Every year when on Superbowl Sunday I think of a new way to recycle my guacamole recipe, so today I’ve decided to tell you about when Dario Cecchini, the famous Tuscan butcher, came to town—and by “town,” I mean Los Angeles. “What do you do when you have a butcher over for dinner?” asked Nancy Silverton, who was hosting a party in Dario's honor. Me, Nancy, and Dario's wife Kim. (Photo by Anne Fishbein.) You invite the only other butchers you happen to know, such as Jim from Huntington Meats, seen here inspecting the goods. (Or is he simply eating?) You invite all Italian-speakers living in the vicinity, such as Rufus, seen here with fellow Italian-speaker Gino Angelini, who is inspecting a sign, written in Italian, that Rufus wears around his neck. (Photo by Anne Fishbein.) And you serve meat. For the feast, two smokin', bbq lovin', ass kicking chefs Chris Feldmeier (Osteria Mozza) and Erik Black (Spice Table) spent days in order to show Dario how we do it in America. This ...

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I should have known better than to ask Tom Chino, in an email earlier this week, whether if I planted a fig--specifically a fig that came from his farm that was withering in my refrigerator--in a pot of soil, if  I'd get a fig tree. Being friends with Japanese people should come with an instruction booklet. There are a lot of customs, and therefor a lot of possibilities for a gaigin like myself to mess up. Over the 10 years that I've known the Chinos, I have learned a thing or two about how things work. Very high on the list, in Tom's words: "If you ask us for something, we are required to say 'yes.'"  But anyone who knows the family well enough to have landed themselves inside the vortex of their famous generosity knows that it's not just if you ask for something. So much as ask about something and you're doomed. Doomed for good things, but still, your fate is settled. Tom emailed me right back, saying that if I planted  what he called "the fruit of the strawberry fig,"" I would be ...

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Guacamole and Chips Until today, I was perfectly content with my level of achievement in the guacamole department, especially since my friend, the original celebrity chef Jonathan Waxman, cited me in the headnote to his guacamole recipe in his book, A Great American Cook. I didn't particularly like the part where he referred to me as "one of his Mexican buddies" because I thought it made me sound like one of the guys he shot tequila and played dominoes with in some smoky Deer Hunter-esque lodge, but I was probably projecting, and anyway that is, as they say, another story. Plus, I forgave him because I felt so proud that this great American cook, and a native Californian to boot, would source me, a psuedo-semi-Mexican guera for what is arguably my native country's biggest contribution to the American culinary landscape. (Salsa has been so misappropriated I don't even want to go there.) But all that was then. Before The Foodinista invited me to her first ever Guac-Off. On her blog, s ...

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