Wild news: Craig’s movie is screening at the Edinburgh Film Festival in three weeks, then he goes to the Nantucket film festival, and back to Europe for the Munich film festival. The best part? Edinburgh is flying me out too, so I can join him in Munich as long as I make my way back to Edinburgh to fly back. So here’s the plan: four days in Edinburgh, then when Craig goes to Nantucket, I’ll make my way to London where I’ll lay low for a week until it’s time to go to Munich. After that, we’ll tack on three days in Berlin because how can you go to Munich and not go to Berlin? (Also: I want to see a certain someone’s Berlin kitchen.) Now I need your advice. Where should we eat in Edinburgh? Where should I stay in London? Where should I eat there? (I feel like I have to go to the River Cafe; I’d also like to try St. John and a Heston Blumenthal spot, but that may be unrealistic $$-wise.) Where do we eat in Munich? And where do we stay in Berlin? Oh and where do we eat there too? Also, if there are any books you can recommend about any of these places (fiction or non-fiction) I’d love to load up for the flight. Thanks for all of your help and I’ll be sure to share the whole adventure with you here on the blog, as I always do. I’m pretty nice that way.
When people enthuse about something they ate, it’s always a good idea to pay attention. For example, two weeks ago I was at Park’s BBQ in Koreatown with our friends Jim and Jess, and also our friends Jimmy and Raef, and as we were fighting over grilled pieces of rib-eye and skirt steak, Jim mentioned this amazing dessert he and Jess once ate nearby at a place called Mr. Boba. “It’s seriously like the best thing I’ve ever eaten,” he said and before I could yell “Hyperbole!” Jess echoed the sentiment. Which led me to say, “Then why don’t we go there after this?” And everyone nodded their heads in approval.
It started innocently enough. I Tweeted a picture of a serving dish from The Hart and the Hunter and asked, “If I want to find a plate like this on E-Bay, what would I search for?” (OK, ending a sentence with a preposition isn’t so innocent, but go with me here.) A few people responded: “Transferware.” I Googled Transferware, to get a definition, and Wikipedia offered: “A style of ceramics including pottery, dinnerware, and other delicate items. It uses transfer printing, a decorative technique which was developed in England in the mid-18th century, particularly around the Staffordshire region.” Then I started searching for Transferware plates on E-Bay and I haven’t been able to stop since.
Our CSA continues to be a big boon to our diet, especially on Sunday mornings when the box arrives and I get to tear it open and make something right away for breakfast or lunch or a combination of those two meals (someone should come up with a name for that). Last week’s box contained some Boston lettuce, the box from the week before had golden beets that I hadn’t used yet. So, on Sunday at 11:30 AM, a vision slowly began to hatch in my brain: what if I roasted those golden beets and, at the same time, boiled a few eggs just so the whites firmed up and the yolks were runny. I could toss the lettuce with a mustardy dressing, using Dorie Greenspan’s mustard bottle technique and bring it all together like a golden vision.
Even though I’ve lived on the east side of Los Angeles for almost a year and I spend a good amount of time in both Eagle Rock and Pasadena, Highland Park–an up-and-coming neighborhood and home to my favorite podcaster, Marc Maron–has eluded me. That is until two weeks ago when I met my food writing friend Tien Nguyen (she co-wrote the Roy Choi cookbook L.A. Son and has appeared on my podcast) for lunch at The Good Girl Dinette, a place owned and helmed by Chef Diep Tran.
The New York Times is having a tough moment and though some are basking in the scandal, I’d rather take the Ira Glass route and turn the other way. Well not so far that I stop actually reading the Times; it’s still the paper of record, as far as I’m concerned. And though I’ve griped about the Magazine food section growing a bit stale (can’t we get a few other writers into the mix?), I still read it regularly, along with the Dining section where many of the recipes–particularly those by Melissa Clark–earn a bookmark in my browser. Last week, though, two recipes earned a bookmark in my brain; Julia Moskin’s steak recipe–which involves cooking a high-quality steak in a cast iron skillet with no fat, just salt–and Sam Sifton’s smashed potatoes, both of which I made on Sunday night for Craig who’d just arrived back from screening The Skeleton Twins at the Seattle Film Festival.
Next to Proof Bakery, here in Atwater Village, is an Out of the Closet thrift shop that sometimes I wander into to check out their cookbooks or other random things that they have gathered on their tables and shelves. Rarely do I find anything that I actually buy but it’s fun to poke through everything while sipping an iced coffee beverage. The other day, though, a strong light came in through the window and focused on a box on a table as an angelic choir began singing from the heavens. “The hills are alive,” the voices sang in unison as I suddenly saw what the light was hitting: a box. The box you see above. I slowly staggered over to it and then opened it up and beheld the most beautiful sight I’d ever seen….
Last night, I went to meet a friend for a drink at Laurel Hardware, a restaurant in West Hollywood that has a killer cocktail called The Vig that combines tequila, pineapple, vanilla bean, and green chartreuse. As is my wont, I arrived fifteen minutes early and found myself standing in the entryway where the staff was having a meeting and the chefs in the open kitchen were prepping for the dinner rush. These facts would normally be totally lost on me, but because I’d been reading Molly Wizenberg’s fantastic new memoir, Delancey, I suddenly felt a surge of recognition. “These people are girding themselves for an onslaught,” I told myself, studying the scene with fascination. “In one hour, they’re all going to be elbow deep in the muck.”