Friday, December 31, 2010

It's sad to see Chris' n Pitt's go! They have been in this location for so long but they sing their last swan song tonight as they have lost their lease. Sure, it might not be the best food in the world but you can't beat the prices and portions! They are a solid comfort food place. If you are feeling down and out, and need a greasy big meal to soothe the soul or fill the void then Chris' n Pitt's would be the place for you. It is like Cheers in real life but with food!
There were soooooo many people out in full force to show their support and get their last yabba dabba doo meal. Funny thing is, don't they there are still other locations available? Sure, they might not taste the same and the Anaheim location is a classic spot but at least there are still other options. Nonetheless I am sad to hear that this location will be closing, so I had to make my way out there for my LAST Chicken Fried Steak at Chris' n Pitt's.
By 6PM there was over an hour and a half wait just to get seated. Somehow my friends were smart and scored some bar seats where we had an up close view of the kitchen. There's only 4 hardworking men manning the kitchen back there! Can you see how big the plates of food are there? The guy's head is only half of the plate! lol I don't want to leave out our lovely server! Mary was a great source of entertainment and bless her for working through the madness!
Even the water cups here are monstrous. You can't use one hand to even grip more than half the cup! I am glad they use those same cups for the monstrous shakes! =) Sometimes I wish they gave a monstrous straw to go with the shake. They are thick and rich. I dread the thought of how many calories are in each of them.
To start off the night we got the Onion Flower. Oily fried goodness! Goes best with some Ranch sauce. Luckily we had some "salad" with our dish to balance out the greasiness and the best part is the extra Ranch sauce that I used for dipping. You always need to the token salad to ease the guilt of a big heavy meal. =) At least that is what I am saying and I am sticking with that story.
Last but definitely not least is their Chicken Fried Steak. The ginormous and thick cut of pound ground meat that is battered and fried comes drenched in their house gravy... mmmm. I think my heart just stopped but I took a bite of the Mashed Potatoes with Gravy to jump start it again! =) It's been a while since I last had this dish but the gravy really stood out for me that night. The gravy was full of flavor and tasty.
So sad to see this place go but there is hope that they still have two other locations nearby. Alas there is no guarantee that they taste the same but at least you can satisfy your craving if you are willing to drive a bit further. Good-bye Chris' n Pitt's in Anaheim. Many people have been neglecting you but when they found out that you were leaving them, they really came out in full force to support you!
Chris' & Pitt's
601 N Euclid St
Anaheim, CA 92801
(714) 635-2601
Chris and Pitts on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

California weather has been temperamental this winter season with its freezing nights and heavy rain. I love eating hot pot in SGV when it is cold, as do everyone else. The only way to finish off a heavy meal is dessert. Ms. Lin and I were both too lazy to drive further for the shaved ice at SinBala or Half & Half. We gave up the notion of having a refreshing shaved ice on one of the coldest nights. Still, I wanted to get a drink at Phoenix Inn Boutique so we made a detour.
The place was packed to the brim and steaming up the windows because every single person there was drinking a hot dessert soup. I immediately ordered my Fresh Mango, Coconut Milk, and Sago drink. I love the smooth creamy sweetness with little bits of mango to nibble on followed by tiny little sagos with a bounce. Impulse buying was the theme of the night. I wanted some durian pudding but they no longer make that and they told me the Coconut Durian Roll was just as good. Each roll had a slice of durian. Stinky good! lol
There was only a few brave souls who shared a shaved ice that caught my eye. I looked on their menu and found that they had Mango Shaved Ice. Originally this was a drop and go but I had to call Ms. Lin to let her know about what they had and asked if she wanted to come in for the shaved ice. The portion was actually very generous and we thoroughly enjoyed it. At first people might have thought we were crazy because it was freezing outside but after seeing how tasty it looked, people would start pondering on ordering one. I loved that there was sago mixed in with the mango. They also drizzle a mango syrup mixed with condensed milk that makes it so sweet and tasty. A great way to end a heavy meal!
After watching so many people sipping on the piping hot Sweet Sesame Soup, Ms. Lin caved in and ordered a cup to eat with the shaved ice. We like it hot n cold apparently. The black sesame soup was very well made. Yes, it is similar to the ones you can buy and make at home but the one here was very reasonably priced. It was thick and flavorful. Definitely a great treat on a bone-chilling night.Phoenix Inn Boutique
220 E Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 299-1918
Phoenix Dessert on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Join me on a wonderful exploration of one of the world's greatest treasures, the truffle! This was the first and hopefully many festivals in Napa to celebrate the beginning of truffles in California. I have learned so much this weekend about my beloved truffle. For those of you who think you know truffles, you will discover many wonderful and new facts about this enigmatic fungi. Normally I would write tons of information, but for this trip I came prepared with my camera and took lots of video clips. It is almost like being there! All the information and facts are coming straight from the experts!

