Pickled Ginger: Gari

Pickled Ginger:  Gari

Why is making your own pickled ginger more healthy?
Everyone has seen the thin pink ginger slices at a sushi restaurant. Bright glow-in-the-dark pink? This pickled ginger is called gari in Japanese and is usually eaten after sushi or sashimi to enhance the flavor and cleanse the palette. Ginger generally aids digestion, eases nausea and reduces inflammation.

What makes pickled ginger so pink? Most likely it’s artificial coloring (E124) added to the gari to make it look more attractive. Beet juice is more rarely also used to make the pickled ginger more pink.

Why bother making the ginger…

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Wasabi Paste Made in Minutes

Wasabi Paste Made in Minutes

What is wasabi?
Many think wasabi is a paste served on the side of a sushi dish, while it is in fact a rhizome, a mass of roots, like ginger and tumeric.

Wasabi Root

 
Why bother making your own Wasabi paste?
I used to think it was a waste of time to make your own wasabi paste. Tubes of wasabi paste are available in most supermarkets as well as Asian grocery shops. A common problem with tubes, however, is that they contain much more paste than you need for a single meal.  A crust therefore often forms in the tube, making the r…

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Airline Food

How do you deal with airline food?

In a few hours I’ll start my journey from Los Angeles to Brussels via Munich. When I have nothing to do I often turn to munching on whatever I have on hand. Nervous eating? Or just eating out of boredom?

Whatever you call it, it’s important for me to bring some food on the plane to control as much as possible what I’m snacking. For this flight, I’ve put some almonds, raisins and other dried fruit in a Ziploc bag. The protein and oils in the nuts should stave off my hunger pains.

What is your strategy when you fly? What steps do you take to avo…

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Mel’s Drive-in: Contemporary or Nostalgic Dining?

Mel’s Drive-in:  Contemporary or Nostalgic Dining?

Can Mel’s Drive-in still attract a crowd?
Walking into Mel’s Drive-in on Sunset Boulevard you might think it’s a diner from the 1950s. Yet, Mel’s Drive-in opened its West Hollywood location in 1997.

Mel’s Drive-in is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year! It welcomes the late-nighters after an evening on the Sunset Strip or other clubs around the city as well as the brunch crowd, and other diners throughout the day and night. All types of people come to Mel’s Drive-in, making it a fun place to people watch. Sit at a table outside in front of the diner on Sunset Boulevard or inside at a tabl…

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Family celebration at Matteo’s

Family celebration at Matteo’s

Why Matteo’s is a family favorite?
For my dad’s 85th birthday celebration with close family he chose a private dining room at Matteo’s in Westwood (Los Angeles). Matteo’s has been a family favorite for about 40 years. Before us Matteo’s was a favorite hangout for Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack group.

Matteo's
  • Location
  • Atmosphere
  • Food
  • Service
  • Price/Quality Ratio

Summary

Matteo's has a comfortable atmosphere, wonderful service, and delicious food. Matteo's is a West Los Angeles institution with lots of hints of the Hollywood A-listers, like the Rat Pack, who used to dine there. You will be extremely satisfied dining at Matteo's!

4.1

 
Cocktails
The celebration started in the bar area where we each chose a drink. Many of us had one (or 2 or 3) Moscow Mules: a delicious mix of ginger beer (which is actually not beer at all but rather a ginger syrup), vodka and lime. Moscow Mules are simply too easy to …

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Ocean Prime: Beverly Hills

Ocean Prime: Beverly Hills

Is Ocean Prime worth the cost?
A place to celebrate special occasions
On my father’s 85th birthday evening, we choseOcean Prime, a restaurant where none of us had been in Beverly Hills . My mother had just heard about it from a friend who raved about their beautiful bar area. We thought we’d try it and booked a reservation.

Ocean Prime Beverly Hills is part of a national chain of restaurants, which is expanding further its reach in California later this year.

The space for the restaurant, bar and terrace is quite large, yet welcoming. When we arrived at the reception desk I felt as if …

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Brent’s Deli: No Choices for Vegans

Brent’s Deli:  No Choices for Vegans

Is Brent’s Deli any Different on the Vegan Front?

In yesterday’s post “Scrambled Tofu Eggs”, I reviewed the vegan menu choices at two delis in Los Angeles (Lenny’s Deli and Factor’s Famous Deli). At the same time I also surveyed their rugelach offering for a post soon to be written.

Today my brothers and I took my dad out for his 85th birthday lunch. He picked the place: Brent’s Deli in Northridge (Los Angeles), California. It was my first time at Brent’s Deli, which many consider to be the best deli in Los Angeles, so I was excited.

