Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dim Sum and Pork Bun Sunday

Life is best when you create your own rituals; things that you love to do that belong to you and yours and no one else. For example, taking the concept of Sunday Funday to your own personalized level as the Cute Gardener and I have by replacing the prototypical Sunday brunch with our preferred dim sum adventures. We like to trek to peripheral places around the Los Angeles basin, ducking into the Chinese-saturated neighborhoods where we can find authentic, strip mall-centered family style restaurants eager to fill us up with copious amounts of fried or steamed dough and heavenly applications of pork, shrimp and fish.

This past weekend we ended up in the San Gabriel Valley at Sea Harbour Restaurant and knew exactly what we wanted as we had viewed the menu and chose our nine dishes the night before.

I could eat the baked and stuffed pork buns with honey glaze all day long. And this goes for most dim sum places; it is one of the most consistently satisfying dishes at these places even though cooking is articulated slightly different from place to place. The pork pastry was novel but ultimately tasted mostly of buttery pastry, which was good but overshadowed what could have been a nicer blend of sweet pork filling. The fried chives in white fish batter were delicious and provided the only greenery on our table. We agreed that with dim sum we don’t need to pretend we want vegetables anymore.

We were craving smelt, which has been a fun thing we’ve been eating together of late. Small fishes deep-fried in full with the perfect amount of crispy brine. Many on our generous plated pile were pregnant, so salty and bubbly white roe accompanied those bites.

The pork dumplings were wanna-be soup dumplings: good, savory and chewy and pleasantly different from the normal dumplings. The shumai were a bit unbalanced with the pork overwhelming the wrapping. Shrimp cheong fun in large flat, transparent noodles became a delightful boat for soy.

And of course, there is always room for more pork-filled buns; this time steamed. 

Our last bit of out of the ordinary came in the form of shrimp stuffed eggplant. I am a sucker for Chinese eggplant and this version was delicious but a little odd to pair the textures of eggplant with the texture of a steamed, fish cake with density that didn’t play well with the vegetable.

Of course, like most Chinese food, we ate more than usual.  Mid afternoon napping ensued.

Perfect for Sundays…

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Belly Full on Austrian National Day

 He had us at “pork belly.”

Alongside the periphery of a crowded dance floor at a friend’s wedding this past summer, we met Marc and Heather between the post-ceremony Champagne and the gourmet dinner of foods indigenous to the area: in this case fresh elk steaks and trout.  After some chitchat and musing over the food like food-folk tend to do, we learned that we all lived in the Los Angeles area and decided to get together for a meal sometime upon our return. Marc told us that he was Austrian and would love to make us his family’s traditional stuffed pork belly.

He had to be European because it isn’t often that I meet a new American friend and go from stranger to dinner guest in less than twenty minutes. But that’s what I love so much about all the people in my life who I have met from foreign countries, and all the places I have visited on non-native soils; the fact that life is customarily lived around the ritual of a good meal and more often than not that meal is shared with others.

So we bought some Austrian wines and I made a warm potato salad and we showed up to dinner high in the hills of Echo Park with our new friends and the couple whose wedding we had met at and enjoyed a proper Austrian dinner on occasion of Austrian National Day.

The star of the evening was indeed the pork belly – bought from Lindy and Grundy on Fairfax – a lesbian-owned butcher shop that sells organic and sustainable meats. It was vast and hearty and came out of the oven hugging a bread-based pillow of stuffing. Simple, unadorned and perfect, the top layer made a crispy chitlin with a layer of hot, gelatinous fat just below the surface to mingle texturally with the crunch above – all of this before the tooth of the actual meat below that was tender and moist. I had two slices it was so hard to resist and then enjoyed the condiments of pickles, apples, cherries and shredded cabbage. I would have felt less guilty if I too, had gotten, up to do some pull-ups on the bar between the door like our other diners did. But the spaetzle was calling.

