Friday, July 22, 2016

No mas "putas"

When I am pissed off, I can give the silent treatment like no other. When I am no longer speaking to you, it's because I no longer want to deal with you or acknowledge you until I am over what I had been pissed off about. 

Earlier this month, I severed ties with AD, my (work) puta. I told her that we are no longer “putas” for the next two months. On September 3rd, 2016, she can be reinstated as my “puta” once again. “Puta” is an endearing term that she gave me (so I reciprocated the endearing term and we were each others' putas). She seems to have an endearing term for everyone. There’s the “babosa grande”, the “narizona”, the “puto”, the “pinche cabrons”…etc. No one seems to take these terms personally or offensively, coming from AD. If it was anyone else, a punch in the face might be brought upon.

AD has a jocular nature. She can be a ball of laughs.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pig out day - A visit to Smorgasburg and Grand Central Market

Ever since I heard that Smorgasburg was arriving in L.A. this summer, I’ve been looking forward to going and having a fun filled field day of pigging out. I wanted to make sure that the day I went wasn’t going to be on one of them torturous heat wave days. Or else, I probably wouldn’t even survive beyond ten minutes into it. I chose this past Sunday to go when the weather was about somewhere in the 80’s. With the moderate weather and a stomach ready to be abused, I was prepared to spend all day at Smorgasburg, trying out as many vendors as my stomach can handle.
The plan was to arrive around 10am, to avoid the long lines. But SOMEONE was kind of slacking behind and hadn't been ready on time. SS told me to be ready by 930am sharp. I asked what was going to happen if I wasn’t ready until 9:31am and if he was going to leave without me lol. He joked that I’d then have to take an Uber if that were to happen. 

Being the punctual person that I am (for the most part, usually), I was ready on time. But it was SS that was not ready until 10am, the time that we were supposed to have already been there. I told him that HE is the one that needed to take the Uber.  

We arrived at Smorgasburg around 10:45am. Upon entering, the level of crowdedness didn’t seem too daunting. The first two hours of parking is free. SS already decided that it didn’t look like we were going to be spending more than two hours here, mainly because it felt uncomfortably hot. It seemed like being on pavement made the weather feel way hotter than the reported weather of 80's.

On my list of vendors to try for sure were:

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My foodie book list

I am a sucker for books that center around food, -books that leave me in drooling and craving mode.  I aspire to write a book that inspires appreciation of food. I find inspiration in reading books of a similar niche. These are some of the ones that I have read (or currently reading) in the recent year:

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Dangler

Okay, I am not too crazy about this one, but it is the one that I am currently reading. I am about halfway in to this New York Times Bestseller. I was so looking forward to reading Sweetbitter, especially since it was referenced as a modern day “Kitchen Confidential” or whatever. The setting of the book is in the same niche as the book that I am currently (yes, STILL) working on. So, I thought it’d be interesting to read from the POV of “the other side”. Well, ___pages in, and I am keep reading for the sake of learning the dos and don’ts of writing a similar niched novel. First thing on the DO list: track down her publicist!

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

Delicious is one of my favorite foodie books. It was one of those moments where I strolled into Barnes & Noble to pick up a specific book, they didn’t have it, I browsed around, picked up a few books to read the blurbs, and bam~ was sold on Delicious. It was one of those books I could not put down.

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

I aspire to write like Bourdain. I love his raw and unfiltered writing style. He delves into the brutal reality of the BOH world, as I often do. He has seen and experienced some shit in the decades that he has been in the industry, while my time spent in the industry pales to almost nothing in comparison. The time served seems to parallel in his writing.  

L.A. Son by Roy Choi

Another acclaimed chef whose writing style I admire. Loved it. I did not know it was part cookbook when I first got it. Along with a great story, L.A. Son is filled with delicious looking dishes and recipes that I have yet to try.

Nuts by Alice Clayton

I loved “Wallbanger”, so I greatly anticipated the release of “Nuts” when it came out last year. As expected, the writer did not disappoint in delivering the steamy and the hilarious, which may not always be easy to do simultaneously. But she nailed it. 

There are many more books that I have yet to read, but I know a couple of books that I will be reading for sure in the near future:
My life in France by Julia Child

Summer Pudding by Tamsin Flowers

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Father's Day Sunday miseries, post-Father's Day lunch

A couple of Sundays ago, I worked Father’s Day at the restaurant. It is one of those days that you go home drained and hating life. But the crazy madness of it all is hardly a match for the even crazier Mother’s Day. It kind of made me wonder…..are fathers not as important and appreciated as much as mothers? Or is it because fathers tend to be less sentimental or couldn’t care less about having a day of being celebrated? Or do children of single parents tend to more often have a mother rather than a father? Hmmm.....

