Good Things in the Great Land

When I sail to Alaska, as I have done five or six times now, I always look forward to waking up early the first morning we have arrived in the Great Land. I’ll spring out onto the balcony at dawn — which, in Alaska, is 4:30 or 5 in the morning. You know immediately by the towering snow-capped peaks, forested isles and placid waters of the Inside Passage that you have arrived — the bald eagles carving the sky and spouting humpback whales confirming the fact.

Willa and Immy in the woods near Dewey Lake, Skagway, Alaska

Willa and Immy in the woods near Dewey Lake, Skagway, Alaska

As evidenced by its sheer mass, Alaska is a land of big things. The mountains are big, the glaciers are big, the animals are big and the sky is big. Also big is the abundance of food — if you’ve not seen a salmon run on an Alaskan stream, you have no idea why there is so much of the fish in the supermarket at this time of year. The bears become so sated and picky that they will eat only the skin and discard the rest of the fish. The long hours of sunlight enable Alaskan farmers to grow those giant cabbages and pumpkins you’ve seen in pictures. More

The Best Strawberries in the World

You know a product is good when it costs at least twice as much as the competition, and yet people are lining up to purchase it. That is the case with strawberries from Harry’s Berries.

Harry's Berries strawberries with fresh cream

Harry’s Berries strawberries with fresh cream

I’ll often pass by Harry’s when I’m at the Farmer’s Market, heading instead for the less expensive berries. And while in peak season there may be the odd berry here or there that tastes as good as Harry’s, you’re taking your chances. Then I wonder why I don’t buy the best berries every time — they’re certainly worth the extra $5 to $10 dollars per three pack. And I regularly — and happily — drop $10 on four ounces of sea urchin that are practically gone before I even open the package. More

Anise, Sea Spray & Marseille

Like I’ve said before — when it comes to dinner, we’re a theme family. And often a theme evolves around random happenings on my shopping route.

Reading all the various comments to my recent post on oyster bars got me in the mood, of course, for oysters. So at my Wednesday farmer’s market, I picked up a dozen oysters from the (somewhat) local aquaculture guys as well as, among other things, a head of frisee lettuce, two duck eggs and a fennel bulb. I remembered that I had a nice chunk of stinky cheese in the fridge, and thought perhaps I had the makings of a French night, some night soon.



I eyed some beautiful fresh sardines at the Japanese market later in the day. But there was rain in the forecast, and sardines are a food best eaten fresh off the grill. So I passed. More

Grocery Shopping in L.A.

Grocery shopping in L.A. is different than grocery shopping in other cities. Because we have a lot of celebrities, and celebrities have to eat too.

“The Beibs” picking up some sugary cereal.

I saw a photo recently of Katie Holmes ducking into a Whole Foods in Manhattan, chased by a phalanx of either paparazzi or Scientology thugs. I guess New York may be the only other place where you’re likely to bump into a celebrity while buying groceries. Certain cities have one or two celebrities — you might bump into John Waters while grocery shopping in Baltimore, for example, or run into Robert Goulet at the Safeway in Las Vegas. More