Archive for the ‘Food’ Category


Back in October I posted about professed my love Pavich’s Brick Oven Pizzeria here.  Since then more people have left comments about this post than any other, and it is one of my top posts. 🙂

Since writing my last post about this fine establishment, J and I have had their wonderful pizza a few times with J picking it up.  Today we took a much needed break from the tornado that these past few weeks have been for us to pick up our box of pizza together, and take it to one of our favorite spots in Pedro to have a little picnic. Today we went to Friendship Park and sat at one of  the picnic tables and enjoyed our pizza looking over San Pedro.

Anyway, while we were waiting for the pizza I got to chant with Mr. Pavich and apparently people who have gone in have told him about my blog the pics. How exciting!!!I still say the best Pizza around!

There is a new development: Pavich’s now has a website. Check it out, the pictures make my mouth water. And if you have not been there yet, well you better go because it is THAT good.

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First Gathering of the New Year


We had an International New Year’s Day Potluck party on January first. It was nice to see the friends who were able to make it and we ate some really delicious food. Above is a little collage of some of the delicious food consumed.

We had a great time and maybe we will make a yearly event out of it. Our friends started showing up at about noon and our last guest left at about 11pm. It was so much fun!

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I love experimenting with food. There is a part of me that is very traditional about certain aspects of cooking and remaining true to the traditional Persian and Italian recipes. Yet, there is the rebellious side of me who likes to experiment. I am slightly schizophrenic when it comes to this though because you never know which recipes I am not willing to deviate from in any shape, way, or form.  One thing is sure though, it is mostly the traditional Persian recipes that I can’t deal with changing.

I had a rebellious thought a couple of weeks ago and decided to act on it. I was craving rice and didn’t have anything around for a traditional dish. But truth be told I needed to be creative in order to refocus from my writing projects. I had some mushrooms in the fridge so I decided to seriously experiment. What I mean by seriously is using my rice cooker in ways that I had not before.  I thought the results were good and most definitely worthy sharing.

If you are Persian, you will likely be horrified because that’s not how we are taught to use our rice cookers. But please trust me, it worked.

I welcome, and encourage,  you to leave a comment if you choose to make this recipe or have done something similar. I would love to know how others experiment.


4 cups of rice

12 oz package of crimini mushrooms sliced

1 onion diced

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 tbls of advieh

canola oil

salt & pepper

A Persian rice cooker (this will not work in a regular rice cooker)

Sauté onion and garlic until onion is golden. Add 1/2 tbls of advieh.

Wash rice and place in the rice cooker with 4 cups of water. Add a generous amount of oil (1 1/2 tbls)  and salt (2 tsp) and give it a little stir.  Add the sliced mushrooms on top. Turn on rice cooker. Trust me….

In about 15-20 minutes or so the water will start absorbing. When you noticed that most of the water has been absorbed, and all you can see is bubbles, take out  the mushrooms and place them in a bowl. Then scoop out the rice as well only leaving a thin layer at the bottom of the rice cooker. I know…you don’t take the rice out of the rice cooker, but hang on to your panties, it works, I promise!

In the bowl mix rice, mushrooms, onion mix, and the remaining advieh. Taste for seasoning and if needed add more salt, pepper, or advieh.

Place rice mixture back in the rice cooker.  Place a kitchen towel around the lid and cover.  You say: “but you are not supposed to cover the rice cooker’s lid with a towel.” I say: “I have experimented enough to know that it works better this way!”

Now, all this new found method is likely to mess up the timing on the rice cooker.  So cook for about 45-50 minutes and then turn off the rice cooker.

Flip the rice onto a dish and the results should, hopefully, look just like the picture above!

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Bean Soup


The weather has been rather cold in LA so I have been making soups a lot in the past few weeks. I tried something new recently: bean soup.  I made soup with both cannellini and black beans. Both results were delicious and here is the recipe for you all to try.


