Apr 25: In and Out Burger; Organic Bean Pasta with Cheese sauce


Another Burbank Monday and foodie Philip was at In and Out for a Double Double Animal Style as usual.

  • Double Double is $4.03 with tax.


We decided to try something new: Trader Joe’s Organic Black Bean Rotini with a cheddar cheese sauce.

This was a mistake. The flavor of the bean pasta is fine, as is the texture, but it colored the cheese sauce a very unappealing brown-gray, which is why there is no photo today! Perhaps with a puttanesca sauce it might be okay, or in a salad, although why not just put in black beans?

  • The black bean rotini was $2.99 a pack, or $1.00 per serve
  • The cheddar works out to $1.00 a serve
  • Frozen peas add another 20c to each serve.

Tonight’s dinner was $2.20 per serve. Tasty but visually very unappealing.

Apr 24: Mushroom Barley Risotto; Filet Americain


We ended up shooting an unscheduled Lunch with Philip and Greg, since our guest was staying with us, so we had Mushroom Barley ‘Risotto’. Technically not a risotto because it uses barley instead of Arborio rice, but the result is a rich and creamy like risotto. Cooked in the pressure cooker for speed.

It’s more filling than you’d think, and the recipe makes more than six servings.

  • Two packs of fresh, sliced mushrooms cost $3.99 a pack, or $2 a serve
  • The pearl barley is $4.89 for a 28 oz bag, or 61c per serve
  • Two cups of broth is half a $1.99 carton or 17c per serve
  • The packet of parmesan cost $6.99 but we used about 1/8 for three servings, or 29c per serve
  • Add another 20c for onion, oil and herbs.

Lunch today cost $3.27 per serve.


Since we were (finally) shooting the last part of our Filet Americain video we started in September in Amsterdam on preparing meat in the USA, we had to prepare it again to shoot that part.

This is the same recipe we prepared last Saturday, although we prepared less this time.

  • The Sirloin was sourced locally for $11.10, or $3.70 per serve
  • The shallot added 98c or 17c per serve
  • Mayonnaise cost $3.49 for the jar, and 1/5 was used, or 12c per serve
  • Worcestershire sauce is $4.13 per jar but only two tablespoons (not four) were used which works out to 5c per serve.
  • Similarly mustard adds 7c per serve.
  • The bread was $2.00 or 50c per serve (for four, with one left over)
  • Our side salad cost an additional 30c to prepare.

Dinner tonight cost $4.91 per serve.

Apr 23: Corned beef, sauerkraut and cheese; Vegetarian South Indian feast


For lunch today we had another of the onion bagels, some store bought corned beef, Wildbrine Red Beet and Cabbage ‘salad’ and edem cheese.

  • The sliced corned beef is $4.99 a pack, and we used about 1/3 or 83c per serve
  • The Wildbrine Red Beet and Red Cabbage salad is $6.99 for the container. We used one quarter or 88c per serve
  • The edam cheese is $2.32 per pack of eight slices and we used two slices per serve, or 58c per serve
  • As it was yesterday the bagels are 33c per serve.

Today’s photo is of our lunch, which cost $2.62 per serve.


Tonight we had Indian take-out with a large group of friends. We had seen the reviews on Yelp, so we’ve been interested in trying Woodlands since we moved to Chatsworth. With at least one vegetarian in the group, it seemed like a perfect opportunity.

The food was every bit as good as Yelp reviews had led us to believe, but despite the flavor, it’s not particularly photogenic.

We contributed $15 each to cover costs.

Apr 22: Smoked salmon on an onion bagel; Butternut Squash, bacon and cheese ‘Rellenos’


Wild caught smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers on an onion bagel.

  • Smoked salmon at Trader Joe’s is a little more expensive at $5.99 for the 4oz pack, or $3.00 per serve
  • The pack of six onion bagels is $1.99 or 33c per serve
  • Cream cheese pack is $1.69 and we used about 1/3 or 28c per serve
  • Add 5c for capers.

Lunch today cost $3.66


Tonight we did a variation on Pioneer Woman’s Easy Chilli Rellenos. Once you have the basic concept down, it’s easy to create variations. In this iteration we substituted butternut squash, bacon and smokey cheese for the basics in Pioneer Woman’s recipe.

We purchased butternut squash pre-cut. The biggest hassle with using it as an ingredient is the peeling and chopping. Buying pre-cut eliminates the issue. Steamed ahead of the casserole, it should be just soft when going into the oven.

Bacon and smokey cheese are always a good combination. We decided the bacon could be cooked a little longer, until just crisp, to add more texture.

You can tell the eggs are organic by the variation in color of the eggs, and the deep rich yolk color.

Organic eggs have more variation in shell color and deep yellow/orange yolks.
Organic eggs have more variation in shell color and deep yellow/orange yolks.
  • The pre-cut butternut squash was $1.99 for a 12oz pack or $1 per serve
  • We used half the $2.84 pack of ‘Dutch smoked cheese’ (not Gouda!) or 71c per serve
  • Eggs are 50c each or $1.25 per serve
  • We used bacon ends and pieces where the pack was $3.49 but we used about 1/3 or 58c per serve
  • A pint of half and half is $1.49 and half was used or 37c per serve
  • Add 5c for seasoning.

Tonight’s dinner cost $3.96 per serve. The squash, bacon and cheese is an excellent combination.

Apr 21: Quesadilla; NY Strip Steak with Caesar Salad


For our “quesadilla” we stuck with Trader Joe’s Refried Black Beans with Jalappeno Peppers. Because the Fontera salsa was not available at our local store, Greg substituted Casa Martinez Chipotle Fire Roased Salsa. We’re pretty sure this is the same salsa as the Fontera without the celebrity endorsement, and only $3.99 a jar instead of $4.69. Guess which we will be choosing in the future!

