Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Taste of Persia

I think I'm going to change this blog from a personal to food blog, haha!  Yes, it's another food post!  

I've blogged about a taste of Japan earlier.  Now, let's go to the Middle East/Mediterranean for some food adventure. . .okay, I'm not really sure how to classify Persian food, haha!  Geography wasn't really my best subject in school.

We caught up with a good friend for lunch last Sunday and she suggested a restaurant which serves authentic Persian cuisine (aka shawarma, the first thing that comes to my mind, haha!).    

The Shamshiri Grill Restaurant is located in Westwood.  It was a good thing that we went there on a Sunday (we were there as soon as their doors opened at 12noon, haha!) because parking can be a problem.  The restaurant doesn't have a parking area, there's only street parking available. 

Let's start the food adventure shall we. . .

They served us complimentary pita bread which came with butter, red onion wedges, raddish and a sprig of mint leaves (which we didn't use, haha!)  We just ate the pita bread as it is (with butter ofcourse!).  The bread was warm and soft, even the Little One liked it.

We didn't order any appetizers because we read that serving portions in this restaurant are big.  Our main entrees came with side salads.  Zola's Dad and our friend R had side salad with house dressing and I got a Shirazi Salad (diced cucumber, tomatoes, parsley and onions with lemon dressing.)  You know you're eating healthy food when you can only taste the vegetables, haha!  I would prefer a little bit more seasoning in my salad.   

Our friend ordered Lamb Shawarma ---- and yes, they do have big portions!

I am not really fond of lamb  (I think I've eaten lamb twice or thrice in my whole life) because of the gamey smell and taste from the meat (especially if it's not prepared well).  But if I have to eat lamb, I'll go to Shamshiri!  The meat is so tender, flavorful and doesn't have that gameyness (is there such a word??)

Zola's Dad wanted the Beef Shawarma with Basmati Rice

My most favorite among what we ordered!  Zola's Dad joked about me eating more  out of his platter than what I ordered! Haha!  The beef was tender, so well-seasoned and you get that grilled taste from it.  The Basmati rice was good too! It was sweet-smelling and tasty.  Even Zola's Dad commented on how good the rice was (and he doesn't do that. . .not over a rice!)   

And I had a Chicken Kabbob wrap

Which looked more like a burrito than a wrap, haha!  All platters came with hummus (one of the better hummus I've ever had) and a garlic sauce.

I love the chunky white chicken meat and crunchy fresh veggies. . . .it was okay.  It would have been perfect . . . if only I ate it with Cafe Med's (my favorite gyro place in Philippines) yoghurt-garlic sauce! 

It is one huge wrap that I'll let you guess what we're having for breakfast today, haha!

It was definitely another happy tummy food adventure. . . stay tuned for the next one =)
Have a nice and adventurous day ahead!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gotta Love Yoghurt

One of the things that the Little One's pediatrician told us is about developing good eating habits for her (I'm not the best teacher on this one, haha!). . . .stay away from juice (high sugar contents), wheat cereals, vegetable bites and cottage cheese make a good snack. . . I'm glad there's one healthy thing she loves eating. . . yoghurt.  . .must be strawberry (can be regular or light) . . .preferred brand, Yoplait.

Look who's hungry. . .  .

She helped herself . . . this kid won't get hungry, haha!

She eats yoghurt with fresh fruits for breakfast. . . actually she eats it anytime of the day. 
Her thought bubble: Yoghurt again *sigh*
She's eating it everyday, I hope she won't get tired of it!

I guess not!
Happy Tummy, Happy Baby!

Maybe her love for yoghurt will rub off on me, haha!

One Fruitful Day

One thing I like about doing the groceries in the US is finding produce that are new to me . . .. such as this yellow spiked fruit (or is it a vegetable?)

Meet  Kiwano . . .

Wonder how it looks inside?  

Image from

It is also called the African Horned Melon.  This fruit is native to South Africa but is now also grown in New Zealand and some parts of California.  How does it taste?  WikiHow descrbed it as . . ."When picked green and allowed to ripen, the fruit tastes like a mix of cucumber and kiwi fruit.  When it's picked fully ripe, it has a banana-like taste."  

