Sunday, October 19, 2008

Oxnard, CA (October 2008)...MY HOUSE!!

Yes, my's a quaint little restaurant with intimate seating for six under a modern chandelier and modestly art deco furnished place..garage parking is available for a small fee. The restaurant boasts an open exposition kitchen so you see everything in plain view. Fine dining at it's best yet in a casual and comfortable optional.. There's outdoor seating for the elite who like to be noticed by the local paparazzi.....The chef has many years of culinary experience..trained by the best......

Ok, enough of my BS!!!!! I'm not much of a cook. Many would say I'm horrible but guess what, that's ok. Today I prepared something that even a child can make. Grilled shrimp..yes, grilled shrimp is about the only thing I can make and cannot mess up.

I have one of those Sunbeam Rocket Grillers...they used to be $100 and now you can get one for about $30. They work very well. Anyway, since I didn't go to any restaurants today, I thought I'd share my simple even a caveman can do it!

Use the largest shrimp you can possibly buy..I typically buy the colossal shrimp about 10-12 shrimp per pound. If I am lazy, I use Old Bay seasoning. Sprinkle a little or a lot (if you are a braveheart) of the Old Bay seasoning onto the shrimp. I put my shrimp on skewers approximately 3 to 4 to each skewer. Get the grill hot and ready. Place the shrimp in the griller and within 3 to 4 have a wonderful masterpiece. People will think you're some culinary genius when we really're not!!!!!

Sometimes I use the Lawry's marinades like lemon pepper. I've tried their mesquite version and it's quite delicious. I made a horrible mistake of marinating cod and trying to grill it..never do this...I marinated the fish ALL was a hot bubbling MESS!!!! I had to throw it away cause I know my husband wasn't going to eat it and neither was I!!!!

Join me next time as we take culinary travels through......the quaint restaurant in the city by the sea...MY HOUSE!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Palmdale, CA (October 2008)

I am always always always in Palmdale on business..funny I never blogged about it. Anyway, I was here this week on a brief business trip. I ordered room service so I can only speak about two restaurants:

Famous Dave's
1205 Rancho Vista Boulevard
Palmdale, CA 93551

My colleague and I go here for lunch a lot. I had the chicken strips and catfish strips lunch with cole slaw and corn. I love there cole slaw..pretty crunchy and sweet. The catfish is nothing to ring home about but it's ok. I didn't order ribs this week but they are very good here along with their hot links!

Carinos Italian
1173 W. Rancho Vista Blvd.
Palmdale, CA 93551

This was my first time going here. The place is a chain but the food...not a chain! The bread here is quite tasty. It's rosemary infused and served traditional style with the olive oil and pepper mix. I ordered the cedar plank salmon with sauteed green beans and angel hair pasta. I opted to get less tomatoes on my pasta though. The salmon was very tender and flavorful. They bring it out still on the cedar plank which at that point is pretty damn crispy!!!!!!!!!

Jamaica Mon!!! Couples Negril FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! October 2008

The hubs and I went to Negril, Jamaica for vacation. We stayed at the magnificent Couples Negril! This is a food blog so I'll only talk about the food but...this resort is fabulous and we will be going back in 2009 if I am not pregnant !!!!!!!!!!! Our house keeper was rubbing on my stomach so maybe that was some kinda magic potion...I dunno!!!! Just kidding!

On to the delectables:

Couples Negril has four restaurants: Otaheite, Lychee, Heliconia and Cassava Terrace. There is also a Beach Grill that serves fast foods in the daytime and during the wee hours of the night.

Our first night, we ate at the Jamaican buffet at Cassava Terrace. I am really trying to stay away from buffets since I generally lose my mind there but I did ok. The buffet is only three times a week and it's either Jamaican, Carribean or something else. The other nights are a la carte menu. The Jamaican buffet was absolutely great. Loads of succulent peppery shrimp cooked in a skillet the size of my car! My husband raved about their curried goat. He ate two plates. I don't do goat but he said it was pretty good. They also had whole roasted pig. I normally don't like to look into the face of something I am about to eat but I figured, hey he can't see me anyway!!! I had a few slices of the pig and it was delicious and quite savory. I am not into greens too much but there was callaloo (local spinach) and cabbage on the buffet. This was one of the best vegetables dishes ever. I made the mistake of putting some of the Grace hot sauce in there thinking the hot sauce was like my usual Louisiana hot sauce....not so...Grace is probably ten times hotter! BEWARE!!! The carrots and broccoli were tender and great too. It's weird since I am not into veggies that much but it was really easy for me to eat my veggies there. Perhaps a move to Jamaica could produce a healthier me...what say you??? We also ate the breakfast buffet here at Cassava Terrace daily. The breakfast always had hot pancakes and the best damn crispy bacon ever. Of course there're the normal breakfast fare of eggs, sausage, oatmeal, fruits, cereal and other dishes.One of the cooks got word that my husband likes curry goat so one morning, they made it for breakfast for him. Thought that was pretty nice of them to do that. They have morning smoothies as well. I had the passionate couple smoothie one day. Pretty good. I just wish I could have this kind of service at home daily...

