Vanilla Bean Oatmeal


If you’ve never purchased a vanilla bean, sliced it open with a paring knife, scraped the seeds out and dropped them, with the pod, into a pot of milk or cream which you then heat for an ice cream base or a custard or a pudding, you’re missing out on a great food moment. The smell is comforting, pure and sweet–the total opposite of what you get when you light one of those synthetic vanilla candles–and there’s a visual spectacle as the black vanilla seeds permeate the white liquid. Having purchased vanilla beans on sale at Penzey’s in Seattle (3 of them for $9), I decided to go for a vanilla bean moment last Sunday morning with a pot of oatmeal.

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Chipotle Strata Brei


It was a Saturday morning and the stale bread sitting on top of my refrigerator was calling to me. It wasn’t saying, “French toast.” It wasn’t saying, “Toad-in-the-hole.” It was whispering, like the voice in “Field of Dreams,” “Something savory…something different…something new.”

I grabbed a can of chipotles in Adobo. I grabbed six eggs out of the refrigerator. I cracked the eggs into a bowl, chopped 3 or 4 chipotles really fine and whisked them into the eggs…

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Park’s BBQ, Neptune’s Net & Marouch


As I gear up to go to New York for three months, I’m starting to check things off my L.A. “first year” bucket list. Korean BBQ was pretty high up there, and in my browser where I have a folder called LaFood and subfolders like “Chinese,” “Ramen,” “Sushi,” “Thai,” there’s a folder that says “Korean” and Park’s BBQ is featured prominently in there. So this past Saturday, I gathered up a group, including our new L.A. transplant friends Jim and Jess and we headed to Park’s in Koreatown.

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Sensational Summer Salads


The farmer’s market can be an intimidating place, especially in summer when there’s just so much to choose from. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, buy a few peaches and tomatoes and leave quickly. Other times, I just buy everything in sight, a strategy that seems wasteful at first but which almost always pays off. When I come home with armfuls of bags and mountains of vegetables, I put them immediately to use and whatever I don’t use I pickle. It’s a win-win.

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Sublet Our L.A. Apartment (We’re Headed To N.Y. for 3 Months)


Some exciting news: we’re headed to New York this fall for three months. The reasons are many. There’s my cookbook coming out and Craig has something up his sleeve too.

We’re looking for subletters to take our apartment on or around September 15th through December 15th. It’s a 2-bedroom apartment in Hollywood (near Los Feliz) that’s steps away from lots of great stores and restaurants, walking distance to the Arclight movie theater, and a short drive to Silverlake and West Hollywood. There’s a parking spot (two people can rotate it), a piano, and–most importantly–a kitchen full of all of my cooking equipment and cookbooks which you’re welcome to use…

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A Return to Sitka & Spruce


The last time I wrote about Sitka & Spruce in Seattle, I praised the place but called the food “challenging.” That was in January. On this most recent trip to Seattle, we returned to Sitka and Spruce–this time for brunch–and the meal was so good, so beautiful, that “challenging” was suddenly the wrong word for it. I decided I needed to do a follow-up post and that’s the post you’re reading right now.

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The Oyster Bar (Bellingham, Washington)


For as long as I’ve been visiting Craig’s family in Bellingham, Washington, I’ve been hearing about the Oyster Bar. It’s where Craig went for his prom night dinner. It’s where Craig’s parents celebrated their most recent anniversary. It’s beautifully situated on Chuckanut Drive, the scenic route you take when getting off the I-5 from Seattle.

On this most recent trip, we decided to go there with our friends Mark and Diana. After the Fair, we changed into our fancy clothes, hopped into a car and parked precariously on a ledge. I’m pretty sure Diana thought I’d fall to my death off a cliff when I opened my car door. Maybe that was the plan all along!

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