That's Messed Up!

Happy New Year's Eve Peeps!  What an amazing year 2010 has been.  This time last year, C didn't know that was accepted into school in SD - now, she's calling shots like E.T. calls home!  2011 will surely be even more awesome!

I've been fairly preoccupied at work this week (we have two campaigns launching by, oh, tonight) so I've been doing what I call "mess-ups" where I take things in the fridge and mess them up together in an edible arrangement.  Here's Wednesday's lunch.

1/4 sweet potato, 1/4 yam, half a can of sliced beets, some broccoli, some leftover turkey breast, topped with a dollop of apple sauce, some cilantro, and a 1/4 cup of messed-up sauce I made from Fage Yogurt, 1/4 avocado, mint cilantro, and a tbsp of dijon mustard.

Here's yesterday's lunch:

Much the same except I topped it with half a granny apple.  The local market has it on sale for 3lbs for a $1!

Last night I went out for some pizza at a joint downtown for my friend's birthday.  No pics (too dark) but believe you me, it was yummy.

This morning, three coworkers and I decided to grab some breakfast on the way to work.  We stopped in Barrio Logan for an old-school Mexican food joint called Las Cuatros Milpas.  It's deep in the inner city - people are well-advised to stay away from there when it's dark (seriously) - but the line forms outside from the time it opens.  Short line today!

It's a family-owned and operated spot since 1935!  The family still lives upstairs and hand-makes tortillas and they are the best tortillas in town, hands-down!  See, I'm so stoked, I rhymed those words and didn't even intend to - so you know I'm serious!

They move you along pretty quick - it feels like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld - but the family is super nice.  Everyone sits in a communal setting with picnic tables.  No frills which was fine with us since we need to get to work.  

Here's my feed: 

A small bowl of chorizo and rice (comes with the best flour tortilla in the world), and two tacos with my share of hot sauce.  Washed down with a diet pepsi (because I'm not an animal).  The food was amazing and all this for five bucks!  BTW, everything is fried in lard so you may not want to make it an everyday type-thing.  Just a suggestion...

So who has two thumbs and needs to get back to work?  This guy!  :)

Happy New Years everyone!



A CJ Kind of Year

Howdy Y'all,

Whew, I'm feelin' kind of nostalgic today it being almost New Years and all.  & what's a better cure for fighting nostalgia than taking a trip down memory lane.  Shall we?  (You know you want to)

Well 2010 was as action packed as a year could be (not counting John Cusak's year in his infamous movie 2012).  Both C and J (yes, I'm speaking in third person) experienced ACTION, ADVENTURE, FOOD, & FUN! 

For C 2010 started out with prom & graduation on the brain

J started out the year with exercise and work

(The closest thing I could find to him doing an exercise) :)

Then C came to California with her fam jam (her to stay and her fam to visit) and thus CJ was reunited once more!

CJ had to endure some food pitfalls with C's fam jam to have the healthy food lifestyle they have now!

CJ went on to have awesome adventures in Sequoia, Big Sur, along with exploration of castles, making fires & smoooooresssss!!!

After summer ended C was off to university and J was back working!  CJ found time to catch up on their weekly talks over food...lots and lots of food!

Lots of Pizza Fusion pizza was consumed!  CJ once ate two boxes of Pizza Fusion pizza in one night :O Pizza Fusion is the best pizza C has ever had (well that and Zia's in Normal Heights) but the best health pizza ever!  Thin crusted, perfected with cheese (CJ always choose soy cheese), and lots of vegetarian options.  C loves the "chicken" barbecue pizza and J loves the Farmer's Market pick (veggie packed).

CJ tried out healthy Mexican food at Rancho's Cocina and Barrio Star (pictured above), boy was it delicious!  They healthify their dishes by substituting things such as quinoa in for rice, both restaurants have vegetarian options, and use fresh ingredients.  We love these places!

