It’s avocado season here in Southern California, and Maude, Curtis Stone’s critically adored restaurant, is celebrating in grand fashion with a month-long tasting menu dedicated to the super-luscious, downright buttery ingredient.
Maude’s menu changes with the seasons, focusing on “one key ingredient” each month. [See what the restaurant is cooking for the rest of this year.]
Our ten-plus course dinner featured California-grown Hass avocados in every single dish. Sometimes avocado was the star of the plate, while other times it elevated the ingredients surrounding it. As a lifelong avocado lover, it was a pleasure to experience the fruit in a plethora of forms, both classic and innovative—avocado leaf ice cream, anyone?
Named after Curtis Stone’s grandmother, Maude is a jewel box of a restaurant with just 25 seats and an impressive open kitchen. The space and service were warm and welcoming with the ideal touch of sophistication.
Continue reading ‘Maude – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)’
The best meal from my trip to Honolulu last spring was at The Pig & the Lady. The Astronomer and I found Chef Andrew Le and Mama Le’s brand of Vietnamese-inflected island fare awesomely creative and delicious; we couldn’t wait to visit again on our next trip to Oahu.
Although my schedule was jam-packed with work commitments on my most recent return to the islands, I had to make time for another meal at this fabulous establishment.
I rounded up two hearty eaters (Hi, Thien and Kris) and we Uber’d to the restaurant for lunch. The space was packed considering it was a weekday, but we managed to squeeze in at the tail end of the lunch hour.
Thien sipped on Papa Le’s Iced Coffee ($4), while Kris handled the Cobra Commander ($11). The former was plenty strong yet sweet, while the latter was spiked with avocado mezcal and pink-grapefruit liqueur and chilled with Sriracha ice.
Continue reading ‘Lunch at The Pig & the Lady – Honolulu’
Leonard’s Bakery may have malasadas on lock, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t lesser-known but worthy competitors in Honolulu. On a recent trip back to the islands for work, I carved out some time to visit Champion Malasada, a purveyor of Portuguese doughnuts with a notable reputation among the local set.
Owned and operated by Joc Miw and his wife Sandra, Champion opened its doors in 1983 serving breakfast, pastries, and of course, malasadas. Joc, who hails from Macao (a Portuguese enclave in China), grew up eating malasadas and spent time working at Leonard’s before opening his own bakery.
Champion’s malasadas ($0.80) are made using a recipe that Joc developed over the years. Whereas traditional malasadas are deep-fried just as soon as the dough is combined, Joc allows his dough to “age” some to avoid deflated, air-filled wares.
The resulting malasadas, always fried to order, have wonderfully crisp exteriors and pleasantly rich and chewy innards. Their unmistakably yeasty flavor plays well with their sugary coating. “No air” malasadas for the win!
Continue reading ‘Champion Malasadas – Honolulu (Mo’ili’ili)’
In the mood for Northern Vietnamese fare, The Astronomer and I, along with our friend Courtney, headed to San Gabriel’s Phở Ngoon for lunch. The newish restaurant, which is located in the same plaza as Boston Lobster, offered a lovely change of pace from the Central and Southern Vietnamese cuisine that we tend to favor.
Upon arriving at the modernly appointed restaurant, we were seated promptly and presented with menus. The one-page bill of fare was awesomely concise, consisting of just three starters and ten mains. We shared five dishes between the three of us.
First up was an order of pho cuon ($3.50), a dish that was super-trendy in Hanoi circa 2008 when The Astronomer and I lived in Vietnam. Comprised of thin rice noodle sheets wrapped around lettuce leaves, grilled beef, and fresh mint, the pho cuon was served with nuoc cham for dipping.
While I didn’t care too much for this dish in Hanoi, I quite liked Pho Ngoon’s more robust rendition.
Continue reading ‘Phở Ngoon – San Gabriel’