The Great American Melting Pot I'm not much of a kitchen gadget person—one task wonders make me feel that the American marketing machine is winning—but every once in awhile I buy myself something for the kitchen that makes me so happy, and makes so much sense, I wonder how I ever lived without it. Most recently, I bought an All-Clad Butter Warmer. It's a gorgeous, stainless-steel miniature saucepan--the scale and design is as simple and perfect as that of a paper clip—another personal favorite. It's just right for heating a cup of coffee, warming chocolate sauce, and, of course, melting butter. I've had my butter melter for about ten days and have used it almost as many times—usually for melting butter, but the truth is I practically make up reasons to break it out. Today the excuse was garlic confit. The garlic here is cooked so low and slow that the radiator heater in my New York apartment—or the sidewalk on some recent afternoons in Hollywood—would provide the perfect amount of he ...

Read More

I was at the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax last week when Jim the butcher--the one that makes Nancy Silverton's famous burger blend--asked me how to make the mayo that Nancy puts on her burgers. For an upcoming party, he wanted to create The Perfect Slider, and he felt this might help him get there. The mayo he was talking about is the not-so-secret mayonnaise, the recipe for which is in the book I wrote with Nancy called Twist of the Wrist, about using packaged foods to help you along the road to really great food. Chipotle Mayo one of three mayos in the book—the others are garlic; and olive-anchovy—all of which are essential elements of Nancy's burger spread and, for those such as own family and friends who care, part of mine, too. But the chipotle is by far the most popular. It is so good, you really should have it on hand at all times, and if Best Foods were smart, they would copy it, give us no credit, and start selling the stuff very soon. Speaking of Best Foods, a ...

Read More

Standing in Line for Corn Anyone who says there are no seasons in Southern California has never been to Chino Ranch in the summertime. I stopped by the farm today--after a morning hike on the secret horse trails of Rancho Santa Fe that, along with a lifetime of free firewood and a covenant that insures your neighbor can never build a McMansion on his land, is one of the perks of living in this precious place, and found the parking lot spilling over and a long line outside the stand. Everything the Chinos grow is divine--including, at this time of year, melons of all kinds, green beans that Alice Waters famously declared tasted just like green beans when she discovered them (the beans and the Chino family) in 1972, and the most glorious tomatoes of every shape and color imaginable. But the line is for the Chino's famous corn. They grow yellow and white (I don't know the names, though I should) and sell it by the half dozen or dozen, and fans of the corn line up before the stand opens i ...

Read More

Casa, Sweet Casa: I love that there's a Carl's Jr. on the ground floor. In honor of the Caesar Hotel, where the Caesar salad was invented, which died today... With its ornate facade (what is this style called?), and a sort of museum to trajes de luces,—which translates "suits of lights," the shimmering, adorned outfits that bullfighters wear—in the lobby, the Hotel Caesars somehow managed to be, to the end, a remnant of Old Tijuana. I remember going there with my dad, who had a restaurant across the street, and who, when he first moved to Tijuana from Acapulco in the 1950s, used to work as a waiter at the Caesar Hotel and toss the salads table side himself. I love that Tijuana. I love that salad. And even when the restaurant renamed itself the Caesar Sports Bar & Grill and hung a row of track lights and televisions, they still turned out one of the best Caesar Salads I have ever eaten. I wish I knew the secret. Is it the fake Parmesan cheese that comes out of a can? Th ...

Read More
1 2 3 4