Sanamluang Cafe

A few nights ago we went to a Thai restaurant called Sanamluang Cafe in North Hollywood.  I love this place. I used to go there quite a bit but it’s been a good 4 years since my last visit. (Before moving back to the Valley we had been living/dog sitting two Rhodesian Ridgebacks in Laurel Canyon and then moved over to Beverly Hills Adjacent…that always sounds so douchey to me. Technically we were living off La Cienega and Robertson but it’s easier to say the former. )

This trip was extra fun because it was Seth’s first time and I got to be his guide to the wonderousness of Pork Floss and Jellyfish. YUP! Pork floss and jellyfish. I’ll get to that in a moment.

It’s located on Sherman Way close to Coldwater Canyon in a shopping center that makes you feel as though you were in the middle of Thai town.  To the left of the restaurant, in a small courtyard like area, there’s an insanely pretty shrine.

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There are also some neat sun faded signs outside of a market next door.

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Quick heads up, the lighting in my pictures is a bit interesting due to the plethora of neon lights decorating Sananluang. Actually, all of the decor is very interesting and downright funny sometimes.  In addition to neon and stainless steel everywhere it has lots of random artwork on the walls….and they seems to have a thing for horses.

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We sat on the patio. A good thing to be aware of is that this place is Cash Only and they don’t have a liquor license. While that’s a bit of a “womp-womp” it has surprisingly amazing hours 9am-3am and the prices are great. If you’re in the mood for a drink (either before or after) there’s a great Tiki bar (Tonga Hut) nearby that I would always stop at anytime I would go to Sanamluang.  Now that place has AMAZING decor, velvet paintings and everything. Fun!

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I’m a big texture person and that is a big factor as to my favorite dishes I always order.  The first is Hawaiin Fried Rice with “pork floss”.

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What the hell is pork floss? …is exactly what I asked myself the first time I saw it. I was so intrigued by it that instead of asking the waiter what it was I just blindly ordered it. It’s awesome. It looks almost like dry fiborous insulation you’d find in a wall.  Here’s Wikipedia’s description…

Bah-sang, also called meat wool, meat floss, pork floss, flossy pork, pork sung, or yuk sung, is a dried meat product with a light and fluffy texture similar to coarse cotton, originating from China.[1] Rousong is used as a topping for many foods, such as congee, tofu, and savory soy milk. It is also used as filling for various buns and pastries, and as a snack food on its own. Rousong is a very popular food item in Chinese cuisine and Taiwanese cuisine.

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Next up…JELLY FISH! 😀

They only have two dishes in their expansive menu that offers jelly fish as an ingredient. One is in a seafood salad and the other, which we got, is  Yen-Ta-Fo, a seafood soup. While the soup is pretty good it’s just not my favorite. It IS, however, definitely worth ordering at least once and if you love it more than I do, many more times. I mainly ordered it for the jelly fish and because Seth had never had it before. The soup is bright Pepto Bismol pink. Pretty jarring but delightful and it fits in with all the neon lighting.

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The jellyfish was not at all like how one may imagine. For one thing, there’s nothing jelly-like about it. It’s opaque in color and looks like a ribbony slippery sea sponge. When you bite into it it has a bouncy crunchy-ness. That’s the best I can do description wise. It’s such an interesting texture. I have no idea if jellyfish have a flavor of their own because it either doesn’t really and just absorbs flavors or you simply can’t taste it over the soup’s broth. Supposedly, it’s pretty good for you.

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The last thing we ordered and shared was something new for me. Since I dictated most of the meal I asked Seth to pick our 3rd dish. He chose Kai Tao Jeaw, steamed Hainan chicked topped with spicy ginger and black bean sauce.

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This was new for me too and didn’t look at all like how I expected.

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The chicken was insanely tender. I wasn’t sure how i’d feel about steamed chicken skin but that as well was so tender my fork easily cut through. I was expecting a dark sauce or at least beans that are black but Pfff…it was tasty, I didn’ care.

The only things I wasn’t crazy about were some random “salt pockets” as Seth called it. I LOVE salty but there were some bites that were a bit intense even for me. It also said spicy ginger on the menu but there was nothing spicy about it.  Maybe they didn’t think our baby mouths could handle it. We love our spicy.

Other than that it was really good. Tangy and citrusy (very tangy,…I drooled a bit) and the ginger was refreshing.

The service was good. This was the slowest I had ever seen it. Normally, it’s pretty packed and as a result the service slows down understandably (I saw some people bitching about it on Yelp).  Meh.

Overall, I love this place.

On the way out I had to take a picture of the street lamps they have in the parking lot. They crack me up.

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“Creepy Cats” ….”Awkward Cats”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally, I named this series “Creepy Cats”. Just sounded catchy. After having conversations with people it seems it’s more appropriate for it to be titled “Awkward Cats” as the cats themselves aren’t necessarily that creepy but more so that they simply make the viewer feel awkward…and/or laugh a lot. I know I do and that’s why I painted them. It’s a good thing I don’t have to come up with descriptions of my art pieces for galleries.

