I am on deadline + doing my taxes so no time to go into it right now, but... did Sherry Virbila really describe the shade of an olive as being the color of a felt puppet frog in her review of Pizzeria Ortica in today's L.A. Times? I've long thought she and her old school-style reviews should be put out to pasture—an opinion that was solidified over a year ago when she reviewed Axe, a Venice neighborhood favorite. She gave it a favorable review that sounded like: "Well, I don't get it but I know the young people like it so I will try (or pretend)... But the seats really are too hard!" In case you don't want to read the whole story (the pizzeria does sound appealing, which is good news!), here's the bit from today's L.A. Times: The best place to start is with some antipasti, maybe a beautiful plate of prosciutto di Parma with Kermit-the-Frog-green olives. Or the house-cured blah blah blah... As newspapers struggle to stay afloat, they should think very critically about what they are a ...

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I haven't written here in awhile for a number of reasons, only one of which I will get into now, and that is that in one of my last posts I asked what people might serve to Alice Waters should she come to their house for dinner, which was, looking back, an inauthentic question that has left me mute. It was inauthentic first of all because I know exactly what I would serve to Alice—or at least exactly what types of foods I would serve to Alice, because they are the same types of foods I would serve to anyone coming over for dinner: best quality seasonal simple... etc.  And second, it was a bullshit question because that is the kind of question that, should someone pose it to me, I would have very strong opinions about them having asked it at all. My friend Colman Andrews always says that the worst thing that happens when he is invited to someone's house for dinner is to arrive and see a cookbook out—the host pressing to make something out of his or her range, in his honor. "I always sa ...

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I will probably regret this. I haven't written here for almost a week because I've been cooking—testing and retesting recipes for a magazine project—which might seem like a contradiction for a blog that is even vaguely about food, but—and here I realize that I am probably shooting myself in the foot, or the skillet as it were—can anybody possibly be interested in what goes on in my kitchen? My friend Sara Foster wrote me last week from the Bahamas, where she was on some sort of junket with a bunch of food bloggers. These lucky bloggers were there in the Bahamas because they are at the top of their field, which is amazing to me. First, that food blogging is a field. And second, that the people at the top of it, almost without exception, follow the same formula: Several days a week, they write and post pictures of what they have cooked and eaten. I'm not sure what I am doing with this blog or why I'm doing it (and I have mild regret over it on an almost daily basis), but I cannot imag ...

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Consider this a cry for help. Alice is coming to dinner. What should we serve? No, this isn't a riddle, or even a hypothetical question. This is a problem. (I mean, if you can call it that.) I'm talking about an evening in the near future where Alice (those of you to whom this desperate cry is directed know who I mean) is expecting to arrive at a certain place at a certain time for a casual, intimate at-home party, where she expects to be served food. And we—that's Nancy and I (Nancy and me? Oh, copy editor, where art thou?), who came up with this brilliant idea after the fund raising dinner I put together for Alice's causes in January ("Wouldn't it be nice if she could just come to my house?" Nancy said. "Without it being some big shin dig?")— want everything to be perfect. The problem is that we want each last detail from the candlesticks and the dinnerware to the farmer who grew the lettuces and the grain (or grass) ingested by what ever animal we muster up the courage to throw on ...

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