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

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Skinny Girls Roadshow LIVE from Lake Tahoe — Trout Smoking in America

I was wondering what kinds of things I might cook while in Tahoe. My friend Curtis, as I said, is a cowboy, so certainly there would be lots of beef. But when I’m traveling, I also enjoy cooking local-style food, or use local ingredients I might not find at home. In Hawaii I like to cook with macadamias, pineapple and fresh fish, for example; in the Northwest, I use salmon and hazelnuts. Would there be any equivalent for Lake Tahoe?

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Browsing the Raley’s market just over the Nevada border one early afternoon after skiing, things looked pretty much the usual. I could’ve been at a grocery store in Santa Monica or Malibu. But then at the fish counter, something caught my eye — a red-fleshed Sierra lake trout. More

Breakfast Sandwich 101

Once, many eons ago, when tweets and clouds were still part of nature, when “kindle” meant to build a fire and men knew not of their brethren’s minute-by-minute status, there was the Egg McMuffin. The prototypical breakfast sandwich, the one that started it all.

French toast bacon breakfast sandwich

In reality, there have probably been breakfast sandwiches for as long as there has been two slices of bread and an egg to put between them. More

Gettin’ Me Oyrish Up

You could say I’m well in touch with my Irish blood — I love cloudy days, I’ve been known to drink a bit, I’m given to song at the slightest provocation, I write poetry and tend to be sentimental and a bit melancholy. So St. Patrick’s Day is a more special holiday for me than it might for the average person.

One of the finest St. Patrick’s Days I ever spent was in Venice, Italy, with my sister Andrea. Wandering aimlessly, we happened to stumble upon a real Irish pub where we spent the evening with a couple from Ireland and an American GI and his mom. The exchange rate was strong, we realized each glass of vino rosso only cost .50 cents, and so we ordered half a dozen each and lined the table with them. The train ride the next day to Florence was a hard one. More

Indian Candy

Most things I can figure out very quickly. But some I labor over futilely, never quite mastering them. It’s like that with my favorite salsa from the Sanchez Carniceria in Culver City. For months I tried to reproduce it in order to save myself:  a) the $3.99 for a small container, and  b)  the trip to Culver City. Finally I waved the white flag, content to either purchase it or enjoy my own reasonably good salsa. The Sanchezes are doing some sort of alchemy down there. More