Original Thai BBQ Pt.2, Featuring the Thai BBQ ribs

I had been so busy eating the Thai BBQ Chicken on almost every visit that I almost missed out on the Thai BBQ Ribs!  Wait- let me back up a bit and do it right, let me start from the beginning so this post could prove to be as well-rounded as this night's meal.

We begin our dinner with soup, Spicy shrimp soup.  All soup come as a hotpot as shown below, enough to feed four easily.  The soup contains shrimp, mushroom, pieces of lemongrass and cilantro.  My favorite thai soup, slightly spicy, tangy, a little sour... and the cilantro and lemongrass- yum.

And because we need some kind of carbs we go for a noodle dish.  Mr. Borscht has a real thing for the Pad-Thai at Original Thai BBQ, I myself am not a peanut lover nor of noodles that taste sweet but there is no denying that the Pad-Thai here is worth trying if you are a Pad-Thai connoisseur.  The Pad-Thai consists of rice noodles tossed in semi-sweet and peanutty sauce, the dish also contains a good amount of bean sprout and scrambled egg.  The dish can also serve 3-4 people.

The main feature of today's post, the Original Thai BBQ Ribs.  On a few occasions I had seen these ribs being ordered and wondered quite a lot about them, but I wonder no more!  Large pieces of ribs, soft, slightly chewy, falls off the bone, sweet, with a slightly charred bar-b-qued flavor.  The deliciousness was quite unexpected I have to admit for it is hard to find well-cooked and well-flavored ribs.  And I do believe I like the ribs even more than I do the chicken, perhaps the fact that I will always go for ribs if given the choice between ribs and chicken has something to do with it.  I have heard around though that the ribs could be hit or miss, one day you may get a dish of ribs are most perfect in every way and then another day you may get ones that are too chewy, too fatty, too bony- I suppose that is the nature of ribs though.  But once again, if you are a rib fan, I'd give it a go.  The A La Carte Rib dish can easily feed 2 people.

Total Damage:  $24.00 +/-

1 Spicy shrimp soup
1 Pad-thai
1 Thai BBQ Ribs

Original Thai BBQ Restaurant
4055 W. 3rd Street
LA CA 90020
(213) 383.8571

The most basic grilling

Mr. Borscht and I have yet to really settle down in our newly bought humble home and even with unopened boxes that await patiently their turn to be put away we just couldn't wait to grill in our new and first, very own, backyard, which is hilarious since we do not even own a grill.  Even so, it ended up being so simple to do, and cost us less than $20 too!

All we needed to buy was a grill top and a bag of charcoal, all of which they had at our new favorite store, Home Depot.  Once these two items were bought grilling was easy.  With items in hand we picked a spot in the backyard, dug a very shallow hole about 12" in diameter, lined the outside of the shallow hole with a couple of bricks stacked to make a short wall (the bricks we found lying around the backyard), poured the coal into the shallow hole, laid the grill on top and then waited to start grilling to our heart's content.

We took out whatever we had leftover in the refrigerator that we could grill which was almost everything, for most everything is grill-able.  So tonight the menu was grilled salmon, grilled zucchini, grilled arugula and roasted red potatoes!  Wiped our refrigerator clean of most everything to eat- must make note to buy groceries tomorrow.

We have yet to get backyard lighting for these grilling and night-time backyard feasts and the sun dared not set on us mid-cookout.  With such a short time to prepare I went for the basic seasonings, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Salt, pepper and olive oil on the skin-on salmon.  The salmon was first set  on the grill skin-side down and then flipped half way through when the skin started to cracked and sizzle.  Grilling the fish was easy enough since I was able to seen just by looking at the flesh of the fish how much it was cooking through, once the fish was taken off the grill I slowly peeled off the skin and grilled the non-crackled side of the skin to make it nice and crispy- and if you've never tried this before, it's heaven.  The fish itself tasted of grilled fish, the smoky flavor was very favorable, not to mention that the fish was done perfectly and moist.  And although the fish only had a small amount of salt and pepper it did not matter, the smoky flavors that gets permeated into the fish just by grilling makes it delicious enough.

Let me say for the record, the grilled zucchinis were my favorite of the night.

When it came to grilling the zucchinis my main concern was slicing the zucchinis too thin that they would just end up floppy once cooked through and fall between the grill, thus I sliced the zucchinis in half and if they were still to large I sliced them in quarters, the outcome?  None were waisted through the grill :)  Salt, pepper, olive oil and Hungarian paprika were the spices used for the zucchinis, I merely tossed them all together in a large bowl, though I must admit that the Hungarian paprika might have been a waste to use since I couldn't taste a bit of it once the zucchinis were done on the grill.    I suspect the natural smoky flavor from grilling out-did the Hungarian paprika smokiness.  Once again the zucchinis were set on the grill skin-side down first, once the skin was nice and charred we flipped them over until they were nice and tender.

