My mother is impossible to buy gifts for. Last night to dinner, I wore a scarf I gave her one year for Christmas. "You obviously liked it. You'll wear it more than I would. You keep it." Another year I bought her nice hand cream. The woman loves rubbing cream into her hands. A year later I saw the tube sitting on her bathroom counter, untouched. "Don't you like it?" I asked. "I love it. I just don't want to use it up." I bought her another one so she'd know there was plenty of hand cream in her future. She kept that in her car console, also untouched. Her standard line regarding gifts has always been, "I can afford to buy myself anything you can afford to buy me. Make me something instead." And so I decided to make her this online album. We've spent the last two mother's days together at my friend Andre's home in Venice, California. Andre is a landscape designer, floral designer, and artist. His garden, which I call Andre's World, is a work of art, and one of my favorite places on the ...

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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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Dearest friends and fans, Please welcome back my weblog with this special feature by rising star and son of esteemed late journalist (and someone I was proud to call a friend), Morty Goldstein. --CC (Editor’s Note - On Sunday, Nov. 25th, 2012, Carolina (aka “Carolynn”) Carreño brought a batch of cookies to a home in Los Angeles where a small group of people were gathering to watch the newest episode of the Showtime program “Homeland”. The following is a authorized reprint of the review of those cookies by Morton Goldstein, Jr. as it appeared in the Times.) COOKIES FOR HOMELAND By Morton Goldstein, Jr. Times Staff Intern “Get these damn cookies out of my house! If you don’t take them, I’m going to eat them all.” – Michelle Rivera , owner of Chateau Marmutt, upon seeing a box of Carolina Carreño’s Chocolate Chip (“chunk”) cookies in her dining room after watching a recent episode of “Homeland” with five friends. “I love Carolina’s cookies. That’s the only reason I invite her over to w ...

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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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