Tag Archives: food

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Dogs and Cats Join Forces with Burgers and Beers at Plan Check

This post originally appeared at FlyandDine.com

If you’ve ever wondered what a meal heavily seasoned with cuteness tastes like,  LA gastropub  favorite Plan Check has the answer waiting for you this month. From June 10-July 10th, they are offering their latest menu collaboration with Hello Kitty creators Sanrio. For $39, diners will get a 5-item meal featuring the dog and cat duo of Pompompurin and Chococat.

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Holding up the savory core of the meal is the Pompompurin Grilled Sausage Sausage sandwich, made with house blended sausage, and topped with kimchi slaw and kewpie cilantro mayonnaise (kewpie mayo is a popular Japanese condiment made with rice vinegar instead of distilled vinegar). The whole thing is served on Plan Check’s signature crunch bun emblazoned with the image of the stylist beret-wearing puppy character.

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On the side, dig into Togarashi potato chips –  essentially Yukon gold potato chips seasoned with a Japanese spice mixture. Accompanying them is a very Plan Check version of mac and cheese, made with Americanized Dashi cheese, bread crumbs, and parmigiano reggiano to form a creamy, delicious umami bomb. Definitely plan to be begging your server for seconds on this one.

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Heading into dessert, you’ve got a very Instagram-worthy Chococat cookie served with vanilla ice cream, and a Vanilla cream soda with whipped cream adorned with the chocolate powder likeness of Pompompurin.

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Diners will leave with a full belly, melted heart, and boosted karma, because a portion of the meal proceeds will be donated to L.A. Love and Leashes,  an animal adoption space created by non-profit Friends of LA animal shelters.

The 2nd Annual ChewNtell Edible Gift Guide

I just took a glance back at my very first post (Gift Guide Numero Uno), almost a year ago to the day. It unsurprisingly confirmed one thing for me -my enthusiasm for all things tasty hasn’t wavered much in the last year . I still want to force feed my favorite foods to friends, and a gift guide is still a much kinder and palatable way of doing so (pun intended, of course). The fact is, I spent a good bulk of this last year trying to have as many new food experiences as possible, discovering along the way all the great edible items out there that people are putting hard work into making.  It makes me so happy to share the “fruits” of my labor with you, and for you to share them  with other people (or hoard them for yourself – I won’t judge). The holidays are a perfect time for this to happen. So,  if you have someone (or two) on your list that loves delicious food, be happy….your holiday shopping just got a heck of a lot easier.  I’ve compiled a list (and snapped beauty shots) of my tastiest discoveries of 2014….click on the names for links. Happy shopping!

Baia Pasta

photo 6 Okay, so….I freakin’ LOVE Baia pasta.  These guys are fighting the good fight in reminding the world that gluten consumption is a damn good thing.  Based out of the Bay area, they have crafted some of the tastiest noodles I have had the pleasure of eating. What really sets them apart is their  beautiful varieties of cuts – accordions, spinners, and mohawks, oh my! They are 100% organic, and they offer flavored pastas that will really take your homemade pasta dish up a notch or two. I tried their new Ajo & Olio(aka garlic & habanero) flavored pasta  for the first time a few months ago, and it was a spicy, garlicky party in my mouth. That pretty much cemented them in the #1 spot as my top pasta provider.  It’s worth mentioning that the folks at Baia are super nice….so nice, in fact, that they want to give you guys 15% off your online purchase! Enter CHEWNTELL at checkout, and try not to feel smug you got the best pasta money can buy at a discount.

 Compartés Chocolate

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If there was such a thing as a Chocolate Bar Beauty Contest,  Compartes would shut the whole thing down and send the other bars home crying.  With some of the prettiest wrappers you’ll ever lay eyes on and an array of uniquely exotic flavors , these bars have both style and substance.  Handcrafted in small batches here in the City of Angels, each of these bars feels like you are unwrapping a present sent down from the gods of chocolate. So, your shopping for that choco-lover in your life is pretty much done-zo, and you don’t even have to bother putting a bow on it.  With flavors like Donuts and Coffee milk chocolate, Cereal Bowl white chocolate, and Thailand (Ginger & Lemongrass) Dark Chocolate, your biggest problem will be keeping these bars under the tree and out of your mouth.

Laguna Salt Company Smoked Salt

photo 3The fact that I only discovered the magic of smoked salt this year is something I’m almost ashamed to admit publicly. It is, without question, a serious pantry game-changer.  Salt is already the #1 most important ingredient in your kitchen, but smoked salt is an awesome and dynamic way to change up your cooking.  Avocado toast was  the “it” girl of the food world this year, but have you tried it with a sprinkle of smoked salt? Better. Scrambled eggs? Better with smoked salt. Roasted veggies? Better with smoked salt. Hell, I even put it on chocolate chip cookies. There are a ton of different smoked salts out there, varying by which types of wood they are smoked with. After trying extensive “research”  my favorite is Summer Smoke salt from Laguna Salt company. It is smoked with pecan, red oak, alder, cherry, hickory, maple, and mesquite woods.  Apparently that’s a truly winning combo – so you can put that in  your dish and smoke it!

