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.

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NoHo Dine Out Friday Nights

Ms. Foodie likes the combination of  food with shopping–this is why the modern food court is so dang popular.

Friends and fellow transitioners MC and CJ are mounting the NoHo Dine Out Friday Nights starting on Friday, November 11 and continuing through November and December!

Each week 10 food trucks and 10 local vendors will be featured, offering a variety of cuisine, along with arts and crafts especially made for the Holiday shopper. In the past, MC and CJ have hosted admission-fee events where the proceeds have benefited animal rescue. This time around, they just want to build community and put Los Angeles on the map as a gourmet food town–this will bring it one step closer.

The best part–admission is free! So you can spend your ducats on the yummy food and the local arts and crafts.

Date:  Every Friday starting November 11 through the months of November and December

Time:  4:40 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location:  The parking lot at 11458 Burbank Boulevard, North Hollywood (west of Lankershim, next to Twin Palms Apartments)

Ms. Foodie hopes to pop in before she plays the Yoga instructor on Friday nights–maybe I’ll see you there!

Rainy Day Cookies and Stew–necessarily, in that order!

"Raining" courtesy of Peter Griffin/Public Domain Pictures.net

So we are experiencing our first rain of the season here in Los Angeles. Save for venturing out for a Yoga class, Ms. Foodie is fortunate enough to be ensconced at home with her two furry babies, with visions of culinary delights dancing in her head.

The afternoon started with test-driving a recipe for Almond Butter Cookies from a blog called Good Life Eats. Author Katie Goodman does some killer desserts, and she has some great Holiday offerings that Ms. Foodie plans to try as that Season draws near.

Ms. Goodman gives some great information about an Almond Butter called “Barney Butter“, that is Peanut free. Many nut butter manufacturers still use the same processing plant to do Peanut products along with the others, so if you have a Peanut allergy, even trace amounts can be dangerous. Thankfully, me and Mr. Foodie do not–we just enjoy the smooth taste of Almond Butter. Almond Butter is also easier on the digestion.

Ms. Foodie’s personal choice is Trader Joe’s Almond Butter with Flaxseed Oil. It made the cookie mixture a bit less firm when forming it into balls, but oh, what melt-in-your-mouth delight! Chased with a glass of cold milk, it was a perfect slice of yummy!

And what’s a rainy day without some nice, hearty stew? After finding uninspiring offerings on the food blogs, Ms. Foodie did her own thing with stuff in the Store. Kitchen-Cabinet Cooking at it’s finest! Two leftover lemon Chicken Breasts, a cup of mixed vegetables, Potato Gnocchi, one can of Cream of Mushroom and Garlic soup, a half cup of Sour Cream, and a tablespoon of Coconut Oil.

I threw it all in a Crock Pot, set it to low, and left the ingredients to meld.  Stews and soups always bring such lovely smells to the home!

Didn’t cancel out the Almond Butter cookies though… good thing the batch made three dozen! Mr. Foodie is doing the Happy Dance.

Broiled Dijon Burger

Is what’s for dinner!  Marinated in Dijon Mustard, and stuffed with colorful red and orange Baby Bells, Green Onion, Garlic and Mushrooms, you get all of the flavor, without all the fat.

With a slice of Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Kale and Tomato, it’s even tastier!

Grits and Logastino tails make for an Eclectic Morning

So the weather has gotten nippier outside, and Ms. Foodie needed something warm in her belly!  What better cold weather morning burner than Grits.

Grits are like potatoes: they take on the flavor and tenor of whatever you add to it.  So, Ms. Foodie went eclectic and a tad exotic, adding some frozen Logastino tails in while the grits cooked.  Once they were ready, I added a bit of Trader Joe’s 3-Cheese Blend, and roasted Seaweed, to give it a bit of saltiness and texture.

Hearty?  You betcha!  Not to mention delish.  Good morning!

