Posts Tagged ‘food’

Tailor Your Thai Food with A Taste of Thai

I love going out for Thai food, and my favorite place to eat Thai food is Phuket Thai in Hermosa Beach. Their food is laden with spices of all kinds, and I love that it’s spicy and fresh with vegetables and basil. Their Pad Thai is out of this world, and you can even have it delivered. The pairing of rice noodles, chicken, shrimp, and vegetables mixed in with the Pad Thai sauce is not as spicy as some of their other dishes. I like that there is a perfect ratio of rice noodles and non-noodle parts to the meal. If you haven’t tried Pad Thai, I can assure you it is a dish that everyone will like. If you are trying Thai food for the first time, it is definitely what you should go for. My other favorite dish there is the vegetarian red curry, which is a red curry with lots of veggies and tofu. I usually order brown rice to top it off. Red curry is truly for those brave souls who are into spicy food. If you are less into spicy than me, go for a yellow curry.

If you are not near a Phuket Thai, the next best thing is to make it yourself! A Taste of Thai has plenty of products out in grocery stores, especially Whole Foods. Not only do their products have everything you need in them, they even list the recipes ON the packaging for your favorite Thai dishes!

For Pad Thai you will need to buy A Taste of Thai rice noodles and A Taste of Thai Pad Thai Sauce and follow the remaining instructions on the box. Usually, you need bean sprouts, some vegetables, meat or tofu, an egg, and peanuts. For the peanut allergic people out there like me, making it yourself is maybe the best option there is since you know there is no peanut anywhere near your food.

Ingredients for Red Curry include A Taste of Thai Red Curry paste, A Taste of Thai Lite Coconut Milk, and A Taste of Thai Fish Sauce. Recipes for a curry will be on the container, and vegetables usually include broccoli and bell pepper.

-Whitney Manson


Gourmet Pizza in a Cinch

Pizza is my weak spot. I seriously cannot avoid trying pizza in every city I go to in search of the “best” pizza in the city. That said, I think I am becoming a real snob when it comes to pizza. I tend to get upset when people want to order in Domino’s (blasphemous, the worst excuse of a pizza ever). I find myself analyzing the crust (Too thick? Too thin? Too burnt?) and the ratio of cheese and toppings to sauce. My “ideal” pizza does not have heavy sauce, is not dripping with grease or overly cheesy, and completely loaded with delicious toppings. My ideal crust should be somewhat thin yet doughy with a pudgy crust and bubbling cheese. My favorite toppings are mostly anything minus meats… well unless it is in the form of meatballs, yum. So here is my guide to the places I know, the pizzas I eat, and the pizzas I make!

The best pizza in Miami: It is a toss up. Sir Pizza on Key Biscayne or New York Roma Pizza

Hermosa Beach/ Los Angeles: Paisano’s meatball and roasted garlic, Fresh Brothers thick crust pizza (Mama’s Special)

Dallas: Chicago Rick’s Pizza

My favorite kind of pizza is homemade because it fits my pizza ideal. It is simple to make and you can use wheat or white flour with this recipe:

Mix 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of yeast, and teaspoons of honey into one cup of warm water. Leave for 10 minutes. Add 3 ½ cups of flour and 2 teaspoons of olive oil and gradually mix it. Knead dough once it gives heavy and knead it into a ball. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with saran wrap, let dough rise for an hour. Push it down again and let it rise another hour.  Put onto floured surface and shape dough into a pie. Top pizza with Ragu pizza sauce, Kraft mozzarella cheese, and additional toppings of choice. You can create your own perfect ratios! Mine are a small amount of Ragu sauce, a whole package of Kraft cheese, Dole pineapple chunks, and jalapenos! My favorite toppings are Dole pineapple chunks and jalapenos. The pizza cooks in merely 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

The dough refrigerates and freezes perfectly so you can eat it at any time!

-Whitney Manson

Tour De Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada, is a place that people from all over the world dream about visiting. Everything there is gaudy, outlandish, and… fun. There is no time to be bored. Once you step off the plane, it’s time to start exploring.

Start your trip off by checking into the hotel Planet Hollywood, which offers reasonable rooms (that you can share when you’re on a budget) and a fifth of alcohol per night you stay with them. Their slogan is “Drinks are on Us”, and well, they are, so take advantage of it. Before leaving the hotel, put on some comfortable shoes- a MUST if you want to walk around The Strip. If you’re hungry, grab a sandwich at Earl of Sandwich and head out of the hotel. It is bound to be hot, so head to Caesar’s Palace and get a cold mojito at the Bacardi walk-up bar. While wandering The Strip, go in and out of hotels to take advantage of their ridiculous, extravagant decorations, shops, and restaurants… and their air conditioning. Some favorites are Caesar’s Palace, The Venetian, and Paris. While you’re out, watch the Bellagio fountain show, a pirate show at Treasure Island, and allow club promoters to talk to you so you can arrange to go to your club of choice in the evening. The club experience is a must-do for fabulous people watching and dancing. Rain, Tao, and Jet are my personal favorites for their atmospheres.

