Love For Chef Tui


Chef Suthiporn “Tui” Sungkamee (above, middle) recently passed away. Tui was chef/co-owner of L.A.’s beloved Jitlada Thai Restaurant, which just happens to be my very favorite restaurant (anywhere).

I love Jitlada’s food so much, that I decided to eat through the entire menu back in 2011. The L.A. Times even wrote about my obsession to taste and document each of the 300 dishes.

Tui wasn’t just a fabulously talented Thai Town cook, where he sent out fiery, traditional Southern Thai creations to his adoring customers – he was also a very good friend.

Tui leaves behind two daughters (Pearl and Sugar), his wife Ratchanee plus several siblings including younger sister Jazz (at left in photo above), who is also a dear friend. She’s more like family really, and I’m so grateful for that.

My husband Peter and I visited Tui in the hospital before he passed away. Even connected to uncomfortable tubes in bed, Tui asked for a photo. He was suffering from incurable lung cancer, but still laughing and joking with us – up until his dying day.

I know our L.A. food community is feeling the loss too. When Jazz asked if I could help organize food for Tui’s funeral services, which were three consecutive nights at Wat Thai Temple, the outpouring of love simply made me cry.

Heartfelt THANKS to these chefs and restaurants, who donated food for Chef Tui’s funeral services. You showed up (big time) and warmed the hearts of Tui’s family, friends and the entire Thai community.

THANK YOU:
Bricia Lopez and family, La Guelaguetza
Debbie Lee, Mind Body Fork
Diep Tran, Good Girl Dinette
Roy Choi, Natasha Phan, Kogi BBQ, A-Frame
Ted Hopson, Ann-Marie Verdi, Bellwether
Michael Voltaggio, Ink Well
Kate Green, Nancy Silverton, Mozza
Brandon Laterveer, Nomad Truck
Ludo & Krissy Lefebvre, Petit Trois
Stephane Bombet, The Ponte
Valerie Gordon, Stand Weightman, Valerie Confections
Kris Yenbamroong, Sarah St. Lifer, Night Market Song

Two recent articles about Chef Tui:
Thai chef Suthiporn ‘Tui’ Sungkamee dies at 66; his gift for spices turned Jitlada into a favorite by Jenn Harris

Appreciation Jitlada’s Tui Sungkamee helped popularize the idea of regional cooking by Jonathan Gold

Even though Tui is gone, his amazing food will continue at Jitlada. He made sure to teach his family members ALL his famous recipes in the months before he died. I was just there a few days ago, and the food was (thankfully) the same. Co-owner Jazz is also an excellent cook, and she plans on updating the menu in the near future. But don’t worry, Tui’s fiery favorites will remain.

Much love to the entire Jitlada family.
Jo

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Back To Greece


Just a quick post to let you know that I’m heading back to Greece soon. It’s been almost 25 years since my last visit, so I’m looking forward to seeing the changes since then.

I’ll be returning to Akrotiri archeological site on Santorini island, and I’m planning (fingers crossed!) to FIT back in the green dress in photo above (from 1993). #LowCarbJo PLUS my personal trainer are both on full throttle!

And again, I’ll be launching a new website in the near future so please follow me on instagram (MyLastBite). I’ll be posting food finds and fun on my instagram stories.

Yamas! That’s cheers in Greek!

#MyLastBiteTravels on instagram

Italia


One of my favorite photos I took on a recent visit to Italy. I got up early one morning to photograph the fisherman of Trani (in Apulia) and spent a few minutes obsessing over this pot of flowers near the port.

I’m be busy editing photos and writing for a while, and will also be launching a new website. Please stay tuned!

For more photos of Italy, go to #JoBitesItaly on instagram, or #MyLastBiteTravels (for all my travel snapshots & videos).