Flying Disc Ranch Dates

photo 5Here’s one I highly doubt you will find on any other gift guide out there….dates.  Not just any dates, though – the BEST dates you will EVER have in your life. Yeah, I know that’s a bold statement, but I have witnessed these particular dates convert date-haters into date-lovers.  For those who don’t know, I spend a lot of time scouring farmer’s markets in the LA area, sampling every possible bit of produce I can.  One Wednesday I came across an unassuming stand in Santa Monica, and what happened took me by surprise .  What looked like an average, everyday date crossed my lips and changed my life.  It was lovingly grown by the folks at Flying Disc Ranch in the Coachella Valley, who use eco-dynamic farming practices. Don’t know what that means? That will have to be a whole ‘nother post (and it’s worth knowing!).  They carry several amazing varieties, but the ones I have in mind are the Zahidi and Barhi dates.  They are pillowy, buttery bites of sun-fed happiness. If you don’t want to just take my word for it, Martha Stewart and Alain Ducasse (a fancy French chef) are both fans. The little sweet buttery babes are  just $5 & $8 a pound. The important thing to believe is that I want to be your foodie matchmaker, and this is one blind date you can count on ending well.

Plenty More

photo 2I have a LOT of cookbooks, and I love each one of them so much it practically warrants a DSM-IV diagnosis (that’s some mental health humor for those of you unfamiliar ). This cookbook came out two months ago, and I have barely been able to stay out of the kitchen since. I dare say no other cookbook has ever been as inspiring to me….the photos are absolutely beautiful, and recipes are filled with gorgeous flavors and ingredients. The fact that it is vegetarian is a minor detail overshadowed by the beauty of the dishes (and let’s face it, we ALL need to be eating more vegetables).  This is truly a wonderful gift for that person in your life who loves to cook (and hopefully they have an Amazon prime account or a Whole Foods nearby….there are some amazing exotic ingredients involved). So order away, and plan on “randomly” dropping by around dinner time, all the time.

Happy and delicious holidays to you all!

Pop, pop, give: Your new favorite green snack

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Once  upon a magical time, on a tiny piece of  pacific paradise, my earth-loving Kauaiian friends introduced me to something sticky and green that changed my perception of life forever: spirulina popcorn.

What is spirulina, you ask? It’s blue-green freshwater algae. What else goes on this popcorn? Nutritional yeast.  Do these ingredients have your mouth watering yet? If you already know and love them, you can stop reading here. If you are feeling a little grossed out, let me drop some health-food knowledge on you. Spirulina is a freakin’ POWERHOUSE of nutrition – loaded with all kinds of vitamins and minerals that you want to be in you. It is also 60% (!!!) protein, and a complete protein, too….meaning it has all the essential amino acids your bod is probably hoping you’ll ingest, instead of the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in your hand (yes, you). Nutritional yeast (not to be confused with Brewer’s yeast) is deactivated yeast that is loaded with B-vitamins and other good-for-you stuff. More importantly, it has a super-fab cheesy, savory flavor that really makes this recipe mo’ betta.

Have I lost you? Are you thinking that this sounds waaay too much like hippie food* and can’t possibly taste good? I know we have probably not made it far enough in this relationship to have built total trust…but, I promise you…I only like to eat things that taste amazing. Not to mention there is another ingredient that I threw into this recipe to fancy it up and reduce the “granola”  factor: white truffle salt. Boom. I know all doubt has now been cast aside, so let’s make some popcorn:

First off, pop some popcorn. Stovetop is fine, but an air popper is preferable. If you don’t already have one, it looks as though we have found the cause of that lingering feeling that something is missing from your life. Air poppers RULE and have an awesome reputation, despite being totally cheap, fast, and easy. You can get one for under 20 bucks here.

A word about some of the other ingredients:  I like to use the good stuff. That means, organic (or at least GMO-free) popcorn, as well as organic olive oil.  But…I like to get it for cheap. Trader Joe’s has organic popcorn for under $5, and Costco has some of the best organic EVOO on the market – here’s some proof. Spirulina and nutritional yeast can be found at your local health-foods market, or here and here. (Ain’t Amazon great?!?!)

  • 1/2 cup organic popcorn kernels
  • 3-4 TBS extra-virgin olive oil (plus a little extra)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. spirulina
  • nutritional yeast
  • white truffle salt
  • sea salt

Pop the popcorn in your awesome air popper. After it has popped, toss it into a brown paper grocery bag. Drizzle the EVOO over it, and give it a good shake. Add a generous amount of nutritional yeast, and give it another shake. Next, add the spirulina (1/4 tsp for spirulina virgins, 1/2 tsp for “experienced” spirulina eaters). Then, you guessed it….shake it up. Sprinkle with a little truffle salt,  and then embellish all of those savory flavors with some sea salt. Drizzle with a a bit more olive oil, and voilå – you just made yourself the easiest, tastiest, and (dare i say) healthiest snack on the planet.  You can even eat it instead of going to the gym – at least, that’s what I tell myself.

*Side note: No offense, hippies. I actually really like your food. Except carob.