Las Vegas is home to some famous restaurants too. For French food, experience the James Beard Award winners Picasso or Joël Robochon. For more traditional yet elite American fare, try Sage at Aria in the new CityCenter or Nobhill Tavern in MGM Grand. If you’re there on a budget, there are plenty of Subways and cheaper options for quick grabs.

Enjoy the pools, especially the one at MGM Grand with a lazy river, wave pool, and room to lay out. If you enjoy shows, there are music artists, magicians, comedians, Cirque de Soleil shows, and musicals. Ask your concierge about what’s playing to find something that fits your interests. Gamble to start out (or end) your night! Hopefully you will win big, eat well, shop too much, and party hard!

Healthier Baked Eggplant Parmesan

If you love classic eggplant Parmesan, make it for your whole family or guests. This dish is huge, tastes great, and is best served with a side of whole-wheat pasta. I try to make it a little healthier by using less cheese than restaurants and by baking the eggplant. It is not too complicated to make at all.


  • 1 eggplant
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 bag of Kraft shredded part-skim mozzarella
  • Kraft Parmesan cheese (the 100% real stuff- not imitation!)
  • 2 containers of spaghetti sauce or make your own, whichever
  • 4 c of breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning- if you have plain, add garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil, and a touch of salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • Parchment paper
  • Some basil
  1. Slice eggplant very thinly and heat the oven to 350. Dip each slice into egg then breadcrumbs, and put on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Bake these 8-9 minutes, then flip over and cook the other side. Eggplant must be well cooked to be edible and not chewy, so this part is really important. I like to leave mine in for about 9 min. each side to make it a little crispy even. Believe it or not, baking tastes just as great at frying. Set aside cooked eggplant and repeat until all the eggplant has been cooked and cooled.
  2. Place a layer of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of your baking dish. I use the biggest Pyrex container I have and usually a small one too. Place a slice of cooked eggplant, then douse with Parmesan, sprinkle some mozzarella, and dab a bit of sauce on top followed by another piece of eggplant. Layer until it reaches the top of the dish, and then begin your next one. On the top of all the eggplant, sprinkle both cheeses and basil (if you have fresh basil- even better). If you like a lot of sauce, you can cover it all in sauce too, though it isn’t a requirement.
  3. Bake eggplant on 350 for 35 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. Let cool for a bit then serve with pasta on the side. I like whole-wheat spaghetti personally.

This dish freezes well and makes for great leftovers when left in the fridge too, just microwave later on.

Foursquare Day- 4/16/10

Foursquare Day South Florida is an event tomorrow that features deal for the people who use the Foursqaure social media application. #4sqday feels a little silly to me, but I take pride in being the mayor of my gym, grocery store, office (aka “Your Mom’s), and Dunkin Donuts (okay, not too proud of that one… the coffee addiction is really getting disastrous). The whole idea is that four squared= 16, so 4/16 is Foursqaure Day, just like 3/14 is “Pi Day”. Though Foursqaure is not quite as mathematically impressive, the concept is interesting especially because people are offering up discounts for patrons who use the app.

Specials like 20% off the bill at One Burger, 20% off at The Globe, free dessert at miniBar Miami, and happy hour from 4-8 at Brickell Irish Pub are just a smattering of the options offered. I think I might make an evening of it with a stop at The Globe and One Burger, where I have wanted to go for ages!

Check the Foursquare Day Miami website for more details and specials for tomorrow!

The Settling Down Period

This past week I started work, and so far it’s going well. I learned a lot and have more to go, but I think I am starting to get the hang of things. My coworkers are friendly and invite me to eat lunch with them… it is seriously the opposite of my old job! The environment is even better than I imagined for my first job in a brand new city. The dogs that are in daily are pretty cute too.

I am still finishing up Doctor Zhivago and am at the very end. It is a classic, but I am finding Russian names hard to follow still. The story is interesting, but it’s definitely not my favorite book. I met with a girl on Wednesday who is joining the book club too, and she is from Toronto originally and thinking of moving to Los Angeles. We met and talked about L.A. and Miami, and she is really cool! I think we are going to get together and go bowling sometime soon.

Cameron’s parents arrived on Friday, and we hid the key in a strategic location so they could get inside while we were both gone at school and work. Jules loves having them here, because they take her on all kinds of walks! On Friday, they walked her all around Coconut Grove before we got home. We hung out for a bit at the house when I got home to enjoy Planet Earth on Blu Ray (they are very impressed with the picture on our TV, haha) and then ate dinner at Jaguar. I had chicken tacos, and they were tiny blue corn crispy tortillas filled with chicken. The chicken was full of flavor and I traded one for Cameron’s fish tacos, which were seasoned similarly but soft. They were tiny and excellent as well. So far, this restaurant lives up to its hype. On Thursdays, they have a set price where you can eat unlimited kabobs and ceviche spoons and also drink two beverages. I want to go back to try that soon!

