Nom Nom Paleo

Paleo Eats: 7/15/12 (2012 CrossFit Games Day 3)

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We woke up late this morning. This would normally be a good thing, but it was the final day of the CrossFit Games, and the morning’s events were already starting. My hubby threw some clothes on the kids while I packed nuts, leftover kabobs, steamed vegetables, and lettuce-wrapped roast beef tacos to take to the Games. 

By the time we arrived at HDC and snagged our seats, the women were already finishing the Double Banger workout. The women are amazing and inspiring, but I do enjoy watching shirtless guys muscle their way through the grueling events.

The final team competition was fast and furious…

…but by the time Ute CrossFit celebrated their victory, the Double-Os had melted in the sun.

My hubby elected to stay (and burn to a crisp) in the stadium while the kids and I made our way to the Reebok Oasis tent. There, I parked us on a couch next to other mommies with kids. In the cool shade of the air-conditioned tent, the Double-Os and I ate the food I brought from the hotel while we pored over the pretty graphics and tantalizing recipes in Diane’s preview copy of Practical Paleo.

In between all this action, I watched Annie and Rich recapture their titles as the Fittest People In Our Solar System on the boob tube…

…but the Double-Os were more interested in playing with my iPhone.

 After the Games concluded, we hugged our friends goodbye and pinky swore to reunite next month in Boston for the Ancestral Health Symposium.

On a whim, I called up my sister and announced that we’d be arriving at her house in 30 minutes. When we showed up at her doorstep, my brother-in-law had already refrigerated some aloe leaves from his garden that we slathered over our burned arms and legs.

My brother-in-law grows EVERYTHING. I used to invite myself to my sister’s just to eat her terrific cooking, but these days, my BIL’s concoctions are an equally compelling draw. Last week, when we stopped by for a few minutes on our way down to the OC, he fried us up some hot dogs he made out of grass fed beef short ribs, and sliced us some homemade salumi. Not to be outdone, my sister made us some delicious chicken liver pate, carrot salad, and pickled kohlrabi.

And before we head back on the road, they’re going to load us up with batches of charcuterie, smoked meats, and kimchee. We obviously need to drop by more often.

For dinner, we all drove to  The Laxy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo. 

The menu items are meant to be shared family-style, so we each picked an appealing vegetable and meat dish. The descriptions for each plate are somewhat vague, so unless you’re up for an unexpected surprise, be sure to specifically ask about hidden gluten.

We started with a stone fruit salad with whipped goat cheese (there were croutons mixed in that we left uneaten)…

…grilled cabbage salad…

…spicy caramelized cauliflower…

…braised short ribs with fried rabbit liver (gluten in the batter — but tasty!) over mashed potatoes and kale…

…pork chop with barbecue sauce over mashed spuds and mushrooms…

…and a braised lamb shank over mashed potatoes and chard.

The dining room at Laxy Ox Canteen is noisy, which is perfect for breeders with tots in tow. Our meal here with my sis and brother-in-law was a lovely way to cap off our trip in SoCal.

Plus, Paul from Primal Pastures hand-delivered two frozen, freshly processed pastured chickens to our hotel to bring back home with us.

It might just be the best parting gift ever. (Other than the grub we’re getting from my sister and BIL!)

Paleo Eats: 7/12/12

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Lazy morning. The kids were up bright and early — it was the Double-O’s last chance to hang out with S & B’s girls — but none of us were in any rush to pack up and go. Our hosts have spoiled us these past few days, and if put to a vote, I have a sneaking suspicion some of my family members would elect to stay indefinitely.

For breakfast, I whipped up some omelets stuffed with B’s homemade keema, a traditional Indian spiced minced meat dish. (Never fear — B wrote down her recipe for me, so I’ll be posting my adaptation soon enough!)

After reluctantly stowing our luggage back into the trunk of our car, we headed out of town — but not before making a pitstop at the local Mother’s Market & Kitchen. The boys grabbed some snacks and greedily feasted on free samples in the produce aisle…

…while I nabbed a bottle of coconut aminos. Why, you ask?

Because we were off to Torrance, home of a bazillion incredible Japanese restaurants, and I needed a Paleo-friendly sub for soy sauce. Both Honda and Toyota have their U.S. headquarters here (and are the top two employers in the city), so it stands to reason that there are plenty of insanely great Japanese eats in town.

