13 Nov 2012
in Food, Humor, Recipes, Sensational Salads
Tags: California Pizza Kitchen, Cheesecake Factory, chopped salad, Italian cuisine, pecorino romano, recipe, salads, salami
Lately when I’ve gone to the fridge feeling uninspired and not knowing what to make for dinner, I’ve often turned to something that was missing from my repertoire for years — the chopped salad.
While not codified in the same way as other great salads, the Caesar for example (romaine, anchovy, lemon, parmesan and garlic), or the Cobb (avocado, bacon, egg, chicken, etc.), it is precisely its flexibility that makes the chopped salad so great. More
23 Oct 2012
in Food, Humor, Observations, Recipes
Tags: drinks, japan, Japanese cuisine, Mansion of Dreams, Miyazaki, recipe, sake, spirits, sushi
When I was a lad, saké was something warm and exotic we drank at the local sushi bar that served underage kids. Not ones for moderation, we used to do something called a “saké bomb,” where we would drop the small ceramic cup of hot saké into our glass of beer, and then down the whole thing.
Saké Still Life (with Sushi Knife)
I remember once, several bombs in, I chucked a California roll at my friend Pat, sitting a few seats away. It hit him on the forehead and fell into his saké-and-beer. He lifted the glass, drank the bomb and ate the roll at the bottom in one epic gulp, and we all applauded. More
24 Apr 2012
in Markets & Stores, Observations, Recipes
Tags: food, grits, Indian food, markets, palak paneer, paratha, recipe, red snapper, Santa Monica, Trader Joe's
Sometimes I feel like eating a cuisine I’m not particularly good at, or don’t have the cupboard resources to roll out on a dime. Chinese food is one example — if I ever want to feel inadequate as a cook, I’ll try to make a Chinese dinner. Same with Indian. I can could a reasonably good generic curry, but am lacking the encyclopedic pantry of spices and unusual ingredients to go much further. Fortunately, my cravings for either of these two cuisines is rare, and when need strikes I can usually survive on the occasional take out. I’m mostly satisfied with my repertoire, and will leave the meins and masalas to the experts. Or, I eat Trader Joe’s.
Palak paneer with Malabari paratha from TJ's
I get annoyed when I meet people from the East Coast who ask whether we have Trader Joe’s on the West Coast. More
06 Apr 2012
in Recipes, Video
Tags: anchovies, bàcari, cicchetti, cod, Italian cooking, Italy, polenta, recipe, tapas, Venice
The most wonderful thing about Venice is you can get completely lost, and yet never be completely lost. The city is essentially a big round island of canals and narrow pedestrian streets that all fold in on one another, leading nowhere and everywhere at once. And if you wander long enough, you’ll eventually wind up someplace you recognize — sometimes even back at the place where you started.
I remember wandering like that once through a maze of alleyways on an eerily quiet and foggy March afternoon in Venice with my sister, trying to find our way back to our penzione. Eventually frustrated in our efforts, we tucked into one of the city’s ubiquitous bàcari wine bars for refueling — a welcome glass of wine and a few plates of blissful cecchitti. More
02 Mar 2012
Tags: beef, gastropub, Greg Berman, Laurel Tavern, marrow, marrow bones, osso bucco, recipe
When I was a younger man, one of my favorite dishes was osso bucco. It seemed tantalizingly exotic and exclusive, especially the most carnal part — the scooping of the marrow from the center bone. It was only later that I realized you could have that experience without the meat, tomato sauce and risotto.
Recently while browsing the meat section of one of our local upscale markets, I stumbled upon a package of marrow bones. More