New Year’s Eve 2013

Another year done come and gone.

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I hope everyone had a safe and pleasant New Year’s Eve celebration. We enjoyed a quiet dinner with a few friends. Okay, it was a raucous wine-soaked dinner.

Here are some of the highlights. Now taking reservations for 2014. More

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Things the Wife Does Not Steal

My friend-I’ve-never-met, Ben, was commenting on my recent post about tiny tasty fishes that he had a favorite bar where he ate fried smelt like french fries. And best of all, his wife didn’t steal them. Now there was an idea for a blog post, I thought self-servingly.

Silky lardo from Boccalone in San Francisco

In a follow up comment, Ben also confided that his wife will not share foie gras, roasted bone marrow, very runny cheeses, cheesecake and sushi maki-rolls made out of mackerel or salmon skin. Lucky Ben. This got me thinking about some of the things my own wife will not eat — especially those that I order with that knowledge in mind (i.e. I will get to eat all of it and not have to share.) More

New Year’s Eve Dinner 2011

With the end of the year comes our annual New Year’s Eve dinner party. The guest list is small — the same handful of friends each year, going on a decade or so, with the occasional inclusion of new faces if anyone gets sick, moves or goes through a divorce.

Menu and mise en place.

We set the table with proper linens, light candles, print out menus and put out the champagne flutes. The kids get to stay up late. More

That Blank Stare

You would think everyone at my house would be living a life of culinary bliss, eagerly anticipating the next plate placed before them. But it ain’t always so…

Polpo diavolo

Everything is grand when I serve breaded chicken cutlets, hamburgers or pizza. Unless I try to slip some anchovies on top. But certain dishes elicit a blank stare from the kids — even from the wife on occasion — that says: “You expect me to eat that??” More

Spaghetti ai ricci di mare

Sea urchin is a prickly subject around our house. Ha, get it? Prickly??? Anyway, I could eat it several nights a week, my family not so much.

Spaghetti ai ricci di mare

For most folks, sea urchin exists in one context — uni, as served in sushi bars. And people generally either love it or hate it. The first time I had it, in my 20s, it was at a $14.95 all-you-can-eat sushi joint. Looking back, I imagine this particular urchin must’ve been sitting on or under the counter for quite some time. My friend, Gary, and I — in a fit of boldness inspired by saké bombs — split an order. Gingerly we put it in our mouths, then each watched the other’s face flush white as he grabbed desperately for his beer. It was, by a measure I hadn’t experienced before, not good. More