October 2008

Quick Bites: Bacon Camarones

The other day I just couldn't get Mexican Food off my brain… was I gonna go get some fajitas from a chain curbside drop? Surely not – but I'm starvin'! I finally decided to buck up and cook something. The grill was out of gas, so I had to go get a new tank… now I'm really starvin'.

Finally got to the grocery – grabbed onions, red jalapenos, lemons, limes, garlic… wandered over to that pre-marinated skirt steak in a bag area. I just couldn't do it. Hmm… ¡Camarones! Grabbed a handful of shrimp and some of those raw tortillas that you cook on the stove, some avocados and crema.

Fired up the grill, and heated up a big cast iron skillet. Then the trick: saute the onions and jalapenos in a considerable amount of bacon fat! Then toss in the shrimp and some juiced lemons and limes – that citric steam is intoxicating.


Back inside, I've whipped up some guac and cooked a few tortillas. Actually pretty quick to do, and I felt good having done it myself. (Oh, there were refried beans w/ lard in 'em too – don't tell…)

I’m getting porn delivered daily!

Well, it IS the season. Check out the latest:


A food-gasm inducing stash… and a gatefold from Under Pressure. We’ll be looking further into these volumes in the near future, and cooking a few dishes here and there. In the meantime: to learn more, check out the links to the left.
(any Letterman fans out there? ” …Variety Meats, Dave…!”)

Oh, Carol…

150 down and so many more to come…

The totality of "The French Laundry at Home" has been achieved.

I've got a pretty cool day job and have had a ball getting to do my dream gig over the last two decades, few years, while… But I've gotten a real kick out of sharing my passion for food with you guys during these first few months of my little blog here. For years, my close friends have known about my proclivity for opulent degustation menus and authentic ethnic preparations alike – but it took something special… a clever someone… to inspire me to sit down and share my "food problem" with the world: my pal, Carol.

TFL_01From the first moment I came across Carol Blymire's intoxicating blog project, "The French Laundry at Home," I was done for. Fearless, self-deprecating, bold, hilarious, always thoughtful, sometimes (gasp) touching, and ever inspiring: we followed Carol as she literally cooked EVERY recipe in the both stunning and demanding "The French Laundry Cookbook," (authored by the esteemed Chef Thomas Keller and the brilliant food writer Michael Ruhlman). Carol, herself, is a witty and engaging writer – and she supplies "Music to Cook By" suggestions, to boot. (Hit Me With Your Best Shot…?)

Carol posted the capping entry to the blog on Oct. 23.

Russ Parsons shares some of his thoughts on the subject here: LA Times Daily Dish Blog.

The real joy of this whole blog business is that you can just hit "The French Laundry at Home," crack open your copy of the book, dive right in (as I did – mid-stream), and enjoy the journey on your own time-line.

Be warned though, Carol is not to be trifled with. New adventures are already afoot… I invite old fans and new to join me here: "Alinea at Home" – talk about CRACK!

As I've said here and there, "Carol… You da Bomb!"  Can't wait!

Gettin’ run out of Cowboy Chow…

Well, almost anyway. I dropped by the other day, you know, to support Jason Boso's latest venture while he recovers from a serious traffic accident. I enjoy his Twisted Root Burger Co. and have looked forward to visiting Cowboy Chow around the corner.


This place has a great feel, and I really dig the western flourishes here and there. So much so that I got up and started taking pictures in the nearly empty (late afternoon) dining room – subtlety be damned. The manager didn't take to kindly to that.  :^)  I have included a couple of snaps, but will reserve the rest – go see for yourself!


Let's get some chow…


I happen to like this Sweet Watermelon Tea (also available at Twisted Root), and went through a few of these carafes. Also, the Fried Green Tomato Lollipop w/ 3 Cheese Ranch. Fun starter. And that bowl of Ranch… I had some left over which came in handy later.


Next was the Mash Tater Parfait: Briskett, Mash Taters, Cowboy Caviar, Cheddar & Tortilla Strips. Hearty and satisfying. I added the Homemade Potato Chips, and found good use for the rest of that Ranch. When ordering I was encouraged to have them start the baked to order Peanut Butter Cookie – good call.

The space and the food are fun, and my server was warm and hospitable. How was the ornery sheriff that disliked my camera to know that it was I, the benevolent, altruistic and nominally influential bloggert. He was just enforcin' the law of the land. Go grab some lunch, and wish Jason a speedy recovery!

Cowboy Chow on Urbanspoon

Martin Short dishes about The French Laundry

It’s not very often you get fine dining anecdotes on late night talk shows, but last Wednesday the hilarious Martin Short appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and related his experiences from a recent visit to Yountville‘s culinary Mecca – The French Laundry. Stay tuned for the funny musical number that follows (and yes, that is the great Darlene Love in the chorus).

Oh, Sharon…

Readers of this blog surely have a passion for food – perhaps even matching that of my own. In that spirit, I took my own medicine yesterday. I actually made the effort to have lunch at York Street. I love everything about this situation. Lunch is served only on Wednesday. This forced me to kinda plan ahead – and there is something so right about that. I broached the subject to "Babu," an old friend and business associate, a couple weeks ago – "you know… we really outta go down there…".


^ If the above image warms your heart, you are already in the club. If not, I invite you to join.


Sharon Hage cooks good food, period. The menu for this lunch was as expected… unexpected. Pick a dish, any dish – and enjoy perfect execution, nuance and occasionally, whimsy. My lunch guest "Babu," has the dual distinction of being my best friend (of countless decades years) and an engaged eater. We started off with our version of "Soup and Sammich":


^The Carrot Ginger Soup; and the Grilled Cheese. Mmm hmmm.

The menu was enticing, but the special was Calf’s Liver – Babu had to have it. – The Sweetbreads called to me…


^ Calf’s Liver (have you ever seen a more palatable presentation!) And, the Four Story Veal Sweetbreads w/ French Lentils.

Are you kidding me… both delicious.  Oh, and Beets!:


^ (eat more beets – I’m just sayin’)

Raspberry was the word of the day…


I really enjoyed this Raspberry Limeade… and we had the forethought to order the Raspberry Buckle, ahead. (Thanks to our terrific server’s suggestion.)

Yeah… Nice.

I just love this place… there were only a couple of open tables in the intimate room, the rest filled with savvy diners – enjoying a rare mid-week respite. Old friends catching up here; a casual business meeting there; an informal wine tasting (that I wish I’d have crashed) over there… It’s special.

Sharon’s reputation doesn’t precede her, it’s trying to catch up.

I may even prefer the room in the diffused soft light of day. But then, in the evening you get… the Sherry. Oh, that reminds me… we need to make a reservation…

York Street on Urbanspoon