April 4, 2014
Locanda is one of those restaurants I find it difficult to write about. Of course, it’s good. Honest food, some of it innovative, in an inviting space with an excellent bar. We even scored a table at the front windows facing out onto Valencia Street.
Everything was delicious and we left happy — but I guess what I’m trying to say is that it wasn’t exciting. Then again, is an Italian osteria meant to be exciting? Isn’t the entire point of the genre extremely simple but well-made, seasonal dishes?
October 9, 2012
I don’t know if you can tell, but I get really excited about food. It’s not just the end product, the delicious thing I get to put in my mouth that does so much more than just nourish my body. It’s the process, too, the learning and doing and standing in the kitchen, working with my hands, listening to things sizzle and pop, my glasses steaming up as I open the oven door.
I had some amazing kale and taleggio arancini during the kale party at Verjus a couple of weeks ago, and they were stellar. Perfectly prepared balls of rice and cheese and vegetal kale, deep-fried to a golden brown and served with a salty-sweet bacon compote. It’s a dish that makes sense — you know by reading the description that there’s no way that this could be bad, and chef Braden Perkins didn’t disappoint.
The plate cost €8, a steal for such high-caliber food. And yet, and still. There was something missing. I didn’t make it myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love dining out, and I know my skill in the kitchen can’t match a trained chef’s, but… but what? I guess I miss the challenge. How extremely clever I feel whenever a dish turns out just how I wanted it to. I wanted to be the one whipping out those perfect arancini with that sticky, perfectly paired sauce. So I came home and made some.
And yes, I felt extremely clever.
August 9, 2012
I used to hate tomatoes. No joke. When I was in high school, and well into college, I refused to eat fresh tomatoes unless absolutely necessary. I was fine with tomato products – after all, what kind of person eats a white pizza anyway? — but present me with a sandwich with fresh tomato and I would pick out any offending slices.
Wrong. I was so, so wrong.
I saw the light when I was presented with a slice of salt-and-peppered black brandywine tomato at the Santa Monica farmer’s market. This was nothing like the anemic specimens I was used to seeing at the grocery store. Richly red and green and brown, it promised real flavor, not the bland wateriness of the tomatoes of my past. Chew, chew, swallow, and I was a changed girl.
July 5, 2012
There’s a bakery and restaurant in Santa Monica called Huckleberry. It has crushing lines most mornings, but they’re worth braving for the fresh-baked goodies coming out of their kitchen. I only discovered Huckleberry about a month before I moved out here, and thank goodness — I ate their flatbreads, absolutely drenched in olive oil, nearly every day before I left. My thighs are thankful that Huckleberry doesn’t exist here, but my mouth isn’t.