A Whale of a Tapa

One of my favorite scenes in the Pixar film, “Finding Nemo,” is when Marlin, Nemo’s father (a clownfish voiced by Albert Brooks) is worried that an approaching whale is going to eat him and his pal, Dory (a blue tang voiced by Ellen Degeneres). Dory says, “Don’t worry. Whales don’t eat clownfish. They eat krill.” Just then, a school of panicked krill passes by, screaming, “Swim away!!!” “Oh, look!,” says Dory, “Krill!” as the massive open-mouthed whale swims up behind them.

Dory & Marlin as the whale approaches

I’m always one for a culinary adventure, but I must say, I never thought I would actually eat krill. After all, I’m a human, not a baleen whale. But things changed when I read a recipe for a tapa called tortilla de camerones in a cookbook by the great Spanish chef,  José Andrés. They were lacy little tempura-like fritters of small whole shrimp originating at a famous restaurant called Casa Balbino in the Spanish province of Cadíz. They looked delicious — right in my “fried” and “crispy” wheelhouse. So I resolved to make them. More


The most wonderful thing about Venice is you can get completely lost, and yet never be completely lost. The city is essentially a big round island of canals and narrow pedestrian streets that all fold in on one another, leading nowhere and everywhere at once. And if you wander long enough, you’ll eventually wind up someplace you recognize — sometimes even back at the place where you started.

I remember wandering like that once through a maze of alleyways on an eerily quiet and foggy March afternoon in Venice with my sister, trying to find our way back to our penzione. Eventually frustrated in our efforts, we tucked into one of the city’s ubiquitous bàcari wine bars for refueling — a welcome glass of wine and a few plates of blissful cecchitti. More

Lighten Up

There are a lot of overly serious food blogs out there. What’s there to be so serious about? I hope people are laughing as they read my food blog.

I find “foodies” in general to be an overly serious lot. They make unfunny jokes about agrobusiness or sourcing free-range capon as they sit around trading cooking tips, sampling Asian tapas and sipping lychee soju martinis. I get antsy when people refer to me as a foodie. It feels like I’ve got some kind of ugly condition and people are whispering about me. I imagine them picturing me waiting in line at the latest food truck, and then Tweeting about it when I get home.

Yoga students and starlets tend to be overly serious about food, too — except in an opposite way from foodies. Rather than looking for the newest obscure Italian salumi, they spend their time scouring menus and ingredients lists, ever vigilant for things like butter and salt. Their lives become more about what NOT to eat, and how much fun is that?

Mario Batali, Julia Child and Colonel Sanders ala The Simpsons

I saw a recent episode of “The Simpsons” where Marge, Bart and Lisa become foodies and launch their own food blog. It was very funny. More

Pa Amb Tomàquet

Every so often, just because I’m a giver, I give you one of my very best secret recipes. (“Secret” unless you live in northern Spain, where it’s about as secret as Pablo Picasso.) It’s called pa am tomàquet, which is not quite as intimidating as it looks. Say it like this: “pom too-maket”. You can call it “Spanish toast with tomato and olive oil,” if you prefer. (Though that will be less impressive to your friends.)