Kingdom of Salsa

I think I’ve got salsa running through my veins. My two oldest brothers — twins, twenty years my elders — both married Mexican women. At my childhood home, our brick worker — Cisco — was practically a part of the family. I have formative memories of large, festive gatherings with mariachi and piñatas, huge bowls of crispy tortilla chips and dishes of smoky, addictive and dangerously hot salsa.

(l to r) Chipotle caramelized onion salsa, tomatillo arbol salsa, pan-roasted tomato garlic salsa

I would bravely dip a chip into the salsa — just a corner at first. Then half the chip, and eventually I would actually scoop. I would thrill at both the uncomfortable blazing tingle in my mouth, and at my increasing ability to handle it. And the abuelas would marvel at the Scoville heat tolerance of the little gringo. More

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The Tomato Bank

Sometimes in life you stumble upon an odd confluence of food and commerce. And more often than not, the Japanese are behind it. Witness the business I noticed today on a sojourn to L.A.’s Little Osaka to pick up some fish: The Tomato Bank.

Happy customer leaving the Tomato Bank

I’m not sure I would feel confident entrusting my savings to the Tomato Bank. But maybe that’s not what kind of bank it is. More

Pizza 101

Lately I’ve been contemplating getting a wood-burning pizza oven. Our friends have a beautiful built-in outside and they invite me over to cook in it sometimes, and I get oven envy and mope for days. I found a very nifty pre-made one from Italy online (fornobravo.com), and my wife and I are currently in negotiations… Anyway… More