Bánh Flan Take Out


You may recall a post back in January about Cha Gio or Vietnamese Spring Rolls at the darling little Nam’s Red Door Restaurant?


Well this time, we took the food, including dessert, to go.

Caramel custard became part of Vietnamese cuisine through the French colonization of Vietnam. The Vietnamese way is to steam the custard as opposed to the French method of cooking in a bain-marie. Delicious, very light with a silky texture.


Take Out Container: Isn’t this a clever recycling use of soda cans?

Ăn nào! Bon appétit !

With its high calcium content, I am submitting this Flan to Food Blogga’s Beautiful Bones Event for Osteoporosis Awareness. Thanks Susan!

The FDA states that calcium intake is critical, but calcium alone can’t build bones. Vitamin D is needed to help the body absorb calcium. The skin produces vitamin D in sunlight. In addition to attention to diet, exercise is important in treatment and prevention of osteoporosis as well.

For your consideration:

Take a nice walk in a moderate amount of sunshine, then enjoy tasty calcuim rich Bánh Flan from your favorite Vietnamese restaurant.

Stone Crabs – A Renewable Delicacy

The Stone Crab fishery is unique in that stone crabs are not killed but, rather, the legal-sized claws are removed and the crabs are returned to the water alive.

There is no better restaurant at which to enjoy Stone Crabs than Joe’s in Chicago on the corner of Grand & Rush where the ambiance and service are second to none.

Although it is lawful to harvest both of a stone crab’s claws this practice leaves the stone crab with few alternatives to defend itself from predators. Having one claw (if the other one is harvested) will enable the crab to obtain greater amounts of food in a shorter amount of time. Stone crabs (like other crustaceans) have the ability to grow back their claws, but this process requires a large amount of energy in the form of food. The quicker the crab can obtain the energy required to molt and grow its lost claw, the sooner this renewable delicacy will have another claw to replace the missing claw. Visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Institute for more information on Stone Crabs.
Good News: Stone Crab population levels are estimated to be high and no overfishing is occurring. The unique manner in which stone crab claws are harvested helps ensure the long-term sustainability of the species. Stone Crabs are a good, low-fat source of protein, selenium and magnesium. All of the stone crab claws on the market come from wild fisheries.

Joe’s Remoulade Sauce – a combination of creamy mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, minced celery, minced parsley, lemon juice, Cajun seasoning, and minced green onion is a classic accompaniment to the crab. You can visit Joe’s website for the recipe.

My Wine Pairing Recommendation: Joe’s serves King Estate Pinot Gris by the glass. With its gorgeous tropical fruit flavors and creamy complexity, this wine is a perfect complement to the crab.

On our most recent visit, our waiter Steve B. was awesome. We were celebrating my cousin Vicki’s engagement, and not only did Steve surprise Vicki with a slice of their famous Key Lime Pie with a candle, he also brought a slice of Chocolate Fudge Pie for Geri, to honor the soon-to-be mother of the bride. And when I told him about Taste With The Eyes he graciously brought out more food to photograph. I would like to extend a special thank you to Joe’s entire waitstaff. See you soon!

Charlie Trotter’s Guest Chef – Me!!!

Today is my birthday. The reason I am telling this tidbit of information to the world is to share my excitement over the coolest birthday gift from my brother, Don, and sister-in-law, Kristy. I will be the Guest Chef For The Day at Charlie Trotter’s Restaurant in Chicago, spending the complete day in the kitchen including food preparation training and working on the line! Then after cooking from 2 PM to 9 PM, I change out of my chef’s whites and sit down to dinner in the dining room with my family. Whoo! Hoo!

Charlie Trotter’s is regarded as one of the finest restaurants in the world. For 20 years, the restaurant has dedicated itself to excellence in the culinary arts. Never willing to rest on its laurels, Charlie Trotter’s Restaurant is innovative and progressive in the world of food and wine and has been instrumental in establishing new standards for fine dining.”

If any of my friends, including my blogger friends, are in Chicago on this particular summer evening (date to be determined), come to Charlie Trotter’s (reservations required) and let me cook for you!

Thanks Don and Kristy. I love you. Whoo! Hoo!


A video profile of Charlie Trotter’s eponymous restaurant.

Reuben Sandwich


Norms Restaurant
Grilled Reuben Sandwich $7.99
Deep-Fried Jalapeño $0.25

“Reuben, make me a sandwich, make it a combination, I’m so hungry I could eat a brick,” said actress Annette Seelos to Arnold Reuben, owner of Reuben’s Deli in NYC, circa 1914.

This is just one of the many legends on the invention of this sandwich.