I had the great pleasure of watching the creation of spaetzle through an illustrious pouring, spreading and pushing of dough through a flat pan full of holes and into a vat of boiling water. The finished product was blended with shredded cheese and a pile of savory, caramelized onions. I added a spaetzle pan to my wish list of kitchen tools, determined to include it on my other list: perfecting the making of multiple pastas for the noodle-crazed Cute Gardener.

I wanted to serve a traditional Austrian potato salad and found a good recipe for one from Wolfgang Puck. I modified it a bit since my latest foodie commitment to myself is to never follow a recipe precisely but to always think about how I can make it my own and change it up a little.

Warm Austrian-Inspired Potato Salad

6 cups of sliced fingerling potatoes
½ c. white wine vinegar
¼ cup peanut oil
1 medium sized Vidalia onion, chopped
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
3 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon diced green chives
2 teaspoons of fine table salt

Boil the potatoes in a pan that just covers them in water for 20-25 minutes or until tender to a fork insertion. Place the potatoes in a large salad bowl and mix with the onion and chives. In a small skillet, add the white wine vinegar, peanut oil, sugar, pepper, thyme, chicken broth and table salt. Stir together over medium heat until boiling and then remove skillet from stove, stirring while it cools. Once cool and beginning to thicken, stir it into the potato salad. Serve warm, even though it is just as good cold the next day.

At the end of the evening, our hosts graciously brought out the special selection of schnapps from Austria, bought on a recent trip overseas to plan their own wedding. This was the lovely way to top off a dessert of apple strudel in homage to a wonderful country and wonderful new friends in our own little melting pot in the city of angels. We felt sincerely privileged to sample the pear liqueur and to have two new palates in our own circle of life.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

So-So at Shunji's

When it comes to Japanese food, the Cute Gardener and I tend to overindulge. Maybe it’s because the food is served in such small portions served over a large amount of time that causes us to eat more than normal. Maybe it’s because the food is usually raw fish and veggies, articulated so light and fresh that the caloric intake remains low in comparison to our typical meals. Whatever it is, we turn into gluttons when in the presence of sushi and sashimi and that was certainly our intent last Friday.

We’d been wanting to try Shunji's knowing that Chef Shunji Nakao had been a part of opening his brother’s restaurant Asanebo in Studio City, which remains our hands down favorite with its consistent exquisite and creative concoctions. Unfortunately, although we definitely saw creativity in the dishes at Shunji, it failed to live up to its sibling’s elan. So we tried the basics and the stuff that caught our eye as being out of the ordinary but abstained from our usual blow out feast.

My first time trying jellyfish provided a fun adventure as the translucent cartilage-like creature crunched in my mouth and oozed through my teeth but it was rather flavorless.

The monk fish liver was more like a chicken mousse, the muddy salt of the brine remaining as a bottom note on the palate rather than on the top note which would have expressed more of its funky character had it been served less processed.

The veggies were interesting but bland and unseasoned, tasting more watery and homogenous that individually shining.

The sushi was the hit of the evening. Beautiful small portions, elegantly seasoned at the perfect room temperature with soy on a bed of rice in perfect ratio to the fish. Sea Bream, pike and bonito were very good but the stars were the sea robin and the unbelievably mineral-fresh shad that melted on the tongue slowly like butter.

My first bite of this tomato-cube was a total delight, loving the sprightly way the fruit was transformed into a tofu-like consistency. But then on concurrent bites, all I could taste was the cooking oil. The CG pointed out that he was starting to only taste the cooking oil in the rest of the food too. I wondered if, as the restaurant had gotten busier, the cooking had suffered with the increase of busy and less calculated chefs.

I had never tried conch so we ordered this. It was a beautiful presentation of mushroom and conch pieces in a gorgeous shell but otherwise a plain miso broth.

We loved the melt on your tongue shad so much that we ordered more sashimi. Without the rice, the sweet minerality came through even more. It was like the dessert plate of the evening.

Another pretty dish that was ultimately a bit bland were the squash blossoms stuffed with shrimp and asparagus.

The eggplant topped with shrimp, shitake mushroom and miso was also good but the aftertaste remained of cooking oil.

