Meal Train to Georgia

There are a few things I find myself saying often these days. Among them are, “Hi sweets, still married?” “My pants are tight.” “No, please don’t set me up with him, I already made out with him.” And, “My friend just had a baby.” Concentrating on the last one, my friends and I put together meal trains for the new parents, as infants can apparently be overwhelming. It was my turn to make dinner for one couple and their 5 week old Georgia* on Monday and I went with shrimp tacos.

Shrimp Tacos

serves 4-6
1 lb shrimp, peeled and cleaned
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ jalapeno, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
2 T ginger, chopped
½ head red cabbage, chopped
½ pineapple, chopped
1 mango, chopped
1 tomato, chopped and salted
2 bananas, sliced
1 T olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a pan on med high. Add the onions, garlic, scallions, and jalapeno, and saute until translucent. (2-3 min.) Add the cabbage, mango, tomato, and bananas, and cook through, stirring, until the cabbage is wilted, about 5 min. Add the shrimp and ginger and cook for another 5 min, stirring, until shrimp are just cooked through but not over cooked. Remove from heat.

1 can fat free refried pinto beans
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T olive oil
½ c jack cheese, shredded
Heat the beans in a small sauce pan over low heat. While they are heating up, saute the garlic in the olive oil in a pan on med high heat over a different burner for about a minute or until the garlic is starting to lightly brown. Add the olive oil and garlic to the beans and stir through. Add the cheese to the beans and stir through. Remove from heat.

2 avocados, diced
2 heirloom tomatoes, chopped and salted
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ lime, juiced
2 scallions, finely chopped
½ jalapeno, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Place the tomatoes in a bowl. Add the garlic, scallions, and jalapenos, and mix. Add the avocado and lime juice and mix. Season to taste.
Warm some flour tortillas. Spread some of the beans on one half. Fill with some of the shrimp. Top with guacamole. Fold and enjoy!

*names have been changed for privacy

Jordan’s Travel Bible

I want to see the entire world. But that’s not what this is about. I’m bi-coastal, I know the security lady’s name at AA LAX T4 (granted this could happen after one trip). When I check in and they say, “Where to?” I say, “LA or NY, whichever I’m not in right now.” Even when I’m not coast hopping, I’m off checking something out some place else. I’m a traveler. Along the way I’ve gathered some tips, advice, and mantras.

Here they are:
1) Always pack a bikini. It’s not like it doesn’t fit and you never know when you’ll need one.

2) Scan a picture of your passport and email it to a web ready folder (e.g. archives). If something happens to it, all you need is web access anywhere to prove who you are.

3) Take pit stops when you have to go. No one is awarding you anything for holding it in.

4) Maps generally trump navigation systems.

5) It is worth a 2 hr. drive out of the way just to eat some oysters.

6) I don’t understand everyone’s obsession with applauding themselves for packing light. What prize do I get for bringing a small suitcase? Forgetting something and/or not having options? Bring what you need, you’re not backpacking through Europe junior year abroad anymore.

7) It is perfectly acceptable to have the A/C going with the windows down while on a road trip. For me, just the windows is too hot and just the A/C is too cold. It isn’t wasting anything if it perfectly creates the desired climate.

8) I view speeding tickets as a talent tax. I have to pay the government because I’m more skilled at driving than the average joe.

9) Kelly Nishimoto’s Cute Booty line is the ideal airplane attire.

10) “It’s too far” is rarely a valid excuse (relatively). Once you’re in the car, how hard is it to sit there for an extra 20 minutes?

And this is specifically for people traveling with me:

11) Don’t take anything I say personally during my first hour or two of consciousness. I’m not a morning person, never will be. I make up for it later in the day. Promise.

Wowee Naoe!

Last week in Miami, my mother, father, and I decided to go out to a special dinner to celebrate my little grandma’s long and legendary life. She passed away late in the evening on 2/27 after 90 epic years. The funeral was the next Wednesday and we’d been sitting shiva in Miami at her apartment.
My childhood friend recommended a little Japanese place in Sunny Isles called Naoe (pronounced “Now-We”) for our dinner. They only seat 17 and it’s all omakase. Opentable had them completely booked, so I got us a table at Palme d’Or in Coral Gables and sent an email to Naoe asking to notify us if they get any last minute cancellations. They did! (which my dad was doubly grateful for as then we weren’t going to make him schlep all the way down to Coral Gables).
The meal was really impressive. You start with a bento box. Starting clockwise from bottom left we had baby sardine rice, mushroom custard, oyster/fermented bean/cod belly, and shiso/wakame/wasabi/snapper. All were fantastic.

They serve their own sake made at a microbrewery in chef’s hometown of Nagano. Then the box is followed by the nigiri portion of the evening. We also had frozen sake ices which was fun to eat. And it’s closed out with mystery ice cream dessert (soy sauce!).
Everything was a phenomenally special treat.
Arigato Gozaimas, Naoe, Ja Ma Ta!

