Megan’s Mailbag!

Readers-

If you have any tips, ideas, or other things for me and my blog, please post a comment or send me an email at megan@southbayfood.com.  I will check my mail as much as possible, and I will be making sure your ideas are accomplished.  Thanks again for reading!

Angie wrote me a tip that I will use:

Angie says:

Hi Megan – my request is that you include the addresses of the places you review, or links to their sites if they have sites. That would be very helpful!

Angie

Great idea, Angie!  From now on, I will list the address and provide a link, if possible, to their website, so that you may check out more about them.  I will go back through all of my blog posts to try to add that information for you and my readers.   Thanks for the tip, Angie!

Blue Plate Oysterette

Blue Plate Oysterette

These are all of today's oyster choices

One Thursday, my family and I went to Blue Plate Oysterette.  When we were seated, I ordered a plate of raw oysters.  On that plate, the three kinds of oysters I ate were:   Marin, Komo Guay, and Komomoto. 

The Marin were the best!  While the Komo Guay and Komomoto were a little too fishy for my taste, the Marin were perfect in every way.  They weren’t too fishy, salty, sweet, or gritty. 

Here are my oysters!

My mom ordered salmon crudo and “The Daily Vegetables”.  It was weird because the only vegetable in “The Daily Vegetables” was green beans.  Along with the beans, there were tomatoes (which are fruits, not vegetables) and almonds (which are nuts, not vegetables).  Mom said she liked “The Daily Vegetables”, so the fruit and nuts must not have bothered her very much.

Dad's Lobster Mac and Cheese

My dad ordered the lobster mac and cheese.   My mom and dad both said it was fantastic, but after my dad begged me to try it, I finally gave in and I did not like it very much.

My mom’s salmon crudo was different.  Yum, yum, yum!   It was so good.   The avocado and salmon made a good match.  Next time we go to BP Oysterette, there’s a good chance I will order the salmon crudo. 

My favorite dish of the day, salmon crudo!

My sister got New England clam chowder.   I didn’t taste it, but I bet it was really good, because it looked really creamy.

For our dessert, we licked on house-made strawberry popsicles.  They tasted so fresh!  BP Oysterette sure could paint smiles on faces, especially MY face!  BP Oysterette is really good.  You should go there some time.

Fresh Strawberry Popsicles!

Saying "Goodbye" to Blue Plate Oysterette

After we left, my dad took a picture of us outside to remember our wonderful lunch!

Blue Plate Oysterette

1355 Ocean Avenue

Santa Monica, California

http://blueplatesantamonica.com/bpo/home/

“The Great Food Truck Race” Premiere Night!

Standing on the Red Carpet!

Can you imagine being given $500, asked to drive from Los Angeles to San Diego, and asked to sell more food from your truck than any of your competitors?  That’s the situation that contestants of the new show “The Great Food Truck Race” are in.  “The Great Food Truck Race” is a new TV show on Food Network.  So far only one episode has been on TV.  I saw that first episode at the premiere on Sunday night.

The contestants in the show are Nom Nom, Grill Em All, Nana Queen’s, Austin Daily Press, Crepes Bonaparte, Spencer on the Go, and Ragin’ Cajun, where the premiere was held.  Some of our friends work there, so we definitely wanted Ragin’ Cajun to win!

Picture on the Truck

The Music was Jazzy!

Ragin’ Cajun is a great restaurant, which you can see on my previous post “Ragin’ Cajun – New and Old“.  Anyway, the premiere party was amazing!  Thanks to Stephen for inviting us!  There was lots of free food, and I had jambalaya and Coke.  They had a band playing New Orleans jazz music!  Everything was spectacular!

All Teams Gathered On Stage

After we ate, we sat down on the chairs in front of the stage.  Stephen, the owner of Ragin’ Cajun, introduced us to all of the contestants that were there.  For Nom Nom, the only person who came was a girl named Jennifer Green.  For Grill Em All, the three men were all there:  Ryan, Matt and Joel.  (We did not know who they were, but we ate dinner in the chairs right in front of them!).  For Nana Queen’s, sisters Janel and Shanel were there.  “Banana Man” Rick was not with them.  For Austin Daily Press, Cory was there, but none of his other teammates were there.  For Crepes Bonaparte, Matthew was there, and his teammates were on their honeymoon in South Africa!  For Spencer on the Go, one of them was there, but I don’t know who it was.  For Ragin’ Cajun, Stephen, Joey (his former boss), and Jazmina were the contestants.  They were all pretty cool!

