Smoked Salmon and Brie Cheese Bites

A Match Made in Heaven

Do you love salmon? Do you love Brie? Then this appetizer is for you!

I decided to go fancy tonight in honor of Valentines Day (sometimes affectionately referred to as “Singles Awareness Day”), and made this delicious treat! It is actually very simple to make, and the salmon and brie complement each other wonderfully.

You will need 4 ingredients:

– Smoked Salmon

– Brie Cheese

– A Baguette

– Fresh Parsley to garnish

Your Ingredients

First take your baguette (I bought the seeded baguette from Trader Joe’s) and cut it into thin slices. Then toast them gently in your toaster until they are crisp. Then take your block of brie (my personal favorite is the “Supreme” from France which you can also find at Trader Joe’s) and slice it into approximate 1cm slices so that they are rectangular and fit right on your baguette slices. Slice the smoked salmon so that it is about 1 inch wide.

Take a slice of baguette and place a piece of brie on it. Then wrap the pieces of salmon, so that it slightly resembles a curled ribbon and artistically place on top of the brie. Add a sprig of parsley for garnish.

Voila! You now have a fancy appetizer.

The Finished Product

Mmmmm!

Enjoy!

Nectar of the Gods: Stella Rosa Orange Moscato

Sweet, Bubbly, and Amazing!

I am not usually a fan of sweet alcoholic drinks, but the Stella Rosa Orange Moscato has earned a special place in my heart.

A few weeks ago I visited the San Antonio Winery, located in the heart of Los Angeles, with a couple of friends. We went on the tour and afterwards they gave us free wine tastings! Usually they only give samples of 3 wines from a select menu, but the nice man who was helping us out gave us several additional samples which were off the menu, one of which was the Stella Rosa Orange Moscato.

This fruity, sparkling wine is a product of Italy and is made from Muscat grapes, which are harvested around the world and known for having a sweet, floral aroma. The alcohol content is a very low 6%, which explains why I can barely taste the alcohol and only deliciousness! One unique characteristic is the slightly thicker consistency which vaguely reminded me of honey. The combination of the light carbonation and the fruity, orange flavors make for a wonderful celebration drink.

Today my family and I were celebrating my sister’s visit from college, and the Stella Rosa Orange Moscato was the perfect choice for a festive evening! We also enjoyed the sparkling wine with some Sprinkles cupcakes, which were a truly delightful, drool-worthy combo.

Strawberry, Salted Carmel, and Red Velvet Cupcakes from Sprinkles!

So next time you have a special occasion to celebrate, you might want to pick up a few of these bottles. They are around $15 each, which is very reasonable for what you’re getting. If you aren’t near the San Antonio Winery you can check out your nearest location at stellarosawines.com. Enjoy!

Mud House Swan 2008 Pinot Noir

You would be crazy to walk away from this one

I was told by a fellow blogger that the Pinot Noir from Central Otago, New Zealand is amazing and I immediately started searching to see if I could get my hands on a bottle.

I finally found one that sounded interesting on the K&L wine merchants website. It wasn’t exactly the description of the wine or the pretty label that won me over either. One reviewer (Melissa Smith) commented, “Everything is in harmony with this wine. Except the price, buy this one by the case before they realize it tastes like a Pinot several times this amount. ”

Whoa.

That quote was all I needed. I ran to the closest K&L wine merchants, which happened to be their Hollywood store, because the website indicated that there were only a few bottles left at this location. As I ran in I breathlessly asked,

“DoyoustillhavetheMudHouse2008CentralOtagopinotnoir???”

I must have looked like a crazy person. Or a dedicated wine snob (awesome!). Thankfully they still had some in stock.

As I sighed a big sigh of relief I picked up a few and joyfully bounded over to the cashier to pay a very modest $10.99 apiece.

So to the important part: If I had to sum up the taste in one word, I would say elegant, because of the very clean taste. However that is DEFINITELY not to be confused with bland! This Pinot Noir is very unique, and you can taste the fruit but it isn’t exactly “fruity”. It is almost a tiny bit salty but leaves your tongue before your brain can really process all the wonderful flavors that are swimming around on your palate. It will leave you wanting more and even after many sips I was left puzzled, yet very intrigued.