Before the kids were born — and waaay before we started eating Paleo — Fitbomb and I had often dined at Sanuki No Sato in neighboring Gardena. Nostalgia dictated that we revisit the joint today. But once I took a look at their menu, it all came rushing back to me — we used to come here for the restaurant’s specialty: steaming bowls of udon and soba. D’oh! 

Luckily, Sanuki No Sato also serves up sashimi, so my hubby and I split the largest platter available on the menu.

I fished the bottle of liquid umami out of my purse and cracked it open…

…and we dipped fresh slices of pristine sashimi in it.

Our sashimi lunch was served with a cup of chawanmushi, a silky and savory egg custard.

(Wanna make your own at home? I’ve got a simple recipe for a Paleo chawanmushi in my iPad app!)

After lunch, we stopped by the Whole Foods in Torrance to stock up on more grub to bring to the CrossFit Games this weekend.

We filled up our cart with roast beef, veggies, fruit, kombucha, and — most importantly — chocolate…

…only to discover that we could barely cram all our loot into the teeny fridge in our hotel room. Good thing Fitbomb's a Tetris stud.

While the Double-Os spent a leisurely evening with their dad in our hotel room eating takeout from the neighboring Mitsuwa Market and zoning out in front of the boob tube…

…I managed to escape to Salt’s Cure for a meat-tastic dinner with some of my favorite Paleo blogger pals: Diane (Balanced Bites), George (Civilized Caveman Cooking Creations), and Bill and Hayley (The Food Lovers’ Kitchen).

The menu at this tiny West Hollywood spot changes daily. Diners scrutinize the new items scrawled on the illuminated chalkboard on the wall before making their choices.

We all shared an assortment of charcuterie…

…that came with a zingy house-made mustard.

We also split a plate o’ pickles…

…and the grass fed beef carpaccio appetizer. 

For my main dish, I ordered the braised short ribs. When the meat arrived, I saw that it was accompanied by some broiled zucchini (yay!) and a big dollop of grits (not so yay). I’ve never been a huge fan of sofkee, so I didn’t eat the mushy maize. The short ribs themselves, however, were tender and flavorful, and dusted with finely-grated horseradish. (The sweet-and-savory bites of pork chop that I “borrowed” from Diane’s plate were even better!)

Don’t fret, my vegetable-loving friends — we didn’t just eat meat. The five of us also shared a bunch of veggie side dishes.

Supper was fantastic: great company, well sourced and prepared grub, and stellar service. I had a great time catching up with camera-shy Diane (whose book, Practical Paleo, is dropping next month!); the blissfully in love Primal cuties Bill and Hayley

…and George, the sharp Marine with a heart that’s even bigger than his impressive social media savvy.

I love these guys. After hours of gabbing, we begrudgingly left the restaurant ‘cause Jimmy Kimmel was patiently waiting for table. (No, I didn’t bother the man for an autograph, but in retrospect, I should’ve at least told him how much I admired his diabolically funny Natalie Maines/Adam Carolla prank.)

Okay, folks. It’s late, and I gotta get some shuteye so I’ll be (somewhat) alert at the CrossFit Games tomorrow. Hope to see you there!

Paleo Eats: 3/3/12

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I’m back home but I’m wiped out from traveling solo with the kids. Mad props to all you single parents out there…

When I woke up in SoCal this morning, my sister whipped up another rib-sticking Paleo breakfast for everyone: baked bacon, sauteed kale and ‘shrooms, boiled eggs, and baked sweet potatoes.

We spent our last morning at my sister’s place swinging on the hammock in the backyard before heading to Forage for lunch. This casual, order-at-the-counter locavore spot offers a wide variety of salads, proteins, and sweets. Many of the salads come tossed with bread crumbs and cheese so read the ingredient list carefully before ordering. I eat dairy on occasion so I only steered clear of the gluten.

My lunch plate consisted of grilled flank steak with tomatillo salsa; roasted beets and chopped egg salad with New Zealand spinach, chives and dijon mustard vinaigrette; and tangerine and baby red carrot salad with dandelion greens, olives, feta, and ginger dressing.

I wish there were places like this in my nabe.

Afterwards, I grabbed all of our stuff (and a care package of my brother-in-law’s special smoked turkey thighs) and we headed to the airport. The flight was uneventful and we got home before dark.

For dinner back in our homecave, I reheated a pot of beefy bone broth with dried shiitake mushrooms, lancinato kale, and cabbage…

…and sliced up some smoked turkey.

