Thursday, March 30, 2006

Indian Food

I have been really lax about posting. I've had awesome stuff to post about, but I just haven't made it to the computer to sit down for 20 minutes to write it down. That being said, yesterday was my birthday! And this year, it's a five day celebration!!

First we had a March Babies birthday party on St. Patrick's Day. We had a fabulous time! There are three of us at work who have March birthdays plus Tom whose birthday is April Fool's Day, so we claim him as ours!

Then, Lincoln & Nikki took me out for Indian food which I had never eaten in a restaurant before. I've made curry at home but that's about it. They took me to Anarbagh Indian Cuisine in Woodland Hills. It was delicious!!! They picked out their favorite dishes, plus I picked one out that sounded interesting. Here's a picture of them with the food!

Lincoln & Nikki at Anarbagh

Starting from the bottom left and going clockwise, we had Beef Vindaloo (hot beef curry prepared with lemon juice & potato), Chicken Mango Masala, Chicken 65 (boneless chicken sauteed with yogurt and spices), and Sag Paneer (spinach & cheese cooked with onions, tomatoes and herbs). Everything was so yummy. I told them that I could go eat there every week.

I love spicy food, so I was wondering, how have I never eaten Indian food before? I won't let that trend continue. In fact, I could probably try making some at home. I will definitely go back there again. The sauces were yummy and I love having saucy rice, so it was perfect!!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Volunteering & Peruvian food

On Tuesday night, I took a group from My People Connection over to the AIDS Project L.A. food bank to bag groceries. We had a great time and bagged 250 bags of food and 10 boxes of romaine lettuce in less than 2 hours! I've done this event many times and let me tell you, that is stellar! We had a really great group!

Afterwards, we went out to Las Quenas in North Hollywood and had Peruvian food. I've never eaten Peruvian food, so I was interested in giving it a shot. I have no idea as to the history of Peru, but after looking at their menu, I wonder if they had a lot of Chinese immigrants in their country. There was a section called "Pasta" that the waiter said was like chow mein and saltado which is like a stirfry with the meat of your choice, french fries, onions and tomatos, and served with rice.

That sounded delicious, so I tried the saltado with beef, chicken, and shrimp.
Saltado Cielo Mar y Tierra

Here are some other yummy concoctions:

Fried plantains

Pescado Sudado

Seafood soup

Bisteak encebollado

Locuma ice cream

I'm not sure of the fruit name. It's a Peruvian fruit.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Dante's Chicken & Ribs in Eagle Rock

Last Friday, Jason, Jodi & I went to Dante's Chicken and Ribs (a new BBQ joint near the house) for dinner. The interior is like a fast food place. There are only three small tables inside, so it's kind of cramped. Nothing too fabulous as far as the "looks" of the place.

As for the menu... When Jodi & I saw deep fried pickles on the menu, we knew we had to give it a try!! They were delicious!! The ribs were just OK, but the pickles and fries were delicious.

Deep-fried pickles

French fries

I think the fries were the best thing from Dante's. I had a half slab of ribs, Jason had a combo plate with ribs, sausage and chicken breast and Jodi had the sausage plate. All the meat was slightly overcooked, but their fried food rocked!! I love spicy food, but I think their spicy sauce is too hot and not enough flavor. I will definitely order the house sauce next time. I think too that the ribs tasted better after they sat in the fridge a couple days and we microwaved them. I think the microwaving added some moisture to them.

However, we saw a table next to us with a Kobe beef cheeseburger that looked delicious! That will be the next thing I try. Overall, it's OK. I give it a 6.5 out of 10 and really, it's probably a 5.5 without the fries.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Coffeehouse Investor

I finished reading this book while sitting in a beach chair in my front lawn this past weekend. The sun was out, but it was chilly and I loved it!

The book has basic information about investing and the author, Bill Schultheis, makes a very good case for indexing. So, I changed my 401k to index funds and I'm going to stop worrying so much about it. I would highly recommend this book. His advice makes a lot of sense and it's an easy read. It encourages being informed. I agree with that. I think too many people make financial decisions without looking at all towards the future. He doesn't recommend not living your life now to save, he just wants you to recognize that decisions now do affect your future and to what extent.

A few facts and figures stuck out to me... A 25 year old starts saving $300 per month vs. someone who starts saving $300 per month at age 35. Those extra 10 years (and $36,000) end up making a difference of about $457,000. Wow!! Don't cash out those 401ks when you switch jobs. Hang on to them because time is on your side!

There is a retirement worksheet and based on my current savings and age, I need to save $927 - $1,003 per month (depending on if I count my Roth IRA). So, I'm right on track! Perfect! His worksheet assumes 7% return which I think is a fairly good number. Only time will tell, but it's not too conservative or too agressive. It's just right!