Original Thai BBQ

One 100 degree afternoon, the three Fujitaki children decided that it’s been long overdue that we have lunch.  I’m very lucky to be close to my brother and sister— I love them very much, even if we want to kill each other sometimes. We decided to have some Thai food at Original Thai BBQ over by where we grew up. The lunch specials are very affordable and come with a good amount of food. My brother frequents another location in Studio City, which he says is better, but we found the food to be pretty good.

My sister ordered the Yellow Curry lunch special, my brother ordered the Pad Thai, and I ordered Pad See Ew, and we shared an order of Drunken Rice. We enjoyed our food and chatted about a bunch of things that we needed to catch up on and Maleeya ate some Thai food and rice with us too. I enjoyed the rice a lot. It had very good flavor from the garlic and bell peppers. My Pad See Ew had good flavor, but it needed those Thai chiles, the ones that you have to ask for on the side, to perfect it.

Overall, I think we had an enjoyable outing with a little brother and sister time, which is always fun.

cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Kinnara Thai Food in Van Nuys

Two Saturdays ago, Brandon and I were lucky enough to get out for a date, which never happens because he never has Saturday off. When you date a chef you’re pretty much condemned to mid-week meals with one another, if you’re lucky,which isn’t so bad but when we do actually get to go out for a weekend night meal, it’s definitely a special occasion. Brandon made the trek out from Ventura (where he lives) to meet me in the valley after my long day of yoga studio duties, yoga practice, and yoga teacher training and we decided to get some local Thai food. Just a couple of blocks away from my house is Kinnara. Kinnara is a modern inspired Thai restaurant with an interesting elegant atmosphere, especially for being situated in a pretty dingy strip mall on Sherman Way, in Van Nuys. Kinnara moved to its new location, not very far from its old one, which is a larger more modern space next to a Starbucks. The restaurant had a modern appeal from the moment you walk in–the modern bar top awaits you and as you peek into the small dining room, people are dressed up or down to have a flavorful weekend meal.
We sat in a little bit of an awkwardly situated small table in the corner, but it wasn’t unbearable. Looking over the menu there were so many options for us to choose from. I was pretty indecisive about the whole thing, so it was nice to have someone choose a couple of dishes for me. We decided that we would have panang beef, lemongrass fried rice with chicken and shrimp, and lastly the 101 noodles. The food was served promptly and everything was prepared well. The lemongrass fried rice was served first; it had a lovely semi-strong flavor of lemongrass with a subtle spiciness, the chicken was a little over-cooked, which I find often happening in these type of dishes, and there were about 2-4 shrimp in the whole dish. I really enjoyed the flavor and it made a good bed for the panang beef. The tender beef was floating in a spicy and sweet sauce with all the familiar Thai flavors and lots of delicious coconut milk.  The 101 noodles was a strange dish of sticky noodles and minced beef with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and shitake mushrooms. The shitake mushrooms were the highlight of the dish and once you added some extra spicy Thai chilies and a little of the panang sauce, it was appetizing.  Overall, for a tasty Thai meal in Van Nuys, at a very reasonable price, Kinnara made for a lovely time together eating some familiar flavors on a weekend evening.

 

An Early Mother’s Day Celebration at Summer Canteen

Wednesday afternoon, we decided to celebrate Mother’s Day a little early because of my brother’s work schedule. So all of us (me; my sister, Kristen; my niece, Maleeya; my brother, Kyle; my mom, Trudy; my dad, Mark; and my boyfriend, Brandon) decided to meet up and enjoy some delicious Thai food in Toluca Lake, where Kyle lives.

We chose a neighborhood favorite of Kyle’s, Summer Canteen; a lovely little Thai inspired modern eatery. Kyle and his wife, Viet-Linh, have been going here since it opened and we’ve frequented the place many times since then. For some reason or other, I guess it’s eluded my blog, but with such a large group and a variety of dishes, I thought this would be a nice sampling of what Summer Canteen has to offer–wonderfully fresh and well done Thai food at reasonable prices with a modern and chic atmosphere.

 

Kristen and Brandon ordered Curry Noodle: a delicious yellow curry broth with chicken and vegetables, along with both crunchy noodles and soft rice noodles, sitting in a large bowl. Curry Noodle is definitely a dish that is always on our table at Summer Canteen. It’s not like any other curry that just comes with rice; the combination of crunch and rice noodles with the spicy mouth-watering curry, makes for a delicious and filling meal.

My dad ordered Thai Sukiyaki. The noodles were small cellophane noodles with an array of vegetables in a spicy sirracha sauce. This dish is a very different interpretation of Japanese sukiyaki, but appetizing nonetheless.

My mom ordered Pad See U with tofu and shared a bit with Maleeya. This dish is made of delicious flat noodles sitting in soy sauce and egg with tofu and broccoli, a perfectly scrumptious dish for the less adventurous pallet to enjoy Thai food.

