Monthly Archives: February 2014

FOOD - "The Delicious" - Homemade - Indian/Pakistani - Recipes

Recipe: Kheema (ground beef)

February 12, 2014

I figure I should make this its own post first because so many of my recipes start out with kheema (ground beef). Kheema is one of my favorite things to eat at home with rice, and it’s soo easy to make.

Kheema



Ingredients:

Serves: 6-8
2 lbs ground beef
1 sliced large yellow onion
1 flat tsp salt (or to taste)
¼ tsp turmeric
1 flat tsp red chili powder
1 tsp ginger garlic paste (found in most Indian grocery stores)
4 tbs vegetable oil
2 chopped green chili pepper

Directions:

1) Heat oil in a pot. When oil is warm, add the chopped onion. Sautee until light brown.
2) Next, add the ginger-garlic paste, red chili powder, salt, pepper, turmeric, and fry for another minute.
3) Add ground beef and mix. Keep stirring on medium heat until meat changes color from pink to brown (about 5-10 minutes). Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
4) Lower the heat. Add cilantro and green chili pepper.
5) Cover and leave for another ten minutes.


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American - Breakfast/Brunch - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Recipes

Almond French Toast

February 10, 2014

So far visiting home has been everything I love about Chicago, and why I can give the five feet of snow a pass this time. Being home with the family, spending time with the nephew and niece, staying up all night talking with friends from college, attending another’s wedding, and eating a LOT. My friend Aysha taught me a new recipe for French toast yesterday morning which was so delicious, I just had to show it.

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Just mix eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, almond extract. Normally, she uses vanilla extract but she substituted it with almond since she didn’t have any — turns out almond tastes just as amazing and when we topped it with sliced almonds later, it made it so much more flavorful. We also used wheat bread instead of white. Dip it quickly just to coat the bread then fry it using coconut oil. All just to give you healthier options.

Top it with sliced almonds as I mentioned and fresh strawberries. Try it. It’s.so.good.


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Craving of the Day - Dessert - FOOD - "The Delicious"

Craving: Lady M Confections Cake

Years ago, my friend Archana threw a birthday party for her boyfriend Eaman, and she got him this delicious, layered cake from Lady M. Fast forward years later, and I was at a bridal shower for a certain Chrissy Teigen, and she was telling me how her wedding cake was going to be very Lady M-esque. That pretty much set off my craving to try the cake again. Memories of the 20-layer cake filled with pastry cream melting in my mouth rushed back to me and I had to have it again.

Right to left: green tea cake and the original Lady M mille crepe cake

To prove if my memory served me well, I told some friends we should check it out before my friend Ariba moved back to Phoenix (same Ariba who taste-tested sandwiches for me…she proved to be a clutch eating buddy). We made a plan to eventually visit their Upper East Side location. The day after I mention this, I’m walking back to the office from a dentist appointment and I look up to find Lady M right across Bryant Park — I had no idea it was right in my backyard this whole time. Turns out this one just opened last year.

We finally made a plan to stop by. The little cake boutique is looks like it belongs on a boulevard in Paris. The chic minimalist setup has plush gray seating and an all-white serving area where the beautiful cakes are the main event. When we sat down, the host quickly asked how many are in our party, and (at the time, it being only us two), he insisted that we move to the end of the cafe. Not a big deal, but just his antsy nature was a little off-putting. Turned out more people were joining us so we asked if we can go back to the front which he seemed to begrudgingly give us permission to do. Sometimes I just wanna tell New Yorkers to take a chill pill.

It would have almost ruined the whole dining experience had the French-influenced Japanese cakes not come through. We ordered the original mille crepe, their green tea layered cake, their chocolate layered cake, and the strawberry shortcake.

Chocolate layered cake and strawberry shortcake

The green tea was exactly how it might sound, but a couple bites is the most I could handle. It wasn’t sweet enough for me. The chocolate layered cake is a great fix for chocolate lovers, and even the strawberry shortcake was soft and light. But to me, nothing held a candle to their original mille crepe cake. Exactly how I remembered it — textured, tasting something between vanilla and creme brulee, and light. If it’s your first time there, definitely get the original. You can venture out their other amazing options after (coffee mousse anyone?!). Also don’t miss their teas, especially their royal blend.


REPORT CARD
Meal: Dessert

Occasion: Satisfying a craving
Price: $
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ***
Food: ***
Service: * (weird, pushy host…)
Would I go back?: The cakes trump the service, so yes. Take a date here if you can.


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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Face

10 Products that got me through the Polar Vortex

February 4, 2014

I’ve had a grand plan to try to avoid this winter as much as I can, and I’ve been doing a pretty decent job. Here’s what’s been holding it down for me in between my escapades:

1) Susan Ciminelli products, $50-$105

Susan Ciminelli products


I can’t stop raving about Susan Ciminelli, the woman, her spa, AND her products. I was invited a couple months ago to get a facial at her 57th street oasis, and her holistic approach was refreshing. For one, Susan discusses diet a lot when examining my face (she warned me against dairy that could be causing some breakouts along my jawline, and asked that I up the veggies like radishes). Then, she used her own products made of only natural ingredients that I stocked up on for some serious after-care. She ended the facial placing crystals on me, which she said absorbs the negative energy. If that’s true or not, all I know was I left the beauty clinic feeling exceptionally light and my skin, so much brighter. I’ve been using her Algae Deep Cleanse, Cleansing Gel, Seawater spray , and Toning Formula on blemishes and my skin has been more than cooperative for once. She’s the real deal and her products are a lifesaver. If you’re not familiar with her stuff, I’d suggest getting a facial with her and letting her customize a skin regimen (she a reservoir of info when it comes to skincare).

