Friday, April 11, 2014

Pumpkin Spiced Broiled Oranges

It's been around four months since I started to change my eating habits and the food that I normally eat is beginning to become to repetive. In order to avoid becoming bored with my food I have been trying to look for new ways to jazz things up. 
So needless to say I was very excited to find out the magic of broiling an orange. I was a bit hesitant at first since I typically think of oranges as cool and refreshing, reminding me of soccer games and the soccer moms bringing them to refresh us at half time. However, the explosion of flavor that I got from the orange after being broiled was MAGICAL!
 I have definitely been eating these golden spheres of deliciousness for the last week and still savor every bite like it was the first. I'm thinking of trying a grapefruit next time so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's just as delicious!

Here's how they look like after they came out of the broiler. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Road Trippin'

Ready Set Go 
On July 5th I reluctantly packed my bag with the essentials that I needed for the weekend road trip and stay in Utah, all the while trying to come up with any plausible excuse to get out of going. Let me explain to you why: My mother, being the caring yet authoritative figure of this household, forced me (que my drama queen attitude) to say yes to the invitation of helping my cousin move the last of his things to  to Utah. Her rational explanation for this was  that according to her I hardly get out of the house and I needed to spend some quality time outside during the weekend instead of watching my beloved Bravo for hours at end. Why someone would deny the opportunity to watch marathons of The Real Housewives is beyond understandable but at las there I was come Friday evening getting ready to depart. With my obvious clear sense of direction and time I believed the trip would only take a mere six hours, don't ask why I just did. Needless to say it came as a shock when my dad clarified it for me leaving me expressionless after giving me the real time of twelve hours on the road. Just before I was about to leave, failing miserably to come up with a satisfactory excuse that pleased my mother, my brother came home from practiced and whined about not being invited. I knew this was my only opportunity to make this trip somewhat bearable by bringing the only person that would be willing take endless pictures at my command.  After consulting with my cousin that there was ample room in the mini van (no, she's not a soccer mom) he packed his bag and we were ready for the adventure (I use this word loosely at this point ) that we were about to embark on. We got picked up at around 6 pm pacific time and the six of us were off. 
Our first stop was at an In & Out in Glendale. We stopped to grab a bite for dinner and nothing exciting happened except for the fact that it wast the biggest In& Out I had ever seen, complete with a parking structure where you could enter the building from the back. Headed back to the 210 freeway we saw what I can only describe as a drive thru for cigarettes, basically a very small structure with a man sitting inside where cars pulled to the side window paid the guy for a pack(s) of cigarettes and proceeded to drive off. I am still perplexed as to why this even exists but hey who am I to judge. The next memorable stop was at gas station in the middle of Barstow and Las Vegas. Picture an episode of CSI or Bones where they find the remains of a body in the middle of the desert with endless miles of nothingness except for a gas station and you wonder how many more bodies are buried there. That's exactly how I felt when we exited Interstate 15 and pulled up to the sign that read 87℉ (I was flabbergasted since it was 11 pm) and all I saw was miles of pitch black and the flickering lights of the cars passing by as if waving goodbye for the last time.  From our brief stop at this eerie gas station we found two fascinating things: the first being the Interstate 15 sign that was all covered with various stickers that looked like a pin board filled with an amalgam of  creative directions while the second being a waterfall urinal that the boys found extremely fascinating and raved about continuously throughout the trip.  . Gladly saying goodbye to the murder scene-esque pit stop we proceeded to our next destination….VEGAS!!!
Interstate 15 exit sign at the gas station
I've never been to Vegas but I've definitely heard stories from friends and have seen the glamorized pictures, movies and TV shows portraying Sin City so understandably I was so excited to finally get a chance to see it all for my self. From the casinos to the night life to the endless buffets I was ready to use my legs after six hours and explore with my cousins who had never been there before either. Darkness engulfed us for a couple more minutes, getting our hopes up whenever we spotted lights up ahead, when at last we saw the glimmering city resembling Atlantis in the Little Mermaid but secluded in the middle of the dessert. I knew this was not going to be anything like I imagined it as soon as we got closer because chaos instantly ensued. The exit signs read like an episode of Looney Tunes, multiple signs pointing us to different directions none of them making any sense and getting us more distressed. Couldn't there just be a sign with "Las Vegas Strip exit here"?!?! Finally we took a random exit that led us perpendicular to the strip (next to MGM Grand) with bumper to bumper traffic. There's nothing else that I hate more in the world than traffic only made worst by the scorching heat and humidity that enguflged us inside the mini van roasting us like a chicken in an oven. I was ready to make a run for it but instead we circled the strip and attempted to find somewhere to park amidst the drunken party goers and a random man standing in the corner preaching through a megaphone that it was not too late for salvation. After half an hour of staring out of our windows with the preconceived illusions of Vegas leaving our naive minds, our search led us nowhere and  the six of us gladly left what was once a paradise awaiting our arrival. 
Just as it was becoming morning in Utah (before sunrise)
At this point I had lost count of how many hours we had been on the road and tiredness was starting to slowly creep up on us and trust me not even the triple shot of espresso in my vanilla latte was going to block this from happening. We had been driving for a couple more hours (or at least that's what it seemed like in my head) when I realized the we were driving in an empty two lane road with no cars in sight with the mini van headlights providing the only light like a flashlight in a dark room. Without even realizing it I blurted out my genius idea (this is how bored we were) of having each of us sit down in the middle of the road and have our picture taken. I mean when would you get the chance of  sitting on an empty road again?  Well unfortunately I didn't get any takers as stated by their lack of response and we proceeded to speed down the road until we had to stop to let one of the boys have a pee break. I knew this was my opportunity to get my once in a lifetime picture so I jumped out of the van, handed my phone to one of cousins and sat Indian style in the middle of road. Snap. Snap. Snap. A couple pictures taken and I bolted out of the road just in time to avoid a car coming up ahead. It seemed like I started a trend because as soon as the road was clear once again everyone jumped back in middle of the road (even my brother who was initially too scared) and the flash went off multiple times as if we were some kind of celebrities walking the red carpet at a premier. I'd have to say that the best part was the adrenaline you got when you saw cars nearing you and you stayed seated until the last possible moment only to sprint away in order to avoid getting hit. Needless to say it was a moment that provided up with a boost of energy and got rid of the lethargy that had set upon us. 
Sunrise at our last stop before arriving in Ogden 
We continued on with the blanket of darkness over us, crossing Nevada then Arizona until we finally entered Utah. Being at the most southwestern end of Utah we had to make our way to the most northeastern point of Utah so with the hours taking longer and longer to pass we all fell in an out of sleep shifting to make ourselves more comfortable. Soon we we were all awake just in time to see the sun rise in the horizon. As it was becoming clearer enough to make sense of our surroundings we began to take in the luscious green scenery engulfing us on both sides. We pulled over for one of our bathroom breaks and I was finally able to fill my lungs with the fresh air, much different than the smog filled air in LA.  For the first time this trip a sense of peace fell upon me for the smallest of seconds. It was a moment that I've only experience one  other time: being able to stand there by myself, breathing in the morning air, enjoying the sun rise without a sense of distraction and have my mind completely blank being one with nature. I know a picture says a thousand words but nothing could capture my happiness right then and there. All of us jumped in the car and we were on the road again. With no more rest stops, after about fours hours with sleep deprivation written all over our faces we finally arrived to Ogden, greeted by my aunt and uncle welcoming us to their new home. We had arrived around 9:30 am, nearly 15 hours after being on the road. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Kid President