2 cups of beans (cannellini or black) soaked overnight

1 diced onion

4 cloves of garlic

1 diced carrot

1 diced celery stem

1 tbls of olive oil

1 jalapeño (seeds removed if you don’t like it too hot)

1 tsp of cumin

1/2 cup of dry  sherry wine

2 bay leaves

salt & pepper


1 avocado cut into wedges

Cilantro for garnish

In a Dutch oven sauté onion, garlic, carrots, and celery with olive oil for about 10 minutes or until onion becomes translucent.  Add cumin and give it a stir allowing for the flavor to release.  Now stick your nose in there because it should totally smell good!

Add wine and let reduce for a couple of minutes. Add beans, 6 cups of water, the jalapeño (with or without seeds, totally up to you)  bay leaves and cook for 1 1/2 hours.

Season to taste and let cook for another 1/2 hour.

Use a hand blender to blend the ingredients inside the Dutch oven. Ladle in a soup bowl and garnish with avocado wedges and cilantro.

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It is been a while since I have posted a recipe. I felt like making soup a couple of weeks ago and consulted our The Soup Bible cookbook.  The cream of mushroom just sounded so delicious and easy to make. Of course I changed the recipe around a little bit and the results were delicious.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

16 oz of cremini mushrooms rough chopped (the package from Costco is perfect)

2 tbls of olive oil

1 medium onion diced

4 cloves of garlic finly chopped

1/2 cup of Dry Sherry wine

4 cups of broth (either chicken or veggie)

1 1/2 cup of heavy cream

1/2 cup of flour

1 bunch of tarragon (reserve a couple of leaves, the rest rough chop)

salt & pepper

Sauté onion and garlic until translucent in a Dutch oven.  Add wine and let reduce for a couple of minutes.  Add mushrooms, cover and let sweat for about 15 minutes occasionally stirring the veggies inside the Dutch oven.  Add broth and adjust seasoning. Let cook covered for about half hour. Place some of the liquid from the Dutch oven into a small bowl and add the flour to it. Mix well so that there aren’t any lumps. Add the mixture to the soup and stir constantly. The soup should begin to thicken.  Add the tarragon.  Use a hand blender to blend the ingredients inside the Dutch oven.   Slowly add the cream and let cook for about 20 minutes while stirring frequently. Taste for seasoning. Serve in soup bowl and garnish with tarragon leaves.

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About a month ago J and I went for a wine tasting event at Off The Wine here in Pedro. The wines were Croatian and they also had some delicious chevapchichi (Croatian kuftahs or meatballs) and bread on hand as appetizers.  Both the chevapchichi and the bread were out of this world delicious.

We decided that we had to go and check the place where this delicious food came from. The actual place is a whole in the wall and the only available sitting is outside.  Let me tell you, this is the best hole in the wall in San Pedro for both food and hospitality. The owner Danny is very friendly and he is the person who will take your order and bring it to you if you are sitting outside. He and his wife work very hard everyday and the results are fantastic.

The menu above is what they have so far. The first time we went there we ordered the Croatian Pizza and cabbage roles which were both delicious. The pizza dough is by far the best I have had since moving here to the US. It is thin and crispy just like in Italy.

We just went there a couple of days ago for lunch and we both ordered the Plyeskavitza, which is a patty served in the homemade brick over bread with peppers, tomatoes, lettuce and garlic sauce. OH MY GOD! SOOOOOOO GOOOD! The coolest thing is that Danny actually made it for us while we waited.

Pavich’s Brick Oven Pizzeria is a must have. I officially declair it to have the best Pizza in Los Angeles. And lucky for us it is walking distance from us!

Pavich’s Brick Oven Pizzeria
2311 Alma St.
San Pedro, CA 90731

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The LA Times ran an article about the hard working dish washers and line cooks in the LA area restaurants. Anyone who has ever worked at a restaurant knows how hard these guys work for very little money. It is great to see them transition in the more prestigious positions! To read the article click here

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It has been a while since I have posted a recipe. I have been cooking but I have been really bad about keeping up with my blog for the exception of Indi Friday.

Tonight we are going to our friends’ “Movie Night” in El Segundo. For the happy occasion I decided to make the above salad which I have named “Happiness Salad” because it is so colorful and happy looking. I pretty much used stuff I had at home, it is fairly simple to make and it transports well.

