Dec 16, 2011


I decided a couple years ago to try and take a portrait of anyone coming and staying with me in this house in Oakland. The portrait had to be taken on the property and on this old Minolta 35mm film camera. Since I might be relocating soon, I'm starting to feel sentimental about my time here in this special zone. Here are a few of those, including a couple of one of the babes living here, Robin. Consider it a homage to a home. My next few upcoming posts will be a series of portraits taken within the last couple of years, all over, but always on a film camera.
Robin in Vanessa's room.

Daniela in the living room. Listen to her music here: Snowblink

Dena & Maschat in front. Cool things they do here & here

Erlend in the bedroom. Music he makes here & here

Jessi in the living room. Her music here


Joshua in the backyard.

Kieran and Laurie in the living room. Here and here.

Nat in the living room. Rad art here.

Paris in my newly painted room. Here.

Robin in the living room when the old mural was still there.

Zia in the backyard. She lives next door.

Zoe in the bedroom.

Nov 4, 2011


Remember when I said on my last snax post that it was the longest entry to date? Well, I'm outdoing myself. Just think of is as a 20 min. lecture. Or a walk to meet a friend. Get comfy and check this out. You can come back to it later. Phew. This last trip was a long one. 4 months. It started with spicy popsicles and ended with a falaffel. In the middle there was a flurry of tasty predicaments. My introduction to true tapas in Madrid and San Sebastian, Spain, was nothing short of wondrous. The tapas I explored left me almost schizophrenic. They were that good. Salty caramel with Le Beurre Bordier and my discovery of jamón ibérico de bellota (iberican bellota ham) took me to another dimension. A place involving the true sense of salt. Sense in a Japanese way. Sensei. Secret intuitive sense. Most importantly, what makes me love food and the art of taste (and anything involving one or all of the senses), is how the experience brings you closer to the ones you're with. The ephemeral quality of food and friendship. The constant change. The result of an investment of time and energy whether it's a conversation or a well cooked meal. Priorities, people. Friends, family and the everyday zests.  

*Disclaimer* These photos are a direct depiction of my experience. Quiet, loud, sloppy, precise, buzzed, blurry, dizzy, and excited. In that order. So here, in the order of consumed. For my other food posts. See them hereand here. I'm also a guest author on "The Trail of Crumbs". Check out my posts here and here.

The morning I left. Janella and I cooked breakfast at her lovely house (my home-away-from-home) in Silverlake, Los Angeles. Poached eggs on baguette with herby olive oil, lemon zest. This morning involved mega conversations.
Atlanta, Georgia. Or what my family that lives there call it, the ATL. Food truck heaven on Wednesdays. My nieces knew what I needed to see and taste! There is a lot of really good grub in the South...
These dudes were real nice. Can't believe they fit in there.
Total grill. Southern style.

Pulled pork sandwich. Juicy.
Super discovery. The king of pops does it so right. Chocolate and sea salt! Arnold palmer!

Chocolate and sea salt...
Typical southern goodness. Great restaurant called "Miller Union."
Black eyed peas, greens, and a special egg salad sammy on homemade bread.
They had incredibly inventive drinks here too. Go there if you are in Atlanta.
A quick night in Paris before Spain. We tried making something D had in a children's French cookbook. The result was the most magnificently simple soufflé. Seriously unreal. A little grated gruyere or ossau iraty mixed with egg whites and salt/pepp. Bake. Then put the egg yolk on the meringues and bake again. I still am in awe.

I made a fresh pea soup with roasted shitake mushrooms (mmmm, bacon-like!) and herbed olive oil. I think tarragon, chive, and summer savory. Yum.

Now in Spain. In a tiny town called Orgiva. The spice market was filled with cool north African and Moroccan goods. Paprika, chili, saffron, pepper corns. Too good.

I've never seen cherries like this before. I didn't grow up seeing very many cherry trees around so this felt super exotic. D took this.

Olives as far as you can see. See? Most olive oil that says 'Italian' is really Spanish.Grown in Spain because it's cheaper, bottle in Italy for the 'from Italy' tag. Sheesh.

Granada! Real Sangria and Gazpacho. The Alhambra in the background. D and I tripped out there for hours. This day was filled with epic light!

It was love at first sight. Bite. My first time trying the famous Bellota Iberican ham. Almost cried.

From one of the oldest in town. Madrid. Chocolateria San Gines. Fried stuff can taste really good sometimes. No denying. Dip it in chocolate pudding? Sure, ¿por qué no?


Razor clams in Madrid. Delish.
More Iberican ham. Traditionally the bread you eat with it has a little bit of fresh tomato juice on it. Cool.


Got treated to a REAL paella in Madrid at this place. Some romesco and aioli sauces to eat with it. Doesn't look so amazing but there was a lot of love in this rice dish.


