If one day I go on trial for food crimes, I think I’m getting 20 years added to my sentence for the following: during my 3 months on New York’s Upper East Side, I never once–not ONCE–visited the famous Kitchen Arts and Letters, one of the city’s (and the country’s) greatest cookbook stores. I still hang my head in shame.
Thankfully, when I went back to New York recently for a few book events, I remedied this most outrageous crime. And my visit there became a highlight of my trip.
After I made those excellent carnitas tacos, I had lots of Mexican ingredients leftover. Jalapeños. Corn tortillas. Sour cream. Well that’s not a Mexican ingredient, but it would be if I called it Mexican crema. So let’s call it crema so my first paragraph makes sense.
This often happens after I make a big dinner: the next day, I find myself with all kinds of leftover ingredients and I want to turn those ingredients into breakfast. On this particular morning, the decision couldn’t have been easier: breakfast tacos.
Ok, so you read the last post, you read to yourself “vegetarian chili, sweet corn bread” and thought “eh, I’m not that impressed, I’m moving on with my day, I’m going to read about Anderson Cooper’s gayness and Katie Holmes protecting her kids from Tom Cruise’s Scientology.” That’s your prerogative. I won’t judge.
But you won’t be clicking away so fast when I tell you what I did with that leftover cornbread the next morning. It’s almost pornographic, what happened, so parents, please shield your children’s eyes.
It was just a small rectangle on the cheese plate at The French Laundry; a single bite of braised endive to complement the other elements on the plate (apricot, a square of pistachio cake, a sour ale gastrique).
But that single bite stayed with me. It was memorable because endive, which is normally bitter, becomes remarkably sweet when it’s cooked. Not entirely sweet, though; the flavor is complex–which is why braised endive has a place on the menu at such a distinguished restaurant. The surprise is that it’s really easy to make at home.
Our friends Patty and Lauren, who visited us recently from New York, did us the huge service–a mitzvah, as the Jews might say–of bringing along bagels from Murray’s Bagels. We’ve been experiencing something of a bagel blight here on the west coast (remember those Bagel Bombs I made?) and these bagels came as a great relief. We put them in our freezer and decided to break them open only in the case of severe bagel emergencies; one such emergency arose last weekend.
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.
I’m about to make a scandalous admission, the sort of thing that usually requires a press conference and a disappointed looking wife standing next to you: I’ve been having a sordid affair… a sordid affair with toast.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “Toast? TOAST? You’re having a sordid affair with toast? Couldn’t you have had a sordid affair with something sexier… like, I don’t know, butter? Or bacon? Or butter-flavored bacon?” Hear me out, people. Toast can be sexy. You just have to approach it the right way.
We need to talk about the pancake at Canelé in Atwater Village.
I mean, look at it: it’s totally outrageous. It’s puffed up like a blowfish and it’s filled, almost defiantly, with a Meyer lemon custard. Dusted with powdered sugar and served with a lemon wedge, this pancake puts all other pancakes to shame. Is it a Dutch Baby? A riff on the David Eyre’s pancake? Possibly.