Mizumi Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas…. what a crazy, interesting, evocative, and mischievous place to visit. It’s one of my favorite places to people watch and remember why I am where I am now and not where I used to be. Brandon’s grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin live in Summerlin, just outside of Vegas, and we were finally able to take a weekend trip out there to spend time together and with them. We had so much fun with everyone and it was truly the trip we needed to just get away and not work for a few days — both of us are complete workaholics. Spending time away gave me a really great appreciation for everything I do and reminds me that I need to keep my life outside of work a priority as well. Life is too short not to live it fully and enjoy and embrace the present moment.

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Brandon and I had a really amazing evening out together and we shared a delicious meal at Mizumi in The Wynn hotel. It is a beautiful Japanese restaurant with a waterside view and an absolutely amazing ambiance. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten at or written about a restaurant of this caliber. It was truly a refreshing breath of air to see this type of service and particular care and attention to detail that Mizumi takes with each plate.
We started with drinks. I had a The Dream (champagne, elderflower liqueur and preserved edible hibiscus) and a Mizumi Cloud (lemongrass, yuzu, gin and ginger liqueur). Both drinks were delicate and flavorful. The slight sweetness of the elderflower liqueur gave the champagne a refreshing flavor. The Mizumi Cloud was sweet, but tart, and gave the gin an enlivening elegance.

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We decided to get a selection of hot and cold items instead of ordering sushi rolls.

 

Shiromi Usuzukuri, thinly sliced white fish (snapper), ponzu, miso flakes, momiji oroshi, scallion oil

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Yellowtail Sashimi and Jalapeño Gelée, crispy onion, cilantro oil, ponzu

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Robata Platter, sea bass, organic Jidori Chicken, beef tenderloin, shishito peppers, shiitake mushrooms

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Crispy Brussels Sprouts, toasted almonds, green onion, balsamic soy reduction

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Hokkaido snow beef 5 Pieces 2oz Hot Stone

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Seared Foie Gras with Kabocha Puree, Micro Green and Pomegranate Salad, Chestnut Foam Pomegranate-Balsamic Reduction

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Kurobuta Katsu Panko Breading, Apple Slaw, Curry Sauce and Tonkatsu sauce

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Liquid Lemon-Yuzu Cheesecake, Graham Walnut Streusel, Sour Cherry Compote, Sugared Walnuts, Morello Cherry Sorbet

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Mizumi Chocolate Mask, White Chocolate, Hazelnut Dacquiose, Chocolate Mousse, Praline Puffed Rice, Vanilla Ice Cream

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Coffee and Espresso

 

Everything was delicious and presented so well with the descriptions given on each plate. My favorites were the Shiromi Usuzukuri and the Kurobuta Katsu, but everything was really fresh, executed with extreme attention to detail, and the service was impeccable. It was an evening to remember.

 

Another highlight of the meal was the Hokkaido Snow Beef. This beef is literally melt-in-your-mouth tender. You cook the snow beef table-side on a hot stone, so even when Brandon isn’t working, he’s still cooking on his night off.

 

This meal was everything that the decadence, details, and drama of Las Vegas could serve up and we were completely satisfied with our whole meal experience. It was truly a memorable dining event and I am so glad I could spend it with such a special person. We were also fortunate to go to see Le Rev at The Wynn after dinner, which was such a wonderful Vegas experience and our first Vegas show.  I am so grateful to have these memories to share.

 

Cheers,

 

Unrivaledkitch

Republic of Pie North Hollywood,CA

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North Hollywood is an up-and-coming area with a little strip of Lankershim Blvd. adding its artsy vibe to an otherwise forgettable area. I work with Lankershim Elementary School teaching preschool yoga, so every now and then, I like to look for new places for coffee or lunch. One afternoon, after Brandon and I walked around the Studio City farmers’ market, we decided that after all that walking we would head over to Summer Canteen for a late lunch. Since Summer Canteen is located in the same area of North Hollywood that Republic of Pie is, we headed over there to pick up some pie. My sister has been wanting a good slice of pie for a while now, so I decided to pick a couple of pieces up and check the place out.

