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.”
I’m so excited to finally share with you images from the latest issue of Food & Wine in which I have an article called “Real Heroes Don’t Tweet.” The article’s about following my food heroes on Twitter and how it’s changed my perception of them from untouchable gods and goddesses to just ordinary, everyday people. What’s funny is that Twitter played a prominent role in this article happening in the first place: Dana Cowin (editor-in-chief of Food and Wine) ReTweeted something I wrote, I thanked her and we made a date to meet for lunch. It was at lunch (at a place called Junoon) that I started talking about what I liked and what I didn’t like about Twitter and that’s when Dana suggested I write this article. So get thee to a grocery store to buy a copy and let me know what you think! Oh, and as far as that most memorable New Year’s Eve dinner that Molly made? You can read about that here.
There are three experiences I forgot to tell you about from my trip to the Pacific Northwest this year. The first experience happened on a morning in West Seattle (I’d written “East Seattle” and then Craig corrected me) with our friends David and Celia and their new baby, Johanna. Early in the morning, before my appointment with a chef at 9 AM, we all had breakfast at The Salvadorean Bakery.
This weekend on Facebook, my friend Molly wrote that she was “constitutionally incapable of making a decent cup of coffee.”
I related to this because, for the past few years, I had the same problem. The lowest moment came when, upon grinding my own beans, I overdid it, clogged my coffee maker and a black sand volcano erupted all over my countertop, ruining the machine and my self-confidence too. But now I make a great cup of coffee and my secret has more to do with ignoring, not following, the Good Coffee-Making Rules.
In September, I shared with you a picture of the Avocado Sandwich I ate at Prune for lunch (link here.) The response was enthusiastic: “Ohmgosh that looks so beautiful,” wrote Shannon. “Oh, PRETTY!” wrote Hannah. “That sandwich is a work of art!” wrote Kathryn. Again, it was a very enthusiastic response.
Last week I took Molly Orangette to Prune for lunch (I felt it was a very Orangette-like selection) and the avocado sandwich had been replaced with a ratatouille sandwich. When it arrived I snapped the picture you see above; and when I took a bite, I knew I had to do a post about it.
Molly Wizenberg, who many of you know as Orangette, has cooked for me three times over the course of our friendship. All three meals have been documented here on the blog: the first meal was in January of 2007, the next was a New Year’s Eve dinner (actually I can’t find the post about that) and then, finally, the meal that Molly’s husband Brandon made for me when I was stranded in Seattle during a blizzard. So actually she didn’t cook that third meal.
But the point is that I was karmically indebted to her and desperately keen to make her food upon her next visit to New York. Lo and behold she was here last night! And last night, guess what? I made her dinner. A carbilicious feast that put to use two underused culinary tools, the two items you see above: homemade breadcrumbs & croutons.
When I’m home alone and making dinner for myself, my standards change dramatically. If Craig’s there (and he usually is), I know he has certain expectations about what constitutes a dinner. That’s fair, because most people do. But alone? My standards go out the window and I just improvise a meal with whatever I have on hand. And the other night, while Craig was in London showing his movie at the Raindance Film Festival, I happened to have the following on hand: mushrooms, thyme, cream and bread. That’s why I decided to make something I’d never made before, something I wasn’t even sure constituted a proper dinner. That something was creamed mushrooms on toast.