Food porn at it's NASTIEST! (This is why you're fat!)

From Oki Dog on Fairfax in West Hollywood: two hot dogs covered with chili, cheese and pastrami wrapped in a tortilla. La Diva passed the joint many times herself when living in L.A. and although I was always curious about the taste, the place just looked so run-down and unsavory, and the sandwich so unappealing, that I was never tempted to try one!

Darlings! Last week while La Diva was trolling about the web and checking out fellow blogging bud "Mommy Has A Headache," when I came upon something hilarious and disgusting at the same time:


It's a blogging site dedicated to pictorially glorifying the most nauseating and exceedingly stellar caloric cuisine combos all done in FOOD PORN technicolor!!!

What makes some people put together these ghastly gastro-medleys?

Perhaps it's a hangover?

Perhaps it's some poor college kid trying to stretch a dollar?

Or maybe its from a drunken garbage-gorging orgy at 3 am?

But YOU know that's not why. You know it's really because you just can't help yourself. You're addicted to the salt. The grease. The sugar. You crave it, you need it.


The funny thing is, La Diva was getting quite hungry looking at these photos! What does THAT say? (Ok, to be fair, it was just before dinner and all the burger entries were actually looking pretty damn good...)

So, let's get started shall we?

Fried chicken patty stuffed between two jelly doughnuts. Hmpf. That ain't so bad. La Diva thinks it could use a bit of mayo.

The Rubix Cubewich for those with jaws like pythons.

Breaded and fried cheese ravioli. This is actually pretty tame compared to the other stuff but La Diva used to see this on menus in Chicago. I never really understood the attraction to this...breaded pasta? La Diva is really not into CARB ON CARB action.

Bread infused with ground beef, sausage, and cheese. La Diva actually thinks this could be a sensible dish for a hungry mob.

A 14 inch po-boy filled with eight six ounce cheeseburger patties. Ok, NO ONE says you have to eat this alone. You can share. But I know you won't, bee-yotch!

Bacon Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup: You know you want it Shamu! Admit it.

La Diva thought this entry was pretty clever. Jell-O Mold Cheeseburger: Vanilla and walnut flavored Jell-O bun, pistachio flavored lettuce, cherry and cherry cream Jell-O tomatoes, chocolate and chocolate mousse flavored Jell-O burger, orange-lemon Jell-O cheese, lemon-lime Jell-O pickles and coconut flavored Jell-O onions.

Bacon-stuffed waffles. La Diva is thinking that it seems downright practical to just put the bacon right into the waffle! Why not?

Domino’s Three Cheese Mac-N-Cheese Pasta Bread Bowl: Yep, I'm PROUD to be an American!!

Snicker Bar Pancakes: three buttermilk pancakes topped with chocolate syrup, caramel, peanuts and whipped cream. Mmmm...I can feel my teeth beginning to rot just looking at this!

Fried corn dogs wrapped in American cheese and biscuit dough is a carb and salt lovers nirvana! OH MY GOD, I can see you drooling!!

Ah, La Diva thought this creation topped them all! The Luther Rory: a one third pound of sirloin topped with two slices of white American cheese, four strips of bacon, peanut butter, between two Krispy Kreme donuts.

Get yer greasy freak on, m'kay?!

So, feel like having a little PERVE and spying on this nasty-ass food porn for yourself? Well, put on your trench coat, honey, and clickety-click HERE!

Do you have a disgusting "gourmet" guilty pleasure you tell no one about but eat late at night alone in a darkened room? THEN TELL LA DIVA! You can sign in anonymously and La Diva will watch. Ahem. I mean read!

Ciao, darlings! cooking class, cocktails, parties, cocktail party, Miami, coral gables, events, bartending class, cocktail class, Laura Lafata, Miami Beach, miami cooking classes, bachelorette parties, bachelorette party, personal chef, corporate events, catering

Pure Florida Culinary Throw down: PEANUTS! (sounds like a good excuse for Asian food to La Diva!)

With a classic recipe passed on to me by a crazy Dutch Indonesian room mate, La Diva made an authentic Indonesian sate sauce which includes a number of Asian ingredients like kecap manis, shrimp paste and peanut butter of course!

