Ina Garten is one of my favs to watch on the food network. I saw this episode a long time ago and have always wanted to try it. When Mr. Bunnie and I tried it, we both agreed that it felt like something was missing. It was tasty but just needed something else. Others that tried it said it was good. *shrug* Oh well...

:: ingredients ::

* 3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
* 2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths
* Kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 2 tablespoons good olive oil
* 3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
* 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
* 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons heavy cream

:: preparation ::

Preheat oven to 350°.

Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don't want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.

Found these babies at my local Ralphs. Thought I'd try a recipe for roasting bone marrow. :) Tasty but a little oily – will have to make it like a marrow flan next time.

:: ingredients ::

Adapted from Fergus Henderson

Time: 20 minutes

• 8 to 12 center-cut beef or veal marrow bones, 3 inches long, 3 to 4 pounds total
1 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons capers
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
• Coarse sea salt to taste
At least 4 1/2-inch-thick slices of crusty bread, toasted.

:: preparation ::

Preheat oven to 350°.

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put bones, cut side up, on foil-lined baking sheet or in ovenproof skillet. Cook until marrow is soft and has begun to separate from the bone, about 15 minutes. (Stop before marrow begins to drizzle out.)

2. Meanwhile, combine parsley, shallots and capers in small bowl. Just before bones are ready, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle dressing over parsley mixture until leaves are just coated. Put roasted bones, parsley salad, salt and toast on a large plate. To serve, scoop out marrow, spread on toast, sprinkle with salt and top with parsley salad..

:: the dishes ::
• the rambo (her pick)
• the country breafkast (his pick)

:: the verdict ::
• lots of food for a great price... (he says)
sweet and salty! just perfect... (she says)

:: the pizzas ::
• the hawaiian (her pick)
• the works (his pick)

:: the verdict ::
• too saucy & wasn't hot enough (he says)
• too saucy & not enough pineapples (she says)

[ he says ] one of my favorite pizzas growing up (straw hat comes close too)...i know there's tons of other great pizzerias nowadays but for me, chicago style deep dish is the way to go. anyone else know where i can get a good deep dish pizza in LA?

[ she says ] i don't know what's wrong with me. hawaiian pizza has never been a must have or a favorite
for me but some reason... i can't stop getting it nowadays. i've always been a fan of "everything on it" kinda girl but every time when we order pizza now, my request is "hawaiian please". however, my style has always been chicago style , deep dish, pan — whatever you wanna call it, just give me the really thick stuff.

:: the dishes ::
• green onion pancake
• pan fried pork dumplings
• green onion stir-fried lamb
• shanghainese short ribs
• beef tendon noodle soup
• shanghainese rice cake

:: the must haves ::
• green onion pancake
• beef tendon noodle soup
• shanghainese rice cake
• shanghainese short ribs

[ he says ] uhmm... will comment after my addiction to fallout 3

[ she says ] i love places like this since their nostalgic to me. growning up with grandparents living in the same house never allowed space to experimental "american" foods in my house and only chinese food was served. rice cakes have always been a favorite of mine especially when they are't made with tiny dried shrimps *gag*. beef noodle soups have always been a part of my childhood since my dad was a very very big fan of noodles and of beef noodle soup. oh, he also makes a mean green onion pancake and some really good dumplings. *yea dad*

do you see the lamb on the left? never been a fan until two years ago. eating lamb has always been a weird thing for me. since i was born in the year of the sheep, in my mind, it would be like eating myself. uhhh... no thanks. my no lamb eating days were broken two years ago when mr.bunnie and i were in shanghai for vacation and had lunch in this tucked away nepalese restaurant. after that, eating lamb hasn't been much a problem but i'm still not that big of a fan but i'll eat it. the ribs were tasty but a little overcooked and dry for my taste an way too many sesame seeds. good lord! still, with a tummy happily filled with all the other goodies.. mmm... rice cakes and beef noodle soup, this is definitely a place to have yummy and pretty cheap food. remember... they're cash only! enjoy!