From a small tree grows a mighty fungi!
Robert Chang, the Managing Director from the American Truffle Company, started the Truffle Festival off with an eye-opening session discussing introduction of truffles into Napa.

The role of truffles in the ecosystems is very important. Truffles are the "fruit" of underground webs of fungi and they are mycorrhizal. Mycorrhizae are essential in assisting trees to obtain nutrients and water from the soil. By watching the videos you will see what types of truffles they plan to cultivate in Napa and what trees are best for the species they are cultivating.

To start off they are going to grow the French Black Perigord Truffle (Tuber Melanosporum) and the Burgundy or Summer Truffle (Tuber Aestivum, formerly Tuber Uncinatum). Both are black truffles. The Perigord Truffle is native to oak forests in the Perigord region of central and southwest France. They are among the most valuable of truffles, costing up to $1,000 a lb. It has a blue-black exterior when fresh, fading to brown-black with age and a pungent, earthy aroma. The Perigord season for northern hemisphere is usually December to March. More than 90% of the Perigord Truffles produced in France today is from cultivation.

The Burgundy Truffle is native to France, Italy, and Spain. To those who are new to truffle the summer truffles are actually at their best in December and can be found from July to December. They have a black exterior and off-white interior, and a relatively light scent.
In the following week I will be trying to upload all the videos so that everyone can see and learn all the wonders of truffles. It will definitely change how you look at truffles and make you ponder on buying land to cultivate some truffles of your own!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Most of downtown Napa is pretty dead at night except some restaurants that are open and Kohl's. We were a bit early for our reservation at Cole's Chophouse so what do we do. The night had turned frosty and a fog was taking over. In the chill of the night we happened to drive by Sift Cupcakery while looking for parking. Since we had some time to kill before dinner, I suggested and insisted that we check this place out.
Sift Cupcakery is more than just about cupcakes because they share the space with a clothing store! Shop while you eat? Well technically not because they don't allow you to eat inside the store =*(. I was forced out into the cold! At first I was a little perturbed because I wanted to taste the cupcake first so that if it was tasty, I'd buy more.
Their cases were a little sparse because it was late at night but most of their cupcakes were cutely decorated. Lucky for them I like the Samoa a lot. This was their take on the famous samoa cookies sold by the Girl Scouts. A Coconut Cake filled with Chocolate Ganache topped with Caramel Buttercream and rolled in Toasted Coconut shavings then drizzled with Chocolate. Doesn't it sound decadent? The cake was actually very moist and tasty. It really is a samoa! Definitely the best cupcake we had.
We had to have their Mr. Man because it had an adorable mini-gingerbread man! I can't resist but to chomp the heap off first! It's a Gingerbread Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. The flavor was good but the cake wasn't nearly as moist as the samoa. Still, it was a lot of fun to eat and very seasonal.
After we had our first two cupcakes, we decided to get the Ooh La La for the road. It's their Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Before we were able to have this cupcake, it committed suicide and got all messed up. The cupcake was decent. I thought the cake was at a tolerable moist level and the frosting had just the right amount of sweetness. Not the best red velvet I've ever had but not bad. Again, the samoa cupcake was the best! =D
Sift Cupcakery
1000 Main Street Suite 100
Napa CA 94559
(707) 240-4004
Sift Cupcake & Dessert Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

So here's the 411. I was given a pair of tickets to give to a lucky reader! If you missed the OC Fair New Year's Eve Block Party Preview, don't worry there is still the main event. Come out to the fair grounds to enjoy live music through the eras, comedy hypnotist, karaoke, and a vast amount of gourmet food trucks! I am going to be hanging around the BACON MANia Truck! =D My new best buds.
Can't wait to celebrate the New Year with great food, music, fun, and great company!

To enter in the contest just do one of the following:

  1. Join my Facebook Fanpage
  2. Follow me on Twitter
  3. Follow with Google Friend Connect
Each one you do will be an extra entry into the drawing.

