Another Reason to be Thankful for Rotten Bananas.

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You know how I feel about rotten bananas.
Ick.

In the midst of pre-wedding planning, I went and Costco-ed the heck out of some bananas and brought home two HUGE bunches. I easily dominate a bunch per week and figured with all the guests coming and going, I wanted to ensure that there would be enough for yours truly.

Whelp, figures. I didn’t eat one banana the whole wedding week. Its true, just like everyone told me. The harried rush of wedding week completely took me outside of my routine and by the time I realized I was hungry, I was famished and dominating pizza, cheese and crackers, cake batter, anything in sight but bananas.

So I had a pile of brown bananas. At least 10. The Mr. and I HATE to waste food. Not an option in our house so I chopped them up and froze them, figuring I’d find a plan.   Part II of this little rotten banana problem is that we’re moving {and packing}.  I’m cleaning out closets, fridges, freezers and pantry and somehow also have a TON of extra coconut left over from our wedding carrot cake. Oh and why I have about 4000 muffin tin liners too?  Yeah, not moving all these things.

Insert what am I going to bake creativity problem delight here.

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Banana Coconut Muffins

yeah, that sounds like a reaaaaaaalllly genius idea

Here’s what you need to know. The minute these came out of the oven they were in my mouth. Like really that good.  Not too banana-y and not too coconut-y. Sweet Perfection.

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And then I crazily decided that they might be even more DT if I added a scoop of peanut butter to each bite. Or wait, COOKIE butter. YES, better with PB and CB. (and if you have not tried Cookie Butter you should check the link above – go. buy. now).

Anyway, however you enjoy them, just enjoy them. Please.  {you will say Thank You}.

Banana Coconut Muffins.

2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 sticks butter, melted
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut

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375* 25 minutes
Line muffin cups with liners.
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk butter, bananas, sugar, egg, vanilla and 1 cup coconut. Fold mixtures together until flour is well combined.
Spook batter into lined muffin cups. Sprinkle top with remaining ½ cup coconut.

Bake 25 minutes until muffins are golden brown

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Enjoy Golden. and Warm. And Be Thankful for another Reason to Love Rotten Bananas.

{and if you’re looking for another INCREDIBLE banana recipe, don’t forget this one.  Might make the perfect addition to the Thanksgiving table for your non-pie-loving friends}

{MF Dre}

Pumpkin Bread.

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When I was young, my little brother came home from school with one of his typical kindergarten masterpieces – this time it involved a turkey that loosely resembled his grubby little hands.

(Source)

Like most of his masterpieces, this was placed front-and-center on fridge where my sister and I poked fun of it – being so.much.better at drawing turkeys –pfffft!  Little did we know that we were in fact looking at a piece of art that was truly one-of-a-kind.   On the back of the drawing was a recipe for arguably one of the most delicious Pumpkin Breads we had ever tried.  Arguably there hasn’t been a fall since 1985 that this recipe has not been made in our house at least 3x during the season.   Despite my family being spread far and wide across the country now there’s still a shared elation when the first signs of Canned Pumpkin hit the shelf.

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Pumpkin Bread

  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 3 1/3 cups Flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup Oil
  • 2 cups Pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tbsp. Nutmeg
  • 2/3 c. Water

Mix all ingredients together.  Bake at 350* for 1 hour 15 minutes.

NOTE:  This recipe makes 2 loaves.

You can make all the substitutions you want, but I truly discourage it. This recipe is meant to be enjoyed as-is.  I also don’t recommend that you cutting this recipe in half – pinky.prom that you’ll need a second loaf. instantly.

{MF Dre}

DT Alert: Beer Belly.

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There is nothing sexier than a Beer Belly.  Seriously Nothing.

I try to talk the Mr. out of his sit-ups every morning…

riiiiight.  but you can buy this hat if you secretly do want to encourage the BB.

