Sunday, September 19, 2010

Loca for Los Perros

What could make me come out of my food blog slump and finally write a post after such a long hiatus? Well, it has to be something spectacular, and boy, is it! Don't get me wrong, I've had lots of great food and food experiences from the last time I posted, but this recent experience was just so titillating, I just couldn't help myself.

Nick (my boyfriend, for those of you who may have forgotten) and I are avid birders now, and last weekend we went birding early Saturday morning at A.D. Barnes park in Miami. We drove about an hour away to catch a great migration movement... But anyways, back to the food. So after a long morning of birding, we worked up an appetite. I remembered that a friend of ours told us about this intriguing-sounding "hot dog place." He described it as a hot dog with a special sauce and crushed potato chips on top. It sounded crazy but interesting, and I'm always up for something new.

I had to do a little searching on my iPhone for "hot dogs" and "crushed chips" in Miami, and I figured out that the place was called Los Perros. So thanks to Google Maps, I was able to find a location nearby! We're almost never in this area, so it was something we finally had the chance to try, and I thought that it would most likely be cheap since it's "just hot dogs." What an understatement that was...

We arrive at a very unassuming shopping plaza and see the sign for Los Perros. But when we walk in, we're amazed to see this super swanky joint. It looked like a night club that happened to be opened during the day. There was even dance club music playing. Very confused, I had Nick go outside just to make sure we were in the right place. Yes, this was the place, alright. There were only a few people inside, and I didn't see any food yet on their table, so as we sat down, I was still not convinced that we were at the right place.

Swanky bar in the back, 3 tasty sauces in the front

Nick excited about our future 
meal! Notice the fancy interior.
The place was fairly small but decked out in Miami style. The walls were a deep crimson, and vintage chandeliers hung from the ceilings. The restaurant is Colombian, but there were hints of Asian and Mediterranean accents, like Buddha statues and large, extravagant mirrors (note Mediterranean wall details in photos). Towards the back was a bar with a few frozen drink machines churning, and on one side of the counter was a variety of typical and atypical sodas.

We recover from the shock after a few minutes and were handed pint-sized, laminated trifold menus. This place was so bizarre yet delightful all at the same time. On one hand, you have this trendy nightclub feeling, yet on the other, you have the feeling of walking into a mom-and-pop shop. There was such a paradox happening with the glitz and glam teamed with what appears to be traditional Colombian street food. There was even the nice touch of the food coming out in paper and styrofoam packaging.

Patiently waiting...

And there were not "just hot dogs" on the menu. Here we did find sausages ("regular" or chorizo) on buns topped with the crushed (plantain?) chips and special sauce on top, but there was much more! My descriptions probably can't do the food justice, but I'll give it a shot. Along without the hot dogs, or "perros," the menu also included arepas, round flat corn cakes filled with cheese or your choice of meat; salchipapas, a hodgepodge of potatoes and sausage, and quail eggs, if you so desire; marranitas, a sort of fried plantain pita pocket filled with your choice of meat; and maicitos, a dish layered with corn, pineapple sauce, crushed chips, cheese topped with special sauce. And every table received 3 plastic squeeze bottles, one filled with the "special sauce," which was kind of like thousand island dressing or ketchup plus mayo mixed together, another with a creamy, garlic-y green sauce, and a third one with pineapple sauce.

Our heads spun for about 5 minutes as we tried to gather ourselves and pick out just what we wanted to try! We decided to go with the chorizo hot dog, or "choriperro," the arepas with chicharrones (chunks of fried pork belly), and the maicito with chicken. Oh, and we felt like we had to have a "local" drink, so we ordered Colombiana. The waitress couldn't really described what it was like, but we went for it any way. The can described it as "kola flavored soda," and to my delight, it tasted like Big Red soda. (You southerners, or at least fellow Texans, may know about that…) 

We anxiously awaited for our food, knowing that our lives would be changed forever. And the food WAS amazing. The chicharrones were cooked to perfection - just the right amount of crispy, salty, fatty goodness. The chorizo sausage tasted like it was made fresh, and the topping of chips and special sauce is inspired. The maicitos dish was lacking the "umph" factor, but still had good flavor. We added lots of the yummy green sauce to that and the choriperro.
Arepa de Chicharron, Choriperro, & Maisito w/ Chicken

Mmm... Fried Pork Belly... 

 I was a little sad when the meal was over. I felt like I could eat ten more choriperros and maybe 3 more arepas… not because I wasn't full, but because I just wanted to keep tasting these amazing flavors. I would definitely go to this place again. And thank goodness there's a location closer to me in Broward. They've got several locations and late hours, making this the ideal place for late night munchies. Below is the website, which, with it's dance music playing, gives you just a taste of its posh feel yet down to earth food paradox.

