Love

Remember how umami always told you that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Well girls, this is How to Keep it Fraiche with Rosemary Garden and I’m here to reassure you that if you work with the ripe ingredients (all of which are outlined below), you will never have to play ketchup in your relationship again. The key is to learn how to sift your mindset.

Rule #1: Keep it spicy

cayenne-pepper.jpgTake a lesson from Cayenne; even though she's a bit of a bitch sometimes, she always knows how to kick it up a notch. I often tell students at my seminars that if we let our relationships go bland, it's hard to go back cold turkey.

Rule #2: Don’t make a main out of a starter

Remember ladies, don’t wine and always keep it cool. It’s just not worth it to get nuts over the small things. If you find yourself in a pickle, butter up your lover and tenderize him with a meaty rub down.

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coupole.jpgSure it's a cliche, but Paris really is a tremendously romantic city. The grand brasseries like the art nouveau Bofinger or the art deco La Coupole don't just transport you to another place, but another time. They are joyful places where you want to be extravagant and order bottles of wine and big platters of seafood. When I think about my time in Paris with my husband-to-be at the time, I remember the feeling of indulgence and even decadence as if nothing beyond those gilded dining rooms mattered at all. And I remember the seafood, those big multi-tiered platters brimming with oysters, clams and lobster.

Anyone who has been through it will tell you, getting married is not nearly as stressful as the wedding itself. The relatives, the seating charts, the guest list, the cost. Oh I could go on and on. But I won't. Instead I'll tell you about the night before I got married. After weeks of handling last minute details, celebrating a birthday, entertaining and seeing to the needs of out-of-town guests and relatives, it felt like the night before our wedding was the first moment we had alone in ages.

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barbaosummerrolls.jpgIn New York for a brief visit, my wife and I wanted to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary with a special dinner. After a beautiful day walking around the city, we decided to find a restaurant near where we were staying at 70th and Amsterdam. For our anniversary dinner, we wanted a restaurant where we could talk and hold hands. And we wanted a meal prepared by a chef who cared about making interesting food, but we didn't want to spend a fortune.

The New York Times said a new restaurant was opening nearby that sounded interesting, so we called. On the phone the maitre d' described the menu at Bar Bao as a "modern take on Vietnamese food." The restaurant was opening that night and luckily a table was available.

When we arrived we were greeted warmly. That friendliness continued throughout the evening. Our waiter, Matt, accommodating both Michelle's desire to be meat free and my own unrestricted eating, suggested the Vermicelli Noodles and he would bring the pork belly on the side. Rounding out the meal, we decided on the Vegetable Summer Rolls, Sizzling Cuttlefish, Bean Curd Glazed Black Cod, and Asian Eggplant.

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littleindia.jpgYou gotta love a guy like my friend Howard. On Memorial Day Monday at 10:30 a.m., I called him in Santa Monica from my bed in Sherman Oaks and said, “Whatcha doing today?”

“Don’t have anything until 4 o’clock,” he said.

“I don’t have anything till 6 – wanna go to Artesia and check out some of the Indian restaurants?”

“Oh yeah,” he said, “meet ya at the corner of Artesia and Pioneer Boulevards at noon.”

“Fab, see you there.” Jumped out of bed and hit the shower.

Next to the joy of eating a long, festive meal at a giant table surrounded by family and friends, my favorite culinary ritual is the food safari, an expedition off the beaten track in search of something new and delicious. My sister Jo will drive to the four corners of the earth with me to try a new pizza joint that we’ve heard is good. There was the 2-hour car trip up to Hartford with the old boyfriend, because we’d read great things about an old diner. And my very busy bud Peter managed to keep a lunch open last week so that we could go sample the hot dogs (five different ones!) at the new Papaya King in Hollywood.

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hôtel ritz parisI admit it – I have a soft spot for hotel bars partly because the first time my present husband declared himself to me was at a hotel bar – albeit it was coming on the heels of “I think you have another girlfriend (true) and if you want to keep seeing me, you’d better tell her good-bye....” In fairness, we’d only been dating for a week and we hadn’t kissed yet. And my version of the story is way more dramatic than his. In my version, I exit the table and he runs after me and says, “Wait, wait...I think I’m falling in love with you.” In his version, the dialogue is the same, but he claims he didn’t run after me in the patio of the bar at The Peninsula in Beverly Hills and dramatically stop my exit, he simply said it at the table. (I’m right, by the way....)

Neither of us dispute the second part – that the first time we kissed was in the driveway of the Peninsula (about three minutes after the declaration) as we were both waiting for our own cars and the possibility that we might never see each other again was hanging in the air. The valets all started laughing and smiling, and in my writer’s mind, there was also applause (this is potentially debatable) but the valets were pretty sweet since basically it was sort of old people making out and could have elicited a slightly different reaction, like yucch, and if this is “too much information” for my children, I apologize about that....

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