Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Masa Assassin Turns 1 Year !

I can’t believe it been a year since I first sat down and wrote about Erizo Cebicheria in Tijuana. First of I want to thank all my readers and subscribers I really appreciate the many encouraging comments and emails and I have received. I'm sorry for not being active the last few months but I hope to get back in full swing by end of February.

So where has Masa been? Well it’s been a combination of a few things that has kept me from blogging the past few months. In November I had some goals to reach with my main passion "Muay Thai". Muay Thai is a Martial Art from Thailand also known as Thai boxing; it’s similar to Western Kickboxing however elbows and knees are also utilized. The weekend excursions of all out food binges were finally catching up to me and my eating habits were not exactly helping my efforts in training.

In December things just got so busy with the holidays and by the time December rolled around my wife and I committed to a serious diet regiment. Living healthy active lifestyles we pretty much always ate sensible during the week but it was the weekend food blogging that finally took a toll on the waistline.

So here we are at the beginning of February most of our goals have been met and we are ready to indulge. Before we start the new 2010 blog post I would like to take a look back at a few of our favorite photos of 2009 and the story behind them.

1. Tres Leches Cake
(original post here)

Pastel Tres Leches - Tres Leches Cake

This was very fun to make we even had our five year old daughter involved in the process. We finished the cake in the evening and refrigerated it, planning to take photos in natural sunlight the next day. My wife had to work the next day so I was alone to work on the presentation of the cake and take photos.

I had the first slice ready to go but something just didn’t look right. The strawberries looked a little wilted. I put the cake back in the fridge and headed to the market for some fresh strawberries. When I returned from the market I fanned the strawberries, grabbed some mint from the garden, and I was ready to take the shot. I think the phone rang or something startled me but I ended up dropping the plate, and the slice of tres leches cake went crashing onto the kitchen floor.

I ended up re dressing a new piece and took it in the backyard for the final shoot. I was shooting the pictures so fast because tres leches is like ice cream and I was worried it would melt away. I finally got the shots I was looking for, sat back and enjoyed my tres leches cake! I have received so much positive feedback on this recipe it has by far been our most popular post.

2. Camaron Enchilado Spicy Shrimp Taco - Tacos El Mazateno Tijuana (original post here)

Tacos El Mazateno Tijuana - Camarones Enchilado (Spicy Shrimp Tacos)

I was so surprised at the results of this one because Its usually difficult to achieve good results when restaurants are very crowded. On this particular day their must have been 100 people enjoying the mariscos at El Mazateno. We ended up actually sharing a table with some friendly strangers. As my wife was striking up a conversation I busted my big camera out the bag and started shooting away.

I usually try to be somewhat discreet when I’m taking pictures of my food but it was pretty tough to do it in this case. I ended up rushing the shots just hoping I snapped at least one good one. Really no secrets of photography behind this one, sometimes random shots are the best. To this day this remains one of my favorite tacos and every time I look at this pic I want to make a run to the border.

3. Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs (Original Post)

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog

After enjoying these Hot Dogs down south for years we decided to replicate them at home. Unlike most of the cooking we cover this was our first crack at this pork frenzy. I have my brother to thank on this one he actually did a great job wrapping the bacon around the Hot Dog and cooking them.

I was still very new to DSLR cameras at this time so I experimented much with this one. Like most of my home pictures this was taken in my backyard and I used a simple white background. Some shots from this session have made their way around the internet including a great piece on 100 ways to use a strip of bacon.

As far as food styling goes I don’t spray my food with anything, pretty much everything I shoot is consumed shortly after the photo is taken, and I mean shortly ha-ha. I will always remember this photo as my first photo submitted and accepted by the top food porn sites foodgawker and TasteSpotting.

4. Chocolate Soufflé - Manzanilla Restaurant
(Original Post)

Cascada de chocolate (chocolate souffle) - Manzanilla Ensenada BC Mex

Ah my favorite chocolate soufflé. Anyone who knows me knows my weakness is chocolate. I never leave manzanilla restaurant without my chocolate shuffle fix. Although manzanilla is opened for lunch I would almost always find myself enjoying a late dinner. I try to avoid photos with flash as much as I can so the shots I was getting at night were not doing the soufflé justice.

I decided to make a special trip right at the time of opening and ordered all of my favorite dishes. It turned out to be a good move I finally got the lighting I needed and my chocolate fix. I'm not sure why I like this one so much perhaps its my love for chocolate. I actually got the idea of fanning my strawberries for my tres leches cake picture from this one. The souffle is actually served on a piece of black marble which is the perfect backdrop for the white powdered sugar, and red strawberries.

5. Fresh Baja Scallops with strawberry and Chile Morita - La Cocedora de Langosta Ensenada (original post)

Baja Scallops with Strawberry and Chile Morita puree - La Cocedora De Langosta Ensenada

The lighting at La Cocedora de Langosta has always been good to me. I never thought something as simple as a scallop could look so good. One thing I have learned is that each dish has its own personality. Ive noticed its always best to snap food photos seconds after they have been prepared.

I'm still learning about food photography and hope to improve this year.Thanks again for your support!


Dennis K. said...

Happy Anniversary MA! I hear you about the waistline thing.. I just joined a new gym yesterday! That scallop looks amazing....

fredo said...

Cheers to a whole year of good eats. Looking forward to the new year.

KirkK said...

Hey MA - Happy Blogga-versary! It only took you 1 month to hit your goals??? Amazing..... now it's time for some bacon wrapped hot dogs!!

Masa Assassin said...

Hey Dennis Thanks keep it up.

Hi Fredo good to see you around I hope to stay active posting.

Thanks Kirk .... yoso funny bacon wrapped hot dogs. yeah it took about 5 weeks hardcore diet and muay thai every other day. I couldnt even look at food blogs during that time it would have killed me.

Meandering Eats said...

Congrats, MA! I did the same diet thing in '08 (fell off the wagon this past holiday season, actually) and it's definitely worth the hard work. Gorgeous, gorgeous photos... the post makes me alternate between devouring the tres leches in my fridge and resisting it for the sake of my diet!

brightlights said...

When you're in Ensenada eating right and left, get Vince and me to go with you! We can all share everything and still get to sample everything without overeating. We've been doing that for several months...he's down 40 pounds and me 30!

Sherry said...

I enjoy reading your blog, I actually havent taken a peek at it in a while. ~Happy Anniversary~ Anyhow keep up the good work and awesome pics!

Anonymous said...

nice recap of the past year...now lets go eat somemore

Bill said...

Glad you're back and ready to chomp away. Dido from KirkK ;-)

caninecologne said...

Congrats on your 1 year Blogaversary MA!!!!

Your food photos look fantastic, especially the bacon wrapped hot dogs, which I would like to make for my bacon loving husband!

Best wishes for the new year and looking forward to your future posts!

chalamejor said...

Amazing summary of the best post ever!

Masa Assassin said...

Hi moowie.... thanks for the good laugh about dieting or devoring tres leches ha-ha.

Hi brightlights... that sounds like a good game-plan we will be in touch.

Hi Sherry... Thanks and you have some awesome pics as well :)

Hi Bill ... Thanks for the support that's great you on are your 5th year of Eat Drink and be Merry! I hope I can achieve the same some day.

Hi CC... You should definitely make those bacon wrapped hot dogs for your hubby he will love them.

Hi Cha... Im glad you liked the post