Peanuts are a delightful addition to dishes and I’m thrilled to see them making more and more of an appearance. Or I may just be noticing now, as I don’t really eat Asian fusion food in restaurants.

Again, scrolling through Instagram I came across this:

Buttermilk fried chicken, kimchi, spicy peanuts and lime via Chef Ian Borders’ Instagram here

This is a dish from Opposite Restaurant in Bangkok (visit their website here). There’s just something about the combination of tang — be it vinegar, kimchi, anything fermented and even citrus — with peanuts that’s refreshing and so delicious. Add a bit of funk from fragrant ingredients as cilantro or kimchi and the flavors are out of this world.

One of my favorite dishes of all time actually has the same combination. It’s from Animal Restaurant in Los Angeles, CA, that I used to eat at least once a week during my consecutive two years in L.A.

Hamachi tostada from my Instagram

Animal is known for their use of meat (hence the name, duh) but this one non meat dish is so good. A tostada made with raw fish may seem off-putting at first, but don’t be fooled. The crispy tostada with a thin layer of guac, hamachi slices, raw cabbage, crispy fried onions and crunchy peanuts with herbs and a fish sauce vinaigrette not fishy at all is MAGIC. I can eat three of these in one sitting (with a bottle of wine, of course. Animal has a stellar wine selection).

At home, try sprinkling chopped peanuts and spritz lime over salads and even coleslaw. It’s so simple yet can completely transform a boring dish!

Chef Ian Borders by the way, makes salami in Thailand. His Instagram is worth a look and follow.

Also, if interested, I wrote about my experience in Bangkok here and how I was blown away by its food scene.

Hardcore Instagrammers

So I stumbled onto this guy’s Instagram account and he has the loveliest photos. Scrolling through his feed, I came across this photo:


I can not believe he carries a ladder with him to take his food photos 0_0 That is hardcore! I don’t know, I’m all about pretty photos but jeez. This is next level Instagramming. Compared to a lot of the high level Instagram photographers, my photos suck. I used to be embarrassed but quickly got over it. Cold food is the worst.

By the way, this is the photo that was taken from that above ladder shot. I can tell by table, drinks, flatware, etc.



I guess it beats standing on restaurant furniture for the perfect photo. Frankly, I don’t understand how owners and managers are okay with people standing on chairs. It’s really rude. And bad manners. So to the ladder guy: rock on with your ladder climbing self!

Phone Food Photography

People constantly ask how I take my photos, the camera equipment situation, the apps I use to edit so I decided to share.

I only use my iPhone.
I never use the flash.
Basic photography knowledge is a must (composition, editing, lighting, angles, etc.)

Nowadays a fancy camera is unnecessary for food photos. I’ve collected random photos from FB and Insta and decided to dump them here to show you. Brace yourselves for food porn overload. NSFHP (Not Safe for Hungry People)

Petto di Pollo al Pangrattato  (Herb panko crusted free range chicken breast with gregola pasta and mushroom carbonara, white truffle oil)
Petto di Pollo al Pangrattato at Basta Pasta, NYC
(Herb panko crusted free range chicken breast with gregola pasta and mushroom carbonara, white truffle oil)

Can you believe that photo was taken by an iPhone? It’s edited with Snapseed (brightness, saturation, contrast, warmth and the blur effect called bokeh, is achieved with tilt shift). Get the app here.

Continue reading