We also consumed desserts occasionally. Our top picks: for Gelato always go to Chocolat (a CJ hotspot),  for chocolate goodness go to Extraordinary Desserts (beware there is always a line so bring some good conversation with ya), for mediocre desserts with a cool atmosphere, nice staff, and cute decor go to Heaven Sent Desserts.

And finally we also consumed tons of healthified Asian food.  Mostly Thai!  Stay tune for our favorite restaurant picks in an upcoming post :)

In between fabulous eating trips out on the town, CJ being the amazing folks they are managed to cook a Thanksgiving feast for a bunch of peeps from J's work!

 A feast for 20?  No big deal! "We got this."

All in all CJ has had a PHENOMENAL year.  Full of fun, food, friendship, and adventure.  We can't wait to see what 2011 has in store for us!  Have a great Eve of New Year's Eve!



One Year of Eating with CJ! A photo-retrospective of our top 12 meals in 2010.

Ok, so it's been more like 5 months of eating with CJ but that's not very catchy in a title.  I'm sure you agree.

Here's my top 12 list of our most delicious meals we've made together (and we've made many) in 2010.

12. Guac and chips. 

I'm sure variants of guac and chips would rank as numbers 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, AND 1 on C's list. NOH.  I'd been looking for a while for a stellar dip recipe since C pounds chips as frequently as Obama pounds fists and when I came across the Ina Garten guacamole recipe, I knew it'd fit the bill.

It fit the bill, alright.  It fit the bill AND the hillary!  (ok, I can't promise that's going to be the last presidential joke of this blog post - I'm only on number 12, afterall - but I do promise to do better).  C loved it and the recipe yielded a bucket of guac that C munched on with everything for the next few days.  Pita bread, pita chips, veggies, water - everything was better in her world with the guac in it.

11. Almond soba noodles with bok choy. 

We'd gotten in the soba mood since we'd be frequenting Chopstix in Kearny Mesa for some late night meals. Weather was turning colder (75 degrees instead of the normal 77) and we felt the need for comfort food. Enter: noodles.  On a slight tangent, am I the only one who thinks the Far East Movement is singing about girls who hang out in noodle shops in "Fly like a G6"?  It's "soba girls" and not "sober girls" and you can't convince me otherwise. *folds arms and nods defiantly*

Nothing says eat and fall asleep quite like noodles.  We remembered seeing a variation of the theme on The Actor's Diet so we tried it out.  Per ush, we organic-fied almost everything - organic buckwheat soba noodles with organic bok choy and TJ's raw almond butter (which, beeteedubs, ranks winner of "Breakthrough of the Year" in the 2010 P.P.WM Awards - it comes at $5.99 when Whole Foods charges 3-4x that easily).

I also ranked this meal highly since after first bite, we instantly put the forks down and headed down to Ralph's to pick up Sriracha sauce - the eat needed more heat.  (NOTE: Ralph's wins "Ms. Congeniality" in the 2010 P.P.WM Awards for always being there and having everything but never quite getting the limelight.)

10. Fire-roasted and stuffed peppers.  

This one ranks high just because it was a labor of patience.  When C and I are hungry, we're hungry.  We don't like to wait (are you listening, Real Foods Daily in Santa Monica???) and end up noshing on snacks that fill us up before the main course is done.  The latter lesson had been learned many a time.

This meal took a whopping 40 mins - easily 2x the time it takes for a regular CJ production.  In that time, I counted that C popped 80 pita chips with a variety of Baba Foods hummus (where they charm us to pick up 3 for $10 every Sunday at the Farmer's Market - izzzzza naturaalll!), achieving a breakneck 2 chips per minute pace that easily broke the previous record held by a girl named Beatrice in Istanbul whose 1.4 chips per minute "record" looks laughable in comparison.  Or was her name Bernice?  Ah it doesn't matter.  She lost the record, therefore she is no longer important.

9. Beet-infused brown rice and steamed veggies.  

C would probably rank this last since she doesn't like the way I cook rice.  However, this ranks high here since it showcased how creative we could be with a pantry and fridge that was ran down to a bunch of veggies and rice.  I remembered reading about M Cafe's scarlet quinoa salad once on Dana Slatkin's blog and decided, why not?  The beet sweetened up the rice very well and the combination with the steamed veggies made it light and healthful.  I'm not saying it was macrobiotic.  I'm just saying it was macrobiotic-ish.