Darlings! Every once in a while La Diva participates in various blogging culinary contests, and if I'm around and cookin', I'm always up for a good food challenge! You've seen my posts about Karmic Kitchen's Dim Sum Sunday, well, this one is Troll's Culinary Throwdown initiated by Pure Florida.

This weeks theme is: PEANUTS!

(What did you expect? A BORING photo of a peanut?! Lighten up!)

The rules?
  • Create a dish that utilizes peanuts as an essential ingredient.
  • Create 3 such dishes, one entree, one dessert, and one of your choice for consideration as the GRAND PRIZE CHEFMEISTER!
  • Post your creations and send an "I'm Up" comment here so everyone can go sample your dishes.

Well, since La Diva LOVES peanuts, this challenge should be a breeze. But, I must admit, I'm cheating, as I made these dishes for a special dinner for company two weeks ago! As peanuts are quite rich, I was not going to repeat again so soon, so my photos from a few weeks back along with a few supplemental ones from the Internet will have to suffice!

Tasty, crunchy and savory little shrimp crackers like these are served in Indonesia as a snack and come in a variety of styles and colors. They look like small plastic wafers about the size of a half dollar before you cook them but when you fry them in hot oil, they puff right up! Dee-lish! (And NO they DON'T taste fishy!)

As a surprising and sassy little appetizer for my guests, I served these crackers with the Indonesian sate (peanut) sauce along with my signature lemongrass ginger martinis! YUM!

La Diva then prepared a Thai feast fit for the King Of Siam: Chicken and veggie stir-fry with cashew and chili, red pork curry with sweet potato, baby corn and bamboo shoots and my all-time favorite Thai dish with peanuts, Som Tum, a refreshing and zesty green papaya salad in a chili/ lime/palm sugar dressing topped with crushed toasted peanuts. To ensure the dish reserves its traditional taste, I used dried baby shrimp and added a couple of quartered and seeded tomatoes. You can also use small crabs and green beans in the salad as well. (You can click to see up close!)

By the way, the peanuts are not just a mere garnish but an integral part of the dish! I love the crunchy combination and textures from the green papaya, carrots and the peanuts! Guests were happy as of course was La Diva's sidekick, DJ Nevah L8, who was lickin' his chops and taking thirds.

Finally, for dessert: Tin Roof Sundae. I have to admit that I didn't make it for dessert with the dinner and borrowed this photo from the Internet, but this is my all-time fave dessert when I was a kid (and still is!)

Do you remember when Sears department store actually sold hot nuts? Ahhhh, that smell of the nuts under those heat lamps! Well, La Diva could not walk by them as a kid and not beg my pops to buy me some redskin Spanish peanuts. Of course, that would then lead to the purchase of a jar of Sanders Fudge sauce and ice cream! (Sanders dessert toppings are a delicious Detroit classic dating from the late 1800's!) I don't know where the name Tin Roof came from but what takes the sundae from just a hot fudge sundae to the Tin Roof sundae is the inclusion of Spanish peanuts!

For another great use of peanuts in Thai food, click
here to see my Thai beef salad recipe (which, incidentally, has a LOT of info on traditional Thai ingredients.) Want to see what everyone else made? Click here to check out Pure Florida! Darlings, of course you may feel free to post YOUR fave peanut meals too!

...and have a FABULOUS week! cooking class, cocktails, parties, cocktail party, Miami, coral gables, events, bartending class, cocktail class, Laura Lafata, Miami Beach, miami cooking classes, bachelorette parties, bachelorette party, personal chef, corporate events, catering

Life's a bowl of cherries for La Diva: sweet black cherry bourbon

La Diva's updated version of the classic whiskey sour! Click on the photo to enlarge, you big ol' drunk!

Reposted from original date 9-26-10

Darlings! If you've been reading this blog for a while now, you know of course that La Diva is a big ol' boozehound.

Ah, yes, when did IT all start for La Diva?

It started for me in the fifth grade when my gal pal Penny came over to my house with her Barbie blender along with a couple of miniature bottles of whiskey her parents absconded from a recent flight to Las Vegas. La Diva and Penny decided to "play" bartender and made whiskey and cokes. After sloshing the "cocktail" about in the toy blender, we took a timid sip and then proceeded to gag. But, we didn't throw the drinks out. We sipped them slowly......and finish drinking them we did.

