Tags archives: Kara Stokes Photography

  • Animal - Los Angeles

  • When I decided to move cross country I wavered between moving to Seattle and L.A., but fortunately my job (which I love) in Seattle (which I also love) has brought me to L.A. a few times already this year, so I feel like I get the best of both worlds. This last trip was a quick one, with time for only one food adventure with my capricorn partner-in-crime Tina. We settled on Animal, the head-to-tail dining concept by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo.  It was pretty darn spectacular, not just the food but the service and wine as well. Even though we didn't venture too deeply into the offal and odds and ends portion of the menu, I was proud of myself for chowing down on a plate of pigs ears, which were crunchy like bacon after being slow cooked for hours and then flash fried and served nestled beneath a fried egg.  Our favorite dish of the night however was the hamachi tostada, which makes me think a trip to the duo's seafood restaurant Son of a Gun needs to be on the agenda for my next trip to[...]
  • river valley cheese, fall city, washington

  • This past weekend I did something I have been wanting to do for ages. On a whim I signed up for a cheesemaking class, and it turned out to be the best possible way to spend that particular Saturday.  The class was taught by Julie Steil, whose River Valley artisan cheeses are featured on the menus of numerous James Beard award winning chefs in Seattle (including Tom Douglas ) as well as in the Williams Sonoma catalog.  She's kind of a big deal, especially when you realize that Julie has only been making cheese since 2005, when she picked it up as a hobby. The class was on making parmesan, which was the draw for me, as well as fresh mozzarella, which I'd made before on my own.  Crazy thing is, I learned just as much about making mozzarella as I did the parmesan, because Julie shared tips here and there, sprinkled in with her stories about her past victories and failures.  Now I know that it's not just how long I handle my fresh mozzarella that determines how tender or rubbery it is, b[...]
  • Loteria Grill, Los Angeles

  • Tucked into the center of The Los Angeles Farmer's Market* is an LA institution that I had never tried until my most recent visit to Southern California.  While we were there picking up my favorite hard to find tea at the local tea vendor, my good friend Tina and I sidled up to the bright and festive bar at Loteria Grill and ordered a few tacos, tortillas & salsa, and aguas frescas, fruit drinks as bright and fun as the place itself.   We tried the Chicharron en Salsa Verde (Pork Rinds in a Spicy Tomatillo Sauce Served With Finely Chopped Onion and Cilantro and Queso Fresco), the Pollo en Pipian Rojo (Chicken in a Spicy Pumpkin-Seed and Peanut Sauce Served with Finely Chopped Onion), and the Papa con Rajas  (Potatoes with Roasted Poblano Peppers Served with Finely Chopped Onion and Cilantro, Queso Fresco, and Salsa Verde). They were all delicious, though the pork rinds were a little too fatty for my taste and the spice level was almost but not quite beyond my threshold. Thank god f[...]
  • Dinette, you have my heart

  • Oh Seattle, you delicious vixen.  You keep this up and you won't be able to get rid of me. This week was a great week with lots of good news to celebrate.  M and I knew we wanted to celebrate with a night out at a restaurant we had yet to try, and my list of options? HUGE.  I've been bookmarking restaurants on yelp for the last two months of living here, taking suggestions from 'best of' lists, yelp reviews, chowhound threads, and individual recommendations.   After a terrible gnocchi experience in Redmond last week at a place reckless enough to serve us boxed, barilla brand gnocchi, I decided we needed a great gnocchi experience, one that would rival the amazing gnocchi at one of our favorite restaurants in Cambridge, Hungry Mother.  And oh did I find it.  I realized Dinette in Capitol Hill had the west coast gnocchi of my dreams when I read an insane person on yelp complain in a review that the gnocchi was too soft and fluffy.  Too soft and fluffy!  Like soft and fluffy gnocchi is[...]
  • Prosciutto wrapped goat cheese stuffed dates.

  • This is a snack I rely on whenever I need a salty sweet fix, which is more often than I care to admit.  It's great because it calls for so few ingredients -- prosciutto, dates, basil, and goat cheese -- all of which are easy to keep on hand.  I love that they take no time and all, and you can make as few or as many as you want.  I have been to parties where a variation of this idea is served, but with bacon in place of the prosciutto.  I have to say I find bacon to be too thick, that it doesn't get all wonderfully crispy like the prosciutto does.  Only caveat with the prosciutto is that you need to keep an eagle eye on them in the oven, to ensure they don't burn.  The addition of the basil really sets this recipe apart as well, giving it a nice fresh note. I got this brilliant snack from an Adeena Sussman recipe on epicurious.com, which instructs you to serve these puppies on toothpicks, and considers them party food.  I myself prefer to gobble them down with my fingers, and con[...]
  • A wintery birthday dinner at Cafe Juanita

  • I have been treated to some amazing meals in my life, but last night's meal at Cafe Juanita was without a doubt one of  my top five dining experiences. Of my life.  Cafe Juanita has been on my radar since I read about Holly Smith's food in the October 2007 issue of the now defunct and much missed Gourmet Magazine.  That article featured delicious, hearty dishes for an October meal, featuring the same deeply flavored vegetables and meats that were crafted for us last night.  Since then I've watched her battle (and crush) Cat Cora on Iron Chef America, be nominated for James Beard awards, and compete (and get kicked off far too soon) from The Next Iron Chef. But that was Fate's way of telling her to hold tight, to stay in Kirkland, because a Very Important Person would be moving there in the next few years who desperately needed to taste her dishes.  I'm so incredibly thankful that she's still here, rather than in New York, cooking on tv.  Because her meal made my year, just ten days [...]
  • My first ever experience with Bibimbop!

  • Thanks to my generous brother, I was lucky enough to fly back to Boston to see family and friends over the holidays. It was a great week, full of delicious food and lots of good times. My favorite new discovery over the week was Korean Bibimbop, a dish I'd heard and read about for years, but had yet to try. Fortunately my good friends Ted and Ravit are hooked on it and that their favorite Korean place was just around the corner from our neighborhood in Somerville.  So we (along with my best friend Kim) walked there just before closing for a late night bibimbop snack. For anyone who hasn't had it, let me tell you all about it. Bibimbop is a signature Korean dish piled high with sautéed vegetables, either steak or tofu, and a sunny side up fried egg. The idea is that you mix that hot runny egg through the veggies, meat and rice and create a nice mixed up dish, adjuting it to your liking and heat tolerance with the fiery red sauce they bring in small dishes to the table. Thankfully I w[...]