Magnificent Moo Shu

When I was a kid, my family used to go to the Twin Dragon restaurant — a mere mile from my home, it was the best gig in town, shy of driving all the way to Chinatown which we did on the weekends sometimes for dim sum.

Moo shu with support act, Mandarin chicken

Moo shu with support act, Mandarin tangerine chicken

By today’s Chinese restaurant standards of Szechuan vs. Cantonese vs. Fujian vs. Shandong, etc., Twin Dragon was pretty old school — sweet & sour pork, wor wonton soup, pressed duck. But back then, when most Chinese joints were serving chop suey and egg foo young, it was pretty special. They made a mean spicy kung pao chicken with whole blackened chilies, a rocking tangerine chicken with bits of chewy peel, a sublime three-flavor sizzling rice soup, as well as some unique specialties — I recall the chicken with pine nuts standing out, and remember my parents once ordering a big plate of jiggly jellyfish which they tried without success to get the kids to eat. More

Of Life, Death and the Pursuit of Dinner

People often ask if we’re ever going to eat our pig, Henri. I explain that he’s a family pet, and no, we have no plans to eat him.

“Not even when he dies of natural causes?” my pal Dan asked.

“You mean like when an anvil falls on his head?” I replied.

Henri napping in the rosemary

Henri napping in the rosemary

I must admit, though … I did catch him napping in the rosemary one day, and thought to myself: “Now I could just build a quick mud oven around him, throw in some coals… and he’d never be the wiser.” More

The Best Kind of Labor

While the rest of the Los Angeles swarmed the Labor Day weekend beaches to beat the heat, see the big waves and watch Laird Hamilton shoot the Malibu Pier, we elected to stay on the mountain, be satisfied with our Pacific breezes and almost-ocean views, and do what most people do for the holiday — barbecue.

The day's star attraction

The day’s star attraction

To be more precise, smoke. When I don my pit master hat, I usually default to one of two things — North Carolina pork shoulder or Texas brisket — or sometimes both. This weekend, it would be the latter. Like a morbid cartoon, I caught a particular pork shoulder winking at me from the meat aisle at the grocery store, and was smitten. More

50 Lbs. of Potatoes

I’ve begun sourcing for the massive auction dinner I will be preparing on Saturday night. While I was out shopping one day, I saw a 50 lb. bag of potatoes, and bought it.

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“So I guess you’re doing a baked potato bar?” my friend Katy asked.

“Yes, with no condiments,” I replied. “Just baked potatoes. People will ask, ‘Do you have any sour cream or butter?’ And we’ll say, ‘No, just potatoes. And beer.'”

“I like it.” More

More Neat Tokyo Tricks

As I’ve explored in previous posts about tempura, ramen, sumiyaki, sushi and other specialities Japonais, dining in Japan can be very segmented. Stroll about a street in Tokyo and you’ll find restaurants devoted to each of these particular styles of cooking (or not cooking) and many more.

Tonkatsu with Japanese cole slaw and egg/mirin dipping sauce

Tonkatsu with Japanese cole slaw and egg/mirin dipping sauce

Browsing the aisles of my favorite Japanese market the other day, I found a beautiful Kurobata pork loin on sale. Now pork loin can be one of the stupidest of meats, mostly because it has zero fat. But the Japanese have a nifty way of rectifying that problem with the dish, tonkatsu. More

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