How To Always Get A Seat at a Crowded Coffee Shop

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Every day I go to a coffee shop to work on my book. And every day I witness the same phenomenon: people poke their heads through the door, look at all the crowded tables, sigh a heavy sigh and leave.

I want to yell out: “Don’t leave! You’re giving up too easily!” But since most people can’t hear the thoughts in my head, they continue to march their lonely march away; and it’s for these people that I am writing this post. God willing, they’ll read it and realize there’s always a way to get a seat at a crowded coffee shop.

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How Did I Lose 15 Pounds Writing a Cookbook?

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Last week I thought I was dying.

No really: it was Craig’s birthday and I took him out to Soto where we ordered the tasting menu (this is after taking him to a taping of The Daily Show.) The food started to come–a tiny amuse bouche, then a bowl of miso soup–and after the soup, I felt utterly full. Like I couldn’t have been fuller and there were ten more courses on their way. I asked the waitress if we could cancel my tasting menu and if I could just pay for the two courses I already ate and she said “No; the chef’s already preparing your whole meal.”

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Dorie Greenspan’s Mustard Bottle Vinaigrette

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When food icons have food blogs, you need to read them.

That’s certainly true of Dorie Greenspan’s blog. Her posts, like Dorie herself, are wise, witty and warm. And they’re full of good advice–like where to get pastries in Paris or how to whip up begger’s linguine–but the advice that’s stuck with the most was her advice, last April, to use the last remnants of mustard in the jar to make a vinaigrette.

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A Sour Cherry Coffee Cake In Winter

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Most food blog posts are meant to inspire, but this one is meant to mock.

Yes I am mocking you! When sour cherry season rolled around last June, did I, like you, stuff myself silly, popping every last sour cherry into my mouth until I had none left? No, sir, I did not. Like a smart little squirrel, I pitted my sour cherries and then popped them on to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Look, I even took a picture….

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A Chinese New Year Banner

Come February, Lindy the Banner Designer and I usually go romantic, with a Valentine’s Day Theme. But this year was different. “What about Chinese New Year?” Lindy proposed and I said, “Sure thing!” As you can see, her banner is a veritable feast for the eyes. So thanks to her and thanks to Raphael Brion for nailing it up there. Any ideas for next month’s banner? [See Lindy’s previous banners here.]

Stewed Borlotti Beans with Polenta

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My favorite way to cook, the cooking that makes me happiest, is the kind of cooking you do on the fly: no planning, no prepping. You just see what you have already on hand and you make dinner. And often that dinner is way better than the dinner you spend a week prepping for, shopping for and methodically executing. I have a theory about this. The theory involves cravings: the food that you crave in a specific moment directly correlates to something that your body wants. So, when you’re making dinner on the fly, if you add an extra pinch of red chile flakes? That’s because your body’s craving some heat. And that’s why the dinner you make on the fly is often so satisfying.

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