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Review: Haven Gastropub

6 May

May 5, 2012

Haven Gastropub – Pasadena

First off, I would like to say Happy CINCO de Mayo!  I am going to celebrate my people’s day at an English Pub.  I wish I had a sombrero so I can stick out like a sore thumb.  🙂

Before Ms. Tsan (Nerf 2) and I went to watch The Avengers, we decided to stop by a pub in Old Town Pasadena.  When I first noticed the new pub and read the reviews, I thought that the beers were expensive but to my pleasant surprise, it is pretty affordable ($6-12).  The bottle beers are pretty pricy, but if you had gone to Lucky Baldwin’s to drink, Haven is about the same price.  Now off to our new food adventure for the night!!! (Yes, I was excited to leave the house.)

My first round of beer, I ordered one of my favorites from Stone Brewery, The Old Guardian.  The Old Guardian is a barley wine with 11.5% alcohol by content.  Now next to that glass of beer is our side dish for the night – brussels sprouts.  I know, I know, American television has always butchered the sprouts.  They keep saying it tastes funny and has a funny smell to it, but if you cook it just right, the taste isn’t all that bad.  It’s like a mini cabbage.  Well, unless you are like our friend Nerf 1 (Kimberly) and hate cabbage, then this dish is not for you.  ***hush voice*** “I think her mom beat her up with a pillow case full of cabbages.”  LOL, just kidding.

The picture below was an overview of our veggies for the night.  From the first taste of this dish Allison and I were very happy, but as we dug down into it the sprouts were greasy.  This was sort of complaint number 1.

For my main course, I ordered the lamb burger with a side of Thumb Master by Old Orange Brewing Co, a double IPA (not pictured).  The lamb burger (cooked medium rare) included onion jam, tzatziki, onion sprouts, and rosemary brioche bun.  Yes, I said it – onion jam.  The jam gave it a sweet flavor that I just can’t help, but to ask you readers to try and make some.  The fries are seasoned with a 4 herb blend and sprinkled with rosemary, but it came out a little cold and soggy.  The fries were complaint number 2.  Allison and I wished that the fries came out a little crispy and maybe piping hot.

See the inside of the burger.  Too bad you can’t see that it’s a little red on the inside.  My camera sucks. I also forgot to take the pictures of the onion jam.  So I can’t just blame everything on my camera!

The dish below is the shepherd’s pie.  No, I did not order 2 entrees.  I am not that crazy.  This dish belonged to Nerf 2.  The shepherd’s pie is baked with lamb, beef, root vegetables, cream, rosemary mashed potatoes, and cheese. Now here is complaint number 3.  The pie did not have enough lamb, beef, and veggies.  There was too much mashed potatoes for Nerf 2.  She enjoyed the crunchy cheese, but the potato top was too much and too rich.

Overall, we had a good time.  It was a great place to hang out and talk with your friends.  The food was decent and the beers on tap were not too expensive.  The rating we would give this restaurant is 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Home Made Apple *non-explicit* Pie

28 Apr

Wow it has been a while since my last contribution. In celebration of my near perfect score on my Mycology exam I bring you Apple Pie. Sweet warm oral comfort… wait that sounds wrong. Scratch that last bit. Although this apple pie may induce a foodgasm, it is good for all ages. Hope this recipe brings you as much comfort as it brought me. *Warning this recipe has not been rated*

Apple Pie

Pie Crust (double deep dish)

  • 290g flour
  • 2 Tbs Sugar
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 200 g ( 1 cup) shortening (cubed and frozen)
  • ¼ C ice water

Apple Filling

  • 6 Cups apples (about 8 small apples)
  • ½ C sugar
  • ¼ C Brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg


  • 1 egg yolk beaten
  • 1 tsp sugar

*optional: raisins (1/4 cup)

Instructions: Continue reading

Chewy Chocolate Cookies…Nom Nom Nom

8 Oct

Years of watching Sesame Street as a child has ingrained some very important facts on life in me. Rule number one, when count numbers out loud one must laugh obnoxiously between every number. Rule number 2, cookies should be eaten by the hand full and smeared all over your face (until health concerned parents threatened cookies monster with a carb restricted diet to say that cookies are only a sometimes food). We all know that is a lie because cookies are good all the time.  Lastly, never mess with the bird.

