Month: May 2011

Salad Series: Charming Radish Cauliflower Salad

Salad Series: Charming Radish Cauliflower Salad

Not only is this salad rapturous to my tongue, it’s complete fantasy to my eyes.  With a kaleidoscope of color that allures me to the bowl.  It looks like food that should appear in a Hayao Miyazaki film (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle), and heaven knows I’m a fan.

Radish and cauliflower in the same salad?  Sign me up!  I make this salad for my family and friends that are hard to please, and they always walk away CHARMED!

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for Charming Cauliflower Salad:

4 – cups cauliflower (heads only)

2 – cups baby heirloom tomatoes (sliced in half)

3 – cups persian cucumber (sliced)

1 1/2 – cup radish (sliced)

2 – cups feta cheese (crumbled)

3 – cups pita chips

To your liking – Trader Joe’s Greek style feta dressing (Optional)


In a large pot  bring water to a boil. Add cauliflower heads and boil for 4 to 5 minutes. Then take off flame, drain and place in an ICE bath or run under cold water.

Drain cauliflower from ice bath and set to the side.  Meanwhile slice the other vegetables.

In a big mixing bowl add all ingredients.

Then mix with your hands or a spoon, until combined.  That’s it…you’re done.

I like to use feta dressing on top, but my mom likes to use Italian.  Either way, here’s a photo of the dressing I use. 🙂


Nice to meet you!

In the SNACK of time: Crackers, Cheese, and Jam

In the SNACK of time: Crackers, Cheese, and Jam

I reside in the HOUSE of SNACKS!  We refer to snacks as “SNACKAS”, a cute word my mom uses when she wants something to nibble on.  A little plate of scrumptious edibles lives in the center of my kitchen table, in the event that you need to pop something in your mouth at any given second!  I like it that way.  Some snackas are store bought and some are made here at home, but always changing.  From this point forward I will share what my household is snacking on….

SNACKAS of the DAY:  Raincoast Crisps by Lesley Stowe.  The best cranberry hazelnut cracker that is unrivaled when it comes to crunch!  I use theses crackers as a salad enhancer from time to time…. but today they are shining bright topped with goat’s milk cheddar cheese and fig jam.  YUM!  Wish you were here.

Here’s a picture of the cracker packaging.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

RIVERA -Restaurant Review

RIVERA -Restaurant Review

I found happiness at Rivera, a restaurant with three dining rooms, each offering their own menu.  “Rivera’s Sangre” offers cuisine from Spain and Portugal, “Samba” gives you a taste of South America, and “Playa Bar” let’s you explore Mexico and the Southwest. We settled in at an open area that looked like a modern sushi bar, but instead of maguro, out came some of the best mexican concoctions that ever passed my lips.  An explosion of flavor on the tip of my fork.  Who are these people?  I don’t know, but we are already friends.  Anyone who could whip up something so pleasing to my palate, and fanciful to the eye is admirable.  Taste + Vision = Nirvana.  Keep in mind… I’m hard to please when it comes to what I eat, and I left Rivera’s Playa Bar with nothing less than magnificent fulfillment.  Saying to myself “comida hermosa.”  I will joyfully run back to this place again and again blowing kisses in the air.

Here’s what we ate:

Chile Guero Relleno- Huerito chile fried tempura style, stuffed with crab, corn, ginger and scallions. Resting in a shallow bath of a slighty spicy chile sauce.  One of the tastiest dishes of the night!


Piquillos Rellenos- Spanish peppers stuffed with gruyere, chorizo, and golden raisins. Wow! This little pepper dish knocked our socks off!

Vieras Arabesque – Scallops on top of an eggplant mash, Ras el hanout, drizzled in preserved lemon sauce. My man went bonkers for this dish!


Yucatecan Puerco Pibil – Pork shoulder that was slow roasted for 18 hours in a banana leaf, served with a red sauce, that made me wish I could leave inhibitions behind and slurp it off my plate. This was by far the BEST dish of the night!

I washed it all down with a drink they refer to as “Siesta”- made of tequila blanco, grapefruit, campari, lime and orange peel. My man had the “Strawberry Fields” – Strawberry puree, tequila blanco and mint. Both drinks were perfectly blended.

For dessert we had the Torta Xocolata – a dark chocolate torte, covered in drunken pineapple slaw, sitting in caramel. YES…it was decadent and delicious. Unfortunately my camera needed a battery charge at that moment and I was unable to photograph it…. never the less it was YUMMERS!

If you are in Downtown Los Angeles and want to take a ride on a food merry-go round…. this is the PLACE!  Enjoy!



