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Leena Eats: New year, new blog, new life!

By on Mar 4, 2014 in Family, Leena Eats, Leena Lives Life | 1 comment

You guys—Hi! I’m here! These last 12 months have been a doozy for me. My family embarked on a project that dealt with my chronic stomach conditions a year ago this week, and while you will hear more about it later, suffice it to say it was not a successful project. I got really sick, lots of hospital visits, etc. And have you ever tried food writing while sick? IT BLOWS. So, we’ve been doing our research for other ways to accomplish our project, and in the mean time, I’ve been rebuilding my life (for probably the fourth or fifth time in four years). That means working on staying healthy, getting back into exercising, and starting to get back into freelance food writing. And cooking/baking—I’ve been doing my fair share of that! The photo above is my latest creation, a blue cornmeal cornnbread that I made using Tierra Vegetables’ freshly ground...

Family Food Photography in Oakland

By on Nov 22, 2013 in East Bay, Family, Food photography, Leena Eats, Leena Lives Life, Oakland, Pho, Pizza, The Gastronomical Leena | 0 comments

Food photography and family portraits don’t typically go together, and they sure as hell aren’t the most searched terms on Google. But if food is your life and you have a family, eating together is probably the one time that your family is the most themselves, the most comfortable. Capturing those moments on film are a no brainer for this food writer, and I have been incredibly lucky to stumble across an incredibly talented food and family photographer in Oakland. Guys, meet Mark Estes of Mark Estes Photography. We’ve been working with Mark for two years now, and he has been amazing. He is creative, fun, and always willing to tackle unique shooting locations. The shot above was done at a local pizza joint called Slicer, which just so happened to be empty on the day/time we went, and had perfect lighting. The pizza shop is the first venture for chef Colin Etezadi, who...

Leena Eats: Swanton Berry Farm for Strawberry Picking!

By on Jul 10, 2013 in California, Leena Eats | 0 comments

In May 2012, I happened to be reading a copy of Saveur magazine, and I came across the tiniest article about supposedly the best strawberries in the country, which were located on an organic farm by the ocean around two hours south of where I lived. This article waxed poetic about how fragrant the berries were, how plump, and how beautifully red inside these berries were, pretty much the strawberry you dream about every year but never seem to get anymore. Food porn is my kryptonite, so I decided to plan a Father’s Day trip with my husband and my newly walking 1 year old daughter. That first year, the berries were big and plump, but it was MUCH windier than we anticipated being next to the ocean, and it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so no food places nearby. The smart berry pickers packed a picnic or bbq lunch to eat after picking, and we vowed to come back again and...

Leena Eats: Trencherman restaurant in Chicago

By on Jan 10, 2013 in Chicago, Leena Eats, With Friends | 0 comments

Oh Chicago. How I’ve missed your food! Don’t let the Bay area know, but I secretly think your restaurant scene is the best in the country. So innovative, so delicious, and every restaurant so different from the last (something the Bay area does NOT do well). So when I planned a visit over Thanksgiving 2012, I knew I wanted to check out one of the many new restaurants that have popped up since I left in late 2009. I consulted my local food peeps, and decided to try out Trencherman, a New American restaurant in Wicker Park. More photos of food after the jump! In the end, it was a creative and fun meal. If Trenchermen can hang around until my next Chicago visit, this could become a regular haunt. ~LTG! *************************** Trencherman restaurant 2039 W North Ave. Chicago, IL 60647 773-661-1540 Their...

Leena Eats: Just kidding…NOW I’m back! And with dinner party photos!

By on Dec 12, 2012 in Appetizers, Leena Cooks, Leena Eats, Mains, Meat, Parties, Pork, Sorbet, Soup/Salad, The Gastronomical Leena, Vegetables | 4 comments

So. I said I was back, and clearly, I lied. What I actually meant is, hi, see you again in four months or so. I spent from mid-June through early October studying my ass off for a little test called the GRE, because I decided hey, wouldn’t it be fun to get a doctorate and research food and culture for a living? It paid off, because I didn’t completely fail the math, and I did ok in the verbal and kick-ass in the essay section. BUT. It also meant no brain energy was left at the end of day to cook, let alone blog about food. Or exercise. Or eat well. But I did occasionally bust out some winners, the cake above included. That bad-ass monstrosity was a chocolate chip cake layered with passion fruit curd, chocolate crumbles, and coffee buttercream frosting from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook. More after the jump! I feel like I could probably create a nice big-ass cake like this...

I’m back and filled with more food than ever!

By on Jun 25, 2012 in Leena Bakes, Leena Eats, Leena Lives Life | 1 comment

Hey there! Sorry for the several month break there. I have been busy chasing after a 1 year old (she is one now!!), dealing with hospitalizations (yay IBS!) and eating my weight in summer produce. Here’s a quick review of what you’ve missed. First, and most importantly, Ella turned one! She REALLY got into her cake eating. Big surprise there—she IS my offspring! For her first cake ever, I made her a delicious chocolate cake topped with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. She loved it. She also loved staying up until 11pm, which is what happens when you flavor your chocolate cake with real, caffeine-filled coffee. Joy. Since the birthday party, I have been baking enough pies to feed an army of hungry goats. There is just something about the summer and all it’s seasonal fruits that turn me into a crazy baker. Luckily, this pie obsession has not rubbed off on my...