If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you understand how important I feel it is to cook at home. You can control what goes into your food, you can choose ingredients based on your own individual needs and you’ve already paid for it!! But sometimes, life gets in the way. Recently, health issues, an uncooperative work schedule and the lethargy that these things bring conspired to send us out to eat on quite a few occasions…
I’m fascinated by the endless variety of cuisines that can be found from food trucks. One recent night, The Boyfriend and I got home from work within minutes of each other, and having worked all weekend, I wasn’t able to do my usual weekly meal prep. We took a quick stroll over to Sawtelle Boulevard to see who was serving what. That evening, there was only one truck, but I’m kind of glad there was just the one. When I eat in our neighborhood, I’m usually craving Japanese food. There’s so much of it to choose from around here; but that night, we were in for a surprise.
Crazy Creole Café was waiting for us after what seemed like a busy night for them. They’d run out of their entire Po’ Boy meat supply, other than the Shrimp. That was just fine with me!
This ‘Fully Dressed’ sandwich made me smile…many times! The shrimp were purrfectly fried, the giant slices of tomato were fresh and flavorful, the lettuce and pickles were crisp and refreshing and the spice was quite nice!! I ate the whole thing in one go! Man, I was hungry!
My Boyfriend has VERY big eyes. His stomach? Not so much. But, that was okay when he didn’t finish this AMAZING potato salad! I took care of that. He’d also indulged in the Gumbo Ya Ya. It was full of creole herbs, chicken, turkey and chicken sausages and rice. The aroma was too much for me to resist…so were the leftovers J While we waited for our order, the generous Chef Guy Duplantier III treated us to samples of some of the other items, keeping us warm and excited for what was coming up.
The Chef is looking for a few good investors to help him ‘Laissez les Bontemps Rouler’ or Let the Good Times Roll! He’s envisioned a Nawlins Supper Club with live Jazz and Zydeco; so if you want to help or just need to get your Cajun fix, check out http://www.crazycreolecafe.com , or call 562.415.8876. Bring on the Beignets!!!
Now, when we went down this road, we had the usual Japanese cuisine in mind. This night, we had been planning for sushi at a popular new spot; Sushi Stop. Later that week, when the cupboards were bare and our wallets were less than full, we made our way over there. Why? Everything on the menu is just $2.75!!
Yeah, I know. Sushi for $2.75 might sound a bit suspect…sushi for $2.50 sounds even more outrageous; but that’s what they were charging when they first opened! We’ve been there 3 or 4 times and have never had a problem. They seem to keep their overhead low by only offering a limited menu; no alcohol, small plates and keeping the staff fairly small. The food is simple, delicious and their specials are innovative and seductive. Salmon sushi with truffle oil? Oh, YEAH.
No food photos because it went so fast!
Not all of our recent food outings were bargain trips. In fact, I’ve been splurging on occasion. I’ve mentioned my new favorite night spot a few times, Bar Toscana. After my first visit, I decided I wanted to try everything on the menu! The small plates aren’t all as small as the servers make them out to be; in fact, the Aragosta Caracau, an amazing lobster dish, was almost too much deliciousness for me! Chef Luca Crestanelli makes these bites with farm fresh ingredients and a huge dose of creativity. The cocktail menu is an adventure all its own. Bar manager and Mixologist, William Perbellini shakes up smooth, flavorful libations from the menu, from scratch and even from your own imagination. He can purrfectly pair the drinks with your food selections…so talented!
The Caterina and the Sorrento…*photo from bartoscana.com
This happy little ginger-laced cocktail was one of those impromptu creations. Spicy!!!
Yummy bar snacks, like these little focaccia sticks go beautifully with whatever you’re drinking. Here they paired purrfectly with the bold, juicy Barolo I had last week.
The Boyfriend had been obsessed recently; obsessed with the idea of walking across the Golden Gate Bridge. I’m not sure where the idea came from, but I was certainly into it. I have friends in San Francisco and hadn’t been there for years, so why not?! Originally, he’d planned the trip for the weekend before Christmas; an especially busy time for my workplace, so he rescheduled for the weekend before Valentine’s Day…Purrrrfect.
We stayed in an adorable motel, one which was originally built for the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Marina Motel had everything we needed. Each room comes with a kitchen and free parking in your very own one-car garage! We emptied our fridge into a cooler and hit the road. I have to brag…my hybrid got us there and about ¼ of the way back on less than one tank of gas…all the way from LA! There’s a reason it was Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 201o!
While in San Francisco, we decided we’d eat breakfast and lunch in our room and enjoy dinners out. The first night, we splurged at Ristobar. This beautiful restaurant sports large windows at the front, an intriguing fresco on the ceiling and a cozy corner walled with shelves of wine. We shared the Tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and duck…again; it went too fast to photograph. For dessert, I had the Dolci di Noci, a smooth, sweet hazelnut confection…YUM.
Our little corner of Ristobar
The next evening, after crossing the bridge, we met up with my favorite roommate ever, Shannon. We shared some fries with her precious daughter and attempted to catch up after sooo many years had passed. We hadn’t seen each other since shortly after college…that was quite a while ago!
We had originally planned to have a romantic evening out, the night of the 13th, but our gams were groggy and we couldn’t decide what we wanted to eat, so we kicked back in front of the TV, raided the fridge and watched the Grammys in our motel room. It was the purrfect finish to our adventurous day.
The Boyfriend with his Chips, Salsa and a toasted Roast Beef Sandwich
My Grammy-time snacks…Humboldt Fog goat cheese, toast, crackers, toasted walnuts and a little arugula…carbo-loading much?
Anywhoo, we’re back in town and I’m back on track. Stay tuned for more tasties, yummies and culinary gallivanting!
This is my favorite shot from the GG Bridge. Pretty cool, huh?