Stephen, Jazmina, and Joey Relaxing on Top of the Truck

After that, we saw the show.  They drove from LA to San Diego, and when they finally got there, they had to look for a place to make business.  When they found their place, they started selling.  At the end of the 48 hours they had, they met the host, Tyler Florence, and he announced the winner.  Nom Nom won.  Listed after everyone else, the team that came in last, and had to drive home, was … Nana Queen’s.  My dad and I were sure that Spencer on the Go was going home.  From what I saw, Nana Queen’s did not look like it was going to lose.  They had some good food:   many different kinds of banana pudding and hot, spicy wings!  It sounded OK, but I’m glad they lost instead of Ragin’ Cajun.

After the show, I walked home with my family, Mardi Gras beads dangling from my neck.  It was an enormously fun premiere!  Thanks again to Stephen, Jazmina, Joey, and everyone at Ragin’ Cajun for inviting us!  We had a fantastic time!

Huge Crowd Coming to Enjoy the Wonderful Premiere!

Chef Megan’s Fondue!

Looking for Vegetables

On Saturday, my dad and I went grocery shopping.  We were looking for the ingredients to make fondue!  This was our grocery list:  one pound shell-on black tiger shrimp, one pound filet mignon steak, two fresh lemons, two packs of diced onions (yellow and red), two squash, and one-fourth pound of rainbow cheese tortellini (but any kind of tortellini or ravioli will work). 

Looking for Steak

We already had all the other ingredients.   We looked for lobster tails, but unfortunately there weren’t any in stock, so we paid and drove home. 

Heading for Home

Once we got home, we started making the broth.  My dad let me do it all, with a little bit of help from my little sister, Tabitha.  

Start With the Freshest Ingredients You Can Find

First, I peeled the raw shrimp.  While putting the shrimp in one bowl, I dumped the shells in Daddy’s favorite red pot.  

Crab shells were dumped in as well.  (We had some in the freezer.)  

Cooking With Tabitha

A few minutes later, I added 12 cups of water. 

Next, I chopped the delicious looking vegetables and tomato and threw it in the pot.  That was the thing that Tabitha helped me with.  I let Tabitha pick up the vegetables and tomatoes, and put them in the pot, after I cut them up.  

We also put in bay leaves, lemons, parsley, tomatillos, black peppercorns, garlic, and a few grinds of salt.  Then I added herbs:  thyme, basil, and oregano, to the pot.  Then we put the heavy pot on the stove.  It was so easy!  

Squeezing Lemons With Tabs

Chopping Up Steak

The steak was another thing.  It was not easy!  After cutting up the andouille sausage, I had to chop up some fatty filet mignon.  My dad was not very comfortable about this.  After all, I am his little girl, and he was scared I was going to cut myself.   But I was careful and I didn’t cut myself.  After I cubed the filet mignon, I sort of skinned off some of the fat, because my mom does NOT like fat.  I also cut up the mushrooms, broccoli, and squash into bite-sized pieces.  

This was our meal!

When my mom was ready to eat, we put everything on the table, along with the yummy sauces:  wasabi, bulgogi, Bacon Hot Sauce (which you might have heard about from my Salsa Festival post), and Phillippe’s mustard.  My favorite bites were either the andouille in the spicy mustard or the steak in the bulgogi sauce.  While eating this meal, I thought this was the best fondue night ever!   I better thank Dad.  Then I remembered that if there was anyone to thank, it was ME!  I’m not trying to brag, but to be honest, I thought that the fondue was amazing.  

Finally Eating!

If you want to try fondue at your house, here is Chef Megan’s Fondue recipe: 

Chef Megan’s Fondue 

(This recipe is my dad’s favorite fondue recipe, adapted from Emeril’s shrimp stock recipe.  We changed it a bit to make it our own.) 

For the broth: 

6-8 cups shrimp and/or crab shells 

12 cups water 

2 cups diced onions (any colors will work) 

3 stalks celery, sliced 

2 lemons, sliced in half 

4 bay leaves 

2-3 handfuls of parsley leaves, depending on how much you like 

2 tomatillos, sliced 

1 tomato, sliced 

1 teaspoon basil 

1 teaspoon oregano 

1 teaspoon thyme 

2 teaspoons crushed garlic 

28 black peppercorns 

Few grinds of salt 

For the fondue dippers: 

1 pound shrimp 

1/4 pound scallops 

1 pound filet mignon, cubed 

7 mushrooms, cut in half 

2 andouille sausages, cut into thick coins 

2 green squash, cut into thick coins 

1 broccoli stalk, cut into bite-sized pieces (leave the stem out) 

1/4 pound fresh tortellini 

First, add the shells, water, onions, celery, lemons, bay leaves, parsley, tomatillos, tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, peppercorns, garlic, and salt to the biggest pot you have.  Heat on medium high until it starts to boil.  After it boils, turn the heat down to medium for a few minutes and then turn the heat down to medium low.  Keep it that way for 30 minutes. 

