Monday, March 25, 2013

Red Lantern & Lobster Rangoons

One restaurant/lounge that I love here in Boston is Red Lantern. It opened probably about a year ago in The Back Bay. Their duck buns are probably one of the best things I've ever eaten and don't even get me started on their lobster & bacon fried rice! I was super excited when I was walking out of there one night and came across a recipe card sitting on a table for Lobster Rangoons.

Now, call me stupid but I always kind of assumed one needed a deep fryer in order to deep fry. On the other hand, maybe I was being ignorant on purpose so I wouldn't subject myself to fried food every night. Anyways, once I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. And guess what? It was much easier than I thought!

The recipe calls for Japanese Tonkatsu (katsu) sauce which can be hard to find. Most supermarkets don't carry it. Luckily, I already had some in my fridge because I lovvveee chicken katsu and I always make sure to have some on hand just in case. The only place I've been able to find it is at the Hong Kong Supermarket in Allston (on Commonwealth Ave after passing by Boston University).  While you're there, do some never know what you'll find there! To be honest though, you could probably get away without using any of the katsu sauce and the rangoons would still taste fine as it just adds a slight flavor.

I would highly suggest this recipe to anyone! Just make sure you don't burn the rangoons. I found it really helpful to use a thermometer since I didn't have a deep fryer.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Do-It-Yourself Furniture

When I first moved into my condo, there was so much I needed to buy...from pots and pans to toilet paper. Needless to say, I didn't have much money to spend on furniture. I was lucky enough to get some furniture from my parents when they had moved and didn't need their old furniture. However, the one thing I absolutely needed and didn't have was a coffee table. Now...I'm very picky as you may already know. I searched every website and store possible for the perfect coffee table. I wanted it to be wooden, off-white, with drawers for storage, and also a decent size. The only ones that came close to this were in the $1,000 range at Ethan Allen and Pottery Barn. This is one of those times where I needed to use my brain to create what I wanted.

My father is an avid garage sale maniac, some may even call him a dumpster diver (seriously, he was caught going through Restoration Hardware's trash when they went out of business). Anyways, I asked him to keep a look out for a cheap wooden coffee table that I could paint and spruce up. He ended up finding one on the side of the road that someone was getting rid of. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of what it first looked like; but believe me, it was hideous. The best before picture I have is after sanding, sans the drawers.

If you take a look in the bottom right handle corner, you can see the old knobs. Anyways, after a couple of bucks on sandpaper, wood-filler, primer, paint, varnish and new knobs from Amazon, the table is exactly what I was looking for.

In all, it probably cost me about $40. I chose a Martha Stewart paint color but had Home Depot mix the color using their own brand, which saved me some money. At first, I went without the varnish but quickly realized it was necessary to prevent things from sticking to the table top, causing nicks and stains. Another tip would be to steer clear of high gloss paint or varnish, because it definitely ruins the look. Rather, choose a satin finish. I like to balance my do-it-myself home projects with several store bought objects. I bought the candles, throw and pillows at Crate & Barrel, all on sale of course.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Brunch at Simon's

The Cornflake crusted french toast at Simon's Restaurant & Lounge in Las Vegas is definitely one thing I'd consider perfection. In fact, it's probably one of my favorite places. The restaurant is located inside of the Palms Place hotel, which is the quieter, more luxurious building on the Palms property, separated by an indoor sky-pass.

As far as atmosphere goes, the restaurant has a very relaxing, clean Californian vibe. It also overlooks a gorgeous pool that's perfect for sunbathing after brunch.


I would definitely suggest  visiting during the weekday, when both the restaurant and pool are less busy and more relaxing. It makes for a perfect morning. The staff is also very accommodating. I ordered a Bellini and they did not have the type of juice I asked for, so they came out with a glass of champagne and two other types of juice so I could see which one I liked best. After I finished my first Bellini, they brought out a second glass of champagne au gratis so I could enjoy a second Bellini with the other glass of juice. I might just have to take another trip to Vegas just so I can come to this place again!