On to Heliconia, we ate dinner here on a Friday night. We were told they were going to have lobster that night but they didn't. We went during the 10th anniversary party so all the goodies would be served on Saturday night. Heliconia menu changes often which is a good thing! I ordered the tuna, scallops and shrimp kebabs over blue cheese and cracked pepper rigatoni. I don't care for blue cheese very much but let's just say, I cleaned my plate. Mom would be so proud of me! I received two kebabs loaded with tender seafood and seasoned artichokes (damn vegetables again!!!). The tuna was thick and moist. The scallops and shrimp were very flavorful. I've never had this style of rigatoni but the sauce was savory to my mouth! My husband has the same thing except he didn't have pasta, he had rice and veggies. He also added a braised lamb shank which he said was good. I didn't taste it so I don't know!

Otaheite is the premier restaurant at Couples Negril. You even need to make a reservation to eat there. Well, we had a reservation and guess what, we didn't go. My husband looked at the menu for Otaheite and then the one for Lychee..well, Lychee looked pretty good so we made the decision to go to Lychee. I had to call and cancel our reservation and it was sad because the lady on the phone kept asking me if I was sure...well damn, I wasn't so sure after she kept asking me. Oh well, guess I'll find out next year!!!

Lychee was a fabulous choice. This is an Asian fusion restaurant. Now, I am always leery of fusion anything but kudos to the husband for this choice. We went there on our 6th anniversary and it was a great dinner to remember compared to other anniversary dinners!!!! Our first choice was an appetizer platter for two....chicken drumstick, eggrolls, wontons, beef stick and something else I am forgetting. There was a lady sitting next to me that wanted to have this delivered to her room at midnight...well shoot, deliver it to us as well!!! The second course was soup. I had a beef noodle soup that was steaming hot. We opted out for the salad. It had eggs in it and I don't like eggs. I ordered the evening special which was honey teriyaki glazed salmon......ok, another great decision. The salmon was a great size and it was filled. The glaze was slightly crispy..just how I like it!!! It was served with grated vegetables and rice. The hubby had some lamb dish. It was ok...if you like lamb, there is plenty around this restaurant! For dessert, hubby had tapioca pudding (ok, we travel thousands of miles for tapioca...give me a break!!!!) and I had the fried ice cream. Now I thought this was going to be the traditional Mexican fried ice cream which is the ice cream rolled in cornflakes....NOT SO...this was a breaded clam shaped dessert stuffed with strawberry ice cream. I ate the whole thing!!!!! If you go there, try their lychee inspired drinks. We had Lychee Sunrise, non alcoholic and it's very good!

10th Anniversary Party
There was a huge anniversary party while we were there. There was just too much food to name. I had a lot of crab legs, steamed shrimp, creole seafood, mussels, lobster and lots of other stuff *healthy right??*. The Cassava Terrace restaurant was turned into a massive buffet for at least 500 people. Huge ice sculptures decorated the place. There was an Asian food station, veggie station, cold seafood station, hot seafood station, jerk chicken and pork station, pasta station, bread and salad station, fruit station and I am sure I am leaving out something else. I have pics to prove it. They had a room.....I repeat a ROOM full of desserts. I had what I call flan (can't remember what the locals call it) and other desserts! This was the best damn party I have ever been too...felt like a celebrity. There was a cocktail party prior to the dinner which had tons of sushi, trapeze artists and ballerinas all over the place.

Beach Grill was open everyday from 11AM to 6PM then again from 11PM to 5AM. This was the place to go get beef patties, hamburgers, hotdogs, salads, sandwiches, jerk chicken and other delights whenever you felt like it. I must admit, we were eating like 4 and 5 meals a day but somehow I didn't gain any weight...I actually lost some pounds...could be all the walking I did and all the water I drank plus walking up and down three flights of steps is good cardio for anybody!!

I tried a lot of alcoholic concoctions on this trip from Hummingbirds to Governor House to Dirty Bananas and other drinks.

OFF TOPIC but useful info:
Sunrise Liquors in the Montego Bay airport has the best prices for liquor. I bought some Appleton rum at the Hilo supermarket in downtown Negril...well, it was $3 less at the airport. them at Times Square Mall at a store next to the smoke shop...cheapest store in the area with really good prices. Shot glasses are $0.75 compared to the $3 everyone else wants. Shirt quality is good too and they have XXL for those like me who need it!! You can get embroided shirts here for a good price.

Jungle Club......a happening place to be if you like to dance all night long. We went there and it was pretty fun. Just don't look at the snakes when you walk in! Pretty reasonable to get in about $7 for ladies and $9 for men. Afterwards, there are plenty of people out there selling jerk chicken, drinks and other stuff if you'd like.

Runaway Deli at the Montego Bay airport has frozen Jamaican patties if you want to take some home.