A Reuben Sandwich: Corned Beef, Turkey or Pastrami? Cole Slaw or Sauerkraut? Russian Dressing or Thousand Island? Swiss Cheese or Jack Cheese? Toasted or Grilled? At least everyone agrees to serve it on Rye.


Across the street from the car dealership is Norms We Never Close. It’s a fun place (for a food blogger with a camera) to spend a few hours while getting an oil change and other automobile maintenance.

I’m making corned beef and cabbage in honor of St. Paddy, but since it takes about 50 minutes per pound, and my brisket is 4 1/2 pounds, it won’t be ready anytime soon. So I’m posting the Reuben Sandwich – Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Gina Lee’s Bistro

Thai Marinated Sea Bass with Spinach, Baby Bok Choy,
Chow Mein Noodles in a Coconut Lemongrass Broth

Crispy Fried Shrimp & Pork Won Tons
Hot & Sweet Sauce, Cucumber Slaw

Korean BBQ Flank Steak with Spicy Dressing
Scallion Fried Rice and Tofu Stir Fry

Bento Box: Selection Changes Nightly
Mini Ahi Burger, Crab Cakes, Chicken & Snap Peas Stir Fry, Beef Skewer on Mashed Potatoes

Ahi Burger, Selection from Bento Box on this Night


Korean Lettuce Wraps: Chicken and Tofu, Korean Red Bean Paste
Daikon & Cucumber Relish

Pistachio Crushed Mahi Mahi with Three Sauces

Mandarin Orange Sauce, Creamy Sesame Splash, Soy Syrup


Scott & Gina Lee have been my dear friends for many many years. They opened Gina Lee’s Bistro, an Asian Fusion restaurant in Redondo Beach, over a decade ago. A while back I offered to help Gina start a blog so on this night I took some photos of the food as it was leaving the kitchen.


For dinner, I enjoyed the Thai Marinated Sea Bass paired brilliantly with a glass of Etude Pinot Gris from Scott’s eclectic wine list.

Irene Virbila from the Los Angeles Times wrote, “Everything from Gina Lee’s kitchen tastes fresh and vivid. There’s also a logic to how flavors are woven together.”
I couldn’t agree more. The flavors are just so vibrant…

When you are in Southern California, I recommend a visit to Redondo Beach to have dinner at my friends’ fabulous and unique restaurant. And be sure to tell them Lori Lynn sent you 🙂

An Extraordinary Dinner with Fellow Bloggers


A Salad of Steamed Baby Beets, Frisée , Cumin-Paprika Fried Organic Garbanzos, Shallots and Greek Feta

The inspiration for this dish came from our dinner at AOC. Here, organic garbanzo beans are fried in olive oil with diced shallot, smashed garlic clove, hot paprika, and ground cumin.


Organic frisée is layered with very thinly sliced shallots, steamed baby beets splashed with good red wine vinegar and sea salt and freshly ground pepper, topped with Greek feta cheese. Warm garbanzo beans with the cumin-paprika olive oil is spooned over the top. The red wine vinegar on the beets plus the fragrant olive oil on the beans makes a great “deconstructed” vinaigrette. (I am excited to submit this dish, too, to “My Legume Love Affair” Event by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook Blog).


Last week, the folks at Foodbuzz invited Featured Publishers to dine at Suzanne Goin’s awesome AOC restaurant in Los Angeles. Ben of Château Petrogasm blog selected the refreshingly esoteric wines to pair with this extraordinary meal including one of the few domaines that make excellent red Sancerre, Domaine Vacheron 2005. Ben’s wine blog of tasting notes through images is pure genius…

We dined together on a fabulous multi-course menu of:

  • chicken liver crostini with pancetta
  • roasted dates, parmesan and bacon
  • marinated beets, olives, fried chickpeas and feta
  • leek and cantal tart with thyme and pancetta
  • smoked trout, persimmon, endive and creme fraiche
  • petrale sole, split peas, ham hock and truffle butter
  • grilled skirt steak with roquefort butter
  • rabbit ragout with dijon, chestnuts and tarragon
  • chanterelles, ricotta gnocchi and sherry cream
  • sweet potatoes with bacon, romesco and spinach
  • sheep’s milk cheescake with cassis compote and almond croustine
  • chocolate and hazelnut dacquoise with gianduja mousse and salted caramel ice cream

  • Strangers just a few hours earlier, we departed after hugs and well wishes.

    Wonderful photos of all these dishes are posted at Foodbuzz Los Angeles by Jen of eating plum blog. If you think these dishes sound delicious, you must see her outstanding photography.
    You absolutely must visit Evie, she is hilarious. In her post on Mushroom Barley Soup, her advice on serving the soup is to “use a bowl, not a plate. These decisions can be so difficult.” Go to Hot Dish! to see what I mean.
    And Kat of Dirt Cake blog is the Pastry Cook at Spago Beverly Hills, lovely and very passionate about her craft…be sure to check out her yummy post on Oatmeal Cream Pie with a crème brûlée center.
    What is Foodbuzz?
    Foodbuzz: the first-ever community site devoted exclusively to food and dining content—an unparalleled resource for searching, surfing and sharing with fellow foodies everywhere.