When I found out we had a date in Korea Town last Friday night with one of our favorite couples I was really excited to try out a part of town I’ve spent very little – if any time in over the 22+ years I’ve lived in Los Angeles.   In truth, I think my only experience in Korea Town was at the Korean Spa which is another story for another day.  {I’ve got a repeat date on that one coming up soon}.

aaaanyway I was pretty excited, figuring we’d be in for a night of Korean BBQ and Karaoke.  I do a mean Betty Davis Eyes on the karaoke machine, and by mean I’m implying that it is downright traumatic to your ears.

record scratch on the karaoke…we went to Korea Town and didn’t do anything remotely local…instead we went to Beer Belly recently voted one of LA’s essential craft beer bars.  Set back from the streets in the back of a parking lot, this intimate, hipster joint opened about a year ago and has quickly become a neighborhood staple.

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Known most specifically for their famous Craft Beer selections, we started with a beer tasting staged light to heavy consisting of   Citra Pale Ale – a light slightly hoppy beer with a citra {think grapefruit/orange/lemon} overlay, Melrose IPA – a traditional IPA with notes of honey and citrus, Craftsman Triple White Sage – Medium Bodied with heavy herbal and sage aromas {and taste} and the Smog City Groundwork Coffee Porter which tasted like COFFEE with a hint of beer.

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My favorite was definitely the Melrose IPA, though I kind of wished the Triple White Sage tasted as good as it smelled.  Unfortunately not close.  I should have known better…it sort of had that strong and probably too strong scent like wheatgrass does…and we all know how that tastes going down.

We also ordered some snacks all of which were Beer Belly worthy – save one semi-healthy option if you forego the triple white sage cheese whiz, which in this case tasted nothing like the beer.

GRILLED BROCCOLI

Triple White Sage Cheese Whiz

PORK BELLY CHIPS 

Pork Belly, Sweet Onion Sugar, Tabasco Aioli

{Source}

JIDORI HOT WINGS 

Buffalo Blue, BBQ Volcano Chipotle

And there might have been some  CRAZY DELICIOUS MAC AND CHEESE in there too.

It was all ridiculously good. even the broccoli.

I can’t say that the beer didn’t have something to do with it….maybe a little…especially after we read this sign

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but when the four of us get together it is by far the funnest – yes, I know it’s poor English but most fun doesn’t seem to communicate the fun well enough – night ever, every single time.  Literally we laughed our bellies off with abs burning, cheeks pulled, face sore kind of laughter.

 Beer Belly, you’re growing on me. Next time, my eyes stomach is all about your Brunch.. Snickers Pancakes and Sausage McBelly holy BB. Maybe we should wait until after the wedding…and the honeymoon.

{MF DRE}

PS – speaking of new restaurants, we’re headed to Stella Rossa this week to meet with our wedding DJ! – anyone been? any musts? any do not play songs we should remember?

DT Alert: Officially in the Know.

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We spent Sunday afternoon downtown in the jewelry district and had about 30 minutes to spare before our appointment.  We stumbled upon Bottega Louie – a restaurant I’ve always wanted to try.  Part restaurant – part gourmet market,  Bottega Louie boats an impressive Italian menu, an urban-sophisticate crowd, grand portions, an exquisite French Patisserie and palatial ceilings, all of which creates an ambiance that those.in.the.know flock in droves on regular occasion.

{consider us now officially in.the.know}

 We stepped into the cafe and were immediately seduced by the stunning and delectable dessert cases and swiftly decided it was time for an afternoon snack.

Coffee and Chocolate Eclair for the Mr.

Iced Coffee paired with Pistachio and Salted Caramel French Macaroons for me.

{these might be my favorite.cookies.ever.ever}

Our brief trip to the patisserie only further seduced us to quickly return downtown so that we may indulge in the famed Portobello Fries, Burrata and Prosciutto Parma Pizza and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.

Desserts alone – consider Bottega Louie officially added to the D.T. list.

{MF Dre}

P.S. I am on the hunt for an easy to perfect French Macaroon recipe.  Suggestions welcome!

DT Alert: Your Sled Awaits.

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When life gives you blizzards, find your way to Beano’s Cabin in Beaver Creek.

On Saturday night, we got dumped on with Snow.  Blessing and a Curse. The Good News, the mountains needed a good snow.  The Bad News, we had dinner reservations 45 minutes away up in Beaver Creek, which meant one, awesome drive ahead of us.

