Friday, December 31, 2010

A Taste of Red Medicine

I'm not a restaurant critic, but I love going out to eat and I want honest recommendations. Consider this a conversation between friends.  

Even though @koreanyenta and I have been complaining about not being able to fit into any of our dresses, we've heard so much talk about Red Medicine, we wanted to see what the fuss was about.  The diet can wait another day.

This is the where a restaurant critic was photographed and ordered to leave.  Her photo was posted online so “restaurants can have a picture of her and make a decision as to whether or not they would like to serve her." Those are the words of restaurant manager Noah Ellis.  I'm a reporter, and just like all other reporters, I'm inquisitive, particularly when there's controversy.  My mouth was watering in every sense of the saying.

The name Red Medicine may seem a bit strange, but it was inspired undoubtedly by Fugazi's punk album of the same name.  The restaurant had a warm and almost casual vibe when I walked through the door.  In fact, I felt more like I was in Silver Lake rather than Beverly Hills.It's decked out with high ceilings, industrial decor, handsome young men wearing checkered shirts and a hostess walking around with a big friendly smile.  Good thing I was wearing jeans and a blazer.  The dress I had tried unsuccessfully to sausage myself into not only would've been uncomfortable, I would've felt a bit overdressed.

We were seated promptly (by Noah possibly?) and I considered ordering the #33 cocktail ($10).  I have a weakness for Tiki-inspired rum drinks and this was described as a Singapore Sling.  We asked the waiter for recommendations and went for two #18s, after he asked what I normally drink.

A few minutes later, we were sipping on two drinks that tasted deliciously yet suspiciously like rum punch. We were halfway through the cocktails (we were thirsty!) when our waiter arrived with two more drinks.  Uh oh.  Apparently we were drinking another table's Singapore Slings.  He left us our #18s (kind of a twist on a lemon drop), but I'm all for happy accidents.  I ordered another #33 later!

For appetizers we ordered the crispy spring rolls ($16), brussels sprouts ($9), and chicken dumplings ($9).  The crispy spring roll ($16) may seem a bit pricey for what tasted like fancy egg rolls, but I loved it!  As for the brussels sprouts, flash frying them seems to be the thing these days.  I had some at Cleo the other night.  Try them if you've never had them before, but be warned they're a little salty and oily and they're supposed to be that way.

The chicken dumplings resembled meatballs and were fun to assemble into lettuce wraps, but I could've gone for less meat and more greens to better balance out the flavors.  If my husband was with me, he probably would've disagreed.  He loves big portions of meat.  On this note, I can't help but share the first time I had chicken lettuce wraps.  It was at the French-Vietnamese restaurant Le Colonial.  It used to be on Robertson and may it rest in peace. I went there when I was in college and when they brought them to the table I was confused but pressed through, putting a little dollop of the tangy, peppery meat on my plate and then plucking a a leaf of lettuce when I was finished with my portion, thinking it was there to cleanse the palate.  The memory makes me laugh every time I order them.

For main courses we ordered the pintade fermier ($12), which was a delicious piece of chicken that arrived with white rice in separate pot.  The blue lantern bay scallops ($18) were perfect with a hint of lemon and butter, but the tiny new potatoes tasted strong, like lemon butterballs.  The two entrĂ©es did not fill us up (I'll order more next time) so we were eager to order dessert.  

We ordered the lemongrass pots de creme ($9) because our server raved about it. It had a big dollop of blended sweet potato and a variety of other things on top, but the custard underneath is the prize.  The bitter chocolate ($9) involved fluffy chocolate kisses dancing across a pile of cookie crumbles.  The desserts were a bit fussy for my taste, but I have to mention here that Jordan Kahn was a pastry chef at Per Se in New York and did some incredible desserts at XIV before opening this restaurant.

With tip, we spent $100 per person for dinner and drinks.  (We were not charged for the accidental delivery.)  I am over the moon for their cocktails and it would be fun to return and sit in the bar, where I can eat more spring rolls and order off the lounge menu.  All of their bread comes from Bouchon, where dinner is always worth spending $100 a person.

Red Medicine

8400 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Last Supper

What will be your final dinner of 2010?  No matter how eager you are to say goodbye, please don't do it with cheese, crackers and a cheap bottle of champagne.  Pay your final respects to the year (and protect yourself from a hangover) with a hearty meal before you pop the champers.  I promise you'll be in heaven ushering in 2011.

I make this meal at home all of the time.  It may seem rich, but I never feel weighed down afterward.  The secret is the boiled spinach!  If you want a more decadent version, saute the spinach with a bit of olive oil and shallots.

