Tater Tot Bombs: Summer Chilling Blog Hop

I don’t do a lot of blog hops, but this one caught my fancy.

There is no way to make “real” tater-tots at home…but these are a damn sight better than the frozen ones at the market. The spawn, their friends and neighbors fight over the last few.

This is a variation on “the Best Thing I Ever Ate,” H-100’s.

We do a “bar food” night every so often. Part of that is always potato skins. So when I empty out the “flesh” of the baked potatoes, I use it for my massive tots.

  • 6 med potatoes baked to not completely done stage.
  • 2 cups mixed cheese (Parmesan, cheddar, jack, mozzarella… whatever you like and have on hand)
  • A pinch of each: garlic powder/salt, salt, pepper
  • 1 cup flour (can be seasoned)
  • 1 egg
  • some water
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2-3 cups oil
  • Add ins (depending on what you have) crumbled bacon, chopped jalapenos, chopped green onion, chopped chives, crumbled sausage…you get the idea?
Scrape the flesh out and leave the skins for loaded potato skins.
Use your cheese grater to shred the potato. Into the bowl with the scraped out half cooked potatoes dump a combo of shredded Monterrey Jack, Cheddar, Parmesan (maybe a little Mozzarella), with garlic salt, salt and pepper all to taste. Dump in your “add ins.” Work it together.
Heat the oil to frying stage. Since I don’t have a deep fryer, I work with a 1/2 quart sauce pan with really hot veggie oil. You’ll do 2 at a time this way, but it’s worth it.
Shape the potato/cheese mix into shotgun shell sized rolls. What is a shotgun shell size? The length of your thumb and about 2x as wide. Dip it in flour (you can season if you wish), egg wash (1 egg mixed with water to make it thin) and then roll to coat with bread crumbs.
Fry until they’re brown and crispy, drain on a paper towel and watch them fly off the plate while they’re still too hot to eat.
You can see the inspiration here:

You can visit the rest of the blogs here: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=281397

Resturant Tour: A Float Sushi

This is a Pasadena staple. It’s been around for years.

The sushi is not perfection, but it is damn good for the price and the fact that it is made in batches and sent floating around on boats. They do have someone culling it once it’s been around a few too many times.  There’s a bit of Sashimi coming around, most of the fair is hardier fish or mixes (like spicy tuna rolls, or spicy crab roll in a jalapeno and then tempura fried, spider rolls, etc.). You’re not going to get the best Spanish Mackerel or elitist belly tuna…but it’ll be good for a sushi craving when you want to try your luck at what’s on the plate (sometimes it’s a guess …although if you ask they’ll tell you), you can order specific sushi, but what’s the fun in that. This place is far more about the lighter ambiance than the food.

Take a few friends, have a couple large Japanese beers and share plates. Our discovery…the 12year old (who asked for this place as a B-day dinner [as opposed to a more upscale sushi bar here in Pas we often dine at]) likes uni. Who knew that fish eggs ruled for that age group.

But it’s a decent sushi place with good food and a fun atmosphere…A Float is good for a meal.

Vegas Baby!

We’re off to Vegas this weekend.

SG has a Bowling Tournament…yeah, you can take the trash out of the trailer but you can’t take the trailer out of the trash (snort). Hey, it’s the social thing for him. Friday we drive up, probably do sushi Fri. night and call it early. SG bowls at noon on Sat. and we come home on Sun. If I’d had enough notice, I’d have arranged a book signing…oh well.

Sat. night were going to see John Pinette. I’ll post photos when I get back.

Resturantour: Cham Soot Gol, Korean BBQ

http://www.yelp.com/biz/cham-soot-gol-buena-park#query:korean%20bbq

So, this weekend we did a mini-vacation. Took the family to Knott’s Soak City, stayed at the Knott’s Resort and then hit Mouswitz with Dr. Frantz and crew the next day.

Our overnight stay, well, we’d had “park food” all day and were prepared for “park food” the next day, so SG and I headed down to the bar for a drink around 4 and asked the Bartender where it was good to eat that wasn’t “park food.” She directed us to Cham Soot Gol down the street.

Word of warning, this is not Tourist Korean BBQ. This is a joint where most patrons are Korean, where the all-you-can-eat choice A is porkbelly (lots, it’s cheap), a different cut of pork belly marinated in chili sauce, a pork “steak”, and then a bit of brisket, pork and chicken marinated in various vary Korean spices. We had that, plus a side of Octopus (2 whole baby octopi btw). All the traditional sides: Korean Pickles, Kim-chi, seaweed, tofu-sheets. Came with soup, so we got two orders of eggpot soup (imagine a massively whipped egg version of you’re Chinese joint’s egg-drop soup) and spicy tofu (TO DIE FOR…I’d order a gallon of that).  The next option, which we didn’t think the spawn were ready for, had the beef tongue, pork intestine and other offal parts.  Desert is free ice-cream you scoop yourself (Princess had Pistachio, EmoBoy had Cookies & Cream)

Korean beer, Kim-chi and seared pork belly with dipping sauces. Food was great. Service wasn’t great…a lot of traditional Asian restaurants seem to have sucky service. I’m not sure if it’s because they expect you to take more time at your meal or there’s a different cultural divide going on, but we never saw the same waiter twice and you had to reach out and grab someone to get another drink.

