Off the Beaten Path: Rumi Cafe

Some parting wisdom, compliments of Rumi Cafe

Some parting wisdom, compliments of Rumi Cafe

Not really. This place is in Sherman Oaks, near Ms. Foodie’s Yoga studio. Thanks to the magic of Yelp! Ms. Foodie stumbled upon it, and I am so glad I did.

Rumi Cafe is a brand new establishment, only open three months; but they are working hard to make a good impression. The Cafe has a Middle Eastern vibe, with comfy seating (actual cushions on the chairs!), and a nice selection of books and music to go along with your coffee or meal. But they aren’t low-tech—there are two flat screens, and plenty of plugs for laptops—which was perfect for Ms. Foodie’s purposes today. I just needed a space on the way home from Yoga to patch off a few emails and do some research, but being early afternoon in the San Fernando Valley, I knew my usual haunts would be packed to the gills with the usual wannabe screenwriters and actors. So I decided to flip a coin (via Internet search) and try something new.

The Cafe had good reviews on Yelp! and since it is relatively new, Ms. Foodie took a chance that it probably would not be running a crowd. Sherlock Holmes would be proud of my deduction skills, as I was right. Ms. Foodie practically had the place to herself, on top of the focused attention of Mike, the Barista/Server on duty that afternoon.

The Cafe serves breakfast, lunch AND dinner, different from most cafes that only serve pastries or prefab sandwiches that are often too little sandwich for too much money. Ms. Foodie got her money’s worth with a delicious Spinach Omelette with hash browns and toast. One of the best Spinach omelettes Ms. Foodie has ever eaten. Fresh, light, and flavorful, yet hearty—Ms. Foodie couldn’t even finish it all. The price: less than $7.00.

The delicious Spinach Omelette, including bread (not pictured). All for less than $7.00.

The delicious Spinach Omelette, including bread (not pictured). All for less than $7.00.

Ms. Foodie also ordered an iced Vanilla Latte. Why is it 80 degrees in February? I digress, and most the nation is telling me to shut up. Where was Ms. Foodie? Yes, back to the Vanilla Latte. Ms. Foodie will be wired for sound for the rest of the day. The espresso was super strong (just the way Ms. Foodie likes it!), and the Vanilla was delicate—a mere hint of flavor without overpowering the espresso. A rare thing, especially if you frequent the majors like Starbucks and the Coffee Bean. Mike, being very gracious and solicitous, charmed Ms. Foodie into ordering another one—this time, blended. The blended Vanilla Latte was even better than the iced one, but now Ms. Foodie will be wired for sound for the rest of the night! But it was well worth it—Middle Eastern- type cafes make coffee and espresso like nobody’s business!

The cherry on Ms. Foodie’s sundae was Mike offering a sample of their soups of the day: Tomato-Basil, Carrot-Ginger, or Bean.   Ms. Foodie chose the Carrot-Ginger Soup, and thought I had died and gone to Heaven! The soup was so creamy, and lightly laced with Ginger and other spices, it made Ms. Foodie feel like she was being enveloped in a warm comforter.

This place may appear to be off the beaten path and tucked away, but Ms. Foodie has no doubt that this will change very soon. I recommend you pop by and give them some business—just give Ms. Foodie a few more months to feel like I have the place to myself….

13368 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks, California 91423. Hours of operation: 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. You can also find them on Facebook at LA Rumi Cafe.

Simple Fare: Pan-fried Salmon with Onions, Garlic, and Kale accompanied by Cilantro-Jasmine Rice

Ms. Foodie is finding that it is often the simple things that turn out to be the best. This would be especially true of tonight’s dinner.

Ms. Foodie took less than 45 minutes (thank you, Rice Cooker!) to make this meal, and if I put my foot in it, if I must say so myself!

Ms. Foodie rubbed down a large Salmon Fillet with Sea Salt and Red Pepper Flakes then let it sit for about 20 minutes.

While the Salmon was marinating, Ms. Foodie added chicken boullion and Cilantro to the Jasmine Rice to create a flavorful and refreshing rice dish in the Rice Cooker. I added equal parts water to the cups of rice (I did two), hit the “Cook” button, and forget about it.

Ms. Foodie then chopped a bit of White Onion (about 1/4 cup), 2 cloves of Garlic (sliced), and some Kale leaves (about a 1/2 cup) and sauteed the mix in a tablespoon butter until the onion was clear and the Kale was vibrant and a bit tender. I removed this mix from the skillet, added another tablespoon of butter, and threw on the Salmon Fillet, skin side down. Ms. Foodie cooked it for about 5 minutes, or until the skin was crisp, then flipped the Fillet and cooked it for another 5 minutes until it was cooked through.

Mr. Foodie gave it the thumbs up and said “It was delicious!” I’m inclined to agree with him. 😉

Friday Night Dinner: Just an old-fashioned Cheddar-Mushroom Burger with Parmesan-Cilantro Oven Fries

Ms. Foodie had a wonderful time cleansing and resetting the body; all to enjoy this tasty, Friday night treat.

To limit the calories, and so as not to shock the system too much, Ms. Foodie prepared it all in the oven.

I basted my beef in Worcestershire sauce and mixed it with Ground Cumin, Ground Mustard, Ground Ginger, chopped Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic, Cilantro, Sea Salt and Lemon Pepper; then formed them into patties and placed the patties in a 425 degree oven.