Please stay in touch (while I’m working on new website):

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Everything I ate (and drank) on a Princess Cruise

I don’t know about you, but for years I resisted taking a cruise. One of the reasons is because, as a chronic dieter, I feared I’d gain too much weight. I had visions of me sunning on the pool deck while simultaneously stuffing my face with all-you-can-eat EVERYTHING. Frankly, the thought of multiple, unlimited buffet stations and countless cocktails (while confined on a ship) just freaked me out.

Writing about food and travel is my chosen profession, so I’ll always have to watch my waistline. Before I started eating low carb (at home) and got serious about my fitness tracker, I was gaining about five pounds a year. That all stopped when I started walking 10,000 steps, at minimum, per day and cut carbs from home meals. When I eat OUT, I try to eat low carb (when I can) and it’s a balancing act that, thankfully, stopped the annual weight gain.

In my home kitchen I stock no sugar, sweets, white bread, rice, pasta or potatoes. That old “out of sight and out of mind” mantra definitely works when I cook and eat at home. But out on the open sea, on a large cruise ship, with thousands of strangers and endless food options tempting me? SHEER PANIC.

But here’s the thing. When I went on my first cruise (with Princess Cruises) last year, I ate A LOT and surprise, surprise… I didn’t gain ONE pound. It probably helped that I was traveling with my sister Janet, who is a super fit health nut. Even though I didn’t work out at the gym with her everyday, I still got extra steps in by walking as much as I could while on board. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t suddenly go mad and run with my sister as she took the stairs UP to Aloha deck 12, but I did skip the elevators going DOWN and surpassed my 10,000 steps goal each day.

PHOTOS: Everything I ate and drank on a four night Princess Cruise (and didn’t gain weight)!


Welcome champagne awaited us in our cabin. Plus we brought a bottle of Prosecco. Cheers!


Lunch (buffet) on the deck. LowCARBish. Slaw, prosciutto, meatballs, fried scallops, brisket, beef, sweet & sour pork.


Fried scallops. I thought they were tater tots. These were way better.


Back to the buffet line.


Roasts for miles. Also, low carb happiness.


Wine on the top deck as we left the harbor.


It’s always happy hour on a cruise right?


Tempura Prawn in spicy sweet chili sauce. Happy hour (media meet & greet) at The Crooners Bar.


Chicken Lollipops with sesame. Happy hour (media meet & greet) at The Crooners Bar.


Wild Mushroom Sauté w portobello & shitaki mushrooms, crispy poached egg, oregano smoked scamorza, truffle garlic puree and lemon zest. Dinner at the Salty Dog Gastropub by Chef Ernesto Uchimura.


Charred Asparagus and Toasted Haloumi cheese, greens, vinaigrette. Dinner at the Salty Dog Gastropub by Chef Ernesto Uchimura.


Pale Ale Pork Cheeks, cauliflower polenta, roasted leeks and thyme apple puree. Dinner at the Salty Dog Gastropub by Chef Ernesto Uchimura.


Lobster Mac & Cheese, aged cheddar, gruyere and parmesan, truffled cream, crispy crumble. Dinner at the Salty Dog Gastropub by Chef Ernesto Uchimura.


Lemon Posset with pistachio crunch. Dinner at the Salty Dog Gastropub by Chef Ernesto Uchimura. The Salty Dog Menu. Just one bite. I don’t have a sweet tooth.


Sipping a vodka soda at the Salty Dog. Just times this by two each evening. Dinner at the Salty Dog Gastropub by Chef Ernesto Uchimura.


Unlimited Bacon. My heart was racing… I had to pace myself. On board breakfast buffet.


Breakfast carbs. I went for a slice of whole grain. And more bacon. On board breakfast buffet.


More options. I chose smoked salmon over French toast… and more bacon. On board breakfast buffet.


Late breakfast by the pool. My sister Janet’s breakfast to the left. Juice, muesli, egg white, fruit. Obviously mine is to the right! On board breakfast buffet.


Round one included bacon, sausage, eggs, corned beef hash, smoked salmon and whole wheat toast. On board breakfast buffet.


My adorable sister Janet.