I also read somewhere that it has a unique citrusy flavor, and another site wrote that it tastes like a mix of lemon and banana.

I guess we can say that this is one dynamic fruit, haha!

And another interesting find, the Pepino Melon . . .

Found this post from a blog wich gives us a good idea about this fruit.
Not a true melon, the Pepino is actually in the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes and eggplants. A native of South America, Pepinos are grown in many countries, including Ecuador and New Zealand. Inside this thin-skinned beauty is a golden-yellow flesh with the texture of a fine, juicy melon and the distinctive aroma of honeydew, pear and vanilla. The Pepino has a subtle, mellow flavor with less-sweet hints of melon and cucumber.

Imagine. . . the aroma of honeydew, pear and vanilla . . . it can be the next scent for Bath and Body! Haha!

It was indeed a fruitful trip to the grocery . . . I wonder what is in store for me on my next trip!

Hope you're all having a great weekend! =)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cruisin' in Style

I had a nice day with Papa and Mama at the mall . . . Mama was picking a jacket for me (since the weather is getting cooler now) when Papa and I started goofing around.

Papa picked this pair of sunglasses for me . . .

Guess he had Tom Cruise in mind . . .


Mama joined in the fun too and chose this pair . . .

With another Cruise in mind . . .Suri!


I think both sunglasses make me look cool . . . but I think I 'll go for Suri's style because she is closer to my age . . . but someday, I want a boyfriend who looks like Tom! (Hihihi) 

Have a nice weekend! 

Tantalizing Toys

I led the Little One this way . . .

But she chose a different path . . .

I guess this toy looked more interesting to her!  Haha!

We didn't buy this mean machine for her. . . her little red car would do for now =)
She wouldn't let go of this car during our layover at Incheon airport

But we got here these books . . .

Because children are not too young to start reading and appreciating books =)

Wishing everyone a day full of new learnings! =)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Taste of Japan

I love Japanese food!  (Well, except the raw stuff)  I had a sudden craving for Tonkatsu Curry  so our little family went to Japan (I wish, haha!). . . a Japanese market!  There is a place called Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance where it houses different things that are . . .well. . . Japanese!  It has a supermarket, a bakery, a Shiseido kiosk, books, general merchandise, different food stalls and a food court.  In a nutshell. . . it is a place where you can get a feel and taste of Japan.

Our first stop. . . the food court (ofcourse!  Haha!)  

It wasn't big (there are only around 7-8 food stalls I think) but it has enough choices (at least in my book).

What was for lunch?

Zola's Dad got a Chicken Teriyaki set lunch which was tasty.

I had my Tonkatsu Curry - nothing extra ordinary, the sauce is okay, the meat could be more tender.

And then I saw a long queue of people in a ramen  stall.  It can only mean that they must be serving something good!  Haha!  Something we must try then!  The menu was overwhelming because there is a choice of salt, miso or shio ramen. . . and then if you want it spicy or not, etc.  Glad the cashier was a Filipino!  So I just asked her what was their most popular one.  I wanted to try the miso ramen but she said their salt ramen was the most popular one, so I went with her suggestion.  (She must know her ramen right? Hehe)  

I'm glad I did!

I  love everything about this bowl!  The hot, delicious broth, the al dente noodles, the slivers of pork meat were tender with a thin layer of fat (that you won't feel guilty eating it, haha!)  This ramen noodle just hits the spot!

Oh and I got some Takoyaki balls too! (I'm blaming it on the pregnancy hormones . . .you just want a little bit of everything!  And for the record, Zola's Dad and I shared the ramen and the balls. . . and took some home . . .defensive ano?  haha!)   

These are the most amaaazing takoyaki balls I ever had!  I guess because they were made by a Japanese?  I mean . . . since it's a Japanese snack, a Japanese would know how to do it better, right?  Haha!

I got the regular one drizzled with a brown sauce and mayonnaise but there are other variations in the menu like Takoyaki with cheese, ponzu sauce or kimchi!  (There's a next time. . . heehee )

Looking around the food court, I saw a microwave oven which diners (who bring their own lunch bags --- there is an office crowd during weekdays) can use to warm their food.