Voicemail Station at Bar Boulud Post NYC Ballet

On Wednesday, Betti, Jim, and I went to the ballet at Lincoln Center. Thankfully Carolina Herrera’s seemingly 9 year old granddaughter was with her two rows in front of us, thus preventing me from being the youngest in attendance. It was a great evening at NYC Ballet with four pieces: Plainspoken, Valse-Fantaisie, Square Dance, and Glass Pieces. I enjoyed the whole thing but Benjamin Millepied‘s Plainspoken, and Jerome Robbins’s Glass Pieces were fantastic.
After, we scurried across the street to grab a late-ish bite at Bar Boulud. We were seated at the communal horseshoe table in the back and loved everything we ordered.
My mom and I shared the following:
salade de calamars – poached calamari, pine nuts, radish, baby romaine, gaeta olives, buttermilk dressing
tagine dagneau – terrine of slow cooked spiced leg of lamb, eggplant, and sweet potato
lotte aux choux rouge – montauk monkfish, smoked bacon, lambic braised red cabbage, turnips
spanish makerel – chick pea friters, tomato coulis, eggplant puree

My mother always gets the La Poire cocktail: grey goose pear, pom, lime
My dad got the Figue Old Fashioned: knob creek bourbon, ruby port, fig puree, angostura
I got whatever was tequila based. Turned out to be a good choice.
As I was sucking down my kumquat/basil/tequila/light on the agave concoction, my dad takes a break from “checking his messages” and says that we HAVE to hear this voicemail he got. So I listened to it. A winner! Here’s the transcription:

Hey Aamer, It’s Christy, um.
Listen, I just talked to Jenny and found out what happened…that you’re not at KTR blah blah blah [some radio station] anymore and I’m sorry, but that’s just a bunch of bullshit!
I can’t even believe it, I’m beside myself because, how short sighted and incredibly stupid of them.
Um, I loved the new format, I mean it was different but it was such a breath of fresh air. And, you know, you brought a levity and a fun quality to it. And I thought that it was great. Again, you knew I hated the afternoon show and I so much more enjoyed it listening to you and I didn’t hear you for a couple of days and I thought “Oh, he must have been out of town” and then finally today I’m like, “what the fuck” so.
Anyway, I just wanted to call and if you’d like to call back I’m around. So call me, otherwise I’ll see you soon but I’m SO disappointed. They’re such a great station and they’re just so horribly run and just, I’m really sorry.
Um, so call me if you need anything and I will, I’ll hopefully see you soon.
OK, bye.

After the three of us took turns listening and howling with laughter, I turned to my dad and said, “Dad, you need to tell her that she had the wrong number and that msg never got to him.”
“Yeah, Jim, you have to,” agreed Mom.
“Do you want me to send a text for you?” I offered.
“OK, here’s the phone,” he acquiesced.
So I went to text the number from the voicemail, and the iphone, as we know, brings up the string of text history, and low and behold, up came a text from her from Jan 31st!!!
I squealed, “DAD?!?! She’s tried to contact you before! Did you not get this text a few weeks ago?!?”
My mother and I were cracking up.
“Oh, yeah, I got it but didn’t understand it so I just ignored it.”
It’s all squared away now:

P.S. Who thinks Christy wanted a piece of Aamer?

Super Bowl Meal – Packers vs. Steelers

O.K. The big day is near!
I’m packing up and heading to Dallas for a relaxing getaway to visit my Texas cousins. And maybe for some sports thing… And snow angels.
Here’s what’s on the menu for the SU PA BO!!!!!

B.J. Rahi Tuna Sliders with Wasabi Chris Creamoeatu
The “Big Guy” Dish!

Chris Kemoeatu - G PIT

B.J. Raji - NT GB

Hot Chicken Greg Jennwings Balls with Cool Mike Cabrallace Blue Cheese Dressing
The “Go Long” Dish!

Mike Wallace - WR PIT

Greg Jennings - WR GB

Figgy Hood Bruschetta
Well now I know what school yard nicknames my future son has to look forward to. All good. Ziggy Zucker is going to be a bad-ass.

Ziggy Hood - DE PIT

RaChardonnay Mendenhall Poached Peaaron Rodgers
I know, I know, my east coast friends are screaming and twitching. See, back in New York we give vowels distinct pronunciations. Aaron nor Erin rhyme with Pear-in where I come from. But I’m doing it! The Pearon Rogers is on the menu! Raise your hand in the “air” if you “care” what rhymes with “pear.”

Aaron Rodgers - QB GB

Rashard Mendenhall - RB PIT

LaMarrgarita Woodley
I’m making it as woody as possible.

