I’ve been meaning to post this all day, but whoa, what a busy one. But don’t feel too, too sorry for me—I just got back from judging a chef competition at Loteria Grill in which Eric Greenspan from The Foundry challenged Akasha Richmond from her eponymous restaurant in Culver City to a taco challenge. More on that tomorrow…but back to the news at hand. Today I started a new feature called “Good Taste” over on Herman Miller’s LIFEWORK blog. In it we’ll be featuring great snacks and lunch ideas for the home office. Starting with my personal favorite, horseradish cream with cracked black pepper potato chips. It’s inspired by a the house-made potato chips they put out on the bar at Suzanne Tracht’s Jar restaurant. So head on over to Herman Miller for the recipe, and check back for more!
Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page
If you, like I, are one of more than 1.5 million viewers who have clicked on the story All Joy and No Fun: Why Parents Hate Parenting, which ran this summer in New York magazine and landed its author Jennifer Senior a pretty sweet book deal, chances are you have an opinion about parenting regardless of whether or not you have kids. Here’s mine. Parenting is not easy. And sure, I miss being able to pack up for the weekend and go to a ritzy party in, say, Florence on a whim. Or, hell, even go to the movies up the street without having to orchestrate schedules, sitters and mortgage my house to pay for a simple night out (it adds up, people!). In my most self-indulgent and frustrated moments, I wonder if my career might have taken a different turn if I hadn’t had kids. And here’s the answer: who cares? Because there is just no high like waking up every morning and walking into Tiny G’s room and seeing his little nose wrinkle and smile. This moment each day is happiness in its purest form.
His meltdown at dinner last night, on the other hand, was not. But what is good without the bad? While I don’t like to put up photos of Tiny G online, I will share some pics of his room, because it is my happy place.
Saturday night we celebrated my sister Claire’s birthday—and celebrate we did! Starting with pink Champagne and potato chips with crème fraîche and caviar at our friend Lizzie’s, followed by a three-tier seafood tower situation at Hungry Cat, and culminating in a Valerie Confections Rose Petal Cake back at chez Foodinista. I do not exaggerate when I say it is now my favorite cake on offer in the entire city of Los Angeles! This is where Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and I part ways: Waters recently special-ordered a chocolate cake with candied mint from Valerie, and added that after trying Valerie’s candied basil she might steal that idea for Chez Panisse. So while Waters ponders which of Valerie’s cakes with candied herbs she wants to heist, I’ll be keeping this rose petal number all to myself. This is the second of these cakes I’ve ordered from Valerie in as many weeks. Proof positive:
Thank god we have a little of Claire’s cake leftover, because turns out it is also spectacular with a cup of coffee for breakfast. Happy Birthday, Claire!
Get ready to get excited. It’s dineLA Restaurant Week, which is a great time to check out specials around town at your favorite restaurants. But my favorite part—and this is SO MUCH fun—is that some of the city’s top chefs are going “toque to toque” in QUICKFIRE challenges around the city. Pictured above is Mark Peel of Campanile/Tar Pit, who triumphed over David LeFevre of Water Grill and Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station on Tuesday’s QUICKFIRE challenge. All week there will be chef challenges across town and admission is free. It’s like watching your very own episode of Top Chef live!
And…drumroll…a week from tonight, The Foodinista (that’s me!!) will be judging a QUICKFIRE contest along with my friend Jimmy Shaw from Loteria and Harriett Ells from KCRW’s Good Food, as we watch Eric Greenspan from The Foundry battle it out against Akasha Richmond from AKASHA in a taco challenge. The competition takes place at Loteria Hollywood from 5pm – 7pm on September 30th, so mark your calendars and come on out to watch LA’s top chefs in action! All are welcome—spread the word!
I am unapologetically in an army green phase, thanks to my friend Billy, who gifted me with this lovely camo bag earlier this summer from the Army Navy Surplus store on Vine in Hollywood. At $20, a STEAL considering Prada’s $1,120 version at Barneys. And I like mine better. Those-in-the-know have come to recognize this as the Billy Bag. Originally we dressed it up with an orange Hermes twilly, but then I found this old Chanel camellia kicking around in my closet. Ditto on an old favorite Marc Jacobs trompe l’oeil jacket in army green with cream pinstriping. I wore it to a meeting at Tiny G’s preschool yesterday and I love it today as much as I did back in 2003, when it came home for the very first time!
As I packed for a weekend getaway at the Ace last weekend, I noticed that army green was holding strong with my old-lady Chloe prescription sunglasses (PS – don’t ever get prescription lenses put in a frame this large—they are unbearably heavy to wear after a couple hours), a fabby new shade of Chanel Khaki Vert nail polish and a favorite Erès bikini, which is more of a mushroom color really but it wanted to tag along. Who knew that Billy, who was also in Palm Springs this past weekend for a friend’s birthday party, would surprise me with a $3 gun-print bandana from the Army Navy Surplus in Atlanta, GA??