Serve yourself poached pears at the buffet. Fancy (and a nice afternoon snack). On board buffet.


Charcuterie: Jamon Iberico, Salami Finocchiona at SHARE Restaurant by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Chicken Liver Parfait at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Little Gems, Pickled Pearl Onion, Oro Blanco, Nasturtium Pesto at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Shrimp Salad, Lemon Gel, Turnip, Citrus Salt, Brioche at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Butter Poached Lobster, Caramelized Endive, Endive Foam at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Cavatelli, Beets, Castelmagno, Sun Choke, Brussel Sprout at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Potato Gratin, Truffles, Cream at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess). Side dish shared at the table.


Roasted Alaskan King Crab Tagilatelle, Chili, Parsley at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Beef Cheek Pie, Porcini Mushrooms, Buttery Pastry at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Roast Turbot White Fish Gratine, Gruyere Crumb, White Vermouth, Mushroom Duxelles at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Shaft Blue Cheese, Crab Apple Mustard, Chestnut Cracker at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess).


Tarte Au Citron Vert, Raspberry, Granola, Meringue at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess). Just one bite.


Dark Chocolate Cremeux, Toasted Hazelnut Feuilletine, Burnt Vanilla Ice Cream at SHARE by Curtis Stone (on board The Ruby Princess). Again, just one bite. More photos of SHARE Restaurant here.


There’s a Pizza and Ice Cream bar on board!! Lines were long, but I waited (for pizza). Hand-tossed and cooked on deck. It was far from my cabin so extra steps. HA!


Buffet brunch on board. My sister’s salad to the left. My egg and meat fest to the right.

Crown Grill, Ruby Princess (Sep 2016)
Dinner on board at The Crown Grill Restaurant (premium seafood and chop house). Photos were difficult (so dark). Black Tiger Prawn & Papaya Salpicon, with Mustard Seed Aioli. Grill Salad with Mesclun Greens, Roasted Bell Peppers, Hass Avocado and Grape Balsamic Dressing.


Pan-Seared Pacific Scallops with Fennel, Celery and Spring Onion Slaw Golden Delicious Dressing & Moroccan Glaze. Spiny Lobster Cake (ball), Tarragon Foam, Cured Olives, Grilled Asparagus on board at the Crown Grill.


STEAKS! I tried both the filet mignon and New York strip steak. The Crown Grill (on board The Ruby Princess).


Desserts on board at the Crown Grill. This was shared with several people. Lemon Meringue Pudding, Tart with Macadamia Nut Shortbread White Chocolate Tuile, S’mores Stack.


Early morning room service (before excursion) on board.


Room service breakfast sandwich on board. Excursion tender (boat) in background. I skipped the muffins.


First stop on our Cruise Excursion to Santa Barbara was Buttonwood Winery in nearby Solvang.


We started with Buttonwood Sauv Blanc at Buttonwood Winery. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Solvang.


Goat Cheese at Buttonwood Winery. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Solvang.


Cucumber, Avocado, Jalapeños, Scallions, Cilantro, Yogurt Chilled Soup at Buttonwood Winery. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Solvang.


Santa Maria Trip Tip Sandwiches at Buttonwood Winery. Ate the meat, left the bread. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Solvang.  More photos of Buttonwood winery here.


At Sunstone Winery we started with Chardonnay. Cruise Excursion to Santa Barbara.


Foie Gras Mousse Tarts w Tomato, Strawberry Jam & Pistachio at Sunstone Winery. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Santa Ynez.


Pork Belly Sliders with cumin & cinnamon with apple, fennel relish and baby arugula at Sunstone Winery. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Santa Ynez. Pork fest.


Blackened Seared Ahi tuna, Sticky Rice Cake at Sunstone Winery. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Santa Ynez.


Seafood Spring Rolls at Sunstone Winery. Cruise Excursion: Wine Tasting in Santa Ynez. So much fun! More photos of Sunstone Winery here.