We were still hungry and could have kept going but decided against it as the bill was already rising to shaky heights. Instead, we headed down the street to a gastropub for a few of their bar dishes. Kind of weird to top off delicate Japanese food with fried bar food and meat, but we obviously weren’t feeling that satisfied and that is what we usually expect from a Japanese food place with a reputation such as Shunji’s. Or maybe we are just getting spoiled and more discerning with the frequency of which we eat out and are reaching a tipping point in the overall arc of “a-ha” moments.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Middle Eastern Taste Buds

More evidence that I was the by-product of my mother’s secret affair with the Middle Eastern mailman stems from my preferred versions of breads and spreads. Even though I grew up in a family as American as could be (meaning our traditional breakfast consisted of egg and onion bagels spread thick with cream cheese and sliced green olives), my taste buds have preferred since birth the odd concoctions that filter between tart, sweet and spicy from the Middle Eastern countries. I am convinced that in another life I was a Ukranian slave girl who seduced an Ottoman Emperor, the ruler of my own Grecian marble columned promenade by the sea, a pomegranate roof-top carpet lounging Persian matriarch or a snake wearing, belly dancing concubine because my palate prefers the flavors and textures from the cradle of our world’s art and cultural seeds.

So today in my home, my cabinets are stocked with an odd assortment of mysterious things and I enjoy finding new additions wherever I can. The Farmer’s Markets in L.A. are rich with traditional fare like goat’s milk cheeses, jars of exotic spices, homemade meat pies, sundried tomato spreads and eggplant mixtures. But my current object of utter lust has been a sweet jalapeno jelly from East and West Gourmet Afghanistan, which is sold for $4 a jar to use mainly on bolani, which is a baked, vegan flatbread.

My breakfast for the past two weeks since this purchase has consisted of slices of toasted organic, sprouted Ezekiel bread spread with labne (a Mediterranean strained yogurt cheese), and heaping spoonfuls of the jam. Needless to say the jar disappeared rather quickly save for the tiny bit in the fridge that I couldn’t seem to use until I found more.

And then I discovered East and West’s online storefront, which is going to sate my appetite until I can find a way to recreate the recipe on my own.   

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Tao of Empty Kitchen Pasta

I have been a hermit recently and it’s all art’s fault. Aside from the Cute Gardener and my daughter, art is the third thing I love most in life and I recently embarked on a rather ambitious artwork that has me suddenly acting very antisocial living behind drawn drapes in the same painted pajama dresses everyday. Because of this, and the ensuing mighty macro obsession my project has been extruding from my every living pore, my cupboards and refrigerator have become strikingly bare. What happens is I will wake up hungry but get sucked into blending the perfect color for a background; or I will remember that I haven’t eaten at noon and hop on my bike without thinking in true zombie style, colors and textures still on my brain (amazingly roving the streets to a market without getting hit by a car) and buying one pint of soy ice cream without thinking to shove in increments down my throat once back at home as if I hadn’t really even gone anywhere to begin with. It’s a vicious cycle but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because of this, I have found myself making endless pasta dishes over the past few weeks because that’s the only thing I usually have a plethora in my kitchen alongside scattered, random ingredients that can be easily and spontaneously thrown together.

Here are two versions of my Empty Kitchen Pasta that have emerged from my self-inflicted grocery drought. The principles are easy, much like everything in the kitchen sink breakfast burritos, I only need to choose a pasta, pick a few ingredients to include, pop open the good olive oil, and not forget the salt and pepper. The possibilities are endless and could literally take me all the way down to just butter, salt and pepper before I peel myself off my project and out the door.

There is one trick to this though. You have to treat every ingredient special and take care to extrude the beauty out of it alone before combining into a final pasta dish. This allows you to actually make something great out of nothing while not just filling yourself with a bowl of blah boiled carbs.

The first version is baked like macaroni and cheese and is like an all-American hot dog or hamburger turned into a pasta. I could see it being served at a tailgate party.