Kyle ordered Pad Thai, a classic dish that never seems to fail here. I love the peanut sauce and noodles that are always cooked to perfection.

I ordered the Panang Beef with extra sauce and brown rice. The brown rice that they use here is fantastic. It’s not your usual cardboard tasting brown rice and it’s a beautiful, almost purple shade of color. The deep spicy and sweet flavors of the Panang beef with fall-to-pieces tender large pieces of beef, topped with some steamed bok choy, was the perfect meal. It’s something that I’ll definitely order again. I was completely satisfied and had plenty left over, even as a lunch portion.

Our service was kind and attentive, without being overly intrusive, which gave us plenty of time to converse and talk about what’s been going on and what’s going to go on. I love my family very much and this was a wonderful experience to have with all of us together, which doesn’t happen as often as I would like, but when it does it is always a great time.

This is my sisters second Mother’s Day. It’s so different when your sibling becomes a parent, I’m truly amazed by the transformation and strength it takes to raise such a beautiful little life.  I love my mom so much, shes always been such a great support of myself and my dreams. I love you both and a special thanks to all the amazing moms out there doing one of the hardest jobs on the planet.

How are you spending your Mother’s Day?

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Why Write Recipes When You Can Just Cook?

I cook often. If I could blog as easily as it seems for me to whip something up to eat in the kitchen, I’m sure I could fill another four blogs with my recipes. But as most of you know, I cook with more intuition than I do with recipes. Recipe writing is an art, a skill, a talent and I’m trying my hardest to be able to do more of it, but sometimes it’s very difficult for me to do so because I was never taught to cook from recipes; I was taught by watching the people I love, make the food they love.  I hope even if there aren’t recipes per se on my blog about everything I cook, if you’re curious about how to make something or how I’ve made something, you do a little research – say hello, drop me a tweet, facebook comment, e-mail, or whichever way we chat, let me know and I’ll come up with a way for you to make it happen. Here are some of the dishes I’ve photographed in the last week of ideas and meals we’ve enjoyed at home. I want to come back and write recipes for them all, hopefully one day I will. But here are the descriptions and a couple of quick recipes. I hope you enjoy these tasty ideas.

 

Romaine Hearts and Arugula Salad with Minced Beet, Pears, Pistachios, Avocado, Cucumber and Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 romaine heart, cored and sliced into small pieces

8 oz arugula

1 large beet, boiled or roasted, peeled and minced into small pieces

1 avocado, diced

1/4 cup of shelled pistachios

1 pear, peeled and thinly sliced

½ hot house cucumber, sliced

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Black pepper

Salt

To make dressing

Add balsamic, honey and Dijon together and add a pinch of black pepper and salt. Mix together well and then slowly pour in extra virgin olive oil till incorporated. Use less or more oil for your desired consistency.

Combine all vegetables in large bowl, except for beets, and toss with vinaigrette.

Before serving, sprinkle on minced beets and consume.

 Black Pepper and Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with White Wine Cherry Tomato Basil Sauce and Lemon Zest served aside Roasted Red Potatoes

Roasted Red Potatoes

Approx. 3 lbs of medium to small-sized red potatoes, quartered and washed, but not peeled

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons minced sage

1 tablespoon minced rosemary

4 cloves garlic, minced

Salt

Pepper

In a large pot, add red potatoes, cover with cold water and add salt to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook potatoes in water until almost done, about 15-20 minutes, but still having firmness when poked with a fork.

Drain water from the potatoes.

Place the potatoes in large bowl and add a couple pinches of salt, pepper, garlic, herbs, and ½ of the oil, incorporate well and place on a large baking sheet. Then pour the rest of the oil over the top of the potatoes.

Put the potatoes in preheated oven and cook for about 15 minutes. Take potatoes out and shake and stir them loose to roast other sides another 10-12 minutes, till crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside.

Serve with your favorite meat or vegetables.

Carrot California Chile Colorado with Braised Beef served over Black Rice with Roasted Beet Greens and Garlic and Romaine topped with Avocado

Sliced Turkey, Roasted Zucchini, Mushrooms, Almond Butter, Spicy Carrots and Rice Noodles topped with Almond Cilantro “gremolata”

New York Strip Milanese (New York Steak seasoned with cumin, coriander, black pepper and lemon, then breaded in panko and deep fried) served with Slow-Cooked Black and Pinto Beans with Roasted Garlic and Tomato Spanish Rice

Potato, Sausage and Kale soup with Red Pepper Flakes and Parmesan

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

 

Out and About Around LA: Feature Burbank

Have you ever seen a pile of books you know you’ll never get through but the possibility of so many words just amazes your mind? I felt that way going into this book shop with Stephanie called Movie World quite the contrary name for such a massive book store. We have so many fun adventures together that I love being able to document these precious moments in time. We all take advantage of our daily grind. Getting to know people sometimes gets pushed to the back of our thought process I’m glad to say that this wasn’t the case last Wednesday. I love California, now much more than ever before. Spring is amazing here and theres so much life just in the air its really wonderful. Last Wednesday Stephanie and I headed out to Burbank for some food, fashion, and furnishing fun. Ikea, Urban Outfitters, Movie World, Chadka Thai, and Tony’s Darts Away were our destinations on a beautiful spring afternoon.