For more info, check out Los Perros website at:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I wanted to let you all know, if you didn't know already, that I've been writing for a website called It's a news website that uses local writers that specialize in certain topics. I am the West Palm Beach Ethnic Foods Examiner.

Check out my website for tips on products, restaurant reviews, recipes, news on upcoming events, and more!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Danger of Durian!

Japanese scientists have recently found that eating durian and drinking alcohol can be a dangerous combination. What is durian, you ask? Durian is a large spiny fruit that is native to Southeast Asia. It is known to many as the "king of fruits" because of its large size. It has a brownish green husk, and the fruit inside is yellow-orange, much like an egg yolk.

But if you didn't know what durian was just by looking at it, you would definitely know it by its odor. Its smell has been described by some as similar to rotting corpses. It can actually be extremely offensive to the senses and induce quite a sense of disgust in many people. So how and why anyone tried this menacing-looking and awful-smelling fruit in the first place is beyond me. However, they say that if you are able to get over the smell or not be affected by it, then it's actually very good. It is supposed to be sweet and custard-like with a hint of almond flavor. You will see (and smell) this fruit at many Asian supermarkets.

Durian Wafer Cookies!

I myself am not able to handle the smell of durian. To me, it doesn't smell like just rotting corpses, it smells like burning rotting corpses that was laying in a pile of garbage (and the garbage is also burning). But, there are some, like my boyfriend, who don't really notice the smell and quite like the flavor. We once bought a package of durian wafer cookies (yes, there is such a thing) at an Asian market. I "allowed" him to eat them, but only outside on the balcony (poor thing). And the only way I would store it in the apartment is in a ziploc baggie within a plastic grocery bag. Even in cookie form, durian is offensive! The addition of flour and sugar still can't mask its odor!

Here is my poor boyfriend eating durian wafer cookies on the outside patio

And if the smell wasn't off-putting enough to many people, now it has been discovered that it can actually be dangerous to consume it along with alcohol. The idea behind this research came from an old wive's tale, but Japanese scientists decided to check it out for themselves. And indeed, they did find that the consumption of durian can actually have adverse affects on the breakdown of alcohol due to durian's high sulphur content.

According to Food Chemistry as quoted by New Scientist, "durian extract inhibited the activity of aldehyde dehydrogenase - an enzyme that clears toxic breakdown products - by up to 70 per cent."

So for those of you who already did not have an excuse to enjoy durian, here is another reason. But if you do find yourself finding pleasure in the fruity, creamy flavor of durian, then be aware that consuming alcohol alongside it may be harmful.

For more info: Check out this New Scientist article.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Help me win a Cuisinternship in Oregon!

What's a cuisinternship? It's a chance to learn from one of the top-rated chefs in Oregon and to really learn about food and preparing food. I entered this contest hoping to win this once-in-a-lifetime chance to spend a week with a chef, visiting the local farm and the farmer's market, and learning skills and techniques like mis en place (food prep), sauce-making, and preparing foie gras. I've learned a lot of things on my own in the kitchen, but it would be nice to learn how the big dogs do it.

Please help me out and watch and rate my YouTube video! Make a foodie girl's dream come true! =) Thanks!

Don't forget to click on the link and give me high ratings!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Vegetarian for a Day

By no means am I a vegetarian. But as I have incorporated better quality and more natural ingredients into my diet, I thought it would be a good idea to eat vegetarian one whole day a week. I'm definitely not able to go vegan - I love my eggs and cheese! But for one day a week, my boyfriend and I have vowed to eat vegetarian.

I was inspired by a story of a food critic (whose name I can't recall) whose doctor recommended that he eat vegan. Being a food critic, he knew that this would be virtually impossible. So, he
found a solution where he could compromise - he would eat vegan after 6pm every day. I thought this was a great way to balance his diet. So, in my baby-step attempt to improve my health and diet, I decided to be a vegetarian for a day one day a week.

I thought this would be quite challenging for me as I am a pure omnivore on the verge of carnivore =) I love my meat! In my house growing up, there was always a meat dish around which our meal was centered, whether it was chicken, beef, pork, fish, shrimp, etc. And my cooking as an adult has also been centered around meat. I have been known to make vegetarian meals now and then, but not very often. So when I started this new thing 3 weeks ago, I though it would be difficult. But in reality, I found it challenging in a good way and very satisfying to find flavorful ways to be vegetarian.

For lunch, we have had homemade egg salad sandwiches or a delicious salad with lots of fresh veggies like baby bella (or cremini) mushrooms, red pepper, snap peas, and carrots. Sometimes we'll toss in a fried egg ;-) Dinner time is when it's time to shine...