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Republic of Pie is a lovely little cafe that’s both quaint and stylish. The décor is antique and precious with a stage for coffee house open mic night and couches for comfortable hanging out sessions with friends or your newest novel. The pastry cases offer a variety of styles of savory and sweet pies as well as other delicious baked goods like homemade oreos, lemon bars, vegan energy bars and much more. We looked over the pies and decided on blackberry peach pie and banana cream. I also took a lemon bar to go as well. The pies came out perfectly packed and expertly sliced.

 

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Along with your pie, they have a full line of espresso drinks and teas for your enjoyment. Both pies were delicious. The blackberry was extremely fresh and the pie crust was perfectly golden and crisp. The banana cream was layered with cream, banana pudding and a layer of sweet brown sugar crumble; it was very rich and decadent. The lemon bar was good. But for my taste, I enjoy them to be a bit more tart than sweet. Overall, the whole place was cute and welcoming and the pie was fantastic. You can take a look at the bakers in the baking room making all the delicious goodies by hand.

cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Granny’s 80th Birthday Celebration and Catering

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My grandma is a very special woman. She’s such a loving, kind, strong and wonderful person and we were very happy to host her 80th birthday celebration for all of her friends and family. Granny has always been the talk of the town and never met someone she couldn’t charm or take a photograph of. Her personality is best displayed when she played Choco, the adorable little bear mascot for Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Her dancing and friendly waves along with blowing kisses to all the children, led her to be requested put on the suit well into her late 70s.

My sister, my brother and I spent countless hours with grandma when we were little. We’d get picked up and taken all the way out to Huntington Beach to stay with grandma for the weekend; some of my fondest memories as a little kid are feeding the ducks at the park, eating toast and tea for breakfast and having French bread and string cheese for snacks. I associate a lot of joyful activities with food as you can see. Grandma was never short on hugs and kisses or presents and spoiling and she’s passed down the fun to my little niece Maleeya. Grandma has the biggest heart and the attitude of someone half her age. Believe it or not, she still cruises out to Vegas in her Corolla on a whim and vacations whenever she can, all between traveling back and forth to come to visit all of us (over 100 miles away roundtrip).

Brandon and I put on a very special catering for all the guests and we were very happy with the outcome. Brandon was in charge of pastries and I helped him assemble some of them, while I took on the savory options, which he lent a big hand in helping with as well. My mom was assigned the snacks department and made our family’s favorite macaroni and potato salad, homemade beans for the chili and mini lemon cupcakes. My sister made the beautiful flower arrangements, all the gorgeous decorations and photo collages. My dad, brother, sister-in-law, brother-in-law and everyone else helped out so much to make this a beautiful, delicious, smooth event for everyone involved. I’m so glad I have this amazing family to call my own. I want to thank everyone who came, who helped, and who made this amazing event happen.
Happy 80th Birthday, Granny! We all love you so much!
Ruthie’s 80th Birthday Party Menu

Appetizers
Fruit Platter
Vegetable Platter
Chips and Dip

Salads
Macaroni Salad
Potato Salad
Baby Mixed Greens with Shredded Cucumber, Mozzarella Cheese, Diced Tomatoes, Pickled Red Onions and Blue Cheese Dressing

Entrées: Served Family-Style
Roasted Pulled Pork
Country Spiced Fried Chicken
Homemade Chili Beans

Sides
Mashed Potatoes and Chicken Gravy
Peanut Coleslaw with Red and Green Cabbage, Shredded Carrots, Green Onions and Asian Dressing
Roasted Corn on the Cob
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Orange Honey Glaze and Marshmallows

Bread Basket
Corn Bread Muffins
Rolls

Dessert Bar
Lemon Meringue Pie
Banana Cream Pudding
Lemon Cupcakes
Cream Puffs

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unrivaledkitch

Happy Birthday Andy!