1-1/2 cup cherry or grapette tomatoes
¼ of a polska kielbasa sausage (or any other pre-cooked sausage you have around)
4 oz. whole-wheat pasta
1 cup grated cheddar (even though any cheese will work and parmesan is always preferred!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. mustard seed
2 tbls. Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Roast the cherry or grapette tomatoes on a cookie sheet sprinkled with the mustard seed and a tablespoon of olive oil till they pop—about 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

When the tomatoes are done, boil the pasta.

Meanwhile in a toaster oven, slice the kielbasa lengthwise in half and cook at 350 for about ten minutes until blistering. Then dice up into tiny pieces and caramelize the edges on the stovetop along with the garlic in the last tablespoon of olive oil in a nine-inch baking dish.

When the garlic and sausage are sufficiently browned, add in the cooked pasta, cheese, tomatoes and toss it all. Bake at 350 for about fifteen minutes and then serve.


(Yes, in an extremely desperate moment, I actually made pasta for breakfast. Throwing in an egg made me feel justified in that decision.)

4 sundried tomatoes, soaked in water for ten minutes to plump and then dabbed dry with a paper towel
2 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti
3 cloves minced garlic
1 egg
1 tbls. olive oil
Salt and pepper

Cook the pasta in boiling water. Meanwhile, heat garlic and sundried tomatoes in the olive oil until browned and blended. When pasta is done, drain it and add it to the tomatoes and garlic. Swish it around to sop up all the olive oil. Throw an egg in and whisk around so it cooks all over the spaghetti and coats the pasta strands. Salt and pepper and voila!

Thankfully, the CG does seduce me out into the world on weekends for alternatives to pasta. And unfortunately I am running out of pasta so it’s high time to get out the door and to an actual store.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Cornucopia of Caviar

The final chapter of our caviar adventure is now complete. It all started in January when both the Cute Gardener and I admitted we had always wanted to have the caviar and Champagne experience and proceeded to create a tasting evening surrounding the world’s most expensive fishy eggs. Novices in the field, we did a little research and bought a variety from lowest price to high to try.

After that, we discovered that Petrossian’s of Beverly Hills actually prided themselves on being one of the finest French purveyors of caviar and actually held classes to help the uninformed masses understand the famous salted roe in all its often misunderstood glory. So we signed up for the Caviar 201 class and enjoyed it together last night.

According to Chris, the jovial general manager of Petrossian’s, the classes are usually stuffed with upwards of 15 people but for some reason this class consisted of only the CG, myself and the publisher of Edible West Side magazine.

This intimacy allowed for some great perks for us including the fact that the general manager drank champagne alongside us removing the barrier of teacher/student and creating a jolly camaraderie. This merry mentality had him overflowing with generosity, enough to give us five extra spoons of our favorite caviar at the end of the class. He had to open the jars anyway and needed our mouths to help get rid of them. This made the $75 a person tuition fee a lot easier to justify on the brain.

Aside from the small spoons of eight different kinds of caviar we were given to try through the course of the two-hour class, we were also delighted by small dishes incorporating caviar created by the very creative chef Gisele Wellman and a flush glass of French Champagne along with an elegant, cold flute of premiere vodka.

The dishes were all interesting and good but the star was an egg royale: a gorgeous little eggcup filled with creamy, scrambled eggs and topped with a dollop of vodka-whipped crème fraiche and a pile of caviar. There was also a cube of magnificent smoked salmon rolled in caviar powder. Caviar powder is an odd little product made by Petrossian’s, which is basically just dried roe balls that act as a salting agent. They also make a type of caviar cube that is saturated with flavor and good for tooth-picking atop martinis as well as a flat, fruit roll up type product that you can cut up and use as a garnish on sushi, or mashed potatoes, or other things that you would like an elevated form of luxurious salt on.

We learned that caviar is a super food that can counteract the effects of alcohol, which may explain the birthplace of it in the boisterous drinking society of Russia. We learned that Kaluga, the most expensive caviar we tried, was known as Ugly Fish and that sturgeons which produce the delicacy look a little bit like dinosaur creatures, making me realize that some of life’s best things come from the funkiest bowels such as oysters, livers, et al. 