(*Aaah, when I had created my Facebook page for my art shenanigans I posted a poll in which my “fans” could vote for the next project I had to undertake. I listed one option “Creepy Cats” without really knowing 100% what it would entail….and funny enough it was the winner and this is what ensued…)

CreepyCat

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Trip! Dublin

From Ibiza we headed over to Ireland! Ireland is especially dear to me. While i’m a bit of a mutt (and proud of it) my family connects most closely with our Irish heritage and upbringing. Our family on my Dad’s side (via my Oma/Grandmother) originates from County Cork. For this trip we stayed in Dublin solely but we do plan on returning for County Cork and Galway. :3

We struck up many random conversations in Ireland. I’m introverted by nature but everyone we encountered was beyond charming and lovingly quirky and I couldn’t help engaging any chance we got.  In these conversations Seth seemed to have fun informing people that my family comes from County Cork and the reaction was almost always the same, “Aaah, where the rebels and freedom fighters are from.”  Seth: “Makes sense!”  >:D

We used Airbnb for Dublin and stayed at the apartment of a college student who was returning home to the states to visit her family. Here’s the exterior on James Joyce Street…

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The rest of the pictures pick up after we got settled in …..

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chunky chips and chili mayo with Trouble Brewing...Dark Arts Porter

chunky chips and chili mayo with Trouble Brewing…Dark Arts Porter

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Knobs and Knockers Hahahaha!!!

Knobs and Knockers Hahahaha!!!

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Molly Malone

Molly Malone

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Lunch...

Lunch…

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DUBLIN DISTILLERY

The original structure of the Jameson Distillery below our feet. Over 300 years old.

The original structure of the Jameson Distillery below our feet. Over 300 years old.

At the Jameson Distillery you can get a flight of their different whiskeys. I had no idea at the time they had such variety!

At the Jameson Distillery you can get a flight of their different whiskeys. I had no idea at the time they had such variety!

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James bottle chandelier

Jameson bottle chandelier

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Just like it says, Oldest pub in Ireland.

Just like it says, Oldest pub in Ireland.

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Once you walk through the entry this is what you see

Once you walk through the entry this is what you see

we hung a right into this bar area and sat near this fireplace

we hung a right into this bar area and sat near this fireplace

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Picture of Michael Collins

Picture of Michael Collins

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BEST IRISH STEW EVAHR!!! I didn't get the exact recipe but one damn close to it >;D

BEST IRISH STEW EVAHR!!! I didn’t get the exact recipe but one damn close to it >;D ….and that butter OooOooOoh!

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"Could I Be Art?" Such a great idea

“Could I Be Art?” Such a great idea

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They also had free Scrabble!!

They also had free Scrabble!!

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Everyone was singing and dancing! I couldn't hold the camera still!

Everyone was singing and dancing! I couldn’t hold the camera still!

 

Bike Path: Seth’s Perspective

Seth borrowed my bike the other day (he had to raise the seat as high as it goes) when I got back from work. At the end of our street is Lake Balboa/Balboa Park. The bike path I take cuts up and around part of the park before a nearly straight shoot to the street I take up to my job. Seth rode near Balboa and took these two pictures. It’s easy to forget we’re living in the middle of the Valley.

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Trip! Ibiza

On to Ibiza!! Ibiza is an island off the coast of Spain (about 49 miles). This stunning island became a vacation away from our vacation. Between all the scrambling and packing of spending a day or two here and there and running (literally sometimes) to catch flights, this was a nice, mellow, and relaxing change of pace.  We used Airbnb again and couldn’t have been happier.

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Our Airbnb patio

Our Airbnb patio

The view from our patio

The view from our patio

Breakfast. Toasted bread rubbed with olive oil and tomatoes with salty salmon on top....and beer of course. It's a vacation after all.

Breakfast. Toasted bread rubbed with olive oil and tomatoes with salty salmon on top….and beer of course. It’s a vacation after all.

The owner of the place we stayed via Airbnb, Pablo, also owned his own rental car company and offered to give us rides anytime he was around. Which we only took advantage of a couple times to the airport and back, one trip to a supermarket,  and when Pablo drove us into town so we could check out the clubs. We didn’t want to put him out at all and when he asked what time we’d like him to pick us up we just said, “whatever’s good for you” (thinking maybe midnight). “Ok! How about 4am?”  @_@  Pablo knows how to party.

We were conveniently located next to a cute airy restaurant (called “Stop” I think). So, we had fun walking over for some occasional tapas and such, like my first breakfast in Ibiza (pictured above).

