Fireworks in Paradise

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by Robert Keats

nightlove.jpg Cecilia was a ‘10’ on a scale of one to two. She had unmitigated primal passion. Her sexual appetite was unparalleled and horizontal. It was vertical and diagonal. When I suggested to Cecilia that we spend the Fourth of July in Hawaii, she responded by giving me a fireworks show in the bedroom that went on till daybreak.

After Cecilia made my night, I made travel plans. We would first go to Hanalei Bay on the North Shore of Kauai. Then to Maui – Kaanapali Beach and Hana.

As I was packing for the trip, the phone rang. It was Cecilia. She stammered and fumfered and did everything audibly possible without actually forming words.

“What’re you trying to tell me?” I asked repeatedly.

“I can’t go,” she finally said. 

Ribs, Ribs and More Ribs

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by David Latt

ribslogo_190.jpgPeople who love barbecue really love barbecue, and will go to great lengths to find the perfect ribs. I’m one of those, so I was thrilled to be invited to judge The Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off in Sparks, Nevada.

For die-hard barbecue lovers and novices alike, this kind of cook-off is a slice of pork heaven.

Instead of driving around the country to sample regional styles of barbecue, all I had to do was take a three-block stroll down Victorian Avenue in front of the Nugget for some of the best ribs in the country.

Pit masters competed from all over the country, cooking up slab after slab of pork ribs in pick up-sized smokers and finishing them off on 10-foot-long wood-fired grills. Some hailed from legendary barbecue states like Texas, South Carolina, and Kansas. But many, many others came from states that folks rarely associate with this style of cooking—we’re talking all the way from California to Minnesota, Pennsylvania and, yes, even New Jersey.

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Miracle on Abbot Kinney

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by Laraine Newman

sansabi.jpg There was a time when I CRAVED greens. I mean it.  CRAVED ‘em. Lambs tongue (mache) arugula, romaine, and kale (which I would stem, blanche, squeeze dry and then sauté in olive oil and garlic). Evan Kleiman has a terrific soup recipe that uses escarole and you can find it in the archives right here at One for the Table.

I used to eat salads all the time and for the life of me I wish those days would come back. But, you know the old saying; “A pickle can never become a cucumber again.”

I’m convinced it’s the secret to staying slim, even if you use decadent dressings.  Recently, I ate at Wabi Sabi on Abbot Kinney in Venice. They served an amazing salad there, which was actually a side to a scallop dish. It was a simple arugula with walnuts and goat cheese, but the dressing was completely unique. They were kind enough to give me the recipe. 

It's the Little Things

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by Sue Doeden

budapest.jpgMy Hungarian grandma made the best apple strudel I've ever had. Here in Hungary it's apple season and apple strudel is showing up on many of the restaurant menus. Yesterday, on the Pest side of the Danube, I came upon the Strudel House. I ordered the sweet cottage cheese-filled strudel, mainly because it was served with a rosehip sauce, which I wanted to taste.

During my two days in the countryside, I saw rose bushes heavy with hips. This restaurant served sauce they had made with freshly harvested rosehips. The sauce had the fragrance of fermented grapes, and I think the little cottage I stayed in that was nestled in the middle of a vineyard in the countryside had bed linens sprayed with the fragrance of rosehips.

Well, the strudel had flakey layers surrounding the cottage cheese filling, the rosehip sauce was a delicious complement and one perfect scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream put the dessert over the top. It was a late-night treat. It wasn't as good as the one my grandma used to make, though.

London Calling

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by Laura Johnson

do_not_enter.jpgI was 'off to see the queen,' the stewardess lingo we use when working a London trip. I packed my tall boots, a few jackets and scarves. I was invited to join a friend from London for dinner with a small group at the famous old oyster bar "J Sheekey." I was, for once, concerned about what I would wear as my friend, Tim is a famous London tailor with a shop on Savile Row as well as shops all over the world. He dresses David Beckam and Tom Cruise and I certainly did not want to embarrass myself with some sort of 'get up' from my usual suitcase wardrobe.

