One of my favorite Food Network shows to watch was The Best Thing I Ever Ate. I loved getting to hear from famous food TV personalities, well-known chefs, and other food-related professionals about what they enjoy to eat when they’re out living their lives and not on camera. Sure, it was great for getting some inspiration to visit some of the restaurants and hidden gems they mentioned, but for some reason getting to see what kinds of things they liked to eat was enough entertainment for me.
While I'm unfortunately not a famous food TV personality, I thought it’d be fun to document some of the things I’ve eaten during quarantine. Inspired by an actual famous food personality (Remy the rat from Ratatouille) and his food hero, Chef Auguste Gusteau, “Anyone can cook.” Or I guess in this case, anyone can eat. Bon Appetit!
The “Support JA Small Business” Starter Pack
I love supporting small businesses and I also love getting to justify not having to go to the grocery store, cook, or clean while also doing something that can be seen as altruistic to many. Some favorites pictured here, clockwise from top left: Suehiro’s chicken karaage lunch special, Sakae Sushi assorted box, JiST Cafe’s chashu/shumai combo, and Azay’s daily bento.
The “Sharing is caring” Starter Pack
Like many of us, I miss my friends. I miss spending time with them, eating with them, treating them to meals/drinks/desserts, and giving them things.
Pictured here: furikake chex mix given in batches for Valentine’s Day, incredible homemade kimchi dropped off by some dear pals/neighbors, Claire Saffitz-inspired Gourmet Makes ice cream sandwiches.
The “I Love LA and Its Tacos” Starter Pack
ALWAYS a good choice. Taco trucks/stands have kept up operations relatively unchanged since quarantine and they continue to NEVER disappoint.
The “Tell me you have specific ice cream opinions without telling me you have specific ice cream opinions” Starter Pack
If you haven’t tried Jeni’s yet, I cannot recommend enough! Tippity top of the charts for me pictured here: Boston Cream Pie (absolute game changer), waffle chips on the side are *chef’s kiss*, trying Tyler the Creator’s collab flavor, Pistachio & Honey, and Milkiest Chocolate.
The “I feel loved by people and I needed this” Starter Pack
We’ve all been through an objectively pretty terrible year and for me, getting to enjoy a delicious meal prepared/brought by one of the small number of people I’ve been able to see in quarantine has been the smallest respite :’) Pictured here: insane kalbi cooked by my dad, delicious Aleppo pepper seasoned grilled cabbage as part of one of the best meals I ate during quarantine cooked by one of my best friends from high school, Raising Cane’s brought by my best pal/roommate after I told her I was craving it/also having a terrible day, and the delicious King’s Hawaiian dobash-inspired birthday cake made by my sister.
The “Just One Cookbook is the GOAT” Starter Pack
Namiko Chen is a treasure. She’s one of the main reasons I still use Pinterest to keep track of the recipe inspiration I come across when I have no meal ideas in my brain. These dishes are not only beautiful, they taste delicious, and being in quarantine has offered some opportunity to appreciate getting to cook from scratch. Pictured here: somen salad (I cheated, this is from a Hawaiian cookbook oops), Yoshinoya-inspired gyudon with an onsen egg, chirashi sushi, and hiyashi chuka.
The “I’m feeling kind of sad and nostalgic, here’s some attempt at feeling more normal” Starter Pack
Food is comfort. Full stop. Besides music + movies for me, this is one of the first things I turn to when my nostalgic tendencies crave something familiar. Did this help? Eh. Did it taste good in the moment? Yes.
Pictured here: cinnamon sugar toast, takeout Dodger Dog + garlic fries (good, but just not the freakin’ same as being at Dodger Stadium), and Kraft Mac and Cheese (THEMED/SHAPED MAC IS SUPERIOR).
The “....are you ok..” Starter Pack
It’s not all glitz and glam and perfectly plated Just One Cookbook meals, ok!!!! There were some rough days and these “meals” sum it up pretty well actually.
Pictured here: 3:30pm chocolate chip pancake, a single raw carrot for lunch while working from home, and a Friday 2pm McFlurry that I ended up getting after I drove around LA listening to Frank Ocean because I was having a bad day and that sounded nice.
The “#1 All-Star MVP” Starter Pack
I am indebted to you, coffee. From the bottom of my lil heart, thank you and I love you. Some favorites: my live-in barista/best pal/roommate Marissa aka Peanut Coffee, Kumquat, Maru, Go Get Em Tiger, and Bar Nine/Ten Cafe, to name a few!