It’s high time we commence alfresco dining now that spring has sprung and summer is around the corner. These warmer months were made for breaking bread with friends and family under sunny skies and shady trees. While the burgers are grilling or the ribs are smoking, I highly recommend serving a big ‘ol bowl of Furikake Kettle Corn. It’s an addictive nibble that never fails to delight.
This recipe comes from Chef Roy Choi of Los Angeles’ A-Frame restaurant. I couldn’t keep my hands away from the bowl the first time I tried this Hawaiian-style popcorn. Every fistful of buttery kernels brought a hit of sweetness from Corn Pops, sourness from dried pineapples, savoriness from bacon, spiciness from cayenne pepper and chili flakes, and a whole lot of umami-ness from furikake. This unlikely combination of big, bold flavors had me hooked at first bite.
Making Furikake Kettle Corn requires very little preparation, especially if you’re using bagged kettle corn like this recipe suggests. The bacon needs to be fried and chopped, chives minced, and butter clarified. After that’s good and done, everything comes together in a snap. Serve the popcorn in a bowl, or better yet, channel the aloha spirit and spill it onto the table just like they do at A-Frame.
- 4 cups kettle corn
- 2/3 cup of Corn Pops
- 2 ounces clarified butter
- 2 tablespoon furikake
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoon dried pineapple
- 2 tablespoon chopped bacon, cooked
- 2 teaspoon chives or Shiso, minced
Chop and fry bacon, mince chives, and clarify butter. Note: My dried pineapple came dusted in cayenne pepper, hence its darker appearance, so I skipped the “pinch of cayenne pepper.”
My “Qwik and EZ” method for clarifying butter entails microwaving the butter in a small bowl for 20 second at a time until it’s completely melted. Let the butter cool for a minute or two at room temperature and then skim off the white foam with a spoon. The resulting clarified butter isn’t perfect, but it’ll do just fine for this recipe.
Finely chop the bacon and dried pineapple together using a food processor.
Continue reading ‘Furikake Kettle Corn’
I found myself on the west side of town last Monday night following a photo shoot at Sotto. Rather than hop in my car and make the long drive home at the tail end of rush hour, I convinced my friends and fellow Eastsiders, Nastassia and Diep, to meet me for a bite to eat. Our destination this evening was A-Frame, stop number two on the Roy Choi Express. Choo choo.
While Chego dishes up “refrigerator food” in a fast-casual setting, A-Frame is a full-service “modern picnic” channeling the aloha spirit.
Chefs Jude, Chris, and Fernando on the beats. Beth on the sweets. Picnic! – @RidingShotgunLA
There’s usually a long wait due to the restaurant’s firm no reservation policy, but the crowds were mellow tonight, so our party of three was seated immediately.
Carrying on the picnic theme were communal tables, do-it-yourself silverware, and perfectly sensible enamelware. Diep loved these little touches, which made the place feel cozy and comfortable.
Continue reading ‘A-Frame – Los Angeles (Culver City)’
I followed the opening of Susan Feniger’s Street with great anticipation during the early months of 2009. I had just moved into town following a year traveling and feasting abroad, so news of a local restaurant specializing in global street food was especially exciting to me. Every minuscule pre-opening detail, from the interior design to menu development, was captured on the restaurant’s “Street Noise” video series. I watched each one and felt like a privileged insider getting a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant’s impending launch.
As stoked as I was to try Street, the lukewarm reviews that came out during the first few months of service changed my mind completely. It seemed that paying premium prices for street eats didn’t sit well with folks (see: $16 bowl of phở), and the hodgepodge menu was something of a minefield. Without glowing reviews all around, the restaurant soon fell off my radar.
It wasn’t until I received a 30% off coupon from Blackboard Eats some months ago that I finally made my way to Street for a meal. Ain’t no better motivator than a hefty discount and promises of kaya toast.
The Astronomer and I, along with our friend Laurie, brunched here one Sunday afternoon following a terrific volunteer sesh with Project Angel Food. We’d been up and on our feet since 6:30 AM, so we were hoping that this meal would be a real battery charger.
Brunch began with a plate of spiced Turkish doughnuts simmered in cardamom rose syrup and served with sour cream and rose hip jam ($10.50). The sweet and slightly floral doughnuts were grease-less, pillowy wonders that had all three of us seriously impressed.
Continue reading ‘Susan Feniger’s Street – Los Angeles (Hollywood)’
Loco moco, a thoroughly Hawaiian delicacy comprised of white rice topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy, was invented in 1949 in the city of Hilo on The Big Island. There are many people who claim to have invented the dish, but it is generally agreed that Cafe 100 or the Lincoln Grill created the first one.
I felt sick to my stomach after my first brush with loco moco back in April, so it took nearly a week on the islands for me to get up the guts to give it a second go. When I found myself in Hilo after an excursion to the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, I toughened up and paid Cafe 100 a visit.
Cafe 100, which owns the trademark for the term “loco moco,” dishes up over fifteen varieties, including ones made with “smokie” sausage and mahi mahi. Adorable hand-drawn posters that reminded me of projects from junior high advertised the most popular renditions. All of the loco mocos were priced between $1.99 and $5.25.
I went with the OG loco moco for a buck ninety-nine—brown rice, fried egg, hamburger patty, and gravy.
The weighty loco moco was packaged to-go in a plastic container. Both the plump grains of brown rice and the rubbery hamburger patty were swimming in a sea of gelatinous brown gravy. The gravy’s taste wasn’t offensive, just not nearly delicious enough to be drenched over everything. Come to think of it, I’m not sure there’s any sauce in this world that would taste pleasant ladled on in this excessive manner.
Although I’d love to say that loco moco on the motherland was ono to the max, it really wasn’t. It’s the end of the road for loco moco and me. It’s been real, brah.
969 Kilauea Avenue
Hilo, HI 96720