high caliber.  Great tacos but the price is a little steep for my liking.  I hear they're doing something with lobster tomorrow.  I wonder how much that will go for!  One way to find out...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Modern English

I'm always game for making seasonal drinks.  So, when I came across one such recipe, that didn't require me to buy any additional ingredients, I jumped right to it. 

Modern English.

The Modern English, as it is so called, was better on paper than its fruition.  Everything, flavor-wise, made sense. 

Cast of characters.

But the damn pear ruined it for me.  Again, the flavor was great.  But the pear juice - even when fine strained -  was too thick.  It's like nectar.  The drink was too viscous for my liking.  I think fresh juiced apples would work better in this drink.  I might try it again.  Then again, winter is almost here so time for ciders and toddies. 

The Luggage Room Pizzeria (Pasadena)



Cocktail List.

Lilly's French Sailor.

Beer on tap.

Bacon Wrapped Dates.

It was a blustery night in Pasadena.  For whatever reason, Lilly decided to have them seat us outside since the wait inside was almost an hour.  That explains the cheese missing from a couple of the dates and why I didn't enjoy a beer with my pizza.  Yes, they had heat lamps and they were on full blast but they were no match for the gusty cold winds.  I wouldn't recommend anyone sitting in the patio with conditions being the way they were.  By the way, as much as I love bacon wrapped _____ (fill in the blank), these dates were huge and the sweetness from them were no match for the bacon.  I wouldn't order them again.

But we didn't come here for that.  We came for pizza.

The pizza we got though isn't on the menu.  It was a special that night.  It had corn, fresno chile, sun dried tomatoes, ricotta and basil.  The flavor was good but could have been seasoned better.  I also liked the chew of the dough, although, it could have been crispier on the bottom.  Overall, a better than average pie.

Food Menu.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pete's Cafe (Los Angeles - Downtown)


Blue Cheese Fries - this was the sole reason I started coming here and the only reason I go back.

They have cocktails here but they aren't made properly.  Case and point; Their Old Fashioned.

I usually order a pint here.

I would have preferred getting the Horny Devil but I finally got to try Angel City's West Coast IPA - The Angelino.  

Sorry Ashley, Vince, Alan...and the rest of the fine folks I've met over at the brewery.  I didn't like your Test B (Eureka) Wit and I didn't like your IPA any better.  Generally speaking, I've found both to have a lousy mouth-feel.  Test B was absolutely flat and this IPA was thin as hell.  Forgive me, but that's my honest opinion.  I had high hopes when Alchemy and Science took over the original ownership of the brewery.  But I should have known the direction and outcome once the head brew master was announced to be a former guy from Gordon Biersch.  Supposedly, they are gonna experiment with sours.  I'm in full swing as sours go right now.  I dig the stuff a lot.  I just hope, once these guys come out with their sours, that their style of beer doesn't sour on me.  But I've digressed...

This post is about Pete's!  It is safe to say that, Pete's is my Denny's or Norm's.  I never plan on coming here - I just end up here.  Case and point; We had planned on having dinner elsewhere but there were no tables available so we ended up here.  And that's no knock on Pete's.  I like Pete's.  I wouldn't go there as many times as I have now, if I didn't.  Some things are very good, others are okay and some are just decent.  Hey, it's a cafe after all, right?  The ½ portion of Sweet and Spicy Wings were good.

The cup of heirloom pumpkin soup topped with pepitas and marshmallows hit the spot on this cold night.  The texture was great too.  I liked it so much, I made my own version a few days ago.  Stay tuned.

 We also ordered a ½ portion of Sticky Spicy Calamari with cucumbers, cilantro and cashews in a sweet Thai Chili sauce.  I wish we had gotten a full portion.  This would have paired wonderfully with a better IPA! 


Sierra Nevada's Ovila Quadruple


Ovila is the first Quad I've had that I can "remember."

It's definitely a boozy beer so I wouldn't recommend having a bottle right before you have to drive.  You live, you learn. 

Ovila was a gift from a boss of mine so thanks to "Wil" for sharing.  He thought it was okay and I'd have to agree.  I just don't think I'd have it again.  From what I can remember, here are some of the things that stood out to me:
  •  It was thinner in mouth-feel than I expected for a beer as dark as this.
  • The carbonation was on the low end.  
  • The flavor was of molasses, burnt caramel, raisins, prunes and dates. 
  • Dry, woody, leathery finish.       

1886 @ The Raymond (Pasadena)


Walter's Last Sip.

Part 1 of the Fall Menu.

The Smoking Jacket - an absolute classic here.

Part 2 of the Fall Menu.

If alcohol isn't your thing (why are you here?), grab some homemade ginger beer or soda pop.  


The food menu at the bar.  You can order off of the dinner menu as well.

Crispy Szechuan Fish.  

The Braziliano.

Crispy Flat Bread.

The Tranquilizer and Rock Candy Swizzle.

Tater Tots.