:: the dishes ::
• Hokkaido Scallop Roll - Seared Scallop Sashimi wrapped with Panko Crisped Unagi, Snow Crab & Avocado
Da Crunch - Shrimp Tempura, Snow Crab, Avocado, Toasted Macadamia Nuts, Malaysian Curry Aioli
Sunrise at Haleakala - Tuna, Hamachi, Salmon, Avocado & Asparagus Tempura Roll, Togarashi Butter
Confit of Asian Spiced Smoked Muscovy Duck Leg Appetizer - Sweet Soy Braised, Mission Fig, Acai Mignonette
Japanese Pear, Baby Arugula & Chèvre - Salad With Candied Macadamia Nuts & Passion Fruit Vinaigrette
Tender Braised Hawaii Kai Beef Short Ribs -
Served with a Natural Braising Sauce
• Roy’s Classic Roasted Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi - Lobster Butter Sauce
Roy’s Melting Hot Chocolate Soufflé Flourless Chocolate Cake - Molten Hot Center served à la Mode

:: the must haves ::
• molten lava chocolate cake (her pick)
• molten lava chocolate cake (his pick)

[ he says ] me and mrs. bunnie's first real fine dining meal back in the days. i still consider the roy's at newport beach the best in southern california. in my opinion, they have the best prixe fix menu for the buck. i still remember the first time we went. the atmosphere felt refined, the feeling of excitement and nervousness when i opened the door. everything was perfect. from the sweet, soft butter served with the warm bread, to the palate teasing ahi poketini, the sushi, and oh man, who can ever forget about the flourless molten lava cake that made roy's famous...but over the years me and mrs. bunnies appetite has changed. we ate better, we didn't mind paying more for better food, and we hungered more and more (ultimately leading, but not ending, at joel freakin' robuchons), roys doesn't have the same magic as, it's just a better than average restaurant with a good deal...*sigh* would i ever go back? *shrug* at least the dessert is good right?

[ she says ] roy's.... mmmm.... at least that is what used to come to mind. comparing my first experience and my last experience seem to be complete total opposites. engraved in my mind were the fresh buttery rolls served with sweet salted cream butter, the pungent wasabi aioli tobiko laced yellow fin poketini, and ever so rich lobster essence butter on their mac nut crusted fish. i say "fish" because of the few times i've been there, it has never been consistent — mahi mahi, red snapper, or "white fish" as the location in downtown la listed on their menu. my favorite would be when they create the dish with red snapper, so much flakier and sweeter.... oh so delicious.

the past two times we've gone to roy's, they have taken one of our favorite sushi rolls off the menu and it makes me sad just thinking about it. the roll was expensive but it was pure heaven in every bite and every chew. the new roll that we tried this time was the sunrise – good but not the same as the original roll. the fish was mahi mahi this time so mr. bunnie ended up getting it (its also not on their summer prie fix... BOOOOOOOOOOO...). needless to say none of the dishes were great enough to even list as a must have with the exception of the molten lava cake. but if that is the only thing that is worth going down there for, i'd rather just make it myself — it'll save me a whole lot of money, calories, and time.

we're going to mastro's tomorrow for mr.bunnie's brother's bday... can't wait!
here is a picture from the last time we went with mr.bunnie's friends, J & J.

:: the restaurant ::
lucille's, torrance

saw this in the kitchen of lucille's...

someone tell us what does that sign means? do they spit in our food? pick up dropped food? eat parts of our dishes? pick their nose? scratch their asses? what?!


Bistro 561 always has something new and creative – not to mention delicious! If you've never been, you must... :) Chef Zboray is the big cheese in the kitchen during dinner service along with super friendly FOH/DR manager, Robert.

These pictures were from their menu a few months ago. Mr. Bunnie will have to add the names later.
However, the one dish that has been embedded in my mind is the cream of celeriac soup with vandouvan curry oil and micro cilantro. Absolute heaven!