I’ve been cooking non-stop for the last couple of weeks. Not that I mind at all, it’s really second nature to me and I’m very fortunate to have lots of family and friends to be cooking for during the holidays. It’s probably one of my favorite gifts to give. The day after Christmas is Brandon’s stepdad’s birthday and we planned to have a big feast to celebrate his 50th birthday with family and friends. So after the great Christmas feasts that we had with my family, we were lucky enough to enjoy making dinner for Brandon’s mom and stepdad and some of their friends. The menu featured some of the food that I made for Christmas, including pozole and using some leftover meat that I had made for the tamales transformed into taquitos and flautas with some creamy salsa verde, spicy salsa roja with yogurt, and guacamole for appetizers. Having two chefs in the family is a pretty big advantage. I think both our families are grateful for that!

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Happy Birthday Andy!

Menu

Appetizers
Cheese Board with Fig Butter and Crostini
Pozole
Chipotle BBQ Shrimp with Honey Chipotle Aioli
Beef and Cheese Taquitos and Flautas with Creamy Salsa Verde, Spicy Salsa Roja with Yogurt and Guacamole

 

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Salads

Antipasto Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Roasted Red Beet Salad with Feta Cheese, Mixed greens and Shallot Red Wine Vinaigrette

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Entree

Herb Roasted Spicy Dijon and Horseradish Roasted Prime Rib
Roasted Carrots, Peas and Brussels Sprouts
Twice Roasted Potatoes with Sour Cream and Green Onions

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Dessert

Chocolate, Vanilla Wafers and Banana Cream Pie

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Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Asia de Cuba

Along the freshly stale, glam, grunge tourist accommodations of higher proportion on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, California lies Asia de Cuba. A restaurant concept close to my heart and well done at that, with a deep affinity for Asian and Latin cultures. These plates depict the depths of flavor and comforts of familiarity. The décor at Asia de Cuba is a glamorous array of beautiful white pieces melting with the beige and dim candlelight reflections. The looking-glass walls are depicting the whole lot of Los Angeles on a clear evening.  The patio seats the glamorous and fashionably-forward flowing continuum of Hollywood life. White linens, fine silverware and fluted water glasses adorn each table.
As we waited for our seats, a duo of overambitious, idiot, socialites decided they wanted to be more important than us, and try to get a table before we did, but were shot down and we were seated first, which we were grateful for, considering that we had been waiting to be served before they even arrived.  We were then greeted by a very polite and well-informed waiter, Peter. He gave some of the most amazing service I’ve had in a very long time. His fluidity of menu knowledge and ability to speak candidly and with passion, is something every great server need take note of. We started with drinks. I ordered a Havana Mule, which was grapefruit vodka, and grapefruit juice with lime; a very refreshing way to start the evening.

As we perused the menu for seasonal offerings, it came to our attention that they were offering a tasting menu including some of the best items on the menu for $67. Peter explained that the menu was broken down into large amounts of food, for which there need be no more than 2-4 dishes picked between the four of us, which brings selection down a bit. So we opted to take on the tasting menu to try our luck with a larger variety of food.
This is the menu as written on Asia de Cuba’s website.

APPETIZERS

TUNAPICA

TUNA TARTARE PICADILLO STYLE WITH SPANISH OLIVES, BLACK CURRANTS,

ALMONDS AND COCONUT WITH SOY-LIME VINAIGRETTE AND WONTON CRISPS

AND

BRAISED BEEF SPRING ROLL

CUBAN BLACK BEAN PAPAYA SALSA AND PORT WINE REDUCTION

AND

CALAMARI SALAD ‘ASIA DE CUBA’

CRISPY CALAMARI WITH CHAYOTE, HEARTS OF PALM,

BANANA, CASHEWS, CHICORY AND RADICCHIO WITH SESAME ORANGE DRESSING

INTERMEZZO

 

PINEAPPLE SORBET

ENTRÉES

 

