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Monthly Archives: October 2009

One of my most favorite food blogs is At First Bite NYC, which is run by Lucky magazine editor, Noria Morales. A girl who loves her food and fashion? Now that’s what I call a Perfect 10! In addition to a writing style that brings the food to life (no wonder she’s a fashion writer), Noria also has an awesome approach to food. She pretty much eats everything and takes the reader on a culinary journey through all sorts of NYC eateries. I don’t eat meat, but reading some of Noria’s posts makes me want to feast on some prosciutto or juicy steak. (Once again, I’m a pescetarian – I eat NO meat except fish and eggs – because of health/digestive reasons, NOT because of animal rights), so don’t be surprised if I blog about a breakfast of scrambled eggs and pancetta down the road. I was going through AFB the other day and Noria’s post on arepas totally caught my attention and had me looking up places on YELP to find arepas in my neighborhood.

Mission accomplished! Apparently, there’s a place in Santa Monica (perfect!) called Cafe Bolivar, which got rave reviews from patrons about their arepas. Before I go any further with my story, if you don’t know what an arepa is, according to WIKI it’s a type of bread made from corn (so wheat-free + gluten-free) originating from South America but it’s more known as a type of Venezuelan mini-sandwich (and do I mean mini. The arepas from Cafe Bolivar were seriously the size of my palm, which makes them perfect for portion control.) So, of course, I had to try. Fast forward to today and I called ahead to place an order for pick-up. Since their arepas are made to order (as most are), it would take about 20 to 25 minutes. Minimum order is 2 for $6, so I ordered the tuna salad (solid white albacore tuna with bell peppers, tomatoes, red onions, extra virgin olive oil and mayo) and the one with Mango, Avocado, Panela cheese, rosemary and roasted garlic aioli. On the side was a little container of what tasted like cilantro pesto. YUMMY! I thought that the two pint-sized sandwiches weren’t going to fill me up but believe it or not, I couldn’t even finish my second one. I’m definitely going back here for more arepas. So sorry for the sucky quality of my pictures (taken with my Blackberry). I need to get my camera fixed, I know.

The tuna salad arepa

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The mango/avocado arepa

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In case you happen to be near Ocean Park and 17th in Santa Monica, stop by here. This is the full menu of arepas, so choose as you please:

1. Black beans and panela cheese
2. Plain cheese with your choice of gouda or panela cheese
3. Solid white albacore tuna with bell peppers, tomatoes, red onions, extra virgin olive oil and mayo
4. Jamon cooked with our choice of panela cheese or gouda
5. Mango, Avocado, Panela cheese, rosemary and roasted garlic aioli
6. Chicken breast and avocados with rosemary and roasted garlic aioli

Remember that $1.99 pack of lavash I told you about? 18 pieces of tasty lavash from the farmers market store made from only four ingredients: whole wheat flour, salt, yeast and water (I love this. I always try to buy things that contain ingredients I can pronounce or something my grandmother would recognize. The sight of ingredients that end in “-ide” and contain an “x” in the name makes me shudder.) Anyway, I pulled out the lavash to make some tasty greek wrap appetizers served up with a side of tzaziki (purchased at our Saturday morning farmers market) and stuffed with basil and sundried tomato hummus, sprouts, and feta cheese. Obviously, that wasn’t enough for me so I made a simple quesadilla with gouda cheese, again using that versatile lavash flatbread. Awesome!

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My dad’s birthday is tomorrow night and I wanted to bake him a birthday cake to celebrate. The only thing is that he has to watch his diet big time after a series of heart, cholesterol and blood pressure issues so that means no chocolate, not much sugar and not too much butter either. So instead of baking a traditional cake, I decided to make him carrot muffins since carrot is one of his favorite flavors for a dessert and I found a healthy recipe that calls for no butter and just a smidge of olive oil. To top it off, I used frosting to decorate “I ❤ U” as opposed to the standard “Happy Birthday”…hope he likes it!

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Ayara Thai Cuisine is by far THE best thai place in the ‘hood. If you live around the Westchester area near LAX I urge you to go there. Service is impeccable and food is amazing. The curry dishes especially are not heavy at all, which is usually the case with Thai and Indian food at times. We ordered delivery because we wanted to enjoy the dinner in our own backyard, sipping on wine and taking our time without worrying about having the table turned over by a waiter. We got sticky rice (of course), a shrimp and veggie curry dish, sauteed vegetables (incredible!) and the green papaya salad. Sooooo good.

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Why spend close to $8 at Whole Foods for a jar of almond butter when you can make your own at home? I don’t know why I haven’t done it sooner but I did this weekend and it was so easy, I couldn’t believe it. I bought a bag of roasted almonds from Trader Joes, dumped about 2/3 of the bag into a food processor, added a dash of salt and let the thing spin and whirl for about 4 minutes. First, the nuts got crushed into nut dust and then all of a sudden the oils began releasing and voila! Almond butter! So far I’ve made almond butter jelly sandwiches, dipped frozen bananas in there, and eaten it straight off the spoon. What can I say, I love my almond butter 🙂

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I have owned Giada de Laurentiis’ DVD set from her earliest “Everyday Italian” days for about five years now …FOREVER. Last week, I busted them out to watch at home because I have no television and no internet (disconnected both!) so all I can really do for entertainment is listen to music CDs, watch DVDs or read books. I watched her BRUNCH episode and got inspired to make her recipe for a Frittata with Asparagus, Tomato and Fontina Cheese except I changed it up a bit. I went to the farmers market early Saturday morning and picked up some sweet peppers and fresh farm eggs that were picked the day before according to the vendor – how cool is that? I used the peppers instead of tomato and I added smoked gouda cheese because I didn’t feel like getting a block of fontina from the market 🙂 I was worried the thing would stick to our All Clad pan but I buttered it so well that after I finished it off in the broiler, it slid right out of the pan. Perfection! I sliced it into 8 wedges and helped myself to two 🙂

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