Stay tuned to our recent visit to 561 again...
Just thought I'd share this is a picture from Mr.Bunnie's graduation from Cordon Bleu with one of his great mentors, Chef Zboray.

Chef Z is the executive at Bistro 561 in Pasadena. I will post a few pictures from our last dinner there a few months back.

:: the flavors ::
• Naga Bar - milk chocolate bar with sweet Indian curry powder and coconut flakes
• Calindia Bar - venezuelan dark chocolate with indian green cardamom, california walnuts, and dried plums
• Black Pearl Bar - dark chocolate with wasabi, ginger and black sesame seeds

:: the bill ::
$7 x 3 = $21 plus tax

[ he says ] ...

[ she says ] I love chocolate but I can't do these. I don't like them. When Mr.Bunnie wanted to get some flavor inspirations, we picked these up to try them out. I've had Vosges truffles before and weren't really impressed. But you never know right? Well....I should have trusted my gut instinct. If you don't like something the first time, the second time might not be much better. There is just something about these that I don't like. It's not because they have exotic ingredients but rather the combinations just don't taste good. Period.

Mr. Bunnie compared the Naga bar to sucking on a japanese House Brand Vermont Curry block. If that's the case, go with curry block, it's much much cheaper. As for me, let's just say if I was seriously pmsing and these were the only three chocolate flavors that existed in the whole wide world — I'd have to give up chocolate. Sorry...

If you're gonna spend some good money for some chocolates for your gfs (or bfs)... try Boule's. Mr.Bunnie gave me a gift set from Boule for Vday. Each and every chocolate was unique, perfectly balanced, and just simply left you craving for more. Well, except with you share a whole box in one sitting with your "sigfig" — by the end of the box, it begins to be a little painful.
I assure you that every morsel was still thoroughly enjoyed. Why all in one sitting? Dunno...just couldn't control ourselves. Every bite was better than the one before.

Check back a little later for all the details...

:: the dishes ::
• cheese gourges (amuse bouche)
weiser farm's cavallon melon, prosciutto di parma, fresh burrata cheese, tuscan olive oil
• bone marrow flan, mushroom marmalade, parsley salad
• creamed spinach with fried organic egg
oregon morel mushrooms, "la quercia guanciale"
• bone in ribeye
• bone in filet
• apricot tatin, persian mulberries, almond milk gelato

:: the must try dishes ::
[his pick] weiser farm's cavallon melon, prosciutto di parma, fresh burrata cheese, tuscan olive oil
• [her pick] bone marrow flan, mushroom marmalade, parsley salad

[ he says ] I know the cut is known for their selection of wagyu meats...but I wanted to compare the bone-in ribeye with my current fav steak place, Mastro's. As you can see the steak clearly looks like a charcoal on a stick...I asked for medium rare but ended up being more medium instead. The steak was very chewy and not juicy and fatty at all...what a disappointment ;( at least the apps were good.

[ she says ] There is something to be said about a restaurant when your favorite dish is only a starter. It's like watching a movie with a great beginning but only to fall short at then ending leaving the viewer unsatisfied and wondering what happened?

When a starter is so great, it sets the pace for the rest of the meal — thinking that everything after can ONLY get better. WRONG. My filet was kinda tough, dry and lacked flavor. Totally not like the bone-in filet at Mastro's. At Mastros, it's so tender and velvety and melts right in your mouth.Mmmm... mastro's....

The creamed spinach was nothing spectacular and I didn't appreciate the egg on top. Don't get me wrong. It was edible just not exciting. Neither was the morels... this was WAYYYYYYYY salty. What could have saved the meal ended up with more disappointment. Dessert was okay. Seemed like a cheap rough version of a delicate mille-feuille (even though they call it a tatin), served with gelato and berries. Booooo..... I give the whole experience maybe 5 of 6 out of 10.

Has anyone else gone and had a better meal?