Sunday, May 31, 2009

Savory Giraffes in a Broccoli Forest

More yummy leftovers!

The giraffes are cut from a vaya, which is a Swiss version of a quiche--eggs, bacon, and cheeses, with a puff pastry crust. The remainder of the slice is tucked under the carrots in the opposite box. Broccoli and mushrooms are side dishes, and a handful of cashews makes up dessert.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chicken Breast in a Box

Thai peanut noodles with sliced chicken breast--marinated in soy and wasabi, then baked--and some carrot and grape tomato garnish.

This bento is a quick arrangement of dinner leftovers. The salty soy chicken really paired up nicely with the slightly sweet noodles. The baked chicken was nice and tender and juicy as well, which contrasted well with the firm rice noodles. All in all, a lunch to look forward to!

Bentocracy Los Angeles

I made the move to Los Angeles, and have survived my first week at work! Sorry I was absent all week--I had my last exam Wednesday evening, loaded up the U-haul on Thursday, drove up Friday, unpacked Saturday, started work Monday, and have been working 10 hour days all week. The first week has been a mix of training and actual work...I've been on a client interview and have been doing a lot of research for a couple of the firm's partners.

Today's lunch is another pretty quick and easy one. The sushi came from the grocery down the street--it's brown rice spicy yellowtail with avocado. Yellowtail (Hamachi) is definately my favorite sushi fish. I just love how buttery and ocean-y it is when it's nice and fresh. Also tucked in the box are some gari, wasabi, and a little lemon garnish.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Peanut Butter Puppy

I picked up my take-home examination for my Products Liability class yesterday morning--I had 24 hours from pick up to turn in. So, I spent all day working on it. It was a bear! I was planning on knocking it out quickly and getting to studying for Community Property, but after spending a total of ten hours yesterday working on it, I needed a break, so I took some time to bento.

So, Mr. Toro's lunch is a flatbread puppy filled with peanut butter. He has dried cherry eyes and nose, and a strawberry tongue. Beneath him are a bunch of sliced strawberries.

In the other box are PB&J pinwheels, some smoked gouda cheese, and some more leftover pasta (with some carrot sprinkles for color).

4 exams down, one to go...I might just survive. Maybe...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Monday

Happy Monday to all!

Today I have to drive to school to pick up a take-home exam for my Products Liability class. I get 24 hours to complete it (with a maximum of 15 pages to answer the question :p). But the good news is once I'm finished with this one, I'll only have one more left. Last week seemed like it took an eternity to get through--hopefully this week won't seem so neverending.

So, in keeping with the quick bento theme of this exam period, Mr. Toro's lunch today is leftover bow-tie pasta in a herb sauce with a breaded chicken strip sliced on the top. Some green onion ribbons add some color and design to the smaller box.

In the large box is a collection of vegetable crudites, specifically cauliflower, baby carrots, and cucumber cut in wedges. A packet of hummus for dipping is on the side. On the top of the veggies is a couple slices of turkey pepperoni and flowers cut from smoked Gouda.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sushiman Bento Review

So, for a post-exam treat (3 down, 2 to go!) I stopped off at a new sushi restaurant for lunch. Boy, what a mistake.

Sushiman is a chain of fast service sushi places in Hawaii and California. I went to their location at the Village Walk at Eastlake, in Chula Vista, California. I got the "Lunch Bento" ($6.99, $9.24 with fountain drink and tax).

As pictured, the bento came with 4 pieces of nigiri, 4 large California roll pieces, an Inari, a bit of salad, and a cup of miso soup.

"Ugh" is about the best descriptor I can come up with for this meal.

The salad came with a big glop of unidentified white dressing on it--I ate the lettuce underneath, avoiding the goopy mass as best I could.

The Cali roll was huge. Ridiculously so. It was impossible to eat in one bite, but was so structurally unsound as to make it a crumbled mess after trying to bite into it. Add in pretty flavorless filling, and this was bad.

But the maki was gourmet compared to the nigiri. The tamago was rubbery, the ebi flavorless, the ika tough, and the magoro tasteless.

Sigh. What a disappointment. My usual sushi bar about a mile and a half away blows Sushiman out of the water (and is similarly priced), and even the local Von's grocery story boasts superior sushi.

Sushiman's take out menus and a sign posted on the restaurant window claim that theirs was "chosen best sushi in Hawaii,' but I can only recommend you avoid Sushiman at all costs.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lasagna with Love Lunch

Today, Mr. Toro gets a bento with leftover chicken meatball lasagna, garlic bread, and salad.

The bread is another Costco find...fresh from the bakery, this delicious bread has whole cloves of garlic baked right into the loaf. The garlic becomes soft and mellow from the baking process and makes the bread deliciously garlic-y without the added fat and calories of a garlic-butter spread. It comes in packs of 2 loaves, which is more than the two of us can handle fresh, but luckily enough, the bread freezes very well. I cut the loaves in half, put them in a freezer bag, and pop them in the freezer. To thaw, I just put the half loaf in the oven with whatever is cooking--the result is a nice warm bit of bread, nice and crusty on the exterior.

Just a note--freezer bags, when used for something like bread, last a LONG time...I keep reusing them until they split.

The salad is actually pretty simple, with just a bit of decorative flourish. It has a bed of red leaf lettuce, then a sprinkling of finely chopped cauliflower to make the cucumber fan stand out (rather than have green on green).

To make the fan, I cut a thick wedge of cucumber on the bias, then made thin slices to the base without cutting all the way through before fanning the slices out. Interleaved in between each slice is a thin segment of a grape tomato. The whole fan is balanced on another grape tomato, and the fan is flanked by a couple slices of baby carrot, cut on the bias.

A couple carrot heart cut outs are balanced on the bread for a quick midday way for me to tell Mr. Toro I love him :)

I have to admit now, in retrospect, looking at the big gap behind the bread, I wish I had put something there to fill the space with some color...too late!

2 exams down, 3 to go...the next one is tomorrow. Professional Responsibility is basically ethics for lawyers...go ahead, insert lawyer ethics jokes here ;)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Udon

Today's entry is not technically a bento; I'm eating lunch at home today while studying for tomorrow's evidence exam. So, for a quick and easy, yet satisfying meal, I'm having a bowl of udon soup with a mess of veggies boiled with the noodles.

Now, this isn't 'good' udon by any stretch, but it does the job. It comes in a package, similar to grocery ramen (though at only 250 calories for the whole packet, it beats the heck out of ramen).

It's actually pretty darned tasty, despite its questionable pedigree. Thick, soft noodles in a mushroom-flavored broth make for a nice refueling break from the books.

I've added zucchini, cauliflower, green onions and a little carrot for nutrition, filler, texture, and for color. I particularly like the sweet cauliflower against the salty broth.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rapid Wrap Bento

Today's lunch is a wrap cut into pinwheels with a side of baby carrots and baked chips.

I made the wrap with "Flatouts" bread, another recent purchase from Costco. I really like this product--it's not as puffy as pita, so it's easier to roll, but it's softer than tortillas so it has a more tender mouth-feel and bread-like taste. The three pinwheels in this bento are about a half of a Flatout wrap.

I spread the flatbread with a Laughing Cow Swiss wedge, then layered on a bit of turkey and ham luncheon meat, then finally sprinkled on some salad mix consisting of lettuce, carrots, and cabbage. It should be a nice balance between the soft bread and crisp veggies and the salty meats and creamy cheese.

Today is my first exam (of five), in Election Law. Keep your fingers crossed!