So my conclusion is, I can’t describe this wonderfully complex flavor in its full glory. You will just have to buy it and see for yourself. Here is the link if you are wise enough to grab it before they run out: http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1083815

Gimme Sum Of That! Adventures in Dim Sum

As an indecisive person, I sometimes look at a menu and wish I could order a little bit of everything. Although I usually do not have the luxury of ordering everything I would like, Dim Sum allows me to do just that!

For those of you unfamiliar with Dim Sum, it is Chinese cuisine that comes in small, appetizer-sized portions, and the food is pushed around and served in carts. I do not speak Chinese, but fortunately pointing and nodding vigorously are enough to get some nommies on the table.

Today I had the opportunity to eat at the  New Capital Seafood Restaurant in San Gabriel. At $1.80 a plate, it was an amazing deal! If you aren’t convinced yet, hopefully these pictures of my lunch will put your salivary glands to work:

Dim Sum Cart

Jasmine Tea

Chinese Broccoli in Soy Sauce

Fried Wontons

Pork and Shrimp Shu Mai

Shrimp Har Gow

Yummy!

Like what you see? Here is the contact information so you can try it too!

New Capital Seafood Restaurant
140 W Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 288-1899
 

Do it. You know you want to.

The Cutie Appeal (or should I say a-peel?)

Most people who know me well have come to an understanding that I have an incurable obsession with all things cute. Today I came across the tiniest clementine which subsequently resulted in a squeal of delight.

Simply Adorbs

Not only was this microcitrus adorable, but it was also very sweet and amazingly delicious. Yes, I truly believe that it tasted better because it was cute. I have decided to call this abnormal, likely psychological effect: the cutie appeal.

A few weeks ago I decided to make tiny red velvet cupcakes with an amazing recipe I found on allrecipies.com.

Needless to say, the cuteness made all the difference.

Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Another visual for size reference:

Cupcake vs. Jinnee

So next time you have the opportunity, go mini! You might be surprised by what your taste buds tell you.

***For those of you who might have been concerned, Jinnee was not given a mini cupcake but a mini milk bone for her modeling efforts.

Sobon Estate 2009 Zinfandel

Delicious!

I found this wine at “Total Wine and More” which is a wine superstore that I recently discovered near my house. I have never seen such a humongous liquor store in my life and I have yet to discover something that they don’t carry. On top of that they have wine tastings for 10 cents and if you sign up for newletters they even send you updates and coupons via email! You can tell I’m pretty excited about this place…

So I am a pretty indecisive person when it comes to purchasing pretty much anything, because I like to think about every aspect of my buy. Despite my calm exterior, as I peruse the aisles I’m asking myself:  Is this exactly what I want? Is this a reasonable price for what I’m getting? Will I be sad if I were to leave it behind and later think “why didn’t I just buy it???”? Of course the same process also applies to shopping for wine.

The Sobon Estate 2009 Zinfandel was recommended to me by one of the employees in the store after I told him exactly what I was looking for: a red wine with a deep flavor, fruity aroma, and a smooth finish. This wine is from Amador County, and a quick google search revealed that Amador County is renowned for its Zinfandel. Some of the vines are more than 125 years old, and their Zinfandel vineyards are believed to be one of the oldest in America! The wine itself is truly amazing. The first thing I noticed is that the smell is mesmerizing. Its not just fruity (fruity makes me think light and simple), but has a complex, almost musky smell to it. The flavor is bold, and its very clear that this wine come from no ordinary grapes. This is really a taste of history! The alcohol content is 14.9%, which is higher than the normal 12%, but the bite from the alcohol is well hidden by the richness of the wine. The bottle also has a screw cap, which is wonderful for those of us with lower tolerances (you guessed it! its me) and will need quite some time to see the bottom of the bottle.

Currently I am blissfully sporting the finest glow, thanks to this wonderful Zinfandel!  For $12.99 this wine has been worth every penny. Thank you for this amazing find, Total Wine!

An Introduction

Dear Reader,

I am a young professional freshly out of undergrad, on a quest to enjoy the finer things in life while on a budget. I am not a connoisseur by any means, but I want to share my thoughts and appreciation for excellent food and wine. I hope my future posts can provide you with some valuable, if not interesting information on foods, restaurants, and wine choices so that you can also benefit from the hidden gems I hope to discover in the near future.

Let the search begin!