Just like so.

Steamed arugula on the grill.  Toss the arugula in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper and juice from half a lime.  Make a basic bag from foil to hold your arugula, put the arugula plus the used half of lime  into the foil bag and then fold and crimp the foil bag shut so there are no openings.  Put this foil bag on top of the grill where the heat is medium-low, let sit for 10 minutes and then flip the bag and let sit for another 5-10 minutes if you prefer all around wilted arugula.  If you prefer your greens only semi wilted like me, simply grill the arugula for 10 minutes or so on one side.

With the lime juice the arugula was fantastic, just remember to open the foil bag carefully once done since there will be liquid in the bag, which is not to be wasted!  Simply drizzle that juice onto your arugula for more added flavor, and who doesn't want more added flavor?!

Red potatoes, Mr. Borscht loves potatoes!  I sliced the red potatoes in half to make roasting them faster, I merely wrapped all the potatoes in foil with salt, pepper and two pats of butter, threw them in with the coals and let them roast for about 30 minutes, depending on how large your potatoes are you may need a bit longer possibly 45min to a hour if they are russet potatoes (at which point it might be helpful to bury them in the coals).  After hearing my potatoes sizzle and bubble in butter for about 10 minutes I felt it was time to get them out of the grill.  They were soft and buttery.

I'm no grilling expert by any means and if you aren't too don't be discouraged to try if you feel it, grilling should be fun!- And by jove it is!  Besides, there is nothing that can't be put back onto the grill if it's not quite done the way you like.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad

If you adore the sweet and salty, yet tangy flavors of sun-dried tomatos as much as I do, then the chances of you loving this pasta salad dish is favorable.  This pasta salad contains everything good in the world, kind of like "sugar, spice and everything nice" :)  Loads of sun-dried tomatos, arugula, Asiago cheese, pine nuts, oregano and basil!  Combine all those ingredients into one dish and what do you get?  Pure love for your tummy as well as nutrition from the roasted red onions, eggplants and zucchinis.

This recipe from, once again, Esalen Cookbook, Organic and Healthy Recipes from Big Sur by Charlie Cascio was created as a pasta salad, hence not a main course meal but I found this dish works well as a pasta salad side (as it was meant to be) or a main pasta dish, and could be eaten for cooler and warmer seasons as the salad could be eaten at room temperature or served warm.  And although served fresh and warm is mighty fine I prefer this pasta salad dish at room temperature, giving all the ingredients once tossed together time to mix, mingle and marry is a sure way to taste this dish's true flavor.

While this recipe is fairly simple the only thing I complained silently to myself about were the many steps (minus the prepping), roast the vegetables, make the pesto, boil the pasta, toss it all together (which by the way was no easy feat considering I used the largest  mixing bowl I had and still found it a little too small)!  The easiest way to go about these many steps without feeling over-whelmed and/or if you are multi-taskly impaired is to 1. Prep and roast the vegetables (the vegetables do need to cool before the final toss-up, so do this first, then follow it up by 2. Roasting the pine nuts, followed by 3. Grating the cheese, followed by 4. Making the pesto (which is okay to sit around awhile while you impatiently cook up the pasta), and then finally 5. Cook the pasta.

Ingredients for pesto sauce:

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup warm water
2 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh basil, stemmed and roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano stemmed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup EVO
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt

Recipe for pesto sauce:

Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in the warm water for 10min, [goal is to soften up the tomatoes.  The recipe never specifies whether the tomatoes are to be bought in olive oil or not, but I think either will work just fine, mine were jarred in olive oil but I still soaked them in warm water for 10min and the recipe still ended up being delicious.]

Then add the sun-dried tomatoes with the warm water it was soaking in into a food processor fitted with a chopping attachment.  Add the garlic, basil, oregano, olive oil, pepper, and salt.  Blend this together until you have a thick paste.

Ingredients for Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad:

1 med-sized red onion, cut in 1/2inch dice
2 med-sized zucchini, cut in 1/2inch dice
1 eggplant, cut in 1/2inch dice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup pin nuts
2 cups dry orecchiette, shell, or penne pasta
1 recipe Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
1 cup roughly chopped arugula
1 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

Recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad:

Toss the diced red onions, zucchini and eggplant in a mixing bowl with the olive oil and salt.  Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 450 degree preheated oven, they should be slightly brown and shriveled (about 30min).  Set this aside to cool.

In a heavy-bottomed skillet, pan-roast the pine nuts over medium heat, making sure to stir. [If you do not like pine nuts omit the ingredient, it'll taste just as dandy without them- I did!]

In a 2-quart saucepan over high heat, bring 1 1/2 quarts of water with 1 tbsp of salt to a boil.  Stir in the pasta.  When the pasta comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for another 11 minutes.  Remove the pasta from the heat and strain in a colander.

Place the pasta in a LARGE mixing bowl with the roasted veg, Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, pine nuts, arugula and cheese, and toss it all together.