This was an isolated incident of curiosity. La Diva didn't really try drinking al-kee-hol again until I was 16 and my neighbor and BFF Rochelle experimented with over-proof rum and coke with disastrous results. But, that's another story for another time.

I like to play mad scientist and infuse my booze. I've been doing it for years but usually only with vodka as it's such a bland base without any really distinct flavor and can really take on the essences of the fruit or spices I'm using. But, after a recent trip to the grocery and seeing the lovely sweet black cherries on display, La Diva got the idea of ....cherries....bourbon.....mmmmmm!

Here's what I did:

  1. Buy 1.75 liters of an inexpensive whiskey. Not scotch though as scotch has too much of a strong, smoky taste. I used Early Times bourbon.
  2. Pour into a large container. I use a plastic container with a lid and spigot (for easy tasting!)
  3. Wash a pound or so of fresh, ripe sweet black cherries. I cut them in half to help release their juices. I didn't take out the pits.
  4. Leave in the back of the refrigerator for two weeks. Try to position it so it's out of sight otherwise stray deejays will sample the product every day and you'll be left with none to make drinky-poos with at the end of it's curing time.
  5. After two weeks, drink!

Result: Mmmmmm! The cherry taste is quite subtle but it is undeniably there!! You can still taste the bourbon but now it has a tinge of sweetness to it, very nice indeed. The bourbon is now colored bright red and ready for ingesting as a shot, cocktail or simply over ice as DJ Nevah L8 tried it for the first time in the photo above! (yes, you can click on this photo too, darlings!)

So now La Diva had liters of this sweet cherry bourbon, what to do with it? As you are now probably quite aware, La Diva is all about "working" with what she's got. Into the fridge I went and found I had a bit of lime juice I had squeezed fresh for cocktails the other day...and that was about it.

How about instead of an old school whiskey sour with lemon, we do a cherry bourbon lime sour instead? A tasty twist on a classic cocktail.

La Diva garnished her drink with a matching impatiens flower. Just make sure you use a flower garnish that is not poisonous. Oleander is NOT recommended.

La Diva's Cherry Bourbon Lime Sour cocktail:

In a shaker filled with ice pour:

2 oz. cherry-infused bourbon
1 heaping teaspoon powdered sugar
1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
1 dash of egg white

Shake vigorously until ice is broken down and all ingredients are well mixed and cocktail is frothy. Pour into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with two cherry halves (warn imbibers about the pits!)

Dee-lightful, darlings! This libation is sour with a touch of sweetness and VERY REFRESHING! And, as an added bonus, you may pass out those drunken cherries as "Cherry Bombs" as eating a few of those deadly blasts of liquored fruit is equivalent to doing a shot!

So tell La Diva, darlings, what would YOU do with this divine cherry-infused bourbon? Or better yet...when did YOU have your first drink of alcohol?

Ciao!cooking class, cocktails, parties, cocktail party, Miami, coral gables, events, bartending class, cocktail class, Laura Lafata, Miami Beach, miami cooking classes, bachelorette parties, bachelorette party

Dim Sum Sunday Child's Play: 'Nana pancakes 'n' sausage nom nom

This photo is La Diva having fun with the photo program! Golden buttery psychedeliciousness: Simple double banana pancakes for Sunday morning breaky.

Darlings, you KNOW how La Diva feels about kids.....she loves them! (in small doses!) Actually, being such a kid myself, I get along quite well with children. However, if they are obnoxious and misbehaving, La Diva will tell 'em to "knock it off" just like I would to anyone else not acting fabulous. La Diva totally believes in the "it takes a village" philosophy about kids, all adults (except the village idiot, of course!) should be their teachers and be responsible for molding them!

Karmic Kitchen's Dim Sum Sunday challenge was to create your fave kids dish OR a favorite childhood dish and La Diva was not going to let this pass just cuz I don't have any little ankle-biters myself!

