It was definitely mercury in retrograde recently when I got a phone call at 8:20pm, while we were having dinner at home, from a restaurant I’d reserved a table at, asking if we were showing up for our 8pm reservation. I was sure I had reserved for the following night, but – nope – I erred and our reservation was for that evening. (Fortunately, the restaurant has a steady walk-in crowd so the table didn’t sit empty. Still, I felt terrible.) We did go the next night, but that same day, I was typing this recipe up and my blogging platform asked me to log in again, which I dutifully did, and then it proceeded to erase the entire post, including the recipe.

With my head on the verge of imploding, I decided to go for a walk, then head back a little later and get back to rewriting everything up from scratch. A few people told me mercury was in retrograde, so, of course, the moment I returned, they started doing construction upstairs, so was subjected to the sounds of jackhammering while trying to fill in all the ingredients in the recipe plug-in I use, so the recipes are printable, and to make sure I got all the ingredients and so forth in the right place, and the conversions.

By the time evening rolled around, some other neighbors decided to have a party and their voices were so loud, they could be heard all the way down the block. (So much for les américains having the loudest voices in town anymore.) What made up for it were these Mixed Berry Shortcakes, which we had for dessert that night.

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We survived the recent heatwave, which seemed like a good time to update my post on Vanilla Ice Cream, with new pictures. Probably the worst thing you can do in a heatwave is photograph ice cream, but I did it. As a former restaurant line cook, I can cook or bake through anything. Having a batch of freshly churned ice cream when it’s that hot,…

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Tomatoes didn’t originally come from Italy, but they’ve certainly made up for lost time. Now it’s hard to think of Italian cuisine without them, from classic dishes, from Pasta all’Arrabiata and Salade Caprese, to Pizza Margherita and Panzanella, a bread and tomato salad that’s one of my favorite things to make, and eat. This summer salad gets tossed with basil, which boosts its appeal (at…

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I don’t go to many press events. It’s not that I don’t like getting to taste new and interesting things, or check out restaurants before they open and to get a glimpse of what they’re going to do. But I prefer to go and have a relaxing time, and to enjoy and experience the place as a customer would. Another thing that’s challenging about press…

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Summer has just started and temperatures have been hovering close to 100ºF (37ºC). It’s been hard to stay cool but I’ve learned that temperatures are lower first thing in the morning, so I wake up earlier and get some tasks out of the way before the full blast of heat begins to slowly roast me, and my kitchen. The other thing that’s hitting us at…

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Not a day goes by when I don’t get a message requesting a restaurant recommendation in Paris. (Curiously, I also get asked for restaurant recommendations in cities I’ve never lived in, or even visited.) My promise to you is that I’ll only write up or recommend places I’ve been to, and with apologies to all who’ve asked for restaurant recommendations on social media, if I…

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We’re buckling down for a heatwave that’s on its way, with temperatures heading up to 40ºC (104ºF). Fortunately I’ve got a small stockpile of fans I’ve been collecting over the years, and few bottles of rosé in the refrigerator. (And my refrigerator actually has an ice-maker.) I sometimes bring a bag as a host gift when invited for dinner…but this week, I’m saving them all…

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I don’t quite exactly when things shifted, but for many years, if you wanted salt you either bought granulated table salt, usually sold in a round canister for less than a dollar, or kosher salt, which came in a big box. Kosher salt didn’t get its name because it’s kosher, it’s because the bulkier crystals are a better size for salting meat, which koshers it….

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Not many of us saw it coming, certainly not me, way back in 1989 when La Brea Bakery opened, and I thought, “Who the heck is going to buy freshly baked bread in Los Angeles? That’ll never work…” And the rest, as they say, is history, as La Brea Bakery and Campanile restaurant, the adjacent restaurant in the same Spanish-style building (that Charlie Chaplin built),…

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