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

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The American Series, Pt. VII — Cherry Cobbler

With summer comes all things American — baseball, barbecues, fireworks, hot dogs and burgers, corn on the cob, the beach. It seems as if summer is the quintessential American season — a time of sunny optimism, that most American trait.

Willa picking cherries

Willa picking cherries

Each region of the country celebrates the season a little differently. We have our own unique summer traditions in Southern California — margaritas and mariachi, carne asada, Spanish rosé, tri tip on the grill, Dodger dogs and Hollywood Bowl picnics. One summer favorite I’ve always eyed with suspicion was cherry cobbler. Until recently, that is… More

Glensomethingorother & the Passing of Time

My dad was always pushing some drink or other at me as a kid. Less in the interest of corrupting me than fostering a strong cultural foundation, an appreciation of the better things life had to offer.

A father and his son. Mt. Rainier National Park. 1968

“Try this, it’s the finest dark roasted arabica coffee,” he would say. Or, “You’ll never taste a wine this good, my boy…” I developed tastes for both. But not Scotch. That was Dad’s drink. Scotch on the rocks. There was always a Glensomethingorother in his glass, it was always “the best Scotch you’ll ever taste,” and it always tasted the way rubbing alcohol smelled. More

Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown

I know New Yorkers like to think they’ve got the world’s best Chinatown. Of course, New Yorkers think they’ve got the world’s best everything. They even like to think Nobu Matsuhisa and Thomas Keller are New York chefs.

Chinatown, San Francisco

I’ve never been to New York’s Chinatown. I’m a true native Californian. Which means I was born hating the Yankees, and ironically subscribe to a decidedly New Yorker-esque kind of regionalism in which I believe California has the best everything. You southerners ever tried Santa Maria barbecue?? More