LaMarr Woodley - OLB PIT

B.J. Rahi Tuna Sliders with Wasabi Chris Creamoeatu

Serves 4-6
Tuna Balls
1 lb ahi tuna, ground or finely chopped
¼ t lemon zest
¼ t lime zest
¼ t blood orange zest
1 T lemon juice
1 T lime juice
1 T blood orange juice
¼ c scallions, finely chopped
1 T ginger, finely chopped
1 T black sesame seeds
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 t chili sesame oil
1 t chili paste
1 T panko breadcrumbs
olive oil

Combine the tuna, citrus juices and zests, scallions, ginger, sesame seeds and oil, chili paste and oil, panko, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well, using your hands or a fork.

Heat some olive oil in a pan on medium high. Scoop out a small handful of the tuna mixture and form it into a mini burger patty shape. Cook the patties in the oil for a minute on each side. Flip to cook the other side.

After another minute, transfer the patties to a paper towel lined plate to drain and cool. They should just be cooked through.

Wasabi Cream
½ c mayonnaise
½ c plain yogurt, greek style
1 T wasabi paste
½ lime, juiced
1 t garlic, chopped
1 avocado

In a blender, combine the mayonnaise and the yogurt until smooth. Add the wasabi, lime juice, salt, and garlic. Blend until smooth. Add the meat of the avocado, cut into small chunks. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender in between pulses to incorporate everything.

Now I’m still working to lose those damn 10 pounds from last year. (Who knew the 10 in 2010 was going to be so prophetic?) So I’m still limiting my carbs. You can go ahead and shmear some of the wasabi cream onto a mini dinner roll and sandwich a tuna burger in there to make a slider, but I’m just going to dip and eat. I don’t miss the bun, really. (though I clearly missed my weekly manicure…)

Hot Chicken Greg Jennwings Balls with Cool Mike Cabrallace Blue Cheese Dressing

Serves 4-6
I admit it. I’m not a huge chicken person. Telling me something “tastes like chicken” is not a hard sell. Sure, I’ll eat it, and there are certain places where I’ll always order it (e.g. Quatorze Bis on 79th and 1st), it’s just not my favorite. Largely because I’m not that into… wait for it… the bones. So while I love the taste of chicken wings and quite enjoy getting all messy in a bar, I wanted to find a way to do this sans bones. Behold the Chicken Wings Balls!

Chicken Balls
1 lb of chicken, ground
¼ c hot wing sauce (if you can’t find some, mix together equal parts (2 T) hot sauce and (2 T) melted butter)
1 T garlic, minced
1 T flour
3 scallions, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400. Combine the chicken, hot sauce, garlic, flour, scallions, salt and pepper in a bowl. Form the mixture into little meatballs, coat with olive oil, and place on a foil-lined tray. Bake the chicken balls until cooked through, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Blue Cheese Dressing
1 c Cabrales blue cheese, chopped finely (thank you Bobby Flay for introducing it to me!)
½ c plain yogurt, greek style
1 T lemon juice
1 T chives, chopped

Throw all of the ingredients into a blender and blend, blend, blend until smooth. Transfer to a dipping bowl.

Figgy Hood Bruschetta

Serves 8-10
1 baguette, sliced into ½” pieces
1 ½ c fresh ricotta cheese
2 T honey
¼ lb prosciutto
1 c figs
1 c water
1 c sugar
½ c brandy
¼ c mint, chopped
2 T c chives, chopped
1 T heavy cream
1 lemon zested
olive oil

In a small pot over medium high heat, combine the water, sugar, and brandy. When it starts to boil, reduce the head to low and add the figs. Simmer the figs for at least 30 min. Transfer the figs and enough liquid to cover them to a sealed container and refrigerate. Let stew overnight.
Combine the ricotta, cream, zest, honey, mint, and chives in a bowl and mix until well blended.
Brush the bread slices with olive oil and grill them until slightly browned.

Spread some of the ricotta mixture onto each slice. Then fold a piece of prosciutto on top. Slice the figs in half lengthwise and place some of them on next. Finish off with a light SWOOPS.*
*SWOOPS = Season With Olive Oil, Pepper, and Salt

RaChardonnay Mendenhall Poached Peaaron Rodgers

Serves: 3

1 btl (750) Chardonnay white wine
1 c water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 t peppercorns
1 T cloves
2 star anise
1 c sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 orange, juiced
1 orange, peel
3 pears, peeled

Pour the white wine and water into a pot on high heat. Add the cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, cloves, star anise, sugar, vanilla, vinegar, and orange. Stir. Once it starts to boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the pears. Simmer the pears in the poaching liquid for at least an hour, turning occasionally to make sure all sides of the pear gets bath time. Once the pears have started to soften, transfer them to a bowl and pour the liquid through a strainer to cover them. Cool, and serve.

