Sunday, March 30, 2008


Last week, I watched an old episode of No Reservations where Tony visited Osaka, Japan. The episode focused on the famous Osaka takoyaki and okonomiyaki. The alluring images of octopus balls burned into my brain, and I developed a serious craving. LA Weekly's Jonathan Gold suggested Gaja Restaurant in Lomita (near Torrance) as one of the best place for takoyaki and okonomiyaki.


Watermelon soda ... delicious!


Look at all the condiments!

spicy mayo

Takoyaki with spicy mayo. There was a single tako (octopus) in each ball and it was soooo teeeeeny!


The chicken karaage was crisp and not too oily.


Takoyaki with gooey mochi and cheese.


The "modan" mix okonomiyaki with pork slices, shrimp, octopus, and noodles. Warning, these suckers are HUGE. Sharing between two people is more than enough.

2383 Lomita Blvd
Ste 102
Lomita, CA 90717
(310) 534-0153


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Cooking Class: Baking

It has been all too convenient to buy muffin and cake premixes. Little did I know, baking from scratch is pretty much a non-brainer.


Buttermilk biscuit



lemon cake

Lemon-poppy seed cake

cake glaze

The glaze is made of just powdered sugar and lemon juice.




Quiche with asparagus, leeks, garlic, shallots, sesame seed oil, and siracha. How does it taste? Actually, kinda bland. Need more siracha!


Friday, March 21, 2008

Cooking Class: Yeast Baking

The very first time I made bread, it was a disaster. I killed my yeast and my bread is a lumpy mess. This time, I'm determined NOT to kill the yeast and have a little patience.


I love, love, love challah bread, especially the ones with raisins!


They came out a lot denser than I like.

sticky buns

Sticky buns


They were gooey and delicious.

whole wheat2

Whole wheat buns

white bread

Everyone got to make a loaf of white bread.


The Boiling Crab

I've been dying to try this place for months, ever since I saw it on Wandering Chopsticks. Loads of butter, garlic, spices, and seafood--what's not to love?


Love the roll of paper towel! It came in superhandy.


The crawfish/crawdads come in plastic bags. They usually include 1 corn on the cob with a 2-pound bag.


Between the five of us, we had five pounds!

small craw

How cute!

king crab

We also had 3 pounds of King crab. Honestly, I was not too keen on King crabs. But since they were out of Dungeness, we didn't really have a choice. They turned out AMAZING. They were succulent, sweet, meaty, and delicious.


The cajun fries had a real kick to them.


The aftermath ... haha ...

I kinda wished they had a pipping hot bowl of rice or bread to soak up all the spicy gravy. The bill came up to about $26 per person (with drinks). The service was pretty good for a place in Alhambra. Two thumbs up!

The Boiling Crab
742 W. Valley Blvd.
Alhambra, CA 91803


We had the sweet potato shaved ice with green tea ice cream at a different place.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

All About Braising

Tonight is about moist cooking. Since I'm a big fan of rare meat, I always think it's a waste to slow cook the beef. I feel it masks the natural meat taste with lots of seasoning. Maybe I'm just not a fan of the overwhelming flavor of red wine. I do, however, enjoy Chinese braises (chicken, duck, pork) with soy sauce, cinnamon, star anise, garlic, and cloves. These dishes were nonetheless pretty awesome.


Short ribs marinating in olive oil, garlic, and basil


Beef stew


Did you know there's milk in bolognese sauce?



Did you know the pork butt is actually a pig's shoulders?


Back in the pot for more braising


Someone put sugar in the ramekin, and poor Richard had no idea. This dish was still tasty, though.


Braised short ribs with cumin. It was good, but needs to cook a few hours longer.


Can you tell the difference?


It's not the same stew as the one above. I have no idea.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Where's the Beef?

I am an unabashed carnivore. I love all things red meat. In my family, steak has always been reserved for special occassion meals--birthdays and christmas. Since it's so rare, anytime mom made steak, I would cut mine into tiny bite-size bits in order to savor them longer. My parents like to tease that I'm eating minced meat instead of a big hunk of steak. My husband has a completely different experience. His mom made steak on a weekly basis. Another difference: I like my red meat on the rare, bloody side, while my husband likes his tough and well-done (yuck!).

Well, imagine my utter joy when it's steak night at cooking class. Enjoy the photos.




Raw steak




Since we don't eat till 9-10, my classmates cooked up some "appetizers." It's filet mignon bits. Soooooo delicious.



filet mignon

Filet mignon cooking up


Filet mignon cut up for easy distribution. It is tender and soft like butter.

skirt steak

Sliced tri-tip


Plated tri-tip


Wiener Schnitzel

pork chops

I know all about the risks. I don't care; I like my pork chops on the pink side.



lamb chops

Lamb chops with spinach, eggplant, and tomatoes. I think I needed to cook it a bit longer.

steak diane

I've never had steak Diane before. It's delicious.

dinner done

You bet I went for seconds =)