Susan Ciminelli's spa


She knows so much about ingredients because she studied it all intensely when she had skin issues of her own as a teenager. Plus, she has a whole section on skin-loving food recipes on her site. An aesthetician and foodie? This love affair was bound to happen. They cost a pretty penny though, if you’re serious about changing your skin with natural remedies, it will be worth it.

2) Benefit Gimme Brow in Medium/Deep, $22

Benefit Gimme Brow


This tinted eyebrow gel is perfection. It not only tames unruly brows, it has little water-resistant fibers that fill in any sparse areas in your brows and looks as natural as they come.

3) Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer, $48

Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer


I know, $48 for a concealer, but just a dot of this goes a long way so I’m guessing I’ll have this for at least a year at this rate. I’ve been using this to highlight my cheekbones and nose areas and it brightens without budging. I’m obsessed. Just dab on and blend out. It conceals and helps brighten. (B-glowing has his whole line!).


4) Lise Watier Clin D’Oeil False Eyelashes, $18

Lise Watier false lashes


I felt like such a false lashes novices until I found these. These wispy lashes look stunning, as I found out when I used them twice for a weekend of my friend’s wedding festivities. They’re long, but not too long, will thicken, but won’t look crazy. The perfect pair if you want people to keep guessing. Comes with the eyelash glue that actually works too.

5) Herbal Essences Naked Volume Volumizing Souffle and Sheer Shine Mist, $5 each

Herbal Essences Naked Line


I’ve been using Herbal Essences’ new Naked line and I’m really impressed. The combo of their new Volume Souffle (a leave in conditioning cream) and their new sheer shine mist has been giving my hair the right amount of body and healthy shine after blow drying, and it doesn’t weigh it down or make it stringy. Plus it has no silicones, parabens, or dye to be weary of.


6) Ojon Super Sleek Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner, $49 for both

Ojon Super Sleek


My hair is somewhere in between wavy and straight, and confused when it comes to frizz. Since I’ve been using these two from Ojon (one of my favorite hair lines by the way), I haven’t had frizz head at all thanks to its plant keratin. Smoothes my hair from roots to ends without letting it fall flat.


7) MAC Lipstick in Touch, $23

MAC Lipstick in Touch


In the never-ending quest for the perfect nude, this comes pretty close.


8 ) Dove Derma Series Extreme Dryness Relief Rough Patch Treatment
, $19

Dove Derma Series Rough Patch Treatment


Ok this is so new, it’s just rolling out to drugstores this month and is a God send from anyone suffering from eczema and severely dry skin, but Dove has just come out with its professional series of skincare for sensitive skin and the line looks promising. I’ve already began slathering the emollient on my hands and they’ve been saving my cuticles better than any other cream I’ve tried. It can also be used on any rough areas of skin — elbows, soles, knees, etc, but I’m keeping it in my bag for my hand. The best part is it doesn’t have a strong, medicinal odor like similar glycerin creams and glides on much easier. In studies, it moisturized better than even Aquaphor. Plus it’s hypoallergenic, fragrance- and paraben-free just like you’d expect from them :).


9) David Kirsch Wellness Super Charged Greens Blend, $65

David Kirsch Super Charged Greens Blend


I was so excited when I got my juicer over a year ago…and til this day haven’t used it once. Not once. I’m a little intimidated to do it, but I also haven’t found the time to make use of it (or so, that’s what I tell myself). I picked up this mix from David Kirsch, mostly because after editing enough stories I know he’s the celeb trainer to some of the finest bodies in H-town (Heidi Klum, Kerry Washington, Anne Hathaway, Karolina Kurkova and Linda Evangelista, etc.). It has probiotics, good bacteria to help your immune system, enzymes to detox, and antioxidants like green tea and grape seed. Honestly, I was terrified when I poured the packet. It looked like it would taste disgusting. But it actually tastes like berries and I’ve been having a glass after working out almost everyday and the little shifts in my lifestyle has left me feeling a lot more energetic. Plus, I love that it comes in individual packets so you can easily take it on the go.

10) Eddie Funkhouser Ultra Definition Eye Lining Stylus, $11

Eddie Funkhouser Lining Stylus


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Eddie Funkhouser’s line is super new on the Rite Aid aisles but let me tell you his stuff is so LEGIT (and surprisingly affordable for the quality). This eye lining stylus is the best one I’ve tried yet. It’s super dark, lines perfectly, and hasn’t streaked on me yet. The tip is pointy but is also a tiny flexible brush to get a perfect line every time. You’ll definitely be seeing more of his stuff on here soon — his mascara and blushes are also creeping up on my faves list.
What products got you through these last couple of months?