Now, La Diva has very fond memories of actually coming home for lunch in the first grade and watching the Galloping Gourmet on television with my mother while I happily munched on peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches (on white bread) with a hot bowl of the reliable classic Campbell's tomato soup. I know peanut butter and mayo sounds like a weird combo, and to tell the truth, I don't eat them anymore, but I sure did love eating them as a kid. But seeing as I lost my mother to cancer only a few years later, I hang on to that memory like a baby clutching it's first piece of candy! Our time together on this planet was short and sweet.

So, I thought about what else I could make for the challenge and came up with double banana pancakes.

Ok, I'm lying.

Truth of the matter is, La Diva has house guests (again)-and-haven't-even-had-time -to-scratch-my-ass-let-alone-even-contemplate-this-challenge-and-besides-we-are-going-to-the-bar-for-burgers-for-dinner-later-and-when-I-went-to-make-breakfast-Sunday-morning-I-found-I-had-only-one-egg-left-for-breakfast-for-three-adults-and-you-just-know-how-La-Diva-LOATHES-going-to-any-grocery-store-on-Sunday-and-I-had-the-loveliest-little-sugar-bananas-that-were-begging-to-be-eaten-so-I-thought-pancakes-of-course! And, what kid doesn't love banana pancakes?!

Besides, I had two big kids I had to feed, my sidekick DJ Nevah L8 and my lanky, always ravenous nephew who's only 21 himself! Better get to work!

When making the usual pancake batter, I put two small mashed bananas in the bowl with a teaspoon of vanilla and a bit of sugar. I took the sugar bananas and served them sliced with pure maple syrup and a bit of powdered sugar. I also fried up a side of saussos that the big fella picked up from the convenience store downstairs. If La Diva was not so darn adamant about REFUSING to go to the grocery on Sunday, we would have had a better choice than the pre-cooked, weird texture kind of sausage, but they did in a pinch and no one was complaining. They still exuded their spicy, meaty, greasy goodness!

If you want to see what others have posted as part of Dim Sum Sunday Child's Play, clickety-click here.

What is YOUR fave childhood meal, darlings? La Diva wants to know! cooking class, cocktails, parties, cocktail party, Miami, coral gables, events, bartending class, cocktail class, Laura Lafata, Miami Beach, miami cooking classes, bachelorette parties, bachelorette party

La Diva was near death....again and again and again....

Darlings, recently some of my blogger buddies posted those dreadful questions that really lead to nowhere:

  • Ever been arrested?
  • Ever kissed someone you don't like?
  • Vanilla or chocolate?

And on and on and on....

La Diva doesn't really participate in those memes as I find them to be highly incriminating (hehe!) and inane.

And do you really know anything more about the person? The bloggers that participated all sound so nice and good. (Unlike La Diva)

However, one question really got me thinking:

Had a close brush with death (your own)?

When I told my blogging bud Boxer that La Diva has had numerous near death experiences, she asked me to post them. I thought about it and even though this blog is primarily about food, friends and fabulousness, I decided, what the hell, my stories make some pretty good reading and DEATH and DANGER is always such fascinating subject matter.

And, it's MY blog and I can post what I damn well please!

So, here they are, La Diva's near death experiences:

1. When I was a toddler, I was very sick with pneumonia and had to be hospitalized and put in an oxygen tent for a week so I could breathe.

2. Drank bleach, back to hospital.

3. My friend Mariette and I got caught between two buildings between the street and the alley. The building was our favorite store that sold penny candy and was on a very busy street (the infamous 8 mile in Detroit.) The space between the buildings was very narrow and I was such a tiny girl, we thought we could squeeze through and make it to the rear. I didn't almost die but I got stuck halfway through, freaked out and then managed, somehow, to finally get out! I was five. (and now very claustrophobic in small spaces!)

4. After getting into a fight with my first husband while snorkeling way out from shore in Queensland, Australia, he got angry and swam away while I stayed and continued to snorkel with strangers. Hmpf. I wasn't about to stop having fun just cuz he was being pissy!

The last snorkeler swam away and then I found I was alone (and loving it) when I saw something big moving towards me in the shadows. I freaked and started to swim away with the big something behind me. I would not look back to see what it was and swam like hell.