One of my favorite pleasures in life....runny eggs. Mmm

One of my favorite pleasures in life….runny eggs. Mmm

It was a bit of a hike but Seth and I would walk to the beach each day we were there. Turns out this beach was A-OK with boobies so just a warning, you may find some boobage.  I’ll be honest, I considered what’d it’d be like going topless for a second and decided it wasn’t for me….nor did I want that kind of sunburn to deal with.

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View from a restraurant/shop at the beach

View from a restraurant/shop at the beach

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(Above: Same view, picture on the right is taken through Seth’s polarized sunglasses)

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 beer, olives & pickles, chorizo, mussels & bell pepper relish, and bread with a garlic spread. (Stop Cafe)


beer, olives & pickles, chorizo, mussels & bell pepper relish, and bread with a garlic spread. (Stop Cafe)

Blurry picture of the restaurant next door.

Blurry picture of the restaurant next door.

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Pablo's dog, Darwin, hung out with us a lot. :3

Pablo’s dog, Darwin, hung out with us a lot. :3

Air drying some much needed laundry

Air drying some much needed laundry (I snuck this picture haha!) >:D

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The owner had Tom and Jerry magnets on his fridge. After watching a cat slink into the hole on the right i'm pretty sure I know why.

The owner had Tom and Jerry magnets on his fridge. After watching a cat slink into the hole on the right i’m pretty sure I know why.

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After catching a ride into town we just happened to stumble upon the International Music Summit

After catching a ride into town we just happened to stumble upon the International Music Summit

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Olives & Sangria

The waitress at this place brought us out free limoncella shots

The waitress at this place brought us out free limoncella shots

Crane game!

Crane game!

SANKY'S

SANKY’S

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Bike Path: Rosemary?!

Along side my bike path are border bushes or little hedges I suppose I should call them. The types of plants change along the way but one day I had noticed that one stretch of bushery looked a lot like rosemary. I thought, “naaah” and kept biking. A week or so goes by and city workers were trimming all the shrubbery and as I biked past…ROSEMARY!! Rosemary was thick in the air!! Hachi Pachi!!

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Unfortunately, the following signs are occasionally posted on a fence that separates the bike path from the Metro bus way.  So, I suppose I won’t be partaking…

WOMP WOMP >:/

WOMP WOMP >:/

LAME

Nikujaga 肉じゃが

I’ve surprised myself with how few “FOOD” posts I’ve made. That will be changing soon. I’ll also be working on getting better pictures. I’m currently relying on my cell phone which is still relatively new. We’re still getting to know each other….especially through auto-correct.

Seth poured his Nikujaga over rice sprinkled with Sriracha and Furikake.

Seth poured his Nikujaga over rice sprinkled with Sriracha and Furikake.

 

I made Nikujaga in my Crock Pot recently. I love the idea (and taste!) of Nikujaga. It’s a super comfort food that literally means “meat” and “potato” and is such a comfort food that you typically don’t find it in most restraunts in Japan AND it’s something that is closely linked with “Mom”.  ❤ Aww

Crock Pots...just pour it in and walk away. Much like "dropping the mic and walking away".

Crock Pots…just pour it in and walk away. Much like “dropping the mic and walking away”.

My future mother-in-law is half Japanese (Her mother was from Sendai) and on occasion would cook Homey Japanese meals, like Nikujaga, for her three boys. Seth didn’t necessarily take these meals for granted but assumed everyone ate like this until he was older. As a result we’ve been having these cute moments where I’ll randomly pick a Japanese meal to make and when I tell Seth I get an, “Oh? That sounds good.” and after seeing the ingredients and tasting the meal he has these moments similar to the movie Ratatouille, in which, his mind is blown, “Heeeey!! I used to eat this when I was a kid!!”.  ME: “Really? What did you guys call it?”  SETH: “Uhh, I don’t know. Nothing really. Meaty stew? Ricey wrapper stuff?”

The last two meals we’ve had this happen with were Inarizushi and Golden Curry.

Aaaanyways! I’ve been very antsy to use my Crock Pot and found a Nikujaga recipe for it. The one I found on Pinterest I think uses ALOT of sugar (i’m cutting it back next time).  It also says to dice the onion but I love  having everything in choppy hearty chunks. I wanted something quick and easy at the time, hence the Crock Pot, and this tasted great. It had big cubes of stewing beef that are so tender they shred and fall apart and blend in with the tender potatoes and flavor soaked carrots. It is on the sweet side but with the soy sauce and sake to balance with it creates an umami savoriness. Savory is definitely the word for it. Super easy and quick to prepare!

You can find the recipe HERE

Another thing I love about this meal is how creative you can get with it. It’s so basic and simple but there are so many personal twists you can give it.

Next time I want to make a stove top version with thinly sliced beef, dashi stock, and shirataki noodles to go along with the potato, carrots, and maybe some green beans or snow peas.  Similar to the recipe found here  www.justonecookbook.com

Nikujaga 肉じゃが Recipe | JustOneCookbook.com