Friday, November 21, 2014

Food Porn Friday- Night + Market Thai Street Food

I don’t typically traverse all the way to West Hollywood for some down-home comfort Thai Food but when Eater LA tells me Night + Market is quickly becoming one of the best new restaurants in town, you can bet your bottom dollar that’s exactly where I’m headed.  Located in the heart of Sunset Strip amidst the chaotic mess that is Los Angeles street traffic and never-ending construction, you can find Night +Market amongst a row of trendy eateries with a shared entry to Talésai, both spaces owned and operated by the same family.  Night + Market is really a pop-up shop gone viral (read more about it HERE) and while the story of its humble beginnings have me completely inspired, the food, on the other hand, doesn’t live up to the hype.

Peep out the menu below:

Fried Pig Tail:  N+M’s claim-to-fame.  Sticky-icky deep fried pig’s tail in a sweet, slightly sour, and pungent fish sauce.  Easily my fave thing on the menu.  The fried skin has been smothered in the sauce, leaving trails of ooey gooey goodness dripping with every juicy bite.  Half fat/ half gelatinous cartilage, just the plate pork dreams are made of!

Sai Uah/ Chiengrai Herb Sausage:  Homemade pork sausage with nan prik noom and cucumber relish.  Thai drinking food is not complete without homemade sausage.  Herby, spicy, and fatty in all the right places, I wished this were a little more char-grilled to bring out the smoky flavors of the skin.  Just ok, I’ve had better at our local Vientiane but this sausage was recommended by the server over their sour sausage variety.

Som Tum: Green papaya salad with palm sugar, peanuts, lime juice, bird eye.  Totally tastes like it looks: BLAND!  I was almost tempted to tell the waitress they forgot the sauce!  But as you can see, it’s swimming in a layer of under-seasoned dressing.  But good if you’re simply craving a bit of crunch and not much flavor, lol.

Nam Khao Tod/ Crispy rice salad.  You know how every Asian party serves up some rendition of fried rice?  Well, this is the Thai/Laos version of that staple dish.  Deep fried rice kernels dressed in light, sweet and sour vinaigrette with tons of peanuts, onions, and cilantro for a zesty bite.  If you’ve never had this dish, you’re missing out! 

Panang en neua with beef tendon panang w/ roti.  Just like Vietnamese bo kho without the French bread to dip.  VERY heavy and way too oily to enjoy without veggies or something light and fresh to temper the richness.  Pass!

Pad Thai market version with sweet radish, tofu, crushed peanuts, and chile powder.  Just eh.  Nothing special.

Khao Soi Haw with mae sai curry noodles with braised hanger steak and beef tendon- topped with pickled mustard greens, bean sprouts, red onion, cilantro, chile oil and crispy noodles.  This dish is more of a stew than it is a soup.  Meant to be eaten tapas style since the broth is so rich.  I appreciate the originality but I thought it was wayyy too heavy since most of the other menu items were light and bright.

Mango and sticky rice.  The coconut milk seemed to have been diluted in water it was so runny and had the consistency of 2% milk.  Such a bummer too since this dessert is easily a standard order whenever I dine at Thai joints.  Pass :(

9041 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 275-9724

*Insider’s tip:  Very casual joint with locals lining up during dinner time every day.  But they have a bar inside and $20 corkage fee so brown bag it while you wait.  You can find a mish mash of diners from your Hollywood hipster types to industry execs dishing over their latest production.  Completely unpretentious spot with bright orange walls, industrial wood tables, and white string lights framing the windows looking out towards Sunset.  You feel more like you’re over at your cuzzie’s house than a high-profile restaurant everyone’s talking up these days.  My thoughts?  C+/ B- but you know what?  Best if you just see for yourself.  Seems I'm the hater these days, lol.  But I swear I'm not!  I just eat sooooooo much Thai food I know the difference between craveable and not.  This?  Notsomuch.*

It's Friiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiday y'all!!!!
Any fun plans this weekend?

