January 8, 2014

2013 Christmas Recap

As promised, we've got a recap of our culinary adventures over this past Christmas.  Like most trips back to southern California, we hit up some of our favorite spots; El Burrito Jr., In-n-Out, and P.V. Palace Seafood for dim sum.  We also headed to Santa Monica to check out Josie.

In addition to all the meals we ate out, we also enjoyed some delicious home cooked meals, including some dishes we prepared during the cook off.  Justin and I faced off against my cousin, Lauren, and her husband, Gregor.  We were given 6 mystery ingredients and had to create an appetizer and a side dish.  We had access to everything in my aunt & uncle's pantry, and if we needed to go to the grocery store, we could only spend $25.

The mystery ingredients were sweet potatoes, mangoes, head-on prawns, bacon, kimchi, and turnips.  As soon as we saw kimchi and bacon, it took us a split second to decide on our kimchi brussels sprouts for our side dish.  Since turnips were a mystery ingredient, we just used those as the garnish in place of carrots.  That left us with mangoes, prawns and sweet potatoes.  We kept things light and went with a grilled prawn over mango salsa with a sweet potato chip.  Lauren and Gregor whipped up a delicious salad of apples, turnips, bacon, egg, and a mango kimchi  dressing to start.  For their side, they poached their shrimp in butter and lime with sweet potato shoestring fries.
It was a close competition, but we came out on top by 1 vote!  Both teams rose to the occasion and produced some delicious food. It was as close as possible, but we had a slight edge.  It was a huge hit with the whole family, and I think this will become an annual throwdown!

The day after Christmas, we gathered in Grandma's kitchen again to make joong ( 粽子) again.  It was a long day, but we ended up wrapping over 200 joong, and we now have a few bags in our freezer.  They're the perfect, cold-weather comfort food, full of delicious pork.

We also spent some time checking out the craft breweries around Torrance.  We ended up visiting Strand Brewing Co., Smog City Brewing Company, and Monkish Brewing Company.  All three offered delicious beers in a variety of styles.  Smog City was our overall favorite, and reminded us of some of the local breweries here in DC.

Overall, it was another wonderful trip to California.  Lots of food, lots of beer, and lots of family.  What more could you ask for over the holidays?

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