Nonetheless, it was maddening. I walked in around 1pm, in the middle of it all. Many of the stations looked like a tornado just stormed through. Shit all over the place, like an explosion. I calmly collected myself to try to get into the groove of things. But first, I felt like I kind of had to tidy up the area before I started to lose my mind in the craziness of the rush. The printer kept printing nonstop…just spitting out orders after orders. And it didn’t seem to end. We’d be busily plating up the last ticket, have a few more ahead, then in comes an order for five, then an order for 12, then another for 10, and just nonstop, keeping us racing until the finish line.

On days like Father’s day (and especially more so on Mother’s Day), EVERYONE is scheduled to work. That means more bodies jammed into a hot, stuffy, super confined space, SQUEEZING to get passed each other. And I am the type of person that goes nuts when someone is in or near my personal space. But on days like these, I’d be lucky if someone is just in my personal space and not in direct contact with me. It makes it worse when it’s the creepy guys, -the kitchen creep, the lurker, the sleaze ball, etc. And equally worse is when someone has B.O.

Yep, fun times.

And then of course, about a good few hours into it, the behgorage begins to emerge. Ohh, and on top of that, Father’s Day Sunday was scorching! Add scorching weather to the cramped, stuffy space, being bumped and grinded by creeps, the sweaty…..add all that to the growing behgorage, and you got yourself a MISERABLE Miss Kim! And this was just Father's Day. Double or triple all that when working Mother's Day! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Trying Ethiopian food for the first time

I can’t remember the last time that I tried an ethnic food for the first time. I have not tried all the foods of the world, but being the foodie that I am, I have probably tried a tad more than the average American. Certain foods have become embedded into a part of my culinary repertoire. Others, I try once or twice and decide it's not for me, but at least I have tried it once. 

Each time my palate enters unfamiliar grounds, there is some apprehension that is paled by curiosity. When picking a place to have ethnic cuisine, I try to make sure that I don’t have a horrible first time experience. Or else, it’s likely to ruin all foods from that country, for life. Well okay, maybe not for life…but for a good while until I am over being traumatized by the unmemorable experience. On a scale of 1-10, I’d say my foodie adventurousness sums up to about 7 or 8. I am curious to explore and try new things. But I still draw the line somehwere when it comes to trying anything and everything. I would never try anything in the likes of bosintang (dog stew), rat cuisine, balut, am still hesitant to try chicken feet. The last daring thing I tried that I never thought I would, was bbundaegi (yes, I actually gave it a try since that post).

I don’t remember what had suddenly made me decide to try Ethiopian food last week. I think that all these years, even though I was curious about it,  I was hesitant to try it mostly because I HATE eating with my hands. Like, I would eat a bag of chips with chopsticks if I could (if I had them conveniently around. And no, surprisingly, I don’t carry a pair in my purse). Okay, sometimes there is little else alternative but to eat with hands. I can’t eat crawfish with chopsticks. There is no other way to eat BBQ ribs other than with getting in there and getting your hands messy. I don’t slice and fork my bread and butter as I would a steak. I sacrifice my displeasure for my indulgences. But when I do, I just make sure I have quick access for hand washing right after.

As if eating with my hands wasn’t unpleasant enough, eating an unfamiliar food with my hands was totally going out of my foodie comfort zone even more. But what the heck….curiosity got the best of me that day, so I decided to suck it up and take one for the team.

I resorted to Yelp the nearest Ethiopian place with the better reviews. I mean, I have learned to take Yelp reviews with a grain of salt. After Yelping for some years and having gone through instances where Yelp has failed me, I think I have developed a sense of how to Yelp more selectively. It brought me to Tana Ethiopian Restaurant

The location is in some random strip mall on a street that I have passed through a gajillion times but have probably never really noticed. Walking in, the place was empty. Being empty around the peak of dinnertime can be a bad sign. It made me a bit more nervous. 

I was immediately welcomed with unfamiliar aromas that I was about to discover and grow to either like or hate.  

We were greeted by a sweet middle-aged woman in sunglasses. I picked a table right next to the air cooler. The woman was quick to move us to a “much cooler” room. She said that it was too hot in the outer room and that it would make us “perspire” like her…lol not the most pleasant word to hear from the person serving us food. This automatically made me have images of the woman perspiring into our food.