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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Food Galore

The house is quiet now. After having 3 weeks of guests, reunions, out of town trips, it seems strangely so. It was really nice having my friends over. Even if they kept me up almost every night, even if I had to do a little bit more housework, even if it meant playing tour guide most weekends, it was indeed worth it. One of the main perks was having an excuse to eat out almost every night. We paid homage to our favorite restaurants and got the chance to try several new ones.

Normally, Jojo and I eat out during weekends – as a way to treat ourselves for lasting yet another week! But we usually go to the same places and never really stray too far from home. Much like the qualities I love about him, my hubby is safe and dependable even when it comes to his food choices. :) Between the two of us, I am much more adventurous when it comes to culinary exploits, but it is hard to be daring when you are alone.

While my friends were here, we tried a lot of different places and varied cuisine. Towards their last night in LA, we had run out of gastronomic choices. We had had Japanese, Chinese, Chinese-American, Thai, Italian, Mexican, Hawaiian Brazilian, Traditional American, Barbecue, Korean, and Mediterranean. We had eaten in buffets, brunches, diners, five-star places, fast foods, steakhouses, and even take out. We visited coffee shops, doughnut shops, noodle houses, and ice cream parlors. And most of the types of cuisine we tried, we even did more than once. We literally ran out of choices, if that’s possible. Some nights we had to resort to home cooking just to try something new!

Of all the places we tried and enjoyed, two are worthy of actually mentioning here. These two join the ranks of becoming my favorite food haunts.

The first is Duke’s in Malibu. The restaurant is right on the Pacific Coast Highway and has a wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean. We had spent the day driving down PCH and were at the restaurant’s bar a little past six. The place was full and we were given the choice of waiting an hour for a dinner table or enjoying a more casual atmosphere (but the same menu) at Duke’s Barefoot Bar. We took the latter. Les, Ginger, Jamie, Jojo and I – and later my brother, Jules, sampled their cocktails (I had the margarita which was really refreshing). We had calamari strips and nachos for appetizers. The calamari was very tender and the nachos were really good (topped with cheese, beans, jalapenos, and pico de gallo). For our main course, Jojo and I shared the surf and turn platter (grilled steak and shrimp), Jules had the grilled mahi-mahi with mango salsa, while my friends shared the spicy scallops over rice and a huge order of Prime Rib. Everything was awesome. I liked the atmosphere of the place too. The Barefoot Bar had a tropical theme in keeping with Duke's Hawaiian style cuisine. It was very lively (there was a USC football game blaring from 2 huge tvs and you could hear the roar of the ocean waves as they rolled onto the shore).

My second favorite place is Lucille’s Barbecue. It’s a restaurant chain -- we went to the one at the Del Amo mall in Torrance. The place is so good that we went there twice in 3 nights! The first time, we went with Les and Ginger and shared the Backyard Feast and an order of jambalaya. The Backyard Feast came with tri-tip (super succulent), barbecue chicken (amazing flavor), and baby back ribs (so tender the meat was falling off the bone). The jambalaya was super too with andouille sausages, shrimps, bell peppers and onions. We rounded off the meal with homemade apple pie ala mode

The second time we went, we took Su, Mark and Jules. We ordered the Family Feast for 4 and an appetizer sampler. There was so much food – literally our table was filled from end to end! The Family Feast could have easily fed 6 extra hungry guys. Since there were only 5 of us and we had ate so much of the appetizets and biscuits, we had to take food home – we ended up with 5 cartons of leftovers (enough for lunch for all of us the next day!).

But it was worth it. The appetizer platter came with grilled veggie fajitas, steak tortilla rolls, fried green tomatoes, jalapeno poppers, chicken strips, barbecue wings, and onion rings. Our Feast was a huge platter of chicken and baby back ribs. It also came with 4 huge side servings – garlic mashed potatoes, shoestring fries, peanut coleslaw, and roasted corn. YUM! But what was really awesome was the barbecue sauce (which came in 3 varieties: regular, hot & spicy, and Memphis style – which was more tangy than sweet). We also loved, loved, loved the hot biscuits and the sweet honey butter.

It’s a true luxury to be able to eat food this good. But really too much of a good things can be bad too. After my friends left, Jojo and I have been sticking to soup and fruit for dinner. We’ve got to give our stomachs a rest – not to mention our waistlines too! It’s been a great 3 weeks though and I can’t wait for my friends to be back, for another chance to enjoy good company over good food too :)


Anonymous said...

i love the way you describe the eating out, jo. makes me hungry :)
- tash

jol said...

You got all the ingredients which weight watchers abhor: good company, excellent food, casual atmosphere and endless variety. It's a good thing you did not get carried away and have taken time out to rest your stomach. I'm very glad that you had such fun the last three weeks.

jml said...

you would do good as a food critic! If I did not know you better, I would think you were being paid , the way you heaped your compliments on the 2 dinning places you mentioned. I am looking forward to sample the cuisine of these places.

marc said...

Your descriptions are truly amazing! I can picture the actual event and it really makes me hungry... The Duke's restaurant sounds really nice especially with the view you guys had. Nothing beats spending time with true friends especially if you haven't seen them for a while. :)

Joanne said...

Great to hear from you Tash! It's been so long. We really need to get together soon :)

Mom, Dad, yes - these are two places we definitely need to visit when you come here next year. I am sure you'll both agree they are really good :)

Marc, you are right. Family/Friends and Good Food is what it's all about :)