Prepping for the Big Night

As 2013 winds quietly to a close, I once again find myself busily preparing for a yearly tradition around our house: our New Year’s Eve dinner.

Each New Year’s Eve, we gather with eight or ten friends and I make anywhere from seven to 12 courses, depending on how ambitious I’m feeling. It’s my time to let my creativity completely free — I never test anything, and I never make the same thing twice. Usually the dishes are a success, although my friend Jon complained last year of the chewiness and general meaty vulgarity of the Kobe beef tartare “flower blossoms” course. You can’t please everyone.

Last year's Kobe flatiron tartare “blossoms,” quail egg, curried ketchup emulsion, caper & pickled ginger mirepoix and fried parsley — doesn't look that bad, right??

Last year’s Kobe flatiron tartare “blossoms,” quail egg, curried ketchup emulsion, caper & pickled ginger mirepoix and fried parsley — doesn’t look that bad, right??

So also at this time of year, in the days before the New Year, I am consumed with shopping and sourcing. More

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Lunch in Little Tokyo

When I was a lad, one of my favorite parts of L.A. to visit was Little Tokyo. I loved traveling downtown with my mom, walking around Japanese Village Plaza, grabbing an imagawayaki at the Mitsura Café, strolling through Japanese gardens at the New Otani Hotel or the Japanese/American Cultural Center, maybe popping into the warehouse-y MOCA Temporary Contemporary Museum.

Totoros of every size at the New Tokyo Lifestyle gift shop in Japanese Village Plaza

Totoros of every size at the New Tokyo Lifestyle gift shop in Japanese Village Plaza

It’s a love I’ve passed along to my own children. So when, on a Mother’s Day, we’re trying to decide where to go on an adventure and for lunch, it is not a surprise to hear Flynn suggest: “Let’s go to Little Tokyo!” More