Aunt Shoba’s Secret Meat

My kid’s call her “Aunt Shoba.” And she’s got a secret.

Our dear friend Shoba, you see, comes from Singapore, where she was recently visiting her parents. We fed her family while she was gone — including a birthday dinner for husband Bob. As a gesture of love and thanks, she brought me something back, a regal red bag with gold Chinese characters embossed on the front, a package weighing around a pound inside, that she slipped to me stealthily with a suggestion: “Hide that.”

Shoba's back

Shoba’s back

“What is it?” I whispered back.

“Meat,” she said.

It was called “bak kwa,” from the Lim Chee Guan company. She then sent me a link explaining. More

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The Piñata

“Dad,” a tiny voice said as I prepared to leave the house one morning, “Where are you going?”

“I’m going to a meeting in town.”

“You’re NOT going to the round-and-round sushi restaurant, are you!??”

“No,” I said, “I’m not.”

Phew!! my 4-year-old sushi-obsessed daughter sighed. “You are NOT allowed to go there without me!”

Imogen at the Kula sushi bar, April 2014

Imogen with princess dress and salmon at the Kula sushi bar, April 2014

I’ve written about Imogen and her sushi fixation on several occasions before (perhaps most memorably when, in her desperation, she insisted on eating frozen salmon sushi). But recently things had reached a whole new level. At one of our Tuesday sushi dinners with the Schneiders, she lingered around the kitchen after the kids had finished their dinners. More

My Ham

It was late on a Tuesday morning recently when I received a text from my friend, Melissa.

“A client gave us an Iberico ham,” she said. Problem was, she has two young vegetarian daughters who were going to be mortified at the sight of a whole pig leg with a hoof. “Are you interested in it?”

I was.

Jamon guitar with Curtis

Jamon guitar with Curtis

She suggested her husband, Paul, wanted to get a little something for it. I offered him $300, he said, “Great!” And I had myself a whole Iberico bellota ham. More

New Year’s Eve 2014

Our annual New Year’s Eve dinner with a small handful of friends commenced at 6 p.m. on December 31st with a matsutake and lardo pizza and copious amounts of champagne.

Through the several hours of the carefully planned and sourced meal, we would dine our way through seven courses (pizza not included), six or seven bottles of pinot noir and a magnum of Francis Ford Coppola-autographed 1980-something Neibaum-Coppola cabernet (you can’t keep that stuff forever), some French and Australian wines, a bit of mescal and more. A bit foggy as I write…

Here are some of the highlights. Happy New Year! And see if you can find the Monty Python joke somewhere in there…

The menu

The menu

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Gourmet

It was a lazyish Saturday afternoon, I was having a Sculpin IPA and preparing smoked ribeye sliders, Maui onion rings and a peach tart for my son’s intimate birthday celebration, when an email came in from my mother with the subject line, “gourmet”.

Gourmet July 1945

Finding no afternoon reading  inspiration in this book or that, she had dug up an old issue of Gourmet magazine. “By old,” she said, “I mean 1973.” She went on: More

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