Archives for the month of: January, 2012

recently i went to las vegas to visit my friend (and guest blogger) elia, who was in town to run the half marathon. you would think the night before her big run we would hit the best italian place for pasta, but thankfully we didn’t. we ate at tom colicchio’s restaurant craftsteak at the mgm casino. it was one of the best meals i have ever had. we let our server marvin run the show with the three course tasting menu and wine pairing. boy oh boy did he hook us up. it was an insane amount of delicious food, and the wines were perfect. after the meal i sought out marvin, because i was interested in the artist who painted the cow art on the walls. he came back with the artist’s card, and a bag with a complimentary copy of ‘craft of cooking.’ we were floored. not only did we just have a perfect meal, but our waiter gave us a gift? wtf?!

as we were packing to leave the next day we weren’t sure what to do about the cookbook. elia said ‘you should take it. i don’t want to lug it on the plane back to mexico city,’ where she lives, but i knew it’s because she’s incredibly generous and selfless. it dawned on me that we could share it. we decided once i made one of the recipes, i’d make notes and/or alterations in the book, and send it on to her. then in turn, she would do the same.

the first time around i was ambitious, and made four different recipes:

  • grilled hanger steak with bordelaise sauce
  • puréed parsnips
  • pan-roasted hen of the woods mushrooms
  • poached pears

the hanger steak came from mccall’s meat + fish. it was such a nice cut of meat it really just needed a little salt and pepper, and was put on the grill for less than 5 minutes a side.

the bordelaise sauce took quite some time cooking down, but was so flavorful it was worth it. i didn’t even use veal stock like the recipe called for, but just regular store bought beef stock from trader joe’s. i wonder how amazing it would be to use real veal stock?

the puréed parsnips were so simple it was ridiculous.

hen of the woods mushrooms are incredibly expensive, so i did a medley and added some oyster, yellowfoot chanterelles, and hedghog as well.

i also made a root vegetable and bok choy gratin from tamarind brought to me via the tasting table, which complimented this meal wonderfully.

i couldn’t find bartlett pears at the market, but there were bosc and red d’anjou, so i used them instead.

for now i just put my notes on post-its, but who knows how long this book will be passed back and forth, so i’m thinking i’ll just make the commitment and pen them in the book itself.

the whole meal was a huge success, and the only thing missing was my friend elia.

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today is national pie day, and in honor of such an important holiday, i bring you a tempting look into my favorite little pie shop located in downtown los angeles: the pie hole.

as you may know by now, i have a love of pie that exceeds the average person, and i can be highly critical of such tasty delights, including my own. since opening only a few months ago, i have been to the pie hole several times, tried a range of their pies both savory and sweet, and other than them running out of pie (often before the closing time of 9p) it has yet to disappoint. on that note, it’s a good idea to call ahead, check their twitter feed, or facebook page before heading down in the early evening hours just to make sure they haven’t sold out. there are plans to expand the kitchen in order to accommodate a clearly successful pie-loving niche.

they rotate the pie selections seasonally. every 2-3 weeks new one’s are added to the menu to test out, others go away and/or come back, and depending on what ingredients are fresh, local, organic, and frankly…just plain quality, there is always something tantalizing to taste. other than your typical slice of pie, they also have pie bars, pot pies, whoopie pies, pocket pies and other play-on-pie creations.

any of these are paired very nicely with a top notch coffee with beans from groundwork, a selection of teas, other cold beverages like juices, and even mexican coke.

the decor is simple but inviting, and spacious for such a small place. most things wood, including the tables and counter, were made by matthew, one of the founders, and are complemented nicely by the metal chairs and stools. located across the street from wurstküche in the arts district, it seems to fit snuggly in this cool street art laden neighborhood just perfectly.

pie is definitely the new cupcake.

the pie hole • 714 traction avenue, los angeles, ca 90013 • 213-537-0115 • open tuesday-sunday 11a-9p or until sold out (closed monday)

this morning not only did i find myself without coffee in my cupboard (oh the horror!), but also not much was in my fridge either. thankfully, made, the cafe and gift shop next door at the downtown women’s center has delicious coffee from groundwork, and helped me out with my daily caffeine fix. now i could think about food. i am working the next couple of days and only need a few things to tide me over until i am able to make it to one of the bigger markets this weekend. i just wasn’t going to make the trip all the way to the wednesday market in santa monica. while perusing twitter, sipping on my dirty chai latte, the downtown news tweeted that the pershing square market would be open today between 1130-2p. having never been, i thought this might hold me over for a couple of days, or at the very least, get me out on my trusty steed for a quick ride.

albeit small, it had a decent variety of produce stands, and the gama farms stand even had eggs. often these smaller markets have zero options as far as meat, dairy and eggs, so i was thrilled. in addition to a half dozen eggs, i picked up an onion and garlic. they also had potatoes, citrus, and honey.

the stand next to them had many different greens and herbs, potatoes, daikon radish, some squash, green beans, and even sugar cane.

i was also happy to see arnett farms, which i often hit at the hollywood farmers market, and has some of my favorite citrus fruit. i chose a couple satsuma mandarins, a blood orange and a cara cara orange. why not? it is cold and flu season.

total cost $12.50:

  • 1 head of garlic, 1 red onion, 6 eggs: $3
  • 1 bag of green beans, 1 bag of mixed salad greens: $4
  • 1 bunch of carrots: $2
  • 4 pieces of citrus fruit: $3.50
  • 1 gallon of gas saved by biking: – $4
  • total price for my bounty: $8.50
  • getting out for some much needed fresh air and exercise: priceless.

in a pinch, your smaller local farmers market can be just what you need…get your vittles and save on fossil fuels to boot.

if you live in los angeles county, here is a list of california certified farmers markets in the area. in the greater united states, the usda has this farmers market search available.

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