LaMarrgarita Woodley

2 oz. tequila
1 oz. woody water*
1 lime, juiced
1 oz. pear (or orange) liquor
shake of salt
* To make the woody water, boil 1 c water, ½ c sugar, 4 sprigs rosemary, 4 sprigs thyme, 4 sprigs oregano, and 4 sage leaves in a pot. Simmer for 2-4 min. Strain and cool.

Throw all contents into a shaker with some ice. Shake it up. Pour into a glass and down.


Not Vibing Our Compatability

So I went on a date with this guy. We were set up by a mutual friend whom I had hung out with in NYC over NYE.
I was on the master cleanse so we just went for tea at Urth Caffe. He was super cute. He’s on the short side, but look who’s talking (not an issue). He was smart, sweet, and easy to talk to. But, he wasn’t very flirty or playful.
“OK,” I thought to myself, “this is an adult relationship. We sit and talk and get to know each other. We don’t just use sexual energy to connect. Or booze, or music.” (though I do want to connect in those areas too at some point…)
After an hour, he abruptly decided he needed to go back to work.
“Don’t take it personally, Jordan, you’re just sober.” I thought to myself.
“OK,” I said, “But can you drive me home, please? I walked, and I get cold on this liquid lemon shit. Also, FYI, I’m a big drinker, don’t get the wrong idea about me on the cleanse. The next time you see me, I’m going to be loaded,” I (half) joked.
He took me home. Thanks, bye.
I told my friend who set us up that I liked him and I thought it went well. You know, open to getting to know him better.
Well, I may as well have been drunk. I was that wrong.
After taking a few days to decide how to handle my friend request on facebook and email I had sent to follow up on a discussion topic we had over the tea, I get the following facebook message:
Hey Jordan
I got your email but in the flurry of my fire drill day at work i think i deleted it cuz i can’t find it right now
anywho . . . it was good to meet you and break tea. I’m a straight shooter and seeing as this was an evident set up by Mr. XXX I figured I should relay that I’m not really vibing our compatibility . . .
but i love your spunk and a+ go-getter and creative attitude. it was fun to meet you and to share stories. crazy our mary and lisa connections.
I’m sure we will connect again and/or I’ll see you on a screen, big or small, sometime soon.\

So I wrote back, “Oh, no! Is it because I’m such a drinker?!?!”

React as you will. But I MUCH prefer and appreciate being told upfront that he’s not interested than just being blown off, which most men find an acceptable and desirable course of action. His honesty and maturity is refreshing and kind of classy, no? This may be harsh, but it’s not nearly as rude. Moving on.

Annual Goals Dinner with Matthew at Eveleigh

As you know, I have a tradition with my lifelong friend where we go to a nice dinner each year and do goals. We open a sealed envelope from last year’s dinner and mark off what goals we’ve achieved. Then we write new ones for the current year and seal them up for next year’s dinner.
This was our 13th year of maintaining the tradition.
We went to Eveleigh on Sunset in West Hollywood. It’s indisputably a gorgeous space. The lighting is super dim, (I moved a candle a bit to check out what our dishes looked like before diving in.), and the seating is a little annoying as the booths are slightly unsecured so you can feel the guy five tables down shift his leg since it’s technically the same piece of padded wood you’re sitting on. But the cocktails were killer, the decor is beautiful, and the food was not bad.
Here’s what we had (I would have ordered more fish, but Matt was in an anti-seafood mood and mama likes to share):
Cocktails –
Chanel No 5 mezcal, jalapeno, lemon, pom – Dear LORD this is mama’s kind of cocktail. Smoky, spicy, a little tangy. Perfection.
The other mezcal cocktail was OK, but not after this one.
The Good Prick – bourbon based, loved the pine in there – really interesting.

Crispy Season Squid with a lemon mayo – Not bad, small portion.
Rainbow Chard – Good, but I could make it too.
Rib-Eye Cap with beets, chantrelles, and pinot noir sauce – the fresh horseradish was the key to this dish.

Orecchiette with broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and chilies – could barely detect the tomatoes and found no trace of chilies but it was OK.

Mac and Cheese – I liked it; could have used a few less bread crumb cubes but other than that, well done.

Donuts – if you’re into dessert you’ll be happy.

We always talk to the table next to us as they’re usually intrigued by all of our envelopes, rituals, etc. (This is kind of a load of shit, I always talk to my neighbors even without the goals excuse…) This time, right before we ripped open our envelopes, neighbor Pamela asked if we were in relationships. Matt obviously said “yes.” They looked at me. “Nope, I’m single… Well that’s ONE I won’t be checking off again this year! Starting off strong. Thanks, Pamela!”
I actually fared better than I had thought, I got 9 out of 20. Sometimes I give myself freebies like “Scan goals into computer in case of flood.” Crap, I better do that now. Don’t want to miss the freebie next year…