You’re Going to Love This….

March 16, 2016

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Going through piles of old books and magazines, I came upon this little gem, published in 1969.  The book is divided into various holidays, but there’s also a section for “New Homemakers” which contains some truly hilarious advice.  (Imagine how those burgers must have tasted: “spread on bun halves and bake…..”)

Next time somebody waxes nostalgic for the food of the sixties, show them this.

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New York’s Loveliest New Restaurant

March 15, 2016


La Sirena may be the loveliest new place to eat in the city.  It’s a huge, open space – windows everywhere – and Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich have been smart enough not to  cram it full of tables.  Light and air – that’s your impression- a true luxury in our cramped city. It’s a bit like going to a resort without leaving town. And in the summer, when there are tables outside … this is where we’ll all want to be.

It’s a large menu; here are a few of my favorite things.

Those baked clams above: irresistible.  And quail, with a really wonderful blood orange mostarda and a frizzle of bitter greens:


The most beautiful ravioli with its translucent pasta.IMG_7616

A “carbonara” of cauliflower. Such a smart idea!


And to end – pineapple bomboloni with roasted pineapple. I didn’t want to eat it. Couldn’t help myself!






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A Few Tasty Morsels I’ve Eaten Lately

March 14, 2016


Had lovely meals in Michigan; who knew there was such an interesting restaurant scene there?

The salad above was at Malia in Battle Creek – a stunningly ambitious restaurant with some of the sweetest service I’ve encountered lately.

IMG_7641The meal began with this burrata with fried basil leaves, pesto and balsamic, and then went on to this enormous – and delicious – tomato pasta.


There was also this: bacon Nutella brownie.  Not my thing – but extraordinarily intense.

IMG_7646In Detroit I ate at Antietam.  Again, serious ambition, incredibly kind service.  The meal began with this beet tart topped with caramelized goat cheese,IMG_7635

and a really fine beef tartare:


And then went on to this gorgeously roasted piece of whitefish with fried sage:


Tomorrow I’ll post some of the delicious food I ate at La Sirena – which has to be New York’s most spectacular new space.  Here’s a little teaser: the cacio e pepe toasts they hand out with the drinks. Brilliant idea!


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Take a Bit of Cornmeal, Add Water…..

March 13, 2016

IMG_5023I’ve always cherished this cookbook, self published by The Women’s Auxiliary of Olivet Episcopal Church in Franconia, Virginia in 1957. It’s chock-full of pickle recipes, arcane breads, church suppers – fried oysters for 200- and these esoteric axe-beaten biscuits. The Women’s Auxilary do a fine job of tracing their recipes from those of their  immediate (colonial, white ancestors). The results, like those axe-beaten biscuits, are both surprising and genuinely hilarious

First, a thoroughly humble cornbread for a not-so-humble man: IMG_5019

IMG_5020Such simple cornbread really needs good corn meal.  Imagine how it would shine when made with freshly ground sweet corn.

But it’s this ash cake that I really wanted to share: IMG_5018“Very particular people will cover the loaves with collard greens before the ashes are put over them.” What an immediately appealing voice!

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Home, but Thinking of California

March 12, 2016


Home again.  And so happy to be here. The sun is shining, the mountains off in the distance are tinged with purple, and robins are hopping about the lawn with promises of spring.

But being in California was a wonderful interlude. And, as if to remind me of all I’m missing back there, this note arrived in my inbox this morning.  It’s an offering of antiquarian cookbooks from the wonderful Omnivore Books in San Francisco – and it makes me want to turn around and run right back and spend an afternoon perusing this fascinating collection.

Among the books that caught my eye is that Farmer’s Market Cookbook above, with an introduction by MFK Fisher and “local recipes for lamb shanks Brentwood, barbecue salsa, Iberville fish fry, etc., and descriptions of the various characters at the Farmers Market.”

There are so many interesting items here – go take a look! – including these gems:


And while I’m on the subject of California, one recent LA discovery is Galco’s, which stocks 700 different kinds of soda!  Today they’re featuring this:



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