I’ve been bit by the travel bug and just itching to return to one of my favorite places in the world, Turkey. Granted, we just welcomed our second baby so that might not happening tomorrow as I might have hoped. So what better way to fulfill a desire than through your belly?! I’ve been craving Çilbir, a Turkish dish that has been enjoyed as far back as the 15th century by Ottoman sultans. The combination of garlicky, herbed yogurt and poached eggs is unusual but surprisingly delicious and wonderfully comforting. The addition of an Aleppo pepper infused butter absolutely makes this dish, infusing just the right amount of mild spice and fragrance. Mop up the goodness with some warm, crusty bread and . . . well, a trip to Turkey can wait. At least for now.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the 9th annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival. If you aren’t familiar, PBFW is four action-packed days worth of epicurean events, featuring some of the best chefs and wineries in the world. Events include culinary demos, beverage seminars, lavish lunches, grand tastings and epic dinners. Guests have intimate access to chefs and winemakers, and best of all, unlike other food festivals, PBFW is set on a world famous golf course against the beautiful backdrop of the golden California coast. If you’re looking for an unforgettable foodie adventure, I can’t think of any better way to spend a long weekend.
I’ve been in a bit of a creative funk lately. Life’s been busy, in a good way, and consequently cocktails have taken a backseat to more important matters, such as family. Fiona is changing in new and exciting ways each and every day. This week she’s been focusing on imaginative play. She walks around the house pretending to drink from one of her stacking boxes. I like to think she’s sipping her morning coffee, just like her dad. She’s also been really working hard on her language skills. She doesn’t know too many words yet, but it’s almost as if she’s trying to perfect the few that she does know before moving on to the rest. Quality over quantity, I suppose. Speaking of quality, given that I haven’t had much time to recipe test anything new, I’m mixing up one of my all-time favorites from San Francisco bartender Marco Dionysos. If you’re new to Chartreuse, definitely checkout this post by Chris from A Bar Above. Basically it’s a crazy complex liqueur with a secret recipe made from 130 different plants and flowers passed down for centuries by Carthusian Monks. Pretty cool if you ask me! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some imaginary coffee to finish.
When life hands you the opportunity to explore Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, you go. We recently sent our globetrotting friend and occasional collaborator Bianca Sotelo to experience one of the Caribbean’s oldest cities and this is what she came back with . . .
In the middle of the Caribbean — a region perhaps us West-Coasters don’t get to often enough! — is a country rich in a quasi Latin, quasi Caribbean culture, and it is a place on the planet not to missed. Any guesses? The Dominican Republic! Discovered in 1492 by the man himself, Christopher Columbus, the DR was dubbed the first land of the “Americas”, making the country’s capital, Santo Domingo, the first city in The New Word and a pretty surreal place to explore. Beautiful Spanish style buildings that were built hundreds of years ago, colorfully painted houses with tropical plants adorning the old walls and streets oozing European charm are all found within the city’s stone walls, but more exciting is the incredible culture — deep rooted in dance, food and love. Without ever visiting before, I sure was in for a Carrib-Latin cultural awakening, and I walked away with a new found love for everything Dominican!
I have a special place in my heart for foods I ate as a kid. I always have a pack of string cheese in the fridge and I still crave a bowl of Kix with cold milk. But none of them beat my ultimate favorite, the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So, I’ve dessertified my favorite by taking thick cubes of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and subbing them for the bread cubes that would ordinarily go into a bread pudding. The bottom of this pudding becomes a beautiful sweet custard while the top stays crunchy and toasted. Each cube is a delight to eat, like a mini decadent PB&J sandwich.
Todd recently returned from a trip to New Orleans, and Erica and I were just there in November for a southern style Thanksgiving. For all of us, it was our first time in the Big Easy and, of course, we couldn’t stop talking about all the decadent food we ate. So we thought we’d put our combined experiences together and share our highlights of our New Orlean’s trips. We all fell hard for this city and it’s one of the few places in the U.S. I am determined to return to . . . and sooner than later.
- Bacchanal: If you’re looking to spend a few chill hours just drinking wine, eating cheese and listening to music (um, who isn’t?) but in a totally unpretentious back-porch setting, look no further than Bacchanal. This wine shop located in the Bywater is also a great excuse to explore New Orleans outside the French Quarter. Pick up a couple bottles in the shop and grab a few wine glasses on your way out to the back patio, furnished simply with a few plastic and metal tables and chairs and where local artists are playing live music. You can also grab a few blocks of cheese that they’ll plate up for you. I loved Bacchanal’s low-key vibe and was so wishing that there was a place like this in LA!