I’m reminded of one of my all-time favorite songs by Sippie Wallace, which warns “women be wise, keep your mouth shut and don’t advertise your man.” But hubris got the better of me and so this post is dedicated to my husband’s aunt Ellen, who does not quite believe that her nephew cooks—and cooks well. Here is just one example of Mr. Foodinista throwing together something delicious, in this case a Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Garlic. In fact, it was so damned delicious that you’d think this Swiss-born New Yorker came into this world wielding a wok! Some action shots.
And the finished dish, perfectly crisp and tender and loaded with garlicky sesame flavor, along with some grilled Korean beef skewers we picked up at Whole Foods:
Yup, that good. I’m one lucky girl. Though I probably should’ve listened to Sippie…
My neighbor Debra—whose garden is nothing short of spectacular—kept waiting and waiting for her rhubarb to turn red. Until she finally discovered that she had planted a green variety. Who knew?! Two weekends ago she harvested her green haul, and shared a couple pounds with us. And oh my lordy! Sweet-tart and delicious. Raw, it tasted like biting into a crisp granny smith. Simmered down with a little honey and orange juice, the rhubarb becomes sweet and tangy.
I wasn’t wild aesthetically speaking about a gooey green crisp or pie—the go-to uses for summer rhubarb—so instead I went savory with this awesome recipe for Black Sea Bass with Sweet-and-Sour Orange Rhubarb Sauce. The recipe is not low maintenance, let’s put it that way. But the results are worth the effort. The simmered rhubarb gets pushed through a sieve, and then added to a slow-cooked sauce of caramelized onions, tomatoes, ginger and spice.
Heaped over beautifully roasted buttery filets of sea bass and served with stir-fried baby bok choy, this silky sauce is divine.
Mixed in with red quinoa the next day for lunch, it is every bit as satisfying.
We are back from a dreamy weekend in Palm Springs—100 degrees by midmorning each day, hot summer nights. A seriously relaxing weekend. Sun, sleep, sleep, sun. My parents came down from Napa Valley to stay with Tiny G while we snuck off to the ACE in Palm Springs. More on all of this later, including paddle tennis with Mr Foodinista and a dip in the pool at the former home of Christina Onassis, which friends had rented for the weekend for a birthday bash, but in the meantime I leave you with summer’s perfect snacks.
Hadley’s Okra Chips with sea salt. Go ahead and laugh. They are really quite reminiscent of … something. And they are also my new favorite cocktail fare.
White wine spritzer, plenty of ice. When the temps get over 100, there is nothing more refreshing than a splash of white wine, club soda over slushy ice, enjoyed in the shade of our garden patio room.
Already planning next escape.
A few years ago, an acquaintance said to a then-pregnant me, “I couldn’t in good conscience raise my kids in Los Angeles.” Well, here’s the thing. Given the choice, I couldn’t in good conscience NOT raise my kid in Los Angeles. There are few cities I know that offer as much culture, diversity and kid-friendly activities as L.A. From all the great parks throughout the city, to the bike paths, beaches and tidepools, there is plenty to do outdoors—year round. And when it comes to food? Check out Jessica Ritz’s wildly popular Taster Tots LA blog as she navigates the LA restaurant scene with two toddlers. “I’m interested in eating where children are welcome and where us adults actually WANT to go,” she writes. “If there’s a kid’s menu, great. If not, we’ll work with what they got.” Turns out Vietnamese crepes are a huge hit with the kiddies. As is the pizza at Patsy’s. And the food trucks throughout the city.
Also, as Angelenos we are particularly lucky to have perhaps one of the best community programs for kids in the country: LACMA’s Arts for the NexGen project. It’s the only free youth membership program of its kind in the U.S. and it ROCKS. There are art classes and camps for kids of all ages, and the Boone Childrens Gallery is where kids and families can learn about brush painting and Korean art. It’s pretty great. Tiny G just got his NexGen pass today! And he can’t wait to go check out the Sports and Art program this Sunday and perhaps try his tiny hand at creating his own sports-inspired art in the artist-led workshops.
So, yeah. I love LA.
My new favorite discovery is Dixie Caviar—a delicious blog devoted to Southern cooking. Its author, Nealey Catherine Dozier, is one of those effortlessly chic Southerners who can whip up a batch of THE WORLD’S BEST FOOTBALL SANDWICHES the morning after a night of Jäger bombs out on the town in Atlanta. Only Southern women can pull this sort of thing off. The rest of us watch in awe.
Back at Chez Foodinista, yours truly—who was born below the Mason-Dixon—tried out Nealey’s football sandwiches for Mr. Foodinista, whose beloved New York Giants played their first (winning!) game today. Mr. Foodinista, it should be noted, was born WAY above the Mason-Dixon. Like in Switzerland. But that didn’t stop him from devouring several of these sammies and going back for more. They’re a sort of ham and swiss slider drizzled with dijon poppy seed sauce that bake in the oven until the Swiss gets all melty. Nealey’s recipe will feed a crowd, but this time I made just 8 sliders. Here they are going into the oven:
Thank you, Dixie Caviar, for this divine football fare. Can’t wait to check back for more!
For recipe, click HERE.