An Ode to the Roadside Diner

One thing must be assumed when stopping into a roadside diner for a meal. It’s usually about one of two things — the uniquely American experience, or the convenience. With rare exception, you are not likely in for great dining.

So it was on a Sunday early afternoon on one of America’s most beautiful highways — U.S. 395, which winds from the high Joshua Tree-dotted Mojave desert along the eastern Sierras, past the tallest mountain in the contiguous 48, miscellaneous charming frontier towns, dazzling Mono Lake, the stunning ghost town of Bodie, to Nevada and the eastern flank of Lake Tahoe and on to Oregon. We had just emerged from a long 20-mph southbound slog through blizzard-like whiteout conditions, descending toward home from a ski vacation in Mammoth, and were starved. More

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Goodbye, Year of the Taco

In the first weeks of January, I declared 2016 would be the “Year of the Taco” at Skinny Girls & Mayonnaise. And the year did not disappoint.

The last taco

The last taco

I ate delicious tacos in East L.A., Mexico and Hawaii. I added six new taco recipes — including air-dried pork, Veracruz-style fish and Oaxacan turkey mole — to a blog that already boasted nearly a dozen. It was a good year. More

The $6,291 Hot Dog

It’s always a happy occasion when I can combine two of my favorite subjects — food and baseball — into a single blog post.

This March, my son and I had the privilege of being invited by my old and dear friend John to join him for a couple days of spring training in Arizona. For those unfamiliar with the sphere of professional baseball, the season begins in late March or early April. For a month or so before, the 30 Major League Baseball teams head to one of two locations for spring training and pre-season games — 15 go to Florida, 15 to Arizona. While several teams share their small spring training ballparks and facilities, there are still 10 such destinations around the greater Phoenix area, making it something of a springtime baseball mecca for fans.

Flynn and his favorite Dodger, Adrian Gonzalez

Flynn and his favorite Dodger, Adrian Gonzalez

Among the 15 that go to Arizona are our Los Angeles Dodgers, and we were going to have the privilege of being guests at their training camp, Camelback Ranch, of the colorful legendary Dodger shortstop, Maury Wills.  We hopped the short flight to Phoenix on Tuesday morning in time to catch the Arizona Diamondbacks playing the Cleveland Indians at the former’s Salt River Fields facility. More

Southern Gothic

My friends in the south and casual readers who stumble upon this post alike will forgive me if I seem a bit know-it-allish about southern cooking. I have, after all, long claimed to make the best gumbo anywhere. And my fried chicken, barbecue and mint juleps don’t suck either.

Gumbo z'herbes with Spanish rice

Gumbo z’herbes with Spanish rice

The other night, just home from a road trip and exhausted, I turned on PBS to discover a wonderful documentary called “Pride & Joy,” all about southern cooking. More

Skinny Girls Roadshow LIVE from Sonoma — Tearing Down Thanksgiving

As my mother, who is sitting in the next room, can attest, I’ve always been a bit of a rebel. If you knew my mom, you would realize I come by it honestly.

Turkey confit on the stove

Turkey confit on the stove

When it comes to Thanksgiving, I’ve certainly got her to thank for my rebelliousness. After years of bucking the standard Thanksgiving traditions — particularly turkey, stuffing, gravy, et. al. — we were dragged back into the fold by partners and family members who favored a classic approach to the holiday. I did manage to produce an interesting German Thanksgiving dinner one year for my wife’s family, who at that early stage in our relationship were already confused and confounded by me. More

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