http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/16/food/la-fo-bill-chait-20120216

All this talk about some guy named Jiro eating sushi got me thinking it's time to post this story I wrote in the LA Times. My editor at the time, Leslie Brenner, came up with the idea, which was way before it's time. (Her specialty, and why I thought the LA Times food section at the time, was better than the NYTimes food section.) Every similar story I have seen since pales--not for the writing. (Not my best lede!) But because Leslie had a great idea about what people really needed and wanted to know about eating sushi, even if they didn't know they wanted to know, which is: how am I supposed to do it?

The story came about at a lunch--baby vegetables hidden under salad greens at Patina, if memory serves me—as I told her ov ...

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Not long ago, following my new Tibetan doctor's prescription to slow down and be nice to myself (don't you just love a prescription like that!?), I let myself enjoy a leisurely lunch with my friend, the chef Jonathan Waxman, at the Venice restaurant phenom, Gjelina. As we looked through the menu deciding what to order, I pointed out the words typed on the cover side of each menu, "changes & modifications politely declined." Gjelina, as anyone who follows the shallow, eating disordered life of Victoria Beckham knows, does not allow substitutions. "What do you think of that?" I asked J-Wax, curious about his point of view on an issue that became pretty loud and controversial in the City of dressing-on-the-side Angels after the VB incident. "I"m fine with it," he said. "Fine with people asking for substitutions or fine with Gjelina's policy of declining them?" "You know the famous quote," he went on in the cool, calm, and all-knowing way he has that inspired younger chefs he compet ...

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I just got back from visiting a friend in the hospital. (In summary: Not good, but he's gonna live.) Looking on the bright side, the good thing about what ails him is that he can still eat. Being that pretty much everyone this guy knows is in the food business, he is going to be the best-fed guy at Kaiser. Last night two friends came in bearing two large bags full of tuna melts, bean salads, fried pickles, and root beer from Short Order. I brought Littlejohn's toffee, which I know is a favorite of his. Today when I got there, there was a sweet little box of cookies from Susina Bakery, scones from Short Cake Bakery, and last I heard, Armenian food from Carousel was on the way for lunch, and a double order of tagliata with oxtail ragú from Osteria Mozza for dinner. Anyway, today we sat around the way you do when someone you love is in the hospital, trying to crack jokes, not sure which is worse: talking about the reason you're there or not talking about the reason you're there, basicall ...

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Last week a blogger, Beth Howard, contacted me via Facebook to say that she'd posted a story I wrote a decade ago on her Facebook page. A New York-based editor, she said, had read my story back then, hung onto it, and sent it to this blogger, because her thing is pie, and that was the subject of my story: pie, and making pie. It was a nice thrill, to think that this editor (who I know by name and respect) had hung onto it, and to have my story resurrected in that way. But reading a story, particularly a personal essay, that you wrote long ago—in this case, long before I was required to take my shoes off at the airport!—is a bit like stumbling upon an old box of photos in terms of the mix of nostalgia and cringe that it induces. The most alarming thing about reading this particular story was seeing that I had made the pie crust with—yikes!—margarine. The reason I did this was very simple: this is how I was taught to make pies the summer before, when I worked as the pie baker at Loaves ...

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