Spring in Tennessee, an omnivore’s paradise…

I just came back from a short  trip to Tennessee and in spite of the beautiful nature and great inexpensive american shopping, the food is what I would like to remember! The state is known for its BBQ ribs:

I was surprised to see how “light” this meal can be and how delicious it can taste…

After the day’s work, I was left to myself to indulge in a few un-french dinners like the great dish of american cuisine, the unassuming simple red steak that comes to your table looking like this:

but it changes quickly to this— I like my red meat, rare…

It was of course preceded by the house salad with ranch dressing:

I was so happy to have free wi-fi everywhere I went in this trip, from airports to hotels and restaurants; I was chatting with friends and family on my phone during dinner and sending them pictures of my food especially the “pièce de resistance”, the strawberry shortcake…I don’t even like strawberries but this was too big a temptation to resist:

Everything was so clean/cheap/abundant in the U.S. that even the mediocre  P.F. Chang looked and tasted good! I couldn’t resist having their shrimp,

and garlic noodles:

After living in California and Europe, I can’t imagine living in the humid/hot/cold state with two N’s, two S’ and four E’s but I have to admit that the beauty and hospitality of Tennessee surprised me. Just look at these gorgeous red azaleas (nothing photoshopped here):

Knoxville was floating in a sea of white and pink dogwoods:

I fell in love with these dogwood trees:

Whatever wasn’t pink or white, was green…lots of green…

And more green.

America had a heart attack  a few years ago. Excess of everything: food, gas, cars, homes, etc…This trip to Tennessee gives me hope that this country is on its way to recovery…

Dim Sum, Dim Sum, tickle my heart…

On a rainy sunday afternoon in Paris, you can get really sentimental about a good old Los Angeles Dim Sum!

A visit to my old pictures of these Har Gows or shrimp dumplings made me wax nostalgic…These little shrimp bonnets were a part of a delicious Dim Sum at the Empress Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles.

The Cantonese phrase dim sum (點心) means literally “touch the heart” or “order to your heart’s content”. Originally it was not a main meal, only a snack, and therefore only meant to touch the heart and even though it is now a staple of chinese cuisine everywhere, it reigns supreme in Hong Kong.

Let’s go back to L.A.’s Empress Pavilion. Golden rule: if the place is completely packed with Chinese people, odds are that the food is pretty good!

I have been to this restaurant where the “feeling” is more authentic (with huge round tables and frequent cart circulation). I love picking out my food from carts being wheeled around.  It’s such a novel experience for a Persian (who always has to be coerced into taking some more food enrobed in taarof!)

Imagine waitresses with huge steaming carts full of exotic Dim Sum that they push around, and the excitement of choosing what you want from the cart. I love Cheung Fun or rice noodle roll that you see on the top shelf of the cart above and in your dish bellow:

“Travellers on the ancient Silk Road needed a place to take a nap, so teahouses were established along the roadside. Rural farmers, exhausted after working hard in the fields, would also go to teahouses for a relaxing afternoon of tea. People later discovered that tea can aid in digestion, so teahouse owners began adding various snacks and the tradition of dim sum evolved.”

Kai-lan (Gai-lan) or Chinese broccoli (or Chinese kale) is prepared in front of your hungry eyes,

The sharing act of dim sum is very important to the ceremony of eating it and drinking tea “Yum Cha” together as a unit. As I mentioned above, “Dim Sum” means point of the heart, so the act is supposed to warm your heart while you dine. Dim Sum is a breakfast and lunch time food. You will not be able to find it after 2pm!

I don’t particularly care for fried turnip cakes or potstickers but I always order them when I am taking people for Dim Sum for the first time:

I have been to the nitty gritty San Francisco chinatown Dim Sum places too; they are more authentic but can overwhelm you if you don’t drink a zillion cups of tea with your food:

My favorite remains the Los Angeles Dim Sum so think about me and drop me a line next time you are having some!

to see my other food posts:

Ms. Foodie goes to Hollywood

Tea from the land of the morning calm

You eat your values 

Coffee from paradise 

Michele’s quesadilla 

Ok, I’m a pig 

Ms. Foodie goes to Hollywood

After living for a few months in Switzerland, I couldn’t wait to get to my favorite Cuban restaurant in Los Angeles, Versailles; everything tastes more delicious and was way cheaper in the good old U.S. of A.

The most famous item in the menu is the garlic chicken and even for somebody who is not a “beer person”, this Corona was just too good to miss:

I tried to go back and rediscover all the inexpensive great restaurant of my hometown like the King and I where they still serve the best Thai food since the first glass noodles I had there 25 years ago.

To have the best restaurant cheeseburger in Los Angeles (Tommy’s is still great), I went back to the Westside Tavern—they have a gorgeous bar,

and they serve a rare cheeseburger to die for:

I love old diners (my first impression of America remains diners with bad coffee in New Jersey and New York) and I miss Bob’s Big Boy in Santa Monica; Coogie’s who replaced it has a super fresh simple chopped salad:

Nothing says more southern California than a killer burrito like this world famous border burrito from Eduardo’s Border Grill in Westwood (surviving the attack of Persian restaurants in the area):

The dudes are preparing them with tender loving care,

worth every cent of its 8 dollar price!

So I am not very beer, or burrito or hamburger but Switzerland does this to the poor Californian foodie who comes back: I wanted to eat everything in every menu of every restaurant!

Lemons and limes are always fresh at Eduardo’s,

so are different kinds of salsas:

It takes mediocre expensive food to change Ms. life is too short for bad food and cheap wine‘s  opinion about inexpensive modest restaurants of L.A.

All of the above places were great and gave me a lot of pleasure (and poundage!) but the tea at André’s was as usual priceless…

Ok, I’m a pig!

I am not a chocolate person – I am not an ice cream person – I am not even a french fries person but I have no resistance when it comes to good pastry with tons of real cream. It’s not the sugar I am after, it’s the fat!

chantilly dessert sweet sundae ice cream almond

Ah…real whipped cream; the sexier name would be Chantilly…Making it the right way is an art in its way to extinction – even in Europe; I made a scene a couple of years back in la Rotonde, when they served me a café liegeois with cream coming out of a can! I left the café more heartbroken than angry…

chantilly dessert sweet sundae ice cream

Well boys and girls, this post was supposed to be about “fiber to the curb/kerb”, a telecommunication system based on fiber-optic cables, but i found this subject sweeter on a Monday.

cafe au lait heart coffee

Being a wimp with a high cholesterol count and in the absence of real Chantilly, I treat myself to a “hearty” nonfat cafe con leche. Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not. “