Category Archives: Writings

Does Great Food Rise To The Level of Great Art? A Conversation with David Thorne

May 30, 2012 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

When I was in New York, back in February, I got into a very intense conversation with some friends (one of whom works in the art world) about whether great food rises to the level of great art. Specifically, we were talking about food at the highest level–the kind of food you saw in my French Laundry post yesterday–and whether those who make it share the same status as those who make art at the highest level. When I got back from my trip, I was lucky enough to meet artist and chef David Thorne at the Molly Stevens cookbook dinner I attended back at Elysian (David’s “occasional” restaurant) in March.

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PG Tips (A Morning Tea Ritual)

May 24, 2012 | By Adam Roberts | 2 Comments

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Recently a friend (who shall remain nameless (John K.)) compared me to an “old lady” because I described my new morning routine: I make toast and I make tea. Tea and toast.

I’ve described the toast to you, but not the tea. I started with Harney & Sons but as that started to run out, I bought a box of PG Tips from my local Gelson’s. I first heard about PG Tips from my friend Morgan, who went to school in England and drank lots of tea; then I saw it again in April Bloomfield’s new book, where she describes drinking it with a splash of milk.

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Ten Food Books That Changed My Life

May 22, 2012 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

The first food book that I ever read (and the first food book that changed my life) was Calvin Trillin’s Feeding A Yen. I don’t recall what led me to it, but I remember the first chapter incredibly well: Trillin’s daughter no longer lives in New York and he thinks he can woo her back if he rediscovers the pumpernickel bagel that she loved in her childhood. This feat of food writing–which deftly juggles comedy, pathos, and an encyclopedic knowledge of the New York bagel scene–immediately revealed to me that food writing didn’t have to be stuffy or pretentious. Though Trillin takes food seriously, he doesn’t take himself too seriously; his lightness of touch is unmatched in the business. Which is why this book tops the list (though the rest of the list is no particular order); it’s the book that made me want to be a food writer.

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My Very Own Herb Garden

May 18, 2012 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

Our neighbor Chloe is a godsend. Not only did she plant the Meyer lemon tree near our door, but when we go away on vacation, Chloe watches our cat, Lolita. If the list ended there, Chloe would still be a hero in my book. But then the other day, I received the following e-mail: “Hi Adam, do you have time to step outside to the garden? Chloe.”

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Bringing Good Food Home

May 17, 2012 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

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If this post were a text message being sent to a modern-day teenager, the teenager’s response might be: “Obv.”

That’s because this post basically says something that you already know: “Instead of cooking something good for dinner, you can buy something good and bring it home.” So why am I writing it? Because even though it’s something that you may already know, it’s not something that you necessarily do. I don’t do it much myself–if I’m going to cook, I buy ingredients and cook; if I want food from a restaurant, I’d rather go to a restaurant–but that changed when I discovered Mozza-To-Go.

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Sneakily Expensive Drinks

April 11, 2012 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

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It happens to all of us at one point or another; we order a drink without looking at the price and then find ourselves startled when the bill arrives.

That happened to me TWICE last week. The first time I was at Franklin & Company, a cute restaurant near our apartment that serves sandwiches and salads and a smoked chicken dish that comes with smashed potatoes and cauliflower. That dish, which I ordered, has a wine suggestion underneath it–a Pinot Noir–and so I told the waiter I’d do the dish with the pairing. No price was listed. When the bill came, that glass of Pinot Noir was $17. (The dish itself was $18.)

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An Imaginative Feast By Food Prodigy Andy Windak (Mac ‘n’ Cheese Stuffed Ravioli! Coq au Vin Chilaquiles!) & A Roasted Feast By Cookbook Hero Molly Stevens

March 7, 2012 | By Adam Roberts | 0 Comments

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I don’t follow sports, but I know that there are these people called scouts who go around to minor league events and look for future stars to recruit to the majors. Well, I never considered myself much of a chef scout, but that all changed on Sunday when food blogger Andy Windak–of the food blog The Wind Attack–invited us over for dinner. I was wary of this 25 year-old who talked a big game the first few times that I met him (he said something about marinated yucca blossoms) but what I didn’t realize was that he was the real deal: a self-taught, self-motivated prodigy who works wonders in the kitchen.

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Don’t Make A Mess-o of Your Espresso

July 13, 2007 | By Adam Roberts | 7 Comments

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The man didn’t know what he was doing. I was at a Brooklyn coffee shop whose name is synonymous with donkey and I ordered an iced latte. The man (I’d call him a barista, but he clearly wasn’t) took a glass and filled it with ice. And then–this was the crucial error–he pulled two watery flavorless shots of espresso which he poured on top of the ice. The ice melted a lot. Then he topped the whole thing with a splash of milk. It was insipid.

The next day at my favorite coffee shop in America (including Seattle) I paid close attention to how the baristas at Joe make their iced lattes. Ice in the glass: check. Then they fill the glass almost to the top with milk. “Whoah,” you might think, “there’s so much milk. How can this taste like a latte?” The answer lies in the picture you see above: they pull a really strong shot. Not just a strong shot, an expert shot. It infuses the milk with magic coffee flavor and produces the best iced latte I can imagine. The secret is in the espresso.

Lucky us, one of Joe’s most prized baristas has a blog. Welcome to the world of Erin Meister and her blog Meet The Press Pot. I stole this post’s image from a post in which Meister writes: “To say an espresso is good is sort of like saying a girl on the street is pretty: Every good shot of espresso and every pretty girl may share this or that characteristic, but if you were to line them all up, one hopes one’s taste is varied enough that they would all be rather different piece by piece. Right?”

She concludes: “So how does one train one’s pupils to pull good espresso? By making them taste, taste, taste and taste again. This is a people-driven industry, and a taste-bud driven industry. And if there’s no way of standardizing ‘great’ espresso, the least we can do, I guess, is create great baristas. One hopes.”

Let’s hope the Meisters of the world outrun the donkeys. Or, at least, that more people learn how to pull a good shot of espresso. I know where I’m headed for my next iced latte!