Saturday we grabbed breakfast at Coral Bagels again, and they even had blueberry bagels- my favorite- for the first time that I’ve been there. I was pretty excited about that. We went to two different Home Depots, and we came home to fix our door and give Jules a bath. We took her on a walk around the marina and got slices of pizza for lunch on the way home. Our cabinets, which we discovered were falling off the wall the other day, also got fixed. I heard a noise coming from them when I was cleaning up, and it turns out they used to stay put because of the old backsplash. The new backsplash does not hold it up anymore, so the cabinets started to fall, especially with the weight of the microwave! I’m so glad it’s fixed now. We had dinner at Moon for Thai and Japanese food, where Cameron and I ate the weekend we moved here. Moderately priced and great to fill both cravings, it did not disappoint. More adventures are in store for today, starting with brunch at Le Bouchon du Grove. Its reviews on Yelp say it has the best brunch around, so it better be good!

Yes, There is a McDonald’s on McDonald Street.

I’m still interviewing for jobs. I tried some rice macaroni and cheese for lunch, but I’m not that impressed with it. It doesn’t really compare well to the classic Kraft kind.

We went out yesterday to a dive bar called The Sandbar just down the street from us for penny beers. On Wednesdays, they do penny beers at 10 pm until they run out of the kegs they use for it (no idea how many). Whatever it is, it is a bargain and they also have 1/2 off Hurricanes (categories 1-5 are all drink options, I went for a 3). Can’t help but wonder how Cameron is feeling today after that adventure with his classmate and his girlfriend.

I just returned from Merrick Village where I did not find the Joe’s Jeans “The Legging” I wanted. I got a pair in charcoal two weeks ago, which sent me on a mission for the second pair in a different color. Neiman Marcus also had them, but they were about $20 more expensive there and also not in the color I wanted. If you like style and comfort, I recommend trying on “The Legging”. They go with everything and flatter most body types. Just be careful, they’re tight and you have to watch what you wear underneath!

I’m previewing the new Lady Antebellum album, which comes out this Tuesday. It is not a sophomore slouch, so I am looking forward to purchasing it next week. Comcast came out again today and found that our connections rusted outdoors. How interesting, seeing as it was recently installed… thanks for not noticing. The menu for the evening is Quinoa rotini with plum tomatoes, feta, olive oil, minced garlic, zucchini, and bell pepper. The TV schedule is such: Vampire Diaries, Grey’s Anatomy, and then Project Runway. It’s been a while since I got to stare at the hot vampires on the show in HD. Since Thursday is most of the TV I watch, I had to select 3 options that Cameron wouldn’t want to watch since he’s going to sleep. We will watch 30 Rock and The Office online and surely there will be 40 Jersey Shore reruns by Sunday.

I need to find a sushi restaurant soon or I am going to have to purchase raw salmon at Publix and make rice and pretend I’m eating sushi back in Hermosa Beach.

Quick Bites

Lindsay Lohan and sister Aliana go partying with Dina at Chateau Marmont. How did they know? That is exactly how I remember my childhood. My mother and I drinking Redbull Vodkas up into the wee hours of the night at a club checking out the talent… oh yeah right. Who am I kidding? I was just at rehearsals at that hour. This childhood clubbing business is probably why Hollywood children end up strange.

What do you wear most of the time? I have a friend who has an endless closet of dresses because “it’s easier”, friends who love their heels (ick), and then there’s one friend of mine. She dresses like me. That doesn’t mean we are fashionable, but we are the type that prefers flats, jeans, and a cardigan. I blame our lack of experience in the dressing department and told her, “We used to wear uniforms, it’s not our fault.” That said, I think I should make an attempt to vary my wardrobe this year a little more… maybe widen the wardrobe to include colors other than black, green, and purple even! After watching Chelsea Handler on Leno, I am going to steal her shoes and most of her usually wardrobe to spice up mine.

Today I found the inspiration to keep me on a cardio machine for an hour… Law & Order. In order to find out what happens, I have to stay on the cardio machine because it’s the only way I can see the TV in the gym. Good strategy, 24 Hour Fitness.

Tonight’s Thai red tofu curry was pretty good, but not as good as last night’s ground turkey enchiladas. I need to do some altering next time to the recipe I found by adding more curry, cooking the vegetables longer, and adding a few dashes of crushed red pepper. The curry at Thai restaurants usually comes out a bit more spicy, which we like. We ate it over brown rice and watched The Hurt Locker. I recommend seeing it, what a crazy film.