As I was getting out of the shower that evening, I heard the fire alarms going off. Too many times I have called downstairs or left my room, only to discover that it was a false alarm. But I was having visions of Mumbai and quickly threw on the pajamas I had laying on the sink, grabbed my purse, put on my coat and ventured into the hallway. There was a little old Japanese man passing by my door and he sort of put it all in perspective in his heavy Japanese accent, "When in doubt, it is best to get out." I followed his lead and joined a group descending down the stairwell. When we got to the first floor, a security guard directed us down a long hallway that lead to the garage.

On the Roadfood

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by Agatha French

roadfood.jpgThis past summer my boyfriend and I set out on a cross-country road trip from Boston to L.A, a drive whose route would transverse America, and take us to countless places we’d never been before.  With only a few changes of clothes, two sleeping bags and a cooler, we left the East Coast energetic and idealistic about the trip.  The things most looked forward to: upstate New York in August, the peak of wild flower season, wheat fields in Iowa and the Rockies once out west, stretched out ahead of us for weeks on end.  I can honestly say that we did see these things, all of them. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying much attention… far too busy reading the Sterns. 

My cover of the Sterns’ 2005 edition of “Roadfood” features a close-up of an oozing triple-decker grilled cheese sandwich, the evidence of whose butter-fried preparation proclaims itself from each crispy edge of toast and glistening golden burnt bit. The bread appears to be highly refined, and the cheese orangey processed.  In other words: the cover-sandwich looks criminally delicious, the kind you’d find in a favorite diner, or perhaps in one of the 600 odd restaurants, spanning 48 states, that the Sterns describes within.  Snappily written reviews of places chosen for their honest cooking, lack of pretense and use of ingredients rated high to higher on the bad-for-you index, make for an addictive read.  It’s also a really fun book for sickos to pour over when the trail mix runs out, and the only work of non-fiction I packed on my person when leaving for The Big Move out west.

Last Supper in Paris

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by Jackson Malle

jadis335.jpgAlas it was time for my vacation in France to end with the new year in full bloom and my duties back in New York City calling. I had a farewell dinner with my father at a little bistro run by a very young chef. My father is a voracious reader of all the Parisian publications and came upon a review of the burgeoning restaurant Jadis. Various newspapers have lauded it as the best of its kind in the fifteenth and possibly the city. The meal was very good in a classic bistro fare sort of way though I feel it is a stretch to call it one of the best in Paris let alone the very best. The food offered was mostly updated classics and reinvented French conventions. The cuisine could be called new wave French I suppose, archetypal though innovative.

The food was mostly game oriented and incorporated every part of the animal from kidneys and entrails, to feet and brain. My father ended up being the bolder of the two of us, ordering two dishes that I loved tasting but would rarely order myself. He began with the pied d’agneau or lamb trotter. The round white bowl that appeared contained a strange looking soupy ragout with chunks of lamb foot meat, snails, button mushrooms, and sliced cardoons. It sounds more like a bizarre sorcerer’s potion but those were in fact the ingredients and they worked surprisingly well. The lamb trotter tasted like fatty pieces of roast leg of lamb and the saltiness of the sautéed snails matched well with the texture of the mushrooms. My father was overjoyed with the dish; naturally a big fan of organ meats given his French heritage. I tried two or three bites and would have gladly accepted my own serving.

On the Road with Dennis Starks - India

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by Dennis Starks

Straight to God's Ear

lehlandscape.jpgDogs howling at the moon. I roll over and from bed I look up to eighteen thousand feet of snow-covered peaks, shimmering in the moonlight. Shit, I gotta catch a plane! I throw on my clothes and race down the stairs, grab my last pair of underwear off the clothes line, stuff them in my pocket, throw my bag on my head, stumble through the turnip patch and onto the trail. I drink in the vista one last time. Fields of blooming mustard greens tint the valley a hazy yellow, tall poplar trees line the paths, and every little house sports a well tended vegetable garden.