(I also learned that I like eating things off of shiny, cool mother of pearl spoons.)

Lastly, we learned that we have pretty much exhausted our foray into the land of caviar and although we’ve enjoyed every minute of it, we don’t have the inflated pocketbook or the need to uncover much else. We will no doubt enjoy it when we stumble upon it at holiday parties or special occasions and I would recommend the class to others who want to broaden their horizons a little further beyond the cheaper brands of fish roe that they may have already tried versus the grand options that are actually out there.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pineapple Guava (aka Heroin for Healthy People)

My friends who really know me understand that I fancy myself as some kind of amateur kitchen witch which explains why I was riding my bicycle home yesterday from Jacquelyn’s house with a large bag stuffed with eccentric little green globes. During play rehearsal in the backyard I had noticed a plethora of these strange green fruits on the ground and when she noticed me staring more at them then paying attention to my lines she decided to bag me up a bounty and send me home to experiment, mentioning something about how she thought they were called guanabanas and they might make a good jam.

After getting home and looking up guanabanas I immediately realized they weren’t guanas as those particular fruits are supposed to have black seeds and these were filled with only white pulp and transparent seeds. They also smelled strongly of candy and it took all I could muster not to chomp right into one without doing further research. The Cute Gardener thought I was crazy later when I touted my find to him on the phone, crazy for thinking that a little Internet research would satisfy me enough to allow me to eat as many of these as I ended up eating, but I am getting ahead of myself… After much research online and comparisons between at least thirty sites and youtube videos showing me how to eat these little suckers, I discovered they were pineapple guavas, growing on a common landscaping tree of Southern California. From the swarm of fruit flies that kept escaping my bag of them, I knew they must be sweet and finally took a chance and a bite.

This is one of the most magnificent fruits I have ever tasted; a beautiful bastard child of sweet and sour candy, kiwi, strawberry, and pineapple, all combined into a juicy, slightly grainy texture. I became so enthusiastically addicted upon first bite that I ended up foregoing dinner for five or six (or seven) of the things. Bloated on the couch, I told the Cute Gardener what I had done and he remarked, “How do you know it’s not like heroin?”

Well, it is, and obviously that remark didn’t sway me because this morning I cut more of them in half and scooped out the centers melon ball style to add to my usual super food breakfast. 

One half cup of organic vanilla yogurt
Innards of 3 pineapple guavas
1 teaspoon bee pollen
1 teaspoon chia powder
1 teaspoon acai powder
Swirl all together

Although they are so good straight up, I can also envision using their juice in margaritas, their pulp in smoothies and jams, and a variety of other things.

I may become one of those weird people on a bike who trawls the neighborhood alleyways, grocery bags stuffed into the pockets of my jeans, looking for trees overhanging from properties that might drop more of this delicacy around for me to collect like I do in the beginning of the summer with figs.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jalapeno Goat Cheese, A Pile of Cilantro, and Dessert For Breakfast Just Because I Want To

The other day I was reading a special post from a fellow blogger showcasing the last meals requested by prisoners on death row. I was pretty stunned to see the choices of these hardened criminals when faced with a decision that pulls one of our most primal triggers: that of what to place within our mouth. Some chose obvious meals that connected their bellies with comfort food or a nostalgic time from somewhere in the distance past like a plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes or a tub of their favorite childhood ice cream. Some chose fattening and sinful dishes that would please their overindulgent tendencies one last time without consequence like a 20-piece spread of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Still others, the ones who were extremely cold, calculated and ascetic, seemed to not care so much about their last dish but to concoct it eerily like a math equation with a protein, vegetable and starch.

It started me thinking about what I would eat for my last meal and then I realized that I eat what I want everyday already and that sometimes my choices even surprise me, coming from a adult who used to be a child who couldn’t wait to get out in the world and live on my own so I could eat nothing but ice cream, pizza, mangoes, and lobster tails. It’s interesting to see how our taste buds morph and form once we actually do build our own sense of diet and what decades later we find ourselves eating when we have the freedom to do so in any fashion.