Nice idea!

 After a filling lunch, we walked around the supermarket . . . and got these

We couldn't resist the "Buy One, Take One Deal" for the Almond and Macadamia chocolates, haha!

Outside the supermarket, there are also stalls which sell ---

Sushi and other rolls

Mochi - The mochis displayed aren't real . . .but they look good enough to eat!


Different baked pastries -  I wasn't able to take a photo of the goodies since the staff were looking at me!

It was definitely a trip to "Japan" worth going back to. . . and next time I'll have a bowl of that ramen noodle all by myself (i'll make mine spicy). . . and an order of those yummy takoyaki balls.

And what's one more thing I love about Japan?
Photo Source

Ken Watanabe!  Haha!  Loved him in "Memoirs of a Geisha"

Until the next post. . . Sayonara. . . .

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fridge Raider

I was hungry yesterday and was looking for something to eat. . . don't want any take-outs so I went to the kitchen and checked what we have.

We have this . . .

But I have to stay away from it! 

So I raided the fridge and came up with this. . .  

Pesto, sun-dried tomatoes . . .

And melted Swiss cheese!

What is not to love about this?!

Oh and not to hurt the cupcake's feelings (Heehee) . . . 
I had a taste of it, just a taste!
(hey I'm eating for two! Haha!)

OMG . . . it was a cupcake that tastes like brownie! 

 And I was in heaven . . .  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Baked Salmon in Teriyaki Marinade

We rarely cook salmon at home (we leave that to the restaurants, haha!) but I saw some really nice and fresh salmon fillets at the grocery that I just had to buy at least a pound of it!

The easiest (and fastest) way to cook a salmon fillet. . . is to bake it in your favorite marinade.  

My personal fave, teriyaki marinade.  There are bottles of teriyaki marinade which can be bought at the grocery but since we don't have any at home, I googled for some sauce recipes and I remembered seeing a recipe for homemade teriyaki sauce in Jenni Epperson's blog.  She actually used it for her chicken burgers (which I plan on making one of these days).  Her sauce's ingredients were so simple, we have everything at the pantry!  Well, except for the honey.

For a pound of salmon fillet, I used the following:

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 ground ginger or minced ginger
1/4 teaspooon garlic powder
5 tablespoons packed brown sugar

Zola's Mom's add-ons:
2 tablespoons of sugar - just because we didn't have honey
3 tablespoons of olive oil - just because we have it, haha!  I saw Ina Garten's recipe for her Asian Salmon and saw olive oil in it.

Cooking Directions:

1) Preheat the oven at 350 degrees
2) Combine all ingredients and marinade the fish for at least 2 hours.
3) Line your baking pan with aluminum foil and grease it
4) Sprinkle some peppery love on your fish before popping it in the oven
5) Put your fish in the oven and cook it for 12-15 minutes (depends on how thick your fillet is)
6) To check the doneness of the fish, poke the fillet with a fork and see if it flakes apart.  (Tip: check at the thickest part of the fillet) 
7) If it's cooked, remove from the oven and serve it with a smile =)

Cooking Notes:
The salmon was delicious all by itself.  Glad we bought them fresh!  I am also happy with the taste of the marinade.  However, we got a taste of it only at the outer layer of the fillet.  So the next time I'm doing this, I'm going to:
- Marinade the fish at a longer time so the flavor would seep through the  meat
- Put honey (I really think it would make a difference)
- Put a little bit of salt for extra seasoning

- Or I can just buy a bottle of teriyaki marinade at the grocery, hahaha!

Happy Cooking!

"Apple vs Tablet"

This message was brought to you by the Little One. . . .

My Mama said. . . .

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

And if I get sick. . . .

There's always a "tablet" to make me feel better!



Hope you found this funny!  Haha!  I even asked hubby if this was worth posting!  I let him read it and he actually smiled (it was a big smile!) . . . I don't know if he really liked it or he was laughing at my idea!  But he said I should, so I did!  I know he loves me so much. . . . that he will not put me to shame!  Haha! 

Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rockin' Ravioli

We had lunch a few weeks ago at the Nordstrom Café and ordered their Wild Mushroom Ravioli (they had me at roasted wild mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, haha!)  I wasn't really expecting too much since we were not in an Italian Restaurant . . . but OMG. . . it was heaven on a plate!    The ravioli was bathed in a garlicky white sauce topped with Parmesan cheese.   I even heard some angels singing. . . Haha!  (Note to self: Must go back for this must-eat!)

So I still have this ravioli "hangover" when on a trip to COSTCO, I saw a staff handing out samples of a spinach-mozzarella ravioli!  I am not a fan of frozen prepared food but this actually tasted good!  So I got a bag of this . . .

Just in case the craving kicks in or for those days when we want to eat something fancy but we're too lazy to go out of the house!
I bought a bottle of Alfredo Sauce (the Bertolli brand is actually good) and cooked the ravioli as instructed (bring the water to a soft boil and let the ravioli cook for around 8-10 mins) 

I could have just heated up the sauce but I am Ms. Sauté girl!  So I sautéd some garlic, added the leftover roasted chicken (which we had two nights ago) and for some color, I added some red bell pepper and peas.  I should have used the sun-dried tomatoes sitting in the cupboard. . . . but I completely forgot that we have some!  (Next time. . .) 

After simmering the sauce, and mixing the ravioli with it. . . this was what was waiting for Zola's Dad . . .  


We had this for merienda (snacks) . . . it was so rich and filling that I skipped dinner!

Happy to say, this is another husband-approved recipe! =)

Have a rockin' and rollin' weekend! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Something in Common

I like taking sleeping shots of Hubby and the Little One. . .especially when they have the same position.  (While writing this post, they are actually sleeping and are in the same position again!)

Like Father, Like Daughter

Zola's Dad has been telling me that the Little One looks like me when she is sleeping.  He  actually took a picture of me and the Little One sleeping together.  And she does look like me!  It would have been perfect to put it in here too (and I would have named this post "The Sleeping Beauties") . . .but it just wasn't a flattering photo, haha!

So i'm putting this one (this is more like it!  Sorry Hun, I get to choose the photos that go in this blog, heehee)

Like Mother, Like Daughter

We're both enjoying sunny California!

What else do we have in common?  (Besides the sunglasses)

During our initial visit to the pediatrician, while reviewing the Little One's growth chart (e.g. height, weight), she said that she is on the "bigger side".  Heehee

Oh well, as they say, like mother, like daughter!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Today's Lunch: Shrimp Gambas

One of my favorite seafood is Shrimp.  I haven't had shrimps for quite some time so I bought some from the grocery last week but haven't gotten around to cooking them yet.  Since we are staying home today, I thought of cooking them for lunch.  I was choosing between two recipes, Butter Garlic Shrimps or Shrimp Gambas.  I haven't tried cooking the latter one, so I thought of challenging myself by trying a new recipe.

I got this recipe from Panlasang Pinoy, one of our favorite sites for Filipino recipes.  

I made some minor tweaking though.  I added butter too as I sauteed the garlic in olive oil.  Don't you think butter just makes this world a butter. . .i mean better and happier place?  Haha!  And instead of tomato sauce, I used tomato catsup (only reason being I don't want to open a can of tomato sauce only to use a small portion of it)

It is an easy to follow and easy to do recipe . . . a go-to recipe if you want to cook to impress! 

My Verdict:  Kitchen-tested, HUSBAND-APPROVED!

We only stopped eating because there was no more rice left, haha!

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup green chili, sliced diagonally
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil or olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons cooking rice wine
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
 Cooking Procedure
  1. Combine lemon juice and shrimp and marinade for 30 minutes.
  2. Pour cooking oil in a wok of frying pan then apply heat.
  3. When the oil is hot enough, put-in the garlic and cook until the color turns light brown.
  4. Add the onions and red bell pepper then cook until the texture softens.
  5. Put-in the shrimps and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the cooking rice wine, salt, and pepper then cook for another minute.
  7. Add the tomato sauce and stir. Cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Put-in the hot sauce and simmer for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and set-aside.
  9. Heat a sizzling plate and transfer the shrimp along with the other ingredients.
  10. Top with sliced green chilies and serve.
  11. Share and enjoy!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...