New Year's Eve Menu

Filet Mignon with Cracked Peppercorns
Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
Flash Boiled Spinach 

What you will need for two servings:
  • Two 4-6oz cuts of filet mignon - Trader Joe's sells them in pairs
  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 6 cups of spinach - fill up a plastic bag at the market or buy a ready to serve bag
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • red wine
  • garlic powder
  • Lawry's seasoning salt
  • whole peppercorns
  • salt
  • 1tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • paprika
  • A loaf of crusty bread if you love your carbs like me

1. Marinate the steaks in the dish they came in or a bowl.  Sprinkle 2 tbs of Worcestershire sauce, 2tbs of red wine, 1tsp garlic powder and 1tsp Lawry's seasoning salt over the steaks.  Place 2 tbs of whole peppercorns onto a cutting board, crush with the underside of a skillet and sprinkle half the pepper on the steaks. Save the rest of the pepper for later, when we'll pepper the other side.

2. While your meat is marinating, peel and quarter the potatoes, throw them in a pot, cover with water and 1tbs salt.  They'll cook in about 15 minutes.

3.  While your potatoes are boiling, heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add 1tbs of olive oil.  Saute meat with peppercorn side down for 4-5 minutes.  While it's cooking, you'll repeat what you did for your marinade on the other side.  Sprinkle 2 tbs of Worcestershire sauce, 2tbs of red wine, 1tsp garlic powder, 1tsp Lawry's seasoning salt over the steaks and finish with the rest of the crushed peppercorns.  Flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

4. Turn on your broiler.  Heat a big pot of water for your spinach.

5. Place the steaks on a cooking sheet, broil for 3-4 minutes.

6. Take out steaks, cover with foil and let them rest.

7.  Check your potatoes.  If they are soft, (feathering at the edges and fall apart when pierced with a fork) drain all of the water, mash with a potato masher in the pot, then add 1tbs butter.  Mash the butter until it's melted, then add 1/4 cup of milk, 1/4 cup sour cream and 1tsp salt.  Mash and whip together.  Taste the potatoes and if it tastes a bit bland, add sour cream by the dollop and salt sparingly to taste.   Trust your tastebuds! :)  Cover your potatoes and get ready to cook the spinach.

7. When your pot of water is boiling, add all of the spinach (it will cook down) and boil for two minutes, then pour through a colander to remove the water. 

8. Now it's time to plate your dish!

Dollop a hearty amount of potatoes onto your plate. Sprinkle with pepper and paprika.
Make sure your spinach isn't dripping water, or squeeze it out with your slotted spoon, then place on your plate.  A sprinkle of salt and pepper will bring out the natural flavors.
Place your beautiful steaks on the plate and enjoy with a glass of your favorite red wine!

Do you like my shelf of mashed potatoes?  I love scooping them up with crusty bread.  Talk about carb overload.  Heavenly!

Love Me Some Leggings

I can't get enough of my black leggings. They keep me warm in these chilly months, they're extra forgiving when one overindulges during the holidays - guilty! - and dry quickly in the rain.  So when Arlene and Amanda mentioned they need new ideas for leggings aside from boots, I thought I'd give a week's worth of ideas for outfits.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Luxe/Less: Party Shoes

This Fendi heel would be perfect for New Year's Eve parties.  The illusion of black lace holding together the pump, the thin stacked heel, the bow right above your toes.  It's the girliest, prettiest thing.  Unfortunately, the price tag made me choke on my morning espresso - $690.  These other options still have that feminine touch I'm looking for:

1. Forever 21 Jeweled Bow Pumps: $25.80.  Velvet heel with a crystal bow in the right place.
2. Martinez Valero Carolina Pump: $69.95. Pom poms make me want to kick up my heels!
3. Forever 21 Studded Mesh Heel: $29.80.  I'd clip on a pair of earrings for extra flair.

The Countdown Is On!

I love that the pattern on her dress not only complements the curtains, it stands out even more!  And who needs shoes with the lovely stockings?  Wouldn't this be a fantastic New Year's Eve dress?

With 2011 just a few days away, I am eager for what's around the corner.  I live for anticipation.  I love having something to look forward to!

Are you making New Year's resolutions?  I love making lists, but there's something about declaring your intentions that makes you want to achieve your dreams even more.

What do I have on my list so far?  Learn more recipes, take professional cooking lessons, host more dinner parties, travel out of the country, work on my home and show more kindness.  Two other special things on my list are relaunching my blog and volunteering to help elephants.

For inspiration, I love a quote from one of my best girlfriends, Nina:  "Less talk. More walk."

While we can fill afternoons talking about hopes and dreams, what are we doing to make them happen?  Since we can't do everything at once, that's why lists are great.  It's satisfying to cross things off and prepare for the next adventure.