The thought of cancelling dinner was out of the question.  Not because anyone knew what I planned because I left them completely in the dark on this one, but because the word NO does not exist in adventure.   Plus, I had really  special Birthday dinner planned for the Mr.

Unfortunately my brother was really under the weather so I gave him a bye. Driving conditions were awful, but we made it there with a few intentional e-brake slides.  {when you race cars, apparently this stuff is fun/funny}

We arrived in Beaver Creek Village and I unveiled my surprise.  Nope, we weren’t dining at the Beaver Creek Chophouse; it was just the meeting spot for this bad boy.

Our chariot sled was awaiting us to take us to dinner at Beano’s Cabin up at the peak of Beaver Creek Resort.  The Mr. and Barbie-in-Law were super surprised. Yes, we rode to Beano’s in a sled.  How do you get to dinner?

This was not my first time to Beano’s.  When I was young my family lived in Denver and we were often up in the mountains.  I can’t recall the specific occasion, but one evening the 5 of us went to Beano’s and I remember it being one of the most magical and ridiculous experiences to take a sleigh ride to dinner.  (For those of you from CA, it was probably in line with my memory of eating at Ed Debevics but for very different reasons).  Time for a repeat and a brilliant, birthday adventure.

Pulled by a Sno-Cat, which also dueled as a groomer for the runs, we were up the mountain in about 15 minutes.  It was snowing like crazy {the Blessing part} – it is way more fun to make your way up the mountain in the middle of a good snow vs. just a dark cold night.  Evidence.

We arrived and ushered into the slipper room. Yep, boots off, slippers on.

And then settled in for an incredible 5 course meal.  Aside from soup and salad, which were set, we all ordered separately for App and Entrée to see who would win the DT contest.

Winners of the night:

SOUP:  Sweet Potato Bisque with Sage (too good to not mention)

APPETIZER:  1st Place:  Trout Tartare (B-i-L)  2nd Place: “gunpowder” rubbed Buffalo Tenderloin Carpaccio (Mr.)

ENTRÉE:  1st Place:  Gingerbread Crusted Lamb Rack (theMFDre), 2nd Place: Brown Butter & Sage Scallops with toasted Hazelnuts (B-i-L)

(menu here)

After dinner and dessert, we lounged by the fire for a bit and then took the last sled down for the evening.  Our sled guide mentioned the last sled of the night is typically most fun… he was right.  Romantics and whimsy were over with.  Time for a mean snowball fight!

Right after this, he got nailed in the face.  Awesome. Way to go out with a bang snowball in your face.

{MF Dre}

  • Have you been to Beano’s?
  • What is your craziest Dinner adventure?
  • E-Brake slides – love ‘em or hate ‘em

 

 

DT Alert: The Sweetest Rose.

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Salted Caramel. Fig Jam Swirl with Goat Cheese and Walnuts. Peanut Butter with Brownie Bites. Brown Sugar with Butter Pecan.  Kiwi Sorbet. Sound Indulgent? Not gonna lie,  they are.

These are just a few of the ridiculously.amazing flavors at Sweet Rose Creamery.

I’ve mentioned this spot before – the owners of SRC also own Milo + Olive, another one of our favs. This team only knows home runs.  SRC makes the DT list for sure.

The other night, despite the rather chilly (50’s) temperatures in LA, we had a serious craving for a little Sweet Rose.  After all, they deliver Small batches of Happiness.  We were already having a pretty good night, so we figured a little more happiness might be the cherry on top.  Lucky for us, it’s just far enough (1.7 miles each way) to make it a good walk and to justify the real deal {vs. non real deal froyo spots  Pinkberry and Yogurtland which are around the corner}.

Don’t get me wrong. Love the nrd too, but I save those for nights I don’t feel like a long walk {or better stated, when I want to plant myself on the couch for 2 uncomfortably painful but ridiculously hysterical hours watching The Bachelor – like last night}.  And by I, I truly mean just me and not the Mr.  He only goes for the real deal.

So anyway, we rallied the homies for a late night walk and waited in the line around the corner entered DT.

