The Cheeseburger Martyr

On our flight from Havana to Los Angeles, there was a Cheeseburger Martyr.

There are many things to be thankful for on your flight from Havana to Los Angeles. You have just experienced one of the most fascinating countries and warmest people in the Western Hemisphere; you will soon have access to your car, grocery stores and bank ATMs; you live in a place where you are free to say whatever you want about the government.

The Cheeseburger Martyr, up first to get his carry-on before anyone else

There is no reason to be shitty.

The man looked pleasant enough as he boarded and sat down in the row in front of us — grandfatherly, fit, Patagonia-esque dress, a kind smile. The facade would soon be betrayed, however, when the food service started. More

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Year of the Sandwich Goes to Cuba

One of my favorite sandwiches ever, the torta Cubana at the Vallarta Mexican grocery store, is a towering affair with ham, beans, bacon, salsa, jalapeños and an egg, all on a soft telera roll. It is delicious, but it is most definitely a Mexican sandwich.

So, in preparing for our recent spring break trip to Havana, I was excited to try the actual Cuban sandwich. According to my research, there would be sandwiches on pretty much every corner. More

El Chapulín

We don’t drink a lot of hard liquor, but when we do, we’re definitely tequila people. I’ve gained a reputation for making a pretty great margarita. Which leads to the obvious rut — what else can we do with tequila besides margaritas?

El Chapulín

El Chapulín

Because I like high quality ingredients in everything I make, we have a good collection of liquor — artisans small-maker rums from the Caribbean and Havana Club rum smuggled in from Cuba (via Mexico) just for mojitos; fine handmade Kentucky bourbons and peaty aged Scotch; and at least five or six different special tequilas, many you can only get in Mexico. More

Food Trends for 2014

Looking back on the fickle food winds of the past year, while such red hot trends from years past as organ meats, food trucks, bacon confections, pop-up restaurants, red velvet cake/cupcake/ice cream, gold leaf on food, foam and so forth begin their long and inevitable slide into cliché, I wonder what will become trendy in the coming year.

Hungry foraging guy, probably in Portland

Hungry foraging guy, probably in Portland

Here are some of my predictions:

• 70s/80s Food
The music is back, so why not the food? We’ve seen the comfort foods of the 50s and 60s — fried chicken, mac and cheese, meatloaf — get their glowing due in the contemporary foodie renaissance. So isn’t it time for the return of the sun-dried tomato and the re-introduction of radicchio? Quiche and blackened catfish, anyone? More

Braving the Crowds at Porto’s

When it comes to indulging my food wanderlust, I’m an opportunist. A client meeting in Mid-Wilshire, for example, might be a mere pretext for a stop at Harvey’s Guss for a dry-aged rib steak; a trip into the valley to visit my aging father also a chance to browse the aisles at the Vallarta market or pop into India Sweets & Spices.

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So it was a recent Saturday morning, taking my son across the city to Glendale for the 40th anniversary celebration of his tae kwon do academy. What else was there in Glendale that might merit a visit?  I wondered. More

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