While the broth is cooking, cut up your “dippers” and put them in individual bowls.  Put whatever sauces you want into little plates. 

When the broth is done, strain it into a fondue pot, and turn it on.  (My dad did that because it was hot and heavy.)  You may need to use an extension cord to reach your table.  Use fondue forks to cook the dippers in the broth, one piece at a time.  Be careful not to put the raw food on your plate until  it is fully cooked!  Have fun!

An Afternoon “Away”

Last Saturday, my family and I drove down to Sunset Beach.  Our friends Bonnie, Marshall, Hannah, and Justin had invited us to meet them at their beach house.  We didn’t necessarily plan to get in the ocean, so first, Hannah and I raided her bathing suits to find one that fit me.  Finally, we found a cute one.  There was a blue rash guard (underwater shirt) and some blue bottoms.   After that, we walked down to the beach.  I brought down a boogie board, but there was no handle, so Hannah and I walked back to the beach house to get another one.

When Hannah and I came out of the water, we built a huge sand castle!  There were tall towers, with little walls in between them.  Three feathers were the flags.

Marshall asked me where I wanted to go for dinner, and the choices were:   Panda Palace (Chinese food), The Crab Pot (seafood), Fish Camp (seafood), and an Indian food restaurant.  (My dad did NOT want Indian food, so we didn’t go there.)  After a few minutes of thinking, I chose Fish Camp.

Fish Camp is a seafood restaurant nearby in Sunset Beach, and there is another one of them in Huntington Beach. 

Fish Camp has a fresh seafood market so you can buy fish to take home.

When we arrived, my dad gave me a regular menu because the things on the kids menu did not sound very good to me.  The first thing I saw was “Camp Favorites”.  The choices there were:  Prime Top Sirloin Steak, Sauteed Chicken Breast, Parmesan Crusted Sand Dabs, and Campfire BBQ Shrimp.  After quickly scanning the menu, I decided that I wanted the Campfire BBQ Shrimp. 

Marshall did a good job picking the fried calamari out!

As an appetizer, Marshall ordered fried calamari.  It came with cocktail sauce.  Whenever I had calamari in my hand, I dove for the cocktail sauce.  I couldn’t get enough of it!

My delicious shrimp entree came with an enormous slice of garlic bread.

The BBQ shrimp were amazing!  They were delicious shrimp, smothered in a spicy BBQ sauce.  It came with tasty rice that was not too sticky and not too dry.  On top of all of that, my mom ordered me cheese and grits, because last March in New Orleans, I had breakfast at Mother’s and I loved their grits.  The grits at Fish Camp weren’t horrible, but they just weren’t my type.  There was lots of cheese in there, but that’s not a bad thing.  I LOVE, LOVE CHEESE!  But I just wasn’t in the mood, I guess.

My dad ate the blackened trout with corn on the cob and garlic bread.  As a side, he got a bowl of spicy red seafood chowder.  I was able to taste that.  From the moment my dad first told me that he had ordered spicy red seafood chowder, I thought there would be shrimp, fish, maybe some crab, and other seafood, but unexpectedly, it was only chunks of fish (mahi mahi, we think, and others), potatoes, and celery, with salty fish broth.  On the menu, it sounded much better than it turned out to be.  It was good, but not great. 

On to Tabitha!   My little sister got New England clam chowder.  It was really, really creamy!  

This is the tank of live lobsters at the front counter. Yum!

After our entrees were finished, we said goodbye to our friends and drove back home.   What an amazing afternoon “away” in Sunset Beach!  Thank you to Bonnie, Marshall, Hannah, and Justin for inviting us!

Fish Camp

16600 Pacific Coast Highway

Huntington Beach, California

http://www.samsfishcamp.com/

My Dreamworks Adventure!

On August 4, my amazing mom, my huggable sister, and I went to visit my cool Uncle Jack with my beautiful Aunt Suzy and her little baby.  Uncle Jack works at Dreamworks, doing the coolest job ever:  making the magic of animated movies.   I was visiting him at his work.  The first thing we did was have lunch at the Dreamworks cafeteria.  We sat right next to the cut-out for the new movie “Megamind”.  In this picture, I was thinking:  “What’s up with his giant head?”  

