Quarantine thoughts -- the LA Food Scene ... v. 1.
Quarantine has me thinking about all of the great food I used to eat in Los Angeles -- from rockin' thai food to cast iron cornbread.
I'm not saying that Sonoma County isn't full of its own culinary delights (I'll do a restaurant round-up on this area in a little bit), but I had lived in LA for 15 years and became quite the regular at a few locations. So since leaving, I've done my damnedest to recreate some of my all-time favorites.
Beginning with ...
Toi on Sunset is a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant located on Sunset Blvd. between the "Hollywood" area of Los Angeles and West Hollywood. The best part of Toi is that it's open until 4:00 a.m. every day and full of rock-n-roll memorabilia. And the food they serve is cheap and amazing.
My go-to orders were their Pad See Ew (beef, broccoli and noodles) or their Bangkok Delight (red curry, pineapple and shrimp) served over white rice. Runner up orders included their lemon chicken and pineapple fried rice. If I was made to decide my absolute favorite, it would be their Bangkok Delight ... and that's exactly what I made this weekend (with a slight twist).
Ingredients for at-home Bangkok Delight:
- 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
- 6 green bell peppers, tops cut off and seeds removed
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into ¼" chunks
- 8 oz pineapple, cut into ¼" chunks
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp fish oil
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 2.5 oz red curry paste
- 8 basil leaves, chopped
- 4 servings of white rice
Wash the green bell peppers, cut off the tops and remove the seeds and ribs. Boil in salted water for five minutes, then remove and place into a baking pan.
Cook rice according to package directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Wash the red bell peppers, cut off the tops and remove the seeds and ribs. Then cut into ¼" chunks. Place into a sauté pan with the coconut oil. Cook until softened and remove from pan.
In the same sauté pan, add the two cans of coconut milk and red curry paste. Stir and let the mixture come to a simmer. At this point, let the mixture cook for 5 minutes, then remove ¾ of the liquid (it's okay to put this in the same bowl that you transferred the red peppers to).
In the remaining coconut milk mixture, add the uncooked shrimp. Cook on the first side for about 4 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side until they pink. Add the rest of the liquid, red peppers, pineapple, and basil back into the pan. Let the ingredients cook together for 3-5 minutes until the basil is wilted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
In a large mixing bowl, add the coconut milk mixture with the rice. Stir until well combined.
Take the green bell peppers and then fill each one with the rice/coconut milk mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 15 minutes (until the tops get crispy). Then serve!
Toi on Sunset wasn't my only LA haunt, here's a round up of a few of my other favorites and the dishes I loved to order.
Norah Restaurant --
Norah opened its doors on Santa Monica Blvd. in early 2016. It describes itself as an eclectic American restaurant in the heart of West Hollywood. With menu staples such as their cast iron cornbread (recommended to order one person person because it's that delicious) and their uni butter poached shrimp, you're sure to delight all of your senses when you dine here.
Mignon Wine Bar --
One of the absolute best happy hours. I worked downtown LA for a few years and Mignon became my go-to after work stop before hopping on the train to go home. You really can't go wrong with French café music quietly playing in the background while you enjoy a ham & brie baguette and a glass of sparkling rosé. Yum!
Es Con Sabor West --
Pupusa Heaven. That's what I call this restaurant. It's located in a small, dark strip mall off of Venice Blvd. in Culver City. I stumbled across this restaurant with a friend and we were instantly hooked. Their pupusas are moist (because we all love that word), their black bean sauce with plantains is perfectly seasoned and crispy. Really, everything is amazing here. It also served as the inspiration for me to try to make my own pupusas.
And some honorable mentions ...
- El Compadre (Sunset Blvd. location)
- Marix Tex Mex
- Bottega Louie
- Perch (had the most amazing white chocolate bread pudding)
- Son of a Gun (their fried chicken sandwich ... and chips & dip)
So tell me, what quarantine thoughts have you had? What food have you been craving lately?