Click below for Mai Holiday 2016 gift guide!Read More
Ahhh Paris. City of fashion, romance, and pioneers behind everything "effortlessly chic." Thanks to a #happilyeverhoughton love story, I was honored to join my dear friends Israel and the now Mrs. Adrienne Houghton in Paris for their dream wedding. (See the magic on my IG @thejeanniemai). In between the celebration, it was my mission to stop and smell the foie grois and fleur wherever I could. After all, my favorite travel partner in crime Mama Mai was in attendance and it was her first time in Paris!
Although we traveled everywhere by taxi, uber, comfy heels and yes, bikes, here's a breakdown of Mai Must Hits list:
1. Galeries Lafayette Gourmet, 35 Boulevard Haussman, 75009 Paris, France
This is across from the Galeries Lafayette, a high end department store in France which also has great department store finds if you're into a mall stop. This food hall is a MUST HIT because it's aisles and aisles of every Parisian fave you can imagine all delicately packaged and displayed for tasting, pairing, or purchasing. I was able to get souvenirs for #MaiGlamFam back home all in this one spot!
Peep my snaps of these eclairs, flavored Himalayan Salts (I got truffle, truffle, of course!), Vietnamese French delights, and pate!
2. Septime, 80 rue de Charonne, 11th district
Septime is a one Michelin star restaurant, located at 80 rue de Charonne in the 11th district, which is a busy area to go out to, full of bars and restaurants. It's in line with the new trend of the bistronomy or even neo-bistr, except that they elevated the dishes to many techniques and créativité to earn a well deserved Michelin star! What is also commendable is that it's not about tradition and étiquette, but about the food, art, and the freshness of the ingredients.
3. Then I should hope you would want to work off all you ate...! I went to the "Jardin du Palais Royal" where Parisians go at summer to sunbathe and eat at the hidden terraces under the trees or read a book by the pond/ under the tree. This garden is actually a gem as it's quiet, off the beaten track by tourists who go mostly to Tuileries. For me, it's perf for pictures :)
4. While there, do stop at the Palais Royal, a permanent art installation called "Les Colonnes de Buren" where you get the most fun, picturesque moments because the landscape and colors are so playful. Clearly. Here I am with my male better-version-of-me-spirit-animal, French couturier extraordinaire Julien Fournie:
Extra Option: Cabaret Manko, 15 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris, France
Last but not least, a fun stop to do late at night when you're feeling the need to be entertained 👀, is the Cabaret Manko in Avenue Montaigne. Not your typical cabaret, in fact I still don't know how the hell to describe it. All I know is, you shall be in awe. It was a perfect 2 blocks away from the Plaza Athene where the ladies and I were staying, so we could stay looking flawless as we were!
Hope you enjoyed this short list of Mai Must Hits List of Paris! Next time I'll include a more detailed list for my fashion finds. For now, eat your heart out, and do share where your Must Hits in Paris are for me below! Au revoir!
Shop Mai Look!
Fun fact: So one night I was at Bestia (the #1 American/ Italian resty in LA in Mai opinion), and who sits at the table beside me but the Award Winning, breathtaking, always glowing Gwyneth Paltrow. And rather than die over her shoes and handbag, Mai nosy lil' eyes were pasted on what she ordered to stay in that lean mean shape. (PS. It was 2 entrees of pasta, one creamy, and dessert.) So obvi when our Goop Goddess recently launched her cook book, It's All Good, with her I-Woke-Up-Like-This face, I dove into the pages to see WTH I need to eat to glow like Gwen. This Chili Thai burger recipe had me from the start because she incorporated Anthony Bourdain and Mai fave...fish sauce???
Mai friend Robin (best mom and luxury handbag shopper out there btw) and I decided to try out the recipe this weekend. Good god....it's become the best chicken burger I've ever tried. Juicy, spicy, flavor overload. So of course, I had to share with Mai fam, YOU guys! Post on your socials if you cook these up and tag me. She calls for gluten free buns but Robin used Hawaiian rolls and I think they tasted magical I would luv to hear how yours came out!
