Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Best. Burger. Ever.

I'm admittedly way behind on my posting --it's been a busy month-- but before I get to those I must interject with this: There is nothing like a fantastic burger. Many restaurants claim to have a killer burger, and some try to entice you with promises of angus or kobe beef, and funky aiolis and arugula. For me it's all about the toppings, and apparently, the more the better.

Big N and I took a mini-break to Santa Barbara wine country this weekend and what we were looking forward to most was the Hadsten House "all the way" burger. We first had this god of a sandwich a few months ago and have been dreaming of it (literally in Big N's case) ever since.

Picture this (except the picture really isn't doing this one justice):

Juicy tender burger on brioche bun topped with, and I kid you not: spinach, roasted red pepper, sauteed mushrooms, sliced avocado, grilled onions, cheddar, jack, goat, and swiss cheeses, bacon, and the creme della creme: fried egg. It is nothing short of genius.

We paired our "all the way" burger with Epiphany Cellars 2005 Rodney's Vinyard Petite Sirah made right in Santa Barbara County. Strong, juicy, and a bit chewy, it paired well with the richness of the burger. Man it was good!

Next time you find yourself in Solvang, stay at Hadsten House (a nice boutique motel that isn't throwing up Scandinavia like the rest of Solvang) and order the burger "all the way." I promise you'll agree... best. burger. ever.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

For a Clear View

I love Los Angeles after it rains. The rain washes away the dirt and dinge and allows the beauty of this city to shine through. Sometimes you have to look hard to see it, but it's always there. El-El took these pictures from our outside patio with her very cool camera. She's turning into quite the photographer (check out her Photojourna.lists)

The first is a view of La Canada looking out over our pool with Mount Wilson standing tall and proud in the background, and the second is a view of downtown Pasadena and beyond.

Dinner Party Was A Dud But We'll Always Have Fried Chicken

It's always a shame when work gets in the way of your hobbies. The past few weeks I've been working non-stop and had to cancel my beloved dinner party as a result. I felt terrible because friends Eagle Eye and El-El flew out from St. L to hang out with us, especially in time to attend. Dinner party aside, we did find time to indulge in some serious foodie behavior by dining at both Melisse and Osteria Mozza (more on that in separate posts).

I also found some time to make fried chicken, a first for me. I bought a whole fryer and butchered it, (wielding my cleaver was especially gratifying) then marinated the chicken in buttermilk overnight to keep it moist and tender. I then dredged it in well seasoned flour and plopped it into my fry pan, doing my best to keep the temperature at an even 300.

Unfortunately I misjudged the done-ness of my chicken before I took it out so it ended up being twice fried, but it was tasty, tender, and very juicy. To keep with the southern theme I made some fried okra, Big N's favorite.

For a first attempt it wasn't half bad. I had so much fun making it that I plan to experiment next time with my hefty duty deep fryer. KFC ain't got nothing on me.