Where once Mother's Day was only about my mother, these days when that Sunday in May rolls around, I think of all my friends and relatives who have become mothers and are doing such a wonderful, creative, committed job of it. I spent yesterday with my mami at my friend Andre's, with his mother and other mothers in his life. It goes by so fast, they all say. And yes, it seems like just yesterday I was sitting with my sister on a stoop in Tijuana while our mother, wearing a smocked yellow mini-dress, smoked a Salem menthol and drank a screwdriver from a turquoise stemmed margarita glass... They remind me of the glasses Andre served yesterday. I sure wish she'd saved those glasses. (Not to mention the dress!) But the next best thing. As we speak, she's off at Ikea to buy me these, which André had at his house yesterday. Andre is one of those talents who can make even Ikea stuff look special. See? I sure wish my mom had saved those glasses. (Not to mention the dress!) But at least ...

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I'm not superstitious, but I do appreciate when certain superstitions give me an excuse to do something I want to do anyway. In Italy, lentils, called lenticchie (pronounced "len-TEA-ki-yay") are traditionally eaten for New Year because they are supposed to bring prosperity to the eater. The reasoning being that the little legumes are vaguely reminiscent of teeny tiny coins so by eating them, you will be showered with money. (Makes perfect sense, if you like lentils.) Which is why, when 2012 rolled around, thinking my friends and I could use a little prosperity ourselves, I invited a few over on a sunny January first, and decided to give the experiment a go. I started with Umbrian Lentils, which grow in and around a town called Castelluccio, in Umbria. Lenticchie di Castelluccio, like the more widely known French Lentils du Puy, are granted IGT (protected geographical indication) status, which means in order to bear the name Castelluccio, they have to be grown in that particular regio ...

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In honor of National Snack Food Day tomorrow, I decided to once again repost my famous guacamole recipe. As many of you know, I was once a guacamole purist, willing to go to insane lengths to grind every last bit of loose gravel from a lava molcajete, which as it turns out is just plain not possible. But last Labor Day, when my friend, the brilliant chef Nancy Silverton asked me to bring enough guac for 40 to contribute to the burger feast at her house, well, let's just say I gave in. Here, you can see, I started with a molcajete, and all the best intentions. But it soon became apparent that my avocados were bigger than my molcajete. And I don't mean that metaphorically. So I resorted to this: one of the most beloved and used gadgets in my kitchen: the Cuisinart Mini Prep, AKA: the Modern Man's Molcajete. I chose this particular color to post here because it is the color of the house we lived in in Tijuana until I was three, where I must have eaten my first ever guacamole in its ...

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My father tossing a Caesar salad at either the Caesar Hotel or Jai Alai. He was a waiter & "ensaladero" at both places before opening his own joint. I just finished reading the story in The New Yorker about the Tijuana restaurateur and pioneer, Javier Placencia, and I couldn't be more proud. Proud of Javier Placencia and what he and his family are doing, proud of Tijuana itself, and proud of the fact that I am from Tijuana. I was born there, at the end of that town's heyday, a period that would fall at the top of page 52 of the story, somewhere between the line that quotes a French epicurean claiming the Caesar salad to be "the greatest recipe to originate from the Americas in fifty years!" and the next line: "Over time, Revolución devolved into a depressing string of curio shops and..." my father's restaurant. El Bodegón de Guillermo, said to have been the most famous in Tijuana during that time, was located just off Tijuana's main drag, Revolución, two blocks up from the ...

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