Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My Favorite Food Podcasts

I recently started listening to a few wonderful food podcasts driving to and from work during the week and they have made me look forward to driving! I had to weed through a few pretty poorly executed podcasts and luckily found some real gems. Here are my top 4:

Bon Appetit: This is a weekly podcast that focuses on a different section of the current Bon Appetit issue that is on newsstands. Always informative and with wonderful guests speaking this is one that I wished aired more than once a week. The show normally runs under 30 minutes. They also have a great blog that you should check out.

Eat Feed: Based in Chicago, Anne Bramley discusses a wide variety of subjects on Eat Feed. The show is divided up by category. The main categories are Amouse Bouche, The Tastes of the Month, The Latest News from the Food World, Cookbook Reviews. My favorite is the Amouse Bouche. In this she will cover the history of a term, a new food or just give background on something that you know little about. The times of each show vary from 5 minutes to 1 hour. This podcast was listed as #64 on Saveur Magazines Top 100 favorite foods, restaurants, drinks, people, places and things (February 2007 issue). And it is definitely in my top 2!

KCRW's Good Food: A local radio show on KCRW in L.A. is Good Food. If you are like me and are not normally in your car on Saturday mornings to hear the radio show then you too should download the podcast. It starts off with a live market report telling what is in season at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Then there are a range of things discussed, normally new restaurants or new foods, and there is usually a prevailing theme surrounding the show. It is a great podcast and was also in the Saveur Magazines Top 100 as #81. The show is normally 1 hour in length so it is perfect for a longer run, bike ride or drive! Oh yeah, and they also have a video podcast.

Jamie's Podcast: Jamie Oliver hosts a very entertaining and lively show from London. I have been a fan of his because the way that he cooks is just so simple, yet so wonderful. The programming isn't set for weekly, monthly, etc. but when you do come across a show you will have a lot of fun listening. Awhile back there was a two-part series on Italy and it inspired me to try to make more Italian food. And just last week there was a Valentine's show that was on the simple foods you can prepare and taste delicious. The shows are normally 1 hour. Definitely should check this one out!

**All logos are copyright from each respective website.**

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Coffee and Tea Infused Chocolate Truffles

After trying the disappointing chocolate at the chocolate festival this past weekend, I decided to try making my own. I went with the basic chocolate truffle--bittersweet chocolate and cream, coated with chocolate then tossed in cocoa powder. I loved the taste of the truffles so much that I had to try them infused with coffee and tea.

There are a few different ways to infuse the flavor into the truffles. Depending on the item you either infuse it in the cream the day before or you infuse into the cream after heating it and before you pour onto the chocolate. For both the coffee and tea I added each into the cream for 24 hours before heating, chilling, shaping and eating.

For the coffee flavor I used Winter Blend from It's A Grind Coffee House. Winter Blend is a combination of vanilla, cinnamon, hazelnut, irish cream and other spices. It is one of my favorite coffee's and it makes a perfect match for the bittersweet chocolate.

I went with Tea du Hammam Rouge for the other truffle. A new tea that I have been enjoying from Le Palais des Thes, I thought it would be a great compliment to the chocolate. It is a fruity red tea with green date pulp, red fruits and I think passion fruit.

The flavors were subtle with the first bite but with each additional bite the flavor intensified and both were great! I am so happy they turned out so good and I am planning to try the next batch with rosemary and other herbs.

A few of my favorite chocolate cookbooks, where I got my inspiration:

Bittersweet by Alice Medrich
La Maison du Chocolat by Robert Linxe
Truffles, Candies, and Confections: Techniques and Recipes for Candymaking by Carole Bloom

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ventura Chocolate Festival: Part II

After much anticipation, my friend and I finally were going to the chocolate festival! We were very excited to check things out and get to sample all the wonderful chocolate. I am sorry to say that it was extremely disappointing, to say the least. For a chocolate festival, there wasn't very much chocolate at all. There were more craft booths than chocolate booths. After spending an hour walking the halls (twice) we did come across one good booth, Diva Chocolates, that offered chocolate flavored beef jerky and cocoa steak/rib rubs. It was pretty good jerky and I will be trying the rub on some steaks! Maybe after a few years they will draw more of a crowd for chocolate but until then I won't be travelling to Ventura for the chocolate festival.

Oh yeah, I forgot about the camel and zebra! Not much to say there but it was fun to see some animals...

