Sunday, March 13, 2011

Steak Cookout- March 12

Steak is one of my favorite things to grill.  I usually will go out to the local grocery store, grab some steak that is on sale, come home, cook it, and eat it by itself without side dishes even.  For this occasion I bought 2.5 lbs of top sirloin for $7.50, you can't beat prices like that.  I keep my seasonings to a minimum, only using salt, pepper, and olive oil.  When it's time to grill, I throw the steak down and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes over medium to medium-high heat, then give it a quarter turn and let it cook for another 3-4 minutes to get nice grill marks.  Flip it over, repeat on the other side.  

When its done, I let it rest for a few minutes before cutting into the steak (helps let the juices settle and prevents them from all draining onto your plate when you take your first bite).  The steak turned out slightly more overdone than I would have preferred, but it was good nonetheless.  Om nom nom!

All that's needed for a great tasting steak

My grilling buddy, Bruin

Ted's Place

Ted's is a local diner-esque type of joint that has been around for as long as I can remember.  It's a neighborhood restaurant with a real greasy spoon feel to it.  The menu, like the portions, is humongous!  You could walk in with an appetite for almost anything and probably be able to find it somewhere on the list.  For some reason, I don't eat at Ted's all that often.  Probably because the food is on the heavier side and will leave you feeling full for the entire day.

I ordered the corned beef hash breakfast for lunch (breakfast is served all day) and it came with hash browns, 3 eggs, and toast for under $10 after tax.  My friend Johnny went with his favorite dish, a carne asada wet burrito with rice and beans.  His meal set him back about $8.

Now, corned beef hash is a dish I've actually never had before going to Ted's, but I have heard of it and seen it on TV many times.  It usually consists of corned beef, potatoes, onions, and spices all coarsely blended together and cooked on a flat top grill. It was delicious, seriously delicious.  The grill gave the outside a crispy crust while the inside was hot and steamy.  I actually have been wanting to go back and get it again ever since finishing the plate...I'm not kidding!  The potatoes, eggs, and toast were well, as you would expect them to be.  Sorry, nothing special there.  I am not sure how many calories I consumed or how many pounds of food I devoured, but it left me feeling full and happy.

Whenever I get a craving for another hearty meal and a reasonable price I'll be back.
Carne Asada Burrito
Corned Beef Hash (Before)
Corned Beef Hash (After) 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Homemade Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm a guy who likes baking.  I'm also a guy who likes eating lots of cookies.  It works out nicely.

These are my favorite cookies in the world, and they are very simple to make.  The recipe is actually on the bottom of the lids of Quaker oatmeal canisters...shhhh it's a secret!

Here's the recipe: 

  • 1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup granulated sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon ground cinnamon (I use 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt (optional) (The butter I add is already salted, so I leave this out)
  • 3  cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1  cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 
Heat the oven to 350°F while you prepare the cookie dough.  Beat the butter and sugars together until creamy. Then add in the eggs and vanilla.  Add the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Lastly mix in the oats and chocolate chips until everything is incorporated evenly.  The dough may seem a little dry at first, but just keep mixing! 

Put the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet for baking.  The recipe calls for tablespoonfull sized cookies, but my cookies are usually on the heftier side. I usually just throw down some aluminum foil so I have less dishes to wash...cleanup is my least favorite part about cooking. 

The cookies bake for between 8-10 minutes according to the recipe, but my oven usually takes around 15 minutes.  Just be on standby and check the oven every couple minutes until the tops are a golden brown color, then you're ready to take them out for cooling.  Be patient!  Let the cookies cool before plating or they will likely just fall apart.  Enjoy!

The dough should look like this before

Now that's a cookie!


These are a meal all by themselves, no one-bite cookies here.

Lucille's BBQ

Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ
The District at Tustin Legacy
2550 Park Ave
Tustin, CA 92782
(714) 259-1227

Happy Birthday Traci!

