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Eat + Drink

Heavenly Food in the Midst of Hell

I dislike Costco as much as any good latte-sipping, intellectually-superior blue-stater. It’s the only place on earth where I start to believe there is indeed a culture war going on in this land—a war between smart, slim, urban people and their opposites. It’s an ugly, us-versus-them reaction brought on by fluorescent lights, over-stimulation, long lines and screaming kids.

So why do I belong to Costco, you ask? Because I needed a flat-screen TV. And like all good liberal elitists, you can bet your sweet patootie that bargains matter more to me than retail atmo. But that’s another story. The real story, for our current purposes, is that Costco has good food. Damn good food. Food that would make a Chowhound blush.

Read-A-Thon




Over the years I’ve collected a mini library of books about all things food—over 100 cookbooks, plus literary musings and oddballs like the one called Strange Foods: Bush Meat, Bats and Butterflies —a favorite that’s not for the faint of heart. Most just sit there looking good, but some, like The Zuni Cafe Cookbook are spattered and stained with use.

In the Ballpark




As baseball season approaches we’re all aware of the myriad places around the ballpark to drink Vodka drinks (e.g. Paragon), stand and chatter in claustrophobic throngs (Momo’s), etc. But just a block down from where you can guzzle margaritas (Tres Agaves), there is now a place to sip Sauvignon Blanc, munch on risotto balls and rhapsodize about Pinot Noir. The name of the place is District and it brings a touch of sophistication to a neighborhood that needed it.

Movia Magic



The good times always roll when Ales Kristancic (ah-lesh Kris-TON-chitch) of the Slovenian winery Movia comes to town to promote his wine. He is a bald, Baltic ball of fun and brings his lively spirit, passion for wine, and inimitable use of the phrase “tzak, tzak” to town (“tzak” has no real translation, but he uses it when he doesn’t know the proper English verb).

World's Best Carbonara



I was just blogging last week about how lots of people would love to cook more, but feel a little overwhelmed by it all. As my little contribution to solving this problem, I’m going to give you one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever attempt: my dad’s carbonara. It’s both lighter (no cream) and tastier (more contrast) than your usual carbonara. Best of all, it comes from an East Coast bookie who’s been cooking since he’s been in short pants. That kind of experience can’t be bought at Le Cordon Bleu.
 
Senior’s Carbonara
Serves 4
 
1 lb. spaghetti

Hand to Mouth

Full disclosure: I’m good friends with Gerald Hirigoyen, one of the most lovely, talented and hospitable chefs in town. In fact, we took a trip to Spain together about two years ago to this day. The coldest winter Spain had seen—snow on the beach in San Sebastian; the streets of Barcelona virtually empty as everyone tucked into cafes to escape the brutal winds and warm up with cigarettes and decadently soupy hot chocolate.

Cook's Digest


photography by Sam Lee

Judging from some of my friends, there are lots of people in this city who would like to learn to cook, but feel overwhelmed by the time it takes to find a good recipe, shop, prep and put the meal together—times seven days a week. Enter The Full Plate (thefullplate.com), a “store” that’s actually more like a commercial-grade kitchen, where folks can cook up to 15 meals at a time with nearly everything taken care of.
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