Deep Fried Christmas Dinner

This year marked my first holiday season as a pescetarian, which doesn’t jibe with traditional southern holiday meals that normally consist of ham, chicken, and black eyed peas made with bacon grease. All of which are fine, I’m just not eating them right now. So, my ever accommodating mother decided that this year we would be eating shrimp and grits. i however don’t like shrimp either so we decided on fried catfish AND shrimp. This I can do. But first…

Meet my mom.

This is Patty. She is a great cooker of comfort foods and cheesecakes. She will basically make anything to make her picky children eat dinner. And here is my mom’s kitchen..

My mom isn’t very impressed with her kitchen, as you can tell by the look on her face, but it’s kind of awesome whether she likes it or not. A few years ago she decided she hated the cabinet doors, so she took them off and adopted this door free shelving system. Not surprisingly my mom knows where everything is, all the time. And get a load of all those cook books.

Here is the set up for the shrimps.We made a pound of little shrimps fried in a tempura batter, pretty basic, but it was my first time making fluffy tempura, so I was super excited.

If you look in the basket you can spot a slice of chocolate french toast I had made for breakfast earlier that day, that I decided to fry. (FYI, it was awesome.) And some hushpuppies my mom was frying while I was frying the shrimps.

here is the setup for the catfish..

Here you can see the fish bits resting after coating. But before I coated the fish in the batter, I cut it into little strips, and then soaked them in a baking dish full of buttermilk for an hour. This makes the catfish less fishy tasting, and makes the meat more juicy after frying. I made the coating for the fish using flour, fine cornmeal and about a 1/2 cup of old bay seasoning. Here is a picture of my fingers during the coating process..

And here is Mom during the frying process..

And here is a big bucket of fried goodness.


Although the menu originally consisted of shrimp and grits, we forwent the grits altogether, and my sister made her awesome four cheese mac and cheese..

This is just the cheese part of the mac and cheese!

Here is my finished plate, with all the fixin’s-

For the sake of comparison, here is the plate of my sister Dylan, who is a bona fide picky eater.

This is before she has even taken a single bite!!  At least she tried my beets.

After this we all took a nap! Merry Christmas Everybody!


Doan went to Kansas City over Labor Day weekend.

So this past weekend I went to celebrate a grandmother’s 100th birthday in Kansas City.  I should also note that I was born in Kansas City, moved away when I was 5, but went back almost every year to visit the many relatives I have there. I hadn’t been there in a good 5 or so years and when my parents said they were going, I said, “sure why not?”

Here are the highlights (please pardon my lack of photos).

Right off the plane I explained that I was hungry and I went with my cousin Khoi and his kids to Zarda BBQ for a quick barbecue fix. Kansas City is considered one of, if not the bbq capitals of the world, and bbq spots are to Kansas City what Kennedy Fried Chicken is to New York: ubiquitous. Zarda, I think because of its close proximity to my cousin’s house and good fare seems to be a go to when even I’m in town and I’m not complaining. I had a burnt ends sandwich and some cheesy potatoes, and both were solid stick to your ribs eats.  The burnt ends were meaty and smokey, the sauce tangy and spicey like I like it.

A few hours later, still full from my barbecue lunch, I accompanied Khoi and the whole clan to a fried chicken dinner at The Stonewall Inn, which is known for its pan-fried chicken and supposed ghosts. I had entered “I’m not hungry but I can force myself to eat” territory at this point so I wasn’t daring enough to go for the all-you-can-eat fried chickenn for $11 special, but I did get the two piece dinner which included mashed potatoes and pepper gravy (its been a while) and green beans. I chose leg and thigh for my pieces and once again, shit was solid. I kinda wish there was a little more spice to the chicken, but that’s just me being picky. Mashed potatoes were good, green beans I don’t like, and if I ever go back I’m getting the chicken livers with gravy. I’ve never been to Stroud’s, which some claim has the best fried chicken in Kansas City, but I was told that Stonewall rivals if not betters it. Stonewall also had an adjacent pizza place which looked packed, and long story short, I am definitely making this place the next time I’m in town.

The next day I went to a Thai buffet with my parents and some relatives. It was pretty good but I can’t remember what it was called. The highlight of that meal was the Thai curry pork fried rice (I’m a sucker for crunchy fried rice) and a slightly chilled spicy beef dish.

That night we all went to my aunt’s house to celebrate grandma’s 100th, and while it’s nothing new, the spread made me smile as it was a testament to some Vietnamese immigrants living in Kansas City. There were noodles, egg rolls (!), Vietnamese meatballs, and rice balls, and right next to that was some sliced brisket from Oklahoma Joe’s, ham and cheese croissants, and those Chinese pastry wrapped hotdogs. I had a nice mish mash of all of it and once again, ate myself silly.

The next day we stopped back at my aunt’s place where I had a great bowl of Bún bò, which literally translates to “cow noodles”. Later on for dinner I indulged myself on some smoked pork butt that my cousin Khoi had been smoking for the past day and I have to say that it was some of the best barbecue I’d had in a long time, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my cousin. I think he used a combination of hickory and apple and smoked that thing for about 14 hours and the meat was moist and smokey like a mofo. Topped off with some Gates’ barbecue sauce and I was somewhere in pork nirvana (come as you are).

