Sauce Week: What’s Your Favorite Sauce Recipe?

Hey folks! Are you having a good Sauce Week? There are still plenty of posts coming–two pesto posts, two hot sauce posts, two more chef posts and a post about Jean-Georges’ caper raisin sauce (which I served on top of scallops and cauliflower, yum)–but in the meantime, I’d like to know: What’s YOUR favorite sauce recipe? Share it in the comments and, who knows, maybe I’ll make one of them for next year’s Sauce Week. Stay saucy.

Your Perth and Sydney Recs

[image via Wexas Travel]

You guys: I just had a moment where I glanced at my calendar and saw that two weeks from tomorrow, I’m flying to Australia. I mentioned this to you before but the trip seemed so far away when I wrote that; and now the trip is right there on the horizon and I can hardly believe it. Which is why I’m posting this post now: I want your Australia recs! Almost always when I travel I ask my readers for places to go and eat, and almost always your suggestions are the best. So have at it, readers: I’ll be in Perth for a week (much of that trip is already planned, but I should have some down time) and then I have three days in Sydney. What should I do? Where should I go? And, of course, most importantly: what should I eat? Thanks, and if you’re Australian and you’re reading this…say hi if you see me on the street in TWO WEEKS!

Hey, So How Do You Open A Restaurant?

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Don’t get excited: I’m not thinking about opening a restaurant.

But! I have a really good restaurant name in mind (based on a nickname for my friend Diana who, in my fantasy, opens this imaginary restaurant with me here in L.A.; again, it’s just a fantasy, stop getting excited!). I realized, though, in having this fantasy that if I were ever to really do it, I wouldn’t be shooting for the moon ambition-wise. I’d just want a cozy place where I could serve biscuits and comfort food and hang out, during the day, chatting with the staff and customers and maybe blogging from a corner booth. I just heard the guffaw from anyone who’s worked in the restaurant industry when they read that last sentence. Which is why I’m posting this post.

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I’m Scared To Grill

Finally, I have an apartment with a shared backyard where I could get a Weber grill. Not only that, there already IS a Weber grill out there that my neighbor says I can use. And also? I have a bag of charcoal that I bought last year because I thought I could get a Weber grill at my last place, but I couldn’t. So the only thing that’s stopping me from grilling, at this point, is me. I need your encouragement. How do I light those coals if I don’t have that chimney Ina Garten uses? How do I know if I’m making the grill too hot? Once you take the food off, what do you do next–let the coals cool and throw them away? How do you clean the grate? What should I cook first, steak? If you build up my confidence, I promise a grilling post on Monday morning. If you don’t see that post, you’ve totally failed as readers and grilling-enthusiasts.

Do You Really Speak To The Manager?

Mario Batali’s been responding to his “haters” on Twitter lately, asking people who complain about bad experiences at Babbo or Del Posto if they bothered to speak to management. The message seems to be: “If you’re unhappy, give us a chance to do something about it.” And while Batali should be commended for acknowledging his “haters” at all, I don’t know if I’ve ever asked to speak to a manager at any point in my restaurant-going career. The thing is, if something specific is wrong, I tell the server: “this steak is overcooked” or “this ceviche is raw” (just kidding about that one). I couldn’t imagine calling a manager over to complain about the things Batali’s “haters” are complaining about: snooty service, bad attitudes. “Excuse me, Mr. Manager, but my server has a bad attitude.” Have you ever done that? Was it effective? I’d rather just suffer through bad service and chalk it up to the server having a bad day than pipe up and…do what? Get the server fired? I’d feel so bad! That’s why I won’t be playing Mr. Burns in a live action “Simpsons” movie.

BBQ vs. Cookout

My friends Nick and Jason got into an argument recently about the definition of “Barbeque/Barbecue/BBQ.” Jason, who’s from Texas, insists that Nick is “dead wrong” for using “barbecue” as a verb for grilling in general. “A social gathering around a grill is a ‘cookout,'” says Jason. Nick, who like me is from the North, counters that while this may be true in the South, in most other places around the world, it’s called BBQ when meat hits a grill. So now we turn to you, the people, to help settle this matter. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Something tells me we’re going to get a lot of conflicting answers.

What Time Do You Eat Dinner?

What time do you eat dinner?

My grandparents, who live in Delray Beach, Florida, are definite Early Birders. And having spent my teenage years in Boca Raton, I was familiar with the early dinner. My parents usually eat, on weeknights, around 6 o’clock when my dad gets home from work. Craig and I eat later than that, closer to 7:30. Craig has a later lunch than I do so he gets hungrier later than I do. Which is why I can justify a scone or a cookie at 4:30, to keep me full until Craig’s ready for dinner. It’s a survival strategy.

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The Great Cottage Cheese Dinner Challenge

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In good stories, a character changes. So, for example, if you’re watching a movie about a guy who’s afraid of heights but his girlfriend is being held hostage at the top of Mount Everest, we expect him to get over his fear in order to save her. If he decides to just leave her there and become a knitting teacher, it probably wouldn’t be a very good movie. (Though, on second thought, maybe it would?)

Thinking of me as your main character, then, consider my post last week about cottage cheese. I find the stuff repulsive. 157 of you disagreed with me in the comments. So yesterday I went to Gelson’s and saw Low-Fat Knudsen’s Cottage Cheese, the kind many of you eat, and decided to challenge myself to make dinner with it. If this were a good story, I’d learn to love it at the end.

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