2010 Best Restaurant Dishes

Cooking, Restaurants By January 1, 2011

Of course it’s crazy for me to think that I can whittle down my favorite-dish list. I’ve eaten at least a hundred new-to-me dishes in restaurants this year, rejoicing in concoctions that dazzled and comforted at the same time. But we all love lists, right? So here goes – in no particular order … Start with dessert. 1. Stonehill Tavern’s…

Put Leftover Risotto to Work!

Chefs, Cooking, Recipes, Restaurants By December 27, 2010

Justin Miller, executive chef at Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa, creates beautiful, market-inspired dishes that showcase his produce purchases. Most Wednesdays, he drives to Chino Farms in Rancho Santa Fe to buy seasonal fruit and vegetables for the restaurant’s menu. Chino Farms’ focus is on flavor, harvesting fruits and vegetables each day at the peak of ripeness. One of my…

Caramels+Fleur de Sel = LOVE

Cooking, Recipes By December 20, 2010

Recently I ran a riff about Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramels in my e-newsletter. I cautioned that they are too good.  A buttery soft crew made irresistible with fancy French sea salt. Theirs are so delectable, I stopped making them. A couple of readers wrote to complain. Trader Joe’s in their neighborhoods had run out. The supply? Kaput. They…

Chefs Cry! Lucca’s American Salumi Just Too Good

Chefs, Cooking, Restaurants By December 16, 2010

SALUMI TEARS: Cathy Pavlos, chef-owner of LUCCA in Irvine,  made some visiting Italian chefs cry. After they enjoyed a platter of glorious salumi, she told them it was American-made. They didn’t believe her.  She brought out the proof.  Two of them wept. Salt-curing and air-drying meats and sausages is a centuries-old artisanal tradition in Italy. But … American artisanal salumi…

One of the Best Cookbooks for Holiday Gifting

Chefs, Cookbooks, Cooking, Recipes By December 14, 2010

Even the most scurrilous Scrooge on my gift-giving list seems to appreciate the appeal of cookbook gifts. “BAKE! Essential Techniques for Perfect Baking” by Nick Malgieri (Kyle Books, $29.95), 224 pages “This book is meant to have enough easy, straightforward baking recipes that people who haven’t baked before can use successfully,” says author Nick Malgieri, who heads up the baking…