Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream & Gladiator Rock’n Run Giveaway!

By Tsz on May 1, 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
Gastrophoria is homemade banana peanut butter ice cream.

For the past month, I’ve been making several life changes—such as the sabbatical, healthier eating and the newly acquired three-times-a-week gym habit. As someone who is not a fan of sweating, this is a BIG deal!

What was the catalyst? I’d like to say it was due to a lifestyle resolution. Alas, I am not that self-disciplined. This change was induced by a surprise present by the Gentleman Weightlifter—a ticket to the Gladiator Rock’n Run.

There are normal 5K runs, and there is the Gladiator Run. Created by Dan Clark (better known as Nitro from the original American Gladiators), this run features 17 obstacles and a rock concert in addition to the standard run. Holy cannoli.

While I can barely run a mile, I’m also not one to step back from a challenge. Thus my foray into the gym and a revised eating plan in preparation for the big day happening on June 8th!

One of my weaknesses is my sweet tooth, so I’ve been on a mission to create healthy desserts that doesn’t include the usual loads of unhealthy (albeit delicious) sugar and fats. Imagine my surprise that it was possible to make a luxuriously creamy ice cream with just bananas. Yep, that’s right—no eggs, cream nor sugar needed and one of my favorite ways to reward myself after a workout!

For added protein and flavor, I like to add a big dollop of peanut butter in the mix. My co-worker recently introduced me to Peanut Butter & Co’s unique PB concoctions and it’s now my obsession. I used Cinnamon Raisin Swirl (tastes like Cinnabon) and Dark Chocolate Dreams (like Nutella, but with peanuts) this time around but any PB will do the trick so feel free to experiment!

Peanut Butter and Co

Looking for a fitness challenge for yourself?

I’ve partnered with the generous people from the Gladiator Rock’n Run to give away a pair of tickets to the upcoming Gladiator Rock’n Run ($160 value) held in Irvine, California on June 8th for one lucky reader!

To enter, simply:

1. Follow Gastrophoria on Facebook and Twitter more tasty goodness!
2. Follow Gladiator Rock’n Run on Facebook and Twitter for updates on their upcoming events.
3. Visit the Gladiator Rockn’ Run website to get a preview of the event and leave a comment below on which obstacle course you plan on dominating and also your favorite guilt free dessert!

The contest ends on May 10th and the creator, Dan himself will be choosing two winners from the entries. The first place winner with get a pair of tickets to the upcoming Gladiator Rock’n Run ($160 value) held in Great Park in Irvine and the runner up will get 50% off a pair of tickets ($80 value).

Good luck and hope to see you at the run!


Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
Serves 2

2 Bananas
4 tablespoons of your favorite peanut butter

1. Cut the bananas into medallions and freeze till solid in the freezer, around 2 hours.
2. Put the frozen bananas in a food processor and let blend till creamy, around 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed.
3. Add the peanut butter and blend till evenly mixed.
4. Serve immediately as a soft serve or freeze for an hour to get the traditional consistency of ice cream.

Happy eating!


Secret Squirrel Cold Brew : When Design Meets Food

By Tsz on April 9, 2013

Gastrophoria is being able to design for food. Even better when it’s for a product I enjoy, such as Secret Squirrel Cold Brew.

Most people work to live and some live to work. For me, I’d rather live to eat and design. As a young(ish) graphic designer, I’m not at the stage where I can pick and choose projects so whenever an intriguing opportunity comes along—especially when it’s food related—I have to grab it!

Secret Squirrel is one of those projects. Delicious cold brewed coffee concentrate… what’s not to like? Secret Squirrel Beta had a hand drawn label—lovingly DIY, however, not very conducive to keeping up with production demands. So using the remedy bottle as a launching point, I created a look that was inspired by alchemy and snake oil elixirs of yesteryear, refined it and made it mass-production friendly. What do you think?

During the design process, I’ve experimented a lot with different ways of using the cold brew (in the name of research!)—mixing it with different ratios of water, milk, half-and-half, etc. You name it, and I’ve probably tried it.

My absolute favorite way is mixing up a quick affogato. All you need is a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream, add a shot the cold brew concentrate and stick a cute straw in it. Makes for a no fuss dessert, or breakfast (When in Rome…).

Since then, the label has gone through another design adaptation but the spirit of the art direction remains. Happy eating!


Proof Bakery : Goal Setting with Coffee

By Tsz on March 21, 2013

Gastrophoria is a warm canelé and flaky chocolate croissant from Proof Bakery.

One of my new year resolutions is to actively pursue my passions. Emphasis on actively pursue as it’s one thing to dream, but another to follow through to make it into a reality.

Why? Because it’s so easy to procrastinate simply in the act of living. With long work days, never-ending bills and responsibilities with family and friends, goal setting is the last thing on my mind at the end the day. Instead, I find myself vegging out to New Girl episodes on Hulu. Fail.

However, I realized if I never stop to evaluate and start steering myself in the direction of my dreams, I will never get there. After having this epiphany, I made a promise to myself. Time to buckle up and get going!

