Local news says that a fire broke out early this morning at Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’s pioneering restaurant in Berkeley, Calif., made famous by its embrace of local foods. The fire, which was reported at 3AM, was said to have done extensive damage to the outside of the restaurant. New reports say that a small part of the main dining room is damaged.
Tutu’s Mai Tai
You could say my most recent visit to Hawaii left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. The island of Oahu is becoming so congested by cars, tourists and our nations military that it doesn’t feel like an island anymore. The roads feel like the freeways of Los Angeles. And, the rows of shops in Waikiki look straight off the strip malls of Las Vegas.
Thus said I am so grateful to have a local family I can call my own. I’m struggling to understand how they are adapting, once again to the growth of their homeland. Growth that has been steadily moving forward since the late 40′s, welcome as it was at that time. The feeling of aloha is getting harder and harder to find.
So you see – hanging out with Tutu (Lovey) is definitely a highlight when I visit Honolulu. I could sit for hours and listen to her stories about the history of Waikiki in its heyday, all told with a fair amount of piss and vinegar.
Lovey was a bartender for close to 40 years, working under the umbrella of restaurants owned by the Spencecliff organization, which included Tops, Queen’s Surf and the legendary Tahitian Lanai. She claims to have made the best Mai Tai in town, and only at a cost of $1.50. Even though the cocktail didn’t originate on the island, it’s roots were clearly tropic. Nowadays it’s almost impossible to find a “real” Mai Tai in Waikiki, so many variations are being made to please the palates of cocktail-umbrella seeking tourists.
Tutu’s Mai Tai
1 oz dark rum
1 oz light rum
1/2 ounce Orange Curaçao
1/4 ounce rock candy (simple) syrup
Juice from one fresh lime (about 3/4 ounce)
Pour all of the ingredients except for the dark rum into a shaker with ice cubes. Shake vigorously. Strain into an old-fashioned glass half filled with ice. Top with the dark rum. Garnish with a cherry.
My dear friend artist Ariel Dunitz-Johnson is a self-taught cook and part time sous chef in my kitchen. We’ve catered many weddings together and have shared many memorable meals across my dinner table. Her line of Little Batch Sauces are always in my refrigerator, and should be in yours too.
An accomplished artist. I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of Ariel’s art world.
Artwork by Ariel Dunitz-Johnson
A fascinating look at death row inmates last meal requests by artist Henry Hargreaves in his show last spring titled “No Seconds”.
Click image to follow thru to No Seconds.
I just recently came across the artwork of Sharon Core who was inspired by the classic food paintings of Wayne Thiebaud. She recreated his famous painting “Cakes” from 1963 with real cakes in 2004.
A trip to Union Square always wraps up with a stop at my friend Yigit’s pastry shop Tout Sweet. I’m always secretly hoping that when I arrive there will be my favorite cake in the case. You may know Yigit Pura as the winner of season 1 Top Chef: Just Desserts. His shop on Macy’s 3rd floor boasts a dessert zen den of macaroons, cakes, and tarts along with tasty breakfast and lunch fare.
The Mille-Crepe is approximately 20 paper-thin crepes layered with a vanilla bean custard scented ever-so-slightly with orange flower water and topped with bruleed sugar.
Pair with your favorite digestif liquer and you’ve got the perfect flourish to a much deserved day off.
So delicious! We loved every bite!
My lover and friend Paul Wakefield tends bar at San Francisco’s Orbit Room. The bar and cafe have been around for over 20 years. The place is a great mix of old and new. Paul stopped by my place tonight to make us one of my favorite winter cocktails before heading off to work. I’m a huge citrus fan of Meyer lemons, Key limes, Valencia oranges and especially grapefruit. They are a bit of sunshine at the market right now. My grandmother had a grapefruit tree that was so tall its top branches rested on the roof of her small home in the East Bay. I was always more than happy to pick them for her. My family sold that little house years ago. And, I recently drove by out of curiosity and my great fondness of the property that gave me so much fruit throughout my childhood. The front yard was horribly disregarded. And that great grapefruit tree that stood so tall had been chopped down to a mere stump. I’ll never drive by there again. But I will never forget the taste of those big juicy grapefruits.
6 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, about 3 large grapefruits
2 ounces vodka
Salt for the rim of the glass