The Menu:
Week 1:
Mediterranean Inspired Meal
- Grilled Eggplant w/ Tahini Sauce - Inspired by a dish in Tyler Florence's book "Tyler's Ultimate." The tahini sauce has greek yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, and fres crushed garlic
- Tabbouleh (or Tabouli) Salad - soaked bulgar wheat mixed with fresh tomatoes, red onions, parsley, mint, chives, and a mix of spices (including salt, pepper, cumin, & coriander)

Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Sauce & Tabouli Salad

Week 2: Rich & Delicious Italian Inspired
- Roasted Squash Risotto - Inspired by Ina Garten's recipe, minus the pancetta. I used a really large butternut squash - so meaty, yet veggie. The saffron really set off this recipe. Also, I used some Robusto Cheese - a gouda-style cheese that is dry like parmesan, but has a hint of sweetness and nuttiness.
- Mixed Tomato Salad - This was inspired by a recipe I saw in one of my food magazines (bon appetit or Food & Wine). I found a container of beautiful mixed tomatoes at Whole Foods. I don't even know what the names were of all of the tomatoes, but there was a great mix of colors - yellow, orange, bright red, deep read, and a dark speckly green (with red flesh). I cut those tomatoes in half (or quarters if larger) and mixed it with chopped fresh mozarella cheese, basil, olive oil, a touch of balsalmic vinegar, salt, pepper, and a few shards of Robusto Cheese. Can we say delish?!

Mixed Tomato Salad w/ Fresh Mozarella

Week 3: Boyfriend's in Charge
- My boyfriend who was vegetarian for a short while years ago had a vegan cookbook that hadn't been touched since I came into the picture =) He chose to make this casserole he had made before using eggplant, zucchini, onion, bread, tofu, and a tomato sauce with kalamata olives. You pretty much layer everything together and stick it in the oven. It was very fresh-tasting. The tomato sauce gave good flavor, the tofu and bread were actually tasty and not weird like I thought they would be. The only think I might change is to cook it longer or to grill the veggies first. The casserole was just barely cooked and had a very raw veggie feel, which isn't a bad thing. But I would like to see how this dish would be as a sort of mousaka with all of the rich vegetables and flavor, but without the meat, of course.

Week 4: Veggie Pad Thai
- This meal is so simple if you know where to find certain items. You have to find thin, flat rice noodles, which where I live can be hard to find unless you go to an Asian market, which is not prevalent in these parts. I cooked half an onion (sliced into stips) in vegetable oil until soft and then added chopped firm tofu. I added a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder to give the bland tofu some flavor. I then set those aside so I could scramble up some eggs. When the rice noodles had finished boiling (after about 5 minutes), I drained them, rinsed them with cool water and tossed them with the other ingredients and pad-thai sauce. And I sort of cheated and used a pre-made pad-thai sauce. For exotic sauces like this that are hard to master, I find that using the pre-made stuff is just as tasty and a lot less hassle. Then to finish off the dish, I sprinkled the top with chopped nuts (usually peanuts are used, but I like to sub with cashews) and a little chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

So I'm finding it easier than I thought to eat vegetarian for a full day and make delicious vegetarian meals. You don't have to compromise taste and flavor just because there is no meat. I'll be following up with my other vegetarian meals in the future.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Scones are Fun!

What's the perfect tea-time snack or breakfast goodie? Well, that would be a scone! They're so simple to make and delicious to eat =) And scones can be really fun to make when you let your creative side work through. I've made simple ones with raisins or dried currants, sometimes adding almonds or pecans. One of my favorite creations has been chocolate-hazelnut scones. Can you say yum? I lightly toasted some hazelnuts and rubbed most of the skins off by rolling them in a towel. Then I chopped them up, threw them in the scone dough along with some semi-sweet chocolate chips, and voila! The pictures featured are from when I made a batch of half chocolate-hazelnut and half raisin pecan scones.

And today I was feeling a little more adventurous and made apricot ginger scones. I chopped up some dried apricots and candied ginger, and I tossed in some ground ginger and a dash of nutmeg. So delish! Really I just use whatever is in the pantry at the time. Dried cranberries and almonds? Sounds good to me! Dried mixed berries and walnuts? Why not?! Be creative! You can also add a little somethin' somethin' on the top like chunky sugar (like Sugar in the Raw) or some brown sugar.

And what's great about scones is that even for a person who doesn't bake much, it's super easy. I have a recipe my aunt gave me, so I'm not ready to give it away just yet. But I'm sure you can find a simple recipe pretty much anywhere online. My recipe includes flour and some kind of levening agent, butter, milk, and sugar, and then of course whatever fruits and/or nuts your want. Just sift, mix, roll, cut, and bake at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes, and there you have it! You could adjust the ratios of flour and levening agent depending if you prefer denser or lighter scones.

