Guys, I’ve (basically) finished 1.5 months of living in NYC, and two weeks of working as an architectural/interior designer here in NYC. How have I been? I’ve been everything: shocked, terrified, frustrated, and totally blissed by my new life in NYC. I am struggling to adapt to my new office because I’ve realized I suck in AutoCAD more than ever (CADing real buildings like bars and restaurants for people is a bajillion times harder than CADing food) I am overall going on a crisis to figure out how to properly balance my health, work, blog, and finances in this insanely cold weather that is just going to continue to drop…. So I guess I’ll talk about happier, more flavorful and exciting things like this buttery, soft french toast ice cream sandwich topped with pomegranate seeds… AKA “ICE CREAM FRENCH TOAST SANDWICH.” Yes, I created this recipe when I was working at Salt and Straw in LA…. YES, I worked there after I lost my job as an architect and wanted something fun to do that could inspire my blog. YES, I miss bringing home free tubs of ice cream like their sea salt with caramel ribbons one every week.
I had so much ice cream that I had to figure out something to do with it rather than just put it on a cone. And lately, I’ve been in love with eggs and baguettes. They’re so simple, and when together – it becomes magical. Sandwich these hefty toasts with ice cream and wow, you’ve got an ice cream sandwich. Top it off with confectioner’s sugar AND pomegranate seeds and HELL YUH. We get an appropriately festive soft, crunchy, creamy, and juicy sandwich.
Not sure if you’ve also heard, but I have been living at my brother’s (until Feb?) and am pleasantly surprised by how I sleep like a baby on a couch here (yay for warm homes and blankets!) If you hadn’t heard, I’ve also lost a ton of photos…I am quite devastated that all other images of this recipe and all of my Stockholm trip have vanished (I swore I used the right memory card!) yet I am looking forward to overcome this obstacle and find my own new ways to photograph and execute new recipes. A few weeks ago, I met with my designer/blogger crush: Alice Gao, who suggested that I invest in a beauty dish, but I have no idea how all of that works (do you know?) and what I could do considering that the kitchen I’m going to be using until February is my brother’s. PLEASE DM me if you have any suggestions of how I can continue my food photography. I’ll bake you a happy batch of cookies – promise! Stay sweet and warm ya’ll.
Slice the baguette into 1/2″ thick slices.
Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk it well with the milk together with the sugar and vanilla extract in a wide shallow bowl. Dip the bread into the egg wash, rotating to soak evenly.
Heat a non stick pan with 1/2 tablespoon of butter. When the pan is hot, fry the egg-soaked bread in batches of 4 or 5 slices on low-medium heat on each side until golden. Fry remaining batch until golden and repeat coating with remaining toasts.
Allow toasts to cool slightly. Take one french toast and top it with a scoop of ice cream. Place another toast on top. Gently press the top down to adhere the toast to the ice cream. Top it with confectioners sugar and pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately!
I grew up in Orange County, fairly close to Westminster, A.K.A. Little Saigon, where several Vietnamese individuals roam, where the fresh bread and butter is excellent, and the French Vietnamese food is absolutely divine. This time when I returned to Little Saigon, I realized the then chaotic loud Vietnamese shouting is now nostalgic music to my ears… and the Vietnamese food here is a million times better and cheaper than whatever I’ve had in L.A. Throughout my childhood upbringing, my mom and friends’ parents would bring home giant bags of spring rolls and …. the best banh mi sandwiches. Banh mi in this western region basically refers to a meat (or tofu) filled baguette with marinated vegetables that typically come with salty, sweet, sour, and spicy flavors and crunchy/soft/chewy textures.
My mom also made some of the meanest, bloodiest looking, tastiest char siu pork during my childhood. I asked her to teach me her recipe, but use pork belly. Now pork belly over pate over a baguette (fat over fat over carbs) is kind of a wonderful sin / gluttony party in the mouth. (that I craved) My mom heavily criticized me for pan frying the pork belly, and I fought with her over the dining table in defense of it being an experiment…. but we both shut up after tasting the first bite and shared a moment of complete peace and harmony and smiled. My mom and I each ate about a foot long of these sandwiches that sitting. This is an example that good food brings people together into peace and harmony.
THANK YOU so much mom and dad (and Tony) for raising and supporting me in Orange County. Thank you Vietnamese expats and friends for bringing one of the best sandwiches to America, particularly the O.C. Thank you Mr. Baguette for the delicious pate and tips on marinating. Thank you Benson from Good Afternoon, my friend from Tokyo, for especially building this optimized food blog. I hope to post recipes more consistently, document and share other fun food journeys with you all.
To prepare the meat, cut the pork belly into desired thicknesses and marinate it in a bowl with 1/2 C soy sauce, 1/3 C honey, 1/3 C ketchup, 1/4 C xiaoxing wine, 2 tbsp hoison sauce, and 2 tbsp. red food coloring. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.
To prepare the vegetables,cut the carrots, daikon, and cucumbers into 1/4″ x 2″ matchsticks and stir into a bowl with the water, vinegar, and sugar. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.
Remove the meat from the fridge. Heat a medium to large non-stick pan over a high heat. Add the oil to the pan and cook the meat about 4-5 minutes on each side.
Slice the baguette in half the long way to open it, and divide the entire baguette into thirds. Open the baguette, spread desired amount of mayonnaise and pate. Toast in oven for a few minutes.
Add desired amount of marinated vegetables. Add cilantro if desired and serve immediately.
So glad I brought this Japanese Benriner mandolin back from Japan. Although I went to architecture school, Tokyo, and cut a ton of models, I’m the worst in precision when it comes to cutting, and this from Koppabashi / kitchen town saved my life and probably yours as well. It comes with varying thicknesses in slicers as well! So enjoy.