As much as I love visiting my sister and being spoiled by her incredible cooking and hospitality, there really is no place like home.

Paleo Eats: 3/2/12

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For breakfast, my sis whipped up baked eggs over spicy sauteed vegetables.

Seriously, I could make this a habit. I chowed my baked eggs and veggies with nuked Japanese yam and sliced avocado.

After our bellies were full, we drove to the La Brea Tar Pits to check out the bubbling black goo, animatronic growling animals, and fossils. By the time we were finished strolling the grounds, all of us were famished.

We drove to the Farmers’ Market at Fairfax and Third for lunchtime chow. Although this place is called the Original Farmer’s Market, it’s really a semi-coverered arcade of restaurants and stores that sell nibbles and tchotchkes. Although there are lots of vendors selling sweet treats and grains, you can find lots of tasty Paleo-friendly options. Per my sister’s advice, I decided to grab my grub at Loteria Grill, a casual Mexican joint.  

I opted for the probadita — a sampler platter of 12 of their tacos but I asked for them sans corn tortillas and added an extra side of guacamole. Truly tasty eats but I literally had a plate with just 12 bites.

When we returned to my sister’s house, we all spent some time in their garden soaking in the rays. Big-O and his uncle harvested veggies for our dinner…

…and I played Legos with the little guy.

At dinnertime, my sister made Chinese roast pork(!)…

…stir-fried the veggies from the garden…

…and tossed a salad fresh from the garden.

So delicious.

The boys and I are mopey that we’re leaving tomorrow. Good thing we’ll be back in July to watch the CrossFit Games. Is it wrong that I’m looking forward to my sister’s cooking more so than watching the Games?

Paleo Eats: 3/1/12

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Yay! The boys and I made it safely to Los Angeles without too much drama and all our limbs intact. It was exhausting herding the Double-O’s through the airport but that’s because I was muy sleep deprived. As my sister chauffeured us to her place, she asked whether I was crazy or masochistic to travel solo with the boys on my flip day. My answer? Dude, it was definitely two for two.

When I woke up this morning, I reheated some leftovers from last night’s supper: Momofuku chicken thighs (cold-smoked, braised in pork fat, and seared) and roasted broccoli.

This delicious dish is one of many reasons why I love visiting my chef sister.

I’ve written before about my brother-in-law’s urban garden but the bounty is amazing. Although Spring hasn’t arrived quite yet, they’ve got fresh organic produce up the wazoo.

Since the Double-O’s were being a bit too Lennie Small with my sister’s kitties, we took them out to Griffith Park to blow off steam.

We all rode on the kiddie train, scrambled around the playground, and the boys impersonated cowboys on wee ponies.

For lunch, we stopped by Umami Burger

…where I ordered an Umami burger sans bun.

Not totally Paleo (e.g. parmesan crisp, umami ketchup, etc.) but it was a tasty burger regardless. The patty was kind of small for my humongous appetite but luckily I’d gobbled up a nuked Japanese yam before we left the house.

When we arrived back at my sister’s place, my brother-in-law was busy smoking ribs and Big-O’s favorite turkey thighs.

I couldn’t resist gobbling up some smoked goodness and homemade salumi…

…before my sis and I left for Gail Simmon’s book release party for Eating With My Mouth Full. How I got an invite to this party is beyond my comprehension. Heck, the craziest thing I do at night these days is blog with the T.V. on. I’m so damn square.

Red Medicine was packed with folks eager to eat, imbibe, and schmooze. We nibbled on tasty haute Vietnamese cuisine as we chatted with Cuong and Vo of Red Boat Fish Sauce (the hosts of the event) and spied on Gail, Chris Cosentino, Colin Hanks, Busy Phillips, and luminaries of the blogosphere.

I even left with a goodie bag. 

I felt so L.A. and I liked it.

On another note, thank you so much for nominating me in the category of Best Food Photography on a Blog in The 2012 Homies.  It’s an honor to be nominated and the credit for the prettiness of this blog unequivocally goes to my talented hubby, Fitbomb. (Okay, that last sentence totally sounds so L.A. but I’m dead serious about feeling gratitude towards all of you.)

Thanks for your support and if I move on to the finals (announcement coming tomorrow, March 2nd), I want to thank you in advance for your future votes. Paleo FTW!

Eating Out Paleo: Jar Restaurant (Los Angeles, CA)

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I love Jar Restaurant, Suzanne Tracht’s delicious, extremely Paleo-friendly chophouse in Los Angeles. The setting’s swanky yet relaxed so it was the perfect spot for a bunch of virtual friends to bond and become real ones. 

