A passion for food + fashion

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Losing My Religion

In Food on February 28, 2009 at 5:20 pm


For Lent I gave up dessert, and just a few days in, I’m quickly losing my religion. I haven’t caved yet, but my dad isn’t making it any easier with these Butterscotch Pecan Cookies from Tate’s Bake Shop. My husband says they are crisp and buttery, and that he is going to have another one “for me.” 

Note: my camera is outta juice so unfortunately I can’t upload all the fun we had at Oxbow today. But stay tuned as soon as I can get my hands on a charger (which I cleverly left in L.A.)…

A Model English Muffin

In Food, Out of Town on February 28, 2009 at 10:31 am


The English muffins at the Model Bakery in St. Helena are what I crave most when I come home to visit my parents and sister. They’re made from Ciabatta dough and then griddled in cornmeal. Yeah, real, real good. This morning, we met my sister for a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich at Model. The breakfast sandwich is made on one of these heavenly English muffins with scrambled egg, sliced ham and cheddar cheese. And thus begins my sympathy-carbo-loading for her marathon run tomorrow. Breakfast of champions!

eggsandwichRumor is that Model might shut down its original St. Helena location, and just keep their new bakery open at Oxbow Market in Napa. I think I would throw myself into traffic if this happened. Model has been around for more than 80 years; bread is still baked in ovens from the 1920s, and it has been my neighborhood bakery since I was a kid.


The Pinot Noir at the End of the 26.2 Mile Tunnel

In Drink, Food on February 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm


We are heading north tonight to cheer on my sister, who is running the Napa Valley Marathon on Sunday! For a countdown to showtime, check out her excellent marathon training blog, Pink, PRs and Pinot Noirs, in which she obsesses about all things pink and her favorite Pinot Noirs while sharing solid running tips. (God love her.) I’m really excited about helping her carbo-load tomorrow, starting with the world’s best English muffin at the Model Bakery and ending with my dad making his spaghetti sauce based on a recipe from the Hotel Danieli that he’s been improving upon for the past 25 years or so. Currently the Sunday forecast calls for 60% rain, so Tiny G has packed his microfiber rain jacket with a concealed hood for foul weather. He wouldn’t miss cheering on his Auntie Claude for the world!

By the way, if you’re wondering what bottle she’ll be cracking open at the end of 26.2, it’s a 2005 Williams Selyem Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard Pinot Noir. What can I say? The girl has good taste.

Friday Follies: Eat Sex Man Woman

In Film, Food on February 27, 2009 at 8:35 am

Friday Follies [n., pl.] postings on Fridays about fashion and food in film from guest bloggers with impeccable taste.


The idea of good food makes me think of sex. I love truffled cheeses, and when I tried to explain to a dear friend the effect they have on me—“It’s like leaning in close to a man who has exquisitely delicious breath, and inhaling his air”—said friend retorted, “Oh! You HAVE to write about this!” And so I do.

I have always tended to log supremely tasty food in my brain in erotic terms. Luckily for me, I discovered early enough the work of Juzo Itami. He’s a Japanese filmmaker who was apparently offed by the Yakuza, although not before he left behind a substantive body of completely perverted, magical work. I remember watching a clip from his film Tampopo (1985) sometime in the ’80s, on MTV. I was still a teenager then, and it really blew my mind! It featured two eager lovers, somewhere in the back of a Tokyo kitchen, erotically experimenting with food. They broke an egg and kept passing it back and forth in their mouths, trying to keep the yolk intact in the process. The exercise is beautifully documented on film. It instantly became my favorite erotic food maneuver. I never dared spring it onto any of my own real lovers, but therefore it stood, a pinnacle of food-fetish achievement.—Sorina Diaconescu

For the previous Friday Follies, click HERE.

Martyr Meal Magnifique!

In Food on February 26, 2009 at 9:58 pm


Whenever Tiny G’s godmother goes out of town on business, her husband—a formidable cook—makes what he calls “martyr meals,” which consist of anything and everything in the fridge or freezer (and often involve frozen peas). Last night while my husband was out with a bunch of friends at Jar, I cobbled together my own martyr meal. Lucky me, the “leftovers” in the fridge included Pine-Nut Currant Relish from Tuesday night, as well as some French radishes, baby white and orange carrots, and baby turnips from Monday night’s score. Check out these radishes up close and personal:


I trimmed and rinsed the veggies (so pretty!), tossed in olive oil and salt/pepper, and then cranked up the oven to 450 degrees and roasted for about twenty minutes. 


Then I tossed with a spoonful or two of the relish. Sign me up for martyrdom any day. That said, I do think it was kind of uncool of my husband to call me mid-meal to say that he’d just finished some crab deviled eggs and had a ribeye on the way.

Goop: An Apologia

In Fashion, Media on February 26, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Despite having overtly stated earlier this week that TheFoodinista.com is a Gwyneth-free zone, here we are again talking about Gywneth. I don’t understand how otherwise intelligent people lap up her annoyingly precious blog, GOOP. How does it not make you homicidal? I asked my friend Dana. So here to defend Gwynnie, I give you Dana Dickey:


Poor poor Gwyneth. She comes out with a blog and gets nothing but grief for it. But don’t despair Gwynnie, Gwyn Gwyn, Gwynmeister—those people out there with their brickbats (that’s an old-fashioned term for criticism, dear. I know you were busy when you were at Spence, you might have missed it) and carping (not the kind Mario does. Ibid, dear, ibid), seem to have missed the point of your email newsletter GOOP.

