crab fried sticky rice with jalapeno aioli

crab fried sticky rice | two red bowls

My commute here in LA is almost the same as it was in New York, 40 minutes give or take. The only difference is that I sit my butt in a little Corolla instead of the blue-benched 4/5, and so I can no longer do either of the two things I used to do on my commutes in New York — sleep, or read, but mostly sleep — because I would die. For exactly 3 days I filled this void in my travels to-and-fro with music from my own playlists, before I got tired of my apparently very limited musical taste, and then for a few more weeks it was music on the radio, before I got tired of their slightly less limited ones. So now I’m at a happy medium of NPR (I have officially become my dad) and the wonderful world of podcasts.

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tomato-braised eggs and creamy baked polenta

creamy baked polenta with eggs and tomato sauce | two red bowls

tomato-braised eggs and creamy baked polenta | two red bowls

Earlier this summer, I spent a few glorious hours in Venice at The Tasting Kitchen in what felt like an endless parade of dream brunch fare. Before this I’d never had any kind of chef’s menu or omakase-type meal, but a group of us opted for their tasting menu (because that seemed like what you should choose at a restaurant similarly named) and it was a culinary romp that makes me wish I could splurge on that kind of treat all the time:  a smorgasbord of baked goods to start, with tender, butter-yellow biscuits, dense and moist breakfast cakes studded with fruit or dark with spices, and sticky pecan buns drenched in syrup; little lox and cucumber sandwiches in crunchy, unabashedly buttered toast; omelettes tucked neatly around tomatoes and creamy avocado; perfect parfaits (redundant?) with sweet sliced plums and berries on top.  

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cracker-style thin crust pizza!

cracker-style thin crust pizza | two red bowls

cracker-style thin crust pizza | two red bowls

So we are currently super into thin crust pizza! I don’t know why the magic of thin crust took so long to dawn on us, but a couple of months ago B2 and I tried a new pizza place in our neighborhood and rediscovered all the perks of it we hadn’t appreciated until now. It’s crackly, flaky, crisp but with a little bit of give, and it takes up so much less belly real estate than doughy chewy regular crust that you can eat, like, seven more slices.  Which is clearly the most important part.

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thanksgiving leftovers “red beans” & coconut rice

thanksgiving leftover "red beans" & coconut rice | two red bowls

thanksgiving leftover "red beans" & coconut rice | two red bowls

I’m boring when it comes to leftovers. (Strategy: Remove from refrigerator and eat. Alternatively, freeze, forget about, then find three months later and still eat.) My mom, on the other hand, makes magic with them — I can’t remember a single time that she tossed out leftovers in our kitchen, or a time that we didn’t ask for the rest of our dinner to be packed up when we went out to eat. Instead, I can see her poised with an open clamshell container in one hand and a metal spatula in the other, mouth pursed, surveying her wok and trying to figure out how to upcycle last night’s takeout into inevitably more delicious fried rice, or stir-fried noodles, or a simmering pot of soup. Some of her recipes are ones where she even swears by leftovers, like her mapo tofu, which she won’t make unless she’s stir-fried giant prawns the day before and has the fiery-red broth left over. (Don’t tell her I gave away her secret ingredient.)

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