Spending the majority of my unoccupied school filled hours perusing through the millions of youtube videos I've come across my fair share of shriek worthy adorable children. It is therefore impossible to believe that anyone of these kids could reign supreme among the likes of Isaac Brown, a young little boy who could have been a member of the Jackson 5  given his dynamic performance of "I Want You Back" coupled with a choreographed dance, or Rosie and Sophia, two British dynamos who exploded on the scene wearing the frilliest pink tutus and tiaras all the while singing a cover of Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass." Kid President surely beats them all. After countless encounters of a video titled "A Pep Talk from Kid President to You"  on my Facebook newsfeed I could no longer resist the possibility of finding another adorable youtube gem so I finally succumbed to the peer pressure of my fellow "friends" by clicking the link. Unsure of the kind of pep talk a kid that looks no older than 9 years old could give me, I was stunned to find a witty and endearing Kid President providing a simple pep talk to everyone in need of a little pick me up. Drawing inspiration from Robert Frost, some "dude" named Journey and Michael Jordan, Kid President gives us just one simple piece of advice: be awesome and give the world a reason to dance. This pint sized charismatic president is not joking about dancing, as he throughout the video unexpectedly busts a move all the while giving us some attention grasping advice against the backdrop of a football field and a locker room making him appear like a coach guiding us through life. Making the video seem natural and spotlighting his personality, the viewer can't help but fall in love with Kid President when he spontaneously laughs at his own jokes or makes his indescribable facial expressions. I'm sold on what he has to say and can't wait to see more of Kid President, the "self appointed voice of this generation of children," on Rain Wilson's feel good website "Soul Pancakes." You won't find much about him such as his real  name, age, or hometown but no problem, Kid President suits him quite well. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles

