One of my really good friends and former roommate, Mai, is currently pursuing a nomadic lifestyle in Uganda. But before her departure I was able to bond with my current roommate Emily and one of Mai’s fantastic friends from high school. The three of us, Emily, Jess, and I, have been able to get together on a weekly basis to form what we call The 7, 8, 9 Dinner Club—well, that’s what I’ve dubbed us anyway. The 7, 8, and 9 originated from each of our lucky numbers, which coincidentally happened to be consecutive (only Jess was initially observant of this).
So, every Tuesday, Jess comes over to our apartment and we just cook up a feast. Our first dinner date, Mr. Tall joined us. We shared some edemame, and I cooked up an easy chicken and vegetables stir-fry with sweet Chili Thai teriyaki sauce, and brown rice. I personally prefer brown rice to white rice not only for its superior nutritional value but its textural appeal as well. Brown Jasmine rice is the best. Okay, enough about rice. [That's Jess and Emily with their stir-fry.]
Our second dinner date, I cooked up a simple homemade Bolognese sauce with whole wheat spaghetti. Emily put together a lovely salad tossed with her Grandma’s recipe of balsamic vinaigrette. And you can’t forget some super-garlic butter on whole wheat French bread. Good, simple comfort food. (Sorry, no pictures from this date.) The week after that Jess was craving some Chinese take-out, so we went to this place down the street from our apartment on 4th called Hong Kong Restaurant. We ordered some fried wontons as appetizers, chow mein with pork, sweet and sour pork, Schezuan tofu. I am personally not big fans of the typical chow mein and sweet and sour pork dishes so I was really hoping that the tofu dish would do it for me. Although the sauce complimenting the tofu was flavorful, I was disappointed that they used friend tofu instead of the firm or silken tofu. My favorite part of the meals was the green tea mochis (yes, I know they’re Japanese but they are so delightful)—so good!
The following week, we were still in a take-out mood, so we called up Bronx Pizza and ordered for a pick-up. After about half an hour, we walked down to Washington and picked up our entire pie for a mere $15, and it was plenty for us three gals. The New York-style pizza was thin and slightly crusty. We ordered half eggplant and red roasted pepper, and half artichokes and sausage—very good choices, indeed. My personal recommendations for pizza places around San Diego would be Bronx in Hillcrest and Hoboken in Pacific Beach. Both are New York-style so if next time you’re in the mood for some pizza I would suggest trying those instead of the more familiar, usual delivery places. Mr. Tall is a pizza enthusiast. We like to call in and order an entire pie for pick-up. We had traveled to NYC last spring and there is definitely no comparison to the real thing, but Bronx and Hoboken get pretty damn close.
Anyway, back to the dinner club: on our next date, we decided to make it a fiesta! Literally. Emily cooked up some chicken soft tacos with all the fixin’s. Ever since Sun God, my guacamole has gotten some rave reviews even though it’s the easiest thing to throw together—no cooking involved. My secret ingredient is Tapatio and lots of fresh lime juice. If you know me, you know that I pretty much pour hot sauce and chili on practically every savory dishes. But definitely the best part was Jess’s green alligator piñata filled with candy goodness. Our predicament was that we had nowhere to hang up the piñata. But being the smart cookies that we all are, we improvised, and decided to the just toss the damn thing and hit it like a huge baseball. It turned out to be so much fun! We had some awesome pictures from that night, but Emily’s camera got screwed up and lost all of the pictures. That was a big disappointment.
Just as I thought things were going well for our dinner club, they just got even better! For the past Tuesday, Jess came up with the idea to make crepes! We found the recipe online:
4 eggs * 1 cup of flour * 1/2 cup of milk * 1/2 cup of water * 1/2 teaspoon of salt * 2 tablespoons of melted butter [recipe makes about 12-14 crepes]
We blended all the ingredients in a blender, which made for very easy pouring and clean-up. It was so simple and enjoyable. We didn't have a fancy crepe pan but our frying pan worked just fine. For our savory crepes, we filled them with sautéed button mushrooms with peppered smoked turkey and cheese.
For our sweet crepes, we had, what else, but Nutella! Well, aside from Nutella, we filled them with raspberries and sliced banana. Nutella is probably one of the best food inventions ever. I love it. Jess had brought over the film "The Triplets of Belleville," but we were not in the mood to watch it. The one thing we’re always in the mood for was "Sex & The City." We figured we’d watch the last season when Carrie is wooed to France to go with our Parisian dinner theme.
I must add that the best addition to our dinner dates is definitely the music. I love cooking with some really good background music. I really think music enhances the whole culinary experience. I have so many more good eats to share with you so I think I might have to start posting twice a week to catch up with the materials I’ve collected so far. More foodies to come later this week!