If you read my newsletter, you know where this took place. On Monday I met my friend Rebecca Lando of Working Class Foodies for lunch. She’s celebrating, and rightfully so, the release of her brand new cookbook, appropriately called The Working Class Foodies Cookbook. You should definitely check it out, though that’s not what this post is about.
The ladies who lunch really exist. I saw them on the Upper East Side, where I stayed for several months recently, and they don’t necessarily wear hats anymore (“Does anyone still wear a hat?”) but they know how to command a room. Two women I sat next to at Maison Kayser completely ignored their bread basket, full of the city’s best breads, and complained that the iced tea wasn’t cold enough. You don’t see that in Des Moines.
Here in Los Angeles, I found myself alone one night and invited my friend Diana over for dinner. I decided that even though this was a dinner, I’d treat it like a ladies luncheon. I’d serve salad, a crisp white wine and a Roquefort Cheese tart from Simon Hopkinson’s Second Helpings of Roast Chicken.
One meal. ONE MEAL. That’s all I really had time for when I went to Birmingham, Alabama this past weekend for Food Blog South. I got in late Friday night, spoke Saturday morning, had time for lunch (my ONE MEAL) then had the keynote, book-signing and after party to attend that night before flying back to L.A. the next morning.
I polled folks on Twitter and received many terrific suggestions; unfortunately, most of them were closed for lunch. Hot and Hot Fish Club: closed for lunch. Chez Fonfon: closed for lunch (at least on Saturdays). One suggestion, though, wasn’t only open for lunch, it seemed to be walking distance (more on that in a second) from my hotel. I settled upon Frank Stitt’s celebrated restaurant, Bottega.
The first time that I wrote about Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink (in Miami), I focused on the lighting. In fact, I was so focused on the lighting, I didn’t really write about the meal. Instead, I wrote a post called “When You Can’t See Your Food.” It was very dark in there.
Since then, though, I’ve been back to Michael’s twice for lunch and absolutely loved it. This most recent trip was with my mom and sister-in-law, Tali, (seen above) and as you can see lighting isn’t at all an issue when you’re eating outside at lunch. That’s the time to go.
When I was invited to give a cookbook-related Google Talk in Mountain View, CA last Friday, I was incredibly honored and flattered but, also, I was really keen on checking out the cafeteria. I mean: what kind of food would I find there? What do people who work at Google eat?
Luckily, my host Chris invited me to lunch first. And not only that, I was allowed to take lots of pictures. So prepare yourselves for a journey, a journey to the Google Cafeteria.
The first time that I went to Roberta’s in Bushwick it was in the middle of winter and they seated us next to a swinging door which produced an arctic blast anytime a server or a customer swung it open. We sat in our winter coats, shivering, and huddling around a heater in between courses. It was a memorable, if not quite ideal, dining experience.
Things were warmer and better at Roberta’s last week, when I ate lunch there before appearing on Michael Harlan Turkell’s Heritage Radio Network show, “The Food Seen” (which is recorded on the Roberta’s complex).
The West Village is not an easy place to grab a cheap lunch. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a wonderful place to grab lunch. There’s Market Table, ‘ino, Pearl Oyster Bar, The Spotted Pig, Barbuto, etc, etc, and so on. But the operative word in my first sentence was “cheap” and while all of those places have wonderful food, if I ate at one of them every day, I’d be broke. Which is why, upon moving here two years ago, I was in search of a place I could visit on a weekly basis, where I could eat quickly and cheaply and relatively healthfully, a place that was convenient to my apartment and convenient to the coffee shop where I do most of my work (Joe). The place I settled upon was Hummus Place.
I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while, because I really believe in it.
Like many of you, I’m a fan of Michael Pollan, his book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” (which I wrote about here) and his useful and helpful food rules. I’m also a big fan of Maury Rubin’s City Bakery on 18th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. How are these two things related? Let me explain.