{no idea what the guy is doing or saying so please refocus yourself on the flavors below}

I went with the Kiwi and the Mr. dominated the Peanut Butter Brownie.  That was after tasting 90% of them. I was torn between the Salted Caramel and the Kiwi but after the walk, I was kind of craving something refreshing (plus, Runners World had just reminded me of the benefits of Winter Wonder Fruit, Kiwi, which is stocked with Vitamin C, Fiber and Bone Building Vitamin K).  We arrived at the tail end of the night, so they were out of a few flavors, but when everything is freshly made, you kind of give them a pass on running out of things by the end of the night.

Oh and I should mention, I didn’t really miss out on the Salted Caramel, we I took a pint to go.

Again not to blast FroYo, but for those of you who eschew ice cream for whatever reason you fancy, you’re missing out on the.Real.Deal.Big.Time.

So if you’re in the area, do.not.miss.it. Or better yet, just.make.the.trek.

  • Are you an Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt Fan?  
  • Favorite Spot?
  • What would you get at Sweet Rose Creamery?

{MF Dre}

DT Alert: Out With a Bang.

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I know I mentioned that I had news I was going to share on Jan 3.  It’s coming.  Small delay.  But rather than dwell on failed promises, let’s focus on the fun! 2011 went out with a total bang – a.no.fireworks.allowed.this.time.kind.of.bang.

I traded in my frequent flyer miles for this guy.

Let’s be honest – way.better.than.a.first.class.upgrade. – especially when I only  manage to qualify for upgrades these days on the measly 1 hour flights.  I’m not celeb-tastic enough to get upgraded on the way to NYC – ever.

  Lucky enough for me, the Mr.’s BFF, is a pilot.  Sweeeeet. And for those of you curious, same plane as the Foster the People concert.

So on Saturday, the four of us (unlike Jake Pavelka, this Pilot is Awesome and lucky for him his girlfriend, “Awesome +1”, rocks too) high-tailed it outta LA and up to the Bay Area for the night.  If you’re a celeb-stalker, these two were boarding the plane next to us on the way to Vegas.


That’s how we roll. {Once or twice in a lifetime}

We jumped in, put on the noise cancelling headphones and we were off. Yes, the plane is reeeeaaaallly small.

What was the plan? A ridiculous all night, all-you-can-drink party? Nope, we’re old {and lame}.  We went up for DT – delicious town.  Mr. MF Dre’s sister, Allison, and her husband, Russell Moore, own a restaurant in Oakland called Camino. 

Some of you may be familiar with the restaurant Chez Panisse, and its owner/executive chef, Alice Waters.  For over 20 years, Russ was the sous-chef chef at Chez Panisse and about 3 years ago, he and Allison opened Camino in the Grand Lake area of Oakland.   The space is both warm and rustic – most of the dishes served at Camino are cooked over an open-hearth fire or a wood burning oven. Their menu changes daily, reflecting the season, the region and the team at Camino’s commitment to supporting the best of local and sustainable small farms.

      

We landed, checked in to the Hotel Shattuck Plaza (highly recommend if you’re looking for a great hotel in Berkeley), lunched, beer’ed, napped, showered and headed out to Camino.

Awesome & Awesome +1

Mr. MF Dre & MF Dre

The menu…

Yes, it was absolutely DT.  They even had an optional ‘truffle add-on’ if you so desired. {yes, please – and the wine pairing too}.  I actually wound up subbing the NY Strip for the Vegetarian Option which was an Oven Roasted Mushroom Parcel with Roasted Butternut Squash and Grilled Chicories – of.course.I.added.truffles.too.   Our waitress highly recommended it and since I’m not a huge red-meat eater, I figured I could mix and match with the Mr.

WINNER – mine might have been the best meal on the table {by a hair, because it was all ridiculously amazing}.  And since the Mr. and I never compete to see who orders best…I’ll just say the score is:

MF Dre: 39      Mr.: 2

We indulged, imbibed and at the stroke of midnight…

CHEERED!

{and then promptly hailed a cab back to the hotel, because we’re old and lame.}

Thank you Allison and Russ for hosting us for the night (and brunch the next morning).

thank you Allison and Russ!

Please make our reservation now for next year.  kthxbye.

{MF Dre}

  • Have you ever been to Camino? If not, make a reso now.
  • What is your DT? Do you have a favorite restaurant? Meal?