A t-shirt speaks a thousand words

A t-shirt speaks a thousand words

Change comes slowly, as I realized when I wandered into the gift shop at the Missouri History Museum after checking out the Little Black Dress exhibit. I came face with the demolished relics of my past … as souvenir t-shirts. Seriously. Talk about taking a walk with the Ghost of Christmas Past. My specter took me on a food episode.

Vintage KFC bucket sign, San Jose

Vintage KFC bucket sign, San Jose

Now that Kid One is living in San Jose, I have a good reason for heading “over the hill” more than once in a blue moon. One thing I’ve discovered is that San Jose has done a great job preserving historic signs. I posted this one from mStephen’s Meat Products a while back. Here’s one near Kid One’s flat – an old Colonel Sanders bucket marking a KFC and Taco Bell next to Zanotto’s Market near the Rose Garden. I love it for the food history preserved here.

Côte Brasserie, St. Christopher’s Place, London

Côte Brasserie, St. Christopher’s Place, London

History sometimes finds tiny, unexpected ways to repeat itself. During a brief business trip through London this past May, LL ate his first dinner and first breakfast at Côte Brasserie. In the spirit of exploring, he wandered out on a warm Thursday evening from his tiny soundproof room at the Marriott in Grovesnor Square toward Oxford Street and Marylebone to see what there was to see. As we were fresh from a family Mr. Selfridge binge, he was happily surprised to stumbled across the store itself and texted me photos. He called from St. Christopher’s Place to tell me about this great little restaurant he’d found.

A world of food in one city

A world of food in one city

On the recent occasion of my first-ever evening in London: I walked down a street named for the patron saint of travelers. Walked past Lebanese, Chinese, Mexican, and Turkish restaurants, past sushi and tapas and burgers, before eating French and Italian food served by a Spanish woman named Melina. I thought I’d gotten around a bit for a girl raised in the heartland. Alaska and Hawaii, Canada and Mexico, France and Italy. I thought I understood “diversity.” But London! London is in a class of its own. London showed me what “multicultural” really looks like.

Because an “amuse bouche” should actually be amusing

Because an “amuse bouche” should actually be amusing

There are some things – images, tastes, sounds – that separate the forest and the trees, the dancer and the dance, the beautiful and the sublime. You stumble across them in the most unlikely moments, making every encounter with magnificence that much more magnificent.

Here is one of those things – the most “amusing” amuse bouche ever.

Caffeine and rational thought at Verve

Caffeine and rational thought at Verve

I’ve long thought that there was very little scientific and technological progress in the Middle Ages because – seeing as water quality was dicey at best – people sat around drinking beer and hard cider all day. Nothing like a steady diet of strong mead to fuel superstition and conflict, right? It’s not by chance the Age of Enlightenment coincided with the mainstream availability of coffee. An entire continent shook off a centuries-long muddled haze and embraced the caffeine-fueled investigation of rational thought.

Good eats at Palo Alto’s Reposado

Good eats at Palo Alto’s Reposado

Kid One recently started his First Real Job at a Palo Alto Tech Company, and this was the occasion of meeting him for lunch for the first time. I wanted to choose a place in advance; downtown Palo Alto is chock-full of restaurants and did not want to waste his hour walking around and deciding. Through the magic of Google Maps, I walked around online the night before. Resposado called out to me because we all like Mexican food and I can’t resist queso fundido. I figured it would be fine, maybe even pretty good. I wasn’t counting on it being fabulous.

Macarons from La Patisserie Chouquette

Macarons from La Patisserie Chouquette

Here are a few lovely photos my niece texted to me from St. Louis’s La Patisserie Chouquette. At 13, she has a good eye as well as good taste! The patisserie was started by Simone Faure, former executive pastry chef of the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans. It’s a “peanut free gluten free friendly French bakery” and was voted Best Bakery in last year’s Riverfront Times poll. It’s the place you have to check out the next time you are in the Show Me Stte. ...
Ahi Tartare Just Like Michael Mina

Ahi Tartare Just Like Michael Mina

One weekend LL and I spent the weekend in San Francisco to see Kiki and Herb at the A.C.T., but the show seemed sad and we were happy so we snuck out and walked down to the St. Francis where we went to sit at the bar at the Compass Rose but it was the new Michael Mina (which is the old Michael Mina now) and we were wowed by his tuna tartare.

It was one of those astonishing dishes, prepared table side – in our case, bar side – with gorgeous pink rich ahi and crisp sweet diced pears and salty pine nuts with the zing of garlic and the heat of jalapeño held together with quail eggs. It was a dish we had to recreate.