For the fries, Ms. Foodie cut potatoes in wedges, then marinated them in Olive Oil, Parmesan-Romano Cheese, Cilantro, and Sea Salt, then placed them on a baking sheet. In the potatoes went into the oven, at the same temperature.

Ms. Foodie topped the Burger with Cheddar and a dollop of Miracle Whip, and Mustard.

A delicate combination of flavors, and so much lighter than you would imagine!

Food Truck Heaven: Ricky’s Fish Tacos

So Ms. Foodie is making it a New Year’s goal (no resolutions on this blog) to explore more of the L.A. Food Truck scene. After Christmas, Ms. Foodie and visiting family paid a visit to Ricky’s Fish Tacos. The menu is simple: Ensenada-style Fish Tacos and Shrimp Tacos with a few traditional Mexican drinks. In-N-Out has done well with that strategy, so why not?

Ms. Foodie tried both the Fish and Shrimp Tacos. The Shrimp was good, but the flavor of the shellfish felt overwhelmed by all that breading. But the Fish Taco? Oh My! Divine and melt in your mouth. Topped by delicious crema, or a mild, medium, or hot salsa, and you have a winner for dinner. Ms. Foodie didn’t see any lines around the block–yet; but I have no doubt Ricky’s will get there.

Ms. Foodie highly recommends you try the Mint-Cucumber drink–it will change your life!

Follow Ricky’s Fish Tacos on Twitter: @RickysFishTacos.

What’s for Dinner: Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup

Happy New Year! Ms. Foodie is winding down the holiday excess with some lighter fare, and then a cleanse. Yes, even Ms. Foodie believes in resetting the system every once in a while in order to keep it working at its optimum. My enjoyment of food and its blessings are even more attuned after a cleanse–but I digress….

In preparation for the cleanse, Ms. Foodie whipped up three soups: a green vegetable soup, and vegan potato soup for the three days of strictly liquid, then one for tonight’s dinner.

Delish was the go-to site for the recipe, as Ms. Foodie doesn’t always feel inspired on her own. The ingredients were simple, and in store, and save for having to puree in a food processor, took little effort to prepare.

With a garnish of bacon and a dollop of sour cream, Mr. Foodie and my night was made.

Here’s to a year of good eating!

Twas the Day after Christmas…

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Ms. Foodie hopes everyone had a gastronomically delightful Holiday! As you can see from the collage, Ms. Foodie worked her usual magic for family and friends.

On the menu: Roasted Turkey with Stuffing, Roasted Pork Shoulder with Garlic and Herbs, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Roasted Brussel Sprouts. Notice the theme of garlic and roasting? It was quite the hit.

Sweet Potato Pie was the dessert of the evening, no garlic or roasting required.

Whatever your day, hope it was joyful and filling!

Soup is Good Food: Green Soup, with a few variations…

Mr. Foodie had a bit of a relapse with this cold/flu creeping crud that’s floating around, So, Ms. Foodie needed to go back to the antioxidant-rich fare that helped to get him back on his feet a few weeks ago.

I asked my fellow Yogi mini-Milena Sarian what she does when she has a cold, and she told me about a Green Soup she makes with LOTS of garlic. She had Ms. Foodie at “hello”…

The Mr. and I are carnivores, so even though we love the veggies, protein is what gives us the best energy. Along with antioxidant and vitamin C-rich Cabbage, Kale, and Zucchini, I boiled a chicken breast with some red Chile flakes, Sea Salt, and a bit of Black Pepper. Once it was fully cooked, I chopped it up, and added it to the mix.

Using a base of two cups chicken broth (including the broth from the boiled chicken breast), and a cup of water, I added an entire Garlic bulb (she did say LOTS), chopped fresh Ginger root, added two Bay leaves, and a medley of wild dried Porcini, Shitake, Black, and Oyster Mushrooms.

Sprinkled generously with Sea Salt, Black Pepper, and Basil, and polished with two eggs stirred into the hot broth, this soup is definitely the hit!

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Sunday Dinner: Prosciutto and Artichoke Heart Pizza

Ms. Foodie decided to experiment with a more dignified version of the Hawaiian pizza.

Trader Joe’s pizza dough makes for a wonderful crust, and Ms. Foodie used their Garlic and Herb flavor.

Instead of tomato sauce as a base, I used Olive Oil, Red Onion, and Parmesan. Then covered it with roughly chopped Artichoke Hearts, and dotted the crust with rolled slices of thin Prosciutto.

Once that was done, Ms. Foodie blanketed the base with Mozzarella, and a sprinkling of Basil and Parmesan.

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The results: Very light, extremely delicious.

Comfort Breakfast: Grits with Parmesan Rock Fish and Seaweed

Ms. Foodie has been feeling a bit under the weather, so comfort foods are in order not only for nourishment, but for pampering.

Grits are my go-to breakfast comfort food. Ms. Foodie had some leftover Parmesan Rock Fish, so that added some protein and flavor, while Seaweed flakes added some chew and spice.

Along with some Peppermint Tea with LOTS of honey, and Ms. Foodie is feeling better already!

Sunday Dinner: Herb-crusted roasted Pork Loin with Simmered Cabbage

Say what you will about Paula Deen’s recent troubles, the woman can throw down. Ms. Foodie pulled her recipe off of the Food Network’s website and coupled it with a Food.com recipe for Simmered Cabbage.

Ms. Foodie served it all over Jasmine Rice, and was quite please about the way this turned out!