Fast even strokes, fast even strokes, don't look back!!! I could not look behind me to see when it stopped chasing me. Ok, I guess if it really wanted me, it would have caught me! Maybe it wasn't chasing me but just was curious? I'll never know but the valuable lesson was never snorkel, dive or swim alone!

This photo reminds La Diva of the time she drove by herself up to Queensland from Sydney to visit a boy, a good twelve hour drive. Of course, when La Diva consulted her trusty map, she noticed she could take a scenic drive through the mountains instead of the more "safe" coastal highway that was sure to have more heavy traffic.

Naturally, the map never indicated anything about the falling rock, the winding roads without guardrails or that you couldn't stop once you got on the "road." La Diva was also unaware that her muffler was broken in half and hanging off the back of her car, half of it up against the bottom of her trunk melting the make up that was in a case just above the muffler.

That drive was treacherous and not relaxing at all, La Diva was white-knuckling it for three hours straight! If anything had happened and my car broke down I would have been SOL!

5. When I first moved to Australia, I was driving at night in the rain on two-way highway and, thinking it was a one-way highway, I ended up driving the wrong way in the lane and had a near-miss head-on with a truck.

6. After a concert at the Metro in downtown Sydney, impatient me started running across a busy six lane road just as light turned from red to green. There was a cab zooming up the inside lane that did not see me and just ticked the back heel of my foot as I leaped with all my strength like a gazelle onto the curb, heart pounding.

7. While in the country visiting a friend's farm in Australia, my pals and I were walking at the top of a cliff with several layers of rock bed and the river below. La Diva was wearing cowboy boots. I slipped and fell off the cliff and was airborne for over fifteen feet. I landed on the next level below on my feet like a cat while the color drained from my friend's faces. The lesson here is never hike on rock wearing cowboy boots, no matter how fabulous they are.

8. La Diva was swimming at an isolated beach on the Hawai'ian island of Oahu with my first husband and at that time was not used to swimming in the ocean when I noticed three very large waves coming in. I don't know if you realize how big waves can get in Hawai'i and I would not fathom to tell you how big they were. Let's just say I saw them coming in huge and fast and knew we were in trouble.

I tried to go under them but they were too strong and I got tossed like a little shell. I had just enough time to come up for air after the first two and the last huge kahuna dumped me violently on the beach, my head a half a foot away from the rocks, out of breath, heart pounding like a little bird's.

9. Not sure if this is near death but it was pretty dangerous and could have ended much worse: La Diva pulled into a Walgreens parking lot the same time as a car full of young guys and they were going for the same parking space but I got there first. As I walked across the parking lot towards the store, I felt the hairs raise on my arms, with a sense that something was not right.

When I returned to my car, I had found they had broken the windshield wipers off my car out of spite. I found their car parked down a side street (spineless punks!) and being the logical person I am, took a crowbar and knocked off their side mirror while still sitting in my car. Just then, they all came running back to see me and one punched me in the face through my window but didn't really connect.

We then proceeded to engage in a crazy car chase around the north side of Chicago with La Diva maneuvering the car like Steve McQueen (I am from Detroit, after all!) I was in my early 20's, driving my boyfriend's Dodge with a V8 and with the right side door bashed in. It was like something out of a movie.

Thank God police saw the fracas and pulled us over and I "got away." But when cop found out one of the guys had hit me, he wanted me to prosecute, I didn't. I just wanted to get home as fast as I could. After driving back home as quickly as possible and putting my car safely hidden in the back of the building, La Diva then collapsed on the back porch from a fading adrenaline rush! I was a tough skinny little white girl. Still am. (not as skinny though!)

Now then, just be lucky YOU don't have a daredevil daughter like La Diva! Do YOU have any near death experiences that you'd like to share? La Diva would LOVE to hear them! Ciao!cooking class, cocktails, parties, cocktail party, Miami, coral gables, events, bartending class, cocktail class, Laura Lafata, Miami Beach, miami cooking classes, bachelorette parties, bachelorette party

The most beautiful food I've seen: Australia's Royal Mail Restaurant

Darlings!!! La Diva was recently watching globe-trotting chef, Anthony Bourdain, traipse around one of her fave cities, Melbourne, Australia, when I was completely enraptured by the food porn dishes from a country restaurant featured called the Royal Mail.

