Friday night I went to the Hollywood Bowl for the first time, which a lot of people found surprising (and I, admittedly, find a bit embarrassing), since, until I moved a few weeks ago, I lived within walking distance. But that's just the thing. The worst part about the Hollywood Bowl, everyone knows, is parking in their lots, which means h. bowlers often park in what was my neighborhood, making this wonderful Los Angeles summer ritual into a ritual nightmare for those of us who lived nearby and dreamed of parking any where near our very own homes. Plus, and more importantly, in the four years that I lived near the bowl, nobody ever said what my friend Michael said to me last week: "I got four free tickets to the Hollywood Bowl Friday night to see Aretha Franklin. Wanna go?" As much as I regretted not having seen Van Morrison play Astral Weeks last November, I have to say, I was glad to have waited as long as I did to lose my Hollywood Bowl virginity, because the night was perfect. We ...

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Standing in Line for Corn Anyone who says there are no seasons in Southern California has never been to Chino Ranch in the summertime. I stopped by the farm today--after a morning hike on the secret horse trails of Rancho Santa Fe that, along with a lifetime of free firewood and a covenant that insures your neighbor can never build a McMansion on his land, is one of the perks of living in this precious place, and found the parking lot spilling over and a long line outside the stand. Everything the Chinos grow is divine--including, at this time of year, melons of all kinds, green beans that Alice Waters famously declared tasted just like green beans when she discovered them (the beans and the Chino family) in 1972, and the most glorious tomatoes of every shape and color imaginable. But the line is for the Chino's famous corn. They grow yellow and white (I don't know the names, though I should) and sell it by the half dozen or dozen, and fans of the corn line up before the stand opens i ...

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Dear Quentin Bacon: How's it going? Remember me? We worked together on the Sara Foster books, and other projects around town. It was nice knowing you, and nice working with you on the two (or was it three) books that we both worked on. You know I am a huge fan. I hope to work with you on another book one day. That is... if you will ever talk to me again! You see, I stole a photograph of yours off the world wide web. I have felt bad about it ever since it happened (like the passive voice?). But I felt especially bad ever since my friends Brooke and Leah wrote the now e-famous Food Blog Code of Ethics. The truth is, like Julia Powell, although I write a blog and although it occasionally (okay closer to "always") features food, I don't actually consider myself a food blogger. Because I am not—or at least I don't think I am—part of the food blogging conversation. But that's another story. The bottom line is that I broke one of the "code's" five rules. Only five—granted it was last—and I ...

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The reason I've been away is that I've been moving, and all I can say about that is: you really find out who loves you when you move. In my case, turns out it was my mother. While I like to give my mom a hard time for not being much of a cook, or for not baking my birthday cakes now or ever, the truth is if she were to bake me a cake I'd probably think of the ways I would do it better. And besides, no cake-baking mom would endure what she did in the last week as I/we engaged in the tedious and seemingly endless process of transferring every one of my earthly belongings from one location to another. When I'd thought about my impending move, I'd imagined, get this, a party. My logic was, "If Tom Sawyer can get people to pay him to whitewash his fence, why won't my friends pack my boxes for me? For free!?" My party would involve my many colorful friends, lots of strong and funny men making us girls laugh all while dealing with various tasks I didn't want to, and just when we needed it, h ...

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