  • One flatbread (half of two) costs 50c a serve
  • Half a can of refried beans, shared across two halves: 26c
  • A very generous serve of salsa is 20c per serve
  • 2 oz of cheddar split between two is 50c per serve

Lunch today cost $1.46 per serve and came together in about 10 minutes. Today we fried in ghee (clarified butter) but bacon fat is tastier.


Thursday night is traditionally ‘steak night’ although we interpret that fairly liberally, but tonight it was an aged NY Strip Steak from the Prather Ranch delivery.

We grilled it very rare on the flat side of the griddle on the induction heater. While we generally prefer beef rare to medium rare, we have discovered that a NY strip steak toughens as it cooks. Even medium rare is quite tough. We had blamed the cut but it turns out that blue is best.

Blue means the exterior is seared while the interior is warmed, but not significantly cooked. That this is dry aged and pasture fed beef gave a really beefy flavor, and if you don’t want that, why eat beef?

  • We buy Prather Ranch meat because of the quality, no price so 12.8oz for $19.74 is definitely not the cheapest NY Strip you can buy, but I doubt you’d find better meat for $9.87 per serve
  • A pastured egg is 50c or 25c per serve.
  • Seasonings ran about 45c per serve
  • An organic lettuce cost $1.99 or $1 a serve
  • The packet of parmesan cost $6.99 but we used about 1/8 for this salad, or 44c per serve.
  • Instead of croutons, Greg fried off some haloumi cheese – a cheese that will not melt – at $4.00 for the pack, or $2.00 per serve.

Tonight’s steakhouse quality meal was $13.01 per serve. The steak was exceptionally tender with a great beef flavor.

Apr 20: Tapas; Pork Belly with Lentils


We recorded another episode of Lunch with Philip and Greg with Oliver Peters and chose the Firefly Tapas restaurant close to the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The food was very, very good. Another place where I would go for the food, not the experience of eating together. Tapas – a.k.a. small plates – provides a lot of variation during a meal.

  • The average for each serve was $21.63 with tax and tip.


After a long drive back from Las Vegas convenience won over purity and Trader Joe’s Pork belly steamed and fried off with ready cooked lentils reheated in chicken stock to enhance the flavor.

Tonight’s quick, but very tasty meal, cost $4.14 per serve.


Apr 19: Eggs Benedict; Roast beef; Reuben


No trip to Las Vegas is complete without at least one trip to The Peppermill for both the generous servings and the delightfully kitsch decor!

  • A very generous three-egg Eggs Benedict cost $14.51 per serve.


Dinner was more complex because it was split in two. Part one was at the Supermeet with some decent roast beef. Part two was a late night dinner, back at The Peppermill.

  • Supermeet was free because we help out.
  • We both had Reuben sandwiches @ $13.00 each with tax.

Apr 18: Chicken Caesar Salad; Tacos


Food at NAB is rarely good, or affordable, and being nearby in a hotel was no different. A very ordinary chicken Caesar Salad was the best available.

  • Chicken Caesar Salad – $11.09 with tax.


Dinner was at the FCP X Guru Gather and food was supplied: built it yourself tacos. Now as our two companies counted as 25% of the sponsors, I’m not sure if this counts as a free meal, or the most expensive meal we’ve ever had!

  • Because it came from the businesses not personally, I’m counting it as free.

Apr 17: Gyro; Steakhouse


It’s NAB show time, and we travelled to Las Vegas for the annual ritual. On the way we stopped at Baker and ate at the famous Mad Greek Cafe.

Our guest paid for the meal, which otherwise would have been around $12 with tax.


That same guest took us out to dinner at Gallagher’s Steak House in Las Vegas, where had prime rib. An enormous 14oz serve of prime rib, which was very good.

With that much meat there’s not a lot of room for sides, but the mushrooms and garlic mashed potato was very good.

Again the guest paid, but the meal cost close to $60 each,

Apr 16: Lunch out; Filet Americain


Having collected a guest from Burbank Airport, we all decided it was easier to stop at the Country Deli for lunch. A variety of meals were eaten.

  • Average price with tax and tip, $18.63 per person.

Although our guest paid, so at one level it was free!


Our guest had specifically requested Filet Americain, which is fair as he was the one who suggested we try it when in Amsterdam. Although raw beef is not for everyone, we all love it. The astute foodie would recognize that this is a Steak Tartare variation.

We had previously prepared this in Amsterdam last year (video will be coming shortly) but the primary difference is in the food supply. In Amsterdam you can buy ground beef ground specifically for tartar. This is different from regular ground beef which should NEVER be used for tartare or Filet Americain.

In the absence of store bought ground beef, a sirloin steak was chosen. Fat was trimmed and the meat cut into coarse cubes before being put in the freezer for about 15 minutes. The freezer time creates a firmer meat that cuts better in the food processor, and it not as prone to overheating in the food process.

In the absence of a food processor, cut finely.

The recipe makes six serves.

  • The sirloin was $17.47 or $2.92 per serve
  • The shallot added 98c or 17c per serve
  • Mayonnaise cost $3.49 for the jar, and 1/5 was used, or 12c per serve
  • Worcestershire sauce is $4.13 per jar but only two tablespoons (not four) were used which works out to 5c per serve.
  • Similarly mustard adds 7c per serve.
  • The baguette was $2.00 or 50c per serve (for four).

Dinner tonight cost just $3.83 per serve.