Another thing I love about scones is that they're not too sweet. You can keep it that way or you can feel free to be a little naughty and add some goodies on top. Of course you can do it the traditional English way and put devonshire cream -- so rich, but nice to enjoy once in a while. Or you can put some margarine or jam or even plain or flavored cream cheese. A dollop of honey would also work nicely. The possibilities are near limitless! So if you have a little time and want a nice little treat to have with your morning coffee or afternoon tea or even with your after-dinner sherry, then be kind to yourself and make some delicious scones!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Urbanspoon Review of Blue Anchor Pub in Delray Beach, FL

Blue Anchor British Pub on Urbanspoon

"Authentic English Fare" by Maureen Leong-Kee

June 18, 2009 - Really likes it -

The only place I know of in the S. Florida area that has authentic English food. The pub itself was brought over from England! There's lots of yummy English treats on the menu, including Bangers & Mash, Cornish Pastie, Yorkshire Pudding, Toad in t' hole, Shepherd's Pie, Mushy Peas, a variety of meat pies, and of course, the Full English Breakfast! There's also traditional deserts like blueberry or apple crumble and English sherry trifle, but honestly, I'm always so happily stuffed with my entree that I never have room for desert!
They also have a great selection of beers. Amongst all of the pretentious places in Delray, this one stands out as a laid back eatery with good, hearty food. If you're looking for a full belly and a relaxed atmosphere, then go here. Some nights they have entertainment, and they have a Jazz band on Sundays from 3-6pm.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Restaurant Review: "Wish" of South Beach - Good but not Great

Wish was a nice restaurant with great ambiance. Some things were over-priced, which is going to be typical for a restaurant South Beach. The food overall was pretty tasty, but not outstanding. We had the beef carpaccio, the branzino over fruti de mar, the black truffle mac and cheese, and the edamame and sweet potato hash. We also had two of their special cocktails and we took some carrot cake home for dessert.

The food was good overall. The beef carpaccio was tasty and had a sprinkle of some crunchy tempura bits that added nice texture. The branzino was a fish dish - a 4 oz piece of Mediterranean bass that was seared to make the skin nice and crispy, and it was served over a bed of fruti de mar (shell fish) mixed with pearl pasta in a tomato-based sauce. The sauce was a bit overwhelming with all of the olives in the tomato sauce, and I love olives! The mac and cheese could have been better/richer. I've had better truffle mac and cheese that's less expensive and has more stuff. And the carrot cake was more like a carrot cupcake, but the icing, which had crystalized ginger in it, was delish. We went here for our anniversary, but I don't know if we'd go again.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Put an Egg on Top

As it has come to my attention, putting an egg on top of pretty much anything is one of the hottest foodie trends. I started noticing it here and there on cooking shows, and then I saw an article (Anything With an Egg on Top) in bon appetit magazine that showed that eggs can be put on anything and can be cooked any way - fried, poached, whatever. And more and more you see this trend on TV and in restaurants. You see fried eggs on top of pizzas and salads quite a bit.
So, I decided to put a couple of fried eggs on top of some homemade pizza. I just hosted an Inauguration Pizza Party (Go Obama!) where I made several different types of pizzas. But for my more, how shall I say, "safe" eater friends, I stayed away from the adventurous egg and made other delicious pizzas, including a margherita pizza, a white pizza with spinach and mushroom, and my specialty white pizza with italian sausage, zucchini, yellow squash and mushroom. And my boyfriend made an avocado, bacon, and onion bbq pizza.

But anyway, I had leftover pizza dough and some leftover ingredients. So I made a white pizza with cremini mushrooms, avocado, yellow tomato, sweet
onions, and of course fried egg. I'm not a big fan of the sunny side up egg, even though it looks prettier, so I cooked the eggs till crispy on the edges and then flipped them over for a little. The outcome - pure perfection. The ingredients all melded together for a sinfully delicious bite. The crispness and slightly sweet crust, the mildly tart and sweet tomato,the creamy yet savory avocado, the bite of the sweet onion, the earthiness of the mushroom, that oooy gooyness of the cheese, and of course, that comforting, tender bite of egg with lightly salty crispy edges and a warm creamy center that runs down your lip ever so slightly with the first bite into the yolk. Ahhh... yes, this was a perfect pizza.

So, for any skeptics out there or non-egg fans, I urge you to go out there and give the egg a chance. You don't know what you're missing. It really is a great ingredient and/or food topper. Just take a look at the pictures and you will see. But better yet, taste for yourself ;-)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Another Site

Hello All of My Foodie Friends,

I just wanted to let  you know that I have joined a foodie network at  It's a fun networking site, kinda like facebook, but for foodies.  It's fun to exchange ideas, recipes, pictures, and restaurant reviews.  So if you get a chance, check my profile on that site at