Roadside Sausage Sign, San Jose

Roadside Sausage Sign, San Jose

  There’s a pretty good history of the defunct and demolished Stephen’s Meat Products plant you can read by clicking here. You don’t have to know anything about it, though, to appreciate the lone sign as a testament to times past. Great...
Great Food In San Francisco

Great Food In San Francisco

Back in the 1960s, San Francisco made it onto the television screens of nearly every home in America, accompanied by strains of “Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat.” While the ad campaign was a huge success, putting Rice-a-Roni on the map, it also did a huge disservice to San Francisco’s image as a gastronomic capital. Indeed, San Francisco has some of the most enticing foods and confections in North America, if not the world. It’s worth taking a trip there just to sample all the different cuisines that are on offer. Let’s start with chocolate. San Francisco is home to Ghirardelli, which has been making luxury chocolate products for more than 160 years. It was founded by Domingo Ghirardelli all the way back in 1852, who set up the company during the California Gold Rush. His genius lay in the realization that miners coming back from the gold fields were starved of luxury goods, and so he started to sell high-end chocolates to fill the need. So, if you are in San Francisco, why not drop in to the Original Ghirardelli Chocolate Manufactory in Ghirardelli Square and pick up a taste of heaven? For completely authentic Chinese fare, head up to San Francisco’s Chinatown, the largest and oldest Chinatown in the United States – in fact it has the largest Chinese community outside of Asia. Established in 1848, it continues to maintain its own unique identity, languages and customs, immersing the visitor in a world filled with herbal shops, pagodas, and dragon parades. To sample what Chinatown has on offer, drop in to one of the many excellent restaurants and...
Great Goan Meals

Great Goan Meals

If you were building a list of great places in the world for food, then Goa would have to make it into your top 10. Situated on the west coast of India, and famed for its palm-lined beaches, Goa has been a crossroads for many different cultures dating back for millennia. The Sumerians, Dravidians and Portuguese have all come to Goa over the centuries, with the result that its cuisine is an eclectic mixture of Asian and European influences. One of the things that Goa is most famed for is its seafood, which is both tasty and economical. As with most Goan dishes, seafood is usually served hotly spiced, making it a perfect combination of delicate flesh and fiery extravagance. The fish curry is particularly delicious, made with the local pomfret, which is similar in texture to haddock or turbot. The curry is traditionally hot and sour, with the heat mellowed by the addition of copious coconut. As well as fish, these curries are often made with the local shrimp, which are large and juicy. Another common way of preparing fish in Goa is frying it – the fish is first coated in a deep layer of hot spices and then cooked in sizzling oil. Pork is also a staple Goan food, and gained popularity during the time the Portuguese ruled from the 1600s until as recently as 1961. Perhaps the best-known pork dish from Goa is vindaloo, the name of which actually comes from the Portuguese “carne de vinha d’alhos,” which means meat with wine and garlic. In Goa, the wine was replaced with palm vinegar, and additional...
Homemade provel cheese

Homemade provel cheese

  True story: St. Louis-born in a decidedly un-foodie time, I did not know that provel and provolone were two different cheeses until after I had moved to California and was married with a baby. Really. I had a sudden taste for one of those delicious house salads we used to get from Talayna’s back when there was only one enormous and dirty location in DeBaliviere, before it got all prettied up and moved. The salad was an enormous mound of iceberg lettuce with a few Greek olives, cherry tomatoes, croutons, and delicious gooey tubes of provel cheese, all tossed together with the house dressing, a garlicky creamy Italian that my BFF assured me her mother said was very close to Marie’s. I can’t find a picture of it, but here’s a similar salad from Leo’s Pizza in Kansas City that will give you the idea: I made the salad that night with provolone and was disappointed. Where was that soft, gooey cheese I craved? I confessed to LL being confused that the provolone in California was so – different from my midwestern cheese. “But we called it provel,” I reasoned. “Maybe there’s some difference.” And that’s when I learned they’re two completely different cheeses. “Provel is like Velveeta,” he informed me. It’s processed. It’s not even cheese. I’ve never seen it around here.” To this day, I have no idea how my native California-husband knew about provel 22 years ago when just 2 years ago even Anthony Bourdain hadn’t. He just knows things, it’s his superpower. So I moved on and found other cheeses, and for all these years provel was just...
Midnight in Juneau

Midnight in Juneau

Downtown Tom and Grandma Juju, and my sister’s family just got home from an Alaskan cruise, what sounds like a fabulous, relaxing time during which they waved at grizzly bears on the beach, watched whale flukes on Glacier Bay, hunted for John Brown’s grave, and saw Victoria in a horse-drawn carriage. The ship off from Seattle – a town they all agreed seemed fabulous and worth it’s own trip. They have wanted to revisit their old homes in Sitka and Juneau for as long as I can remember, and my sister’s college graduation along with a couple of significant birthdays was the catalyst to carpe diem. Sitka is where my sister and I went to kindergarten and first grade way before there was tourism or wifi or even much fresh fruit, where we learned to ride bikes while careening down Mt. Edgecumbe, where we picked blueberries while looking fearfully for bears, and where we screamed with delight as we slid around on glaciers and solidified our love for the out-of-doors. So the trip was bittersweet for my parents – their old government homes had been razed, there were coffee shops and that cruise ship port – their memories flowed but the glacier had ebbed. Their daughters are grown and it was all good but  just . . . different. Except for the sunset. Here’s a photo Grandpa Tom took . . sunset doesn’t last all evening, unless you’re in Alaska in the summer:   To end, George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass.”   embedded by Embedded VideoYouTube...