*** Tip:  To make it easier on myself I bought pre-packaged Arugula salad from Trader Joe's, this made things very easy as all I had to do was add the amount needed to the final tossing stage, didn't even have to chop them!

Panforte, an adult snack cake

The Panforte is a beautiful mixture of nuts, raisins, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup.  As a house-warming gift I received my current go-to cookbook by Charlie Cascio called Esalen Cookbook, Healthy and Organic Recipes from Big Sur, which is exactly where I found this recipe.

I love to cook and may be somewhat decent at it depending on what I'm making but everyone who knows me knows... I CAN'T BAKE WORTH A DAMN.  But this recipe seemed simple enough, and sure enough, it was.

The results were delicious.  The sweetness was given off by the raisins and the maple syrup, the crunch of the maple syrup covered almonds were perfect, and the texture of the Panforte was just a bit crunchy on the outside and tender (not to mention moist) on the inside.  And if I had to note one complaint it would be that I could probably have done with less almonds, but Mr. Borscht seemed to think it was delicious and had ingested half the Panforte in 3 hours.

Obviously the nuts, raisins and the not-too-sweet feature of this Panforte makes it a very adult snack cake, which may I add, is divine with a cup of tea.


1 cup water
3/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tspn cinnamon
1/2 tspn allspice
1/2 tspn nutmeg
1/2 tspn salt
2 cups Thompson raisins
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn baking soda
2 cups whole shelled almonds
Powdered sugar for dusting [(optional)]


Mix water, syrup and oil in a saucepan off the heat and then whisk in raisins, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt.  Bring ingredients to a simmer and let simmer for about 3 minutes.  If the mixtures doesn't look to you as if it is mixing well, not too worry, just stir it around a bit, I don't believe the point of this step was to have all the spices and liquid ingredients to mix well but more for extracting and infusing all the flavors.

While the liquid mixture is simmering, sift into a large mixing bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda and then stir in the almonds.

Then mix the liquid ingredients from the saucepan into the dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl, stir together with a wooden spoon until mixed but take care not to overmix.

Press this mixture into an oiled 9-inch cake pan and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.  I opted to use a 9-inch round removable-side cake pan which worked greatly to my advantage as I had but to pop the sides off.

If you are using powdered sugar, you may dust the powder sugar ontop the slices.

Backyard Lemonade

Yes, I've been gone awhile.  From Dominican Republic to Jamaica and back home, I've returned with the darkest tan that has my family blinking to notice their daughter and sister underneath... there somewhere.  And with fresh memories of a sun-filled vacation I bring to you my newest quench-thirsting Summer/Spring homemade drink, drum-roll please... The lemonade!

Here is what I remember about trying to make lemonade not that long ago, squeezing a whole bunch of lemons until my hands felt like they were being slowly eaten away by acid that left a stinging raw sensation all over, and then pouring a cup or two of sugar that had me stirring forever to get the sugar to dissolve.

Before we begin let me suggest, if you are a fresh-juice, do it yourself kind of person it is most helpful to invest in an electronic juicer.  A simple gadget that spins when pushed down on, it literally does all the juicing for you and makes the experience that much more pleasant and faster, did you hear me?  I said "and faster".


A basket or bowl of lemonades (however much you would like to make), washed and sliced in half
Turbinado (natural cane juice sugar available at Trader Joe's)
Water (equal parts to however much Turbinado you plan to use)


Pour into a small saucepan or pot equal parts of Turbinado and water, if you are using 1 cup of Turbinado use 1 cup of water, if you are using 2 cups of Turbinado you will need 2 cups of water, you get my point.  Heat the sugar and water mixture on medium-low heat and stir almost constantly until all the sugar is melted.  Turn off the heat and allow this mixture (which is now called simple syrup) to cool.

While the simple syrup is cooling, juice your lemons to make pure lemonade.  Pour the lemonade into its own container or jug and keep refrigerated.

Once the simple syrup has cooled you can pour it into it's own container and refrigerate as well.

And, when thirsty for a glass of fresh lemonade, pour 2/3 of lemon juice into a glass with ice and 1/4 - 1/3 of simple syrup, stir well and then enjoy- and let me add, no waiting for that sugar to dissolve!  The amount of simple syrup you put into your glass of fresh lemon juice depends on you and how sweet or sour you want your lemonade to be, I always find that about 1/3 or a little less than 1/3 is perfect for my palate.

You might ask, "why keep the simple syrup and lemon juice in separate containers?"  Simple syrup can be used for a variety of things, including but not limited to making mixed cocktails and so for the sake of convenience of keeping my options open I keep them separate.  Besides, I never know how I want my lemonade from one day to the next, maybe a little sour today and a little sweet tomorrow- you never know.

*** Another quick-tip!  A splash or two of club soda can add a bit of fizzzz that makes this lemonade extra refreshing!


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