8. Pan-seared salmon with Quora and spinach stir-fry. And ketchup.  :) 

C and I eat vegetarian for the most part, we do enjoy fish every so often.  Salmon is something I always get when we eat out and we picked up some salmon for this dish.  This ranks high for the perfection that was the cooking time for the salmon.  It was just right and came out flaky and well-seasoned with indian spices.  We supplemented this with quora - a new discovery that tastes just like ground beef but made from mushrooms!  Think of portebello mushroom burgers and quora doesn't seem so weird.

We punched up quora with some sesame seeds and spinach, and took everything to new levels of awesomeness with Amy's organic ketchup.  Because when you can add ketchup to something, you just gotta do it.

7. Shrimp-on-da-bah-bie with roasted brussel sprouts.

Ah, the brussel sprout phase.  It's like immaturity - you never really leave that phase.  We've all been there.  Don't act like you haven't.

Back to the brussel sprouts: sweetened with agave, seasoned lightly with some s&p and roasted for 30 mins.  The shrimp came out perfect, seasoned with herbs de provence.  Simple preparation, simple ingredients - the natural flavor of the food was showcased in this meal.

6. Agave glazed mahi-mahi with wok veggies and heirloom tomatoes.

Indicative of a common CJ production, we probably ate 48 versions of this which is a reason why it ranks so high.  A solid protein source with a ton of veggies and something raw we would pick up at the Farmer's Market (sometimes fruit, and in this case, some bomb dot com dot org heirlooms - we also used heirlooms in our conceptual salad).

5. Salmon curry. 

The ever-present curry phase.  Seriously, curry has to be one of the best meals ever - you can mix anything you want in there and get great nutrients in one dish.  Very filling too!  We used red curry paste from the Asian Kitchen and amped it up with a tablespoon of TJ's almond butter - a great tip from a great buddy who learned it from a great family in India.

4. "Chili"-cheese fries. 

Quora-based chili, goat cheese on top of Alexia sweet potato fries.  Need I say more?  Let's move on.

3. Tom-Kha soup with sides of blackened mahi-mahi and apple-celery sally.  

No, that's not the incorrect order (you know I'm serious when I use a double-negative).  While the mahi-mahi and apple-celery sally were amazing, the tom-kha relegated them to the Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland of the group.  We've been on an unofficial (but yet very official) search for the best bowl of tom kha in San Diego and wouldn't you know, it's found here in the CJ kitchen. ;)  The stock was the star (as it should be), sweetened and soured and red to perfect heat.  For those of you who we don't (or won't) cook for, the next best bowl is at Bai Yook on University Ave.    Tell them CJ sent you!  They won't know who you're talking about, but who does anyways?!  Hey-o!  Zzzzinnnnnggggggg!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's another shot of Mr. Tom Kha.

2. The Best Mac-n-Cheese in the World!  And ketchup.  

C's mac-n-cheese has been showcased here before but the lauds deserve repeating - this is the best mac-n-cheese in the world!  Gluten-free and dairy-free, it is actually light and healthy!  A side of ketchup, some zucchini spiraled in our phenomenal Joyce Chen spiraler and fuggetaboutit.  It's good night Irene.

1. The Best Quiche in the Universe!  

Another one of C's creations, and it's tops on my list.  A great surprise to come home to - the quiche was flavorful and healthful!  Loads of veggies in there with a flaky crust baked just right - I couldn't believe the thing was gluten-free!  This gets the slight nod over the mac-n-cheese because of the time and presentation - plus, I had a long day at work and this made me really happy.  Hey, context counts.  =)

What we will create in 2011?  Who knows?  But I can't wait to find out! =)

Here's C after meals 12 thru 1:


What was the best thing you've ate this year?  Drop your food-for-thought to comments.