1050 s. Flower Street #102

Los Angeles, California 90015


Rivera on Urbanspoon

Salad Series: Crunchy Coleslaw

Salad Series: Crunchy Coleslaw

With summer creeping it’s way into our weather…  I thought it would be the perfect time to start my salad series.  Once a week I will be posting salads I make for my family in the hot months, when all you want is something fresh, delicious, and light.  Let’s start with Coleslaw.  I’m on a constant hunt for yummy coleslaw, and to be honest, rarely do I come across a good one.  Usually it doesn’t have enough crunch or it’s drenched in something tasteless.  You know the old saying, “If you want something done, do it yourself.”           SWEET.  CRUNCHY.  TANGY.  MINE.


Ingredients for slaw:

2 – cups red cabbage (thinly sliced)

1 – cup grated carrot

1 – cup grated green apple

1/2 – cup dried cranberries

3/4 – cup blue cheese dressing (I use Bob’s Big Boy)

1/2 – cup coarsely chopped almonds


In a large bowl, mix together cabbage, carrot, green apple, and cranberries.

Then add in the blue cheese dressing, and mix to distribute evenly.

Lastly add chopped almonds, and mix well.

Serve this coleslaw as a side at your next bar-b-que, or just eat it all on it’s own!


All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Guacamole and Flour Tortilla Chips

Guacamole and Flour Tortilla Chips

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I decided to post this guacamole recipe along with  flour tortilla chips.  This is the snack my family serves at every gathering.  Traditionally guacamole is served with corn tortilla chips, but oh my word it taste like heaven with flour.  Who doesn’t love a flour tortilla stuffed with avocado?  This is the perfect way for every one to enjoy this yummy combo.  Believe me it’s well worth the short time it takes to make the chips.  You’ll be lovestruck and so will your guests!


2 1/2 – tablespoons minced jalapeno

5 – ripe Avocados from Mexico (cut in half)

1/4 – cup torn cilantro leaves

1 – teaspoon salt

1/2 – teaspoon black pepper

3/4 – cup chopped tomatoes

2/3 – cup chopped onion

1/2 – teaspoon chili flakes

1 – lime (juiced) (optional)

1 – cup vegetable oil

5 – flour tortillas (cut into 1 inch width long strips)


First start with the jalapenos, cut in half, discard stem and deseed. Mince.

Then chop tomato and onion and set to the side.

In a big mixing bowl add minced jalapeno, and avocado halves mash with a masher. Then add salt and black pepper and mix in with spoon.

Then add cilantro leaves, and mix in with spoon.

Now add chopped tomatoes and chopped onion. Mix in with spoon.

Lastly add chili flakes, and (optional) squeeze lime over top.  Then mix with spoon. You have yum yum guacamole!

Let’s make the chips!

Slice flour tortilla into 1 inch width long strips.

In a large frying pan, over a high flame add vegetable oil and allow to get hot.  Then add strips and let fry on each side for 30 seconds or until golden brown.

Take out of oil and let drain on a paper towel lined plate. Salt to taste.

Dip your warm chip into the guacamole and you are all good to GO!



* For the margarita please refer to my “LimeOrange POW POW Margarita” recipe posted on March 21st.

FORAGE – Restaurant Review

FORAGE – Restaurant Review

I thoroughly enjoy the food at Forage.  Every time I dine there, I leave with the most satisfied feeling.  I’m not stuffed, I’m just perfectly content.  Plus I LOVE the whole story behind the restaurant and how they invite local gardeners to bring home-grown produce into Forage, and if they find it fit they will add it to a salad or build a dish around it for the next day… and in exchange the gardener walks away with something tasty from their daily specials.  How brilliant is that?

Forage touches my palate the way it craves to be touched.  It tells me the person preparing the food is a wonder in the kitchen.  That person must adore their job, because the final result is perfect.  What makes Forage stand out and sparkle more than majority of places is…. usually this caliber of food is served solely in upscale restaurants, and at Forage it’s being served more in a cafeteria setting, which sets ease to the place.  Anyone who appreciates delicious food can come to Forage  and sit down next to a family, or two friends chatting away, and not have to worry about the kind of shoes their wearing or if their hair is combed perfectly in order to take pleasure in a great meal.  LOVE IT!

What we ate:

My friend A-dre had the bacon carmelized onion gruyere cheese quiche (pictured above), wild arugula salad with radish shallot lemon vinaigrette and the strawberry basil lemonade.  She didn’t leave a crumb behind.  That’s a statement in itself.  Here’s A-dre quenching her thirst.

Here’s a photo of my plate.  Everything was perfectly seasoned, and had the right hints of spice.  So fresh and delicious.

Jidori chicken from the rotisserie, Gloria’s broccoli, and Citrus/Fennel market lettuce salad.

My plate when I left….I nearly licked it clean.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

FORAGE – 3823 w. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026   (323) 663-6885

Hours: Tuesday – Friday 11:30a.m. to 3:00p.m.  and 5:30p.m. to 9:30p.m.

Saturday: 11:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. and 5:30p.m. to 9:30p.m.

CLOSED: Sunday and Monday
Forage on Urbanspoon