Bon Appétit mes amis!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Scenes from a Modern Safari Baby Shower

Happy Tuesday hunnies!  How was everyone’s weekend?  We threw the cutest little shower for one of my besties and spent all day Sunday watching her soak in the love from her family and friends.  

Taking décor cues from Tyler’s future nursery, we decked out the pad in a wash of minimalist greys, creams, blues, and natural woods with my signature animal print thrown in for punch and variety.  

What we created was a modern safari oasis complete with hanging monkeys overhead, a herd of silver-coated animals grazing nearby, and 40 of Linh’s closest gathered for an afternoon of celebrating life and love in all its truest forms.

We woke up to the craziest sweep of Santa Ana winds gushing in at over 40 miles per hour!  Next to rain and thunderstorms, this had to be the worst situation for our backyard bash where the outdoor landscape was an integral part of the theme and design.

We prayed and prayed for the Santa Anas to subside and 30 minutes before guests started to arrive, the sun shone bright and swept those cursed winds away!  Phewwwwww!  Crisis diverted!  Saved by the gorgeousness that is SoCal once again.  Now you see why we live here?!!  Outdoor party in the middle of November y’all!  Can’t beat that!

 Congratulations to my loves Linh and Jason for the arrival of their new baby boy!  To the most loving, kind, generous, and positively upbeat peeps I know!  We love you both and can’t wait to meet baby T-Forse!  Just a few more weeks to go….woooohooooo!

Thank you Thank you Thank YOU to my besties/ co-hosts Loannie, Annie, and Jen!
Aztecs got the...Aztecs got the...Juice...JUICE!!!  The Jungle variety of course, we cray! Rawrrrrr ;D Lol...

Peep out past JKID baby shower event designs:

Thanks for reading loves!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Food Porn Friday- The Ranch Restaurant and Saloon

You’d be hard pressed to find better bone-in filets and tomahawk steaks than Mastro’s, but I’d say the Ranch in Anaheim is a very close second.  Heralded as one of the last true American steakhouses here in Orange County, their cuisine’s been lauded for its rustic charm as well as its commitment to sourcing the finest ingredients from local farms and ranches alike.  Farm-to-table has never felt so extravagant housed in a huge 53,000 square foot space with over 5 floors of restaurant and event space that you can rent for private events.  Not to mention one of the coolest honky-tonk cowboy barsthe Saloon” conveniently located right next door when you’re through with dinner and ready to two-step those calories away!

Having dined at this establishment a handful of times already, I think I’ve got their menu down now and know exactly what I’m craving with every return visit.  Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Cowboy Ribeye- 58oz. Bone-in Rib Chop!! 
Insano size (meant for sharing) but soooooo dang delish!

Nova Scotia Lobster Salad Cobb Style

Deviled Eggs

Five Onion Soup

House Bread with 7 different flavors and seasonings

Ceviche Trilogy

Freshly Baked Popovers

Colorado Grass-Fed Lamb Chops

Certified Sustainable Chilean Sea Bass

Petite Filet of Beef

The Ranch Restaurant and Saloon
1025 E. Ball Rd.
(714) 817-4200

*Insider’s tip:  The ambience is really warm and inviting, think high-end Houston’s concept with vaulted ceilings, exposed timber beams, not too fancy, but casually elevated without the pomp and circumstance of Mastro’s or their Ocean Clubs.  It definitely feels like you’re out for a special occasion but still homey enough to allow you to sink right in.  Once you’re through with a super satisfying hearty meal, head right next door to the Saloon, like something straight outta Urban Cowboy where live bands play pop and country music while a sea of boot-clad, plaid-rocking, ten-gallon-hat wearing patrons line-dance like there’s no tomorrow.  The crowd is festive, the joint so charming, and the cuisine is superb for an unconventional night out on the town when Orange County’s just so damn predictable these days.*

Have you been?  What’d you think?
Happy Friday!!!
Bon Appétit mes amis!
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