Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Candy Caps & Bourbon

I devoured two very delicious, very different bread puddings recently. Following a tasting menu heavy on mushrooms, we found ourselves waiting for dessert - Candy Cap Bread Pudding with a Maple Sugar Anglaise. My companion was incredulous when I suggested that candy caps were mushrooms, but our waiter confirmed that candy caps were a sweet mushroom infused with a maple flavor. However, so cleverly were the mushroom morsels incorporated into the pudding, that I'm hard pressed to comment upon any flavor specifics. Suffice to say that the pudding, less that two inches square, was divine. Floating in a pool of maple scented cream, the pudding disappeared in quick bites and conversation soon turned to delirious fantasies of more pudding appearing at the table. It didn't happen.

A week later, dinner ended with bread pudding once more. This time, a gigantic square dripping with bourbon sauce. Within minutes, everyone's plates were clean and we all sat idly tapping our forks against the porcelain, discretely ignoring the half pan of pudding that remained in the kitchen already warmed. And then someone announced her intention of having seconds. And the conversation stopped. We migrated to the kitchen, empty plates in hand, soon full, and sooner still, empty again.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


In honor of hot summer nights and because I don't do well in humid climes, I'm creating an ice cream itinerary for my first non-winter trip to New York.

Frozen yogurt meets gelato. I can't quite put this together in my mind.

Technically a west coast thing, but since I rarely get to thatpartofthestate I'll have to settle for an east coast introduction.

Tasty D-Lite
I always walk by the stores and then chicken out because it's just too cold for icy treats. Not this time.

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
This might be motivation to get out of Manhattan. I was once there, but it was closed. I'll call ahead this time.

5 Boroughs Ice Cream
There's a flavor named Staten Island Landfill. And it sounds delicious.

BONUS: Not-So-Frozen Treats (if I'm not already sugared-out...)

Once Upon a Tart

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Farmer's Market Free Verse (you have permission to laugh)

Pea shoots
(cute little tendrils included), tulips, and
Lots of strawberries.
Rapidly disappearing strawberries.
Summer has arrived.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Recently Read

The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation
David Kamp

To be honest, I'm not quite done with this book, but I'm so close to finishing that I doubt the last few pages will change my opinion much. Unlike my usual read in one sitting mentality, I like putting some space between chapters in this book. It's a volume heavy on history, but not in a dull way. Each chapter has its own trajectory that takes some digesting. It can be serious book, but usually there's a hilarious quote that makes me laugh and then then there's the fun of hearing about celebrity chefs back in the day, or even seeing them in black and white photos. All this and footnotes too. A good read.

Best Food Writing 2006
edited by Holly Hughes

I'm not sure whether or not I've finished this book. I have this habit of reading anthologies out of order where I start with the most interesting bits and work towards progressively less interesting pieces. Twelve Meals a Day and New Year's Meltdown are my current favorite vignettes. I got a nice, non-committal introduction to new food writers.

Nigel Slater

I liked the set-up of this book. The author tell stories of his boyhood by stringing together vignettes with titles like "Grilled Grapefruit", "Candyfloss", and "Fillet and Rump." There's even a handy glossary for those of us less schooled in Britishisms which I found helpful. And while the story is touching and sometimes hilarious, I found something missing in this read, as if I'd just had a lovely dinner and even dessert, but I was still wanting something I couldn't quite name.

Turning the Tables: An Insider's Guide to Eating Out
Steven A. Shaw

Another case of lawyer turned food writer. Steven Shaw started eGullet. Rarely do I find myself wanting to engage in an argument with an author, but here I did, frequently. I commend the writer's agenda and his defense of his viewpoint, but I can't say that I agreed with it in many cases. This was not a peaceful read for me and I found myself engaging (!) with the text. For that, I commend this slim volume.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tea for Three

Teatime at the Willard Intercontinental. What better way to celebrate a birthday than by taking the day off and playing tea party? Unlike the five-year old version, this outing involved bone china and silver. We were seated on couches in a plush hallway and had a lovely time picking our teas, thoughtfully brought to our table in test tubes. Our first course featured edible chocolate cups which did well with the spring berries. And then to the tiers. Sandwiches, scones, and pastries. Clearly the favorite was the lemon curd, which disappeared in quick spoonfuls with the ginger scones. And Devonshire cream, well, that disappeared quickly too.

Monday, March 12, 2007


I'm very excited to be returning to Perth this summer and was touched that my cousin has undertaken the design of my personal "eating agenda" which shall remain a secret except for this: Revenge is a dish best served cold. In your case, it will be Vegemite sandwiches when you come down in May.

My first thought was to go the route of Inigo Montoya and build up my tolerance to Vegemite, but there are two problems with that...

1. It's not poisonous (though I have my doubts).
2. This would require me to ingest Vegemite every day which conflicts with my goal of minimizing all exposure.

I'm not sure what to do.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


A very lazy day morphed into lunch at 2:30. Famished as we were, Renee and I ordered ourselves a generous spread - hummus, shawarma, feta fritters, spinach pie and beautiful, beautiful eggplant. I was so hungry that I dispensed with photo niceties and just started eating as the food arrived. And then suddenly I was full. Not ordinary full, but full in the "I want to take a nap right now at the table" kind of way. We paid our bill and departed the lovely Lebanese Taverna. Renee helpfully offered the "maybe you're jetlagged" theory, but at 4PM even I couldn't justify that excuse. There wasn't even cold weather to wake me from my food coma.

We staggered through Adams Morgan and stopped briefly (okay, more than briefly) to watch the human iditarod. I was by this time looking for coffee. The rule. No Starbucks. No Caribou Coffee. I wanted a local cup. And then we came upon the mysteriously open Larry's Ice Cream. New plan. Forget the coffee. Eat ice cream. The flavors were terribly descriptive - Key West, Ecstasy, Paradiso - luckily for us there was also a cheat sheet posted that demystified the flavors. After much deliberation, I settled upon Paradiso (raspberry with a chocolate ribbon) and Mocha Chip. Delightful. We walked down the street with our afternoon sweets. Somehow I wasn't so full and sleepy anymore.

My last day in DC it was snowing and I was cold. And yet, I headed towards Larry's in hopes that there was more ice cream to be had, but alas, it was closed. So much for ice cream redux.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Does Anyone Else Think the DC Metro Station Resembles a Belgium Waffle?