Brasato. I stole this picture from a blogger who took a picture of his dinner at Osteria Mozza, but trust me when I tell you that mine looked (and tasted) EXACTLY like this! One of the positive side affects of a bar set high is that when you meet it, you feel heart-swellingly good about your self and about life. The weekend before last, I made a lamb ragú, the first of my recipes that Matt declared "Mozza-esque," and I almost cried. Last weekend I made short ribs, or what is called on the menu Beef Brasato, which means "braised" in Italian (but really I'm just guessing here). When I brought it into the restaurant for Matt to look and and taste, he said it was perfect and told me to take it to Nancy. I brought it to her behind the mozzarella bar where she was just starting Saturday night's service. "What did Matt say?" she said as she slid her fork into my plate of fork tender beef, glistening with braising juices and topped with a refreshing tangle of celery and parsley leaf salad. ...

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I seriously considered not sharing my guacamole recipe here. I mean really. There is a recession going on and you never know when I might have to open up a guacamole stand or sell my recipe to some big corporation like Kraft Foods or Mario Batali. But in the name of being a good winner, here it is. First, before i go further, let's be realistic here. There is only so much you can do to--or with--guacamole. I mean give or take a few cilantro leaves here, a tomato there, there's not a lot of room to move. What this means is that whatever you do, it better be good. Like God, the secret to guacamole, is all in the details. Preparing Guac is a Serious Affair My Very Famous Award-Winning Guacamole Getting Started: 1. Buy a  100% lava, authentic Mexican molcajete and . If it has been sold to you as "pre-seasoned," know that you have been had. There are certain things in life for which there are no shortcuts. One is getting to know, really know, the person that you love. Another is gettin ...

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For some it's obvious: New Yorkers have their pizza. Cubans have their coffee. San Franciscans have cioppino. As a Southern Californian (I was born in Tijuana, spent my childhood in San Diego, and now live half the time in Los Angeles, half the time in New York), I have my points of regional culinary pride, too. The list goes like this: fish tacos. Lately they've been fetishized but for some of us, the relationship is something deeper, lasting, and sincere. It's proximity to Mexico. I can't even begin to tell you the ways--edible and not--that this is beyond cool, and anyone who says that Tijuana isn't really Mexico (which I've been told almost as many times as I've told people I was born in Tijuana) is an idiot. And Sea urchins,. Pulled from reefs off the coast of San Diego or Santa Barbara--I think I love them. So when I saw "Spaghetti with Sea Urchin" on the menu at Angelini, where I dined with my mother for her birthday recently, I couldn't resist. I was introduced to sea urchin p ...

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Today's posting on TastingTableLA, about micheladas, an iced beer-and-something cocktail in a salt-rimmed glass (and similar Mexi-food centered posts all over the web), got me thinking about the holiday that Americans have come to associate with my native country to the South, a holiday that here might be called National Mexico Day, or National Tortilla Chips and Frozen Margarita Day, but that should not be called or confused with Mexican Independence Day. That day, which unlike Cinco de Mayo, is an actual holiday celebrated by actual Mexicans in Mexico, is September 16, a day that few Americans even know about, maybe because el diez y seis de Septiembre doesn't roll off the gringo tongue the way Cinco de Mayo evidently does. For the record, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican victory over the French (yes, French!), who were attempting to advance toward nearby Mexico City, located about 70 miles to the northeast, in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Neither the day nor the victory is m ...

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