Thursday, August 31, 2006


World Blog Day 2006

So tell me my dear, how long have you been reading blogs anyway?

Me, about three years. Prior to that, I really didn't actually know they existed. Admittedly, I was a little late into the game, but not so much so that I can't fondly (if not somewhat inaccurately) recollect the good-old-days (hardee har har) when there seemed to be six of us rhapsodizing about food, and only one template to choose from.

Today of course, there are a zillion and one spots to tempt you, and in the interest of driving traffic to places you may not have roamed before, someone, somewhere set up BlogDay. It's a time for bloggers to tag other bloggers that are rad, awesome, stellar, and otherwise deserve lots-o-traffic.

Now truth be told, you are most likely my only reader, so now that I have chosen five FOOD (Hey, it's my thing, man!) blogs to link to and aim my love-vibe at, it's up to you to click through and check them out. Can you dig it?

(I am also compelled to say that I am certain they all have heavy-duty traffic anyway, but the more the merrier, right? Right.)

So here goes with my choices for BlogDay 2006. Banned in China, but coming to you live from LA...

First up is the gorgeous site Foodbeam. A serious contender for best looking blog ever in the history of ever, Miss Fanny sure does take some purdy pictures and matches them with soft and breezy prose. Check it out.

Then there is Acme Instant Food. If I were any more hot for AiF I would combust. Style and substance, with just a dash of panache. Coo.

I just recently landed over at Vanilla Garlic and heavens do I have some catching up to do! Join me, won't you, to find out what fab Mr. Garrett is up to. Shibby indeedy.

Now sweet Miss Erin of Erin's Kitchen is a girl after my heart. Not only is she here in LA, but she blogs about all the places I am too shy to photograph. With wit and wisdom, she rocks my world

Last, but not least , I implore you to visit Tiny Banquet. This site is so fresh and fun, beautiful, quirky, and food-tastic, I just can't wait to see what else she has in store!

Oops, I spoke to soon, since I have to include my *bonus* site, Lex Culinaria. Sure you've been there many a time, but it really is one of my top three faves of all time. Miss Lynette blogs her heart out and has the accolades to prove it. On top of all that, she is a doll of a woman and an inspiration to all (well, me anyway).

Now look kids, just because I chose these five, doesn't mean I think any less of the thirty-odd links over there to the left. They are all super-mega-ultra-incredible and deserve your lovin’, I just was playing by the "Chose Five" rule. I hope you understand, and will let me know what you think of my choices!

And now I must add a heartfelt thanks to everyone who reads, supports and loves food blogs (that means YOU my sweet peach) …we all really appreciate you coming by!

Until tomorrow,


For a lot more Food Blogs, check out Food Porn Watch (yea, like you aren't already)

The Boston Cream Pie, created in the 19th century, was chosen as the official state dessert of Mass. on December 12, 1996. A civics class from Norton High School sponsored the bill. The pie beat out other candidates, including the toll house cookie and Indian pudding.

Click here to see who I thought of last year!

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Monday, August 28, 2006


Kimchi Pasta Salad

I have spent quite a bit of time over the last three years posting recipes on this site because I want to share something that I am passionate about: sensational food, from simple recipes, made with fresh ingredients and exploding with flavor.

I sincerely love trying new things - things that are unexpected and a little bit off the beaten path, and it's my intention that my recipes reflect that. Of course, by putting my own version of things out to the world, I do hope I can inspire a few of you to try something new too, based on what I have ventured forth and made, loved and written about. Or, you know, at the bare minimum, lure you in to admire my mind-blowing photography and witty banter. (Ha Ha)

This delectable pasta salad, which is a flawless dish for a warm afternoon, is a combination of all of the things I just mentioned. It is simple, flavorful and totally different from the norm.

It started for me with a visit to the market in Koreatown, which is like visiting a candy store. I just can't resist buying a huge pile of goodies. The shop I go to (and no, I don’t know the name, is that shameful? Super-fantastic Leiha knows. She introduced me to it) is pristinely clean and has such an abundance of interesting and (new to me) foods it makes every trip a taste-bud enticing adventure. The kimchi section alone is enough to make your eyes bug out in wonder. The seemingly endless array, in containers as small as a half pint and as large as two gallons line the refrigerated section just waiting to be dipped in to. Oh baby, is that ever a good thing.

Kimchi, for those of you unfamiliar, is Napa cabbage (and radish, and more, depending on the cook) pickled/fermented with red pepper, garlic, ginger and a small amount of fish sauce. It is a relish that is about as ubiquitous in Korean homes as salt and pepper is in ours. Lately, it has also been proven to be an a fantastic health food. "Cabbage is packed with vitamins that may boost the immune system, and fermented cabbage contains lactic acid, which helps with digestion and may weaken infections" CBS NEWS.

I personally buy Cosmo brand, because the price is right (the container pictured cost $5.00 in the Korean supermarket and is sold for $8.00 at Ralphs) it is made locally and you know how I love my MADE IN L.A. products, but any brand (or your own version) will do in this recipe. But even with my serious obsession with kimchi, I can only eat so much of it mixed with rice and cold fried tofu (my normal treatment) so I came up with this as an alternative.

The dish is perfectly crunchy, spicy, sweet and salty. It has a zip to it you won’t believe. Low-fat but high in flavor, it is different, but familiar. A fusion dish with a lot of pow, that comes together in a snap. One warning: sample the kimchi before you add it, to see how spicy it is. They can vary widely. So my petit chou, try this very non-traditional use for kimchi, and enjoy.

1 cup kimchi, diced, liquid reserved
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 small cucumber, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 carrot, sliced into thin matchsticks
1 minced chile pepper (use to taste)
1 pound farfalla pasta, cooked in salted water, drained and cooled
Minced peanuts and parsley or cilantro for garnish

Combine the first six ingredients, toss, then season to taste. Let the pasta absorb the flavors for at least 20 minutes. Garnish with peanuts and cilantro or parsley and serve.

Additional vegetables such as bean sprouts, radish and jicama would also be tasty. Soy sauce or fish sauce would also be nice additions.


Researchers wanted to know why Polish women have low rates of breast cancer. They discovered that women who ate four or more servings of raw or barely cooked cabbage per week during adolescence were 74 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than the women who ate 1.5 or fewer servings per week.

Traditional kimchi is stored in sealed jars and either buried or stored in underground cellars for up to a month.

Here is a list of Korean Markets in the U.S.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006


Persian Cucumber & Avocado Salad with Microgreens

The sight of microgreens peeking out from their spot amongst the lettuce on the grocers shelf is a pretty exciting thing to a girl who loves her food. A feathery pile in shades of emerald and light green, royal purples and soft whites, they just beg to land in your basket and come home with you to become something wonderful.

Seems to me, that it isn’t often they are made available to the mass market, and then they are usually expensive. Not so if you are shopping at good old Trader Joe’s this week though! (Hey, as an aside, did you know TJ’s only sells booze in their California stores, everywhere else, its just wine and beer…tragic!) There they were, a small package for $3.00 and in with my purchases they went. I know a good thing when I see it!

I didn’t even have to give thought on how to showcase their delicateness. See, a few weeks ago I had a terrific dinner (because they are all terrific, aren’t they?) at one of L.A.’s premier dining stops, Lucques. The starter I ordered was the inspiration for this salad and it had me swooning in my seat. A perfect balance of bitter, sweet and acid, salty, buttery and rich. (That would be bitter from the greens, sweet from the cucumber, acid from lime, salty - well, that’s self explanatory I hope, buttery from the oil and rich from the avocado. See? I don’t just arbitrarily add descriptions!)

Using Persian cucumbers (small, thin skinned cucumbers with seeds you don’t have to remove) and some avocados that were still firm enough to hold their shape, I made this delight in less than 5 minutes (the photo shoot was harried too, since Boston Boy was hovering, waiting to get a fork in…bless him) just tossing it all together and then enjoying it whole-heartedly.

And for those of you with an abundance of basil this time of year, it is a perfect way to use a few leaves! The only thing I have to say in warning (other than this is addictive) is that the greens being so small, will wilt within five minutes of dressing, so don’t go tossing them in the oil too far in advance of serving, okay? Good.

There are lots of substitutions you can use too, regular greens of course, and hothouse cucumbers to start. It would also be great with a bit of shrimp or some cold smoked mussels. Mmm. So try this my dears, and enjoy!

1 small bunch basil, some leaves reserved for garnish
½ small shallot, minced
¼ cup highest quality olive oil
Juice of two limes
Salt and pepper to taste
6 small Persian cucumbers, sliced
2 medium avocados, diced

In a small processor or by hand in a bowl, combine the basil (if you are going at this all by hand, mince it first) with the shallot, oil, lime juice and blend until it is emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Toss with the rest of the ingredients. Serve with basil leaves as garnish.

Makes enough for four starter salads.


The greens I used were a combination of tatsoi, amaranth, red mustard, kale, beet greens and arugula.

Cucumbers are believed to have originated in India

Ice-cream-maker Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. said yesterday that it will drop Michael Foods Egg Farm, an egg supplier accused of mistreating chickens, responding to pressure from the Humane Society of the United States. -

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Friday, August 25, 2006


MADE IN L.A. - Bart's Cookies

MADE IN L.A. It's my journey into the heart of darkness, I mean, uh, sunshine!


As I have mentioned time and time again, I am on a quest to find products for sale in the market that are made right here in glorious Los Angeles, California, home of the Hollywood Sign, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and of course, Bart’s Bus.

Bart’s Bus?

Sure. Why not.

You see, Bart is a man on a mission to change the world, and stoke the masses by giving them a spectacular treat, and while doing all that he rests his head at night in a big, pink bus. I know because he put a picture of it in his cookie box. But now that I am aware of it, I do wonder if I haven't seen it parked around town.

His mission is not to be a bus-dweller, (I hope) but to bring the world the greatest chocolate chip cookie eating experience ever. Ever. From the minute you purchase these far-out little morsels, you will be on a trip like no other. They are like a rocket ship straight to a fantasy land of crumbly-sweet happiness.

And you think I am being hyperbolic? Ha. Just try reading the fun/wacky packaging and tell me you don’t see what I mean. He quotes movies, tells the story of his life (abbreviated) and imparts positive wisdom. It's fantastically entertaining. Pretty good stuff, and that's before you get to the inside!

My first box of these tiny bits of joy was purchased at the Whole Foods at 3rd and Fairfax for $8.00 – which I agree, seems like an outrageous sum, that is until you realize you arent just buying a snack, you are buying a dream. This man's dream. And yes, they are cookies, but that is not something to be taken lightly!

The large cardboard box contains two shiny mylar bags of one-bite-sized cookies. The instructions (yes peaches, these treats come with instructions) say that like a fine wine, they must breathe before you eat them…and we did. And they did. And it was good. Oh heavens, was it ever good. And just for you, my sweet reader, we also tried some right out of the bag (sans breathing) and you know what? There was a difference. The ones we let sit for a bit had softened a bit and the chocolate was a touch, oozy-er (in the best possible way)

Each cookie is just slightly smaller than a quarter. Yet, that tiny bite is absolutly packed with dark and melting chocolate chips, golden sweet cookie that crumbles like no other, the rich taste of fresh butter and a tiny hint of salt to balance it all out. They are addictive as can be, and yet, easy to savor, one small bite at a time.

Using only natural ingredients, some serious passion, and a healthy dose of whimsy, Bert has indeed created a cookie to end all cookies. Available with or without nuts, I suggest you get some soon. They are not just made in L.A., they are the best of L.A. for sure. Peace, love and cookies.


The first chocolate chip cookies were invented in 1937 by Ruth Graves Wakefield (1905-1977), of Whitman, Massachusetts, who ran the Toll House Restaurant.

American chocolate manufacturers use about 1.5 billion pounds of milk -- only surpassed by the cheese and ice cream industries


Thursday, August 24, 2006



A few nights ago I somehow ended up at another one of those H'Wood kinda parties. You know the type, the ones that are busting at the seams with beautiful people and are replete with corporate sponsorship. This soiree, brought to us in part by the fab folks of POM Wonderful.

Smack in the middle of the revelry, at a large and cheerful white booth, there were darling young men and women furiously handing out collectible glasses of chilled POM Tea (also sold for $5 each at local markets) to the clamouring throng of hipnoscente. Happily, I was one of the lucky few that snagged a glassful before they ran out, mere moments into the fiesta.

The idea of course, was for taste-makers such as myself (ha-ha) to try, then later buy. And bonus for them, some revelers (well, this one) took some home to blog about!

The glasses - with their peel off (yet vacuum sealed) metal lid that were impossible to open without spilling some of the contents - contained one of four flavors of POM tea. Really light and delicious, extremely drinkable tea. The basic Pomegranate Black Tea was perfect, while Pomegranate Blackberry Black Tea and Pomegranate-Lychee Green Tea, were my favorites. I mean, it tastes good and is made with green tea? Yeoza! Could this stuff be better for you? On the other hand, I thought the Pomegranate-Peach Passion White Tea was (a lot to say) a little too fruity. The rest though, were slightly sweet, slightly tart, mildy tannic (in a good, tea kinda way) with a breath of fruit essence. Overall, a sheer delight. And they contain no high-fructose corn syrup! It does have POMx though…which, is, uh, "POMx is a highly-concentrated, all-natural blend of polyphenol antioxidants made from the same California pomegranates we use to make our 100% Pomegranate Juice." (Via their website) I was sold. And right then and there I became fascinated with POM and all its delicious and natural, high in antioxidant-ness.

But first, take a moment and think back to, oh, say, 2002. Had you heard of POM? Were you quaffing pomegranate martinis or buying nifty little hourglass shaped bottles ("designed to resemble two pomegranates stacked one on top of the other") of $8 wonder elixirs? Most likely not. Because as recently as four years ago nobody had even heard of POM and their POM Wonderful pomegranate. Because it didn’t exist! Nope, it just appeared, and made a splash. A big, deep red, slightly tart, splash. As a matter of fact, "the Beverage Marketing Corporation estimates that sales have totalled $50 million (£30m) since the product launched in 2003.’ THE GAURDIAN

You see, despite what the vague web site lets on to, POM is really owned by a fascinating Hollywood power-couple with a whole heck of a lot of marketing power, which totally explains how come it has become the golden foodstuff of the moment…

"The Resnicks own one of the world's largest farming operations, based in Kern County. They are co-owners of the Franklin Mint, Pom Wonderful juice and Fiji Water." - LA TIMES

"Valued at close to a billion dollars, the Resnick's business interests take in vast swathes of California's citrus orchards, including the Sunkist brand. Stewart A Resnick, 64, paid his way through law school running a janitor service. His wife Lynda, 58, is the daughter of a Hollywood producer who made horror films, including the cult classic The Blob." THE GAURDIAN

Crazy stuff right? I just love it. These people are just the most! Brilliant!Here I have been thinking it was all brought to us by some little company on a mission – because I am all about supporting the little guy -- and it doesn’t matter, because seriously, if the health benefits are true and the juice is good, the tea is absolutely great, and everybody loves a good POM-tini, well, I say, drink up. And besides, I’m a fanatic for antioxidants…even if there are more in a cup of blueberries than a glassful of this stuff…

Anyway, I guess their marketing plan worked better than expected, because here I am, suggesting to one and all that you run out and get some of their awesome tea…and the bonus "collectible glass" while actually tacky as sin to collect, (collectible glasses? What are we, six?) do have a great shape and make really perfect vases. Then again, I swear, 30 years from now, I will be kicking myself when Martha Stewart Living magazine prattles on and on about how highly collectible these suckers are…

Until tomorrow,


POM Wonderful has planted 6,000 acres of orchards in the San Joaquin Valley of California. That, according to the Pomegranate Council is more than half the total crop grown in the US.

Antioxidants are intimately involved in the prevention of cellular damage -- the common pathway for cancer, aging, and a variety of diseases. - Rice University.Edu

Red Delicious, Northern Spy and Ida Red, pack a greater wallop of disease-fighting antioxidants than other apples studied. -

Tannins are detectable by a dry, sometimes puckery, sensation in the mouth and back of the throat - Epicurious

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Lucas Sushi

Southern California is a desert. I know because I paid attention in that botany class I once took (I started out school as a Botany/Art major. Can you imagine? Blessed little 21-year-old-me wanted to do botanical illustrations as a career. Turns out, I am wack at botany and the call for botanical illustrators in this day and age is almost nil. Doh! Plus, can you say nerd? Eek.) that it consists of a chaparral desert. That’s right kids, it’s a desert. The kind that burns every once in awhile. Now, while I am a fan of the extra "s" making all things delicious and "dessert," I still live in a dry, warm, breezy desert, and I am glad for it.

One of the things about living in this climate zone is that we can pretty much predict the weather before it happens. Rain? That would be the third week in October through "Storm Watch fill-in-the-year" in February. That’s about it.

That lack of rain leaves a girls car kinda filthy though, lemme tell ya.

The solution of course, is a good car washing. Lather that baby up, hose it down and bedazzling (temporary) cleanliness can be yours.

For a price. And a precious 45 minutes. Which is what makes Lucas my new favorite restaurant. Ever. (Or at least, on Tuesday mornings, when I get the gas-guzzling-dirt-attracting-monster cleaned.) Even if they have no parking lot. What they do have instead is an adorable cottage attached to the car wash. I mean come ON people. This is the road-side attraction we have all been missing in this day and age!

It's like a dream. Instead of sipping on a bottle of water and wondering "When’s lunch?" This little gem of a place offers up ocean-breeze fresh sushi and teriyaki right there at Expert Car Wash on La Brea Avenue. Is there better sushi? Sure! But at a car wash? I'm going with, no.

The menu consists of your standard Americanized Japanese fair. Spicy Tuna Rolls, (see photo) California Rolls, Teriyaki Chicken, Honeydew Melon Smoothies (Huh? Why is this item so hot right now? Oh yes, because they are TASTY.) and yakitori. Prices top out at $8.95 too, which is pretty rad. Everything is prepared fresh and for some reason, (and this is where it becomes obvious I am no restaurant reviewer) is really a cut above most sushi shacks. The fish is fresh (would you expect less?) and served with panache, the service is quick and the overall feeling is…happy. It is one happy little (read: seats 12) place. Kinda makes me wish they had a parking lot.

So if your neighbor kids wrote "Wash Me" in the dust on your windshield, and you really want a bite to eat, head over to this spot and make yourself a happy camper too. I certainly am.

Until tomorrow,

Lucas Sushi and Teriyaki
900 S. La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA


The Orange Honeydew Melon is also known as the "Temptation Melon."

Japan's annual per-capita vegetable consumption today is 105.2 kilograms - slightly less than that of the United States (107.7 kilograms), but more than that of Germany (95.5 kilograms) and the United Kingdom (92.8 kilograms). -


Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Five Spice Tofu with Chinese-Style Smoked Bacon

While idly flipping through a copy of Saveur magazine that I found on Boston Boy's coffee table, I came across an article that had me bouncing up and down in my seat and possibly drooling. (Though I refuse to admit that part of the story.)

I had been wrestling with finding a tofu recipe to feed to a friend who said he would rather eat worms than bean curd, when the solution appeared before me like an oasis in the desert or a wet nap at a rib joint. The perfect solution.

Right there on those glossy pages I not only found my project for the day but also the most delectible meal for anyone who (in this day and age, can you imagine?) is still bean-curd-a-phobic.

I mean come on, a girl with cash in her wallet and no place to be…what better way to spend a few hours than tooling around town in search of an elusive new ingredient to feed to a stubborn Oklahoma boy with a fear of "hippy food." Stir Fried Tofu with Chinese Style Smoked Bacon. Get it? Bacon and tofu. What could be less health-concious? Now, say it with me…mmm.

The first order of business was to locate a purveyor of said bacon. The magazine suggested mail ordering the porcine delight, but, uh, that wasn't likely. So, after inquires abound, I kept hearing the same thing over and over…I would have to drive to the heavily Chinese neighborhood, Monterey Park or count myself out.

Turns out, Montery Park is a place that really is crazy-far away and frankly, not even some where I have ever driven to myself. (The shame! The shame! I know! What kind of foodie am I!) So what was my response? Nope. Not gonna happen. Boxed in by my fear of getting lost, I went with my only other option, I lit out on a wing and a prayer and tooled down to Chinatown, (side note: I refuse to say "Forget about it" based simply on the fact, that its just too cliché for words)magazine in hand, on a quest for my main (seasoning) ingredient.

News flash: Most of the grocery stores in the Chinatown area of Los Angeles are actually Vietnamese. Sensational if you want Vietnamese food, not so great for Chinese. English is not spoken (something I find beyond awesome. It's like going on an exotic vacation without stepping foot on a plane) and my magazine photo yielded nada. It was a challenge indeed. After many, many, many strange looks (You try pantomiming "bacon!") I was given something that seemed to fit the bill and all I could say was, yippee, I was on my way.

A quick stop into a Mexican market for chiles and a stop into my favorite Korean grocery for a vat of kimchee (I just wanted it and I figured I was nearby, so why not!) and I was ready to get my wok on.

The meal itself comes together in, oh, say, 12 minutes, so be ready for a wham-bam-pow spicy taste treat. And for you out there with a fear of tofu? Pfft. Jump on the wagon baby, I promise you, the ride is outrageous.

Flavored with five-spice powder, bacon, hot chiles, garlic chives and soy sauce, well, you couldn't ask for a better meal.

Sure, the bacon itself was so fatty that after steaming it (no, I'm not sure why that is a step, but I did it anyway. The package and the magazine said so) and trimming away the lard (hey man, I just call it like I see it.) there wasn't a whole heck-of-a-lot left over except enough to add a smoky meatiness that will melt your mind.

See that picture over there? Now tell me that isn't some crazy-lardy food. The strip on the left? No meat what-so-ever, and those little ones, just a touch right in the center. Though on the whole, once trimmed, the entire package-worth is a-ok. Really, this is the ideal example of how in Chinese cuisine, meat is a seasoning much more often than the focus of the dish, because heck knows I didn't end up with much of it added in. So go on and try this my peaches. On a hot summer night, when you don't want to be messing around, it's quick as lightning to pull off and really a perfect dish. Serve it with steamed white rice (duh.) and enjoy!

1 lb Chinese style smoked bacon

1 block 5 spice seasoned baked tofu. Sliced into bite sized pieces

1 medium bunch garlic chives, sliced into 1 inch pieces

6 -8 chiles de arbol, (or more, to taste) cut into large pieces

Soy sauce to taste

In a steamer, steam the bacon over a low simmer for five to six minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Trim as much of the fat off as you want.

In a large frying pan or wok, saute the bacon until it renders some fat. (Even with all that trimming there is bound to be some left) add the tofu and saute until browned, about five minutes.

Add the garlic chives and chiles and continue to saute until wilted. Serve immediately.

Serves four


The origins of five-spice powder are lost, but there is some thought that the Chinese were attempting to produce a "wonder powder" encompassing all of the five elements. The common ingredients are Szechuan peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, and fennel seeds.

A legal challenge to the city of Chicago's Tuesday ban on the sale of fois gras is being filed by outraged restaurant owner Allen Sternweiller, who owns Allen's The New American CafA. He told WBBM-TV, Chicago, he had the challenge prepared, and would file it Tuesday morning as the ban took effect. The City Council passed the ban based on animal rights activists' claims that farmers force-feed ducks and geese to fatten their livers. -Newscom

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The World's Largest Matzoh Ball

*** UPDATE FOR AOL READERS - The matzoh ball at Canters that weighed 26 lbs was part of a publicity event for the movie When Do We Eat? It is not on their menu. For my matzoh ball recipe, click here. Thanks! ***

Yesterday was just a swimmingly beautiful day. It was 10 am and I was on my way to start a knock down drag out fight with the powers that be at the Department of Motor Vehicles (Result? Rachael - 1, DMV - 0. Thank you very much) when in a flash, I remembered having seen a small notice in the paper last weekend claiming : The "World’s Largest Matzoh Ball" was going to be made at Canters Deli. There was no way I was going to miss this monumental event.

Stomping down on the breaks, I made a quick illegal turn and was on my way. The DMV would have to wait, (of course, when I got there, it was me who waited. And waited. Then again, that was sort of to be expected…) I was on a mission!

There is something about Canters that I love (the full bar?) and a lot about it I don’t. (The food? The fact the air conditioning is set to "deep freeze?") But when you stick with the classics and try to keep in mind this is not how your Bubbie cooked, it can be a good thing. For instance, they make a mean matzoh ball soup. And since this event, marking the DVD launch of "When Do We Eat?" a film that sounds pretty terif, included not only the "World’s Largest Matzoh Ball" but free samples, well, I was in.

The publicist did good. There were photographers and news crews, a Guinness Book representative and a throng of hungry onlookers. Me included, of course.

The proud gentleman sitting with the famed ball, was the Director of the flick, Salvador Litvak. (Which we must all check out, ya?) but lemme just say, it was a bit startling to see first hand what he was hovering over. If I recall correctly, the "World’s Largest Matzob Ball" weighed in at a paltry 26 pounds. 26 pounds? Seemed a bit wimpy to me, but hey, it was still impressive. And apparently edible. Not that we got a taste. What we were given was a cute little cup of broth with a nice golf-ball sized matzoh ball and some Saltine crackers. The broth was golden, the ball was heavy (the way I prefer, others like them light…to each their own, right?) and the price was right. What can I say, I ate it all with relish.

So I don’t know how the actual "World’s Largest Matzoh Ball" tasted, but the soup I was given was grand, and I am certain the movie it was promoting is even more so.

Until tomorrow…



If you are looking for something to do in Los Angeles this Thursday night, my friends flick Farewell Bender, (which premiered at TriBeCa) starring Eddie Kaye Thomas is screening in Hollywood. Email me if you want to be on the list!

Schmaltz: Chicken fat. Schmaltz is used instead of butter for cooking in kosher meat dishes

Review of Canters from Zagats: “Perfect pastrami and corned beef sandwiches”, “grumpy” “100-year-old” servers, “throwback” decor – yep, this “kitschy-cool” all-night deli with a menu “longer than the Torah” has been the commissary of the Fairfax district for decades; while most mavens like being able to get “matzo balls 24 hours a day” and insist the Canter-ankerous service is “part of the charm”, kvetches chant that this “institution” is “living off its reputation.”

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Vampire Wine

The saga. Continues. Pause. For dramatic effect. (It’s effect right, not affect? Well, you paused, right? Then we are good. Okeedokee.)

To recap, I moved. I piled all my assorted things (mostly cooking gear and cookbooks as fate would have it) into large cardboard boxes, paid some burly men with seemingly boundless energy and brute strength to haul it all to a glorious new apartment. With AC. And a disposal (the last place didn’t have one, and the landlord threatened my life if I installed one. Did I mention she was a nutter?) which, turns out, is like, a really important thing to me. And a washer/dryer. Which is a rare thing in an apt in this city, lemme tell ya. And I have been there for nine days. Then yesterday, I gave my notice to move out.

Seems I failed to notice this spacious, hardwood-floored jewel is located dead center in the hood. The H-double OH (MY) - D, HOOD. As in gang bangers in the alley way and a general crack-chic look to the whole block.

Seriously, what the heck was I thinking? I must have been dazzled by the shiny chrome fridge with an ice maker in the door (which, doesn’t make ice, since the fridge is like, no where near the sink, which it needs to be hooked up to freaking work. Oh, and despite the fact my landlord said it was new, I noticed it was moldy, -- wanna see the pictures? -- and the filter inside prominently proclaims it should be changed in 2002. But I digress) and the great 1930’s touches. Yup, I was awed enough not to notice that the landlord lives upstairs, with her brood of 8. Yes, eight. Something I neglected to register while peering into the vast closets, eyes bugged out, oohing and ahhing. But the damage is done, and thankfully, since she, uh, FORGOT to have me sign a lease (no, really, she did) I am oh-so-very out of there. I swear kids, it could not be more dramatic. (Actually, in fairness, the place really is cute and the landlord is a dear woman. I just can’t deal with the hood.)

BUT, all that said, it didn’t stop me from having my girls over for a night of wine and cheese and giggles and scandal and ringtone downloading and boy-talk and more drinking and well, you get the idea.

As a "joke" The Queen of The Valley (formerly known on this site as Ms. LaRue, but now that it has come to my attention that is also Tori Spellings dogs name, well, you can understand me changing it for my friend, cant you?) brought over a bottle of Romania’s finest wine…Vampire. According to their site, the vineyards are old, the grapes, renowned, and the contents, not at all a joke.

Well, I am here to testify, that while I feel as if the blood has been unceremoniously sucked from my neck, lately, it has nothing to do with the wine. The wine (a $10 bottle) was actually…pretty terrific. It’s a Cabernet, but more in the vein (hardee har har) of a Beaujolais. There were notes of dark fruit flavors, and yet, it was light, not too sweet, or too dry, it has a certain clarity to it that we loved. Really, its a fun wine, easy to drink, goes well with spicy, (dried Trader Joe’s chile-mangos), chocolately (cookies) and hearty (beef satay). I recommend it, and not just for Halloween.

So run out and get your own fine self a bottle. And if while you are dashing round town, if you see a For Rent sign, think of me.



Blood sausage consists of pig's blood and fat that's cooked and seasoned, then stuffed into a natural casing, like a pig intestine. The blood may also come from a calf, sheep, or ox. Fillers like oats and apples are sometimes used, as well.

Sarmale: rice mixed with ground beef , wrapped on cabbage leaves is the (one of the) national dish(s) of Romania

ConAgra has sold its cheese business to Fairmount Food Group to focus on higher-margin branded products. The sale of its Swissrose International cheese franchise for an undisclosed sum to Dallas-based Fairmount caps ConAgra's strategy to focus on more profitable brands like Healthy Choice, Egg Beaters and Hebrew National. So far this year, the brands the Omaha-based ConAgra has sold off include Butterball (turkeys), Armour, Decker (both processed meats), Cook's (hams), Ready Crisp (bacon) and Margherita (Italian-style processed meats). - Technology

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Edamame Succotash

Hey there all you cats and kittens! Moving has been a bit of a downer, my new digs, fab though they may be, are still lacking in appropriate dsl connections, and as the last remaining desktop owner on the planet (apparently) it has severly limited my blogging abilities. (Note to self, figure out what moblogging is or buy a laptop already!)

But enough of my excuses! On with the show!

This past Saturday night I was thrilled to accompany Miss Tiffany, DK, Boston Boy, The Rock Goddess and her sidekick the ultra fab Rock Demi-God (as a 21 year old, he has yet to achieve full status, but I certainly do see it in his future) to the overwhemlingly inspired Hollyhock House (when you visit LA you must - simply must - put this spot on your agenda, okay?) for an outdoor performance of good ol' William Shakespeare's "As You Like It" ("about what a kingdom does when everyone is left to do as they please") and yet another gloriously gluttonous picnic.

The highlight of the feast, I must say, was the sinfully simple edamame succotash I whipped together almost as an afterthought. While I shamefully admit that at the height of corn season, what I used (gasp, shudder) came from a can, I still stand behind this as a perfect picnic pick-me-up (sorry, I couldn't resist the alliteration there). A hearty balance of cool and smooth soybeans, sweet corn, tangy balsamic and a hint of bite from the shallot, it just works. Yum. Yum.

Now, if you are like us, and a night of British theatrics on a stunning hilltop with surreal vistas has you wound up and looking for more to do...follow our lead and top off your evening with a visit to Jumbos Clown Room* the sweet and tangy salad, it totally balances out any night. Try it, and enjoy!

1 cup, shelled, cooked edamame
1 cup corn kernals (fresh, canned, whatever)
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 roasted red bell pepper, minced
3 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic style vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe is a snap! Combine all, season to taste, let marinate 20 minutes and serve.

Enough for 4 people as a side dish

*Jumbos should also be on everyones to to list for a LA visit...while the ladies have gotten much better (younger, prettier, enhanced) looking in the last few years (it used to be where "strippers went to die") it is still a hoot and a me!


200 billion cans of food are produced annually, worldwide

[SUHK-uh-tash] This southern United States favorite is a cooked dish of lima beans, corn kernels and sometimes chopped red pepper

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