This past weekend, my friend Sly celebrated a birthday, and in her honor, I baked Ina Garten’s impeccable Carrot and Pineapple Cake. It was actually the second time in three weeks that I’ve made the recipe for a birthday, which is significant only because the first time around, I couldn’t help but feel like Ina’s cream cheese frosting was a little… off.
Avid readers of this blog know that I think Ina Garten is basically flawless, but here’s the hardcore truth: the Barefoot Contessa cream cheese frosting veers way too closely into buttercream territory. In fact, it’s barely tangy at all. There, I SAID IT.
Nevertheless, as I prepared to bake Sly’s very own carrot cake, I wanted to learn from Ina’s missteps. I was determined to create a batch of cream cheese frosting that was tangy and amazing and decadent enough to be worthy of Sly.
I’m happy to report that I not only achieved this, but I actually knocked it out of the park. This was the best cream cheese frosting I’ve ever made, and Sly herself even proclaimed it was the best she’d tasted. There’s no great science to it, but with a variety of cream cheese frosting recipes online, I think it’s important that someone drive a flag into the ground and declare that the Internet search is over: THIS is the only cream cheese frosting recipe you’ll ever need.
It’s October, and among the fall pleasures in Los Angeles is Oktoberfest, that German celebration of the harvest or beer or who knows what. The point is that I have Germany on the mind, which means this is a great opportunity to revisit a restaurant my friends and I dropped by over the summer: Berlin Currywurst.
Ardent readers of this blog may remember that I happily visited the Silver Lake location of “Berlin Currywurst” on its opening day two and a half years ago. Since then, the plucky sausage shop has expanded into fresh new digs in Hollywood, taking over an old BBQ joint on Cahuenga and adding on a biergarten. There really aren’t enough outdoor biergartens in this city, and so it was with high hopes that I assembled a crew of people to head to Berlin Currywurst for an afternoon of beer, sausage, and outdoorsiness.
There’s only one podcast on earth that can discuss the government shutdown, Britney Spears’s new video, and Moby Dick without skipping a beat. We discuss all that and more on this latest episode of “Banter with Ben and Lisa.” Also going into the banter blender: “Gravity,” ghost tours of Savannah, biker gangs, Grand Theft Auto V, and what your Facebook status updates might say about you. Plus, more etiquette lessons from 1888. Come listen!
This week on “Banter with Ben and Lisa,” Ben Mandelker (bsideblog.com) and Lisa Timmons (twitter.com/timmonslisa) give pop culture a big bear hug. First, Ben discusses his recent trip to Portland and shares passages from an 1888 etiquette book he found at Powell’s Bookstore. Then the two talk about Nate Burleson of the Detroit Lions and his pizza-related injury. After that, it’s a mix of the Emmys, Jon Gosselin, and lessons about parquet floors. Come listen!
Also, remember to sign up with godaddy.com and use the promo code “banter” at checkout to get a .com for only $1.99! This is a cray cray deal, and you should really use it people. Two bucks for a dotcom? Amazing. Just click here!
This week on “Banter with Ben and Lisa,” Ben Mandelker (bsideblog.com) and Lisa Timmons (socialitelife.com) discuss a harrowing tale of courage and adventure on the violent waters of Nantucket. Electronics were destroyed, memories were made. Then we discuss “The Conjuring” and another similarly intense piece of cinema: “The Lion King.” All that and plenty of other tangents. Come listen!
On this week’s “Banter with Ben and Lisa,” we talk babies: from Prince George Alexander to North West. We then check in on Brody Jenner’s clash with stepmom Kris Jenner and discuss the latest craziness in Amanda Bynes’ life. Plus, we read a seething piece of hate mail from a Fox News viewer. Always fun!
Kobawoo House in Koreatown is hardly a discovery. The place has been packing in eager diners for years and years, with hungry patrons lining up to taste the restaurant’s famed pork belly bossam (not to mention the expert seafood pancake also found on the menu). What exactly is bossam? It’s basically meat that gets rolled up in pickled radish or cabbage. That’s the simplistic, white-man’s version at least. Don’t worry — I have pictures.
This week on “Banter with Ben and Lisa,” Ben Mandelker (bsideblog.com) and Lisa Timmons (@timmonslisa) talk extensively about such pop culture failures as Lindsay Lohan, Tara Reid, and Hoku. Who’s Hoku? Exactly. Along the way, we naturally tackle racist controversies from Paula Deen and Big Brother 15, and revisit one of our favorite movies, “Jurassic Park,” yet again. Come listen!
Earlier this week, I brought you tales of classic mojitos. Now I come to you with a variation on the theme. Introducing the jalapeño green tea mojito, a cocktail invented by my friend Sly and me and patterned after the wonderful green tea mojito, which was also featured on this here blog (with me in a Vanilla Ice costume, no less).
After the jump, check out this very special Quaff — special because my parents were present for the entire experience…
For about a year and a half, I’ve been wanting to try Beijing Pie House — a Chinese eatery in the heart of Monterey Park, CA. The restaurant boasts dumplings the shape of overgrown hockey pucks that squirt searingly hot liquid at the most benign of pokes, and as we all know, benign poking is truly my forte. Nevertheless, while it took me many months to finally visit BPH (as I’ve decided to call it), I finally gathered up a group of friends, including Sly and Abe, and headed East for a dumpling-tastic adventure.
Our group entered the restaurant tentatively — not because we feared what was inside but more because it was so deathly silent we momentarily assumed we had wandered into a library or perhaps funeral home. Not only was there no music, but the diners all spoke in hushed tones, almost as if the bright fluorescent lighting had beaten them into submission. I suppose I naturally assumed the restaurant would be loud and convivial as patrons burned their tongues and lips and chins with scalding hot dumpling liquid. But no. If people were in pain, they bore the brunt of it in steely silence.