Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Grilled Trout

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

I enjoy making different meals with fish and one of my favorite fish to cook is fresh trout.  Many times trout is not very fresh in the stores but if you can find good fresh trout(for me Fish King or Whole Foods usually is the source to find them at) you can make a great meal.  I have three very simple trout recopies that I will share over time but tonight wanted to write about grilled trout.  I also make an oven baked trout and a very unique one baked inside coarse salt dome

2 trout with heads cut (8?10 oz.)
1/4 cup olive oil
8-10 sprigs of tarragon
1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt – to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper – to taste

Cooking Instructions
Clean the trout and cut the head off and wash it well.(your local fish monger will do this for you)  If it has a fishy smell put it in a bowl and squeeze 1 lemon juice on it and let it sit for 30 minutes…

Cut lemon in half.  Slice one half of the lemon into 1/8 inch thick slices.  You should get about 6-8 half circle slices.

Add salt and pepper to the fish.  Be generous as some of it will burn off on the grill.  Make sure to put it inside the belly as well.  Stuff the belly with 4-5 sprigs of the tarragon and 3-4 slices of the lemon.

Cook the trout on a charcoal grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side over fairly slow heat.  Not fire.  Brushing occasionally with lemon and olive oil mixture

Serve with your favorite vegetables on the side and a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or maybe a nice light Chardonnay.

AOC Wine Bar

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

aoc.jpgAOC -

aoc2.jpgMonday, February 23 was a special wine flight night at AOC

Flight: Santa Barbara and Santa Rita hills
*etude goat’s milk cheese and picolo cow’s milk cheese from Petaluma, California
*little gem lettuces with avocado, tangelo, radish and green goddess
*shrimp with smoked tomato butter and cornbread

We ordered the blood orange salad with hamachi, wild mushrooms, pork belly, black rice with squid, curry cauliflower, albacore, fingerling potatoes and the famous bacon wrapped dates. We had a both special flights from the special menu.

The blood orange salad with the hamachi was my favorite, followed close with the curry cauliflower.  The wild mushroom dish was excellent.  I did not try the pork belly but my 2 friends loved it.  The black rice and squid was loved by all around the table – it was exquisitely rich (not overly so), garlicky, tangy and delicious. I recommended the bacon wrapped dates to my friends as I have heard about them alot.  The bates are filled with parm cheese and wrapped in bacon and they got 2 thumbs up from friends.  We had a wonderful experience at AOC.

This is a GREAT restaurant where you get to try different food because of the small bites.  Its a bit pricey but the food is very good.



Beat Salad


jaime.jpg Naked Chef Jaime Oliver was at a table across from us.

Pizzeria Mozza

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

logo_pizzamozza.jpgI ave not had wine for few days(this will change tomorrow as Im going to AOC with couple of friends) but I did go to a great restaurant for the 3rd or 4th time last Monday.  That restaurant is the Pizzaria Mozza but celebrity chef Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton who is the famous chef owner of La Brea Bakery

The interior of the place is warm and welcoming.  Maroon and mustard walls, very high ceilings and  a constant buzz from the diners is the ambiance from this place.  There was 4 of us so we ended up eating/tasting few things this trip.

For starters we ordered the deep friend squash blossoms filled with burrata cheese I believe, deep friend fingerling potatoes with sage and oregano and fried garbanzo beans, and the last starter was the mixed salad.  They were all cooked to perfection.  Highlight was for sure the squash blossoms.

For the second course we ordered 3 pizzas goat cheese, leeks, scallions & bacon pizza, the Margarita pizza the radicchio potato pizza.  I did not try the goat cheese pizza as it had bacon and Im a vegetarian but the other two were incredible.  Im told that te goat cheese was the best pizza my foodie friends had ever tried.  I can personally vouch for the margarita as being the best pizza I have ever had all over the world.