I like this beer.
San Sebastian. Donostia. Spain. Home of the tapas. (The Santa Barbara of Spain but with tapas)
 Hongos! Lots and lots. (Mushrooms) These fresh Porcini (Boletus) were cooked a la plancha, then topped with an egg yolk and fleur de sel. Holy moly. Anything with an egg yolk on it and I'm in.
The best cheesecake I've ever had. Way different than anything I've tried. No crust. Slighly burned on purpose. Fluffy. Not too sweet. Heavenly. I made us go back there twice in one day. Yeah, yeah, the second time was a late night visit. I remember being really stoked when the dude said they were closed but would still give us a piece. It's all in the smile.
Never had time/the gumption to try this one. Next time, my friends. Too weird. Peek-a-bagel. You have to admit, it looks pretty good.

I will never forget you, Chanterelle. I've made it a mission to learn what they are called everywhere so I can track them down. Kantarel! Pfifferlinge! Girolle! Finferli!
Note size of the Porcini compared to my foot.

Quince paste!
Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce to you my first Foie Gras tapas. Grilled and served with crispy leeks on saffron risotto. Amazeballs.

These tapas were extra good. On the bottom is the raw version. On the top, after they grilled it. Padron peppers, prosciutto, and mushrooms. Plenty of sea salt. Wowzers. This was really late at night.
Researched and found this place in Hondarribia. A 30 min bus ride out of San Sebastian and another 30 minute hike up a hill. An old cider house turned restaurant. One of the best eating experiences of my life. I fell in love with Basque country. My heart aches a little just thinking about this day. God I love missing places, people and things. Feelings!

Cider that they made at the restaurant. I went in the back and tried several by turning on the spout and the woman working there stood 15 feet back and knew exactly how far the cider would pour. They do this a lot in Spain. Especially with Txakoli.  A super light, dry, slightly sparkling, white wine. Pouring at a distance adds more effervescence. I love when things make sense.

Ensalada de bogavante. Lobster salad with black truffle. The best lobster I've ever had. Period. So fresh, light, citrusy, and the perfect points of light. The herbs, a little sherry vinegar, the spice from the arugula. I'm jealous.
Merluza. Hake in English. With these delicate clams. D was telling me how they make the reduction sauce. Something about it being unusual. Slowly shaking the pan, releasing the juices, oils from the fish. Mixed with butter. I'm not sure they deglazed. A beautiful sauce. Unreal.
Mero. Grouper in English. Perfectly cooked. Extremely fresh. Crispy garlic. This meal was so fantastic because we also ended up there on a Sunday, where the entire restaurant was filled up with local families and big long tables. We were the only tourists there and when those moments happen, you get a glimpse of what it would be like to live there.
Back in Paris. Adrian's Bday. We had an epic day. Started out with a Mexican breakfast feast, tripped out at an aquarium, had tea at Mariage Fréres, and ended with dinner at Chez Michel.

TOTAL MINDMELTER. Morel mushrooms (second favorite to Chanterelle) in a creamy broth. Inside was a soft boiled egg. Dude.

Delicious tarragon ice cream with melon.
Our friend's Medieval house in Noyers Sur Serein. South of Paris. Do you see D in the window? A new favorite place. I met so many special people there. Cooked, explored, finally understood wine, (thanks to the help of Pierre!) and danced to house music in a barn at a lamb farm. Some really funny details I'm leaving out. Ask. Yippee!
My first wine collection! I bought these in Chablis. They have a home now in the cave of Rod's place. Can't wait to go back and drink them!
Pierre is one of the owners of this restaurant in Noyers. Le Restaurant Les Millésimes. Along with his brother and father, they have the restaurant as well as a Boucherie-Charcuterie shop. This family rules. Check them out here.
What Pierre poured us at dinner. I learned a lot this night. I also forgot a lot on this night.

D and I cooked for all of the neighbors and got to know everyone! These Turkish chili's were awesome. On the grill, wrapped in bacon, stuffed with cheese. In Mexico we have these sometimes, except they are Japapeños.
We marinated these pork ribs (but more like pork belly) in a Vietnamese style.

I made aioli. Tarragon one and a smoked paprika one. Good on the white asparagus and veggie kebabs.
They don't refridgerate their eggs. No need for good eggs. Why are we mixed up?

The "friendship bars" on the right were made by food dude David Lebovitz. I like his recipes/blog a lot, so I was stoked to see him at this hang by the canal put on by Meg Zimbeck of Paris by Mouth. Next time you're in Paris, check out her site. Super helpful in a city full of such amazing food.
Lame picture of a cool thing. I love "Café des Musées". This place is the best for authentic, not pretentious, French food. Not expensive and a great vibe. Was pretty happy to see there was a "RUBI" tag on the side of the building.
Pickled Herring at Aux Deux Amis. Not your typical pickled Herring. The chef here was Swedish and pickled everything himself. Really velvety. After spending so much time in Scandinavia over the last 6 years, I've grown to love this.

More Herring. With yoghurt and cucumbers.

Honey Ricotta and fruit.