Gwyneth’s Chicken Burgers, Thai Style
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30-60 minutes
• 1 pound ground chicken (preferably dark meat)
• 2 garlic cloves, very finely minced
• 2/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
• 2 shallots, very finely minced
• 1 tsp. very finely minced red chili (or more or less, however hot you like it)
• 2 tsp. fish sauce
• ½ tsp. coarse sea salt
• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tbsp. canola, grape seed or safflower oil
1. Thoroughly mix the chicken with the garlic, cilantro, shallots, red chili, fish sauce, salt, and pepper. Form the mixture into 4 burgers, each about ¾-inch thick.
2. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Rub each burger on both sides with a bit of oil and grill for about 8 minutes on the first side and another 5 minutes on the second, or until nicely marked and firm to the touch.
"You always making da keo (kale) salad. I get bore the keo (kale) salad. Why not make fish? It goot. It healty. And it not fat. You eat fish fat you don't fat. I dont know keo (kale) but fish not fat."
Dang. She called me out. I guess with my busy schedule I've started to only make things that are hella quick, but I forgot this exact dish that Mama Mai makes that's stupid off the chain. Thank God for Moms. I'm so ready to get schooled.
Here it is: a flavor explosion HEALTHY salmon dish with a redick dill seasoning. The flavors will bring you straight to North Vietnam. (Dill is maje there.) Lucky for you and me, Mama Mai is going to walk us through the incredibly easy steps that it takes to make this salmon dish...and we use a special part of the salmon. Da belly. I promise you won't be disappointed.
Some people don't believe you can fall in love at first sight.
Those people don't know me when it comes to spotting a hot, succulent, sexy looking piece of food. I have been known to lose. Mai. Shit.
It happened to me during my stay here in Deauville, France. While here for Kevin and Sabrina's wedding, I was walking along the fish market area known for selling the day's fresh caught gems of the sea, when I spotted my new lover.
There they lay, a sea of shiny shelled crabs nestled atop crisp, white, snow cone crushed ice. They were stacked on top one another like they were lined up for a school picture. And on the very top, the gorgeous valedictorian sat proudly on display.
Now, when I say I fell in love...I'm putting it lightly. I was ready to shoot a food porn with this baby. This mother of a crab was unlike anything I had ever seen. Not only was the shell a sexy Ruby Woo shade of red, but it's claws got more robust in color towards the main pincers- where it finished in a jet black, liquid liner dip. And just to take it OTT, the crab was machete'd right in half so you could get a glimpse of what awaited inside--a burst of hypnotic, juicy roe. These gorgeous eggs are a treasured delicacy. Get in Mai belly.
The gang and I ordered cockles, prawns, 3 different varieties of oysters, the main crab body, and more King crab legs, of course. Every single sea creature tasted more fresh with each crack, slurp, and bite. I'm still not sure what tasted better- the actual flesh or the savory sea broth embedded between the meat. When it came to the actual roe I straight died. The layers of meat, eggs, innards and juice was orgasmic. Just when you thought you had too much of the rich eggs, the steamy, pull-apart pieces of the crab meat were a nice savory balance to the bite. If this really was a food porn being shot, I should have gotten paid for the sound effects damn it.
Shoutout to Yvon for helping us order this fantastic mid day lunch in Français!
Would you consider this to be a delicacy in your book? "Vas-y, mange!" (This means "Come on, eat up!") OR Delish or disgust? What do you think?
Yup. That's me. Deep throating some deep dish.
While others may have flown to and from the cities within Southern Italy for comfort and frequent flyer miles, I, chose to drive. Well, wait. Asian driver no survivor. My friend Bart drove, so I wrote blogs in the back of the car like this one.
The homies and I drove specifically to Naples, Italy to try the legendary pizza from L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele. This place has gotten loads of press after mai cheekbone muse Julia Roberts starred in Eat Pray Love. Remember she had to literally go shopping for bigger jeans? It all makes sense now.
(My best advice if you get here is to drop somebody off so they can go take a number, since parking is a biotch.) That way you get to go and peek inside at the lil assembly line action they got goin on for these pies!
Lucas, recognized me from my show How Do I Look, and offered to let me roll my own pizza! With these acrylics, I said hell naw, but did thank Mr. Lucas for watching my show with his wife!