Here's to living this year to the fullest!  I anticipate bumps and bruises along the way.  Each risk means a success or failure, but whether it's tears or celebration, isn't that what makes life worth living?

Wishing you health, wealth and happiness in 2011!

photo source: Harper's Bazaar Russia Nov. 2009

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Beverly Hillbillies

Look what my husband brought home.  It's from an estate that's being torn down in Holmby Hills to make room for a McMansion.  It's a loss for the neighborhood, but a score for us!  (How did he avoid getting pulled over?)
It's in the backyard now.  I don't know what we'll do with it yet.  Will it be part of a gazebo?  Perhaps we'll paint it and place it behind our bed.  The possibilities are endless.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Favorite Gift

My mom surprised me with a priceless gift this Christmas - a serving dish owned by my Granny.  It sat on her kitchen counter in Arkansas.  Granny loved sweets. She drank Coca Cola from glass bottles and sent us to bed with a stick of Juicy Fruit gum.

Granny didn't have an alarm clock in the house.  She'd get up before the rest of us and wake up everyone with the scent of bacon, eggs and her heavenly drop biscuits.

For Christmas, I paid homage to her with a pile of sweets.  My dad picked up the Mexican pastries and I  made chocolate Day of the Dead skulls from a mold picked up on Olvera Street.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

DIY: Holiday Gift Basket

I love ordering gift baskets, but they're easy to make too!  I made this for my next door neighbor.

The champagne, salami and cheese are from Trader Joe's.
The basket, crackers, cookies and potted poinsettia were found at the 99 Cent Store!

My rule of thumb when shopping on the cheap?  If you'd love to receive it, then it's something great to give!

Christmas Night

I'm so full of happiness with Simba by the fireplace, a glass of wine in my hand and @RobertD3 by my side.  I had lots of family over today, ate too much food, celebrated a birthday and had a ball.

Earlier, I was wearing a belt and stilettos.  That belt is history and my feet are tucked into cozy Uggs I've worn since high school.

I'm winding down, listening to the rain fall through the trees, the hum of the dishwasher and the crackle of the fire.  I'm at peace.

Merry Christmas,

A Paige of Inspiration: Christmas

I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph. ~ Shirley Temple

Merry Christmas!  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fried Plantains

Hi Suzanne,
I need your help.  My friend is having a Cuban Christmas dinner and I'm in charge of the flan.  I need a good recipe and sides.

    Hi Tasha,
    I love the idea of a Cuban Christmas!  My family always eats tamales for good luck.  As for flan, I have the best pumpkin flan recipe. Click here for the recipe and video.  If you don't want to use indiviidual cups, you can pour it into an 8 inch flan pan. Black beans and rice are simple sides - don't forget the sour cream! But if you serve them with fried plantains, it takes the meal to another level. Plus, they're so easy to make.  Recipe below!
Fried Plantains
  1. Peel a bunch of ripe plantains - or banana - then slice at an angle longways.
  2. Heat about an inch of vegetable oil in frying pan.
  3. Once it's hot (when you drip in a bit of water it sizzles), fry on both sides until golden brown.
  4. Remove from pan and let the oil drain on a paper towel.  Sprinkle with a little salt. 
    Cilantro too, if you like it.  I love it.
  5. Wrap up in fresh paper towels and go! 

Photo sources: & Gary Sexton

Poinsettia Perfection

To say I love these flowers is an understatement.  This is the tree of my dreams.

On display at The Four Seasons in Istanbul.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Hollywood Holiday: In Full Swing!

Posing with the lovely @koreanyenta & @thedecorista

Fruit tarts are my weakness. 

 My shining stars @jrummerfield and @luxuryprgal

These mini quiches are more addicting than chips!


Rocking around the Christmas tree.

Nancy and @hillaryvaughn comparing furs

One can never have enough smoked salmon.  I should've had ten times this amount!

Ashlina and her handsome cousin Enrique

Asparagus presents with a thin layer of cream cheese and thinly sliced bread.  Delicious!

@sallycolon1 serenading the guests as sugarplums dance in @asianconan's head

I tried my hand at it.  Check out the look on @stephenpetree's face.

@negativenatalie and @yayer tearing it up.

This would've been a chic snap with Nina, but Nick couldn't resist a photobomb,

Big smiles @sadaoturner and @agerhart 

Speaking of photobombs, good one @robertd3

@jkirk22 and Christine singing Unwritten.  Of course we were all singing along

I need Anita's shoes!

@karlihenriquez came from an ugly sweater party!

Can it be Christmas yet?! 

Okay, if you insist, I'll open one.  A gorgeous bracelet from Jaime and @danarummerfield!


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