Today I paid attention to the items in my kitchen from the viewpoint of cooking only meals for myself that I would gladly use for a last meal while also trying to keep my whole day at 1,500 calories (the amount I eat on weekdays so I don’t gain any weight and can still splurge on weekends and special occasions). I was surprised not only that I do stock my kitchen with food that’s near and dear to my heart, but that at any given time I have not only the nurturing and nutritious good stuff for my healthy palette but also sweet things to please my pleasure points as well and that both of those things are extremely fine tuned to the me of me in lifestyle, convenience, ingredient and tone.

Breakfast, 386 calories

It’s nice when you can eat dessert for breakfast because no one is watching. Dark chocolate almond soy ice cream topped with two tablespoons of homemade whipped cream. One of my dirty little secrets is that I keep a bowl of freshly whipped cream, whipped with an immersion blender and just one tiny drop of almond oil, in my fridge most of the time. It’s the fat of my dreams and oftentimes provides a small spot of brightness in my otherwise healthy day. It makes my coffee brighter as well.

Lunch, 400 calories

One of my favorite things to do is take a handful (in this case seven) organic shishito peppers fresh from the Farmer’s Market, throw them on a baking tray in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes sprinkled only with olive oil and kosher flake salt until they blister. Then, pop them in my mouth either piping hot or let them cool off and acquire a more chewy and sweet milieu. After the peppery heat, two cups of fresh chopped watermelon ensued.

Dinner, 475 calories

I managed to be the recipient of one of the Cute Gardener’s prized butternut squashes and was inspired by a pasta he made me including the lovely veg once; although for my version I added ingredients that I knew he wouldn’t eat, nor many other people unless they had my particular palette, and it turned out simply sensational for my brand of flavor profile. I would highly recommend this dish to anyone who has the gene that actually likes cilantro as well as the spice of jalapenos. 

(makes two servings)

One medium butternut squash
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup jalapeno goat cheese
4 oz. whole-wheat linguine
2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Halve the squash and put on a baking sheet with olive oil and flake kosher salt sprinkled across it. I don’t like to clean mine of seeds and pulp till done roasting because it keeps it moist. I only take the pulp out if making cubed squash as a straight up side dish and want it firmer like a potato. Roast in a 350-degree oven for 40-50 minutes. Take out, clean and peel and loosely chop squash. As it cools, boil your water for the pasta with a tablespoon of olive oil and salt thrown in. Cook your pasta to al dente form. Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil, throw in the garlic and heat until golden. Then add the butternut squash and blend well. Finally, throw in the drained, cooked pasta and swirl in the goat cheese until it melts and coats everything in a creamy wash. Lastly, throw in the cilantro, salt and pepper and toss before serving.

The best thing I have learned as an adult in the land of food is that balance is everything. There’s no reason why we can’t have our cake in life and eat it to, I sure do!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Life is a Cream at Comme Ca

I am reaping some nice benefits from the college football season. The Cute Gardener warned me that during this time of year he will basically be a denizen of his man cave, of which I can visit to root for opposing teams on the television screen if I obey the standard male coda of game day rules. You know things like not talking about anything else but what’s on the screen during the game, stating the team names correctly, not mucking up his kitchen with anything more complex than a one pot Frito pie, understanding if he doesn’t answer the phone while games are playing, that kind of thing. I can’t really expect to drag him out into the rest of the world during this season unless it’s his idea. And honestly, I don’t mind. I secretly like waking up on Saturday morning to watch Game Day in bed in the dark (where I can squeeze out some extra cuddle time) and I don’t mind eschewing our normal weekly restaurant routine from the rest of the year because he cooks so great anyways and it means more of his yummy garden pasta dishes at home.