Scoes #1 

Leaving the fog dense city of Westwood a band of brothers ensued on a journey to discover the marriage of chicken and waffles that has so many Los Angeles residents relishing in taste bud heaven. Like many on this trip, this would be my first time visiting The House of Chicken and Waffles and jittering with excitement I sputtered a stream of questions to a veteran of this establishment: How exactly do I order? Is there anything else on the menu? Do I eat the chicken and waffles together in one bite or separately? I continued like a broken record player until we arrived at our destination, my car mates joyfully springing from their seats relishing the opportunity to put an end to my probing questions. Rising from the side of the House stood their distinctive trademark logo of a rooster centered in front of a large waffle like a compass guiding the customer to a finger licking lip smacking pot of flavor. Contrary to its large sign, the place is quite small which posed a problem for our army of 20 that wished to be seated together in one table. Luckily the staff scrambled to provide a table large enough (in this case small tables pieced together) for all of us and we were quickly seated. We got the menus and I was bewildered to find out that there wasn't just the one option of chicken and waffles but rather a multitude of menu items that included combos, sides (including their CBS named Best Mac n Cheese in Los Angeles), individual chicken pieces, and different combinations of chicken and waffles. As if I had just completed a Billy Blanks Bootcamp video, I was drained and fatigued after sifting through the menu when the waiter came by to take our drink orders. Thankfully my veteran fairy godmother guided me through the correct path of Roscoe's etiquette firmly telling me to order the Sunrise, a combination of fruit punch and lemonade that according to her would not disappoint. The Sunrise was delivered with the lemonade and fruit punch separated intended to be mixed to simulate an actual sunrise. I took a sip and was knocked back by the sugar explosion in my mouth like the feeling you get after emptying an entire pack of pop rocks in your mouth. Unaccustomed to all that sugary goodness I quickly placed the drink down and prepared to place my order with the waiter that undoubtedly knew we were first timers from our constant and LOUD indecisiveness. I settled on the Scoes #1that included 1/4 of a chix and two waffles with my nondiscriminatory option of mixed (white and dark) meat. Soon afterwards, three large plates covered with syrup in shot glass sized containers were placed on our tables and were followed, after a couple of minutes, by our much anticipated food. My large, very large, plate arrived with two human head sized waffles topped with two ice cream scoops of butter and a monstrous serving of 1/4 a chix. Sorry to all the LA residents who wish to maintain their sun kissed surgically enhanced bodies by maintaining a strictly no carb, no meat, not calories diet but this is not the place to visit if you want to continue living your healthy lifestyle and don't wish to clog your arteries with fatty goodness. Unlike some of my fellow Los Angelenos I am a lover of all foods so I did not hesitate to dive in like a starving defensive linebacker attempting to eat everything in reach for "fuel" before a game. The chicken, crispy and crunchy on the outside while juicy on the inside was a perfected concoction, like a Barry Bond's steroid induced home run that used to make the crow go wild and made for an unforgettable moment. The waffles, dry with minimal flavor, were not memorable and by themselves were a disappointment. However, the true marriage of taste bud ecstasy came when you combined a piece of savory chicken with the syrup doused waffles. The combination of sweet and savory at first confused my palate by questioning the taste of both breakfast and dinner in one bite but as the flavors set in an eruption of taste left me begging for more. I became an addict to the taste of confusion followed by ecstasy. Despite my linebacker mentality I was sadly unable to finish my plate of food as my stomach pleaded with me to stop funneling in the large servings placed before me.  I grudgingly obliged and looked at my plate with sadness, sorry to be leaving the remaining myriad of flavors untouched and proceeded to receive the check with the unfathomable task of figuring out how much each person owed. I bid the House adieu and returned back to the haunted house looking city of Westwood drowning in misty fog  knowing that I would come back to find the roster and waffle circular sign guiding me to taste bud excitement like the yellow brick road guiding me back home.