Shrimp Tacos at Tacos Marco Antonio. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour. Indulge time. I ATE all the tortillas and tacos today.


“Ramses Especial” Breaded fish fillet with shrimp and chipotle cream at Tacos Marco Antonio. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


Crab tacos at Tacos Marco Antonio. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


Agua Fresca (I had the horchata) at Tacos Marco Antonio. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour. More photos of Tacos Marco Antonio here.


Sea Snail Ceviche with slices of sea snail (Ceviche De Caracol Con Lajas De Caracol) at La Guerrerense & Sabina. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


Sea Urchin Ceviche with Clam on top (Ceviche De Erizo Con Alma) at La Guerrerense & Sabina. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


Cerveza at La Guerrerense & Sabina. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour. More La Guerrerense photos here.


Santo Tomas Wine Tasting. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


San Aura Vino Reserva Experimental Rosado, Grenache, Santo Tomas Wine Tasting. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


Alisio Reserva Vino Blanco, Chardonnay, Santo Tomas Wine Tasting. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


Fiery salsa and chips at Restaurante 645. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour.


Chile Relleno and Tacos at Restaurante 645. Cruise Excursion: Ensenada, Mexico Food Tour. Quite a day in Ensenada!


Still hungry? Me too. Let’s go!

This media trip was paid for by Princess Cruises.
Culinary Cruise, September 26-30, 2016. The ship departed from Los Angeles and made stops in Santa Barbara and Ensenada. Info: Dining on Princess Cruise’s Ruby Princess

Thinking about taking a Princess Cruises cruise? Read about my first day on board.

Guest Blog Post –  Diary of a Princess (Cruise).

Princess Cruises on twitterinstagramfacebook.

Video – The Ruby Princess.

More information on Princess Cruises:

Princess Cruise News (including the debut of Ocean Medallion).

Princess Cruise Teen & Youth Centers

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Christmas In Scotland

I’m spending Christmas in Bridge of Weir, Scotland this year. It’s the first time I’m waking up on Christmas morning with my dad, since 1969 (when we lived in Okinawa).

The photo below was taken (47 years ago) in the back yard of our home in Okinawa, just before my parents marriage fell apart. I love the snapshot, not only because I’m so HAPPY with my daddy, but also because of the custom tree he made for us. Can you tell what it’s made from? No? Well, the tin circles are used chicken pot pie containers!

I’m hoping to recreate a version of the tree today. Follow me on instagram at @MyLastBite to see more.

Have a wonderful Christmas all!

(Update 11:28pm Christmas night)

Okinawa, Christmas 1969

Theme Thanksgiving – Paris! 2015


Photos from last year’s Paris Theme Thanksgiving. We have so much fun together. About my sister Janet’s amazing Thanksgiving feasts here.


My sister Janet’s Paris decor.


Beautiful table.


I made faux escargot aka FAUXcargot with mushrooms.


My Niece Kindal and nephew Chace trying them out. They really loved Epoisses (my favorite cheese)!


French butter and radishes of course.


My sister put out quite the spread (more photos here) including crepes!


My husband Peter and brother Greg came as mimes! They entertained too.


So much fun!


Ok, my brother-in-law Paul is smiling in this one!


Santé! Hubby Peter is always such a good sport.

More Paris Thanksgiving 2015 photos here.

Photos from previous Theme Thanksgivings:

Grease (the musical) Thanksgiving

Greek Thanksgiving

Southern Thanksgiving

British Thanksgiving

Caribbean Thanksgiving

All theme Thanksgiving photos here.

In top photo, niece Kindal, nephew Chace and his girlfriend Ashley.

All about my sister Janet’s amazing Thanksgiving feasts.

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NY Birthday Weekend


Hubby Peter and I haven’t been to NYC together since 2005. We’ve gone there separately, on business or with friends many times, but it’s been ELEVEN years since we’ve enjoyed the Big Apple together.

