Category Archives: Food Bits

My First CSA

April 14, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 11 Comments

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So I have a friend named Rachel Sheridan who also happens to be a neighbor here, in Atwater Village, and recently she did an Instagram of a CSA box that had arrived at her doorstep. What’s a CSA box? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and the idea is this: you pay a set fee, each week, and as a reward a box arrives at your door full of fresh-from-the-farm produce. I asked Rachel about her CSA and she told me it was called Summerland and that I should check it out. Not only did I check it out, after clicking around for a bit, I signed up too. Cue the trumpets: this box arrived yesterday (Sunday) morning! What was inside? Let’s open it up.

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Make Your Own Civet Coffee

April 1, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 42 Comments

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For years, I’ve been wanting to try the delicacy known as Kopi Luwak–or Civet Coffee–which comes from the islands of Sumatra, Java, and Bali. The coffee is made by feeding beans to wild civets and then, after digestion, collecting the beans (along with the feces) which take on wonderful flavors because of fermentation in the digestive tract. Sadly, tracking down civet coffee in Los Angeles is highly difficult; and wild civets are hard to come by. Which is why I had the bright idea of feeding coffee beans to my cat, Lolita Roberts-Johnson, to see if I could make Kopi Luwak here at home.

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That Time I Made Savory Oatmeal and It Was Kind of Weird But I Ate It Anyway

March 14, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 28 Comments

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When I first heard about savory oatmeal, I felt confused. Onions in oatmeal? Is that even possible? What planet are we on?

I grew up eating oatmeal out of little packets, the kind you tear open, pour some water on and stick in the microwave. My preferred flavor was maple brown sugar, but occasionally I’d opt in for the apple cinnamon kind. Thankfully, no packets said “garlic and onions” or the younger me would’ve run screaming into the hills. The current me is slightly more open-minded.

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Cutting Board Graduation

March 10, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 14 Comments

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There comes a time in every home cook’s life when you bid farewell to a favorite cutting board and replace it with something better. My cutting board, for the past five years (or longer), has been a neon green rubber affair, one that I purchased at Williams Sonoma after getting knife lessons at the Union Square Cafe for my first book. The advantages were pretty clear: you could scrub the hell out of it and it wouldn’t warp. You could even throw it in the dishwasher. It was big, sturdy, and, most importantly, didn’t damage your knife. I loved how versatile it was (oh no, I’m talking about it in the past tense). You could put raw chicken on it and you didn’t have to worry about salmonella seeping into the pores. You could put several vegetables on it at once and still have room to maneuver. It really was a thing of beauty.

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Lou (A Story of Wine and Sardines)

March 6, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 14 Comments

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If you’re lucky in your life, you’ll encounter a person who is so passionate about a particular subject, they become a constant resource, a trusted guide through a murky world you might not otherwise enter. Sometimes this happens socially–you meet a classical music maven at a cocktail party who gently nudges you towards Schubert–other times it happens commercially, as in: you stumble into a store whose proprietor reveals themselves to be something of an oracle. The latter scenario played out for me recently when I entered the store that popped up next to SQRL down on Virgil Avenue here in Los Angeles: Lou Provisions and Wines.

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East Coast vs. West Coast Porchetta

January 13, 2014 | By Adam Roberts | 3 Comments

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On a cold December day in New York, I took the 6 train down from the Upper East Side to the Astor Place stop with porchetta on my mind. No, not Sara Jenkins’ glorious Porchetta sandwich served at her sandwich spot so devoted to porchetta it’s called, well, Porchetta. This time I was headed to Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria to try a porchetta sandwich that made a bit of a splash when it first appeared a year or two ago. Now the New York food media has moved on, as it tends to do, and that sandwich continues to be served with slightly less fanfare. I knew I had to give it a try before it disappeared entirely.

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When Good Restaurants Go Bad

December 3, 2013 | By Adam Roberts | 14 Comments

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The first sign was the asparagus. It’s December here in New York and on the breakfast menu at Untitled at the Whitney, a Danny Meyer restaurant which we frequent whenever we’re in the city, there’s an asparagus omelette. “Asparagus in December?” I asked and then Tweeted something about it, prompting a sarcastic response from the very funny Twitter personage BoobsRadley: “Outraged!” Ok, ok, maybe it’s not something to be outraged about, but it is a sign that something’s a little off, especially when a restaurant’s proprietor is at the helm of such season-oriented restaurants as Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe.

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Sweet Potato Latkes and Regular Latkes Too

December 2, 2013 | By Adam Roberts | 6 Comments

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A lot of people are making a big deal about the fact that Hanukkah fell this year on Thanksgiving. “It’s the first time in thousands of years that this has happened!” someone said to me and I said back, “But America hasn’t existed for thousands of years?” There was an uncomfortable silence. The point is that many people, while eating turkey, were also eating latkes last week. And since we’re still in the middle of Hanukkah, it’s not too late to have a latke party. All you need are some potatoes (sweet or regular), some onion-like things (I’ll explain momentarily) and miraculous vegetable oil that’s capable of burning for eight nights straight.

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