Exquisite, delicate and beautiful are words that describe this lovely plating of sardines with jamon, tiny baby radish and smoked tuna...mmmm...

As I watched dish-after-amazing-dish come out of the kitchen to appease Bourdain and Melburnian chef Paul Wilson, La Diva was enthralled by the prettiness of the platings and eager to share with you. Being an artist herself, La Diva has a keen eye for detail and color and was impressed by how aesthetically pleasing these divine dishes looked and found the use of pretty petals, micro-herbs and garnishes to be exquisite and thoughtful.

Royal Mail owner Alan Myers and Chef Dan Hunter

The Royal Mail restaurant is located in the town of Dunkeld, Victoria, a good three hour drive west of Melbourne and located at the foot of Victoria's Grampian mountains.

Like so many other fabulous Aussie restaurants, the Royal Mail is part of a hotel. The hotel was established in 1855, though the restaurant and hotel itself have been refurbished and boast architecturally designed facilities that take advantage of the stunning natural surroundings.

One may choose a number of packages and activities offered by the hotel taking in the flora and fauna of the area which includes yoga, horseback riding and hiking.

Click on the photo to see all the beaut photos of the property and its natural offerings!

Calamari is enticingly scored and served on a delicate black cream with carrot and cardamom.

Rich and extravagant egg yolk with toasted rye, legume and yeast.

Darlings, want to see what dish made Tony Bourdain want to get naked and roll around in it? Click on the image and delight in the Royal Mail experience like La Diva did! You'll be so happy you did!

Fresh from the Basque country of Spain, Chef Dan Hunter brought his creativity and passion back to his homeland to the Royal Mail restaurant in 2007. You can learn more about this talented chef by clicking on his photo.

Taken directly from the Royal Mail website as La Diva couldn't describe it any better:

The Royal Mail Restaurant offers a unique, nature-based cuisine focusing on modern culinary techniques and the highest quality organic and heirloom produce. Multi-course tasting menus follow nature's cue to change with the seasons and are designed around vegetables, fruit and herbs collected daily from the restaurant's own kitchen gardens.

More than 150 varieties of organic and heirloom vegetables, leaves and herbs are produced by the restaurant's 1500 square metres of kitchen gardens each year. Orchards and an olive grove surrounding the hotel provide stone fruit, apples, pears, berries, figs, quince and olives while fresh eggs are collected daily from free-range laying hens.

The restaurant is also home to the award winning Royal Mail Cellar which houses one of the most comprehensive and varied wine collections in Australia. Guests are offered an extensive selection of Australian and imported wines including Australia's leading collection of Bordeaux and Burgundy.

The Royal Mail wine collection focuses on wines that are ready to be taken from hibernation and enjoyed at their peak. The extensive collection has been cellared in ideal conditions and presents as close to perfect as can be achieved. The aim is to provide depth of vintage at all levels and the informed wine team is available to assist in the selection of a future treasured memory.

Now doesn't that sound DEE-LISH?

Want to see ALL the lovely food porn images of the Royal Mail? Click on the photo and prepare to be impressed, the food is beautifully presented and photographed.

La Diva SO wishes she was back in Australia to experience this fabulous restaurant and hotel! Darlings, if you DO get a chance to get "down under," don't hesitate to make the effort to dine at the Royal Mail but be sure to book in advance as La Diva is certain the Travel Channel plug has given the restaurant an additional boost in reservations! And if you go, you MUST share all the details with La Diva!

Are any of my darling readers aware of any other beautiful food being presented with divine style that La Diva needs to know about?

tell, darlings!
cooking class, cocktails, parties, cocktail party, Miami, coral gables, events, bartending class, cocktail class, Laura Lafata, Miami Beach, miami cooking classes, bachelorette parties, bachelorette party

Just another tequila sunset....

La Diva is grateful today.

There's been too much death lately.

Too much griping.

And WAY too much whining.

Take a minute to be happy.

Hell, why not TAKE THE WHOLE DAY?!!!

To just be happy.

Right now.

Cuz WE are still here.

Right now.

And it's good.

Enjoy darlings!!!!!