Nothing attracts carnivores quite like the word "barbecue".  This restaurant is not for the faint of heart, the portions are huge, the water glasses are huge, the sweet biscuits are...well they're actually normal-sized but they are delicious!  Lucille's is famous for bringing southern-style bbq to the West Coast with a dining experience unlike anywhere else.  Be prepared to pig out if you decide to visit, and don't be afraid to put down the silverware and dive into your meal. 

Lunch at Lucille's feels almost like eating at a giant picnic table with your buddies.  Forget about glasses, the drinks here come in giant pickling jars!  Instead of bread for the table, they bring out warm, fresh-baked sweet biscuits with apple butter.  I didn't take any pictures of them but they are basically sweetened biscuits topped with sugar, served with apple-cinnamon butter on the side.  It might sound a bit strange, but don't knock it until you've tried it!  I usually manage to get pretty full on just biscuits alone...they're that good.  Then out come the entrees on huge white platters.  A dinner sized item will set you back around $20-27, but can easily serve two people.  I opted for the lunch portion this time and chose a bbq plate of baby back ribs, tri tip, and pulled pork with a side of roasted garlic mashed potatoes for only $15...not bad.  It's funny to look around the table and see everyone's faces light up as their food is set in front of them.  The conversation level at the table died down for about 10 minutes as we all devoured our meals, or tried to at least. Take home boxes were necessary.  The food was all very tasty and filling, I enjoyed it.  The tri tip being the favorite of the three meats I picked. Lucille's is by no means a fine dining upscale steakhouse, but the meat is flavorful and tender.  I'm sure I will be back again for another celebration with my friends in the near future.  Oh and when you leave, they don't give you peppermints or sticks of gum, you get a Tootsie Roll Pop...or two if you're like me!  Awesome!

Original, Memphis (more tangy), and Hot & Spicy BBQ
sauces to top your meal

Baby back ribs, tri tip, pulled pork, garlic mashed potatoes
(Left to right)

The aftermath


Chipotle Buy One Get One Free

If you are a Chipotle fan like myself, then you will appreciate the greatness of this promotion.  If you don't like 2-pound burritos bursting at the seams with meat, veggies, rice, beans, sour cream, lettuce, and salsa then well...I guess you probably will have no use for this coupon!  Anyway, Chipotle is promoting a new NBC show called America's Next Great Restaurant and giving away free menu items as an incentive to tune in.  Here's how to redeem your coupon:

1. Follow this link (you will need a Facebook account)
2. Like the "America's Next Great Restaurant" page
3. Watch the 90-second preview of the show
4. Print out your coupon
5. Go to Chipotle with a friend and save some money! 


Pho Lu

Pho Lu
10141 Westminster Ave
Ste 5

Garden GroveCA 92843
(714) 539-7979

While driving home from NorCal this weekend with my friends Sheila and Christine, we made a pitstop in Garden Grove for some dinner.  It was a gloomy day and what better way to fight the cold than with a piping hot bowl of rice noodles and beef broth? Add in some protein and it's a done deal.  Sheila recommended that we try Pho Lu, a place that she had eaten at several times before, and I, being starving, quickly agreed.  We walked in and were promptly seated and given our menus.  I went with a classic and got pho with meatballs, and then I went all out and upped the size to a was only $6, how could I not?  Sheila and Christine both got regular sized bowls (around $5).  The food came out within 5 minutes in three steaming bowls of noodly goodness.  The broth had a unique deep and rich flavor unlike any other pho I have tried.  It doesn't win an award as my favorite pho broth, but it was pretty tasty nonetheless.  The meatballs were flavorful and tender.  We asked the server if they could split the bill for us, but something was lost in translation because we still ended up with only one check.  The subtotal was $16 for all three of us, plus a $0.50 credit card fee, plus tax and tip brought the grand total to around $20 for three people...that's pretty hard to beat.  I walked out of the restaurant feeling full and satisfied with my first experience at Pho Lu.  If I am ever in the area again, however, I will probably try another one of the many pho joints that speckle Westminster Avenue before visiting this location for a second time.
Pho with beef meatballs (Phở bò viên)

Large bowl on the left, regular on the right