I love Burbank, it really has everything in a small radius of an area and venturing out a little further will get you even more for what you’re looking for. We set out to go to two places and ended up stopping at much more than that. Take Movie World

This is a land field of literary knowledge and once you arrive there you’ll see why it looks as if someone threw up a million books in this place. Movies are barely a shelve in the place but the books that line the shelves have theatrical themes as well as the classic bundles of knowledge. Stack and stacks of old books reminded me of the child hood libraries I so desperately miss. But this place is just overwhelming you could spend three days and not get through one stack of the colossal amount of magazines, books, periodicals and other literary knowledge that resides in such a place.

Here’s Stephanie Rummaging through to find a healthy hand full of books to grace her coffee table at extremely affordable prices. I also bought the rest of my Harry Potter Books 1-3 in great condition for 10 dollars.

So after that we proceeded to walk down North San Fernando and see what was going on. The streets are lined with restaurants, small boutiques, as well as the larger more corporate operations.

We went to Ikea and just the color pallets and Kitchens alone make my heart soon. Oh the imagination that takes place in drawing up my dream kitchen and then realizing that its more than I’ll make for a long time so i can keep dreaming for a bit.

After our browsing about we decided that we would enjoy something to eat, I was thinking about just having a Vegan sausage at Tony’s Darts Away but with all the options around we decided to have lunch out where we were. Thai had sounded nice to Stephanie so we decided on a place with a seemingly interesting menu as well as a happy hour and thought why not. I love Thai Food but I wasn’t extremely hungry for curry or pad Thai or anything that I would normally order at a Thai restaurant.  But for a three dollar beer and a 5 dollar appetizer I felt sold and they had what Stephanie wanted on the menu too.  The place is called Chadaka Thai The style I believe their going for is contemporary, the lighting in side is very dark but it was a beautiful day so we opted to eat on the small patio. I ordered Tom Kha with tofu which was seasoned well and pretty good, I’d eat it again. As well as Thai egg rolls that tasted like peppery cabbage the sauce was good and the shells were fried nicely but were nothing to really write home about. I’d say go for happy hour with good company,have a drink, and enjoy California sunshine. My beer was good, my soup was awesome, my company was better.

The memory card on my camera was a bit off so I only have a couple of pictures.

The last stop on our afternoon of food and fun was Tony’s Darts Away Tucked away on the loaded street of Magnolia Blvd is Tony’s Darts Away. I’ve decided that I’m very interested in beer lately and I’ve been in the last couple of months to Ladyface, Boneyard Bistro, and Tony’s for local hand crafted beer. While my knowledge of lager, IPA’s, and Stouts is still lacking my devotion to new and well crafted beers has become a new passion of mine. Tony’s is a cool little place with a kind of basment hang out type feel. With pool tables, darts, and even stack of board games you can help yourself to. The joint is small we went in on a Wednesday evening about 6pm and the crowd was a lot of older men probably just ran home change from getting off of work and people who looked like they were just grabbing a bite and a beer. Sitting down to watch Oklahoma take on Dallas for the western conference finals of the NBA. Our bartender greeted us nicely and made a couple of jokes and proceeded to talk about a couple of tips for beer selection.

I know that my preference is darker stout beers with bitter notes and lovely espresso essence. Coffee and beer in one you have my heart. I ordered a flight because I like doing that. It gives me for 8 bucks the chance to explore flavor and change it up if one beer is too heavy, another is lighter, and then compare and contrast.

The bad part of having such good company is you forget that you’re also taking pictures for your blog. So I forgot and I bought a flight that came on this lovely little board of small little glasses and then drank the 1st two beers which i didn’t like that much but what weren’t that bad.  The 1st one much it was a bit too floral for my liking and the second one was washing down the 1st but that was much more medium bodied and a much better after taste. The Bartender picked my flight for me and kinda spouted off the names a little faster than I got to them. Note to self, next time write it down. The stout that i had was very good i caught the name of that one which was Solidarity *Nitro Black Mild. The flavor was mildly bitter and lighty coffee scented and extremely drinkable, If i were to of had another beer it would of been that one.  The beers at Tony’s come from all local California breweries. They take pride in sourcing the best on tap beers which in turn reduces waste and provides a unique service that i really like. They also have food a plethora of pub style sausages in buns and vegan sausages as well.  By the time we were finished chatting and done with our beers the bar was packed people were standing behind us waiting for seats. A good sign for any business. I do believe another trip to Tony’s will be in my cards sometime soon. We packed it up and made our exit, enjoying the fun times we had in Burbank.

