Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Life is Like a Box of Valrhona

Sitting in my front yard now a few days after the Christmas food coma has resided, I’m savoring a square of Valrhona Chocolates Noirs de Domaine’s Grand Couva from Trinidad. I told someone special that dark chocolate was my pie and that same someone gifted me with an exquisite Millesime box for the holidays. There’s something about the way this chocolate melts on the tongue, coating the palate, that is both sensual and heavenly and I realize that 2011 has been equally delicious for me. 

This may be the most delicious year of my life so far full of turning points and transitions. I sent a grown daughter to college, moved to the beach, dove into my novel and perpetuated my art career that has been pushed into overdrive. Passion has been the cornerstone of the year, which has also carried over into all things culinary as I continued to venture out on food adventures as well as learn new things in the kitchen. So to repeat a sappy sentiment, life really has become like a box of chocolates in all the best ways. Below is my ode to the best foodie memories of my 2011!

Horchata flavored Italian ice on the Venice Beach boardwalk for three bucks

My first Yakitori meal in L.A.’s Little Tokyo

Cold squid ink pasta at Mozza Osteria in West Hollywood

Perfecting my onion marmalade recipe

Lobster barbecue on the roof in San Francisco with Tara and Jamie

The best two a.m. grilled cheese sandwich in the middle of Burning Man after days of living on beef jerky, followed closely by the grilled cheese truck outside Bergamot Station in Los Angeles

Tandoori turkey Thanksgiving with the Hadley’s

Whole Foods’ pho bar and smoked chicken and red onion pizza

Organic cream on the top maple yogurt

Pt. Reyes bleu cheese from Cowgirl Creamery

The opening of Savory Spice Shop and discovering Penzey’s Spice Shop

Chef Ernesto from Rio Azul’s sweet corn tamales

Chia seeds

Cacao nibs

Tasty Bite microwavable Indian food packets

Flat bread duck confit pizza at 3rdCorner Wine Shop and Bistro

Sean Minor $15 pinot noir

The burger at Father’s Office Culver City

Gyro sandwich at Kabobz in Palm Desert

Wine and schwarma art geek salad lunches with fellow artist Richard Twedt at Garbanzo’s

Perfecting soy chorizo egg scrambles

One Life Natural Foods’ superfood chocolate and strawberry sundaes

Shrimp and mango quesadillas at Windward Farms market

Primitivo’s bacon and chorizo wrapped dates

The chorizo breakfast burrito at Alkobar

Bring your own wine cheap and easy Chinese eggplant at Mao’s

Korean pickled daikon

The Bread Man’s squaw rye loaf

The blueberry covered goat cheese log at Trader Joe’s

The perfect Negroni, straight up with an orange rind twist

Thai Kitchen instant green onion and ginger noodles

Vietnamese chili sauce

Ritter Sport’s dark chocolate and marzipan bar

Raw collard greens as wrap sandwich leaves

Swiss Chard

Lemon thyme and kale from Leslie Shockley’s garden

My first taste of haggis

Valeska Kaufmann’s mushroom stew

Brian Uyeda’s homegrown tomatoes

The rediscovery of taco-flavored Doritos

Coconut water

Poached salmon and beet salad at Cuistot during lunches with my mentor Gesso   

Creating my own sausage and sage stuffing for Christmas dinner

Sausages with grainy mustard in Austria

Tommy Bahamas’ scallop and arugula salad

Sammy Woodfired pizzas grilled chicken balsamic salad

Pork burrito at CasaLinda

The Twisted Snake habanera cocktail at Birba

Here’s to happy eating in 2012 to all my foodie friends!


  1. I stumbled upon your post as I was searching for Valrhona. Even though your topic is not related to my purpose, I liked your metaphor. And your list of culinary experiences is quite impressive. That's more than 2 great discoveries per month. No wonder why your year 2011 is rich.
    Note: coconut water, served ice cold, is a miracle drink.

  2. Fred, thank you for your kind words and for reading...I just visited the Savorique website and am happy to find the place, looks like my kind of wonderland, will LIKE it on Facebook and keep tabs on your offerings for future orders!