Who dat??!


Ahhh Mardi Gras. That famously unofficial holiday that conjures up visions of 10 cent beaded necklaces being tossed in the air, Cajun & Creole food, endless glasses of Pat’s Hurricanes, street musicians on every corner and well, “generous” women unashamed to reveal their womanhood to strangers. Umm, yeah. Did you know Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday” in French) actually comes from Catholicism? The Wednesday following Mardi Gras is “Ash Wednesday” which is the beginning of Lent. Basically, Lent is a roughly 40-day period in late-winter/early spring where Catholics worldwide begin a period of fasting in preparation of the commemoration of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection culminating on Easter. The fasting can be in the form of giving up certain foods like chocolate, soda or meat. One might give up watching TV, using Facebook or texting. Also, one can choose to take on things like praying more, exercising, going to church more or cooking more instead of eating out. Anyway, Fat Tuesday is a day for “fattening” up before Lent. I get the sense that many people don’t know what the origins of Mardi Gras are.

Having been to New Orleans, I almost feel obligated every year to eat something Cajun, Creole or native to New Orleans on Mardi Gras. My wife and I have already been to Stevie’s Creole Cafe in Encino (a little pricey) so, I found a food truck that happened to be close by (called “Slap Yo Mama” truck…not joking!) serving a couple N’awlins favorites: po’ boy sandwiches and gumbo. We ordered Cajun shrimp & catfish po’ boys, a bowl of gumbo (with crawfish, crab legs, shrimp & chicken) with mac & cheese and cornbread. Oh. Yes. The gumbo & catfish po’ boy were especially tasty. Hit the spot. Time to start saving up for our next trip to The Big Easy!!

Cajun shrimp po' boy from Slap Yo Mama truck

Catfish po' boy from Slap Yo Mama truck

Seafood & chicken gumbo from Slap Yo Mama truck



Because I can


Evening all. So another weekend of eating comes to a close. My regular after-church dinner tonight consisted of a visit to a trendy ethnic place in Culver City called Pho Show (a take on the slang for “for sure” pronounced “fo’ show“) with my wife Melissa, brother-in-law Mark and good friend Diane. When Pho Show first opened a couple years ago, they served mostly what their name suggests, Vietnamese pho soup. If you haven’t had pho and you’re a soup or ethnic food-lover, you must try! This place is nicer than most places you’d normally get pho from which are usually mom & pop Vietnamese restaurants where English is a second language. Nothing against those places at all because the food is usually super-cheap and mostly delicious. Anyway, at Pho Show, you’ll find more fashionable decor with cool lounge music playing and prices that are a wee bit higher. I hadn’t been here in a long time, so I was pleasantly surprised to see they significantly expanded their menu. So for starters, we ordered a “chef’s choice” appetizer combo which meant the chef picked 3 random appetizers for us. We got Thai beef satay skewers, pot stickers w/spicy citrus soy sauce and shrimp spring rolls w/peanut sauce.

Thai beef skewers, pot stickers and shrimp spring rolls

All were well-executed. The others ordered a few dishes to share, one of which was a favorite of mine: salt & pepper fish. I snagged a piece while they weren’t looking…YUM! If you like seafood, ask for this dish next time you get Chinese (and not at Panda Express). It most likely won’t be on the menu, but just ask them to do a salt and pepper deep fried fish fillet. Basically the same thing they do with shrimp or calamari (which usually is on the menu) but instead with pieces of cod or other white, flaky fish. Every sit-down Chinese place we’ve been to has made it for us even if it wasn’t on the menu. So I glanced at the big, black chalkboard on the wall to see what the specials were. I noticed something odd: steak. Not just any steak, they were serving New York strip, T-bone and filet mignon! Huh?? I took a long look at the menu again but couldn’t stop thinking about treating my taste buds to a nice, juicy steak so, I went for it: T-bone cooked medium w/black pepper sauce. It was no perfectly-cooked steak from my favorite steak place Fleming’s, but it sure hit the spot. It came with a big scoop of fluffy fried rice. Being Filipino, I appreciated that. Anyway, it was a very good meal. I left feeling satisfied.

Salt & pepper fish

T-bone steak & fried rice

I realize my recent posts have basically been reviews of food establishments but, I promise that’s not all I’ll be blogging about. Bear with me as I continue to figure things out. It will be a work-in-progress for a little while at least. Your feedback is always appreciated!

Thanks for reading. Please comment and don’t forget to share my blog with your friends!

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” —-Virginia Woolf

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