Another favorite spot. Breizh Café. Organic crêpes made in the tradition of the Brittany region. Best with some cider....and good friends that aren't in a hurry. Homemade salty caramel!

I was on a hunt for really good mille-feuille. I found these. Made to order at Jacques Genin on rue de Turenne. Paris is phenomenal for pastry, you just gotta dive in.

Ingrid is really fun to eat things with. Check out why.
Pink praline brioche

We went back to Noyers! This time with Les. A short/long weekend.

I just found this in Oakland. Maybe you can find it in your city. It's worth the hunt and it might need a new home.


Homemade Nougat is also a brand new thing for me. Can't believe I slept on this. Sorta obsessed.

The train back to Paris....with the goods.
My girls.
New pals Adam/Carina. Together with Josh, they own Candelaria. The perfect place to get tacos and drinks. An incredible spot that served me over and over again. I played songs here for Fête de la Musique and over time, this place and these folks, made me fall even more in love with Paris. Guys, I'm comin back soon! I promise. (Photo on rt and below by D)
Aaron and Josh. These dudes make Paris fun. Check out Aaron's blog. We had a great picnic after recording some jams for Josh's Bday.
London. At the Dove. I told my friend that I wanted to straight stuff and here it is. Mushy peas and all. Not sure how I feel about those peas. Give peas a chance.
Patrick is a beacon of light in London. Thanks and thanks Åbäke
for always keeping it really real.

Leslie H and I finished with this at St.John Bread and Wine. Definitely worth going in London.

Mikal saved my life. Then he took me to Moro. A restaurant I had wanted to try for years and cook from their cookbook consistently. Thanks to the M's. Here, the fatoush salad. Trick? Good sherry vinegar and pomegranate. Gooood.

Pea and jamón soup with fino sherry.

Wood roasted chicken with tomato and eggplant bulgur and grilled Turkish pepper.

Neal's Yard Dairy. I love cheese. I picked some up here and brought it to my dear friend Chelsea's house. I knew he had made some yellow plum jam, so I wanted to sharpness to add.

Chelsea, and his daughter Romily. One of my oldest friends! Met him in Grindelwald when I was 16 and we continue to see each other every year. A truly inspired individual and cook.

His yellow plum jam with a hint of some plum schnapps that Adrian brought him from Germany.
 Back in Paris. This guy blew me away. Such a character. At Le Marché des Enfants Rouges. Always singing and flirting, this guy makes it happen around there.
This is a classic move of mine. So the place I probably went the most, L'Avant Comptoir, is the least pictured. I like it like that. Unreal food in the Basque style. Tapas. Ham. Artichoke waffles and the best crêpes in town.
Grindelwald, Switzerland. My second home.
The cows and goats that provide the milk to make this cheese are smiling.
Magic yoghurt.
 Don't be mad at me because of the bad iphone pics. Raclette, people. Hot cheese with potatoes and pickles. Fave. Also, don't be mad at me because you weren't there to eat it.

This was her favorite cheese when she was little. She taught me how to cut it. Thanks Hélène, I never really knew how to approach a cheese in that shape.

 Real smoked buffalo Mozzarella.

A really good day with my sis at the Bois de Vincennes.
Berlin! First morning. Thordis knows how to make me happy. Always a great host. Two days later, her husband Stephan made the best sauerkraut I've ever tasted. Wish I had a pic of that.
Who knew? I never would have. Rose petal yoghurt. If you ever see Andechser yoghurt anywhere, buy it.
Hands down, one of the best "hole-in-the-wall" spots. Berlin is good at this.
Köfte! This sandwich was absolutely the best tasting thing I had in days. It was the timing, the lack of expectation, and the company. The lemon juice on the jicama made me eyes hurt. In a good way. The mint, sumac, and arugula mixed with the red chili and lamb. Oh! and the bread! Sooooo _____
A Thai style Omelette? Yes, please! Ginger, green curry, coconut milk, green onion, cilantro, red chili, bean sprouts. IN EGGS. Who knew?

Maschat knows. One of the coolest drummers alive and he's got a real casual cooking style. It rules.
How could I not have Schnitzel in Germany? With these special pickles. Nice. Also got a fix of Bratkartoffeln (Sauteed potatoes.) This tasted good also because of where I was. In the Oberspreewald, somewhere near Brandenburg. A stunning area outside Berlin.

Ultra-rad dude explaining the details. Jenne IS Berlin. His art/skate/culture/music/life world here.
After. Afternoon shadows.
The last sweet thing. Pear/apple crumble. Thanks, Jenne! The last meal I had on the trip was at King of Falaffel. Unpictured and unforgettable. I took pics there and you can see them on my last snax post here.
...and on my first day back in California I was greeted by these two things.

Janella, right where I left her. Smile! P.S. Friends that pick you up from the LA airport are gold. Especially after a super long trip.
Tacos from El Bajio in Santa Barbara. Pollo, Adobada, and Carne Asada. Happy.