Brent's Deli
  • Location
  • Atmosphere
  • Food
  • Service
  • Price/Quality Ratio

Summary

Brent's Deli is one of the kings of LA delicatessens. Brent's has a gigantic menu with almost everything on it, except vegan choices. The atmosphere needs to be considered in the context of Jewish delis, which are not known for their elegant atmosphere. Booths and tables are spread out to fit in as many people as possible. Servers bustle around taking excellent care of their customers. Brent's is also available for take-out, but don't go there if you are looking for Jewish baked goods like rugelach, babkas, and other freshly made goodies.

3.7

On arrival at Brent’s Deli at 11:15 …

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Scrambled Tofu “Eggs”

Scrambled Tofu “Eggs”

Is Scrambled Tofu an Easy solution for Vegans for Breakfast?

In my post earlier today Eating Vegan Not Always Easy I was lamenting the difficulty of finding a good vegan breakfast in restaurants in Los Angeles. Today my family and I went to Lenny’s Deli for brunch on the Westside of Los Angeles. I had asked to go there instead of Factor’s Famous Deli where we went last Sunday because I find they have more variety on their menu.

Lenny’s Deli does have more choice on their menu. I could see able about 4 vegan items whereas at Factor’s I could only see 1 or 2. Both however had the sam…

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Eating Vegan Not Always Easy

What do Vegans do when they travel?

Watching what you eat is not always easy. It requires willpower, discipline and lots of sacrifice. But watching what you eat when you are travelling, especially when you are visiting family, takes willpower, discipline and sacrifice to a whole other level!

I find that I can work hard at staying fit for months, only to see all my effort undone in a couple weeks staying with family. Not necessarily because they eat poorly. We usually meet for special occasions, such as holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. These are all times when people express …

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Top 5 Recipes on 16 May 2015

Top 5 Recipes on 16 May 2015

Top 5 recipes viewed and/or repinned on Pinterest?

Belgian Foodie currently has more than 150 boards on Pinterest, each with a different theme, featuring recipes. About one-third of these boards have been created by me and have been sustained with the help of numerous contributors. I am so grateful to all these contributors who regularly pin their favorite recipes on my group boards. Most of the remaining boards have been created by other pinners who have invited me to contribute recipes. Pinterest is all about contributing and sharing.

From time to time I will share with you the Top…

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New Barbecue Recipes Board on Pinterest

New Barbecue Recipes Board on Pinterest

Barbecue Recipes featured in a new Pinterest Board
This week of 16 May 2015  I created Barbecue For Everyone!, a new Pinterest board with almost 150 recipes traditionally associated with barbecue or grill cuisine.

Who does not love a good barbecue with family and friends, especially in the early evening? Kids playing, everyone relaxed and eating to their delight? As the barbecue and grilling season soon begins in the Northern Hemisphere, come check out Barbecue For Everyone! for recipes for barbecue sauce, rubs and other condiments as well as for ribs, chicken, sausage, veggies, beef, fish…

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Kreation Juice Kafe in Venice Beach

Kreation Juice Kafe in  Venice Beach

What is all the hype about Kreation Juice Kafe in Venice Beach (Los Angeles)?
Walking around Santa Monica and Venice Beach in Los Angeles County always takes me down memory lane to summer (and school) days with friends. (I won’t mention how many years ago this was.)

A childhood friend and I hung out together in the late afternoon and evening. We strolled along 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, which is always a fun place to watch people. Third Street Promenade has definitely changed from the time I used to come there as a child with my grandmother. Now shops, restaurants, street entert…

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Pirozhki in LA

Pirozhki in LA

Where can you find a healthier version of pirozhki in LA?
Today I was roaming around Westwood Village in Los Angeles, my old stomping grounds as a teenager. I was suddenly drawn to a silver shining Airstream trailer featuring Pirozhki, aptly named “Pirozhkila”! A young pretty woman named Sasha was offering samples of their food. Of course, being the foodie that I am, I accepted the offer and tasted their pirozhki. We started talking and then the owner Igor came out to join us.

In 15 minutes I discovered that Igor is originally from Kiev, Ukraine and comes to Los Angeles via Milano, Italy, …

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Inspiring Cookbook Writers

Inspiring Cookbook Writers

Which cookbook writers inspire me?
Cookbooks can inspire us, especially when the writer uses a voice that is personal, interesting and informative. Like many foodies, I have a collection of cookbooks and am happy to acquire more as a gift (hint hint) or on a whim for myself. I try to have books covering different cuisines from around the world, hopefully written by people who know the region intimately.

 
Nigel Slater
Looking back, there are definitely certain cookbook writers who have inspired me. The first who comes to mind is Nigel Slater from the United Kingdom. More than 10 yea…

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