Thanks for sharing our journey.

P.S. It’s the end of the month so you know what that means. Head over to the spiciefoodie.blogspot.com and check out this months YBR. Your Best Recipe is a awesome way to share your food with a multitude of culinary writters. So if you’re a food blogger please keep up to date with Nancy and here’s a link to a little more information. My entry this month is Spring Rolls. I hope you’ve seen them if you haven’t please check them out by clicking this banner and visit Nancy at the spiciefoodie for all the other awesome entries.

Unrivaledkitch
Twitter and Foodbuzz

 

My Little Brother’s 24th Birthday Celebration

It was my little brothers 24th birthday… I cooked for him and his friends…

My brothers birthday menu

Spinach and artichoke dip

Pork and vegetable egg rolls


Sweet corn and Mushroom Arancini (mixed rice that’s breaded and fried) with spicy slaw

Shrimp and Snap Pea Spicy green curry

Garlic, bacon, Rosemary and Thyme Roasted Prime Rib

Hoisin Chicken skewers

Roasted Bok choy

Pecan Hawaiian Bread Pudding with fried Plantains

Far left…that was the only picture of the pudding I have which is a shame because it looked really awesome.

Pad Thai and Brother in Laws Birthday


Pad Thai I made from scratch

pad thai
3large meal size/5 small sides Servings
________________________________________

1/2 lime
1 egg
4 teaspoons fish sauce (if you don’t want to buy a whole bottle of fish sauce you can use soy sauce it will taste different but it will still be good)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red dried chili flakes i added more i like mine spicy
to taste ground pepper
1 shallot, minced I used white onion cause its what i had
2 tablespoon sugar i think this was upped to about 3 1/2 to 4 table spoons
2 tablespoon tamarind same with this i used the whole pods which was the equivalent of about 4 and a 1/2 pods scrapped from the seed and mashed
1/2 package Thai rice noodles
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2-1/4 lb shrimp
i chicken breast
Optional
1/2 package of tofu – extra firm Optional
2 sprigs of green onion white and green used
2 tablespoons peanuts Optional
1-1/2 cup bean sprouts

Okay heat your walk with vegetable oil add peanuts to oil and roast till brown making sure to take them out when they are still golden as to avoid burning
Add to your remaining oil add your white onion, garlic, green onions and stir till translucent
To this then add your chili flakes, sugar, tamarind paste stir till heated
Then add peanuts, ½ lime squeeze, and fish sauce stir till incorporated and the tamarind is dissolved
Sauce can now be set aside in bowl
Now for the noodles if you’re going to be eating your pad thai right away loosen your noodles now in enough warm/hot water to cover them in a separate bowl. This process takes about 5-7 minutes the noodles should still be a little hard so they can finish cooking with the sauce. This will make the ingredients adhere to the noodles much better and make for a wonderful noodle dish instead of a sticky mess. If you put them in the sauce and realize they aren’t soft enough add a little water to your pad thai and cover and cook a couple of minutes and that should do. If you aren’t eating this right away, I’d suggest making the sauce for the dish and holding off on the noodles till right before.
Anyway
You don’t have to wash out the wok just continue to use the same one with a bit of the sauce in the bottom it will help to cook everything if you find your vegetables are not moving well add a little more sauce or water to the pan
Now add your chicken which has been sliced thin cook about ½ way then 4 minutes add tofu and bean sprouts and cook about 5 minutes finally toss in shrimps and cook another 4-6 minutes till shrimps pink through out
Finally add sauce to meat mixture
Heat and still gently till incorporated
Now if you want to go for a hike or get a shower you can just leave the sauce aside and make the noodles later if not put the noodles with the meat and heat for about 3-5 minutes and there you go
You are now the master of your own pad thai!

If you like adding other veggies do so I love extra cabbage and sprouts and cilantro on top and extra roasted peanuts

 

 


I made all this food for my brother in laws birthday party
list follows
Korean flank steak, Albondigas style meatballs, with roasted onions, Spanish rice, and cilantro,crushed red chili and balsamic tri tip, Goma soy chicken drums,scallion celery and black olive Potato salad,layered bean dip, tomatillo salsa verde, pico de gallo…roasted cauliflower, orange yams, maple bacon Brussels sprouts, roasted white zucchini, Balsamic cotija cheese pasta salad with heirloom tomatoes, red onions, parsley and extra virgin olive oil, not pictured pineapple orange cake


the simple things in life avocado BLT on Texas toast and a caramel apple

Cheers
Unrivaledkitch