After you have completed an entry or all entries, be sure to comment below with your name, which of the 3 you did, & a way for me to contact you if you are the winner. Or if you don't want to share your personal info online, please leave a comment to let me know how many entries and you can e-mail me directly at
Hope everyone has a Happy Holidays and see you at the OC Fair New Year's Eve Block Party!

For more information click here. I have also found a website with deals on the tickets if anyone is interested. $20 per ticket.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Many have asked to guest blog on my site and I have turned down all their requests as I have been saving this coveted spot for Ms. Lin Guide. It was Ms. Lin and her site that inspired me to start my own website describing my many wondrous journeys and sharing the photos! So of course this spot has been saved for her. What better way to kick off the first guest blogger post than with the NUMBER ONE Restaurant in the World, Noma in Copenhagen! Ms. Lin is a very seasoned and experienced traveler/writer so I am honored to have her join Kat's 9 Lives in this momentous occasion. Not many people are as serious a foodie as she is. Ms. Lin has been to almost a dozen 3-Michelin Starred restaurants and countless 2-Michelin & 1-Michelin Starred. She definitely does not take food lightly and is in a constant pursuit of excellent food. Her pictures and writing have been published in international magazines. Below is her post and please join her adventures at

Noma (Copenhagen)

Tucked away in a dimly lit harbor, Noma exhibits the same characteristics that can be found in its food: understated yet charming, unassuming yet whimsical. We could only score a reservation at 10 pm so it was really dark already and it took us forever to find the restaurant, but we were just happy to be there. (We later learned that the restaurant is actually in a restored warehouse on the waterfront and the view is quite nice during the day... I'll just have to come back during the day next time!)

Noma, whose name means Nordisk (Nordic) + Mad (food), is the newly minted "best restaurant in the world" by Restaurant Magazine and knocked off El Bulli, which had held the number one spot for the previous four years. After dining there, I can understand why it's getting showered with accolades. They reinterpret traditional Nordic cuisine by combining high-quality locally-sourced ingredients, harmonious presentation, innovative techniques -- all with a twist that is at the same time surprising and quirky.

When we first got there, our table was not ready, so they invited us to sit in the bar area while they brought out the amuse-bouche. The first amuse-bouche was brought out in a porcelain egg and our server told us that we need to eat it immediately once we open the porcelain egg. When we opened the egg, we found two small quail eggs inside sitting on top of straws. The eggs were marinated in apple vinegar and then smoked over apple wood. When you eat the egg whole, the smoke flavor and the yolk burst into your mouth and blend well together.

The next amuse-bouche they brought was a reinterpretation of the traditional Danish open sandwich. Smoked cheese blended with lumpfish roe sat between their version of the rugbrød and chicken skin crackers (how can you go wrong with chicken skin crackers?) When you bite into it, you at once experience the crispy skin, the bitter rye, the creamy cheese, all contrasting one another yet working well together at the same time.

Then they brought out a third amuse-bouche - in a flower pot. It looked like a real plant, with green leaves sprouting out of a dark soil (okay, it was super dark in the restaurant). We were told that everything was edible in the pot, and we pulled out a radish by its leaves. The mulch was made of malt, beer, and hazelnut, while the cream underneath was sheep's yogurt with tarragon, chives, and chervil. We were digging through the "soil" to make sure we get every last drop of the cream. Hey, who says you can't play with your food?

Then a fourth snack came out. By now, we started to wonder that if we were ever going to get to our table, but then we decided, hey as long as they keep the food coming, we are happy. It was cracker and salmon roe cream and vinegar powder. The sourness of the vinegar provided a nice contrast to the roe, but I think it would have gone even better with the crispy chicken skin crackers LOL!

We had already been in Copenhagen for a couple of days before we came to Noma, and while we thought Copenhagen was very nice, both C and I agreed that it's a city you really only need to visit once. But as we tasted our amuse-bouche (mind you that we haven't even sat down at our table yet), both C and I said that we would come back again to Copenhagen JUST to come back to Noma. In fact, as we were sampling the snacks, C texted her then-boyfriend (now-husband) that he needs to come to Noma. He texted back "book a table - we'll go." She asked the server if she could book a table to come back, and they found a lunch opening for her 6-weeks out (they were completely booked for dinner for the next three months, not surprising). She took the reservation immediately and they flew back 6 weeks later (she didn't even think she would ever come back to Copenhagen just earlier that day LOL...) I was jealous - I wish I lived closer so that I could go back that soon too! (They live in London, so even though it's not that close, it's still a lot closer than SF...)

