I knew that I'd be traveling every week in July and that this space would be neglected, but I didn't realize that the apocalypse would simultaneously start at my house. I'll spare the many, many painful details here, but I do want to fill you in on the fun part of my trips.
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a restaurant fanatic and practically a walking Zagat guide. I've been meaning to summon up some city guide posts, but in the meantime, I thought that it'd be fun to give you a little list, based on memorable restaurant dishes. I'm not sure if it's still even on the air, but Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" was always one of my favorite shows. Probably because I'd either agree with or argue against everyone they had on–or at the very least, develop a new food odyssey.
A few Saturdays ago, I met up with an old culinary school friend of mine in Solvang, California. Jamie owns Calistoga Olive Oil Company (THE BEST OLIVE OIL I'VEEVERHAD) and was down south cosponsoring a pretty cool organization, Destination Races. I've only paid to run a race once in my life (I don't fully grasp the idea of paying to run), but the events that DR hosts are pretty unique. My sister, Jackie, joined me for the day trip since neither of us have visited Solvang in years.
I've had this recipe sitting in my computer for a good few weeks– days before my house was overtaken by contractors and my oven became unusable. Needless to say, they're almost done (new backsplash and countertops and other stuff!) and I'll be able to get back to cooking soon.
I knew I had to see the new food documentary "Fed Up," after hearing multiple radio interviews last week with some of the experts. My thoughts shouldn't be surprising to anyone who has read this site's archives, and were only heightened and saddened after the film. The main message centered around our country's processed food–and most notably sugar addiction–and the government's role in this mess.
Years ago, I worked the line with a guy who I wasn't crazy about. He was a decent cook, and a fun dude, but our working styles just didn't click. It was my last week at that restaurant and I was more than ready to close that chapter and not have to see my bff daily for 12 hours.
I do this thing every April that involves me cooking a brisket, a huge tray of mac & cheese, spring salad, roasted vegetable, a dessert–or basically my menu of choice. I call it tax season. My friend's CPA husband gets to eat real cooking for days and I can trust actual expertise with my filing. It's really the only thing good that can possibly come from absolutely no one's favorite time of year.
To those who have been loyal readers of this blog: you've witnessed the many design incarnations this site has seen over the last couple of years and I appreciate you sticking with me. Every time someone tells me they made something off mine, I get the warm fuzzies, and for that, I thank you.
Last weekend we were invited to a Passover hosted by my uncle's sister. My family is always requested to bring a vegetable side dish since everyone assumes that I will be the one cooking, and therefore will not present with something bland and overcooked. Since my mom knows that I sometimes get annoyed when we have too many potlucks and too many assumptions that I will semi-cater them, she's taken to picking out recipes, buying the ingredients....and then waiting to see if I'll just make the dish.
I was skyping with a good friend of mine the other week since she now lives in Dubai. Aside from being one of the most fun people I have ever known and someone I owe my most worth-it hangovers to, she and I can blab about food industry stuff for hours.
There comes a time in every woman and man's life when a piece of breaded chicken is an absolute necessity. It's one dish that never fails on flavor and moisture, and is a spot-hitter every time. For one of my clients, it's been every other Thursday for two months now. I make sure to pair this with tons of leafy green salads, since fried cutlets doesn't exactly make this a lean white meat. Almonds however, do add some nutritional gain over the often used all-purpose flour or bread crumbs situation. The mellow nuttiness crust of this also makes me prefer this version over the rest.
I have a lot I'd like to say about my last fifteen days of absence, but much of which are updates on mundane life tasks that would induce blog-reading narcolepsy.
Lots of work, more than usual. Dreaded tax prep, again. I was away in NYC a couple of weekends ago, and am off to San Francisco this weekend...some business, mostly fun. Honestly, I'm in one of those life phases that just seems to blur the dawns and dusks. But all is good. Hard to believe I've had this blog for two years already as well. Yay!
I had every intention of posting this while in NYC this past week, but clearly that didn't happen. I even lugged my laptop all the way with me, in addition to half a suitcase dedicated to the blizzard that never happened. I also made a promise to not be that person who flies in from L.A. and says obnoxious sentences like, "we've really had an especially warm winter this year, way more perfect than normal", and instead just made it a point to tell my friends how sympathetic I am for their tortured existence.
