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jesus is my b-boy / jesus is my lamb pie

If I wrote keepin’-it-real hymns, then they’d probably sound like that. My Easter Sunday rocked, especially for someone who’s not particularly religious (does Santa Monica yoga count?). I ain’t going to lie. I love the idea of Jesus. I even just like saying Jesus. I hope I’m not blaspheming too badly here. But if there is a non-believer’s correlate to being “full of Christ’s love” (shoutout to Mandy Moore’s awesome acting skills in Saved), I’m going to argue that I found it in not one, but two activities this past Sunday.

1) Planet B-Boy: overly sentimental, yes; full of non-hugging Asian family love, yes; totally sick dancing—absolutely. The documentary follows five breakdancing crews as they prepare for the Battle of the Year and fills in a little about their backgrounds. The filmmaking isn’t going to blow your mind, but if you can manage to suspend the cynicism however briefly (if I can do it…) it’s got heart. And yes, 39% of why I liked it was that there were two Korean crews profiled, but who wouldn’t with an exchange that went something like this in the days leading up to the Battle, which was in Germany? “Hey, don’t eat so much kimchee, we’re going to run out.” “I can’t bear the thought of there being no kimchee.” Amen.

2) Not one, but two lamb pies. With three pounds of ground lamb, we made a Moroccan lamb pie and a shepherd’s pie. Pastry was rolled, lots of simmering was involved, and the unseasonable heat almost did us in. Yes, living in Socal can be hard. But now I want to put raisins and pine-nuts in everything and mashed potatoes on top of everything. And not to forget the tasty desserts supplied by KW: the fatty bar & buttermilk-lemon sherbert. Good times.

hodgepodge of goodness

I’ve recently had a flurry of food-related activities that I wanted to share with you all—a slice of the LA good life, if you will. In celebration of Kate’s birthday, Kristin and Debbie (of Evil Wives Productions) threw her a German-themed party, aka Katefest. Which included: four different kinds of tasty sausage including some spectacular weisswurst; red cabbage that transcended the category vegetable; imported sauerkraut; candied bacon (!); a Mar Vista caucus to determine whether Debbie’s German chocolate cake or Kristin’s Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte was better; and rousing beer stein-holding competitions to see which graduate students could withstand the pain to achieve eternal fame and glory (i failed ignominiously). Good times, good people. I’m considering asking the Evil Wives for a North Korean party of my own.

Other good times with good people: my first trip to Din Tai Fung where I discovered that the soup dumplings I’ve had before were supersized; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s community weekend opening of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum where we felt like we were at Ikea (sorry Renzo) but were again moved by Richard Serra’s Band; and the return of porkday, this time featuring a tourtière wherein ground pork, beef, onions, various spices, and some leftover portobellos were browned, shoved into a pie-crust with some creative porcine venting, then shoved into an oven, and then shoved into our greedy mouths. Plans for a Melton Mowbray pork pie showdown are in the works.

p.s. Trader Joes has had a plethora of awesome packaged fruit, including freeze-dried mangosteen!

Asian Dad Eulogy #2

I promised Winnie I’d post this, so here it is. This is one of my favorite emails of all time & it’s from my dad a couple years back.

Dear my children,

I am sad today. I feel like I have lost a good friend or a real good horse today which was very close to me for seven months and seventeen years. It has kept a lot of memories for our family. It ran nearly one hundred sixty thousand miles for our family and mostly for my business recently. It had been to the East Coast more than five times.

Deep blue color. Square shape. It never hit anyone but it was hit twice by others.

Its engine was still good and was quiet like a sleeping baby while it ran. I had oil change for it every three thousand miles. I loved it. I am small but my car was so huge. I miss my van. I will miss it more in the future because it will remind me of all the places I pass by and I will be gone soon, too, like it. I sold it because it got too old and had many troubles and it drank gas like a whale.