I digress... back to the food. :)

After the four snacks, they finally invite us to sit down. Promptly they brought out some warm bread in a square felt pouch. There were two kinds of bread: Manitoba sourdough and spelt, accompanied by two spreads: butter and pork fat with pumpkin seeds. Pork fat all the way baby!

It was probably closer to 11 by then, and unfortunately our server informed us that we could only do the shorter 7-course menu (they also have a 12-course menu) since it was so late already. We were disappointed but we were excited to try even just the 7-course. The server told my friend that she could do the long menu the next time she comes back (which she did of course). I guess I will just have to wait until the next time I'm back to Copenhagen...

The first course was a local razor clam wrapped in parsley jelly with horseradish snow. The server then proceeded to pour the juice of clam mixed with dill oil over the plate. The razor clam was tender and sweet while the parsley jelly provided a cool contrast. The horseradish snow was an interesting accompaniment to the dish which is a nod to the traditional horseradish that often comes with shellfish.

We were told that the second course is a Noma classic - steak tartare topped with wood sorrel with pepper and tarragon emulsion. Apparently they used to use musk ox, but now it's just Danish beef but no complaints here. The presentation is supposed to evoke the image of the animal grazing across the green pasture. No utensils were brought to us, and the server instructed us to eat with our hands by grabbing some of the wood sorrel and beef and graze it across the pepper and tarragon. The roughly cut beef was flavorful and the lemony taste of the wood sorrel accentuated the other flavors. I could eat this all day.

Next, they brought out a single langoustine sitting on top of a warm rock for our third course. This is not just any langoustine though - it is the single, most perfectly cooked langoustine, accompanied by a seawater emulsion that is flavored with oyster and parsley and surrounded by a mushroom and seaweed powder. This is in line with the thoughtful presentation in Noma's food: while the steak tartare showcased the beauty of the land, this course exhibited the profoundness of the sea. Again, we were instructed to eat with no hands, and as we smeared the langoustine around in the powder and emulsion, you feel like you can taste all the saltwater and mineral and it was like you are swimming in the ocean and you found a langoustine and just put it in your mouth. This was the most memorable dish for me from the entire night.

Our next dish was the poached baby pike with celery root, roasted celery root puree, celery, mustard green, and elderberry flower capers. The fish was tender and delicate while the vegetables gave it a nice contrast, but for all those who know me, I've never been a big fan of cooked fish (I only like my fish sashimi style :) so this was just an okay dish for me. Or maybe because all the previous dishes were so good, this one paled in comparison. Either way, one "so-so" dish out of many excellent ones is still great in my book.

Then they brought out a cool looking knife in a leather sheath and we were excited because we knew some kind of meat must be coming. Our fifth course was a poached pork belly. It was poached in a 58-degree pot for 8 hours, then glazed in the pan, then topped with onions, potato, capers, and served with a grilled cucumber. The pork belly had the perfect amount of crispy fat on top and it was tender and juicy. The toppings added a nice crisp to the meat and we savored every last bite.

We were sad to know that was the end of our savory courses but we looked forward to dessert. They brought out the cutest dessert that we have ever seen! The theme was winter wonderland and they proudly informed us that this will be the last ones they are serving this season as winter is coming to a close. Sitting amidst a plate of yogurt snow and carrot puree is a snowman, made out of lemon meringue as its bottom, carrot sorbet in the middle, seabuckthorn berry as the head, and a thin sliver of carrot sticking out as its nose. Our server explained to us that the seabuckthorn berry is a tiny berry but it packs as much vitamin C as an orange. It was a bit sour but refreshing. I liked the yogurt snow and the meringue as well, but I think I'm just not a really big fan of carrots, especially when used in dessert. The whole presentation was just too cute to eat though!

Our second dessert was walnut powder with freeze-dried berries and freeze-dried buttermilk. It was light and a good way to end the meal, although I have to admit that by this time I was thinking that there has been a lot of powder on the dishes... :P We did have one last thing: a petit-four that was Noma's salute to a very popular dessert in Denmark, the chocolate-covered marshmallow. Their version was a chocolate-covered beet root meringue, which had an interesting flavor but was a bit too sweet for my taste. It was a good thing that we ordered some tea, and they brought us their house blended infusion which was aromatic and soothing. It was the perfect end to the evening.

