Friday, September 4, 2009

Weekly Bento Round-Up #2


Welcome to another edition of the weekly Bento round-up here at Beach City Cooking, where I share with you all the lunches Jen took to work this week, for better or for worse. Because caveat emptor, not every picture turned out as well as I might have liked this week, but I'll be sharing them with you anyway, so brace yourself for some seriously unappetizing bacon. The idea that I'd ever be responsible for the unholy pairing of those last two words is one that fills me with deep, paralyzing shame and heart-aching regret. (On the other hand, the heartache could just be from eating too much bacon. Time will have to tell on that one.)

While there's no swanky new Bento gear to show off this week, I did just place an order for some particularly bizarre Bento accessories a few days ago, so as soon as those leave Hong Kong and arrive on my doorstep, you can be sure I'll be sharing them with you all on here. Here's a hint, just to whet your appetite, dear reader: the Bento items I picked out are going to be just ducky. I suspect that hint is either too obvious or needlessly confusing. Either way, the answer will be revealed next week.

Okay, let's get down to this week's three Bento lunches. Three?! Yes, three. There were a couple of repeats this week, which is something I hope to avoid in the future, lest I make this Bento-preparing experiment too easy for myself.


Okay, so for lunch numero uno this week we've got another DIY sandwich. Jen's job has her on the road all day sometimes, and this lunch was made on one of those days. For me as a Bento-maker, that means one crucial thing: lunch has to be something she can easily pick up, and something she can easily pick at while on a short break. The sandwich is a BL, as in a BLT sans tomato. Jen will readily cop to the fact that she's a pretty picky eater. She does like tomatoes, though, just not on sandwiches. Actually, she's not even a big fan of most sandwiches. See? Pretty picky. But that's fine by me, because it just makes the Bento preparations more fun and challenging. (Oh, and BL is also the abbreviation we use for one of our favorite shows, Big Love, so hopefully we won't get lost in the confusion and end up eating HBO DVD collections or staring at bacon and lettuce sandwiches on Sunday nights.)

From bottom-left, going clockwise, we have sliced Challah (so Jen can just make mini sandwiches during brief breaks, if she likes), some romaine, an extremely unappetizing picture of bacon that you'll just have to believe tasted much better than it looked, and a slice of Cheesecake I cut into Cheesecake Bites.


This was Jen's whole lunch the next day. A pretty diverse lunch. I think the makers of the Food Pyramid would be proud. No, I'm kidding--this was just the rest of Jen's above lunch. It's a fresh berry salad with, let's see here...blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, Man, kiwi is always getting into everyone else's business. Remember when it tried to escape its smooth, blended fate? That's two strikes, kiwi. If you reach three, we eat you.


Here's the Bento version of the Cold Sweet Potato Noodle Salad. Here's what it looks like all together:


It would have been easier to mix everything up the night before, when I made it, but I gave it some thought and decided that if sandwiches keep better when packed with their components separate, it would be better to keep this noodle salad ready to be assembled, but not pre-mixed. The sauce might have made the noodles mushier, and the pear and carrot might have softened too much; either of those things happening would have made the dish much worse.


One more Bento. Lots of berry salad, and some faux-sushi. What we've really got here is a ham, alfalfa sprout, freshly shaved parmesan, and romaine Flat-Out wrap, sliced up like a sushi roll for a more appealing presentation. Making this just made me wish I was rolling real sushi, though, so expect some real sushi next week. We have some pretty terrific Japanese specialty grocers near us, like Nijiya Market and Mitsuwa Marketplace, both of which carry an amazing variety of high quality sashimi for homemade sushi making. Mitsuwa has great-looking eel that one of the sushi chefs there recommended to me, so maybe I'll try my hand at homemade unagi.


Thanks for stopping by Beach City Cooking, and I'll see you all very soon for another edition of Smoothie Sunday. The blender might even have a starring role again this time. Have a great night, and stay cool!


  1. Boy,I wish I could be eating those. They look beautiful!

    What great writing. I'm a fan. A big fan.

  2. Great job Max! You'll be in the NYT soon. It all looks yummy!!