This is a great place to go unfortunately the wait is very long if you walk in with no reservations and to get a reservation during normal eating times is about 3-4 weeks
pizza1.jpg pizza3.jpg pizza2.jpg


Sunday, February 8th, 2009



Serves: 6
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Average

? 1/2 cups fine bulghour(cracked wheat you can buy from most middle eastern/Armenian food stores)
? 3 lge. bunch parsley, minced fine
? 1 bunch scallions, minced fine
? 3 tomatoes, skinned and peeled, if desired chopped fine
? 1 small bunch mint
? 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
? 1/3 cup olive oil (pure or substitute)
? 1/3 cup lemon juice salt to taste

Cooking Instructions:
Soak bulghour in the diced tomato for an hour. Squeeze out the water with hands and mix with other ingredients except oil, lemon juice and salt.

Mix with olive oil, lemon juice and salt, using proportions agreeable to your taste.

It is important that vegetables be minced very fine. Serve in a bowl or dish surrounded with Romaine leaves or fresh tender grape leaves. The leaves are used to scoop up the salad. Prepare the mixture early enough so flavors blend.


Dolma – Vegetarian(sarma)

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

dolma0.jpgDolma – Vegetarian(sarma)
Serves: 15
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Difficult

?1 cup rice
?½ cup pure olive oil
?2 large onions chopped
?4 cloves of garlic chopped
?1 tbsp. salt
?½ tsp. black pepper
?¼ tsp. red pepper
?½ cup diced green peppers
?½ cup fresh lemon juice
?½ cup chopped fresh parsley
?½ cup chopped fresh dill
?½ cup chopped fresh mint
?6 large tomatoes ground the in the food processor

Cooking Instructions:
In a large pan put the olive oil, onions and the garlic. Fry the onions until they are about to get translucent. Add the green peepers. Mix well, then stir in salt, black and red pepper. When the onions are translucent and the green peepers are just starting to get soft add the rice. Mix and let it cook for about 5-10 minutes. Add chopped parsley, mint and the dill. Add 6 tomatoes and lemon juice. Cook on low heat for approximately 20 minutes. Make sure to mix while it is cooking such that the rice does not stick to the bottom.

If using fresh grape leaves make sure to cook them in salt water for about 10 minutes to make them soft, but you may already find precooked grape leaves from your local grocery store. Using a tablespoon fill each grape leave with approximately 1 tablespoon each(some more some less, you will get the hang of it after your first 4-5 tries). Put the mixture 1 inch from the top edge of the dull side of the leave and first bring the back side on top of the mixture then bringing the two sides in and then rolling the whole thing. Make it a firm role.

Place the stuffed grape leaves in a pan for now. When done, get a new pan and place half the unused grape leaves on the bottom of the pan such that the entire bottom is covered. Now place the stuffed grape leaves in a circular fashion and layer them until all are in the pan and cover all the dolmas with the remaining unused grape leaved. Add a ¼ of water and ¼ of lemon juice to the pan and under slow heat let it simmer for about 15-30 minutes until all the water has evaporated. let it cool for 30 minutes prior to serving(you can serve this entirely cold as well)


Armenian Cognac / Brandy

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Nairi Armenian CognacThe Yerevan Brandy Company produces the original Armenian brandy since 1887.  Brandy produced  according to traditional methods combined with the finest selected sorts of grapes from Ararat Valley.

Thirteen to eighth century BC ancient Armenian region known as the land of Nairi, and also an important kingdom in the Armenian national history.  20 years old Nairi is the most famous high quality collection Armenian Brandy.

20 year old Nairi is the most famous high-quality collection Armenian brandy.  The finesse of the finished brandy is a testament to years spent slowly maturing in oak barrels.  Nairi is made of 20 different blends(what the French call “eau de vie”).  Its exceptional softness, delicate taste and fine unique aroma make this brandy unforgettable.  Balanced and complex, the rich bouquet slowly releases a succession of aromas that have built up over the years: vanilla, spices, pepper and delicately fragrant flowers. In the mouth, the infinitely refined texture reveals an extraordinary palette of flavors that blends spices, the subtle essence of ripe fruit and the finesse of oak.

Can you tell I love Nairi. :)

I have never had the occasion to taste Louis XV or a Hennessy Richard Cognac to do a true comparison but I can tell you that you will find NOTHING that will come close to this for the bargain price of 50-70 dollars.  Nothing

If you wonder why old Cognac is so expensive here’s something to bear in mind.  It takes 9 barrels of wine to make one barrel of eau de vie. To have just one barrel of 100 year old eau de vie, 9 barrels worth will have evaporated, so you could say it takes 90 barrels of wine to make one 100 year old barrel of aged spirit.

I also wanted to list some of the noteworthy brothers and sisters of Nairi from Yerevan Brandy Factory



Vaspourakan – This is a very very smooth brandy

Yerevan Brandy Factory


Monday, January 26th, 2009


R23 is a great sushi place with great views of Downtown skyline.  I started coming here so many years ago.  Maybe 10.  They had just opened up the place.  It is located in the “hood”(not really). Watch out for the homeless.  The neighborhood has improved dramatically as more and more artsy folks have moved in to the old downtown toy district

The place itself is an old Rail Road warehouse on track 23(hence the R23 name) that has been turned to a great sushi bar. Beautiful old brick building with warm wood floors and high ceilings.  Chairs designed by Frank Gehry made of cardboard.  Very romantic and nice place.
The sushi is terrific as well. :)  Tourists who come to LA from Japan always request to come to R23 because of the quality of their food. They have traditional basic sushi at R23, but this in my opinion is what makes R23 so special.  you wont find albacore with special sauce or yellowtail with jalapenos(dont get me wrong I love those as well, but this is very traditional and simple sushi).  What makes R23 so special is the freshness of their food.  Jake the owner and Kato the manager must have incredible connections with the folks in the LA fish market.

Their shari (sushi rice) is really good and this is key to good sushi. The way they form the sushi and the proportion of the sashimi to the rice is also well done. Their uni is the only uni I can eat around here because everything here is super fresh.  Their ama ebi (sweet/raw shrimp) is nicely big and plump. Their wasabi leaf ohitashi is very good too. Their dungeness crab salad is exceptional.  Also, good tempura is not an every day find around here but you’ll find it at R23.

R23 is not an inexpensive plave to dine but in my opinion it is worth every penny.  I’ll give this place 4 stars.

Armenian Tortellini

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Im going to give you a very easy recipe this time and my next blog entry will be on a great wine to serve wit this recipe called Conundrum. I will at some point list and write about some Armenian cognacs/brandy as well. This time I just put a link to one called Nairi which is a beautiful 20 year old gem for a very bargain price.


Armenian Tortellini 
Calories Per Serving: 0
Preparation Time: 15
Difficulty: Easy

1 Pack Tortellini (I get fresh kind. 1 pack per 2 people from Trader Joe)
4 oz Crumbled Gorgonzola
2-3 oz Heavy cream
Crushed roasted nuts of choice
Few springs of parsley.
Salt and pepper too taste
Cooking Instructions:
Cook the tortellini in boiling water for 6-8 minutes. While the tortellini is cooking heat up the cream. Now the part to make the tortellini an Armenian food. :) Add a tablespoon of Armenian cognac. Add the diced parsley and salt and pepper to the cream.
Serving Suggestions:
When the tortellini is cooked plate it 10-12 per person. Add the crumbled Gorgonzola on top of the tortellini, Add the crushed nuts and add 3-4 heaping table spoons of the cream. Let the pasta sit for couple of minutes for everything to semi melt and bond together.
Additional Comments:
Very very easy to make.  You dont have to use cognac or brandy, you can use bourbon as well.

Nairi Armenian Cognac

This is an image of the ad from Nairi Cognac