But wait, how can we walk away from such an amazing meal without showing our gratitude to the chefs? We asked to see if we could get a tour of the kitchen, and they graciously agreed. They have an open kitchen that you can see from the dining area, but they let us actually walk into the kitchen and showed us the different stations. They were all cleaning up by then, but the chefs still took the time to chat with us and posed for pictures (sorry I'm not posting those pictures because I'm in all of them :). The entire experience was magical for us and I can't wait to go back!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Courtesy of Albert Evangelista

Maybe I should re-phrase this to if you don't give ME BACON.... I'll give YOU DEATH! O=) On Thursday at the OC Fair Grounds was the Preview of OC Fair New Year's Eve Block Party. I was ecstatic to hear that I was paired with the BACON MANia Truck because that truck and I were a match made in heaven! Even before I came, I made it known that if I had a vegetarian truck that I would turn around and leave in a blink of an eye. **oink oink oink** There were many popular and delicious trucks out that night for the preview event! Perfect time to get a sampling of what is to come.
It was only the second night of BACON MANia's run and I was there to join the action. The team was out there at full force and I was ready to be in a bacon coma! My special guest for the night was my friend and photographer Albert Evangelista who helped by taking some wonderful professional photos along with my point and shoot! Say hello to the MEN behind the BACON. =)
Courtesy of Albert Evangelista

Showing up early always pays off. We snuck into the truck for a hands on view of how a truck works. It's amazing how these men can move around as space is tight but somehow they crank out some wonderfully tasty BACON! Somehow in between my chats I might have just found two future husbands but ONLY if they bring home the BACON! lol
My fave of the night was the Bacon Ball Trio! Included is Bacon wrapped Mac'n Bac'n, PB&J, and the Bacon Mignon. DELICIOUS! To be honest I couldn't tell what was inside them but cheesey goodness! The bacon was so plump and flavorful with a burst of perfectly melted cheese inside. I so need to have more of these! Bring on the Bacon Balls!!!!
Courtesy of Albert Evangelista

Let's not forget the Jack Back Sammie where you can put an assortment of additives in for extra. The guys asked me what I would like and I said give it all to me! You can add green apple, jalapenos, asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes, caramelized onions, extra bacon, and filet mignon. We loaded the sandwich and were warned that it would be one gooey mess but I am willing to take the chance! The sammie comes served with a shot of Tomato Basil Soup that has a spicy bite and adds a kick to the sammie. I enjoyed the juicy bits of filet mignon amidst the cheesy bacon mess. Yum! On top of the sandwich were nice bits of cheese crisps that add a lot to the sammie.
If you just want the Cheese Crisps, don't worry they sell it on the side and a good amount too! They are described as being covered in their "special fairy dust" lol. Enjoy crispy pieces of cheese with bacon embedded inside... yum.
Last but definitely not least are the Bacon GOOOOOOODIES! I loved their Meat Candy. It's Bacon, Brown Sugar, and Spice. We got to sample a piece from a friend and we were hooked! I had absolutely no cash on me but I somehow dug out $4 and told them, "Gimme all the meat candy I can get with that!" O=) I wish I had more dough and could buy that entire bag! Yes, it is that heart-cloggingly good. Me and bacon are a match made in heaven and I can eat all the time. Perfect for dessert! I want a bag near me all the time so I can snack on them. Warning, you just might not stop once you start!
Courtesy of Albert Evangelista

First thing I grabbed when I stepped up to the truck was their "Pig Feed" of Cashew Bacon Caramelized Popcorn. Hey for $2 that is AWESOME! There were only a few bags so I had nab one while I can. You can definitely taste the savory flavor of the bacon embedded into the caramelized popcorn. Perfect for the movies. I seriously need to marry one of those guys so that they can just feed me all the time!
Courtesy of Albert Evangelista

Everything here was very reasonably priced and you can get a BACON COMA for only $20. I believe that is everything on the menu and I'd do that in a blink of an eye!
Courtesy of Albert Evangelista

Come early and come ready! The lines started getting super long and we were happy to have gotten our fill just in the nick of time. I can't wait to find them again and bacon myself up!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin