Thursday, February 24, 2011

winter oasis: palm springs, part I

Seattle is notorious for a lot of things: mainly rain, coffee and serial killers.  I would like to clarify that we definitely don't get the most inches of rain per year as some other US cities but we definitely have the most rainy days.  Which equates to a whole lot of overcast days where the gray cloudy skies threaten to rain and rains only when you actually have to be outside or when you're wearing glasses because you were too lazy to put on contacts.  Apparently it isn't considered to be "sporting," if one carries an umbrella in Seattle to shield away the sky's drippings.  I'm a native Seattleite and I think that notion says a lot about Seattleites.

In fact, Seattle's weather does not bother me very much at all.  It only makes me REALLY appreciate it when Mr. Sun does decide to pay a visit.  It just gets a little soul killing and mundane come February and the holidays are officially behind you when the cabin fever starts settling in.  But then again I have a very astute boyfriend who gave me a winter desert vacation to Palm Springs for Christmas.  If Mr. Sun wasn't coming to me, we were going to go looking for him.  Why Palm Springs?  My boyfriend's dad's Christmas present were tickets to see Anthony Bourdain speak down there.  They didn't have to twist my finger very hard for me to admit I needed this reprieve from Seattle's winter wonderland.

There are no words to describe how wonderful the blue sky looked to me.  Palm trees also help in giving the false sense of paradise... even though we're in a desert.  There were no real plans for the trip other than to soak up as much vitamin D as possible and eat!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

asian fusion @ e & o trading company

The boy had just picked me up from the airport and even though we had just barely survived the longest amount of time spent apart, I only had two words for him: FEED ME.  Tsk, tsk to those who are chastising me for being so devoid of affection, I gave him a kiss after he promised to take me to dinner.

After dropping off my bags in his downtown San Jose apartment and donning my bullet-proof vest, we walked a couple of blocks to E & O Trading Company.  This is a restaurant that is billed as a Southeast fusion restaurant.  Whatever that means... to me, it means the people behind the restaurant couldn't commit to one cuisine.  It might be a little asinine to go to a fusion Asian restaurant in an area with fantastic AUTHENTIC Vietnamese, Indian, Korean, Chinese, Mexican and so forth restaurants.  However, this restaurant was close and it's definitely better than the P.F. Chang's around the corner from the apartment.  The downtown yuppies must love this restaurant because it is completely packed with diners and they seemed to be for the most part enjoying themselves.  I digress, onto the food!

Burmese Ginger Salad: Green papaya, napa cabbage, peanuts, toasted coconut, dried shrimp & lemon dressing- $10

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

banana bread, my way

I am not a self-proclaimed lover of bananas in their unadulterated form, nor do I eat them unless I'm feeling extra puritanical that day.  But as with the exception to every rule: put bananas in cake or bread and I'm your girl.  Cooked or baked bananas brings out a toasty, tropical warmth from within that perfumes every little crumb while keeping the bread/cake very moist.  I just figured that cooked/baked bananas probably bring out certain essential oils that are similar to artificial banana flavor.  I love banana flavored Runts candy, go figure.

Banana bread is a quick bread that is quite simple to whip up.  There is no need to dust off the stand mixer or to plug in any equipment.  I don't even use the extra fork to mash up the bananas, I just use a whisk that will be used to mix everything together.  There are many different variations that call for little extras like chocolate chips, candied ginger but I prefer the addition of only pecans and a smattering of demerara sugar on top for a little carmelized crunch.

Most importantly is to NOT mash up the bananas too much.  I like some banana chunks to remain whole for some extra banana taste and it's nice to see bananas in your banana bread.  This is a banana bread with banana integrity!