It also means that Sunday brunch oftentimes becomes our meal for the week, something we rarely do at other times of year because we can cook our own egg dishes better at home and he doesn’t really tend to eat before dinner on regular days. Today, I got pampered with a trip to Comme Ca, Chef David Myers' West Hollywood-brasserie modeled after the kind of food he likes to cook at home for his family and friends. A nice message from Thoreau on our place mats greeted us into the black wood and white French country home-style décor. My favorite style of beveled glass mirrors, some with antique purse chains, hung in collage on a wall with music playing from my mind’s favorite songbook: sweet, mellow jazz and slow-slinging forties big band favorites. It made me verbally add a trip to France (accentuated by a recent Anthony Bourdain episode on a trip to Burgundy) onto our couples’ bucket list.

We ordered a cocktail from the elegantly dressed tender of the chic full bar. For me, an Oaxacan Kiss made of mescal, aperol, lemon and fluffy egg white stoked with a generous sprig of mint. For him, a sparkling Greyhound with rose champagne.

We began with a plate of house made charcuterie and divine nut and raisin studded bread. The meats were an indulgent combination of meatiness and fat that layered the tongue perfectly with a lingering dose of savory salt.

He ordered a burger, since it’s been on his burger list for an extremely long time. Swathed with aged cheddar, thick and meaty, it contained his favorite components: leaking pink juice, dirty funky bits of beef, a caramelized sear, and a surprisingly good creamy slaw all stacked between a toasted brioche bun.


I ordered the quiche with shallots, cream and gruyere. It came with a heap of simple, tangy-lemon dressed room temperature leaves that tarted up my taste buds in preparation for the exquisite egg concoction. The crust was the flakiest gem after a year of eating really badly cooked egg dishes. I am glad I braved the order on the assumption that this ex-Patina chef would get it right. I had to remark that the reason I love the French so much is that they can make things out of two or three things combined with world class technique that others strive for, yet fail at, when trying to get to creative or contemporary.

Thoreau is right. It’s not what you see, but how you see it. I am not going to complain about my mate’s football mistress when it provides me just another experiential reason to discover more about how we click and flex to life’s wonderful experiences. The post-meal collapsing on the couch in a nice food coma to watch the exhilarating footage of the American Cup was a nice cap to a sports and jazz filled weekend. Cheers to lazy Sunday Fundays!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sexy Superfood Pudding

My soul sister Sonia blew into town on a whim last night as the clock struck twelve, the witching hour, trailing behind her a sea of baskets and baubles into my lair. Although I was exhausted from a three-hour play rehearsal and she was spent from a daylong drive to me from the Grand Canyon, we shared a glass of wine and some catching up on life about our nomadic summers before putting ourselves to bed. Visions of the jars in her wicker basket danced in my head all night and we awoke at the crack of dawn to concoct a super food pudding for breakfast before both separating outwards on the road of our individual journeys that lay ahead.  

Make no bones about it: I am an admitted glutton of all things food but the current target of my obsession is the sexy world of super foods. Yes, sexy, as in ripe, life giving, energizing and beauty making odds and ends of the earth that when combined create the ultimate tonics and concoctions of true beauty. There’s nothing more sensual than knowing that the spoonful that passes my lips each morning will not only deliver life-extending vitamins, hair growing minerals, skin flushing proteins, blood pumping injections and body sculpting boosters but that it will counteract the weekend gourmet food and foodie indulge-fests with the Cute Gardener leaving me perpetually in a state of blissed out balance. Not to mention that these bites are simply orgasmic. When I eat this stuff I taste the earth, the rivers, the trees, the forest, the grass, the fungi, the elements and the universe and it is an instant shock of cold water, exhilarating to the mind, body and soul.

This morning’s bounty consisted of chia seeds, chia powder, maca, cacao, cordycyps, mangosteen, and blue-green algae mixed until plump and absorbed in water spiked with organic raw honey.

The whole mix was left to sit for half an hour and then we poured it yin yang style into a bowl with organic vanilla yogurt and swirled. Pure bliss ensued. Now, eight hours later, I have been to a stamp exhibit, engaged in an intense healing session and worked my buns off on writing assignments and still feel like running up a mountain and back down again. If that’s not evidence of the juicy, ripe meat of life, I don’t know what is!