On the Plate…

Image Artwork: Jennifer Oliver O'Connell

If Ms. Foodie Patootie had had any sense, she would have been at the 1st 8th annual Grilled Cheese Invitational on Saturday.  Another premier event at the L.A. Center Studios that featured vendors like Tillamook Cheese and food trucks!  Will definitely have to put it on the calendar for next year…

And speaking of trucks, we have a new one to stalk!  The Munchie Machine rolled out its fare on April 20 at Bigfoot West in Venice.  Which is apropos, since the truck decor and menu would definitely appeal to a certain crowd that appreciates umm… herbal refreshments.   There’s much there for the rest of us too, with lots of tasty sandwiches with even tastier ingredients; and of course, salads and vegetarian fare for the non-carnivores of L.A.  The website is not up full blast just yet, but The Munchie Machine menu is viewable, as well as their follow link to Twitter.

When I worked near LAX in the early ’90s, there was little to speak of food-wise except fast food and greasy spoons.  Thankfully that has changed considerably, and now they are really upping the ante with the new Century Food Truck Lot!  On it’s premiere date a week ago, it hosted nine of the L.A. Food Trucks, including Komodo, India Jones, and The Buttermilk Truck.  Schedules are viewable in Google calendar–very convenient for those times when Ms. Foodie is near the airport!  Century Food Truck schedules.

H/t LAist.

Breakfast in a Biscuit

So Ms. Foodie Patootie had an epiphany: instead of making plain ‘ole biscuits to eat, why not create a tasty treat?  Uh, oh! Watch out!  I’m a foodie and a poet.

But seriously, chefs of every culture have been filling dough with all kinds of good stuff, from Empanadas to Pierogies–so my idea is nothing new, just a variation on an old theme.

My first trick was going back to that Kitchen-Cabinet Cooking principle: What’s in the store?  Lucky for me, I always keep on hand a baking mix–any baking mix, whether it’s Bisquick® or a generic store brand.  They usually have a quick n’ dirty biscuit recipe on the back of the box, and so that is where I began!

Once I formed the dough mixture, I set it aside and attended to the stuff inside.  Going back to the stores, I still had some ham left, so I finely chopped some of that, and combined it with Sharp Cheddar and a couple of pats of butter to enhance the flavor of the dough.

Once again, the beauty of the Kitchen-Cabinet Cooking method is improvisation.  Nothing’s set in stone, it’s whatever works with your diet and your budget.  I already have visions of stuffing them with ground beef, Swiss cheese and mushroom.  So, whether you’re a carnivore, omnivore or herbivore, adapt to suit your fancy!

I filled my dough just enough to fill the center, then wrapped it around from the corners to join them in the center.

Once your filling is all wrapped and snug, pop them in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, and whaddaya know?  An instant breakfast or brunch appetizer!

What I most like about these is that they are freezable: so you can store and eat the remainder at your leisure.

That is, if there are any remaining…

Soup is good food…

So like most people, I’m in between paychecks, which means we are low on stores.  Getting down to the dregs of the cabinet, so to speak.  Good thing I pick good dregs!

I call it Kitchen Cabinet Cooking, and being one who is familiar with cash flow problems, I’ve become quite good at it; so during flush times, I stock my kitchen accordingly.

I try to always keep a soup base in my store–usually an organic corn chowder or butternut squash.  So I decided to use Imagine‘s Organic Creamy Sweet Corn Soup and turn it into a pot of Chunky Corn Chowder!

When I make a roast, ham, or whole chicken, I chop up the leftovers and freeze them.  So I pulled out some frozen ham I had stashed, then added a frozen mixed vegetable medley, and there you go–from creamy to chunky in five minutes flat!

For the pièce de résistance, I took some dehydrated wild mushrooms and soaked them in hot water for about 20 minutes.   A bit of the mushroom broth gives a nice flavor to any dish, along with the chopped mushroom pieces.

Add some herbs and spices of your choice (I’m partial to pepper, basil, oregano and thyme), cook it for about 30 minutes or so, then serve it up with a dollop of sour cream and some fresh spinach, parsley or pepper pieces.

Voilà!  A luxurious dinner produced with spartan ingredients.

A serving suggestion: Trader Joe’s makes these fabulous pretzel rolls that come in a ring, and make a great accompaniment.

But as I said, we’re low on the stores, so Lynn improvised with another personal favorite that was in the store: Carr’s Table Water Crackers baked with Roasted Garlic and Herbs…

Soup is perfect for this rainy night in Los Angeles.  Mmm, mmm, Good!