Me Looking at Megamind's Giant Head

I had a crunchy salad and yummy chicken tortilla soup for lunch.  In my salad, I had garlicky croutons, crispy cucumber, juicy tomatoes, salty pickles, black olives, and black balsamic vinaigrette.  When I was eating it, I could definitely taste the balsamic!  I guess I put on a little too much. 

After I ate my salad, I was still hungry.  I walked over to the steamy soup stand, and I noticed that there was hot chicken tortilla soup and vegetable soup.  I went with the chicken tortilla soup, because it looked much better, and Uncle Jack’s friend Josh suggested it.  At first, when Mom poured it, it didn’t have any tortilla chips, but you can add as many as you’d like.  There was a little bowl on the table full of chips.  I added a lot.  It was really tasty.  My favorite bites were the bites with chicken, tortilla chips, and broth.

After I ate that, I finally had my frozen dessert.  I got a mini-cone.  Then I walked over to the ice cream machines, and I got chocolate vanilla swirl ice cream.  You wouldn’t believe how high I filled it!  I filled the ice cream cone so high that when I was slurping it down, I was afraid it was going to fall on me.  After I ate that blend of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, I chugged down a half of a cup of a blue raspberry slurpee.  Brain freeze!   It was as cold as a winter in Wisconsin.   It was a great way to end my lunch.  Overall, the Dreamworks cafeteria got a “thumbs up” from me!

To end the whole Dreamworks adventure, Uncle Jack gave us a tour of the offices.  On the tour, we saw a castle office that was really cool, Academy Awards (Oscars!), and a bunch of advertisements for “Megamind.” 

Me and Kung Fu Panda!

I also took a picture next to a statue of “Kung Fu Panda.”   Did you know they are making a “Kung Fu Panda 2”? 

Another thing we saw was The Hidden Room.  There was a bookshelf against the wall, and on that bookshelf, there was a book that was facing you.  When you lifted the cover, you discovered a handle to a door.  When you pulled on the handle, the wall behind the bookshelf opened to the hidden room.  Now this was probably the most amazing part of the tour.  Inside of the hidden room was a bar and a living room.  It was really mysterious.

Inside the Mysterious Hidden Room

It was the best summer day ever!  Thanks to my Uncle Jack and Aunt Suzy for inviting us, and thanks to Josh for suggesting the tortilla soup!

Me and My Sister Tabitha Sitting By the Water at Dreamworks

Check Out The Favorites Page!

Me Eating Corn At the Salsa Festival

Dear Readers:

Please check out my Favorites page!  I just updated it because I wanted to share my favorite things with you.  On this page, I have posted some of my favorites.  What are some of your favorite things?

Love,

Megan

El Gringo and Baskin Robbins – Yum!

Today, my sister, my mom, my friend Jane, and I drove out to the Manhattan Beach El Gringo for lunch.  My family goes there very often.  Although my dad does not really like it, we still eat there frequently, because “us girls” love it!

Right when we sat down, a waitress put salsa and tortilla chips on the table.  (Boy, I have had a lot of salsa this week!)  I have always thought that their service is pretty fast.  That is one of the reasons why my mom and I love it there, but it is mostly because they have great food.  

Today, my sister Tabitha and I split a bowl of Xcholti (soul-chee). 

My little sister Tabitha and her bowl of Xcholti

Xcholti is a soup with tomatoes, chicken, chicken broth, rice, cilantro, and avocado.  Our meal was very tasty!  My mom got a shredded beef taco.  It came with Mexican rice and black beans.  Jane got a fried fish taco.  It looked sooo good! 

After we ate at El Gringo, we walked to the Baskin Robbins that was two doors away.  I ordered chocolate ice cream in a cake cone.   It was extra, extra chocolatey!  It even had fudge on top.  Jane got some kind of vanilla caramel ice cream.  When she noticed a glop of caramel, she said it was a vein.  I know what you’re thinking:  Why in the world was Jane calling it a vein?  I was thinking the same thing.  Ice cream is amazing, but veins are disgusting!  I bet Tabitha was thinking that too.

About Tabitha, she ordered the Wild N Reckless Sherbet.  By the end of that scoop, her tongue was blue, purple, and green.  Lastly, my mom got mint chocolate chip.  It was wonderful, and minty, of course. 

After we finished our ice cream, we said goodbye to “Crazy Jane” and drove home.  It was a very delectable lunch!

Me at Baskin Robbins After Finishing My Delicious Chocolate Ice Cream

 

El Gringo Mexican Restaurant

921 N. Sepulveda Blvd.

Manhattan Beach, California

http://www.elgringo.com/main.html

Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream

925 N. Sepulveda Blvd.

Manhattan Beach, California

http://www.baskinrobbins.com/