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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Lips - Product Review

Love: Mirabella’s La La Lips

February 3, 2014

I’m obsessing over Mirabella‘s Spring 2014 collection of lip pencils, La La Lips. These lip pencils are indulgent in both color and velvety texture. They seriously glide on like butter to a perfect satin finish.

Mirabella La La Lips

Each swipe is saturated with so much pigment. It comes in 6 shades, from baby pink to magenta to red and coral and they’re the most gorgeous shades of each.

Red Velvet


Rose Velvet


Plus, its proprietary Berryflux Vita Active (a raspberry cultured stem cell extract) help your lips from drying out, keeping them supple and soft. Check them out at www.mirabella.com ($23 each).

Update: Fair warning, after wearing it all day I noticed it can bleed a tiny bit, and doesn’t stay put as well as a matte lipstick. That said, the color is gorgeous, just keep a mirror handy for touch ups!


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American - Breakfast/Brunch - Coffeehouse/Cafe - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Travel Feasts

Overly Caffeinated in DTLA: Handsome Coffee, Little Bear, and Stumptown

February 2, 2014

Since my friend Yasir moved to LA, he’s become quite the coffee connoisseur, and one place he couldn’t stop raving about was Handsome Coffee Roasters in the Arts District. I almost started to think if he could inject himself with their brewed coffee everyday, he would. Naturally, we had to check it out which ended into a whole day spent wandering around downtown LA.

Handsome coffee beans


Apparently coffee enthusiasts are in agreement that this is where you go for the best cup of coffee. They find the best beans from all over the world and roast it right behind the baristas on site. The menu is pretty minimal — you either get an espresso, an espresso with milk, or cold brew. No flavors, no decaf, no syrups, and definitely no sugars. For the inexperienced coffee-drinkers, this could be somewhat jarring. I felt a little bit of an outcast — I mean, I drink coffee and the most artisanal I’ve gotten was Stumptown, or Ninth Street Espresso, but Starbucks and all their fwancy white chocolate and gingerbread latte glory was what I frequent the most.

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Regardless, I followed directions, to avoid being met with a cocked ‘brow. The barista did help and said the coffee that comes with a 5 oz of milk is probably the most ‘balanced’ in regards to taste of the bunch.

Handsome Coffee espressos with milk

The coffee was delicious — not overly bitter, definitely not sweet, but just right. We settled on one of the communal tables with a new burst of energy and decided it was time to explore some of the graffiti-ridden murals outside. Oh and eat brunch.

Little Bear

We ended up at Little Bear, when we realized the nearby Urth Caffe wasn’t serving brunch anymore. Little Bear from what I read is known best for their Belgian beer (which basically means zilch to me). They also have Belgian food though!

Little Bear


Not sure if the decor was intended to make us feel like we're eating on a ship, but nonetheless..

We ordered an assortment of the Braised Short Rib Benedict (Borderlaise short rib, with poached eggs, hollandaise on an English muffin) Mushroom Scramble (crimini, shitake, oyster mushrooms, red onion, and pepper jack cheese), the Pro Scramble (egg whites, kale, peppers, garlic and grilled chicken, and The Cajun Waffle (a house made liege waffle, with Cajun fried chicken, country gravy, and crispy onions).

Short ribs benedict


Mushroom scramble


Pro Scramble


The Cajun (they put the country gravy on it first by mistake which had bacon)


The Cajun without said gravy

Yasir pretty much lost his mind over his short ribs benedict, and the waiter claimed their chicken and waffles is better than Rosco’s (noted, it comes on a candied waffle and fried, boneless chicken). We also learned that even though Danish will ask for no bacon, he’ll always end up getting it with extra bacon (in this case, in the gravy which explains the two pics above). They fixed it right away though. Sarah’s pro scramble dish was delicious and healthy, but I was more underwhelmed with my mushroom scramble and potatoes. I knew I would be though — I rarely order scrambled eggs when I go out to eat since I can make it so easily at home. Seems like all meat dishes were where it was at anyway. #fomo.

You would think by now we’d be full by now but Yasir decided it was time for caffeine shot numero dos (remember the shooting up comment earlier? I meant that). So we walked over to Stumptown.

Stumptown


Stumptown LA


Stumptown


Stumptown is one of my favorite places in NYC, but it’s funny having it after Handsome Coffee. It just didn’t compare IMO. It was a nice pick me up, but there is something a lot more potent at Handsome. Still ended up being an awesome day with a nice intro of what DTLA’s Arts District had to offer.

Have any of you been to any of these places? What did you think? Any other suggestions of what else to check out in the area next time?

Cafe/Restaurant info:
Handsome Coffee Roasters

582 Mateo St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 621-4194

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

806 S. Santa Fe
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 337-0936

Little Bear

1855 Industrial St, Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 622-8100
Downtown LA/Arts District

REPORT CARD
Meal: Brunch

Occasion: Exploring DTLA
Price: $$
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ***
Food: **
Service: **
Would I go back?: Probably not for a veggie meal



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