But, it was still good. I’d divert my drive if I was near Buena Park to go grab a tub of the Spicy Tofu soup if I was near the area.

Restauraunt-Tour: Agora Churrascaria

Okay, Agora Churrascaria…Brazilian Steak house

I needed a classy, but easy restaurant to take a client to that was near the John Wayne Airport (Orange County) when his plane landed at 11am and our hearing at 3pm.  Agora is like, 10min from JWA.  1st, if you’re a vegetarian, stay the F away, it is so not the place for you.  All the sides (and I had the collard greens, black beans and pickled sun-dried tomatoes — I so backed myself off of that having read many Yelp! reviews) are all served buffet style.  The meat, the main star, is brought to your table by “gauchos” (okay, So.Cal. waitstaff in costume, but it’s not over the top on that “schtick”) but they have mean on skewers…like the thickness of my thumb metal staves  of dripping beefy goodness (and a bit of pork and chicken…although I pity the guy who had the chicken heart skewer duty: I think it’s the you f’d up and you get to take this shit no-0ne want’s around to the tables duty).  The waitstaff though, is knowledgeable, and will guide you through their process without making you feel like you’re in some hi-fanged ride at MouseWitz.

Carnivore coma. The beef is soooo good. Tender, melt in your mouth. Service is great.  We finished lunch at noon and then asked the desk about a coffee-shop with Wi-fi (to do a little last min. research), the manager came over, found us a bar-tender who knew the area, and then walked out into the parking lot with us (it was drizzling) to orient us on the right streets and such.  He then asked for opinions on what we liked and didn’t about the meal…and that’s nice, to feel that connection. I would so go back if i hit that area again.

Restaurant-tour: Musha Izakaya

I’m going to try and blog some of the places I eat on my travels here and there and everywhere. Don’t expect witty culinary criticism. However, I do tend to find some fun spots.

My SG and I decided to head into Old Towne for dinner tonight…feeling a bit sushi-ish, but not in the mood for A-Float (fun for taking the spawn, but average quality otherwise) so we headed towards another sushi restaurant we’d been to a few times.

It’s not there.

But we’re adventurous eaters so we said, “what the hey,” and decided to try the new tenant: Musha Izakaya.

Izakaya was described to us by the manager as “Japanese Tapas.” Okay, I get the concept.  This is apparently a chain out of Japan, where they have 10 or so restaurants, this is their third in the US (LA area only so far) and the Pasadena local had been open all of seven days. The new location isn’t even on the website yet  Each has a slightly varied menu with a few signature dishes that carry throughout.

Given that it wasn’t even seven yet, the place was pretty full. No problem getting a table, but tables didn’t sit empty for long.  We sat at what had been the old sushi bar. It’s a little more lighthearted now, not as dark and moody in decor, the kind of place where everyone greets you as you come in.

It’s cold out for So.Cal (59degrees) so we both had miso soup to warm up. Forget your little plastic bowl of miso with a couple of chunks of tofu floating around at the bottom. A good size serving with carrots, large cuts of green onion, taro and shitaki mushrooms. Since we were in a sushi mood we ordered a spice tuna roll. Good. That was followed by yellow-tail carpachio — definitely not Italian — but served as thick sliced sashimi, with uni and a sprinkle of fried onion and a very light sauce I’m at a loss to describe. Very, very good.

The best, I’ll use the description off their website:

MUSHA’S CHEESE RISSOTO Italian dish with Japanese creation. Japanese grain brown rice cooked with chicken broth. Then pan fried with bacon onion and a touch of heavy cream. Served in a whole cheese bowl to your table.

That cheese bowl is a massive wedge of Parmesan cheese, with a bowl cut into it, so as they serve it into the bowls you eat it out of, it scrapes the Parmesan into the risotto. I could eat that until I was sick, it was so good.

Those three things were more than filling…that and a split pitcher of Asahi. They have a bunch of unusual beers and saki’s imported from Japan (but neither SG or I can handle saki) and everything that passed us looked and smelled wonderful (okay, not so much the squid ink pudding that was in the cold counter in front of us).

Definitely a place I’d go back to.