2 15oz cans of white kiney beans

1 15oz can of black beans

1 red pepper diced

1 yellow pepper diced

1/2 red onion diced

2 corns on the cob

1/2 bunch of parsley

2 cloves of garlic

4-5 tbls of olive oil

salt & pepper

Wash and drain the beans in a colander.  Either on a BBQ or on your stove roast the corn for a few minutes on each side making sure that it doesn’t burn.  The corn must be crunchy and not cooked all the way through and mushy. Smash the garlic with a knife and place in oil and infuse on the stove until slightly golden. Dekernel the corn with a knife and let it cool.  Mix the onion, peppers, beans, and the corn together.

For the dressing place parsley leaves in a food processor along with the garlic used for unfusing the oil, salt and pepper. Create a pesto like dressing while adding the infused oil little by little. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Let sit at room temperature for a couple of hours to allow flavors to develop.

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Opah! Oh what a night we had tonight! We had plans to meet up with our friend SK for some delicious Lebanese food in Belmont Shore. Once we got to the restaurant we were told that the wait was 45 minutes to one hour.  So we decided to check out a different restaurant. J mentioned that one of our options is Greek food and I was all for going Greek! So we went to George’s Greek Cafe and what a good choice that was! The restaurant is a family owned and operated establishment with three different locations.

(annoying person pointing at the food and therefore ruining my
attempt at professional photography)

We stared with the fabulousness above: Saganaki (House specialty) Battered and Fried Greek Kasseri Cheese, Flamed at the Table with Brandy, Finished with Kalamata Olives and Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice and served with Pita Bread). I wished I had my camera ready to go when the food came; man was the flaming part fun! J also ordered the Combo Apperizer (A True Taste of Greece which includes 2 Portions of Dolmathes, Keftethes, Tiropites, Spanakopites, Kalamari, and served with Tzantziki Sauce).

(more pointing…)

Then we moved on to our main dishes. I got a Kalamari Salad which was duhlicious!

J ordered the Horiatiki salad (Greek village salad) Fresh Cut Chunk Tomato, Cucumber, Feta Cheese, Red Onions, Kalamata Olives, Bell Peppers, and our Homemade Traditional Greek dressing.

SK ordered veggie Dolmathes (Grape Leaves Stuffed with Ground Beef, Rice, Tomato, and Spices).

And we finished off by sharing a desset that was similar to a Bakhlava with a stringy type of dough and chocolate. YUMMY!

The food was excelent and the service was absolutely wonderful. Our server Nathan was fantastic. It had been a long time since I walked into a restaurant and received such a good and attentive service. Nathan and the rest of the staff were very friendly and welcoming. On our way to our table every staff that we walked by said hello. Seriously??? I was wondering if we were in a different city…how often does that happen in LA?

The food came out fast and was very good. I am not exagerating when I say that my glass of ice-tea NEVER went below half full…and we were on the second floor of the restaurant. I definitely recommand this place as the food is very good and the atmosphere is very friednly and welcoming. It is such a nice change, especially from the crappy service that you get now-a-days at every other place. The prices are just right and well worth the food.

George’s Greek Cafe
5316 E 2nd St
Long Beach, CA 90803

(562) 433-1755

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Oh how excited am I that Taste Spotting is back! I am back viewing it on a regular basis and getting my daily fix of food porn! Thank you Internet Gods for giving us back such a wonderful site!

In honor of such event I am posting a salad that I made the other day with butter lettuce. About 20 years ago I went to a sheeshee foofoo restaurant in Beverly Hills which served entrecôte. The food was delicious and the presentation of their starter salad made an ever lasting impression on me. It was made with butter lettuce and the leaves were left attached and therefore presented like an open flower. It was a simple salad, only adorned with walnuts and a fabulous dressing.

I tried to make something similar, I had some Brie cheese and decided to experiment. I sauted the walnuts in a pan with some sugar and salt, for a sweet and salty flavor. Made a salad dressing with diced red onion, rice vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Then arranged the walnuts and cheese on the salad and poured the dressing over it. It was simple, different form a regular salad, and delicious.

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