CHAR SUI BEEF SHORT RIBS

CONGRE TOSTONES AND CHILI ORANGE MOJO

AND

MISO CURED ALASKAN BUTTERFISH

CUBAN BLACK BEAN & EDAMAME SALAD AND TEMPURA SHISITO PEPPERS

AND

CUBAN BBQ CHICKEN

THAI COCONUT STICKY RICE, AVOCADO CILANTRO FRUIT SALSA AND TAMARIND SAUCE

AND

PLANTAIN FRIED RICE WITH AVOCADO SALAD

DESSERT

BAY OF PIGS

Rich chocolate brownie topped with chocolate ice cream vanilla ice cream bruleed bananas and banana crisps, coconut cake and nuts
ASIAN PEAR BREAD PUDDING
Asian pear bread pudding baked and topped with crème angles and a side of poached Asian pears
My tasting notes and photos:
Braised Beef Spring Roll
This flavor forward bite starts the meal off in the right direction. The presence of the airy, wonderfully fried shell and beef forward flavor with the port wine reduction is delicious and inviting.
Tunapica

The tuna was fresh and delightful, obviously highly graded. But the olive and current take a backseat to the crunchy wonton, which tasted flat and unseasoned.
Calamari Salad ‘Asia de Cuba’
Chicory and radicchio were dressed well in a very intensely flavored dressing of sweet sesame orange citrus, with the creaminess of banana that lends well to the crunch of the fried calamari and the presence of hearts of palm and nuts; all making for an intriguing and playful way to eat fried calamari elegantly. Truly a highlight of the evening.
Pineapple Sorbet
This small bite was a simple, acidic and sweet pallet cleanser to go after the luscious fried pieces of calamari and sticky sweet dressing.
Char Sui Beef Short Ribs
The short ribs were tender, developed and rich, full of flavor from slow simmering and then sliced. The rest of the plate didn’t seem as though it was flowing or highlighting the meat. I enjoyed the short ribs on their own and could have done without the rest.
Miso Cured Alaskan Butterfish
The moist butterfish was prepared extremely well. Its flavor was delicious and faint, not overpowering, with a lovely miso gentleness. The edemame accompaniment was a good textural change from the buttery fish. With a little heat from shiso pepper to balance everything out, it was an overall fantastic dish.
Plantain fried rice with avocado salad
An interesting take on fried rice. The avocado was a nice combination with the fish and the meat.
Cuban BBQ Chicken
Lastly, the chicken, which I tend to never order at restaurants–even well done, chicken is still just chicken –was a bit dry and busy. The coconut sticky rice tasted milky, thick and faintly sweet, which was a good contrast to the mango salad, along with a clean and refreshing sauce with dark and heavy flavor.
Bay of Pigs
This is one of the most rich, decadent and wonderful desserts I’ve ever tasted. The amount of flavor and different textures and tastes that happened on this plate is out of control, but in an immense way. I’d come back just to sit and eat that chocolate ice cream and brownie, then relax in my self-induced sugar coma. Truly an amazing dessert and I don’t even like bananas, as I mentioned before.
Asian Pear Bread Pudding
It’s a lovely fresh and soft, delightful and deliciously delicate dessert with a nice flowing crème angles and poached pears for different textures.
Overall, we enjoyed a pleasant meal with a beautiful atmosphere, creating the quintessential experience for celebrating my sister-in-law, Viet-Linh’s, impressive move up the corporate ladder. All the flavors on the plates combine to be familiar, with edgy and interesting appeal. Thank you Peter for your amazing service and Asia de Cuba’s chefs and staff for an appealing and delightful experience.

 

My Thanksgiving

I believe in over indulgence on thanksgiving and I don’t really make any excuses on this day.   The dishes on holidays are so intense. My kitchen is immaculate which is insane because it was a complete disaster all day. Lots of family lots of food…

Menu… some stuff not pictured cause I was busy… Apps- maple bacon shrimp, spinach dip, roasted red pepper pimento and scallion spread on crackers Main Dish Brown sugar and marshmallow yams, Spiced rum and orange candied pineapple yams, Mashed potatoes, Sweet sugar brined Herb roasted Turkey, Roasted carrot and Onion giblet gravy, Honey Baked Ham,Fresh Green Bean Casserole, Slow cooked spinach and Broccoli gratin, Wild Mushroom and caramelized onion rice, Herb Red wine vinegar Cucumber salad, Cranberry Jelly, Mac n Cheese and Smoked turkey and roasted giblet, zucchini, and pork Stuffing. Dessert Carrot Cake, Lemon Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta, and Pumpkin Pie

Turkey process Mid roast \