Going back to cookies, I strive to keep cookie monster’s original message alive. Eat those cookies like there is no tomorrow. To help with this I have here a recipe for a thin chewy chocolate chip cookie that you can’t help but eat them by the handful. Fresh out of the oven, these cookies are soft and chewy and perfect with that cold glass of milk. This is definitely one of the best cookie recipes I have tried to date. Chewy chocolate chip cookies 

Makes a lot of cookies, I really don’t know the count. Maybe about 4 dozens?

3 cups flour (2 cups all purpose and 1 cup wheat)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 sticks unsalted butter (must be room temp)

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 C smooth peanut butter

2  cups semisweet mini chocolate chips


1 Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl

2. Cream together soft room temperature butter with sugar until pale and fluffy.

3. Mix in eggs, vanilla and peanut butter to egg and sugar mix.

4. Add in flour, baking soda and salt mixture slowly until well mixed.

5. Mix in chocolate chip and let dough sit in refrigerator for 20 minuets

6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.

7. Scoop about a tablespoon of dough at least 2 inches apart. Bake cookies for 10-13 minuets or until golden brown.

8. When done, move the whole wax/parchment sheet with the cookies on it to a cooling rack. Careful with moving the cookies, try sliding the whole sheet on the to rack instead of lifting them.

9. Let them cool then eat or like me you can eat them right away.

Chiffon cupcakes with brown sugar frosting

3 Oct

Reason number one why I should never have too much free time: I end up making things that may one day kill me. Things that are oh so delicious soothing all my lady mood swings, but also make my waistline unflattering. Things like these chiffon cupcakes with brown sugar cream cheese frosting and shaved chocolate. Is your sweet tooth turned on yet? Mine certainly was, and after I had my fill of these I finished it off with a mug of black tea. The cake texture is light and fluffy. When it comes to frosting, my all time favorite type has got to be cream cheese frosting. There is just something about the acidity and savory flavor of cream cheese that tickles my taste buds just right. I used brown sugar here to give it a toasty molasses flavor and added just a bit of shaved chocolate for decoration. Warning: this may not be the easiest thing to make for first time bakers.

Chiffon cupcake by Alton Brown

5.25 oz of cake flour (these have lower gluten for a less chewy cake

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

5 large eggs, separated

6 ounces sugar, divided (5 oz and 1 oz)

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Pre heat oven to 325 degree F

2. Line 2 muffin tins with paper (12 muffin each)

3. Beat egg whites (make sure there are no yolk at all and all your equipment is dry) and without stopping add cream of tartar. Beat on high going in one direction (clockwise or counter clockwise) non-stop for 6-7 minuets or until stiff peaks. At the 4 minute mark add 1 oz of sugar. Set aside

4. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

5. Beat egg yolks, 5oz of sugar until mixture becomes a pale yellow ribbon like consistency. Then add water, oil and vanilla extract.

6. Whisk in flour mixture until well incorporated.

7. Add 1/3 of your egg whites and fold it into the yolk and flour mixture. Add the rest of egg whites in and fold gently until well mixed. Do Not Stir vigorously.

8. Divide batter into muffin cups and bake for 30 minutes. The cupcakes are done if you can insert a knife or toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese at room temperature

1 stick of butter at room temberature

3/4 C brown sugar

shaved chocolate (optional)

1. beat together butter and cream cheese

2. add in brown sugar and beat until smooth.

3. sprinkle with shaved chocolate for decoration.

Cooking marathon: Heart farmer markets

30 Sep

Inspired by Nerf #3’s recent post I have gotten off my lazy bum and decided to put up a new post. Today has been a cooking marathon. Earlier this morning, my trip the local farmers marked gave me a well of inspiration and wonderfully fresh ingredients for dinner. As I have mentioned in previous post about the new healthy eating rules in my family, and our constant struggle to make healthy things taste delicious. Some of these wonderful produce included butternut squash, red and yellow beets, wonderfully ripe tomatoes, and Japanese eggplant. We also acquired some very fresh tilapia from the local market. With these ingredients as inspiration we have our dinner menu:

Baked whole Tilapia, Roasted butternut squash, saute beet greens with garlic, roasted beets, roasted eggplant (coming soon), and spaghetti from scratch (coming soon) for lunch tomorrow. Click on the hyperlink for full recipes.

Baked whole Tilapia

Roasted Butternut squash

Roasted eggplant









Saute Beet greens with garlic










spaghetti from scratch

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