Tag Archives: chewntell

photo 7

Nuts over Sqirl

“Mmmmmm…….Squirrel.” These words have probably been uttered together in the backwoods of America. Luckily, furry tree-dwelling nut hunters in the City of Angels need not fret if they overhear that phrase. Chances are, it’s a hungry human getting ready to pounce on East Hollywood’s delectable Sqirl cafe.

Opened in Fall of 2012 by jam-maker Jessica Koslow, Sqirl is a breakfast- and-lunch-serving delight on an unassuming stretch of Virgil Avenue. Jessica’s jams permeate the menu and come in a nice variety of drool-inducing flavors (Blueberry Rhubarb? Raspberry Lavender? Strawberry Rose Geranium? Yes, yes, and YES!)

While there is no shortage of great breakfasts being served in LA, it’s Sqirl’s unique take on savory first-meal-of-the -day fare that really sets it apart.  For example, let’s break down the Kokuho Rose Brown Rice bowl.  I’m sure the name alone invites the question – “What the heck is Kokuho Rose Brown Rice??”. Answer: it’s an heirloom Japanese-style brown rice grown on Koda farms here in California.  Take this high-quality rice, and top it with a sorrel pesto, preserved meyer lemon, lacto-fermented hot sauce, french feta, and a perfectly poached egg. All these parts come together to create a deliciously tangy and savory whole. While some of these ingredients may not be entirely familiar to the everyday diner, one thing is clear….these Sqirl folks aimed to create a next-level delicious breakfast dish. I thoroughly enjoyed the complex combinations of flavor in every bite.

Still thinking about that jam??  Well, how about putting it on a slightly charred piece of buttery brioche, which has already been topped with a delicious mound of house-made ricotta? Let me confirm what you already suspect…it is crunchy, sweet and creamy mouthful that will definitely show up in your dreams all week long. (Did I mention the ricotta is made in-house??)

If, oddly enough, those items don’t tickle your fancy (in which case…I’m judging you), other carefully crafted menu items abound. (Daily quiches, frittatas, brown rice porridge, and granola with in-house almond milk, to name a few).  Take a seat in the lovely outside patio – no doubt there will be furry friends in the trees supporting your Sqirl (not squirrel) consumption.

photo1photo2

sqirl2

sqirl  720 N. Virgil Avenue. Los Angeles, 90029

 

 

 

 

Oh, Miso Honey!! Brussels Sprouts

Levels

Just in time for Valentine’s Day – a brussels sprouts recipe sure to set your valentine’s heart  (and libido) on fire.

Ohhh, Brussels Sprouts – the brassica that I adore that everyone else seemingly hates.  I have often wondered why that is the case, and my only guess is – my mom never made me eat them as a kid.  I had to eat other things I didn’t like, but bland and gross boiled  brussels weren’t one of them.  So, I had no veggie-induced PTSD to contend with when I started eating them as an adult.  And, man, do I LOVE brussels sprouts – especially roasted.  I have a few different ways that I love to make them, but this recipe is super easy. It is a flavor powerhouse – sweet honey, tangy lime, spicy sriracha,  and the savory umami of miso working together to bring out the best in one tiny little cruciferous vegetable.  Go ahead, make it for your date on Friday and see if the brussels aren’t the only thing that sprout. (wink)

* a note on selecting brussels sprouts: it may be tempting to have the mindset of “bigger is better” when selecting them. Don’t.  I’ve found that brussels are the best when they are small, with tightly  closed buds. I spend a fair amount of time sifting through bins at the farmers market, searching for the smallest sprouts possible. The tight leaves indicate freshness, and they will roast more quickly when they are smaller.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Brussels Sprouts (ends trimmed, and halved)
  • 1 Tbsp  + 1 tsp Sweet white miso
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp sriracha
  • 2 TBSP grapeseed oil
  • kosher salt
  • sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. In a medium size bowl, combine the honey, miso, lime, and sriracha. (Mix well to ensure that honey has completely dissolved). Add in the brussels, and toss until they are evenly coated. Distribute brussels evenly on baking sheet. Drizzle with grapeseed oil, and sprinkle  generously with salt (and sesame seeds, if you’re into them). Place in the oven and roast for approx 15-18 minutes, shaking pan midway through,  until they appear browned and crispy on the outside.(If you have small brussels they will roast quickly, so check on them frequently). Serve hot…..and then expect things to get hotter.

 

Not-your-average Buffalo Chili

Buffalo chili

Winter is coming…..to LA. That’s right, people – this week we finally have highs in the low 60’s and lows in the mid- 40’s.  Anyone who knows me is well aware that I abhor cold weather, so that means I have to prepare myself as much as possible….which means I have already made a giant pot of Bison Chili.

I have been a  big fan of bison meat for awhile now. I think it actually tastes better (but not vastly different)  than its much more popular  cousin beef, yet is way more healthful. Pound for pound, bison meat packs in more protein and less calories and saturated fat than beef. Even better, due to the way most bison are raised (very differently than poor factory-farmed cattle), you stand a much better chance of getting nutritionally superior grass-fed meat from animals that have been free to roam.  I get my bison from Lindner Bison at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market or from Whole Foods. Many major grocers now also sell buffalo meat, but be aware that odds increase that the meat has been grain-finished (check the label, if that matters to you). Continue reading

The Chew-n-Tell Edible Gift Guide

After much  deliberation as to what should be the topic of my inaugural post on this site, I had a realization. Anyone who knows me knows that I am, err…..“enthusiastic”  (read: obsessive) about  new, delicious food items that I discover. If I could buy them for everyone I know and force them to try them, I would. In a decidedly less aggressive (and much cheaper) move, I give you this: a tasty guide that is sure to please the palate of your loved ones – and hopefully make checking off your holiday shopping  list a little easier.


