Twenty years ago, almost exactly, I moved from California, where I grew up, to New York, on what I have come to call the Pretty Woman model of success: I wanted to either be discovered, or like Julia Roberts' character in that movie, be saved. Since I figured I had no hand in whether or not I would be saved, and since deep down I knew that I was too competent to be saved and too opinionated to attract saviors, I decided to be an actress. "If I were Julia Roberts," I think I was actually ridiculous enough to have said out loud. "I could go on David Letterman and people would listen to what I had to say." I wish I knew what I thought I had to say, but in any case, I did my research, found a good acting teacher, got a job as a waitress, paid more money than I'd spent on a semester's tuition at Cal for big-hair head shots (oh, the horror!) and signed up for my future of fortune and fame. My acting teacher, Ron Stetson, is a man who likes to call it like it is, and since I was 25 and still ...

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I've had a few queries about my dog, since I did put his life on the line yesterday, so I thought I'd introduce him here and say that he is alive, well, and ready to eat whatever scraps fall to the ground today. This is Rufus (on the right) These pictures were taken at the Mozza staff Fourth of July party. I just LOVE parties! (Especially at Nancy's.) Nancy rented 2 taco trucks to feed the 300 guests: the Koji Korean BBQ taco truck, and the taco truck from Border Grill. The warring trucks. Rufus is under one of trucks. Eating no doubt. Rufus had to scrounge for scraps around the Koji truck like his cousins in his ancestral town, Tijuana. But here he is waiting patiently for an authentic Mexican taco of cochinita pibil. "I'll have the cochinita pibil, por favor." They say beggars can't be choosers but Rufus was clearly partial to the real Mexican deal. Like mother, like dog. "the pickled onions are what really make it!" ...

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Last night I was sitting at the bar at Canele eating a Not Nancy Silverton Burger with some friends and chatting with the very cool Lesley Balla about Twitter and why she Twitters and whether she thinks anyone really cares where she is or what she is eating, when Lesley logged on to Twitter to alert her followers of what she was eating and where, and we learned that Ted Kennedy had died. I like so many people had a soft spot for Ted Kennedy. My step-dad, Hugo, who raised me, had been a campaign manager for JFK in California, and I grew up believing that the world would be a more hopeful place if John and/or Bobby had had a chance to run it. My parents repeated the story of Chapaquitic the way others must recite fables from the Bible. A lesson on what not to do and of how bad things can go for how long as the result of one bad decision. I'm not sure if it was my parents' intention or the opposite, but I liked Ted Kennedy all the more for his mistakes. Hugo was a judge and I remember hi ...

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Somehow, thanks to the power of Ed Levine's website Serious Eats, I have gotten a reputation as something of a cupcake hater. I don't like to think of myself as a hater of anything, least of all inanimate object as insipid and inconsequential as a cupcake. So just to clear things up here, let me say that what irks me is not the sad, cloying little cake itself, but the sad, cloying need of the American People who seem to love cupcakes more than is really, err...  healthy. And I'm not talking cholesterol healthy. I'm talking: dig deep into your childhood and let's think about what you're really looking for in that cupcake, Cupcake. But really. I didn't mean to go off on cupcakes today. They can't possibly be worth that much energy. I wrote here today in response to a tiny parenthetical on the Foodinista blog, apologizing to me—to me—for her endorsement of a certain thumbnail-size red velvet calling itself a cupcake at the Los Angeles ice cream parlor (I'd like to bring back the word "pa ...

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