    Maybe you already know Ryan the Girl, of The Pink Spoon blog and Managing Editor at Foodbuzz.com? If the future of Foodbuzz is determined by the quality of the people involved, it cannot help but be a smashing success.
    Before leaving AOC, I bought Suzanne Goin’s cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Lucques in which she penned, “Don’t wait til Sunday.” In addition to her fabulous recipes, she tells many charming personal stories. Her cooking style is pure and fresh and the book is an inspiration to cook local, organic, seasonal dishes using all the senses.


    A heartfelt thank you to the folks at Foodbuzz for hosting this event and especially for fostering a unique camaraderie among strangers with a like passion for all things food related.

    Cha Gio

    Cha Gio: Imperial Rolls also called Vietnamese Spring Rolls


    We enjoyed our Cha Gio at the tiny, six table restaurant Nam’s Red Door in San Pedro, California where the menu hasn’t changed one bit in over 30 years.


    Chopped pork, crab meat, black mushrooms, cellophane noodles and Asian spices wrapped in rice paper, then fried.


    To assemble: wrap the spring roll in a lettuce leaf, add cucumber, mint, and cilantro, then dip in nuoc mam and, if fond of heat, add the ubiquitous Chili Garlic Sauce.
    Beverage pairing: Cold Vietnamese Beer “33” Export

    Also try:
    Mi Xao Ga – crispy egg noodles topped with chicken and vegetables

    And for dessert:
    Bánh Flan

    Caramel custard became part of Vietnamese cuisine through the French colonization of Vietnam. The Vietnamese way is to steam the custard as opposed to the French method of cooking in a bain-marie. Delicious, very light and fluffy.

    Ăn nào! Bon appétit !

    Water Grill – Los Angeles


    Hamachi Crudo with Champagne Grapes Preserved Meyer Lemon, Lemon Verbena and English Pea Puree

    Chilled Maine Lobster with Saffron Aioli

    Blue and Dungeness Crab Cake with Harissa, Herbed Couscous and Yogurt-Lime-Cucumber Sauce

    Foie Gras Duet: Seared with Cherries and Cassia Gastrique

    Foie Gras Duet: Parfait with Orange Cognac Gelée

    Sumac Coated Australian Barramundi with Linguicia and Grilled Calamari Strewn Israeli Cous Cous with Castelvetrano Olives

    New Zealand John Dory withTomato-Date Chutney, Tiny Summer Squash, Cumin Scented Zucchini Puree and Chick Pea Panisse

    Blueberry Mascarpone Cake served warm with Lemon, Candied Corn, Créme Fraiche Ice Cream and Blueberry

    Red Velvet Pudding served warm with Mascarpone Ice Cream, Cocoa Nib Streusel and Raspberry

    Warm Cinnamon Doughnut and Lemon Doughnut Hole

    The End.

    We enjoyed this meal with an absolutely fabulous bottle of Peter Michael La Carrière (French for “the quarry”) Chardonnay 2004 recommended by Sommelier Cara Bertone. Tasting notes: A terroir-driven minerality dominates the aroma: crushed stone, baking flour and sweet pear. The minerality is highlighted by notes of citrus oils, William pear and lemon. Touches of tangerine and sweet vanilla complete the elegant bouquet. Rich and intense, the 2004 La Carrière presents on the palate wonderful concentration and elegance.

    The entire staff was outstanding, thank you to all, especially Chef Ted Hopson who even took us on a tour of his kitchen!

    From the website: “Inspired, adventurous and inventive sums up the Water Grill. Praised by Zagat Survey as Los Angeles’ top seafood restaurant since the day it opened, Water Grill has become an institution of excellence. In service, food, presentation, décor, ambiance and overall guest experience, this Downtown favorite exceeds all expectations.”
    We agree.

    And thanks, Rob 🙂

    A Birthday Bouquet for You, Julia


    My Julia Child floribunda roses (butter yellow) with French Perfume hybrid tea roses (pink with yellow center) and 5 fresh herbs from Gail’s Garden: rosemary, basil, sage, mint, and flowering oregano.

    Julia Child writing about 1949:
    “On August 15, I turned thirty-seven years old. Paul bought me the Larousse Gastronomique, a wonder-book of 1,087 pages of sheer cookery and foodery…By now I knew French food was “it” for me. I couldn’t get over how absolutely delicious it was.”