Also in the mix for the weekend were aunts, uncles, cousins, the first house I ever lived in, the second house I ever lived in, where my dad used to work, and cases of Miller light, which were available in 16oz 12 packs(!). I didn’t make it to Winstead’s(though I’ve been there before) or get any Mexican, but there’s always next time right? I should also note that while much of the country suffers, KC has a Sonic for what seems like every 5 miles.

And then this morning I woke up at 5am to catch a flight. It was sort of a rude awakening to a short but jolly little weekend in cow town.

Here is the sign you pass when you leave Kansas to go into Missouri. I think it’s pretty funny.

that's what she said.

People Used To Have Shorter Lifespans

I can barely make out the text, but I think that is cheese stuffed/covered hotdogs in a bath or creamed corn and mustard.

Madmen seems to be pretty popular these days and people are having viewing parties where they dress the part, drink the drinks, and pretend like it’s the 50’s. I don’t watch the show (yeah I know) but I do like to pretend like I’m from the 50’s, except in my world I’m a time traveller from the 1980’s. I digress.
I recently stumbled upon Retrospace, a pretty amazing site chronicling all sorts of stuff from times past. Considering my weird interest/obsession with f’ed up junk food, i went directly to the Gastro-Abominations section and perused the images. I guess to go full circle, is anybody having Madmen viewing parties where they are serving some of this gnarly cuisine? And if so, can I come?
Asides from the image up top, here are some more of my favorites:

I guess this is meat wrapped around celery covered in some sort of cheese?

This really isn’t that crazy, I just think it’s a cool ad and concept.

And this image which won’t show up for whatever reason. I can imagine some executive being like “Well have YOU tried it? That’s what I thought so JUST DO IT.”

The whole site seems to be full of treasures, and I’ve just barely cracked the surface. Here’s another one of my favorites, this one from the Retro Ads section.
Despite my appearance and tendencies, I was never a fan of Dungeons and Dragons. Believe it or not.

Anything on the site make you smile?


“Hello friends and lovers” of Food Party! This is Erika Neola, and sometimes I shoot STILLZZ and THINGZ for the lovely and talented THU TRAN!!! Here are some photos from the Premiere of EPISODE 4: BAGUETTE DRAMA. The premiere was at Monkeytown on January 11, 2009.



FOOD PARTY CREATOR/STAR, Thu Tran, in her beautiful dress (made by Jacqueline Von Tesmar). Creeping behind her is Food Party WRITER/STAR, Peter Van Hyning aka Dr. Monkeyface.


Food Party’s FOOD STYLIST, Lisa Ramsey, and DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY, Steven James Probert, gettin’ sleazy.


Food Party DIRECTOR, Zachariah Durr, shows off DVDs.


Food Party PROP MAN, Chris Duffy, and MAKEUP/HAIR STYLIST, Jocelyn Helm. SO CUTE!


Food Party’s MALE NURSE PORTRAYER, Tom Spoerndle, and Tony gettin’ cozy.


Food Party’s MUSIC MAN, Matt Fitzpatrick, with some lovely frands. [L-to-R: Stef Von Tesmar,
Matt FITZ, Jacq Von Tesmar (dress maker!), Doan Buu (Food Party Blogger!)]


Food Party’s PUPPET MASTER, Danny B aka Glitter Boy, on the big screen.


A very SURREAL scene from Episode IV.


The Story of Rice Porridge was a real crowd pleaser.


The Bathroom was REALLY SWEET, also.

And let’s not forget all the beautiful friends and fans (or frands) who came to see the shows!








To see more photos from the evening or stills from this and other FP Episodes, please visit my FLICKR PAGE:



Rainbow Dinner


Last Saturday, I had a rainbow dinner at my house! This is a new potluck theme that I experimented with where the requirements are the food must be rainbow, ALL OR NOTHING.

As hostess, I made three dishes, (the third we did not get to eat, because I forgot about it. I know! How did I forget! It was homemade frozen custard with orange zest and minced ginger! It slipped my mind! I ate it later and it was like pigging out on frosting!!) Anyway, I also made a lasagna that I threw together pretty quickly, and anti-climactically. 5 layers, tomato, yellow squash, zuchini, beets, sauce. Ricotta and mozzarella/parm cheese mixture as the food glue.

The most exciting out of the things I made were these RAINBOW CREPES! Look!



I made a very runny pancake batter, watering it down with milk and egg whites, so that it poured into a thin pancake once it hit the frying pan. I used FOOD DYE in the batter to make it look like the pancake color swatches you see here!

Oh, Jed made this Roy G. Biv sushi:


I don’t quite remember what he used in each filling. The BLUE one is blueberries with dyed coconut and nutella. The YELLOW one is EGG.

Here is some more food:


Here you see a wonderful salad by Vanessa with beets, apples, avocado and mixed greens, and some delectable Malaysian layered tapioca desserts from Nadirah.


A very ambitious presentation here from Sean and Anne! Bell pepper rainbows in HUMMUS clouds!

Here is the rest of our spread:


Other highlights included a rainbow assortment of KOMBUCHA, Tenzin’s YELLOW curry, Danny B’s inedible pom pom soup, a seven layer dip that came an hour later with delicious guac and red-wine soaked black beans (wtf) oh, and last but not least, Zachariah’s contribution. He interpreted the theme unlike anyone else. Instead of bringing something that VISUALLY conveyed rainbow, he brought something that MENTALLY conveys this theme:

It actually came in a small plastic flask. I enjoyed it with soy milk. Try it! *wink!