Wat Thai Temple: Open-Air Food Fair

I have a few friends who have been to Thailand and when I came across an article about a Thai Temple in North Hollywood that had a food fair with an authentic Thai street-food I knew I had to check it out. Every Saturday and Sunday from 9-5 you can go to the temple and eat tons of wonderful Thai food! First step is to exchange your money for tokens to use to purchase the food. There are many different entrees to choose from as well as desserts. Just a warning, if you don't want your food spicy--make sure to ask for it mild! Their idea of medium is pretty hot. I had only $5.50 and I was able to get a chicken skewer, fresh papaya salad (they made it in a mortar & pestle right in front of me), some Thai donuts and another dessert, and I had food leftover! It was an incredible experience and I will definitely be going again to try all the other food.

Wat Thai Temple
8225 Coldwater Canyon (Coldwater Canyon & Roscoe Blvd)
North Hollywood
170 Fwy to Roscoe Blvd West.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

REDCAT Presents Food for Thought: Great American Writing About the Food We Eat

If you enjoy reading food essays then you must check out this event at REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater). REDCAT celebrates the publication of American Food Writing: An Anthology with Classic Recipes with a roundtable of columnists, chefs and food writers reading their favorite passages from the anthology. With passages being read from authors such as David Sedaris, M.F.K. Fisher and Eric Schlosser the discussion is sure to be entertaining! The roundtable takes place at REDCAT on Tuesday, May 1 at 8:30PM and tickets are $8 for general admission.

Monday, February 5, 2007

The Cooks Library

Reading is a favorite hobby of mine and my favorite type of books to read are cookbooks. I found out about The Cooks Library a few months ago and I just had an opportunity to visit the store and I was in heaven. Rows and rows of cookbooks line the quaint storefront. I was overwhelmed and didn't know where to start but of course found the chocolate section and spent quite a lot of time there! If you are looking for a place to find that unique cookbook or reference book then you should definitely visit The Cooks Library.

The Cook’s Library
8373 W. Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Huge Variety of Gourmet Teas

If you love tea then the place to go in L.A. is Le Palais des Thes. After trying their tea at Jin Patisserie in Venice (great chocolates, pastries and tea), I had to find them to buy some more. I have tried a number of different teas and they are all amazing. After the suggestion from an employee, I tried the coconut and it's a black tea with a nice balance of coconut--not too much but just enough. They offer over 225 different green, black, red, white teas from all continents. Each package gives you brewing instructions and recommends the best time to drink each type of tea (morning, afternoon, evening).

Gourmet Doughnuts and Coffee

I enjoyed one of the best cups of espresso con panna and a moist buttermilk glazed doughnut at Frittelli's Doughnuts and Coffee in Beverly Hills. It was so good that I want to drive there every week just for a coffee and doughnut. Located on Canon Drive, there are many other wonderful places to eat and shop, but you should definitely start your day at Frittelli's. Check out their site for a menu of delectable designer doughnut options.

Ventura Chocolate Festival

Next Saturday and Sunday (Feb 10th & 11th) is the second annual Ventura County Chocolate Festival. It is from 10-6 on both days and is $7 per adult. This year will be my first year going and I am excited to check out what they have. There will be chocolate competitions, music, booths selling all types of chocolate, cooking demonstrations and more. In addition to the good chocolate it is also for a good cause. It is sponsored by Restoring Hope Foundation of Southern California (RHFSC). RHFSC is a non-profit organization that provides medical assistance to children from the Chernobyl region still enduring the emotional and physical consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

I will let you know all the details next week :)


Chocolate. There are going to be quite a few posts about chocolate as I am always looking for the best chocolate out there. And one of the best I have found so far is Boule. If you love chocolate you need to visit Boule in Los Angeles. They offer many unique pastries and chocolates--from curry-gianduja to fleur de sel caramels-and they are all delicious. They also offer french style macaroons and ice creams. The packaging is reason to go there itself. When you receive a package of a blue box with a chocolate brown ribbon you know you are in for a treat.

Benley Vietnamese Kitchen

I thought that I would start my blog with one of my favorite restaurants in Long Beach--Benley. I started going to Benley's a few months after they opened and started telling all my friends about it. For those who are not so sure about Vietnamese food, you have to try it. It is truly incredible and affordable! A few of my favorites are the pho, pan seared salmon with cilantro aioli and bok choy, and of course the melting valhrona chocolate cake. I have tried almost everything on the menu and love all the food. You can bring your own wine and enjoy the wine and food in the minimal, casual atmosphere. They are getting so popular now that you should call to make reservations. It is a very special place and I highly recommend it.
Benley, A Vietnamese Kitchen 8191 E. Wardlow Road, LB 90808, 562.596.8130


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