I sold it today at $4oo. My old horse has gone from me. But many memories about it will be with me and with you.



you look like an empanada

me: hey here’s a picture of me eating an empanada at the mar vista farmers market
w: you look like an empanada

And if by that, Winnie, you mean I look like a nicely deep fried nugget of goodness, I’ll accept. Upon returning from NY, I found myself deeply missing how close and convenient everything was in NY as well as the PeopleTV (the constant stream of interesting and not so interesting looking people, especially while taking the subway) and decrying how far apart everything was in LA. So just when things were looking dire, I had a fantastically-LA LA weekend.

Within 24 hours from Saturday to Sunday, we hit up 3 farmers markets—Santa Monica, West LA, and Mar Vista—loading up on passionfruit, persimmons, plums, leeks, baby bok choy, pistachio nuts, apples, and more. Our usual Sunday ritual of yoga then West LA farmers market (see, told you it was ueber-LA) was disrupted when we couldn’t find the necessary ingredients for our contributions to porkday #6 at our very small and very cute farmers market. To which, up until Sunday, we had been fiercely loyal. Heeding the call of necessity, we drove to the Mar Vista market and were amazed. And felt betrayed. And delighted. Our Sundays will never be the same again. An empanada stand! A coffee cart! A knife sharpener! A cheese stall! Three blocks of beautiful vegetables and fruits! The French bread dude with the Frenchiest accent ever who disappeared from our WLA market weeks ago! Yes, we’ll feel guilty and yes, we’ll have to sneak back to our old market for Mr. Ha’s apples, but who can resist the clarion call of better selection and fatty fried things, both, at once? Not us.

(You’re thinking why don’t you just go to the Santa Monica market which’ll have everything? The answer, my friend, is that there’s a great small-market vibe in MV where you can sit back and take in the scene, which SM lacks despite its largesse. Plus, SM has a more upscale vibe best described with three words: designer baby strollers.)

Porkday #6, Kristin’s second dress rehearsal for her family’s Thanksgiving, was quite a spread and saw the west coast implementation of food vogue. There, I named it. What’s your pose?

(big) apple kimchi

With such mellifluous prompting, how could I not post?

I’ve been thinking about how taken I was with the apple kimchi and how many of the people I’ve told about it have all had the same reaction: “ewww.” (So far, 3 out of 4. Koreans, even!) Served with bacon, a few microgreens, and labne, the apple kimchi at Momofuku Ssam wasn’t fermented, so it retained the fresh crispness of the apple while still delivering the nice kimchi nudge of low, fleeting heat. (Compared to the slow, pleasantly painful burn that was much of Poodam.) The bacon and labne were perfectly complementary because of their meaty greasiness and subtle creaminess; both were tastes I wouldn’t have expected to be paired so well with the kimchi, particularly the latter.

There’s something really compelling about being taken unaware from a new perspective by a food you’ve grown up with all your life, especially by a dish as humble as kimchi. I’m not saying that I had a total Anton Ego flashback because that’s not exactly it. However, the best of fusion can make you discover anew what it was about that particular preparation or technique that’s so enjoyable. And that repetition with a difference is what I think Ego was semi-channeling as well. The apple kimchi made gustatorially apparent to me that I’ve always loved the crisp crunchiness of kimchi, even going as far to prefer kkakdugi (radish cube kimchi) or to pick out the nonleafy shiningly white parts of the cabbage (hey, I never said I was a good Korean either). And using the apple, with its sweet crunchy twist, was brilliant. While I found much of the rest of Momofuku Ssam to be clever but not captivating, this is one food memory that I’m going to relish.

Nope, no respite from pig talk.

I’m intruding on Winnie’s blog to do a pork posting of my own. I’ve discovered over the last few years through my friends Kate & Ian that no matter what the latest trouble in my life is (gastric, romantic and the like), the only guaranteed way to feel better is a bit of roast pork. Or, actually, a whole lotta roast pork. So as only thoughtful friends can, with this in mind, they gave me a pretty sweet gift:


Too bad I can’t eat it. But I can sleep with it. You know what I mean. (Imagine how different Peanuts would’ve been if Linus had one of these instead of a silly blanket. Or even something like The Velveteen Rabbit.) Here’s how you get your own.

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