30 Dec 2011
in Observations, On the Road, Video
Tags: Fairmont, Fiddler's Green, Gold Dust Lounge, Guinness, Irish Bank, JFK, Paris, Prohibition, San Francisco, Van Morrison
I like cities that are oriented around food. Paris is a city like that. On any given block, between your Metro stop and your apartment, there will be charcuteries, boulangeries, patisseries, street markets, produce shops and every variety of other businesses providing anything you could possibly need for dinner that night. San Francisco is a bit like Paris that way. If I want a good loaf of bread in Los Angeles, it’s an afternoon outing. In San Francisco, you’ll practically trip over a freshly baked baguette or sourdough boule every time you turn a corner.
Baba, bubbly and beer at The Fairmont
Because I have three children, I drink. Not that I needed an excuse before, but it’s certainly a good one. More
27 Dec 2011
in Cooking Tips, Recipes, Video
Tags: Bologna, Bread, Christmas, ciabatta, dough, kneading, Mario Batali, pasta, pizza, recipe
I recall when I worked in pizza joints as a pimply kid, big beachballs of pizza dough churning in cavernous steel bowls beneath a massive metal Popeye arm. Industrial mixers made quick work of enough flour, yeast and water for 100 pies. But if you’re a home cook, why deprive yourself of the meditative pleasure of kneading?
Fresh savory rustic bread, just out of the oven
I sometimes see TV chefs mixing their dough in a Cuisinart. While this works perfectly well, your dough will never have that intangible mojo the best food has — the love that comes from a human hand. More
23 Dec 2011
in Eating Out, Observations
Tags: John Sedlar, los angeles, Mexican food, Mexico, Nobu, Playa, Puerto Vallarta, Rivera, tamale, Wolfgang Puck
I’ve never liked office holiday parties much. People stand around awkwardly, drinking punch and nibbling bad food. But this year I was fortunate enough to be invited to one at the much hyped new Los Angeles restaurant, Playa.
Wiped plate and torn menu, Playa
Chef John Sedlar had success with his downtown restaurant, Rivera, and the investors lined up to help him open another. He seems to be one of the nicest guys on earth. Most of the really good chefs are. More
20 Dec 2011
in Eating Out, On the Road, Recipes
Tags: Borobudur, gado gado, Indonesia, java, kecap manis, nasi goreng, peanut sauce, San Francisco, satay, Simpang Asia
When I was a kid, we had an Indonesian exchange student live with us for awhile. His name was Radi. He was a skinny, excitable chap with thick glasses who was eager to introduce his American hosts to Indonesian culture. This included ferreting out an Indonesian market and restaurant deep in an Asian pocket of the San Fernando Valley.
Borobudur in San Francisco
My parents were travelers and adventurous eaters. So even in the comparatively dismal dining scene of my childhood neighborhood, ours were regular faces at the nearest Chinese, Japanese and Thai restaurants. But here was something completely new. More
16 Dec 2011
in Observations, Recipes
Tags: Central America, chicken, illegal aliens, lunch, Mexico, pozolé, recipe, tortilla soup
Like most reasonably well-off white Americans, I’ve hired aliens. Most have been Mexican or Central American. Some have been legal, some have not. All have been good people with families and hopes and dreams, with warm smiles and senses of humor, with dignity.
One of the small but important joys in my life over the years has been serving the help, usually in the form of lunch. They honor me with their time and services; I honor them with a home-cooked meal.
Homemade chicken, tarragon and tortilla soup
For seven years, three to five days a week, I made lunch for our nanny, Karina. She came from a Oaxacan Mexican family and had never eaten much other than Mexican fare or fast food. More