After I met Bill Chait for the first time about five months ago, at Starbucks in the Original Farmers Market, or what he referred to then as his "office," the first thing I did when I got in the car was call Nancy Silverton. Nancy had introduced us so that Bill and I could potentially work together--doing who knows what, she just thought we should meet. Bill is the man behind Short Order and Short Cake, both of which businesses Nancy is a partner in. "Oh my god! He is, like, the smartest guy I've ever met!" I was blown away listening to him because the way his mind worked was just different than regular people. So conceptual. So broad. I felt like I was at Berkeley again where people engaged in thinking just for the sake of it. I was so blown away in fact that I pitched a story about Bill to an editor at the Los Angeles Times. It's such a great idea, he wrote back, that I already thought of it. And he had a staff writer do the story instead. In the months since that email exchange, Bi ...

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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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I bought Mario's new book today, Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals From My Home To Yours, as part of a resolution I recently added to a long New Year-inspired list, which is to break out of my tried's and true's and do what I essentially make a living hoping other people do, and that is to cook from (or at least to buy) cookbooks. The reasons I chose this particular book are first, that I love Mario's food. His sweetbreads at Babbo rocked my world the first time I ate them nearly 15 years ago. ("It's all about the duck prosciutto," he said when I interviewed him for my book, Foods of the World: New York). And then there was the book's subtitle, which contains both the words "simple," and "home," two words that should warm the heart of any home cook. Which is why the first question I asked him in an email today, was whether it was even true... 1. Are these recipes really from your home?  ABSOLUTELY! THESE DISHES HAVE ALL BEEN PERSONALLY TESTED BY MY WIFE AND KIDS. thereby assuaging ...

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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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