Make Your Own Civet Coffee

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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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The Ultimate Food and Musicals Quiz

Jonathan Gold is the only Pulitzer Prize winning food writer in history and, as far as I’m concerned, I will never do anything in my food writing career that comes anywhere close to what he’s been doing for the bulk of his. Except for this. You see, the other day Mr. Gold, who writes a regular quiz for The L.A. Times, posted a “Food and Musicals” quiz that was a lot of fun to take. I got 9 out of 10 right. But the quiz left me feeling like Gold favors a specific brand of Broadway musical, heavy on the Lerner and Loewe. Also, there was an Oliver question which seemed a little too obvious to me. So last night, in a heated moment, I began constructing my own Food and Musicals quiz. It goes from the esoteric (Falsettos) to the extreme mainstream (Wicked) with various diversions along the way. There are 30 questions. I could’ve done more. Some are very hard, some are pretty easy; mostly, though, this is my favorite thing I’ve done on my blog ever. Let me know how you score in the comments!

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My 2013 Holiday Gift Buying Guide

Growing up, I never really made a Hanukkah list. My mom said to me early on, “We can get you one nice gift or eight crappy gifts,” so obviously I’d pick the nice gift and each year beg for something very specific, like a Nintendo or a Super Nintendo or a Nintendo Gameboy or basically anything Nintendo made. Now that I’m adult, I make a very different sort of list when I go with Craig to Bellingham, Washington for Christmas. This is something known as a “Christmas list” and I’m supposed to put lots of things on it that I’d be happy to find under a giant green structure known as a “Christmas tree.” Actually, I really enjoy doing this and in figuring out what food things I want for myself I end up making a list that works very well as a gift-buying guide for all of you. So without further ado, here’s my Holiday Gift Buying Guide 2013.

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Reasons To Make A Crumb Cake This Weekend

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1. Because it’s the weekend and you can eat whatever you want and not get fat.

2. Because crumb cake works equally well as breakfast, as an afternoon snack, a post-dinner dessert or a late night treat.

3. You have four sticks of butter in your refrigerator and you don’t know what to do with them.

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Who Drinks This Stuff?

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The other day at Gelson’s, I was looking for almond grappa to make Franny’s toasted almond gelato (shockingly, I was unsuccessful) and during my search I spied the bottle you see above. Who drinks this stuff? First of all, I think it’s hilarious that it translates to “The Spirit of Paris” and the flavor is “Red Velvet Cake.” How is red velvet cake even remotely in the spirit of Paris? Second of all, as Regina Schrambling recently Tweeted, “red velvet” is not a flavor. It’s a bunch of red food coloring added to a cocoa cake. So what, exactly, do people think they’re drinking when they drink Red Velvet Cake Sparkling liqueur?

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