What’s Your Week Like?

This morning I was shopping. It’s Monday, and I like to think about what I’ll be cooking throughout the week. Sometimes I have no plan, and open the fridge or freezer in the afternoon to see what’s there. But more often than not, I’ll have at least some sense of where the week is going, culinarily speaking.

Fridge, freezer & pantry — items for the week's dinner

Outside influences sometimes play a part — upcoming dinner parties, the tastes of a guest visiting from out of town, my wife’s craving for Mexican food or my son’s for Japanese. I’ll think about the days and nights ahead, how much preparation time I will have for each (I take my son to tae kwon do two afternoons a week, for example), consider what ingredients I already have, and make a plan. More

Chilaquiles

I’ve never been one for pancakes and omelets. I’m a fan of cultural breakfasts. I remember eating a traditional Japanese breakfast at a hotel overlooking a zen garden in Tokyo. And then the next day, eating sashimi with beer for breakfast at 7 a.m. at the Tsukiji Wholesale Fish Market. (When in Tokyo…) In Athens I dispatched of great heaping piles of yogurt with honey, while in Alaska I’d relish smoked salmon on Russian rye toast. But the exotic breakfast that makes the most appearances at our own house has to be chilaquiles.

Chilaquiles Casa Colgin

While not as well known a breakfast dish in Mexico as, say, huevos rancheros or chocolate con leche y pan, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more satisfying dish on a Saturday morning — especially when you introduce a couple of farm fresh fried eggs on top! If you happen to be a bit hungover, as I often am on a weekend morning, it’s said that the dish is a recognized cure — “recognized” by whom, I’m not sure. But the spicy kick and the supple greasy undernote of pork chorizo will do you a world of good. More

The Best Breakfast Potatoes Ever. Plus, Tacos de Papa!

Breakfast potatoes — hash browns, if you prefer — have forever been a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve always been able to make passable potatoes, better if I added a bit of duck fat or lard. But that was kind of cheating. And they were still never as good as those little oblong potato pucks at McDonalds.

But try enough different things and every once in a while you stumble on something really good by accident. That’s how I came to discover the best breakfast potatoes ever. (Note: If you have leftover potatoes, this preparation also works beautifully for the traditional tacos de papa — potato tacos — of Mexico City. I’ve included a recipe for these below the potato recipe.) More

The Subtle Art of Finishing

A lot of the difference between what I (the average chef) do when serving a meal and what you (the average home cook) do can be summed up, at least in terms of presentation, as the subtle art of finishing.

It takes practically nothing but a little imagination to turn a dish from ordinary to inspired. Here’s a picture of some tortilla soup:

Looks reasonably good, right? And it tasted great! But now, here’s a picture of that same soup — finished with a couple tortilla chips, some sour cream, a handful of spicy pepitas and a sprinkling of ancho chili powder. More

Your Winning Loteria Ticket!

Los Angeles is one of the world’s top destinations for Mexican food, second only to Mexico City. And in this city of extraordinary Mexican dining from taco trucks to camerones stands to upscale nouvelle restaurants, the very best may be Lotería Grill.

Sunday morning of July 4th weekend. As families converged on the coast from every corner of the Los Angeles basin and beyond to frolic in the Pacific, we went the opposite direction: east. More

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