See, I understand Gwyneth, there’s not that much for you to do around Hollywood, except hold Robert Downey Jr’s towel in the next cash-minting superhero flick, and who knows what that simulacrum rock star you married gets up to on the road. So you’ve been pushed back on your own resources. Which, as I would think the chattering class would understand, is LIFESTYLE. You’ve got a deep, deep wellspring of superficial lifestyle, lady. So you’re sharing the wealth of it, with us. You told me which books Madonna just read, which I already forgot but in principle I like knowing. You look cute in your little black dress slideshow, counseling me to buy a Balenciaga-esque belt at Urban Outfitters. You share with me your dead father’s words, that he “wanted you to see Paris for the first time with a man that would always love you.” (OK that last is a little creepy.)

Well, just don’t listen to them Gwynnie. They are just jealous. Whereas I am just holding my breath for the reality show.—Dana Dickey

Music and Fashion Were Always the Passion

In Fashion on February 26, 2009 at 8:24 am


Yesterday my friend Missy, who has a radio show on Indie 103, was talking about new music, a dialogue to which I have very little to contribute. But it reminded me of a relatively newish musical guilty pleasure—Carla Bruni. And you know what? Viva la France for having her as their First Lady. She gets my vote for the most chic First Lady, followed by Michelle Obama and Queen Rania of Jordan. Last summer my dad was obsessed with Bruni’s 2008 album, Comme Si de Rien N’Etait, which he thinks is the perfect background music while you cook. Frankly, I think he was obsessed with the liner notes, but the music is really good, too. And he’s right—it’s great to have on in the background while you are stirring a risotto, or some such. I am also loving her album Quelqu’un M’a Dit from 2003. Her voice (and her look) reminds me of two of my all-time favorite style icons and  yé-yé girls… Françoise Hardy and Jane Birkin. Each deserves her own post, coming soon…


Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin


Françoise Hardy

Françoise Hardy

A Toast to LA Winters…

In Drink, Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on February 25, 2009 at 5:40 pm


My friend Lizzie is in town from Chicago, so three of us met for lunch today on the roof of Barneys in Beverly Hills for some bubbly and bagels. First we toasted to Lizzie’s engagement (the ice is pretty spectacular), and then we toasted to having lunch outside in February with views all the way to the Hollywood sign (that white spec in the hills in the distance):


Food is sort of beside the point there, although I had a perfectly enjoyable bagel with sturgeon, and our friend Katie had a naughty-but-nice grilled cheese: 


Embarrassment of Riches

In Drink, Food, Recipes on February 25, 2009 at 8:05 am


Apparently not every guest at Carolynn’s birthday party made out with as much Chino Farm loot as yours truly. (My apologies to Mike K.) Last night I took a page out of Carolynn’s book, literally, and made an incredible Currant-Pine Nut Relish from the cookbook she co-wrote with Nancy Silverton, A Twist of the Wrist. Carolynn had served this the other night with roasted cauliflower. I wanted to do the same with some of the beautiful little cauliflowers and carrots I scored, and spoon the rest over pork chops. So I grabbed a bunch of purple carrots and a couple baby heads of cauliflower from my haul, tossed them in olive oil, sea salt and pepper and then roasted them in the oven. Meanwhile, I heated up balsamic vinegar, currants, chopped shallots, garlic, arbol chile, a rosemary sprig and kosher salt, and then simmered for about 10 minutes.


Then I tossed in some toasted pine nuts and a little olive oil and simmered for another 30 seconds or so to blend the flavors. In a heavy skillet, I heated a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil over high heat and browned the pork chops for several minutes a side. I transferred them to a roasting dish, and put them in the oven to finish roasting along with the carrots and cauliflower. I cracked open a bottle of fruity and earthy Rioja, but cut my thumb on the very sharp foil, which necessitated a ninja band-aid:


Boo-boo notwithstanding, dinner was incredible! The husband went crazy for the veggies and the pine nut relish. I’m going to share this wonderful recipe from Twist of the Wrist, if only to give you a taste of how great this cookbook is. I cooked out of it all last summer, and highly recommend it.


Currant-Pine Nut Relish

Adapted from A Twist of the Wrist, by Nancy Silverton with Carolynn Carreño

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cups dried currants

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (or red onion)

4 large garlic cloves, grated or minced

1 dried arbol chile

2 fresh rosemary sprigs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine vinegar, currants, shallots, garlic, arbol chile, rosemary and salt in a small saucepan over high heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until it forms a thick and syrupy glaze. Stir in toasted pine nuts and olive oil and simmer for another 30 seconds to infuse flavors.

Super Natural Baby

In Baby Love, Design on February 24, 2009 at 5:41 pm

102Great news for expecting moms! Super Natural Baby is having a sale—40% off if you buy direct from their website. Tiny G’s room features this Coral Bird crib set that’s hand screen-printed on cotton, which would have been all the more appealing at 40% off. I love that the products are designed and made in San Francisco. Buy local! The khaki and coral look great against a deep blue wall, and these two reproductions of vintage Tintin posters from my husband’s room when he was a kid also pop against the blue.