Thus, a self-imposed 4-month sabbatical to discover and to create. To be creative again, to read, write, design, paint and most of all, figure out how to support myself financially so I may extend these 4-months into a lifetime.

To stay on course—and prevent the “watching tv all day in PJs” syndrome—I’ve taken a page from New Girls and created a procrastination jar in place of their infamous Douchebag Jar. Think of the classic swear jar, but repurposed for productive motivation. Anytime I find myself taking a detour or straight up slacking off, my partner-in-flavor gets a coffee from me that weekend.

To kill two birds with one stone, I’ve made it into an explore LA exercise. Each coffee forfeit must be from a different shop. No Starbucks/Coffeebean cop-outs.

Week 1 was productive, but I did succumb to bouts of YouTube-itis. So, brunch with coffee was on me that Sunday. Time for a Proof Bakery trip! Since everything looked amazing there, I went (a little) overboard with a full spread: canelé, current scone and 2 types of croissants, plus the coffee forfeit.

While the coffee and scone were above average, the canelé was a true object of beauty. Sculpted and oven kissed to a perfect tan, its chewy exterior barely contains its soft vanilla custard innards. It has the flavor of an old-fashion egg custard pie, but much improved with a chic facelift and addition of vanilla beans. Think Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina after her Parisian makeover.

The croissants were also not to be missed. Both the ham & cheese and chocolate croissants sported sky-high flaky pastry layers that held well to pressure. This is not your supermarket variety that squishes to greasy nothingness upon holding. They were crispy, flaky yet light—the holy trinity of croissant attributes.

It was a tasty penalty. I’m curious, how do you stay on track?

Proof Bakery
3156 Glendale Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Phone: (323) 664–8633


West Elm + Heirloom LA : Eye Candy

By Tsz on March 5, 2013

Gastrophoria are baked sweets from Heirloom LA combined with eye candy from West Elm.

On certain days, I just want to let my girly flag fly high. Not sure I can speak for all females, but there are times that calls for—nay, scream for—frothy dresses, sugary desserts and being immersed amongst beautiful things. Am I the only one?

Last Saturday was one of those days and thus I invited (dragged) my partner-in-flavor to West Elm’s Etsy Pop-Up. Curated by Emily Henderson of HGTV, the pop up featured unique art and home goods from local Etsy crafters. Some of my favorites were:

Dominik : handcrafted cutting boards inspired by guitar picks!
Jikits: custom ice cream mobiles
Twpottery : glazed planters in deep blues and neutrals
Sass + Peril : geometric animal printed goods

As a added bonus, Heirloom LA served an array of sugary delights: chocolate dipped lemon passion fruit bars, coconut snow balls and toasted marshmallow s’mores. While the s’more trump in appearance with its swirly marshmallow top hat, the lemon passion fruit bar stole the show in taste. With the addition of a chocolate layer and passion fruit, it elevated the simple (and often times too tart) lemon bar to delicious heights.

Extra eye candy was provided by West Elm. It was a treat to my eyes to see how well they combine colors and textures to create vignettes—if only I could live in the store! I did the next best thing and fantasy shopped instead.

It was an afternoon well spent.

Sidenote: if you find someone who not only tolerates but celebrates your passions and all those girly outbursts, hold them close cause they’re special.

West Elm Los Angeles
8366 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: (323) 782–9672

*Next Pop Up will be held at West Elm Philadelphia this Saturday, March 9! Check their Facebook event page for more info.*

Heirloom LA
4120 Verdugo Road
Los Angeles, CA 90065
Phone: (855) 456–6652


Aviary : 7 Layers of Goodness & Research

By Tsz on March 13, 2012

Gastrophoria is having a deconstructed Hurricane and small bites at Aviary. Especially when it’s for done in the name of research.

One of my passions is painting abstract portraits. Few things can top it—except when it’s painting an abstract portrait of food. So when KevinEats contacted me about creating a triptych depicting his dining experiences on Alinea (the momentous meal that started KevinEats), it was on!

Since I was going to Chicago already for a convention, I thought the best way to do research was to visit one of Grant Achatz’ legendary establishments. Unfortunately, Alinea was out of my budget and Next was sold out (and out of my budget). What’s left was Aviary, Achatz’s cocktail bar: no reservations needed and prices that were practically a steal when compared to his restaurants. Score.

Aviary isn’t your typical bar, in fact, it’s closer to a science lab than an eatery. Mixologists and cooks work in silent precision, crafting up cocktails and small bites that look like modernist art.

Bloody Mary comes in a vodka filled cherry tomato and topped with micro celery and a sliver of thai chili. N’awlins’ favorite, the Hurricane comes carefully in a flask, displaying 7 layers of juices and alcohol.

As for the bites, I had:

1. Cantaloupe with prosciutto chip, basil and champagne
2. Foie Gras with rhubarb, pumpernickel and lavender
3. Brioche with chocolate, smoked salt and vanilla

Remember those commercials of fruit gushers? Well, the best way to describe the experience of Aviary bites are just that. Each dish is a bon-bon explosion of intense flavors and textures.

With the night committed to my memories, I got back to work. This was the result:

The Aviary
953-955 W. Fulton St
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone : None