Saturday, October 31, 2009

Domino's Pizza Blog Entry that Should Have Been a Tweet

Aggressively mediocre, but yet so fast it can barely be called pizza. Should fall into the fast food category.  The end.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blue Bottle Coffee Cafe at Equator Books Grand Opening Par-tay

Equator Books
1103 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291-3313
(310) 399-5544

On Saturday November 7, 2009 come to Venice, experience Blue Bottle Coffee, and meet Blue Bottle's James Freeman.


Seems like a great way to kick off the holidays.

While you're here, check out some art.

Chill out, read a book.

Eat some Cake Monkey.

Cake Monkey & Blue Bottle Coffee, good.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dinner at Mom's October 2009

First fall dinner party, at Mom's house in Sacramento with Mom's bff, D and myself enjoying the surprisingly balmy evening, lots of good food and just a hair too much wine.

We start with our favorite fizz, Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose, Mom says this is the last bottle until after the recession is over. It feels like a decadent treat these days and we relish every bubble and sip with lots of toasts to chronicle what's good in our lives.


When my bff was visiting from London, she brought over a couple special bottles of fizz as a gift to me, so I might surprise Mom with some bubbling decadence at Christmas despite all our resolutions to tighten the belt buckles and make do with California sparkling wine.


Proscuitto, basil and gruyere palmiers.  Buttery, cheesy, flaky goodness and as usual Sue eats so many of the savory hors d'ouevres she barely has an appetite for dinner. Mom has no room to complain, because this is less a repeat than an outright habit.  You two kill me. Mom, if you want Sue to eat a bigger dinner, make less hors d'ouevres. Or, just don't care. She's eating, for crying out loud.


Mom has always set a beautiful table, even when making us scrambled eggs and toast before sending us to catch the school bus.


One of her small collection of salt cellars.


A trusim. She loves her wine. Apples fall from trees and only roll so far.


Sunday Suppers at Lucques is Mom's favorite cookbook, she cooks from it often.


I love how she has it coded and dog-eared for herself using dozens of post-its.  These are recipes she has already made or is planning on making in the foreseeable future.  A deep and enduring love for the post-it note is an inherited trait, apparently.  I love how Mom's passion for cooking has evolved over the years. Always a great cook, I remember her gourmet dinner parties in the 1970's, cress salad with Green Goddess dressing, making mac & cheese pre-trend from scratch with hand grated sharp cheddar and crispy thick bacon bits, Yorkshire pudding for Christmas dinner for as long as I can recall. Now that she works her behind off and does most of her major cooking for events and dinner parties, there is always something fancy afoot. A new recipe, a special ingredient, an ethnic perspective she hasn't played with yet. Reflecting Saturday night on her hobby, she said cooking is completely the opposite of practicing the law. And as a corporate bankruptcy attorney in this economic climate, I imagine anything that feels different from her 9-5 is a relief and a joy.


Last Saturday she cooked up Goins' Spicy Pork Stew with Polenta, Root Vegetables, Gremolata.


For some insane reason, she decided it was a little too spicy.  In complete disagreement, I argued that if you get rid of the heat you simply are left with pork stew, not that this would be a bad thing. But it certainly wasn't overly spicy, and if anything when cooking this at home I might even bump the heat up a notch or so.


Green salad with frisee, cress, arugula, pear, bleu cheese crumbles and pomegranates picked from Sue's tree Saturday morning. Sue shelled those seeds with her own little hands a few hours after plucking the ripe fruit from her garden.


Mom also collects vintage and antique cookery and cutlery. The above silverware is mongrammed with an E, for Elizabeth supposedly. Elizabeth who? I have no clue.


Tossing the salad.


About this time we pulled out the Petite Syrah, 2004 Marilyn Remark from Monterey. Silky smooth and wonderful with against the spicy flavors of the pork and the richness of the polenta.


Midway through the meal, Mom took a break from eating to construct financiers, a little French almond cookie. Not like a macarons, because financiers also have flour and butter. A tiny bit like a madeleine, but denser and stickier.


She has had these little tin pans around for eons.


And also wanted to use the opportunity to try her hand at baking in silicon. Silicon is great for baking, easy in, easy out, easy cleaning.


Flour, almond meal and sugar.


This vintage measuring cup holds the egg whites.  This belonged to Aunty Marge or Aunty Olive.  And the Pyrex bowl in the back has been around since I was a child. I have used it myself for hundreds of concoctions.


Adding the egg whites to dry ingredients.




Stirring in the melted butter.


And filling both the tin cookie shells...


and the silicon baking forms.


Naturally, I think the cookies from the tin turned out more charming. Also, more batter went in each tin shape, so the cookies didn't cook quite as thoroughly and were thus less dry, stickier.

But they all made a pretty plate.

And the late October sun set, mirrored in the little lake populated by ducks, geese and other water fowl here and there all busy heading south. I think they travel like most Californians and just follow the 5.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gastrodeliciousness at Village Idiot

Village Idiot
7383 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046-7526
(323) 655-3331

Ridiculously behind in my posts, this is what a great deal of travel does to the lowly food blogger. A few weeks back, D and I stopped into Village Idiot during errand running after trying to find Ricky the fish taco guy near the Silver Lake Farmer's Market. Fail, on that front anyway.  Gonna hafta give that another whirl because not only does Eat, Drink & Be Merry report in on Ricky's deliciousness, so does Diana Takes a Bite, Eating LA, Will from Food Digger, and the Twitterati (on the weekend, his name pops up consistently from noon through 4, both Saturdays and Sundays). I am nothing if not a trend hound.  At any rate, our errands took us farther west and we landed at Village Idiot, B & M's local haunt.


The large chalkboard on the east wall tells visitors about their specials, a Sunday Roast, guest beers on tap, luncheons and brunches, their Twitter feed, and so on.

Beers and wines.  I have stopped in a couple times, most memorably after a special benefit event at The Foundry in which they fed us almost nothing. S & I came over to the Idiot for delicious mussels.  Telling is the fact that I haven't visited more. When passing by and spontaneously hungry, Village Idiot is usually bursting at the seams with drinkers and diners. This is why. The why of the burstingness.

Heirloom tomato and ricotta salad with large flat leaf parsley.  The variegated stripes in these tomatoes made us think they were peeled, they were not and they were delicious. I like the surprise of ricotta instead of burrata here, but the salad was missing its red onion.

Squid salad with frisee, cherry tomatoes, arugula, preserved lemons. The flavor in this was immense from the preserved lemons. The greens being slightly overdressed can be forgiven because the squid were grilled to delicate, soft and easily chewable perfection.

Brussels sprouts with smoked bacon. YUM! The bacon chunks were huge, and the sprouts had a very present acidic note. Maybe balsamic? So good.

Echoing some of the flavor sensations of the Brussels sprouts was a grilled pork belly on collard greens with cooked apple slices. The salty pork, the slightly sour collards, the sweet apple. I have never had better pork belly anywhere. An incredibly Southern dish, this screams Americana.  Gosh, I want it for lunch today and am sorry to be spending my time far east of the Village Idiot.

D ate fish tacos in the end, despite having missed Ricky. Suggestion has powerful influence on a hungry man's appetite.  Snapper, grilled with cherry tomatoes, herbs, and onions. A giant cabbage salad, which we ate with a fork, not a tortilla. And a nice mound of little corn tortillas, fresh and warm if not housemade.

I wish we ate here more often, I wish we lived down the block.

Village Idiot in Los Angeles

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cougar in Training Hello Kitty Celebrates Her 35th Anniversary at Royal/T

8910 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232-2326
(310) 559-6300

Royal/T-Culver City’s visually stunning and playful, 10,000-square-foot Japanese-inspired art exhibition space, “cosplay” maid café, and retail store—will house ‘Three Apples,’ a multi-dimensional exhibition and celebration of all things Hello Kitty running from October 23, 2009 to November 15, 2009. The various events within the three-week exhibit will be open to the public, and free of charge—all celebrating this beloved pop icon. 

Appealing to fans and food lovers of all ages, ‘Three Apples’ (the title refers to Hello Kitty’s precise weight) will feature a special Hello Kitty-themed menu that will be offered at Royal/T’s maid café during the course of the exhibition. Waitresses dressed in playful maid uniforms with a Lolita-esque touch, will serve guests: 

Hello Kitty Pancakes

Hello Kitty Waffles


and Kawaii High Tea, among other delicacies and delights.

Always a Hello Kitty fan, and someone who loves a birthday celebration, I only wish my goddaughter Alice was here to go with me. Afterward, we could embark on a shopping extravaganza at Forever 21, and get matching pedicures.

Upcoming events include:
  • Hello Kitty Fan Appreciation Party – Saturday Oct. 24th    Time: 10am-10pm
  • Hello Kitty Halloween Party – Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009    Time: 10am-6pm 
  • Hello Kitty Birthday Party – Sunday, Nov. 1st    Time: 10am - 5pm
First 100 guests to each event will receive a goody bag created especially for the occasion.

Puppies at 3 Weeks, 1 Day

Inca mothering her pups.

D falls in love.

Oh, hello.

1-2, littermate's coming for you.

3-4, zut alors!

5-6, bites not licks!


One in particular behaves wise beyond its weeks.


Sadly, I cannot tell them apart even after an hour playing with them.


They're all just fuzzy wuzzy widdle smoogey wooodgeys.



Beautiful Inca takes a much needed break.