Okay, the previous sentence was super cheesy (and dairy’s bad per Dr. Pedro Bastos) but it’s appropriate. Without a doubt, the best part of AHS11 has been connecting face to face with awesome folks. 

Let’s get back to the food…

I hate to admit that when I first ate at Jar a few years ago, I was PISSED that the sides came separately and the menu was so meat-centric. How dare they charge me extra for some mashed potatoes! I’m entitled to those carbs, dang it! 

Oh, silly Nom Nom.

Now that I’m an elightened cavegirl, I’m so thankful you can order a scrumptious and satisfying Paleo meal here without jumping through hoops. The menu is divided into starters, proteins, and sides and you assemble your favorite combination. The grilled meats are fantastic but Suzanne Tracht is legendary for her braises and they aren’t to be missed.

So what did Fitbomb and I order?

We started with crab deviled eggs…

… and Maine lobster cocktail with mango, harissa, lemongrass, and ginger.

The tastiness continued with a giant, fork-tender pork leg shank braised with apples and Calvados…

…and their deservedly legendary pot roast with carrots and caramelized onions.

You can’t have your meat without your veggies, so we also shared plates of braised Brussels sprouts…

…and long-cooked black kale.

Everything was remarkably delicious. Jar just might be my favorite caveman-compatible restaurant in Hell-Ay!

Eating Out: Animal Restaurant (Los Angeles, CA)

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Animal Restaurant is Jon Shook and Vinnie Dotolo’s gem of a restaurant in Los Angeles. They serve a variety of animal parts from a wide spectrum of species and all the dishes are at once creative yet comforting.

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Henry and I came here tonight with Melissa & Dallas (of Whole9), Melicious (of The Clothes Make The Girl) and Dave. Together, we ordered two-thirds of the entire menu — even doubles (sliders!) and triples (marrow!) of certain dishes. We were all on a mass gain protocol.

The menu clearly states: “changes and modifications politely declined” so we just ordered everything that looked tasty, even if there were non-Paleo ingredients. Stop gasping — when it’s worth it, you indulge, then jump right back onto the Paleo bandwagon.

Here’s a quick rundown of what we ate:

Seared foie gras over a biscuit and maple sausage gravy…

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…foie gras terrine, boysenberry jam, and rose geranium gastrique…

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…grilled chicken hearts, baba ghanoush, yogurt, tomato, and flat bread…

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…chicken liver toast…

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…coconut sweetbreads, raita, mango, and tamarind…

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…shrimp and rabbit sausage spring roll, eggplant, sprouts, and grain curry…

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…marrow bone, chimichurri, and caramelized onions…

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…veal brains, vadouvan, apple sauce, and carrot…

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…crispy pig’s head, pickled vegetables, and aioli…

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…pig ear, chili, lime, and fried egg…

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…pig tails, “buffalo style,” celery, and ranch dressing…

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…barbecue pork belly sliders and slaw…

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…flat iron, artichoke hash, and truffle parmesan fondue…

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…Alaskan halibut, corn, wild fennel, cherry tomatoes, and lobster butter…

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…balsamic pork ribs, tomato & cucumber panzanella…

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…crispy rabbit legs, meyer lemon aioli, and green beans…

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…bacon chocolate crunch bar, salt and pepper ice cream…

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…and berries, vanilla custard, lavender crumble, and opal basil.

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The chow was AWESOME but the company was even better! I love nomming with adventurous eaters, especially those who are sharp, funny, and warm.

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We spent three-and-a-half hours laughing, sharing stories, and gobbling up liver, heart, sweetbreads, tail, head, and a good amount of SUGAR, GLUTEN, & DAIRY. I savored every bite ‘cause you can’t live like an animal, especially if you’re eating at Animal.

I can’t wait to return to this restaurant!

Dining Out Paleo: El Buen Gusto (Los Angeles, CA)

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For our last dinner in Los Angeles, we hit up El Buen Gusto, which is just a stone’s throw from my sister’s place. It’s a simple, no frills family-friendly restaurant that serves up Salvadoran and Mexican dishes.

I ordered the carne asada with onions and two eggs over medium.

I asked the waiter to hold my beans and rice and I ordered an extra side of guacamole.

The guac was thinner and more watery than I like. My meal was rib sticking but I’ve definitely had better.