20121118_zconfections_05

  • If they believe in four main food groups : candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.   Ahhhh, sugar – my raison d’etre.  I love it  in all its forms, caramelized being no exception.  After pain-staking, tireless research, I have found THE BEST caramel corn ever to exist. Everrrr. Maybe you are thinking to yourself,  “Eh, I don’t really like caramel corn. Too sweet. [or, insert whatever crazy reason here]”. Well, friends,  Z Confections has made a salted caramel corn that will change your mind. It is, for lack of a better word, spectacular.  I stumbled across the Cinnamon flavor over  a year ago and ate the whole bag in 5 seconds (which, admittedly, is not abnormal behavior for me). But when I tried the Rosemary flavor a few months ago, I realized that the caramel-corn game had been changed forever. It is soooo good. Soooo special.  Do one of the awesome people in your life a favor – and stuff their stocking with this. zconfections.bigcartel.com/product/salted-caramel-corn

 

cache_240_240_sriracha

  • They like it really, really hot. And right now they are sweating  it.  Is your loved one experiencing insomnia, night terrors, and generalized anxiety over the Sriracha factory shutdown? Well, don’t fill their Xanax prescription just yet, because I have found something even better to assault their taste buds (yeah, I said it). SoCal’s very own condiment kings SoNoTrading Company debuted their newest creation a few months ago – a Red Chile Sriracha that tastes good with everything. As an added bonus, they made some of the ingredients organic and left out the preservatives.  Place your order now before the rooster-sauce – loving masses  find out about it (and throw some of their Hong Kong Habanero mustard in that basket for yourself too). sonotrading.com/shop/red-chile-sriracha/

bacon-new-package-for-web

  • A treat for the one you love, who doesn’t love meat.  This is one bacon-crazed nation right now – but in a flash of good news for piggies and vegetarians everywhere, Phoney Baloney has come into existence.  If you’ve ever had the joy-inducing experience of eating the BLTA at Cafe Gratitude, this is a similar concept to their coconut bacon.  It is super tasty and delicious – I put it on salads, sandwiches, and sprinkle it on soups. No, it doesn’t taste exactly like bacon – but for being made of coconut, it’s pretty damn close! And, bacon-eaters, let’s face it: sometimes you want bacon-y goodness in your mouth, but you don’t want to actually make bacon.  Boom. phoneybaloneys.com

imgres-1

  • For that  special someone who loves caffeine (and cute rodent mascots):  Coffee is awesome. Much like sunshine, fresh-baked cookies, and Waze, it just makes life better. The clandestine folks at Secret Squirrel know that, which is why they took some organic, fair-trade coffee beans and concentrated them down for your joyful caffeine consumption. Just add water. Or almond milk. Or milk, ice, and condensed milk if you prefer your java à la Vietnam-style.  It’s going to be good times no matter how you do it!  As an added bonus, I discovered that it helps when you have one of those terrifying  “I just made weak coffee” situations. Just pour a little in, and Secret Squirrel saves the day! secretsquirrelcoldbrew.goodsie.com

 

Big_Spoon_Chai_Spice

  • For the one random friend you have that doesn’t like peanut butter:  Seriously, buy this for them.  When they open it,  make a sad face, tell them you “forgot”, and then take this glass of goodness home for yourself.  (I mean, we all know that you have probably made it on the “Naughty” list anyway, so what the hell).  The truth is, there is a lot of crappy, average peanut butter out there. So, be glad that I’m telling you about Big Spoon Roasters’ handcrafted, next-level tastiness . They use simple, delicious ingredients that have been harvested locally in North Carolina . No artificial preservatives – just  freshly-harvested wildflower honey in all of their flavors  to keep things naturally preserved.  I have technically only tried the original Peanut Butter and Peanut Pecan. Which means that the Chai Spice flavor pictured above is on my very own wish list. (Santa, take note). bigspoonroasters.com

Fudge-Mix-500-183x270

  • For your very sad, very cold friend living in New York or some other non-tropical state:  Send them a little bit of Hawaiian warmth with one of Kauai’s Lotus Fudge  treats. I could talk story all day long about how amazing their line of choco-goodness is. They are painstaking about finding the best ingredients Kauai has to offer, like Nioi Chili Peppers, Alaea Red Sea Salt, and Macadamia nuts. If you are at all like me and like creative control of your fudge, order the Fudge Mix and make it at home…you can mix in whatever makes you happy! (My personal fave: toasted pecans and tart cherries). Best of all, the company is owned by some of the raddest people on the planet who put a LOT of love into their chocolate . Rad people + high quality, delicious chocolate = no brainer.  lotusfudge.com

So, there you have it – the objects my food affection and obsession compiled into one tasty list for your holiday shopping convenience. Order up, and enjoy!