This weekend we’re headed back to New York for an early 60th birthday celebration for Peter. I have some really fun meals (and a gorgeous Airbnb flat) arranged for him. We rarely travel together because of our beloved mutts, so we’re just super grateful his sister Susan will be house-sitting (aka CUDDLING the DOGS) while we’re away.

I love this photo of us at Casa Mono/Bar Jamon (from October 2005), and I swear that’s a young, chef Ilan Hall (Top Chef) in the background!

I’ll be posting on my snapchat (MyLastBite), instagram and twitter a few times each day. Join us for the fun!
https://www.instagram.com/mylastbite/
https://twitter.com/mylastbite

More NY 2005 photos

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Taste of the NFL

TasteNFLLogobyPeter
Do you LOVE food?
ME TOO.

Are you excited The Rams are back in L.A.? Ditto!

There’s an amazing event in October that combines great food, the Rams, AND raises much-needed funds for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Totally MY kind of evening for sure.

What: Taste Of The NFL Dinner with the L.A. Rams! Rams General Manager Les Snead and his wife Kara Henderson will be co-chairing the host committee, and Rams players will be in attendance to sign autographs and mingle with attendees. The evening will include a live and silent auction, signature appetizers from local chefs, specialty cocktails and live entertainment.

When: Wednesday, October 5, 2016 (6-9pm)

Where: Globe Theater, Universal Studios Hollywood

Why: To support the L.A.Food Bank. Did you know that one in seven people in L.A. County experiences food insecurity? The L.A. Food Bank mobilizes resources to fight hunger and provides food to 320,000 people every month. Since 1973, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank has distributed more than 1 billion pounds of food and in 2015 they distributed 52 million meals. Learn more about L.A. Food Bank here.

Check out the amazing lineup of L.A. Chefs cooking for the event: 
Josiah Citrin, Melisse
Tony Esnault, Spring, Church & State
Ray Garcia, Broken Spanish, B.S. Taqueria
Neal Fraser, Redbird
Duff Goldman, Charm City Cakes
Bruce Kalman, Union
Jessica Largey, Simone
Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feniger, Border Grill
Steve Samson, Sotto
Travis Strickland, Baltaire
Benjamin Udave, Sysco

L.A. Food Bank “Taste Of The NFL” Event Page.

PURCHASE TICKETS (or become a sponsor).

My photos of the L.A. Food Bank.

I’ve already bought my ticket (I’m a HUGE fan of both the L.A. Food Bank and The Rams), so hopefully I’ll see you there! #FeedLA #GoRams!


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Bacon Bowls


Over the years I’ve purchased lots of “As Seen On TV Items”. From “Shake Weights” to “toning shoes” to  ridiculous ab workout machines, I’ve wasted plenty of pennies on, what turned out to be (at least for me), a bunch of CRAP.

When I purchased the “Perfect Bacon Bowl” a couple of years ago, I was skeptical of course, but really hopeful it would work. I had been making bacon bowls (I eat low carb at home) for years, constructing the baking contrapment out of multiple ramekins and foil (photos below), so the advertised bacon bowl just seemed perfectly fantastic!

How did it work? Well, see the photo above? That’s my perfect bacon bowl. You can buy the bowls on Amazon (I got the set of two), but I’ve also seen them at my local market. These bowls are small, which are perfect to hold scrambled eggs or a side salad.


My first bacon bowls, back in 2008. These were extra large for dinner salads.


Smaller bacon bowls with the Perfect Bacon Bowl kit. I first baked in the oven, but the microwave is SO much faster.

TIPS:
Make sure you use cooking spray to make clean up easier.
I found that THICK bacon worked best.
I also use a large microwave plate cover so the grease doesn’t go everywhere.

And sure, you could use a muffin tin upside down in the oven (placed on a larger baking sheet to catch grease) to make small bacon bowls, but you can’t place THAT in the microwave.

Video: Step-by-Step Guide to Making The Perfect Bacon Bowl

The Perfect Bacon Bowl on Amazon

PerfectBaconBowl.com

#LowCarbJo Recipes here

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