The stream that winds its way through Leh and past the giant prayer wheel nurtures it all. In this remotest corner of India, one spin of the wheel and your prayers go straight into Gods ear. Beyond the village, as the stream peters out, the view is a vast barren moonscape of chocolate mountains, where not so much as a blade of grass grows. In the distance on all sides, the biggest platinum mountains I’ve ever seen. I lope through the village at dawn, past the monastery and the stark grey palace carved out of the hillside in the center of town. The air is thin, the bag is heavy and I’m out of breath. I flash a smile at my taxi driver and he waits while I duck into the bakery to grab a cup of Ladakhi tea, brewed from toasted barley and fermented yak butter. Its hot and salty, and it feels good on my dry lips.

Thursday Night At The Bini

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by Jackson Malle

salad.jpgI know it sounds blasphemous but one of my favorite restaurants in Paris is an Italian joint. Casa Bini lies just south of the Boulevard Montparnasse in a two-story building housing the family of Mrs. Anna Bini. The food is traditional Puglian with a large menu of classics and house favorites that never change. The principal allure of the place is the leaflet of daily specials. I have rarely encountered the same dish twice and the specials always impress so much so that my family, and most people I know in Paris, list Casa Bini as one of their favorites.

I had dinner there a few days ago with a couple of my cousins and the food was delicious as always. The nice thing about a place like Casa Bini is that you always know what to expect; friendly staff, dusty pictures of the Italian countryside, and dimly lit dining rooms. It is the culinary delights coming out of the bustling kitchen that are novel. My cousins and I arrived at about 8 to the warm welcome of the eldest Bini son, a small round man with a baldhead and thickly Italian accent. As was expected we all ordered from the daily offerings boasting tons of fresh seafood and other seasonal ingredients from the best Parisian markets.

New Year's on Kailua Beach

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by Laura Johnson

honolulu-hawaii.jpgNew Year's eve has got to be the most over-rated holiday of the year. I'm all about celebrating any holiday, even the ones I have never heard of but I always dread New Year's eve. Something about being forced to stay up late, wearing a sparkly, tacky hat and tooting a horn, trying to be cheerful and chatty when I am actually dog tired from the Christmas holidays. Otherwise the option is to stay home and feel depressed that everyone else is out having a good time except for me.

I discovered several years ago that the answer to all of my New Year's eve trauma was to go to work. Since I work for a major airline and the 'Senior Mamas" (our semi-affectionate term for the stews who have been flying for 35+ years) don't want to work on any holiday, I can pretty much pick up any trip I want. I debated on a 5 day trip to Prague or Stockholm but decided it was too cold. I looked at long layovers in Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires but decided I wasn't in the mood to always be looking over my shoulder. Bingo, 50 hours in Honolulu popped up on my computer and I took it immediately.


restaurant news

Hot? How About a Milkshake at Pono Burger?
Los Angeles
by Evan Kleiman

PonoStrawberry-MilkshakeOn this very hot day I can’t stop thinking about the strawberry milkshake I inhaled for dessert at Pono Burger a couple weeks back. Strawberry was all time childhood ice cream fave flavor.


The Golden State
Los Angeles
by Sara Mohazzebi

goldenstatelogo.jpgTwo years ago, I made a decision that forever changed my dining experience. I stopped being friends with anyone who doesn’t like to eat. Living in Los Angeles, the city of beautiful people, this...

Estelle's Southern Cuisine
by Kitty Kaufman

estellesWe're on for a Saturday night special at Estelle's on Tremont St at the corner of Mass Ave. It's been a year since they took over this corner: Brian Poe, of Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake,...

Little Next Door
Los Angeles
by Juliet Seniff

coffee.jpgIt’s 4 o’clock on Sunday afternoon, and like any well-adjusted twentysomething, I’m eating breakfast.  More specifically, I’m having brioche french toast and cappuccino at the Little Next Door on...