L'antica Pizzaria is known for only making two flavors: Marinara and Margherita. Obviously we had to get both to try em all. As I sat there watching everyone else dive into their pizzas around me. One thing I noticed right away is that the crust is SUPER gooey and soft. There were dudes rolling it into straight up burritos around me, while most just folded the huge half of the pie over and ate the whole thing. Nearly everyone in the resty had a whole pie to themselves. I asked myself why the hell I chose a pencil skirt that day.
Finally when the pies came out, it smelled like unicorns had landed in heaven. You could just see the pops of the mozzarella on top of the ooozy sauce. There were parts of the pie that had crispy burnt edges, which I loved. And each pie was totally shaped different. I remembering reading from a cook book somewhere that when a pie isn't round, its because of the lack of sugar in the dough. (Can any Italians out there verify?)
Taste test: this pie was legit. Not only was the soft crust something very different because of it's elastic, chewy taste, but the pizza sauce was the life. Rather than the sauce being like a ragu-ish texture, it was more like Lucille Ball and Ethel skipped the grapes and went to town crushing these delicious ripe cherry tomatoes until they got this sauce that was fresh filled with skin and ripe seeds. The sauce was everything a pizza should offer. I'll admit I normally like a pizza with hella fixins (olives, anchovies, sausage, ham, shrooms, basil, peppers..) but I kept these comments to Maiself because I didn't feel like getting punched in my pencil skirt.
Didn't matter what I thought anyway, when this was what I was looking at:
Has anyone ever tried this? And as far as here in the US, where do YOU think has the BEST pizza? Lmk, because I'm that girl that'll (have Bart) drive there stat to try it!
Discovering the right burger is an art. And as I share with you mai new fave joint, understand these few disclaimers:
1. I could absolutely have a new fave by the end of the month, in which case I will share it with you.
2. I don't claim in anyway to be a burger expert. I just know what I like and God put mai tastebuds on fleek so I do not play.
3. I ain't bout no basic burgers.
Now that we've got that straight, here's where I'm drooling over these days.
Oh, gawd help me. This place is bombtastic. There's a location in Vegas which is where I first discovered it, but I'm in love with the one on Sawtelle in LA. Let's start with Mai #1 fave burger- The Mr. Ho Burger.
Yes, I had this bohemoth in mai mouth. (T.W.S.S.) It starts out a blend of ground pork and angus beef, three blends of Japanese mushrooms (shiitake, enrigi, enoki mushrooms), lap cheong sausage*, hoisin mayo, finished with a blend of greens. Puttng all this baby Jesus magic in between that soft taro bun is a boss move.
(Btw, I noticed that all the patties of cooked burgers at Bachi are always perfect. Don't mess with medium..it's choice.)
Mai second fave burger that's worth some yoga pant stretching is the Shogun Burger. It's a crazy layered burger with a 8oz wagyu patty, onion marmalade, grilled unagi, miso butter seared foie gras, (yes, you're still reading ingredients,) poached pear, and finished with a blend of frisee, mizuna and arugula. It sounds like alot...and it is. Recall #3 of Mai burger requirements.
There are other magical dishes here that I can't get enough of. Like the Poke - fresh flown tuna from Hawaii marinated in a house made sesame soy based marinade and tossed in with cucumber, sweet onions, furikake, limu (farm raised seaweed), inamona (kakui nut), green onions and topped with lomi tomato. And their Kale Salad makes you feel like you're doing something good for your life with it's blend of kale, mizuna, frisee, quinoa, apples, cranberries, parmesan cheese, kaiware (Japanese radish sprouts), avocado, pine nuts all tossed with an in-house made orange yuzu vinaigrette. I absolutely got their super-revered-on-Yelp-Oxtail Fries...but it wasn't really for me. I can actually say there was so much going on, you don't taste much of any one thing. However it rates high on the food porn scale as you can see.
What do you think? Would you try Bachi Burger? Check out their locations here and hopefully you can try something I recommended. If you tweet me around 4pm and I don't answer, it's prolly cuz I'm at their happy hour. What's your burger speed? Let's hear it in comments below.
*Fun fact, I used to come home from school as a kid, microwave some lap cheong sausage in the microwave (45 seconds, cover it with a towel cuz it explodes fat sparks everywhere,) and eat it with rice. Heaven.
