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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: Pican, kick-ass upscale Southern food in Oakland

By on Jan 4, 2012 in California, Leena Eats, Oakland | 0 comments

I stumbled upon Pican a few months after my daughter was born. My husband and I were desperate for a night out without the baby, and once we had a babysitter, I did a quick yelp search and came up with Pican. Upscale Southern food? Done and done. I became Pican’s bitch shortly after my first meal there. With creative twists on class Southern dishes, comfort food I crave on a regular basis, how could I not? They had me promising to do very bad things for another bite of their smoked brisket meatloaf. Smoked meat is my kryptonite. More food porn and restaurant review of Pican after the jump! So essentially being a table of fat kids at heart, my dining companions and I couldn’t help but start with some of the richest items on the menu. The first was the chicken and waffles, a play on the classic dish with chicken livers, a parmesan waffle and marsala sauce. I loved the...

Leena Cooks and Eats: Scenes from a Chili Cookoff

By on Nov 30, 2011 in California, chili, chili, Leena Cooks, Leena Eats, Mains, Meat | 2 comments

I didn’t always love eating chili. As the story goes, I overdosed on my mom’s chili at the tender age of 3 and got sick. The memory of this made me avoid chili for the next 20 years or so (I still can eat red kidney beans without gagging a little), until I went to culinary school and decided to try making a chili recipe I could actually stomach. That was 2005, the year of my first chili cookoff, and this year is number five. The cookoff has followed me from Chicago to Australia to California, and has yielded some of the most interesting chilis I have ever tasted (like a kangaroo chili with Vegemite and a Thai chicken chili), and this year was no exception. The big surprise? Really delicious vegetarian chilis that were more than just beans and water! More chili cookoff food porn after the jump. Another great cookoff! I’ve been inspired to try making my own veggie chili...

Leena Bakes and Eats: Iron Cupcake SF October 2011- Candy

By on Nov 9, 2011 in California, Cupcakes, Desserts, Leena Bakes, Leena Eats, Recipes, San Francisco | 0 comments

It’s been a few months (and a baby) since I last participated in Iron Cupcake SF (January 2011, as a matter of fact). But with most of the baby weight and ALL of the gestational diabetes gone, I was ready to take on Iron Cupcake by storm. The monthly challenge: candy. Something I have made into an entire food group for the better part of my life! So I got to work creating my dream candy-inspired cupcake. Heaps of food porn and a killer cupcake recipe after the jump.  So, I knew I wanted to recreate the Whatchamacallit candy bar, which is essentially a peanut butter rice krispie treat topped with caramel and dipped in chocolate. I wanted to recreate all the layers of the candy bar, but I felt they would come across best on top of the cupcake, instead of in the cupcake. So I made my favorite dark chocolate cupcake in mini form. My dark chocolate mini cupcakes, ready to turn into a...

Leena Eats: The big one–The French Laundry.

By on Nov 2, 2011 in California, Leena Eats, Napa | 2 comments

I’m not worthy, Mr. Keller! But I sure as hell am gonna pretend I am as I eat your delicious-ass food! So, I dreamed about it. Made grand plans with friends to go there while drinking too much wine. I never actually thought I’d go there, at least not any time in the near future, and then something awesome happened. I had a baby, and because the entire process (except the end result) SUCKED, my awesome husband got me a gift certificate to the mecca of all food places…The French freaking Laundry, people. Are you ready for some killer food porn of the highest culinary degree? Really? Are you sure? You might want to grab a sandwich, cuz I won’t be responsible for your drool-soaked keyboards. Food pron, French Laundry style after the jump. The only thing we knew about TFL was that many people had a hard time figuring out where it was. This was the only sign outside...

Leena Eats: SR24 (Final pre-baby meal!)

By on Sep 13, 2011 in California, East Bay, Leena Eats, Oakland | 0 comments

Crispy pork belly @ SR24 in Oakland. I’m putting this post up for sentimental value. The restaurant just closed at the end of July, and this meal was eaten at the beginning of May, just days before I gave birth. I was feeling large and slow at this point, pretty much praying daily that the baby would hurry up and get the eff out of my belly. The pork belly pictured above was delicious, especially with the runny egg, and I’m pretty sure I managed to eat most of this, even though I was sharing with two others. So behold, one of my last meals out as a childless person. More food porn to come! Mussels @ SR24 While the mussels were tasty, I don’t remember the broth being particularly crave-worthy, which I feel every mussel broth should be. A beer tried that night, not by me 😉 I really dug the bottle, and it was said to be pretty tasty. The chicken pot pie @ SR24 I had the...