I think of granola the same way I think of grocery store lemonade, mint n' chip ice cream and guacamole: there is absolutely no comparison to the real deal. It's not a matter of food snobbery or being an OMGfoodie (store bought hummus rocks my life), but the fact that if you give your friend a sample of homemade vs. store bought, the taste, flavor and quality of homemade would be instantaneously recognized.
You may have noticed I've posted a few slow cooker recipes in the past couple of months. Many dishes shouldn't be cooked this way, but stews/soups/braises can work especially well. If slow cookers can promote more homemade meals for the working people, then I'm all for them.
I wanted to write a little note saying that I'm discontinuing Friday Finds! I know, I know. I'll miss them too. Thinking about it, there's only so much time I am able to devote to this site, and I want to spend it doing what I know best...talking about food! Now I'll be able to allocate that time into publishing more recipes, stories and other related content (and some videos too). There's simply so much more to discuss.
Last week I met up with a friend for an early dinner in Brentwood. We tend to go to the same few restaurants and in the attempt to try somewhere different, I suggested a really cute macrobiotic cafe that just opened. The only reason I brought up this place was because 1) it's new and 2) has the whole white subway tiles + marble look that automatically makes me willing to give it a shot. This type of food normally doesn't bother me either–I'll always find something.
There was a housekeeper I used to work with who literally couldn't let a shift go by without saying, "Oh Jamie, another day another dollar." I loved that woman. She'd also make me cook her favorite snack, chicken wings, at 350 degrees for 5 hours. Wrapped in foil with salt, pepper, orange juice and dried ginger. They were disgusting.
I threw this together a few months ago at work–very last minute–knowing I needed to leave a salad, but not thinking much of it. It was for my clients and [her] parents, and I knew that the two men of the group would probably email me that night asking if I left any double-stuffed bacon lard duck fat fried baked potatoes with the rabbit food.
I don't come from a very food adventurous family, so growing up, Panda Express was considered ethnic. Things changed when I went back east for culinary school, and was with a community of people interested in anything and everything. Early on, Indian food became ma thing.
Hello lovelies! I've been super busy with work, picking up extra days and doing some bigger events. I feel guilty saying this, but the weather this week has been unbelievably perfect. The kind that even a jaded native Angeleno takes notice of.
Even though I grew up in Los Angeles, the land of juicing and sprouts, we were quite the opposite of health nuts. It was the 90s and my parents' generation was the first to showcase America's growing waistline as the result of the industrialized diet. Our kitchen was always stocked with soda and sweets, and fast food was a common experience.
This week has been very busy, but always a good thing in my book. I threw my back out in Vegas and had to go to a chiropractor on New Year's Eve morning, so I've been sans exercise ever since which has been making me a little crazy....but I think I'm getting there. I need to find a chiropractor out here asap because this week back at work has not been spine friendly.
Let's be clear that I'm not on a new year juice cleanse nor do I ever have the desire to do one. When I get back into my groove of health-conscious consumption all will be well, but it's more than fair to say that since I've been splurging a little too often in the nutrition category lately–I needed to intervene.
Happy New Year, friends! I hope everyone had a happy holiday season and managed to squeeze in a little R&R in between all of the madness. I pretty much let myself go and it was awesome. Sugar cookies for breakfast, boozy brunches, a little less exercise......and lazy-bum t.v. vegging. I can't think of the last time I actually watched a show without doing something else at the same time. Mindless entertainment can be so recharging!
Flashback to 2010, I spent a few weeks traveling by myself in Barcelona that December. It's so fascinating to see how different cities and cultures celebrate the holidays, especially somewhere so predominantly Catholic.
I'll admit that I'm now a little more on-board with Christmas. As I'm writing this, I'm sipping hard cider out of a red-colored wine glass and the appropriate music is playing. I'd say that's very less bah humbug of me. I'm afraid I may have no choice but to embrace the most wonderful time of the year.
I'm beyond excited to have some down time since my clients are all away this next week. Who's going on a sugar detox with me after this is all over? Disgusting I tell you. There will definitely be some greens making their way on here.