Baking is one of those things that, no matter how much you suck at it, is theraputic. Having a bad day? Bake. Having a good day? Bake. Having friends over who wanna put a whole new meaning to any song by Snoop Dogg? Bake.
Now that it’s summer and blueberries are in season, I wanted to share this recipe with you that...seriously ladies? Will bring all da boys, (every one of em) to the yard. I'm being beyond serious about this dish. It's a Betty Crocker classic with a oooey gooey bluey twist... the Betty Crocker Peach Cobbler WITH Blueberries.
I first had this dessert at my framily friend, BJ's house, and utterly died when I took my first bite.
Literally...you know how people have discussions around the dinner table? I was like "Can everyone pls shut up for a second and focus on this fucking piece of heaven?" She served it piping hot from the oven, with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. The filling part comes plump and juicy with the perfect pop of blueberry juices and tartastic buttery peaches, while the cobbler, brings this salty sweet balance of crust and biscuit in every other bite. Combined with the cooling slightly melted vanilla? People, it's to. Die.
So here's the recipe below, 2.0 version. If Betty were here she'd post it on Pinterest. Swear.
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 8 sliced fresh peaches (6 medium) LEAVE SKIN ON, slice thin and small!
- 1 pint of juicy blueberries
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons shortening
- 1 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour (can use gluten free flour from King Arthur if prefer)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk
- Cream, if desired
1. Heat oven to 400º.
2. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, the cornstarch and cinnamon in 2-quart saucepan. Stir in peaches and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole; keep peach mixture hot in oven.
3. Cut shortening into flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, the baking powder and salt in medium bowl, using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives, until mixture look like fine crumbs. Stir in milk. Drop dough by 6 spoonfuls onto hot peach mixture.
4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm with cream if desired, or homemade ice cream if you're a unicorn like BJ.
Some of you may not know that one of my favorite places to spend time with Freddy is on our ranch in Colorado. It’s quiet, refueling, and the best time to be bra and makeup free. Ahhhhhh... And the one thing I have to do nearly every night, is have a bonfire. You would never guess, but there are a ton of different recipes and foods that you can actually cook over a campfire that turn out tasting more amazing than they would in a microwave or an oven, I swear! So, next time you decide to venture outdoors, prep yourself and make these five foods. It’s mega fun and the results are so rewarding!Read More
Me: Hi Mom! Freddy and I are trying to eat less meat this month to get healthier, so I wanted to have fish for dinner. Can you teach me to make Ca Hap (steamed fish in Vietnamese)?Read More
You guys all know how much I love food. I'm a HUGE foodie and can't wait any time I have a brunch, lunch or dinner date! One of mai favorite meals that hits really close to home is Dim Sum, a traditional Cantonese meal that is prepared in bite-sized portions. Not going to lie, you have to be down with the diverse parts of town if you want a real dim sum meal. I'm talking Alhambra, Gardena and China Town to name a few here in LA.
Here are five reasons why I love dim sum so much:
1. It's tasty AND healthy. If you opt for low-sodium soy sauce, dim sum meals can actually be a healthy meal option. All ingredients are fresh and made that day. Packed with protein and very rarely fried.
2. It's cheap. There is nothing better than feeling full after a good meal and knowing you got your money’s worth. Am I right? You can invite ten or more of your friends to a dim sum brunch and walk away with some extra spending money.
3. It's family style. When we have dim sum we share everything, so it’s fun to try different things and go a little out of your comfort zone. If you’re not into chicken legs, then don’t eat the chicken legs. But don’t worry, there’s something for everyone! Even you vegan people out there! #BokChoy #ChineseSpinach #TofuEggplant #TofuMushroomDumplings
4. It reminds me of home. Every Sunday, Mai fam and I would always head to Milpitas or South San Jose early to get in line for that scrumdidlyumptious dim sum.
5. Because tea. I'm a huge tea drinker because it’s not only delicious but it is SO good for you! Dim sum is always served with tea. But remember, don’t serve your own, it’s bad luck, and always considered a sign of respect when you serve your guests or elders before yourself.
And that’s it, the five reasons why I’m so obsessed with dim sum. Have you tried it? Are you going to try it? I definitely encourage you to if you want an authentic Asian meal. Tell me how much you love dim sum by commenting below!