I Burned the Rice

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I often burn the rice.

Burned rice

It’s an unfortunate habit I have. Here’s how it usually goes down:

I’m making sushi rice. My sushi rice preparation technique, adapted from a recipe by Nobu Matsuhisa, involves bringing the rice to a boil, cooking it for five minutes at a regular temperature, then blasting it even more briefly with high heat, and then turning it off and letting it steam for 15 minutes. Where I go astray is usually in the last step, where I turn the heat on high, and instead of waiting the minute it’s supposed to take, wander off to do something else. (For example, the idea for this post came as I was working on another post when I suddenly smelled the rice burning.) More

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OMG! Omakase!

In Japan, “omakase” means “I’ll leave it to you,” or more precisely, “I trust you.” It’s a common phrase in fine sushi bars, when you put your meal in the hands of the chef and let him make you whatever he feels inspired to moment by moment.

“Kanpai!”

In Topanga, “omakase” means my pal Don Schneider shows up at my house at 10 a.m. to drop off seven or eight different seafoods for a sushi dinner that evening, before he and family leave for a month to Israel to visit an ailing mother. He trusts me. More

Antojitos, by Way of France

I was up in the street the other day chatting with Max Waterman, son of our neighbors Chris and Glennis. Max is a food-loving chap — he spent time working on a graduate degree in London, where he hosted dinners and sussed out the best street foods, watering holes and gastronomic destinations.

Watermen and their margaritas

Watermen and their margaritas

He was now on summer break from Berkeley and his further educational pursuits, Chris and Glennis would be temporarily relocating to New Orleans soon, and it would be one of our last opportunities to get together. I suggested margaritas at our house. For food, I would serve a handful of antojitos — the Mexican equivalent of tapas: small bites and street foods. More

We’re Ready for You, Mr. McQueen

Hot on the heels of the coldest weekend of the Southern California winter (see Jimmy Kimmel’s segment on just how cold it got), came the warmest weekend of the Southern California winter. So we were pleased and more than ready when we got the invitation to go stay with our friends, Nadine and Andrew, at their family’s beach house in Malibu.

Immy digging in the sand, Malibu

Immy digging in the sand, Malibu

I like writing blog posts about our weekends at the Steve McQueen beach house, not so much because I’m enamored with Steve McQueen — he was undeniably cool, but so were lots of other guys. It’s because we usually eat lots of good food and imbibe good drinks. 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

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